Showing posts from November, 2022

Seattle Schools' Focus Groups on "Communication and Community Engagement"

Dear SPS Families, Seattle Public Schools (SPS) is committed to strengthening communication and community engagement. This school year, we are working with the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) to review our communication efforts. This effort will help us better meet your communication needs. NSPRA is conducting focus groups to gather feedback from our diverse Seattle Public Schools community. You are invited to take part in a focus group of families of students who receive special education services.  The focus group will be held Wednesday, Nov. 30, 6 - 7 p.m. Participants will meet with an NSPRA auditor via a secure Zoom online meeting. You can join with a computer, smartphone or other mobile device from a quiet, private location. The auditor will ask questions about the communication efforts of our school district and perceptions of its current image and future challenges. NSPRA maintains the anonymity of focus group participants in its reporting. Only the members

Thank You Kids (We See You)

 A lovely op-ed from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution by mom Beth Gollum. Here's the start of it: For a few years now, our children have borne many of the sacrifices in the battle against COVID-19. They’ve sat out of proms, kindergarten graduations, field trips, and even for some, being in the schoolhouse in its entirety. As the era of assessing impacts of the fallout from the pandemic are here in the form of mental health statistics and academic performance numbers, it’s a good time to say thank you during this season of gratitude. Children are thirsty for a framework and narrative to draw meaning and conclusion to difficult experiences. One way to teach children how to write the narrative of experience is to teach the practice of gratitude. Keeping a keen eye for the glimmer of hope, the silver lining in the dark clouds. Gratitude draws our attention to what can be gained to help us cope with what has been lost. As youth so often do, they learn best by example, so here is a mess

Seattle City Budget Reflects Some SPS Needs

It's quite a fascinating display of power going on among youth and young adults in this country.  First came the diking of the "red wave" helped very much by Gen X voters. That's flexing some muscle that could have a big impact for 2024 elections. Regarding the next budget for the City of Seattle, three items have some public education viewpoints. One,  it appears from the media reporting on SPS students' demands for mental health counseling also managed to get the City Council's attention. The Stranger's Hannah Krieg on the student walkout over the recent shooting death at Ingraham High School: As for the City, which does not have much power to regulate guns , the students asked the council to reroute $9 million from SPD to pay for counselors. The students calculated that this investment would be enough to pay a living wage for one counselor for every 200 high schoolers in Seattle, the same ratio the students demanded at the June rally. The student prote

This and That

In Brownsville, Kentucky, a superintendent has closed the entire district for all of next week: "Yesterday and today, attendance has dipped to 85%.  At 85%, we are losing money by staying open.   With this in mind, we will be closed on Monday 11/21/22 and Tuesday 11/22/22.  These will be NTI days 1 and 2 for the 2022-2023 school year.  This will give students an opportunity for 9 days away from each other so that we can hopefully curtail the spread of Flu A & B and Strep, which seem to be the culprits of our sickness. This is a tough decision to make; however, it is what is best for the kids of Edmonson County at this time." The district is losing money but don't kids need to be in school? I'm not sure that would have been my lead if I were writing this notification. Second, it's not COVID. It's flu and strep. That's a lot of sickness that spread around.  How's it going at your child's school? One side note:  Extracurricular activities will be

Safety Updates in the Aftermath of the Ingraham High Shooting

Updates: There was a community meeting to talk about student safety solutions last Thursday (this from KOMO news ). It was put on by the African American Community Advisory Council for SPD (the location was not in the KOMO story).  Former school resource officers who were in attendance spoke out about how they would like a chance to return to campuses and building bridges with students. However, the suggestion to reinstate school resource officers didn’t sit well with many people who took part in the meeting. Some see SROs as a threat and said gun violence on school campuses won't end because an armed officer is present. Seattle Public Schools unilaterally  ended the SRO program in 2020 .  This seems to me the most important comment: “If you guys really want to learn how to change, continue to talk to your people," said one teenager who declined to state his name. "Continue to talk to the community, and talk to the kids. Ask them what they need.”  One comment I have beyon

