A message from Odetta Owen, Pathfinder K8 PTSA President . . .
There is a school board meeting on Wednesday January 20 with two extremely important issues scheduled for a vote. They directly and indirectly effect Pathfinder families and the votes themselves reflect Seattle Public School District’s dysfunctional pattern of unilaterally making decisions that marginalize families and students.
1. Experimental Education Unit
The Experimental Educational Unit’s Kindergarten is under threat of closure as SPS has decided to pull funding, despite objections from the School Board and the public. While the program serves a small number of students, its impact is beyond measure. It is the gold standard for what inclusive classrooms can do for all students. It is the gold standard for educating educators regarding service delivery to special needs students across the board, from physical to neurotypical disabilities. Finally, it is the gold standard for educating parents, raising our standards for our special needs students and teaching us how to advocate. Our best year, until we came to Pathfinder, was at the EEU and it is why this parent did not settle for anything less than Pathfinder for her family. The students, parents, and educators that come out of this environment are models for what inclusion in the classroom can acheive. Its closure will be a blow to inclusive education in Seattle.
Please read the following from current EEU parent Cynthia Portugal for more information:
IMPORTANT UPDATE: Act Now for EEU Kindergarten! Join us at the next school board meeting on January 20th.
Jan 16, 2016 — Update: The EEU leadership have met with SPS Special Education staff twice since the January 6 school board meeting; however, no resolutions have been reached. On Monday’s Special Education PTSA meeting, Wyeth Jessee (Executive Director of Special Education) and Michaela Clancy (Director of Special Education) announced that there will NOT be a resolution before Open Enrollment; neither the school board nor the EEU had agreed to or been informed of that statement prior to the public announcement. This unilateral proclamation subverts the school board’s directive to find a solution and demonstrates SPS administration’s lack of genuine commitment to engage in problem-solving rather than finger-pointing. We thank our community for the overwhelming support in this fight for inclusive education, and we’re calling on you to help ignite the next phase. Here’s how:
Attend January 20 school board meeting. We will be protesting outside the JSCEE starting at 4pm before joining the school board meeting during public testimony. We want to thank the school board for their support of EEU kindergarten and alert them to the fact that SPS administration has undermined their intentions. If you would like to provide public testimony, please contact
Fanny Yang, Jordan Taitingfong, or Erin Greager. We would be happy to help with the process.
JSCEE: 2445 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98134
Attend school board members’ community meetings. We encourage everyone to attend the community meetings and share their stories about why inclusion matters for them and what EEU kindergarten represents for their children and families.
Jill Geary: Saturday, Jan. 16, 11am-1pm, Montlake library (2401 24th Ave E, 98112)
Leslie Harris: Saturday, Jan. 16, 3-4:30pm, Southwest library (9010 35th Ave SW, 98126)
Stephan Blanford: Saturday, Jan. 23, 10-11:30am, Douglass-Truth library (2300 E Yesler Way, 98122)
Contact your legislators. Call, send letters, or email your legislators to demand that SPS produce a viable solution to continue funding EEU kindergarten. To find the legislators in your district:
>>Go to http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/
Type in your address
Click on the name of the Representative or Senator to get their phone number
You can also click on “Email” to send an email via the website
Join our Facebook group: All In for Big K. Get updates and event information, and connect with others passionate about EEU kindergarten and inclusive education.
2. CHILD CARE
Some of you have been following a developing story regarding repurposing of childcare spaces in 19 district schools. Blazing Trails is not CURRENTLY on that list. However, again, there is a unilateral decision on the district’s part to bring these changes to schools without talking to families or considering the impact on families. Accessible, affordable childcare for families is a pressing social justice issue impacting many of our families. Blazing Trails website has all the information including the proposal BEING VOTED ON AT THE MEETING ON JANUARY 20TH, who you can contact, a call for speakers at the meeting,a demonstration prior to the meeting, and a link to School’s Out Washington.
Please take a look at this issue as soon as possible. Thank you!