by Chamidae Ford
On Wednesday evening, Feb. 17, the Academy for Creating Excellence (ACE) hosted their second installment of the Black Educators Cafe, a series dedicated to helping Black people in the education field find community and support.
In August of 2020, ACE received a grant from the City of Seattle as part of an initiative to invest in youth mentorship and diversity programs. By partnering with the City’s Department of Education and Early Learning, ACE has been able to expand its reach beyond students and has begun working with Black educators as well.
These events were created to provide a safe space for Black educators, providing a virtual place where they can discuss issues that their Black students face and also their experiences working in a predominantly white field.
Continue reading Academy for Creating Excellence Supports Young Black Men and Black Teachers
by Carolyn Bick
Washington State has expanded the number of days school districts may offer in-person learning, but teachers will not be moved into earlier phases of vaccination, Gov. Jay Inslee said in a press conference on Feb. 16. Inslee did not immediately provide details on the number of days included in the increase. The State’s rationale for encouraging in-person learning without ensuring that all teachers are vaccinated is that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not included vaccinating teachers in its base-level guidance that can help to determine whether in-person learning is safe. The State will allow parents to keep their children on remote learning plans, if they so choose.
In his announcement, Inslee pointed to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recently updated publication regarding operational strategy for schools to open for in-person learning. He said that the CDC’s guidance “broadly aligns” with the State’s suggestions and that the CDC has “also made very clear that mass vaccination of our teachers is not a prerequisite to going back to school.”
In its guidance, the CDC also says that “[t]he following public health efforts provide additional layers of COVID-19 prevention in schools” and lists “[t]esting to identify individuals with a SARS-CoV-2 infection to limit transmission and outbreaks” and “[v]accination for teachers, staff, and in communities as soon as supply allows.”
Continue reading State Officials Push School Reopening Plan, Drawing on Data From Studies of Predominantly White Student Groups in Handful of U.S. Studies
by Ari Robin McKenna (photos by Pharaoh Prim)
On Fridays, the front foyer of South Shore PK–8 is bustling to the sound of the “Uncle Bob playlist.” Old school rhythm and blues, soul, and the occasional pop song keep people moving, keep their team flowing, and keep the brown paper bags filling up with food. It’s full of the songs “that no one doesn’t like,” says John Santos, a Youth Services Assistant, impromptu DJ, and the son of “Uncle” Bob Santos, one of a longtime group of Seattle activists affectionately known as the “Gang of Four.” Though his family is a part of Seattle history, Santos feels lucky to be involved with this current effort. “When we do this every Friday, it’s a very humbling experience to know that we’re helping families, feeding families.”
Continue reading South Shore PreK–8 Helps Sustain Families Through the Worst of Times
by Ari Robin McKenna
This week, the Seattle Public School (SPS) District and the Seattle Education Association (SEA) resumed bargaining about when the return to in-person education for pre-K to first grade — as well as students enrolled in moderate to intensive special education service pathways — will happen and what it will look like. In a pandemic month that also featured a failed coup and the inauguration of our country’s first Black, Asian, and female vice president, SPS has already seen a school board member abruptly resign and the staff of a South End elementary school announce that they will refuse to return to in-person learning until it’s safe for their community to do so. With pressure mounting to reopen SPS as soon as possible and bargaining already strained, there is mounting evidence that suggests white families stand to benefit more and that their communities will face fewer impacts from a return to in-person learning.
In a Facebook message posted on Jan. 7, SPS board representative Eden Mack announced her resignation. Mack, who represents District 4 (which includes the neighborhoods of Magnolia, Queen Anne, and Southern Ballard) mentioned a “dysfunctional culture” and also stated, “The massive gap between the true cost of providing basic education in an urban school district and what the State provides is not imaginary.” Mack then went on to ask the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) of the state of Washington for an “intervention.”
Continue reading As Seattle Public Schools Negotiates Some In-Person Classes Resuming, Equity Questions Loom
by Ari Robin McKenna
Trigger Warning: this article includes descriptions of incidents in which racist language is used.
