Friday, June 3, 2016

The blog (school) year in review

Now that a year has passed since taking over as moderator here I'm ready to reflect on the experience. To start off, running this site has changed my view of it versus being a reader and occasionally commenting in a thread.  I don't think I fully realized, for example, how active and all consuming the testing period is for us just as much as the AL department.  Its also cemented my understanding of what we can do well here versus all the alternatives such as school facebook pages or PTA websites.

  • The biggest strength for me is the conversations that occur between parents in different schools.  I think its really valuable to have a place to ask about choosing a Middle School or the testing process in Kindergarten etc.  All the sharing of experience is great and strengthens the collective knowledge base of the whole community.

  • I've been focusing on disseminating information about program wide changes. Thanks to everyone who has forwarded information to me. I think this is the second largest role this site plays and initially its why I stepped forward to make sure it would continue on.

  • We're an open site  and allow anonymous comments which allows free conversation that might not take place on FB etc.  That's a two-edged sword.  I don't really want to degenerate into the Seattle Times comment section. However, I've been very pleased with the conversations so far even on more contentious subjects like race and equity.  Again thanks to everyone for the contributions here.

The flip side of this is that we're not particularly a social site. I mostly cede that role to all the other alternatives but I'm curious what others think. Do you think we should do more community building or less serious threads or is that best handled elsewhere?


  1. I'm proud of how the testing season went this year. I think this site made the best of a chaotic situation. 
  2. We've had sporadic comments from various staff members which I always appreciate.I hope that continues next year.
  3. Here and there I feel we actually moved the dial a bit on some decisions like the proposed changes to the main policy in the fall. Granted, the jury is still mostly out on this one.
  4. Site usage is up.

Graph of Blogger page views

If you're interested in being a contributor or enhancing this site in any fashion please contact me. I'd love more help.  That includes submitting a piece that you want more broadly published. I especially would also like writeups from meetings I can't attend.

Finally, I'm always interested in what everyone else has to think. Are there any changes that you think I should make in the next year?


Anonymous said...

Benjamin, thank you for picking this blog up. The topics have been very relevant and I am happy to see that the tone has been very civil as well. Please keep up the good work!
SPS Tired Cascadia Parent

Anonymous said...

I would like to echo the sentiments above. Thank you Benjamin.

Also wanted to thank you for running the school math club. It has been one of the major hilights of the academic year. The problem of the week has been fun to work on. We had to move a white board into the dining room so that we could continue to discuss the problems over dinner.

I have been wondering why the east side schools dominate the local math completions. Is Cascadia the only seattle public school that enters? What about TM? Fairmont park? I know Bryant used to have a team.


Anonymous said...

Thurgood Marshall 5th-graders recently competed at the WA State Middle School Math Olympiad, Bainbridge I. location.
Regardless, the question about the Eastsiders is a good one. There are probably a few parts to the answer, but one aspect: after-school enrichment programs with math classes aimed at creating math teams. At 7 schools (all in Redmond, I think), an entity called Ellipsis Academy runs them. Nothing like that exists at TM.

-TM Parent

Anonymous said...

How can we get more of these math enrichment programs in Seattle? (Russian School of Mathematics, Ellipsis, etc.)


AnonMom said...

I check and read the blog fairly often, but I will admit that I rarely post. I'm super thankful the blog is here, and you've continued it.

I hesitate to add something that I wouldn't be able to consistently contribute to, but I will anyway: I wouldn't mind more good news features highlighting some of the strengths or achievements of TM, Cascadia and some of the other programs. Heck, it would help me be more aware of schools that my family isn't associated with.

Michael Rice said...

Hi Benjamin

I commend you for doing such a good job with this. I know it is a lot of work and takes a lot of time. As a potential future teacher of many of these students, I really like knowing where they are coming from and what are the issues they have faced as they get to the high school level.

I look forward to teaching many (most) of these students over the next few years.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this blog and all the work it must entail. As a K parent, navigating the testing process this year was tricky to say the least. This blog helped us so much where SPS failed. Thank you to all who contribute.

Anonymous said...

Benjamin - thank you so much for this blog. I find it really helpful. I know you must spend a fair amount of time on it - I really appreciate your work.

Catherine (mom of Ingraham and Cascadia students).

Anonymous said...

We are only just entering this world, with a 1st grader who will be starting at Cascadia in the fall. Thank you so much for all the work that goes into this.