Friday, December 14, 2018

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.  
 Researchers at the University of Washington studied the high school students both before and after the start-time change. Their findings appear in a study published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances. They found students got 34 minutes more sleep on average with the later school start time. This boosted their total nightly sleep from 6 hours and 50 minutes to 7 hours and 24 minutes. 

The study also found an improvement in grades and a reduction in tardiness and absences.

After the time switch, many more kids were able to engage in deeper thought and scientific discourse. Katzaroff says. The number of students who were tardy or absent also decreased significantly, putting Franklin High School — which is in a low-income neighborhood — on par with students from a higher-income neighborhood. The later school start time gave them a better opportunity to make it to school on time.
I'll bet if they looked at the rate of accidents by student drivers that probably went down as well.  That occurred in a district back East. 

From OSPI,
Recently, the New York Times obtained a copy of a memo from the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The memo outlined a proposal for government agencies to adopt a uniform definition of ‘gender’ as determined “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.”

Teacher News

Five SPS teachers won Symetra awards.  From SPS Communications:

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

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.  I note that the district hasn't had a CAO in a long time.  Kyle Kinoshita is Chief of Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

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.

Friday, December 07, 2018

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.    sss.westbrook@gmail.com

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.  spsdirectors@seattleschools.org

I am now convinced that the district is violating federal law (PRRA) and their own policy on surveys.  There are rules about asking questions about sexuality, mental health issues, religion and other sensitive subjects.

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, December 04, 2018

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."  

Monday, December 03, 2018

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. 

Saturday, December 01, 2018

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, November 30, 2018

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.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

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 Patu.  Juneau noted this would be the first of several Work Sessions on this topic.  (There is no link to the presentation materials but I have requested one.)

Sunday, November 25, 2018

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.

Friday, November 23, 2018

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).

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Happy (Grateful) Thanksgiving


Image result for happy thanksgiving image 
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, November 20, 2018

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.

Monday, November 19, 2018

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.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

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 brokenHere'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, November 16, 2018

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.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Seattle Schools' Anitra Pinchback-Jones Wins Milken Educator Award

2018 Seattle Anitra Pinchback Jones reaction 1In 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 SSAIS.org/video.

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. council@seattle.gov

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:

Monday, November 12, 2018

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.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

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 overwhelming 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." 

Monday, November 05, 2018

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, November 02, 2018

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:

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

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
ajsteinberg3@gmail.com
shelbt@sheltonfamily.com


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, October 30, 2018

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.

Monday, October 29, 2018

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.

Friday, October 26, 2018

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:

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

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.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

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

Monday, October 15, 2018

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.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Friday, October 12, 2018

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:

Thursday, October 11, 2018

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:

Monday, October 08, 2018

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.

Saturday, October 06, 2018

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, October 05, 2018

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.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

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.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

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, September 25, 2018

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.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

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.

Friday, September 21, 2018

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 the 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.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

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

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

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, September 18, 2018

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 see a hearing on a Supreme Court nominee almost like no other.  (Except, of course, if you are old like me and watched the Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill hearing.) This is history in the making and the committee - especially in this Me, Too time - needs to get it right.  I am hearing that it will only be Judge Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser, Professor Christine Blasey Ford.  It might a good jumping off point  for a discussion with your children if they are teens about boundaries and sexual assault.

Garfield teacher (and author) Jesse Hagopian reports this from his I Am An Educator blog:
Grammy award winning Seattle-based artist Macklemore and three-time NFL Pro Bowler Michael Bennett have teamed up to purchase and distribute copies of the new critically acclaimed book, Teaching for Black Lives to every middle and high school Social Studies and Language Arts teacher in the Seattle Public Schools. 

Michael Bennett said, “This is the book I wish I had coming up in school but it never existed. Now we have the opportunity to educate thousands of youth about the Black history that was too often missing from my schooling—from the building of the White House, to the role of Black youth in social movements, to organizing for restorative justice today.”

