Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Tuesday Open Thread

OSPI head, Chris Reykdal, put out his budget.
More nurses and middle school counselors. Dual language education. Increased funding for students with disabilities.
$65 million would expand dual credit and career and technical education (CTE) programs, including opportunities for students to receive required academic credits in CTE courses.

These and other items are included in Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal’s proposal for the 2019–21 Operating and Capital Budgets.

“Without critical changes, the reduction in levies will leave some districts in a very tough financial situation,” said Reykdal. “We were never comfortable with taking away the ability of local communities to enhance their schools. Local levies typically fund afterschool programs, early learning, and other vital programs. School districts need to have more flexibility so they can meet the individual needs of their communities.
Reykdal will propose a capital gains tax, which will generate about $1 billion per year. Under Reykdal’s proposal, half of that money will go toward reducing state property taxes to ease the burden on homeowners if districts want to increase levies. The other half will be spent on OSPI’s proposed budget priorities. 
Washington State Parks creates a map of accessible parks. 

The map features trails, campsites, restrooms and more compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). More than 90 locations are included in the map, with plans to add more features as they become available.

The agenda for tomorrow's short Work Session on BEX V is up.   Using updated scoring the list (just by scores) looks like this:
  1. Northgate
  2. Viewlands
  3. Mercer
  4. Kimball
  5. Rogers
  6. Montlake
  7. Ingraham (addition)
  8. Aki Kurose
  9. Sacajawea (but no interim site so harder to do)
  10. Rainier Beach
  11. Muir
  12. West Seattle Elementary
How Ingraham could score higher than RBHS is a mystery to me.   At the last work session, staff said the BEX V list could be 8-12 projects.  If eight, that would leave out RBHS.   Wedgwood and North Beach dropped off the list.  Whitman and Washington rose up the list but there's no interim site for them either (hint: do a replacement as you did for Hale and will for RBHS).

I find the sums for renovations to be stunning. $78M for Northgate.  $118M for Mercer.  I am definitely going to check our region - I can't believe other districts are spending this much.

They are recommending an ask of $1.4B.  I think this folly but the Board seems okay with it.  And oh yeah, $10M just to service the debt at JSCEE.  Thanks, Joe Olchefske (former superintendent who left under a financial scandal; he got the district into this situation).

What's on your mind?

41 comments:

No way said...

I'm a hell no at 1.4 billion.

Voting NO said...

The last levy was $1.2B. Twenty percent of the operations went towards teacher salaries. The district can no longer fund teacher salaries and they want $1.4 BILLION!

Anonymous said...

I have girls that just entered High School

They are participating on the school cross country team this year.

For the last two City meets the busses that were reserved for the "girls" team did not show. The busses reserved for the "boys" team did show. I have since learned that this happened last year as well. The busses reserved for the boys team showed up. The busses for the girls team did not.

To make it worse, despite the reservation of the busses, and confirmation to the school that busses would show - Transportation on the morning of the meet determined the busses for the "girls"s were not possible - yet they notified NO ONE. They did not call the school, the athletic department, or the coaches to let them know the busses were not going to arrive.

These female High School athletes who keep their grades high to participate and miss classes to compete are left hanging in the parking lot with no notice that their transportation will not show. They are frantically calling family or friends or take public busses to get to their meets on time. No time to warm up, just run within minutes of showing up.

It is not in any way excusable for Transportation to provide zero communication that reserved transportation is not going to happen. This is completely below the level of any professional individual that should keep their job. Especially as it happens year after year. And doubly problematic that no transportation for the girls yet transportation for the boys.

-StepJ

Anonymous said...

On another topic..

I was surprised when a couple of weeks ago my daughter who has come to hate Science told me that Science in High School was one of her new favorite classes.

Turns out that the new "District Defined" Physics class for 9th graders only runs half the period. It is the computer based lesson and nothing else. And the computer lessons only last half the period, or if there are computer problems none of the period at all. There was a recent week where the computers were down the entire time.

She is able to do her homework for other classes with the remainder of the period. She and her classmates are turning science into one big study hall. But, nothing about science.


-StepJ

Anonymous said...

Wow, awesome job with that high school science realignment, SPS!

