Sunday, January 14, 2018

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.

Tuesday, January 16th
Special Education: Southeast Regional Meeting
South Shore K-8 from 6-7:30 pm.

The Special Education Department is hosting Regional Meetings for families and the community to learn about changes that are happening in Special Education in Seattle Public Schools. We want to listen to you and hear your questions. Please join Wyeth Jessee, Chief of Student Supports; Trish Campbell, Beth Mills, and Nicole Fitch, Directors of Special Education; the Regional Supervisor and Program Specialists for your area; the Special Education Ombudsperson, Special Education Parent Partners, and more Special Education staff. Supervised children’s activities, light snack, and interpreters will be provided.
 Questions? Contact: Margo Siegenthaler at 206-252-0794, masiegenthaler@seattleschools.org

Wednesday, January 17th
Regular Board Meeting, starting at 4:15 pm.  Agenda

- on the Consent agenda, there is a boundary adjustment for Genesee Hill Elementary because of their explosion of growth from 584 in 2013 to 718 this year.  The building's capacity is 660.  Genesee Hill is now the largest elementary in the district (I think Bryant may be second.)

- The Naviance contract for "College and Career Readiness" for about $620K over three years.  Wait, the BAR has been amended to $594,066.63.  There is no explanation for the drop in price.

From the Timeline, it would appear this project is behind.

It is also unclear to me if Naviance provides 24/7 help to report crisis problems.  They operate from 7 am-7 pm EST, Monday-Friday.

One bit of interesting data is from page 50 of this BAR.  It lists the numbers of 8th graders in both middle schools and K-8s.  It's striking how low the enrollments are for most K-8.  It ranges from a high of 115 at Salmon Bay to a low at Licton Springs, 11.  Naturally, that could be about space.  But I also note these figures are from last year so why are they in a contract for this school year?

Let me be crystal clear, even if the district isn't - this is NOT just a way to help students with "career and college readiness and planning."  It's about collecting a lot of data on a lot of students.  Even when the contract ends, "...we do retain non-personal information, including aggregated, de-identified data."  So when the district pays Naviance for this contract, they are also giving away data.

I am still against this expenditure.

I also note that there is now discussion of bringing back College/Career Counselors at our high schools at the last C&I meeting during a discussion about CTE.  

 - the Board will also be approving the Disciplinary Appeal Council for 2018-2021.  One new notation is this "Disciplinary Appeal Council Procedure 3201BP specifies that staff, not including teacher and principals, are considered community members on the council."  I don't know if this means school staff and JSCEE staff.

- the BAR for buying portables says that the Board approved up $4.51M to be used "to meet the short-term facility demands of projected increased enrollment..."


- approval of the calendar for school year 2018-2019
- New England Center for Children Contract Modification.  I include this item with no judgment because clearly, if a single child needs to be enrolled in residential facility in Massachusetts and the contract goes from $95,559.30 up to $391,900.21, then the needs of that child must be severe.

But it's important for parents and taxpayers to understand that educating all children, means all children.  And, these are the costs.

- Changing the charge of the BEX Oversight Committee to include BTA (Buildings, Technology and Academics).

I think this is ridiculous.  The committee make-up does not support those with technology backgrounds, nor academic backgrounds.  They are increasing the number of the committee and maybe will include those with the necessary backgrounds but it's not in the BAR.

- Resolution by Directors DeWolf and Geary about HCC.  I will have a separate thread on this issue.  I believe the resolution needs some changes.

- Approval of the 2019-2020 High School Growth Boundaries Plan and HCC Pathways for 2020-2021.

Thursday, January 18th
Town Hall on the Superintendent Search
Link to survey which is open until Friday, January 19th
Nova High School from 6:30-8:30 pm

K-12 Education Funding and the Effects on SPS
Ballard High School from 7-9 pm

Saturday, January 20th
Seattle Alliance of Black School Educators Annual Summit in partnership with SPS (free)
Aki Kurose Middle School from 8 am - 3 pm.

Option School Choice Fair
Mercer International Middle School from 10 am to 2 pm

Community Meeting with Director Pinkham
Lake City Library from 10:30- noon

Community Meeting with Director Harris
West Seattle Library from 3-5 pm 


CBA said...

With the implementation of CORE 24, high school(s) will have less capacity to offer advanced classes. Additional classes will be geared to help those that have failed a class.

The district can not guarantee advanced learning opportunities at every school.

We may see attempts to increase student: teacher ratios to 1:180.

High schools are gravitating towards general education classes for all.

We need designated HCC pathways.

CBA said...

Estimated cost of lowering the 1:180 student: teacher ratio is $15M.

Ghost Mom said...

