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Saturday, August 31, 2019

Singin' in the Acid Rain

To start off the new school year, a very funny article that sends up both our planet's pending environmental problems with overly involved parents.  From the New Yorker, Singin' in the Acid Rain.

Public Education Stories

From the Education Writers' Association,Threatened But Still Standing: The Federal Program for After-School, Summer Learning

Friday, August 30, 2019

Friday Open Thread

Last summer weekend before school starts. As a kid, I always felt melancholy about that.  What do you remember?

High School Sports

Two related stories about sports as the school year is just about ready to start.

One is about Colts quarterback Andrew Luck who announced an early retirement.  From the NY Times:

Thursday, August 29, 2019

In How We Talk about Race and Equity

As some of you may know, I have had issues with a small cabal of people who think that loud namecalling and hyperbole can change the landscape around race and equity in this district (state, nation). 

Here's the problem with that - it will not work.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Youth Forum Candidate Voting Results

At the Youth Forum for candidates, including Seattle School Board, at City Hall last Thursday, the audience was invited to vote for candidates on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the best.  Here's how the results came out:

OSPI Seeks To Expand Time for Lunch for Elementary Students

From OSPI and State Superintendent Chris Rykdal (bold mine):

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Amount of Recess Time in Seattle Public Schools

Excellent story from KUOW's Ann Dornfeld about recess in Seattle Public Schools.  It  should come as no surprise to anyone that schools that are largely white have more recess time in the day than schools that have largely Black students.

Who Decides?

What is considered "polite and respectful" behavior by students in a classroom?

I saw this question asked in the context of it appearing on the Danielson Framework model and someone asked, "Who decides?"

Tuesday Open Thread

Update:  Roosevelt High's Nevin Harrison is in the news - from NBC Sports:
Nevin Harrison, a 17-year-old from Seattle, became the first American to earn a world championships medal in a sprint canoe event, and it happened to be gold, surprising herself in the 200m in Szeged, Hungary, on Saturday.

Harrison joined Greg Barton as the only Americans to win an individual world title in sprint canoe or kayak. No U.S. woman has earned Olympic gold in any kayak event.

Women’s canoe debuts at the Tokyo Games. If Harrison can repeat the feat in Tokyo next year, she will become the youngest woman to earn Olympic canoe or kayak gold, breaking the record of legendary German Birgit Fischer-Schmidt, whom some consider the greatest female Olympian in history across all sports with 12 medals and eight golds.
Via Twitter from Dick's:

Don’t forget #RoundUP for charity August 26-29th at our Wallingford location! Bring your friends and your family and "round up" the bill. All proceeds will be donated to the newly re-opened Lincoln High School!   

Monday, August 26, 2019

Commentary on Current D7 Status for a New Director

I'll just put a couple of things out there.

1)  I think the Board should call off the last forum and just vote this week so when school starts, D7 has representation and the Board did their job.

2) This process of picking a new rep for D7 is going south.  For people who say this is "their" decision, they Board certainly seems like they are following someone else's lead.

And that there are those in D7 that are still complaining should tell you something.  They were never going to be satisfied.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Seattle School Board Candidate Updates

 Update2: I am being told that the question posed to Lisa Rivera Smith and Emijah Smith was not top three priorities but "what are the top three things you want to accomplish in your time on the Board."  

end of update

Update: I found my notes for the Youth Forum for questioning for D7 (only Emijah Smith as she was the only candidate invited and Lisa Rivera Smith who is the only candidate for Rick Burke's position in D2).

My notes only reflect the answers to a single question (I believe that was all as they needed to move onto Port Commissioners).  The question was - What will be your three priorities as a Board director? 

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Seattle Education Association Reaches a Tentative Agreement with SPS

Update from the Seattle Times reporter Dahlia Bazzaz (who possibly has the best name in the world) via Twitter:

Battlelines Part Two

I love Betty Patu for so many things.  Her strength, her tell-it-like it is talk, her ask-the-obvious-elephant-in-the-room questions, and her abiding love of kids.

But Betty wasn't a perfect director (and I haven't quite met one yet but there are a couple of people on the current Board who think come close).  Betty chose to focus almost entirely on her own district.  Her frame was District 7 and what policies/initiatives/boundaries would mean to it.

