Tuesday, April 17, 2018

School Assignment Results Available

The district has updated the school assignment lookup tool with the results of open enrollment:

If you haven't received notification of the results and you have your student id in hand you can check it here.

Monday, April 2, 2018

April '18 Open Thread

The big news for the week and really the year as a whole is the pending announcement of the new superintendent.

HCSAC Meeeting

The April meeting of the Highly Capable Services Advisory Committee will take place tomorrow - TuesdayApril 3, 6:30 - 8:00 pm - at the John Stanford Center, Room 2700. You can check in at the Security Window for access to the 2nd Floor.

Remaining meetings this year will take place:

May 1, JSCEE, Room 2700
June 5, Madison Middle School, Library

College Accceptance Success Stories

I just heard from a friend that some of this year's IHS seniors have been accepted to Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Dartmouth, Penn and MIT.  Congratulations to all of these seniors.

[I'll add any other school/acceptance info that people post/send my way.]

What's on your minds?

Monday, March 5, 2018

Principal Turnover at Washington and Hamilton Middle Schools

In a coincidence both Susan Follmer and Tip Blish are stepping down this year.  Now is the time for parents  to get organized and push for a voice in the replacement process. There are few things more critical to a building's success than its principal.

Dear Washington Middle School Community,As you may be aware, Principal Susan Follmer will be retiring at the end of this school year.  Principal Follmer has worked hard to serve the Washington community for the past four years and we are thankful for her commitment and dedication to our school community.Looking forward, we are beginning the process of selecting the next principal for Washington Middle School for the 2018 – 2019 school year. The principal selection process is a great opportunity for the whole community to revisit priorities, values and hopes as they participate in the selection of a new principal. This letter articulates Seattle Public Schools’ hiring process for principals as well as the specific timeline for your school’s hiring process.
The Seattle Public Schools Principal Hiring ProcessThe following are the guidelines Seattle Public Schools uses when hiring for a principal:
  • The Superintendent has hiring authority at all times and may appoint or move a principal (or assistant principal) at any time.
  • Per the Principals’ Association Collective Bargaining Agreement, we consider the interest of principals and assistant principals for horizontal or vertical movement. The Chief of Schools reviews the requests and can make recommendations to the Superintendent if the person is a strong fit for the school.
  • If the Superintendent does not make an appointment or approve a transfer, Human Resources posts the position to candidates in our principal leadership pool. Internal and external applicants apply to be in the principal pool starting in January. From there, the school’s Executive Director of Schools works with the school’s Building Leadership Team (BLT) to form a hiring team that screens applications, interviews candidates and recommends their top 2-3 candidates to the superintendent. The superintendent then makes the final decision. Hiring teams typically consist of the following:
  • Elementary School – one primary teacher, one secondary teacher, two parents, one specialist (SPED, ELL, PE, Art, etc.), the administrative secretary or a classified representative, 1-2 school or central office administrators, and one to two executive directors. The total would be 9-10 members on the team.
  • Secondary School – three core instruction teachers (or two core teachers and one specialist), three parents/guardians or community representatives, the administrative secretary or a classified representative, one instructional assistant, 1-2 school or central office administrators, and 1-2 executive directors. The total would be 11 or 12 members on a team.
  • There are times where the Superintendent will recommend a candidate be hired with an “interim” status. This usually takes place when a position has not filled by a specific date, usually in mid to late August, or a position comes open after the student school year has started.
The Timeline for Hiring a Principal for Washington Middle SchoolWe are moving to open hiring for Washington Middle School. The following is the approximate timeline:
  • Mid-February:  We will post the principal position for applicants who have been screened into the SPS principal pool.
  • Early March: Sarah Pritchett Executive Director of Schools, will work with the staff and community to determine desired characteristics of the new principal.
  • Early/Mid-March: Sarah Pritchett will work with the Building Leadership Team (BLT) to form a formal interview team made up of staff and families.
  • Mid-March: The interview team will select candidates to interview, interview those candidates and then select 2-3 finalists. The superintendent will interview the finalists, make the final decision and announce the new principal to the community.
We are looking for parents who are interested in serving on the interview team who represent the diversity of our school community. If you are interested in being considered for the interview team, please contact Assistant Principal, Devin Murphy, at dlmurphy@seattleschools.org who will share your names with the Building Leadership Team.Sincerely,Mike Starosky, Ed.D.Chief of Schools, Assistant Superintendent

