Showing posts from 2018

Seattle Schools Science Curriculum News

Dear Families, It is an exciting time for science instruction in our district! We are currently in a Science Curriculum Adoption Process for grades K-12. This process will provide new instructional materials and support for all our classrooms teaching science for the 2019-20 school year. Our last elementary adoption was in 1995, middle school in 2002 and high school various times before 2000; not only has science changed significantly in the last twenty years, but we know so much more about how children learn. Washington State adopted new science standards in 2013, and it is our obligation to our students to align to these new standards. The biggest shift in science instruction has been from “learning about” to “figuring out” where students work through a series of connected lessons anchored in explaining a compelling science phenomenon. This revolution in science education will provide a rigorous, engaging experience for all our students and will ensure they are colleg

Amazon Dollars Explained

Update:   here is the list of school funding so far. The highest funded schools are Franklin at $31,600 and Mercer International at $26,500; the lowest funded schools are Dectaur at $1100 and Cedar Park at $1400. I would urge everyone to speak to your principal about a school need that could be met with this funding when school resumes. end of update As you may recall, I recently asked about the $2M that Amazon had donated - via the Alliance for Education - to SPS "student needs."  I had wondered where it went; here you go. (Bold mine) From: Superintendent Sent: Monday, December 10, 2018 1:19 PM Subject: Right Now Needs Funds Dear School Leaders:

Friday Open Thread

Opting out of testing in one Oregon district just got a lot harder; I'm hoping SPS doesn't try this stuff.  From Opt- Out Oregon:

Parenting; How Goes It?

Two interesting articles on parenting; I'll be interested on your take of either or both. The first is from Mother Jones on school discipline .  I absolutely agree with trying to help kids figure out what is really upsetting them (and giving them tools to deal with anger).  Punishment doesn't really work for a child with real issues so more care needs to be taken. But, as someone in a classroom on a regular basis, I will push back a bit.  If a teacher has a large class plus the kid in question is endangering other students (not just stopping the teaching and learning), the teacher needs the ability to act.   And sometimes, it won't be nuanced. Has your child ever complained about another child disrupting class?  Is kindness taught for other children's issues?   The other article is from the New York Times , The Relentlessness of Modern Parenting .  (I actually heard something on NPR this morning about Amazon's own relentlessness and that Alexa had

Seattle Squeeze? It's Going to Affect Seattle Schools

Sadly, I see no information at the SPS website but I presume everyone is on vacation.  (I also received no press release.) However, on KUOW this morning, they reported that SPS believes it will get hit with timing issues for school bus service when the Viaduct closes forever on January 11th.  The story stated that they will be sending the bus drivers out 30 minutes earlier than usual in an effort to get to kids on time.

Blog Refresher

Dear Readers, I know many of you are long-time readers (thanks!) and some of you are new (welcome!) and I thought it useful to review blog policies.

Wednesday Open Thread

From The Columbian , Battleground SD has taken to ditching the cardboard single use milk cartons in their cafeterias.  Wish SPS would consider this; in my tutoring time, I go to lunch with the kids and see a lot of waste. Where's the greenest school classroom in the U.S? In Seattle (but not at a Seattle public school).  From Crosscut:

To My Readers

Wishing all a merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

Of Possible Interest


Friday Open Thread

I had meant to try to see t he number of hits at this blog change but I got busy and forgot.  So I missed when it ticked from 11M to now 12,202,580 hits for all its years.  Thank you to all my readers.  (Interestingly, while the U.S. is the #1 spot, Ukraine comes in second.) I note that a group of youth from the NAACP Youth Coalition spoke at this week's Board meeting about racism and inequities in the district.  One student asked why every school didn't have a Race and Equity team.  That is a good question and, at this point, I think they have them in half the schools.  One issue may just be that some schools may be dragging their feet because of the need to find people who will serve and really do the work.  But for staff who already seem to work fairly hard, it may be one more district directive that they don't have the time or support to fulfill even if it is for the best of reasons. There is the briefest of stories on KUOW about the Hamilton Twitter issue and I

Social Media Strikes in Two SPS Schools

First up, Hamilton International Middle School . It was reported to me that a couple of days ago a student in a class took video of his teacher warning students about not supporting a certain, very popular YouTube channel because the channel and the ones it retweets to its 75 million (yes, million) followers can be (looks at list): racist, homophobic, mysogynistic, and anti-Semitic.  The video has had nearly 2M views. I also heard that there were reported bomb threats to the school and police came out, either today or yesterday.   I have calls into SPD and SPS but mum's the word so far. Update from SPD: I can tell you that officers were called to Hamilton yesterday shortly after noon for a threats call by school staff. Officers documented the incident after interviewing staff, but you will need to contact Seattle Public Schools for any further details.  From SPS: The ensuing responses from other social media users included some negative comments and language. While