Macklemore added, “With everything from history, to poetry, to visual art, these lessons will help educators affirm the lives of their Black students and create deeper dialogue in our schools about the struggles and contributions of Black people that all students need to learn.”

The editors of Teaching for Black Lives will be participating in a Seattle Town Hall book launch event on Monday, September 24th at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center.
It's official - more U.S. schools have police officers - than counselors

From the Lincoln High Parents Facebook page:

LHS Music Boosters Sept meeting, Wednesday, 9/19, 7pm
Wallingford QFC (area upstairs next to Starbucks)

Meeting agenda: 1) organization formation, 2) potential projects, 3) committee formation.
Come join us! We are especially looking for parents with students at RESMS, JAMS, McClure, Garfield, and Ballard.

What's on your mind?

Friday, September 14, 2018

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 concerts coming up.  The next one is October 13th at 11 am at The Royal Room by the Bushwick Book Club Seattle.  Tickets are $5 for adults/kids over 12.  Kids under 12 go for free.

It appears that several states are dropping the PARC/SBAC in favor of state-produced assessments.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

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.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

“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.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

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.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

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, September 07, 2018

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:

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Roosevelt High Takes a Stand on Cell Phones

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

Is Juneau the Next John Stanford?

Probably too early to say that?

But it feels a little like that because Juneau is on a tour like no other.  She is burning up the road to go see and be seen.  It feels very genuine, just like Stanford.

Naviance Information

The district is having five meetings at five high schools to explain the use of the Naviance system for college and career guidance.
The College and Career Readiness team will hold five regional information meetings to give parents and community members an opportunity to talk directly with staff about the benefits of Naviance, the plan for implementing this tool, the steps we are taking to protect student data, and the opportunity for families to opt out of this tool if interested.  
The first was this week at Cleveland High School - did anyone attend? Here's the district's Naviance page.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

First Day of School Open Thread

How did it go?

I saw this on Facebook:
Washington Middle School, 60 minutes late with robocall one hour ahead of time. Mercer Middle School, 27 minutes late and counting... No robocall, husband is driving all the kids to school that he can pack in. A bunch of 6th graders who were already freaked out and now get to be late on their first day
Also, SEA will vote on Saturday to ratify their new contract.

I visited the new-with-old Loyal Heights ribbon-cutting yesterday.  It's very nice, lots of light.  It seems very big for an elementary.  I'll throw some photos up soon.

One thing I noted (and told some kids who were touring) is that for some of the bathrooms, the boys are on the right, girls on the left but it changes in other bathrooms. I told them to be sure to look at the sign before they go in.  (There are no doors to the restrooms, just the stalls.  The majority of boys' bathrooms have one stall, two urinals; the girls have just two stalls.) 

Saturday, September 01, 2018

Tentative Contract Agreement by Seattle teachers and Seattle Public Schools

As of about 10:30 pm last night, a tentative agreement has been made.  Announcement from SPS.

School will start as planned next week.

SEA membership to vote next Wednesday.

Details as they become available.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Friday Open Thread

Negotiations continue on for the new teachers contract and will thru the weekend.  In another thread, someone suggested that maybe the district WANTS the teachers to strike to call attention to how badly this legislation was handled.  Hmmm.

In sad news, a 9-year old boy killed himself over bullying because he said he thought he was gay.  What is troubling is how adults take that in a sexual manner rather than what it undoubtedly meant - he feels different from other kids. Many LGBTQ folks have said they felt that way from an early age but didn't say it.

Friday Strike News from SPS

Seattle Public Schools and Seattle Education Association (SEA), the Seattle educators' union, continue to actively negotiate. On Wednesday and Thursday of this week the team spent hours going over proposals in great detail.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Seattle Schools Tentative Strike Update

I see nothing new from either the district nor Seattle Education Association.  I hope they are making progress. 

