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.

But in the Philadelphia School District, the solution is different. A month into the school year, officials will pull the least-senior teacher from School A and send that teacher to School B.

It's called "leveling" — the process of shifting teachers based on enrollment changes more than a month into the school year. It's virtually nonexistent in other districts but is a thorn in the side of thousands of Philadelphia children, families, and teachers.

Leveling, said City Councilwoman Helen Gym, is an "outdated practice that needs to end. It has a profound impact on school communities, disrupting the school year, and severing the relationships teachers and students build throughout the first weeks of school."
SPS mourns the death of its first black male educator, Robert Terry, story via the Seattle Times:

In 1950, Terry became the 1st black man to teach in SPS, beginning his tenure as a 6th grade teacher at Warren Avenue School.

His appointment came after Seattle hired its first black teachers — two women named Marita Johnson and Thelma Fisher — in 1947.

As a young educator, Mr. Terry had hoped his generation of students would work to solve inequality. “The problems of tomorrow will be solved by the youth of today,” he told The Seattle Times, according to an article in the Sept. 7, 1950, edition.“I feel that being a teacher I can help a lot in this racial business. Youngsters who have a Negro teacher may grow up with a better understanding of racial problems.”

A couple of good news items on the agenda; Rainier Beach HS is receiving a $300,000 grant for their IB program from   As well, the district will see the Whole Child Whole Day program continue for another year at Mercer, Aki Kurose, and Denny as well as several elementaries via a grant from the Bill&Melinda Gates Foundation thru the Alliance for Education:
The WCWD Initiative development relies upon changing practices to impact school culture & climate, disproportionate disciplinary actions, engagement of families, and inclusion of community-based partners with outcomes being increased instructional time for students leading to improved academic achievement with a focus on African American males and other students of color. The rationale for this approach came from the long standing demonstrated success achieved by Aki Kurose, David Denny International and Asa Mercer International middle schools in closing opportunity gaps and outperforming peers statewide with similar demographics. The schools deliver effective, high quality instruction in Tier 1; while also utilizing a care coordination/wraparound model that focuses on risk factors and builds plans towards sustainable protective factors in Tier II.
Interesting article from the New York Times that includes Seattle Public Schools, Detailed New National Maps Show How Neighborhoods Shape Children for Life
The research has shown that where children live matters deeply in whether they prosper as adults. On Monday the Census Bureau, in collaboration with researchers at Harvard and Brown, published nationwide data that will make it possible to pinpoint — down to the census tract, a level relevant to individual families — where children of all backgrounds have the best shot at getting ahead.
From the City of Seattle, Hygiene Services for Seattle Public School Students:
Seattle Parks and Recreation is making showers and restrooms available free of charge to Seattle Public School youth in need (and their immediate family). When arriving at a swimming pool, just show current Seattle Public School identification. Locker room use is limited to 15 minutes, no fee applies, and a towel is provided without cost. Times are after school hours and on weekend afternoons; effective through June 21, 2019.
 What's on your mind?


Anonymous said…
The NY Times article is fascinating but I wouldn't claim it includes Seattle Public Schools, explicitly pointing out that schools and poverty levels explain only half the observed variation:

"What matters, the researchers find, is a hyper-local setting: the environment within about half a mile of a child’s home."

Also, it's critical to keep in mind that the findings are retrospective and derived from adult earnings of children born between 1978 and 1983. Seattle neighborhoods have witnessed tremendous shifts over the last thirty-five years, some more dramatic than others, as the authors themselves point out. But it's a good place to start in identifying neighborhood characteristics that benefit at-risk children the most.

Anonymous said…
Zoom out far enough to compare districts on the Opportunity Atlas maps for the most interesting reveal to me and probably a better indicator of why people move than home prices alone:

Poor Black students fare much better in Renton and Shoreline than Seattle.

Poor Hispanic students have much better opportunities in Lake Washington, Bellevue and Northshore.

Poor Asian students have a greater likelihood of success in Bellevue and Issaquah.

Poor White students have numerous opportunity areas with greatest concentration on the Eastside and Mukilteo.


Anonymous said…
Do you have a link?

Anonymous said…

Anonymous said…
Re the "leveling", I'm curious whether nearby districts do the exact same thing but to little or none of the outcry that Seattle is famous for. Where we came from I know at least one district routinely "leveled" staff after the school year began because enrollment was off, but no one seemed to care. (This in a small, wealthy district to boot.)

R.S. said…
The P223 school enrollment forms are available. I calculated the number of FTE Running Start students at each of the high schools. Hopefully I did it right (difference between P223 total count and P223 total FTE), right?

Garfield 114.15
Ingraham 91.66
Sealth 79.59
Ballard 73.08
Franklin 66.44
Roosevelt 64.3
West Seattle 62.15
Cleveland 61.1
Hale 60.41
Rainier Beach 48.35
Center 14.49
NOVA 1.12

Total running start 736.84

I couldn't help but notice that this is about the same number of students that SPS's enrollment numbers was off by, thus necessitating all the teacher "leveling."

Anonymous said…
What was discussed at the Lincoln HS meeting? I could not make it. Anyone attend?

Future Lincoln
Anonymous said…
From the tables:

High Schools only: the Total Student Count includes full-time Running Start students.

