Saving Education(s) In Tacoma with Friendly New School Mascots

Imagining SAMI and SOTA School PEP! Also the DIY Science Fair Miracle of Thermite!
posted May 31, 2011
educations, tacoma, tacomic, sami, sota, mascots, school spirit, teens
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Recently the Weekly Volcano hosted a round table pizza discussion on EDUCATIONS IN TACOMA. Since I can't read the Volcano due to current BOYCOTT THE WEEKLY VOLCANO commitments (because of their advertising contract with Clear Channel Outdoor), I hosted a META round table pizza discussion on Fac3BOOK with some of the most political/educated fellows I could think of:  Professor Andrew Fry of UW Tacoma, Matt Driscoll's Wife Jennifer Driscoll, Tacoma Mama, Chris "The Wedge" Van Vechten, and Jessica Smeall. If you remember this venn diagram, educations played pretty hot and heavy in the last election. I opened the discussion pondering the best school mascots for Tacoma's new SAMI and SOTA schools.   Also here are some of my favorite Copy/Paste responses... 

Chris Van Vechten: Thought #1 - Tom L. Hilyard, either was misquoted or didn't answer question #2. To say that we need to allocate funding to the result we want, not the issue we recognize, is not an answer to the question "what get Tacoma School District do about the achievement gap." Citing a specific program for the district to invest in would be better.
Thought #2 - Patrick Erwin's Lincoln Center is both pragmatic and successful. Only problem with it as that it hasn't been replicated at the middle school and elementary school level. The focus needs to be on improving students reading and math skills though - not so much their GPAs. I'm in law school now, and we are graded on a murderous curve. There are 500 students in my class, only 25 of whom are allowed to get As on our curve. That means that the bulk of us are getting Bs and Cs. For students who have never gotten anything but As in their life (which is how most of them got into law school) the first semester's exam is a demoralize experience that convinces many students to give up. I too find that I do not try as hard in my 4th semester as I did in my first, because I know I cannot climb to the top like I used to. I therefore don't forth the effort I used to. It's no different for kids in middle or high school. They know that when it comes to math, they're not A students and so they quit. Grades do so much more harm than good, and viewing the achievement gap through the lens of grades sets most students - White and Black - up to fail. I do endorse testing students' individual aptitude and charting improvement, but using grades to assign value to a student's abilities is always a lose/lose move.
Thought #3 - Tom L. Hilyard Yes, tracking is horrible. I can't believe districts still do it.
Thought #4 - Catherine Ushka-Hall - nice observation on the opt-in phenomenon. Instead of developing alternative schools, why are we not 
implementing more alternative curriculums within the same schools. In other words, SAMI could have been an alternative curriculum housed at Stadium and SOTA could have been an alternative track at, say Lincoln or Mt. T.
Thought #5 - Tom L. Hilyard "I think every student in the K-12 experience ought to have an individualized education plan. There ought to be accountability to that plan that shows the plan has a reality - that it can be accomplished with the kinds of resources you devote to it and that you measure it to ensure that the resources are being used to do that." I had no idea you were a democratic education fan too?!? 
Thought #6 - Patrick Erwin - I truly believe that the best way to evaluate teachers is to implement a system of student evaluation similar to what goes on in college. This is not a radical idea. In our grandparents day, 13 year old boys and girls worked 50 hours a week in factories and mines where adults depended on their skill and maturity to ensure that everyone went home at the end of the night. Child soldiers have enlisted and and continue to enlist in countries across the globe. Students may not be adults, but they are not children either and they know better than anyone whether or not a teacher is effective. The fact that they do not play a role in the evaluation process is a HUGE mistake that Tacoma should take the lead in correcting. I never had a science teacher in my life that was worth keeping, all were eventually fired but only after years of incompetence. [sic]

Paul Schrag: I would like to contend that the most important present matter impacting the future of Tacoma is a grocery store downtown, which will act as a magnet for nice, suburban families that are desperately needed to change public perception that Tacoma is a poor community filled with crime and other kinds of ickiness. Other than that, great article. [sic]

Jessica Smeall: There's an important thing missing from this discussion--parents. fact is: parents are responsible for their kids' education. public schools are not an automatic "be lazy" card for parents. it's the parents responsibility for their children to grow up safe, healthy & educated. public schools are a terrific tool for parents, but there have been complaints about public school performance in Tacoma for decades & decades. it's time we have an academy for parents that shows them how to be the 3rd partner in the school--kid--parent partnership [sic]

RR Anderson: How do we make education interesting to the group of Mason teenagers that hang out in puget park every day smoking pot?

