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Friday, October 25, 2019

Friday Open Thread

Update: the district announced today - via Twitter - that Franklin High School is now 1:1 for computers in the school.  The district plans to be 1:1 at high schools with higher levels of F/RL first and then start with 9th graders at the other high schools, with the eventual goal of all high school being 1:1 for all students.


End of update

I will be writing separate threads about stories in the Seattle Times recently.  One on Board candidates in the Northeast and one about Oakland Unified School District’s success with their initiative around Black male students.

A ruling from the Washington State Supreme Court may cause some anxiety for teachers, administrators and other district staff.  The Court ruled that public disclosure into on state employees can include their birthdate.  From the AP:
A divided Washington state Supreme Court ruled Thursday that birthdates of state employees are public records that are subject to disclosure.

In a 5-4 ruling , the court said there was no statutory or constitutional allowance that would preclude the release of such information.

The case stems from a 2016 request from the Freedom Foundation, a conservative group that had been seeking disclosure of records of union-represented employees, so it could contact them as part of its effort to reduce the size and influence of public-sector unions. Several unions sought to stop the release of the records.
Trump, in a speech in Pennsylvania, told the crowd that he was building a “beautiful” wall...in Colorado.  To which the governor of Colorado tweeted:
Well this is awkward,” Gov. Jared Polis tweeted on Wednesday. “Colorado doesn’t border Mexico. Good thing Colorado now offers free full day kindergarten so our kids can learn basic geography.”
Maybe just as Trump doesn’t believe in climate change, he doesn’t believe in geography.

Teachers and students? Want to learn how use Google and get better searches?  Here’s a YouTube video from Google.  There’s also a new book - The Joy of Search: A Google Insider's Guide to Going Beyond the Basics by Dan Russell - that has even more help. (Editor’s note: Dan is a good friend of mine but the book really is good.

So the district has this “news” story - Building Integrated Support Systems at South Shore PreK-8 School - which is quite the word salad but is becoming the norm for SPS communications.  It says almost nothing in specific that is being done.  I would expect this trend to continue.

I see that Director Brandon Hersey has scheduled a community meeting for next week.  Its timing does make me smile - it’s on Halloween from 6:00-7:30 pm.  Hmm, wonder what many parents might be doing with their kids that night.  Maybe a good night for high school parents to speak with him?

What’s on your mind?

33 comments:

Grouchy Parent said...

What's on my mind is the Seattle Times education coverage. Like, is zero fact checking going on over there? Thinking about canceling my subscription for a while. I've got access to a world's worth of free "journalism" that doesn't fact check. Plus there's Twitter. That's always fun.

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

HCC and its supporters wiggled their way into getting their very own new schools

@Good Luck, are you somehow suggesting only certain students deserve to be in new, structurally sound schools?? Let's hope the district believes in prioritizing the health and safety of all students and staff, regardless of neighborhood or program. The demographics of a school do not confer some protection against earthquakes and broken water mains and the like. There are aging schools across the district. The improvements should be prioritized based on minimizing the maximum risks, and maintaining adequate capacity (without extended use of portables).

sheesh

Anonymous said...

Things were a lot simpler when the money all came from the state, the state set the teacher salaries, there was no expectation to educate students like some that now appear in our schools in large numbers, and parent expectations were notably lower. School Board Directorships were largely honorary positions. I think it takes a pretty extraordinary sort of person to get the job done today, so I don't blame the current Board members for their inability to get it done. Nor will I blame the next board for its coming failures.

2cents

Anonymous said...

MTSS has been used for a decade. It has been shown to be inadequate highway capable differentiation.

Snowflake 6

Anonymous said...

No I'm just pointing out that there are 1000s of advanced learners that are just as capable as those in HCC. How do justify new buildings for the select few when other are stuck in buildings with leaking roofs?

Does the district place all the special ed students in their own new buildings?
How about students who are failing? Certainly being in a brand new building would lift up their spirits and give them the social emotional support that HCC parents claim their students need.

It's just confusing when you have one group fighting for inclusion and another fighting for segregation.

--Good Luck

Anonymous said...

I see no evidence of MTSS being implemented, do you?

--Good Luck

Anonymous said...

@ Grouchy Parent

No you're not.

Just Jump

Anonymous said...

"You seem to want to dismiss MTSS before it even tried, why is that?"

