Wednesday, February 10, 2016

McDonald Principal to Switch to CTE Head Next Year

The McDonald International school community received a letter today from principal Dan Golosman, letting them know that he has been tapped to head CTE sites around the district.

He said that the school community would be involved in the "first round" of seeking a new principal and that he would stay with the school until the end of the school year.

Finding Out about What Happened During Lull of Washington State Charter Schools

As I have previously stated, I have had public disclosure requests in for some time to various groups including former charter schools in Washington State, OSPI, and the Charter Commission.  I am still awaiting yet another drop from OSPI.

I had a very difficult time getting ahold of anyone from couple of former charters and gave up.  But, if they ARE public schools, there should be no mystery of who is their public disclosure officer and how to contact that person.

The former charter schools I did finally reach?  All told me "March or April" for my requests.  That is interesting that school that had been open less than four months at the time of my narrow request can't get the documentation to me for at least three months.  One of the them, Green Dot, sent my request to their CFO (?) and he okayed it to at least four other people.

It's this kind of subterfuge that gives charters a bad name.

Here's what I think happened when the Supreme Court came down with their rejection of reconsideration of the case.

The Urgency of Now - Where is it for WA State Legislature?

Via McCleary Crime Scene Color-In - Jeff Synder


Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Seattle Schools Levy Results

Operations levy  71.07% Yes

BTA IV levy  70.97 Yes
 
After listening to a painful discussion at a meeting at Cedar Park about race and equity regarding Olympic Hills and who ends up at what school, I tweeted out that I regretted my yes votes on the levies. 

Naturally, I understand the need.  But what I witnessed tonight was a reminder of a district that listens but does not want to hear.  A district that talks engagement when they mean "we'll show up to a meeting. Done and done."  A district that hires people who sure can say a whole lot of nothing and never clearly answer a question. 

Bottom line, Cedar Park will be full on day one with mostly non-white and low-income students and Olympic Hills, after its nearly $42M remodel with new boundaries, will be more white and less than half (!) the building will be full.  More than half of Cedar Park's kids will be in portables from third grade on.

As a taxpayer, I resent my levy dollars going for a building that will be half-full for, how many years?  Well, the district just can't say but won't deny it will be half-full.

I suspect there is some other shoe to drop there but, per district protocol, mum's the word. 


District Meetings; Demographics and Executive Committee Meeting

Demography Talk

The talk by SPS demographer, Dr. Natasha Rivers, on January 29th didn't have much new information.  She stated that there are links to her reports at the SPS page on demography.

To note:

- the district is definitely working with the City on housing trends

- she stated that the district had thought they would grow by 1,000 students as they had in previous years but only gained 336.  That number seems much lower than I recall from the fall.

- fun fact: the average age for new mothers in Seattle is 32 and for fathers it's 35.

- the growth in SPS is not equally scattered.  Most of the growth is in the NE/NW, some in the Central area but down somewhat in the SW and especially down in the SE.

- The district hired a local firm, Integrated Economics, that has a fairly sketchy website to do a housing study.  I'll have to ask for a copy of this document.  Naturally, this is to track how development affects enrollment, track cycles, and "using this as alternative to augment estimation models fro enrollment at the schools level."

- Seattle is the fastest growing city in the nation, currently at 662,400 residents who are mostly white (69.5%.)  That number surprised me but I likely was thinking of King County and not just Seattle proper.  There is a concentration of residents from 24-34 with the highest rate of growth of those under age five.  The poverty rate is 14.2%.

- But SPS is not quite 50% white but close.

- There are 2,944 homeless students in SPS.  

- I just heard on KUOW that Seattle is now 10th in density for the nation and will probably close in soon on 9th place LA.

Executive Committee Meeting, Feb. 4, 2016

SPS Asking for Input on Family Survey

SPS is working on the Family Survey and are considering some new questions to add to it.  They would like your input but please get this back to them by the end of this week. 

Send feedback to  research@seattleschools.org

I applaud the district in asking for this input.  

Editorial Boards Weigh in on Recent Republican Legislative Action

Basically, the editorials seem to be asking "what are YOU doing to solve problems besides criticizing others?" (bold mine)

Parent Comments Sought on Before/After Care Changes

A writer for Seattle's Child, Amy Hatch, is reporting on the impact of possibly having to move/ relocate before and after school programs & preschools from seven Seattle Public Schools for the 2016-2017 year.

She needs to speak to someone later today or tomorrow so email her if you have input on this topic,  hatchamy@msn.com

Tuesday Open Thread

Uh oh, testing in Tennessee came to a crashing halt yesterday, after the state spend $108M for on-line testing.  From Diane Ravitch via Nashville NPR:
The state commissioner, a huge fan of Common Core, blamed the vendor. She told schools to go back to the “worst case scenario,” that is, pencil and paper testing.
 The worry is that their computer system for testing cannot "perform consistently."  This comes on the heels of the story that students who took PARCC tests on paper did better than those who did on a computer so see, maybe a silver linings.   Hilarious comment from those involved:
"It is true that this [pattern exists] on average, but that doesn't mean it occurred in every state, school, and district on every one of the tests," Jeffrey Nellhaus, PARCC's chief of assessment, said in an interview.
Hmmm, maybe this guy doesn't realize how the pattern got there "on average." Someday, all of Common Core may be the silver linings playbook for those who are the glass half-full types.

What about the SAT? Shades of our old state test, the WASL.  From the NY Times:
Chief among the changes, experts say: longer and harder reading passages and more words in math problems. The shift is leading some educators and college admissions officers to fear that the revised test will penalize students who have not been exposed to a lot of reading, or who speak a different language at home — like immigrants and the poor.
SPS is also asking for help in conservation/recycling and has a good webpage, Utility Conservation Programs, how your student's school can do it.  Your school can get money back from the district in some programs.

Nearly 200 black men came to support the National African-American Parent Involvement Day yesterday at South Shore Pre-K-8.  They had hoped for 100 so it was a great show of support for the school.  That kind of community support, plus the $1M grant they receive each year, is the kind of thing that will support better outcomes.

What's on your mind?

Monday, February 08, 2016

Will You Look At That? Two Perfect Scores on AP Calculus

One student, Nick Porter at Kentridge High in Kent, got one of those perfect scores.  From the Times (bold mine):
Well, Nick Porter was one of 12 students worldwide to earn all 108 points possible on the calculus AB exam, which covers what’s in a first-semester college class. About 302,530 students took the exam, which lasted 3 hours and 15 minutes.
Two years ago, another student at the same Kent high school was one of eight people worldwide with a perfect score. So what are the odds that two students from the same high school both receive near-impossible scores within two years of each other?
About 90 percent of Kentridge calculus students pass the exam, which means they receive a score of 3 or higher. 
A student in LA, Cedrick Argueta, a senior at Lincoln High School in Lincoln Heights, was one of the other students in the world that had a perfect score.  From the LA Times: