Friday, August 31, 2018

Friday Open Thread

Negotiations continue on for the new teachers contract and will thru the weekend.  In another thread, someone suggested that maybe the district WANTS the teachers to strike to call attention to how badly this legislation was handled.  Hmmm.

In sad news, a 9-year old boy killed himself over bullying because he said he thought he was gay.  What is troubling is how adults take that in a sexual manner rather than what it undoubtedly meant - he feels different from other kids. Many LGBTQ folks have said they felt that way from an early age but didn't say it.

I urge you to talk to your kids about differences among other kids and the need to be tolerant. I told my kids - you don't have to like everyone at school but you do have to be civil and tolerant.  Otherwise, just ignore them if you don't like them.

Also of interest, an interfaith letter to the district, stemming from the district's decision to have kindergarten start on the first day of Rosh Hashanah.  I like the letter but this part:

Forcing non-Christian students to choose between celebrating their religious heritage and being part of the school community is a choice they should not have to make.  

I'm not sure Christian kids get their religious needs met altogether.  Christmas is a federal holiday and yes, does stem from Christianity.  However, the really important day - the one that makes Christianity what it is -  is Easter (on a Sunday).  In terms of school, Good Friday (the Friday before Easter) is important to Christians.  And, they don't get that day out of school.

I think the district is going to have to take a good long look at this issue.

Great article from the NY Times with thoughts from teachers and students about learning in these United States.

Remember when Superintendent Juneau said she was going on a listening tour? She wasn't kidding.  One of her latest tweets:

Up early this morning with @SeaPubSchools school nutrition staff. My grandmother was a school cook for 28 years. My 1st job was working alongside her in the school kitchen. Nutrition staff will alway have a big place in my . Thx for all that you do for students! #SPSconnects

As well, there are several scheduled community meetings with her that I'll list in a separate thread.

Community meeting with Director Patu, tomorrow, Saturday, September 1st at Raconteur from 9 am-11 am.

What's on your mind?


Patrick said...

I may be missing something, but does starting school on the 2nd day of the year mean they are not as much a part of the school community as anyone else? Seems like that would be forgotten by the end of the first week. It's not that unusual to miss the first day, for reasons ranging from illness to not back from vacation yet.

Anonymous said...

I suppose it depends on how well one copes with transitions. From an academic perspective, people always joke that nothing happens on the first day. However, you're potentially getting used to a new school, a new routine, and everyone else is similarly feeling their way around as well. You might be choosing your desk in a classroom vs whatever is available. You're forming your first impressions of your peers and making first impressions. You're getting a rundown of the rules and expectations.

On the second day, everyone is expected to crack down and get to work. Showing up late because you couldn't find the class isn't as indulged, and draws more attention to yourself than it would have the day before. This might be the sort of thing that you're willing to trade off for an extra vacation day, but maybe not.

-Pragmatic Xennial

Unknown said...

Waitlists dissolve tonight. Can my son reapply to the school of his choice tomorrow?


Melissa Westbrook said...

Unknown, I don’t think so. I think once your child is in the system, you can’t. If he was a newcomer, yes.

Happily Retired said...

Patrick: Yes, you are missing something. Whether all will be forgotten by the end of the week is not the point. First of all, Rosh Hashanah is one of the major Jewish holidays and many Jewish parents do not want to send their children to school on that day. At the same time, the first day of kindergarten is a big deal. The second day, not so much. It is a rite of passage; pictures are taken, new friends are made, the teacher has planned getting to know you activities, parents meet each other in the hallway outside, children get a tour of the school, etc, etc.
The school district could have done the right thing and changed the first day to Tuesday, or even Friday. It is disrespectful that they didn't.
For the writer of this blog to say that Christians aren't always accommodated either is just shocking. Christians are pretty much accommodated in this country. Easter falls on Sunday so I don't know what kind of accommodation she is hoping for. Good Friday is just not the same thing and if it is, then a student could take the day off. Jews are not asking for every Jewish holiday to be a day off. Just this particular one which coincides with the 1st day of kindergarten.

Jet City mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melissa Westbrook said...

Happily, I support the Jewish parents. I said that previously and I told the Board this.

I only pointed out that the only Christian holiday observed in SPS is Christmas (which is now a national holiday). I didn't ask for an accomodation on Easter but yes, Good Friday is a big deal and no, it is not a day off for most schools.

As I have said previously, this distirct, like other diverse ones, faces a dilemma of how many religious days/observances they can accomodate. Maybe that needs community-wide dicussion with the caveat that the district is required to have a certain number of days in the school year.

That said, if possible, the district should make a bigger effort towards being understanding of community concerns.

Happily Retired said...

Melissa: I'm not sure if you are missing the point deliberately. I'm happy that you "support Jewish parents". The issue here is that the FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN was scheduled on Rosh Hashanah. Good Friday is not on the first day of kindergarten and never will be. Parents can keep their children home if they wish to. Same with any other holiday. The issue here is whether the school district should schedule important days on the same day as important religious holidays. If you really don't get this then I respectfully suggest that you think about it a little harder and maybe run it by your Jewish friends.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Happily, I suggest you actually read what is written and understand, I do get it.

Moving on.

Jet City mom said...

I think it is great that all high school students will be getting Orca passes, however, I am disappointed that middle school students who are not as street savvy and who may be as young as 11 or 12, will be expected to walk up to two miles, regardless of traffic and hills.