January 31, 2018
Dear Hamilton International Middle School Community,
I am sharing an announcement I made to the Hamilton staff on Tuesday: This summer, my family is moving overseas, and I will resign as principal effective July 1. This is a wonderful opportunity for our two daughters for Bridget and me; her work is taking us to London for two years, and we are thrilled to share an immersive, international experience. But it is taking me away from the very best work I can imagine. 
I am extremely optimistic about Hamilton and about the direction we are headed but bitter I won’t be here to share in its future and work alongside you, the educators here, and, best of all, the wonderfully diverse, creative, quirky, inspiring Hamilton students. 
I will leave a school and community that’s in a great place – not where we want to be but clear on where we’re headed. Our students are performing at the highest levels of middle school students anywhere around and that’s been increasing year over year since I got here. That as true for our students of color as it is for our white students even though we know that the gap between those two groups of students remains unacceptable. 
I am especially encouraged by the leadership and focus of our teachers and support staff. They are strong educators individually but have been increasingly working together to make a Hamilton education even better for every student who walks in our doors. That’s taken the form of collaborating on aligning curriculum in math and science as well as work on making this school a place of learning that is welcome and is place where each student and family feels they belong. 
As you likely know, Hamilton is supported by a group of family volunteers on the PTSA and the Friends of Music at Hamilton International whose work is infused with thoughtfulness, innovation, care, and commitment to what we do here.
Hamilton has a bright future and an amazing community of people to take it there.
Jon Halfaker, Executive Director of Schools, will lead the process to find the next Hamilton principal. He knows the school and its community very well. As soon as that process is prepared, he or I will let you know.
In so many ways, I wish I were not writing this letter—if I listed the ways, this already long letter would be even longer. I love this work, love this school, and love its community. And it will be personally very hard to leave it. It’s small but important comfort that I will hand over the keys to a great, great middle school.
I look forward to seeing you over the next six months,

Thursday, March 1, 2018

March '18 Open Thread

March brings the beginning of the district and school wide budgeting process.  I'm hoping we'll see more clarity on the structure of High School as well.

Board Working Session Agenda on 24 Credit Planning:

There are several different scenarios discussed in this document.  I snipped only one of them above so definitely take a read if you're interested. Its a bit unclear how this process is working since I've heard but not verified that several High Schools are rolling out schedule changes prior to this being fully adopted.


Running Start: 

"Community colleges had been counting on more generous state dollars from Washington’s public schools to help fix a funding imbalance in the state’s dual-credit program known as Running Start. 
But a budget bill passed by the state Senate could undo that possibility."

Seattle Times Link

New Assignment Plan Task Force

Seattle Public Schools is seeking parents, community members, and students to join district staff in the upcoming Student Assignment Plan Task Force as we review the policies and procedures around student enrollment, assignment and school choice and develop a set of recommendations for improvements that support the success of all students across the district. 
The Student Assignment Plan Task Force will carry out two key objectives:
Review the Student Assignment Plan and most recent Student Assignment Transition Plan and Develop recommendations for an equity focused enrollment and student assignment process.
To learn more about the task force, please visit the Student Assignment Plan Task Force webpage. Applications are due on Mon., March 19, 2018. Applicants will be notified no later than March 23, 2018. Please email questions to enrollmentplanning@seattleschools.org 
Its a bit unclear from the description what the scope of the work is and how much his affects HCC but it may be of interest.

March HC Advisory Committee Meeting

The March meeting of the Highly Capable Services Advisory Committee will take place tomorrow - Tuesday, March 6, 6:30 - 8:00 PM - at the Robert Eagle Staff Middle School Library, 1330 N 90th St, Seattle, WA 98103.

