Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Enrollment Guides now available

The Enrollment Guides for the 2009-2010 school year are now available online here.

I couldn't help noticing that the Elementary Enrollment Guide has a rather full description of the new program at Jane Addams K-8. I also notice that Jane Addams will have a Spectrum program. That makes it the third Spectrum site in the Northeast Cluster. There are no elementary Spectrum sites in the West Seattle-South cluster. Nor are there any ALO's in the West Seattle-South cluster. Nor are there any ALOs in the West Seattle- North cluster. Apparently the District doesn't believe they have to serve any advanced learners in West Seattle-South and only Spectrum students anywhere in West Seattle.

There will be a new ALO at Graham Hill in the Southeast cluster, along with the Spectrum program at Wing Luke. In the South cluster there is an ALO at Dearborn Park along with the Spectrum program at John Muir. West Seattle-North has Spectrum at Lafayette and the District continues to pretend that there's a Spectrum program at West Seattle Elementary - there just aren't any students or teachers in it. The only advanced learning in the Central cluster is the struggling Spectrum program at Leschi and the two new ALOs created by District mandate at Thurgood Marshall and Lowell. That's it for elementary advanced learning south of downtown - in five clusters there are four Spectrum programs - only one of which is strong - two continuing ALOs and three brand new ones. In the four clusters north of downtown there are only 5 reference area elementary schools that do NOT have an advanced learning program (JSIS, Bryant, Daniel Bagley, Northgate, and Olympic View). Good thing the District is working so hard to provide equity and access. Imagine how bad it would be if they weren't. (For those living in the Seattle irony-free zone, that was sarcasm.)

By the way, I submitted a Program Placement Proposal to create a Spectrum program at Arbor Heights to serve students in West Seattle-South. I did not hear anything back from the District about it. I presume that Program Placement decisions were made in February, but I haven't seen any report on them from the Superintendent. The usual timeline has these decisions made in advance of the day that the Enrollment Guides go to press.

The Enrollment Guide says that every school provides resource room services to students with IEPs and that students receiving only motor and/or speech services should just apply through the normal process. Students who are eligible for more extensive services will be assigned to a school by centrally-based special education staff based on student need, geographic location, and space availability.

The Seconday Enrollment Guide clearly offers assignment to Jane Addams in the middle school. I note that The New School is now just called South Shore. I see that the District continues to offer yellow bus transportation to Hamilton and McClure for students from the Southeast Region. This, while they are looking for ways to shut down long out-of-region transportation for other schools.

I see that every high school, except the two IB high schools, Ingraham and Chief Sealth, will offer these AP courses: Calculus AB, English Language and Composition, and United States History. Most of them also offer English Literature and Composition, Spanish Language, and Statistics. West Seattle offers the fewest courses, five.

22 comments:

Dorothy said...

AP English? The chart on page 25 correctly states that Roosevelt has neither AP English Language nor AP English Literature. Does it say in the text somewhere that it does?

Dorothy said...

The same chart also says Roosevelt does *not* have AP Euro. So much for that still being an elective, eh?

Mercermom said...

Charlie, what do you suggest to try to get the District to address the disparities in Spectrum? If Spectrum at Leschi were a Starbucks store, it would have been closed for abysmal sales (i.e., families overwhelming vote with their feet to avoid it). How do we get any accountability for the programs that aren't successful, and the consequential lack of advanced learning opportunities?

Charlie Mas said...

I cannot say this loudly enough.

Of the 25 neighborhood elementary schools in the four clusters north of downtown all but 5 offer either Spectrum or an ALO. That's 80% of the schools.

Of the 31 neighborhood elementary schools in the five clusters south of downtown only 8 offer an advanced learning program. That's less than 26% of the schools.

For the district to think that they are improving equity or access to advanced learning by splitting elementary APP and moving half of it to Thurgood Marshall while allowing the disparity of access in other advanced learning programs to continue simply boggles the mind and stretches credibility beyond the breaking point.

In the Northeast cluster there are seven schools. Three of them are Spectrum sites, three of them have ALOs and only one, Bryant, is neither.

