Wednesday, June 16, 2021

As the 2020-2021 Seattle School Year Wraps Up

 I see this week is the end of SPS’ school year and that means graduation. Congrats to ALL the graduates and their families. What a long and difficult year for all so kudos for all the hard work. Best wishes for all the grads!

On a less happy but no less serious note, the district has announced that remote learning for next year will ONLY be a pilot program. (Bold mine)

While we are taking all the necessary steps to ensure in-person learning is safe and welcoming for all students, we will also pilot virtual options for a small population of K-12 students. A virtual option for preschool students will not be offered. Starting with a small virtual option pilot will best promote the district's goals for racial equity and will provide important data and feedback should the district decide to develop larger scale future virtual learning options. 
For Fall 2021, there will be a limited number of students in grades K-12 who can participate in this virtual learning option. SPS will first ask students to consider this option if they can thrive academically in a fully remote learning setting. In addition, since the pilot will be small, we will need to determine a way to prioritize interested students. As a result, students with existing, documented health issues or concerns, including mental and emotional health concerns, will be prioritized for this virtual pilot. This may include: 
- Students with an underlying condition that increases their risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
- Students who live in a household where someone in the household is at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
- Students who have a mental health issue or other condition.
- Students who experienced an increased sense of safety during remote learning.
For students who have existing health concerns that require virtual learning full-time in the fall, SPS will determine which school site(s) will provide the virtual pilot option and students selected for the virtual pilot will need to enroll in that designated school site.

Have a district-issued device? You’ll need to turn it back in and here’s the rather lengthy explanation of how to do that. 

Update on LGBTQIA+ Community Inclusion work. Many good things happening here. I am going to assume that parents were already notified at school about the SPS K-5 Gender Book Kit. I took a look at the kindergarten and fifth grade lessons. 

The feedback I would give about the kindergarten lesson is that the vocabulary appears to me to be over the heads of many kindergarteners (keeping in mind that I volunteered for three years in the same kindergarten classroom). I think “gender identity” is a tough one with both words not likely in a kindergartener’s vocabulary. 

As well, I found the definitions not quite true - compassion means “being a good friend?” The facilitator also uses “word” when explaining a phrase. Would that be confusing to a K or 5th grader? Maybe. Also, note to SPS, in the 5th grade lesson - Red, a Crayon’s Story - the word “fairly” is misspelled. 

A message from Superintendent Jones on Juneteenth is also in the news.

Lastly, a couple of queries about data I had mentioned in previous posts. Here’s the link for the last Board Work Session on both Enrollment and the 2021-2022 Budget. Enrollment data for every school starts on page 26. 

Use of the ESSER funds is in the Budget portion of the document, from pages 50-53.

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