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Friday, July 19, 2019

Friday Open Thread

Tomorrow is the 50th Anniversary of the United States landing on the moon.  (I was alive then to see that - from a town in Arizona - but I suspect most of you weren't.  It was pretty damn exciting.)  Lots going on at NASA including a replay of original Moon landing broadcast from July 20, 1969.

The district updated the candidate information page for the choosing of a new director for District VII, replacing Betty Patu.  It includes the questionnaire for the candidates.  I note that even though there are only five numbered questions, some questions have two questions within them.  One of them is asking if candidates support the Strategic Plan.  I'll go out on a limb and say the answer from all will be..."yes." I did a spot check but don't see a candidate who has answered the questions (or, at least, the district hasn't put up the answers yet).

The Advanced Learning Task Force is having an all-day retreat tomorrow at the JSCEE from 8 am to 4 pm.  That's dedication for you.  No agenda available. As well, here is an update of their work for 2018-2019

Director Harris will be having a community meeting tomorrow, Sat the 20th, from 3-5 pm at the West Seattle Library.

What's on your mind?

Kids Model Adults


No photo description available.

This came up on my Twitter feed recently.

Image result for photo of black family reading on subway

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Tuesday Open Thread

Readers: I accidentally closed comments here. My apologies.  Now open for business.  Thanks for the alert.

end of update

Governor Jay Inslee announces a grant to support outdoor time for kids. Via KXLY:

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Video Voters’ Guides for Seattle School Board Candidates

Editor’s note; there is a notation explaining that some candidates did not participate.  Hence, not all candidates will have a video.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Board Work Session On Monday

Update:  the Board had the Work Session and apparently feel the need/pressure for more engagement with the public.

Friday Open Thread

How was your earthquake experience?  Quite timely given our recent discussion. Again, put it on our list of topics for one of the first PTA/PTO meetings at your school.

Sunday, July 07, 2019

Reviewing the Candidates for Patu's Seat on the Seattle School Board

Editor's Notes:
- Some candidates will have longer write-ups than others.  I mean no slight to any candidate but some have more notable resumes/backgrounds.

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Via Twitter Today

@jerseyjazzman
What kind of country puts children in 
disgusting & cruel detention camps? 
 
 The same country that repeatedly underfunds 
its schools for the most disadvantaged children.

Tuesday Open Thread

Important article from the Seattle Times about earthquakes and school buildings in Washington State.  While no SPS school was included in the survey, it's still good reading. 

Monday, July 01, 2019

The Strange Case of Tracy Castro-Gill

On my way out the door for blogging about Seattle Public Schools, there are two last posts to write.  One is about my thoughts on the district we have today and what I see for its future.

For those who don't keep up here at the blog, I announced some time back (actually years in the making) that I would end blogging about Seattle Public Schools and focus on higher-level issues like so-called personalized learning, charter schools and student data privacy.  (I will still have twice-weekly Open Threads for those who want to discuss the district or any other public education topic.)

I do want to highly recommend a recent story in the New York Times on race and how people who live in Hawaii think of it. 

What follows here is an opinion piece with supporting data. The most important takeaway is not what has been happening to me but rather, what kind of behavior will this district allow vis a vis staff at JSCEE and in the schools.  Because if vicious name-calling is the new normal, this district is in trouble.

This post is about the head of Ethnic Studies for Seattle Public Schools, Tracy Castro-Gill.  She was formerly a teacher at Denny International Middle School.

She is many things.  Bright and yet not a sophisticated thinker.  Energetic and yet she thinks no one notices how hard she works in the district and whines about it.  Sure of her stands and yet unwilling to consider that she just might not have everything right.  A scholar to be sure and yet, she seems unable to read for content, being content to skim and then, slash and burn.

Most of all, she believes she is the rightest of right.  

In short, she's part of a wave of the new public education advocate - the zealot. 

Sunday, June 30, 2019

How Are the Seattle School Board Candidates Faring?

I've now been to an endorsement meeting and the North Seattle School Board Candidate Forum that was held Monday, June 24th at Roosevelt High School.  Please let me know if you hear of any forums; they are not always widely advertised.

You can read the King County Democrats' questionnaires.  I haven't read thru them all but here's your chance.  I urge you to read them because they are a lot more revealing than most candidates' websites.  (Speaking of websites, where is Molly E. Mitchell's over in District 6? It's a dead link.  The other two candidates - Crystal Liston and Leslie Harris - have theirs up and running.)

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Seattle School Board Meeting - June 26, 2019

Previous to this meeting, I had reported that I thought it would be lively because of the main topics on the Speakers List, namely, Ethnic Studies and the abrupt end to the district's decade-long partnership with the Urban Native Education Alliance.

I was not wrong.

Friday, June 28, 2019

The Future Seattle School Board (Coming to you on November 5, 2019)

First item, front and center.  Today was the deadline to submit an application for the soon-to-be vacated seat of Director Betty Patu.

The person appointed to succeed Patu 
MUST 
know this district well.  
 
There's no telling who will be elected for the four spaces on the Board in November and, of course, the current Board has no control over that.

But they do control Patu's space. I set out a scenario below that could happen that makes it imperative that her spot is filled with someone who has been in this district for more than a minute.

Superintendent Denise Juneau - It's Been a Year, What Do You Think?

It has been nearly a year since Denise Juneau became the Seattle Schools' superintendent.  In that year she has visited all the schools, taking selfies at all of them. That is one heavy lift to get done.   I'd certainly give her an "A" for effort.

She has written a reflection about her first year, dated June 21st.  Read it and tell me what's missing.

Friday Open Thread

Congrats to Aurora Jarvi of Concord International Elementary School and Cecilia Phillips of Hazel Wolf K-8 who were named part of the 2019 AAA School Safety Patrol Hall of Fame.

The district is inviting staff and families to be part of their group in the Pride Parade downtown this Sunday starting at 11 am.  

Thursday, June 27, 2019

SPS New Updates

Rather than do full reports, this reporting will be highlights from recent Board committee meetings.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Examining DeWolf's Commitment to Elected Office

Update: from Capitol Hill Seattle blog:

The Seattle Education Association, the city’s public school teachers union, have endorsed Nguyen and Sawant for the August primary.
end of update 

As we were discussing the principal issues at Washington Middle School and Bailey Gatzert Elementary, I was reminded of some statements that Director Zachary DeWolf has made about constituents AND goals while in office.

He said this in an interview at the Capitol Hill Blog in March of this year:

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Tuesday Open Thread

I attended what I believe is the first forum for school board candidates last night at Roosevelt High.  Oddly, it was just for North Seattle candidates (not those in the SW).  I'll have a full report but it was strangely listless.

