Showing posts from August, 2022

Parents and Others, Beware!

 From The Seattle Times: Seattle police arrested two men in separate child kidnapping attempts a few hours apart on Tuesday, authorities said. At 11 a.m., a man allegedly tried to force a 10-year-old girl he did not know into a car in the 6500 block of 45th Avenue Northeast in the View Ridge neighborhood, the Seattle Police Department  said in a blotter item . A witness intervened and the man fled, leaving the child behind, police said. Officers found his car in Fremont, arrested him and booked him into the King County Jail.  Police are still investigating the incident. Shortly before 1 p.m., a 45-year-old man grabbed a 7-year-old boy who was walking with his grandmother on Second Avenue, lifting him off his feet, police said. The boy’s grandmother held onto him as a passerby helped fend off the man. Police found the man, who appeared to be in crisis, several blocks away and booked him into the King County Jail.

Seattle Schools' High School Start and End Times Update

 New tweet from SPS of interest: Beginning this year, most high schools will start at 8:50 a.m. and end at 3:40 p.m. You can find start and end time for all schools at: https://

Will Seattle Public Schools Open on September 7th?

Here's what I have gleaned. It's being reported on local tv t hat the Board of the Seattle Education Association, the teachers union, has voted to authorize a strike vote which could come this weekend. They plan to have a general membership meeting on Wednesday. From the news story, a quote from SEA leadership: None of us want to strike. But we have a choice. We can go back to school the way things were before, with a lack of student supports and widespread educator burnout. Or we can unite and advocate for something better, for a contract that puts in writing the district’s responsibility to do more for all of our students and educators for years to come," said President of SEA Jennifer Matter. "We are still actively bargaining and hope SPS chooses to come to a tentative agreement. SPS has the power to avert further action—they do this by settling a tentative agreement that meets student needs." The district's last missive was dated August 29th and seemed qu

Hampson's Second Brief to the Court in Her Lawsuit Against Seattle Schools

Seventy-four pages to slog through. Again, I do this so you don't have to.  But do look at the Table of Contents under "Statement of the Case" - really funny headings.  Reading it, I hear Hampson speaking, loud and clear. Her lawyers come in with case law about districts handling personnel issues and I cannot speak to whether those cases cited are cogent to this particular situation. Introduction It is quite clear that Hampson thinks telling the Court, over and over, that she is Native American is really important. Not sure if she's trying to message that POC can't be racist against other POC (as was suggested by several people interviewed for the investigation) or if she thinks she should be believed more because of her NA status but it is front and center for her.  In the second paragraph, we already see a twisting of the truth. It says that she worked for years to develop this policy (true), collaborated with other parents (somewhat true but there was NEVER a c

What's Happening with Seattle Schools and the Seattle Education Association Contract Negotiations?

I ask because Kent teachers have gone on strike and now North Thurston .   FYI, the superintendent of Kent SD is Israel Vela who used to work in Seattle Schools as an Executive Director.  From the KING-5 story: On Wednesday, the union passed a vote of no confidence in the Kent School Board and Superintendent Israel Vela.     "We respect and value our staff and recognize the incredible work that they do," he (Vela) continued. "It is our goal to find a mutually agreeable solution that continues to reward our valuable teachers while managing taxpayer dollars wisely. By focusing on coming to a solution that is both fair and fiscally responsible in order to start school is in the best interest of students." Seattle Schools' last update on their contract with SEA was on Wednesday, August 24th and they sound hopeful.  SEA is have a public event today at 5 pm at their Facebook page ; they call it SEA Educator Roundtable for our community. Here are their asks for the n

Still Not Enough Bus Drivers to Fill Seattle Schools' Bus Routes

Despite hiring not one but two bus companies to provide transportation for thousands of Seattle Schools' students, the district still won't have enough drivers to fill all bus routes come the start of school on September 7th. From KIRO-7 tv: The Seattle School District is warning families that some bus routes will not be in effect at the start of the school year as the district continues to be affected by a nationwide bus driver shortage.   “We know this solution is far from perfect, and we are doing everything we can to minimize disruption. Families who will not have bus service for the start of school may feel frustrated and upset,” a message shared to families in the school district reads in part. “We are committed to making sure that all students who need it have safe and dependable transportation to and from school.”   The district says families subscribed to bus routes that will not be in service will be notified before Sept. 7. I'm told that most of those bus route

A Mom's Speaks Out About Push to Ban Books/Curriculum

 Seattle is something of a bubble in the current public education arguments about what is said/taught about gender, a person's pronouns, book bans, curriculum bans, etc. You aren't seeing these vicious arguments at Seattle School Board meetings but I just had to put up this woman's very eloquent testimony at her district's Board meeting.  This mom is Adrienne Martin, the Democratic Chair of Hood County, Texas. Ms. Martin is absolutely right about those who say they are "good Christians" can go tell their church leader, not the school board. It is no issue to be discussed at school meetings.  On Twitter, I have seen this rise in some religious believers who feel emboldened by, well, something, and they think they can intimidate others, both religious and non-religious.  As you may know, the Arizona Legislature went against what voters said several years ago - saying NO to vouchers - and the Legislature approved a universal voucher plan this year and the governo

What I Learned From An (In-Person) Visit to a Board Committee

 I attended - in person no less - the most recent meeting of the Board's new Ad Hoc Committee to plan and implement their new SOFG initiative (Student Outcomes Focused Governance). I was sad that no Board members were there in person and only two of them were in the Teams meeting with Board staff.  The two members were Chandra Hampson and Liza Rankin.  I confess that I left after an hour but I plead for forgiveness because I couldn't listen to one minute more of Hampson's ramblings. For someone who tried to limit the length of director comments at Board meetings when she was president, she sure can go on and on.  This meeting was basically to continue to review their Work Plan and Timeline. I found looking at this information kinda funny because the status of many items was noted as " off-track ." I find that a telling status for a Board that yes, does seem off-track because I'm not sure the Board is thinking of ANYTHING else.  Here's their Overview of wh

The Seattle Times Investigative Story on Middle School Mental Health Screener

Will wonders never cease? For the second day in a row, the Times has printed a major story concerning public education in the Puget Sound region. And what was this story (all bold mine)? The article is about the middle school mental health screener - Check Yourself - that districts around the region are using, including Seattle Schools. Written by reporter Daniel Gilbert, it's entitled ,  How King County’s efforts to help at-risk students created a record that could jeopardize their privacy. I want to take this opportunity to do two things.  One, a HUGE thank you to the parent who brought this to my attention. This parent is not from SPS and she did so much important research and was relentless in asking questions to many of those involved in the creation of the test. She wants to remain anonymous and I will honor that request. Two, I read the entire article which was very in-depth and meaty and I want to say - I TOLD YOU SO. I wrote my first blog piece on this topic way back in 2

Seattle Times' Story on Hampson's Lawsuit

  The Seattle Times has a story this morning on Seattle School Board director Chandra Hampson's continuing lawsuit against the district. The lawsuit is over an investigation that she and former director Zachary DeWolf had demanded that then-superintendent Denise Juneau launch. (Juneau thought it odd that they wanted to have themselves investigated  but she did as they asked.) When the investigation didn't go their way, DeWolf didn't run again (not saying that's why he didn't run but he did seem to like the job) and Hampson then filed a lawsuit.  The Court's first ruling was to dismiss the case. Hampson is now appealing.  Hampson’s attorneys are seeking to overturn the finding that their client violated the district’s harassment, intimidation and bullying policy and say the district has not explained how events that led to the investigation meet the threshold of causing “substantial harm” to staffers under the policy. But attorneys representing SPS are arguing a

This and That in Seattle Schools

Just wondering if the district is going to offer parents a ny information or guidance on the state of COVID/monkeypox and their child's school . Granted, school doesn't start for a couple of weeks but it's a thought. Nothing so far at the district website.  Speaking of pandemic issues, there has been a case of polio (yes, polio) in New York State. To note, polio is a disease that really affects kids (my older sister had it and has felt its effects her entire life) so this is scary. How scary (bold mine)?   From CNN : A polio case identified in New York last month is "just the very, very tip of the iceberg" and an indication there "must be several hundred cases in the community circulating," a senior official with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told CNN on Wednesday.  The case was found In Rockland County, which has a stunningly low polio vaccination rate. Dr. José Romero, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization an

July 1st Ad Hoc Meeting and Its Documentation Materials

As I previously reported here , it appears that the Board is moving to wholesale change how the Board works and, by association, how the Superintendent works. I find it both troubling and disturbing and here's why. Could the Board mechanics work better and by extension, Board meetings? Sure. But flip the table? Nope, especially when not a single one of the current members of the Board, when they were candidates, said this was a key item that they believed would help the district. (And do keep that in mind for next year's 4-Board seat election. I think some people might have some explaining to do.) I would have no problem if it seemed to have come internally but I sense that the consultant from the Council of Great City Schools, AJ Crabill, has had a big hand in this. (He seems to be on permanent retainer.)  The new Ad Hoc Committee made up of Chandra Hampson (ever in charge), Liza Rankin and Vivian Song Maritz have been hard at work. I finally did receive documentation on the t

Thinking Again About Possible Revisions to PTA Funding in Seattle Schools

 I've often remarked that you never know what you will find looking around the Seattle Schools website. I'm often seeking one thing and stumble on another. And so it is with Lincoln High School's PTSA webpage .  Their PTSA has a very informative page on fundraising and the system they have (at least for now as a new school) for fundraising and where those dollars go. All bold mine. The good news for Lincoln High: We are delighted to announce that thanks to your generous contributions and known employer matching, we not only reached our $80,000 goal but have just hit $100,000! They go on: Since the re-opening just before the pandemic, every single program at our school is a nascent program, forming and emerging as more students enroll and our school grows. Many of our parents have spent very little time actually in our school and few of us have met in person. We haven’t had an in-person PTSA meeting or event since autumn of 2019! With that in mind we, the PTSA board, reali