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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Wednesday Open Thread

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

The First Student bus drivers have stated they are going on a strike starting Thursday, Feb. 1. This means there will be no yellow school bus service starting Thursday and until further notice. You will need to use your family’s plan to get your student to and from school. We will remind families who will be affected by the strike by phone and email on Wednesday, Jan. 31.
We recognize the inconvenience this will have on Seattle families. We have prepared answers to some of the questions you might have, and those are listed below.

We will use the website and social media to provide regular updates. When the bus service resumes, we will notify families using email and voice messages, too.
Huge speaker list for tonight's Board meeting - 25 speakers plus 31 on the waitlist.  Looks like the majority of speakers will speak on high school HC pathways and boundaries.

Turns out Amendment 4 on HC pathways for high schools is from President Harris and also Director Eden Mack for current 6th/7th graders from West Seattle attending Washington MS now to grandfather to Garfield.  It looks like that would be about 40 students.  Double the number of HC students are enrolled at Madison MS and would go to West Seattle HS.

There is an Amendment 5 but there is no link or documentation.  It just says:
Amendment 5: Provide 9th and 10th grade highly capable students in the new Lincoln pathway area the option to attend Lincoln, and allow all 9th grade highly capable eligible students district-wide to attend their pathway school. Approval of this item would provide 9th and 10th grade highly capable students in the new Lincoln pathway area the option to attend Lincoln and allows all 9th grade highly capable-eligible students district-wide to attend their pathway school.
Kind of odd - the Board is to vote in a resolution in support of Black Lives Matter Week at tonight's Board meeting, Superintendent Nyland sent out a letter to families about Black History Month including wording on Black Lives Matter Week and yet there is nothing on the website about it.  If the district supports this effort, why is nothing being said in the one place where most parents get information?  Not even reprinting Nyland's letter?  I have a couple of documents that Nyland sent to staff that I will post under the BLM thread.

It appears that the district is softening/changing its stance on the proposed high school science curriculum changes (at least at Ballard).  This from an inside source I have. Theirs may be a different sequence from the rest of the high schools (which I'm sure may prompt some of them to say, "Why can't we, too?"  Biotech at Ballard is saved.  As well, there may be a delay in more advanced science courses to allow students to build math skills they need for those courses.  I also hear the Board may want to weigh in on the process.  Stay tuned.

Hey, Washington comes in third in the nation for state charter school laws but gets dinged for having a cap on the number of them. Oh well.  However, the strength of the law gets these points:
Its score increased because of changes in the methodology for Component #3 (Non-district Authorizers Available) and clarification about existing policy for Component #8 (Comprehensive Charter School Monitoring and Data Collection Processes), Component #10 (Transparency Regarding Educational Service Providers), Component #12 (Clear Student Enrollment and Lottery Procedures), #16 (Extracurricular and Interscholastic Activities Eligibility and Access), and Component #17 (Clear Provisions Regarding Special Education Responsibilities).
They suggest that charters need access to state capital funds.  I did attend the Charter Commission meeting and there are updates on the Green Dot high school zoning departure.  I'll have a thread this weekend.

I attended the Work Session on the superintendent search yesterday.  Pretty spirited discussion.  It appeared there was a tepid attempt to derail the search but that went nowhere.  I'll have a thread on that as well this weekend but I can say that the Board is moving forward and explicitly said they want more engagement as semi-finalists and finalists become known.

What's on your mind?

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Chris Jackins must have forgotten to set his alarm. :)

FHS85

Anonymous said...

