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Friday, May 31, 2019

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.


Scholarships for high school grads to go into the trades from Washington State Opportunity Scholarships.
The Career and Technical Scholarship (CTS) supports Washington students on their path to high-demand trade, health care and STEM occupations. To be eligible, scholars must enroll in an approved program, such as welding, nursing or IT, at one of Washington’s 34 community and technical colleges. Scholars are eligible to receive up to $1,500 each quarter for the duration of their program, as well as support services.
The Washington State Charter Commission announced four new charter schools have been approved. 
Today, the Washington State Charter School Commission voted to approve four new charter public schools: Cascade Public Schools in South King County, Catalyst Public Schools in Bremerton, Impact Public Schools | Salish Sea in Seattle, and Whatcom Intergenerational High School (WIHS) in Bellingham.
All four newly approved schools are set to launch in Fall 2020.
Salish Sea will be in the New Holly area which seems to be very popular with charter schools as Green Dot is also a big presence there.  Seattle Public schools in that area include Wing Luke, Dearborn Park and Van Asselt.  Also to note, Cascade Midway will be a new high school in south King County.  It's the one being started by two vice-principals at West Seattle High School (who used district email to do some of their planning.)  There may also end up being some confusion for this school as there are several schools in WA state that have Cascade in them as well as an entire school district.

Big Brother may be coming for your child and the first place to see this is in Florida, which seems to be ground zero for dopey public education initiatives.  From Ed Week:
Florida offers a glimpse of where it all may head: Lawmakers there are pushing for a state database that would combine individuals' educational, criminal justice, and social-service records with their social media data, then share it all with law enforcement.

Across the country, the results of such efforts are already far-reaching. 

The new technologies have yielded just a few anecdotal reports of thwarted school violence, the details of which are often difficult to pin down. But they've also shone a huge new spotlight on the problems of suicide and self-harm among the nation's children. And they've created a vast new legal and ethical gray area, which harried school administrators are mostly left to navigate on their own.
There are no director community meetings this weekend as the Board has another retreat on Saturday, June 1st.  The entire retreat is dedicated to racial equity training.  I hope people recognize and appreciate how much time and effort the Board is putting into this work.

What's on your mind?

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

"The entire retreat is dedicated to racial equity training" Why?, most of these people will be gone in 6 months. I think they should be focusing on keeping the district from further financial collapse. It's like working on your car's cosmetics when your brakes are shot.

Here's your training in a nut shell...do no harm.

Your welcome

Data Protection said...

Thank you for following student data privacy issues.

The Florida example
Lawmakers there are pushing for a state database that would combine individuals' educational, criminal justice, and social-service records with their social media data, then share it all with law enforcement.
is exactly what I'm afraid will happen someday here. Because you know that when there is a state database full of info about what kids reported on their middle and high school health questionnaires about their family's drug use or mental health or financial/housing stability and whatever educational databases (Naviance, Amplify, Pearson, whatever), and how attentive their parents were on clicking on the little parent communication links, and then you combine that with how many times their social media friends used the word party or whatever search term...

This will hurt children the farthest from educational justice the most. When you look a kid up and see warning signs that there might be a family history of crime or mental illness or poverty or neglect, it helps pump up institutional racism into structural racism. Our society does not need that help. It's chilling.

Anonymous said...

Institutional racism the big boogie man for the 21st century progressives.

Do you think that Socialism or Communism is the cure? It's just like the efforts to close the "GAP" and that effort is to drag down the top performers or better yet chase them out of public schools. Voilà problem solved!

Just facts

Karen said...

What’s up with the high school cuts and the budget? Was that voted on and approved?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Karen, I don't think the Budget has been voted on yet. I believe they have to have a public hearing on it soon and then vote. But I find it odd that there is not a bigger discussion among the Board. Parents probably have very little idea.

More info:
June 10 Board Action Report and Budget Resolution to Audit & Finance
June 26 Introduction to School Board
July 3 Public Hearing
July 10 Board Action on 2019-20 Budget

Questions about the Seattle Public Schools budget can be emailed to budget@seattleschools.org or mailed to the Budget Office at MS 33-342, P.O. Box 34165, Seattle, WA 98124-1165.

https://www.seattleschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=24229493

Melissa Westbrook said...