The number of Running Start students should be a whole number, yes? Some are attending part-time, while some are FT, so the high school FTE would vary in increments from 0.0 to 1.0. Students can even take one class at their home school (0.20 FTE HS) and 15 credits at RS, at no charge. It looks like the number of FT RS students would be the difference between "Total Student Count" and "P223 Total Count," while the combined FT and PT RS count is more difficult to parse out. Wouldn't the total count of RS students, either FT or PT, be higher than the difference in FTE numbers?

Anonymous said…
For what it's worth, a quick comparison of schools - % reduction from Total Student Count to P223 FTE, for 11th and 12th combined:

Garfield 24%
Ingraham 19%
Sealth 25%
Ballard 11%
Franklin 18%
Roosevelt 13%
West Seattle 23%
Cleveland 23%
Hale 20%
Rainier Beach 17%
Center 15%
NOVA less than 1%

0% would indicate Total Student Count equaled the P223 FTE, where each student counted for 1.0 FTE. Not sure what the differences in numbers actually include or mean (RS is only part of the equation), but Garfield is high on the list for reduction of FTE in 11th and 12th. It would be interesting to know actual RS counts, as well RS counts for HC identified students (Which HSs have higher percentages of students opting for RS? Are students at HC pathway schools being served, or opting for RS?, etc.)

(still somewhat)
Anonymous said…
My understanding is that NO high school student in Washington counts as 1 FTE, so running start can't be accurately estimated by Actuals minus FTE. Do I know the exact formula to figure out running start? Unfortunately, I do not.

-also confused
Anonymous said…
My boots on the ground impression at Garfield is that students who opt for Running Start are by and large opting for Running Start, they are not being pushed into it as some narrative feeds here. Students do it for different reasons - some do it to reduce college costs and/or shorten the college time horizon; some do it for the schedule flexibility right now; some do it with their friends; and I'm sure some do it to take classes unavailable in the high schools. It's also logistically quite easy for Garfield students to do Running Start, with a CC campus and transit hubs within walking distance. With more students doing it, as you hear more about it and it becomes a familiar concept, you are more likely to view it as an option for yourself. So I don't view the number of students doing Running Start as revealing much of anything important about any school.

That said, I'm strongly opposed to District using Running Start as a budget trimming tool. Schools should be fully funded for each and every student under their aegis.

Anonymous said…
All data OSPI (School reports &1251H)

Oct. student headcount 2004/05 2009/10 2015/16 2016/17 2017/18 2018/19
SPS HS total 14,171 13,003 13,701 13,979 14,251 14,211
Running Start 783 651 791 1,052 1,313 2018 9th grade
Ballard 1,620 1,632 1,702 1,852 1,932 1,988 550
Roosevelt 1,623 1,653 1,715 1,743 1,868 1,907 516
Garfield 1,625 1,642 1,714 1,763 1,857 1,695 369
Ingraham 1,183 1,058 1,235 1,345 1,388 1,354 360

GHS descent is happening far more quickly, especially as other HS grow. Its cohort survival decay has accelerated (especially if you look at its trend of smaller successive incoming classes) yet total SPS HS enrollment has been steady during the same time. Next year will be even worse for GHS, because the few students from the north (mostly Hale and Lincoln territory) who padded the incoming class numbers will not show up. The enrollment at GHS is even thinner if you net off their RS students from their reported total enrollment. Bottom line: HFA was a success in managing certain students to avoid GHS. Put that together with trend of RS cohort survival expansion, and inescapable conclusion for SPS is that students pursue rigor, and if it is not available in the HS, they will escape and get it elsewhere. Mr. Tolley should take note, as should principals who want to preserve/grow their enrollments: pursue excellence and generate the highest achieving high school possible. Unknown/unknowable as to what Mr. Howard will do as staff will be cut next year. In a previous year, he tried to shutter the Latin program. Time will tell. But, with a smaller enrollment, more teachers will be cut, and so it is enviable that courses will be cut and there will be fewer sections of courses. Very unfortunate. That will also probably exacerbate off-loading to RS from that campus, as students seek courses they can't get in their schedule. It will be interesting to see how neighbors in Capitol Hill respond to a changing GHS: will they show up, or, pursue other options? Impossible to predict. The changes are too uncertain.

Ingraham is missing students. The district has artificially held freshman class low for the last 3 years by capping IBx enrollment, thus depressing overall enrollment. However, IHS's successively larger incoming class sizes means they will fill out their expanded capacity fast when the building enlarges to 1,500 capacity. Credit to Mr. Floe and a strong faculty, who openly solicit students to come and be challenged into a demanding programing.

Roosevelt will be the largest school in the system. By far. GHS will continue to shrink and Ballard will loose students to Lincoln based on address next September. RHS only has a small number of student residents (~100 students) who are to be split off. Will the district provide mitigation dollars to offset stress? Doubt it.

It will be very interesting to see this year's RS number. To witness the growth from 5% participation in 2009 to 9% 8 years later is dramatic, even if we are talking about a relatively small percentage of overall HS students (but maybe 1 in 10 is really not so little). As more become familiar with this RS pathway, its growth may accelerate even more.