Perhaps because most families with students who opt for HCC have ALREADY tried the Spectrum or ALO options - kind of what MTSS promises to deliver? And it didn't work for their students. Perhaps look at the school by school opt-in rates for HCC. And where are HC identified students enrolling outside of HCC and their neighborhood school? K8s?

MTSS skeptic

Melissa Westbrook said...

Good Luck, my blog and I decide if your tone is less-than-helpful. That you didn’t think the info I gave not useful doesn’t mean it isn’t factual evidence.

And it’s actually none of your business what I did when my kids were in school and no one here has to tell you anything about their family situation unless they choose to.

I don’t believe in MTSS because the evidence - after a decade - is not there, at least not inSPS, to say it works.

Also, I have put forth factual statements about buildings and facilities. The distric has made a big dent in the old schools of which there are many. At one point, more schools had been renovated in the south than the north. The district does schools in every region of the city in every single BEX and BTA. The district made the choice to use a new building for HCC because there were so many, it made more sense to group them. If they disapate HCC, that building will likely just becoming a new elementary. Happy?

Anonymous said...

@Good Luck,

Hazel Wolf is in a new building. It is not HCC.

Thornton Creek elementary is in a new building. It is not HCC.

Decatur Elementary is in the *old* Thornton Creek building (which was deemed insufficient for non-HCC Thornton Creek), and they have recently been told not to drink from the water fountains.

In short, the district is not prioritizing new infrastructure for HCC kids. I can't imagine what would make you think otherwise.

--NE Dad

Anonymous said...

I wrote "I see no evidence of MTSS being implemented, do you?"

Show me when and where MTSS has been fully implemented and failed.

There are just as many special educational students in SPS, so why no new segregated schools for them.

You want to judge the words of parents impacted by across city busing without affirming your own experiences? How is that fair.

Ok we get it, it's now your blog.

--Good Luck

Anonymous said...

@NE DAD

Maybe I'm not being clear.

What justification is there for HCC to have its very own buildings and transportation when other classifications of students do not.

It's really a simple question.

--Good Luck

Anonymous said...

That's weird, for some unknown reason my opening comment has been deleted. Oh magical wayback machine please repair the damage..

--Good Luck

Melissa Westbrook said...

Good Luck, your comments are all over the place and make little sense. I’m not even sure how busing came into this. Also, fyi, there are not separate schools for Sped for a couple of reasons. Number one is inclusion in General Ed classrooms. Two, it might be difficult to include all the services and resources you would need in one building to meet the spectrum of need.

You’ve made your point; move on.

Ballard parent said...

I haven't checked recently but in the past there have been huge payouts to families of children that were denied FARE related to special education. To write that it's not the school board's responsibility is plain silly. Seattle public schools (SPS) has a well documented past of violations and public documents have shown a repeated pattern of code violations even after the board was made aware of the systematic failures. Several elections back we had two parents running who were primarily focused on special education and boy oh boy did the deep state go after them!

Let's face it, the average person doesn't really care about special ed and that's one of the reasons why we have the ADA.

If SPS can't even get general education right no matter how much money they seem to spend then how could the same group of teachers and administrators have any hope of real ADA compliance. It's true that paperwork compliance violations have decreased, but there has be NO TEST SCORE IMPROVEMENTS on average for students on IEPs.

Now remember that group of 4 elected way back? What has improved compared to all of their political rhetoric? I say not much or really nothing meaningful.

Now that gang of 4 gives us the new Strategic Plan as they shuffle off into oblivion.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Which gang of 4 would that be?

kellie said...

I can appreciate Good Luck's comments.

Downtown had done a great job of framing the conversation as AL-for-the-privileged vs AL-for-ALL.

It is a truly compelling message. It is a promise to provide appropriate "rigor" at all schools for all students.

The challenge is that in SPS promises are meant to be reassuring, not contractual. Many of us who have been around a while, not only remember a long list of broken promises, but we also remember this exact-same-promise.

MTSS was introduced as part of the NSAP. MTSS was supposed to be the mechanism by which Sped students would be served in their neighborhood schools, rather than being bussed to the appropriate "Program" which could have been "placed" anywhere.

We are 10 years into the barely funded, extremely ambitious MTSS plan. Rather than discussing the costs of actually funding MTSS, there is now a "promise" that under-funded MTSS will now magically be provided at all school.

This is where I really miss Charlie. For many years, Charlie would go through the CSIPs for all of the 100+ Seattle Schools. He would highlight how 100% of schools, had a written plan in the CSIP to service advanced learners as required. However, there was zero follow through.