I note that public hearing date of July 3rd certainly won't make it a heavily attended meeting. I will attend the A&F meeting on June 10th when the BAR for this budget is introduced as that will be the first look at what they are truly going to do.

kellie said...

@ Karen,

The high school budget cuts are very severe but they are not being driven by the BUDGET, they are being driven by enrollment projections. At the moment, the district is projecting that almost 1400 students currently enrolled in high school, post open enrollment will no longer be enrolled on Oct 1. So those 1400 currently enrolled for September students are NOT funded by the budget.

While the board has direct impact on the budget, (they have to approve / not approve the budget). The board has no oversight or influence into enrollment projections.

At the capacity work session, staff said they would re-examine the enrollment numbers in June and potentially restore some high school staff. But that potential restoration is long after the May RIFs and could be long after families have made other choices.

All of the high schools are being short funded. For example, the budget for Roosevelt High School was based on an enrollment decline of -321 students. But yet the post open enrollment decline was only -64 students. Every high school is in the situation but Roosevelt and Garfield have taken the largest hits on un-funded students.

The "enrollment projections" for high school include a BOTH a sharp increase in Running Start and a decrease in the high school show rate.

In other words, they are expecting that folks will be making "other choices" at high school without any understanding that by short-staffing high school and not enrolling students at the high schools with ample physical capacity, they are in fact causing the enrollment decline they are predicting.

kellie said...



A friend did the work of comparing the post open enrollment numbers with the budget numbers in order to calculate the number of currently enrolled high schools students for the 2019-20 school year who are NOT being funded by the Feb 2019 version of the 2019-20 school year Budget.

The budget office has insisted that they will made an initial allocation in Feb and will not make any adjustment to that allocation before June. This is part of the "staffing capacity policy."

High School - Enrolled Students Not Funded in the Budget
Ballard 159
Chief Sealth 107
Cleveland 101
Franklin 194
Garfield 348
Ingraham 138
Nathan Hale 160
Rainier Beach 55
Roosevelt 267
Center School 28
West Seattle 143

To be fair, the post open enrollment numbers have been higher than the Oct 1 budget. But there has never been a drop this large and I can't imagine any circumstance in which Garfield is going to suddenly lose over 300 students.



The post open enrollment information can be found on page 70 of this presentation.

https://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/School%20Board/18-19%20agendas/May%208/20190508_PACKET_FINAL.pdf

The most recent budget presentation can be found here.

https://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/School%20Board/18-19%20agendas/March%206/20190306_Work%20Session_Packet%20with%20Budget%20and%20BEX_v.3.pdf



Anonymous said...

Do similar budget impacts apply to middle school? We've heard rumors of rifs there too?

Diane

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see an increase in RS numbers. SPS just need to make sure the applicants are ready for it.

Cheers

No Data? said...

Amplify put out this researchy ad. They looked at 5th grade WCAS scores from 2016-17 before anyone used Amplify and then looked at 5th grade WCAS scores from 2017-18 at elementary schools where students did vs. did not have “access to four Amplify units for 5th grade.” They looked at 33 elementary schools using Amplify Science and 657 elementary schools not using Amplify Science in the state. They found that their product is ever so slightly better than anything that's not their product. Although less so for FRL students.

https://www.amplify.com/insight/amplify-science-is-associated-with-better-grade-5-science-outcomes-in-washington/

What's weird is that this is the opposite of what we saw in Seattle-specific data. It's also weird that the pro-Amplify line of argument before the school board was that there could be no viable data so early into the experiment therefore we didn't need to look into any data and any that we found wouldn't really tell us anything. Except that the company selling the software believes there is merit in looking at this very data.



Anonymous said...

@ No Data?, yeah, that's interesting. So they're saying Amplify is a little bit better than the average of what's being used in WA, unless you control for FRL, then it's pretty much a wash. Hardly inspiring. The thing is, doesn't SPS usually do better than average on statewide tests? In that case, if Amplify is about average, that could easily be a decrease for Seattle specifically.