Many people don't know/don't want to believe it but there are regions in the district but they don't mean directors solely represent only that part of the school district.  Legally, directors have responsibility for the entire district, not just one area.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Get Out There!

From Governor Inslee's Twitter feed:

Get outside! Our state has some of the nation’s most beautiful state and national parks, and all of them are free to visit on Sunday.

Battlelines Being Drawn

It's been an interesting 24 hours.

I reported here about the finalists to fill the vacancy in District Seven.  They are: Brandon Hersey, Emijah Smith and Julie Van Arcken.

Friday Open Thread

New Story from Crosscut, primary voting was way up which bodes well for the general.  From the primary results for Seattle School Board, there is an extremely close vote between Liza Rankin and Eric Blumhagen.  There were about 2,000 votes for other candidates so which of them will pick up more of those votes?  Also, for all the Board races, the voting goes from district voting to citywide voting so who will appeal more across the city especially as the city council races have generated a much interest around the issue of homeless folks and their issues.

An eight-year old girl in Mexico won a Nuclear Sciences prize for her invention.

Billie and Lizzo

I am an old person but passionate about music.  I'm a little late to the party on Lizzo and Billie Eilish but if you have a tween or teen, I'm sure you've heard of them.  But listen up because these two young women are not girl singers of any bygone generation.  I do like their music especially Lizzo (who is going to be at Bumbershoot - she'd be amazing live).

What's important, though, for the purposes of youth in our lives, is that these two have decided to be exactly who they are.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Seattle School Board Picks Top Three For District Seven Post

After four rounds of voting they are:

- Emijah Smith
- Brandon Hersey
- Julie Van Arcken

Teachers: the Washington Post Wants to Know Where You Get Classroom Supplies

TEACHERS: if you are buying school supplies or getting them anywhere other than from your schools, please email me and tell me what you are getting and why your school isn't providing them. thanks. 

Valerie.Strauss@washpost.com

The 1619 Project

The New York Times has published an exceptional piece of enduring work called The 1619 Project.  (The date references 400th anniversary of enslaved people being brought to the-then British colonies in the Americas.)  There are more than 30 visual/written pieces from a variety of sources including journalists, historians, playwrights, poets, authors, and artists.

Which "Gap" Can Public Education Truly Close?

There was a story thread at Education Post (a mostly ed reformy blog) about closing the "belief gap."

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Tuesday Open Thread

Today may be a make or break day for the district in their contract negotiations with the Seattle Education Association.  Tomorrow is the preliminary deadline to agree to a new one.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Seattle Schools Changes That Affect Student Privacy

As I have stated, I am gradually ending coverage of Seattle Schools stories unless they pertain to a national public education story or are part of a bigger issue like student data privacy.

From SPS Communications a story on the Naviance college/career system:

Standing Tall for Kids of Color: Trish Dziko

Great story in the Seattle Times about Technology Access Foundation co-founder, Trish Dziko.  Her lifestory, her energy, her drive and, most of all, her desire to help children of color are the hallmarks of who she is.

Friday Open Thread

Does your kid play Fortnite endlessly? Good news, there's money in it.  From the NY Times:

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Updates from Seattle Education Association

Editor's Note - I inadvertently deleted the last couple of reader comments (including one of my own) when I was cleaning up some spam issues. Apologies to all.


Update from SEA's bargaining team:

Compassion for El Paso Students and Teachers





Tuesday Open Thread

Today ONLY, the Gates Foundation is matching by 50% on Donors Choose.  Please consider donating to a classroom/school of your choice to support this effort.

The Washington State Branch of the International Dyslexia Association is having a Family Fair this Saturday, August 17th from 9 am to 12:30 pm at the Hamlin Robinson School, 1701 20th Ave S. Tickets.

Monday, August 12, 2019

PEMCO Supply Drive for Seattle Schools

PEMCO and 30 other South Lake Union businesses have teamed up to help students in Seattle Schools have the school supplies they need.   Info here.  This is going on thru Friday, August 16th.  These monetary donations are tax deductible.

