Monday, September 13, 2021

Around the Horn at Seattle Public Schools

Editor's note: a rather stunning admission came out at last week's Board meeting involving President Chandra Hampson and VP Zachary DeWolf.  It made for some rather tortured discussion. I am waiting on a document that is a final investigation report in order to be reporting clearly on this issue. Look for that post this week. 


Saw this today on a parent Facebook page. Apparently a parent got a call from the school nurse to pick up her child with a sore throat/runny nose (but no fever). The nurse told her that SPS had changed their symptom policy and if a student has one or more symptoms, they would be required to be picked up immediately. The child can then return to school 24 hours after a negative COVID test. 

Wanted to let other parents know about this change. From my conversation with the school nurse, it seems that the expectation is that parents should keep their kids home and get them tested if they have any symptoms whatsoever now.

The district's COVID dashboard indicates the number of cases is going up.

Parents also wondered about testing at schools and it seems some schools give a handout where parents can go. One parent said the principal at her school said that schools will offer it only to those with symptoms/exposure to COVID. But the principal seemed unsure when this would be happening. 

Parents, what have you heard at your school? I see nothing new at the SPS website.

K-5 Curriculum Survey

Which is then retitled at the link at website as "Needs Assessment Survey for Families and Community Members." 

One question seems off to me:

How important is each of the following to the goal of math learning in Seattle Public Schools? Answer: essential, very important, somewhat important, not important
  • Instructional materials connect mathematical concepts and learning to authentic family, community, and cultural experiences
  • Instructional resources for teachers provide support for the learning needs of all students (Multilingual learners, Highly Capable, etc.)
  • Instructional resources for teachers provide support for small group instruction and activities.
I mean, what parent doesn't want teachers to have resources to serve all kids? And that first one? I'm just not understanding what that would look like.

Applying for Advanced Learning
Here's the latest and it's not all that clear but that's the SPS way.

Community meetings about the upcoming capital levy, BTA V and the Operations Levy.
Every three years, the district asks voters for money for Operations as well as for one of two expiring capital levies. This time it is for BTA V (Buildings, Technology, Academics/Athletics). The district - in its adorable way - doesn't tell you how much they are asking, just:

These levies are expected to be on the ballot in February 2022. They would replace the expiring levies and are not new taxes. (bold theirs)

One, the last Operations levy was $815M. The last BTA levy was $475M. I would expect the district to ask for more for each levy. So yes, not new levies and yes, not "new" taxes. But will you pay more? Highly likely. 

Meetings will begin at 6:30 p.m. and are expected to end at 7:30 p.m. or earlier.
Tuesday, September 21, 2021
Thursday, September 23, 2021
Can’t make the online meeting? Meetings will be recorded and posted on the school levies webpage.
The webpage says the links to the meetings will be there a week before the meetings so that would be tomorrow, September 14th. If they are there, I will put them in.

"Survey" for Feedback for RFP for Superintendent Search
I saw the district has this feedback page. The first thing is your consent to give the feedback (odd) and then "demographics" where they ask for your name, how you are connected to SPS, phone number and email. That's NOT demographics, that's personal information. Also odd.


  1. To answer your question about when SPS says to keep kids home: We (Eckstein Middle School student) have gotten repeated emails and texts saying:

    "As a reminder, please keep your student home when they have a known exposure to someone with COVID-19, or new symptoms that are not caused by another condition.

    "If you want to learn more about how SPS is working to keep students, staff, and our community safe during the school year, visit our 2021-22 School Year: 180 Days of Excellence resource page.

    "Office of Public Affairs"

    There's a link embedded in the "new symptoms that are not caused by another condition," taking you to

    That page says, "Please don’t send your student to school if they have any symptoms. If they do arrive at school feeling ill, they will be sent home." They then list symptoms:
    - Chills or Fever of 100 F (37.8 C) or Higher.
    - Cough
    - Fatigue
    - Headache
    - Sore Throat
    - Nausea or Vomiting
    - Congestion or Runny Nose
    - Diarrhea
    - New Loss of Taste or Smell
    - Muscle or Body Aches
    - Difficulty Breathing

    So that *sounds* like even one of those symptoms (but, yikes — fatigue? headache?) "should" keep your kid home. However, the endgame — what you need to do to return to school — is not explained.

  2. My daughter (7th grade, north end middle school) texted me because she had a very runny nose and was feeling very uncomfortable. Before I could take her home, she had to take a COVID test and is staying home until the results are in. She is vaccinated.

  3. Just calling on a clarification about the upcoming Operational Levy and BTA V Capital Levy.
    1): Why is it still necessary to ask another almost billions of dollars for Operational Levy from the locals when McCleary has passed ensuring basic funding?
    2): How did the McCleary* victory in 2018 still create such huge "funding gaps"?
    3): Who must explain the above #2) to adult members of the community without indoctrinating the students?
    4): SPS is still collecting $1.4 billion BEX V Capital levy (in addition to Operational Levy)** from the locals from 2019 thru 2025, and why should another BTA be warranted??
    5): As enrollment declined, and transportation issues kept students from the buildings, why does it make sense to pour another hundreds of millions of dollars into new physical buildings?
    6): Do the City of Seattle Dept of Transportation or the EPA know that SPS wants our money for it's own environmental protection gigs w/o experience?
    7): Shouldn't the current Board resign to allow oversight for such hundreds of millions of dollars more of levy dollars from the locals?

    * McCleary:

    ** 2019 BEX V Levy & Operational Levy:


  4. I’m very curious to find out what you here about the HIB allegations (findings?) against DeWolf and Hampson. I read the letter alleging anti-blackness but don’t understand the bad thing that happened: what was said or done that was the offense. Thanks for looking into this!

    What Happened

  5. I am sad about the math survey. This is precisely the type of 'community engagement' that the district loves to use - its basically non-sense. They propose a number of different feel-good concepts they want the public to support, and then ask those to be organized in preference. And then they will use the results of the survey to back up whatever decision they wish to make anyway.

    Its infuriating.

  6. The new AL (didn't they retire that term; makes me angry just off the bat) identification process is completely ridiculous. It provides no definition for what HiCap learners are (the state gives a better description), no indication of what sorts of things will qualify a student, and relies on super fuzzy desires of un-trained staff members. (Teacher identification is notoriously biased.) There is no way for a family to understand what the program is and whether or how their kid may be qualified. Additionally, without the ability to provide cognitive evaluations (or have the district administer them), the identification becomes an amplification of students who are just responding well to their current school. My heart breaks for all the kids who really need HiCap services who will be left out here.

    Two upsides - 1) they have finally managed to eliminate the byzantine gate-keeping by stating that they will evaluated every kid. 2) they will be able to identify a representative population trivially - if they are short in some area just choose a couple more kids.

    The only thing keeping me from exploding in anger over this ridiculousness is that they have already so neutered the HC program that there is no point to the identification anyway. Why not have a bogus system to provide kids with bogus services?


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