Tuesday Open Thread

District enrollment and school tours information here. What do most speakers at tomorrow night's Board meeting want to talk about? Approval of the Student Assignment Transition Plan for 2019-20 as it pertains to Graham Hill's Montessori program I'll have a separate thread on this one because there are some notable issues.  From NBC News: While teenage girls attempt suicide more often than teenage boys, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention , boys are more likely to die by suicide. From Education Week:

Friday Open Thread

The biggest news this week is the report from NPR on the first outcomes from the later start for high school students in SPS.  

Teacher News

Five SPS teachers won Symetra awards .  From SPS Communications :

District Hires New CAO

And now, former head of Athletics, Eric McCurdy, says he was wrongly let go. Here's the story from the Seattle Times on McCurdy. The Seattle Public Schools athletic director accused of bullying a former district employee is appealing his firing in King County Superior Court, claiming he was the subject of a vendetta based on inaccurate information and his race. Eric McCurdy claims the termination violated his Constitutional rights, endangered his future career opportunities and had “a stigmatizing impact upon him.” In an appeal and complaint for damages filed in King County Superior Court Friday, McCurdy said he was fired from the school district and asked the court to reverse the district’s decision. McCurdy said in a news release from his attorney that he was fired “based upon hearsay and inaccurate information.” He is also unhappy that his accuser didn't have to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Below is the info about the new CAO, Dr. Diane DeBacker. 

Waivers List

The Board's Curriculum&Instruction Committee met today; here's the agenda.  I chose not to attend but I did want to post a couple of items from the agenda . One is the Annual Report to the Board on curriculum waivers. Kyle Kinoshita, head of Curriculum, was kind enough to send it to me when it was left off the documentation.

Tuesday Open Thread

Interesting opinion piece in the NY Times about straight A students.

Opportunities for High School Students

 Update 2:   Summer internships at Fred Hutch. 

Seeking Parents to File a Federal Complaint

I've been working with a mom from Kent School District on this story about a King County survey, developed by UW and Seattle Children's Hospital that has been given/is slated to be given at six Seattle Schools middle schools.    Here is my previous story. The schools involved are Hamilton, World School, Whitman, JAMS, Meany and Madison. I am seeking any parent (or parents) who would be willing to file a complaint with the Department of Education.  If you have a child at any of these schools (whether they took the survey or not).  In my previous thread, one parent, Wildcat, said his son had taken the survey. If you do have a child at one of those schools, I urge you to write a letter to your principal and tell them your child is NOT to take the survey called Check Yourself or SBIRT . I also urge you to contact the Board and request that implementation of the survey be stopped immediately . I am now convinc

Friday Open Thread

Community meetings on Saturday, the 8th Director Mack at Queen Anne Library from 11 - 1pm. Director Burke HAD a meeting scheduled but, because of travel for work, had to cancel.

Tuesday Open Thread

The City is getting near to making a decision about upzoning throughout the city.  They say it will be "gradual and incremental" but frankly, I'm sure once the ok comes, you'll see the changes come rapidly.  One item to consider is the report issued by the Mandatory Housing Affordability group says that the current zoning is not fair to all citizens and does not afford them the ability to be near "parks and schools."  

Advanced Learning Work Session

Change is coming and I believe it will be tough love all the way around.  Now could they all be blowing smoke?  Sure, I've been fooled before.  Except that this is a new superintendent who I continue to believe is charting her own course.  She finished her Listening and Learning tour; here's her report about that work.  I'll have a separate post on this report but she says:

Seattle Schools, Week of December 3-9, 2018

Update: I had closed the comments on the post about the Strategic Plan but reopened it upon request.  Tuesday, December 4th Quarterly Audit&Finance Committee meeting at JSCEE from 4:30-6:30.  Agenda Continuing the audits for the year, there will be reports on Special Education and on Thornton Creek Elementary by the Internal Auditor.  There is a notation for the Special Education audit that I do not recognize - "write-back process" - does anyone know what that means? There will also be audit responses from various JSCEE departments. 

Last Goodbyes to Old Burke Museum

From the Burke Museum website : Celebrate the final days of the current Burke Museum before we close our doors on December 30, 2018 to move collections and prepare exhibits for the New Burke Museum (opening fall 2019). Enjoy free admission and gallery activities for all ages.

