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:

All students, staff, families, and friends are invited to join Seattle Public Schools in the Seattle Pride Parade on Sunday, June 24 at 11 a.m. 

You can ride on the yellow school bus float or march alongside. We will provide snacks and fun items you can hand out to the crowd. Meet at the parade staging area on 4th Avenue early if you would like participate. The parade ends at Seattle Center where there will be a rally, music, food, and entertainment. 

Surprised to see this but there is Work Session scheduled for Monday the 25th from 4:30-6:30 on BEX V.  

I'll have a separate thread but apparently the Trump administration wants to merge the Department of Labor and Department of Education.  Something about overlapping interests, cost-cutting but really, it's much more about aligning education to work.

Again, there is a huge difference between educating and training and we need education to have citizens who are not only productive but also able to have the skills to vote and participate in civic life.  Not be told how to vote or who to vote for or what is real news or fake news but to be able to do those important items themselves.

Given the events of the past weeks on immigration, I don't believe a word being said by this Administration nor do I trust their motives for this merger (which Congress would have to vote for and I'm not sure that can be done).

The issue of meetings around union contracts being open to the public is discussed here in an article from the Tri-City Herald where that district's school board is going to vote in July on opening those meeting up.

Apparently other districts are considering this and one, in Pullman, has done so.  Thoughts?

There are no director community meetings this weekend (and likely not again until August).

What's on your mind?


JS said…
Just a year-end shoutout to Melissa for all the work you do on this blog and in real life. We're not all going to agree on everything, but you provide a lively and productive discussion space here, and a wealth of information.
Anonymous said…
Yes, thank you Melissa. You and this blog are an invaluable resource.

I just went to The Source to read more about opting out of Naviance. Our school email about this (and the SPS web site) said to go to your Preferences in The Source to do this, but there is nothing in Preferences about Naviance. Any ideas? Supposedly, today is the deadline to opt out before the next opt-out period in September. I've emailed Krista Rillo at SPS to ask about this...

Anonymous said…
Thank you Melissa!!!

Anonymous said…

yes thank you mw. you are an invaluable resource for our family. not like it is the end all be all but dewolf got elected over two parents who also work full time... how many community meetings did he have? i believe it was one-ish? speaking of keeping score here is my updated statement.

this is how i see it. of course others may correct me but this is just my perspective.

fwiw = no tracking is best. robust rigor for all in every classroom. race is most important and hcc is merely an extension of eugenics and appartheid. anyone who is involved with this program is a supporting institutionalized racism. everyone knows this based on the extended legal battles that have ensued with the district and the state.

outsider = elite cheaters are controlling the system to keep everyone else out. not based on race. perhaps based on hygiene. regardless you can't get in unless you cheat and you are well connected.

dewolf = it is racist how else is it 90% white. (no where near that high and statistically inline with seattle's demographics).

simone = literature and best practices indicate sps is doing an ok job; getting mostly qualified individuals and offering educators that are working in the right direction primarily. they have issues with race though. i'm assuming not enough blacks identified into hc but can't say for sure.

geary = self contained classes are institutionalized racism. geary's kid spent a few years in self contained classes. no pathways are better than defined pathways for hs. her kid went to an exclusive pathway (not everyone gets in).

cm = where is the curriculum that was promised in 2010 as part of the first splits. csip are bogus works of word mash. sometimes we have to give building staff the benefit of doubt (see honors for non/all). pragmatic.

mw = arbiter of facts and truth. finds post like this unhelpful. why can't we all get along is not what she is all about. she does seem to want to find consensus or to at least follow best practices. and does question in a district with 50k student why we can't meet the disparate needs of sped, hc, ell and gen ed.

me = race is not relevant. ((yes i know about dominate culture - and i am not)). what is relevant is ses, 2e and ell. that sps is doing an ok job dealing with hc identification and service. that it was the gold seal 15 years ago and now it has been degraded and outdated to the point it gets a pass.
1-too much ballasting of capacity - less concern of program integrity. the program has doubled yet is now over 4 x the sites and they have issues at fairmont park and rems meaning more splits to come. you shouldn't split and re split and then be directed to a new high school, yet that is what is happening to the majority of hcc kids.
2-not enough control over buildings. no ted howard shouldn't be able to claim no more honors or ap classes in 9th grade. katie may is a great non-hcc principal. she doesn't get it.

wa state = what i said above minus the last two points.

stephen martin = trying his best to keep his head above water and has not really made a change that has improved what hcc kids experience in the classroom. race is paramount. willing to turn a blind eye to an equity committee member who said less white students would be a good thing. you make your own judgement.

new sup = asked about hcc pivoted to the well known racial issues. it is early and i trust her to come up with her own opinion.

this is not all the voices. sorry. and i am sure i missed the nuance of those identified's post. but if you are keeping score at home this is what i have on my card.

no caps

Steve, the window has closed for opted out until early September. I think it should be open all thru the summer but that’s not my call. Wish those on C&I had pressed for this but they did not.

