Update: West Seattle school staffers’ views on superintendent’s ‘no parade day off’ decision

(Updated Tuesday with reaction from CSIHS’s head football coach, mayor’s comment, and K-5 STEM teacher’s view)

(12th Man Flag at West Seattle Corporate Center, Thursday photo by Christopher Boffoli)
ORIGINAL STORY, 4:39 PM MONDAY: In case you were wondering: Seattle Public Schools superintendent José Banda says school WILL be in session on Wednesday – no day off for the Seahawks’ parade (though coach Pete Carroll suggested it). Here’s his message:

Congratulations to the Seahawks on an amazing season and Super Bowl win! It’s been so fun to see our school communities get into the spirit these last few weeks. I’ve enjoyed seeing the photos and videos of our students and staff celebrating the Seahawks.

We have received questions about the parade on Wednesday, which starts at 11 am. Seattle Public Schools will not close or dismiss school early because of the parade. Parents who wish to take their students out of school can, but per state regulation, it will be treated as an unexcused absence. While we support the team, academics must come first and it’s important not to lose a day in the classroom.

We know this is a historical event for our community and we also know that for many of our students, their school community is a place where they will celebrate and come together to talk about pride, sportsmanship and teamwork. We encourage our students and staff to wear blue on Wednesday in honor of the Seahawks.

We are working with the City on transportation issues for the day and we will work hard to minimize disruptions. However, families should expect bus delays in the afternoon on Wednesday.

Let’s hope this is the first of many Seahawk Super Bowl wins!

ADDED MONDAY MORNING: Head coach of the Chief Sealth International High School Seahawks‘ football team, Luther J. Carr III, has something to say about this (shared with us via e-mail):

Why aren’t the Seattle Public Schools released to attend tomorrow’s Seahawk Parade? As an employee of the Seattle Public Schools I am disgusted to hear that teachers and students are not allowed (in other words school is not out; NO SCHOOL) to attend tomorrow’s Seahawk Parade. Superintendent Banda has told students that they will be marked absent if they attend the Seahawk Parade. How unpatriotic is that?

Highline Public Schools, immediately south of West Seattle, will stay open but will allow excused absences.

12:41 PM UPDATE: Thanks to Laura for pointing out in comments that Mayor Murray is speaking out about this:

1:45 PM UPDATE: Another view from a local Seattle Public Schools teacher who says he’s also sending it to, among others, Richard Sherman of the Seahawks and Mayor Murray:

My name is Ronen Gluck, and I am a 3rd grade teacher at K-5 STEM Elementary School in West Seattle. I am writing as a representative of my students, but also as a representative of all students, staff, and families in our community.

Having taken an informal poll around the school this morning, we are looking at anywhere from 25%-50% of our students being absent from school tomorrow in order to attend the Seahawks victory parade. Assuming similar percentages across other sites in the Seattle Public Schools system, with nearly 50,000 students at 95 schools, we are facing a lost day of learning for a significant portion of our students. Regardless of Washington State OSPI requirements for instructional time and union-negotiated school days, this event has created a scenario in which we, as teachers, will be unable to serve our students.

We are not asking for the parade to be rescheduled (though you might consider holding the Seahawks’ Super Bowl XLIX victory parade on a Saturday or Sunday). We are simply voicing our concern over a loss of essential instructional time. What concerns us more, however, is the message that this sends to our students and to the community as a whole. Our students and their families have been asked to choose between a day at school and a day downtown celebrating the success of our local football team. Granted, understanding and promoting civic pride is an integral part of educating the next generation of socially conscious citizens, but when this pride is given higher status than the educational process that will create this informed citizenry, we need to reconsider where our priorities lie.

So much media attention has been given to Richard Sherman in the past few weeks, much of it focusing on his exemplary academic history as parallel to his stellar athletic performance. We are encouraged to believe that the professional athletes, who we as a nation hold in such high regard, are more than one trick ponies. The colleges and universities that groom them and send them up to the NFL tout the importance of education, and higher academic standards set by the NCAA in recent years will hopefully help to ensure that these institutions are held to their promises. Seahawks players have given their time and money to charities and other social causes, including making visits to local elementary schools, and for that they should be praised. But when an event of such size and significance as tomorrow’s parade is held during a school day, that message of “stay in school, kids” is irreparably undermined. As the arguments on both sides of the discussion regarding Mr. Sherman have repeated ad nauseam, actions speak louder than words.

