Friday, October 18, 2019

Friday Open Thread

Here's an article from the Wenatchee World about dual-language programs in their schools.
Lewis & Clark Elementary School will host a visit Tuesday from state Superintendent Chris Reykdal, who is interested in learning about the school's dual-language immersion program that has been in place since 2008.

Reykal’s six-year vision for restructuring K-12 education in the state calls for all students to learn a second language. The school’s 400 students from kindergarten through fifth grade receive instruction in Spanish for half the day and in English the other half of the day.
Reykdal really seems to have a continuing watchful eye over many aspects of public education in Washington State.

When I attended Director Burke's community meeting last weekend, there were several parents with students in SPS dual-language programs that were worried about changes at those schools.  It is troubling that SPS starts programs - dual-language and IB - and then does not fully support them.

From King-5, Kirkland issued 3,624 speed warnings near schools zones in one month

They had issued so many warnings that they extended the warning period for an additional two weeks. Yikes! A reminder to slow down in a school zone, watching for flashing lights and, most of all, watch for kids and parents.

Yoga and mindfulness, yay or nay? From District Administration.
Candy Gunther Brown, a professor of religious studies at Indiana University, wrote in The Conversation that she has testified that yoga does not violate the law in four cases in which schools have been challenged on religious grounds.

But educators still have work to do. She wrote: “My research and experience leads me to believe that there are problems with how yoga is being implemented in schools. My goal is not to ban yoga or mindfulness from school settings. But I believe there are legal and ethical reasons to work toward greater transparency and voluntary participation in yoga.”
To add, I had my first visit yesterday to the new Burke Museum.  I have mixed feelings about the presentation but they do have one large slightly darkened area, with some benches and video jellyfish, a sea turtle, a whirl of fish - it's a calming, quiet area.  A nice thing to have for a museum which can sometimes be overwhelming for kids.

Local girls win video game contest with their game, Shredded Secrets.
The girls created a game called Shredded Secrets. It allows gamers to see bullying through the eyes of a failing student, a heartbroken teacher, a bully, and a person being bullied.

"We really wanted to show the different perspectives to show that you don't know everybody's story," said Gracie Clauson, one of the game's creators and Christ the King Catholic School student. "Not everybody is born as a mean person."

The girls said they hope their game is available for free by the spring. They received more than $30,000 in a Kickstarter campaign to bring their game to the public.
There are four (4!) community meetings this weekend with Board directors, including the first for Director Brandon Hersey.  Check the district calendar for dates/times/locations.

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

How ironic that the game about bullies comes from a group of students who attends a school that does not support its LGBTQIA+ students or faculty.


Anonymous said...

@HP - I think you might be mixing up King's School in Shoreline, which has been in the news recently for discriminatory viewpoints, with Christ the Kings School in North Seattle. The former is Private Christian, the latter is Parochial Catholic.


Anonymous said...

@Krab, oh you are right! I am mixing up the two.


Stuart J said...

Dual language is a great "idea," but as always the implementation is tricky. In Highlinek, there are a number of schools that have dual language. In all but one case, the language is Spanish. The problem is there are something like 90 different languages in the district. So, students who are newly arrived from East Africa are in dual language Spanish classes if that happens to be the service zone they are in. Ther are some ways they can go to a school that is English only with provided bus, but ... this is hard for new arrivals who don't have transportation.

Then another issue: getting qualified teachers. I've heard some stories I don't want to put in writing.

The way the program works in K5 is students have half the day in Spanish, or Vietnamese, and half in English. There are two teachers and they switch students during the day. But, the Math is taught only in English. The science is only in Spanish or Vietnamese. So, the students may or may not get English vocab for science.

This year Highline is going with 6-8 middle schools. Superintendent Enfield is very determined that all students will be bilingual. But what this really means is that all students in 6th grade are forced into a full year of Spanish. Bueno? Well, in a six period day, the slots for English, Science, Math, Social Studies and Spanish are full years. If you want a full year of music or art, too bad, because you can only have a semester. The other semester is PE.