There will be an open window around the first week of school and I’ll give as much notice as I can.
Jet City mom said…
Saratoga district has clearer info about how to opt out ( and what data is collected)

Since Seattle is supposed to be a tech hub, it is perplexing to see such frustrating disconnect.
It is still the 22 and according to the Seattle website, parents should still be able to access and opt out.

“The opt out window for Fall 2018 will be open from June 4 through June 22, 2018 and will open again at the start of school.”
Anonymous said…
We are looking for an online AP Calculus AB course for next year that is approved by the Washington State OSPI. (I know there is a list of approved providers at the OPSI website.) Does anyone have any experience with their student taking AP Calculus online? Any thoughts or recommendations as to specific providers? Thanks!

Seeking Options
Unknown said…
"The district will be participating in the Gay Pride parade...Not be told how to vote..."

Your assertion is at odds with your news, Melissa.

For the record, I too will be participating in the parade, but I'm tired of being beaten over the head with the district's political agenda. I teach in one of SPS's comprehensive high schools, and the BLM and pro-LGBTQ agendas are at the level of indoctrination. We are telling the students how to vote--or at least how they should vote and how they shouldn't speak.
NNE Mom said…
I don't know that union meetings should have to be open to the public, but I really wish that someone represented the interests of families during negotiations in particular in terms of
1. negotiating the school year calendar
2. picking the early release day
Jet City Mom, good point; it IS the 22nd.

Unknown, maybe we should have a separate discussion on your point.
Anonymous said…
I appreciate hearing from teachers, yet given some recent comments referring to a "lab grown child," and "hey, at least they still have lacrosse and ultimate frisbee to distinguish themselves," I am disturbed to hear @unknown is a current teacher at one of our high schools.
The messaging about mothers in particular (what, no fathers involved?) makes one wonder how you treat the young women in your classes.

check yourself
Anonymous said…
I agree check@1:47. Being LGBTQ is part of an individual's human physiology. And that is not my opinion - it is what I know as a reproductive endocrinologist. How is teaching students to respect LGBTQ people "indoctrination"? How is teaching students to respect black people "indoctrination"?

Most of the teachers in SPS that I have met have been wonderful, dedicated and skilled. But it sounds like there are some bad apples in there.

I can see Unknown's point if he/she is talking about real indoctrination but that word would have to be defined.

As I said we can have a separate discussion but the point is to make it understood to kids that 1)there are many different kinds of people in the world and spectrums of identity 2) that it is illegal to discriminate against a person for their race, ethnic background or sexual identity and 3) that in a civil society we can disagree but be civil to each other.

There can even be discussions - carefully done - at schools about how there is division in religious beliefs around identities. And it's fine for kids to hold those beliefs in the context of their religion. But, they live in a society with laws and those are what rule behavior. They go to schools where the district obeys those laws and encourages tolerance among groups.

Kids don't have to like everyone at school; they do have to respect others and learn to live in a decidedly non-homogeneous society.
Patrick said…
Let me add my thanks to Melissa for all your work. You make the District a better place.

Jet City mom said…
If students are not getting messages at home about how to behave and speak in public and private, in a way that does not harm themselves or others, then I think we need to continue to include that in their school day.

And yes, Mellissa, I am in awe of your dedication to broadening access to information and stimulating discourse on this blog.
You are appreciated.
Anonymous said…
There is some reason to express concern about "how" controversial topics are approached in a classroom. Let's hope that was @unknown's point.

Jet City mom said…
Indoctrination is a pretty strong word. I’m hoping they have brought their concerns up to the dept head/principal/site council.
( haven’t been involved at the admin level for ten yrs, so don’t know appropriate body)

Anonymous said…
There was a huge outcry on the blog against BLM Day. Of course, the same people went along to get along when it happened.

I am not at the school level and hope this teacher is fair.

The response here seems disingenuous now considering the negativity about "child feeling forced" to participate in BLM, etc. that was prolific here.

As usual, never a dull moment between theory and behavior.

Also, thanks for having a more open forum lately. The period of time where you deleted contrary comments during the school board debate caused lost credibility.