I think the truth - at least for Seattle Public Schools - lies between the teachers' rhetoric and the district's rhetoric.  They could both be right.  Again, this is self-made by the Legislature and boy, do we need to go after them come a new session.  McCleary fix becomes Job#1.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Strike Updates


Image may contain: one or more people
Yesterday at the Seattle Education Association membership meeting, a vote was taken to authorize a strike.  The answer was yes, if the district and SEA do not come to an agreement before school starts on Wednesday, September 5th, the teachers will be on strike.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Seattle Schools This Week

Tuesday, August 28th
African American Family Gathering welcomes Superintendent Juneau, South Shore K-8 from 
6-8 pm.

Tuesday Open Thread

The Seattle Education Association membership is meeting today and will vote on striking.  Tomorrow, Wednesday, August 29th is scheduled to see negotiations but I guess not if the teachers go on strike.

Here is an excellent summary from Summer Stinson, the head of Washington's Paramount Duty, about how we got here.  Pressure needs to be brought upon the Legislature and the Governor to fix what is really a big mess.  I'm not sure there is a confident or happy school district in the entire state about what the future of school funding really looks like.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Seattle Schools v. Seattle Education Association; Who's Bluffing?

Earlier today, I updated the thread on the teachers contracts around the state.  (FYI, in case you didn't realize it, ALL the districts in the state - because of the revisions due to McCleary - had to renegotiate their teachers contracts.  Hence the heavy activity.)

Public Ed News

On gifted education:

Friday, August 24, 2018

Friday Open Thread

 I saw this notice - that the Starbucks at Oak Tree center is closing.   That center continues to have several closed storefronts and one large supermarket that is not well-used.  Interestingly, the movie theater renovated and it's very nice now.  I bring this up because the district owns that land.  I asked legal counsel, Noel Treat, about this and if it might be possible to use that land (it's large) but he says most of the leases run to 2045.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Updates about Teacher Pay

Update 2:

The last I heard about SPS and the SEA is that they had not settled at Thursday's negotiations.  Luckily, SPS opens later than other districts so there is still time to avoid a teachers strike in Seattle.

SPS' website says nothing so it is frustrating to not see regular updates.

Favorite Teacher on Donors Choose? Donate TODAY!

The Gates Foundation tweeted that they are matching donations - by 50% - to donations made today, August 22nd, to teachers' requests on Donors Choose.

Still Waiting

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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

You've Come a Long Way, Baby (Not)

This sign - in a Houston middle school that has since taken it down - is akin to the advice that someone at Garfield paid comedian Steve Harvey to tell to Garfield's female population. I heard it didn't go over well at Garfield either.

Tuesday Open Thread

I'm a little pissy today as the district is a continually frustrating group.  My main issue is two-fold.

If I have trouble finding information at the district's website, I can only imagine the difficulty for people who don't know the district (or the less-than-clear manner in which to find links).

Second, the lack of timely information.

For example, I didn't know that Nate Van Duzer in the Board office got a replacement.  That would have been information that could have easily been put up on the Board's webpage but wasn't.  Here's info on his replacement:

Sunday, August 19, 2018

This and That

Families who do not want their student to use Naviance can opt-out by changing
their preferences in the Source. The opt-out window will be September 4th-September 19th.

From the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy, a toolkit for parents on this topic.

Crazy Rich Asians?  Not just a movie.  From the NY Times:

Seattle Schools This Week

On waitlists, here's the page and the pertinent wording:

Immigrant Students and their Rights

Also to note, the Washington State Constitution says "all children" living within its borders shall be educated.  It says nothing about citizenship.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Friday Open Thread

Lots to report.

First up, a report on a shortage of EpiPens.  This comes back-to-back with this report from NBC News about a generic finally being available given the cost that has sharply risen over the last couple of years.

Next, I attended the August meeting of the Washington Charter Commission.  As usual, it was interesting and I'll have a separate report.  They did state that one of the newest charter schools,Willow Charter School in Walla Walla, opened on Monday.  That's early.   This leads me to another story about more school districts, in Washington and nationally, going to a 4-day school week.