To clarify one thing you said, though. They found that their product is ever so slightly better than anything that's not their product. They'd like us to think that, although really they weren't comparing it to "anything" else--they were comparing it to the average of the other things. It would be like if Amplify were an ice cream with a pretty decent fruit flavor, then they did taste tests to see if people preferred Amplify flavor to a mix of all the other flavors combined--which is likely to be not-so-tasty. If they were to compare it to each individual flavor, however, chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry, and some other flavors, would probably win out.

I was also pretty surprised to see this in the article: The study was designed as a test of the product’s theory of action: schools using Amplify Science should keep pace with or even outperform schools using other programs. "Keep pace with or even outperform"? It sure doesn't sound like they had high expectations for their program.

Sorry SPS

Outsider said...

Promoting their ability to "keep pace with" other programs would validate some of the more cynical views of Amplify as a computer-based curriculum. Look here -- the computer can teach as well as actual teachers! From the middle school perspective: no more need for science endorsement, or experienced teacher, or heck, maybe even a para could handle it. That's great news for cash-starved districts who can't recruit and retain qualified science teachers for middle school. From the elementary perspective: you can take this burden off the classroom teachers. (OK, they will be spending the time instead fighting with computer and network problems, but shut up you in the back.) Elementary classroom teachers are over-burdened (and 50 years ago didn't even have to teach science, when their students were better behaved and less traumatized), so it's great news that they could handle science by just showing videos.

SCPTSA/SEA Resolution said...


The Seattle Council PTSA passed the following resolution regarding PTA and PTO funding:

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5be3d400b40b9da8de67dce2/t/5ca3c809f4e1fcc922d6a600/1554237450589/SCPTSA+Fundraising+and+Mission+Resolution+FINAL+April+2019.pdf

It appears that the SCPTSA and SEA (via contract negotiations) will work together regarding the use of PTA funds. This initiative appears to be pushed by a few individuals at the top. I'm not confident that the proposal has been vetted at the local level.

PTAs and PTOs are private entities.

We need an open and transparent discussion regarding this issue.

Low income schools receive additional funding to lower K-e class size. South Shore receives a grant of $1M per year.

Despite the resolution, the school board just voted in favor of a very large PTA amount to support a local school. They realized these dollars would help the school.

Low income students suffer in schools that do not receive Title 1 funding. Let's not destroy every school.

Let the discussion begin.


SCPTSA/SEA said...

SEA's Statement:

Yesterday kicked off the first day of Bargaining. Bargaining Team members took part in a morning joint SEA/SPS racial equity training lead by Marquita Prinzing and Keisha Scarlett. The team wrapped up their day with SEA's interest in a more flexible PTO framework, that needs to be balanced with the daily unfilled positions.
Look for a more detailed description of the days events in your home email from your Bargaining Support Team later today.

Anonymous said...

I think PTO there means Paid Time Off.

Acronymical

Anonymous said...

@Acronymical,

Yes re: @SCPTSA/SEA's 12:10 post, but in the 12:05 post PTO looks like it refers to Parent-Teacher Org as suggested in the comment and the corresponding link.

Double acronymical

PTA Police said...

PTAs, via participation in Building Leadership Teams (BLTs) and advocacy for such participation, must insist upon a transparent reporting process for accepting outside funds into individual school budgets. This includes consolidating acceptance of funds and/or reporting whether as grants or deposits into “self-help” under the same “grant application” process.

There is no list from either the PTA or the IRS of what PTAs can and cannot fund. So while PTA/PTSAs have autonomy to make such decisions for themselves (as approved by their members) they must be aware that nonprofit, tax-exempt status of the PTA might be affected by actions outside of PTA mission and vision.

Is the SCPTSA suggesting that Seattle Public Schools should hire additional administrators to monitor PTA funds? How much more in administration spending would be needed to meet SCPTSA's vision?

PTA Police said...

There are 100 schools. SCPTSA's vision would require significant administrative oversight.

Anonymous said...

No, they do not seem to be suggesting additional oversight. The SCPTSA resolution basically just says they encourage local PTSA branches to stop raising money to support things the state should be funding, and should instead focus more on engaging families in advocating for more state funding. Good luck with that. If a school with a viable PTSA has a funding need, I have a hard time seeing parents (PTSA members) just saying oh well and letting the needs go unmet.

