Follow us:

Education Lab Blog

Education Lab is a yearlong project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

Topic: Seattle Public Schools

You are viewing the most recent posts on this topic.

October 27, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Want later school start times for teens? Here’s how it’s done

Donna Grethen / Op Art

Donna Grethen / Op Art

Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia — the 11th largest school district in the country — will delay the starting time for high schools next fall so teens can get more sleep.

The school board voted last Thursday to push back high school start times from 7:20 a.m. to between 8 and 8:10 a.m.

Fairfax middle schools will start at 7:30 a.m., but the district says it will try to get those times closer to 8 a.m.

The shift will cost the district almost $5 million.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommended in August  that middle and high schools start class no earlier than 8:30 a.m., citing decades of research showing that later start times for adolescents improve health, safety and academic achievement.

Many parents and local sleep experts want later start times in Seattle, too, and the Seattle school board directed the staff this summer to begin a 15-month study of the issue.

More

Comments | More in News | Topics: school start times, Seattle Public Schools

October 23, 2014 at 3:19 PM

Garfield students, teachers protest staff cut

142488_walkout_02

Garfield students left school early Thursday to protest the district’s plans to remove one teaching position from the school. (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)

Hundreds of students and teachers at Seattle’s Garfield High School walked out of class early on Thursday over news that one of their teachers will be cut because the district says the school’s enrollment is lower than anticipated.

District leaders say they are reviewing the school’s headcount because school staff believe Garfield has more students than anticipated, not less.

More

Comments | More in News | Topics: enrollment, Garfield High, Garfield High School

October 8, 2014 at 2:25 PM

Parents succeed: Gatewood Elementary gets to keep its staff

Update at 4:05 p.m.: A district spokeswoman says parents have not raised the full $90,000, which was based on the average cost of hiring a full time teacher, including salary and benefits. Details to come. Original post: Parents at Gatewood Elementary School in West Seattle who scrambled to raise $90,000 in less than a week to…

More

Comments | More in News | Topics: Seattle Public Schools

October 8, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Poll: Should parents be able to pay for teachers’ salaries?

School Board member Marty McLaren, left, meets Tuesday with parents from Gatewood Elementary School in West Seattle who have organized to raise money to prevent one of their teachers from being transferred. Photo by Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times.

School Board member Marty McLaren, left, meets Tuesday with parents from Gatewood Elementary School in West Seattle who have organized to raise money to prevent one of their teachers from being transferred. Photo by Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times.

Parents at Gatewood Elementary in West Seattle are scrambling to raise $90,000 to prevent one of the school’s teachers from being transferred to nearby Fairmount Park Elementary, which reopened this fall.

A group of parents calling itself Friends of Gatewood had collected about $52,000 as of Tuesday. Seattle Public Schools gave organizers a fundraising deadline for Wednesday, Oct. 8, but the school has asked for an extension.

The fundraising effort began after an official headcount of students on Oct. 1 revealed the school had fallen short of its enrollment projections, and Fairmount Park ended up with more students than expected.

More

Comments | More in News, Poll, Your voices | Topics: Fairmount Park Elementary, Gatewood Elementary, school funding

September 30, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Later high-school start times: How 70 districts have done it

Mounting scientific evidence shows that chronic sleep loss compromises teenagers’ learning, health and safety, prompting the American Academy of Pediatrics last month to recommend that middle and high schools start class no earlier than 8:30 a.m.

Yet changing bell times has proven so logistically and politically complicated that only about 70 school districts around the country have figured out a way to do it.

Donna Grethen / Op Art

Donna Grethen / Op Art

In July, Seattle’s school board waded into those waters, directing the district’s staff to begin a 15-month study to change school starting times. The district is now accepting applications to participate in a year-long task force on that will include district staff, parents, students and community experts. The deadline to apply is Oct. 6.

To appreciate the magnitude of the work involved, Seattle and other interested school districts should check out what’s been going on in Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia, the 11th-largest school district in the country.

Fairfax has been trying to change bell times for more than a decade. The latest push was launched in April, 2012, when the Fairfax board set a goal of having no high school begin before 8 a.m. The board may finally be approaching the finish line with a plan up for a vote on Oct. 23.

To develop its plan, Fairfax hired Children’s National Medical Center’s Division of Sleep Medicine, which published a report in April that examined how the 70 school districts that changed bell times got it done.