And so I make a humble request of Mr. Sherman, his teammates, the Seattle Seahawks organization, Mayor Murray, and all those who claim to put our students’ education first: stand in front of the television cameras and microphones, take to the social media outlets, and let our students know where your priorities lie. Tell them that a single day of school is more important to their future than ditching class for a parade. Superintendent Banda has sent a letter reminding families that schools will not close or dismiss early tomorrow. Teachers such as myself and my colleagues have had their say. Now it’s time for our role models to be role models.

Thank you very much.
Ronen Gluck

2:31 PM TUESDAY: Now the district says it’s up to individual principals whether to excuse absences or not. We have put this in a separate story.

73 Replies to "Update: West Seattle school staffers' views on superintendent's 'no parade day off' decision"

  • LK February 3, 2014 (5:16 pm)

    We will be playing hooky!

  • Joe Szilagyi February 3, 2014 (5:44 pm)

    I saw it mentioned elsewhere that unexcused absences here and there have zero impact except on missing a days work. True, in our system?

  • wade February 3, 2014 (5:54 pm)

    cough…cough…blue fever setting in…

  • B February 3, 2014 (6:00 pm)

    Luckily, it’s still a free country. The school district can keep the schools open if they like. The ticker tape will look enough like snow for me to call it a snow day.

  • fj February 3, 2014 (6:05 pm)

    is this a joke? SPS has so many days off, half-days, etc. If I want to pull my kid, wtf do they care? oh right, education is SO IMPORTANT to them. that’s why the schools are crowded and teachers are underpaid!

  • Tom Lane February 3, 2014 (6:05 pm)

    As part of SPS’ effort to educate our students, they might pay a little more attention to notices sent to thousands of Seattle families. I couldn’t resist responding to their notice about the Seahawks:

    Hate to be nit-picky, but since Seattle Public Schools are in the business of educating, please note the following about the words “historical” (used above) and “historic” (should have been used above):

    The words historic and historical are close in meaning, but their uses are quite different.
    The adjective historic means having importance in history or having influence on history.
    The adjective historical means having taken place in history, from the past or pertaining to history.

    Side-by-side examples:

    This is a historical event.
    (one that happened in the past)

    This is a historic event.
    (one that is important in history, e.g., the Moon landing)

    He was a historical scholar.
    (A scholar who studied history)

    He was a historic scholar.
    (A scholar who was important in history, e.g., Homer)

    The bones were of historical significance.
    (significant from a perspective of history, i.e., possibly worthless but important to study history)

    The bones were of historic significance.
    (very significant, i.e., important in history)

    From http://www.grammar-monster.com/easily_confused/historic_historical.htm#07qQAgG0BtfaBQFQ.99

    Yours for grammar that does more than bake cookies,

  • Mcbride February 3, 2014 (6:16 pm)

    In terms of what punitive measures will be applied, it depends somewhat on grade level. K-8, limited absences (and not on test days, etc.), pretty close to zero impact.
    Some would say that child’s most important teacher is the parent, and that not all learning happens in the classroom. Those folks also get stink-eye from teachers from time to time, so there you go.

  • Mcbride February 3, 2014 (6:19 pm)

    Also, Tom’s kids are smart.

    • WSB February 3, 2014 (6:23 pm)

      Thanks, Tom. Just so folks know, while we do light edits on copy specifically sent to us for potential publication (such as coaches or parents summarizing sports events, nonprofits writing items on fundraisers) to fix what can be fixed without altering the meaning of something – spelling, punctuation, grammar, word confusion like this – our policy is NOT to make such changes in news releases, so that’s why it is published here even though I cringed when I saw it – TR

  • Hi Schooler February 3, 2014 (6:25 pm)

    Senior skip day.

  • sc February 3, 2014 (6:34 pm)

    I think there should be an exception. The Seahawks have given Seattle a proud moment, let the school kids be a part of it!!!!

  • B February 3, 2014 (6:43 pm)

    My son and I will certainly be on hand for this historical, er, historic event.

  • helridge February 3, 2014 (7:20 pm)

    It’s the no fun zone.

