Friday, October 5, 2012

The Alliance is hiring!

The Alliance for Education is seeking to fill the position of Accountant and Fiscal Services Coordinator. The Accountant will work with the CFO and Finance Assistant to provide support for the strategic initiatives, communications, fund raising, and other administrative functions and to perform the accounting functions of the Alliance. The Accountant will partner with the CFO, Finance Assistant, Donor Database Manager and Office Manager to provide comprehensive fiscal services to approximately 200 individual schools and education-related organizations.

Find the full job description here.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Alliance for Education welcomes four additions to its Board of Directors

Seattle, WA – September 20, 2012 – The Alliance for Education  welcomed four outstanding community leaders to its Board of Directors yesterday.

“We are thrilled to welcome these four leaders,” said Alliance board chair Pam MacEwan, Special Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer, Washington State Health Benefit Exchange. "Our organization will benefit from the experience and perspective each of them brings to the table. These talented individuals will strengthen the Alliance’s community presence and our ability to affect positive change on behalf of the 48,500 students in Seattle Public Schools.”

This brings to eight the total of new directors elected to the Alliance board this year. In March the Alliance welcomed Lisa Chick (City Year), Nate Miles (Eli Lilly & Co.), Estela Ortega (El Centro de la Raza) and Bob Peters (Bank of America). The full board of directors is listed at the Alliance website.

José L. Banda began his position as Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools on July 1, 2012 and will hold the customary Ex Officio board seat reserved for each Superintendent. Mr. Banda brings over 30 years of experience in the field of education including the past four years as Superintendent of the 18,000-student Anaheim City School District. During that time, student achievement increased across the district including that of English Language Learners. Mr. Banda also developed strong relationships with the business community, city government and service organizations, as seen in the innovative math partnership with the MIND Institute and the successful passage of a $170 million construction bond in 2010. Mr. Banda is fluent in Spanish and holds a Bachelor of Arts from California State University in Bakersfield and a master’s in Educational Leadership from Chapman University.

Roger Erskine began his career as a political science and economics teacher in Minnesota. He spent decades as a NEA organizer and analyst for urban school districts before assuming the Executive Director role at the Seattle Education Association in 1993. Following his tenure at SEA, he helped to found the League of Education Voters, working on a number of projects including implementing a successful ballot initiative to lower class sizes in Washington State. He served as a Co-Chair for both the Teacher Union Reform Network (TURN) and the Cross Cities Campaign for the Urban School Reform and on the Board of Directors for New Horizons for Education. He is a frequent guest lecturer at universities on the “Importance of Trust-based Relationships in Public Education.” He was selected by Seattle Magazine as a “Man to Watch in Education” and received the A+ Award for Outstanding Support for Seattle Public Schools. Mr. Erskine returns to the Alliance for Education Board of Directors from the Emeritus Board after previously serving on the Board from 1996 – 2000.

Charles E. Wright, Jr. is an expert in the linkages between school district data systems and student performance. He has over 18 years experience leading and advising teams that collect and report school data. Most recently he served as Chief Strategy Officer for Denver Public Schools. He is also an entrepreneur, having founded both a consulting organization that works with schools, districts, and education nonprofits on performance management projects and a website to help parents and communities support their children’s learning and development in and out of school. Mr. Wright earned a B.A. degree with a concentration in Finance from Morehouse College, a M.A. degree in Elementary Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a J.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law.