In the West Seattle-South cluster there are six schools. None of them is a Spectrum site nor do any of them have an ALO. Nor is there an elementary ALO anywhere else in West Seattle. The only elementary advanced learning program in all of West Seattle is the Spectrum program at Lafayette.

West Seattle Elementary is designated as a Spectrum site, but the program there is not credible. There is no reference to it (or advanced learners or advanced learning) anywhere in the Continuous School Improvement Plan. It does have 19 students enrolled, up from just 3 two years ago, but the model is to provide the accelerated curriculum in a general education classroom through differentiated instruction and small groups. I have to wonder how this is different from what they would do if they were not a designated Spectrum site. This model may be good and it may be effective, but it is not Spectrum. I like cream soda, and it is sweet and bubbly, but that doesn't make it okay to sell it to me in a CocaCola bottle.

Sahila said...

I dont know why anyone is surprised by this...

Surely no one expected real, positive, forward thinking change to come and for there to be a concerted move towards equity in learning opportunity?

There's no historical pattern of the District following through - see the broken commitments thread on Harium's blog, Charlie's unanswered questions submitted to the District about tasks and actions not yet implemented and the failure to move forward on various curricula issues - and without any measures/consequences in place to hold Staff accountable, there will be no follow through on educational programme promises or policy now or in the future...

How much more evidence does the community need, how much more time will it spend sitting on its hands waiting and hoping that things will change, before it stops giving the District the benefit of the doubt and decides to take some sort of action?

Definition of insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result...

I dont understand that about this country... long lines at post offices, government departments, embassies, airports... ... I see parents training their children to stand in line quietly and co-operatively, in obedience to the authority figure at the head of the queue... such a contrast to the independent revolutionary attitude of the colonists... all unnecessary and yet people put up with it submissively... its the same in education and health and local politics - meek acceptance... where is the motivation to act and change things?

Harriet said...

"The Enrollment Guide says that every school provides resource room services to students with IEPs and that students receiving only motor and/or speech services should just apply through the normal process. Students who are eligible for more extensive services will be assigned to a school by centrally-based special education staff based on student need, geographic location, and space availability."

Families of kids with disabilities must be feeling like the last six or eight months didn't happen. Remember all that data that's come out --posted on this blog, reported by some media, supported by the SPED Audit, acknowledged by the CAO-- showing how the placement decision making coming out of Central Office for children with disabilities has been akin to institutional racism? Now the guide reads like more of the same: no transparency in placement metrics or processes and the fallback on space availability. What's changing folks?

adhoc said...

I wonder if the siting of ALO and Spectrum programs is driven by community demand? In other words does it take a high percentage of parents requesting and seeking these services to get the district to offer them?

Perhaps we should look at whether the existing Spectrum and ALO programs south of the ship canal are full? If they are full more should be added. However if they are not full and have excess space, then one would have to ask why add more?

You could ask the same question of the NE cluster. Are the Spectrum and ALO programs full? The answere is YES! The Spectrum waitlist at View Ridge is very long, and kids who qualify wait years to get into the program. Same for Eckstein. Some kids never clear the Spectrum WL for all three years that they are there. The demand in the NE cluster is very very high. Adding more Spectrum seats at Jane Addams seems warranted in this case.

adhoc said...

I looked at the description for Jane Addams k-8 and I while I noticed that there is progress being made in that the district has officially committed to a program focus, Environmental Science, stated that the school will offer Spectrum, and has named the principals, that's about all they have done.

We still don't know any details. Will this school offer electives for middle schoolers, and if so which ones? Will they offer sports, and if so which ones? Will MS kids have a 6 period day like Salmon Bay or will they remain with one teacher most of the day like AS1? Will they have 3 years of science? Advanced math? etc etc etc etc.

The schools first open house is March 5th. Will they have answers to all of these questions, and dozens more by then? I sure hope so.

Josh Hayes said...

Just FYI, adhoc, at AS1 the current MS alignment has kids rotating through three different classrooms in the morning - math, language arts, and whatever they're calling social studies these days.

I'm not saying I think this is a good thing: I don't. But it is the current structure.

adhoc said...

Thanks for the update on AS1 Josh.