More

Comments | More in News | Topics: school start times, Seattle Public Schools, Teen sleep

September 23, 2014 at 5:00 AM

State’s top educator aims to energize teacher recruitment

Lyon Terry reacts to being named Washington state's Teacher of the Year. Photo by Mark Harrison / The Seattle Times.

Lyon Terry reacts to being named Washington state’s Teacher of the Year. Photo by Mark Harrison / The Seattle Times.

A familiar storyline for teachers is that the newest are brimming with idealism, the more seasoned struggling not to burn out. But after nine years on the job at Lawton Elementary School in Seattle, Lyon Terry’s combination of energy and experience were notable enough that last spring a parent nominated him to be Washington state’s Teacher of the Year.

Monday, while sitting on stage with eight other finalists at EMP Museum, he learned that he had won.

“I was not expecting this,” said the visibly moved fourth-grade teacher, his voice breaking, as he accepted the award.

A statewide selection committee of parents and educators cited Terry’s classroom balance between intellectual conversation and hands-on experimentation “with just a bit of guitar thrown into the mix” — nodding to the teacher’s penchant for sometimes bursting out in song.

More

Comments | More in News | Topics: Lyon Terry, Seattle Public Schools, teacher of the year

September 2, 2014 at 12:41 PM

Seattle’s special-ed mess: Who’s in charge of what?

Hodan Mohammed, center, of Open Doors for Multicultural Families, joins Fadil Abubakar, 19, left, and Rahma Ali, 18, for a photo at NewHolly Youth and Family Center in June. Mohammed helped them and their families navigate the complexities of special education. Photo by Maddie Myer / The Seattle Times.

Hodan Mohammed, center, of Open Doors for Multicultural Families, joins Fadil Abubakar, 19, left, and Rahma Ali, 18, for a photo at NewHolly Youth and Family Center in June. Mohammed helped them and their families navigate the complexities of special education. Photo by Maddie Myer / The Seattle Times.

More than year after the state ordered Seattle Public Schools to fix its long-troubled special-education program, progress has been incremental at best and falls far short of the district’s own promises.

When national consultants visited Seattle during the spring, they found a bureaucracy still so disjointed that few know who is responsible for what.

They heard, for example, four different versions of how the district is supposed to handle parent complaints about special education.

The data systems are such a mess that nobody could tell them how many of the district’s 7,200 special-education students — with disabilities such as autism, deafness and dyslexia — were in school on any given day.

Go here to read the full story.

More

Comments | More in News | Topics: Seattle Public Schools, special ed

August 27, 2014 at 9:59 AM

Today’s story: Seattle’s Garfield High wants hazing to be history

A group of Garfield High upperclassmen cracks up Monday after performing during their training at the school. Garfield is hosting the Link Crew leadership training course before the start of school next week. Photo by Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times.

A group of Garfield High upperclassmen cracks up Monday after performing during their training at the school. Garfield is hosting the Link Crew leadership training course before the start of school next week. Photo by Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times.

As an eager, if nervous, ninth-grader, Anya Meleshuk allowed several older girls to blindfold her one afternoon, put her in a car and drive her to a park where she was told to “propose” to a stranger. Later, dressed in fairy wings, she downed a dozen flavors of ice cream while her friends watched, and went home afterward feeling as if she had been accepted, initiated into Garfield High School, where such “froshing” has a storied history.

Many alumni cherish similar memories and were outraged last fall when Principal Ted Howard, long an opponent of this tradition, showed up unannounced at a Homecoming Weekend event to quell what would become Garfield’s moment of hazing infamy.

Go here for the full story.

More

Comments | More in News | Topics: Garfield, hazing, Seattle Public Schools

August 11, 2014 at 2:58 PM

Seattle special education chief placed on paid leave

  The Seattle school district’s executive director of special education was placed on paid leave Friday afternoon while the district investigates whether proper procedures were followed when the district hired a national consultant last spring. The executive director, Zakiyyah McWilliams, will be out during the review, which is expected to take a few weeks, said district spokeswoman Lesley Rogers. “This is not…

More

Comments | More in News, Seattle Public Schools | Topics: Seattle Public Schools, special education, T.I.E.R.S Group

Next Page »