Garfield Student Speaks Out on Honors for All

In advance of my post on the Work Session on Advanced Learning this week, here's a column from the Times written by student journalist, Millan Philipose.

Friday Open Thread

Tick tock.  We have 60 days to give input on Secretary Betsy DeVos' desired changes to Title IX .  I cannot stress enough how important it is to put in a comment as DeVos wants to make sweeping changes that would give almost more help to the accused than the victim.  Almost worse, it relieves institutions from responsibilities that they should be accountable for in order to protect students.

Seattle's Promise Program for Community College

From the Seattle Times , a story about how the new 2-year City scholarship program will work.

Catching Up On District Meetings - Work Session on Strategic Plan

Update 2: From my letter to the Board and the Superintendent: I'm also wondering about Manuela Slye who is now on two committees -- Equity and Race plus this one AND on the International Schools/Dual Language Immersion Task Force. There is no other Latino/Latina person?  Because it seems unfair that one person is on so many committees (plus it must be a lot of work for her). What's odd is that there are no attached bio info on anyone. To have a committee that will be part of charting the future course for the district and there's no info on them is not right . end of update Update: a link to the presentation and a link to the minutes . end of update The first meeting to catch up on was a Work Session on October 29th which was a presentation by District Management Group (DMG), the consulting firm that will be directing the work for a new strategic plan under Superintendent Juneau.  All the Board members were present except for Director DeWolf and Director Pat

Tuesday Open Thread

NPR Student Podcast Challenge

Seattle Schools, Week of November 26th-December 2, 2018

Tuesday, November 327th Work Session on Families, Education, Preschool and Promise levy from 4:30-6:00 pm. Work Session on Secondary Revisioning from 6:00-7:30 pm.  Both at JSCEE. Agenda/presentation .

Ways to Show Mastery of a Subject

Interesting idea - asking kids what they do know about a subject (that didn't get asked on the test).

Happy (Grateful) Thanksgiving

  Life is exhausting sometimes.  And it sometimes feels like more goes wrong than goes right. But yes, when thinking of life in relative terms, most of us have a lot to be grateful for in our lives. One step I've taken is what I call appreciations.  Just let someone know you appreciate them.  I wrote to Jimmy Carter years back to tell him what he meant to me and he sent back my letter saying "thank you" with his signature.

Tuesday Open Thread

The Times editorial board - doubling down on their views on McCleary funding - wag their collective fingers at State Superintendent Chris Reykdal, telling him to "rein in local school levies."   I'm not sure that's Reykdal's lane, to tell districts what their ask of their local communities should be.

Seattle Schools Special Education News

The Seattle Public Schools Special Education department is aware that many of our students have experienced, or are still experiencing, inconsistent and unreliable transportation services since the beginning of this school year. We recognize and acknowledge the disruption this has caused our students and families. We are also frustrated and appreciate your patience during this time as we work with First Student, our service provider, to resolve a driver shortage.

Boundary Work Session Today

Here's the agenda for today's Board Work Session on boundaries.  It's mostly about Magnolia, Licton Springs/RESMS and Maple/Van Asselt elementaries.

Got a Middle-Schooler? Check This Out

Specifically, do you have a middle school child at JAMS, Whitman, Madison, HIMS, Meany or World School? If you do, I urge you to tell them that if they are asked to take a survey called Check Yourself, that they refuse.  (It goes by the moniker "SBIRT" which stands for Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral To services. I would give you the webpage at SPS but it is broken .  Here's the flyer .  Here's the district's webpage on Prevention and Intervention. It does not state that parents can opt their child out of SBIRT. 

Technology and the Hard Stuff of Living

I read what I think is great op-ed in the New York Times - How Plato Foresaw Facebook’s Folly by Bret Stephens. His premise? Technology promises to make easy things that, by their intrinsic nature, have to be hard.

Friday Open Thread

Update  To put on your radar - the Board is having a Work Session on Boundaries on Monday the 19th from 4:30-6:00 pm.  I would think they would be discussing Licton Springs/RESMS as well as Maple Elementary.  I will be attending. end of update A couple of good articles have crossed my desk via my kids' former (and amazing) Montessori teacher, Gail Longo. The first is on getting your kids to go to sleep from Parenting Science .  One addition I make is anxiety.  I see a lot of anxious looking kids and that could come from a variety of reasons.  It couldn't hurt to ask your child - carefully - about what worries they have.