In a student-lead briefing on Monday, Jan. 25 on Zoom, educators, parents, youth in the NAACP Youth Coalition, and members of the press convened to kick off the Black Lives Matter (BLM) at School Week of Action in Seattle. Now a national movement four years running, it all began here in the South End in 2016 when John Muir Elementary School (JMES) had to temporarily cancel plans for an assembly meant to bolster the morale of Black students. After word spread via Breitbart News Network that teachers at the district-sponsored event would be wearing Black Lives Matter t-shirts, organizers received hate mail and a bomb threat, causing them to temporarily cancel the assembly. Then, in an impressive display of Seattle solidarity with JMES, over 3,000 educators district-wide showed up to work donning “Black Lives Matter” shirts, and a movement was born.
Continue reading Fourth-Annual National BLM at School Week of Action Kicks Off With Calls for Local Accountability
by Andrew Engelson
After a strong windstorm hit Washington state with winds of up to 70 miles per hour in the early hours of Wednesday, Jan. 13, more than 500,000 people in Western Washington lost power and could be without electricity into the rest of today. Numerous areas in South Seattle were still without power by midday Wednesday with outages hitting the Central District, Rainier Valley, Skyway, Georgetown, Beacon Hill, as well as Highline, Burien, and other areas of South King County.
Continue reading Strong Windstorm Knocks Out Power to 74,000 in and Around Seattle, South End Especially Hard Hit
by the Staff of Dearborn Park International School
In response to the recent unilateral announcement by Seattle Public Schools (SPS) that they intend to reopen pre-K/kindergarten/first grade for in-person instruction beginning in March, the staff of Dearborn Park International Elementary School came together for a series of conversations to share our thoughts and concerns about this proposal. The conversations involved the majority of the staff — dozens of staff members over multiple days and included classroom teachers from every grade as well as specialists, instructional assistants, secretaries, and other staff.
We were especially concerned that SPS has not been clear in their communications to families and staff. The decision to reopen schools is not yet official and will have to be negotiated with the Seattle Education Association (SEA) first — there currently is no actual plan in place that would meet the needs of the impacted schools.
Continue reading South End Public School Staff to District: Don’t Reopen Without Vaccines
The Morning Update Show — hosted by Trae Holiday and The Big O (Omari Salisbury) — is the only weekday news and information livestream that delivers culturally relevant content to the Pacific Northwest’s urban audience. Omari and Trae analyze the day’s local and national headlines as well as melanin magic in our community. Watch live every weekday at 11 a.m. on any of the following channels, hosted by Converge Media: YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, Periscope, and whereweconverge.com.
We’ll also post the Morning Update Show here on the Emerald each day after it airs, so you can catch up any time of day while you peruse our latest posts.
Morning Update Show — Monday, Dec. 14
Today on the show:
The Vaccine Is on the Way | Will Black People Take the Vaccine? |
Continue reading The Morning Update Show — 12/14/20
Proud Boys Deface Black Church in D.C. | SPS Appoints Dr. Keisha Scarlett & James Bush | Ayron Jones on the Rise | Tiffany Haddish Tells the Grammy’s to #PayTheFee | Atlanta’s Mayor Bottoms Tells Joe No
by Families of Color Seattle (FOCS)
We are horrified and deeply saddened by the latest news uncovering the egregious treatment of a Black student at View Ridge Elementary School. As recently reported by KUOW, a Black second-grader named Jaleel at View Ridge Elementary School was locked up in an outdoor cage without a table or chair, multiple times, left to eat his lunch off the tray on the ground. Adult school staff, entrusted to teach and keep Jaleel safe, decided instead that putting him repeatedly (sometimes for the entire school day) in a fenced outdoor space dubbed “the cage” was an appropriate restraint for a second-grader.
Continue reading No More Black and Brown Children in Cages: The Reality of Racism and Ableism in SPS Today
by Elizabeth Turnbull and Ari McKenna
On Tuesday, Seattle Public Schools (SPS) Superintendent Denise Juneau announced that rather than seek a contract renewal, she will be leaving the school district after her contract ends in June of 2021.
Continue reading Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Denise Juneau Set to Leave