Showing posts from November, 2019

Anyone Want These?

Getting ready to move, I am naturally going thru many items. I have three SPS items if anyone wants them:

Friday Open Thread

The last Friday Open Thread (for now).  Here's hoping you all had a satisfying Thanksgiving with friends and family.

Be Thankful on Thanksgiving But Remember Who Got Hurt By It

Thoughts on Thanksgiving from Native Americans

Revenge of the Students - Garfield Speaks

From the student newspaper , The Garfield Messenger (bold mine): Dear Superintendent Juneau, In the past months, you have made it your mission to make the district more equitable by ending the Highly Capable Cohort (HCC). We know from firsthand experience that the HCC program has its flaws, and we appreciate that you want to make it equitable for all. However, we don’t believe that your approach to this issue is appropriate. Despite your good intentions, The Messenger feels that your perspective on the issue and the words you have used have alienated the people you are attempting to help. By using terms like “slave ship” and “Apartheid High” to describe the most racially diverse high school in Seattle, you not only disrespect and belittle the students of Garfield, you also oversimplify the effects of a complex issue the district created in the first place.

Tuesday Open Thread

From SPS Communications :

Sped and the Superintendent

Editor's note; I took out the reference to a "swarm" of people, forgetting that swarm actually implies a large group and that was not my intent.  As well, I had one unpleasant comment saying I was comparing people to insects. Not the case because there are many words used to describe a group. Swarm is one of them.  You can look it up. end of Editor's note The Superintendent visited the Special Education SCPTSA last week.

Juneau and HCC Grouping

A thoughtful reader sent me a couple of links around the issue of grouping for highly capable students. I first want to say - as I have said all along - if the district wants to return all HCC kids to their attendance area schools, that's fine.  As long as they do/understand several things:

Ask a Therapist: Framing Limits for an Adolescent

The South Seattle Emerald is a gem of community media.  I suggest you check in there regularly if you want to know about the issues that south Seattle cares about. They have a great on-going column - Ask a Therapist.

Restorative Justice: Like Most Education Measure, It Needs Resources to Succeed

There's this phrase - "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good" - that I see used quite often when speaking of public education initiatives especially in defense of charter schools.  And then, districts, states, the feds plunge on into initiatives, apparently hoping it will all turn out well (see Race to the Top, remember that one?). This issue, restorative justice, is a very good example. "We've got to do something" -  because student discipline is so skewed towards two groups of students - Special Education students and Black students is the cry from many in leadership.  But the work, the actual work, falls to those in the trenches.

Friday Open Thread

Saw this story via a discussion page at Facebook on Kent School District - in 2017 the ACLU filed this court case against the state of Washington for Special Education students. ACLU accusing the state of neglecting students with behavioral disabilities. One of the plaintiffs says her 13-year-old son who has bipolar disorder and ADHD has been targeted by teachers and excluded from his classroom. Speaking of OSPI , OSPI Releases 2018–19 Student Discipline Data

Bellevue SD Dumps Check Yourself Mental Health Screener

My email to the Board this morning: Dear Directors,

Yes, I'm Leaving

Some of you might have seen the Board meeting or even been there but others might have heard through the grapevine. I am leaving Seattle and thus ends this blog as it currently is focused.  It will likely close after Thanksgiving unless there was some breaking news that I think important for readers to be able to talk about and discuss.

Tuesday Open Thread

Congrats to the Catherine Blaine girls soccer team for winning the K-8 championship for Section 7AA!

American Indian Heritage Month

Update: Highline Indigenous People's Art Fest You're invited! The Highline Indigenous Peoples Story, Film & Art Fest will take place on Saturday, November 23 at the Highline Heritage Museum from 11:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.

A Lot of Seattle Special Education News

Via Facebook: If your student identifies as 2e, please note and if you can help share that there is: 2e meeting tonight (Monday Night) at Thurgood Marshall and Dr. Liliana Sacarin will be the parent speaker tonight discussing Tomatis & Audio Therapy.

City of Seattle Wants Your Input on Public Safety

Thank you for visiting . Through this website, Seattle University administers the citywide Seattle Public Safety Survey. The survey is sponsored by the Community Oriented Policing Services Office, the Seattle Police Foundation, and the Seattle Police Department.

