Showing posts from May, 2022

Public School Students and Their Mental Well-Being

 Two great articles from The NY Times. The first is  School Counselors on How to Help Students Recover From Pandemic Stress.   It has some good ideas including some for home and some for schools: Restart group activities Or, start a new activity, either in school or outside of school.  Hire more staff Yes, more of a mirage than reality. But what if there were more adults in buildings? Meaning, what if there were more volunteers helping with meeting kids' needs.  Offer places to take a break I love this one. I can imagine that kids would love a quiet space with simple things to do. (Naturally, it would need to be monitored because you could get a couple of chatty kids in there and the whole thing doesn't work.) Teach social and emotional skills Interesting thing - on Twitter, I get challenged on this. I cannot believe it. Either people don't know what SEL is or feel only parents should talk to kids about emotions. It feels like there are many parents who don't know how o

This and That - Seattle Public Schools

 I listened in on Director Vivian Song Maritz' community meeting. It was a big sad because only four people showed up. What I heard: - The acting principal at Ballard High, Joseph Williams, is going to Franklin High School to be the permanent principal. No word on how the Franklin community feels but apparently no outcry has been heard.  - This school year saw a number of lockdowns at Garfield High, many about incidents in the surrounding community. It was a bit startling to hear from one parent that her Garfield student will casually mention something. I'd hope schools have to report all of these and that the district tracks them but I have never seen that kind of documentation.  - Director Song Maritz was careful to ask parents how they were doing in light of the recent school massacre in Texas. (I have no other word for what happened.) It sounds like parents told their older students but not the younger ones. I noted that there is ALWAYS one kid in any given class who hears

This and That - Public Education Nationally

Probably one of biggest national public education stories is about how - across the country - districts are losing students . Indeed, it is projected by SPS that their enrollment will fall to under 50,000 next school year, a number that hasn't been seen in probably a decade. To make clear, district lose students? They lose money. From The NY Times : All together, America’s public schools have lost at least 1.2 million students since 2020, according to a recently published national survey. State enrollment figures show no sign of a rebound to the previous national levels any time soon. A broad decline was already underway in the nation’s public school system as rates of birth and immigration have fallen, particularly in cities. But the coronavirus crisis supercharged that drop in ways that experts say will not easily be reversed. No overriding explanation has emerged yet for the widespread drop-off. But experts point to two potential causes: Some parents became so fed up with remot

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