Tuesday, June 19, 2018

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.
Only nine states and the District of Columbia require a full year of civics education, according to the Center for American Progress; 30 states mandate a half-year and 11 states have no mandates. Only one state, Maryland, and the District of Columbia, require community service and civics courses before a student graduates.

The reasons are varied, but many say that the increased focus on science and mathematics, as well as standardized tests, has squeezed out time that once would have been devoted to such courses.
Scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress state that in 2014, only 18 percent of 8th grade students scored “at” or “above proficient” in American History and 23 percent scored “at” or “above proficient” in civics.

A survey last year by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania found that 37 percent of those surveyed couldn’t name any of the rights guaranteed under the First Amendment and about 75 percent don’t know all three branches of government.
SPS is working on this issue as we speak with Director Rick Burke taking the lead for the Board.  From Web Hutchins, Ballard teacher, who champions and leads the Civics for All program:
  • King County Elections is doing all the publishing for the Ballard election, including custom Student Voters Pamphlets and ballots
  • Ballard high is doing an all school mock election pilot this fall
At a recent C&I committee meeting, there was discussion of this and it was noted they didn't have money for banners for schools to spark interest.  Then, later in the discussion, it was noted they wouldn't have bought them anyway because of what they said. I'm curious what they could have said that would give pause to district administrators.

Fascinating reading on where girls and boys do better at mathWhere Boys Outperform Girls in Math:Rich, White and Suburban Districts.
In much of the country, the stereotype that boys do better than girls at math isn’t true – on average, they perform about the same, at least through eighth grade. But there’s a notable exception.
In school districts that are mostly rich, white and suburban, boys are much more likely to outperform girls in math, according to a new study from Stanford researchers, one of the most comprehensive looks at the gender gap in test scores at the school district level.

“Something operates to help boys more than girls in some places and help girls more than boys in other places.”
You may recall I had asked "What is your why?" in an effort to try to get answers to questions you may have before the school year ends.  Sadly, not going to happen.  SPS lost its Communications person who handles that work and it looks like they won't be able to answer most questions. Sorry.
What's on your mind?

2018 Graduations Have Started

Image result for 2018 graduationBest 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


Sunday, June 17, 2018

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.

Given this letter, it seems like the Advanced Learning Task Force will be something of a hoax as staff moves forward with their plan for the program.  What the heck is the Task Force to do but toe this line?

(I'll do a separate thread on the various task forces and advisory committees and their makeups but for AL's it's some usual suspects, a couple of what I hope are happy surprises and, oddly, two people from the exact same non-profit.  How you get a group of people - 20 of them, at least one-third staff - from the same place when you had 70 applicants is a mystery.)

My observations:

Friday, June 15, 2018

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.
Image result for Eid-al-Fitr graphic

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:

Thursday, June 14, 2018

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, June 12, 2018

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:

Wow!  On a recent trip to Dharamshala, India, Lori Markowitz, representing the Youth Ambassador program at Denny Intl Middle School, presented the with a school "we all belong" sweatshirt as a gift from the Denny community!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

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.  McClure Middle School, 6:30-7:30 pm.

Tuesday, June 12th
Curriculum&Instruction Committee meeting, 4:30-6:30 pm at JSCEE.  Agenda.

Of interest:
- Annual Approval of Schools (C-SIPs) (Starosky)

1. High School/24 Credits Update (Perkins)
a. Proposal on Foundational Personal Fitness Course
b. Proposed Changes to Credit Attainment Policy
c. Professional Development Plans for High School

2. Instructional Materials Update (Kinoshita) 

- School Board Policy Nos. 2021, 2022, 2023 – Electronic Learning (Kinoshita/Krull)
- School Board Policy No. 2200 – Equitable Access to Programs and Services Quarterly Report 
Special Attention Items
1. Annual Assessment Report (Roach)
2. Advanced Learning Update (Hanson)
3. Counseling Update (Perkins)
4. Naviance Implementation Update (Perkins)

Wednesday, June 13th
 Magnolia Elementary Boundaries: 

Community Meeting to discuss updated information about setting boundaries for Magnolia Elementary School.  , 6:30-7:30 pm. Catherine Blaine K-8. 

Special Education PTSA Meeting,  JSCEE, 7-9 pm

Work Session for SMART Goals for 2018-2019, JSCEE from 4:30-7:30 pm (includes an Executive Session at the end) 

Thursday, June 14th
Work Session on Families & Education Levy, JSCEE from 5-6 pm (there will be an Executive Session immediately following the Work Session)

Executive Committee, JSEE from 3-5 pm.  No agenda yet available.

Maple and Van Asselt Boundary Change meeting, 6:30-7:30 pm, Maple Elementary.

No director community meetings Saturday, June 16th.

Friday, June 08, 2018

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 community meetings on Saturday:
Director Rick Burke - 4:00-5:30 pm at Greenwood Library

I'll have updated info soon on the use of Naviance.

What's on your mind?

Thursday, June 07, 2018

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:

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

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:

Sunday, June 03, 2018

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, June 01, 2018

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.