Tag Archives: Teaching in the Pandemic

Why Franklin High School Teachers Spent the Last Two and Half Days Outside

by Ari Robin McKenna


On Monday afternoon earlier this week, as clouds began to block the sun, the temperature dove from its high of 48 degrees Fahrenheit. Extension cords of various colors trailed out of the heated, fortress-like Franklin High School (FHS) building, built in 1912, and made their way through the bushes and across walkways to where teachers, bundled up, sat at fold-out tables on their laptops, attending virtual meetings. A couple of them appeared to be shivering.

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Highline Teachers Approve March 11 Return, Seattle Begins Limited In-Class Learning March 29

by Ari Robin McKenna


In a general membership meeting of the Highline Education Association (HEA) Monday night, teachers voted to begin a phased return to in-person learning for elementary students beginning with “Pre-K, kindergarten, grade 1, and students served in Intensive Academic Center (IAC) K–12” on March 11, and ending with grade 4 and grade 5 on April 1. A week earlier, the union’s general membership had voted to delay the return to in-person learning until April 19.

This about-face follows an intense, three days last week in which Highline Public School (HPS) Superintendent Susan Enfield announced she would be enlisting as a substitute teacher, a letter sent from HPS Human Resources to teachers who had not been granted remote teaching placement threatened them with “progressive discipline” for not returning to work, and a parent petition circulated claiming a “profound lack of confidence” in Enfield and the HPS school board. It also follows a weekend of further bargaining where “supplemental measures” to the existing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two sides were developed.

Continue reading Highline Teachers Approve March 11 Return, Seattle Begins Limited In-Class Learning March 29

BREAKING: Seattle Educators Overwhelmingly Vote ‘No Confidence’ in Superintendent and Administration

by Ari Robin McKenna


Yesterday evening, in a resounding show of solidarity, 98% of the Seattle Education Association (SEA) teachers who were present at a Special Representative Assembly cast votes of no confidence in Seattle Public Schools (SPS) Superintendent Denise Juneau, Chief Human Resources Officer and Lead Negotiator Clover Codd, and Chief Financial Officer and Chief Negotiator JoLynn Berge for, “attempting to unilaterally impose new working conditions upon SEA members without completing negotiations.”

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After Learning Details, Families Turn Away From In-Person Learning at Skyway School

by Ari Robin McKenna


A few weeks ago, many members of the tight-knit staff of Campbell Hill Elementary School convened online. They felt that their community didn’t have enough information to make a fully informed decision about whether or not to send their kids back into school buildings as part of Renton School District’s (RSD) phased return to hybrid learning beginning March 3. Decisions about when and how to return to classroom instruction are especially charged in the Skyway neighborhood, where Campbell Hill is located. It is both historically underinvested in and also has higher rates of COVID-19 infections than more affluent areas of King County. The potential of another COVID-19 spike and the resulting community death toll weigh heavily on the district’s decision to return, as do concerns about upended classes and the “learning drift” of breaking away from the virtual educational experience some teachers have worked so hard to provide.

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As Seattle Public Schools Negotiates Some In-Person Classes Resuming, Equity Questions Loom

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.”

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