Hi everybody. I know there are always open enrollment questions and I have really tried to understand, but I'm confused. I found this blog quote from an earlier year, "You should put down the schools you want in the exact order you really want them on the enrollment form. Putting popular/hard-to-get-into schools at the top of your list does nothing to harm your chances of getting into a neighborhood school in your cluster lower down on the list. I promise." (http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/2009/03/18-days-left-in-open-enrollment.html)
That has changed, right? The information I can find from the district now says “All first choices will be processed first, then second choices next, etc.” (http://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/Enrollment%20Planning/Student%20Assignment%20Plan/STUDENT_ASSIGNMENT_PLAN_2017-18.pdf) If that is true, if I have school A listed as my second choice and someone else has school A listed as her first choice, she will get an open spot before I do even if my lottery number is better. So if I put my true first choice in the number 1 spot and my true first choice is a popular school that I'm unlikely to get, I will in effect burn up that round. If I'm misunderstanding this, I'd love to have someone explain. Also, does anyone know for sure whether time of submitting forms during the two week choice period matters? I have had many people tell me yes and many tell me no. Thanks so much.
--k/5 mom

Anonymous said...

When is it appropriate to place students in a class based on their race? According to the Madison Middle School CSIP, Twenty to Twenty-five African American 7th and 8th graders will be placed in a student advisory led by the Madison principal on a daily basis. The math, science and language arts teachers of those students are requested to provide academic assessment indicators and progress monitoring results (student work, observations, tests) on each of the male students in the advisory. Goal: The AA male students will increase their SBA standardized test results by 5% or more in the Spring of 2018. In addition, all the students will receive a C or higher in their core academic courses by June of 2018.

This sounds like a good idea for any struggling student.

Fairmount Parent

Anonymous said...

Fairmount Parent, that's interesting. From the data presented, it appears the disparities are as bad or even worse for Hispanic students, so why are they excluded from this effort? As well, assuming all students have advisory, is the insinuation that the principal can do a better job teaching these students than regular teachers can? Is there a designated teacher who is best for other struggling students, too?

unclear

NNE Mom said...

@k/5 mom,

If you think want to get into a school that normally has a waitlist, you need to put that school first. But if you don't get in, you run the risk of ending up at your assignment area school. If you are unwilling to attend your assignment area school (where you should be guaranteed a spot), you should think about your strategy carefully. You may want to pick a first choice school that you have a better chance of getting into. The math varies a lot from neighborhood to neighborhood and school to school, so maybe ask specific questions and see if someone can help you guestimate it out.

If you submit your choice form during the open enrollment window, it doesn't matter when during the window you submit it. All the ones that are turned in during the window are treated the same (so, as long as it's within the window, being a day or two earlier than someone else doesn't matter).

Looking at what's happened historically can give you a better sense of how to guestimate availability/chances:
Historical wait list info:
http://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/Enrollment%20Planning/Reports/Annual%20Enrollment/2016-17/Section%202.pdf

General enrollment reports:
http://www.seattleschools.org/cms/one.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=745564

But there's all kinds of other factors--tie breakers, siblings, geographic zones, how crowded the school is, if your child needs a particular program vs. general education, if you made it during the open enrollment window or if you're turning in your form after that, if the district moves the waitlists, etc. Ask people specific questions and they can give you more helpful answers for what you're considering.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Fairmount Parent, sometimes people like cohorts and sometimes they don't. I think that's your answer.

I did report last year that the Board agreed to the focus on AA males and there's a kind of educational trickle-down theory that as those students do better, other minorities will follow.

Anonymous said...

I have a question about Open Enrollment: I am a freshman at one of the new charter schools that opened up this fall. I am currently trying to apply to West Seattle Highschool during this years Open enrollment period (I live in the cheif sealth attendance area). What are my chances of getting my choice assignment, if I apply on time?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Anonymous, I'm being nice because you are a student but next time, per our guidelines, give yourself a name (Princess Leia, Nancy Drew, whatever).

West Seattle HS is nowhere near full so I would think you would get in. Chief Sealth is much fuller. But yes, apply on-time.

If you would like to talk about your experience in a charter school, I'd like to talk with you. Write me at sss.westbrook@gmail.com.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

NNE Mom, thanks.
k-5 mom

Anonymous said...

Race to the TOP money
and the results of
the Tennessee Achievement School District

RESULTS

School reformers made giant promises
and in most cases delivered nothing
or produced even worse results than before.

The promise was to raise schools from the bottom 5% into the top 25% in 5 years.

