Java with Jim
Grab a cup of coffee and get filled in on the latest campus news and events. Come fill up on a warm cup of coffee and the latest news and events from Blackwell. This morning gathering is designed specifically for parents to hear directly from Mr. Eaton about what’s happening here at Elizabeth Blackwell. Mr. Eaton will also be available to field questions about our school, the district, and the state of education in Washington.
It’s also a great time to meet other parents and hear from the PTSA. We will be meeting 9:25 - 10:00 a.m. in library every fourth Tuesday of the month.
|Month||Information Presented||Questions & Answers|
Mr. Eaton began the morning with his monthly Power Point presentation which can be found by clicking here.
Question: Fun Run - Is there a goal for individuals or classes?
Answer: No set goals or minimum participation. Many students like to look at the prizes and set goals for themselves based on what they'd like to earn. Some teachers will incentivize their class with a party or other fun event. Participation is a family decision. Our PTSA has had a lot of success with the Fund Run over the past several years and has not required any additional fundraisers due to this success. Some parent feedback included discouraging the use of individual prizes and focusing on class only prizes.
Question: How is our new Superintendent doing?
Answer: Dr. Stavem just started on August 1, 2018 and is currently in the mode of active listening and getting to know us. She is aware we are a high performing district without major problems that must be fixed; however, she is always looking for ways to improve. She maintains there is no reason we can't be the best district in the nation, given that we have all the right pieces in place. A goal she has in place is that our students should leave high school with the ability to choose their futures, not have their futures choose them. Mr. Eaton has been very impressed so far.
Question: How much staff turnover do we have?
Answer: We do not have a lot. Our core staff have been here a decade or more. Most of our turnover is due to family moves or retirement. We have also grown over the past five years, adding additional staff to our family.
Question: Why is lunch shorter this year?
Answer: We shortened it to 20 minutes from 25 for two reasons. 1. The vast majority of kids finish in 20 and then are left without something to do for those last five minutes, which often results in "shenanigans". 2. Before shortening the lunch period, there were only 5 minutes to transition between grade levels and get the room clean again. This give more time for both. This model has been adopted from other schools and is working very well.
Question: Can we expect school start times to change every year?
Answer: No, the change for this year was to accommodate a longer high school day. There is a task force looking hard at research data showing that older students would benefit from a later start. The decision will be made later this year whether elementary schools will switch to the earlier start times, swapping with high schools. Once that issue is settled, our start time should remain stable. Since Blackwell opened 20 years ago, this is the first change in the start time we've had.
|October 23||Please click here to see Mr. Eaton's Power Point Presentation.||
Question: As part of our discussion of Equity, a parent asked the following: With the Thanksgiving Holiday approaching, how does Blackwell address issues concerning Native American culture?
Answer: Conversations have happened and will continue to happen around this concern to make sure staff is remaining culturally sensitive as they move through all instructional units.
Question: Do our Equity discussions address implicit bias?
Answer: Yes, last year as part of our Equity training, we participated in an implicit bias training. We are intentionally looking at our systems and processes with an equity lens to avoid inadvertently coming from an area of bias in our decision making. This is an ongoing process at our school.
Question: Are there any plans to involve parents in this conversation?
Answer: Yes, it's all part of a bigger plan to hear parent and student voices in our equity work. It's not in place quite yet, but our 6 member Equity Team is working on how to involve our community.
Question: Can we expect any change to Bell Times for next year?
Answer: No change to Bell Times for next year. The district has already determined there will be no start time changes for next year. There is a district School Start Time Advisory, charged with looking at school times that will make a recommendation to the school board. More information about the advisory will be shared in district publications.
Question: Is Blackwell growing?
Answer: This district continues to grow, but our Blackwell population has remained fairly stable for the past couple years and we expect it to remain so.
|November 27||Please click here to see Mr. Eaton's presentation.||
|December - no meeting|
|June - no meeting|