- Update from Advanced Learning
- Continued work on the Program Review Tool

Upcoming meetings will take place:

April 3, JSCEE, Room 2700
May 1, JSCEE, Room 2700
June 5, Madison Middle School, Library

Math Counts Scholarship
"We know that an experience in MATHCOUNTS can be transformative and incredibly meaningful for a student. MATHCOUNTS can change opinions about mathematics. It can lead a student to a career in science, engineering, technology or mathematics. It can build critical thinking and problem-solving skills that are invaluable to success in the future. In short, it can help a student realize no less than his or her full potential.
The MATHCOUNTS Alumni Scholarship is a $3,000 award presented to an outstanding alumnus/a whose experience in a MATHCOUNTS program had an impact on his/her outlook on math and influenced his/her academic or professional pursuits. Created in 2014, this scholarship ensures that MATHCOUNTS can recognize the work of talented alumni and continue to expand their academic and professional opportunities."

Pi Day Video

What's on your minds?

UW Math Hour Lectures

We are excited to announce our spring series of Math Hour lectures, aimed at middle- and junior high school students and their families.  The dates and titles for the talks are:
March 25, 2018
Henry Cohn, Microsoft Research -- "Dense sphere packings in a million dimensions"

April 15, 2018
Jennifer McLoud-Mann, UW Bothell -- "One Tile at a Time: Mathematicians' Quest to Discover All Convex Polygonal Tessellations"

May 20, 2018
David Pengelley, Oregon State University -- "All tangled up and searching for the beauty of symmetry"

For more information about the Math Hour talks and the UW Math Hour Olympiad, which will be held on June 3, please visit our website 

All talks take place on the main UW campus in Savery Hall room 260.  Information about parking, along with a campus map, can also be found on our website.
The Math Hour lectures are aimed at students in grades 6-10, along with well-behaved parents, teachers, or older siblings/friends.  The lectures are free to everyone.  No registration is required. 
Flyers for the first talk and for the entire spring series are attached.

We hope to see you there!
Steven Klee (klees@seattleu.edu)
Seattle University Department of Mathematics
Julia Pevtsova (julia@math.washington.edu)
University of Washington Department of Mathematics

Friday, February 16, 2018

New Facebook group for High School Parents

Some parents have recently setup a new facebook group specifically for high school HCC discussions. I assume it will operate similarly to the elementary and middle school ones and should be of use to many of you. (Note: there usually is a verification process to join, make sure to accurately fill out any questions.)

If you interested sign up here: HCC High School Page https://www.facebook.com/groups/1159951057475090

HCC Middle School Page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/658956350817901

HCC Elementary Page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SeattleHCCelementary/

If you have other groups you'd like to publicize (and have appropriate permission) I'm happy to add to the list.

As a side note, I think this blog plays a unique role given the many social media options and I hope others feel the same and keep coming here as well.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

February '18 Open Thread

I'm very relieved after last night's board meeting.  The recap for everyone who didn't tune in is:

  • The last boundary map F4.3 was adopted. 
  • Lincoln will serve as the north end HCC pathway and the Language Immersion pathway.
  • Most of the big boundary adjustments are in the Lincoln area. The side effects around the rest of the map were minimized versus some of the earlier iterations.
  • Re:grandfathering:  students who choose the pathway high school next year are to be grandfathered, current W. Seattle students at Washington are also to be grandfathered at Garfield. 
  • The resolution passed asking the staff to report back on improving identification and increasing advanced learning in every high school next year. Based on that work, the board may revisit the need for a pathway. So basically, the arguments will continue next year but hopefully with better supporting data.

So hopefully, everyone has enough information to make an informed choice for next year.  Open enrollment will start on February 5th. District Link

Things I'm tracking
  • NGSS Science Standards
  • The new superintendent search
  • Lincoln H.S. rollout.
  • Bus Strike

The February meeting of the Highly Capable Services Advisory Committee will take place tomorrow - Tuesday, February 6,:30 - 8:00 PM - at the John Stanford Center for Education Excellence, Room 2776.

A code for the elevator/door code is available at the security window in the Lobby.

The agenda will include:

- Recap on High School Boundary changes
- Updates from new schools: Madison, Robert Eagle Staff and Decatur
- Update from Advanced Learning on the eligibility process
- Continued work on the Program Review Tool

Future meetings will take place:
March 6, Robert Eagle Staff Middle School, Library
April 3, JSCEE, Room 2700
May 1, JSCEE, Room 2700
June 5, Madison Middle School, Library

What's on your minds?

