Saturday, January 23, 2010

The (Nearly Daily) STEM Update of 1/23/2010

STEM Open House this morning began with people drifting around a gym filled with booths from STEM "partners". The skeptical quotes are because many of the groups represented, such as UW School of Dentistry, didn't actually have any plans to partner with STEM.

At 10:00 the presentation began with Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson reading powerpoint slides to the audience. When will she stop doing that? Why does she do it? Does she think that we can't read? Does she have nothing to add? It creates the impression that this is the first time that she is seeing the slides. The woman commits death by powerpoint at every opportunity.

Not only was the superintendent there, but so was Susan Enfield, the CAO, and Michael Tolley, the High Schools Director, and, oddly, Don Kennedy, the CFOO. Two school board directors attended, Sherry Carr and Peter Maier. I was disappointed that the Director for the Southeast, Betty Patu, was not there.

They ran through a slide presentation and then people could continue to wander among the booths in the gym, visit classrooms, or attend and Q & A session. I went to the Q & A.

First, the Open House was well-attended. I'd say that if you distilled it down there were about 100 rising eighth graders represented. I'm ready to increase my estimate for STEM freshman enrollment to 50-100. In the Q & A some people asked "What if the school fills up?" or "What if the academy my child wants is full?" I don't think they have anything to worry about.

I would also say that there were not 10 black students in that group. About half of the crowd was Asian and the rest, except for a handful of Latinos, were white. The student population in that building is going to change and I honestly don't think that the school or the district are at all ready for it. Right now, Cleveland is 46% African-American. Right now, the bulk of Cleveland students come to the school working below grade level. That was Cleveland. STEM, on the other hand, is going to be predominantly Asian and the bulk of students will come to the school working at or beyond grade level.

The staff don't really seem to be ready for that. For example, when asked about freshmen taking world languages to continue the work they started in middle school, the academic dean said that historically they don't get many incoming students who took a foreign language in middle school. That reflects a poor understanding of the fact that Cleveland history is over and STEM history is going to be different. Likewise with music. I just don't think they are ready for the kind of students they are going to be getting.

The Cleveland staff also seem strangely reluctant to mix grades. They would say things like "Sure, a 9th grader could take a world language, but they would be in a class full of older students." as if this represented any sort of problem or concern at all. It doesn't. They acted like it was some kind of extraordinary accommodation for a freshman to take Geometry in a class of sophomores. It's not. I just don't think it has been happening much at Cleveland before this.

I get the feeling that the district, and some others, don't want the school to change. The speakers kept saying, over and over, that students can come to STEM even if they are struggling with math or science. They repeated that message a lot. All skill levels are welcome. The problem, of course, is that very few students who struggle with math will want to take extra math. If they come to STEM they will be taking double math for years. They will have to take double math as a freshman because they are behind, then they will have to take double math in the 10th grade to get ahead. Plus additional math if they are still having trouble. Some of the groups that have been partnering with Cleveland, such as L.A.M.P., also told me that they will work to reduce the change in the demographic. by encouraging low performing students - and particularly African-American students - to enroll.

They don't seem to be ready for transfers. I heard something in their voices that made me think that a lot of Cleveland students will be leaving the school after this year, that not many of the current 9th graders want to stay and be a part of STEM and that not many of the current 10th and 11th graders want to stay and be part of the College Readiness Academy. I don't have any numbers - I don't think they do either - but there was this weird ring of fear in their voices when answering questions about that. They said that students could, of course, come to Cleveland or leave it at any grade.

The cut in the budget - and the resulting loss of the extended day for all students - will have significant impacts on the schedule. There will be fewer opportunities for students to take electives and they will have to take most of them either before or after school. Again, I don't think they appreciate how many students this will be. The extended day will be required of students who struggle with the math or science. That will constrain those students' opportunity to take electives or participate in extra-curricular activities. STEM has higher graduation requirements than the rest of Seattle Public Schools, including four years of math, Calculus (which requires a fifth year of math for students who are the standard pace), four years of science, four years of language arts, two years of world languages, and three years of social studies. That's 18 credits right there. They also still have their P.E., arts, and CTE requirements as well. It is essentially CORE 24 plus a fifth year of math. I'm not sure how students are going to be able to do all of this in a six-period day in four years.

Neither are they. The schedule and the scheduling remains an unsolved puzzle. They were having trouble with it before WITH the extended day and they are having even more trouble with it now. They can't figure out how to accommodate music or world languages for 9th and 10th grade students. They say that the NTN has resources and sample schedules that will help with this.