Seattle Schools' Anitra Pinchback-Jones Wins Milken Educator Award

In a great piece of news, today Rainier View Elementary principal Anitra Pinchback-Jones won the Milken Educator Award. Congratulations! From the Miklen Family Foundation: Pinchback-Jones was named a 2018-19 recipient of the national recognition, which comes with an unrestricted $25,000 cash prize. She is the only Milken Educator Award winner from the state of Washington this year, and is among the up to 40 honorees for 2018-19.

Updates on Sexual Harassment/Violence in Schools

From the group, Stop Sexual Assault in Schools' Facebook page : We invite anyone who’s concerned about sexual harassment and assault in K-12 schools to watch the student-centered video “Sexual Harassment: Not in Our School!” at . Also, a good story from NPR, How Schools Can Reduce Sexual Violence:

Tuesday Open Thread

The Times is looking for answers to the question: With housing instability on the rise, how do you pick the best school for your child? Also, this didn't take long - an editorial from the Times about sharing the recently renewed Families and Education levy dollars...with charter schools .   So, to all the people who said they would fight to not have this happen? Let's see you put your effort in to tell the City Council to stop this during implementation. I'm thinking that between the health services dollars and the K-12 dollars, each of the three charters in Seattle might get about $100,000 a year.  So, $300,000K.   Does anyone think this won't affect the existing health services and K-12 programs already in SPS? The Times editorial board also weighed in on McCleary saying this:

On Veterans Day

In what can only be called jaw-dropping, about 50 boys at a Wisconsin high school - posing for prom pictures last spring - did a Sieg Heil salute (with a couple doing an "ok" white nationalism hand signal).  I note there are several boys who did NOT participate and look visibly uncomfortable.  The boys who did participate are laughing. I am providing the link but I am not going to put up the photo.

Seattle Schools News for Week of Nov 12-18, 2018

Monday, November 12th No school in honor of Veterans Day.

District Calls Off Whitman Meeting over RESMS Capacity Issues

 This letter went out yesterday.  A few thoughts:

Friday Open Thread

The district just had its first institute of the school year for district Racial Equity Teams (RET ).

Robert Eagle Staff Middle School Capacity Meeting

It was a barnburner for sure.

Seattle Schools District Scorecard Coming Out

Superintendent Juneau told the Executive Committee today that the district's scorecard would be coming soon (either tomorrow or Monday). There's good news and bad news.

Post-Election Education News

There were local as well as state outcomes for the mid-term elections. Naturally, the big story in Seattle is the o verwhelming passage of the latest iteration of the Families and Education levy.    When I tell people in other parts of the country how invested Seattleites are in our city - via our many levies for libraries, public education, parks, etc. - most are stunned.  It is much harder to get levies passed in other states and speaks well of our metropolis.  All along, my goal is speaking out about the form the F&E levy had taken was to help voters understand what they would (and would not be getting) from this particular investment. Two things that will be interesting to watch unfold for the levy.

After the Families&Education Levy, what about SPS' Levies?

It will  be interesting to watch how Seattle Schools messages its own two levies especially given that the Seattle Times recently wrote a fairly hostile editorial and called SPS "dishonest."  

Tuesday Open Thread

Mock election at Ingraham High today.

Upcoming Events of Note

Tuesday, November 6th  Are you interested in the dual language/immersion program at Lincoln High School ? Michele Aoki and dual language pathways principals will be there, including Ruth Medsker. Come learn and ask your questions about dual language at Lincoln.  6:30 pm at John Stanford International School.   Spanish and Japanese interpreters will be there. Childcare will be provided. Sponsored by the JSIS, McD and HIMS PTAs. Wednesday, November 7th First of two meetings about Robert Eagle Staff Middle School crowding problems.

On the Eve of the 2016 Midterm Elections

I will be so happy for tomorrow when we finally learn about the mid-term election outcomes - nationally, by state and by city.  It will tell us all where we are headed as a country.  I hope all my readers took the time to vote. But, after watching the campaign around Prop 1 unfold, I have a few thoughts.

Friday Open Thread

Well, here's a truly disgusting Halloween story - several teachers/staff at an elementary school in Idago thought it hilarious fun to dress up like the "MAGA" border wall and caricatures of Mexicans.  And put it up on the district's Facebook page. Their superintendent had it taken down and is wagging his finger and yet, doesn't think they are racist.  It's hard to look at these photos and not think that they aren't.  From the Idaho Statesman:

Seattle Schools News

Via Facebook: I have a high school student that wants to start a Seattle coed wheelchair lacrosse team . She needs 8 players to start a team. In efforts to try to recruit I said I would also reach out to this network. Here are the coaches emails if you know of any high school students that would like to play wheelchair lacrosse.  Thanks Are you interested in the dual language/immersion program at Lincoln High School? Michele Aoki and dual language pathways principals will be there, including Ruth Medsker. Come learn and ask your questions about dual language at Lincoln. Sponsored by the JSIS, McD and HIMS PTAs

Happy Halloween!


