Monday, June 25, 2018

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@seattleschools.org.

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?  

In addition to the new two-credit requirement, the state has launched the Seal of Biliteracy, which students can earn by passing Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) language tests or qualifying for four Competency-Based World Language Credits (in any language) through testing. Students who would like to qualify for this important recognition should start world language study as early as possible.

Seattle Public Schools is anticipating increased demand for world language courses in response to the graduation requirements and student and family interest. A work group comprised of district staff members and world language teachers are developing a plan for ensuring that all students have access to world languages. 
Monday, June 25th
Work Session on the capital levy, BEX V from 4:30-6:30 pm.

Work Session on Waitlists from 6:30-7:30 pm.

Equity and Race Advisory Committee meeting from 5-7 pm.

All three were schedules for the JSCEE auditorium but the ERAC meeting has been moved to Room 2750.

Wednesday, June 27th
Required public hearing on the 2018-2019 Budget from 4-4:15 pm.  (It's a quick window as few people show up to testify.)

Board Meeting, starting at 4:15 pm.  Agenda. 
There is to be an Executive Session starting right after the end of the Board meeting.

Of interest:
  • Approval of SMART goals for the coming school year.  It has an accompanying graphic for different categories and where the district is, overall, for each ranging from basic to proficient to distinguished.  The district rates itself, in every category, as basic. 
  • The cost to update Queen Anne Elementary has gone up nearly $3M due to market conditions and the costs to addressing the changing conditions.
  • Cleveland High will finally get an updated field, going from turf to synthetic. 
  • Settlement of a lawsuit of a student who alleges she was assaulted by a teacher at a cost of $450K.  This occurred at Broadview-Thomson between 1993-1995.  The teacher has since died (in this BAR the teacher is not identified).  The district has had to settle with other students who were also alleged to have been abused by this teacher.  Seattle Weekly identifies the teacher as Laurence E. "Shayne" Hill.
  • For Introduction items, there is a slew of contracts to be approved. 
Thursday, June 28th
Advanced Learning Taskforce Orientation from noon to 4 pm, JSCEE room 2765.  AgendaTaskforce membership.  The notice states this:
Lunch and introductions will be served for all task force participants at noon with the business portion of the meeting to follow.
A very long meeting for the start of this group.

It's an interesting group with some usual suspects, some good spread of backgrounds and a couple of troubling issues.   I'll just review a partial list.

For staff and subject experts, there is one principal Rina Geoghagan from Decatur, one teacher, Vanessa Meraki from Emerson, a "subject matter expert" Nancy Hertzog from UW and an SPS staffer in Indian Education Services, Jenny Miller.  

There are also two other professors, Ji-Young Um, at UW and lecturing on Asian American issues and the relationship between racism,war and militarism, and Andrew Siegel who is a professor in the law school at Seattle University.  There is also a UW lecturer in biology, Joy Sebe. They are all SPS parents of AL identified students.

As for usual suspects, there's parent Devin Bruckner whose work around HC at Thurgood Marshall is well-known.  As well, from AL there is Stephen Martin, director, and Kari Hanson, Student Support Services.  Additionally, head of Student Support Services, Wyeth Jessee is also on the committee also with Faizah Bradford of the Department of Race and Equity Advancement.  (I see that on a previous list that I was sent, there were other SPS staffers on the committee who see to be replaced by Jessee and Bradford.)

There also Daniela Hall, who is a parent of an SPS student, who teaches at the private Evergreen School.

Kari O'Driscoll who is an SPS parent and writer at ParentMap who has also founded, the SELF project, a social-emotional ed curriculum for teens and parents of teens.

Community Organizers
There's Christine Tang who is not an SPS parent but the Director of Programs for Families of Color Seattle (which is a great group that I have previously written about).   Dominique Daba is also not an SPS parent but is head of Placement at Rainier Scholars.    Kari O'Driscoll who is parent of teens (but not listed as SPS parent) and writer at ParentMap who has also founded, the SELF project, a social-emotional ed curriculum for teens and parents of teens. Sharmila Williams is a program associate, Strategic Initiatives at a group called Equal Opportunity Schools.  

What I find troubling is that another member of the committee, Laurie Bohm, who is an SPS parent, also works at Equal Opportunity Schools at the Partnership Director.   EOS looks like an interesting org.  They are funded by a diverse group of "supporters like Google, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation but also the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (that would be Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook), the Gates Foundation and the NewSchools Venture Fund.

The EOS is working with many school districts in Washington including....SPS.  I had not heard about this so I'll have to ask what that relationship is about.  But again, out of 70 applicants to the committee, staff picked two from the same group? Hmm.

Saturday, June 30th
Community meeting with Director Betty Patu at Raconteur, 5041 Wilson Ave S, from 9:30-11:00 a


Carol Simmons said...

Dear Friends,

A lovely Memorial Service was held on June 3rd for Don Alexander, civil rights, education activist. Among the guests present were many elected and appointed officials and June 23rd is now proclaimed Don Alexander Day by the Martin Luther King County Council and the Seattle City Council. Don's accomplishments at Rainier Beach High School included the building of the Performance Arts Center, naming it the Paul Robeson Performance Arts Center and the funding of A student Scholarship in his name. Don activities included 7 years as a Commissioner on the Seattle Human Rights Commission. Don was known for his emphatic and vocal statement "AND JUSTICE FOR ALL" at the conclusion of the Flag Salute at every School Board meeting that he was able to attend. He will be sincerely missed.

Carol Simmons said...

Hi Again,

Sorry, the Memorial Service for Don Alexander was held on June 23, not June 3rd at the Seattle Central Area Senior Center. There were so many educators there as well as Community activists, students, family, friends and city and state officials. For the past 5 years, Don was working with Barbara Morey on his memoirs that hopefully will be published soon. "Soul Journey: From a Colored Boy to a Man of Color."

Melissa Westbrook said...

I was so sorry to be out of town and missed this. He was a great guy who stood up for kids, day in and day out.

David Westberg said...

Don will be missed. He was an admired character.

He knew how to stand up and speak out.

NNE Mom said...

Offering the seal of biliteracy in any language is amazing. What an amazing opportunity for students.