Hmmm, What Should a Volunteer Do?

As many of you know from your own experience, if you volunteer in Seattle Public Schools, you need to go thru a training and then take a test on it.  I think the test may have gotten an update as I came across a parent who was not happy with the answer to one question (see left).

Timeline for Decisions on HCC Dismantle

Update : Here's wording from a parent group coalescing  around the topic of revision of HCC.

Parents Surrender: Is That Juneau's Message?

In the past, many superintendents have used the term "laser-focused" but Superintendent Denise Juneau is about the only one who really walks the talk on that term.   But I see signs that there seems to be a parallel, less articulated agenda with the Superintendent and the Strategic Plan.  Let's examine the evidence.

Feedback from Work Group on K-12 State Funding

From Neal Morton at the Seattle Times via Twitter - interesting reading:

Watch Out for Talking with the Times on HCC

HCC or probably any other topic. The last several years have seen the Times skew their writing on public education.  Whether it's because part of their writing is funded by the Gates Foundation (and the Times clutches its pearls if you even suggest that the Foundation gives them guidance on what to write and how to write) and/or input from the Editorial Board, I don't know. What I do see is a steady decline of balanced reporting and it's troubling.

Friday Open Thread

I restored the comment function so go ahead and comment on any post that is open. From the shooting yesterday at a high school in California via ABC News: "I should have never had to treat a gunshot wound as a choir teacher," said Holt. "And there's something really wrong and something has to change, 'cause I held a bleeding child today in a room with 40 sobbing children."

Thoughts on Garfield and HCC from One Student

As you may recall, there is a book out by a Garfield student who is bi-racial and transmasculine about their experience at Garfield.  The author's name is Azure Savage.  The name of the book is You Failed Us: Students of Color Talk Seattle Schools. There was an author event at Elliott Bay Books tonight and some interesting, illuminating tweets from it via a reporter at the Seattle Times.  Savage was interviewed by writer/editor Marcus Green.

School Shooting at California High School: One Dead

Update: there are now two high school students who have died in this incident.  The shooter killed himself.  Yesterday was his 16th birthday.  From the New York Times : Not that details are not important but there are key facts in this story about the whole picture of guns and school safety in our country. Sheriff Alex Villanueva of Los Angeles County told NBC in Los Angeles that all of the victims were students and that the gunman was also a member of the student body. Please send a prayer or comforting karma to all the students at Saugus High School.

Native Education Parent Advisory Committee Meeting Tonight

From SPS TODAY : Seattle Public Schools Native Education Title Vl, Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) Meeting from 6-6:30 pm.

UW Reading Study


What's Happening in SPS High Schools with Drugs/Alcohol?

From Forgetful, I'm curious (concerned) about drug and alcohol use among SPS high schoolers. Kiddo tells me that kids have passed around alcohol at school, are sometimes buzzed in class (says teachers don't notice or don't care), drugs are easily available, and juuling is rampant. This isn't even touching on what happens out of school hours/parties etc. There have been some deaths publicized but thats just the tip of the iceberg. I really don't know what to make of it. I mean i expect some experimentation in the teenage years but not really during school hours and not to such an extent. What do other folks hear? Is it as bad as I'm lead to believe? How do kids/families navigate this? I mean we talk about it with kiddo and obviously discourage it but feels like its an uphill battle when it considered cool to do it and its so widespread. What is SPS doing to address this?

PTA Fundraising and Spending; Let's Talk

A really informative article from The Atlantic on PTA fundraising.  Wonder if the new Board make-up, what with a former president of the SCPTSA and a former SCPTSA Board member, might have the courage to tackle this one.  But there is not just an "opportunity gap" but this: A 2017 report from the left-leaning Center for American Progress found that of the roughly $425 million that America’s PTAs collectively raise each year, about a tenth is spent at schools attended by just one-tenth of 1 percent of the country’s students. I also note that the district loves the money that flows into the district from PTAs because it certainly helps their bottom line.   Does the state fund education so that each teacher is not going into their own pocket to have the supplies/resources they need? No and neither does the district in turn.

