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  If you wish for the Superintendent and senior management to see your comment/question, send it to

From Washington's Paramount Duty about the last days of this Legislative session in Olympia:
Senate and House leadership announced yesterday that they reached agreement on a budget but won’t reveal it until *Saturday.* Leadership could brief their caucuses and release budget details to the public today, but they are specifically choosing not to. The graduated real estate tax bill and tax exemption bills passed the full Senate last night. The business and occupation tax bill passed the House. Appropriations Committee. There has not been any movement on the cap gains bill or either (house or senate) levy flexibility bill.
We need to keep the pressure on our legislators, especially senators. Please take a moment to call your legislators today with your support for a capital gains tax going to public schools and a clean levy flexibility bill. Here’s the link to email your Senator if you haven’t already. 

Find your legislators’ phone numbers:
Legislative hotline: 1-800-562-6000
Opt-Out information from a new group, Opt Out Seattle 2019. National Teacher of the Year was announced and it's Rodney Robinson, a 19-year school veteran, who teaches Social Studies/History at Virgie Binford Education Center.

He became a teacher to honor his mother, who struggled to receive an education after being denied an education as a child due to segregation and poverty in rural Virginia. In 2015, Robinson started teaching at Virgie Binford Education Center, a school inside the Richmond Juvenile Detention Center, in an effort to 
better understand the school-to-prison pipeline. 

Uh oh, are you ready for the big earthquake?  The Times is reporting from a study that was commissioned by SPU :
As Anchorage grapples with the aftermath of Friday’s powerful earthquake, a new study says Seattle would lose all water pressure within 24 hours of a catastrophic quake and would need at least two months to entirely restore water service in the city.

Every Seattle neighborhood would lose tap water for drinking, showering, flushing – and firefighting.
I urge you to seriously considering getting something together for your family, including how/where to meet up if everyone is in different places.   One lesson learned from Katrina; the federal government can't/won't be there to come help for quite awhile.

There are no director community meetings this weekend.  It seems like it might have been a good weekend for directors to talk to parents and the public.

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said…
Thank you, Ms. Westbrook for providing all with this “town square” meeting place to discuss education.

It is vital and necessary and would not exist but for your tireless efforts and untold hours of uncompensated, thankless toil. You do all children and our city a tremendous service.

In the midst of so much going so wrong, it is important to thank those who are part of the solution, not agents of destruction. By fostering spreading of information, be it SPS meeting times and places, budget proposals, legislature initiatives, you commit multiple acts of good.

You and this blog are deeply appreciated by the silent majority, even when the ‘news’ is bad or ugly or painful. We know not to shoot the messenger.

Stuart J said…
Though I don't live in Seattle, I greatly appreciate this blog. I can't believe the comment above, they are incredibly cruel words. I especially appreciate the closing comment the other day about how Melissa would be summaring the pro and con comments on Amplify and sending both sides to the school board. Also filing records requests takes some effort, and is not something reporters from various publications have time to do.
Anonymous said…
Nasty comments, disagreeable comments, pissy comments, etc. are par for the course, understandably. We can all agree to disagree, hopefully civically, but obviously, from time to time, passion and vehemence bends some commenters to go “over the top” which is completely subjective, and where that line gets drawn is based on personal judgement.

HOWEVER, with the recent comment or “2e”, there is a threatening feel that comes across as distinctly personal and attacking to you Ms Westbrook and he/she also comments with persistence such that I wish to share the perception that this crosses a line and you may wish to engage proactively with a threat assessment tool kit, such as the ones the FBI supplies.

The following questions can serve as a starting point for the threat assessment team members’ initial discussion about the dangerousness of a current or former employee, student, or outside threatener.

Is the subject troubling or troubled?
Has the individual exhibited this behavior in the past or is it new?
In the case of an employee, does the organization wish to terminate or keep the subject?
As a first assessment, does the individual resemble an emotional threatener (less likely to act) or an unemotional one (more prone to strike)?
What does the TAT know about this person’s mental health, substance abuse, weapons use, or criminal history?
What work or military history does the individual have?
Does the team have information about this person’s family dynamics, friends, or social support network?
What history does the subject have of domestic violence or stalking? Is it connected to anyone currently (e.g., family, spouse, dating relationships, employees)?
Does anyone have restraining orders against this person? Does the subject have one against someone else? Does the individual have a history of being a party to any civil litigation?
Is he or she desperate or showing signs of anger, rage, depression, or despair?
Do others have concerns about this person’s behavior?
How geographically or physically close is the subject to his or her targets?
What might change in the subject’s life to increase or decrease the risk of violence?
Could anything happen in the potential victim’s situation to alter the chance of action by the subject?

Those comments aren’t just creepy or belittling, they are personal, carry an undertone of menace, and therefore are unsettling.

Anonymous said…
Anon @10:36am & 10:20am, the online stalking and overt hostility toward MW are signs that you need mental health assistance. This is not intended as an insult, but a very direct request that you get help before you edge further into crisis and hurt someone or hurt yourself.

24-Hour Crisis Line – King County, WA
Seattle, Washington, United States
: 866-427-4747

Anonymous said…
@Case closed

If you are intent on remaining anonymous, you might consider having someone proofread your own comments. The errors you make provide evidence supporting my assumption of your identity. Or you know, just go away and get some help.

Anonymous said…
Thank you for your work Melissa. I know it is difficult keeping up with SPS decisions and I am thankful that there is a website like this that exists.

Ignore the noise. The vast majority of us appreciate you and your hard work.

Anonymous said…
Case Closed, the behavior clearly violates the WA state law for cyberstalking "repeatedly" with "intent to harass, intimidate, torment, or embarrass any other person".