Sally Yates is Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for Group Health Cooperative, one of the nation’s largest consumer-governed health care systems. Ms. Yates is responsible for legal, risk management, privacy, enterprise security, and governance functions, and plays a key role in cross-functional initiatives. She also serves as a mentor in the University of Washington Masters in Health Administration program and volunteers with the YWCA and the Trevor Project. Ms. Yates is proud to be a Seattle Public Schools parent, with a daughter in 10th grade at Garfield High School and a son who graduated from Garfield in 2010. She holds a B.A. in history from Carleton College and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Independent analysis of the Seattle teachers' contract

What does policy matter? We at the Alliance know that it matters a lot. The teachers' contract for a district dictates both the tone and priorities of what happens in the classroom. This is why in 2010 the Alliance founded the Our Schools Coalition to push forward contract reform in the Seattle Public School District. As part of the Coalition, the Alliance, in partnership with the League of Education Voters, the Technology Alliance, and 32 other citywide organizations and civic leaders, successfully advocated for significant changes to the Seattle teachers’ collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in support of student achievement. Please see the one-page overview and case study for more detail.

Following the passing of the new CBA, the Alliance commissioned the University of Washington’s Center for Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) to do an independent analysis of Seattle’s new CBA. The report is now hot off the presses. In a nutshell, here are the findings:
  • On paper, Seattle’s CBA is best of breed relative to other leading-edge districts across the U.S.
  • Implementation is almost guaranteed to expose weaknesses (if it hasn’t already) in other parts of the system (particularly HR and professional development) that need to be re-thought to align and support the spirit and letter of the contract. In sum, the CBA provides an opportunity to develop a set of next-generation solutions system-wide.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Boeing volunteers help with improvements at Memorial Stadium and Nathan Hale High School

A young volunteer helps out
We love the opportunities that arise here at the Alliance to serve schools in our community! As a community partner to the Boeing Company, we were called upon to submit project ideas for Boeing’s Global Day of Service. As a supporter of Seattle Public Schools, we worked closely with the district to develop and submit projects for the Global Day of Service. We focused on two immediate needs: painting the bleacher seats at Memorial Stadium and attending to grounds maintenance at Nathan Hale High School. 

Memorial Stadium
Located in Seattle Center and owned by the Seattle School District, the stadium was built to honor former Seattle high school youths who gave their lives in World War II. Currently, Memorial Stadium is a venue for a number of school sporting events and high school graduations. It is also frequently used by the community for sports, concerts, and other gatherings. Boeing’s Global Day of Service served to spruce up this widely visited venue and ensure its continued enjoyment. Gretchen DeDecker, the liaison for service projects with Seattle Public Schools, said afterwards, "The wonderful Boeing volunteers made great progress in getting all of the north stand bleachers painted. It looks a thousand times better than before. It was fun seeing Boeing family members of all ages pitching in. Everyone, young and older, were very careful about not dripping (much appreciated!!) and applied the Boeing quality ethic throughout."

The project nearing completion!

Nathan Hale High School
During the recent remodeling of Nathan Hale High School, a large number of rain and filtration gardens were installed to manage storm water on-site rather than diverting the storm water to storm sewers, which will eventually empty into the Puget Sound, compromising water quality and marine life. These gardens must meet stringent water quality codes and can be a great burden to the school’s small grounds staff. Since pesticides may not be used, the school relies on the help of volunteers to keep the gardens weeded until the new plant material fills in adequately within the first two to three years. Approximately 20 volunteers from Boeing helped with the grounds maintenance under the supervision of a member of the school’s grounds staff. 

Thank you!
The Alliance was thrilled to contribute funds to purchase painting supplies for the Memorial Stadium project, and also provide refreshments to the volunteers at both sites. We applaud the volunteers from the Boeing Company for their energy and commitment to our community!

More pictures from the Memorial Stadium painting project can be seen here!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Welcome, Superintendent José Banda!

Superintendent José Banda with
guests (Credit: Ilona Berzups)
We enter summer with a new Seattle Public Schools superintendent, José Banda, and a sustained commitment to fostering the finest public education system possible in our city. Two weeks ago, the Alliance for Education, in partnership with El Centro de la Raza, nearly thirty other community organizations, and approximately 300 guests, welcomed Mr. Banda to our city.

