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.

That latter issue hit home for me because it involves a yearbook issue.  My oldest son had some not-so-nice things happen in his yearbook when he was at Hale and the principal just shrugged.  Unlike many other parts of school, what appears in the yearbook about your child is forever.

It also brings up the issue - again - of principals and when parents get to be included in the principal hire.  As we see from the movement of the Washington Middle Schools to now be inflicted upon the Licton Springs K-8 community, even the Superintendent’s letter telling that principal she would be demoted to vice-principal didn’t come true.

In a great story for the start of school, a freshman at a high school in Baltimore had tweeted to his sister that no one talked to him especially at lunch. Some football played changed that.

From the Facebook page for Seattle Special Education:

A reminder that in the Source, under “Preferences” (next to the gear icon), scrolling down you can land on “Naviance” where you can click next to your student’s name and opt out.

I’m hearing that it’s not just Garfield that will be overenrolled.  Apparently, Ingraham is likely to be almost near 250 students over.

Kellie LaRue says:
This is not a case of projections needing work. Everyone involved in the budget and projection process was crystal clear that high school was deliberately short-staffed and teachers were RIFed unnecessarily. 
I attended the budget meeting where this was discussed and the argument was that the budget needed to be “conservative.”  It was clear that appropriate building level staffing was not a priority in the budget. 
The Board pushed back hard but the reason stated was that there was simply not enough staff in the fianance and budget department to update the budget projections from the initial allocation in the window before RIFs were finalized. 
Also stated was that they expect a sharp uptick in Running Start enrollment, to justifythe obvious shortfalls at high school.  The fact that short-staffing high school pushes students out of the system was completely ignored.
A parent said:

I was doing the nursing budget this year and presentely calculated all comprehensive high school total overage from projections at 2399! 

Another parent added:
Between our counselors, they have been working 7 days a week trying to balance classrooms, but the math is impossible.  Their team is incredible.

What’s on your mind?


Anonymous said…
Welcome to the new SPS, 100% POC focused 100% of the time.

Voucher time
I think if you read the article carefully, it is only the parents involved with the suit that believe racism was part of the issue. I cannot say for certain what is true on that count.

However, the situation at Thornton Creek, whether racially motivated in any way or not, is truly wrong. Clearly, there were parents and staff ganging up on other parents to try to silence the latter (or at least get them out of leadership). It does not appear that the former principal, John Miner, who is a great guy, was able to do anything. Once again, head of Schools, Mike Starosky, seem to do little. (And he gets paid much more than the EDs and what do these seven people do for a collective nearly $1M? I have no idea.)

So you can take race out of it and just look at both situations and say, "That's wrong."

To tell a kid you won't use the name that he/she chooses (and it's part of their legal name) is wrong. I recall the story that former director, Betty Patu, would tell about coming to the U.S. and being "given" the name Betty by teachers even though it was not her real name. Who gets to tell you what your name is? If we honor diversity, then we honor cultural differences in names. That's the least that should be done for students.

To misspell a student's name in their yearbook, especially when you went out of your way to make sure that didn't happen, is wrong.

The bigger picture issue is parents having issues at schools, trying to air them with staff and being retaliated against.
old salt said…
My guess is that the district made the principal hire decision & then was happy to let this parent take the fall.

Reading these documents brought back the cutthroat manipulations of elementary school parent/teacher politics. Cabals of parents who disagree are always trying to overthrow each other on Site Council or PTSA whether it is budget or homework policies or separate reading groups or who gets to control the fundraiser.

When racial bias is added into the language used it's just more nasty. Remember similar battles at Madrona on this blog several years ago over gardens and playground equipment.

Anonymous said…
Enrollment numbers are still in flux, but it's not Just Garfield and Ingraham. Ballard and Roosevelt are also well (1800-1900) over the April enrollment projections, and my guess is so are some other high schools. This is even with Lincoln opening and Lincoln's numbers also higher than projected. But they knew this was the case in June. I am guessing the conservative budget will get/has gotten sorted out as these kids need teachers? It does seem like a poor strategy of planning.

HS Parent
Anonymous said…
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Anonymous said…
It's amazing that POC think those issues only happen to them. WRONG. Thornton creek has always had issues with the PTO leaders bulling others. Teachers do discriminate against students whos parents file lawsuits or complaints and that's totally understandable. Miner let teachers and parents run the school. We were lucky to be outside in a portable for 3 years and could ignore all the BS. There were a lot of UW employees that seemed to always be causing issues. They would speak down to teachers and other PTO members. They even tried to circumvent the PTO and reestablish a PTA. There was even an issue were one UW employee went and complained to the UW about another parent who also worked at the UW.

UW should make a free private school for their professors children, it would save many other from being subjected to the parents BS.

Anonymous said…
There needs to be a strict board policy of community involvement in the principal hiring process. Superintendents must no longer have the power to unilaterally make these decisions by themselves.

Anonymous said…
"... Once again, head of Schools, Mike Starosky, seem to do little. (And he gets paid much more than the EDs and what do these seven people do for a collective nearly $1M? I have no idea.)"

Amen to this. When will Juneau be held accountable for the ED farce. Nobody accountable.

Anonymous said…
@ SPED parent, how obnoxious can you act? "Fluffy pink unicorn"? Seriously? With all due respect (meaning none, in this case), please unbunch your undergarments.

If a transgender student decides they want to go by a different pronoun, and a different corresponding name, the teacher should respect that. While you say teachers should "stick to the script" to avoid lawsuits, I'd argue they actually risk more lawsuits by not. If a student wants to go by their middle name (as was the case in the article), or has a good reason to go by another name (e.g., they are trans), to refuse to do so can do them harm. Teachers aren't the ones who should be deciding someone's identity.

