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.

Join senior leaders, board directors, families, staff and students as we raise the rainbow flag and the transgender pride flag outside the JSCEE for the first time at the district office. Mini flags and refreshments available!
To note, the work for the long-promised overpass on Lander is underway.  JSCEE is on Lander between 3rd and 4th Avenues and Lander is now closed from 1st to 3rd Avenue.  This makes accessing the building a challenge so keep that in mind for the foreseeable future.  From KING-5:
Lander will be closed to traffic from 1st Avenue S. to 3rd Avenue S. as crews build the new overpass, which is scheduled to be completed in early 2020. More than 13,000 drivers use the route each day.

Drivers can use S. Holgate or S. Spokane streets as alternate routes. The Seattle Department of Transportation says pedestrian and bicycle access will be maintained, along with access to businesses along Lander Street. 
Also to note for this weekend is the closing of northbound I-5 lanes from the West Seattle bridge to Olive Way.  This starts tonight at 8 pm and ends Monday at 5 am.  Plan accordingly.

Cleveland High students got a big surprise this week - a visit from the Seahawks who had a gift for the school.   From SPS Communications:
When Cleveland High School's football team suit’s up next year, they will be doing so with new equipment thanks in part to a $20,000 donation from the Seattle Seahawks.
The announcement came at the start of Cleveland’s first annual Talon Awards, an event co-sponsored by the Seahawks to recognize Cleveland athletes, and brought a roar of cheers from the crowd that filled Cleveland's gym. Seahawks players Tedric Thompson, Marcus Smith and Dion Jordan took the stage with a pair of Sea Gals and mascots Blitz and Boom to present the oversized check to the Eagles football team.
I can add that this is truly great but I believe they still have field issues that haven't been addressed by the district.

No director community meetings tomorrow as the Board is having a retreat at JSCEE from 9:00am to 1:30 pm at JSCEE.  It is open to the public but no comments are allowed.  The agenda is pretty minimal so it's hard to say exactly what they will be discussing.  I do find it odd - that at the near end of the school year - they are doing team-building exercises.

A big shout-out to Montlake Elementary for raising money to give to Lowell Elementary.  From Lowell PTA:
We want to give huge thanks to the Montlake PTA, whose membership recently voted to donate 5% of their projected revenue in 2018–19 ($10,300!) to Lowell Elementary.

Montlake is just over the hill from Lowell, and the Montlake PTA wanted to help Lowell as a Title I (high poverty) school within the same Meany Middle School cluster—i.e., many of our kids are and will be classmates together at Meany.

With our many challenges and high turnover rate (in addition to 65% of Lowell students qualifying for Free and Reduced Lunch, upwards of 30% are homeless and 40% leave within the school year), Lowell doesn’t have the ability to fund-raise within our school community at the level of Montlake and other schools, so this gift really makes a big difference.

Let’s all keep working towards the day that all of our schools are funded adequately—but in the meantime, thank you to the Montlake PTA for showing solidarity and helping us work toward equitable funding!
I'll have a thread this weekend on the Work Session for BEX V; many important items discussed.  One issue that came up was from Facilities head, Flip Herndon, on the district having so few interim buildings.  News from the West Seattle blog on one empty building:
(From the district): The Roxhill Elementary School program is moving into the newly renovated E.C. Hughes building in time for the 2018-19 school year. The Roxhill school building will not close but instead become the home to other Seattle Public Schools programs and services. To learn more about these programs and services, please join us for a community meeting on Thursday, June 7, from 6-7 p.m. in the Roxhill Library, 9430 30th Ave. SW. Seattle Public Schools staff will share information and answer your questions.
We’re following up with the district to see what advance information is available regarding the aforementioned “programs and services.” The building, in poor shape, was at one point under consideration for a possible rebuild/rehab in the BEX V levy (still being developed for next year’s ballot), but we noted at the time of the West Seattle levy-planning meeting last month that it had vanished from the list.

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

Lowell parent here. We found out moments ago that our new principal will be Dr. Sarah Talbot, starting July 1, formerly of Laurelhurst. Lowell has had a rough go of it lately, Dr. Talbot will be (I think) our 5th principal in the last 6-7 years. That is if you don't count the 4 substitute principals we've had this year. Dr. Stump missed 4 months this year before she was finally let go (or resigned, it isn't clear). The first Google hit when I looked up Dr. Talbot (a petition to have her fired from Laurelhurst) wasn't reassuring, but I'm trying to keep an open mind. The narrative from the district is that she is a good principal but intolerant parents from Laurelhurst became upset when SPED and SEL programs were located there (which may have pulled down academic test scores), and the parents freaked out. I'm not exactly filled with confidence by this hire, but honestly, nearly anyone would be better than Dr. Stump, who was a disaster for our school. Even a below average principal would be an improvement over Dr. Stump.