We don't know what the options will be for 7 and 8. I also don't know if the bi lingual kids have a way to take say Spanish social studies, or if there only option is English.

I also am not sure what happens when students move into a service area after first grade. At one point, I though students needed to go to a different school, because how could they be in the same class as someone who's had 4 years of a different language? But this may vary from situation to situation.

My personal opinion is any time something is mandated, there should be an equal mandate of what gets dropped. If the state is going to encourage dual language, they also need to encourage 7 period days in middle and high school. And getting curriculum is not easy either.

Melissa Westbrook said...

"My personal opinion is any time something is mandated, there should be an equal mandate of what gets dropped. If the state is going to encourage dual language, they also need to encourage 7 period days in middle and high school. And getting curriculum is not easy either."

Yes. Dropped or reduced. This is something that needs to be addressed with both Ethnic Studies and From Time Immemorial. Teachers will be introducing new concepts to go along with the subject matter learning and that will take more time.

Anonymous said...

"Bilingual?" That takes a lot more than one class in a six period day, no matter how many years you take it. It sounds good, but I can't see the commitment of time and funds to make that happen.


HCC Parent said...

Director Geary often states the district is obligated to provide "Basic Education". To the best of my knowledge, Geary has never provided a definition for Basic Education. I often get the sense that Geary thinks HCC students are getting "more".

According to OSPI, Washington's Highly Capable Program is Basic Education.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

She sounds like a lovely woman with a wonderful and mature disposition, and no chip on her shoulder. Not! Poor guy. I guess her reply to his (kind) question, while attemting to make him feel both stupid ("you don't seem to understand") and sure he knew his place (forgive him for being in the room), made her feel all powerful for a millisecond.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Anonymous, reprinting for you but next time give yourself a name:

"She who shall not be named, in an exchange with a parent about how to best serve students of color:

"I thought I was clear when I said center the voices of families of color, but since you don't seem to understand what that means I'll be more direct: you, as a white man, should stop talking and taking up so much space."

10/20/19, 2:07 PM"

I'd believe it because she says that all the time online.

Castro/Gill Screed said...

The head of Seattle's Ethnic Studies department (Tracy Castro-Gill) is telling a community member to take their head out of their "ass". The comment is on SPS Community Forum facebook page. Hard to believe the lack of professionalism shown by a Department Head!

"Are you seriously asking me these questions? What are YOU doing besides deflecting from racism? You need to take your head out of your privileged ass and look around. Even if you ignore what I do for a living, I do more than you probably have ever done to improve the conditions for "disadvantaged" students and more than you could ever imagine. The student also says they'd rather have NO HCC program than one that continues to exclude students of color. Funny how you disregard that "fact" to skew your narrative. You can check yourself, now

Anonymous said...

I read the exchanges on that blog. Yikes, that was harsh for SPS employee to state to a parent and she has a limited understanding of anything different than her own agenda. If potential board members endorse this kind of behavior from SPS staff toward parents, they are not appropriate for a board. And the woman who is trying to silence ("x and y stop" "now") only some people from expressing their opinion (& says nothing to the bullies!) who are advocating for a service that they know much more about, to be more inclusive and not be dissolved, also has issues. Apparently now Danny Westneat is also "racist" because he happens to be a white male and expressed the same opinion to expand the program as well. She is highly confused about what is or is not racist, and is granting too much authority on this issue to one person in the room who calls people names and bullies people who disagree with her. Hey lady, enabling a bully or two to silence everyone else in the room, is not the way forward. This is not progress. They don't do that in university or any other settings to foster understanding of various viewpoints and peace. Her voice is no more important than anyone else in the room. Allowing a bully is berate someone like she did, and remaining silent on what you believe strongly is not the way forward.