Delete Me
Delete Me, well, thank you for that backhanded compliment. The status of my credibility with you isn't something I lose sleep over.
Anonymous said…

There was a huge outcry on the blog against BLM Day.

proof. and how do you know that was sincere post? you have a history of posting bogus info like.

fwiw = no tracking is best. robust rigor for all in every classroom. race is most important and hcc is merely an extension of eugenics and appartheid. anyone who is involved with this program is a supporting institutionalized racism. everyone knows this based on the extended legal battles that have ensued with the district and the state.

no caps
Anonymous said…

Inconvenient facts; 'nuff said.

Delete Me
Anonymous said…

Saratoga Springs gifted program is very comprehensive but where are the self-contained classrooms?

I thought that was "best practice"?

Can someone please read this pdf and see if I missed something or is the self-contained necessity just a big myth.

Anonymous said…
The district you reference has one middle school and one high school. The resort city's total population is less than that of the SPS district enrollment.

odd comparison
Isolation from Peers said…
BLM observations look pretty different depending on how many black students there are at a school. If you're the only black student in your class, BLM observances bring a LOT of attention, which is not something every child wants. I feel bad for the poor kid who took off his t-shirt part way through the day. Context matters.

LGBTQ discussions with elementary school students are different than with high school students. Context matters.

How to best provide services for HC students vary depending on the size of the district and the population being served. Context matters.

This is a big district. Knee-jerk, one-size-fits-all, blindly followed rules can be more harmful than productive to the very students we're trying to serve. Context matters.
Anonymous said…


your cited post had this:

5) De-track our schools to combat racial segregation

as one of the points added by seattle teachers. so you use a post that claims hcc is racist to say that there was backlash against black lives matters. that is fresh. of course that would get backlash. you have to be a simpleton or a sophist harking back to those post. please.

so again: fwiw = no tracking is best. robust rigor for all in every classroom. race is most important and hcc is merely an extension of eugenics and appartheid. anyone who is involved with this program is a supporting institutionalized racism. everyone knows this based on the extended legal battles that have ensued between the district and the state.

no caps
Anonymous said…
in the second post there inserted in the teachers blm q/a:

"Until we are treated equally, we must all raise our voices or be complicit in the racism."

surprising that there was backlash to that statement. there was also reassertion of the anti tracking plan, as it is inherently racists, in all of the threads.

so was the backlash really on blm or was it in support of tracking and against sps blm attack on hcc? and/or was it because if you found hcc necessary for your child's educational needs you are being complicit in racism because of it. again where is your proof of this blog's rejection of blm? neither of those post you cite do. enough said.

no caps

Anonymous said…
According to the Saratoga Springs info, "The middle school and high school offer a variety of courses at many levels, providing students with the opportunity to challenge themselves in one or more subject areas." They have an honors pathway from middle through high school, leading to AP or CIHS course work. Their one high school serves just over 2100 students and offers at least 14 AP course options (more than Garfield?). They offer IEPs for profoundly gifted students that could involve "removal from the general education environment" as an intervention.

Are you holding this up as an example to follow, Albatross? The district demographics are very different from Seattle.

more info
Anonymous said…
Oh, and they have a budget of $125M for a K-12 enrollment of 6,300. That averages out to about $20,000 per student.

more info
Anonymous said…
June 22, 2018

Dear Hamilton International Middle School Community, It is with mixed emotions that I am writing to inform you that I will not be returning to Hamilton next year. On July 1st I will start my new position as Principal of Laurelhurst Elementary School. After four amazing years at Hamilton, I have decided it is the right time for me to accept a new leadership challenge.

I want you to know this was not an easy decision for me. We have a great staff, supportive families, and the most brilliant, caring, and committed students. Since I arrived at Hamilton I have felt connected to the school community. The friendships and relationships I have formed here are strong and lasting.
Together we have worked toward the mission of fostering a school climate of compassion, academic excellence, problem solving, creativity and cultural awareness. It inspires me to see the school, families and the community working together for the social, emotional, physical, and intellectual development of each student. Your relentless commitment, drive and compassion for our students will ensure that our mission of excellence continues.

The formal search process for hiring a new Assistant Principal will begin soon. Mr. Manza will lead this process and it will include an opportunity for Hamilton staff and the community to be involved. Stay tuned for additional details.

Thank you all for your kindness and support. I have appreciated that support more than you can imagine. And thank you all for your continued commitment and dedication to our school, staff and students.