Also, if the SCPTS cares so much about equity, why don’t they encourage some pooling of funds in the meantime?

I have a hard time seeing how this resolution makes one bit of difference, really.

HF

Anonymous said...

Re:The SCPTSA resolution - It's a laudable set of goals. I will be interested to see which schools' PTAs are the first to scale back fundraising.

Ruthie

Money Arm said...

In the current school year, 7 separate schools received more than $1,000,000 in grants:
Interagency: $2.4 million
South Shore PK-8: $2.2 million
Mercer: $1.3 million
Aki Kurose: $1.2 million
Denny: $1.2 million
Cleveland: $1.0 million
Bailey Gatzert: $1.0 million

(page 92-94 of this pdf: https://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/Budget/2019%20Budget%20Development/adoptedbudget19.pdf)

PTSAs combined (spread across about 100 schools) only brought in a total of $3 million for the whole district.

I'm not convinced that it's worse to donate a math tutor or a counselor or art docents to a school's worth of children than it is to take your own family on vacation to Europe or Disneyland or wherever.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I’ve been planning on a separate thread on the PTA issue because the district and Board act as though they have nothing to do with PTA funds and they do.

Anonymous said...

In addition, if a school has a certain percentage of F&R lunch kids, they also attract many outside programs from organizations that subsidize that program. But at certain schools with very large enrollments they can have alot of F&R lunch kids so those kids gets shortchanged when these programs are not at their schools. One example off the top of my head is the Seattle Arts & Lectures program that is free to low income schools that meet a percentage, but
charge other schools with less F&R lunch to provide writing mentors.

caveat

Mathmetician said...

Title 1 schools receive funds to lower class sizes (K-3). The average K class size in these schools are 17 students. Non-title 1 schools have K class sizes of 26 students. Should PTAs, according to the SCPTSA, not provide teacher support for a ridiculous amount of K students per class?

Anonymous said...

I would take the SCPTSA people more seriously if half of them weren't posting poolside photos of their lavish family vacations to various European capitals all the time. They have means but mean to deny middle class and low income kids access to things like counselors and tutors and more recess time from paid recess monitors and all the things that PTA's make possible.

The very word PTA has become a dirty word lately, and I'll never understand how we in Seattle have managed to denigrate PTA from within PTA organizations like SCPTSA itself. The hypocrisy is multi layered and startling in scope.

Pro PTA

Mathmetician said...

SEA may use SCPTSA's resolution and ram something through their contract. The board will approve the contract. All done by a few people on the SCPTSA and SEA. Where do the parents of (P)ta fit into the picture?

SCPTSA said...

Today at Denny Middle School. The meeting is from 5:30-9pm.

Agenda:

Elect next year's SCPTSA board, approve the budget, and prepare for next year with free board trainings! Dinner provided. Childcare is not provided, but children are welcome.

5:30pm - open for sign-in and dinner
6pm - business/resolutions/elections
7pm - trainings:
-PTA and the Law
-Nutrition Services at SPS, meet new director Aaron Smith
and learn about his vision for moving SPS to a scratch
cooking district and share your vision with him.
-#TakeBackPTA
-Advocacy 101

The SCPTSA should look at the district's food service history. Finances are a significant factor. The expectations, I imagine, would be to pile this onto a an non-sustainable K-5 math adoption.

Anonymous said...

SCPTSA leaders espouse a lowest common denominator version of equity that is more focused on tearing down people they think have privilege, rather than raising everyone else up. They don't think PTA ever pays for anything essential, like a nurse or a counselor, and that it's all just a bunch of privileged parents like themselves getting together to throw parties.

There was a thread on Facebook last week about the cost of field trips. This is a great thing for PTA funding to address: give every kid free field trips. And to address concerns between schools, PTA funding could be either put into a common pot, whether all of it or some of it. This would ensure all children get field trips, not just some.

But the tenor of the discussion, including SCPTSA leaders and their allies, was that maybe we should just stop doing field trips altogether. Which is absurd. That would make inequities *worse* - because the poorer kids and many kids of color would still not be getting field trips, but kids at private schools still would.