  • HP Gal February 3, 2014 (7:32 pm)


    For what it’s worth, Pete Carroll thinks school should be cancelled on Wednesday.

  • ocean February 3, 2014 (7:58 pm)

    Gee, I think I’ve suddenly remembered that my kids have doctor appointments that day…. Or, perhaps they are coming down with the Blue Flu?

    Tom- Thanks for that (I, too, cringed when I read it) clarification. Even though the district says they are in the business of educating, there are often errors in the communications I receive from them. Seldom are there errors of any kind in the communications from the teachers!

  • NorDel February 3, 2014 (7:58 pm)

    Our straight A sixth grader can miss one day.
    Wade we’re with you….it’s Blue Fever, and we all have it!
    We miss school on opening day for the M’s every year, but that’s usually due to a TERRIBLE case of baseball fever!

  • I'll be there February 3, 2014 (8:22 pm)

    Yeah, whatever.. the parade will be that much sweeter by skipping school to attend with my Dad.
    Go hawks!

  • evergreen February 3, 2014 (8:33 pm)

    Booo! Hiss! Schools need to be more involved in the community. Anything can be turned into a lesson. We all know that our kids learn absolutely nothing on some school days, that every moment currently allotted in the classroom is not necessary. Boo.

  • ddd February 3, 2014 (8:36 pm)

    How many times have Seahawks players visited Seattle schools this past season? How many hours have those players given to the schools?
    And now the district won’t let the kids congratulate the players who inspired them throughout the year?
    I don’t even have kids and I still think this decision stinks.

  • teacher February 3, 2014 (8:38 pm)

    I’ll be at work, but I suspect that many of my students will have blue fever, and that is okay by me… have fun at the parade, but make sure to do your homework!

  • onion February 3, 2014 (8:43 pm)

    Call me a curmudgeon, but I think the superintendent has his priorities in order. Education first. Sports and hero worship are secondary priorities.

  • Marianne February 3, 2014 (8:50 pm)

    Why can’t the parade be on the weekend?

  • Alki resident February 3, 2014 (9:05 pm)

    First of all, why this parade can’t wait until Saturday is beyond me. Second, I feel this will be an educational field trip for my school aged kids. I can not wait until Wednesday.

    • WSB February 3, 2014 (9:22 pm)

      If anyone has heard of any local independent schools deciding to close, let us know. So far, the only one anywhere near this area that I’ve heard about is Kennedy Catholic HS in Burien.

  • Cait February 3, 2014 (9:08 pm)

    But Pete Carrol said it’s OK soooo… I think I’d go with that! :)

  • brandon February 3, 2014 (9:09 pm)

    Yes, you’re being a curmudgeon. Do you really believe one day makes a difference? What with field trips, last day of school picnics, plays, teacher work days, blah blah blah.

    I feel a Bird Flu coming on.

    Just About that Action, Boss!

  • Diane February 3, 2014 (9:11 pm)

    I also wondered why the Mayor didn’t choose the weekend?

  • Seaview February 3, 2014 (9:28 pm)

    I’m all for celebrating with the city but what about the kids that aren’t able to go?

  • Nicolina February 3, 2014 (9:34 pm)

    We are going on a “field trip”. We will start off at Pike street market and take in some culture. We will pass by the art museum and discuss the significance of the hammering man. We will stop in bookstores and look for new books to read. We will walk downtown and discuss shapes of buildings and the history and such.

    We will then wave to inspiring heros who we will then write letters to and will be inspiration for great non fiction ” the perfect game” essays .

    Then we will end our day in historic Pioneer Square.

    Our very own adventure day

    For math we will count, add, divide denominators of 12

    PS Seattle Schools Bellevue is giving parents the option to chose and honoring parents choice then accepting that as an excused absence.

  • bolo February 3, 2014 (9:54 pm)

    Can’t help compare this to that time SPS cancelled school because it was supposed to snow. People were enraged that SPS cancelled school– now I think it was even a half-day?


    Guess it made them a little shy to cancel school again unless it was for a real emergency.


    Anyway, whose idea was to hold this parade on a Wednesday? I can’t afford to take off from work, and my kid can’t afford to miss another day of school :(

  • WSB February 3, 2014 (10:01 pm)

    Sounds like fun – send a photo! And thanks for the tip on Bellevue.

