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Friday, December 31, 2021

New Year's Eve Rants and Raves

 Rant

SPS makes a big deal out of "we're reopening on January 3rd" and then backpedals to say they will be closed and all will be tested. But wait, it's "voluntary." How many will get tested then and how does it help?

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Upcoming Meetups for Educators of Deaf/Hard of Hearing

Franklin High Educators Speak Out; Will Seattle Schools Listen?

 Via Facebook:

"Franklin educators led a sick-out today to protest SPS's frighteningly poor protocols for staff & student safety. We have been grossly mis-represented by SPS & the Seattle Times, so please spread this message."

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On December 15th, Seattle Public Schools’ decision to cancel school for students was their response to a credible threat to the building. Despite this valid safety concern, the staff were told to finish our workday in the building “as normal.” If we did not feel safe, we were informed that using personal time was required to leave the building. The message was clear that it was more important to SPS that they can monitor the staff than it was to protect them, even when there are no students present in the building.

Seattle Schools Losing Students

 From the Broadview Thomson lawsuit, we know that the claim is that at least 100 students have left that school.

At last night's Board meeting, it was reported that the district is down 3700 students this school year. That is a HUGE amount. And, given that SPS never seems to ask parents who leave why they left, we may never know.

And the money goes with those students so it's no small thing for Seattle Public Schools.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Lawsuit Filed against the Seattle School Board And Seattle Schools over Homeless Encampment

Editor's note: the encampment was finally cleared last week.  

Here's the filing. (FYI, it's Broadview Thomson, not Thompson.)

What is interesting is the lawsuit names all the directors as well as the school district. I'm not sure if the directors will have to defend themselves given they are named individually, rather than as a board.

To note, this is in Director Liza Rankin's district and she has been closely involved with this issue. 

The plaintiffs state:

SPS is not legislatively or administratively charged with or empowered to undertake regional homeless issues. Instead SPS is solely crated and enabled to address, administer and meet its education directives.

The Kids Are STILL Not Alright

 This happened just a few days ago in Mill Creek SD (bold mine):

As I write to you tonight, after a very long day of working with the amazing Mill Creek Staff, Kent Police Department, KSD Safety Services, KSD Leadership, and the FBI (yes, the FBI), we have come to a resolution to the school shooting threat that was posted yesterday. Kent Police have made contact tonight with a Mill Creek student that has admitted to falsely creating the Instagram post to get out of going to school. 

Sunday, December 12, 2021

The Kids Are NOT Alright

 A Rainier Beach High School teacher has been put on administrative leave for using "racist language"in speaking with a student. A letter was sent to families explaining the situation.

Friday, December 10, 2021

Director Community Meetings

 A reader asked:

Director Song Maritz will be holding a community meeting. Have other directors be holding meetings?

From the Board calendar:

Join School Board Director Song Maritz for a community meeting on Monday, December 13, 7 – 8 p.m.

Meeting held online with Zoom. Event registration required.

Sunday, December 05, 2021

New Seattle School Board President Hersey

Again, man, he has moved up quickly. Cast your mind back about two years ago when Director Betty Patu stepped down before her term was done in District 7. There were 12 people signed up, including Hersey. He was one of three finalists and got the nod.

Fast forward to May of 2021 and only Hersey and another woman signed up to run. The woman did nothing but sign up so the position was his. How did things change so much in less than 2 years and no one felt the need to challenge him? Another "hmmm" moment. 

 Hersey - now president of the Board - seems to be really comfortable in the role. 

Friday, December 03, 2021

Where is the Action?

 It appears that Ballard High School has turmoil within its halls. 

Does that make them different from any other American public high school? Probably not. 

What I am hearing from students and teachers is that both groups are scared and anxious and exhausted. 

What I am hearing from students is that they see no real change on the horizon from the district or the Board. This is NOT the first time there have been issues around perceived racism from high school assignments. It will say that one report says that the father in the LA assignment issue stated that he called the teacher 14 times. 

