Showing posts from June, 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.)

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.

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.  

SPS New Updates

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

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 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.

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.

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. 

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 :

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 u p. Details: I've seen this notice on Twitter a couple of times:

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.

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

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.

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 Forwa rd. 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 Ampl

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 r

One-Day Sports Camp for Kids


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:

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:

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

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 libr

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 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


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.

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.

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.

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.

Gay Pride Month Starts Today