It's International Youth Day

“Today, we celebrate the young people, youth-led organizations, Governments and others who are working to transform education and uplift young people everywhere.” 
 — UN Secretary-General António Guterres

Arts In Public Education

Two stories about arts in education came across my desk this past week.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Friday, August 09, 2019

Mystery Solved of Where Washington Middle School Principal Ended Up

Update: As I can't always keep track of every detail, I am grateful to have sharp readers to remind me.

Friday Open Thread

The SEA and SPS have been negotiating for a new teachers' contract.  Their deadline to reach an agreement is about two weeks, with school starting on September 4th.  They are doing picketing trainings and are planning to wave signs on Monday from different area freeway overpasses during morning rush hour.

Seattle Schools Updates

Editor's note: Given all these changes, I have asked for an organizational chart but have not yet received a reply.

From SPS Communications:  Dr. Concie Pedroza Named Chief of Student Supports

Thursday, August 08, 2019

District 7 Candidate Forum

 Update:
Feedback from the District VII Candidate Forum held August 7 at Rainier Beach High School may be submitted through an online form through August 13 at 5 p.m. Feedback will be compiled and provided to the board.   

I note that this forum asks you for your selection for the position and why.  So they are going to tally votes which I find troubling because that means whoever is a good organizer could get the overwhelming amount of votes.  This is not an election so I'm surprised the feedback is being organized like this.


Video Link to the forum.

Also I am putting the text of the questions - as given to me by the Board office - at the end of this post.

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Election Results

Director Zachary DeWolf came in 4th in his race for City Council which means he'll be staying on the Seattle School Board.  (Kshama Sawant came in 1st in that District 3 race followed by Egan Orion, and Pat Murkami.)

Tuesday Open Thread

I attended the Board Work Session on the upcoming forum for District VII candidates.  The Board was hashing out what questions to ask.  Given there are so many candidates, they had to strive to try to get as many questions in as possible.  There were five of the candidates in attendance and boy, were they a serious bunch.  (Those candidates were Brandon Hersey, Julie Van Arcken, Barbara Rockey, Dionne Foster and Emijah Smith.) It is unclear to me if Romanita Hairston is still in the running; she did not turn in her responses to the questionnaire on-time.  I would have thought that would have eliminated her from the running but they didn't say that.

Monday, August 05, 2019

Equal Right to Representation In Education - Washington

I know I mentioned this new Facebook group briefly but I do want to give them applause for their incredible work.  From their Facebook page:

Sunday, August 04, 2019

Coming Up on Primary Election Day

Did you get your ballot in?  You have to have it postmarked by Tuesday, August 6th.  No postage needed or try one of the convenient drop boxes.

Criminalizing Child Behavior at School

Update: messaging from the Seattle Education Association via Facebook.  The teacher comments bring insight to the discussion.

end of update

An audiotape and police report has surfaced about an incident that occurred at Van Asselt Elementary School earlier this year.   Here's the story as the Seattle Times reported it.

Basically, a teacher was threatened with bodily harm by a 5th grade student who is less than 5 feet tall - only threatened but it appears he leaned into her using foul language -  after she denied his request to leave the classroom.  There was no weapon involved. It ended up with her calling the police after he was sent to the office. 

Before anything else I want to make clear - the teacher should not have called the police.  I'll say that again - she should not have called the police.  That the student was African-American (as is established in the police report) makes it much worse because of the disproportionality that we know exists for black children.  The teacher was a white woman.

Friday, August 02, 2019

Friday Open Thread

Clarence Acox, a giant for music education in Seattle Public Schools, is retiring.  Story from the Seattle Times.

Reviewing the District VII Candidate Answers to Questionnaires

Update: the Board is having a Work Session on this process on Monday, August 5th from 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm at the JSCEE.  This falls in the category of "things that make you go...hmmm."  Perhaps they will discuss who is still eligible.  Perhaps they will discuss which community questions were answered.  I can't imagine they are going to suss out who their top picks are before having the community forum to meet the candidates on Wednesday, August 7th from 6-9 pm at RBHS.

Also to note, while I didn't take screenshots of all the answers, someone else did.  I will get that and post what Emijah Smith took out of her first posting of answers.  You'll see what she says about charter schools.  Again, her support of them should automatically disqualify her from sitting on the Board.

Thursday, August 01, 2019

District VII Candidate Forum: Anyone Go?

If you attended the SESEC forum last night for candidates to fill the District VII position, please weigh in.