Showing posts from January, 2018

Wednesday Open Thread

Heads up - bus strike by First Student drivers starts tomorrow, Thursday,  Feb. 1st.    From the district:

Black Lives Matter in Schools Announcement from Social Equity Educators

SEE's press release on upcoming events (partial): Thousands of educators across Seattle, and many more across the country, will be wearing “Black Lives Matter” shirts to school and teaching lessons about structural racism, Black identity, and Black history for a nationally organized week of action from February 5-9th .  Cities such as LA, Portland, Chicago, Detroit, New York City, Newark, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Boston, and more, will be joining this unprecedented national uprising to affirm the lives of Black students, teachers, and families.  The national Black Lives Matter at School coalition that organized the week of action has issued three demands: 1)     End Zero Tolerance, and implement Restorative Justice. 2)     Hire More Black Teachers in our Schools. 3)     Black History/Ethnic Studies Mandated K-12. In addition, educators in Seattle added two more demands:  4) Fully fund our schools  5) De-track our schools to combat racial segreg

Two Arts-Based Events for Kids

One event is at Seattle Public Libraries.

Seattle School Board Meeting, January 31, 2018

Seattle Schools for the Week, January 29-Feb 3, 2018

Monday, January 29th Huchoosedah Culture Night at Boren STEM K-8 from 5:30-7:30 pm

Seattle Superintendent Search Updates

The very latest update is that the Board will be having a Work Session this week on the superintendent search.  It's Tuesday from 4:40-6:30 pm in the Board conference room.    I would assume all the Board would be in attendance but who might represent staff will be interesting to see. As for the community meeting held at Nova High School on January 18th, here's what I saw and heard. It was an underwhelming-sized crowd, maybe 35 people.  And I wish there were more community meetings to get input. President Leslie Harris led the meeting with Director Eden Mack in attendance. President Harris said that "we want a superintendent for longer than 3-4 years and want someone who is excited to be here and leverage gains made for the next 10 years. "  She said that Seattle is a wealthy city but that the rich/poor and race/ethnicity gaps remain and closing that is the single most important thing to get done. It was noted that the application for superintendent had alre

Eleven Shootings at Schools Since 2018 Started

From the New York Times: On Tuesday, it was a high school in small-town Kentucky. On Monday, a school cafeteria outside Dallas and a charter school parking lot in New Orleans. And before that, a school bus in Iowa, a college campus in Southern California, a high school in Seattle. Gunfire ringing out in American schools used to be rare, and shocking. Now it seems to happen all the time. The scene in Benton, Ky., on Tuesday was the worst so far in 2018: Two 15-year-old students were killed and 18 more people were injured. But it was one of at least 11 shootings on school property recorded since Jan. 1, and roughly the 50th of the academic year.

Science Curriculum Revision Open Thread

Update : a great compilation of dual courses (AP/IB/CIHS, not Running Start) created by parent Bonnie Manley Heidal.  I note from Facebook questions that it's not entirely accurate but, as I pointed out, this is what the district/schools are publishing in their master schedules.  Fine, if it's wrong, then correct it but inaccurate schedules only serve to confuse parents and students.   Thanks to Bonnie. end of update I put this up for anyone who wants to weigh in on the parent meeting last night a Ballard High on this topic.

Friday Open Thread

Great article about the need for civics from an article at Crosscut about the visit of Justice Sonia Sotomayor. 

What's Going on in State Public Education Funding?

From the Washington's Paramount Duty Facebook page: What is going on with state education funding?

Bill in Support of Highly Capable Services

From Austina De Bonte, noted expert on highly capable services in Washington State (she's the expert former director Sue Peters brought in to speak to the Board and staff last spring):

Tuesday Open Thread

Hey, guess who's coming to breakfast with the Washington Policy Center?  Former D. C. Chancellor of schools Michelle Rhee on Valentine's Day. We hope you can join us on February 14th to hear her dynamic presentation on her experience with education reform in Washington, D.c. and ideas for education reform today. A Thurston County judge ruled that yes, our state legislators do have to respond to public disclosure requests.   This story from KNKX doesn't have it included but yes, they will go to the Washington State Supreme Court.  