Yesterday I tweeted the news about the 4500 Expedia employees coming over to the Interbay area and the newly announced 2,000 more Apple employees coming to Seattle to the district and the Superintendent.  No response but I suspect there are some families in there so it will be interesting to see how it plays out.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Principals in Seattle Schools - More Troubling News

The Board is scheduled to vote on the principals' contract (PASS) at Wednesday's Board meeting.  Here's the agenda item.  I have not read it but I'm sure it's the airtight instrument it always seems to be.  Also disturbing - it's an Intro/Action BAR so very little time for any public input despite the deep and lasting effects that a principal can have at a school.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

TAF at Washington Middle School Updates

The district is currently working on Washington Middle School becoming a STEM school via the Technology Access Foundation model (TAF) which currently has one school of this type in the Federal Way SD.  (It is not a charter school nor would the one at WMS be.)

I had been aware that TAF was expressing interest in trying to partner with SPS after being rejected by SPS about a decade ago over creating a STEM high school.  (I had thought it was to be at Cleveland back then but other news outlets say it was to be at Rainier Beach HS.)

I said this from the beginning - I believe in the TAF model and support this effort.  But the district and the Board are NOT being transparency in what they are doing. 

Friday, June 21, 2019

Sorry News about Sexual Predators

I first saw this news at the West Seattle blog - that a softball coach has been preying on some girls on the team, apparently since about 2017.   From WS Blog:

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Open Thread

From Seattle Parks:
Lifeguarded beaches are opening soon!!! Seattle Parks and Recreation offers safe, lifeguarded beaches at nine sites around the city, and we strongly recommend swimming only where lifeguards are present. Summer Beaches are open daily, weather permitting, from noon to 7 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. We also offer FREE youth swim lessons at every beach every week for kids ages 6 and up. Details: http://ow.ly/T0W050uIjXC
I've seen this notice on Twitter a couple of times:

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Race Issues at Hale?

One of the best new reporters in Seattle writes for Crosscut and her name is Liz Brazile.  I follow her on Twitter and she had this series of tweets today.  Parents, what have you heard about this?

@LizBrazile
Just sat in on a discussion about racism at Nathan Hale HS, organized in response to incidents of racist videos and graffiti discovered around the school. Today is Juneteenth, the day commemorating Black slaves in 1865 TX learning they’d been emancipated — 2 years after the fact.
11:37 AM · Jun 19, 2019

Honoring the Work of Director Betty Patu

From SPS Communications:
It is with mixed feelings that we announce the retirement of Director Aiomanu Betty Patu. Director Patu's family invite you to “please help us in honoring an esteemed woman and warrior for the children of Seattle Public Schools. Together, we will celebrate Betty’s new beginnings and blessed life.” 

Join Seattle Public Schools in celebrating Director Patu's legacy on June 26 from 3 - 4 p.m. in the John Stanford Auditorium, 2445 3rd Ave. S, Seattle, WA 98134. 

Magnolia Elementary's Mission/Vision Statement

Director Eden Mack went on a tour of the almost-finished Magnolia Elementary and posted photos at Facebook.  I assume the one below is their vision for Magnolia.   I'm just not sure that most kids would understand it.  I'm not sure I even understand "perspective validation."

Also, I assume that "M" with a swish blue watercolor is their school symbol - interesting choice.

43rd Dems Endorsement Meeting

I attended last night's 43rd Dems endorsement meeting.  Long but truly fascinating (and kudos to all who have the courage to run for public office).  Here's a link to their questionnaires on all candidates which are illuminating.  Here's a brief overview as pertains to Seattle Public Schools.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Seattle City Council Race District 3 - A Firm No on Zachary DeWolf

I don't normally jump into City Council races except on issues of public education.  But when a sitting Board director decides to jump ship for a City Council position, it'sa good idea for voters to consider a candidate's current performance as an elected official.  Which brings me to Zachary DeWolf.

As some may know, Director DeWolf was not my first choice when he was ran for school board.  I had met with him - twice - to see what he knew and learn his reasons for running.  I had come away seeing that, while he has a good heart and is he is an eager learner, I believed he would be in way over his head on the Board.  But, as it turned out, he cleared the primary along with another candidate who was a charter school supporter and I threw my support to DeWolf.  Repeatedly, on this blog and in social media.

He did end up winning.  But sadly, he has been a disappointment for a couple of simple reasons and this is why I urge voters in District 3 to vote for other candidates in the race.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Board Announces Process to Fill Betty Patu’s Seat

The Seattle School Board has put forth the process for choosing and seating a successor to Director Betty Patu who is stepping down from her post in District 7,effective July 1. 2019. She has served for a decade and the Rainier Beach High School library will be named in her honor.

Be Civil

Some of you may have noticed that I turned on the Comment Moderation.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Best Wishes to the Grads of 2019!



Friday Open Thread

Got a grad?  A good article from the New York Times about learning to be a financially responsible young adult.

Googling for "Amplify" and Seeing the Future From the Past

I was looking for some information about Amplify Science K-5 and I stumbled onto a report by one of the many public education coalition groups (Google "public education coalition groups" and see how many turn up).   This particular one is called America Forward.

What I found was a submission to the Office of Science and Technology Policy to comment on a Federal Register Notice regarding "High Impact Learning Technologies" from America Forward.  This was the focus for comments;
We are very supportive of OSTP developing policies related to high-impact learning technologies outlined in the notice, and are especially eager to comment on the use of Pay for Success (PFS) as a ‘pull mechanism’ to accelerate the development, rigorous evaluation, and widespread adoption of high impact learning technologies.
At first I was a bit puzzled how this pulled up for a search of Amplify.   I scrolled down to page 7 which had a list of the-then coalition members. No Amplify.  But I get to page eight and there's input from none other than Amplify Learning, dated March 7, 2014.

I think it's important in the context of the recent adoption of Amplify K-8 for SPS to consider these words carefully (color mine).

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Seattle Schools Evicts Native Youth Program from Robert Eagle Staff MS

 Update 2: Director Pinkham was at the rally at RESMS last night in support of UNEA.

end of update

Update: story from Crosscut.

end of update

SUCCESSFUL NATIVE YOUTH PROGRAM EVICTED 
FROM ROBERT EAGLE STAFF BUILDING
(FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE)

A Native youth program with a record of boosting graduation rates and cultural enrichment for Seattle students has been evicted from Robert Eagle Staff building, echoing the heartbreak of broken agreements with local Native Americans over centuries.