Anonymous said...

Go have fun and support High School Theatre:
Urinetown @ Garfield High School
Fiddler on the Roof @ Ingraham & Roosevelt
and I'm sure there are a lot more!

Anonymous said...

If the district narrative refers to parents as "intolerant", then I think this speaks volumes about the central administration's attitude about parents and families.


Anonymous said...

I worked with Sarah Talbot years ago (we were both teachers then). She seemed reasonable. Good Luck. -TeacherMom

Anonymous said...

The idea that some parents at Laurelhurst are intolerant doesn't seem so crazy after you read this KUOW piece:

- Lowell Parent

Anonymous said...

that hurts to read


Leslie said...

Re: Team Building exercises at the end of the year.....

Not odd at all - first, SPS work continues year-round; second, can’t have too much team-building: break down the silos and increase collaboration for our students and community.

Come on down - it’s a public meeting, you are welcome; and Supt. Designee Juneau will be joining us!


Leslie Harris
SPS Board President, Director, Dist. 6

Cap hill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cap hill said...

@Lowell Parent, try re-reading the same article again and separating the commentary from the actual parent emails. Which seem more intolerant to you - parents asking questions, or the commentary explicitly calling them racists for asking this questions? The questions seem to be reasonable questions. They are not malicious and there is no content in the questions that suggest any race or class of person deserves any less than any other class or race. And finally, they are questions - meaning they are an invitation to a discussion.

Where they got into trouble on this was not adhering precisely to the dogma that Seattle progressives want to be repeated and not questioned. What Seattle progressives demand is akin to the email written by the parent that parrots the dogma "our white privilege and the community's lack of awareness is infuriating..."

We've somehow gotten to a place in America where people can make statements that align very closely with what Dr King said 50 years ago - that all lives should matter equally - and be called racists.

Isn't that where we are all actually trying to get to? Perhaps you are the intolerant one?

Anonymous said...

It is profoundly unprofessional for the school district officials to vilify any groups of parents and families (whom they have been hired to serve) during the course of the execution of their very well paid jobs. It should be grounds for immediate dismissal.


Anonymous said...

I agree with Capitol Hills analysis. I actually think it was very healthy to have a meaningful opportunity to engage in a conversation that is not one sided. Why is Seattle so intolerant of questions that may lead to a better understanding? I completely understand the concerns the parents raised ex what about other children of color, Native American's and other students etc. However, I agree that having a particular movement called Black Lives Matter has value and its place. The parents should be given an explanation to understand this viewpoint. It does not make them racist (a very loaded term) for bringing up their concerns, that includes the parent whose child came home feeling badly about her race being white and her father who is a policeman. That shuts down the conversation and is not productive. People in Seattle need to really chill out with the inflammatory labeling and name calling ("your white privilege", "racist" etc) in favor of having a true meaningful conversation that explains the rationale. The labels lead to defensiveness, hostility, confusion and shut down meaningful conversations about race. Sometimes meaningful conversations can be uncomfortable.
NW mom

Anonymous said...

@Cap hill

Dr. Martin Luther King was talking about fundamentally evolving to a legally discrimination free society. He was not suggesting that we could get there by sustaining the old alliances, attitudes and legal barriers to such an ideal. Being tone deaf to the reality of his remarks and co-opting then to bolster your own confused polemics, is beyond the pale. Outward support of obvious racist remarks in the KUOW report identify you as reactionary on this issue and support the experience of many of us who have heard the coded playground conversations for years.

Kudos to Lowell parent for daring to post here.

All together

Anonymous said...

Lowell parent said: "The idea that some parents at Laurelhurst are intolerant doesn't seem so crazy after you read this KUOW piece."

Uh, I'm willing to bet that there are some racist parents at every school--and not just white patents, either.

I assume there are racist teachers, school administrators, and district officials, too. Again, across racial lines. We may not have the emails or conversation transcripts to post, but if we did, I think we'd be appalled. Laurelhurst is probably not an exception.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

All Together,

You know what's truly "deplorable, laughable and you know it" is the white Parent Leader of Equity in HCC getting her kid in the program by private appeal, and then working covertly with the district to remove private appeals for HCC. Why? Because she wants to prevent privileged white people from getting into the program. The irony is utterly perverse.
Where's the laugh track on this farce. Shrill denunciations of white privilege while knowingly, unrepentantly partaking of unearned rewards is progressive hypocrisy at its finest.


Anonymous said...


What do your remarks have to do with the linked KUOW piece and failure of posters to condemn racism, anywhere, outright and without equivocation?


Anonymous said...