Anonymous said…
@DataDon'tLie Actually, the district lifted the Ingraham cap this past year and stated they would allow all HCC who wanted to enroll into the school. I would have expected IHS enrollment to have been much larger with this guarantee. However, we know many who opted for BHS,RHS or private instead. Might have to do with HC not pursuing IBX and regular IB not being as attractive to some either. BHS needs to lose some students and be right sized, they are the largest in the district. The principal is actually still concerned they may still be over enrolled next year after Lincoln opens.
Anonymous said…
I am wondering if IHS will expand and become an option school to fill those 1500 seats. I suspect it will become less of a draw of choice for HC. Lincoln is slated to be the north end HC pathway school starting next year (unless that changes) and the IBX program at IHS is not attracting new HC students. Unless students pursue IBX, they cannot access much in 9th & 10th. Unlike most other schools there are no AP classes for HC in grade 10 at IHS.

Future Lincoln? said…
I attended the Lincoln HS meeting. Directors Burke and Mack were in attendance. So were a LOT of other (mostly white) people. Lincoln is trying to get a PTSA started. They wish it was already running because they want snacks for the upcoming future student meet and greets in a few weeks.

The whole school will have a project based learning theme. The theme for 2019-20 will be "The True Cost of Our Lives." Students will pick one topic (her example was "coffee" but she also mentioned fast fashion, sneakers, cell phone, etc. Students would each get to pick their own.) The students will then follow their individual topic through their core subject classes. So if you picked coffee, then you would examine the true cost of your coffee life and you would examine this in language arts class through writing and in math class through maybe calculating the cost of transporting the coffee to Seattle or cost to growers, etc.

Students would do an exhibition presenting their topic to share with the school community modeled after Hales.

They have a FB page:
Twitter: @lincoln_seattle and @CoreyEichner
Instagram: lincolnseattle

They're going to have a comprehensive athletics program:
Fall: cross country (girls, boys), football, golf (girls, boys), swimming (girls), volleyball, soccer (girls)
Winter: basketball (boys, girls), gymnastics, swimming (boys), wrestling
Spring: baseball, soccer (boys), softball, tennis (girls, boys), track (girls, boys)

I was not impressed by how put out she sounded like she was to have to host the dual language immersion and HCC pathways. She implied that those were really messing with her system and she would grudgingly work around them. There were info tables about all sorts of school subjects staffed by future teachers and other topics like sports and IEPs, but there was not one for dual language immersion or HCC. There was a list of courses that sounded pretty good.
Question said…

Total running start 736.84

Do some school board members still think it is ok for HCC students to be served via Running Start?

Running start students could have made-up for district shortfall and teachers would not have gotten displaced.
David said…
Do we know yet when the trial is for the alleged Muir elementary pedophile that was allowed to continue his actions so long after he should have been fired?
Anonymous said…
@Future Lincoln ("there was not one for dual language immersion or HCC")
Michele Aoki was at the world language table at the Monday meeting and had a nice hand-out for proposed language pathways at Lincoln for both dual immersion students and regular world language students. They are still working on it, but it looked really good to me. And while I did not see a HCC table, e.g. the science teachers are very much in tune with the different science pathways and it sounds like they are planning for a lot of AP classes. I did not hear the principal speak (since I was late), but overall I had a positive impression from the meeting.

Wallingford mom
Anonymous said…
If the differences in 11th and 12th grade enrollment and lower P223 FTE are due largely to FT/PT RS students, then it does seem some high schools are better able to retain students than others (BHS and RHS). There are many good reasons for choosing Running Start - more flexible scheduling, different course offerings, college credit, etc. But there are also students who started high school with the expectation of having a 4 year sequence of appropriate coursework only to find out later that RS is the only option. There is anecdata supporting both routes to RS - either intentionally chosen or reluctantly chosen due to limited HS offerings.

SPS may not have info on the reasons students choose RS, but they should have the enrollment numbers and should be able to look at the trends over time. For each HS, how many students are enrolled in RS, either FT or PT? What is the reduction in FTE due to RS? Which schools are seeing increases in RS numbers? Is it impacting school budgets?

There are enough RS students to fill an entire high school - maybe SPS is okay with that as they can hold off building another high school. In the meantime, private high schools have been building out and expanding.

As for HC, BHS and RHS will most likely supplant GHS (for those who live within the redrawn boundaries). The feedback from the Lincoln meeting is not encouraging, IBX is just no more, and GHS strangely seems unsupportive of HC. This will mean more students considering RS as schools will be hard pressed to schedule courses for a more fractured cohort. Time will tell. Of course, maybe this is just fine with SPS as well - they seem intent on eliminating pathway schools for HC.

HS parent
Anonymous said…
DataDon'tLie is LyingWithData by presenting a subset number of Garfield's current freshman class, and only for Garfield, while providing the larger Total Student Count for all the other school in their comparison. The comparable figure for Garfield is actually 427, not 369, which is a more appropriate size for the school's capacity of 1694. To what purpose would someone do this other than to push a false narrative? We are a family who intentionally moved into the Garfield zone last year and welcome an easing of the school's overcrowding, and we anticipated relief from Lincoln's opening in our choosing it. Now in our second year at Garfield, my superlative student is challenged, thriving, and couldn't be happier.

GLP said…
@DataDontLie - Where are you getting your information that only about 100 students will be split off from Roosevelt to Lincoln? As of next year Roosevelt's boundary changes quite a bit, with a large swath moved to Lincoln (the equivalent of ~500 students when Lincoln is a 4 year high school) and a smaller area to Ingraham (the equivalent of ~150 students 9-12th). I've also seem some predictions by Enrollment Planning that in a few year's Roosevelt will be the only north end high school with space, while the others will be maxed out (which, if correct, also contradicts what you suggested).