On Friday, June 4th, Urban Native Education Alliance (UNEA) was sent notice by Seattle Public School Area Director Jon Halfacker announcing the Partnership Agreement will be “terminated”. This termination has been decided without due process, dialogue, or foundation in fact.
“The abrupt termination of the ‘Partnership Agreement’ with our successful Clear Sky tutoring, mentorship, and cultural Education program ‑ along with the Native Warrior Athletics basketball program ‑ will have reverberating impact on hundreds of Seattle Public Schools’ Native learners, families, volunteers, Robert Eagle Staff and Licton Springs learning community and our intertribal urban community”, stated Sarah Sense‑Wilson (Oglala), Urban Native Education Alliance Board of Directors Chair.
Clear Sky’s youth programming holds 11‑year record of 100% graduation for involved Native youth K‑12, and stands as a recognized model for improving Native student academic and personal youth outcomes. Clear Sky served 97 Native students, 62 volunteers, 61 Native Warrior Athletics student athletes, and over 811 combined community members, volunteers,students and allied programs in the past school year.

One-Day Sports Camp for Kids


Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Scholarship Opportunity for 2019 Grads

The Schott Foundation for Public Education is giving away one $1,000 scholarship to a 2019 graduate of a U.S. public school who has been admitted to a college or university. Apply today: the contest is open now and ends at midnight Eastern Time on June 30, 2019. Learn more about the contest here: http://www.publicschoolgrad.org

Wednesday Open Thread

I attended both the Board Audit&Finance committee meeting and the Curriculum&Instruction committee meeting this week.  Interesting discussions at both that I will be writing about soon.   I note that the only school board candidate at either meeting, was Lisa Rivera Smith who was at the C&I meeting.  This was a bit of a disappointment as these last committee meetings of the year are key ones.  Plus, the sooner that candidates understand the scope of the work the better.  The learning curve for the Board is huge and I think that surprises many new directors.

Great article at The Atlantic by local rich guy, Nick Hanauer, called Better Schools Won't Fix America.  He gets it half right:

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Slogging Through the Board Meeting; Science Adoption K-5

As you may well imagine, anyone in the room that night was exhausted (and they had a huge list of Intro items to get thru).  But they had to finish the Science Adoption and the last item was K-5.

President Harris inquired of legal counsel, Ronald Boy, if they needed to read into the minutes the amendment that had previously been enacted by the vote on Amplify middle school science (given both middle and elementary schools will be using Amplify).

Director Burke wanted to highlight that the amendment that he and Director Scott Pinkham had created before the meeting (that appeared in the agenda) had been withdrawn before the meeting.

Director Jill Geary stated that it should be amended per the previous amendment, with a check-in at year four with Research & Evaluation using various assessments.

That amendment passed 5-2, with Pinkham and Burke once again voting no.

On the Main Motion to Adopt Amplify for K-5

Monday, June 10, 2019

Cancelled -HCS—AC Relaunch Meeting On Wednesday

 Update: this meeting has been cancelled.

Editor’s note - I changed the blog title as apparently it did not accurately reflect the meeting information.  I actually did this to try to allow more parents to be aware of this meeting but I’m feeling like no good deed goes unpunished.

End of note

The Highly Capable Services Advisory Committee (HCS-AC) and HiCap Seattle would like to warmly invite all community members committed to the education of highly capable and twice exceptional students in Seattle to join us for our re-launch meeting this Wednesday (June 12, 2019, 7:00 p.m. in the Cascadia Elementary School library). We would like your input at this kick-off event to engage and unify the hicap/2e community on advocacy for hicap/2e students with schools, district staff, and board members on behalf of hicap/2e students, and lay plans for outreach and advocacy in the 2019-202 school year.

Please join us:
Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at 7 p.m.
Cascadia Elementary School library
1700 N 90th St, Seattle, WA 98103

Sunday, June 09, 2019

Slogging Thru the Seattle School Board Meeting (Part Two)

After the High School Science was adopted, 7-0, the Board moved onto the Middle Science adoption of Amplify.  Naturally, this was the longest and most contentious discussion.

Friday, June 07, 2019

Friday Open Thread

From reader Ram Parent:
On the subject of amazing hard working high school kids:

Members of Ingraham Environmental Club won both the Regional and the State Envirothon, qualifying them for the National Competition! The team will be traveling to Raleigh, North Carolina this summer to compete on a national level.
King-5 News story about adaptive PE at Robert Eagle Staff MS:

No Student Should Go Hungry During the Summer Months

No photo description available.

Two More WA State Charter Schools to Close

I knew this was likely coming. How? Because of the low number of applications to the Washington Charter Commission.  Because of the low number of applications approved.  And that one other charter school also closed this year closed this year.

That line from the Washington Policy Center and others that  "all the charters have a waiting list" was just bullshit.

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Slogging Thru the Last Seattle School Board Meeting (Part One)

I was only able to attend the first hour and a half of the Board meeting on Wednesday, May 29th.  I watched the rest of it this week via SPS videotape.  I'm just going to cover selected speakers during public testimony and the science adoption.

Summary

What is it they say about watching sausage made?  Don't watch.  

Mayor Durkan Announces Summer Programs for Youth

From the Mayor's Communications office:

Mayor Jenny Durkan Announces City of Seattle Summer Programs for Youth & Their Families

Seattle (June 6, 2019) – Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced today the City of Seattle’s summer programs for youth and families across Seattle. To help ensure more equitable access to opportunity and safer communities, these summer programs range from investments in career development, to continuing education, to sports and recreation, to community services and safety.

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Superintendent to Meet with Washington Middle School Staff Today

Update: the new WMS principal was apparently not the only topic the Superintendent discussed with WMS staff.

As I previously reported, at the last Executive Committee meeting, the members were notified that the district was in discussions with the Technology Access Foundation to create a TAF academy in an SPS middle school.  The discussion at the meeting did not mention an MOU (which apparently exists) and which school was vague until a staffer slipped and said Washington Middle School.

This brochure was handed out; it certainly looks like a done deal.  It would do away with honors classes which effectively ends HCC as we know it in the SE.  The picture of what is happening with Advanced Learning becomes clearer every day while being carried out without process or notice.

While I love the work TAF does, to spring this on that community is appalling.  The Board should be upset because this is NOT how the discussion went at the Executive Committee meeting.

Monday, June 03, 2019

Seattle School Board Elections 2019 Updates

Update: the Times has a story with a brief synopsis of each candidate.  It does make for interesting reading.   I do know (and know of) some of the candidates so I'll be writing about that information soon.  I do wish the Times had asked Christophersen and Kline (who are partners) why they both decided to run in the same race.  Also, they say they have both advocated for Special Education and yet don't mention it in their statements.  Lisa Rivera Smith and Rebeca Muniz are the only candidates who did not vote in the last levy election.

