Showing posts from February, 2022

Chandra Hampson and Her Quest to Level Seattle Schools

 By that headline, I don't mean she wants to literally blow them up but she certainly has ideas about what should stay and what should go. But there are two programs she is working to upend - Advanced Learning and Option Schools.  I had written this post believing I would talk about the direction of both programs until I listened to a discussion of the Student Transition Plan (basically updates to the Student Assignment Plan) at the Board meeting on January 22, 2022.  Director Hampson said some pretty appalling things about Option Schools (at least the ones in the north end).  She does NOT believe that there is any public engagement necessary about either dual language schools nor Option Schools if the district/Board wants to make changes. If you have a student at one of those or care about those programs' existence, you need to write to the Board. It's OR if you want to include the superintendent and senior leadership, it's schoolboard@s

Microsoft Scholarships Available

 " The Women at Microsoft Scholarship seeks to empower and enable high school women and non-binary people* to go to college, realize the impact technology has on the world, and target a career in the technology industry. A primary goal of this scholarship is to help improve gender diversity in the technology industry." 

King County NAACP Charges WIAA Discriminates Against Black Teams

In a lengthy email to the Washington Interscholastic Athletic/Activities Association (WIAA), the King County NAACP charges that " students and communities of color " have been "affected by the discriminatory practices and policies governed by the Washington Interscholastic Athletic/Activities Association (WIAA), to their respective athletic programs in the state of Washington." The KC NAACP alleges this example: There have been patterns of inequitable sanctions placed on Rainier Beach High School (RBHS) a predominantly school of color, dated since 2014, in which the WIAA denied the RBHS boys basketball team to accept an invite to a national tournament in New York and discovered through WIAA meeting minutes (December 2013) that they approved a predominantly white coach and school to attend a national tournament a year prior. To add insult to injury, the RBHS team fought and won their request to attend the national tournament, but WIAA forbade them to practice until

Highline School District Picks Former Bellevue School District Superintendent: What Next for Seattle Schools?

 From Highline SD Communications: The School Board has named Dr. Ivan Duran as Highline’s next superintendent, following a community engagement process that ended with a week of in-person tours, stakeholder meetings and virtual town halls. So why is this important to we followers of Seattle Public Schools? 1) Duran is now one local superintendent who will not be throwing his hat in the ring for SPS superintendent. 2) Two current senior staffers - Dr. Keshia Scarlett and Dr. Concie Pedroza - were also in the running but Highline picked Dr. Duran so they won't be leaving SPS anytime soon. This is Pedroza's second try for a superintendent job in the Puget Sound region. 3) The district held its first town hall about a new superintendent for SPS last week. It was to be a 3-hour meeting but only lasted about an hour because not many people signed up. Gee, I wonder why. Did the Board put strict parameters on when you can sign up? They did. It's nonsense but it's a good way t

Invitation to King County Youth Forum

Saturday, March 12th on Zoom from 1:00-2:45 pm. Our young leaders who make up the King County Youth Bill of Rights Task Force (meet them again,  here !) are hosting a community conversation about issues critically impacting young people, 24 years old and younger, in our region. The forum will be led by the Task Force members who will share and facilitate conversations around mental health, resource scarcity and equity, school challenges, and more. The event will begin with a brief introduction to the Youth Bill of Rights project and follow with a panel of youth experts who will share their stories, a Q&A, and two breakout sessions!  

Striking Parallels Between San Francisco USD Board and SPS Board

 In news that has some parallels to the current situation in Seattle Public Schools, three members of the Board for San Francisco were ousted from their positions in a recall by over 72% of the vote. This includes the Board president.  From the NPR story (bold mine): San Francisco Mayor London Breed, who endorsed the recall, heralded the results. "The voters of this City have delivered a clear message that the School Board must focus on the essentials of delivering a well-run school system above all else, " she said in a statement after the polls closed. What was the San Francisco School Board focused on? In January 2021, it spent time debating a plan to rename 44 public schools - among them those named for Abraham Lincoln, and current U.S. Senator and former San Francisco Mayor Dianne Feinstein. Breed, at the time, said she could not understand "why the school board is advancing a plan to have all these schools renamed by April, when there isn't a plan to have o


 From the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy: Resource Spotlight FERPA's Complaint Process Explained The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA, provides certain rights for parents and eligible students around student education records, including the right to file a complaint if those rights are violated. This video provides information on FERPA’s complaint process, including information on who may file a complaint as well as common reasons complaints are filed. What Happens When I File A Complaint So, now you know more about FERPA's complaint process, explained above. But do you know what transpires after you hit send and your complaint is submitted? This video provides information about what happens as the U.S. Department of Education considers your complaint.