Tuesday Open Thread

SPS has apparently hired 15 more buses/drivers but, according to KUOW , there are still kids getting to school two hours late.

What's Up With This?

This sign was on the door at JSIS this morning.  Anyone see one at their school?  I'll be asking district administrators about it this afternoon but just wondering if anyone has any insights about what it means.

Washington State Charter School Law Upheld

On October 26, 2018, in a split decision, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that the charter school law created by the Legislature, after a voter initiative was thrown out in 2012, is valid under our state's constitution.  Here's the ruling .

Juneau Rearranging the Chairs at JSCEE; No Associate Sups but "Chiefs"

Perhaps more will be revealed at today's Work Session on the Strategic Plan.

Please Consider Voting YES for I-1639

 Via: Twitter

Seattle Schools, Week of October 29-November 4, 2018

Monday, October 29th Work Session on the Strategic Plan from 4:30-6:00 pm at JSCEE.

Seattle Prop 1: Families, Education, Preschool and Promise levy

Here's my op-ed at Crosscut along with the pro side. I'm putting both in because I'm a fair person AND because I want you read the detail in my side versus the pro side. Because, yes, the devil is in the details. I watched the Seattle Channel panel on the various ballot issues including Prop 1.  Two panelists think it will pass, mostly because it's "an established levy" but Joel Connelly of the PI says that when Mayor Durkin was running she said she would have "mercy" and there would be no doubling of levies except for mental health issues.  So much for that campaign promise here. Vote NO on Prop 1.

Friday Open Thread

 Congrats to Hawthorne Elementary :

Flip Herndon Leaving Seattle Schools

This news comes from the Tukwila School District which announced today that he will become their interim superintendent on November 1.

Tuesday Open Thread

Congrats to Ballard High principal, Kevin Wynkoop , who was selected as Washington Library Association Principal of the Year by the Washington Library Association.

Seattle Schools This Week, October 22-28, 2018

Monday, October 22nd Work Session on Assignment .  Agenda .   Highlights:

Friday Open Thread

New internal audits at Seattle Schools available here .

Beloved Custodian Gets Big Surprise

How about some good news in a school? Very sweet and uplifting.

Tuesday Open Thread

The passing of Microsoft co-chair, Paul Allen , is sad news.  He gave much to the community in so many directions - music, art, sports, libraries and a whole building is named for him at UW.  I saw him earlier this year when the final beam was being placed in the new Computer Science & Engineering building, this one named for the Gates.  

Gates Foundation Flounders

An interesting article from Geek Wire which itself comes from one in Non-Profit Quarterly in August of this year.  I loved the NPQ title: Why Smart People (at the Gates Foundation) Can’t Learn

Who Gets to Go to Maple Elementary?

It's a topic that heating up over at Facebook.  It's worth discussing because of the central issue - historical patterns of enrollment or racial equity?

Amazon Donates $2M For "Immediate Needs" Fund for SPS Students

Via GeekWire : Amazon is announcing a $2 million grant to help Seattle school students. But the focus isn’t the latest shiny education technology. Instead, it’s that missing raincoat, a weekend backpack full of food, or unaffordable school supplies.

Seattle Schools This Week, October 15-20, 2018

Monday, October 15th ITAC (Information Technology Advisory Committee) from 4:30--6:00 pm at JSCEE.

Interested in Hearing For/Against Arguments for Seattle's Families&Ed Levy?

I don't know how many other debates are coming up; this will be my fifth.  But if you are interested, the debate is Saturday, October 13th at Byrd Barr Place (the old firehouse at E.Columbia and 18th and formerly CAMP and Centrestone) at 722 18th Avenue.  It's sponsored by the Squire Park Community Council.

Public Education Stories of Interest

A great story worth showing your tweens/teens about a Rohingya boy who escaped - but not for a long time - from persecution in Myanmar, leaving his family behind.  He ended up in Mercer Island. This story was created in KUOW's RadioActive Intro to Journalism Workshop for 15- to 18-year-olds at Jack Straw Cultural Center.  What's this? Some school districts replacing libraries with maker labs?

Friday Open Thread

Updates:   There a new survey from SDOT called Safe Routes to School Racial Equity Analysis .  Plus there is a separate survey just for high school students.  They also have:

AFM Attacking Children Throughout U.S.