@StepJ, is that the new half physics, half chemistry 9th grade science class? Are all schools using an online program for it? Is it supposed to only take half a period, or are some students just fast? If the latter, where’s the differentiation and personalized learning? Weren’t we told it was NOT a new curriculum, just a reorganization of the old curriculum? Was it all computer based before? Will it be a similar computer based version for the chemistry half next semester as well? Is anyone evaluating the success of this fancy new approach? So many more questions...

It sounds like a mess. On the plus side, it may turn more kids into “science” lovers. Yay?

Black Hole

Anonymous said...

The district's approach to science is making me sick. I knew they were trying to push a canned, on-line learning science curriculum for middle school (which I have complained about before - here, to the school board, and to Mary Margaret, the head of Science Curriculum herself). But to hear they are also doing this in high school too? By removing any access to hands-on science and limiting the student-teacher interaction they are effectively guaranteeing failure of SPS to produce any next-generation scientists.

This is ridiculous. Someone should sue. If science class is not happening because computers are down for weeks at a time, SPS is not meeting the federal requirement to teach science.

-NW Parent

Anonymous said...

I wonder if this gals under Title IX and would warrant a complaint at the state/federal level.

NE Parent

Anonymous said...

Re: the science debacle described by StepJ, do we have confirmation this is happening in other schools and classes, or is it an isolated case?

HF

Anonymous said...

Teacher is teaching physics 1 in my son’s RHS 9th grade science class,

RHS parent

Anonymous said...

Here is a thread about the on-line canned science curriculum in middle school. Mixed-results is a generous way of describing the results. Definitely complaints about how there is no science class when the computers are down:

"Here's my main problem with Amplify: half the time it doesn't work. If there are connectivity problems or hardware problems, students are sitting around doing nothing (or having fun trying to hack their assigned laptop). People love to talk about how technology is essential in the classroom, but what they don't realize is 1) the necessity of having an excellent teacher to shepherd students through the curriculum and 2) the high likelihood that the technology will not work as promised or planned. My child did not have access to #1, and #2 was a perpetual problem. He basically lost a year of science, along with every other "normal," struggling, or advanced learner in the class. ALL students missed out. "

https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=28765366&postID=3956948072791240636

-NW Parent

Anonymous said...

@Blackhole

Yes, it is the new 9th grade half physics, half chemistry. The one that I believe the BHS Science teachers were protesting.

-StepJ

Anonymous said...

Eyeballing the BEX document, I can't tell whether asbestos abatement and earthquake retrofitting for Lincoln HS auditorium is included or not. It all seems to be categorized as "cosmetic" renovation, which does not seem to cover asbestos abatement or earthquake retrofitting. Melissa/Kellie/others in the know: What's your read on this?

--Lincoln HS needs to be safe

Anonymous said...

Is there any news about how SPS is working to adapt HS schedules so that current 10th Graders will be able to amass the extra 3 credits in order to meet the new 24 credit requirement for graduation?

Pins Needles

Anonymous said...

@StepJ

The nixed bus for the girls' teams makes me ma-a-ad. For the good of all girls now and in the future, I hope you raise the issue of Title IX with both the school district and the bus company. Even if the solution is they nix busing for the boys' teams, too, better the boys should endure the pain equally than be pampered at the girls' expense. That issue deserves some serious push-back.

Richard

Anonymous said...

The science story should be told at the next board meeting. Missing out on part of a year of learning is horrible, in my opinion. My 10th grade student has a great live Chem teacher at GHS.
NESeattle mom

Anonymous said...

There are many inaccuracies in the BEX document.

First, staff claims that enrollment "has grown at West Seattle E.S. approximately 8% since the 2012-13 school year." Per the Schooldigger website, in 2012-13 W.S. Elementary had 420 students. Today, it has 416. It has fewer students, not more.

Staff goes on to say that they anticipate that West Seattle Elementary will continue to display growth "for the next five years." Staff always anticipates growth at West Seattle Elementary, but it never happens. Enrollment peaked at West Seattle Elementary in 2015-16 at 444 students. It has been in decline since. If you look at the September P 223 for West Seattle Elementary, its smallest class is the incoming kindergarten class of 65 students. There are larger classes of up to 72 kids in upper grades at the school. This does not look like growth to me.