Nobody's talking about kids changing their name or pronoun every day. Maybe, however, you might want to think about changing yours for the day? Maybe something like "Foul Mood" or

Mean Spirited?
Anonymous said…
@SPED Parent,

You might also want to read the district's procedure on "Nondiscrimination and Affirmative Action: Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students."


Mean Spirited?
I concur with Mean Spirited. Sped Parent, we don't talk about students like that. Ever.

You clearly didn't read the thread or the article because the student was asking to be called by his legal middle name. That's not off-script.

Anonymous said…
The district shouldn’t have spent half their reserve on salaries, because they’re going to need it for civil rights lawsuits.

The core issue is critical race activists, like Tracy Castro-Gill, definition of racism doesn’t follow state law thus the district is increasingly exposed to civil rights lawsuits.

The category of race is a protected class for discrimination not TCG’s ridiculous interpretation that only whites can be racist. State law doesn’t use the word racism, but instead the umbrella term of discrimination to cover all the categories.

Tracy Castro-Gill retweeted “when students of color don’t matter” to Shraddha Shirude, a Garfield math teacher, who complains that a colleague’s Ethnic Studies class is full of “White HCC students” instead of the POC students it was “made for”.

So isn’t Ethnic Studies open to all students?

Shirude also bitterly tweets about all the student with specials needs she was assigned as compared to her white colleagues.

Shirude is entitled to her feelings, but she either didn’t think about or doesn’t care what students (or their parents) feel when they read her posts.

Castro-Gill wrote an article in Medium that follows the critical race theory playbook: anti-semitism (Jews choose to forgo their identity to be white) and authoritarian racism (Hispanics who identify as such are trying to be white, because the term, Hispanic, is whitewashed ).

Beware that Castro-Gill requests data on student responses from teachers for the Black Lives Matter curriculum (see last attachment). I guess its a pulse check on the indoctrination.





kellie said…
@ HS Parent,

To the best of my knowledge, all of the high schools were short staffed. This was well known in April, June and over the summer. Every time this issue was pressed by the board, the answer was that SPS needed to be "conservative" and that it would be easier to add teachers in October, rather than move teachers due to over-staffing.

The option to work with schools to get the numbers are accurate as possible, seems to have never been on the table. When that question was asked by the board, the response from now-retired Deputy Superintendent Neilson was that Principals could not be trusted to provided accurate information, because Principals would naturally want to protect their staff and they needed to save principals from that unpleasant task to over-committing to staffing, that might potentially need to be moved in October.

This entire process has been utterly maddening. High School teachers were RIF'ed in May, for no good reason.

This will get sorted out, but it will be sorted out differently at each high school, depending on how savvy the principal has been in planning the master schedule and their ability to place long term subs into slots.

Because Running Start begins three weeks into the school year, students have options. And because of this, downtown may or may not add any additional staffing at high school before the Running Start numbers are final.
Anonymous said…
Thanks for the information Kellie. Can you also believe we have all these students in the high schools? I am not sure about the trending declining enrollment narrative as it does not seem present at the high school level, at least in the schools mentioned. I was floored to hear that those schools are still full even with Lincoln opening.

HS Parent
Anonymous said…
My son is so excited about starting running start. He is still going to play sports at his assigned HS and he will have 2 days off per week for his online classes. I think this will be the future for students who want to skip the goofiness of HS.

Pro RS
Anonymous said…
Can anyone help me understand why Crosscut would write an entire article and not have comments from the staff at Thorton Creek and West Seattle? It makes the article seem very biased.

Anonymous said…
"After Shuai’s physical therapist advised that he could have avoided the surgery had his coaches recognized the severity of his injury sooner" The therapist is not qualified to make that statement unless he was treating the boys before the incident and if so then the therapist should have ordered the boy not to play and contacted the coach.

In the first story the mom basically says she was there to raise hell. When all you have is a hammer then every problem is racism. Please POC get some self respect.

Anonymous said…
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Anonymous said…
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Anonymous said…
Hearing of many high schoolers not getting full class loads again. My senior and many friends found schedules with 4-5 classes. Sad that this happens at the same time the district is limiting online options and only allowing Pass/Fail grades for online classes. Is this happening all over the city? We are at Roosevelt.

Anonymous said…
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Anonymous said…

So, my kids’ SPS school just informed that they’re holding curriculum “night” during the during Sabbath. Our sabbath day. Clearly not theirs. You can believe the people around the table who came up with this were NOT a diverse group, nor were they a group that is sensitized to cultural diversity. Although that’s all this school ever talks about; their big time inclusion in their cultural sensitivity. Blah blah blah. Actions speak louder than words.

Doesn’t this district yammer on and on and on about NOT being punitive to minorities? Don’t they have a half million dollar budget to roll out the ethos of being inclusive? Supportive of the non-wasp students in their schools?

This is not the first time they’ve targeted my family for blatant exclusion.

Except that in our case, it’s OK, because it is ok to dislike ‘our kind’, and if, we point it out, then we’re being whiny and entitled and we’d for sure risk being labeled as demanding and fragile and inflexible etc etc.

Our children really shouldn’t have to start off the school year with a big “F you!” from their principal and teachers, reminded that they are ‘other’ and ‘less’. I could really, really use some of those passionate, vaunted *allies* to point out that this is the wrong thing for the school to do. But there will be crickets.

Burned again
Science Teacher, school is not in session and it's doubtful the district gave out ways for the reporter to contact them. Maybe when school starts again.

Burned Again, forgive my ignorance - are you speaking of a Jewish holiday?

Also, the district has better things to do than "target" one family, c'mon.

Alsept Teresa said…
Melissa. Staff names are on the website and easy to find. Plus, the people downtown work all summer. Plus, teachers have been back in the building since last Tuesday. It’s like they didn’t really want to get the whole story
Anonymous said…
Yes, the school is holding the sole curriculum event on Saturday day, (which is the sabbath for us). That is not an appropriate choice for a curriculum event if they want to be seen as sensitized to their privilege. How much effort would it have taken to schedule it as every other school we’ve ever attended has, on a week day evening?