Professor Andrew Fry: My experience with K-12 has been through my four kids and my volunteer time with grade schools (and some times middle schools) teaching origami. The last ten years have been with the UWT at the Institute of Technology and with the continued education I pursue for myself. I have been impressed with the quality from Crescent Heights Elementary, Meeker and Stadium. In my opinion all of them are fine schools. I have a high regard for the classes I have taken at the University in the Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences and have seen first hand the value that the Computer Science, Computer Engineering and Information Technology degrees bring to the graduates from those programs. Those entering the work force with CS, CE and IT degrees are being sought out by industry and being offered excellent starting salaries.
What I have found: 
  1. Parent involvement is a critical factor. When the parents take time with their kids it is a game changer. When the parents don't show interest or are in circumstances where it is difficult time wise, the teacher is the the life preserver for that child.
  2. As the kids get older, they need to want the education they are being provided. That means at the minimum, they have to have an understanding that it is an opportunity for them, not a burden. This needs to be communicated in the curriculum and in the everyday approach to class time.
  3. That an education takes effort, and that the effort has rewards that are more than just monetary must be understood. Education can and should be interesting and hopefully enjoyable, but there is no disguising that it is NOT something that is handed over.
  4. Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. STEM. Not everyone will be drawn to these as their main focus, but everyone should be grounded in the fundamentals. If someone has a proclivity for success in math and science by all means encouragement and support should be given. 
  5. Support the arts. [sic]

+ + + 

by NineInchNachos on 5/31/2011 @ 2:38am
update: venn diagram link images have been scrubbed from the internet. PLEASE REFERENCE YOUR TACOMIC BOOK VOLUME 001 PAGE 189

by cisserosmiley on 5/31/2011 @ 2:45am
i agree with the guy that says the new grocery store will help kids know science better

by NineInchNachos on 5/31/2011 @ 8:23am
I think the grocery store is a 'false choice' I believe the science knowing benefit will come from the attorney general storefront in the pacific plaza parking garage building.

by Mofo from the Hood on 5/31/2011 @ 8:24am
What's the significance of dissecting a 7 inch long crickett?

by NineInchNachos on 5/31/2011 @ 8:27am

I'd like to start with this:

You can watch the entire 1972 Silent Running film on YOUTUBE! Welcome to THE FUTURE! We're glad you made it!

by NineInchNachos on 5/31/2011 @ 8:30am
Popular folk singer-songwriter Joan Baez should never again be allowed to provide a soundtrack for a science-fiction film.

by cisserosmiley on 5/31/2011 @ 8:49am
Re: RR Anderson: How do we make education interesting to the group of Mason teenagers that hang out in puget park every day smoking pot?
as a youth who grew up in that area and hung out at puget park smoking pot, i can say that fun outdoors stuff like sitting in the park smoking out would have helped us be more interested in education

by smeall on 5/31/2011 @ 8:55am
Tacoma may have an adult literacy problem that adds to childrens' problems?

by thriceallamerican on 5/31/2011 @ 8:58am
The Venn diagrams may have been scrubbed from the Internets, but not from my email archives!!!

The original, much-ridiculed nonsensical "educations" diagram:

by NineInchNachos on 5/31/2011 @ 8:59am

by NineInchNachos on 5/31/2011 @ 9:00am
Perhaps related to the literacy problem?

by TDI-Reporters-Notebook on 5/31/2011 @ 9:02am
what about darryl?

by NineInchNachos on 5/31/2011 @ 9:14am
RE: Tacoma Daily Index

Good point, Why not use Darryl to help boost morale at say Lincoln High-school ?



Darryl has his feathers full with the child soldiers down at JBLM. And it was explained to me on Fac3Book that Lincoln has the martyred Abraham Lincoln as her Mascot.

"Will malice to none, and charity to all.. yadda yadda"

by NineInchNachos on 5/31/2011 @ 9:18am
Sonics Guy could be a full time mascot

by NineInchNachos on 5/31/2011 @ 9:26am
maybe related?

"Tacoma leaders want to know how many gang members live in the city, what crimes they commit, what programs might get them out of gangs, and what attracted them to the lifestyle in the first place."