What To Do About PTA Fundraising and Equity in SPS

It's a big question in that headline (literally, as some schools are fundraising giants).  It's a touchy question - challenging parents' rights to raise huge amounts of money that benefit the children at their child's school.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Technology Making Major Purchases

The district has announced the following:

Friday Open Thread

What a finale to the Scripps Spelling Bee - for the first time in history, they have multiple co-champions (8!).  After they had gone 20 rounds, Scripps decided that they would do one more round and whoever was standing would be champion or co-champions.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Tonight's Big Science Adoption Vote

Update: at the Board meeting, the amendment from Pinkham/Burke has been withdrawn.  This changes things for me; I think the adoption will (sadly) pass.  

Also, I saw three teenagers - two of them to speak tonight and one in the audience - not stand for the Pledge. A bit startling.

End of update.

My last communication to the Board on the Science Adoption.  I also want to note that some communities of color are not excited about Amplify.  One of them is the Urban Native Education Alliance who will be speaking at tonight's Board meeting.  They say their learners do better will hands-on as well as group work.  Amplify doesn't have a lot of that.

My email today to the Board:

I write to you one last time asking you to consider voting no.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Tuesday Open Thread

Congrats to the Garfield High girls softball team which finished first in the state.  They are the first Seattle high school team to ever win this title.  Great job!  From the Times story:

Sunday, May 26, 2019

From the Executive Committee Meeting on May 22, 2019

I have frequently said that the real business of the district happens in Board committee meetings and Work Sessions.  So it was last week at the Executive Committee meeting.  (I truly hope there is someone out there who hears me when I say, someone should be covering these meetings.  The minutes are better than they were years ago but they don't cover all the nuance or detail that someone being there can.)

President Leslie Harris chairs the committee, with Zachary DeWolf and Rick Burke as members.  Director Burke was calling in from China (where he was for business) with Director Eden Mack also on the phone. 

Agenda discussion (partial)

Friday, May 24, 2019

Yet Another Reason that Washington Middle School's Principal Needed to be Exited

I print this email to show the extent of what was happening this year at Washington Middle Schools.  I also print it to show that this business of saying it was just HCC parents complaining is just bunk.  The principal was an equal opportunity offender and this was a grievous offense.

I also - again - point out that the Executive Directors seemingly cannot handle issues arising in their schools.  (bold mine)

I suspect this complaint was the final straw in exiting Principal Ginolfi as principal at Washington Middle School.

Subject: Complaints against Emily Butler Ginolfi

Looks Like Amplify May Be the Provider of Choice in SPS

Sometimes you just can't make this stuff up.

Friday Open Thread

The district has announced they will no longer print and distribute paper calendars to families due to costs. They say you can print one yourself from their website or use their app.  They used to sell space on the calendars.  As someone said on Facebook, they couldn't get a business to be a good corporate citizen and do this? I can't believe it's saving that much money.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

The Entire Board Must Vote No on the Science Adoption

You'll note the use of the word "must" in the headline for this post.  I have gone from "should" to "must" based on new information I received today via public disclosure documents from the district.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Seattle School Board Races Update

Readers, some of you may have seen my name listed at King County Elections to run for Rick Burke's seat in District 2.  I did that for strategic reasons, namely, I didn't want someone to sneak on the ballot at the last minute with no challenger.  There are two candidates now for that position and so, true to form, I'm not running.  (Everybody at JSCEE can exhale now.)

Note to those who are not as in-the-know about campaigning.  You file to run with King County Elections but you are not truly running until you register with the Public Disclosure Commission.   (Yes, I know legally when you file, you are a candidate but to get and spend money, you need the PDC registration.)

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Saturday Open Thread

The Seattle International Film Festival has just gotten underway; lots of good films for kids and teens in their Films4Families.

The district has selected a new head of Advanced Learning (via Kari Hanson, Director of Student Support Services, partial):

"Adversity Score" for Students Taking the SAT

From the New York Times:

Problem:
Scoring patterns on the SAT suggesting that the test puts certain racial and economic groups at a disadvantage have become a concern for colleges.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Zachary DeWolf Should Step Down .....NOW

Update: in other Board news, there's finally a candidate for District 2 (Rick Burke's district - he has not filed yet), Lisa Rivera Smith.  Smith is a past PTSA president at Hamilton MS and the current co-president of the yet-to-open Lincoln High School.

There's another challenger for Director Harris - Crystal S. Liston. I can find nothing about her.  Anyone?  

end of update

DeWolf missed an important Board meeting last night where an entire adoption - K-12 - took place.

Where was he?

Campaigning for City Council.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Betty Patu Stepping Down Early

Patu announced this from the podium during Board comments.  Her last day, if I understood her, will be June 26th.

President Harris said that an application would be organized because the Board selects who finishes her term to 2021.

Know a good person in Patu’s district?  Tell them to stay tuned.

Roosevelt Jazz Band Wins Essentially Ellington

Great news from NYC - the Roosevelt High School Jazz Band has once again won top place in the Essentially Ellington Jazz contest.  This is the fourth time that RHS Jazz has won which ties with Garfield High School's four wins.  No other schools in the country can match these records.

Congratulations to both Roosevelt and Garfield for their inspired work. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Final Science Adoption Thoughts

Update: I mistakenly thought the three Science adoptions had been introduced at the last Board meeting.  It certainly sounded like that would be the course of things after the Committee of the Whole meeting for Curriculum & Instruction last week.  So the big vote won't be until May 29th.  There are good and bad aspects to this schedule.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Science Adoption Update

In a previous post, I said I had attended Director Rick Burke's community meeting last Saturday.  I came to listen to others but I also wanted to point out ongoing issues with the science adoption especially for K-8.

The most important thing to do is tell the Board what YOU think.  Despite the fact that whoever created the process for input on the various science curricular being considered decided that ONLY their form would be considered for input, Board policy says any kind of input - written, electronic - could be submitted and should be considered.

Write to the Board at: spsdirectors@seattleschools.org

For example, I hope the Board realizes that there is a weirdly low number for input on the K-5 Amplify curriculum.  It's something like 12-15.

There has now been an amendment put forward by Directors Burke and Pinkham to reject the Committee recommendation for Amplify for K-5 science.  They instead believe the choice should be HMH Science Dimensions.

Director Burke's Community Meeting

Last Saturday, Director Rick Burke had his regular community meeting.  It is a bit disturbing that he was the only director having one and that, this Saturday, May 10th, there is not one single director community meeting.  This despite the high interest in the science adoption looming at the upcoming Board meeting on Wednesday, May 15th.