Please Let the FTC Know of Your Concerns about Student Data Privacy

 From noted data privacy activist, Leonie Haimson: Right now, the Federal Trade Commission is collecting comments from the public about how their oversight of the use of personal data by commercial enterprises can be improved. As you know, many parents are rightly concerned that too many vendors that collect personal student data at the behest of schools and districts have recklessly allowed that data to breach, and/or have used it for advertising, sale, or other commercial purposes.  The comment period to the FTC has been extended through this Monday, Nov. 21, 2022 , and we encourage all parents to submit comments by the end of that day. Since the pandemic, the risky use of digital programs and apps in schools has soared. Most of these programs are operated and owned by for-profit companies who have been collecting personal student data without parental consent, sufficient oversight, restrictions, and/or security protections. As a result, the number of student data breaches has expl

No Revisionist History

 I've said it before and I'll say it again - no revisionist history. And yet, that's what seems to be happening. I believe some of this churn is about Critical Race Theory. The GOP has been nothing short of brilliant by saying IT is racist because it makes kids, even kids of color, feel bad about themselves.  How about the goal of NOT making ANY student feel bad about themselves?  How about the goal of teaching a complete history of the United States, all the while explaining to students that hearing all of it will be the best medicine to never repeat it? I listened in on the League of Education Voters panel yesterday on CRT. One observation that really brought the idea of teaching all the history home to me came from a professor on the panel, Dr. Verónica Vélez, who teaches at Western Washington University. She was relating a story about how her mother had been a great gardener but Dr. Vélez never listened as she was growing up. Fast forward to today and Vélez wanted to l

Ingraham High Needs Our Support

 Via Facebook today from Friends of Ingraham High School: From one of the Friends of Ingraham co-presidents, Trina Nonis:     At Friends of Ingraham we have been hearing from the community that people are eager to help and show their support. After the shooting and tragic death of a student inside our school building last Tuesday morning at the beginning of 2nd period, we have been struggling to understand how to best support the children and staff at Ingraham. We are now sharing with you an opportunity to show your support to our Ingraham family.   We would welcome and appreciate some POSTERS to hang up in the hallways at Ingraham, to show your support of the students as they go about their days at school. Our students feel encouraged when they see that they have the support of other school communities. Can you help make this happen?   We welcome messages like "JAMS loves IHS" or "Sealth is with you!" or similar positive and simple messages, in many languages. We

Special Education Event Online TONIGHT

The Seattle Special Education PTSA, in partnership with The Arc of King County, Roots of Inclusion, PAVE (Partnerships for Action, Voices for Empowerment), Open Doors for Multicultural Families, Washington Multicultural Services Link, and WA State OSPI present a conversation with Dr. Ross Greene: "KIDS DO WELL IF THEY CAN"   How Collaborative & Proactive Solutions (CPS) Helps Schools Meet the Needs of ALL LEARNERS While Reducing Exclusionary Disciplinary Practices Like Suspensions, Restraints and Isolation.  “Kids Do Well If They Can” will explore how Collaborative and Proactive Solutions (CPS) uses compassion and problem solving to help schools meet the needs of all learners, while reducing punitive, exclusionary disciplinary practices like suspensions, restraints, and isolation.  The free, online event will run from 6 to 8 pm. It is an opportunity for families and educators to hear what schools get right and what they get wrong in supporting learners. Dr. Greene will ex

Update to the Ingraham High Shooting; What Happened

Emotions tend to run high in the teen years, for both boys and girls. And sometimes, things get out of hand. There are court documents, 911 calls (that name the shooter) and SPS video (with no audio) that give an account of the event. From the court documents, there's a timeline of events that cumulated in the shooting. From KIRO 7: The incident started with a fight over the gun allegedly used in the shooting, according to the documents. Investigators say that gun was reported missing on Oct. 28 — 11 days before the shooting took place. It was reported to the Snohomish County Sheriff's department as "lost." A physical fight involving several students broke out inside a bathroom near the school’s library before those shots were fired. Five students, including the two accused suspects, were involved in that fight, which allegedly started because the victim and two others wanted the gun that the suspects had brought to school. Where it stands legally: The 14-year-old all