What do the other K-8's programing look like? AS1 has a 3 preiod day, and Salmon Bay has a 6 period day. Anyone from TOPS, Broadview, McClure, ORCA, Blaine, New School, PAthfinder care to share what their school day looks like?

SRiley said...

Demand for Spectrum is high in West Seattle too - the disparity is not due to lack of community demand. The one Spectrum program in West Seattle, at Lafayette, is overbooked and the wait list doesn't move. District seems to have used the theoretical Spectrum program at West Seattle Elementary as an excuse not to add more Spectrum to the South West Seattle Cluster. Arbor Heights parents and staff are very interested in adding Spectrum.

SE Mom said...

Adhoc-

TOPS middle school has a 6 period day:
Math, Language Arts, Science, Art, Social Studies, PE(1/2 year) or
Health or French (1/2 year).

The schedule is a bit more complicated with alternating A and B days. Silent sustained reading is part of the daily schedule. Art alternates days but other subjects are taught daily.

Charlie Mas said...

The Spectrum program at West Seattle is a fiction.

I know that there are 19 students currently enrolled there (10/1/08) and there were 15 students enrolled in it last year, but there were only three students enrolled in 2006-2007.

The program opened in the fall of 2004. In the Spring of that year the District staff made a number of promises regarding the new program.

They promised that High Point Spectrum would have to meet accreditation requirements. The program never did.

They promised that the program would meet annual re-accreditation requirements. The program never did.

By the way, the annual requirement for re-certification is to mention the program - just mention it - in the school transformation plan, now called a CSIP. That's the whole requirement. There is no mention of Spectrum or advanced learners or advanced learning anywhere in the West Seattle Elementary CSIP. The school's interest in the program is so minimal that they don't even mention it once in the CSIP. Their interest in retaining the program is so absent that they don't make even the token effort required to retain the designation.

They promised that they would post program descriptions on the district web site. They never did.

They promised continuing professional development. The teachers at High Point didn't do it.

They promised that if the programs were not able to attract enough students to form self-contained classes within 3-5 years the programs would be closed. Despite the fact that the program remains absurdly small, the District aven't relocated or closed hasn't closed it or moved it.

When High Point Spectrum opened it had a principal who was excited about the program and one teacher who was trained to deliver it. They both left the school the following year. The next principal, when asked, responded that she didn't even know that the school had the program.

This is the Spectrum program that the District claims is available to families in West Seattle-South.

In November of 2003, Superintendent Manhas promised a Spectrum program in every cluster and region, but he placed the Spectrum program for the West Seattle-South cluster in a school outside the cluster.

Rudy D said...

South end "Spectrum" is a sham. Kids enrolled there just get extra worksheets, it's not self-contained and it's Spectrum in name only. We even had to keep reminding our son's first grade teacher monthly, that he was in their "Spectrum" program, so she would give him his extra worksheets. It was pathetic.

The fact these "Spectrum" programs aren't overenrolled does not mean there isn't parent demand in the south end for genuine, self-contained, Math-and-Language-Arts-One-Grade-Ahead Spectrum, as can be found in other parts of town! The reason why south end "Spectrum" is underutilized is because they claim a school has "Spectrum" in the enrollment guide when there is nothing there! Parents are realistic and know their kids will fare better in the general education classes at a higher performing elementary that doesn't claim to have "Spectrum", such as a Kimball or a Maple, than at so called "Spectrum" programs in weak schools, so those are the schools in demand. And those higher achieving elementary schools do not promote Spectrum testing because they want to keep their scores high.

I urge parents touring these phony south end "Spectrum" elementary schools, seeking advanced learning for their child, to ask to see the program during the tour, so they can get a realistic impression of what to expect.

It's all very frustrating. Adhoc, it's a self fulfilling prophecy. The district doesn't care about Black kids, despite all their claims for valuing diversity. They don't offer real Spectrum, so parents don't enroll, so they don't offer real Spectrum, and so on. South end parents value excellence in education for our kids, too.

Josh Hayes said...

Oh, hey, I didn't mean to imply that AS1 middle schoolers have a three-period day!

They START with a three-period rotation including math, language arts, and social studies (my 6th grader is taking the 7th grade rotation, which goes Language Arts -> Math -> Social Studies, I believe).