When a public school knowingly schedules picture day on a high holiday (yes they knew, months in advance, but didn’t see a problem), and scheduled the camp during high holidays (and wouldn’t let them switch when there were alternatives that’s wouldn’t have inconvenienced them or affected anyone else in the group)... etc... not the first time this level of “unawareness” has been the case.

And that sentence did not mean to suggest the paranoia that they were out to target *my* family, but rather, their actions hit those in this demographic category, of which my family happens to be part of.

I know better, I know I’m not allowed to say anything, that’s why am putting it on the blog. To say something would make me labeled, it wouldn’t change anything or get it fixed, and even if the school did fix it, then the rest of the community would be up in arms and angry at the whiny entitled ones. We don’t want to raise the disconnect (& thereby our profile) and attract anger as a result.

That’s why we are

Burned Again
Anonymous said…
The twitter post by TCG should get several employees disciplined. First, as matter of student privacy, OSPI does not show categorical breakdowns when the numbers are less than 10, and second, what the bleep?? So which is it, TCG, "white" students need ethnic studies "more than anyone" or ethnic studies is only for SOC?

And from the 5th grade lesson:

Exit Ticket
The exit ticket prompt in this lesson was created to collect student reflection/qualitative data to inform the work of ethnic studies curriculum development in Seattle Public Schools. If you would like to contribute to this collection of data, please scan and send the student responses to [TC-G]:[ ].

This exit ticket prompt is optional, and should be replaced with a more relevant prompt if you choose not to participate in the collection of data.

Uh....are students and parents informed about this "data collection?"

just wow
Another Parent said…
I strongly object to Christian Ellis’ decision as a parent to have published identifying information, mental health information, and disciplinary information about her minor child on the internet in the Crosscut story titled, “Families accuse Seattle Public Schools of mishandling civil rights complaints.”

The Crosscut story is the first link that appears when a Google Search is done for the child’s name, and because his name is unique, no other people with the same name appear, and likely never will. When this child applies to college, applies for a job, decides to get married, etc., the public disclosure of his mental illness and other confidential information will likely forever follow him.

Parent Christian Ellis, Crosscut author Liz Brazile, Crosscut Editor Ted Alvarez, and Cross Executive Editor Victor Hernandez have caused the child permanent and lasting harm. The publication is unethical, exploitative, and a violation of The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Why so many people think this is OK defies belief.
Anonymous said…
Another Parent, who are you to second guess this parent's decision? If we all sat around with tape over our mouths, it would be better? Is that what you are saying? Would it be better if we don't humanize the awful special education ignorance in the schools that results in unlawful and hurtful suspensions? The toll on families? The crises for our children? If one special needs parent decides to go public and another doesn't, that is something we should respect and not second guess. The permanent and last harm to this child is from SPS, not from Crosscut.

another reader
Anonymous said…
@ Another Parent,

Just to point out, the article could have been just and effective without the child's name. There's a wide gulf between not saying anything and oversharing, and I think it's a good reminder to parents to keep in mind that what they write about their children now may become part of the child's digital record forever.

The story was primarily about the mom and the alleged discrimination she received, and the resultant consequences for her son. They could easily have noted that her son "X" was suspended twice in apparent retaliation for her actions and beliefs on something unrelated, ant that would have sounded equally bad. It was not clear the son's ADHD really had anything to do with what happened, so why mention it? If they wanted pictures of the kid in the article to "humanize" it (the mom isn't enough?), they could have taken ones that showed him more from the back, and they did not need to name him personally. (Sure, many at the school would know his name, but that likely wouldn't appear in a future search.)

If this were an article about alleged refusal to provided special ed services for a student who was obviously going to need special services in college and/or workplace accommodations, that might be one thing. In my experience, however, many students with learning challenges opt NOT to disclose them in the future if they don't need to, which is often the case with ADHD.

The parent is obviously free to make whatever decision they want in this case, but I do think Crosscut should have been more thoughtful about this. The reporter should have been able to write a compelling article without dragging this student into it, and the editor should have seen to that.

Thinking Ahead
Anonymous said…
This op-ed talks about Trump voters but it also describes TCG really well: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/04/opinion/trump-voters-chaos.html

"In the past, chaos-seekers were on outer edges of politics, unable to exercise influence. Contemporary social media — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and so on — has empowered this constituency, providing a bullhorn to disseminate false news, conspiracy theories and allegations of scandal to a broad audience...

They identified those who are “drawn to chaos” through their affirmative responses to the following statements:

• I think society should be burned to the ground.

• When I think about our political and social institutions, I cannot help thinking “just let them all burn.”

• We cannot fix the problems in our social institutions, we need to tear them down and start over.

• Sometimes I just feel like destroying beautiful things."

TCG has repeatedly posted "burn it down" on her social media accounts, and I'm sure she'll say so again in response to this comment. But this is who we are dealing with - an agent of chaos who believes her goal is to tear down rather than build up, someone who sows chaos in order to get revenge against enemies. For her, revenge and destruction are her primary goals, and racial justice is merely the convenient tool of the moment to achieve it. Those of us who actually have a commitment to racial justice will have to withstand her slings and arrows for a while until she flames out and gets fired, but we also must protect every child every where from the effects of her arsonism.

Anonymous said…
You think adhd was not related to the school's decision to suspend instead of teach? You think this student's challenges and the school's underpreparedness have nothing to do with suspensions? Thinking ahead, maybe you should start thinking. And this whole discussion is really victim blaming. We should be focusing - and getting Board Directors to the same - on the fact that a process that should have taken 30 days instead was not even brought about until nearly a year. That says it all about the desultory culture for student civil rights in this district. Let's question those high paid educrats downtown who cannot be accountable for doing their jobs. Cry me a river, they have it so tough. If I took 10 months to do a job that should be done in 30 days, I would not have a job.