Best Wishes to Our Muslim Neighbors


Friday Open Thread

May 17th is the cut-off day for candidates to register for public office in Washington State and that includes for Seattle School Board.  This is what is known so far:

Thursday, May 09, 2019

All Good Things Must...Change

I believe change IS coming to Seattle Public Schools.  This change for me has been a long time coming and I have talked about it with family, friends and colleagues for a couple of years now.
For now, I will simply state that I no longer want to cover what this district is doing except as part of the larger picture (or, as an example) of public education. 
I'll see this current school year thru but, starting in July, I won't be writing about Seattle Public Schools.  The blog will have its regular Tuesday/Friday open threads for any topics you like.  Yes, I will still be moderating to keep it civil.  (And I may have to think up a snappy new name.)


What I will be covering are topics like charter schools, personalized learning (which seems to be coming like a freight train - your child's school experience is going to look less and less like your own) and student privacy.  I mention those because I think that those subjects will become ones that directly impact SPS.  Of course, I welcome guest posts and any suggestions for topics.  (Write to me at sss.westbrook@gmail.com.)

 And, I plan to throw the bulk of my energy in getting the current denizen in the White House out in November 2020.   No matter who you support for president, I think we all know next year is going to be a long, unpleasant slog to November.
  
I'll write about what I think see coming for SPS in Part Two of this thread. 

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Is This Your Child's Next School Day?

APTOPIX School Shooting Colorado
David Zalubowski / AP
This week's school shooting at a Colorado school marks a number of strikingly sad events.

- First charter school shooting
- First K-12 school which means - look to the right - very little kids.  (Not that teens are any better equipped but that face says it all.)
- Second time in recent weeks an 18-year old student sacrificed his life to stop a shooter.
- There were two shooters and one was a female student. 

Sunday, May 05, 2019

Seattle School Meetings, Week of May 6-12, 2019

There are four Work Sessions this week; two on Tuesday, May 7th and two on Wednesday, May 8th.

Advanced Learning Task Force Updates

(Editor's note: as with other discussions of Advanced Learning, I will monitor comments closely.  No attacks or name-calling; you can make a point without being unkind.)

The Advanced Learning Task Force Meeting will be meeting this week on Tues., May 7, 4 - 7 p.m. at JSCEE.

Friday, May 03, 2019

High School Revisioning

Overshadowed by the Science Adoption is the current revisioning of high school in Seattle Public Schools.  Part of the change is the pending state requirement for 24 credits to graduate from high school (versus 20 credits).  Naturally, this has far-reaching consequences and needs.

Friday Open Thread

Update: Looks like a real mess over at Eckstein today.  From the Ravenna Blog Twitter page:

Saturday, April 27, 2019

State Funding for Public Education Should Be Clear By End of Day

Sadly, what is clear is that, at least in the Senate, it appears that there are senators who want to drive more money to charter schools but then, don't really want to allow more money to go to traditional schools.
So there's good news and there's bad news from the State Senate tonight.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Science Adoption Updates Before COW

 Update:  Story from KUOW's Ann Dornfeld.  I think she did a good job.

end of update

Friday Open Thread

I will have a separate post but Director Jill Geary, chair of the Curriculum&Instruction Committee has called a COW (Committee of the Whole) meeting to discuss the Science adoption for Tuesday, April 30th from 4:30-7:00 pm at JSCEE.  No agenda yet available.  This meeting is where the Board will ask their final questions of staff.  This meeting will be followed the next day by the regular Board meeting where the Science adoption will be introduced.  No agenda yet available.

I urge everyone who has a question/comment to send it to the Board at spsdirectors@seattleschools.org.  If you wish for the Superintendent and senior management to see your comment/question, send it to schoolboard@seattleschools.org.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Live Blogging from Curriculum&Instruction Committee

Update 2: My reflections
Director Geary seemed resigned but determined from the beginning that 1) this committee meeting was not enough to get it right to then send this adoption request to the full Board for Intro and 2) she is determined to convene a meeting of the whole Board, listen, ask questions and then...move on.  A vote up or down.  (I don't mean that they would vote at that COW meeting but rather get everything out and then it moves on in the process.)

Tuesday Open Thread

Two announcements from the Mayor's office yesterday caught my eye.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

In Other News about Public Education

Update 2: WSSDA has a more complete list of pending legislation.


Update:  also in the last days of the legislature, on Friday, E2SHB 1599 passed the House. (Thank you to Kent SD parent, Nancy Chamberlain for the info.)

Friday, April 19, 2019

Science Adoption Updates

 Update: here's the agenda for next week's Curriculum&Instruction committee meeting.  I will request the accompanying materials but someone who did see them said there are 800 pages. I have never seen anything like this before.

end of update.

This post is written by former Board President Sue Peters as a letter to the Board because of pushback of her analysis about outcomes using Amplify Science.  This is a lengthy post but worth reading if you care about this issue.

Friday Open Thread

A lot of news.

Good News in two related stories: free Jazz camp this summerSee info here.
No experience required. Open to students going into grades 4-8.

Sliding scale tuition with instant free tuition option. Just enter code WAIVER on the registration check-out page.
From KIRO-tv, a story about new band instruments coming to SPS:

Best Wishes for the Start of Passover and for Easter Sunday



Related image
Image result for Happy passover 2019

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Enrollment News in Seattle Schools for 2019-2020

In what seems to be an annual event when enrollment patterns show themselves in SPS, we see that the patterns for this year appear to point to some trends.

Here's some news to use in consideration of enrollment, from the Seattle Times:
Census data show that for the first time in roughly half a century, Seattle’s under-18 population exceeds 100,000. It happened after a sudden bump in the number of city kids — and that’s a little surprising, because it’s something that hasn’t happened in decades.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Photos of Problems at Seattle Schools

From Muir Elementary (second time this year that coolant has leaked into the cafeteria this year):

Tuesday Open Thread

From Garfield, juniors there took the SAT on March 6th and never received their scores.  It appears the school may have created double accounts for each student.  Here's the latest I could find on the issue:

Monday, April 15, 2019

District Website Not Working (7:58 am)

As of now, the district's website is down with this notation:

The SPS website is currently unavailable.
Please check the links below as you may still be able to access the resources you need.
Thank you for your patience. All other systems are fully functioning. You can find the resources you need by clicking the buttons above or the links below

Science Adoption Update

A savvy reader sent me a link to this story in the Queen Anne & Magnolia news about the science adoption.  It reads a lot more as a cheerleading piece but more to the point, it gets one key point wrong AND it lets us know a funding point that should have been obvious all along.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Friday Open Thread

Interesting court case about a Down syndrome student whose parents wanted him to stay in a Gen Ed classroom where he was thriving.  From Inclusion Revolution:

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Testing Season 2019

Image may contain: one or more people and textUpdate:
Parents, please review the links I have provided. 

Your child MUST take the SBAC in 10th grade to graduate.

If you are considering HCC, your child MUST take the SBAC.  (I consider this weaponizing SBAC but that's SPS for you.)

end of update

Seattle Schools is coming up for the testing window for the SBAC.