Puzzled, the title of the KUOW piece is "To Understand White Liberal Racism" and I just provided a prime example of white liberal racism and duplicity. Further connection...the white Parent Leader of Equity in HCC solicits press from KUOW, who obviously either don't do any research on their sources or share the same myopic view of the having-your-cake-and-eating-it-too white progressive.


Anonymous said...

@Puzzled, I "condemn racism, anywhere, outright and without equivocation," but that doesn't mean I think it doesn't exist in most of our schools. That would be naive.

I also condem racism when it comes in the form of statements from SPS board members, such as Blanford's various comments to the effect that white parents are racist.

Painting with a broad brush, as the article very much does, is not helpful. It could have been a good starting point for a discussion about to sensitively and appropriately discuss difficult topics with kids of different ages--since we all know the district does a crappy job with curriculum development--but the author took the lazy way out and added fuel to the fire.


Anonymous said...

Ask the people at Broadview Thompson about her reign there and when she first arrived at Laurelhurst and failed to attend a PTSA meeting.

She managed to stay at RBHS for a whopping year. She is a prize like many in SPS has that they place via a roulette wheel. I am surprised they did not put her at Emerson which is another school that they bump and dump Principals.

I have lost count over the varying Principal scandals, turn and burn over the years. Yet some that should have been removed remain. Hmm.

- Former Teacher

Anonymous said...

How Shoreline engages with all parents. This went out via email this week: https://www.shorelineschools.org/cms/lib/WA02217114/Centricity/Domain/90/Hi-Cap%20newsletter%20Spring%205.31%20update%20copy.pages.pdf

Shoreline news seems to respect HC students, not vilify them.

NW parent

Anonymous said...

I am always amazed when I ask my colleagues who live in Shoreline about their schools. Families seem to be respected and kids get educated with a minimum of drama. SPS has 53,000 students and Shoreline has more like 10,000. I tend to feel, anecdotally, that 10,000 is probably a good maximum size for a school district. Often it is suggested that SPS be split into to districts. But no one ever considers splitting it 5 ways. People worry that this will increase administration too much butI think doing so would make the individual directors more responsive to their constituents. Anyway, just my 2 cents.


Anonymous said...

I heard we were heading towards the Shoreline District model of serving single subject gifted. I'm surprised how few kids participate in walk to math, I think SPS has a much higher percentage. They also require HC students who go to the magnet schools to provide their own transportation to their local school and then will bus the kids to the magnet site. The kids can't take the regular bus to their local as the magnet bus leaves early.


Anonymous said...

@v Parent- Your analysis is spot on. It would not increase administration if the administration was split along with the districts. There are tons of examples of very well run smaller districts that function so much better than SPS. SPS should be split into 4 or 5 districts comparable to Shoreline and other districts.

Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear that "Dr" Sarah Talbot is being foisted on another school. If you want the real scoop, talk to the staff at Broadview or Laurelhurst.

Happily Retired

Anonymous said...

I think that the deranged man on the school grounds at Lowell Elementary being referenced here was actually incorrectly attributed to Lowell as I believe it happened at Stevens elementary per your earlier post on May 11. Please update accordingly if this is in fact correct. The Lowell community has enough to contend with and doesn’t need yet another reason to be stressed about the safety of their children’s school environment unnecessarily. https://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/2018/05/friday-open-thread_11.html?m=1

Disappointed said...

Enormously disappointed that KUOW's reporter - Isole Raferty - would publicly shame and humiliate a 5 and 9 year old child.

Many in the legislature were/are opposed to having all their e-mails available via public record requests. They understand the complex issue of having sensitive information getting into the hands of certain people.

Remember this story the next time you have a sensitive issue and decide to write the district, school board or teacher.

It is conceivable that Raferty's piece is part of a larger political agenda.

A couple years ago, a couple of legislators wanted to split the district. There was not support. Doe to levy issues, south end schools would receive less funding.

Anonymous said...

At least the personal information was deleted. The children are anonymous in the report. The problem in the KUOW story, from my POV, is that the reporter was seeking facts to support her story, rather than what a decent reporter would do (make/write a story based on the facts).

On this blog recently, a student's HCC entrance information was printed, along with identifers for the parent/child for all to see.

The "excuse" given by the moderator is that the parent had made that information public in the past.

Now, people are using that as a reference to publicly shame the parent and student. That is what is referenced above.

Just because the parent is a hypocrite doesn't mean it's okay to publicly trash the kid. If the parent wants to share the information in a forum, that's her business.

Spreading that information, as a means of discounting the message of the parent, is very low indeed.

Can't blame the child for the sins of the parent. That is why any decent publication (newspaper or blog) keeps children's information confidential, even when they know the information.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Thanks for that link, NW. I'm going to send it to the Board so they can see what a real program looks like.

