Friday, October 19, 2018

Friday Open Thread

New internal audits at Seattle Schools available here.
I saw a document letting neighbors in the Ravenna/Roosevelt area know that the Roosevelt Reservoir is NOT going to be lidded.  The City seems to have decided they may need it in an emergency. 

From ProPublica, an interactive report on districts around the country and racial inequality issues.  You can drill down by school as well.   

Saturday events:
 Seattle Public Schools Science Instructional Materials Adoption Committee Meeting
(K-5 and 6-8 combined committees)
Sat., Oct. 20, 2018, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence (JSCEE), 3rd Floor Commons

Director Community meeting with President Leslie Harris at Seattle Public Library - Delridge Branch, from 3-5 pm.

On Sunday, Oct. 21st, I'm excited to hear from the students leading the March for our Lives movement sponsored by Town Hall.  
Since the tragedies at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the March For Our Lives movement has taken a stand against senseless gun violence. The Parkland students work together with young leaders of all backgrounds from across the country to hold politicians accountable and combat the normalization of gun violence.

March For Our Lives brings Jammal Levy, Alex Wind, and David Hogg, all survivors of the Parkland shooting, to Town Hall’s stage to share Glimmer of Hope, a book that tells the story of how a group of teenagers raced to channel their rage and sorrow into action—and went on to create one of the largest youth-led movements in global history. Joined by actor and activist Sophia Bush, these students bring their urgent conversation to Seattle to offer us a chance to come together and take action and work to create a safe and compassionate nation for our youth.
What's on your mind?

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Beloved Custodian Gets Big Surprise

How about some good news in a school? Very sweet and uplifting.

Tuesday Open Thread

The passing of Microsoft co-chair, Paul Allen, is sad news.  He gave much to the community in so many directions - music, art, sports, libraries and a whole building is named for him at UW.  I saw him earlier this year when the final beam was being placed in the new Computer Science & Engineering building, this one named for the Gates.  

Hmm, I note that Rainier Beach High School has moved much farther down on the BEX V list (which they said could accomplished between 8-12 projects).  RBHS is now 10.  I'm hoping that this does not mean that staff could say, "Whoops, we can only get 9 projects done."

Fun event coming up this Thursday at the Seattle Art Museum from 5-8 pm - a community event to celebrate their newest show - Peacock in the Desert; the Royal Arts of Jodhpur, India. 

Celebrate the new exhibition, Peacock in the Desert: The Royal Arts of Jodhpur, India with a free public opening featuring live performances, an art market, music, and art making. RSVP requested.
  • Peacock In The Desert Bazaar
    Local artists, makers, and organizations will share their wares.
  • DJ RDX
    Original mixes all night long.
  • Humaira Abid
    Make art with this local artist.
  • Jhimiki & Maatal
    Catch live dance performances.
  • My Favorite Things Tours
    Led by Laila Kazm, Malvika Wadhawan, Humaira Abid, and Noor Asif
What's on your mind?

Gates Foundation Flounders

An interesting article from Geek Wire which itself comes from one in Non-Profit Quarterly in August of this year.  I loved the NPQ title:

Why Smart People (at the Gates Foundation) Can’t Learn

Monday, October 15, 2018

Who Gets to Go to Maple Elementary?

It's a topic that heating up over at Facebook.  It's worth discussing because of the central issue - historical patterns of enrollment or racial equity? 

Should kids who have traditionally gone to a school always go there? 

Where does the need for racial equity start for a school? 

And, most of all, are district promises really just that - a promise and not a guarantee?

Here's the basic story (this from the Equity in Seattle Schools blog):

Amazon Donates $2M For "Immediate Needs" Fund for SPS Students

Via GeekWire:
Amazon is announcing a $2 million grant to help Seattle school students. But the focus isn’t the latest shiny education technology. Instead, it’s that missing raincoat, a weekend backpack full of food, or unaffordable school supplies.

Amazon’s donation to the Alliance for Education, which is an organization that works closely with Seattle Public Schools, will create what the company calls a new “Right Now Needs Fund” to meet the urgent needs of individual students. The Alliance will administer the grant, designed to cover the current 2018-19 and the following 2019-20 school years
Amazon says the Alliance will distribute the funds to schools based on student needs, with higher poverty schools getting more support.
The only condition, Amazon says, is that fund spending has to directly benefit students and can’t replace items currently in the district’s budget.
This is great news.  Naturally, though, I have a few caveats.

I want this money to be tracked down to the penny as to how much actually goes directly to SPS students or classrooms.

I'd like to know how much the Alliance will charge for the bookkeeping (as they currently do for PTA funds).

I want to note that SPS has no official, documented relationship with the Alliance for Education.  That MOU was severed several years back when the Alliance overstepped - multiple times in multiple ways - in district work and function.

I also see that an Amazon VP is also a member of the Alliance's Board.  Could this be a move to get the Alliance back into the good graces of SPS?

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Friday, October 12, 2018

Interested in Hearing For/Against Arguments for Seattle's Families&Ed Levy?

I don't know how many other debates are coming up; this will be my fifth.  But if you are interested, the debate is Saturday, October 13th at Byrd Barr Place (the old firehouse at E.Columbia and 18th and formerly CAMP and Centrestone) at 722 18th Avenue.  It's sponsored by the Squire Park Community Council. 

The event, which starts at 10 am,  includes other topics but the Families&Education levy discussion starts at 10:45 am.  I am the against and former Director Stefan Blanford will argue for.

It should be interesting, particularly because this event's format allows each side to ask the other side a question.

