Transformation Tour – Seattle
By Paula Monroe
My first site visits to NEA Priority Schools were today. What a day!
The morning started at Cleveland High School.
Seattle has three SIG schools and I got to visit two of them today. I was joined by Seattle Education Association Vice President, Jonathan Knapp, NEA Director, Kathy Axtell and NEA Priority Schools Campaign Staff, Steve Snider. We met the principal briefly and talked at length to the Academic Dean. Jonathan gave us some background information on some of the local association issues as we prepared to visit some of the classrooms. We were able to meet three of the staff who were able to speak to us about the SIG process so far.
Cleveland was in the process of implementing STEM and the consistent message was that the SIG money was supporting the STEM grant implementation. It was difficult to separate the two. The other consistent message was public education need stability. We need to see if our efforts will actually pay off. We have new initiatives every few years and we never stick with them long enough to actually determine the effectiveness or value.
The second stop was Hawthorne Elementary School. Stephen Miller, NEA Director, joined us there. We had a lengthy conversation with the Principal and the School Business Officer (a position created to deal with the data required by SIG).
We visited five classrooms and then met with a group of educators after school in the Library. The conversation was very rich and provided a lot of data (listen to some of the conversation below.) It was evident at both schools that the staff working in each school is dedicated to their student, the community and the education of each and every student. One primary teacher summed up the urgency by saying there are still a lot of kinks in the implementation but our kids can’t afford to wait another year for us to work all those out. They need help now and the staff is committed to doing everything they can to help their students achieve but they need help now, too!!
Are any of you experiencing similar challenges with the SIG process? NEA’s Priority School Campaign is dedicated to helping all of our Priority Schools and these conversations will certainly help us as we work together for our students and our members.