Sorry about that Lowell link; it was Stevens.

Deleted, if you think the parent putting that info on her student out in the public then makes it wrong for me to report it, that's your take. I don't think most people would think that especially since I don't know the child's name (and many mothers have different last names than their children). I think the parent should be ashamed for admitting to using one tactic to get her child in a program and then publicly trying to get rid of it on "equity" grounds.

No one is trashing anyone's child.

As for keeping info confidential, I'd ask you to ask any reporter - the Times, the Stranger - how they would have printed it.

And, I never printed the gender or the name of the parent.

Watching said...

Upcoming meeting on the Family and Education Levy:


TechyMom said...

There was so much potential at Lowell. My first flips into how badly administrative mistakes can ruin a school. My kid was in the first gen ed kindergarten class there, and it was a wonderful place that first year. I loved the diversity (14 first languages in the class) and the small classes. We raised a lot of money, and had a comprehensive before/after program with scholarships. The second year was just ok, as we loved the teacher, but not the principal who was trying to fire her. We left after that, when it became clear that the options were either over-crowding or mostly empty.

TechyMom said...

*glimpse not flip.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I fear that Lowell, like Graham Hill of years past, is seeing this principal merry-go-round impact their school greatly. I wish the Board would have some kind of moratorium on this kind of movement.

BLTcurious said...

I have seen descriptions of Building Leadership Teams for SPS schools that have elected parent representatives, can anyone point me to where that is specified? also anyone can point to the latest guidance on PTA representation in the BLT. At our school parent representatives are appointed by the principal and the PTA was told they could not have a representative in the BLT for next year.

Disappointed said...

I can only hope that neither The Stranger nor the Seattle Times would have the decency not to post an email between a parent and teacher that involves a 5 and 9 year old child.

There is something strange about KUOW's story.

Melissa Westbrook said...

BLT Curious, here's some info:

- BLTs are part of the Eliminating Opportunity Gaps policy so that should be noted to your principal and Executive Director.
- look up your school's CSIP report and see if it specifies who is on the BLT
- the BLT is embedded in the SEA contract. It says on page 18 that each school gets to decide the make-up of the committee but it also says:

"The Building Leadership Team/Program Leadership Team and building/program committees shall include parent/family members, students, and community representatives as appropriate. Building-based committees will seek input from other organizational structures (e.g., PTSA, site council) as appropriate."

There's "shall" not "must" so I think a principal/teachers might say they don't have to include parents.

Board policy also supports including parents.

What school is this?

Anonymous said...

The motivations for this story are about as opaque as cellophane and old as Job: DISCREDIT your opposer.

The KUOW piece was published Jun. 16, 2017 which coincided with the Families of Laurelhurst Change.org petition to remove Talbot from Laurelhurst.

So it appears that Talbot's opponents - in this case, some Laurelhurst families, were unfairly discredited through press and two Board allies with the new progressive scarlet letter, "R".

There's not even a modicum of finesse in this bald attempt at subterfuge, but, hey, it worked. Talbot did keep her job.

Even though the authors of the emails are redacted due to FERPA, did you notice there is only one particular email whose name is not redacted? The same person is quoted throughout the article. Jill Geary.

I'd love to see Board Directors presented with a detailed churn rate analysis with historical trends by school of Principals, staff and students. Included could be optional exit interview type questions on why they left and where they went.

If what Lowell Parent said above is true, I find it extremely unfair that Lowell has so high a Principal churn rate. If equity concerns are such an issue, this situation raises significant red flags with children bearing the brunt.


Seattle Citizen said...

Regarding Building Leadership Teams (BLTs):
They are a contracted part of the management of building/programs, as contracted in the Collective Bargaining Agreement between management and labor, between District and employees. The language in the CBA states that "Building Leadership Team/Program Leadership Team and building/program committees shall include parent/family members, students, and community representatives as appropriate. Building-based committees will seek input from other organizational structures (e.g., PTSA, site council) as appropriate." As you can see, there is wiggle room for HOW parent/guardians and/or PTSA reps are included on BLT, but not IF they are - they should be on the BLT but a principal selecting them would not be a breach of the contract.
There is not a way I can think of to VOTE parent/guardians in, so it would likely be volunteer, then principal or BLT approves.

GOOD BLTs have both parent/guardians AND students on them.

The structure and purposes of the BLT can be found on Page 10 of the CBA.
Collective Bargaining Agreement

Seattle Citizen said...

Oops, CBA didn't link.

Here is the Seattle Education Association page with contracts on it. BLT info is on page 10 of Certificated Contract.

SEA Contracts page