Anonymous said…
@GLP I wondered the same as less than 100 in the boundary change from RHS did not sound right to me. I think DataDon'tLie may have been informed by old boundary map proposals and one which was not approved. There was one at one point a map or two that had many more students leaving BHS than RHS, but Magnolia and other areas are remaining at BHS.

I may be in error but understood there is to be a more equal amount (than mentioned) drawing from BHS & RHS to Lincoln. Also, BHS is currently more over enrolled than RHS by about 100 kids or so. Even if they lose a bit more, they will likely probably still be at or above their own capacity. Maybe same for RHS as well or maybe there will even be some space.

I think it also will largely depend on how well Lincoln's opening goes! Will HCC stay or go to neighborhood schools either through choice or a board decision. That could change alot of things. I have heard parents lament about leaving RHS or BHS for Lincoln. There had better be lots of clubs, activities, strong dual language options and maybe most importantly a very good comparison to what BHS & RHS already offer to students in the way of AP classes.

About GHS:
In a previous year, he tried to shutter the Latin program." That actually came up at last night's Board meeting. There was a group of teachers (I believe mostly GHS) who had come to complain about the realignment of teachers. One teacher really let the Superintendent and the Board have it, saying they were doing nothing but offering excuses. Another teacher complained that the cuts were to PE and Health but when it was Latin, that got saved.

I don't know the whole background on the Latin issue but I think that was over cutting not just a teacher but a class. I believe GHS will still have PE and Health (although the claim was made that there is now just 1 PE teacher for 1,000 students - that seems terrible).

"Do we know yet when the trial is for the alleged Muir elementary pedophile that was allowed to continue his actions so long after he should have been fired?"

David, I have not seen when that might be but I'll let people know when I do. I think Muir is going to come off quite badly but that's something that a good ED might have seen coming.

GLP, to note, Roosevelt will continue to grow because the number of apartments around them - directly around them - is growing by the day. I would not put it past some families to rent an apartment to get their kid into Roosevelt.

Anonymous said…
@HS parent who stated "If the differences in 11th and 12th grade enrollment and lower P223 FTE are due largely to FT/PT RS students, then it does seem some high schools are better able to retain students than others (BHS and RHS)."

Maybe not. Garfield and Ingraham which have lots of kids going to running start are perhaps also closer to the community colleges. Kids can do running start part-time. In addition, I know at IHS if kids don't want to do IB there are few other options besides running start. IB and its extra requirements, homework load and extra outside of school time commitment, is not a great fit for some kids.

It looks like SPS has been backsliding on lunch and recess at elementary schools. Some parents are reporting there's no morning recess at all, just one combined lunch/recess break, others have said they see less time for eating and play this year than in previous years. What are parents seeing at their schools this year?
Anonymous said…
At the superintendent listening tour event on Tuesday, the Superintendent was asked about the role of Executive Directors. She said they were misnamed, and their responsibilities were focused on improving instructional leadership. They were there to help be instructional leaders for their principals, set up professional development for the principals to become better instructional leaders and to organize meetings of principals so they could discuss issues and solutions. They were not fixers and didn't have wide-ranging responsibilities.

Surprised Parent
Richard said…
The principal at Lincoln struck me as basically competent but also as very young (or am I betraying my age?), and she seemed somewhat inexperienced or naive about how things are going to go. What was clear was she definitely did not seem very not into HCC and very not into Dual Language Immersion. If I had to guess, she's in cahoots with her ED to make Lincoln seem relatively unappealing so that more and more HCC students enroll at their local high schools to effectively dismantle the cohort. But in high school the cohort isn't a "thing," so not sure what they think they're doing, if that's true? Maybe I'm clueless, but that was what I was thinking. Plus, she's going to have scores of non-HCC Ballard and Roosevelt families clamoring for similar offerings as they had at Ballard and Roosevelt. Because high school is about college prep for most people in Seattle. So...I dunno. It could turn out really well! But I'm expecting it go much more like a slow-motion train wreck. Someone please tell me I'm wrong.
Anonymous said…
@ Surprised Parent

I feel strongly that some or even much of the flak directed at executive directors ought to be directed instead at the assistant and associate superintendents, as I suspect the new superintendent well knows. Do you think she could be alluding to this with these comments about the EDs? She can't be unaware of all this whilst she is on her listening tour, if she has any understanding of the organisation of the district.

Anonymous said…
If the EDs are really just principal coaches, do we really need so many? I doubt principals have so much time to spare to meet them very frequently, so how can those be FT jobs? If JSCEE is going to make budget cuts, that seems like a great place to start.

Anonymous said…
I think you're probably right about the assistant and associate superintendents. My guess is that parents cc: Executive Directors when they have an issue with the principal/district and parents are mad that Executive Directors "do nothing to help" and this is what she hears about the position during this listening tour. Juneau believes that the position is misunderstood. Regardless, I expect that there will be a name change and a more clearly defined definition for this position when Juneau unveils her reorg/vision for central administration. She also expects Central Admin to have deep cuts as the budget crisis worsens.
Anonymous said…
Sorry, I forgot to sign as Suprised Parent on my response.
Surprised Parent
Mom said…
About recess policies: Does anyone know about middle school recess policies? My incoming sixth grader is going crazy and the lack of fresh air an exercise is making her sad - she still has made no friends and has lunch by herself because she does not have a chance to make friends. She has only a 30 minute break in middle of day and after ten minutes is lined up to go to either library or gym. She has found a small patch of outside space in a courtyard where she goes by herself. This is too sad! The school has a bunch of counselors and health specialists. Bigger longer and healthier breaks would go a long way to mental health for all. Is there a reason for these restrictive policies on recess? Is it district wide? Does anyone know--why?
Anonymous said…
Denise Juneau is turning out to be very defensive of the status quo at the JSCEE. This is a disaster. A new superintendent was an opportunity to push for change. But she is siding with Tolley and his crew on everything.