A wide array of educators, school staff, parents, civic leaders, elected officials, and corporate partners attended the Welcome Reception. The following community members offered brief remarks:

Estela Ortega, Executive Director of El Centro de la Raza exhorted guests to come together in unity, quoting the poet and activist José Martí: "the peoples of the world must rush to get to know each other." Sara Morris, President and CEO of the Alliance for Education, noted that the Alliance was founded on the bedrock belief of the district being a "learning system," and looked forward to pushing forward that vision under the leadership of Superintendent Banda. Tom Stritikus, Dean and Professor at the College of Education at the University of Washington welcomed the "beloved community" (another nod to José Martí) in Spanish. Michael DeBell, Seattle Public School Board President stated, "I am asking all of you to help Jose Banda get deeply grounded in the community." Jose Banda, incoming Seattle Public Schools Superintendent, affirmed his commitment to the city: "I believe already that this is going to be a good fit."

The Seattle Times covered the event, capturing key quotes from attendees on their thoughts on what Mr. Banda needs to know about Seattle.

The vibrancy and diversity of our community was beautifully apparent that night. As Mr. Banda noted, there are so many people who genuinely want to give to Seattle Public Schools. As part of that community, we are eager to support Mr. Banda's success as he begins the work of leading our schools. The Alliance has always held its standards high, pressing for leadership with integrity, excellent academic results, and earned trust. This month we start a new chapter with Superintendent Banda.

View more photos from the event here.

Thank you to the Host Committee!

ACLU of Washington, Alliance for Education, Arab American Community Coalition, Asian Counseling and Referral Service, Casa Latina , Center for Linguistic and Cultural Democracy, Child Care Resources, City of Seattle, Consejo Counseling and Referral Service, Denise Louie Education Center, El Centro de la Raza, Goddard College, Horn of Africa, Luis Alfonso Velásquez Flores After School Program, The Martinez Foundation, Nate Miles, Paola Maranan, Racial and Social Justice Community Roundtable, Refugee Women's Alliance, Sea Mar Community Health Centers, Seattle Housing Authority, Seattle Office for Civil Rights, Senior Services, Somali Community Services Coalition, South East Seattle Education Coalition, The Seattle Foundation, United Way of King County, University of Washington, Youth Ambassadors

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Interagency Success: "From meth to scholarships"

KING 5 News ran a story on Monday about recent Seatttle Public Schools graduate Andres Arano. Andres was, in his own words,  "a high school dropout, a drug dealer, a drug addict, a criminal." Now, however, he is not only graduating from high school, but is also the recipient of $4,500 in scholarships!

We're excited to celebrate the successes of Interagency Academy, the alternative high school from which Andres is graduating. We talked with Interagency Principal Kaaren Andrews a few months ago. Kaaren's vision of success is student-focused: 
We’re successful if we help the kids achieve their goals, whether it’s recovering from drug or alcohol addiction, finding a job, completing high school, applying to college, or finding a way to care for their baby so that they can return to school.
Read the full story to learn more about how Interagency works with students to achieve their own goals.

Also, Kevin Geloff, the Interagency teacher who was instrumental in supporting Andres towards graduation, happens to be a recipient of the Alliance's Phillip B. Swain Excellence in Education Award. Looks like he's still doing great work with students! Kevin, we applaud your continued commitment to Interagency's students!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Impact Day at Sacajawea Elementary

Just received from one of our board members representing Deloitte!

This year, over 160 volunteers reported to the Seattle Public Schools – the largest Deloitte group of volunteers by far. The mission was to beautify the Sacajawea school. Ambitious goals of the day were to refresh mural designs, revamp the drab Boys and Girls Club building, revitalize the landscape, re-paint worn out fences, update game lines and clean up the wetland areas. Teachers were impressed and one even commented, “…I am still amazed at how much was accomplished in one day” Here’s the link to the YouTube video of the work-in-progress development of the large mural refresh. Teachers and students gave Deloitte volunteers a ‘thank you note’ as an expression of appreciation (see below).

Many thanks to Deloitte professionals for your commitment to Seattle's schools!