Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Tuesday Open Thread

The Times has an editorial about the new mandate from the state about a semester-long high school course in civics. 

Only those students who cover the topic in-depth as part of a more rigorous dual-credit class like AP or IB can avoid taking it.

Interestingly, the course also asks for students to learn the same civics section as is given in the naturalization test for immigrants to become citizens.

The temperature is going up in Kent SD as the Kent teachers union is asking for the resignation of their superintendent, Calvin J. Watts.  This is going to be a big story if he doesn't because I had a lengthy conversation with a parent there who has been tracking the story.  If you think SPS has communications problems, thank your stars you are not in Kent.  Closed door meetings where the Board takes votes, their Board rubberstamping the superintendent's wishes - it's not pretty.  There's a lot to unravel there.

What's also weird is that the superintendent would not allow some news groups into a press conference recently.  One of them was KIRO tv:
Kent parents and students protested outside the school district office Wednesday from 10 a.m. until well after 6 p.m. 

They’re worried about the 60 teaching positions that will be eliminated through attrition at the end of this school year, and some are calling for the district’s superintendent to be removed. 

“I’m really upset with the direction our district is going. It seems like they’re not supporting our teachers,” said Anna Andreski, a Kent parent.
Stay tuned.

If the City of Seattle really wants to help SPS, they should read the Seattle Times story about homeless students in SPS:
Homeless kids make up 4-8 percent of students at every grade level in Seattle, except the 12th, where they account for 13 percent.

Students without a stable place to live attend almost every public school in Seattle, but some have many more than others." - and have varying levels of support for them, and the educators who serve them.
I've seen this firsthand and while schools try very hard, they cannot control what happens in a child's life.  The City probably could solve this problem for children in our city - that's a much smaller population than single adults who are homeless - and Mayor Murray said he would.  Wonder what Mayor Durkan might be thinking?  Oh, that's right - take away family support workers in schools for her Promise program for SPS grads to go to community college.  Not sure I think that makes sense.

The only meeting in SPS this week is on Friday; it's the BEX Oversight Committee meeting, from 8:30-10:30 pm at JSCEE.

There are no director community meetings this weekend.  I did attend part of the first one for new director DeWolf last night.  There was a large contingent of parents/teachers from World School where all is definitely not well.  They lost six teachers (of 20) last year and several more are seriously considering leaving.  There appears to be a lack of faith in the leadership at the school in Principal Oksana Britsova. You might recall that Ms. Britsova had last been principal at The Center School where there was also some unhappiness about her leadership skills.

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

More sad news for Puerto Rico.



Melissa Westbrook said...

Yeah, you'd think they would learn after New Orleans and their so-called "miracle" of public education by creating a charter district.

Anonymous said...

Ugh, that story about the World School is awful. SPS' war on option schools continues.

Speaking of option schools, curious about recent experiences at Salmon Bay. A few years ago it was really highly regarded for its teaching philosophy, especially in kindergarten. Is that still the case, or has the narrowing and standardizing of the curriculum happened there too?

Coho Cove

Anonymous said...

How different is the Civics class they are talking about than the Government class most seniors take? My kid registered to vote, had to work on an election, etc.


Anonymous said...

Dear Hamilton International Middle School community,

I am pleased to announce that Mr. Dorian Manza has been selected as the new principal for Hamilton International Middle School. As the current principal of Lawton Elementary, and as a prior assistant principal of Whitman Middle School, Mr. Manza brings a strong background in instructional leadership that will benefit the students, staff, and community of Hamilton. His focus on relationships, collaboration, family engagement, racial equity, and the social-emotional well-being of all students stood out during his interview with the Hamilton hiring team. He is excited to continue the work around strengthening the newly announced dual-language pathway to Lincoln High School, as well as the overall academic achievement of all students served by the Hamilton instructional community.

In addition to his leadership at Lawton and Whitman, Mr. Manza has also served on our Principal Professional Development team, helping to lead the learning that all our principals receive around race, equity, instruction, and systems improvement. Prior to coming to Seattle in 2011, Mr. Manza served as a Dean of Students and middle school classroom teacher with Edmonds School District. He is excited to return to working with middle school students, staff, and families.

Mr. Manza is a graduate of the Washington State University, and earned his Master of Educational Leadership and his principal credentials from City University.

Thank you to Tipton Blish for his leadership as principal at Hamilton International Middle School for the past three years.