Parents, be aware of an uptick of acute flaccid myelitis , with six cases in our region.  As well, there are pockets of cases throughout the U.S. including in Minnesota and Illinois. From KIRO-tv :

Families, Education, Preschool & Promise Levy Updates

Thru the course of the last several days, I have participated in several debates on this levy.  Here's the Seattle Channel debate with myself, former Councilperson Tim Burgess, activist Saul Spady and Nicole Grant of the King County Labor Council. Updates:

Tuesday Open Thread

OSPI head, Chris Reykdal , put out his budget .

I'm Not Voting for the New Families&Education Levy; Here's Why

I want to preface this thread by noting what former Councilman Tim Burgess, the co-chair of the current levy campaign, said at an event. He said that voters have always supported this levy because it supports Seattle's kids. Okay but here's the thing - every single time ANY levy comes before voters, they should examine it. Question it. Review it. There should be no emotional blackmail - "it's for the kids! - for any kind of vote. Because tax dollars are so precious, whatever we spend them on needs to have clarity in vision and the confidence that the dollars will be well-spent. I came to this decision to say no to the levy with sadness because I have supported this levy since its inception. But this current levy, the Families, Education, Pre-school and Promise levy is a radical change from previous ones, both in scope and cost.

Seattle Schools, Week of October 8-14, 2018

Of note from the Washington State Dems : On-line and mail-in voting registration is due Monday, October 8th.

BEX V List Getting Closer (Along with a Huge Price Tag)

I attended last week's BEX V Work Session.  Here's the presentation .   The work on BEX continues next week with another work session on Wednesday, Oct 10th at JSCEE from 4:30-5:30 pm.  Given the short time for the latest work session, I suspect this will be the final list as they want to introduce the list at the Board meeting on October 17th.

Friday Open Thread

I think we may all agreed on something (but it won't come true) - could we not hear the name "Kavanaugh" for a least a week?  This issue has been so many things but exhausting comes to mind right now. For the record, though, I think he's a liar and even if he gets on the Court, his black robe will not hide the stain that got him there.  (I also suspect Chief Justice Roberts will take him aside and tell him, "bully for you doing anything to get on the Court; however, don't try that crap here. Ever.")  Of course, he did say himself that "what goes around comes around."  Says the guy with two daughters who themselves might be faced with such a situation someday.  They sure won't go to dad. There is some irony here as the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to activists fighting sexual violence.

Request for Help from UW Doctoral Student

Hi everyone! I am a second-year graduate student at UW in the College of Education getting a PhD in School Psychology.

Wednesday Open Thread

Tonight's Board meeting should be a lively one.  The Board is voting on a resolution in support of Initiative 1639 , for better gun control.  I suspect that there might be more than a few people coming to protest this action.  Agenda here. Approval of this item would adopt Resolution No. 2018/19-4, which declares support for Initiative 1639, which would require increased background checks, training, age limitations, and waiting periods for sales or delivery of semiautomatic assault rifles; criminalize noncompliant storage upon unauthorized use; allow fees; and enact other provisions. As well, SPS teachers may be coming in numbers to protest the recent cuts/realignment of teachers throughout the district.  There's a timely article from Philadelphia's The Inquirer.

Superintendent Juneau's Listening Tour/Regional Meetings Continue

Thurs., Oct. 4, 7 - 8:30 p.m. Central/North Town Hall Co-hosted with PTA partners Location: Ballard High School 1418 NW 65th St.

BEX V/Budget Work Session Today

Today's Work Session has two parts; BEX V and the budget for next school year.  I'll be attending the BEX V section.  Here is the agenda which contains both parts. Key pages Page 23 - List of short-listed BEX V projects.  I don't know that I agree with the whole list but it looks solid.  It appears that the downtown high school is off as there needs to be additional discussion. Page 64-65 Probably the most complete list I have ever seen (thanks, Director Geary!) of BEX/BTA funds spent for every school. Page 111 is the start of the Budget section which is, well, pretty much bad news.

Tuesday Open Thread

Did anyone attend the Superintendent's Regional meeting last night at North Seattle CC?  Just wondering if any Nova students showed up to protest the teacher cuts at their school.

What We Tell Teens about Teenaged Behavior

As Thursday's big Judiciary hearing showdown looms, some important reading from the New York Times on how some teens view this issue.   I urge you - no matter your stance - to sit down and actually talk to your teen and listen to your teen about what he/she sees and feels at their own school. Maycee Wieczorek, a 17-year-old in Rapid City, S.D., said it felt odd as a student to hear grown-ups dismissing the significance of Mr. Kavanaugh’s character in high school. “For me and my friends his past is our now,” she said.

