School Board president starts blog

As the Seattle School Board faces some tough issues, Michael DeBell, the President of the Board and District 4 representative which covers Ballard, Queen Anne and Magnolia wants to hear from you. He has recently started a blog to hear from his constituents. “The topics will be both district wide and specific to my district,” he writes us, “I hope this will provide a forum for the many issues of K-12 education.” One of the hot-button issues facing the School Board is the Student Assignment Plan (.pdf) which will determine where students will go to school based on their address. Some parents have been concerned that high school students living in Ballard will be bussed to Ingraham. DeBell writes in his first blog post about the role of the School Board, who is currently “tackling a rewrite of our entire policy book to clarify, simplify and update a 700 page behemoth of policies dating back thirty years.”


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chopper_74
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chopper_74

This is why the P.T.A. was developed, right?
I hope that this blog isn't an attempt to stack the dialog against those who are most effected and involved.
I'll be watching.
Thanks Swedes for the forum, hope that it is used well.
btw, I think DeBell has a task at hand, hope he gets the help required.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

It is curious to me that Ballard Schools are in different school board districts(1 and 4):

http://www.seattleschools.org/area/board/distri

An unfortunate tell tale sign of things to come perhaps…

Grubby Ballard
Guest
Grubby Ballard

Did he vote for Moron Math?

nosey nobody
Guest
nosey nobody

Ballard Schools are also in school board district 2.
Don't know what unfortunate tale this tells……but I suppose I can find some horrible portent.

kim
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kim

i hope he listens to his constituents and not his colleagues.

david t.
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david t.

Typical government stuff. Just give an interactive map, let me enter my address and tell me where you are going to attempt to send my kid. I read 17 pages of fluff. I still have no idea where my son would be sent.

mamaC
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mamaC

He was very eloquently against moron math

chopper_74
Guest
chopper_74

thank you, yes, my hope entirely.

KM
Guest
KM

Sadly the people most involved are usually the ones out who are too busy volunteering in the schools to be able to go to endless school board meetings etc… In many schools, the PTA raises money to fund things that used to be funded by tax dollars but which have been cut over time from the budget. Artists in residence, tutors, playground equipment and maintenance, music, PE equipment etc. It's sad that we have to work so hard to fund these items most people think are funded by the school district. Everyone is affected by school decisions. I'm in Magnolia and we want our kids to go to a nearby high school too. We don't want to displace anyone. No one wants their kid riding a bus for an hour a day to get to school. I realize this may cause many blog commenters to speak negatively about how we're taking Ballard High, especially since making comments anonomously can lead to saying things you wouldn't say to someone face to face. But to dismiss it as 'stacking the dialog v. those who are most effected and involved” isn't helpful. Who's more affected? Kids are. No matter where they live. The… Read more »

chopper_74
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chopper_74

KM, thanks, I didn't intend to say anything other than what I said. I truly hope that the dialog isn't stacked, and that Mr. DeBell has the support required for the task at hand. It isn't as easy as it should be. I do care deeply about curriculum, location, and benefit of students. I was adamantly against the busing for demographics, long before it became a campaign issue, and it's still imperative to keep that focus in sight. I was bussed across town, and hated it, frankly, for many reasons. Mostly, because it seemed like a royal waste of my time. I have grown, some, and still find the issue as a burr under my saddle. I truly don't care for anything that doesn't pass the sniff test, and S.S.D. doesn't, imho. A couple points, if I may.1) Are text books a necessary expense, given the advent of E-books, and similar platforms? Seems to me, it would save teacher's jobs, and add to the classroom, if that wasn't a 'boiler plate' expense.2) Does it cost more to bus students 5.5 miles than 1.5 miles?3) Do the extra-curricular options that we provide students meet the objective goals, or, are they just… Read more »

mamaC
Guest
mamaC

Chopper-Great points!1)Love the idea. Unfortunately we would have to buy and maintain computers for all the kids that can't afford them. And you are talking about a district that is JUST NOW moving from a VAX computer system circa 1970.2) Students (HS) shouldn't be bussed that live within 4-5 miles walkable route3)Just EC4)Um capitalism – you get what you pay for5)I like Mr DeBell. That is unusual for me to say of politicians Good luck on the illustrations. The “rules” are currently being debated and will be voted on by the board in June. These “rules” will then be used to construct a computer program that will generate “data”. This data will them be taken into the back room and lines will be drawn on a map by a human in September. That is when the map will be published and the public will have about 2 weeks of hue and outcry. KM-As one of those volunteers that also tries to get to endless board meetings I want to say we (Ballard) dislike that the boundary issue appears to pit QA/Magnolia kids against our kids. This, of course, is a result of incredible miscalculation on the part of Seattle Schools.… Read more »

mamaC
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mamaC

Neither does anyone else. See my post above :-)

Ballard_Curmudgeon
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Ballard_Curmudgeon

I'm sorry that you CHOOSE to live in an area without a high-school. Perhaps like those of us in Ballard you will spend a little more forethought about where you buy a house next time. Instead of trying to kick us out of our neighborhood high-school.