Transportation is also proving a challenge. Cleveland is poorly served by METRO. The only bus that goes there is the 60 which runs only twice an hour and goes to Georgetown in the south and First Hill and Capitol Hill in the north. It doesn't go to any major transfer points. There is a light rail station on Beacon Hill, but it's a half-hour walk from the school. The 36 offers frequent service, but has its closest stop about twenty minutes' walk from the school. A shuttle service that runs from the school to the light rail station with a stop for transfers from the 36 would be helpful, but they just heard the idea today. They can't promise yellow bus service in advance, but will provide it if there are enough students from a neighborhood who have enrolled at the school. That's not much assurance.

I don't know how much trouble they are having with the budget. They say that they need $1.6 million to fund the first two years and that they have all but $180,000 of it. They say that once they have the school up and running they will qualify for all kinds of grants. They acted very confident about the money, but they also cut the extended day to reduce costs. I can't really say that I trust them on this.

Finally, one last item on the negative side, a father of a current Cleveland 11th grader said that his son enrolled when Cleveland had three academies. Then the next year the school had only two academies. Now the school is putting his son and all of the other upper-classmen into one academy. Given this track record, he asked why anyone should sign up for STEM not knowing if the District would sustain the commitment to the program. It was a sticky question for the staff to answer, in large part because none of them had been with the school or, in some cases, the District, for as long as three years. They could only say that they had the bulk of the funding in hand for two years.

On the positive side: STEM will offer "wall-to-wall" project-based learning. The teachers have been getting exposure to this teaching style all year. That means that although they will have the District-approved textbooks as a resource, it is unlikely to be even the primary material used in the math classes. They have been told that so long as they cover the knowledge and skills required by the District-adopted curriculum, there won't be any conflict between STEM's project based learning and the District's curriculum alignment effort.

So on one hand you have a building that isn't really ready for the change that is coming in the students, but they are more ready with the lessons than I had thought, they are nearly there with the budget, which may be close enough, they haven't figured out the schedule, but it looks like they will, and they don't know how they will get the kids to the school. None of these are insurmountable obstacles. On the good side is project-based learning, lots of science, and an escape from Discovery math.

STEM looks better and better to me and my family. My daughter is looking for a small school, and I am convinced that STEM will be small. She is looking for project-based learning and they are definitely going to have that. She wants to escape the "Discovery" math, and it looks like STEM will offer an escape from it. She is looking for a lot of science, and oh boy will she have that. I think she is going to LOVE the project-based learning. Transportation isn't a problem because we live close and she doesn't care that music opportunities will be constrained because she isn't interested in music. I really can't imagine a better fit for her.

47 comments:

SolvayGirl1972 said...

I'm glad to hear it'sa good fit for your daughter Charlie. And I couldn't think of a better watchdog for the program than you!

Stu said...

I think that, with all your knowledge of the problems with this district, that it shows an incredible amount of faith that you're considering the STEM program for your daughter. Obviously, being nearby help a lot but taking a chance on something so new is brave.

That said, having a role in helping form and support a program in infancy is a real plus and I agree with SolvayGirl1972 that the school would be incredibly lucky to have you participating.

We're still a couple of years away from High School and it will be interesting to see how the transportation issue shakes out. I think that the only way this program is going to successfully draw from the whole district, which of course doesn't do anything to help the current student population -- that's a whole different discussion -- is if they can find a way to get the kids to the actual building. Relying on the Metro system, which doesn't supply the buses necessary, isn't going to work.

stu

owlhouse said...

Thanks for the details, Charlie. Was any enrollment staff on site to answer questions? Also curious if open enrollment forms are available now, or not until 3/1.

h2o girl said...

What SolvayGirl said, Charlie. If your daughter does end up at STEM, I look forward to reading updates from you here. (Please?)

A friend of mine and her daughter went to the open house today; she was very impressed but her daughter, not so much. Their reference school is Roosevelt so she's going to go there. However the daughter was impressed that someone from the STEM program had gone to Eckstein to recruit kids to come to the open house - he said "if you come, you get a free gift!" (Which turned out to be a $15 iTunes gift card - she was pleased.) I thought that was pretty amusing. I wonder if that came out of STEM funding? Ha.

Charlie Mas said...

I didn't get an iTunes gift card!