Seattle School Board Meeting, January 17, 2018

I had an earlier thread about the increasing length of Board meetings and my suggestions for trimming them down.  Democracy should not be about who can stay awake the longest.   I note tha Director Burke left at about hour three to catch a plane.  Agenda

Work Session on SMART Goals Check-in

The Board is having a Work Session tomorrow to go over all the SMART goals.  From the presentation (partial):

Seattle Special Education PTSA

Please join Seattle Public Schools Vision Services Program for a discussion panel of adults with visual impairment and parents that have raised individuals with visual impairments. Hear their experiences growing up VI, navigating the school system, ask questions and have an opportunity to engage in personal discussions. Jack Straw will be doing activities with students in the cafeteria, while parents attend the discussion panel in our library. Light refreshments will be ser ved & free parking provided in the school lot. Families of students with visual impairment from across the Puget Sound area are all welcome! We hope you can join us! Thursday January 25, 6:00 p.m. — 8:00 p.m. Lowell Elementary School 1058 E. Mercer St Email: R.S.V.P. and direct any questions to Michelle Farrell (above) so we can have a head count of students and parents attending

More on the High School Science Alignment

See Updates at bottom. From a concerned parent:  At the community meeting with Director Burke (with a special appearance by Director Mack) the issue of a complete curriculum change for all the high school science offerings got brought up for discussion.  (Editor's note: this was on Sunday.) This topic appears to have snuck under the radar of the board (other than Director Burke, as the chair of curriculum). The curriculum "alignment"team has been able to move forward with these changes without gaining the attention of the broader board members by re-terming the changes "alignment", so as to not trigger a broader board review. These proposed changes for the incoming freshman class of '18-19 would dictate a mandatory science curriculum pathway for all high school students . In creating this pathway, the curriculum team will dissolve the majority of SPS student's access to AP chemistry, AP biology, and the wildly popular and successful b

High School Science Curriculum "Alignment"

From the School District web site: Apparently a whole lot of work has been done to completely re-vamp the high school science curriculum. And now that all of the work has been done and all of the decisions have been made, the District is ready to engage the public.

On the Meeting at Fort Lawton and Use of the Land for a Future School

Big thanks to Valerie Cooper Lisa Reibin Evans for all their hard work on this issue and for their careful notes on this meeting on January 9, 2018.  I do want to call out one key point: Valerie and I were both surprised by the what was considered “infrastructure” by many in the audience and that perceptions of infrastructure were limited to amenities such as markets, shops, etc. but not inclusive or considering schools, adequate access to first responders, or impact on Metro services, etc.   It was also unsettling to hear how unaware the audience was as to the capacity issues the district faces and the resources that are critical and should be accessible to families in need at school sites (ie. Counsellors, Social Workers, School Nurses) to best ensure every chance for educational opportunity, student support and success and that these are not fully funded and thereby not readily available. We heard so many in this audience say "it doesn't cost much to build

Seattle School Board Meeting, January 17, 2018

Once again, there was a marathon Board meeting; I stopped at 6 hours.  This really needs to be stopped and there need to be some measures to curtail them.  The Board members openly admit to being exhausted (for me, this generally kicks in around hour four and I was watching from home), staff has been at JSCEE for 12+ hours and, of course, most of the public cannot participate that long. When you can be an hour into a meeting and no real work has been done, you are off the rails.  All minutes become hours. My suggestions are:

Community Meeting with Director Burke

I forgot to include the Saturday meetings but Director Burke is having a meeting today, Sunday, the 21st, from 2-4 pm at the Fremont Public Library.

Stand Up for Public Education

From my friends at the Network for Public Education : January 21-27 is School Choice Week, a multi-million dollar campaign funded by right-wing groups like the Koch Brothers, The American Federation for Children, ALEC and the Walton Foundation. The endgame is to replace public education with privatized systems of schooling. Read what the Center for Media and Democracy had to say here about School Choice Week. We need YOU to help us tell the public the truth about so-called School Choice. And so we created a powerful campaign for you to use and share here .