Read more:

by The Jinxmedic on 5/31/2011 @ 9:38am
I like the Silent Running nod. Bruce Dern at his crazzzziest!

by cisserosmiley on 5/31/2011 @ 9:41am
hey city council - find MONEY to re-open youth mentorship programs. data shows they are the only thing that helps, but the city has no money for them...but does have $50,000 for a missouri consultant...probably jay ray's hick cousin jay'bob ray'bob...

by NineInchNachos on 5/31/2011 @ 9:49am
if you were stuck in a space bio-dome with Joan Baez, briefcase nukes and a bunch of stinky cantaloupes you'd go crazy too.

by NineInchNachos on 5/31/2011 @ 10:00am

Fine line between like-minded folks and conspiracy

This column was not funded in whole or in part by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Read more:

by cisserosmiley on 5/31/2011 @ 10:13am
interesting it possible most political activity in tacoma is organized by seattle activists...lets ask ryan mello's seattle political consultants

by NineInchNachos on 5/31/2011 @ 10:19am
Why doesn't Bill Gates just pay for every silly consultant we need whenever we need ?

by NineInchNachos on 5/31/2011 @ 10:21am

by NineInchNachos on 5/31/2011 @ 10:45am

by NineInchNachos on 5/31/2011 @ 11:58am
part of the Conspiracy?

by NineInchNachos on 5/31/2011 @ 12:44pm
some peppy words from my facebook world...

Greetings -

There are many aspects of the digital billboard debate that I find disturbing. I will address just a few here.

I am a life time resident of Tacoma, my family is based here and my first grandchild was just born here in Tacoma. I and my family have a stake in Tacoma, Clear Channel does not. I care about what Tacoma looks like now and what it will look like in the future.

Clear Channel shows nothing but contempt for the laws, citizens, political process, public face and legacy of Tacoma.

I teach English and public speaking at the college level. I am also a columnist for The News Tribune. I see stunned outrage at every level when this issue comes up in conversation.

My students marvel at the ineffectiveness of our city government. These billboards are the ultimate insult to who we are as a community. If these billboards are erected, they will be a living monument to the cowardice of those who should be making decisions on behalf of our city. You can bet that they will also be targets of hackers and vandals.

In summary, these digital billboards say nothing good about Tacoma, but their presence will be a continuing reminder of missed opportunities and the worst aspect of compromise.

M.Morford (Morf)

by Matt Driscoll on 5/31/2011 @ 2:11pm
Oh shit. You didn't really just introduce her as "Matt Driscoll's wife," did you? Wow. Ballsy. I'd expect an extra small piece of cake at a certain toddler's b-day party this weekend.

by NineInchNachos on 5/31/2011 @ 2:25pm
Life partner?

by Matt Driscoll on 5/31/2011 @ 2:27pm
"Simply stunning" would have sufficed.

by Erik on 5/31/2011 @ 3:52pm
Erecting a 24/7 commercial spam machine/TV (digital billboards) on a stick across from Jason Lee Middle school and around Tacoma is not going to help education of children in Tacoma.

Yet we keep hearing: "If only the children were exposed to more commercials and commercialism!"

by NineInchNachos on 5/31/2011 @ 3:56pm
I would like to complain about the clear channel gangsters that operate the billboard spam empire in Tacoma. Maybe all this spam has an effect on our young people? Kids learn to tune out and fast forward through the commercials, well what happens when our city is made into one big commercial?

Read more:

by NineInchNachos on 6/6/2011 @ 10:48pm
inspired by this cartoon the COMIC CRITIC does the SILENT RUNNING...

by NineInchNachos on 6/16/2011 @ 8:09am
education it TOP priority in T-Town..

by jenyum on 6/16/2011 @ 2:17pm
Unless we can convince more people to move to Tacoma and place their kids in the school district, I'm not sure there's anything we can do to prevent at least temporary school closures. Enrollment is falling and projected to fall further before it rises again, and state funding (which is where the majority of school funding comes from, not the city) is dependent upon enrollment. Keeping all of the buildings open would mean cutting programs.

by NineInchNachos on 6/16/2011 @ 2:44pm
people are not having babies because billboards are ruining our citizens romantic prospects. It is all interconnected.

by CaptainBritton on 6/16/2011 @ 4:11pm
Yet I heard we are the most romantic city in the

I think the problem is too much self control. When will paganism rise again? Does Tacoma need a ritualistic fertile Summer solstice celebration or what?

by NineInchNachos on 6/24/2011 @ 4:57pm
the problem with private religious schools is they are highly vulnerable to grifter attacks...

if you believe in immaculate conceptions... you'll believe anything!

by NineInchNachos on 7/11/2011 @ 3:39pm

(thanks tacoma mama)

by jenyum on 7/11/2011 @ 9:18pm
Edelman has blown up the edu-blogosphere this week, and not in a good way.

by NineInchNachos on 7/11/2011 @ 10:21pm

by NineInchNachos on 5/14/2012 @ 7:32pm