Seattle Schools This Week

Editor's note: I will be taking this week off (mostly) for a happy family event.  I'll try to put up a Tuesday Open Thread and a Friday Open Thread.

Superintendent Forming Student Advisory Board

Superintendent Juneau has been clear - from her first interview on - that she values student voices.  Putting words into action, the district is creating a Student Advisory Board .

Friday Open Thread

Update: FYI, Payless Shoes is having a 50% sale on all kids shoes, including dance shoes, thru Sunday.  I know this can be a big cost to families so I wanted to put it out there. Well, it's the next-to-last day of summer and the dreary news from the district - on t he cutting of teachers at some schools/movement to other schools - sure makes it feel that way. My two tweets this morning: Teacher cuts at some Seattle schools but district seems to want to say that it's a huge number of $$ but really, in the count itself , not so big. They can't have it both ways.  Can't say it more clearly; Seattle schools staff at Nova, World School and Interagency save LIVES. Cuts to their staffing hurts KIDS.

Seattle Schools Cuts Teachers at Some Schools to Move to Other Schools

Update 1: - I have heard that Intergency will not have two teachers cut but Nova is still on the list.  Still need to confirm - I understand that Nova students will have a press conference at 9 am in front of their school. - I believe that students from affected schools may be showing up to Superintendent Juneau's listening tour stop at North Seattle Community College on Monday night at 5:30 pm , Room CC1456 ('The old cafeteria'). - Story from KNKX's Ashley Gross

Advanced Learning Referrals Due Soon

From Advanced Learning:

Washington Middle School Meeting

At last night's Board meeting, there were several parents there from Washington Middle School.  All were not happy with what is happening at their school.  Here were their complaints:

Seattle Schools Transportation Update

Via SPS Communications (bold mine): This is an update on transportation services contracted with First Student. Anytime there is a late bus, students, families and schools are impacted. We apologize for this disruption. Getting students safely to and from school on time is a top priority. 

Naviance Updates

Last week I attended the Naviance community meeting at Roosevelt High School.  There were about 30 parents and students in attendance.  There was one counselor from Hazel Wolf. Unfortunately, there is no link to the presentation documentation at the district's Naviance site so I'll have to request that info.

Public Education Stories of Note

In the category of "Things that Don't Surprise Me Any Longer in Public Education," the richest guy in China, Jack Ma of Alibaba fame, is stepping down from his company and going to focus on public education. What makes this story different?   For one, Mr. Ma WAS a public school teacher.  That certainly gives him more of a voice of authority than say, Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates.  According to the Times:

Special Education Stories of Note

This story from Education Next - The Better Question: How Can We Improve Inclusive Education? - came from a previous story they had published - Has Inclusion Gone Too Far? - which in turn came from yet another story - How Can We Improve Special Education without Asking Uncomfortable Questions?"   (Links for other stories at the first one.)

Tuesday Open Thread

On the Washington Middle School meeting last night which I attended - two words - not good.  I'll do a write-up but frankly, it was quite the tour de force (with an emphasis on force) from the principal.  Reminder that tonight is the Board meeting instead of its usual Wednesday.  Here's the agenda .  Tonight the Board approves the one-year teacher contract.  Is your child's bus late?   This seems to be on-going for more than a few parents, likely due to a shortage of drivers/veteran drivers.  This was discussed at the Executive Committee, with Pegi McEvoy, who oversees Transportation, noting that this is an occurrence at the beginning of every school year.  What are you experiencing/hearing at your school? Superintendent Juneau did an interview on KUOW yesterday. Also, a link to her ThoughtExchange page so if you are unable to attend one of her listening sessions, you can leave your thoughts there. Monday might be a good day to set the DVR because we are going to

Friday Open Thread

I attended a great talk last night sponsored by Town Hall.  The speaker was Professor Justin Driver and he talked about his book, The School House Gate, which covers public education cases in the Supreme Court.   Interestingly enough, one of the cases he writes about in the book is the race tiebreaker case from Seattle Public Schools.   (He also talked about one of my favorite public ed cases, one in which a student got into trouble for his sign, Bong Hitz 4 Jesus .)  I'm going to read the book. He did mention one issue about the Seattle case that I hadn't known - the district had a box on the enrollment form for race that had to be filled in (if the parent didn't do it, the district did).   I let him know that the parents who brought the case never got what they wanted - a high school in their area - and that the racial tiebreaker had worked both ways (for white students wanting to get into Franklin) . Speaking of Town Hall , they have a great series of family conce

SBAC Results Released by OSPI

From OSPI Communications: OLYMPIA—September 13, 2018— Results from state tests given this past spring were released Monday by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). Called the Smarter Balanced Assessments, the tests were taken in English language arts (ELA) and math by students in 3rd through 8th grade and by high school students. The tests are based on Washington’s learning standards, adopted in 2011. Students in grades 5, 8, and 11 also took new science tests. These tests are based on the Next Generation Science Standards, adopted by Washington state in 2013.