Public Education Stories of Interest

A great story worth showing your tweens/teens about a Rohingya boy who escaped - but not for a long time - from persecution in Myanmar, leaving his family behind.  He ended up in Mercer Island.
This story was created in KUOW's RadioActive Intro to Journalism Workshop for 15- to 18-year-olds at Jack Straw Cultural Center. 

What's this? Some school districts replacing libraries with maker labs?

Friday Open Thread


There a new survey from SDOT called Safe Routes to School Racial Equity Analysis.  Plus there is a separate survey just for high school students.  They also have:
  • Partnered with 10 schools serving at least 85% students of color to promote the Racial Equity Survey and to conduct in-depth conversations with students and families about the lived experiences and challenges of getting to and from school
  • Attended over 50 community events catered specifically for communities of color, immigrants, and refugees
  • Partnered with nearly 40 community organizations to promote the Racial Equity Survey, and conducted focused outreach such as focus groups and coffee chats at over 10 community organizations
  • Received nearly 250 survey responses from guardians and high school students in the 2017-2018 school year
  • Refined our survey outreach practices to make survey participation is more accessible and equitable for the second round of surveying in the fall of 2018
I'm sure they will find that neighborhoods that have sidewalks feel safer sending their kids to school than neighborhoods who don't.

Apparently the district is threatening teachers at Garfield over the recent walk-out.  One issue that troubles me; were parents ever truly told what happened and why? The number of differing stories here certainly make it sound like students got caught in the middle of it all.  From The Stranger:
GHS students and teachers gathered in the gym for two hours on that Friday in September. They are losing pay for that two hours.

Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Clover Codd, Executive Director of Schools Sarah Pritchett, and Garfield High School Principal Ted Howard sent a "Memorandum Letter" (sic) to GHS informing the teachers involved in the sit-in of their punishment. To them, this was a violation of the teachers' contracts.

"The decision to suspend the normal student class schedule, regular instruction, and normal student supervision was a unilateral action not sanctioned by the GHS administration or the District," the letter read. 

Every teacher involved in the sit-in received this notice. Teacher leadership is currently drafting their response. 

"Any future unilateral and unauthorized absence from your classroom will result in progressive discipline," the letter concluded. "At this time, the District has decided to not pay you for the time you were absent from your assigned classroom."
end of update
Do check out my latest post on my opposition to the newest Families & Education levy; yes, charter schools will get levy dollars if it passes and the Mayor and City Council seem to not care.

AFM Attacking Children Throughout U.S.

Parents, be aware of an uptick of acute flaccid myelitis, with six cases in our region.  As well, there are pockets of cases throughout the U.S. including in Minnesota and Illinois. From KIRO-tv:

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Families, Education, Preschool & Promise Levy Updates

Thru the course of the last several days, I have participated in several debates on this levy. 

Here's the Seattle Channel debate with myself, former Councilperson Tim Burgess, activist Saul Spady and Nicole Grant of the King County Labor Council.


Monday, October 08, 2018

I'm Not Voting for the New Families&Education Levy; Here's Why

I want to preface this thread by noting what former Councilman Tim Burgess, the co-chair of the current levy campaign, said at an event. He said that voters have always supported this levy because it supports Seattle's kids.

Okay but here's the thing - every single time ANY levy comes before voters, they should examine it. Question it. Review it. There should be no emotional blackmail - "it's for the kids! - for any kind of vote. Because tax dollars are so precious, whatever we spend them on needs to have clarity in vision and the confidence that the dollars will be well-spent.

I came to this decision to say no to the levy with sadness because I have supported this levy since its inception. But this current levy, the Families, Education, Pre-school and Promise levy is a radical change from previous ones, both in scope and cost.

Saturday, October 06, 2018

BEX V List Getting Closer (Along with a Huge Price Tag)

I attended last week's BEX V Work Session.  Here's the presentation.   The work on BEX continues next week with another work session on Wednesday, Oct 10th at JSCEE from 4:30-5:30 pm.  Given the short time for the latest work session, I suspect this will be the final list as they want to introduce the list at the Board meeting on October 17th.

Friday, October 05, 2018

Friday Open Thread

I think we may all agreed on something (but it won't come true) - could we not hear the name "Kavanaugh" for a least a week?  This issue has been so many things but exhausting comes to mind right now.

For the record, though, I think he's a liar and even if he gets on the Court, his black robe will not hide the stain that got him there.  (I also suspect Chief Justice Roberts will take him aside and tell him, "bully for you doing anything to get on the Court; however, don't try that crap here. Ever.")  Of course, he did say himself that "what goes around comes around."  Says the guy with two daughters who themselves might be faced with such a situation someday.  They sure won't go to dad.

There is some irony here as the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to activists fighting sexual violence.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Request for Help from UW Doctoral Student

Hi everyone!

I am a second-year graduate student at UW in the College of Education getting a PhD in School Psychology.

Wednesday Open Thread

Tonight's Board meeting should be a lively one.  The Board is voting on a resolution in support of Initiative 1639, for better gun control.  I suspect that there might be more than a few people coming to protest this action.  Agenda here.
Approval of this item would adopt Resolution No. 2018/19-4, which declares support for Initiative 1639, which would require increased background checks, training, age limitations, and waiting periods for sales or delivery of semiautomatic assault rifles; criminalize noncompliant storage upon unauthorized use; allow fees; and enact other provisions.
As well, SPS teachers may be coming in numbers to protest the recent cuts/realignment of teachers throughout the district.  There's a timely article from Philadelphia's The Inquirer.

Superintendent Juneau's Listening Tour/Regional Meetings Continue

Thurs., Oct. 4, 7 - 8:30 p.m.
Central/North Town Hall

Co-hosted with PTA partners
Location: Ballard High School
1418 NW 65th St.