  • onion February 3, 2014 (10:04 pm)

    Also, what about parents who can’t take off from work to watch their kids or take them downtown? Not everyone can afford the luxury of calling in sick. I still think the superintendent is making the right call. My opinion of him has gone up. Note that I am also a Seahawks fan.

  • Dano February 3, 2014 (10:26 pm)

    Hey, let’s not forget It’s also a matter of legislative requirement….. The state requires that public schools be in session for a minimum of 180 days….. So if a day was cancelled, it must be made up…. Usually added at the end of the school year…. This is something that no superintendent , mayor, or football coach has control of…… But I agree, if parents want to take their kids to see the parade, go make a day of it!…. Have a blast!….. I think it’s a great opportunity to celebrate a wonderful event with your kids!

  • Alki girl February 3, 2014 (10:30 pm)

    I’d rather work Christmas, then this Wednesday!!!!!!

  • JenS February 3, 2014 (10:54 pm)

    I agree with onion that they can’t really close the schools for the parade because there are plenty of families who won’t be able to take off from work… it’s very difficult to find (and afford!) last-minute childcare. That said, we are definitely coming down with a mild case of bird flu … So excited!!! Is it still appropriate to say Go Hawks when all the games are done? Awwwwww, who cares? GO HAWKS!!!

  • E February 4, 2014 (6:43 am)

    I’m super excited about the Seahawks win, but I think the schools made the right decision. The parade could have been on a weekend.

  • sam-c February 4, 2014 (6:55 am)

    we had the same points that onion has in the 10:04 post. some people aren’t able to take the day off, so it wouldn’t be fair to them. however, why can’t it be an excused absence? or does it matter, excused, unexcused. what I want to know- is WSB going to be at the parade?

    • WSB February 4, 2014 (7:08 am)

      Haven’t decided yet. Don’t know if there is anything we could provide that you couldn’t get from the citywide outlets, in terms of a distinct West Seattle angle … TR

  • alki resident February 4, 2014 (8:10 am)

    Parents- This will be a once in a lifetime event. Its history in the making. Its bonding time with your child and will be a heart pounding event. I know I it will be emotional for me to see thousands of people cheering the Seahawks.
    If you have the means, please pull your kid out Wednesday, you’ll never regret it and your child will never forget this day.

  • sam-c February 4, 2014 (8:29 am)

    TR- I wasn’t wondering if you were going to go in order to provide coverage for a West Seattle angle. But, was wondering if you were going because you are excited to celebrate the victory and go for yourselves !


  • WSB February 4, 2014 (9:53 am)

    Just impossible to go to a big event without covering it, after all these decades. There are two City Council hearings of interest tomorrow, including one right beforehand, so I’m thinking of going and making a day out of it … the City Hall plaza overlooking 4th probably will have a pretty good vantage point …

  • Alyxx February 4, 2014 (10:10 am)

    We haven’t had a snow day. Give the kids a break, this is historic and pretty fantastic.
    Besides, how many kids will be “out sick” or just play hooky? I feel badly for the teachers who can’t all just call out!

  • Kiznit February 4, 2014 (10:12 am)

    Folks, some millionaires played a game. That is not a reason to shut down the schools. Your hobby is just a hobby, and the whole world does not need to come crashing down to honor it with you.

  • TanDL February 4, 2014 (10:17 am)

    There are dozens of early releases during the school year, for multitudes of off-the-wall reasons. In fact there are times I’ve wondered if kids are spending enough time at school to actually get an education at all, because I see so many early releases happening.

    Then suddenly, it’s not OK to have an early release for a community-wide celebratory event? Seriously?

    • WSB February 4, 2014 (10:19 am)

      We’ve since heard that some schools have early releases tomorrow anyway – WSHS and Madison among them. Not early enough for parade attendance but just a datapoint …
      (UPDATE: It was suggested I clarify – these were long-scheduled early releases, NOT related to the parade/celebration.)

  • Sealth parent February 4, 2014 (10:20 am)

    The Sealth coach equates attending the Seahawks parade with patriotism?? Patriotism is honoring our troops, voting, and supporting our country. Leaving aside his disrespect for the importance of education (other than athletics), this guy has an extremely skewed attitude.

