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Monday, September 30, 2019

School Board Candidate News

There's an upcoming candidate forum that includes School Board candidates.

This and That

They had some kind of scare on a Longview School District schoolbus; the driver was allegedly drunk.  And yes, thank goodness one kid had a cell phone and called 911.

In the Board race for District 1, the Seattle Times has endorsed Eric Blumhagen for the post.

Director DeWolf Speaks

There's an interview at the Capitol Hill Blog with Director Zachary DeWolf and it's so him.  (Also, I have to laugh at how both he and the Superintendent like to have me as "she who will not be named" and call me "a blogger."

And hey! he's writing a children's book. 

I'll let you read the piece (hoping that parents in his region don't roll their eyes too much as he seems to think all is well) but here's my comment.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Devastating Video on School Safety

Watch this frightening, stunning video created by Sandy Hook Promise, an anti-violence nonprofit founded by the parents of victims of the Sandy Hook shootings in 2012.  Is this what we want for our kids when they are at school?

The ad reflects a grim reality for the network of survivors from the more than 228,000 students who have experienced a school shooting since the massacre at Columbine High School in 1999.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

District Bus with Sped Preschoolers Hits a Car

First Nutrition services and now (still) Transportation.  I cannot imagine the fear that both kids and parents felt about this situation.  The district must do better.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Being Judgemental

Update: Somehow I forgot what was the main reason I wrote this thread. Because it's not about me, it's about a lot of other people.  At the end of her Facebook post about me, she said this:


Also, POC were talking about who was sitting with and talking to #WestbrookSoRacist last night. We see you. 

That "last night" was September 18th and I was at the Board meeting where the vote for the D7 director was being taken.  I was sitting at the media table.  Know who was sitting with me? Two women of color.  Who are reporters.  And that's where we all sit.  They are colleagues but not friends. 

Free Entrance at National and State Parks on Saturday

Great news for your weekend - the national parks are free tomorrow, Saturday the 28th for National Public Lands Day and the state of Washington has decided that their parks will also be free on Saturday as well.

If You See Something, Say Something, Please

Via the City of Covington's Facebook page - please, if you see something that doesn't seem right, say something. Please tell your child it is not tattling or snitching; it's doing the right thing.

Change at Washington Middle School Moving Along

But it begs the question - what about input from Washington Middle School parents and community?

Here's the email I sent to Tim Robinson who is my contact for SPS Communications.  I did cc the email to the Board in case they hadn't heard about this.
Hi Tim,

I have seen credible emails saying that Washington Middle Schools teachers are to take a vote on Monday about WMS changing to the STEM by TAF model.

Friday Open Thread

To all the SPS Civics/History teachers I say - may you teach in interesting times.  Your students have a front seat to view all the truly dramatic history that is currently unfolding in our country.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Yoo Hoo, Seattle School Board - Here's the 411

Dear Directors,

As the late, great Anthony Bourdain said on Top Chef, "What kind of crack house are you running here?"

Naturally, that is some measure of hyperbole and yes, I know, you are running nothing.

However, your job is oversight.  And frankly, I think you are doing a piss-poor job on oversight (except, of course, for Director Hersey who just got here).

Here's a few suggestions for improvement:

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Do Not Challenge People on Their Racial Background

In case you missed it - do NOT ever, under any circumstances, challenge anyone here on their racial background and/or upbringing in a minority-based community.

I don't know what part of that a few of you don't get, but whether you use names or not, don't do it.

2019-2020 High School Enrollment Issues, Continued

Two items came across my desk about the district's high school enrollment projects for this school year and how many of the comprehensive high schools have experienced problems because of it.

Tuesday Open Thread

Over in Bellevue, a debate club student is suing Bellevue School District because they barred him from possibly competing at a national debate event over him challenging the outcome of the debate club's elections. Reading the story, I'm not sure that BSD made the right call and now they have a court case on their hands.  From the Seattle Times:

Seattle Special Education PTSA Meeting Tonight


Monday, September 23, 2019

Future Candidates, Please Help Yourselves

I read the op-ed by Emijah Smith at the South Seattle Emerald about her not getting the D7 appointment. She doesn’t directly say that the Board itself was being unfair but that the timing of the stories about her legal issues in relation to the vote seemed unfair. I know that those outlets had this information; why they waited until the day before the vote  to file them is a mystery.