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Tuesday Open Thread

Looks like Director Zachary DeWolf has set his sights on higher office - he’s running incumbent Kashma Sawant’s seat.  This as reported by Crosscut this morning.  He is calling for what they call “conversation and collaboration” which is interesting because that’s not so much what he does in his current role on the School Board (except with Director Geary).  He doesn’t converse with parents in his region and has virtually no community meeting that aren’t directly about a topic.  This should be interesting.

More Open Thread news to come.

Sunday, April 07, 2019

Worthy Reading about Education

 From NPR, a superlative story about a gifted math teacher.

Here's an op-ed from the New York Times - High School Doesn’t Have to Be Boring - written by two writers who spent six years traveling in the U.S., observing schools.

Friday, April 05, 2019

Friday Open Thread

This story comes from the West Seattle blog about two girls from West Seattle High, Marlene Castillo-Rojas and Isabel Ortiz, who took first place for our state in the FCCLA State Culinary Competition in Wenatchee in early March.
A 1st-place medal at the state competition gives these students the opportunity to represent the state of Washington at the FCCLA National Culinary Competition at the end of June. We will be competing against all of the other 1st place FCCLA State Culinary teams at Nationals in Anaheim, CA. Your support will be able to provide these incredible students the opportunity of a lifetime. Donations will be going toward their airfare, registration/fees, hotel costs, and shipping our equipment to California. If you are at all able to donate, please click on the link: snap-raise.com/fundraisers/west-seattle-culinary-club-national-championship-drive-2019 
Superintendent Juneau will be giving her State of the District speech on Tuesday, April 16th at Seattle Central College, Broadway Performance Hall, from 5:30-7:00 pm.  I suspect it's not being held at an SPS location because SCC ties into the City's new Promise Scholarship program. But the real news?


Event hosted in partnership with the Alliance for Education.

Thursday, April 04, 2019

Charters Throw a Monkey Wrench in Legislative Bill

From Washington's Paramount Duty:

ACTION ALERT: STOP Betsy DeVos policies in WA! In the dead of night, at 1:30 in the morning, the Senate Ways and Means Committee passed the bill proposing to address the school district levy lid issue, SB 5313.

But the only way they could do so was to meet the demands of Democratic Senators Guy Palumbo (1st District) and Mark Mullet (5th District) to add two poison pill amendments that would cut teacher pay, undermine public employee bargaining rights across the state, and increase funding for charter schools.

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Science Adoption Work Session

Below is my email to the Board about the Work Session.  I was quite surprised at the finger-wagging and hostility exhibited by some members of the different committees.

This email covers most of the highlights.  I note that it did not seem like Board directors had sufficient time to ask questions but maybe that was by design when you have 130 pages of documentation to cover. 

Text of email

Board Work Session Today on Next Year's Budget

Here's the agenda.

There isn't a lot new in it.

And you'd think - if you were bleeding dollars because hundreds of students you expected did not show up - some kind of discussion about that issue.  Zero on that.

Wednesday Open Thread

An absolutely stunning story from KOMO news about SPS students possibly being infected with the HIV virus in school clinics:

Monday, April 01, 2019

Science Adoption Work Session on Tuesday, April 2nd

Update 3:  So,  a new "purpose" has now added to the "reasoning" for the second Work Session on the Board policies on selection/adoption AND on waivers - to approve the revisions of the both policies. Tonight.  

What?! It seems incomprehensible that the Board would just summarily change those policies without real input from parents and teachers.  This was brought up - not truly discussed - at the C&I committee meeting but that meant it would goes on to Intro at a Board meeting - then, two weeks of discussion - and THEN a vote.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Friday Open Thread

The story about the man who shot up a street near Lake City and killed two innocent people was bad enough.  But to learn that, Deborah Judd,  a second-grade teacher at Laurelhurst was one of his other victims - shot three times while driving her car - was shocking.  What is truly sad is that she said she had thought that might happen in her school.  Her thoughts were not far from her students:

Thursday, March 28, 2019

District Told By DoE That They Are Violating Federal Law in Use of Check Yourself Screener

Update from Ronald Boy, Legal at SPS:
I had another phone meeting with the Department of Education this afternoon and received information that conflicts with the previous guidance received.  In light of this, and recognizing the important feedback from our community, we are informing the three schools currently using the Check Yourself screener that its use must be put on hold until direct parent/guardian notification occurs regardless of the type of use (i.e. singular use and universal).


The notification will:

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Updates on the City's New Families, Education, Preschool and Promise Levy

The City Council's committee on Education met today to discuss the Families, Education, Preschool and Promise levy (FEPP).  On hand were Chair Lorena Gonzalez and member Rob Johnson.  Neither Vice-Chair Teresa Mosqueda or Alternate Debora Juarez were there.

They were discussing issues with City staff about the Implementation and Evaluation Plan that is required under the levy.  I read the Plan and certainly found many issues so I went down and testified.

Here's what I told/asked the Committee:

New Updates on Check Yourself Reveal District is Violating Federal Law

This is an email I sent to the Board earlier this week:

Curriculum&Instruction Committee Discussion on Science Adoption

Instructional Materials Update (Science Adoption) 

Head of Science, Mary Margaret Welch, said she wanted to frame the discussion around "gratitudes" to the three committees of 90 people who had given their time to this effort.  She said there would be five BARs - Chemistry, Physics, Elementary, Middle and High School - for the sciences.

She said there was an FAQ on this work but the link appears to be dead.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Curriculum & Instruction Committee Meeting, March 21, 2019

There were many areas of teaching and learning covered but I won't be covering all items on the agenda.  I neglected to request all the documentation for this meeting - as they require anyone to do because for some reason they refuse to attach it to the agenda - so I will request it.

There were many areas of good discussion but I found the Science adoption discussion and the discussion about Policy 3232, Parent and Student Rights in Administration of Surveys, Analysis or Evaluations.  (Editor's note: I'm going to pull out both for a separate thread as I may have new information soon.)

I will also note a curious statement from Kyle Kinoshita because it occurred when speaking of Honors for All (where it didn't fit).  He said that elementary math in SPS is only 40% aligned to standards and that decision "predated him."  What?

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Saturday Open Thread

Crosscut has a story on the new Strategic Plan (I was interviewed for the story).  Remember how this district says everything will be viewed thru the Racial Equity tool?  Apparently the new plan wasn't.  Director Geary, who is all things equity, says the committee overlooked using it.  (There are several times when reading BARs before the Board that it isn't used.  Hard to understand when the district will or will not use it but it seems to be ... at will.)