Anonymous said…
And the entanglement at West Seattle High School for that student and parent, that is par for the course for that principal. All from Roosevelt will recognize the pattern.

Anonymous said…
I'd bet that a lot of the scheduling problems are due to the fact that there are fewer teachers than the students enrolled. Whether purposefully or not, the system is forcing/encouraging students to look into Running Start. But it really is not for everyone. Isn't there a better way to figure out which students will do RS?

Another Parent, that is Ellis' right. Should Crosscut have thought better of it? I think so. I can add that I see a number of parents who are also not as careful with their children's stories as they might be in various social media. I just wonder if when those kids are adults, maybe they would wish mom or dad made a different choice.

Reframing,good points. Will the Board hold JSCEE staff accountable for not following policy/procedure? Probably not because most of the time, boards seem cowed by superintendents. We need board members who will not just go, "tsk, tsk" and move on.

What is fascinating to me is over at the Crosscut Comments section, the issue of race is being focused on, not that some parents were encouraged by staff to bully other parents at a school. I can't say for sure what part race played but that bullying should NOT have happened at all and staff should have thought better of encouraging it. That and how principal selection is a consistent issue in this district.

I do want to note that I put in a comment at the story because one person was saying POC just whine. This person - Real Stakeholder - said (partial):

"News flash: Not every problem has a racial component. Your race is not the most interesting thing about you. Maybe it wasn't your race, but something you did that was inappropriate? Maybe you didn't play by the rules? Maybe you went outside the boundaries, and someone else got annoyed? Maybe it's a personality problem? Maybe somebody has a lousy attitude? Maybe some folks just don't like each other?

On a day-to-day basis, there are several issues that are more important to me. What about income inequality? What about U.S. military action in more than 100 countries as I type this....anybody think that's a bigger problem? Are we being indoctrinated by the media to believe our race is the biggest problem?

Being older and more experienced, I have another question: "Are we being led into a race war by the media?"

Ask yourself: Is "race" being used as click-bait to increase revenue, because "race" is more exciting than news about children dying from U.S. military involvement in 100 countries?

Ask yourself: Is "race" really the biggest issue you face each day...bigger than your job...bigger than the cost of healthcare...bigger than every other issue in your world? Can you shop where you want? Work where you want? Travel where you want? Sit where you want? Use public bathrooms? Where are you encountering racial conflict or racial barriers in your daily life?"

I said:
"Sir, are you white? Because if so, you have no idea how people of color are treated on a daily basis. It is not them that are keenly aware of their color but how they are made to think of their color every day, throughout the day by other people.

I think what you see as “click-bait” is POC standing up and saying, “No more. We want to be heard.”

He said:
"Oh bs. If so, it is in their own heads.

I realize people enjoy playing the victim, but your comment is nonsense."

Later, he/she/they claim to be a POC. Which is interesting.

My point in printing this is to circle back to Ethnics Studies and point out that there are people out there who think POC are just whining. Who think that they should "get over it and move on." Who are very much going to criticize and fight back against initiatives like Ethnic Studies.

Meaning, when you have those attitudes like that out there, you need every single ally to speak up and aid your cause.

And yet Castro Gill has nothing good to say about me or anyone here. She doesn't want our commitment or help or anything. So if "burning it to the ground" means not just abandoning allies who are out there willing to fight the good fight and/or dismissing their efforts, I'm not sure what to do.
kellie said…
Hi Mel,

Could you make an open thread about enrollment. There are two great conversations on this thread.

Thank you!
RoosMom said…
Overcrowding High Schools

It turns out that approximately 20 kids at Roosevelt who wanted to do biology were not able to due to capacity issues. This is a major miss in terms of science placement!

- Roosevelt mom
Anonymous said…
TCG literally believes that she should be in charge of everything in SPS and that anyone who disagrees with her is a racist. (She saves her most potent venom for women of color who don't dance to her tune.) She sees no need for allies, all she wants is followers.

Anonymous said…

ADHD may have been a factor, or it may not. If the child's suspensions were retaliatory in nature based on what the mom had done or said, the school or teachers might have been able to come up with other "reasons" to suspend the student. Some sort of alleged playground misbehavior or something. If the student did not do anything to warrant suspensions, they obviously made something up, right? Why couldn't they do that regardless of ADHD? My point was that the article made no attempt to clearly link the ADHD to the suspensions--on the contrary, it tried to link them to retaliation--so why did it really need to be included? My comment was about protecting the child's name and sensitive information, which really did not need to be shared in this case, at least how it was presented here.

You said: "You think adhd was not related to the school's decision to suspend instead of teach? You think this student's challenges and the school's underpreparedness have nothing to do with suspensions?"

I never said that, and I don't necessarily believe that. Schools fail to serve students with disabilities all the time, and in many ways. But if that's what's going on in this case, that's a completely different article, and a completely different lawsuit. The current suit seems to be focused on the retaliation aspect, as well as the failure to comply with a timely investigation as required. That has nothing to do with your premise that the school was underprepared to deal with the student's challenges.

If there are civil rights procedures that are not happening in a timely fashion, yes, we absolutely need to address that. An article focusing on a pattern of shortcomings in this area might help people understand the lapses so they can get behind pushing for improvements. Unfortunately, articles like this one instead create a lot of confusion. Is the school insufficiently resourced to effectively deal with learning disabilities? Is the school discriminatory against students with learning disabilities? Is this an issue of racism--toward the child and/or parent? Was this the result of interpersonal conflict between the parent and others at the school? Were the child's suspensions acts of retaliation for disagreements between adults, as the article suggests? Or were the suspensions not retaliation after all, and related to the ADHD (as you seem to suggest)? The article should have focused more on the civil rights investigation related failures (and maybe include a third anecdote to help establish it as a "pattern"), not the complexities of a particular case that raises more questions than it answers. It sounds like there would have been plenty to go on re: the lack of follow up, without revealing a lot of information needlessly.