Advanced Learning Discussion

Update: I truly have never seen people so unwilling to own their statements.  I am removing all commenters names. You can certainly seek them out on Facebook.

Eye roll.

end of update

The deadline for applying for Advanced Learning services was to be today but there is this from the district:

STEM Program for Girls

Editor's Note: I'll be turning commenting on for this post and the ones thereafter.

Here's info on a great STEM program for girls. 
Girls in Engineering, Math, and Science (GEMS) is a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) enrichment program for 7th and 8th grade girls currently attending a Seattle public school. The goal of the program is to encourage girls to maintain and broaden their interest in STEM topics by providing hands-on activities, mentoring, field trips, and information about a variety of fields.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Juneau Seems Irritated by City over Climate Strike

Superintendent Juneau does not appear amused.  This from the Seattle Times.

I don’t have time to find it right now but it appears that when Juneau served as state superintendent of public education in Montana, she was part of a group of electeds that upheld a vote for an oil drilling line to go ahead.

Thank you to Businesses Supporting Seattle Public Schools’ Students

From PEMCO:

Tell the Board (and Turning off Commenting)

Editor's note: I have to go to a funeral for a family member and I will be unable to moderate the blog thru the weekend.  And unfortunately, because of some rude and crude readers who cannot stop themselves from being ill-mannered and racist, I am shutting down all comments.  I'm sorry but I can't allow disgusting comments to sit until I am able to moderate again.  So, this is my solution. 

Signs of issues both currently and coming.  

I urge you to write to the Board or go to community meetings with individual directors and tell them you want answers.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

On 2019-2020 Enrollment Totals

JoLynn Berge gave the following report at the Board meeting tonight:

- The district is at about 900 students more than projected overall.
- They believe the October 1 count will be about 53,151 students. This will be slightly above last school year’s count.
- They were 1.7% off their calculations.
- They are adding about 47 FTE across 104 schools (not including mitigation).
- They are “moving” FTE for two Option elementaries and one Option middle school.
- “Principals are thankful we are adding FTE instead of pulling.” Berge said principals want “flexibility” and rather than adding staff may ask for the dollars as long as they meet their K-3 ratios.

The Superintendent said it was impressive that a district of this size was 98% accurate.

Brandon Hersey is new D7 Director

The vote was 4-2 with Geary and Pinkham voting for Emijah Smith.

I’ll post more on what was said later.

Changing How Jazz Bands Work in the Central District

 Contact: Arlene Fairfield, 206-898-8795 or jazzupjacksonstreet@gmail.com
Increasing equity and demographic representation in Seattle Public Schools’ music programs in the Central District is a priority. See the attached release and event notice to kick-off this effort as part of the Earshot Festival line-up to benefit the music programs at Garfield HS, Washington MS and many of the pipeline elementary schools in the Central District. 
The schools are teaming up Earshot to put on Jazz Up Jackson Street, a one-night jazz blowout featuring star alumni musicians (list available upon request) and future jazz legends. An important aspect of this work is to support access and equity and create more diverse demographic representation in music programs at our schools.
Media release:

A NEW DAY FOR CENTRAL DISTRICT SCHOOL MUSIC PROGRAMS

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Climate Strike: SPS Says No Excused Absences if Students Walk Out

Today on KUOW's The Record, Superintendent Juneau was asked about SPS students who might want to join the Friday walkout for climate change.  She was totally supportive of young activists and noted many in Seattle Schools.

The Times on D7 Finalists

Update: here is KUOW's story on Emijah Smith.