Staff states that nearby Sanislo is not anticipated to grow, and it only currently has 209 kids. Sanislo has capacity for up to 269 kids. But, staff apparently doesn't want to send more kids there because Sanislo doesn't have a cafeteria and is an open concept school. Wouldn't it make more sense to redo Sanislo, and increase both its capacity and improve its condition? That would be a win/win! But no, staff wants to increase capacity at a neighboring school with declining enrollment.

To add insult to injury, staff does not address the beautiful new Roxhill at E.C. Hughes. As best I can tell, and I have worked hard to find it, Roxhill at E.C. Hughes has capacity for 400 kids. It only has 250 students. And, a bunch of kids who go to West Seattle Elementary actually live closer to Roxhill at E.C. Hughes. Why is staff not looking at that boundary?

Staff's only concern appears to be increased housing stock in the West Seattle elementary neighborhood. Guess what? Increased housing stock does not equate to larger numbers of elementary school age children! Most families with young kids looking at the SW region buy in Arbor Heights. It is a bright shiny new school with a great reputation. If they want something cheaper, maybe they will now look at Roxhill because it is a newly refurbished school that is underenrolled. West Seattle Elementary is not high on the list of families with young children. If you knew something about local neighborhoods, and got the input of real estate brokers, you would know this. Apparently the data collectors at SPS do not.

Now let's turn to staff's middle school analysis. Staff acknowledges that Madison is beyond capacity, that computer rooms at Madison had to be converted to classrooms, and that it has portables. Staff acknowledges that Madison's projections show that Madison will have increased growth in the next five years. It acknowledges that Denny's numbers are in decline, that Denny has current capacity, and Denny will see continued enrollment decline in the next five years. Currently, Denny has capacity for 949 students but only 853 students. Madison has capacity for 941 (including portables), and currently has 946 kids. Its sixth grade class is its largest class, with even bigger sixth grade classes anticipated. Yet, staff just wants to "monitor" the situation for the next few years. Hey staff: why not put Gatewood in the Denny zone? Gatewood is much closer to Denny than Madison. A sizable chunk of Gatewood is in the Denny walk zone. You would save in transportation costs because all the Gatewood kids either take school buses to Madison or get an Orca card. You can grandfather the current Gatewood kids at Madison plus their younger siblings. Back of the envelope, the numbers totally work. Plus, Gatewood is not a high FRL school, so this solution should be supported using any sort of race and equity lens. The capacity problem is solved, and you are saving transportation money to boot. But no, staff says, let's just continue to pack kids in like sardines at Madison while we "monitor" the situation.

WS Parent

Anonymous said...

Skunk Works Robotics is a 4-H FRC team entering
its 13th season. All Puget Sound area students ages 14-18
are eligible to join. Come see what we’re all about!


Skunk Works Robotics Information Session

Friday, Oct. 12

6:30-8:30 p.m.

11427 3rd Ave S
Seattle, WA 98168

We are recruiting in the following areas:

Electrical Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
Programming
Marketing
Business Operations
Manufacturing

RSVP via email to recruitment@skunkworks1983.com.
Please indicate your name, grade, and area of interest.

-Skunk

Anonymous said...

I want to add to my previous post regarding just how bad SPS's projections are in the Denny zone. The most recent projections on the SPS website are from October 2016. SPS predicted that Arbor Heights Elementary School would decrease its student population to 421 students in the current year. Its actual enrollment this year is 559 students. This is the only elementary school in the Denny zone with increased enrollment. A brand new school has increased enrollment! Who couldn't see that coming? Apparently not the crackerjack staff at SPS!

SPS predicted increases in enrollment in the Title I elementary schools in the Denny zone. These schools have had decreased enrollment. I am posting the 2018-19 P223 enrollments for these schools below. The anticipated enrollment for these schools for 2018-19 in the October 2016 projection is in parenthesis. Needless to say, SPS got it wrong, big time. The projected numbers of just two years ago are dramatically bigger than actual enrollment:


West Seattle Elementary 416 (460)
Concord 352 (380)
Sanislo 209 (261)
Roxhill 250 (350) (That is not a typo!)
Highland Park 311 (349)

How can enrollment projections be off by this much?