Thinking Ahead
4 Schools said…
Here's what's wrong with SPS. Parents shouldn't have to switch schools multiple times in hopes of finding a school that will educate their child in a healthy way without causing harm to the child. The first kid in that Crosscut piece went to 4 different elementary schools by fourth grade! A middle class African American child with ADHD? Come on, SPS. Any school should be able to educate him. Why did he have to wait until 3rd grade for his IEP? Why was the child dragged into the parent's political drama? Why does the family have grounds for a civil rights lawsuit? Up your game, SPS!
Anonymous said…
It turns out that approximately 20 kids at Roosevelt who wanted to do biology were not able to due to capacity issues. This is a major miss in terms of science placement!

Isn't biology the 10th grade required science course under the new(sh) science scope and sequence? 10th graders aren't allowed to do Running Start, so how are they going to get their required science? Will they be forced into a science elective they don't want now, preventing them from taking more advanced science later on?

Also, remember that current 9th, 10th, and 11th graders are all subject to the new 24-credit graduation requirements. If they can't get the courses they need, the district is risking their on-time graduation.

Anonymous said…
Running Start should be open to 10th graders that meet the entrance requirements.

--Pro RS
RoosMom said…

These were 9th graders who were wanting to accelerate math (but not ready to jump to Chemistry). According to Roosevelt, they can still be ready for college with 9th grade (physics/chem general science <-- where many were placed), 10th grade biology, 11th grade chemistry, 12th grade physics. But this decision then may preclude those students from taking other types of more advanced science options that roosevelt offers. This has to do with crowding and the fact that Lincoln did not help fix the overpopulation issues at Roosevelt, thus limiting choices. It sounds like from @kellie that this was a preventable situation.

Roosevelt mom
RoosMom said…
sorry... accelerate science not math!
Anonymous said…
Melissa, despite the district's findings, these parents were not "bullied" by staff nor was there retaliation over the principal - a principal imposed on the school by Joung and such a poor fit he's been moved. Joung has also been moved in response to parent and staff HIBs filed against her for retaliation against them for questioning the hiring process.
Emails from Joung to Starosky show Joung's gross bias against the assistant principal prior to interviews. The emails are unprofessional and unethical and demonstrate Joung's viciousness and incompetence. Starosky didn't correct her or ask her to recuse herself from directing the hiring of TC's principal.
When staff and families pushed Starosky to investigate, Joung went into full retaliation mode. She convinced Ellis and Briggs the community's desire for new leadership was racist. She created conflict at Thornton Creek in order to draw attention away from the fact she and Starosky violated multiple board policies during the hiring process.
You asked why Minor did nothing. Joung threatened im with disciplinary action and possible dismissal if he didn't put an end to Site Council elections. She forced him to censor the community. He spent the last months of a remarkable career scared of dismissal, trying to protect his staff and community and program from an EDs who was destructive and allowed to do whatever she wanted by her close personal friend Starosky.
When parents complained, guess who investigated their complaints? Starosky.
Whether it's a Site Council or a PTA, both teachers and parents have a voice. Being silenced in an open forum, efforts for new leadership went private. These emails were used as evidence that staff colluded to oust Briggs and Ellis.
Did the majority of the parent and staff community want new Site Council leadership? Yes. Was it in retaliation for the AP not getting the job? No.
No one blamed Ellis for the hiring of an unfit principal. The interview team was huge and everyone knew Starosky made the hiring decision as Nyland's proxy.
As Briggs and Ellis became closer to Joung they texted and called her to complain on a daily basis, resulting in her telling Minor to discipline staff, something he refused to do.
Codd's final findings interpret staff behavior as retaliatory bullying, but the real situation is that Joung masterfully set up a conflict and then drove the wedge deeper through the spring. Administration even met with Briggs and Ellis to find a path forward and Joung showed up, said, "We're nor here to bullet out a path to peace," and then spent the rest of the meeting insisting there be no elections and thretening discipline if they went forward.
Codd writes, "due to a perceived alliance between the former co-chairs and district leadership," and this is the heart of the whole matter.
Briggs and Ellis wanted to stay chairs of the parent group, even though they did a poor job. They turned to Joung to be their bodyguard. Joung saw an opportunity to punish staff and create a reign of terror to squash complaints about her gross negligence in the principal hiring. Briggs and Ellis increasingly relied on Joung to punish staff and keep them in power. They were increasingly unfit to lead site council and everyone worked harder to elect new leaders.
It's important to note they had the opportunity to be on the ballot and they refused.
I am flabbergasted that Juneau allows Starosky and Joung leadership positions in SPS. They just paid tens of thousands of dollars to Oly Hills staff who grieved Joung's behavior when she was principal there. She's a disaster, and Starosky is completely unwilling or unable to do his job.

- Actual Facts
Anonymous said…
@Science Teacher - that is likely because of the pending legal claims involved; the staff would be told to keep it zipped by SPS - and they know that.

-Westside Parent
Anonymous said…

Indeed - that is the case for many with respect to the principal at WSHS.

-Westside Parent
Helen Joung said…
Exec. Dir. Helen Joung's emails reveal astonishingly unprofessional and outrageously biased behavior!