  • sam-c February 4, 2014 (10:48 am)

    Sealth parent- I too was wondering what the super bowl had to do with patriotism.

  • Kathleen bey February 4, 2014 (10:51 am)


  • DP February 4, 2014 (11:37 am)

    As an SPS employee, I say let them celebrate!

  • Nicolina February 4, 2014 (11:50 am)

    I get why school might have to stay open. I don’t get why it has to be an unexcused absence if a parent chooses to take there child out of school. What makes it unexcused ? A parent should be able to define that. Other districts that are not closing are giving people the option to take off as excused.

    We were out of school Friday for ???

    Also why winter break week holiday and Spring break ?? After a 2 plus week break in Dec Jan why do we need another week off in Feb?? Never had that when I was in school. I would give up one of those days for tomorrow.

  • coffee February 4, 2014 (11:51 am)

    I agree, this should be on a weekend. I am quite surprised by the comments made by a teacher, and am thinking he will be “called into the office” for those comments.
    remember schools are publically funded, so there is a fine line they have to walk.

  • Laura Ullmann February 4, 2014 (12:30 pm)

    The mayor has apparently just urged the schools to reconsider.

    • WSB February 4, 2014 (12:41 pm)

      Thanks – adding to the story: He has tweeted that he hopes absences will be excused. (Which is how Highline to our south is handling it …)

  • Sarah February 4, 2014 (1:37 pm)

    Sorry SPS, FAMILIES come FIRST.

  • Betsy February 4, 2014 (1:50 pm)

    I think this just grazes a larger issue.

    I don’t think schools should be closed by any means, since that would create a child care burden at the last minute for a lot of people.

    BUT, attendance should be optional. It’s obvious from this thread that this is a HISTORIC event for some people, and not so much for others. We don’t need to fight over what we think is important, but we SHOULD have the ability to pull our kids out of school, occasionally, for something we deem important, without worrying about ‘excused’ or ‘unexcused’.

    In other words, every kid should have a certain number of excused absences per year to be used for sick days, family vacations, funerals, parades, life experiences, whatever. After that number is used, then the school can switch to unexcused.

    Then each family can decide what’s important (or ‘excused’) to them, but the school still has some measure of control over outright truancy.

    I, for one, am tired of explaining off-season family vacations when my daughter otherwise has near-perfect attendance.

    Many companies have this approach to paid time off; they don’t call it ‘sick’ or ‘vacation’, you just get a certain number of days per year and it’s up to you to use them wisely. It actually works quite well.

    But anyway, for those that go to the parade, I’ll bet it will be a lot of fun and very memorable!

  • Carrie P. February 4, 2014 (2:33 pm)

    I’m with Kiznit. I wish people would get this excited about things that actually matter.

  • Jerald February 4, 2014 (2:36 pm)

    Totally agree with Betsy. It was hard explaining to my kids (grown now) that the note said they were “sick” on the days they missed school for some other reason — travel, relatives in town, low tide at the beach. I was happier than the kids, I think, when they finally graduated and escaped the tyranny of public schools.

  • STEM fan February 4, 2014 (3:04 pm)

    To Coach Carr: You are confusing “patriotism” with wasting SPS and student time and resources in order to support a private organization that already receives far more in tax revenues than our schools could ever hope to get.

    That being said, if Banda gave carte blanche or cancelled classes (as opposed to passing the buck to the principals), I’d be down there too. It’s an important event for our city and its families, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of learning.

    And to everyone who don’t see what the big deal is because IT’S JUST ONE DAY, try asking a teacher how much can be accomplished in just one day. For that matter, let’s start asking teachers whenever education issues come up, rather than making ill-informed blanket statements.

  • Will B There! February 4, 2014 (4:35 pm)

    Hey Carrie P, this matters to my kids and I for a whole host of reasons. Sorry, but you don’t hold the lease on what does or does not matter. Hopefully people with your similar attitude just stay home if they can’t find a change of heart.

  • cc: R Sherman February 4, 2014 (4:41 pm)

    Lol! Aaaaaannnnd….Note to self: If my kids are ever assigned to Mr. Gluck’s class, I must remember to request reassignment immediately.