Friday Open Thread

I wanted to note the passing of a long-time educator and public education champion, Mona Humphries Bailey.  I served with Mona when she co-chaired the Board's Closure and Consolidation Committee to decided on school closures.  She was a dignified and gracious co-chair.  From the notice when Governor Inslee appointed her to the Board of Education: In her thirty-two year career in public education, Bailey has worked to promote equity and excellence for all students, especially for underachieving students. She has served as a science teacher, counselor, principal, personnel administrator, assistant and deputy superintendent in Seattle Public Schools, and Assistant State Superintendent for the Washington state Office of Public Instruction. She continues to serve in education as an educational consultant, as a volunteer with advocacy groups to reform education for K-12 students, and on several nonprofit boards of directors. I also want to call attention to the members of our Seattle

Suicides and Young People in Washington State

On the heels of the suicide of WSU's quarterback, Tyler Hilinski, comes news of a suicide of a freshman girl in Richland, Washington. Forefront is an organization that works to prevent suicides; their website has a plethora of info. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1.800.273.8255 OR Text Crisis Text Line at 741741

Tuesday Open Thread

Given some of our discussions here, I'm linking to an event at MOHAI - Segregated Seattle : From Redlining to Gentrification.  The panel includes an SPS teacher, Sean Riley, who teaches at West Seattle High School Blaine K-8 and who wrote in The Stranger about his experience when SPS was busing for integration.

Seattle Schools, Week of January 15-20, 2018

Monday, January 15th Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Admission to all state parks is free in honor of the day.  Note: The free days do not apply to Sno-Parks.

Dueling Ideas on What Public Education Should Be

Long-time public education activist, former legislator, former aide to Governor Inslee on public education, Marcie Maxwell, had put forth this idea about public education (which was penned by someone else but she tweaked the last line for Washington State):

Friday Open Thread

One director community meeting this weekend, on Sunday, with Director Mack at Magnolia Library from 1-2:30 pm. The Seattle Times has a lengthy article about Seattle Schools' efforts on race and equity and closing the opportunity gap.  I'll have a separate thread on that one because there's a lot to unpack.

As an American, I Apologize

I feel like every single American needs to do this and since I have a public forum, even more so. To anyone from Haiti, El Salvador, any African nation or any nation that is majority non-white, I apologize for the completely out-of-line, undiplomatic, hateful and yes, racist comment by Trump.  

On Bus Service - Updates

I heard on KUOW that SPS teachers may take a half-day walkout in support of bus drivers.  It was stated that it would likely be on Wednesday when there is a half-day of school so as to not interrupt student learning.  Keep this on your radar. Also, from statement from First Student:

Have You Seen This? Teacher Arrested for Challenging Superintendent Raise

Update: when it makes national news, then it matters.  The Vermillion Parish School district superintendent cries on-camera. Just when you think you've seen it all. Teacher Deyshia Hargrave, in the Vermillion Parish School System in Abbeville, Louisiana, was asking questions at a school board meeting about why the superintendent was getting a raise when teachers hadn't received one in six years.   (The raise was predicated on the superintendent meeting certain goals.)

New Charter School Files to Open in Seattle

The district has been notified by the Washington State Charter Commission that a group seeks to open a K-8 charter school in SE Seattle at 4413 39th Ave S W in 2019.  (The building appears to be a former house.) The closest SPS schools are Cooper-Boren K-8 and Genesee Hill and two private schools.  Editor's note: got SW in my head and the address is South.  That places this school nearer to Hawthorne and Dearborn Park. It is to be called Ashe Prep Academy .   It will start with K-2 and 6th. The lead on this effort is Dr. Debra Sullivan who is the President of the Seattle Affiliate of the National Black Child Development Institute (NBCDI). To note, what the Charter Commission received is just a notice of interest (NOI).  Notices of Intent (NOI) to Apply were due on December 1, 2017 and the WSCSC received four. The other three are: - the Academy of Empowerment , a K-8 language immersion in Federal Way  (French and Spanish) - Fursan School , a K-12 that would start

Work Session on High School Boundaries

Here's the link to both parts of today's Work Sessions; the first on high school boundaries and the second on the budget for 2018-2019.  Currently, the high school boundaries discussion is first, starting at 4:30 pm.  The Budget portion starts at 6 pm, with an Executive Session (closed to public), starting at 7 pm. In case you missed it, here are the two options for HCC pathways:

Segregation and Seattle Schools

You'd have to be very new to this district to not know we have a fairly regular pattern of segregation in this district.  I will continue to say that I believe it is mainly the result of redlining for decades in Seattle and yet, was probably helped by the district following along. The district did trying busing in the '70s but my impression is that almost no one was happy.  Just as many high school parents are today arguing against long bus rides for their students because of not having friends in the community, after-school activities and family time, many families back then found busing to have that problem. With all the flailing around about where HC high school students will go and drawing high school boundaries, there has not been much talk about segregation.   There have been several new articles on this extended topic (bold mine in all cases). 