With appreciation,

Tim Snyder

Another Name said…
Great piece by Danny Westneat. His daughter recently graduated from Garfield high school. Westneat reflects on SPS during his time in the district. Here is what he has to say:

"But the academic story is remarkable. In 2005, the district was mired in below-average academic performance compared to the rest of the state. Today it’s above the state averages in every grade. Take, say, eighth-grade reading and math. Then: Seattle schools trailed the state averages by 2.4 points in reading and 1.3 points in math. Today, Seattle eighth-graders lead the state by 10.5 percentage points in reading and 15.4 points in math. With a pool of thousands of students, these are huge swings.
But check this out: The graduation rate for Seattle schools has zoomed an incredible 34 percentage points. It went from a shameful 48.6 percent rate in the 2005-06 year, a low point, to an above-state-average rate of 82.8 percent last year. The rate for black students still lags, but has climbed from a cataclysmic 39 percent to a more hopeful 72 percent today."

One can never underestimate the amount of wonderful people that work within Seattle Public Schools each and every day.

Anonymous said…
The average is higher if looking solely at SPS larger high schools:
Chief Sealth 78% grad rate
Hale 83% grad rate
Rainier Beach 82% grad rate
Franklin 82% grad rate
Garfield 85% grad rate
Ingraham 84% grad rate
West Seattle 84% grad rate
Roosevelt 87% grad rate
Cleveland 89% grad rate
Ballard 91% grad rate

Small schools
Nova 61% grad rate
Center school 96% grad rate
Anonymous said…
What not to do this summer:

educational malpractice
Anonymous said…

Anonymous said…

Anonymous said…
@Albatross, who is holding that district up as a model to be emulated? Have you found evidenced that they have solved the types of problems we have, like inability to differentiate effectively, racial disparities, etc? Is there evidence that their approach is producing great outcomes?

Not seeing your point...

Anonymous said…
They have a very detailed and comprehensive program that appears to address the needs of all their students, from mildly gifted to profoundly gifted that is very inclusive.

We have a one size fits all system with a huge self-contained component. Theirs can only be better, IMO.

The pdf. reads like a model for any well run district.


Anonymous said…

disapp, they think are saying what outsider says :outsider = elite cheaters are controlling the system to keep everyone else out. not based on race. perhaps based on hygiene. regardless you can't get in unless you cheat and you are well connected.

nothing good coming from self contained classes according to them. and to get in you need to be a cheat. so this apples to grapes comparison is really irrelevant.

if there were a survey i am sure the majority of hcc parents would want more inclusion and less self contained classes. who wouldn't. and sure have it at the neighborhood school. but that doesn't work here folks. there isn't saratoga's budget nor is it their demographic. sorry.

no caps
Anonymous said…
@Albatross, saying they provide differentiation and actually providing differentiation are not necessarily the same thing, as all in SPS know. Access to honors classes is not necessarily the answer, either (Honors for All, anyone?). Nor is access to online learning or pullout Socratic seminars. (Are those things not available to others, only those id'd as gifted?)

Just because this plan looks good--to you--on paper doesn't mean it works. Are outcomes for gifted students good? Is access to the program or services equitable? Do teachers have the training, resources, time, and commitment to differentiate? Is the level of funding this takes feasible for Seattle? And so on.

The proof is in the implementation, not the written plan. Case in point: Seattle's own MTSS.

Anonymous said…

where is that honors for all report. mw? fwiw? stephen martin? new sup? director geary? dewolf? there have been two years and over 800 students. plenty of time to write that promised report. but keeping promises is not what sps does.

i am here to report that it is NOT WORKING. everyone i have talked to gen ed or hcc parents say that it is not for most kids. they should call it goldilocks classes as they are either too hot or too cold for most kids. no surprise.

deliver the report please.

no caps

Anonymous said…

i might add that what is such a tug on the long john's not to return back to choice. if less choice continues to be sps' plan then i am sure there will be an hcc charter school. some say well that would be illegal. well so are charters more or less. i am confident that gates (lakeside alum) will figure that out. honestly that will be pretty flipping impressive... of an incentive for: outsider, fwiw, stephen martin, new sup and the entire board to add choice back into sps.

if i could send my kids to get the appropriate education at a charter that unfortunately hindered the budget of sps but didn't imply our families participation means we are racist like fwiw, geary, dewolf, devin bruckner say;or cheats/ overly connected rubes like outsider says and isn't managed by stephen martin who is seemingly working to get less whites in the program to satisfy those just listed - i would have been interested. ((stephen works hard but not doing universal 2nd grade testing and changing the appeals testing needs is indefensible.))

be concerned sps.

no caps

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