Again, I urge you to call the mental health hotline or seek help from another provider, because this is both criminal and mentally unhealthy behavior.

Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 9.61.260. Cyberstalking. (2004)
(1) A person is guilty of cyberstalking if he or she, with intent to harass, intimidate, torment, or embarrass any other person, and under circumstances not constituting telephone harassment, makes an electronic communication to such other person or a third party:
(a) Using any lewd, lascivious, indecent, or obscene words, images, or language, or suggesting the commission of any lewd or lascivious act;

(b) Anonymously or repeatedly whether or not conversation occurs; or

(c) Threatening to inflict injury on the person or property of the person called or any member of his or her family or household.

Anonymous said…
Oregon scientist of the year has been arrested for producing child pornography. His work has been funded my the Who's who of progressive foundations. He is also connected with Jeffrey Epstein.

Just Facts
Anonymous said…
@Melissa, I also deeply appreciate the town hall you provide that's sorely missing from the district. Your blog is a vital resource for information and conversations about education.

Thank you for your dedication and service to school advocacy!

Anonymous said…
Jeffrey Epstein is also a friend of Trump's.

Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
In other news...mark your calendar for Nathan Hale's Spring horticulture sale:

Nathan Hale High School’s Annual Edible and Ornamental Plant Sale is happening May 10th and May 11th! Come to the Early Bird Event Friday May 10th from 4 PM to 8 PM. Shop early and enjoy light appetizers and entertainment. Advance tickets are available now for the Early Bird Event for $15 (order through Brown Paper Tickets). Tickets are $20 at the door. There is no charge for the main public sale on Saturday, May 11th from 9 AM to 3 PM.

Flowering ornamentals, Northwest natives, herbs, and veggie starts.

Parent, I saw that at the district website and I hope to make it to the event.
Anonymous said…
The lazy solution to the science problem in Seattle is Amplify. Contrast Amplify, with its sit-on-your-butt computer-based screen shots, to the efficacy of serious project-based learning (deeply rooted in all four STEM domains). Any science teacher worth their weight in potassium chloride knows that NGSS requires students to model understanding of theoretical concepts. For example, heat transfer can be can model that through the simple application of Btu mathematical formulas for water and air using data derived from basic fan/pump systems that cost a few bucks. However, will SPS spend a few dollars to teach a major component of NGSS when they can use pretty pictures on a computer screen to simplify (read "dumb down") a vital and inspirational science concept? No! It's a lazy solution that lacks creativity and best practices.

The SPS science department has hung their lab coats on the least creative science methodologies available to inspire future scientists, and perhaps the next generation that may just clean up the mess that my generation created.
Anonymous said…
Looks like I missed all the action today.

FBI? They only place the FBI should go is JSCEE.

SPED parent
DP said…
Betty Patu had an audience today in Seward Park.
Really? No community meeting with her was on the calendar yesterday.
DP said…
Yep. Folks advocated for WMS and Dearborn Park’s boundary/enrollment issues .
Anonymous said…
Policy 2024, Online Learning, is back for Introduction.

"...[currently] when a student takes an out-of-district course, the letter grade the student receives counts towards his or her GPA. The student can “shop around” for a course that is known to be easy, instead of taking the course through SPS. This is inequitable, because students who are at high schools where principals do not approve out-of-district credits, and students who cannot afford to pay for out-of-district courses, do not have this option for boosting their GPAs. In the revised procedure, out-of-district courses will not be used for GPA calculations, and this is more equitable.
...this will benefit less wealthy students because, as described above, it will level the playing field. They will not have to compete for scholarships or college admissions with students who may have inflated their GPAs with out-of-district courses."

Some components haven't changed since the first introduction. In addition to the GPA restriction, the list of approved providers is STILL limited to OSPI approved providers and Washington State schools (WA school districts, private schools, and colleges). The policy will be effective July 1, 2019, rather than starting with the beginning of the 2019-20 school year. Want to take an online class over the summer? Well, SPS doesn't seem to want you to.

Anonymous said…
The decision tree related to online coursework in MS is somewhat confusing. SPS has decided not to allow MS students to take online coursework for HS credit - if a student is in MS, the principal is to deny a request for online coursework. But what about MS students taking online coursework that's not for HS credit? Will that be approved? Do they mean HS level coursework, or courses for which a MS student will seek HS credit??

Also, requests will be denied if the course cannot apply to graduation. With the 24 credit requirement, how will this be interpreted? If a student wants to take extra math or science, which is beyond that required, but could count as an elective, will the request be approved?

An exception is allowed for non-approved providers, but families must appeal **60 days** prior to the start of the course. Have a schedule challenge that prevents you from accessing a course? Want to access a course online, but use an out-of-state provider, and it's now September? Well, tough.

needs refinement
The decision tree also maintains the ceiling on advancement - requests are to be denied if the student is already in grade level classes and can access AP or IB level courses in junior or senior year. If a student wants to take an online math or science class in order to accelerate and access MORE AP coursework, it seems that request would be denied.

Anonymous said…
I am seeking more information about the changes. We have a high school student who was planning to take a health class online as they can't fit it into their schedule. Can they still use this course to meet their high school graduation requirement? If anybody knows the answer....

Anonymous said…
This is the district FAQ page about the revised on-line class procedures. Not super clear, but it sounds like schedule issues are considered a valid reason to take classes on line.

Mom of 4
Anonymous said…
Another topic for discussion:

WA's 20 year ban on affirmative action has been overturned with Initiative 1000. Will state college admission processes be changing?

more news
I will be writing up a post on high school issues by the end of the day tomorrow.

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