As for Briggs and Ellis... they wanted to stay in control of site council for a second year (who demands to be PTA president for a 2nd year???) but wouldn't run for reelection. Being PTA president isn't some kind of multi-year, God-given right.
Another Parent said…
The Federal HIPAA Privacy Rule establishes national standards to protect individuals’ medical records and other personal health information, in accordance with the HIPAA Law of 1996. The disclosure of mental health information, such as a mental illness as in the Crosscut titled, “Families accuse Seattle Public Schools of mishandling civil rights complaints.”, is explicitly protected by the privacy rule with willful neglect subject to fines and jail time.

Unfortunately, in the case of the Crosscut story, the HIPAA Privacy Rule doesn’t apply because the parent has given consent for mental health disclosure on behalf of the minor child. But just because today we only have laws that protect adults and don’t have similar laws to protect minor children, doesn’t mean there won’t be such laws in the future specifically to protect against cases like the Crosscut disclosure.

There was zero reason for the Crosscut story to disclosure the full name and other identifying information about the child together with their protected health information as the story could have been written without the disclosure. Crosscut author Liz Brazile, Crosscut Editor Ted Alvarez, and Cross Executive Editor Victor Hernandez should clearly realize that publishing this information was exploitive, a violation of journalistic ethics, and a violation the child’s human rights.

Mellissa, you’ve blogged extensively about the need for privacy protections for children. For example, if a school, or another parent, or a healthcare provider were to disclose protected health mental information about a minor child based on your past statements I assume you would be strongly condemning the disclosure. Yet, because in this case, the parent has decided to make the disclosure, even though there is no apparent benefit to the child and there is clearly a strong potential for both immediate and long-term harm, you are apparently suggesting its ok. Are suggesting any action a parent takes that harms a minor child is ok, simply because they are the parent? And if not, where do you draw the line, because in this case, you seem to agree that the parent is very likely causing harm.

Mellissa, you further seem to defend the parent's disclosure by writing, “…I see a number of parents who are also not as careful with their children's stories as they might be in various social media.” While I agree that many times parents post naively, I believe the evidence, in this case, suggests otherwise. Specifically, the parent has created her own blog with links to emails and documents discovered through FOIA requests to the district. In one of the discovered and parent published emails, district staff explicitly warn the parent about the dangers of harming other students though the inadvertent disclosure of confidential information such as disciplinary issues, even when the names have been redacted because of the risk of contextual discovery. Finally, the parent has explicitly invited a news reporter and photographer into her home to write about and take pictures of her son. Taken together, these actions do not suggest an inadvertent carelessness, but rather the calculated public disclosure of a minor's protected health information. Is your position that both careless, as well as willful disclosure by a parent, is ok?

Anonymous said…
There are lots of obnoxious UW employee's with kids at Thornton Creek. It's difficult to deal with them and most parents try to avoid them. Ellis shouted racism at every meeting, she even complained the toilets were racist.

Shutting down
Anonymous said…
Folks, the most important information here is the failure of people in positions of leadership to do their jobs - some taking 10 months, others, like in W Seattle, letting things get out of hand. Joung has a history of incompetence. It is the Seattle way, nobody is ever accountable.

Anonymous said…
People don't understand that both the principles and teachers have a union backing them. Nothing is done unless the union OKs it. Yes even when it comes to crimes. Each employee gets due process and their union rep needs to be present at every meeting. This is why things take so long. There is the SPS CYA mentality on top of that.

Anonymous said…
@ Roosevelt Mom,

Thanks for the clarification. I'm glad to hear these were 9th graders who were at least assigned to the official science pathway courses, as opposed to being older students completely left in the lurch by SPS (which would not surprise me). With SPS moving ever-nearer a one-size-fits-all approach, I doubt they want students skipping ahead in science. To be honest, if some students were allowed to do so on a space available basis, that would surprise me more.

While I do not support the new science sequence, it's my understanding that these students can still take AP science classes starting in 11th grade if they want. It also doesn't seem like the end result is all that different than before, where the typical high school slate of classes included physical science, biology, chemistry, and physics. I think the only difference was maybe that some high schools (like Roosevelt, I believe) allowed students to skip physical science, whereas others might not? Most competitive colleges are going to want to see chem, bio, and physics on a transcript, so I'm not sure this changes things too much. Hopefully some of these kids will be also be able to take an "elective" science class as well if they want something in another science field, at school and/or via Running Start.

But yes, it's a shame the district is doing everything it can to reduce science options for those who have an interest in science.

Anonymous said…
@ Actual Facts,
You are lying through your teeth. What for? How do you benefit from this gossip you are spreading? You sound like someone who would use the Cherry Pie moniker to describe Ellis. Be part of the solution. All this "details" point to the fact that you were closely involved. Please enlighten me and tell us what YOU did to help your community instead of pointing fingers and spreading lies.
Fed Up
Actual Facts, you got all that from the emails or were you on the ground? That seems like a lot of information.

And again - parents, tell the Board the EDs NEED TO GO. Over and over and over, they make things worse. It's such a waste of money.

Another Parent, I didn't say it was "ok" for the mom to put her child's struggles on open display. I said it was her legal right as a parent. I'm not okay with it.

Some parents - in the name of claiming severe disservice to their children - choose to tell the entire story.

You tell me what to do,call Child Protective Services? I don't know what can be done legally; I'm not a lawyer.

Shutting Down, you don't need to say "UW parents"; what's up with that? Smear a whole group? Not good.

Kellie, I will start another thread on enrollment and one on these high school issues. Please note, I will take some of your comments and reprint them there.

Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
Similar issues at Garfield with kids not getting important courses. Lots of kids who wanted French or Latin either got placed in a different world language or got no world language. This includes kids who already had one year of French being placed in the first year of a different language. And Garfield is not offering AP Physics.

Fed Up
Anonymous said…
Sorry, re-sign the Garfield post

Fed Up @ Garfield
Unknown said…
Hi 4 Schools, Melissa, and All,

Your rhetorical question kind of answer themselves, but not in the way you seem to think.

