Community & Parents for Public Schools of Seattle

CPPS is a local, grassroots network of parents and community members working together to support and advocate for excellent public schools in our communities, and at the district, city and state levels.
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April, 2010 
What's New for Seattle Parents

There is a lot of anticipation this spring, as some folks await assignment results from the new student assignment plan. The legislature kept us wondering what the funding situation would be, and we still don't know how contract negotiations or budget issues will play out in Seattle this year. 

Will there be more RIFs? Will teacher contracts address What about principals? community engagement?

Now, more than ever, it's important for parents to be aware and involved. 

There are some opportunities ahead:

Sat., April 24 - Aki Kurose Middle School, 3928 S. Graham
Come to the Family Engagement Symposium, featuring Dr. Susan Enfield, SPS Chief Academic Officer. There will be workshops on strategies to support learning, activities for children, and food! This event is FREE to families!

May, date TBD - CPPS Annual Meeting
Learn about advocacy opportunities and let us know "What Parents Want" in Seattle schools! 

Interest in Contract Negotiations Is Increasing
We Want Community Involvement

Public and parent involvement in the upcoming labor contract negotiation between Seattle Public Schools and the Seattle teacher's union is increasing!   There's a new coalition in town, and they are making waves with their recommendations for the soon-to-be negotiated teachers' contract.

CPPS has been involved for  over a year in discussing ways to improve teacher quality and make sure parent voices are heard during negotiation of the this year's labor contract between the Seattle Education Association (Seattle teacher's union) and Seattle Public Schools.  We gave voice to the parent leaders who initially lobbied last year to bring the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) to Seattle to analyze how well our teachers and district are serving students. In addition, CPPS collaborated with several parent-driven and community organizations to release a Community Values Statement in January.  This statement highlights the need for improvements to teacher AND principal quality (based on the findings of the NCTQ report), and it also stresses the importance of engagement and communication with families.

The new Our Schools Coalition  is extending these community efforts in their release of a list of issues they hope to see addressed in the new teacher labor contract. The Coalition outlines specific contract goals, reflective of many of the ideas contained in the Community Values Statement.  For a complete list of Coalition-supported proposed changes to the teacher contract and a list of Coalition members click here.  

CPPS is interested in the work of the Our Schools Coalition, but our work is about more than just trying to change the way teachers are hired, fired and evaluated.  

Families must be involved in school leadership and policy decisions.  CPPS and our partners believe that the School Board should improve transparency around the contract negotiations, highlighting district priorities, and sharing outcomes with the community.  They should solicit public feedback before, during, and after the contract negotiations process, since our teacher and principal contracts govern the lion's share of what happens in our classrooms and schools.  We will continue to work to make sure Seattle Schools officials engage in meaningful two-way communication with families so that families have a voice when major decisions are made, and hope the Our Schools Coalition will do the same.

Yes, parents and the public CAN have a say in the negotiation of our teacher labor contract.  CPPS hopes that you will take this opportunity to review the Community Values Statement and the Our Schools Coalition's suggestions for changes to the teacher contract.  Let us know what you think.  Contact Stephanie Jones, with your comments.

Legislative News
From the League of Education Voters (LEV) a brief summary of what was fought for and achieved during the 2010 legislative session:

Protected vital education programs:
Lawmakers closed tax loopholes and raised taxes on some services and discretionary items like cigarettes, candy, pop and beer to prevent even more drastic cuts to education.

Created a plan to improve basic education funding:
Holding lawmakers accountable to fund more basic education costs currently paid for through local levies, In fall of 2011, we'll get the first down payment in a multi-year plan to dramatically increase state funding for basic education through 2018. (House Bill 2776)

Moved education reform forward:
A broad coalition of parents, educators and business and community leaders worked to pass reforms to improve Washington's public schools and help our state win a federal Race to the Top grant. The reforms will help our teachers and principals be more effective and turnaround consistently low-performing schools. (Senate Bill 6696)

Protected early childhood care and education programs:Funding was maintained for 35,000 low-income families to afford child care to work or attend school. We helped establish an early learning program to cover all three- and four-year-olds from low-income families by the 2018-19 school year. The state will also consider making early learning part of basic education. (House Bill 2731 and Senate Bill 6759)

Helped preserve financial aid for college students:
The State Need Grant, which helps more than 70,000 students attend college, received no cuts and the majority of the State Work Study program was saved. However, higher education budgets were cut by 6% at 4-year universities and 3.5% at 2-year colleges, which will result in fewer course offerings and student support services.
A Grant for Your School? 
Seattle Public Utilities is offering up to 10 $2000 School Waste and Recycling grants -- Check out their program here.  Maybe you can get your school greener with an SPU grant!
Through forums, study groups, newsletter communications and more, CPPS brings parents and community members together to discuss issues, get informed, engage, advocate and lead for excellent public education in Seattle.  

We need your participation.  Contact us for more info:

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Community & Parents for Public Schools of Seattle