Tuesday Open Thread

There was a Seattle School Board candidate forum last night at the senior living home, Horizon House.  I'll have a separate thread as there were some notable statements made.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Amplify Lawsuit Updates

Update: Emily Cherkin is hosting an info session about the Amplify story on Sunday, September 22nd from 3-5 pm. Special guest will be former Ballard science teacher (and all-around good guy), Eric Muhs.  Contact her at emilycherkin@gmail.com


Amplify updates (from various sources):

Saturday, September 14, 2019

On Who Speaks for a School Community

 I recall that at the last Board meeting, there were two issues raised during public testimony about the (now-called) Rising Star Elementary (formerly Van Asselt at AAA building).

Thursday, September 12, 2019

School Board Candidate Updates

Update: the agenda for the Board meeting is up.  It indicates that the vote for D7 will take place almost immediately and then the oath of office will be given to the selected candidate.

I'm sure the new director will sit up on dais but I'm hoping that he/she doesn't vote on anything.  There is no way ANY of the three is ready to take a vote.

end of update

Last night the 34th Dems had their endorsement meeting for the general election.  (They had previously endorsed incumbent Leslie Harris during their primary endorsements.)  At last night's event they gave their sole endorsement to Eric Blumhagen for District 1 and Rebeca Muniz for District 3.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Suicide Prevention Day

From OSPI via Twitter:

Tuesday Open Thread

Today is the only day that you may submit questions to possibly be included for the final D7 forum to be held tomorrow night at 6 pm at Rainier Beach High School. 

Sunday, September 08, 2019

UW Public Lecture Series

UW's Graduate School Public Lecture schedule came out recently and it has, as usual, some great offerings.  Most of the lectures are free but require pre-registration.  Registration for most events started on September 11th.  (You can go without pre-registrating but many events sell out so if you don't register, you probably won't be admitted.)

Here are the lectures related to topics in public education.

Friday, September 06, 2019

Sad News (and Please Talk to Your Children)

I have learned that an Ingraham student died before school started from an accidental overdose Apparently the student thought he had bought one drug but it also may have been laced with fentanyl.  Principal Floe is sending out a letter to the school community.

As well, there have been a spate of young people with breathing problems from the use of street Jule product who are streaming into hospitals across the country. From PBS:

Friday Open Thread

As you may be aware, Sound Transit officers were on transit on the first day of school and rather than doing the right thing, decided they had to be tough and asked to see tickets. Many students didn't get their Orca card in time to get them.  The students were verbally warning but not ticketed.

Thursday, September 05, 2019

D7 Updates

The Board has certainly picked a plodding path to finding the District 7 replacement for former director Betty Patu.  The first forum - for all the candidates - was nearly three weeks ago and the final one - for the three finalists - is next Wednesday, September 11th at Rainier Beach High School from 6-9 pm.

I have so many questions, like:

Stories of HCC

Crosscut has an article about a book that a 17-year-old trans person has written about their experience in HCC.  The book is called, "You Failed Us."

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

How Do You Want Your Child's Teacher to Feel about Your Child?

I ask because it seems like at some education blogs, depending on who is writing, I see a lot of "I want my teacher to love my child" and it always gives me pause.

High School Issues

There was a request for this thread to discuss both high school issues especially around academics as well as around enrollment numbers. Below are some of the comments that started the discussion.

Charter News - State and National

Charter schools in this country reached something of a milestone this year - it's been 25 years since the first one started in Minnesota.  But there is increasing evidence they are either sliding downward and/or stalling out. From the NY Times:

Happy First Day of School!


The Start of a New School Year

As we begin the new school year (15th year for me), I want to say thank you for all the support from the community.  You have made my job easier and more enjoyable.  I love what I do and part of the credit for that goes to all of you.

I know many of you are outraged at the district.  I am outraged at the district also.  However, please know that the teachers here in Seattle are a highly skilled and dedicated group of professionals who take educating your children very seriously.  I appreciate that parents and the community in general see the difference.  We teachers say thank you.

I hope all of you (and your children) have a great year!

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Tuesday Open Thread

The big story this morning is the one from Crosscut about different SPS parents filing violations of civil rights claims and the backlash they have experienced.  I haven’t read through all the links in the story but there certainly are some serious issues here with a concerted group at Thornton Creek bullying a parent (the district admits this), a student at West Seattle High school seemingly being a victim of retaliation over a lawsuit filed by his father about a soccer team issue.