W.S. Parent

Anonymous said...

I don't believe BHS adopted that new pathway because of a large vocal teacher protest. But I could be wrong. My 9th grader has a really great chemistry teacher, but is also two years accelerated & taking with 10th and 11th graders. I am not certain what most 9th graders are taking.
JK

Anonymous said...

I am really, really tired of the bus situation. I am tired of losing a "regular" driver a few weeks into the school year and basically having no morning bus service whatsoever for two weeks. I am tired of new/sub drivers deciding they don't need to follow the given route, getting lost, and then yelling at kids who try to help them find their regular stop. I'm tired of leaving complaints with completely unhelpful and at times rude Transportation staff. I'm tired of hearing weary, resigned acknowledgement from Juneau and other SPS leaders about how unacceptable the situation is.

This needs to change. It would almost be better for SPS to admit "we can't guarantee your child transportation, so plan to carpool or take Metro." Why can't they hold First Student accountable? What kind of contract is this? What kind of training are these drivers getting, such that they can't seem to follow a map or get a route down for weeks on end? What happens to kids whose parents can't drive them, who are stranded at a bus stop in the morning for an hour or more? This is not equitable, and this is not right. The Seattle Times ran an article a while back on how bad the situation was - unfortunately, not much has changed.

FIX IT

Anonymous said...

FIX IT - did you student bus before the 2 tier system? I’m wondering if it was as bad then or if we’re having more issues now because we need more drivers on a 2 tier system. The times are better for a lot of kids, but if they’re not getting to school, what difference does the start time make?

NE Parent

Anonymous said...

October 10, 2018

Dear Garfield families:

We have had a strong and focused start to the school year and have been excited to see our students and families. We continue to work with students to ensure that we have a positive school culture and a welcoming environment for all students.

We also want to ensure that our schools remain safe, therefore we are updating you on an incident that recently happened at Garfield. One of our students saw some online information that appeared to be a threat. Although the student initially believed that the statement was “a joke”, he followed the “see something, say something” guidance and made a report to an adult. Administration reviewed the information and immediately took action. The Seattle Police Department (SPD) was notified, the suspect was identified and removed from campus for further questioning. SPD determined that there was sufficient evidence to arrest the suspect. Although the investigation is not complete, the involved parents have been contacted. The student is being disciplined consistent with district procedures.

As you are aware, adolescent students have complex social dynamics. Ensuring that students know appropriate behavioral expectations and that all students are safe is our goal. I want to applaud our student for coming forward and making sure that everyone remains safe.

Most importantly, we wanted to let families know about these conversations and ask families to help all our students understand the importance of keeping schools safe and the importance of sharing critical safety information immediately with adults at school. We are providing a link to some additional information that might be helpful during these discussions. http://www.seattle.gov/police/community-policing/youth-safety-tips



Please be assured that the safety and security of our students is a top priority at Garfield High School. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Principal Ted Howard II

Anonymous said...

A bus for the Roosevelt girls swim team was also a no show, in addition to 2 girls XC buses. I am unaware that a male athlete has ever had to deal with what the Roosevelt female athletes are this year. It is clear that the athletic director feels that boys sports are more important than girls sports. This is sad, because as StepJ said above, the girls work tremendously hard at their practices, work out schedules to get homework done outside of school and then suffer because they either miss events entirely or show up without time to warm up and are stressed out. I can't imagine a boys football bus ever going missing. Had hoped by 2018 our young women would have things better. One bus missing could be a mistake. By the third you have to wonder why the athletic director isn't showing any support or communicating with the girls on the teams and their families.

RoosMom

Anonymous said...

Garfield's XC girls AND boys also had bus no-shows today. Parents mobilized to get kids to Lower Woodland. It's a district wide bus issue, I wouldn't make it into a gender one too.

FNH

Anonymous said...

FNH - one bus showed up for 2 teams, twice. On two occasions the boys rode the bus on time to their event while the girls were left at school scrambling for rides. They were competing at the same event so distance or location should not have been an issue for the driver. The first time you could call it a bus issue, the second time a choice could have been made to assure that the girls could have been given their fair turn. They were not.

RoosMom

Anonymous said...

@RoosMom

I am sad to hear that the "No Show" bus happened to the Girls Swim Team at RHS.

