Friday, January 04, 2019

Friday Open Thread

Time for school to start up on Monday, the 7th.   That is also the start for new student registration for 2019-2020.

I'm on Twitter (@westbrookmel) and I follow both the district and the Superintendent.  I've been seeing these photos from different schools for "Extreme Reading" that I have found disturbing mainly because it's "reading" while snowboarding, skiing, playing basketball.  I pointed out that it looks, well, dangerous, and is that the best way to encourage reading?  When I think of "extreme reading," I think of trying to read all the Harry Potter books over the holiday break.

The district could find themselves in a lawsuit because they were pushing reading while doing physical activities that demand full concentration.  Luckily, it seems they have thought better of that and now have tweets about people reading in unusual places.

Good article from KUOW about using arts in culturally responsive teaching at Concord Elementary.

I have been wondering if the federal government shutdown will have any effect on SPS.  I'll ask on Monday.

An op-ed in today's Times from Garfield teacher, Jerry Neufeld-Kaiser, about school safety
The lock-down drill we practice twice a year is clearly not sufficient, and officials acknowledge it openly.  We have had zero trainings. When the threat happened, school officials locked all but the main doors for entering and put security at other doors.  They told us to keep our blinds closed and our classroom doors locked.

But, over time, teachers have stopped doing that, and the security people aren’t at the doors anymore.  Sometimes security is visible at the main doors, sometimes they aren’t.  We were told the other doors would be armed with alarms, but that didn’t happen.  It’s been 10 months now.  Clearly, school officials do not take this very seriously and, clearly, they are not doing what they can.

Failing to act is frightening and unacceptable, and I dread the day Seattle Public Schools is in the news for a catastrophe.  Shame on the board and our district leaders for this failure to act. The  schools, the district and the community should have the conversation and take it seriously.
I hear you, Mr. Neufeld-Kaiser and I've raised the same point repeatedly.  One comment was this:
In the Bellevue School District where I work, they have hired at the district level security people that were former military veterans.  They are training not just our teachers but our students and parents as well the latest strategies and procedures how to handle a possible school shooting heaven forbid it would ever happen at the building I am in.  One of the newest things that we learned that it is not necessarily best to just lock your classroom door and close your blinds because you could be setting yourself and your students up at targets like what happened at Sandy Hook.  We are given freedom as teachers that if we believe that the shooter is not close to our classroom, we can choose to exit our classroom with our students and then exit the school itself to make sure our students are safe.
From SPS on Ethnic Studies

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I find this poster hard to read so to note, the event is on Saturday, January 12th at the El Centro de la Raza,  2524 16th Avenue South, from 3-6 pm.

What's on your mind?


Carol Simmons said...

Has the SPS District Strategic Plan Committee membership been refined to include additional representatives from the community, organizations and agencies? The committee must be representative and the committee meetings must be transparent if the Plan is to be successful.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Carol, I have heard nothing but, given the holidays, it's not surprising. I'll query the district spokesperson.

Robert Cruickshank said...

Since the science curriculum thread is closed, I thought I'd put this here:

I have been following the discussion about Amplify Science with great interest. My own child will start kindergarten in an SPS school this fall. I think there are serious concerns about what Amplify means not just for science education but for SPS as a whole - it strikes me as a leading edge of the movement to introduce online learning as a substitute for genuine instruction.

So I began a Facebook group to help coordinate opposition to Amplify Science and to improve the quality of science education for every child in SPS. It's a closed group only because I don't think it's useful to debate whether we should stop Amplify (there are other locations for that debate) but instead we should focus on how to end its use. That group can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/savescienceseattle/