Not Pleased
NESeattleMom said…
Latin is a very strong language at GHS. Capable experienced teacher. Enthusiastic students who take part in JCL and have lunch club as well as peer tutoring during travel advisory days. GHS has had a difficult time finding experienced capable French and Spanish teachers. I am so thankful my kid is in Latin. Loving it and thinking about Latin outside of school, communicating with friends and working on JCL planning together. Latin is a thing that is thriving at GHS.
On Executive Directors, well, it looks like the district is up to old tricks. They have rewritten - without notice - the section at the SPS website on what EDs do. I can't find the page that says "if you cannot resolve your problem via the principal, go to the ED." It said that but sadly, I did not do a screenshot.

I did glean this:

"If the principal does not resolve your concern satisfactorily, a written request to the principal’s supervisor. For help identifying and/or contacting that person, call the district Ombudsman 206.252.0529."

How odd to not say - for principal supervisor - the ED. Unless, it is now someone else.

From my reporting of a meeting in 2012:

"We were told that Job #1 for the Executive Directors is to support principals as instructional leaders. Also, parents, if you have a concern, you must go to your teacher first, then the principal and THEN the Executive Director. This was pretty much the extent of explaining the new regional system which I thought a little odd."

Anonymous said…
Thanks for sharing. That is not great news at all. If anyone else attended can someone else please weight in their thoughts as well. Not a good sign if the principal is not in touch with the community that will attend her school and their needs & desires. They will need AP classes as well as clubs and programs on par (nothing less) with their neighbors. I hope the parents are expressing their concerns loudly.

I have been wondering about the future of dual language high school (as well as HCC) because I remember reading some post board meeting comments by the former superintendent last year. It believe the initial plan for Lincoln did not include Dual Language (or HCC). It seemed like he was not in favor of dual language, but kind of like they were in a conundrum because "promises were made". Something to that effect.

Anonymous said…
(Superintendent Juneau) said (Executive Directors) were misnamed, and their responsibilities were focused on improving instructional leadership. They were there to help be instructional leaders for their principals, set up professional development for the principals to become better instructional leaders and to organize meetings of principals so they could discuss issues and solutions. They were not fixers and didn't have wide-ranging responsibilities.

WOW. So, these 5 SPS employees' job duties are nothing more than coaching working principals? Is that effective? How is their effectiveness measured? Can principals not do their jobs without whatever direct time afforded to them with his/her ED? Are SPS principals so utterly hapless they have not personally cultivated mentors or professional peer relationships to support their personal career growth? What student has a better school day because his/her principal had a meeting with his or her ED? Name that child, and then we can evaluate the utility of this bureaucratic layer.

If EDs are nothing but unaccountable glorified cheerleaders. CUT THEM N O W

Save $868,000 cash right now by issuing 5 pink slips (they are not in PASS, they are at will employees) and hire 14 teachers (at $60K each) right now to teach actual students. This will lower student/teacher ratios in other classrooms. Unlike EDs, this WILL have a direct impact on students and on principals too as children in their care have more contact time with teachers who are directly responsible for them. Priorities. Kids first. Bureaucracy last.

Kim Whitworth $176K
Helen Joung $164K
Kelly Aramaki $176K
Jon Halfaker 176K
Sarah Pritchett $176K

Laying them off is not personal: it is a function of being in a role that is redundant/unproductive/not necessary (3 of the 5 names on this list are persons most would happily see being principal of any building their kid(s) were in, 1 is unknown to me, and 1 is a disaster most would run from)

Waste Not
Anonymous said…
@ Mom, I’m sad to say it, but that seems to be the way middle school is. No recess, aside from what they can squeeze into their lunch break. Because it’s classes all day, there’s not a lot of time to get to know other kids aside from group work in class. Clubs, sports, and affinity groups become that much more important. Is your daughter in music? I’ve heard that can be a more social class? Do you have after school clubs, classes, etc. that she can participate in? Student council, yearbook, LGBTQ alliance, etc. groups that meet regularly? Unfortunately, if you don’t seek out extra opportunities to connect, middle school can be a pretty lonely place. I’ve heard that’s the same with high school.

Good luck helping her find her people,
Another mom
Anonymous said…

"My incoming sixth grader is going crazy and the lack of fresh air an exercise is making her sad - she still has made no friends and has lunch by herself because she does not have a chance to make friends. She has only a 30 minute break in middle of day and after ten minutes is lined up to go to either library or gym. She has found a small patch of outside space in a courtyard where she goes by herself. This is too sad!"

In middle I do remember a big change on recess and not enough time to get outdoors. I am sorry to hear your sixth grader is having a rough time. I predict it will get better and she will likely make lots of friends. My daughter, very shy, had only one girl she knew enter with her at her middle school in 6th, by 8th she had so many friends I could not believe it. She had a fantastic middle school experience.

