Showing posts from June, 2018

Friday Open Thread

 Happy 80th birthday to public education champion, Diane Ravitch. This weekend sees the opening of the Special Olympics in Seattle .

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.

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&#

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 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?  

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.

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 :

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

Best 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.  

Update on Kindergarten First Day Of School

I queried the district about this issue and this was their response: Thank you for contacting Seattle Public Schools with your concerns about the overlap of Rosh Hashanah with the first day of Kindergarten. We acknowledge the difficult choice this presents for families who naturally want their children to be a part of significant observances in all aspects of their lives. Like other districts, Seattle is working to reconcile operational exigencies like labor contracts with the traditions significant within an increasingly multicultural community. Our hope is to find a way, through opportunities afforded by our transition process, to make each child’s first day special, whenever it occurs - as you can see in a posting on the SPS home page

Hamilton Moves to Garfield Model for Spectrum Students

Or, at least, that is what the letter sent home by the principal would seem to indicate.  Then letter is printed in its entirety at the end of this post but I'll put out different statements.  (Also, fyi, Hamilton parents, that principal, Tipton Blish, is leaving.) I've said this before - I might not have as much of a problem with the changes to Advanced Learning IF everyone at JSCEE was being honest about what they are doing.  Changes are not just a Thurgood Marshall thing or Garfield thing and now, Hamilton thing.  This is an Advanced Learning  program change. And let me just say to those in the district who have anything to do with the program - what a bunch of cowards.  Stand up for what you believe and clearly explain it to ALL parents.  Don't use your principals as proxies.

Seattle Public Schools enters apparel agreement with Cloud 9

From Office of Public Affairs SEATTLE – Seattle Public Schools announced a three-year deal today that makes Adidas the official athletic uniform partner for the district’s athletics program following a competitive bid process. The agreement with Cloud 9 Sports, which is an official Adidas distributor, will be in effect through the 2020-2021 school year.

Religious Accomodation in Public Schools

Sometimes it's hard to understand how SPS functions as it does.  I know (because I know the people) that SPS has many talented, bright people.  But then there's issues like the current upset over the 2018-2019 school calendar which has kindergarten starting on Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year).


On this last day of Ramadan, Happy Eid-al-Fitr to our Muslim readers.

Lincoln High School Issues

I have a new policy of cutting off Open Threads when I write the next one but I see at the Tuesday Open Thread that several people had started a discussion about Lincoln High.  Below are those comments and now here's a thread to continue that discussion on.

Friday Open Thread

 Quick - what American has spent the most time in space?  That would be Peggy Whitson who is retiring from NASA.  Show the kids this article from NASA.

District Updates

Lots of good news in the last Friday Memo from Superintendent Nyland including:

BEX V Work Session

The Board had a Work Session on May 30th about BEX V.  Director DeWolf was the only Board member not attending.

Tuesday Open Thread

Congrats to Nathan Hale - national girls high school frisbee champs! Speaking of Hale, tonight they are having a welcome dinner for incoming new students .  Good for them. Is that the Dalai Lama with a Denny shirt?  Yup.  From SPS Twitter: @ SeaPubSchools Wow!  On a recent trip to Dharamshala, India, Lori Markowitz, representing the Youth Ambassador program at Denny Intl Middle School, presented the @ DalaiLama with a school "we all belong" sweatshirt as a gift from the Denny community! # SPSConnects

Seattle Schools, Week of June 11-16, 2018

Quite a busy week as we roll up to the end of the school year. Of special interest - a district survey on communications. Monday, June 11th Audit& Finance Committee meeting , 4:30-6:30 pm at JSCEE.  Agenda .  Among the items on the jam-packed agenda, I see these ones of interest: Items Requiring Board Action 1. BAR: City of Seattle Families & Education Levy (FEL) CBO’s (Stone) 5. BAR: Private Schools Proportional Share Services (Mills) 9. BAR: Economic Stabilization Fund (Berge) 10. BAR: Resolution 2017/18-18, Fixing and Adopting the 2018-19 Budget (Berge/Sebring) Special Attention Items - Policy & Procedure Update: 5253 Maintaining Staff/Student Boundaries (Codd) - Annual Report: JSCEE bonds/building update (Fleming) - Notification of Contract Exceeding $250,000: Project Management & Quality Assurance (Berge) Magnolia Elementary Boundaries: Community Meeting to discuss updated information about setting boundaries for Magnolia Elementary School.  McClur

News Roundup and What is Your Why

From the NW Asian Weekly: A Seattle school principal will not return for the 2018-19 school year.

Great Turnout for Franklin High School Call to Action

Hundreds and hundreds of Franklin students came out today to line Rainier Ave S in a call to action following the death of senior Ryan Dela Cruz last weekend.   Wearing bright orange t-shirts, they stood for an hour, shouting and waving. Supported by many Franklin staffers, the students made their voices heard. I also talked to several people including a couple of students from Washington Middle School (whose mom allowed them to join the action). A big shout-out to this restaurant in the photo below that generously offered bathrooms and water to the students.  

Curriculum and Instruction Board Committee Meeting Round-Up (including Naviance Updates)

 I attended the Curriculum & Instruction meeting on May 15th; Rick Burke was chairing with Zachary DeWolf in attendance and Jill Geary on the phone. I will make a plea to department heads and directors that I have made in the past; for all documentation there should be a title, who created it, department, date and contact info.  I just don't get why this is so hard to do.

Friday Open Thread

Update: OSPI is looking for members for the Washington State Dyslexia Advisory Council. Deadline is July 12th. It's been a tough week for celebrity deaths and, for the purposes of this blog, the school-aged children they left behind.  News came earlier this week that fashion designer, Kate Spade, who was an inspiration to many women for her work and her person, killed herself.  Today we learn that world-class chef and traveler, Anthony Bourdain, has also killed himself.  Both leave behind daughters. Please, talk about suicide with your children.  Doesn't have to be super heavy or dwell on details but let them know that life, well, with all it's ups and downs, IS beautiful.  And, there IS help and light at the end of the tunnel.  Suicide Hotline King County Resources And, today is a Call to Action at Franklin High School in memory of senior, Ryan Dela Cruz, who was killed in a Seattle park last week.  I'll be participating in the events. Director communit

Ed News Roundup

Our favorite secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, had this interchange with Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont about the new taskforce on school safety.  Note her kinda creepy smile thru most of it. From the AP:

Let SPS Know if You Are Leaving

It should go without saying but there are students on waitlists.  If you are not going to be in SPS next year, please let them know now (the sooner the better). 

Tuesday Open Thread

Sad news to report; a Franklin High senior was shot and killed while hanging with friends in a park and telling ghost stories.  From the Franklin website:

Seattle Schools, Week of June 4-9, 2018

Monday, June 4th Update: apparently even though Juneau will be around the district in June, her first official day is July 1. This marks the first day of the Denise Juneau administration.  Welcome, Superintendent Juneau and thank you to Superintendent Larry Nyland.

Last Words from Superintendent Larry Nyland

Final words from Superintendent Nyland, The Journey of Transitioning: Looking Back to Move Forward (partial):

Parents, Teachers and Communication

As this school year winds down, I see two articles from teachers about student behavior in the classroom and trying to talk to parents about those issues.

Friday Open Thread

Following up on the Lowell Stevens Elementary story about a deranged man who entered the school some weeks back (because apparently the police couldn't handle the situation early on), the district let me know that the man did enter the building via a gym door that was open because kids were using the gym and the playground.  Normally, those doors are locked when not in use so the school had no real way of preventing this event. The district had a raising of a pride flag and a transgender flag this morning at JSCEE to kick-off Gay Pride month.