For anyone that does not know the situation, there are rumors of the line being anywhere from 85th to 70th. Can you imagine? Living on 70th and 15th and having to take a bus to Aurora, wait to transfer there (a great place for a 13 year old to wait at a bus stop), and finally get to Ingraham 45 minutes later. All so that people who live a mile from the space needle can take your spot at Ballard high school because they are more politically connected.

No way.

chopper_74
Guest
chopper_74

Thanks Carmen, (if I may)
I'd like to follow up on the e-book platform, as I see it, the students would need the reader, but not the computer itself. One in each subject, at most, would be needed to download the subject book for that class. The 'green' aspect is a major plus, but most importantly, the savings to the district would be immediate and sustainable.
Also, with the removal of lockers, students have to carry an extraordinary amount of weight around all day currently, and it is having a negative effect on their growing bodies. A reader weighs ounces, and are well within reach cost-wise, especially compared to the cost of the hard cover books. I just think it's an obvious option.
Have a good day!

another
Guest
another

So, here are the comments made anonymously that KM predicted. (kudos to Chopper and mama C for not going there…) OK, how about if you bought your house before you got married, or before you had kids ? Or if your work is in Magnolia? Kids take the bus from much farther away than the space needle to come to Ballard High. And everyone knows that. And some parts of Magnolia are probably closer mileage-wise than N. Ballard. And lots of Ballard kids come to Magnolia/Queen Anne for elementary or middle school for various reasons. It's not about political connectedness. It's about the way schools are assigned. The elephant in the room is that you can have choice or you can have neighborhood schools but having a hybrid of both doesn't work so well. Maybe it does in times of lower public school enrollment, but I suspect we're seeing the elementary capacity crunch and questions about the attendance area because the two models are butting heads — choice v. neighborhood schools. Then we go down a whole other path….. The fact is the school board/district doesn't know where the borders will be. Rumors are rumors. Spreading a rumor is just… Read more »

MichaelDeBell
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MichaelDeBell

The Assignment Plan is getting close to a finished set of rules to be voted on next month (current version on SPS website). Part of those rukes are criteria for setting boundaries- which include walk zone (2.5 miles for HS), transportation routes (Metro for HS), proximity and others. Every address in the city needs and will get a HS assignment, as well as MS and K-5 or in some cases K-8. The goals include simplicity, predictability, equity, reducing transportation costs. Drawing boundaries for Ballard High will be a challenge, but our south end parents are looking for good outcomes as well. I appreciate the “conversation” between Magnolia and Ballard when its constructive but I sure hope it remains civil. Remember our children are watching.

mamaC
Guest
mamaC

You know, the more I think on it, the more I like your idea! Amazon is a local company. They should have a vested interest in public schools. How about a pilot project for public schools using Kindle type hardware to replace text books in schools/a school. It would be interesting to see cost differential between texts, hardware maintenance, software, etc. I think the benefit for kids is self evident. Except where will one now scribble one's undying love for the cute person in the next seat? You are a genius.

chopper_74
Guest
chopper_74

psst, don't say that!…it'll ruin my perfectly good reputation. ;-)
Thanks, It seems to simple to be a good idea, ya know…
But I'd like to know how the cost/benefit analysis works out on paper. A better deal could be had if we were talking 10,000 units instead of 1,000 units, it seems…

KM
Guest
KM

Hi. KM again. I hear you on volunteering and going to school board meetings. Both super important… only so very time consuming. One of those things I gues : ) I agree w/ Carmen. I dislike the appearance of pitting the neighborhoods against each other and I'm sure we're not so far apart on the issue. I agree about Lincoln… what a great option for north end schools. Eventually the elem. kids will need to go to high school !! Chopper… I can only answer for our school but… Many of the PTA funded things could be termed as extras – but still important parts of elementary curriculum (like art and music.) Many of those programs have been cut over time so sometimes it's the only way to get those back into the curriculum. And a lot goes to tutoring etc. The basis for that (and I personally agree w/ it) is that if you help a student who's struggling, then the whole class can move forward more easily. So maybe not easily measurable, but helpful. Does that answer your ? … Again not directly benefitting each student but tangentially benefitting the whole. Not sure how I feel about the… Read more »

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