Youth & Education

Youth & Education
5:00 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Downtown Seattle Groups See Golden Opportunity For Their Own Neighborhood Public School

The former Federal Reserve Bank branch building, located at Second Avenue and Spring Street in downtown Seattle, has sat vacant since 2009. Seattle Public Schools officials have submitted an application to take over the property.
Kyle Stokes KPLU

Seattle Public Schools officials may soon get their best opportunity in years to open a public elementary school downtown, and various downtown interests are now pressing district leaders to take advantage of it.

District officials submitted an application earlier this month to move into the vacant building at Second Avenue and Spring Street, which once housed a Federal Reserve Bank branch.

Federal agencies no longer want the property and are considering whether to deed the building to Seattle Public Schools practically free of charge. If the feds grant school officials' application, downtown groups want to make sure the district follows through.

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Youth & Education
4:30 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Report Faults Seattle Schools For 'Lack Of Urgency' In Serving Most Vulnerable Students

Students listen to their teacher in a special education classroom in Florida.
Lynne Sladky AP Photo

Seattle Public Schools' efforts to educate students with disabilities of all sorts are "in need of urgent, substantial and significant improvement," according to a scathing report released Tuesday, faulting district staff from the administrative offices all the way down to individual schools.

The report itself was commissioned by the district office's special education team as part of an effort to correct, as the authors call it, "an obvious and chronic lack... of urgency" around special education — and to bring Seattle Public Schools back in the good graces of both state officials and of federal law.

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Youth & Education
4:42 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Seattle School Board Names Former Marysville Leader As Interim Superintendent

Provided by Seattle Public Schools.

The Seattle School Board has named former Marysville School District Superintendent Larry Nyland as its interim superintendent.

The board made the announcement following a special meeting Friday.

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Youth & Education
4:39 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Seattle School Board To Appoint Interim Superintendent At Special Meeting

The Seattle School Board will hold a special meeting on Friday to select an interim superintendent, district officials said.

The 4:15 meeting, which will be streamed online, will be followed by a news conference around 5 p.m., officials said.

The superintendent position is being vacated by José Banda, who has accepted a superintendent position in Sacramento, California. His appointment was finalized Thursday.

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Federal Reserve Building
9:17 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Why Seattle Homeless Advocates Feel Vacant Downtown Building Is Rightfully Theirs

"I think it’s very reasonable that the federal government agencies involved want to make sure that six months down the road things don’t just fall apart,' said Alison Eisinger of the Seattle-King County Coalition on Homelessness. "Well, so do we."
Kyle Stokes KPLU

Look past the clunky antiques that once made the now-empty building at Second and Spring a working bank — brass teller windows, secured loading docks, a two-story vault with heavy metal doors to match — and it's not difficult to dream about what the vacant property could become.

A group of advocates for the homeless did just that. The Seattle-King County Coalition on Homelessness drew up a nearly $18 million plan to transform what was once the Federal Reserve Bank branch as a comprehensive service center for the homeless, putting a range of services from mail to primary health care under one roof.

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Youth & Education
5:00 am
Mon July 14, 2014

UW Study Examines New Ways To Involve Immigrant Parents In School Activities

Photo courtesy of the Kent School District

Students do better in school when their parents volunteer and have a relationship with teachers and staff, decades of research have shown.

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Graduation Requirements
5:31 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

New High School Diploma Rules Make Clear Which Credits Students Can Waive — And Which They Can't

A high schooler hugs a classmate after receiving her diploma.
Brennan Linsley AP Photo

High school students in Washington will soon be able to drop up to two courses if they encounter "unusual circumstances" and still earn their diplomas under new state rules, which will also lift the number of required credits from 20 to 24.

But should schools be allowed to waive credits in subjects like English, math or science? The State Board of Education said no Thursday, voting 8 to 5 to approve rules marking 17 "core" credits as off-limits to these waivers. The board's decision mean districts can only excuse a student from elective or world language credits.

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No Child Left Behind Act
4:08 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

With Wash. State's NCLB Waiver Now Gone, Seattle Schools Seeks Its Own Exemption

Seattle education officials have asked U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, pictured, to grant the district a waiver from the No Child Left Behind law. It's not clear how open federal officials will be to Seattle's request.
Jacquelyn Martin AP Photo

Earlier this year, Washington became the first state in the nation to lose its reprieve from the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Now, Seattle Public Schools wants to become the first district in the nation to regain that flexibility on its own.

Superintendent Jose Banda sent a letter Wednesday asking for a Seattle-specific waiver from the outdated federal law.

