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. 

Here is my original story with a follow-up one.

Both SPS and King County seem to have chosen to be less-than-transparent AND have been trying to skirt the law, specifically, to keep parents from knowing about their child has been screened, both before it happened and after it happened.

As is usually the case, you learn the darndest things from public disclosure documents.  I am still waiting for my cache from King County but I spent three hours reading over the SPS cache yesterday.  I am also still waiting for the final signed contract and data sharing agreement.


Friday Open Thread

Via SPS' Twitter feed: Congratulations to Dominic Damon on becoming the first wrestler from an SPS school to win a state title!

I - love - this - kid; show your kids that having a talent, any talent, is something to be proud of.  So wonderful. 

Yet another kid to love for his incredible talent- show your kids this video as well.

The College Board speaks up on two kinds of code your student should know.
Of all the skills and knowledge that we test young people for that we know are correlated with success in college and in life, which is the most important? Their answer: the ability to master “two codes” — computer science and the U.S. Constitution.

Their short answer was that if you want to be an empowered citizen in our democracy — able to not only navigate society and its institutions but also to improve and shape them, and not just be shaped by them — you need to know how the code of the U.S. Constitution works. And if you want to be an empowered and adaptive worker or artist or writer or scientist or teacher — and be able to shape the world around you, and not just be shaped by it — you need to know how computers work and how to shape them. 
Uh oh, Betsy DeVos in trouble (what else is new)? 
It turns out Betsy DeVos did everything in her power to obstruct investigations into her misdeeds. In her best efforts to get away with misconduct like her boss, Donald Trump, she clearly broke the law. “Lawmakers from four House and Senate committees who oversee the department sent a letter to DeVos on Tuesday, suggesting that the effort to replace the department’s acting Inspector General.”
Grrrr. Body shaming at a cheerleading awards dinner? In 2019? Sure
None of the cheerleaders who received the awards were available for comment to The New York Times, but a current cheerleader said in an interview that the girls went along with the jokes because, “What else were they supposed to do?”

“It skywrites that the person giving out the award is objectifying the teenage girl’s body, and isn’t seeing her as a whole person or an athlete but someone to be measured and rated based on appearance,” she said. 
After active shooter training, a teacher tweeted out steps to take, starting with:

Some of what she was taught, I didn't know and it's helpful.  I stress that most of this is for adults, not kids.  As someone who is in a classroom a couple of times a week, I think about how I would protect the students and, based on the configuration of the classroom, I have a plan on how a shooter could be cut off.  Not sure if it would work but better than just cowering in a corner.  As the tweets point out, trying to disrupt any shooter's plan could be a game changer in this kind of situation.

Director community meeting on Saturday with Director Betty Patu at Raconteur, 5041 Wilson Ave S, from 9-11 am. 

What's on your mind?

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Board To Hold Work Session at Garfield

The Board seems super excited about this.  I mean it's great to do this out in a school but 1) it's a Work Session so you'll just be sitting there and listening - there is no public interaction and 2) wish they would do a Board meeting.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Tuesday Open Thread

Via Twitter: 
Congratulations Jasmine Gayles on eclipsing 1,000 career points! 
This would be West Seattle High School basketball star, Jasmine Gayles.

Have a senior? Have them open a BECU account because then they can apply for these scholarships.

Amazon has a number of summer camps/internships for STEM-minded kids of all ages. 

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Tell City Council Candidates - We Want Safe Sidewalks Everywhere

In the Friday Open Thread, I mentioned how difficult it is for students and adults with disabilities during big weather events.  
We are going into an election season for City Council that will see many new members.  I urge you to bring this up with candidates - all parts of the city need sidewalks and they need to be ADA accessible.
Here are the comments from that thread that I found compelling.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Friday Open Thread

I was listening to KUOW's The Record where they were discussing challenges during the snow days. Jessyn Farrell said that she believes the district and the city should talk more and earlier.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

New Head for Advanced Learning Should At Least Have Some Background Experience

Update: Peters tells me that the AL head job description hasn't been posted yet; what is there is just some old description they have for the job.  As she points out, it is odd that even the old description says nothing about 2E students or even accurately describes the scope of the job.

end of update

The following is a guest post from former Board Director Sue Peters.  I note that in addition to the departure of head of Advanced Learning, Stephen Martin, SPS is also seeing the exit of Executive Director Kim Whitworth (corrected, my error).

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Upcoming Charter School Applications in Washington State

There were 12 NOIs (Notices of Intent) submitted to the Washington State Charter Commission this fall. 

I'd be surprised if more than six even submit an application; it's a heavy lift to get done.

There were some surprises as I researched each NOI.

First surprise?

That the two assistant principals at West Seattle High School, Scott Canfield and Garth Reeves, have submitted an NOI.  That would be for Cascade:Midway High School in south King County to start in 2021.  They are getting help via the Washington Charter Schools Association which accepted them for their School Leadership and Design Fellowship.

