Wednesday, July 1, 2015

July Open Thread

We're now in the midst of the Summer break. I hope everyone's having a great time. 

I've been thinking a lot about the new state budget: http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Gov-Inslee-signs-new-382-billion-state-budget-311196821.html.   This will bring some real changes to the education landscape.  Among them are money for class size changes, a special grant to help rehabilitate some school building in our district, and tuition decreases at the college level that have a significant effect on the GET program.

Update: the class size issue is still very much in the air:

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/lawmakers-in-limbo-over-class-size-cuts-biology-test-and-loose-ends-from-budget-deal/

What's on your mind?

Please remember to use a pseudonym when posting anonymously. I don't want to start moderating comments to enforce this rule.

27 comments :

Anonymous said...

I'd advise talking to legislators to make sure that they know the importance of the class size issue. Gerry Pollet and others are huge advocates of smaller class sizes. Let them know they have your support.

Anonymous said...

Like everyone, I read the New Yorker piece and I'm a bit unsettled. Is the Lincoln building unreinforced masonry?

brickdweller

Anonymous said...

Lincoln safety in the event of an earthquake has long freaked me out. It is unreinforced masonry according to my investigations. Some seismic upgrades were made a long time. I am not sure whether these meet moderm seismic standards (doubt it).
Bricks falling off the exterior would kill, let alone the unreinforced walls collapsing etc. I inquired of the district and got fobbed off a year or so ago. What are they going to do anyway - they dont have the money or motivation to address Seismic safety (too many other projects and issues etc). I'd rather have staff working on how they can make schools safe instead of all the other time/money-draining pet projects.
Guess we just have to cross our fingers and hope the big one (or any sized one) doesn't occur during school hours.
I don't like it one bit.

Quaking

Anonymous said...


Except this blog has not stated such a rule. If I recall correctly it was a recommendation rather than a rule, unlike the hard and fast 2 word moniker enforced at Save Seattle Schools. If it's to be a new rule maybe you could make a sidebar or bottom note with the sign off requirements.

PRK

Anonymous said...


From above "Ideally, parents would use their real names when commenting here but, if you don't want to, please pick a pseudonym of some kind and use it either in the "Name/URL" option or put it at the end of your comment. That makes it easier for other parents to respond to your comment."

Seems open enough. IMO comments are never high enough without something to warrant a hard and fast rule.

ditto PRK

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what JAMS' daily schedule will be this coming school year? Are they moving toward a more regular schedule with classes meeting 5x per week (instead if 4x per week)?

-too lazy to make up a name

Benjamin Leis said...

I'm hoping everyone will mostly add a pseudonym, with a few reminders since its hard otherwise to keep track of comments in the discussion. Use anything you want, there is no rule on how many words are in the moniker etc. Hopefully this is non controversial and easy to do.

Jujubee said...

Too lazy,

Yes, I think the JAMS schedule will have six periods plus advisory each day. Also, LA & SS will not be blocked for any grades (last year they were blocked for 6th and 7th graders). This info is from a principal chat in May, so they may have made changes since then.

-Jujubee

Anonymous said...

When do middle schoolers find out their schedule?

Newtowner

Jujubee said...

Newtowner,

For the last two years (Hamilton and JAMS), my middle schooler has gotten his schedule on the first day of school. But I believe that in previous years the schedules were mailed out in late August?

-Jujubee

SusanH said...

At Washington, students don't get their schedules until the first day of school. They report to the cafeteria to pick it up, then head to the first class.

Benjamin Leis said...

@Quaking: I emailed the district abut your questions on seismic retrofitting to the Lincoln building. I just received a reply and should have a copy of the recommended report soon. So the short story is that folks are definitely considering what to do as part of the renovation. I've assumed in the past that the prior renovation to the central wing in the 90's probably included some amount of mitigation already (There's that huge brace in the library) which hopefully will be mentioned as well in the engineering recommendations. The other piece of context to consider is that 37 buildings out of 90+ of the total in the district are going to undergo seismic work using BEX money. So the risk is not unique to the APP program.