Some folks believe this promise. I'm skeptical.

D7 parent said...

Brandon Hersey showed up at the Thurgood Marshall PTA meeting this week and participated. Where was DeWolf (it's his district)?
Hersey wasn't my first pick for the D7 appointment by a long shot, but he has already held community meetings and showed up at the meetings of other board members. If he keeps this up he might win me over.
As far as the Halloween meeting goes, he admitted it wasn't great timing, but is trying to have meetings at different times and locations which I appreciate.
I'm cautiously hopeful about him when little else in the district is making me hopeful right now.

Anonymous said...

Let me get in a word here.

@ MW maybe I not understanding you?

You wrote," Number one is inclusion in General Ed classrooms. Two, it might be difficult to include all the services and resources you would need in one building to meet the spectrum of need."

But in your other comments you wrote that SPS can place programs where they see fit?

Ok then SPS should see fit to place special education in the brand new buildings just like HCC and SPS should be looking through its equity lens when handing out brand new buildings, right? so the HCC students are NOT the furthest from educational justice so SPS made a choice that violates its equity initiative.

Let's hope the new board will right that injustice.

--What's happening

Anonymous said...

@D7 parent.

I hope you will vote for others who share Brandon Hersey views as to create a majority on the board. They can let Mack wonk and they can right the ship.

NorthEast

kellie said...

SPS tried something new.

There was community upset at HC being placed in neighborhood schools, as that created tracking and stole seats from the neighborhood. So SPS built a new school, that never existed before, in order to not displace any communities with either sharing or boundary re-draws.

Please explain the injustice in this. I am genuinely curious.

Melissa Westbrook said...

D7, I was teasing about Hersey; it just struck me as funny.

What’s Happening, I was referring to Sped all being in one building.

Leslie, there will never be a right answer here but yes, you explain the district’s thinking as I know it as well.

Carol Simmons said...

On behalf of the University of Washington Alumni Association Partnership (MAP), we were thrilled to welcome over 400 guests to this years 25th annual Bridging the Gap Breakfast. Thank you so much for attending and celebrating our Seattle Public Schools Scholarship Recipients and our Distinguished Alumni. The keynote speaker Romayne Watt an enrolled member of the Seneca Nation of Indians was inspiring. So many Seattle Public Schools educators were present along with School Board candidates, appointed and elected officials, including King County Executive Dow Constantine, Norm and Constance Rice, Rice, Washington House of Representative,Education Chair Sharon Tomiko Santos, Congressional Representative Jim McDermott and many others.

University of Washington, Ana Marie Cauce stated "We not only need to Bridge the Gap but "Close the Gap for those who know that Diversity is not just a word, but an action."

Anonymous said...

Ok I would say it's obvious that something new never existed before.

The Licton springs area lost their K-5 in the mid 80s when SPS tore down the beautiful Oak Lake elementary school and leased the property.

The area was promised another school to replace Oak Lake and that school should have been the building built at the Wilson Pacific site. Instead SPS used the building for
on obscure program called HCC that most people knew nothing about.

Oh it's just temporary until Lincoln is remolded, many people were told.

Now this HCC obscure program has sucked up both the new elementary school and the remodeled Lincoln.

The neighborhood children could have walked to school using the vast amount of safe sidewalks leading to the school. Instead SPS uses diesel buses spewing thousand of pounds of carbon each month to ferry the HCC kids from other neighborhoods and the neighborhood children to other school further away.

I can't see why we allowed the theft of those building by an elitist group.

Oh MaMa

Melissa Westbrook said...

Oh MaMa, maybe in your world HC was obscur but not for many. The district made the decision based on numbers and nothing else.

HCC has not “”sucked up” Lincoln which is a comprehesive high school serving all kinds of students. There is no HCC model in high school.

Anonymous said...

Nor did it take the Wilson-Pacific site from neighborhood kids: RESMS has neighborhood kids as well as HCC kids, and the building is also used by Licton Springs K-8. So, yes, neighborhood kids CAN walk to school. If they can get across Aurora ;).

Krab

Anonymous said...

Oh MaMa Did you also know there are many more HCC students (than at Lincoln) distributed out at the various neighborhood schools? The are currently distributed out because there are many more HC students in the north end, and they also did not want to travel so far to Garfield prior to Lincoln opening. Lincoln only opened with 2 grades and many parents also sent their HCC students to north end neighborhood schools that also offer AP and IB classes. The south end and West Seattle HCC students are mostly at Garfield because there are less of them.