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Check Yourself Screener for Middle School Youth; Cracks Starting to Show

I have been reporting on the issue of the middle school mental health screener, Check Yourself, being used in some SPS middle schools as well as middle school throughout King County.  It comes to districts via King County's levy, Best Starts for Kids, and involves screening students for issues and then referring them, via a practice called SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment) to treatment.  The screener, which longer than almost any other of its type, is also not been validated.  My earlier stories are here and here.

There are new developments.

Contests/Scholarships for Students

From the Office of Representative Pramila Jayapal:

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Tuesday Open Thread

We have one person now running for Seattle school board in November - it's Rebeca Muniz and she's running (I believe) in Jill Geary's seat.  (Geary is stepping down and I believe this will be the most competitive seat unless the other incumbents also choose to leave.)

Monday, March 18, 2019

More Science Adoption Updates

Update -At the Curriculum & Instruction meeting this afternoon at JSCEE from 4:30 to 6:30, this may happen:
Staff is proposing to strike an entire paragraph from 2020 that requires district staff to evaluate the efficacy of current materials in use, including those used via waiver, in preparation for a curriculum adoption process.
That means that the Science office would not need to produce data on the past 1-2 year de facto pilot of Amplify science.

What's the point of of all these waivers if not to get precisely that kind of data? 

Saturday, March 16, 2019

BEX V Work Session

This was the second Work Session that came after the Budget Work Session.  Both were held at Garfield High School.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Go Talk to Your State Legislator

From Washington's Paramount Duty:
The Balance Our Tax Code coalition, which includes Washington's Paramount Duty, has collected information on the legislature's upcoming town hall meetings. Please click here to find the date, time, and location of the town hall meeting for your district -- and make a commitment to attend!

Friday Open Thread

On the heels of the horrific shooting at a mosque in New Zealand yesterday, I give one suggestion.

There is video out there of at least part of the shooting (the shooter put a camera on his head).   I would suggest telling your child to NOT watch it.  I know, if you tell them, they might not have known and might want to watch.  However, I urge you to tell them there is never a good reason to watch a live killing of anyone and, in this case, dozens of people.  There's always some smart kid at school who might want to come up and ask your kid, "Wanna see this?"  Tell your child to say no. You cannot unsee that kind of thing.

Superintendent Juneau issued a statement/apology about the issue of the district letter to parents about testing and Ramadan.   She said this:

Thursday, March 14, 2019

"Staffing Capacity" Explained

From our sage, Kellie LaRue:

The District Seems to Have a Problem with Religion (or at least holidays)

Once again the district missteps on religious holidays.

You may recall that last fall, members of the Jewish faith were not happy that the 2018-2019 school calendar had kindergarten starting on Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year).  The district did apologize.

It seemed odd that happened because OSPI has a published list of holidays and important dates for many religions.

Indeed, I also wrote this at the beginning of the school year:

On Getting Into College

In the wake of the college admissions cheating scandal, there have been a number of worthy articles.

The story in short via The New Yorker:

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Tuesday Open Thread

In case you missed it, there is a Facebook group for science in SPS called Save Science in Seattle Schools.  If you have concerns about science in SPS write to:
MaryMargaret (mmwelch@seattleschools.org), head of Science,
Rick Burke (rick.burke@seattleschools.org) Jill Geary (jill.geary@seattleschools.org), head of the Curriculum&Instruction Committee
Diane DeBacker (dmdebacker@seattleschools.org), Chief Academic Officer

March is Music in Our Schools Month in SPS as Superintendent Juneau writes in her journal.  As well, a local group, the Newcombe Foundation has a program for getting musical instruments to students in need in some areas of the Puget Sound region including Seattle.  Their deadline for application is April 30th.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Updates on the Budget Issues in Seattle Schools

  • It appears that the numbers being used for student enrollment at some schools do not match the enrollment numbers at OSPI.
Anyone know a reason that might be?
  • Budget submission from school committees are due this week, and most have been given new information less than two weeks ago.

Science Updates for Seattle Schools

Update:
At the Board meeting, Director Jill Geary, head of the Curriculum and Instruction committee, said that she would welcome questions from parents/staff about the Science adoption.  She said knowing the questions would allow her to pass them along to staff.

End of update

Once again, I have to shake my head.  (At this rate, Linda Blair will have nothing on me and many days, I do feel like my head is going to go around and around, trying to take in all that this district's dysfunction has to offer.)

(Yes, I just said the district is dysfunctional which is something I have denied for a long time.  No more.  And this thread is just the start.)

Updates on the ongoing Science adoptions:

Sunday, March 10, 2019

The Latest Strategic Plan

Not to give it away but it's the just about the same draft Strategic Plan as before.  It comes up for Intro at this Wednesday's Board meeting.

It's interesting that the Superintendent, in an interview with the Times, called the early draft of the Strategic Plan "just words" and, well, that looks a lot like what is going to be.

It is astonishing to see after months of working with consultants, online survey input and, of course, the work of the Steering Committee, no real change.  How a draft document can allegedly undergo that type of input/oversight and stay nearly in the same place is a mystery.

Except that it's not.

The consultants? Talked a good game at one Work Session and were never heard from again.

The online survey and community meetings (all done in January in a fairly rushed fashion)?   I do not recall results being tabulated and released.  I just did a check and don't see them at the district so what was said/conveyed to the district and the Board is unknown.

Let's first compare and contrast the last Strategic Plan which was created in 2013 under Superintendent Jose Banda.  I like to think of the new Strategic Plan as "Strategic Plan Unplugged" as compared to the previous one.  It's fairly stripped down.

Friday, March 08, 2019

Seattle Schools Budget Work Session

After yesterday's Work Sessions, I confess to many feelings - feeling flummoxed, confused, irritated and even feeling admiration at so many people trying to do their best.

The entire Board was present as was the Superintendent.  Garfield principal Ted Howard was also in attendance.

Budget head JoLynn Berge led the discussion for staff.  She noted that 85% of districts around the state are in the same place as Seattle.  However, she didn't note that many districts do not have the ability to pass levies the way Seattle Schools does.

She said the next Work Session on the Budget on April 3rd will be to find consensus on restoration issues. 

Friday Open Thread

 Update: Director Rick Burke will be having his community meeting this afternoon at 4 pm at the Fremont Branch Library.  Director DeWolf will be joining him.  They will be talking about science/science adoption. I apologize for the late notice but his meeting was not on the district calendar when I wrote this thread.

end of update

8:35 am - Look at that snow come down (at least where I am).  I hope this backs off, melts and allows everyone in schools to get home safely this afternoon.

I'm late in getting this out but here's a link to OSPI's Washington Report Card where you can view by district or by school.  Makes for some interesting reading.

The New York Times reports that wealthy white school districts provide more money than poorer school districts that serve students of color.  Missing from the article is any mention of private funding via PTA or booster groups.

Happy International Women's Day!

