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Friday, September 21, 2018

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.
Superintendent Juneau has another stop on her listening tour tonight with Somali families from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m at the Somali Community Services of Seattle, 8810 Renton Avenue South.  Will include dinner and childcare.

Juneau's joke of the week:
Corny joke of the week: What do you call the security guards who work at the Samsung store? Guardians of the Galaxy.  

An interesting take on opting out of standardized testing - incentivize students to do it.  A group in Texas will offer scholarships. Great little video.

Great event this weekend - the Green Lake Luminata.  I attended last year and some of the lights were stunning. Grab a glowstick and go!


The Fremont Arts Council celebrates the autumnal equinox on September 22nd at Green Lake Park to bid farewell to summer and move gently into autumn with our annual illuminated celebration.
Full participation is open to the public! Many traditions around the world recognize the last days of the productive summer are about to shift into the dark and introspective time of winter.
 
Director community meetings this weekend:
Director Harris - SW Branch of Seattle Public Library from 3-5 pm.
Director Burke - Green Lake Branch of Seattle Public Library from 4-5:30 pm.

To note, at this week's Board meeting, in Board comments, all directors stated their next meeting.  Except Director DeWolf.  Director Geary seems to be having her meeting on Tuesday mornings at Zoka Coffee from 8-9:30 am.  (She says to check her Facebook page as she sometimes can't make it.)

What's on your mind?

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Here we go again with removing teaching resources from school weeks into the school year. Same old, same old it seems. From the Catherine Blaine email list:

By now you've read Principal LaDage's email about the district-wide teacher cuts.

Blaine, along with 28 other schools across the district, will have teachers displaced from our school as we did not meet the district's student projections. In Blaine's case, we are below the district-provided projections by 55 students which means that the district will be displacing 2 positions in our building.

Right now - we DO NOT know which grades or classrooms will be affected, and as hard as it is to be in the dark, our administrators are doing everything they can to advocate for our children and staff, minimize any impacts, and bring you complete information as soon as they possibly can. Principal LaDage will be communicating our school plan by the end of the day on Monday.

How can we as a community advocate for our students and staff with the district and school board?

THE DISTRICT NEEDS TO HEAR FROM YOU. We encourage you to call and email the school board and district officials.

schoolboard@seattleschools.org
(All School Board Directors, Superintendent, and senior staff)

-FedMomof2

Anonymous said...

When will the district learn that students don’t come in neat little packages that perfectly match their projections and that they need to build in some wiggle room? If the projections are always a couple percentage points off, why not do their best estimates up front, allocate staff based on that, then plan to eat the difference when they find the numbers are ultimately off? Or be a little more conservative in their estimates up front, and offer some schools extra staff if the numbers warrant it? There has to be a better way...

Also, if staff need to go, why not JSCEE staff instead?

monkeypuzzled said...

Here's the note I wrote to the board and Superintendent Juneau:
Dear Directors: I am writing to express my concern about some of the teacher cuts proposed at Seattle high schools, in particular, the cuts at three very small schools who serve some of the district's most at-risk kids: Nova, World School, and Interagency.

I'm the mom of a freshman at Nova who has struggled in public school. My daughter is on the autism spectrum and also highly gifted, or twice exceptional. She does too well academically for most special ed programs but needs more support than gen ed can give her. In middle school she began failing classes and having mental health crisis after mental health crisis, and I couldn't get help.

At Nova she seems to have found her tribe at last. And she's not alone. Nova is a safe haven for kids who struggle with learning and socializing in a traditional school environment, including other kids on the spectrum, trans kids, kids who are being bullied, and those with mental health issues. These are kids who might drop out and never graduate without the supportive small learning environment Nova provides.

I'm not exaggerating when I say that Nova saves lives. They've got a great thing going on there, totally neglected by the school district, and it would be disproportionately affected by these cuts. Two teachers represents 10 percent, ten! of their teaching staff, including 1 of only 3 math teachers in the building. It's going to be difficult for current seniors to get the credits they need to graduate--and the situation is only going to get worse as enrollment goes up over the course of the year. (Traditionally, Nova takes a lot of transfer students whose attendance school doesn't work out for whatever reason.)

I urge you to ask the superintendent to reconsider this decision. I understand that budgets are important, but kids are more important. I hope we can count on your support to #SaveNovaTeachers.

Best,

Mary Park
parent of a Nova freshman

Unknown said...

This is starting to sound like saber-rattling to me. On one side is the district, which wants to enforce its position from summer bargaining that cuts are looming and raises will have impacts; this positions the district against both the union and the legislature. On the other side is the Soup for Teachers crowd who wants to paint the district as malfeasant or incompetent; this also positions the crowd against the legislature.

And, as usual, the two sides will come together in that perennial alliance between the union and district to get more money out of the legislature.

So it goes.

monkeypuzzled said...

Except actual children will be hurt.

Anonymous said...

@ So it goes, I might be more inclined to agree with you if we didn't see these cuts happen every year. But we do. They actually make them, and the shuffling happens. It's a mess, always.

Nothing New

Melissa Westbrook said...

Unknown, this has nothing to do with the union. That argument won't work. And it's a lot more the Soup for Teachers parents.

Garv said...

