Showing posts from 2022

Washington State Charter School Group Found To Have Underserved Students

I'm gonna say it - I told you so. In an in-depth article by KUOW reporter Ann Dornfeld, it is revealed that one Washington State charter group - Impact Schools - was not providing ELL services to students despite claiming to do so. Impact Charter Schools is the largest charter provider in the state. Dornfeld is writing a series on this group and the second one is equally troubling and is about holding back students to repeat a grade level again, despite parents being told by teachers that their children were doing well. I will note here that these schools are being run by experienced staff like Jen Wickens who has been a fixture in Washington State charter schools since the law passed. As well, former Alliance for Education head, Sara Morris, was also involved in the opening of some Impact Schools. From the ELL article: Ogubamichael was drawn to Puget Sound Elementary, a charter school in Tukwila, because of its promise of instruction tailored to each student. Ogubamichael’s fa

Cleveland High School Principal Update

 From KOMO News  on Friday: New Cleveland High School principal Dr. Marni Campbell resigned hours before students at the south Seattle school were scheduled to walk out in protest of the district's recent decision.   Cleveland students organized the walkout, which is set to begin at 11:30 a.m., after the announcement was made of the reassignment of Brown and the hiring of Campbell. Letter from Superintendent Brent Jones: Dear Cleveland Families and Staff, With regret, I have accepted Dr. Marni Campbell’s decision to withdraw from the position of principal of Cleveland STEM High School. I look forward to working again with Dr. Campbell, who will continue to serve SPS in another capacity yet to be determined. I continue to believe in her ability to keep students and families at the core of her decisions and have confidence in her integrity and character. Dr. Campbell chose to withdraw from the position because she did not want to be a distraction or hamper the future success of Cleve

What a Seattle School Board Meeting

 As I mentioned in my recent This and That post, the Board had a regularly scheduled meeting last night. I thought it might be dull but this Board never disappoints. As I noted, the speaker list was full at 25 with a 15 person waitlist. Most of the speakers wanted to talk about the district exiting the seemingly-beloved principal, Catherine Brown, from Cleveland High School.  But let's examine what came before. The Superintendent had an update report on how the targeted universalism initiative for Black boys and teens is doing. The report is not the clearest one written with a lot of "KPI" talk and "seems on track" talk. Then, after his presentation, the directors were to discuss this with him. Jones said: - that they wanted to use "competency-based grading" but color me confused because I thought that WAS what grading is. - The City's education office is working closely with the district on this initiative and aligning some of their work - espec

This and That

  I missed this when it happened in March but congrats to the Roosevelt High School Symphony Orchestra . Roosevelt’s orchestra was the first-place winner in the Division 1 full orchestra competition at the W-ASTA Western Washington University Orchestra Festival! It was a great day and students had the chance to listen to other high-performing orchestras too. See the performance here  . RHS is shown at about minute 42. Congratulations to Roosevelt High School Band Director Scott Brown and to Katie Lenoue , a music teacher at Rainier Beach High School . Both received awards from the Washington Music Educators Association (WMEA) for their outstanding contributions to the development of music education. Brown was inducted into the association’s Hall of Fame and Lenoue was named one of the region’s Outstanding Music Educators. I'll update the running principal list but Licton Springs K-8 is looking for a new principal . The principal there for this school year was previously the new

Bless Her Heart

If you know anything about the South, you know that phrase, "Bless her heart." It's a passive-aggressive way of speaking of someone you a) pity, b) think is not that bright and/or c) tries very hard but isn't all that and a bag of chips (another great phrase). Tracy Castro Gill is NOT a "bless her heart" case, although I did think that for some time. I have been asked why I am calling out Woodland Park Zoo for "sponsoring" her "academy" for youth activism. I suspect that WPZ is doing nothing more than giving her the space to host her class. Because if there was linkage with the Zoo's stated mission of education for kids and WPZ was actually proud of this sponsorship, they would have it on their website along with ALL the other summer offerings for kids and teens. And it isn't there and they have not put out a press release nor tweeted about it. Plus, I would think some of the members of WPZ's Board who are Jewish might give p

Seattle Schools Bell Times to Stay for 2022-2023

 Via SPS: Superintendent Jones has determined Seattle Public Schools (SPS) will continue the two-tier transportation system for the 2022-23 school year.  This means elementary, K-8, and middle schools will  not  change their start and end times in September.  Some high schools may see a 10-minute change in start time. This determination will allow us to keep the current structure as we continue to find ways to improve transportation services. The national bus driver shortage continues to affect our ability to provide full service to all students who are eligible for transportation. It is likely we will begin the 2022-23 school year with the same reduced bus service that has been in place since last fall. We will continue to explore whether we can restore the routes that have been suspended. Consistent with our strategic plan, SPS prioritizes systems to serve students of color and those furthest from educational justice. In the coming months, there will be more opportunities to share yo

Seattle Schools and Transportation Contract - I Smell a Rat

Update : a good op-ed i n Seattle's Child by Mary Ellen Russell, the  chair of the City of Seattle School Traffic Safety Committee and a parent of two students in Seattle Public Schools. As appalling as these violations are, this is by no means the first time that First Student has been found putting students at risk. In 2016, First Student paid an $11.5 million settlement in response to a lawsuit that alleged that the company “jeopardized the lives of San Francisco area schoolchildren by transporting them with buses known to have critical safety defects such as threadbare brakes and worn tires.” Worse, “according to First Student’s own records, the company committed more than 300 violations of the district’s 45-day inspection requirement over a nine-month period. Many of these violations concerned critical safety defects that should have resulted in removing the bus from service.”   In addition to putting students at risk, First Student is a poor district partner, with a long rec

