Wednesday, September 26, 2018

BEX V/Budget Work Session Today

Today's Work Session has two parts; BEX V and the budget for next school year.  I'll be attending the BEX V section.  Here is the agenda which contains both parts.

Key pages
Page 23 - List of short-listed BEX V projects.  I don't know that I agree with the whole list but it looks solid.  It appears that the downtown high school is off as there needs to be additional discussion.

Page 64-65
Probably the most complete list I have ever seen (thanks, Director Geary!) of BEX/BTA funds spent for every school.

Page 111 is the start of the Budget section which is, well, pretty much bad news.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Tuesday Open Thread

Did anyone attend the Superintendent's Regional meeting last night at North Seattle CC?  Just wondering if any Nova students showed up to protest the teacher cuts at their school.

What We Tell Teens about Teenaged Behavior

As Thursday's big Judiciary hearing showdown looms, some important reading from the New York Times on how some teens view this issue.  I urge you - no matter your stance - to sit down and actually talk to your teen and listen to your teen about what he/she sees and feels at their own school.
Maycee Wieczorek, a 17-year-old in Rapid City, S.D., said it felt odd as a student to hear grown-ups dismissing the significance of Mr. Kavanaugh’s character in high school.

“For me and my friends his past is our now,” she said.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Seattle Schools This Week

Editor's note: I will be taking this week off (mostly) for a happy family event.  I'll try to put up a Tuesday Open Thread and a Friday Open Thread.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Superintendent Forming Student Advisory Board

Superintendent Juneau has been clear - from her first interview on - that she values student voices.  Putting words into action, the district is creating a Student Advisory Board.

Friday Open Thread

Update: FYI, Payless Shoes is having a 50% sale on all kids shoes, including dance shoes, thru Sunday.  I know this can be a big cost to families so I wanted to put it out there.

Well, it's the next-to-last day of summer and the dreary news from the district - on the cutting of teachers at some schools/movement to other schools - sure makes it feel that way.

My two tweets this morning:

Teacher cuts at some Seattle schools but district seems to want to say that it's a huge number of $$ but really, in the count itself , not so big. They can't have it both ways. 

Can't say it more clearly; Seattle schools staff at Nova, World School and Interagency save LIVES. Cuts to their staffing hurts KIDS.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Seattle Schools Cuts Teachers at Some Schools to Move to Other Schools

Update 1:
- I have heard that Intergency will not have two teachers cut but Nova is still on the list.  Still need to confirm
- I understand that Nova students will have a press conference at 9 am in front of their school.
- I believe that students from affected schools may be showing up to Superintendent Juneau's listening tour stop at North Seattle Community College on Monday night at 5:30 pm , Room CC1456 ('The old cafeteria').
- Story from KNKX's Ashley Gross

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Advanced Learning Referrals Due Soon

From Advanced Learning:

Washington Middle School Meeting

At last night's Board meeting, there were several parents there from Washington Middle School.  All were not happy with what is happening at their school.  Here were their complaints:

Seattle Schools Transportation Update

Via SPS Communications (bold mine):

This is an update on transportation services contracted with First Student. Anytime there is a late bus, students, families and schools are impacted. We apologize for this disruption. Getting students safely to and from school on time is a top priority. 

Naviance Updates

Last week I attended the Naviance community meeting at Roosevelt High School.  There were about 30 parents and students in attendance.  There was one counselor from Hazel Wolf.

Unfortunately, there is no link to the presentation documentation at the district's Naviance site so I'll have to request that info.

Public Education Stories of Note

In the category of "Things that Don't Surprise Me Any Longer in Public Education," the richest guy in China, Jack Ma of Alibaba fame, is stepping down from his company and going to focus on public education.

What makes this story different?   For one, Mr. Ma WAS a public school teacher.  That certainly gives him more of a voice of authority than say, Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates.  According to the Times:

Special Education Stories of Note

This story from Education Next - The Better Question: How Can We Improve Inclusive Education? - came from a previous story they had published - Has Inclusion Gone Too Far? - which in turn came from yet another story - How Can We Improve Special Education without Asking Uncomfortable Questions?"  (Links for other stories at the first one.)

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Tuesday Open Thread

On the Washington Middle School meeting last night which I attended - two words - not good.  I'll do a write-up but frankly, it was quite the tour de force (with an emphasis on force) from the principal. 

Reminder that tonight is the Board meeting instead of its usual Wednesday.  Here's the agenda.  Tonight the Board approves the one-year teacher contract. 

Is your child's bus late?  This seems to be on-going for more than a few parents, likely due to a shortage of drivers/veteran drivers.  This was discussed at the Executive Committee, with Pegi McEvoy, who oversees Transportation, noting that this is an occurrence at the beginning of every school year.  What are you experiencing/hearing at your school?

