Monday, February 08, 2016

Upcoming SPS Meetings

Reminder: meeting about boundary changes in the far NE region:

Olympic Hills Elementary Parent Teacher Association invite media to attend a Seattle Public Schools community meeting to discuss race and equity issues surrounding 2017 boundary changes February 9th, 6:30-7:30pm in the Cedar Park Elementary cafeteria.

From SPS:
In September of 2017, a new middle school will open in the NW Region.

Robert Eagle Staff Middle School will serve students from Greenwood, Olympic View, Northgate, Broadview-Thomson, Daniel Bagley, and Cascadia schools.

Meetings to discuss the hiring of the planning principal for this new middle school will be held at four sites. Parents of current 4th and 5th grade students are invited to attend to hear more about the hiring process and the planning that the new principal will lead during 2016-2017 to ensure a successful launch of the new school.

Parents of 6th grade middle school students at Whitman and 6th grade HCC students at Hamilton, whose reference school is one of the schools named above, are also invited to attend.

Meetings are scheduled on the following dates and times:

•February 17th at Bagley Elementary (6:30PM - 7:30PM)
•February 18th at Northgate Elementary (7 PM to 8 PM)
•February 24th at Greenwood Elementary (7PM to 8PM)
•February 25th at Cascadia Elementary Auditorium (6:30 PM to 7:30 PM)
All meetings will take place in the lunchroom unless otherwise noted at the school site. Spanish language services will be provided at Northgate and Greenwood.

Learn more about the new school on the Seattle Public Schools' Building Excellence Program website.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

The Gates "Machine"

Fellow public education blogger, Dora Taylor, does a huge job in sorting out the whole charter school timeline and actions since it was announced that the majority of former charter schools were going to ALEs for their students.

I have additional information to add based on my own public disclosure documents and research but thank you, Dora.

I would have more information but I could only get ahold of four charters' public disclosure officers (and I should have been able to easily find them all but that is the nature of charter schools - secrecy of operations).  The ones I did get ahold of?  I can't see emails from less than four months of a school's existence - of a very specific nature and timeline - until "March or April."

That would be after the Washington State legislative session is over. 

Seattle Schools This Week

I note that the next week is the Mid-Winter break but only Monday and Tuesday with school resuming on Wednesday, Feb. 17th.   

Monday, Feb. 8th
Curriculum&Instruction Policy Committee meeting at JSCEE, from 4:30-6:30 pm.  Agenda

I note from the minutes of the last C&I meeting that there are now 21 Racial Equity teams.  It would be interesting to hear more about what these teams are doing and how much variation there is by school. 

I also see that the district is asking for a waiver of the 180-day school year requirement of three days so that elementaries and K-8s can have parent-teacher conferences.  This is nothing new but the one thing that caught my eye is that the district saves about $120K by not operating buses to elementary schools on those three days.  Wonder what they do with that savings?

Looking thru the documentation, I see a document from the Alliance for Education that the district is accepting a grant via the Nesholm Family Foundation for services at three middle schools up to $531,655.  This is great but then I checked out what it pays for.

South Shore Invites 100 Black Men to School

From SPS:

National African-American Parent Involvement Day
February 8, 2016
7 a.m. – 2 p.m.
South Shore PK-8

In a dynamic family engagement event, South Shore Pre-K – 8 School will be host to over 100 men of African descent, welcoming every child with enthusiastic “high fives” to school on Monday, February 8th in honor of the school’s 8th annual celebration of National African-American Parent Involvement Day (NAAPID).

Thereafter, families, district leaders, community members and friends of South Shore will participate in a day-long program of activities that will engage students and attendees to strengthen school-family-community partnerships to advance student success.

From NW Facts:

The goals of the event include:
  1. Reframe the social and racial narrative concerning Black men by displaying and exposing students to the diversity of Black male excellence;
  2. Affirming the importance of educational equity by celebrating children and families of African descent; and
  3. Catalyzing regional adoption of NAAPID at other schools, school districts and communities throughout the region.

Of Legislative Matters

Feb. 5th was one of the key dates in the 60-day legislative session.  It was the policy cut-off in the House of Origin.

Here are the next key dates:

Feb. 9th: Fiscal Cut-off in the House of Origin
Feb. 17: House of Origin Cut-off
Feb. 26th: Policy Cut-off in the Opposite House
Feb. 29th: Fiscal Cut-off in the Opposite House
March 4th: Opposite House Cut-off
March 10th: Last Day of Session

To note, Feb. 9th is this Tuesday.  By then, that leaves about one month left in the session.  I wouldn't say the legislature has set out a particularly ambitious session (except from their own viewpoints) but there are good things in there for public education.

These include:
- simple majority for school bond measures
- financing school facilities
- levy cliff
- high school graduation assessments requirements (SHB 2214 and HB 1855)
- of special interest to me and other public ed activists, a bill, HB 2576, to limit the amount of time any agency has to devote to fulfilling public disclosure requests
- both bills on raising the amount for school district directors compensation both passed out of committees. (SB 6459 and HB 2851)

However, that does not - in any way, despite the posturing of some - negate the lack of any real work on McCleary.  That some Republicans can't even agree to the terms of the one bill (HB 2366) (SB 6195) that came out of the Governor's work group (they want to push the timeline further out), should tell you something about their commitment to the work.

My belief is that there are those who want to dally and delay as long as possible.  Both sides agree it will be a heavy lift and there is no single source of existing money for McCleary. We all get that but honestly, where's there's a will, there's a way.  It would appear that some are quite myopic on this point.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

What Should You Be Reading in High School?

Two interesting thoughts for discussion.

One was this post from Diane Ravitch's blog, A Father Learns about Common Core.  (Readers point out that this dad may be confusing AP Language and Composition for AP Literature and Composition - I don't know.)  He's a little sad over the reading list which, according CC standards, is more non-fiction based than fiction.  Here's some of the works (which he also says seem short):

Friday, February 05, 2016

Great Opportunity for Computer Science Learning Over Winter Break

From UW's Computer Science and Engineering department:

Midwinter Break Workshops!
February 16 & 20
Noon - 4 p.m.
Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science & Engineering, UW Seattle

Discover the intersection of computer science and electrical engineering with the Arduino microcontroller!

High School Sports and Student Safety

From the Herald, a local story but with national implications - the use of rubberized fields and the incidence of cancer for young athletes (mostly soccer players who are goalies.)

Ballard Meeting with Flip Herndon

I was unable to attend but I thought I'd throw up an open thread on high school issues.

Link to discussion at APP website:

Friday Open Thread

As we all suspected, the district/schools are phasing out self-contained Spectrum.  The latest? Lafayette.  I have no idea if this decision was made with teachers and community.  Also, if I were a parent, I would not really appreciate the edu-jargon - the principal could have used much easier-to-grasp language.  He also makes it sound like previously, some students were benefiting more than others at Lafayette.