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.

Community & Parents for Public  Schools of Seattle
Quick Links
Join Our Mailing List
Join Our Mailing List

MARCH, 2011
Season of Change


What a lot of change we've seen in the past month! For some, it was overdue, for others startling.  It occurred close to home, involving principals, teachers, students, budgets, and in a few instances it was big enough to be national news.  All together, what is its impact? Is it churn? the cycle of life?  Our real question is, how do we make our season of change into a change opportunity? 

Many folks with their eye on Seattle Public Schools or on the media have questioned how our education community can work its way away back from tensions about engagement and decision-making, structural reform and ethics, and return to the work of bringing educational quality to all kids in all schools. 

At CPPS, we've never been satisfied with watching and waiting.  While we welcome our new leadership team -- new Interim Superintendent Dr. Susan Enfield, Interim CFO Robert Boesche, Communication Director Lesley Rogers, and a new COO Pegi McEvoy -- we are eager to hear what they plan for the district, but remain intent on including the ideas and energies of our parents and community in improving the structures and practices in our schools.  


In a recent Crosscut posting, former school board member Dick Lilly targets our educational system's penchant for measuring average gains rather than real ones:

"This is the system on which the federal No Child Left Behind law doubled down: Raise those averages or else!  And, yes, some of those average scores rose, and in places those achievement gaps - the differences between average scores for groups within the school - narrowed.  But that doesn't tell you anything about your kid, or any individual kid....What we have is a system in which the progress of an individual child is actually unimportant."


Parents, whose very role hinges on fostering and not missing the importance of that individual child's growth, are concerned with the plans and implementation of improvements to our educational structures and practices.  Change opportunity means that we want to see our new leaders understanding and incorporating the parent perspective.   


As well, our parents and community members are embracing engagement through CPPS' our own change opportunity -- Parent Leadership Trainings.  These two-day workshops seek to equip parents to better understand the data and expectations built into our educational system. The initial set of trainings are for SE Seattle parents, but we hope to be providing more around the city.  Stay tuned!


And share your thoughts with us too, via email, or  Facebook.



Parent leaders are...

  • People who will help define what quality neighborhood schools in southeast Seattle should look like
  • Public School parents, grandparents and community members committed to the success of all students in their neighborhood schools
  • Collaborators who will work with school staff and community to both challenge their schools and celebrate their successes
  • Community communicators willing to share information about school programs and achievement expectations
  • Southend parents who see the power in bringing others along

If this sounds like you -- it's time to sign up!!  We are registering parents in all SE Seattle elementaries, middle schools and K-8s; If you're a preschool or high school parent or community member in the area, you may be eligible as well. 

Trainees commit to two days, from 8:30 am - 3:30 pm -- either May 7-8 or May 20-21, and earn a leadership stipend of $75 per day; childcare and refreshments will be provided.

For more information or to apply, contact Project Director, Amber Banks (310) 430-5068

                    NEW PRIORITIES FOR A NEW REGIME 

Superintendent Enfield Hits the Ground Reaching (out)...


On the heels of much frustration at Dr. Goodloe-Johnson's perceived lack of attention or responsiveness to the community, new interim superintendent, Dr. Susan Enfield, has dived quickly into the work of reconstructing fragile relationships by creating avenues of access and openness to her stakeholders.


Last week, she issued her statement of priorities:  Earning Public Confidence in Seattle Public Schools: 

Every Student Known, Challenged, Cared For which stresses:

  1. Focusing on the core mission of educating every student via the 5-year strategic plan, high quality instruction and interventions for struggling students & a standards-based system with high expectations and outcomes for all.   
  2. Supporting teachers and principals in the implementation of recent contracts and in learning to use MAP tests to tailor instruction to individual student needs. 
  3. Creating a central office that serves and supports schools by being results-driven and responsive to in partnership with school staff needs 
  4. Fostering a system-wide culture of transparency and accountability, in partnership with the City of Seattle and others and in two-way communication with parents, staff and community.  

Read the full document detailing the Superintendent's priorities 

or speak with her yourself.  The new superintendent welcomes questions or comments via email, and as of last week, Dr. Enfield is holding regular office hours at the John Stanford Center, 2445 3rd Ave. S or by phone.  Fifteen minute slots (specify your topic/issue) are filling quickly.  To make an appointment, contact Venetia Harmon (206) 252-0167.  


Dr. Enfield is also available to come to your event.  Submit a schedule request and allow about 7 working days for a response.  Contact Janet Chin with questions (206) 252-0167.


And don't miss her at the CPPS Annual Meeting!

Details coming soon...


Letter from Dr. Enfield to families 

What's ON This Month...



Wednesday, March 30th, 7pm SCPTSA Meeting 

at the John Stanford Center, 2445 3rd Ave. S 


The Seattle Council PTSA will hold a facilitated discussion with Superintendent Dr. Susan Enfield, CFO Robert Boesche, COO Pegi McEvoy, School Board President Steve Sundquist, and School Board Audit and Finance Committee Chair, Sherry Carr. If you would like to submit questions ahead of time, please send them to SCPTSA President, Lauren McGuire

Come at 6:30 for snacks.  