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Notes from the Ballard Meeting on new Science Standards

I received some updates from the folks (mostly at Ballard) organizing around the proposed High School Science realignment,


District Page:

"The current and new course sequence are: 
Current Requirements
  • 9th Grade: Physical Science
  • 10th Grade: Biology and Biology B
  • 11th Grade: none
New Science Requirements for Class of 2021 and Beyond
  • 9th Grade: Physics A and Chemistry A
  • 10th Grade: Biology A and Biology B
  • 11th Grade: Physics B, Chemistry B
  • 11th Grade: Advanced Path: HC, AP or IB science
  • 11th Grade: Alternative Path: Science Elective or Career and Technical Education
Because high school students will now have to take three years of science instead of two, the High School Alignment Team has already begun re-arranging standards taught in 9th and 10th grade to help prepare students to successfully take the third year of science and pass the state science exam.

The Alignment Team bundled the standards into six one-semester courses. Each course includes content in either biology, chemistry or physics (Biology A, Biology B, Chemistry A, Chemistry B, Physics A and Physics B). Embedded in each course are the new earth and space science standards as well as engineering, technology and application skills that are a part of the new state standards.

Physics A and Chemistry A are conceptual in content, and the math covered in each would be what students had taken to that point in ninth grade. According to school board policy 2026 and superintendent procedure 2026SP, the A and B courses are not new, but rather a re-alignment of current chemistry, physics and biology course content to align to the new standards, and therefore do not go through a review process."

Link to notes from the recent meeting at Ballard: http://bit.ly/2EeIZvK

Facebook group organizing around the issue

Google drive with info:

Currently contains:
  • Letter from a Ballard Science Teacher
  • Response from the district Alignment team.

Here is a signup form (mainly to get emails to add to the Google Group): https://goo.gl/forms/9pF43lKL5oZkWA7t2

2018 Open Enrollment Questions (Which school should I choose?)

Open enrollment starts on February 5th.   There's obviously a great deal of uncertainty about the high school pathways.  I feel really bad for all the families stuck in the middle of this process and I promise I'll have a post 1/31 thread to discuss issues related to those changes once we have some clarity.

[Update: see http://discussapp.blogspot.com/2018/02/february-18-open-thread.html for the final h.s. boundaries decisions]

In the meantime, what questions do you have for other parents at any of the various schools (elementary, middle or high school)?

2 new Amendments

There are two new amendment/resolutions for the upcoming Board Meeting related to pathways: 


Amendment 4:  (West Seattle Area)

Allow current 7th grade highly capable students from West Seattle attending Washington Middle School to enroll in Garfield as rising 9th graders in 2019-20. Approval of this item would allow current 7th grade highly capable students from West Seattle attending Washington Middle School to enroll in Garfield as rising 9th graders in 2019-20.

Substitute Resolution for 18-10

Substitute Resolution No. 2017/18-10 to affirm the vision for equitable access to advanced coursework in all high schools and develop the detailed plan for implementation by 2021-22. 

Approval of this item would replace Resolution No. 2017/18-10 as introduced on January 17 with a substitute version that affirms the vision for equitable access to advanced coursework, calls for more equitable identification practices for advanced learning and highly capable services, and requests a report that will detail the comprehensive plan for increasing advanced learning in all high schools following a collaborative planning process.

18-10 was the horribly flawed resolution that would just dissolve the pathways. The replacement one here offered by Mack, Patu and Pinkham is vastly superior.

Some quick predictions: given 3 board members have sponsored this one and you only need 4 to pass this version will likely pass as will the general interim plan to have the Pathways be Lincoln/Garfield/W. Seattle for the next few years.

Scenario F4.3: The official boundaries going forward. With the ammendments

  • The Language Immersion Pathway will also be at Lincoln.
  • You will be able to attend your area pathway high school if you are qualified regardless of what middle school you attended.
  • Grandfathering was given to the W. Seattle students at Washington Middle School to attend Garfield.
  • Language seems to be intact that if you're in a HC pathway High School in 2018-19 you will also be grandfathered.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

SB 6508 Proposed changes to the identification requirements in the State HiCap program

We need your help to pass this bill.
A landmark bill, SB 6508, was introduced in the WA State Senate yesterday, mandating equitable HiCap identification practices in all school districts.  This is big, big, BIG news! 