Superintendent Juneau did an interview on KUOW yesterday. Also, a link to her ThoughtExchange page so if you are unable to attend one of her listening sessions, you can leave your thoughts there.

Monday might be a good day to set the DVR because we are going to see a hearing on a Supreme Court nominee almost like no other.  (Except, of course, if you are old like me and watched the Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill hearing.) This is history in the making and the committee - especially in this Me, Too time - needs to get it right.  I am hearing that it will only be Judge Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser, Professor Christine Blasey Ford.  It might a good jumping off point  for a discussion with your children if they are teens about boundaries and sexual assault.

Garfield teacher (and author) Jesse Hagopian reports this from his I Am An Educator blog:
Grammy award winning Seattle-based artist Macklemore and three-time NFL Pro Bowler Michael Bennett have teamed up to purchase and distribute copies of the new critically acclaimed book, Teaching for Black Lives to every middle and high school Social Studies and Language Arts teacher in the Seattle Public Schools. 

Michael Bennett said, “This is the book I wish I had coming up in school but it never existed. Now we have the opportunity to educate thousands of youth about the Black history that was too often missing from my schooling—from the building of the White House, to the role of Black youth in social movements, to organizing for restorative justice today.”

Macklemore added, “With everything from history, to poetry, to visual art, these lessons will help educators affirm the lives of their Black students and create deeper dialogue in our schools about the struggles and contributions of Black people that all students need to learn.”

The editors of Teaching for Black Lives will be participating in a Seattle Town Hall book launch event on Monday, September 24th at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center.
It's official - more U.S. schools have police officers - than counselors

From the Lincoln High Parents Facebook page:

LHS Music Boosters Sept meeting, Wednesday, 9/19, 7pm
Wallingford QFC (area upstairs next to Starbucks)

Meeting agenda: 1) organization formation, 2) potential projects, 3) committee formation.
Come join us! We are especially looking for parents with students at RESMS, JAMS, McClure, Garfield, and Ballard.

What's on your mind?

Friday, September 14, 2018

Friday Open Thread

I attended a great talk last night sponsored by Town Hall.  The speaker was Professor Justin Driver and he talked about his book, The School House Gate, which covers public education cases in the Supreme Court.  Interestingly enough, one of the cases he writes about in the book is the race tiebreaker case from Seattle Public Schools.   (He also talked about one of my favorite public ed cases, one in which a student got into trouble for his sign, Bong Hitz 4 Jesus.)  I'm going to read the book.

He did mention one issue about the Seattle case that I hadn't known - the district had a box on the enrollment form for race that had to be filled in (if the parent didn't do it, the district did).   I let him know that the parents who brought the case never got what they wanted - a high school in their area - and that the racial tiebreaker had worked both ways (for white students wanting to get into Franklin).

Speaking of Town Hall, they have a great series of family concerts coming up.  The next one is October 13th at 11 am at The Royal Room by the Bushwick Book Club Seattle.  Tickets are $5 for adults/kids over 12.  Kids under 12 go for free.

It appears that several states are dropping the PARC/SBAC in favor of state-produced assessments.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

SBAC Results Released by OSPI

From OSPI Communications:


OLYMPIA—September 13, 2018—Results from state tests given this past spring were released Monday by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).

Called the Smarter Balanced Assessments, the tests were taken in English language arts (ELA) and math by students in 3rd through 8th grade and by high school students. The tests are based on Washington’s learning standards, adopted in 2011. Students in grades 5, 8, and 11 also took new science tests. These tests are based on the Next Generation Science Standards, adopted by Washington state in 2013.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

“I Am Native” Film Honors SPS Native American Students and Staff

From SPS Communications:
“I am Princess. I am Crow, and I am Seattle Public Schools.” This is the self-introduction from high school student Princess, one of the featured students in the short film, “I Am Native.”

At the Sept. 5 Seattle School Board meeting, Gail Morris, Native American Education program manager and Stacia Hawkinson, Native Education consulting teacher, debuted the short film, which showcases Native Seattle Public School high school students and staff sharing their stories, hopes, and dreams for their future.

“This film was made to affirm and honor Native American students in SPS, and to create identity safety, as many Native students feel invisible in their schools, here and across the nation,” shares Morris.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Assignment Plan Changes Being Considered

I attended the Operations Committee meeting last week.  Here's some info on what is being discussed for changes to the Transition Assignment Plan.

Staff needs to get any changes approved by the Operations Committee by November or early December at the latest.  Then they would need full Board approval by late December or mid-January.