The disastrous science adoption is another example of how SCPTSA argues for a "leveling down" that will make inequities worse. Their preferred curriculum is screen-based, and we are living in a society where only those who have money and privilege get human interactions. Everyone else gets handed a screen, which is inferior. There is no equity in giving everyone a crappy experience. That's still inequitable.

We need to start thinking seriously and deliberately about taking SCPTSA back from those who don't actually care about "equity" but use it as a way to get back at their perceived opponents and win power struggles they invented in their own heads. Even when we get the state to fully fund public education, there will still be things like field trips or jazz bands that the state is not likely to fund. PTA funding is a perfectly legitimate source of funds for that, especially if there's some way to share it across the district. We need to resist those who think crabs in a bucket is equity.

Dungeness

Anonymous said...

What will happen to Middle College at Northgate now that the Mall is set to close in July? We just found out that the demolition of Northgate mall has been moved up 2 years.

All tenants have been given a 60 day eviction notices.


WOW

Discussion Needed said...

Agree that the SCPTSA has become divisive. The district just adopted an non-sustainable K-5 science adoption. The district should provide supports for low income schools. Does this mean, according to the SCPTSA, that PTAs should not support schools that don't receive district support?


Anonymous said...

Most bands raise their own money for trips via fundraisers. These students are not privileged. They work very hard learning music and playing an instrument.

The fundraisers are also used to raise money for students parent can't afford trips or instruments.

With all the negative language in SPS about white people or people who have generated a good quality of life for their families I would expect a continued exitus of both from SPS.

Shameful

Melissa Westbrook said...

I now have up my thread on PTA funding and spending.

Has SCPTSA become divisive? I guess it would depend on where you stand. Some might say that they are trying to bring in more families who don't feel included and who might feel intimidated by the power structure in PTAs at their own schools. Or who see schools with fundraising firepower able to get a counselor or extra reading/math specialist in their school and they wish that for their school.

I think what I might call "tone" is what may make SCPTSA less than effective. It sounds a lot more like scolding than bringing people together. I had thought when SCPTSA leadership changed that might change but I haven't seen that. And now, the head of SCPTSA, Chandra Hampson, is running for School Board.

I'm still going thru last week's Board meeting and the Science adoption discussion (more on that mess later).

I note that Director Jill Geary, in her Board comments, stated that she and Ms. Hampson are writing a policy around racism in the district. Again, a lot that could be said on that topic but I have to say that's a bit of brazenness on the part of Geary.

The woman who is running for her seat on the Board is the woman she is co-writing the policy on racism with? And she announces this after Hampson filed for that seat?

Silly me, I thought only the Board actually wrote the policies and that they just accepted input from others.

Wonder if Geary wants to work with the other two people running for that seat on writing Board policies?

Anonymous said...

Hey remember Geary was your horse in the race.

Just Saying

Good Point said...

Director Jill Geary has endorsed Chandra Hampson for school board. Will Director Jill Geary work on policy issues with other candidates running for her seat?

Anonymous said...

I would like to see the evidence of racism case by case. Also I though Geary was going to be teaching at the UW, but now she says she is moving to the UK? Which is it?

She is desperate for something that's for sure.

She could have been the first school board member to aggressively address the issues with special education, but she punted.

Good riddance

Anonymous said...

@mathmetician "Title 1 schools receive funds to lower class sizes (K-3). The average K class size in these schools are 17 students. Non-title 1 schools have K class sizes of 26 students. Should PTAs, according to the SCPTSA, not provide teacher support for a ridiculous amount of K students per class?"

My kid is now in 9th grade. Elementary school classes were 28 kids on average. Middle school was 32-36. Nice that some schools in Seattle have 17 kids to a classroom. I am tired of the assumption that lower income majority schools are allocated so much less. They have lower class sizes, big grants, we take extra staff cuts so they don't have to when their enrollment drops etc We had F&R lunch kids in our classes too who were shortchanged.

JK

Melissa Westbrook said...

Just Saying, you are right. But do keep in mind that people often run as one thing, only to change to another. Geary was going to be a Sped expert/champion and as it turns out, not so much.

Anonymous said...

Turns out UW was one of the 50 colleges that used the SAT adversity index this last admission cycle. Story in Seattle Times.

interesting

Elan Progret said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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