“I Am Native” Film Honors SPS Native American Students and Staff

From SPS Communications: “I am Princess. I am Crow, and I am Seattle Public Schools.” This is the self-introduction from high school student Princess, one of the featured students in the short film, “I Am Native.” At the Sept. 5 Seattle School Board meeting, Gail Morris, Native American Education program manager and Stacia Hawkinson, Native Education consulting teacher, debuted the short film, which showcases Native Seattle Public School high school students and staff sharing their stories, hopes, and dreams for their future. “This film was made to affirm and honor Native American students in SPS, and to create identity safety, as many Native students feel invisible in their schools, here and across the nation,” shares Morris.

Assignment Plan Changes Being Considered

I attended the Operations Committee meeting last week.  Here's some info on what is being discussed for changes to the Transition Assignment Plan. Staff needs to get any changes approved by the Operations Committee by November or early December at the latest.  Then they would need full Board approval by late December or mid-January.

Tuesday Open Thread

The 17th anniversary of 9/11 ; a sad and terrible day for our nation.  Here's some thoughtful words from one conservative I do listen to, Rick Hess : The horror of September 11 brought with it a period of quietude and reflection. Seventeen years later, I find myself wondering sometimes how it is that the forces of craziness, mudslinging, and oversimplification, on the right and the left, seem to have run roughshod over our better angels. And I can't help but think that those of us in and around the nation's schools shoulder a solemn responsibility in assisting to light a better path. We should recall that every day, but especially amidst the craziness enveloping this somber anniversary. This Mississippi teenager won the title of Homecoming Queen AND kicked the winning point for her football team.

BEX Updates

The district has scheduled several community meetings on the final BEX list.  There are two this week (see Seattle Schools This Week thread for dates/times). There was a BEX/Facilities Master Plan meeting in late June.  Minutes.

BEX/Facilities Master Plan Task Force (Part 1)

Part One of this thread series will cover the Facilities Master Plan TAsk Force. The district's Facilities Master Plan Task Force is winding up its work this week.  I was very pleased with the make-up of the group which included the very wonky Kellie LaRue and the extraordinary mind that is Meg Diaz in addition to others. Below are their first recommendations (which do not seem to have changed from what is being presented tomorrow).  Their final recommendations start on page 5 of this document. To note, I have rarely seen a group in such agreement, given the number of votes that were unanimous. Here are their overarching recommendations released on August 13th:

Seattle Schools, Week of September 10-15, 2018

From Saturday's SEA vote on a new contract (via SPS): Seattle Education Association (SEA) members approved the educator contract. SEA represents the district’s educators, substitutes, paraprofessionals, instructional assistants and office professionals. Among other things, it looks like it was about 10.5% across the board for all positions, more nurses and secondary counselors, and more race and equity teams.  The latter one confuses me because it's unclear to me what was stopping any school from creating a team.  I was told by one teacher that while this will bring more teams online to more schools, it also comes with little to no support from the district (for PD, etc.). Monday, September 10th First day of Kindergarten - good luck to parents and the newest SPS students!

Washington Middle School Woes

  Below is a letter that Washington Middle School parents received from the principal.  Frankly, I was gobsmacked at seeing so many issues and that the principal seems to want to place blame on HCC  for several of them.  Additionally, the situation that WMS is in seems to show that Capital and Facilities do not seem to understand what happens when they take large numbers of students from one building to another in the name of "capacity management."

Friday Open Thread

Your Friday laugh - Trump says that someday his speeches could be as revered as President Lincoln's.  Actually, the "failing" NY Times - in November 20,1863 - said good things about the Gettysburg Address . On the strike front , Tacoma, Tukwila and Puyallup teachers are on strike.  FYI, there are laws against strikes but they involve no penalties.  However,  From the News Tribune:

Roosevelt High Takes a Stand on Cell Phones

And it's, "Put them away in class."

Is Juneau the Next John Stanford?