Mr. Manza is committed to building on the strong foundation Principal Blish and the Hamilton staff have created.

Principal Manza is looking forward to working with the Hamilton students, staff, families and community members to make a difference for each student, every day. Mr. Manza’s official start date will be July 1, 2018, however, I know he will spend significant amounts of time in the coming weeks and months to meet with Mr. Blish, the staff, and especially the students and families to ensure a strong transition for the Hamilton community.

Please join me in welcoming Mr. Dorian Manza to the Hamilton International School community.


Mike Starosky, Ed.D.

Assistant Superintendent, Chief of Schools

- Wallymom

Anonymous said...

What's "the newly announced dual-language pathway to Lincoln High School"? I must have missed that announcement.

I also have to wonder how--and whether--the new Hamilton principal defines equity. If he's a current SPS leader in this area, I assume HIMS can expect more of the same vague and opportunistic usage of the term and efforts to address it.

Rain rain

Student Safety said...

I heard Seattle Councilmember Lorena Gonzales speak. She is upset that Seattle schools suspends students that carry guns into schools. Where does she stand on student safety??
She was pushing the city's preschool program.

Anonymous said...

“At the risk of stating the obvious, ADHD is not an illness.  Rather, it is an unreliable and disempowering label for a loose collection of arbitrarily chosen and vaguely defined behaviors.  ADHD has been avidly promoted as an illness by pharma-psychiatry for the purpose of selling stimulant drugs.  In which endeavor, they have been phenomenally successful, but, as in other areas of psychiatry, the hoax is unraveling.”


Attention Please

Melissa Westbrook said...

Student Safety, where did you hear CM Gonzalez speak?

Attention Please, ADHD is more commonly classified as a disorder. What is your point in posting this?

Jet City mom said...

Isnt Gonzalez chair of the city public safety committee?
That seems an odd statement for her to make. I cannot find any written reports, do you have a link?
Did she make this statement at a council meeting?

Anonymous said...

A warning to all REMS parents! There is an epidemic of students using over the counter cold syrup with dextromethorphan (triple C). A dozen students from REMS were taken to the ER last week when students shoplifted the syrup from area stores and consumed high doses.

The school staff were aware of a growing problem for months but failed to warm parents of the danger.

Please talk to your children about the dangers. 20% of people can have dangerous reactions to over the counter cold remedies containing dextromethorphan.

MS Parent

Student Safety said...

Gonzales is the chair of Safe Communities and New Americans and Education.

Gonzales was participating in a panel discussion on gun safety. The event took place at the 34th District Democrats. The event was recorded.

She seemed to imply that the city's prek program would help. I have to wonder if Gonzales will support a levy that would support prek and college, and defund family support workers.

I'm not a fan of the city being involved in our education system. They are not elected to the Seattle School Board and they will have too many dollars to influence education policy. IMO, city dollars should be used to provide wrap around services. I felt her comment reflected total lack of understanding regarding the complexities of our system.

Student Safety said...

Clearly, MS parent's comment indicates that our teachers need help. Our schools need wrap around services.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Lorena González, not "Gonzales." Let's be respectful about other people's names (if you don't know how to do the accent on your computer, okay, but get the spelling right).

I will have to look that discussion up on YouTube.

Anonymous said...

Sad to hear World School is having leadership issues. This school could be so good and serve a very fragile school community. Same with Sealth. Miss Fraser-Hammer needs to go. For the sake of the students, teachers and families. Why is she still there? It’s beyond me

Anonymous said...

By my count, the new Lawton principal will be the 6th principal in 10 years. That seems like a lot of churn. What happened to the others?

Ex Lawton

Melissa Westbrook said...

Anonymous, no anonymous comments (please read the policy above):

"Anonymous said...

Sad to hear World School is having leadership issues. This school could be so good and serve a very fragile school community. Same with Sealth. Miss Fraser-Hammer needs to go. For the sake of the students, teachers and families. Why is she still there? It’s beyond me."

Ex Lawton, I don't know but this pattern - of sending principals in and out of schools - needs to stop. It is bad for communities.

In fact, the issue of principals needs to be addressed by the new superintendent and the Board. Executive Directors are NOT helping the situation and there are far too many communities that get principals who have shifted around from school to school.

If they can exit teachers, they can exit principals.

Ali said...