There was an issue probably seven years ago around an assignment to read Brave New World and when a Native American student expressed worry and discomfort, there wasn't much sympathy. The Board actually had a hearing but sided with the teacher. Maybe this Board should go back and read a transcript of that hearing to see what not to do. 

What I am hearing is that students need to feel more secure NOW about issues around sexual harassment and assault. Waiting for a Taskforce report in spring 2022 seems very much "a wait-and-see" attitude. 

Here's a missive sent yesterday from the interim BHS principal:

Seattle Times Speaks Up About the Seattle School Board

 A rather interesting editorial appeared in the Times yesterday. 

Basically, they seem to know that things have not been going well on the Board and put forth the hope for better from new Board president Brandon Hersey.

Wednesday’s selection of Seattle Public Schools Board President Brandon Hersey should be a springboard to greater board transparency and meaningful engagement with parents and community.

They also note this which I would have to believe most parents don't even know about - a new kind of governance around student achievement. I will go into this in depth in a separate post but it feels that the district is listening quite a lot to a group, the Council of Great City Schools.

They note a quote from Hersey at their endorsement meeting:

I think that it’s critical to know, as a board director, what role that you play and how to do that effectively. Because when you don’t, you have instances where we might be getting more in the way than we need to be.”

And then they let Director Chandra Hampson have it about her ability "to get more in the way":

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Seattle School Board - Still a Real Problem

Update 2

I should have clarified that I left watching the Board meeting after public testimony. I posted this thread at that time. 

I hd seen a couple of comments on this thread that said I was trying to silence Sarju and I was completely mystified.

Apparently, Director Sarju made an admission later in the meeting about surviving a terrible sexual assault in her youth. (I cannot yet listen to that part of the meeting but I will.) I did not know about this.

My comment about her being a talker was about the beginning of the meeting. In the the past, I have also said this about Jill Geary, Eden Mack, and Sharon Peaslee, all white women. And, former Board president Chandra Hampson is the one who brought in a 2-minute limit for Board comments (and yet never applied it to herself).

The amount of time any given director takes to make a point impacts the length of the meetings which many directors have always felt are too long. What makes it really interesting is that the last Board voted to bring in 3 student "directors." If they think that having three more people up there at the dais is going to make for shorter meetings, I think they will be sorely surprised. 

end of update.

Update: it appears one director misspoke and there is no lawsuit over the HIB findings against Chandra Hampson and Zachary DeWolf.

end of update

If you go by the incredibly weird and awful process that was the election of new Board leadership, you'd come to this conclusion as well.

I will just put up the new leaders but there is a LOT to report out about what was said (and boy, Michelle Sarju has shown she is going to be a talker). 

President - Brandon Hersey

VP - Chandra Hampson

Member-at-large - Lisa Rivera Smith

One tidbit that I will throw out - it appears that a lawsuit has been filed by the Black staffers who accused former director Zachary DeWolf and current Director Chandra Hampson of HIB (harassment, intimidation and bullying) which an independent investigation said likely occurred with the directors using their "positional authority" to act against these women. I am not surprised.

I will look into the lawsuit - not sure if it is against one director or both or the district itself.  

BHS Parents - Is Your Student Going to the Meeting Today?

Update: I was mistaken about the meeting; it is just  about addressing the issues around sexual harassment/assault. 

It appears it is at the same time as tryouts for the school musical so that's kind of tone-deaf.

From what I am hearing, more students are interested in going to protest at today's Board meeting. (Just to note, the Board is having their election for Board leadership so there will be a new president. It's 99% going to be Brandon Hersey.

There are 16 spaces open on the speaker list so if your child is going to the Board meeting, tell them to sign up and they have 2-minutes for each person.

end of update.

The meeting about strife at Ballard High that appears to take place right after school?

Could you ask your student to record the audio of the meeting by requesting to put their phone on the stage or table where the adults will be speaking? It’s a public meeting so they have a legal right to do so. 

Or take notes especially about what the students’ concerns that get expressed are? The size of the crowd? The adults running the meeting? Any mention of Principal Wynkoop?

Also, let us know if the adults suggest a moment of silence for the three Oxford High students who were killed yesterday. 

I would love to do a write-up.