Literary Career Day Event in February

Literary Career Day is a free event providing young people ages 16-24 with direct access to industry professionals through networking, experiential learning, engaging conversations, and performances. Participants are exposed to a wide range of career opportunities including writing, editing, publishing, arts administration, retail, library sciences, journalism, teaching, and more. Literary Career Day takes place on  Saturday, February 3  at The Seattle Central Library  from 11:00am–4:00pm. This event will start with Keynote Speakers , followed by lunch—free for all attendees —and a Table Fair featuring opportunities from local arts organizations. After lunch, attend the Breakout Session  that's relevant to your interests. We'll finish off the afternoon with a Networking Party , featuring a live DJ, to help you get the most out of your Career Day! Literary Career Day is produced in partnership with One Reel, Seattle Public Library, Seattle Office of Film and Music

Tuesday Open Thread

Hope you saw my heads up on a possible bus strike due to drivers rejecting management's offer.  From Twitter: David Simon Retweeted The Associated Press BREAKING: The Dow Jones industrial average closed above 25,000 points for the first time. David Simon added, BREAKING: The parents at my kid's Baltimore public school raised their own money to keep the school librarian. It was reported to me that former director Stephan Blanford had spoken at a Race and Equity team event.  My source stated that he said that "he took a two-month family trip to Europe to purge his time at the school board." He also said that he was the only director who always pointed out that race had to be considered in all the decisions the Board had to make.  Apparently, he's going to just keep doubling down on being disrespectful to his former colleagues.  I have to wonder what Directors Patu and Pinkham must think, also being people of color. I asked the district if he were an empl

Considering HCC

To better shape the discussion, here are a couple of documents you might have missed:

Bus Service Threatened (Again)

From SPS : We want to share the latest information about labor negotiations between First Student and their employees’ union.  First Student presented an offer, and drivers voted it down Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018. This could lead to a second, longer school bus strike by First Student drivers. We will be monitoring the situation closely and sharing news with our school bus families as soon as we know more.  Right now, we expect normal bus service on Monday, Jan. 8. If this changes, we will notify bus riding families on school and district websites, on social media, by phone and email and through local news. We advise our families to revisit their backup transportation plans and update as needed.  We are concerned that First Student's offer didn't meet drivers' expectations. We hope First Student and the union move quickly to resolve their differences Follow Seattle Public Schools on Twitter @seapubschools and like us on Facebook . Thank you for your conti

High School Boundaries - What Do You Want to Know?

Update: the latest from the district and the High School Boundaries Task Force. end of update The Board is to have a Work Session this week (Wednesday - with two of them - one for high school boundaries and one for Budget; I will let you know when the agenda is available which one appears to be going first). What questions DO you want to see the Board ask/that you want an answer for?  

Boundary Meeting for Maple Leaf Area

The Maple Leaf community is meeting with Director Pinkham on Tuesday, January 9th, 6-7:45 PM, in the cafeteria at Olympic View Elementary School regarding the proposed high school boundaries for our neighborhood.   Other Directors have been invited as well.

Seattle Schools for the Week of January 8-14, 2018

Monday, January 8th  Audit & Finance Committee meeting from 4:30-6:30 pm. Agenda Tuesday, January 9th Curriculum& Instruction Committee meeting from 4:30-6:30 pm.  Agenda Of interest:  Adopting Resolution No. 2017/18-10 to establish an equitable vision for advanced coursework by replacing highly capable pathways at the high school level with a localized assignment model by 2021-2022 (Geary, DeWolf). I'm a little puzzled why this needs a resolution but maybe Geary and DeWolf are making a point.  Naturally, the district no longer attaches documentation to agendas, I have had to request it in order to read the resolution. This is following by Brent Jones' presentation "Formula for Success" - Superintendent SMART Goal 2, Elminating Opportunity Gaps.   Then there is the "Equitable Access Annual Report."  Following that is an Advanced Learning Update and Math Adoption Update.   Interesting. Wednesday, January 9th Work Sessions: High