Anonymous said...

I am looking for the grade level enrollment projections for Lincoln, like I've seen in previous years. Can anyone instruct me where to find?

NE mom

Lynn said...

They haven't been posted yet. I'd email either enrollment services or the principal.

murray said...

Does anyone know when we will receive teacher assignments for incoming 1st graders at Lincoln? Are they mailed to parents or is that something you find out on the first day?

5th grade mom said...

Typically teachers send info and a welcome letter to the families of there students via email the day before the back-to-school, "meet the teacher" event, which this year is scheduled for Sept. 3 (the Thursday before Labor Day weekend).

Anonymous said...

Random question---do teachers know if a student has a Spectrum designation? We elected for Spectrum over HCC but I'm really wondering whether the designation really means anything. When I talked to the school it sounded like group placement is simply based off of assessments at the beginning of the year.

-Wondering

Benjamin Leis said...

@Wondering - it would probably help if you added which school you're talking about. While teachers will definitely know who is spectrum identified, the program implementation varies building to building.

Anonymous said...

@Wondering, it depends, as Ben says. I assume you're talking about a Spectrum school, but we were at an ALO school and the teacher did not know which students had an advanced learning designation (HCC or Spectrum)because she did not care to look.

NE mom

Anonymous said...

@Quake is an issue that is extremely distressing. Structural doubts about the building are obviously terrifying. And does anyone know about classroom preparedness? Should we send our children with 2 packs - their school backpack and a disaster pack? Ugh.

Please do re-post when you receive the report about the seismic safety (or lack thereof) of the building, and any other related information. Many thanks.

Anonymous said...

The school in question is Hazel Wolf.

-Wondering

ABB said...

Regarding the quake - I found some Seattle-issued guides on non-structural retrofit for older schools, available at: http://www.seattle.gov/emergency-management/what-can-i-do/prepare-your-schoolchildcare-facility

I'd be very curious to know if these measures have been taken at Lincoln. Does anyone know?

Hazel Wolf parent said...

Wondering -

Generally at Hazel Wolf the teachers do know and the principal discusses class placement with the teachers ahead of time and is intentional about grouping the AL kids so that there are at least 4-7 in one classroom, so they have peers.

If you have a new student, you can email the principal and give her a heads up and ask that your child be grouped similarly (she should know the info, but it can't hurt.) It's better to email before the school year starts (and before the back to school event on 9/2 when the class lists are posted) rather than try to make a change after the lists are out.

That being said, walk-to-math is open to all students based upon the assessment at the beginning of the year (although most, if not all, AL-identified kids walk one year ahead). Other kids are also included in W-T-M if the assessments and teacher experience shows they are able to do the work. There's also flexibility for mid-year moves up if there's a late identification.

Welcome to the school!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for investigating the seismic retrofitting at Lincoln. I realize of course this is an issue for many schools in the region - but of course I am particularly concerned about the safety of the one my kids will be in if a big one occurs during school hours.
I guess we can't expect the district to bring them all up to modern standards given the costs and logistics and the fact so much district time/money/focus is directed toward things that don't directly impact the educational outcomes, health and safety of SPS students

Quaking

Anonymous said...

JAMS has their 2015-16 bell schedule posted. They will have (6) 50 min. periods each day (instead of last year's block schedule), with homeroom/advisory first thing in the morning. I'm not sure why they'd have it first thing, rather than a break between classes...but there you have it.

MS parent

Anonymous said...

Are there going to be three first grade classes at Lincoln?

Benjamin Leis said...

Sadly I've long ago deleted the PTA note where it was posted what teachers were being hired. Perhaps someone else still has it. If you want a definitive answer I'd recommend emailing the secretary brlee@seattleschools.org who's usually very on the ball. Also be aware that staffing can and often does change up to and past the first day of school. Its not uncommon to see an extra teacher added (or as the uproar at Gatewood last year shows an attempt to remove one when enrollment dips unexpectedly)