Education sorely needed

Melissa Westbrook said...

If potential board members endorse this kind of behavior from SPS staff toward parents, they are not appropriate for a board.

Hampson, Rankin and Mitchell are supporters of both Ethnic Studies and Tracy Castro-Gill. You can be for Ethnic Studies and still not like her tone and/or manner.

It's funny because Rankin complained to me about "anonymous" people misrepresenting her stance on HCC and yet the Facebook page she co-founded is fine with bullying and denial to people to have a differing opinion on how to enact Ethnic Studies. The mods there just don't care.

Having that slate on the Board will empower Castro-Gill's methodology.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Sorry, that first sentence was a quote from "Education sorely needed" and I forgot to put quote marks around it.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, that employee (TCG) should be disciplined or censured in some way for those sort of responses on the SPS community forum. Any prospective board members that condone this behavior have no place on the board. A district employee should not be berating and bullying the very parents that she ultimately is accountable to. I can't imagine this being tolerated in any private or government organization - people have lost their jobs over much less. But SPS seems to be a rule unto itself; I suspect for Juneau, she is 'a useful idiot'

SPSuspicious Minds

PS- For the record I am not calling TCG an idiot or disparaging her intellect. Google the term if you're unfamiliar with it.

Anonymous said...

Policy 4010, Staff Communication Responsibilities:

"Staff share the responsibility for communicating and interpreting the district mission, its policies, programs, goals and objectives to members of the community. Staff shall perform their services and functions to the best of their ability and communicate with members of the community, parents, students and other staff in a sincere, courteous and considerate manner. Staff shall strive to develop and maintain cooperative school-community relations."

sincere, courteous and considerate manner

Perhaps some staff need a reminder. The SFT FB page is not a school sanctioned site, but she (and other staff) are clearly communicating about school related issues with other staff and parents. A professional would do their best to follow the policy above.


Jet City mom said...

I can’t wait for Tuesday’s open thread, sorry.
I just took an online Adult sexual abuse prevention training required to volunteer, and I had a problem with being instructed to tell the principal if I witnessed or suspected sexual abuse.

Anyone who has followed the district knows there are cases where the principal did not follow up in a timely fashion.
Even for rapes on school property.

I was wondering why there is not a district office to review cases of harassment and abuse?
I can easily imagine a principal protecting favorite teachers, or what if the abuser is the principal?
That has happened a few times over the years as well. If you are a teacher at the school and are reporting a favorite teacher, you might worry about retaliation.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Jet City Mom, do not put decades old stories up here. What is the point in this case?

Anonymous said...


Embrace joy!
Celebrate the good!!
Enjoy the excellence of our public school students!!!

When: Thursday October 24th

Time: 7pm

What: “Side by Side” concert of the Roosevelt High School & Seattle Symphony Orchestras

Place: Roosevelt High School in the RHS Auditorium

Cost: FREE

Who: Everybody is welcomed to attend!

The concert will begin promptly at 7pm. The concert will only be an hour: one piece performed by RHS Symphony, one by the SSO, and then our combined performance of Berlioz Symphony Fantastique movements 4 and 5. Lee Mills, Associate Conductor for the Seattle Symphony, will conducting together with Christine E. Gero. More information about Lee Mills is at https://www.leemillsconductor.com/ and more information about Roosevelt Orchestra program and Ms. Gero can be found at https://www.rooseveltorchestra.org

We hope you will attend and enjoy beautiful music and celebrate the achievements of these fine, talented and hard-working public school musicians.


Anonymous said...

And Tuesday 10/22 at Garfield’s Quincy Jones auditorium is a side by side orchestra concert with Seattle Symphony. Free, and always a great concert.
NE mom

Anonymous said...

Some really laughable "FAQs" about Advance Learning in SPS in the Seattle Times today. Not sure who they talked with, but their information is inaccurate in many instances. I laughed hardest at the universal screening that's done in the early grades - what?!