Melissa, the principal issue is HUGE. My kids are at Lowell (4th principal in 5 years, on 3rd interim principal this year right now). I agree that the Board and Superintendent need to come up with clear, concrete ways of intervening and setting the ship right when building leadership fails. Interested to hear your ideas and thoughts on that.

Anonymous said...

Oops my apologies. And yes, principals should be exited if they are not doing their job. It’s called accountability.
Frustrated Parent

Anonymous said...

Well I at least the Principal of WMS is going and that was overdue. What is odd is that the promote many of the "failed" Principals into Admin gigs and then they spread their stink everywhere.

I have subbed a long time in this district and the World School is a hot mess and has been for quite some time. I suspect that the building they are in wont be for long as it was an elementary school and with the district growing that will be needed in the future and should have never been closed but that too was with a rotating cast of Superintendents who put her closer in there. Follow his trail of tears when he was in the district.

But for those at Hamilton I have worked with Manza he is a good one and he survived Whitman which is still a mess.

There are few and far between good Principals and they too don't last long either as the system spits them up. But they overall are few and far between. And I agree that poor woman at Sealth should have gone long ago and she might have been more successful at a smaller school, different grade level anything but nope they don't do that either. They just shuffle the cards and dish them to the next player and hope that hand holds.

-Super Sub

Anonymous said...

So how is Whitman a mess? I know the roof leaks, there's little heat in the classrooms and the parking lot is a pothole farm, but at least students or not overdosing on dextromethorphan like at REMS. If schools are not safe it's JSCEE fault. When will the board start reducing central administration cost and control.

-broken record

Anonymous said...

I think the school is run down and as for students I don't comment on them. Adults on the other hand that are public servants and are responsible to the taxpayer yes.

I do think that when you have a neglected school it can contribute to other problems. I am also one to loathe portables and we use them too much. Whitman deserves better, the community deserves better. As for REMS I have never subbed there I don't love the area frankly (I use public transport) so I am not one to even comment on that school in any regard.

- Super Sub

Melissa Westbrook said...

"Follow his trail of tears when he was in the district."

Who are you talking about here; I can't follow.

"If schools are not safe it's JSCEE fault."

And again,for clarity, are you talking about facilities or personal safety?

I do have to say that the middle school buildings have real issues and I hope a couple will get address in BEX V.

Anonymous said...

Sorry I was so unclear "I suspect that the building they are in (referencing the World School) will return to be a elementary school (which it once was TT Minor) and given the districts history this reminded me of the TT Minor Principal who effectively shut that school down, wreaked havoc at another with what was believed an attempt to drop enrollment and in turn close it - Lowell. That has well established pattern in SPS.. follow the bouncing Principals they go to schools that have the two strikes - under enrollment and decaying buildings - Pinehust comes to mind and before that the K-12 where Jane Addams is then they change the programs build new schools and all is right with the world. Whitman may be next...

I did not comment on safety issues of any kind and cannot help you there

I hope that clarifies that for you...

- Super Sub

Anonymous said...

If schools have water pouring on floors creating hazards that's JSCEE fault.

If schools have potholes that can cause damage or injuries that's JSCEE fault

If school officals are not notifing students and parents of know dangerous activities like known drugs on a MS campus thats JSCEE fault.

If school security is engaging in sexual harassment and the administrators fail to take action thats JSCEE fault.

We spend too much money on centralized administration for these type of problems. Fire enough people at JSCEE to fix the roof, fix the parking lot and hire school security that have a sense of decency.

-broken record

NESeattleMom said...

I had to look up to remember REMS. That is alarming about the substance misuse at that beautiful new school. With the location next to the low-barrier homeless camp with drug use allowed, they should really be trying to make school a safe place for our students. Really upsetting to me that this was happening, if it was.

Anonymous said...

There have been reports of numerous issues with "street people" at REMS. Thankfully so far no children have been hit by cars on 90th and Aurora as feared.


Anonymous said...

There were issues at Wilson Pacific long before the nearby low barrier homeless camp. There was clear evidence of after hours activity on site. The design of the new buildings should have increased safety (well, except that they didn't listen to some of the suggestions to design for after hours safety). The previous campus had little to no safety measures in large part to its sprawling open design.

just fyi

Anonymous said...

Please desist from using the offensive term, “street people.” People are people regardless of where or how they live. Dehumanizing language demonstrates dehumanizing thought.

For progress