Women in STEM? Don't Count Them Out

A great essay by UW's Computer Science and Engineering's Professor Anna Carlin, in reply to another essay by Stuart Reges, Why Women Don't Code."  It's worthy reading.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

A Chance to Stand Up for What is Great in Our Country

I stand with the journalists at the Boston Globe, the New York Times, and hundreds of other media outlets in saying that the press is not the "enemy of the people" and a free and open press is what has kept this country going as a beacon of democracy.

That the person in the White House - who has always been something of a media whore so this stance seems puzzling - tries, over and over, to whip up anger at the media to the point of people at his rallies threatening reporters personally is shocking.

The basic message that Trump fails to hear - Don't shoot the messenger.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

What Would You Call It?

Districts generally require employees who make final decisions on the use of taxpayer dollars to businesses to have on file disclosures about any other sources of income or connections to businesses that work with that district. 

But there is evidence that the line between some school districts' senior employees is getting blurry and it's downright murky in other ways. 

To wit, the story of Dallas Dance, former superintendent of Baltimore County Schools who was sentenced to six months in jail for perjury for not being honest about all his income sources.
From the Baltimore Sun:

Monday, August 13, 2018

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Hey Kids, Want to Open a School?


Basketball superstar LeBron James is partnering with Akron Public Schools to open a public school in that district, the "I Promise School".  It opened on July 31st.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Friday Open Thread

From Ready Washington, a survey about the High School & Beyond Plan for high school students.   This is not a coalition I entirely trust - they lean a little ed reform for me - but sign up if you think it will help your understanding about this issue.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Arne Duncan's New Book

Duncan's book is called (and it's a mouthful as he seems to want to give himself a pat on the back) -
How Schools Work: An Inside Account of Failure and Success from One of the Nation's Longest-Serving Secretaries of Education.  It's a long title for a book from for a guy who's been in education work for decades and it clocks in at  just over 250 pages.  The book was released on Tuesday, August 7th but has already generated much discussion (I have not read it yet). 

He starts out this way:

 “Education runs on lies. That’s probably not what you’d expect from a former Secretary of Education, but it’s the truth.”

I think that's pretty harsh but perhaps not entirely untruthful.  The reviews have been decidedly mixed.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Wednesday Open Thread

Back from a great vacation break and lots to catch up on.

First, let's look at the district schedule for this week.  There's one big item that jumps right out happening today:

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

New Orleans "Miracle"? Let's Look at ALL the Facts

The New York Times had a two-part op-ed series on the changes forced on New Orleans and their Orleans Parish Schools because of Katrina.  Both were written by David Leonhardt.  Mr. Leonhardt states that he is going to talk about the good and the bad of what happened in New Orleans but rather than do that, he makes excuses about anything negative, hypes up the good and leaves out quite a lot of the bad.

I know you're thinking, "Why should I care about New Orleans and/or charter schools?"  I say it's important to keep up with the landscape of public education across the country because issues tend to land.  As I noted in the Tuesday Open Thread, I believe that the WA Supreme Court is likely to uphold the latest version of the charter school law (and I doubt they will rule this year and certainly won't - as they did last time - right before school starts).

A few quick updates before exploring the "New Orleans miracle."

Tuesday Open Thread

Blog note: I will be taking a bit of a hiatus and so the blog will go into quiet mode.

Boy, do I like this: one soccer ref for school-aged kids has had enough and has a Facebook page where he logs terrible/outrageous behavior by parents at games.  From the NY Times:

Monday, July 23, 2018

My Interview with Superintendent Denise Juneau

I was granted a 30-minute interview with new superintendent, Denise Juneau, on July 16th.  She seemed in very good spirits.  Juneau has a winning way where she neither comes off as know-it-all or gladhander.  I see a quiet strength but we'll have to see if she uses it. I hope my first impression holds true.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Friday Open Thread

Private school report from Education Next tells us (bold mine):
  • Private nonsectarian elementary schools serve a small percentage of the nation’s students, but a growing share of high-income students. Just 1 percent of middle-income students enrolled in those schools in 1969, and the percentage grew slightly to between 1 and 2 percent in 2011. But the enrollment rate among high-income families grew from 2 percent in 1969 to 6 percent in 2011. 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

The District and Union Both Have a Problem: Exhibit A - Muir Elementary

I reported here about the alleged rape of a child at Muir Elementary during school year 2016-2017 by an IA, Albert C. Virachismith.  The child said nothing to his parents until the next year when that IA had been moved to another school.