Your daughter will begin to see the same faces in her classes over time, and will have projects in which she works with other kids in class etc. Have her join after school clubs and/or electives where she might see the same kids, band, orchestra, choir etc. A phone believe it or not helped. We waited until middle to get our daughter her first cell phone and put restrictions and limits on its use. However, as kids communicate via phone so much, it helped her connect with other kids when she could text new friends, ask about assignments etc. Others probably have other ideas.

We are now going through the same thing with our daughter who started high school, double the size of middle school. Closest friends from middle school all went to different schools and some went private. But Seattle high schools have so many extracurricular opportunities Same advice applies, clubs and activities are helping facilitate friendships.

Anonymous said…
@Not Pleased
Can you elaborate? I have not been able to attend any of the listening tour but having now been through 5 supers and I'm only just a little past halfway through SPS, every single new super that has come in has had heaps of expectations piled on them and...sadly as a parent, it only feels like we are backsliding.
-Long Road
Anonymous said…

That is heart-breaking! Unfortunately I don't think recess is a "thing" anymore in middle school and high school. It's too bad, as I know in Europe young people do get longer breaks and usually have activity clubs and sport in the afternoons.

We have found ultimate Frisbee to be a very girl-positive sport in Seattle (boy-positive as well), so too archery. If your middle school offers these, I hope you will encourage your daughter to go out for them! They can be a wonderful way to make new friends. Scholarships are almost always available so everyone can participate. Sport would give her some exercise and outdoor time and a place to make new friends.

Has your school got an advisory period? If so, talk to her advisory teacher. Most advisory periods are intended to encourage new friendships, and most teachers will want to make sure she has a safe place to make those social connections and to nurture them where they can do.

Anonymous said…
@Richard -
That is not very encouraging about Lincoln.

I was at Ballard HS Curriculum Night last week, and while waiting in the gym for the program to start heard other parents discussing the many, many families they knew setting up "alternate" addresses so their child could stay at Ballard. Another parent told me he has heard only about 200 students will actually be moving from Ballard to Lincoln next year (not counting incoming freshmen.)

My sophomore child has his last three classes of the day in the new portables, which I guess is preferable to going back and forth.

Sophomore Parent
Anonymous said…
Re Middle school, I think recess ends at middle school and instead the kids have PE option. I know my Meany student enjoys arriving at school early to spend time with friends, also at lunchtime I see students outside playing soccer and frisbee etc.

My Garfield kid very much enjoys the Latin class and associated group, likely alongside NESeattleMom's. World Language is now a required course like Health or PE, isn't it, for 2021 and beyond? There is a single (excellent!) Latin teacher at Garfield who teaches multiple sections, losing him would end the program completely. (If you think finding a French or Spanish teacher is hard, imagine Latin!) My child's understanding is that PE and Health are continuing at Garfield with students taken in by other teachers. I'm not certain about this and haven't pressed Admin about it either because, well, my child satisfies the PE credit with sports and is currently taking Health online. (And not because we couldn't get into Health class, as I'm sure some will run with, but because in my opinion the time spent earning that required credit can be put to higher value use during the school day.)

Anonymous said…
Absolutely dumbfounding, as anyone familiar with these people and their job (dis)functions will readily attest:

Kim Whitworth $176K
Helen Joung $164K
Kelly Aramaki $176K
Jon Halfaker 176K
Sarah Pritchett $176K

How can this possibly be permitted. These people -- Joung? Pritchett? -- seriously?

Melinda said…
In regards to (what looks like) an increase in Running Start students --- several years ago homeschooling students in the SSD could not get SPS schools to sign off on their Running Start enrollment and they had to go to neighboring school districts. I do not remember the exact years this occurred, but I do know that it occurred for several years. That has changed, and now homeschooling students in the SSD, generally go to their local high school to get signed off for enrollment in RS. This -- and likely other factors we are unaware of -- could account for what looks to be, a significant portion of the increase in RS students, yet not be a *real* increase.
Anonymous said…
Is that their salaries or is that their total compensation? If it's just salaries, then once you add in benefits and other compensation you're looking at above $1 million for the EDs. That would save several teachers - certainly the ones at Nova and Garfield for sure.

Even if one agrees with Juneau's defense of the EDs, and I don't, that role is a nice-to-have thing that gets funded only after all other classroom needs are met. Since those needs aren't being met, eliminating that budget item and putting the savings into helping preserve teachers at schools seems a really obvious and easy thing to do.

Pink Slip
Pro-Recess Mom said…
Recess and lunch are great at our option school. We sent child #2 there instead of our assignment school because they punished students by withholding recess, kept students at their desks for rainy day recess, and spent way too much of the lunch period lining up to march to the lunch room. Children were ending up with 8 minutes to eat IF they didn't need to buy lunch. Everything is going great at the option school. Time for lunch, 3 recesses a day, outside in all weather, and I've never heard of anyone having recess revoked as punishment. Hurray for our option school!
Anonymous said…
@Sophomore parent
I have a freshman at BHS and heard the same. Only 200 are slated for Lincoln next year and was not even certain if that was 10th graders or also included the reduction in entering Freshman. I am wondering if this amount will be lower, because I also heard of some who will try to remain. The Lincoln principal I hope will try her best to attract families who are not feeling so enticed.
Freshman parent
Kelly Aramaki is no longer with Seattle Schools and it's a shame - he was a bright light. He went to Bellevue SD.