 In what are likely the ONLY public opportunities to give input on a new superintendent at Seattle Public Schools, there will be two upcoming virtual community meetings plus one just for students. From SPS: The School Board will convene a special meeting on February 17th and 23rd specifically to hear from you. The only agenda item for both evenings is public comment regarding the superintendent search, and we invite you to register in advance to share your thoughts on the leadership needs of the district. Meeting Details Thursday, February 17, 4 – 7 p.m. Wednesday, February 23, 4 – 7 p.m.

Seattle Public Schools - Superintendent Searches + Levy News

Let's start with The Seattle Times' story about how Seattle Schools somehow has a late start in looking for a new superintendent, finding them far behind other local districts seeking new leadership.  Four large school districts in the region are in search of a new superintendent, and while some are close to announcing final candidates, others — notably, Seattle — are just now seeking community input. Along with Seattle, the Highline and Issaquah school districts are expected to hire superintendents before the new school year begins this fall. Bellevue also needs a new s uperintendent, but the school board has extended Interim Superintendent Art Jarvis’ contract  for another school year , buying more time.   Seattle Schools and Highline both contracted with an Illinois-based firm, Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates , to do superintendent searches. What about community input?

What Are You Seeing in Seattle Schools Around Students and Stress?

 Great article from September 2021,  Stress and short tempers: Schools struggle with behavior as students return,  from the Chalkbeat blog (all bold mine):

Seattle School Board Listens to Anti-Maskers (Probably Anti-Vaxxers as well)

 There were a number of items to note at last Wednesday's Board meeting (and there will be a separate post about them).  What was of interest on the agenda were a number of people signed up to speak on: -  Support For The Board -  Empathy for the school board and for students - S tanding With The Board

Special Education Parents: Tips to Advocate For Your Child

Via the Seattle Special Education PTA Facebook page:  Whether you are going to your first IEP meeting or your 10th -- this webinar will have useful information that will help you advocate for your child's needs at school. Please join the Seattle Special Education PTSA and the The Arc of King County -- all are welcome!   Tuesday, February 15 from noon to 1:30 pm.

Highly Capable Learning Bill Advances; Put Your Two Cents In

 Via the Washington Coalition for Gifted Education, a call to let your reps in the Washington State legislature know that you support highly capable for services to find and serve students who may not have been found in the past. HB 1611  would: - add supplemental funds to support these students  - have districts do universal screening at around 2nd grade and again around 6th grade - districts would have to submit to OSPI demographic information on who is being served by their own programs by race, ethnic background, Special Education, homeless, etc.  - Would require any testing to happen during the school day at the student's school  - changes the nomenclature from "nomination" to "referral" - removes the words "the most" in front of "highly capable. Here's the WA state PTA on the bill. There's a LOT of great data in this document.  I support this bill and I hope you will as well. From the group:

Another Seattle Schools Survey? Yup, This Time on the SAT

 Recently, I had a Seattle friend with kids in SPS who said her child could not find out about taking the SAT.  Then today, I was sent a link to a survey on the SAT in SPS that is due to end on Feb. 9th. I assume all high school parents received it but I don't know. The district says:

Seattle Special Education PTSA Slams Advanced Learning Survey

And they want it retracted. I totally agree.  Here's a link to their letter, addressed to Superintendent Brent Jones, the School Board and senior staff. It's entitled,  Ableist language hurts family survey.

Superintendent Search Firm Seeks Input

The Board picked the firm of Hazard, Young and Attea Associates to do the search for a new superintendent for Seattle Public Schools.  Here's a link to the survey (which I took so I would know what was in it).  One surprise for me is that they did not put in whatever kind of mechanism so you can't take it more than once (at least from the same machine).  I would say it takes about 10-15 minutes to take. They give no date for the end of the survey. Their first question is:  Please rate the overall quality of education in the District.

Student Essay Contests on Law Issues

 From the Bill of Rights Institute , "We the Students" essay contest: The Topic of the 2022 We the Students Essay Contest is How does an understanding of natural rights and respect build a free society? Deadline for Entry is April 15, 2022 National Grand Prize – One at $7,500. Runners Up – Five at $1,500 each. Honorable Mention – Ten at $500 each. From the Ninth Circuit Court ,  The First Amendment and the Schoolhouse Gate: Students Free Speech Rights essay contest The 2022 Ninth Circuit Civics Contest asks students to address:  “What are students’ free speech rights - and  responsibilities - on and off campus?" Deadline is March 18, 2022 1st place $3,000, 2nd place $1,700 and 3rd place $1,000 for essay and for video. The first-place winners at the circuit level for the essay and video categories will be invited to attend the 2022 Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference to be held in Big Sky, Montana, along with a parent or guardian. I note that this one will accept a written