One moved to 9%
most are a 3% now after 6 years of "improvement".

This is reminiscent of the promises made by Maria Goodloe Johnson in her strategic plan. Ed reformers were sure big on grandiose promises. There was never any data or research on which these promises were based. Simply promoting baloney.

How much baloney is still being promoted?

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

unclear,
I think the principal is expected to do a better job with these students because he’s African American himself.

Fairmount Park

Anonymous said...

Interesting, our bus driver crossed the picket line and was there as usual this morning.
=scrambling=

Anonymous said...



What is up with the HCS AC. Seriously nothing burger here. Perhaps they knew that things were going to be sorted out (that the Board was going to kill the DeWolf and Geary amendment) but their silence has been deafening. In addition, the full onslaught by Kari Hanson and Wyeth Jesse on HCS is still in place. Their deceit on this matter is bordering on malpractice. How much do we pay them to hide information from the Board and to the public? Finally, Michael Tolley is still chipping away at HCC just like he killed spectrum one school at a time. HCC has three years and without a real Superintendent, who follows best practices, and not renta-cop Nyland we will be recreating the wheel once they leave.

zztopenish

Anonymous said...


I would ask that the Board suspend any contract with ThoughtExchange as it is garbage in garbage out and what did it help in this whole process? Nothing.

zztopenish

Melissa Westbrook said...

About the bus drivers, I understand that Sped students are still being transported. I also heard a few drivers have crossed the picket line because they so desperately need the job.

Yes, the district does spend money on a variety of interesting things that somehow don't pan out.

Anonymous said...

HWY don't we have metal detectors at our schools? Did you hear a 12 year old girl just shot two other kids at a Middle school in LA?

And every day it seems somebody is shot in Seattle.

madness

Anonymous said...

There is nothing being hidden from the board. The board can access any sps document or interview any sps employee if needed. The problem with SPS is that the boards have been historically weak on compliance and never seem to disapline any employees except for teachers.

Wake up

Anonymous said...

I am wondering why bus drivers are allowed to drive a bus home from work and park it in their driveway at night. I took pictures last night on 17th Ave. S.in Tukwila.

Anonymous said...

Help Melissa! Any recap of what went down last night? Am I blind or did the Seattle Times literally run NOTHING about the school board meeting last night? Are they not assigning any reporters to cover school board meetings? Seems none of our local media are paying attention to what's happening in SPS beyond HCC and "equity."

Concerned parent

Anonymous said...

Concerned parent, there's a good recap on the hcc blog:

http://discussapp.blogspot.com/2018/02/february-18-open-thread.html

help

Melissa Westbrook said...

Concerned Parent, I'll be honest - today is the anniversary of my husband's death three years ago. I've been dealing with that and I did not watch the Board meeting. Others did and I plan a thread from those accounts and I hope to at least watch the discussion on the resolutions.

As for the Times, they VERY much cover what they want. They are covering the superintendent search from the view - of some - that it should be stopped. I, too, was at the Work Session on the superintendent search and it was interesting.

But the Times is just not interested in real reporting but just reporting as pertains to their editorial POV.

Carol Simmons said...

Dear Melissa,

Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. Take your time to respond. Everyone will understand.

Anonymous said...

Melissa -- take care and thanks for all you do. help

Anonymous said...

Thoughts are with you, Melissa.

SAB

MathTeacher42 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Melissa Westbrook said...

The cruelty of some people knows no bounds.

Anonymous said...

Wow - I can't believe it has been three years. Seems like yesterday. Given how fleeting life is, I cannot believe how mean-spirited and truly foolish some people are.

Thanks for all you do Melissa.

-Cynic

Anonymous said...

My thoughts are with you and your family today, Melissa. Thank you for all you do.
asdf

Seattle Citizen said...

I was thinking about you yesterday, Melissa. My heart is with you.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Owler said...

When it comes to grief and loss, three years is so long and so short at the same time. Thoughts are with you, Melissa. Thanks for all you do.