After a couple decades in education, my experience has been that a parent who pulls their kid from three schools in for four years for any reason other than relocation is under many misconceptions about their kid and the schools.

Greener pastures mentality, etc.

Fed Up, please don't say people are lying unless you have proof to back that up. I have inquired to Actual Facts to explain how he/she knows what happened on the ground at Thornton Creek.

Please cease the rancor; either explain how you know what you know or don't post. Anything after this comment that has demeaning language will be deleted.
Anonymous said…
I know because I'm a member of the community and know people in district leadership. You don't have to take my word, submit a foia for Joung's emails or phone records and the HIBs filed against Joung by staff and parents.
Staff can't speak out against this when everyone in power is protecting Joung. Look what's happened - they've been disciplined, their reputations damaged, they've heroically done their jobs in a climate of threats and harassment. Can staff publish a wordpress blog with their side of the story? No. Can staff even give an interview to a reporter who's about to tell one parent's side of the story? No. They are completely bound by confidentiality and dependent on a system that should have structures in place to protect them from a vindictive supervisor, but because Joung's supervisor is her good friend there was no one this community could turn to.
Parents had their emails foia'd and posted on a website with their names and emails intact. How is that ethical? How many parents here would want the emails they send to be posted with the intent to humiliate and expose them?

The TC staff take students who struggled to succeed in thier neighborhood school and they break their backs creating a school where children - a high percentage of whom have IEPs and mental health issues - love learning. They continued to do this during the spring of 2018 when Joung campaigned to destroy morale and community, and now that they have a new principal and Joung is gone it's time to let the community heal.

Actual Facts
Anonymous said…
Actual problem. - SPS refuses to count enrolled students and hire teachers for enrolled students.

Pretend problem - Some mom is unhappy with both private school and pubic school and raises Hell with a nine page manifesto of her complaints.

SPS fails at many of the dead basics over and over again - providing teachers. supplies and classrooms. That is a real problem. What are the odds that this family is just as unhappy school number 4 and school number 5 and school number 6.

- KL
Anonymous said…
"SPS refuses to count enrolled students and hire teachers for enrolled students."

KL nails it. The current scramble of many students not getting into needed (and 100% predictable) classes is a purely manufactured crisis, thanks to the SPS employees gouging out their own eyes to NOT see the hundreds of students already enrolled and their course requests submitted half a year ago.

Count us as a Garfield family whose rising freshman did not get placed in the AP World Language that my student tested into (or any WL, at any level, for that matter) while also not getting a chosen elective. Grrr.

Anonymous said…

I hear you. My apologies if I was rude. There is always two sides to a story. Ultimately kids and families deserve better.

Back to listening.

Fed Up
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
We don't accept anonymous comments but I thought that this was important to the discussion:

"Thornton Creek was/is a wonderful school, and I can't speak to specifics of the current situation, but there is a long tradition of certain staff bullying parent leadership while the rest of the staff just watches. Seriously, you could fill several school buses with people who watched this happen over the years. I'm glad someone stood up and surfaced it."

Through the years, I have seen both the greatness of the commitment of teachers/staff to schools but I have also heard teachers/staff comment about how parents come and go and the school really belong to teachers/staff.

And, of course, I have seen clashes because of that conflict over - whose school is it?

Board Meeting. said…
Geary talking about leading the effort to address Advanced Learning. The Advanced Learning Task Force has met for 1.5 years. She is proud of her work. The work intersects with boundary issues. What has Geary done for Special Education?

DeWolf read a story.

Harris thanked SEA and SPS for their incredible hard work. She admits Rainy Day fund will be impacted. They legislature will unlikely be supportive. Auditor tagged lunch times. Advanced Learning Task Force recommendations attached to Friday Report. Contact school board with comments.
Board Meeting said…
Rankin testifies. She states that her children don't attend a beautiful new building, but a mid century school building. She calls attention to delayed construction at Van Asselt.

African American man calls attention to Advanced Learning. His child was experiencing behavior issues until he went to a HCC program. He is glad the district has the program and encouraged the board not to get rid of existing HCC program. The commenter states HCC has been a blessing. According to this individual feels the program is not biased...access is an issue. The parent feels, if the program is discontinued, his minority son would be met with medical recommendations, isolation and punishment. This parent's testimony does not fit the narrative of those that wish to destroy HCC.
Friday Memo said…
Friday Memo and Advanced Learning Taskforce Information:

Anonymous said…
- We recommend that each school have a multi-disciplinary selection committee...

- We recommend that...delivery of services align to the district MTSS framework

- Approval...includes sunsetting of Spectrum sites and formal designation of (AL) Service identification. Services will align to state coding 32 (general education) and will be provided, formally, at all schools.

- We recommend ending discriminatory referral practices, including but not limited to...private testing for appeals.

School-based identification and delivery of HC services? Is that the short of it? Gee, no problems there...

Anonymous said…
Clarence Thomas is one black man, too. Many Republicans have used him to make a point in order to continue to keep their own privilege.

Glad HCC is working for this man's child.

All studies about HC show lack of identification for traditionally underserved students.

Anecdotes don't refute the evidence.

Nice Try
Anonymous said…
Nice Try,
The ALTF is working on redesigning the way identification is done to align with best practices that have led to increased diversity in HiCap programs across the nation. The solution is to expand access and remove barriers, not to eliminate the program. His testimony highlights the bias in how students of color may be treated at schools which aren’t trained to recognize their needs.

Move forward

Anonymous said…
Those board meeting comments from Rankin show how much she is driven by resentment at other parents. It’s really disturbing that someone so focused on revenge is running for the board.