Seattle Schools' High School Youth To Rise Up This AM Against Gun Violence

At last week's Board meeting, 90% of what was discussed was the shooting at Ingraham High School that took the life of one student. The most moving points were made by the two youth board members, Luna Crone-Baron and Nassira Hassan.  Student leaders announced on Twitter that they are encouraging all high school students to walk out of class today at 9:50 am to rally at their schools. Some students will be marching to City Hall for a rally there at 11:30 am, hoping to move the Mayor and City Council to action. This was a tweet on 11/13 from the Seattle Student Union (@SeaStudentUnion): We demand the Seattle City Council allocate $9 million to fund mental health counselors in every Seattle high school. One student also noted that Nathan Hale High School in Lake City was sheltering in place for two days in a row after receiving threats. This was one day after the Ingraham High incident. The Student Union also said this the day of the shooting on Twitter(partial): It's hard to co

Around SPS, Things That Make You Go, Hmmm

 Over on the HCC High School page, a parent asks about requesting accommodations for IEP/504 students when taking College Board tests . This parent was told that parents now have to do the request on their own, rather than having the SSD coordinator at the school do it. Another parent at a different school said they had the same experience.  I think part of the hmmm is if that is true, why didn't the schools just tell the parents upfront, rather than waiting for the parents to figure it out on their own? Another hmmm is parent-teacher conferences. I had been told that Mercer Middle School was only doing conferences for certain families. Here's what their website says: Family Bulletin: Mercer will be hosting Parent Teacher Conferences on Friday, November 18 th . This is a NO SCHOOL for students. 8:30am-2:20pm staff will be hosting 20-minute conferences for specific families. These families will receive a call or text to schedule their conference. 2:30pm-4:00pm All fami

Following Up on the Ingraham High School Shooting

Update: The Seattle Police Department failed to read the room. From the Times :  One day after a student was shot and killed inside Ingraham High School, students at a Seattle elementary school in Wallingford were subjected to armed police drills taking place at a house across the street from the playground.  Sarah Jones, the principal of John Stanford International Elementary School, alerted families Wednesday through email and said the school wasn’t notified in advance by the Seattle Police Department, which was conducting training at the home near the school.  “Students at recess saw the officers and saw some guns,” Jones’ email said. “I immediately informed the SPS Safety and Security department so that they could have a conversation with SPD. I am sorry for any increase in trauma or anxiety that this caused in your children.” It’s not the first time the police department’s SWAT team has done training across the street from John Stanford International. But in the past,

Student Killed Today in Ingraham High School Shooting

 Updates: The police declined to say if the shooter arrested is a student. The shooting was inside with many witnesses.  At Ingraham's website, from Principal Martin Floe (partial): Dear Ingraham Families and Staff,  Recognizing there are no words to capture the emotions of today’s tragedy, I wanted to send out a brief email sharing resources and an update regarding support that will be available for the remainder of the week. As a reminder school will not be in session Wednesday or Thursday. Students should not be on campus for the remainder of the week. For Wednesday and Thursday, students can access grief and loss support  from Seattle Public Schools’ staff at the Bitterlake Community Center, 13035 Linden Ave. N, Seattle WA 98033 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.  From the Times: According to a school climate survey from the spring, about 83% of students responded favorably to questions about relationships and belonging, but only 62% responded favorably to questions about b

Who Is A. J. Crabill (and why should you care)?

Why You Should Care Mr. Crabill has found quite the acolyte in Director Chandra Hampson. In the course of discussions over SOFG, she says his name over and over, "A.J .says we...." Now that's not too surprising given the direction the district is heading and that it is Mr. Crabill's work with the Council of Great City Schools is how we got here. But it appears that Mr. Crabill is working very closely with Hampson and we know she wields some amount of power over the majority of the Board. Mr. Crabill is going to continue to work with the Board as SOFG is instituted in SPS. In fact, his role may become more public as it did at one SPS Board meeting in the spring where he was on the phone during the meeting and suggested the Board stop the meeting to "self-reflect." I also noticed that in a district in South Carolina, when things weren't going to plan, he blamed the Board for not following SOFG to the letter. Look for that to happen here if Board members w