What is the State of Charter Schools in Washington State?

The state of charter schools in Washington State is uneven at best.

Since the original 2012 law was passed for 40 schools in five years, we are now at 12 charter schools.  The first charter school - First Place - closed in a year due to both financial and management issues.  Now, a second charter, Soar Academy in Tacoma, a K-8 school, is closing at the end of this school year, mainly due to Special Education costs.

Soar's closure will end the only K-12 continuum of charter schools in the state.

And yet, the Seattle Times, a local charter cheerleader, hasn't bothered to cover it.  An oversight? I doubt it.

From the News Tribune on Soar's closure:

A Terrible Anniversary on Valentine's Day

Tomorrow will mark the one-year anniversary of the 17 murders and 15 injuries at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.  Students who survived and have spoken out have been called "crisis actors."  It is hard to believe in a country built on democratic speech that anyone would attack children speaking out after what is likely the worst day of their lives in a place where they should feel the safest.

From Rolling Stone:

Wednesday Open Thread

Great news on the passage of SPS levies.  However, technically, levies are just a pot of money that the district can do whatever they want with it.  Of course, it behooves them to do what they promised to do.  Oversight is key and I hope the Board and parents and the public make sure that happens.

Interesting story on teens who DO want to get vaccinations despite what choices their parents have made in the opposite direction.

Washington's Paramount Duty has changed their Lobby Day at the Legislature to Wednesday, Feb. 27th.  Sign up here.

Speaking of the Legislature, here's the Washington State School Directors Association (school board members), has a weekly legislative update for news on public education related issues.

Statement from OSPI on Waivers Due to Snowy Weather

On February 8, Governor Inslee issued a proclamation declaring a statewide state of emergency related to this week’s winter storm. We expect the proclamation to be lifted at midnight on February 15, 2019.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Seattle Schools News Updates

Wednesday, Feb. 13th - schools are closed (again).  

Election results - both levies passed.

Operations - 65.81% Yes
Capital - 68.19% - Yes

Election Day (How to Vote if You Can't Get Your Ballot Sent)

HOW TO VOTE if you don’t have mail service and can’t get to a ballot box.

Monday, February 11, 2019

District to Cease Use of Some Education Software That Doesn't Meet ADA

I came across this memo that could have significant implications.

To: Seattle Public Schools Staff
From: Kyle Kinoshita, Executive Director of Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction John Krull, Chief Information Officer, Department of Technology Services (DoTS)

Seattle Public Schools is committed to conforming with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and ensuring students with disabilities can access educational software. Classroom student digital resources must be accessible to ALL students, including the visually impaired. This year, SPS has been reviewing its educational software for ADA compliance.

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Washington Middle School Upheaval Update

An update on the story at Washington Middle School where the principal flipped schedules at the semester with no warning to students or teachers.

The students did hold a protest outside the school last Thursday. They also wrote a thoughtful letter about their concerns.

The principal, Emily Butler-Ginolfi, has not acknowledged the letter nor the protest as of the date of the letter.

Reflecting what the 8th graders have been learning in class, the letter starts this way:

Happy Lunar New Year!

Tuesday Open Thread

Get that ballot in for the Seattle Schools’levies; even The Stranger says yes to them.

There’s a levies rally this Saturday, the 9th, at Cascadia in support of the levies from 10-11 am.

Another snow day.  I have been seeing rumblings from parents on Facebook about the school year calendar and there being three snow days (but one passed in January).  I'm surprised at the number of people who make plans for the last day of school.

Prospective Students Encouraged to Apply for Academy for Rising Educators

From SPS Communications:

Created through a partnership of Seattle Public Schools, Seattle Central College, and the City of Seattle’s Seattle Promise scholarship, the Academy for Rising Educators (ARE) initiative is targeted at high school students in their junior and senior years who have an interest in the teaching profession.

Slated to begin in the summer of 2019, students will have the opportunity to take courses and participate in internships to complete the prerequisite requirements for a paraprofessional position in the district; earning a salary and full benefits.

Friday, February 01, 2019

Saturday Open Thread

Open House for the Science Instructional Materials at Nathan Hale HS from 9 am to 3 pm.

Several articles of note.

Nice story in the Times about Ingraham High School's champion basketball team from 50 years ago when Governor Inslee played for the team.

Strategic Plan: Moving Fast

A reader requested a thread on the feedback to the draft Strategic Plan that was discussed at a Board Work Session this week. I see that the Steering Committee is having another meeting on Monday, Feb. 4th; I'll have to see if I can attend.

I did not attend this Work Session; here is the agenda/attached documentation.

Discord at the Start of Black History Month/Black Lives Matter Week

Black Lives Matter week is Feb. 4-8.  The district has information here about activities.  From their webpage (partial):