Here's one of my new favorite girls/women: Swedish climate champion, Greta Thunberg.
From the NY Times:

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Board Work Sessions on Budget and on BEX V Implementation Planning

 Update: here's a video of the Superintendent "explaining" the shortfall situation.  It's nothing new; I think most parents understand by now that 1)there are new K-12 dollars but also 2) the Legislature also took away the level of dollars accessible in local levies.  More to come in a new thread from my attendance at the Work Session on the Budget.

end of update

There are two Board Work Sessions scheduled for Wednesday, the 6th, at Garfield High School.  The Budget Work Session starts at 4:30 pm while the BEX V Implementation Planning Work Session starts at 6:00 pm.  Agenda 

Tuesday Open Thread

 Today is a meeting for the Advanced Learning Task ForceOn the agenda is a discussion of twice exceptional students, looking at research-based "Successful Practices" and "To prepare for Service Delivery recommendations."  Looks like good work being done.

Just to note, many, many other districts in the state are struggling with cuts.  It's not just Seattle Schools.

A good story from KNKX on the Dyslexia Advisory Committee for the state that is working on screening tools for districts. 

Please Keep a Lookout for Zoe Burns


Superintendent Juneau's Conversation with the Times

In an interview with the Seattle Times, Superintendent Juneau says "she’s learning how to be more patient."

Monday, March 04, 2019

Site-Based Interview Team Training

Special Site Based Interview Team Training – Saturday, March 9, John Stanford Center from 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

This special training will focus on preparing individuals to participate on interview teams for S.E.A. represented positions and Principal positions.

Anyone interested in serving on an interview team for an upcoming hiring process is encouraged to attend. This training is open to all administrators, certificated and classified employees, as well as parents, students and community representatives.

Please come - in order to have more community input, get more diverse input on hiring for these critical positions - now's the time. The training is a prerequisite for participating in hiring committees.

Please share far and wide!

Best,
Leslie S. Harris, Director District 6,
President, Seattle School Board
leslie.harris@seattleschools.org

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Cuts Happening Throughout Seattle Schools

From Facebook:
I just learned that my school Franklin will be losing 6 full time teachers next year. Other South Seattle schools are also apparently losing teachers. For a district supposedly committed to equity this is shocking. We'll have to either cut out some of our electives ( we already are pretty limited - 1 ceramics teacher, 1 drawing/painting teacher, 1 music teacher, 1 drama teacher in the arts, for instance, so what do we lose?) Or cram more students into core classes if we lose non-elective teachers. I teach English. 65% of our kids speak a language other than English at home. Around 70% are free or reduced lunch eligible. Let's lose 6 people at the Central Office ( I'd like to see the Director level abolished) and keep teachers in the buildings.
There was some discussion about how Running Start students aren't count and therefore, the school's enrollment count drops.  Maybe Kellie LaRue could give us some insights on this issue.

More comments:

Wednesday Open Thread

 According to the Seattle Times, Amazon apparently is not going to fill Rainier Square after all (using it as leverage to get rid of Seattle's head tax).  They want to sublet.  Here's a thought: be a good corporate citizen and allow SPS to use one floor (or lease at low-cost) to create a downtown school.

And also from the Times, who thinks the McCleary funding is all done, a story that "most districts are projecting budget shortfalls."  Who would have thought that would happen?

Seattle Schools Survey on D

Opportunities for Students

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Seattle Schools Decides on Snow Make-Up Days

From SPS Communications:
The winter weather and related schedule changes have been a challenge for many and we thank you for your patience. In February, school closed for five days due to the series of snow storms.
This year’s school calendar included two make-up days in June (June 21 and 24); the three additional make-up days will be added to the calendar following those days as outlined in the 2019 Collective Bargaining Agreement, with the Seattle Education Association.
  
The last day of school for students in grades preschool through 11 will be June 27.

Monday, February 25, 2019

High School Updates

Update - Tuesday night:  These two high school policy items have been postponed to a later meeting.

end of update

The Board meeting this Wednesday has a couple of items of interest for high school parents.  I am honestly shocked that these changes were not widely distributed and discussed at high schools before any kind of change.

The first is Amendment to Board Policy No. 2024, Online Learning; Repeal of Board Policy No. C16.00, Acceptance of Correspondence or College Courses for High School Credit.

Per reader Yikes' comment from the Friday Open Thread:

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Charter Schools: Education Reform Losing Its Luster

A fascinating outcome from this little blog is the growth of the number of stories we cover on state and national issues.  For myself, I had always wanted this blog to be about Seattle Public Schools and the issues and challenges it faces.  (Over the years, I've had many people ask me about Bellevue or Lake Washington SDs and frankly, one district is enough to track.) But, after a period of time, it became impossible just to focus on Seattle Schools.

One, because in Washington State, our schools never were fully funded.  That ongoing struggle impacted Seattle Schools and other other districts for decades.

Two, because no district, especially the largest one in a state, exists in a vacuum.  The national issues of No Child Left Behind (now ESSA - Every Student Succeeds Act), Common Core, charter schools, vouchers, school safety, etc. all came into play as issues that did affect SPS.

Third, the influence of billionaire philanthropists who thought that public education would be an easy fix for them.  Because rich people must be smart at everything.  (And, of course, for those who want to privatize public education and destroy unions, starting with the biggest unions which would be the teachers' unions).

Did you miss this a couple of weeks ago, from CNN:
Donald Trump Jr., the President's son, seemed to invoke striking teachers during a speech last month in El Paso, Texas, when he dismissed "these loser teachers that are trying to sell you on socialism from birth."
Wow.

From Rethinking Schools:
Through headlines like “Rotten Apples” and “Why We Must Fire Bad Teachers,” the corporate media blamed educators for the failures of our schools while ignoring the cuts that were making teachers’ jobs increasingly difficult. Converting public schools to charters and using standardized test scores to close schools and fire teachers have been touted as “solutions” to our “broken” education system that conveniently did not require increased or more equitable funding.
But is that the whole picture today? From CNN:

Friday, February 22, 2019

Check Yourself Middle School Mental Health Screening Tool - What SPS and King County Didn't Want You to Know

Continuing on with the story about the Check Yourself mental health screening tool for middle school students in the Puget Sound region.

King County is funding  this effort thru the Best Starts for Kids levy. Seattle Schools (as well as about eight other districts) is participating.

 I believe in helping middle schools students who may have mental health issues, big and small.  I'm glad King County wants to help districts help those students.

But the way this effort being cared out is wrong and, I believe, in some aspects, is being done illegally.

Again, I tell parents - do NOT allow your child to take this screener.  Period. 

Any parent who wants to know how to file a complaint with the Department of Education, 
I have an expert standing by who will be happy to help you.