Seattle Public Schools

Education
12:37 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

One year in, Seattle schools chief says he's won over skeptics

Superintendent Jose Banda has just begun his second year at Seattle Public Schools.
Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

Seattle’s superintendent of schools was hired in hopes that he could avoid some of the turmoil and scandal of recent years. Jose Banda just wrapped up his first year in charge, and can claim some high-profile accomplishments. But some of the melodrama still lingers, with the school board sharply divided over its own role, and that of the superintendent.

Taking stock of his first year at the helm of Seattle Public Schools, Banda told KPLU a divided board has a definite effect on how he does his job.

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MAP test boycott
5:36 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Seattle Public Schools will let high schools scrap the MAP

Teachers and their backers rallied outside district headquarters before a school board meeting in January 2013.
Gabriel Spitzer

Seattle public high schools will be able to opt out of the controversial Measures of Academic Progress, or MAP tests, starting next year.

The policy change comes after teachers at Seattle’s Garfield High School staged a boycott of the MAP tests in January, blasting the tests for giving unreliable data and for sucking up classroom resources. A half-dozen more Seattle schools have since signed on, and the protest has drawn national and international attention.  

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Education
3:33 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

Seattle’s most troubled high school gets elite academic degree program

Rainier Beach High School is seen in this photo.
how3ird Flickr

Rainier Beach High School will become the third Seattle school to offer the International Baccalaureate program, district officials announced.

IB was originally developed to educate the children of diplomats in Europe, but is gaining popularity as a way to help turn around struggling urban schools. And Rainier Beach is one of those, with chronic under-enrollment and the lowest test scores of any comprehensive high school in the district.

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Education
3:51 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Seattle schools freeze hiring, spending as deficit looms

Seattle’s school district has frozen hiring and spending in anticipation of a budget shortfall next year. But since officials say the change won't affect actual classroom resources or essential personnel, you might say the district has put hiring and spending in the fridge.

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Education
4:29 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

Seattle schools chief reinstates suspended curriculum on race

Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

Seattle Public Schools is reinstating a high school curriculum on race and social justice after suspending it over a student’s complaint, but the controversy is likely to continue.

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Education
9:18 am
Wed December 12, 2012

Seattle schools cope with crowding

Seattle Public Schools is set to add 20-38 portable classrooms like this one, located at Ingraham High School, next school year.
Seattle Public Schools

Seattle Public Schools is set to stop busing students to schools outside their neighborhood next year, but that move might cost more money than it saves. The situation dates back to Seattle's move to a system of neighborhood schools instead of district wide school choice. The district continued to give some kids rides to their old schools during the transition. 

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Education
5:07 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

King County school districts bag $40M federal grant

A pack of King County school districts has won of slice of the federal government’s Race to The Top fund, worth $40 million dollars over four years. Seven districts applied for the grant together, as the Road Map District Consortium. They said they’ll use the money to beef up preschool programs, enrich science and math learning in the primary grades, and offer training and testing subsidies to high schools.

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Education
6:00 am
Mon November 26, 2012

Seattle's science experiment: A STEM school for the early grades

Students learn engineering principles by building towers out of straws and twist-ties.
Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

Many jobs of the future will be in fields that go by the shorthand “STEM”: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. But these are precisely the subjects where many American students are falling short. Educators are responding by creating STEM-focused schools, and in Seattle officials are breaking ground by pushing that emphasis back into younger classes, all the way to kindergarten.

Principal Shannon McKinney is in charge of figuring out how to build one of the first STEM elementary schools in the Northwest. K-5 STEM at Boren, as it’s awkwardly named, is in West Seattle, but any elementary student in the district can apply for a spot here.

As the school wraps up its first semester, McKinney and her team are still working out what a STEM education for Seattle’s youngest learners should look like.

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Education
5:00 am
Mon September 24, 2012

Want to weigh in on Seattle schools' billion-dollar ask?

About 200 parents and students showed up at Seattle Public Schools' first public meeting on its upcoming levies.
Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

Seattle Public Schools will ask voters next year to approve more than a billion dollars in taxpayer funding, and this week the public will have two chances to weigh in on the district's proposal and its priorities.

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Education
5:02 pm
Mon September 17, 2012

Report: Seattle schools scandal went deeper than thought

School board member Sherry Carr called the revelation of an additional $1.3 million in misspent funds "an outrage."
Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

The Washington state auditor has uncovered another batch of questionable spending by Seattle Public Schools in recent years, widening a scandal that cost a former superintendent her job. The new investigation found that former district official Silas Potter, Jr. made even more inflated payments than was previously known, spending millions of taxpayer dollars on work that was never done or grossly overpriced.

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Education
6:17 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

New Seattle schools chief: We'll fight disparities with data

Superintendent Jose Banda says deep data will help close the achievement gaps.
Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

As students around Puget Sound begin a new school year, administrators are pushing hard to close disparities in student achievement.

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Education
5:00 am
Wed August 1, 2012

New Seattle superintendent wants flexibility for schools, just not too much

Seattle Public Schools superintendent Jose Banda has been on the job for one month.
Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

Seattle’s new superintendent of schools won’t be voting for the charter schools initiative on the November’s ballot. He doesn’t care much for “site-based management” that gives lots of autonomy to individual schools and he’s leery of letting schools more easily opt out of controversial curricula, such as “discovery math.”

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Education
5:39 pm
Thu July 5, 2012

Court blocks Seattle's "Creative Approach Schools"

Backers of a measure to allow charter schools in Washington are scheduled to turn in their petition signatures Friday. Meanwhile, a pilot project designed in part to short-circuit the argument for charter schools was blocked Thursday in court.

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Seattle schools
8:10 am
Thu June 21, 2012

Advertising will be allowed in Seattle schools

The Seattle School Board voted Wednesday night to allow some commercial advertising on school grounds.

The vote reverses a ban that was imposed in 2004.

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Education
5:00 am
Mon June 18, 2012

Seattle finds "virtual" band-aid after axing summer school

As Seattle Public Schools begin their final week of classes, the district is turning to technology to rescue some summer school programs it cut last year. SPS will offer online courses at Franklin and possibly another high school, and three others plan to extend their school-year virtual learning into the summer. Cleveland and Rainier Beach high schools will have limited classroom programming.

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