Scholarship Opportunity for Rainier Beach Students

Scholarship Opportunity for Graduating Rainier Beach High Women

Connecting the Dots on Green Dot

 Editor's Note: I erred in my description about the timing of Congresswoman Jayapal's involvement.  This occurred when she was a state rep, not since she was elected to Congress. End of update  Update The reason the development of the Green Dot high school in the Rainier Valley may have come to a halt is that former Board President Peters became aware of it in November.  She let the General Counsel's office know and mentioned the possible ramifications to Rainier Beach High School, Aki Kurose Middle School as well as Franklin HS and Cleveland HS. The district had a land-use attorney look into it and yes, it was discovered that it appeared that departures are only legally allowed for SPS schools.  As well,  SPS must be represented on the committee that was deciding these matters, and yet had not been included. SPS General Counsel then sent a letter to the City, referencing the laws and codes and voicing SPS opposition. Given that one departure got thru in July, i

Friday Open Thread

What a week. Note to self; don't call anyone in any kind of government/school office on a Friday (even before 3 pm), they are all gone.  I have a ton of calls into City Hall and SPS and there's nobody around. Thanks to a reader for this heads up from My Ballard/KING 5 about a Magnolia parent has suggested the district is legally wrong about threatening to sue the district over access grandfathering her child at Ballard High School where he is already a student.  The article is also notable because someone purporting to be City Attorney Pete Holmes weighed in at the comments. One parent who is also an attorney, Margaret Cerrato-Blue told KING 5 that Magnolia parents have yet to receive any formal notification from the district, which she believes is a violation of due process. “If we have to go to court, you will stay at Ballard because it’s the legal and right thing for them to do,” she said. Most agree that the boundary debacle stems from the city’s lack of a high

Ballard's Science Department Uses Logic on the District; Will It Work?

Update - a Q&A with Ballard and the district on this topic: 1.       Do ALL schools have to do this sequence?  Is this “recommended”? As the scope and sequence will create student capacity to take the newly-required 3 rd year of science, the sequences are required. All schools are expected to follow the common sequence our High School Alignment Team has outlined. The Alignment Team, represented by all comprehensive Seattle high schools (driven by feedback from individual science departments), was commissioned to create a standards-aligned common scope and sequence that would meet new graduation requirements for current 9 th graders and all students that follow.  2.        What happens when parents (still) want their students to start Ballard in Biology? It is the obligation of our district to provide all students with standards-aligned courses required for graduation. The first two years provide the core requirements for all students. Selections can be made by

Overview of High School Boundaries from Director Eden Mack

 I wrote to Director Mack simply asking her to clarify my understanding of the two scenarios the Board suggested at last night's meeting.  Here is her reply:

Seattle School Board Meeting, January 3, 2018

Update from SPS Communications:  about the superintendent search, the survey closes Jan. 19th and the Town Hall is January 18th, location still TBA. end of update I only stayed for four hours (but I thought that enough and felt for the Board who had about 16 Intro items - mostly BEX - to slog thru). I am not going to discuss the Green Dot charter school issue - a LOT going on there - and it deserves its own thread.  But the Board voted 6-0-1 to pass their resolution against the City okaying zoning departures for Green Dot's new school in the Rainier Valley.  There was zero discussion; they just took the vote (although, of course, President Harris asked directors her usual "questions, comments, concerns?). The abstention was Director DeWolf who serves on the board of the Seattle Housing Authority which sold the land for the entire project of which includes Green Dot.  He said he was stepping down from that work in March. Naturally the big draw was the discussion on h

Tuesday Open Thread

The speaker list is up for the Board meeting tomorrow; not as packed as I thought with just four people on the waitlist. The majority of the speakers are speaking on high school boundaries (with several wanting to talk about Ballard High). There are only three of us speaking about the Green Dot resolution asking the City to not grant the zoning departures that Green Dot has requested.  It's me, long-time watchdog, Chris Jackins, and the head of the Washington State Charter Schools Association, Patrick D'Amelio.  (I knew Mr. D'Amelio when he headed the Alliance for Education and Big Brothers and Big Sisters; he's a stand-up guy.)

From the Northwest Gifted Child Association

The Gifted Advocacy Toolkit