Anonymous said…
Ad hominem attributions like revenge and resentment to someone who has a difference in opinions and philosophy than you?

not cool
Everything Equity said…
Not sure why Rankin had to call attention to ribbon cutting ceremonies and the fact that her children are in an old building. Clearly, she is referring to schools built because NW schools due to overcrowding. Other schools in Seattle's NW and NE had ribbon cuttings in the 60s. So What?

A couple years ago, the ceiling tiles in our building were falling.

What led to Van Asselt's late schedule? It is not uncommon for construction workers to develop problems along the way. Was there asbestos in the building?
Anonymous said…
So the ALTF thinks it's reasonable to hold every school "accountable for providing a consistent array of equitable advanced learning services," when our current HCC pathway high school can't even offer students full schedules, access to a continuation of the world language they've been taking, access to a commonly provided advanced science class (AP Physics), etc?

Maybe ALTF actually stands for Absurdly Ludicrous Teaching Fantasy?

First, glad someone is keeping up with the Board meetings. If you ever want to do a write-up, send it to me at sss.westbrook@gmail.com. I'll post it.

Also, I have been checking the Board meeting agendas and I sure hope someone is keeping up because there's a lot happening. I'd have to go read the BAR but it appears that Juneau has wrangled some more money for her salary.

I'll read the AL Taskforce recs but site-based decisions on delivery of services? A recipe for disaster.

Also, I would be in favor of ending private testing appeals except for kids who have a documented disability where the student needs more time and any F/RL kid who wants an appeal (which the district pays for anyway).

I'm not sure which Van Asselt that Rankin is talking about - the school in the old AAA building or the original VA. As for the number (still) of old buildings in the district, nothing can be said but that the district has been making a huge effort to address these buildings. And have made a sizeable dent. I recall Banda saying that he knew that SPS had a lot of old buildings but he thought like 25-40 years old, not 50-80.

Also, the price of building has gone way up but I continue to see other regional districts paying much less than Seattle.

I went to the Lincoln opening; I'll post the pictures. So many happy students and alum. It looks clean and open but there are not really any super special features. But that's what everyone wants in a school building - functional, clean and safe. I note that I asked some of the construction team about cameras - as I saw none outside or inside. Turns out that the new cameras are a lot less visible; Lincoln has about 140 of them inside. They have not installed ones outside yet.

I'd love for some school board candidate to address the issue of maintenance. The district is not maintaining these new buildings nor the old ones in the ways that they should.
One Size said…
This sentence gives the appearance that the committee has recommended to dissolve Advanced Learning Pathways.

"Approval...includes sunsetting of Spectrum sites and formal designation of (AL) Service identification. Services will align to state coding 32 (general education) and will be provided, formally, at all schools. "

We are on the path to Standardized Education. Teachers complain that they have 160 students. Differentiation is impossible.
Anonymous said…
Please speak up and voice these concerns about the ALTF recommendations to the school board. How feasible are these changes? The district has never held anyone accountable for anything. It’s definitely not going to start with advanced learning.

Keep dreaming
Anonymous said…
Tracy C-G mentioning on Facebook that her child didn’t get a one-day Metro pass in the mail for the first day of school is pretty funny. Students who don’t live within the district don’t receive ORCA cards. Why is her student attending an SPS school anyway? Why did Ted Howard’s kids attend chronically overcrowded Garfield when they live in the Franklin attendance area?

Are administrators exempt from board policies?

Broken Promises said…
Will the board continue on the path of broken promises and dismantle advanced learning. Students were promised a program.
$chool $taffing said…
Rankin's kids don't attend school in a beautiful new building, but they do attend a school with a cute little mascot that gets an 8/10 on Great Schools (the site that ranks how much like a country club your school is), which is twice the Great Schools score of many of the schools in the neighborhoods around hers.

In 2017 (the most recent year available on file with the IRS) her school's PTA had a revenue of $232,385 of which they spent:
$35k on "school staffing"
$23k on "teacher/staff/classroom"
$15k on "family and parent activities"
$3k on "building and grounds support"

Meanwhile Van Asselt (aka Rising Star) is calling the police on its 5th graders. So, thanks for all your help, NE white ladies. Glad you could make it to JSCEE to testify at 5:30 p.m. after the first day of school.
Everything Equity said…
See previous comment. Testimony did not include police action at Van Asselt.
Everything Equity said…
It appears to me that we have a school board candidate that is focused on pitting community.
Anonymous said…
@Everything Equity: I watched yesterday's testimony. Rankin was r3efering to her building as reference on how AAA former Van Asselt who serves lower income kids have to go through going back to a building situation nobody wants - under construction! The woman was selflessly advocating for others, as her kids are ok in an older building.
It is so easy to attack when you chose to hear and see what you want to make a point on how terrible it is when others (in this case Rankin) mentions brand new buildings being finished and Van Asselt is under construction. You completely missed the point.
And @ $chool $taffing: Holding the fact that a school board candidate took the time to go to JSCEE to advocate for others against her tells me more about you than anything else.

Fed Up
I'll have to go listen to this testimony if it is being interpreted different ways.

I'm not understanding who is going back to old Van Asselt. Several schools have been built with their populations in place so that's nothing new.
Anonymous said…
Please do, I am looking forward to your take. And I agree, not new but that doesn't make it right.

Fed Up
Anonymous said…
@Broken Promises

"Students were promised a program."

Once HC became state law, it became a service and not a program.

There is no promise to break.


Spent, maybe not in the law but the district certainly made promises.
Anonymous said…
The pictures of the VA/Rising Star school (still under construction) the kids are attending are pretty horrific. Check out the old Soup for Teachers Facebook page. We should all be outraged.

NW, I couldn't find that page at Facebook; maybe leave a link in the Friday Open Thread.
Anonymous said…
Does this work??

No, I got a message that it was either removed or wouldn't post. Was it a post by Liza Rankin?
HS said…
The post was by Liza Rankin, so maybe she's blocked you.
That's probably it. Thanks.

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