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Higher Education
1:03 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Record Number Of King Co. Teens Pledging To Good Grades, Behavior For Free College

Students rush in to a lecture hall on a college campus.
Eric Risberg AP Photo

An effort to commit south King County teens to a state program that guarantees fully-paid college tuition in exchange for good grades and good behavior through high school has reported its most successful sign-up campaign yet.

Organizers at the Road Map Project, which supports seven King County school districts, say a record 96 percent of eligible eighth-graders signed up for Washington's College Bound Scholarship this year.

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Youth & Education
9:16 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

A School In Downtown Seattle? School Board Will Make A Play For Old Bank Site

Seattle Public Schools officials will apply to open a school in the former Federal Reserve Bank building in downtown Seattle.
Kyle Stokes KPLU

Seattle school officials will officially ask to move into a vacant, federally-owned building in the heart of the city, offering advocates for downtown interests a shot at something they've long sought: their own public school.

By a 5-to-2 vote, Seattle School Board members passed a resolution Wednesday night, authorizing the district's application to take over the 119,000-square foot building that, for decades, housed the Seattle branch office of the Federal Reserve Bank, located on Second Avenue between Spring and Madison streets.

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Education
5:01 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Deadline Looms For Voter Initiative To Make Wash. Class Sizes Smaller

File image
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

Supporters of a statewide ballot initiative directing Washington lawmakers to provide enough funding to drastically decrease K-12 class sizes are confident they've gathered enough signatures to send their measure to voters in November.

More than 320,000 people have signed petitions to put Initiative 1351 on the ballot this fall, Class Size Counts campaign manager Mary Howes said Monday. The number is well over the required 246,000 valid signatures, which must be turned into the secretary of state's office by Thursday. 

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Legal Pot
5:00 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Little-Known Medical Marijuana Loophole Allows Teens To Get Lots of Pot

Courtesy of George Wing.

When voters approved Initiative 502, one part of the law that appealed to parents was that recreational marijuana would only be available to people 21 and older.

What many parents don’t realize is that it’s possible for a healthy teenager, with the help of an unethical medical provider, to obtain authorization for medical marijuana, which then gives them access to hundreds of dispensaries in the Seattle area. 

Meanwhile, Seattle Public Schools officials say marijuana use by students is on the rise, and students say it is easier to get than alcohol. Where is the supply coming from? Parents and school officials suspect medical marijuana dispensaries. 

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Early Childhood Education
7:56 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

In Signing Pre-K Bill, Seattle Mayor Makes Early Ed Ballot Showdown Official

Mayor Ed Murray signed legislation sending a preschool pilot program to the November ballot. If voters approve a $58 million property tax hike, the city would cover preschool tuition for some low- and middle-income kids.
Photo courtesy of Mayor Ed Murray's Office

The idea of pitting two questions about early childhood education against each other on the November ballot doesn't appeal to Laura Chandler.

"I don't like it, I wish it wasn't like that," said Chandler, a teacher at Small Faces Child Development Center. She supports a union-backed initiative to create a broader training program and raise wages for childcare workers.

But Sattl1e Mayor Ed Murray officially sent a second question to the ballot Friday, signing off on the Seattle City Council's plan asking for voters' approval of a $58 million property tax hike to pay for low- and middle-income kids to attend preschool.

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Youth & Education
12:01 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Gates Ed. Official: Protesters Raise 'Legitimate Concerns,' But OK To Disagree

Vicki Phillips, who heads education programming for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, testifying before Congress in 2009.
Flickr Education, Labor & Workforce Committee Democrats

More than 150 skeptics of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation protested in front of the philanthropy's Seattle headquarters on Thursday, objecting to the foundation's support of, among other things, the Common Core academic standards.

On the afternoon before that protest, a top Gates official told KPLU that the foundation has been open to teachers' concerns about the new standards.

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Youth & Education
5:59 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Why A Group Of Teachers Protested Outside The Gates Foundation, Ed's Biggest Charity

Protesters are seen gathered outside the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle.
Kyle Stokes

At first, Julianna Dauble balked at the idea of protesting against the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

"We've all gotten Gates money one way or another," said Dauble, a fifth-grade teacher in Renton. "I don't know a single teacher who has not gotten Gates money for computers, different grants, small schools initiatives — all the things he's done in the Seattle area, especially."

In fact, the Gates Foundation sends more money to K-12 education causes around the U.S. than any other philanthropy, and some teachers have come to regard that influence as a threat.

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