From the XC Team experience I do not believe that the Athletic Director doesn't care. I place blame solely on SPS Transportation.

To elaborate...When the first bus for only the girls XC team did not show this year (and the Boys Bus Did), the Coach let the Athletic Director know. The Athletic Director in turn came and apologized to the girls XC team in person. It was also shared that the Athletic Secretary made the reservation for the bus, and called to speak with SPS Transportation the day before the meet to confirm the bus, and SPS Transportation confirmed the bus would show. On the day of the meet the "One Student" busses that did show said they were there to transport the Boys Team. When the students approach the bus and the driver lets the students know that this bus is for the boys - that is because SPS Transportation has told First Student who the bus is for. SPS Transportation communicates to First Student who the bus is for - not the other way around. SPS Transportation did not inform by any means to the Athletic Director, the Athletic Secretary, any of the XC Coaches, or the Principal that the bus for the girls XC team would not show. If there would have been any notice, obviously parents and boosters could have arranged transportation so that there was not a last minute scramble for the athletes to figure out in 10 minutes how to get to their meet.

When the second bus did not show for the Girls XC Team (and once again the girls figured out a plan in mere moments to arrive to the meet on time) - (thank you Metro Bus Drivers) one of the coaches wrote a rather direct letter copying the Athletic Director, the Principal and others. The Athletic Director forwarded the letter to SPS Transportation. So far no response from SPS Transportation or the Principal.

Also, when the second bus did not arrive for the girls team the Athletic Director or Secretary contacted SPS Transportation the next day to try and learn what went wrong. SPS Transportation said that on the morning of the meet SPS Transportation determined they could not meet the request that had been confirmed only the day before. Yet, (again) SPS Transportation did not contact anyone to let ANYONE know the bus would not show. If they would merely communicate to anyone - the Athletic Director, the Athletic Secretary, the Principal or the Coach, then parents and boosters could arrange alternate transportation so that the team was not left waiting in the parking lot for the bus to show and have to try and get to a meet at the last moment.

@FNH, I have followed your story of moving to the Seattle area and your son's success at Garfield. I am genuinely happy for your family and the happiness/contentment in landing in Seattle. I am glad that both the boys and girls XC teams found a way to get to Lower Woodland to compete today. Did anyone from SPS Transportation contact anyone at Garfield today to let them know the busses would not show - or did you all have to scramble at the last moment with frantic calls from students to try and get to Lower Woodland?

I am admittedly jaded and callous towards SPS Administration because of the callous treatment to my family. I know that SPS monitors this blog and because of that I genuinely believe that the only reason that both the busses for the boys and the girls XC teams for Garfield did not show today was because some district staff member read about the possibility of a Title IX complaint and acted accordingly to deny busses for both boys and girls at Garfield today. CYA stuff, not a genuine caring for students. Personal opinion.

-StepJ




Anonymous said...

Well, I feel I have blown it a bit. In my outrage towards SPS Transportation I have not acknowledged the amazing student athletes.

Imagine, being in High School, parents not available because they are at work, and figuring out at the last moment how to get to a meet across town with zero to little notice.

These amazing athletes figure out not only how to get to their meets at the last moment, no time to warm up and get ready for their meet, but then run personal best times.

I think these athletes are amazing and I applaud you all. You win the trial by fire.

-StepJ

Anonymous said...

NE Parent - this is our first year busing, but other families at our stop have commented that this year seems worse than previous years (where there would be a rough first two weeks but then everything would pretty much be predictable from that point on, with few hiccups).

After reading about student athletes repeatedly left in the lurch, I am wondering why we shouldn't call for a complete overhaul of the way transportation works in this district. I have written Pegi McEvoy, I have called the transportation department, I have posted here and elsewhere - and so have many, many other parents. Nobody seems interested in responding or making this right. Until this issue is meaningfully addressed, I will have a hard time believing the district actually prioritizes equity in its decision-making.

FIX IT

Anonymous said...