HCC Parent

D7 parent said...

I know, I just took the opening to share my experience.

Anonymous said...

@ Good Luck,

Your comments seem to be random and inconsistent.

On one hand you seem to suggest MTSS might be the solution for HC students and people should give it a chance, because it hasn't been shown to NOT work [Show me when and where MTSS has been fully implemented and failed]. Yet at the same time you acknowledge that, after a decade of trying, the district hasn't been able to fully implement it [see your prior comment, as well as I see no evidence of MTSS being implemented, do you?]. If the district can't figure out how to implement it, that IS failure. It's also argues against the "just give it a chance" approach.

Does the district place all the special ed students in their own new buildings?
There are just as many special educational students in SPS, so why no new segregated schools for them.
How about students who are failing? Certainly being in a brand new building would lift up their spirits....

Are you arguing for a segregated school for special ed students and/or failing students? Or are you arguing that no students should get to be in a new building?

How do justify new buildings for the select few when other are stuck in buildings with leaking roofs?

Because building are only so big, and we can only afford so many of them. New buildings are built, or old buildings remodeled, when the district thinks necessary. Students are put in them according to what the district thinks makes sense at the time. Sometimes--but very rarely--those students happen to be HCC students. More often than not, they aren't. As NE Dad laid out, your sense that HCC gets all the new buildings is simply wrong.

No I'm just pointing out that there are 1000s of advanced learners that are just as capable as those in HCC.

I'm not sure your point. For any group of students broken along a continuous range, there are students "on the cusp" of either side of the line. There are people who fall on one side or the other of cut-offs, even though the line may not perfectly reflect reality. But you could apply that throughout SPS. For ex, for any group of students who score 2 on the SBAC ELA/Math, there are thousands of students capable of scoring 3. For any group scoring 1, there are thousands capable of scoring 2. Conversely, for any group scoring 3, there are thousands capable of scoring 4 (with the right education, with good luck, etc.) OR scoring 2 (with bad teachers, poor curriculum, extended absences, poor testing days, etc.). What's your point? That since any student is theoretically possible of performing at a higher or lower level than their current results indicate, that all students should be treated exactly the same and get the same services at the same level? That doesn't make sense, because it denies any evidence as to where a student is currently working--and thus it also flies in the face of the whole MTSS approach you seem to think is the savior. It's inconsistent.

What justification is there for HCC to have its very own...transportation when other classifications of students do not.

As I understand it, the district does get some federal or state money for HCC transportation (which is thus a justification for some HCC transportation), but this money is used to also subsidize transportation for other, non-HCC students (further justification). That's not HCC getting "it's very own" transportation. Also, HCC students are often forced to travel further to schools that can provide instruction at their level--another justification for transport. Also, don't students at some low income high schools get free Orca cards--isn't that a certain classification of students? Finally, don't special ed students also get their "very own transportation"?

Accuracy Matters

Anonymous said...

@ Good Luck

Also, you seem to be spewing a lot of misinformation in order to try to prove a point. If you are unclear about whether or not a certain group of students is getting benefits that others do (which is supposed to be the case, e.g., FRL, ELL, SpED, HC, Section 504, option schools, neighborhood assignment zones, grade levels, access to Running Start, graduation requirements, and so on...), feel free to ask first so you aren't spreading inaccuracies. You seem deeply concerned about fairness, and having good facts on which to base your opinions should be an important part of making your case.

Accuracy Matters

kellie said...

@ Oh MaMa

Thanks for you comment. I really appreciate it.

It is a really good reminder that in SPS promises are reassuring and not contractual. There were a lot of promises made during the closures in the 80's. None of those promises were ever kept. During the public meetings at Wilson Pacific, I met a few neighbors in that area who reminded the school board about the Oak Tree school and the attendant promises.

There aren't many people still around who remember those broken promises. I know many of my older neighbors will still happily complain about the closures during the 80s and the broken promises, and how the neighborhood was never the same without all the children. My neighborhood also does not have a walkable school and my neighborhood has been re-boundaried multiple times.


Friday Update said...


The district meets with the South East Education Coalition to share their Advanced Learning Position. SEEC is a lobbying entity.

https://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/School%20Board/Friday%20Memos/2019-20/FridayMemo_20191018.pdf