We need a MOUNTAIN of advocates across the state to band together to have any chance of getting this bill passed in this short 60-day legislative session.

Want to learn more about the bill and the process from here? Need sample text to copy/paste? Scroll down to the bottom of this email.

Call to Action!  
We need EVERYONE to do 3 things RIGHT NOW:
1. Submit a "support" comment on the bill via this SUPER EASY link:
2. Send an email to the Senate Education Committee Members asking them to schedule a hearing and pass the bill out of committee. Send an email to the following addresses:
3. Sign up to help with testifying in Olympia, attending Gifted Ed Day on Feb 8, reaching out to legislators, or other ongoing support activities:

I want to know more. What's happening?
 The Coalition for Gifted Education, WAETAG, NWGCA, and NAGC teamed up this fall to write a bill about mandating equitable identification practices. Experts from UW, Whitworth, and others weighed in as well. 

The bill has been introduced in the Senate as SB 5608 by Senator Christine Rolfes (Vice-Chair of the Senate Education Committee) and Senator Ann Rivers. A companion bill will be introduced shortly in the House, sponsored by Rep. Brandon Vick and others.

Some highlights of the bill:
  • Mandatory universal screening at or before 2nd grade, and again at or before 6th grade
  • All screening and testing happens during the school day (no Saturdays)
  • Use instruments in the native language of the student when possible, or use nonverbal instruments
  • Don't use subjective measures like report card grades and teacher comments to screen kids out from consideration
  • Use local norms, but never allow local norms to be more restrictive than national norms
  • 3 hours of professional development per biennium for administrators, principals, and members of the Multidisciplinary Selection Committee (which make HiCap placement decisions)
You can see the full bill text and other info here

We expect the Senate bill hearing to be next week, the week of Jan 29. The first challenge is making sure the Senate Education Committee actually schedules the hearing, and then, that they pass the bill out of committee to get voted on by the whole Senate on the Senate floor.

The House hearing will likely be a bit later, early/mid Feb. Similarly, it will need to be heard by the House Education Committee, then voted on the House floor. We are particularly looking for people in Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos' district (37), as she is the chair of the House Education Committee and in large part decides whether a hearing is even scheduled. If you are in her distrct, PLEASE answer our survey.

Having many people attend the hearings is important. We only need about 15-20 people to speak, but will ask all in the room who are there to support this issue to stand so that the committee members can see the volume of support. Seeing all your faces - and your kids faces - is huge.

Even if you can't attend in person, submitting written testimony on the bill is also extremely valuable.

Once hearing dates are announced, we will let you know. We should know in the next couple days.

If you can help, be sure to answer our survey

I'm happy to write a comment or email, but I don't know what to say...

Here are things you can copy/paste into your message. Mix & match, edit, and add your own story or your own personal touches - or just keep it short and sweet, a sentence is enough:
  • I strongly support this bill.
  • Dear Senate Education Committee Members, Please schedule a hearing and move this important bill out of committee.
  • This is an urgent issue in my community.
  • The gross inequities in our highly capable programs must be fixed ASAP.
  • This is a big issue in my school district, and this bill will make a big improvement.
  • Districts need to up their game and actually screen all students for highly capable needs. It's so easy for these kids to blend in, but ultimately they won't get their needs met and eventually they disengage from school, underachieve, or worse.
  • De facto segregation in our state's highly capable program is unacceptable. This bill will go a long way to answering that need. 
  • Bravo! This bill is exactly what we need.
  • It's about time! Thank you WA Senate for answering the needs of the community.
You do not have to write lengthy comments, though of course those are welcome.  
IF YOU DO WRITE SPECIFIC COMMENTS, PLEASE STAY FOCUSED ON THE NEED FOR BETTER, MORE EQUITABLE IDENTIFICATION PRACTICES (such as universal screening and screening during the school day, not Saturdays), and the need to proactively identify HiCap kids in historially underserved groups such as low-income students, students of color, English Language Learners, Homeless students, and students with disabilities (2e).  
Please do not write about HiCap program funding, curriculum, or service models (which are much more controversial topics that distract from this bill.) 
Was this email forwarded to you? Join our mailing list 
Northwest Gifted Child Association |  info@nwgca.org | http://www.nwgca.org
NWGCA is still looking for a TREASURER and a MARKETING/ADVERTISING specialist. We are open to other skillsets as well. Looking for a way to give back to your community? We would love to have you on our board of directors! Email us at info@nwgca.org 