This and That (and More Things That Make You Go, Hmmmm)

Hmmmm Why would Woodland Park Zoo sponsor  a summer "academy" put on by none-other than the Washington Ethnic Studies Now group, led by shrinking violet Tracy Castro Gill? The Zoo's own mission for students is around science, nature, etc which is not any part of what this academy is offering.  What's also weird is that the zoo website has no information about it. Why would that be if the Zoo is sponsoring it? This and That The Seattle Public Schools (SPS) School and Community Partnerships Department is working to build systems in support of strong partnerships , including two key projects: a student intervention/support tracker that includes community-based organization (CBO) programs and the development of a Partnership Playbook. Now I can't tell you for sure what that means but it's work being done. I will inquire about the substance of these initiatives. There is already something of "a student intervention/support tracker" that I reported on quit

Seattle Schools Principals' Shift

Update #3 Looks like Licton Springs K-8 is getting a new principal. Not sure where the current one is going. end of update Update #2 It appears that the principal at Cleveland, Catherine Brown, is being replaced because the district says she disobeyed a directive about withholding COVID info from families. She says this in a letter to parents.   Gotta say, it's quite brave of her to say this publicly while still being investigated.  It also appears that the district is very much clamping down on messaging from school leaders. Control of the narrative is always important to most orgs but this could have a chilling effect on what principals believe is the right info to give to parents/students and what the district wants them to say. end of update Update #1 We already knew that Greenwood ES is losing its principal but now I can report that Orca K-8, Daniel Bagley ES and Concord International ES are also losing their principals. Not sure if they are assigned elsewhere yet.  Also to no

If You Were Wondering Who is Who at Seattle Public Schools

A 2021-2022 org chart So who knew that there was actually a senior spot open (Assistant Superintendent for Programs? Not sure of the actual name but it's on the left and covers Athletics, Coordinated Health, Highly Capable and Special Education. That seems like a weird grouping.) And weird that Dr. Mike Starosky doesn't have the Executive Directors listed under him? He's got a Director of School Operations, Sara Mirabueno, under him plus eight Executive Directors. And if it's "operations" wouldn't Ms. Mirabueno go under...Operations head, Fred Podesta? Also, as a heads up, Legal lost one of their Public Disclosure officers so if you are filing something, prepare for a long wait. Dr. Keisha Scarlett has seven (7!) areas of responsibility, JoLynn Berge in Business and Finance has six and Fred Podesta, head of Operations, has six. I don't know if I mentioned it at the time the hire was announced but Noel Treat, who heads HR and was formerly in the Legal d

SPS Doesn't Learn

Update: So KOMO TV News has a different timeline for this coach/IA. They say that Miller was hired at Roosevelt High in 2007 and was there until 2009 when she was fired over "boundary issues" and "predatory behavior." I believe she was only a coach at RHS. Then she was hired in 2010 at Ballard High School as a coach and then in 2015, she was an IA for Special Education students. The abuse of the victim started in 2016 and lasted two years.  Know who was the head of SPS HR from 2014-2016? Brent Jones. That was when Miller was hired as an IA at BHS. (How do I know this? It's on his LinkedIn page. And yes, I have a screenshot.) The Seattle Times has an article which has this incredible statement from SPS HR (bold mine): After the lawsuit was filed, “SPS participated in good faith in several mediations to reach a mutually agreeable financial resolution with the plaintiff,” district spokesperson Beverly Redmond said in an email. “SPS Human Resources has now implemen

Seattle School Board Removes Transportation/Bell Times Item from Agenda

 Update: I will be listening into the Board meeting to see what might be said about the pulled BAR on Transportation/Bell times.  In the meantime, here's a lengthy document from Director Vivian Song Maritz on the situation. It's quite detailed and thoughtful - like a breath of fresh air.  The Transportation Service Standards, which contains a proposed change to 3 Bell Times, has been pulled from today’s Board Meeting agenda (May 4). The District acknowledges the community feedback it has received in the past couple of weeks and has decided to do more work before presenting to the full board.    I oppose this change because I do not believe that it is in the best interests of our students, families, and staff. It will have ripple effects throughout our city and I will continue to engage stakeholders on this all- encompassing issue. end of update.  I went to check on the speakers for tonight's Board meeting and I see that the entire Transportation item as well as the amend

Post Alley Story on Director Chandra Hampson's Lawsuit

 I was asked to write about the lawsuit that Director Chandra Hampson is continuing against Seattle Public School by Post Alley. I was glad to do so because I still believe it's a news story that needs to be understood as well as have a wider public awareness.  Woven into it is a story of another school board member - this time in San Francisco - who also sued her district.  In San Francisco, parental and public frustration with their school board reached a boiling point over the board’s decision, while schools were shut down during due to the COVID pandemic, to spend months of effort in 2021 on developing a controversial – and mistake-riddled –  plan to rename 44 public schools  due to the perceived historical sins of their namesakes (including Abraham Lincoln), instead of focusing on how to get kids back into in-person learning. Public anger grew further when one of the San Francisco school board members, Alison Collins,  sued her own school district  for $87 million after she