I guess my question is - how did they help/evaluate principals before EDs?

Anonymous said…
Lincoln can't compete with BHS or RHS. So, no kidding those students with astute families have already lined up an escape hatch. I know a Queen Anne family with a mom who had her Ballard uncle change his utility bill to have her name 2 years ago. They will easily be able to claim their son's address in Ballard to avoid being pushed out. BHS has identified 200 9th graders who are in the transfer zone. RHS principal said only 100 in 9th grade now will be affected. Yet they too can line up avoidance strategies. One family talked about a 'seperation' next year where one parent will 'move' into a friend's home, with a proper lease, becoming a month-to-month renter. Then, their child will have that address too, and, can register/remain at his school. Then, their marriage will be fixed, and the rental collapsed! But, per SPS rules, the child will not have to transfer immediately, but can stay at the school until year end. They plan on having martial troubles every August. Reconciliation will occur by October. Good luck with disproving their marriage isn't troubled, or that his new address is not legit, when he will have a canceled check and a bonafide lease. I don't begrudge them or anyone trying to ensure their child is in a school that fits. People move to Kirkland, people do interdistrict transfers to Shoreline, people go to privates, charters or Running Start, however inconvenient, in order to get their child's educational needs not short shifted. Bottom line, no one would do any of these things if they perceived the school their child was assigned to was of the utmost quality. Getting angry at the parents who avoid uncertainty or problems blames the wrong party: it is this school district responsibility to make sure every child with certainty has a great team of caring teachers and a relentlessly passionate, excellent leader as principal.

Lincoln should have had a rock star principal. Should have had a national search for the principal. Should have had either the respected BHS or RHS principal named as the inaugural leader. Should have been sensitive to how important music could have been and recruited a major star to head up the program, thereby giving confidence to Wallingford, Ballard, and Queen Anne families. (The immensely well respected WMS teacher just fled to Ballard). Instead, this principal placement is Nyland's parting gift.

Running Start is calling...

Shell Game
Anonymous said…

Darn, Mr. Aramaki was one of the three EDs who was respected and known to be a strong principal, though he was underused in this worthless ED role. The district website still shows him as the ED for "team 3".

Hopefully, those principals of "team 3" schools are managing to get by and conduct the day to day operations of their schools even though they are bereft of their professional cheerleader. How's it going, parents of students in Adams, Louisa Boren STEM, John Hay, Queen Anne, Lawton? Did the wheels fall off?

How is it equitable for students in team 1 or team 5 schools that their principals still get the sage instructional support of their EDs who are still on the job while those in team 3 buildings are cast adrift? (Forgive my sarcasm, it is so frustrating that kids in schools lost teachers when money is spent on a boondogle bureaucratic layer)

For those wanting to see salaries, go to Kitsap Sun database for public employees. Seattle Public Schools is Washington State's district number 171001 within Puget Sound Educational Service District 121. The $176K does not include benefits. Those are $30K, bringing total to $206K.

Waste Not
Anonymous said…
The superintendent likely needs those Ed directors for her own support, as SPS is the largest school district in the state. I understand many parents are not happy with the specific Ed directors, their job performance etc. but that is also a different argument. I worked in the public sector. I can attest that unless you are internal, I highly doubt you can determine just how much work they actually do from the outside.
Former Public
Anonymous said…
Two takeaways from the board meeting and testimonies.

One, regarding Washington middle school and its geometry class. If you have class of highly performing 8th graders there is little to no impact between having 36 or 41 students in the class. These kids are well tutored up and performing. If class size mattered so much for performers then class size at the UW would reflect that and the data doesn't support that idea. Coming before that board and criticizing a school who is providing geometry class for 41 highly capable students is elitist and wrong.

Two, using 380 million dollars from the sugar tax to provided snacks to only a limited number of schools is wrong. Studies have data that shows much of the tax comes from those same communities where these schools are located. Why should students receiving FRL at schools above the threshold of 50% be left out? Why should the other non FRL students at those chosen schools get snacks...?

Once again the rubber stamp board provides no representation to parents who think, they only cow tao to emotional based rants.

Oh boy
Carol Simmons said…
Dear Mom,

There are some wonderful suggestions posted here for your daughter. Please talk with someone at her school about her situation. There are teachers, counselors, administrators, and other adults who will be able to help. Extra curricular activities are often the answer. Someone there will know what is available and many will be there to help. This is important.
MonikerMom said…
I am pretty disturbed about the Lincoln High School story. How can a principal already be against two large constituencies attending the high school? And why would you choose someone so unsuited for that role?
Jet City mom said…
I believe that class size is limited by teacher contract.
School must pay a fine for each day class size goes over. Which is why the principal generally will not allow overenrollment even if everyone else is fine with it.
Anonymous said…
If we only let the high achieving, easy to manage, well behaved kids into advanced math, sure, we could overload those classes. But I was hoping we were moving if anything toward DIVERSIFYING our advanced learning program, not adding yet another hoop to jump. Sure, you can be in advanced math. If you pass the test(maybe several tests), if your principal is "okay" with advanced math. If the new principal is also "okay" with advanced math. And now if you are privileged enough that 40+ kid classes are no problem for you.

Anonymous said…
@MonikerMom "And why would you choose someone so unsuited for that role?

