West Seattle High School 4-period-day supporters take it to the Web

The kerfuffle over the decision to change West Seattle High School‘s unique 4-period-day schedule is apparently far from over. WSB has received announcements of the creation of two pro-4-period-day websites — “West Seattle Parents and Citizens for 4 Period Day” has just inaugurated a blog (find it here) with a post titled “Why Arguments for the 6 Period Day Don’t Hold Water,” and “Students for Democratic Process” has set up a site titled “Less Is More – Go for 4.” If there are any pro-6-period-day websites, we would be happy to mention them as well; meantime, the WSHS website continues to post transition updates on this page.

6 Replies to "West Seattle High School 4-period-day supporters take it to the Web"

  • Jan December 19, 2007 (12:13 pm)

    I just love that word “kerfuffle” – lol

  • Admiral Janeway December 19, 2007 (8:36 pm)

    According to my co-worker (the spouse of a Bellevue H.S. staffer), Bellevue High School is going to adopt a hybrid 6 period/4 period class schedule beginning in the fall of 2008. Pending district approvals, B.H.S. will have 3 days with 6 periods and two, 4 period days.

  • WSHS parent December 20, 2007 (9:35 am)

    The hybrid 6/4/6 is one of the blocked options currently being considered at WSHS. The Bellevue schedule sounds interesting- a variation of the Garfield schedule (ie 2 days a week rotating blocked classes), but with a more reasonable 85 minute blocked class, instead of Garfield’s 110 minutes. It might offer the best of both schedules- year long continuity, with blocked options weekly.
    By the way, the District announced in September that their decision was an “administrative decision that is not subject to an appeal process.”
    Finally, these new pro-4 supporters are just that-they did not bother to commit their time and energy to be involved during the almost two year review process (parents, teachers and students were all invited to be involved), and only now, after the final decision was made in September, have the pro-4 supporters come out. Too late!

  • GenHillOne December 20, 2007 (8:05 pm)

    Bear with me WSB-ers, I’ll repeat the record just once in the interest of equal billing (and since I think administrators are reading). Just as in the Sealth/Denny construction issue, please, please make a decision on the WSHS school day (and stick with) before the enrollment period ends in February. You can’t please everyone and families deserve to have the ability to make an educated choice about the four-year springboard to college, career, whatever (life!). They don’t let the kids enroll with asterisks – West Seattle HS* (*Sealth if WS has a 4-period day) or Denny* (*Madison if DMS is connected to a high school) – you get it. Just give us the facts, keep them as fact, and let us decide. And should you think I’ve lost my sense of humor in all of this, I second Jan’s kerfuffle sentiment!

  • CaringParent December 20, 2007 (10:14 pm)

    The pro 6 period day website is http://www.wscepe.org. Their links page gives a fairly complete history of the subject.

    Readers should be aware that Students for a Democratic Process appears to be highly influenced by a few WSHS staffers. Bruce Bivens, the Principal of WSHS, illustrates this in a response to one parent concerned about misuse of district resources. Bruce obviously had district legal department input (see below).
    The Equal Access Act allows for any student-led, non-curriculum club to use school space if they meet outside of the instructional hours of a school day. Schools that accept federal funds cannot prohibit student-led, non-curriculum clubs from meeting on campus unless the group is disruptive to the learning environment. There are 5 basic requirements for any student-led, non-curriculum club to qualify for protection under the Equal Access Act:

    1.The group must be student-initiated
    2.Attendance must be voluntary
    3.The group cannot be sponsored by the school itself, by teachers, by other school employees, or by the government. A teacher or other school employees can be assigned to a group for “custodial purposes” (e.g. general supervision, access and safety) but staff cannot promote, lead or participate in a meeting.
    4.Persons from the community can be invited guest speakers (e.g.WSHS Guest Speaker Form), but the may not “direct, conduct, control, or regularly attend activities of student groups.” This means parents cannot lead, or even attend, on a regular basis.
    5.The group’s presence cannot “materially and substantially interfere with the orderly conduct of educational activities within the school.”

    If a club does not meet these five requirements, they are not subject to the Equal Access Act, and use of building space would be subject to School Board Policy E54.00 http://www.seattleschools.org/area/policies/e/E54.00.pdf,and the group would need to pay rent. All groups, including those who rent space from us, cannot materially and substantially interfere with the orderly conduct of educational activities within the school.

    At this point in time I believe the Students for Democratic Process(SDP) does not meet all 5 aforementioned guidelines. I request that if
    this group would like to continue to meet, then it will need to either meet off-campus, or work through the Facilities Department for Seattle Public School and rent space after school hours. If SDP prefers to rent space, then they can enforce any rules they want about who they allow to attend or not. The enforcement of those rules is up to the group, not the school. In addition, all school employees have First Amendment rights to express beliefs (e.g. 4-period day or 6-period day), but these beliefs must be communicated on an employees own time, with non-district resources.
    This group can do what they like with regard to free speech but the main complaint from community members is using district resources rather than their own for that purpose. A much healthier approach than any of this would be to work and advocate for an orderly transition to some sort of 6 period day, be it blocked or straight six. This issue was already decided through a two year process. It’s time for WSHS staff to accept this (which most are) or seek employment elsewhere.

  • Jan December 23, 2007 (9:22 pm)

    GenHillOne….I totally understand your viewpoint. My daughter is grown, having graduated WSHS in ’99, but I have always felt that some of the things that the school district does sometimes don’t make sense for parents. I think that 6 periods would be great (having had a child in the 4 period curriculum), but, I’m just one person, with one opinion. I can’t ever remember a time when things were parent friendly when it came to things like this.Hopefully they will stick to their decision and let you all know in a timely fashion…

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