There is a massive ongoing failure in this district to deal with any kind of exceptions. Nova, World School, and Interagency, these are all schools that specialize in educating students who are exceptions.

It would be one thing if the district just decided it was going to only have neighborhood schools and everyone would just go to them. They would convert all the option and service schools into neighborhood schools and call it a day. That would be foolish, but—ok—it would make sense. But this dinking around and kind of, sort of screwing around with stuff is super harmful to children, students, the people the whole education system is supposedly here not to FU$#?*@ around with, but to educate.

SPS needs to stop doing things that are so harmful to students.

Anonymous said...

@Gary & monkey puzzled. I am confused as to why the "equity" tool is not being applied in this case of teacher cuts to schools that serve vulnerable populations such as Nova etc.

Is that because the equity tool is a narrow tool for only "race & equity" ? If yes, that seems brutally unfair and inequitable for all the rest of our vulnerable students who may or may not be students of color. I suggest the tool be used more inclusively for all poor kids, as well as all vulnerable kids who come from varied backgrounds. Nova has some of the lowest high school graduation rates and lots of at risk kids.
Expand Equity

FYI said...

Along with the discount shoes, here's another resource:

FREE Medical, Dental, and Vision! This weekend at KeyArena Sunday 9/23

All are welcome! Patients DO NOT need ID or proof of immigration status.

Limited number of admission tickets distributed at 5:00 AM each day in the tent on Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center (corner of 2nd Ave N & Thomas St)
One ticket per person, good for that day only

Please share with families.

Visit website for more info.

http://seattlecenter.org/patients/

https://seattlecenter.org//nas/content/live/scfweb2016/nas/content/live/scfweb2016/media/2018-SKCC-Patient-Flyer_English.pdf

Melissa Westbrook said...

As I testified at the Board meeting, it was fascinating to read the BAR for the teachers contract where it lists what teachers got in the way of equity (more school equity teams, ethnic studies, etc.) and underneath that it had the heading of "Race and Equity Toolkit" and it was stated that the toolkit wasn't used for the teachers contract.

Either it is used as close to 100% of the time as possible or don't use it. It cannot be a carrot/stick for administrative desires.

Anonymous said...

Is there a list yet of which schools are losing teachers?

HP

Anonymous said...

@ Expand Equity, the tool is called the Racial Equity Analysis Tool, but under several of the questions it says to also consider students with special needs. Maybe they need to rename it and remind people it's bigger than just race.

RE: the cuts to schools that serve students at greater risk, it seems the district staff also need a reminder of what's in their Tool. Stuff like this:

The concept of racial equity goes beyond formal racial equality — where all students are treated the same — to fostering a barrier-free environment where all students, regardless of their race have the opportunity to achieve. This means differentiating resource allocations, within budgetary limitations, to serve students with the support and opportunities they need to succeed academically.

HF

Melissa Westbrook said...

HP, there's a list in my original thread.

Georgetowner Maple parent said...

RE boundaries; this notice was sent out to Maple School parents last week. Apparently, SPS wishes to renege on their decision to keep the Georgetown neighborhood as part of Maple Elementary and push them all into Van Asselt. The parents are organizing and are beside themselves, since this undoes a decision SPS made in 2013 to keep Georgetown in Maple, after parents pushed back. Enrollment at Van Asselt has collapsed in the past year as parents all over optioning out (zero on the waiting list). Seems like there is a better solution out there.


Dear Maple, Van Asselt and Wing Luke families and students,

Please join us at a meeting to learn more about upcoming boundary changes for your school. These are not changes for the current school year.

Date: Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Time: 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Location: Van Asselt Elementary, 8311 Beacon Ave. S., Seattle

Five years ago, the Seattle School Board approved school boundary changes for Maple, Van Asselt, and Wing Luke. These changes are scheduled to happen in the 2020-21 school year.

The approved changes move a portion of the Maple Elementary attendance area into Van Asselt Elementary, and a portion of the Van Asselt Elementary attendance area into Wing Luke Elementary. You can see the change areas on the map attached to this message or on the website at http://bit.ly/southeast-elem-boundaries.

The changes were scheduled for 2020-21 because that is the year that the new Wing Luke Elementary building will open. The old school is being removed, and a new, larger school building will be built.

We know that many families were not a part of the boundary change discussion in 2013. Many families may not be aware of this approved change, and many things may have changed since 2013.

Last spring, Seattle Public Schools Enrollment Planning staff were asked to meet with Maple Elementary parents to discuss a possible change to this schedule, and the area that may move. A change under discussion is to move students from Maple to Van Asselt a year earlier — for the 2019-20 school year. Another change under discussion is to move part of the Georgetown neighborhood to Van Asselt. No decision has been made about these changes.

Any changes to the approved boundaries or schedule would need to be voted on by the Seattle School Board. The School Board would also need to make decisions about grandfathering plans.

At the meeting on October 2, Enrollment Planning staff will share information about the boundary changes, ask questions, and listen to your input.

Interpreters will be available, and all information shared will be posted on the website at http://bit.ly/southeast-elem-boundaries.

We hope you will attend and that you will encourage other parents to join you.

Sincerely,

Ashley Davies, Director, Enrollment Planning

Flip Herndon, Associate Superintendent for Facilities and Operations