NELA: Center for Student Success FREE Online College Planning Webcasts   Register   More info 

Plan B: I didn't get accepted or I can't afford it - March 30th-6pm
SAT/ACT Test Preparation Series  March 31st-May 25th



Open Enrollment Continues until 4pm April 15  

at the John Stanford Center, 2445 3rd Ave. S   


Register students new to Seattle Public Schools, or choose options or non-local assignment schools.  You can mail, fax or email applications, or to receive a receipt, either drop  applications off at the Stanford Center (8:30-4:00 in person or 24-hour drop box in south parking lot) or visit one of the neighborhood open enrollment sites this week:  

Delridge Community Library
5423 Delridge Way SW

March 28

5:30 - 7:00 p.m. 

Queen Anne Library
400 W. Garfield St

March 29

5:30 - 7:00 p.m. 

Lake City Community Library
12501 28th Ave NE

March 30

5:30 - 7:00 p.m.

Broadview Community Library
12755 Greenwood Ave N

March 31

5:30 - 7:00 p.m.

Until Sunday, April 17th...

FREE Tax Preparation Assistance from the United Way

John Stanford Center Professional Library, 2445 3rd Ave. S    

For more information, refer to the United Way website.  Focus is on helping clients obtain all available tax credits, expecially child tax credits, dependent care credits, education credits, and the Earned Income Tax Credit, all of which increase family income and hopefully, children's educational achievement.




NELA: Center for Student Success College Planning Webcasts - Register   More info 


FREE Online College Planning Workshops are every Wednesday at 6pm. Most are no longer than an hour.  You will need  INTERNET access and a telephone for a toll free call. Contact Jenn Bowman with questions at 1-877-635-2669.


Understanding Financial Aid Packages  Wed April 6th-6pm

Know before you borrow! Understanding Student Loan Repayment Options   Wednesday, April 13th-6pm

Plan B: I didn't get in or I can't afford it   Wed April 20th-6pm

Juniors! Use your summer wisely   Wed April 27th-6pm


UW FREE Monthly Math Hour for Middle Schoolers  


Open for any middle school kid (and parents and  teachers) willing to sit through an hour of an interactive math talk on a Sunday afternoon. We are trying to get more kids excited about math and show them  how many interesting things it can lead to.  For more information...


Sunday, April 17th, 1-2pm. SaveryHall, Room 264. Daniel Finkel, Math for Love. "Billiard Balls and Laser Beams".


The $$ We Need


This is the season of money talk, and the need has never been so great.  Many of us are experiencing cuts at the school and district or program level that continue to squeeze our kids  and our schools.   


According to Seattle Public Schools,the estimated budget gap for FY 11-12, based on the governor's proposed state budget, has ranged as high as $36.6 million.  One effect has been to discontinue the summer transition model that was in place last year, though the district will continue to provide Extended School Year (ESY) services to students who are eligible.

(Check out the district letter and summer resource list.)


Situations such as this have sparked creative conversation about community partnerships, the boundaries of basic education and our definitions of quality schools.  We'd like to see parent views reflected in these conversations citywide.     


Washington State PTSA reminds us:  

"1. The budget is grim. All-day kindergarten for our poorest children is not a given. Students could lose instructional time. Class sizes will likely grow -- or...stay large for a while. 

 2. School communities need to be flexible and vigilant at the same time. Districts are facing tough logistics and are trying to stretch dollars in innovative ways. Communities need to hear out various ideas. At the same time, parents and teachers have valuable perspectives and can help ensure district-level funding decisions make sense for students and families. ENGAGE in budgeting at the district and school level.

A bad economy is no reason to walk away from education and social supports...Our job as advocates is to remind (legislators and decision-makers) that continuous improvement is essential."

Finally, as of this week, both the Mayor and the City Council have recommended that we renew the Families and Education Levy in 2011.  This funding package goes to support Seattle children and their families, both in and out of school. It was first passed in 1990, and it's been renewed twice since then.


This year's $231 million proposal is designed to ensure that more students in Seattle graduate from high school ready for college or a career by funding programs that the Seattle Public Schools budget doesn't cover, specifically focusing on the priority issues that emerged from the Kids and Families Congress that many of you participated in last year.  


It all adds up to both a lot of need, and a lot of possibility.  We hope you'll engage in the conversation.


                                                   SHARE YOUR VIEWS



Want to share your public school experience?  Lesley Lavery of the University of Wisconsin-Madison is reaching out to Seattle public school parents to hear their views on the state of the public schools, school reform, and the connection between government and schools.  She will compile this data and send it to the district and our elected officials.  To share your views or invite Lesley to a parent meeting in your community, contact her today:  503-428-2858.

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: 

CPPS Announcements
Community & Parents for Public Schools of Seattle