Because I believe she was chosen and started developing the plan for a neighborhood high school. Then it was decided by the board that HCC & dual language would be put into the school after the fact. She may have known about dual language when she took the job, but she likely did not know about the HCC program pathway. I am still wondering if the program pathway will stick or not past 2019. The board was not happy about placing them at Lincoln even temporarily. The district plan was neighborhood schools (but not all can serve them) or 4 or so "regional pathways" which might have been a good idea IMO if we also did not have enrollment issues. They would need to balance that out and I think nobody trusts they can do that well enough.
Former Public,
"I understand many parents are not happy with the specific Ed directors, their job performance etc. but that is also a different argument. I worked in the public sector. I can attest that unless you are internal, I highly doubt you can determine just how much work they actually do from the outside."

One, we have a right to know - as taxpayers - what work they do. Two, it was repeatedly advertised - to parents - to go to EDs for help. Sorry, not buying the "you don't know how it is inside" argument.

Oh Boy, middle school is not college. The school isn't "providing" anything - it's their legal responsibility.

"Two, using 380 million dollars from the sugar tax to provided snacks to only a limited number of schools is wrong."

Could you please explain the context for this?

I have to shake my head over the discussion about Lincoln. I again wonder about the power of principals. I thought the district had the power to tell a principal, "We have decided to put this program in your building and here are the supports." Not to have the principal say no or be an obstructionist. It's a weird, weird thing especially for a new school.

Anonymous said…
@ oh boy,

Since you purport to be a "parent who thinks," surely you realize that referring to high-achieving math students as "well tutored up" is disrespectful, right? Was that your intent--to take a subtle dig and imply they somehow bought their way in? Or do you acknowledge that math interest and abilities vary widely, and that students can excel in math on their own, without getting "tutored up"?

Also, class size at UW is irrelevant, and your example doesn't seem to provide the supporting data you think it does. First, classes are larger for cost reasons, not because large classes work well. It's the business model. Second, why do you think upper division classes are smaller, and graduate classes even smaller than that? Because the work is harder and students need closer relationships with the instructors to do well. Third, I'm going to take a wild guess here, but I suspect most of those large classes at UW have some students who do very poorly in them. The simple existence of large class sizes does not mean they are an effective approach.

All classes, and all cohorts, have students with a range of abilities. Some will be stronger in math that others. Some will need more help than others--even in HCC! Some highly capable students also have learning disabilities and IEPs or 504 plans--they are capable of working at that level, but they need additional support to help work around their special needs. To suggest that advanced classes should be so large that such students can't get the accommodations they need (and are legally entitled to) is wrong.

all types

P.S. - Maybe it was an autocorrect issue or something, but if not, I think the word you were looking for is "kowtow."

Anonymous said…
@Melissa "One, we have a right to know - as taxpayers - what work they do. Two, it was repeatedly advertised - to parents - to go to EDs for help. Sorry, not buying the "you don't know how it is inside" argument."

To be more clear, I was not arguing against the public being given information about Ed directors role or accountability. I was pointing out that public employees in many sectors, are often criticized as "lazy" or "useless" with the "taxpayer argument". I have witnessed public employees (albeit middle level employees city govt, college staff etc) with job descriptions pages & pages long, who are also underpaid and worked their buns off. They have years & years of stagnant wages having hit their payscale ceiling, then when they are up for a 2% cola, the "public" thinks they don't deserve it. I know people with doctorates with tons of job responsibilities in middle management roles at colleges working for much less than what your average teacher earns in Seattle. Thank god they finally unionized where I used to work. Somehow "the public" thinks they know everything they do, when they most certainly do not.

Former Public
Anonymous said…
I wonder how Lincoln is going to be able to have gymnastics when they don't have any of the expensive gymnastics equipment. Ingraham has been practicing at Hale and holding their home meets there because they don't have equipment and there is no budget for equipment. Hale needs a better spring floor to prevent injuries but there are some schools that are still using wrestling mats. Where is the equipment going to come from?

Former Public, to be clear - I never said anyone was lazy or useless. I said they are ineffective and no one can clearly state their role. Good that Juneau did that but families and the public should have been made aware of it as well.

HP, maybe we should start a running list of questions.
Anonymous said…
@Melissa. I agree. The superintendent should be able to explain their role. In addition, the Ed directors should also be given opportunity to share their job description with the public & explain their role. In contrast to other public employees I know (in other sectors not K-12) who are underpaid & overworked, Ed director salaries are very high. In the current climate of extreme budget woes, I do understand they should be accountable especially if people think they are ineffective. Don't disagree with that argument, just the idea of people think they always know what other people do and their responsibilities. Example, some people I knew in the public sector were given duties outside their job description for no additional pay, & some were given additional responsibilities equaling a second job when jobs were cut.
Former Public
THey were given the opportunity a year or so back with a Work Session just for them. It was the worst work session I have ever attended and did not clarify much.

I don't mind them being highly paid; I just want to know what they do.
Future Lincoln? said…
I thought it was odd that they didn't specify whether gymnastics was girls or boys or both like they did for the other sports.

They also said there was a chance of club sports (Ultimate Frisbee, Crew, LaCross).

There's a meeting at the John Marshall building October 24 at 6:30 to talk about sports at Lincoln.
Anonymous said…
There is no high school boys gymnastics in WA state. All high school gymnastics is girls gymnastics. If boys want to do gymnastics they either need to join private club gymnastics or if they just want to tumble, they can join high school cheerleading. It is like Volleyball, there are no boys volleyball teams in high school.


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