The district is already sending the FTE of 1040 juniors and seniors to Running Start. And this year, the vast majority of them are from Garfield, Ingraham and Ballard, schools that ostensibly have enough "critical mass" of highly capable students to be able to schedule and run advanced classes. SPS loses money on Running Start students. So, what gives with this?

# of FTE Running Start equivalents:
Garfield 189.32
Ingraham 112.09
Ballard 105.79
Sealth 104.11
Franklin 103.59
West Seattle 97.48
Hale 89.34
Roosevelt 74.84
Cleveland 71.27
Rainier Beach 57.29
Center 28.89
NOVA 6.76

It's going to be much "worse" (for students who don't want to go to college at age 15) than this without HC pathways, isn't it?

Eric B said...

Ghost Mom, Ballard and Garfield at least can't fit any more kids into the buildings. They can't offer the classes because there's simply no room to do so. I don't know how dire the situation at Roosevelt is, but it's probably not far from Ballard and Garfield's.

Anonymous said...

>>>>I include this item with no judgment because clearly, if a single child needs to be enrolled in residential facility in Massachusetts and the contract goes from $95,559.30 up to $391,900.21, then the needs of that child must be severe.

Really? This raises no eyebrows? A quick google of this institute reveals that this is just a plain old school for kids with Autism. Seattle Public Schools can’t do Autism now? The staff at this is mostly first year practicioners. Nothing special. Explain to me, once again, why other districts and institutions, 1000s of miles away are somehow more able to teach Seattle students????

This smacks of ongoing SPS abuse, restraint, etc. I’m guessing this is yet another expensive settlement stemming from the ongoing and systemic neglect of all of Seattle’s special ed students.


Anonymous said...

Most RS students won't be starting college at 15, but point taken.

I see many references to Running Start as an economic drain in the district, but I don't fully get it. Why does the district "lose money" if students do RS? Is it because schools still need to play a small administrative/counseling role for these students, even though they don't get funding ( or full funding, p/t RS)?

Does that really mean an overall loss? If the state doesn't fully fund high school, couldn't you argue that KEEPING students costs more money? And if schools are overcrowded already, wouldn't keeping them mean signigicant additional costs, such as more portables, more busses, etc? And if students are taking RS because their schools can't provide certain advanced or specialized or less popular classes, wouldn't keeping them mean additional costs due to more inefficiencies in the master schedule, more less-than full classrooms, more specialized teachers, expanded curricula/materials costs, etc?


Anonymous said...

Speddie, it's a residential program. SPS doesn't do those, do they? And without knowing the student's needs, how can you really say what is or is not appropriate? I doubt it's just SPS being overly generous, and if it were a legal settlement it would need to be presented as such.

Happy Sun

Another Perspective said...

Speddie, bless your (perhaps well intentioned) heart. Autism looks like many different things for different kids. Well done and good job to the district for doing what it takes to educate this kid well. I assume that it probably took a struggle by the student's parents and advocates to make it happen.

Anonymous said...

Pretty Snark bloggers, I’m not sure why. When we shell out that much money, there should be way more public skepticism and oversight. Over 12 years that’s more than 4 million dollars for 1 kid. And, it’s possible, actually likely, that this student will receive services until age 21. That’s nearly 5 million for a single student. And there’s no commentary or questions?

Nobody “needs” residential services in order to receive FAPE. But, residential services must indeed be provided when the school is out of state. And very true. The district is not known for its special ed generosity. But it is well known, famous, for caving in when it has committed a serious infraction for which it could be sued. If you think the district would present that at a board meeting... just to be all transparent and everything, well you are very gullible.

Sending kids 1000s of miles from home to an out of state institution to receive a free and appropriate education.... is clearly a failure on many levels. Hold the high 5s.


publichighschoolparent said...

I support the district's proposed contract with Naviance. Private schools use it to help their students with the college application process, in addition to the extensive counseling they provide. Kids in public high school get neither, as the counselors are over-worked already. Students in public school deserve some assistance with this porcess, especially those whose parents cannot afford to hire private "college application consultants." Applying to college is stressful and complicated and expenseive, and any help the public schools can provide is welcome.

Anonymous said...

I hear everything you are saying, Speddie. However I am disagreeing with you that the residential school in another state is the "plain old school" staffed with first year professionals that you imply it is; perhaps it truly is the best setting for that student's particular needs. Neither of us knows because the details aren't available to us, and I am okay with that. We do know that SPS is doing terribly at educating many of our students, as you pointed out.
I agree it is a failure by SPS. We should have better systems and supports here for a lot of students, but we know that we do not. I agree that this was probably either a settlement or the threat of a lawsuit that led to this action, but bravo to the advocates for this student for making it happen.