Step J, from an email the Garfield coach sent out when the buses didn't arrive- "Our buses did not show up today. The company our district contracts with for buses did not schedule our transportation." Getting the Varsity runners to the (first) races was the immediate priority and initially coach planned to forfeit JV races, but with word spreading and time between races, parents were able to shuttle kids there. I really don't think there was any gender consideration at all on the part of the bus company - in part because their ineptitude would preclude such scheming, ha. Transportation is a terrible mess this year.

FNH

Anonymous said...

And Step J, thank you! Garfield has really surpassed our expectations, which were high to start with to do what we've done.

FNH

Outsider said...

Regarding Amplify science, I wondered if SPS has really chosen to use an online curriculum over live teachers, or if there is something else going on. In any discussion of SPS policies, there is usually an elephant in the room, if not several, and perhaps here also.

In mandatory, inclusive science classes, half the students don't want to be there, and those students have the potential to be disruptive and badly behaved. Those classes are not easy to teach. To survive in that environment, a teacher must have buffalo hide and outstanding classroom management skills. Perhaps the problem is: SPS can't consistently find enough teachers with both the classroom management skills and the content knowledge for science. So their fallback option is to hire capable classroom managers and leave the content to the computer.

In the dark ages of inequity, middle school science and high school chemistry and physics would have been electives populated by students with a genuine interest in the subject. Fewer classrooms would be needed, and the classes would be relatively easy to teach. So filling every one with a qualified live teacher would have been possible. Perhaps the switch to online science is not so much a choice as an unavoidable side-effect of current school policy. Is that the real reason?

If so, pressure is likely to increase to restrict or eliminate AP science options. These are filled with motivated students and have live teachers, so they are probably much better than the computerized version. That's not equity.

Anonymous said...

As to the girls' bus situation, you could file a complaint with the US Education Department's Office for Civil Rights. Link is below. School systems generally pay attention to these.

https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/howto.html

You could also reach out to the SPS ombudsman.
http://www.seattleschools.org/departments/Ombudsman

Meantime, have you reached out to the school principal to make them aware of the issue? I assume you've already spoken with the school athletic director. I'd certainly document any communication with the athletic director.


Anonymous said...

Regarding the new high school science curriculum - I think if it is all on-line or computer based that maybe that is just the way the particular school is implementing it? I don't think that is a requirement by the school district. My daughter had Chem I/ Physics I last year in 9th grade, and is taking Biology now (10th grade), both with a live teacher and both seem pretty rigorous. My impression is it that is really just a rearrangement in sequence rather than a change in content - it still ends up as a full year each of chemistry, biology and physics. I'm not completely clear on why they divided it that way, but I don't think the intent was to do anything other than present the same curriculum in a different sequence. I'm really not sure why this is apparently has caused such a crisis at several of the high schools.

Mom of 4

Anonymous said...

@FNH

The company does not have to make any gender-biased considerations for there to be a gender-biased *effect*. If girls' teams are consistently getting less access to transportation services, it is illegal in and of itself, regardless of intent or ineptitude.

Richard

Anonymous said...

What happened to the Superintendent's "Friday Memos to the Board?" None have been posted for this school year, whereas last school year postings began in August.

missing

Only SPS said...

Just adding to the high school athletic bus situation - twice now my 9th grade soccer player has had what the students all call a "stripper bus" or "party bus" that has taken them to their games because of a bus shortage. I guess at least they had a bus, but when your 9th grade daughter texts you about riding a bus with mirrors on the ceiling and stripper poles to her soccer game it's a little much...

Only SPS

Anonymous said...

Wow. Are those buses chartered by schools directly, with parent donated athletic funds, or does the district send those buses? Beyond the yuck factor, I'd be concerned about the safety and maintenance of "party bus" vehicles.

yuck

Anonymous said...

Just walked by RHS. There was a party bus there with a few students on it and looked like they were waiting for more,

A parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, I believe that booster clubs are allowed to contract for transportation if the district doesn't. That said, the district is opening itself for a lawsuit if girls and boys are not treated equally.

Anonymous said...

@missing,

I contacted the board office. The Superintendent has chosen not to prepare the Friday Memo.

Fairmount Parent

Anonymous said...

Sps Transportation has contracts with charter companies for trips that can't be handled by First Student. I know of at least one vendor that use a sight-seeing bus so I wouldn't be surprised if they also had a bus with mirrors and a pole in their fleet.

CD Parent