  • Bentley February 4, 2014 (4:48 pm)

    So, if the Mayor truly feels that way, why hasn’t he given City employees the day off?

  • KoolMom February 4, 2014 (5:29 pm)

    Seattle public schools should have an organized field trip for all kids attending school. My son is an honor student & I would let him miss school. Looks like is awesome school recognized history in the making! No school, they decided to close school. Told the kids to be safe & have fun! Go Hawks

  • Mom-neighbor February 4, 2014 (5:34 pm)

    I have to agree with Betsy, kiznet and others. To each his own but for me the world does not revolve around a billionaire and his millionaires. I don’t agree with the mayor’s take on it and what is up with that Sealth coach? Seriously, patriotic?! A lot of professional sports is all about money and who has the most or doping or traumatic brain injuries. I have to say I feel patriotic for saying this.

  • allison February 4, 2014 (5:57 pm)

    I was fortunate to grow up in a college town where our teams won championships. I will always remember attending the welcome home rallies to celebrate their achievements and our hometown pride.

    My kids are ready and raring to go tomorrow!

  • Lil B is My Friend February 4, 2014 (6:29 pm)

    Are the people complaining about people celebrating the first major sports championship for this city in thirty-five years for real? Are you seriously complaining about people being happy? Get off of your high horses. This is absolutely amazing and I really wish I was in Seattle to go to the parade. Lighten up.

  • Case February 4, 2014 (10:42 pm)

    Mr Gluck’s letter hit the issue right on the head. I won’t be able to attend the parade (because of school), but wish I could. It’s too bad the parade couldn’t have been on a weekend.

  • Alkidoc February 4, 2014 (11:34 pm)

    I cherish the memories from when my dad took me and my sister to the Calgary Flames victory parade in 1989. Best day of my kid life! And it’s why I’m closing my business tomorrow and have encouraged my employees to be there and celebrate with their kids! It will be something they will never forget. Go Hawks and yay for Seattle! Enjoy this!

  • Student February 4, 2014 (11:40 pm)

    I’m a student at WSHS and after gathering on my info, I still think that the school district is kind of dumb, but I’m glad that they have decided to allow schools to individually decide whether to excuse absences or not.
    Any student or parent of a student at WSHS, I don’t know what the school has decided on absences, but the early release still stands.

  • Seahawks Fan February 5, 2014 (1:01 am)

    Don’t you talk about Sherman! Don’t you ever talk about Sherman. Yes school should not be canceled for people who can’t go or don’t care about the parade. But as for me I will be taking my kid out of school and you better believe “Mr Gluck” who is supposedly talking for my student had better keep his mouth shut when I wear my Sherman Jersey down to school. Is this a joke?

  • lee February 5, 2014 (11:13 am)

    Mr. Gluck TOTALLY misses the point! Here is a priceless opportunity to take your kids, have them experience an event that they will remember the REST of their lives, and tell them,”this is what can happen if you work hard, believe in yourself & your dreams, and ignore the naysayers!”

    Also,seriously,if one day off really makes such a difference in the kid’s education, then I would SERIOUSLY question just how good of a job you’re doing in the first place! ;)


  • evergreen February 5, 2014 (1:31 pm)

    I think the district should have cancelled school today, for this event is important to families. However, I also wanted to voice support for my son’s teacher, Mr.Gluck. He is a WONDERFUL teacher and really cares about his students and craft. Public education is widely underfunded, and our first year budget at STEM was particularly threadbare. Our community does need to engage in a serious conversation about school funding, and city leaders should have considered the impact of a Wed parade on school attendance — Sat would have made so much more sense. This should not have been an either-or decision for parents and teachers.

  • Frustrated February 5, 2014 (2:12 pm)

    It’s great that the Seahawks won. Go Hawks! I’d like to know who the brainiac was that scheduled the parade on a week day instead of the weekend. That way the kids could make it and the traffic would be less than it is today. Waited 2 hous for a bus, then I had to cancel my appointment since I won’t be getting out of here until later tonight. Who ever scheduled it for a weekday should have to spend 5 hours getting home.

  • Adam Zaczek February 5, 2014 (6:41 pm)

    If your support your child going to the parade you have missed to many classes yourself.

Sorry, comment time is over.