I'll just state outright - unions, especially teachers and police - need to stop protecting bad actors.  Yes, follow protections in the union contract of how a member is supported when being called less-than-effective.  But the level of the support should be a minimum when you have a member who clearly needs to be exited.  When all the proof is in and the person is given the opportunity to change and doesn't, then that person should then be exited from the job.

The Times had a recent article on this story which adds new information that presents a real challenge to both the district and the union because both could have made different choices that could have protected this child.  I believe both should provide a clear explanation of why they proceeded as they did (but they won't).

I'll try to condense the Times story AND add in what a trusted source has told me.  (The Times article has several links to district documents.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

What About PTA?

I'm a long-time supporter of PTA but I now find what comes out of the local, state and national orgs to be somewhat confusing.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Tuesday Open Thread

Governor Inslee has opened a new state office called the Department of Children, Youth and Families.   The home page highlights adoption, early learning, foster children, child development services and child protection services.  On their Outcome Goals, they list: education, health and resilience.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Washington State Board of Ed Seeks Input

 From their website:

The State Board of Education is in the process of developing its 2019-2022 Strategic Plan and is seeking your input to help define a comprehensive vision for the future of education in Washington state.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Target Offering Teachers Special Deal

From Target - great for teachers, not sure what it solves for parents.

Friday Open Thread

We had an issue where a Facebook post was reprinted at this blog without attribution about the issue of disagreement at RESMS over use of the facilities by the Urban Native Education Alliance   Did the author post it?  I don't know.  If not, who did?  Don't just throw something up without explanation.  If the point was to show there is disagreement within the Native American community, I'm not sure that's news.  There's always disagreement among groups.  Please help readers understand your point.

Please read comment rules and follow them. 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Bill Gates, Part 1: How Much Will He Spend Before He Admits He Doesn't Have the Answers for Public Ed?

The latest about the Gates Foundation is the Rand Foundation report on the Foundation's efforts in teacher evaluation around using test scores.  What was the Gates Foundation doing?

Bill Gates, Part 2: Still Not Getting Great Outcomes for Public Education

Noted UW professor Wayne Au had a conversation with the Fair website about the Rand report on the Gates Foundation's efforts around teacher evaluation.  I believe this to be an important conversation for two reasons.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Tuesday Open Thread

 Update: from a reader, the reader board at Whitman Middle School welcomes a new principal.  But the district has made no announcement so it's unclear when/why this has happened.  Again, this principal movement is like watching a ping-pong match.

Not sure when the principals' association, PASS, has their contract renegotiated but when it is, parents should let the Board know that there has to be a better way on principal selection/assignment.

end of update

In the happiest of news,  the entire Thai boys soccer team and their coach have made it safely out the cave where they were stuck for two weeks.  Huzzah!

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Seattle Schools, Week of July 9-14, 2018

Monday, July 9th
First meeting of the Facilities Master Plan Taskforce from 2-5 pm at JSCEE.  Agenda.

Wednesday, July 11th
School Board meeting, starting at 4:15 pm.  Agenda

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Saturday Open Thread

In an astonishing ruling, a federal judge said that "Access to literacy"is not a constitutional right.  The ruling, not so ironically, came from Betsy DeVos' home state, Michigan.  From the NY Times:

Friday, July 06, 2018

Got Any Unregistered Young People in Your House?

Via Twitter:


5 more days left to register online before the August Primary! July 9th is the deadline to register online and via mail before the Primary on August 7th. 

