As Seattle Public Schools and the Seattle Education Association begin bargaining the contract for the coming years, they have ironed out some likely school calendar dates for the next year. APA has announced that next year the mid-winter break will likely be returning. This year, students did not have the week in February off, instead having two shorter weeks at the time when the mid-winter break would have likely been. SPS also notes that professional development days have not yet been determined. [Read more...]
This editorial originally appeared in the Seattle Times on May 15, 2013. Read more about the Our Schools Coalition’s position on mutual consent and forced placement in our platform.
The needs of public-school students justify Washington state Sen. Steve Litzow’s “mutual consent” bill, which would prevent forced placement of teachers in schools without the principal’s agreement.
THE quality of teachers is a critical ingredient of a quality education. To that end, it is imperative that the Legislature pass Senate Bill 5242, the “mutual consent” measure. [Read more...]
Both Seattle School Board Director Michael DeBell and Director Kay Smith-Blum have decided not to run for re-election this November, leaving two open seats. Six candidates have filed to run for the seats.
According to the Seattle Times, those running for Smith-Blum’s seat are:
- Stephan Blanford, an educational consultant who has worked for the White Center Early Learning Initiative, Seattle’s Alliance for Education, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of King County;
- LaCrese Green, who previously ran for School Board in 2005; and
- Olu Thomas, a parent and co-chair of an effort to make the district’s Horace Mann building a community center.
Running for DeBell’s seat are:
- economic development consultant Suzanne Dale Estey;
- Dean McColgan, director of development at the Museum of Flight and former Federal Way councilman; and
- Sue Peters, a parent activist and freelance writer.
Director Betty Patu is up for re-election and is running unopposed.
All candidates will go through a primary election in August, and then be put to voters again for a final election in November.
Read more about the candidates in the Seattle Times.
This guest post was written by Sarah, a special education teacher in Seattle Public Schools.
I teach students with emotional and behavioral disorders at local middle school. Like many of the schools in South East Seattle, my students are culturally diverse and come from countries across the world. Most of my students have Individualized Learning Plans (IEPs), which outline specific tactics that enable students with disabilities to succeed in a classroom setting. Also, most of my students have been suspended multiple times, and at disproportionate rates compared to their peers without IEPs.
I oppose the overuse of punitive discipline in Seattle Public Schools. While I oppose these disciplinary measures for all students, I am particularly concerned with the disproportionate use of punitive discipline affecting students of color and students with special needs in our district. [Read more...]
Our Schools Coalition partnered with League of Education Voters to put on the event Stop School Suspensions: Solutions for safe, secure classrooms without removing kids. The event attracted more than 150 students, parents, educators and community members to join in a conversation on how to improve school discipline practices to end disproportionality and help close the opportunity gap. If you were not able to attend the event, or you want to return to some of the insights shared that night, you can watch the video of the event below:
Read more about the event here.
More than 35 Seattle students, parents, and community members came together at last night’s school board meeting to share their message with Seattle Public Schools’ leaders.[Read more...]
Yesterday, the district released its 2013 bargaining platform. As a broad-based community coalition focused on student success in SPS, we can all feel gratified that the district’s platform reflects many of the priorities for which our coalition has and will continue to advocate.
These include commitments to make real progress on closing the achievement gap; end disproportionality in student discipline; align teacher professional development to student outcome goals with a focus on effective data analysis; institutionalize ways to recognize, retain and reward exceptional teachers; and utilize multiple measures–including student perception surveys–to inform teacher evaluations. All are strong steps that will serve students and build on the strides made in the 2010 collective bargaining agreement. [Read more...]
Seattle high schools will be allowed to opt out of having students take the Measures of Academic Progress, or MAP, test, Superintendent José Banda announced yesterday. MAP use will continue in kindergarten through 8th grade at least through the 2013-14 school year.
In a letter, Sup. Banda said the Task Force on Assessments and Measuring Progress, formed in February, gave its recommendations to Seattle Public Schools staff, from which he made decisions on how to proceed on measuring progress in SPS schools. [Read more...]
Three Seattle School Board Directors have their terms expiring this year, and each–Betty Patu, Kay Smith-Blum and Michael DeBell–has thoughts about seeking another term on the board.
Michael DeBell has made clear that he will not be seeking another term. After spending eight years, two terms, on the board, he thinks it is time to move on, although he hopes to continue on in public life.
Kay Smith-Blum had put her in name in for a post on the Washington State Board of Education, but withdrew it on Wednesday [Read more...]
The Our Schools Coalition and League of Education Voters partnered to bring together a panel of local experts to talk about how positive approaches to school discipline can transform school culture, improve academic outcomes for all students and help close the opportunity gap.
The event, attended by more than 200 parents, educators, and community members, featured six panelists representing three alternative approaches to school discipline: Brad Brown and Nicholas Bradford for Restorative Justice, Jody McVittie and Anthony Kane for Sound Discipline, and Lori Lynass and Anni Mizuta for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS). While each approach is different in its methods, all focus on teaching students social-emotional skills, setting explicit expectations, and meeting students wherever they are in their behavioral development. [Read more...]