No More Overnight Comments

Dear Readers, Tired of troll-like remarks and spam in the comments section? Me, too. I'm going to shut down all comments after 10 pm until about 9 am the next morning.  This has to be done manually, which is tedious, but I generally only have two-three posts open at a time so it is doable. I have turned comments back on for the Tuesday Open Thread.

Tuesday Open Thread

In very good news for the families whose children were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary school, the Supreme Court today decided that the families' lawsuit against the gun manufacturer, Remington, can go forward.  From NPR :

Stand Up for Student Data Privacy

Don't let the feds do to COPPA what they did to FERPA.  Is your child's information for sale to the highest bidder? I hope not. Children's Online Privacy Protection Act ( COPPA ) is a law created to protect the privacy of children under 13.     From the Missouri Watchdog blog : The Federal Trade Commission is considering several changes to this law that protects children’s online information.  The FTC is accepting comments from the public, deadline December 9, 2019. 

Thank You Veterans!

Thank you to all the veterans in Seattle Public Schools - staff or parents or past students.

The Return of Moss Adams to SPS

Who is Moss Adams?  I'll let them tell you: Moss Adams is a fully integrated professional services firm dedicated to assisting clients with growing, managing, and protecting prosperity.

Rules of the Road

Some of you must be new.

Lincoln High School, Thoughts?

Some readers wanted to share thoughts on the opening of Lincoln High School.  The comments below are the opening ones.  (I note that two Lincoln High students made remarks at the beginning of the school board meeting on Wednesday.   I was very impressed.  They noted several clubs especially around minorities and LGBTQ and that since their school was largely white, they want more literature from writers of color. Also to note, there is a very active Lincoln High Facebook page.

Good News in Seattle Schools

Tell us a good news story from your SPS community, big or small. And go Sounders! And go Hawks!

Friday Open Thread

From Crosscut , WA state is having trouble finding enough Special Education teachers .

SPS Suing Vaping Company

Seattle Public Schools files lawsuit against vaping company Juul. From KOMO :

On Washington Middle School; Why That School?

I did not attend last night's Board meeting but it sounded lively.  (I had a ticket to hear Anita Hill speak and to the entire audience's great pleasure, Christine Blasey Ford introduced her. Powerful stuff to hear from both of them.) I heard from tweets that the discussion around Washington Middle School, HCC and STEMbyTAF was over an hour long.  And Geary's amendment to somehow bypass the SAP to put in that program went down. And it is very hard on TAF because they do have a good model and yet the district hasn't had a meeting for them with Gen Ed parents? What?

Focus Groups for Parents of Color for Advanced Learning and Enrichment Opportunities for Children of Color

From UW's Robinson Center and Families of Color Seattle (FOCS):

Hampson Fast to Show Her Stance

As many may recall, former SCPTSA president (and all-around loudmouth) Sebrena Burr had many, many words to say at the last Board meeting, including name-calling me. And now, at her Facebook page (again, who are these people that leave their Facebook pages open?), she says talks about the Board members, calling some out as "racist" AND Hampson hearted the entire thing. (This was sent to me; I didn't go looking.)

Wednesday Open Thread

Odd little thing.  After Brandon Hersey took the oath of office, there was a group photo for the Board taken. But yet, at the SPS website, they only have a photo of kids. Waiting for new members? Maybe but why not use the photo with Hersey and the rest of the current Board? Great story from KUOW about Nova High School . I can't say it enough - Nova saves lives.

Special Education News

Dyslexia event tomorrow, November 7th at Green Lake Library from 11:30-2pm

Who Will Win? (Part Two)

Update, Tuesday 3:35 pm - Just listened to KUOW's reporting on races today and what King County Elections knows.  Apparently some ballot boxes are filling up fast (they named one in Ballard) and they have sent drivers out sooner to make sure voters can get their ballot in the boxes. They said that because of what looks like a last-minute rush, that the ballots they count at 8pm will ONLY be the early ones already received and likely ONLY half of what they believe they will receive. end of update Now I'll tell you how I think the school board races for Seattle Schools will come out.

Who Will Win?

Betcha thought I meant the school board races but no. Primarily the question is will Superintendent Juneau win on her full-court press to break apart HCC. (And she played college basketball so I'll assume she's good at it.)