To register online please visit:

 For more information please visit:

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Waitlist Work Session/Native American Program Reduced at RESMS

 Here's the agenda which includes the BEX V Work Session on the Facilities Master Plan (which was something of an irritant as it was advertised as BEX V but was really about the FMP).  The Waitlist presentation starts on page 99.

I fear that this thread may disappoint some of you as the actual movement of the waitlists was not the focus of the Work Session on June 25th.

Of interest (in random order):

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Tuesday Open Thread

Wishing all our readers a safe and fun 4th of July. The U.S.A. may be in troubled times but it's worth remembering how it started and the fundamental goodness of most Americans.

Here's a great video (from Canada about diversity AND working together) - show your kids.  Our country used to embrace multiculturalism and immigrants.

Using Race for College Admissions

In the biggest education news of the week, Trump has decided that using race in college admissions will no longer be encouraged.  This rescinds measures put forth during President Obama's administration.  From the New York Times:

Sunday, July 01, 2018

A Call to Keep Balance on the Supreme Court

As most of you must be aware, the U.S Supreme Court last week handed down a number of controversial opinions.  As well, Justice Anthony Kennedy announced he would be leaving on July 31st of this year.

Kennedy, the swing vote on the Court, has been a reliable voice for letting the Constitution guide his decisions.  Because of that, he has been the lead vote in many decisions that have made both sides either mad or glad.  But, he was a balance to the Court being a one-sided entity.

Our nation needs balance now, more than ever.  The decisions made with a one-sided Court will change the course of history for your children and grandchildren.

Welcome to New Superintendent, Denise Juneau

Superintendent Juneau is now onboard as Seattle Public Schools' new leader.  Here's a message from here via the district's webpage.

She has created what is being called her "Entry Plan." Partial excerpts:

Friday, June 29, 2018

Friday Open Thread

 Happy 80th birthday to public education champion, Diane Ravitch.

This weekend sees the opening of the Special Olympics in Seattle.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

National Public Education News

The biggest news today is the Supreme Court ruling that overturns the public unions' requirement that non-members pay a portion of fees for union services.  The issue was some public sector employees not wanting to support unions' political advocacy while the partial payment would ensure that they paid a little for the services they did access.  This affects teachers in Washington State, one of 22 states where "agency fees" are collected.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Care About ALL Children

 Update: today a federal judge ruled that the practice of splitting families must cease.
A San Diego federal judge issued a preliminary injunction Tuesday at the request of the American Civil Liberties Union that calls for all children affected by the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy to be reunited with their parents within 30 days.

“The unfortunate reality is that under the present system migrant children are not accounted for with the same efficiency and accuracy as property. Certainly, that cannot satisfy the requirements of due process,” he added.

Under the order, children younger than 5 years old must be reunited with their parents within 14 days, while older children must be reunited with their parents within 30 days. Within 10 days, federal authorities must allow parents to call their children if they're not already in contact with them.
Good news.

end of update

What sad, sad time in our country.

Tuesday Open Thread

I'll have a separate thread on the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy that splits up families but I urge you to stand up against it.  There will be a Families Belong Together protest this coming Saturday, June 30th at the SeaTac Detention Center, 2425 S 200th St, Seattle at 10 am.  

Directions: Link Light Rail to the Angle Lake station is best. The detention center is right across the street.

Please note: we don't need to hear from anyone saying, "But the parents broke the law." Right upfront, I'd say yes, that is true.  But children should never be hurt for the sins of their parents.  There was no need to do this, it's clear the administration has no idea who is where and this may take months or even years to unravel.

Imagine if it were your child.  Enough said (I hope).