What is the best scenario here? These funds don't get approved, so this student returns to Seattle to a district that won't meet his or her needs?

Another Perspective

Melissa Westbrook said...

publichighschoolparent said...As I previously reported, the district is not going to use Naviance in the same ways as private schools. They are taking in a lot more data from students. I get why they want to but I would like to see stricter protocols. As you may have read, they don't even get 24/7 oversight of that data.

Anonymous said...

If what I'm reading here is true, that the district is spending millions on a single student by sending them to a special needs school across the country, that's indeed outrageous. That should NEVER happen. There simply must be limits on the "free and appropriate" education that students are entitled to. Essentially this is a multimillion dollar voucher!


Anonymous said...

I am guessing “another perspective” would also like to take PTA funds to pay for that student’s flights in the name of equity.

Fiscal Mismanagement

Anonymous said...

Pertinent to the Naviance/data mining discussion, Melissa recently referenced a Texas Ed. Agency contract with SPEDx to mine data on special education students. That contract has been halted:


Anonymous said...

From the Geary/DeWolf resolution:

During extensive community outreach, families consistently requested that students who are (or could be) eligible for highly capable services be able to receive those services in their neighborhood schools.

Didn't the survey only reference "advanced learning" with some generally worded questions? Where did it ask specifically about highly capable services?

While the District recognizes that it does not have the capability to meet the statutory requirements for students designated as highly capable in all neighborhood schools immediately, it can implement such a model effectively with several years of planning.

And there's the problem (beyond the more obvious capacity issues it will create). Who believes the district can implement "such a model" effectively?

highly skeptical

Anonymous said...

I suspect the K-8 8th grade numbers are space related, as you suggest. Most of the K-8s have 2 classrooms per grade, so one would expect them to have a maximum of 64 8th grade students (assuming 32 kids per classroom in middle school). A few, like Salmon Bay, have 4 classes per grade, hence the higher number there. Licton Springs, with only 8 classrooms for the whole school, is the smallest; it has combined age classes for 3rd grade & up. There is one classroom for the combined 7th & 8th grade, so they have maximum possible of 16 8th graders.

Mom of 4

Anonymous said...

Another Perspective ,

More than $1,000 per day. That’s what WE are actually paying for this 1 student. And that’s all year long. If the school is more like 9 months, then it’s more like $1,600 per day. No way we should all just cough up that ridiculous amount without scrutiny. Accountability. What type of “Autism “ is so severe that the district can’t handle it? We aren’t talking about an exotic disability here. What have they tried so far? Why hasn’t it worked? Does the district need to improve at some practice?

Yes, I get it. Some students are expensive. Some need residential settings. But this is absurd. You could pay for specialists glued to the student 24/7 at those rates. And , there’s no guarantee that these residential schools are better in any way than what we’ve got here. Further we have an explosion in these ridiculously expensive private schools... millions of dollars. This is not the only contract, nor the most expensive. Why is there no board oversight?


Anonymous said...

PS. Yes Fiscal Mismanagment. The student is definitely entitled to flights to and from school, as is the family. That too will be covered by the district. And, the student is entitled to all benefits his local pta provides other students. All the more important it is to understand why this placement is necessary.


Grouchy Parent said...

Why a school in Massachusetts? Isn't there a suitable residential program that's closer? There's a good business idea for someone, by the way.

Anonymous said...

Check out NWSOIL's contract. It's only around $114,000 per student.

SPED Parent

Anonymous said...

Inappropriate to be discussing an individual student's accommodations.

cut it out

Anonymous said...

Speaker list for 1/17 Board mtg is posted. Lots of people on waitlist. An amendment has been added (Mack and Burke) to move LI pathway from Ingraham to Lincoln in 2019 and to add a Southeast immersion pathway.


Anonymous said...

Would the immersion pathway change result in pulling students from Ingraham and reassigningvthem to Lincoln?

Would the loss of immersion students have any impact on the advanced IB language classes?

How many levels of language would Lincoln offer, if some immersion students are ready for 4th yr in 9th grade?


Anonymous said...

Expanding a pathway while dismantling another one..and they use equity as the excuse?
Access to Dual language immersion is very restricted, specially north of the ship canal. But somehow, no one shouts racial injustice and white privilege. They save that for those HCC kids.

Double standard

Anonymous said...

ahmen ds. well said.

no caps

Anonymous said...

@Double standard

Your line of argument is known as


Anonymous said...