Tuesday Open Thread

The 17th anniversary of 9/11; a sad and terrible day for our nation.  Here's some thoughtful words from one conservative I do listen to, Rick Hess:
The horror of September 11 brought with it a period of quietude and reflection. Seventeen years later, I find myself wondering sometimes how it is that the forces of craziness, mudslinging, and oversimplification, on the right and the left, seem to have run roughshod over our better angels. And I can't help but think that those of us in and around the nation's schools shoulder a solemn responsibility in assisting to light a better path. We should recall that every day, but especially amidst the craziness enveloping this somber anniversary.
This Mississippi teenager won the title of Homecoming Queen AND kicked the winning point for her football team.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

BEX Updates

The district has scheduled several community meetings on the final BEX list.  There are two this week (see Seattle Schools This Week thread for dates/times).

There was a BEX/Facilities Master Plan meeting in late June.  Minutes.

BEX/Facilities Master Plan Task Force (Part 1)

Part One of this thread series will cover the Facilities Master Plan TAsk Force.

The district's Facilities Master Plan Task Force is winding up its work this week.  I was very pleased with the make-up of the group which included the very wonky Kellie LaRue and the extraordinary mind that is Meg Diaz in addition to others.

Below are their first recommendations (which do not seem to have changed from what is being presented tomorrow).  Their final recommendations start on page 5 of this document.

To note, I have rarely seen a group in such agreement, given the number of votes that were unanimous.

Here are their overarching recommendations released on August 13th:

Seattle Schools, Week of September 10-15, 2018

From Saturday's SEA vote on a new contract (via SPS):
Seattle Education Association (SEA) members approved the educator contract. SEA represents the district’s educators, substitutes, paraprofessionals, instructional assistants and office professionals.
Among other things, it looks like it was about 10.5% across the board for all positions, more nurses and secondary counselors, and more race and equity teams.  The latter one confuses me because it's unclear to me what was stopping any school from creating a team.  I was told by one teacher that while this will bring more teams online to more schools, it also comes with little to no support from the district (for PD, etc.).

Monday, September 10th
First day of Kindergarten - good luck to parents and the newest SPS students!

Washington Middle School Woes

 Below is a letter that Washington Middle School parents received from the principal.  Frankly, I was gobsmacked at seeing so many issues and that the principal seems to want to place blame on HCC  for several of them.  Additionally, the situation that WMS is in seems to show that Capital and Facilities do not seem to understand what happens when they take large numbers of students from one building to another in the name of "capacity management."

Friday, September 07, 2018

Friday Open Thread

Your Friday laugh - Trump says that someday his speeches could be as revered as President Lincoln's.  Actually, the "failing" NY Times - in November 20,1863 - said good things about the Gettysburg Address.

On the strike front, Tacoma, Tukwila and Puyallup teachers are on strike.  FYI, there are laws against strikes but they involve no penalties.  However,  From the News Tribune:

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Roosevelt High Takes a Stand on Cell Phones

And it's, "Put them away in class."

Is Juneau the Next John Stanford?

Probably too early to say that?

But it feels a little like that because Juneau is on a tour like no other.  She is burning up the road to go see and be seen.  It feels very genuine, just like Stanford.

Naviance Information

The district is having five meetings at five high schools to explain the use of the Naviance system for college and career guidance.
The College and Career Readiness team will hold five regional information meetings to give parents and community members an opportunity to talk directly with staff about the benefits of Naviance, the plan for implementing this tool, the steps we are taking to protect student data, and the opportunity for families to opt out of this tool if interested.  
The first was this week at Cleveland High School - did anyone attend? Here's the district's Naviance page.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

First Day of School Open Thread

How did it go?

I saw this on Facebook:
Washington Middle School, 60 minutes late with robocall one hour ahead of time. Mercer Middle School, 27 minutes late and counting... No robocall, husband is driving all the kids to school that he can pack in. A bunch of 6th graders who were already freaked out and now get to be late on their first day
Also, SEA will vote on Saturday to ratify their new contract.

I visited the new-with-old Loyal Heights ribbon-cutting yesterday.  It's very nice, lots of light.  It seems very big for an elementary.  I'll throw some photos up soon.

One thing I noted (and told some kids who were touring) is that for some of the bathrooms, the boys are on the right, girls on the left but it changes in other bathrooms. I told them to be sure to look at the sign before they go in.  (There are no doors to the restrooms, just the stalls.  The majority of boys' bathrooms have one stall, two urinals; the girls have just two stalls.) 

Saturday, September 01, 2018

Tentative Contract Agreement by Seattle teachers and Seattle Public Schools

As of about 10:30 pm last night, a tentative agreement has been made.  Announcement from SPS.

School will start as planned next week.

SEA membership to vote next Wednesday.

Details as they become available.