There are three additional periods after that for electives and in-class work; right now he's doing a Science elective, a cooking class, and Italian, for instance.

I'm not sure how, but PE gets wodged in there somewhere, too. And on Friday, it's all-day core, so teachers often take advantage of this to schedule field trips.

Hope I didn't mislead anyone the first time around!

Charlie Mas said...

There is a sort of chicken-and-egg problem with south-end Spectrum.

The programs are small, so they aren't well supported by the schools. They aren't well supported by the schools, so they are weak. They are small and weak, so families don't enroll children in them. Families don't enroll children in them, so the programs are small. The programs are small, so they aren't well supported by the schools. And so the cycle repeats.

There are a number of solutions available, but all of them have to be introduced from the District level. The District could consolidate the programs from the Central, South, and Southeast clusters at Muir to form a larger, more effective program and could consolidate the programs at Mercer and Aki Kurose at Aki and fully fund it through the Southeast Initiative. The District could move the West Seattle middle school program from Denny to Madison. The District could insist that south-end schools develop ALO programs. The District could vigorously require authentic rigor and challenge in the existing programs and actually de-certify programs that don't meet the program requirements. The District, however, appears perfectly satisfied with the condition of south-end Spectrum and sees no need to make any changes.

I think they like having the issue. It's like Republicans and abortion - they don't really want to outlaw it because then they won't be able to use it as a hot button issue to activate their base when they campaign against it.

Low income and minority students are under-represented in APP - and Spectrum - not because they don't have talent. The talent is there and it's there in the same numbers as in middle-class White families. Unfortunately, the talent in low income and minority students isn't getting developed. They are not found and nutured. Spectrum and ALOs are not only great programs for the students in them, they are also effective farm teams - the AAA and AA clubs - for APP. Both of my children were in Spectrum before they were in APP and that is the case for a lot of other APP kids. I was part of the committee that created ALOs. I was - and I remain - a strident supporter of the programs.

We need ALOs and robust Spectrum programs in the south-end to find and nuture the latent intellectual talent in these communities. That was the solution proposed by the APP Review, that is the solution preferred by the Advanced Learning program manager, and that is the best practice.

But none of it can happen without some effort from the District level leadership, and we aren't getting that. The District leadership is perfectly content with the status quo. The proof is in their actions. If they weren't content with the status quo, they would be effecting change, or at least talking about it. They are doing neither.

TechyMom said...

We also need these program to keep middle class and affluent south end families in the public schools. It's a myth that the whole south end is low income. Had there been a high quality spectrum program at leschi, I probably wouldn't have bothered touring 6 private schools and applying to 3.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Again, where is the champion for these programs? None appear to be on the Board or in top leadership. That this issue of lack of decent Spectrum in the south end continues year after year speaks loudly to the lack of concern within the district.

Rudy D said...

I would like to know why Cheryl Chow is consistently silent on the issue of supporting advanced learning in south Seattle?

ArchStanton said...

Rudy D said...

I would like to know why Cheryl Chow is consistently silent on the issue of supporting advanced learning in south Seattle?

Others here probably know Cheryl Chow better than I, but all I've ever heard her say indicates that she buys into all of the worst perceptions of "gifted education" programs.

I think she would rather see APP dismantled than expanded into South Seattle.

Just my $0.02

Charlie Mas said...

Cheryl Chow has not spoken directly to any advanced learning as a director. She was, however, the principal of Garfield for a while and her attitude towards APP and advanced learning may be gleaned from her actions in that role.

There is one new ALO coming to the south-end in 2009, at Graham Hill. I can't say to what extent the new program is the result of site-based effort or to what extent it was directed or supported from the district level. I suspect it is entirely school driven. Perhaps someone from Graham Hill can fill in the details.

I would like to know how the program was discussed in the Program Placement Committee, if it was discussed there at all.

pia hunter said...

Where is the best place to find out if Lowell is still expected to be a good school for bright students in 2009/2010? I hear conflicting stories about it's future. Any insights anyone? I am new to the area and 2 of my 3 children are slated to attend in September, but now I'm worried about the uncertain quality of education they can expect. Thanks!