Here is a copy of the letter I sent to the Directors this morning. If you are also concerned, please send your own letter before the vote this evening:

Dear Directors,

Unless some new funding comes to SPS that we are unaware of, I am afraid that SPS will not be able to serve HCC kids in all high schools in 2021. It is a noble goal, to think they might be able to offer BC calculus to 7 students who need it, but is that really going to happen? I have heard that SPS cannot not run a class if it is under enrolled due to cost/staffing. If some schools have too few students needing a class to support multiple sections on a master schedule, it will push these kids out of SPS and into Running Start. This seems like SPS is shirking its duty to educate the HCC kids.

It also seems like it does not follow the value of equity, as Lincoln, Roosevelt, Ballard, Ingraham schools will continue to have enough students and sections to support the North end schools, but the South end will not (other than Garfield).

What will happen in schools like Nathan Hale? They will have to change their philosophy of teaching and add traditional AP classes? Same for Ingraham, for those who do not want IB?

Having kids go back to neighborhood schools will also likely require readdressing the borders again as some North end neighborhood schools will see a large influx if HCC students return. Why go through this painful process again in 3 years?

You will also disrupt all of the students friendships that have developed since these kids have gone through the elementary and middle school HCC pathways. Unlike all the other students who will follow a large group of friends from their middle schools to their neighborhood high schools, the HCC kids will all be sent back to neighborhood schools from an HCC middle school. They may only know a couple of kids going to their high schools that are also in HCC. This will create a disadvantage for these kids socially entering high school.

I encourage you to vote AGAINST the amendment to move HCC kids back to neighborhood high schools. PLEASE vote to keep the pathways, for at least the next 5+ years, then readdress it, as you give time for SPS staff to build up advanced classes every high school. Make SPS prove that it can fund advanced classed in every high school over the next 5 years. Ask for yearly progress reports by looking at the number of AP sections on the master schedules. Once a broad array of diverse advanced learning is available in every high school to serve ALL students, then you could safely vote to eliminate the high school pathways. Please don’t put the cart before the horse.


Anonymous said...

The resolution is fake equity. It doesn't make advanced learning classes available at most schools, it makes less popular advanced options less available (by dispersing the Garfield cohort), it exacerbates racial segregation, and it does nothing to promote the entrance of more students of color into HCC. Sure, we all wish all schools could be all things to all people, but we know we are a long way from that. More than three years away,

for sure

Improve Hicap said...

Getting Lincoln opened should be the priority. I don't see how the district can appropriately focus on doing that if we're going to start an HC program there for two years and then dismantle it and return to neighborhood school without out of assignment area HC students. That's no way to start Lincoln. We should be starting it for real with whatever students and whatever programs and services it will house. Not a fake-out start and then a several-years-delayed "real" start. We're not playing a game of Monopoly here. We're educating students to live their lives in a competitive, fast-growing city.

Bellevue and Northshore are doing so much better than we are at the hicap thing. We can improve.

Anonymous said...

Who defines a "broad array of diverse advanced learning?" Does it mean more classes get an "honors" designation, but the course scope gets narrowed? Does it mean a base level of AP offerings? Who decides what those are, and how do you offer courses if there aren't enough students registering for them? The new science sequence could further restrict offerings. The district still hasn't updated their middle school math program - is it still CMP? - partially due to budget limitations, and we are to believe students will somehow be ready for more advanced math and science offerings in high school? Looking at the science proposal, it's hard to have faith that the district is focused on offering robust AL options.

In order to have real discussions about what courses would be considered baseline for a comprehensive high school and what additional courses are needed to provide HC level options, you'd need to start with a matrix indicating every single AP or IB course offered this year, by school, along with number of sections offered, plus the percent of students taking each course who are HC identified. This doesn't even begin to address Running Start, but it would provide a baseline for comparison. One wonders how the district is estimating costs of disbanding HC if they haven't done such a comparison (let's be realistic, the money won't be there).

(yeah, I'm copying from another thread)


SP said...


"I support the district's proposed contract with Naviance. Private schools use it to help their students with the college application process, in addition to the extensive counseling they provide. Kids in public high school get neither, as the counselors are over-worked already. Students in public school deserve some assistance with this porcess, especially those whose parents cannot afford to hire private "college application consultants." Applying to college is stressful and complicated and expenseive, and any help the public schools can provide is welcome."

I also support helping students with the college application process. But as Melissa said above, that is not what most of this contract is about. Look at the list of vendors:

- Hobsons (Naviance)
- Gallup Strengths Explorer
- Roadtrip Nation
- Sallie Mae
- TeenLife Media
- Career Key
- Naviance eDocs (Common Application and Parchment)
- Human eSources
- National Student Clearinghouse
- BenchPrep
- X2Vol

The only vendor that's actually helping with the application process is eDocs. The other vendors are primarily gathering intimate personality profiles of students, much like companies such as facebook do behind the scenes.

Please folks, do a little digging on this and tell your school board directors that most of this contract is NOT something we need or want for our kids. They are potentially voting on this TONIGHT!

Anonymous said...

Looks like you should move to north shore or bellevue for the path of least resistance.


Anonymous said...

I would love to get some feedback from parents whose kids have actually done running start. I have a ninth grader who is comfortable working at an honors level but is not necessarily working two years ahead in most subjects. However high school so far has not been a very good fit for him and I would love to explore the option of running start. Are the classes necessarily significantly more difficult than high school or does it just depend which courses you choose? The few kids I had surveyed actually said some of the running start classes are easier than high school. Also, would it be fair to say you would need advanced organizational skills to succeed and running start Because you’re expected to be much more independent?
Looking at RS

Anonymous said...

My 11th grader is in RS for three classes per quarter this year and takes one class at his high school. He is not in HCC, but was comfortable in 9th and 10th grades in honors and AP classes and did well in all of them. But, like your son, high school wasn't a great fit for him and he is happier in RS. The first quarter was an adjustment because of the pace of instruction and the work load. I really can't say if the classes are easier or harder, but from what I've seen so far, I've been satisfied. I was particularly happy that in English 101, the teacher gave them very direct instruction in writing, which has always been lacking in SPS. I don't know that he's needed more advanced organizational skills, but he definitely enjoys the increased independence. My son is self-motivated and has always worked hard without having to be pushed -- it's just who he is. I was skeptical going in, but I now think that RS is a good fit for him.

RS Mom

Anonymous said...

Our child's experience with Running Start has been mixed.

-Not tied to current HS bell schedule
-Less busywork and wasted class time as classes are 10 weeks long, material needs to get covered, and professors know many students work
-No need to take AP exams. You take the final exam and you're done.
-Science lab seems better equipped than HS lab
-Taking 3 classes a quarter allows for 9 classes a year. A student could potentially take Calc 1 and 2 in the same year, whereas it would take two years in HS.

-loss of social network (since most RS classes are scheduled for morning and evening, it may be possible to still see HS friends at lunch, or participate in sports and afterschool clubs)
-more time spent getting back and forth to school (thankful for Orca card)
-cost of books and fees can add up
-limited class options (not much in the way of upper level world language or 200 level humanities...probably varies by CC)
-you choose classes knowing little about some of the professors (some are not assigned until after class registration)
-planning courses for the year isn't as straightforward since you can only register quarter by quarter
-some classes are just too easy (varies by course...the upper level math and science seemed to be just right level of challenge)

Could not agree more with the comment about direct instruction in writing - it's sorely lacking in SPS!

another RS

Anonymous said...

My nephew is a junior at Garfield and did Spectrum in middle school. He is now taking half Running Start courses at Seattle Central and half his classes at Garfield. He is so much happier now. He is with friends at high school but really enjoying the change at Seattle Central, and his grades have really improved.


Anonymous said...

Another RS parent here. Kid really likes the lack of 'busy work', can take classes online and now has free time in his morning to concentrate on other classes and interests. Next quarter he will actually go to campus (right now he's been able to do US History online - 2 quarters and Statistics online) so his attitude might change, but I doubt it. The classes are easy enough, professor's expectations are clearly outlined, and the workload is quite do-able.

Major con is that different campuses offer different classes - so while he's currently registered at Central, there might be a more interesting class offered at North or South. We'll see next year when he's a senior. Other con is vacation scheduling, but that's minor compared to how much happier my kid is these days.

GHS parent

Anonymous said...

I have some real problems with the search firm that has been hired to conduct the search for the Superintendent. I attended tonight's meeting at NOVA. This firm (represented by two white guys in suits) evidently spent the last 2 days downtown talking to, well, downtown. Tonight, they wanted to come out to the community. It seems that they did not conduct any prior analysis of the issues that are of concern beyond the walls of JSCEE. So, they relied on bland and (to my mind) pretty useless questions that (to my mind) were supposed to steer away from any real controversy and that did not really ask for more than boilerplate types of inputs. Very lazy. For the $$ they're being paid, they could have read up on the issues and asked for inputs on the types of superintendents that could address these issues. I feel that at the end of the process we're going to get a very bland outcome. I'm sorry these people were so uninformed in meeting "the community" in the evening that they dedicated to outside of JSCEE. OTOH as I walked into the meeting Phyllis Campano was handing out a flyer (she's the head of the SEA now?) stating that they (SEA, PASS) support continuing Nylund's contract. Well that blew me away.