Monday, January 22, 2018

High School Changes Thread

Per a reader request this thread is for discussion about any of the non-boundary related high school changes for next year.

"Emergent Parent and Educator Science Alignment Changes Meeting

Do you want all children to have access to AP science classes at Seattle Public Schools?
Would you like Ballard HS to be able to continue to offer the Biotech Academy, Ingram's IB program, or the diversity of each high school's science offerings?
Please join us during a community action committee meeting to learn more about planned changes to science learning opportunities at all Seattle public high schools. Our timeline is short for influencing this process. These changes will affect all HS kids starting this fall, as it will radically redistribute science resources!

On Thursday, January 25 at 7 PM at Ballard High School Library, parents and educators will be gathering to discuss concerns related to a planned high school science curriculum alignment to be rolled out starting with the '18-19 freshman class.

Contact Tia Keenan tmkeenan@uwalumni.com with any questions. Hope to see you there!"
  • 24 core related scheduling changes
  • 8 period day
Note: There is a separate open-enrollment thread for general questions deciding about where to go.  

Thursday, January 18, 2018

1/17 Board Meeting

This is a thread to discuss the latest board meeting and high school boundary developments.

Seattle Public Media Stream of the meeting:

I have not had time yet to view this or parse anything but I hope to make some updates to this post once I have.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

What's going on with High School Boundaries

After some conversations with neighbors I realized not everyone can keep up with the rapidly changing situation. So for those of you just joining or who have not been  avidly reading all the posts and comments for the last few months here's a quick summary:

Almost all the High Schools are overcrowded and only getting worse as larger classes age up.

SPS HS Projections

We're also currently in the process of bringing Lincoln H.S. online. Both these trends require a redrawing of boundaries. At the same time the size of the HCC cohort at Garfield has also increased just like the general population and no longer fits so it has become a huge part of the conversation.
As of right now the district has gone through several unsuccessful iterations of planning that culminated in the board rejecting the staff's plan last month. They are currently exploring one of 2 long term options:

1. Dissolving the HC pathways in high school and sending the students back to their attendance area high schools by 2021.

2. Setting Lincoln up as the North End pathway and W. Seattle H.S. for West Seattle. You can see some maps of the proposed boundaries here: http://discussapp.blogspot.com/…/capacity-scenario-visualiz…

Official SPS Link: https://www.seattleschools.org/departments/enrollment_planning/growth_boundaries/high_school_boundary_changes/

This current round of planning should result in a decision at the end of the month 1/31 if a consensus is reached by the school board.

Why is this important to everyone?
If you look at where the HC students are coming from a huge number are from the Roosevelt and Ballard area and returning them to the building is going to have a dramatic effect leading to either:
1. Increased overcrowding. There are around 530ish freshman even today in a building like Roosevelt that has a capacity for about 400 per class. We're talking about at least 100 more kids on top of that per year.
2. A dramatic domino effect movement of students between buildings. One estimate from Kelli LaRue was about 3000 high schoolers will have to switch in attempt to right size the buildings.
For the HC cohort there are additional risks to being dispersed. These will be felt at the periphery sites like Nathan Hale or Franklin where there are very few identified students and there is neither the money nor the will on the part of the principals to serve them.
I have a write up here with more details:

[Since this is a summary and the discussion is already occurring in existing posts I've disabled comments. ]
* I corrected a small mistake in the RHS numbers mentioned.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Capacity Scenario Visualizations

Courtsey of Evan Mclain:

Official maps and data can be foundhttps://www.seattleschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=30514191