Geary Pushing Change in SAP...for Washington Middle School

Some directors, on their way out the door when they don't run again, try for a big flourish action. Usually, it's something like renaming a school in honor of a community member. Director Jill Geary is doing something else that I don't even think is legal under Board policy, no less passing the sniff test.

NAEP, Part Two

My first thread explained how the results from the 2018 National Assessment of Educational Progress were flat and not inspiring.  The key takeaway - aside from not much improvement - is that the gap between students at the top and those at the bottom is growing (even as those at the bottom are doing better). Let's see reactions from other public education outlets, keeping in mind that Bill Gates led many reforms like Common Core and Race to the Top.

National Assessment of Educational Progress Scores Out

Or, as they are referred to in shorthand, NAEP .   Frequently called "the nation's report card," they are a snapshot of a set of students in 4th and 8th grades for reading and math in public schools in the U.S.  The scores are mostly flat with a continuing gap between white/Asian students and non-Asian students of color.  Approximately 296,900 students across the nation participated in the 2019 mathematics assessment.  Washington State scores were among those that remained mostly flat. From the NAEP blog:

District Getting Tough on Non-Vaccinated Students

From KUOW : Seattle Public Schools said it is missing immunization records for about one in ten students. The district sent letters to about 5,700 students’ families Oct. 28th notifying them that they will be barred from school beginning Jan. 8th if they still lack proof of the required immunizations, exemptions, or evidence that they are in the process of getting vaccinated.

Advanced Learning Survey

In case anyone missed this in the Advanced Learning Updates, there's an AL survey out there. The Seattle Public Schools (SPS) Advanced Learning Task Force (ALTF) is interested in hearing from families about their experiences with Advanced Learning in SPS. This survey is specifically focused on students identified as Highly Capable (HC). Please complete the following survey using the following link: TtHUEEP7gHsx5rSu9 However, there is nothing at the AL page or the AL Task Force page so I asked Kari Hanson. Here’s what I was told: This survey is for students. And a “sub-group working at the behest of the ALTF are (sic) the owners of the survey.  So it's an ALTF survey but the district gives no system-wide notice of it? Gee, almost as if they want to discourage participation and then, discount any findings.

Jill and Tracy Have a Talk

Because this is an easy post to write on a Saturday night, I thought I'd dash it off. Jill would be director Jill Geary and Tracy is, well, Castro-Gill. Now Castro-Gill says at her blog that she's "tenacious" and has this tough girl stance.  And, of course, verbally, even more so. But the conversation she had at her Facebook page, pleading with Director Geary to create a policy to protect her and others in the district doing "anti-racist work" was then kinda confusing.

The Long-Awaited Data on "Honors for All"

Actually, Honors for All is the wrong nomenclature.  It's now called, "Integrated Honors." I read it and while I am a fan of Eric Anderson, the Director of Research & Evaluation, I am not a fan of this document. While the document acknowledges that there isn't near enough data to make it conclusion, it seems promising.  Kind of. I don't have time to do a full thread on it but I thought it might be of interest to many readers.

Why Districts Don't Do Better By Special Education Students

I ask this question as a Sultan School Board member, Ed Husmann, was involved with this interchange about Special Education students (from KING-5 ): Chairman: "We're required to educate these students." Husmann: "But then maybe they're not educatable." Chairman: "We have to educate every student that's brought to our school, required by law." Husmann: "Some kids are uneducatable." Chairman: "That has nothing to do with it."

Friday Open Thread

Good luck to teachers, administrators and school staff this day after Halloween . So many stories to cover but coming soon: - dyslexia - NAEP scores (and Common Core and Bill Gates speaks) - Facial recognition and other tracking in classrooms, very scary stuff PEMCO is putting on a "Safety Surge" event which is an emergency preparedness event at Rising Star Elementary and Bailey Gatzert Elementary on Tuesday, November 5.  Students in grades 3 through 5 will learn preparedness tactics and emotional coping skills that could keep them safe during a crisis situation, including home fires, winter storms and earthquakes. The Safety Surge will demonstrate actionable steps that students can take to react confidently in an emergency situation. Through interactive presentations led by PEMCO employees, students will also learn valuable coping skills and preparedness tactics through the American Red Cross Pillowcase Project curriculum.  I hope to go to one of the s