I attended both Work Sessions yesterday on the Facilities Master Plan/BEX V and Waitlists.  The Board asked some very good and very direct questions.  I'll do a full thread but here's the link to the two presentations.    Chock-full of interesting (and somewhat astonishing) data (Franklin High more underenrolled than Rainier Beach?)  I direct you to the following pages:
  • 41-43 - info on each school building and site classification
  • 44-46 - school demographics
  • 51 - ed specs page 
  • 57 - schools in the worst condition - I would consider this page to list the ONLY schools under consideration for BEX V (except the staff's baby, a downtown high school/elementary school)
  • 58 - Facilities rankings, worst to best.  Worst elementary? Alki.  Worst middle school? Whitman. Worst K-8? Salmon Bay.  Worst high school?  Ingraham (which I call BS on - the amount of capital funding that has poured into Ingraham pales in comparison to RBHS). 
  • 96 - Ever wanted to know about other land the district owns but is leased? Here it is.
Waitlist Presentation starts on page 99.

The Seattle Times' Danny Westneat had some thoughts on SPS as his daughter graduated from Garfield this year.  He points out the strides (and storms) that the district has been thru in those years and finds good in it.

Good news, bad news from the Capital Hill Seattle Blog: 

CB 119256 will set up funding to power the Mayor’s ORCA Opportunity program to provide the passes to Seattle Public School students at no charge at a cost of about $4 million per year. 

But, if approved Monday afternoon, another part of the $11.5 million annual boost in transportation spending from new sales tax and vehicle license fees implemented in 2014 would go to a limited private bus system.

The update on the private bus service:
Committee chair Mike O’Brien has pushed a vote on the legislation back two weeks to pound out issues around the private operator plan.


What's on your mind?

Monday, June 25, 2018

Seattle Schools, Week of June 25-July 1

This is the last full week for Superintendent Larry Nyland.  If you want to send him an appreciation, his email is superintendent@seattleschools.org.

I note this story at the district's webpage about world language offerings.  But over on a Facebook page, I see that some high schools are only able to accommodate juniors and seniors (there is a two-year language requirement to graduate starting with those in the class of 2021).  Is this common at most high schools?  

Friday, June 22, 2018

Summer Fun and Help

From Seattle Public Library:

- Summer of Learning Early Learning
- Summer of Learning for Kids
- Teen Book Bingo
- Adult Book Bingo

From the City of Seattle:

The City of Seattle funds a summer meal program, providing no-cost breakfasts, lunches, and snacks for kids and teens ages 1-18 years. The 2018 program runs from Tuesday June 26, 2018 through August 24, 2018. 

Summer Fun for Deaf/Hard of Hearing kids

Friday Open Thread

Last day of school, always a mixed feeling.  I have to smile looking at the window at this typical "summer" day for the last day of school.

The district will be participating in the Gay Pride Parade this Sunday:

High School Science Updates (almost) Straight From the District

I was sent a couple of memos that went out from the head of the district's Science Department, MaryMargaret Welch.  Pretty eye-opening but more to the point, troubling.  It sounds like this whole revamping needs a reset (and some oversight by the Board).  I'll print the key memo at the end of this post but here are the concerning issues.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

National Education News

From Education Week:
The Trump administration, which is in the midst of a top-to-bottom review of the federal bureaucracy, is turning its eye on the U.S. Department of Education and the Department of Labor, sources say, with the possibilities ranging from a shifting of some offices to an even more radical combining of the agencies.
Did you hear?  The first top tier public research university - the University of Chicago - says they don't care about your student having an SAT score.

From NPR's Education Roundup:

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Families and Education Levy Approved by Council to Go Before Voters

The Times has an article about the City Council approving the levy sent by the Mayor (after some massaging by them).  The City Council cut back on how much the pre-K program would get, favoring programming already at SPS elementary schools.

Good Reflections from College Grads on High School and College

The first is an op-ed written by a recent college graduate, Grace Gedye, from the Los Angeles Times, about the stress that students have in college, The tough pre-college talk I wish my parents had initiated.

Tuesday Open Thread

Civics is coming back in a big way and hooray for that.  In this day and time, we need smart citizens.  The NY Times had this article today.

2018 Graduations Have Started


Image result for 2018 graduationBest wishes to all the families of Seattle Public Schools' grads.  It is a very exciting time and I hope each family feels the pride of seeing your child getting to the goal of graduation.