The whole faith in the District thing isn't all or nothing. There are some things that I am confident the District will do and some things that I'm highly skeptical about. With regards to STEM, I think they just fall right for my family, not necessarily for anyone else.

I have absolutely no confidence whatsoever that the District will arrange transporation to the Cleveland building for STEM students who can't reach it easily by METRO. They won't put together the yellow bus service without the students and they won't get the students without the yellow bus service. Since I don't believe that they are very motivated to bring STEM students into the area, I don't see it happening. That just isn't a problem for my family because we live just one block from a stop for the only bus that goes to Cleveland.

I have absolutely no confidence that the Cleveland staff will figure out how to write the schedule so students can have world language classes before the 11th grade. I think they figure out how to do music classes at zero period, but not French. My daughter has been taking French, but she's not exactly on fire about it. It is an acceptable loss.

As I have written, I think the school will be woefully under-enrolled, which works out beautifully for the few students who do enroll.

I don't think the District or the school will be able to recruit many of the local under-performing students to the school, which, again, works out great for my family.

I'm not worried about the budget thing. The only part that isn't fully budgeted is the NTN contract. That's what the Board will be voting to approve on February 3. If the Board approves it - and I simply cannot imagine them rejecting it - then the District will be obligated to pay it, and it will no longer be the school's problem to figure out how. Again, callous but just fine for my family.

There's been a lot of that with STEM. On one hand, there's a lot here that serves my narrow self-interests and pleases me as a father. On the other hand, there's a lot here that is very bad for the District and angers me as an activist. Much of it is the same stuff. My response is either personally minded or publicly minded, but they are not in agreement.

There is a short list of things that I am relying on the District to actually do as promised.

The first is to offer the classes, and I'm very confident that they will. Lots of schools can offer these classes and so can STEM. Given the fact that the students have actively chosen the school to take those classes I'm sure that there will be demand for them.

Second, I am relying on the school to actually deliver on the promise of project-based learning. I'm now much more confident about this, but even before this I was ready to accept only partly PBL.

That's about it. They can (and probably will) fail to fulfill all of their other goals and plans. But so long as they can deliver the classes and deliver the project-based learning at least much of the time, that is all it will take for me to consider this choice worthwhile.

Maureen said...

They have been told that so long as they cover the knowledge and skills required by the District-adopted curriculum, there won't be any conflict between STEM's project based learning and the District's curriculum alignment effort.

If this is true, I am choosing to take it as a commitment from the District that all other Option Schools may do the same.

SE Mom said...

The transportation/Metro issue is huge and can really tip the scales for high school choices for families.

IB and Sealth would be a better choice for my kid than STEM because art and music as well as science are important to her. Evem though the music and art aren't up to the level of Garfield,
I think that there would be a better sense of community and opportunity to be mentored with the IB program. Not to mention that it would be much more likely to get at choice seat at Sealth than Garfield.

But... and it's a big but...getting from SE Seattle to South West Seattle on Metro is really difficult and time consuming.

We're hoping that attending some open houses and tours will help us decide what choice seats to apply for.

dan dempsey said...

I went to the Open house. The district showed a video of New Tech Sacramento accompanied with lots of happy talk and NO data.

I think the board should reject the $800,000 NTN contract, whether they will or not remains to be seen.

The question is now will the Board ever direct the superintendent? Put another way will the public ever gain control of their schools from the administration?

It would have been excellent if the disrtrict had fully informed the public after their happy talk video.

With API scores for New Tech Sacramento
2005 6 = slightly above average
2006 5 = slightly below average
2007 4
2008 3

Most California schools will vary at most 1 point over 4 years.
This one drops 1 point per year. Going from Slightly above average to in the bottom 30% of schools three years later.

It would have been honest if in the question and answer session when parents asked about Project based learning if the district had pointed out the End of Course testing for Algebra II 50 students showed
advanced = 0
proficient = 1
basic = 2
below basic = 18
far below basic = 29

How can a school that purports to have a math science focus be modeled on under performing math NTN schools?

I heard that Discovering Math will be one of the instructional materials for math because it is the district adoption but teachers will have other resources.

Given that NT Sacramento has seen its total enrollment drop a bit and that the 11th grade class averages about 65% of the size of the 9th grade class. The idea that STEM requires all of Cleveland seems a reach. A stem academy perhaps but an entire STEM option school?

The idea of Calculus still boggles my mind when thinking of retaining the current Cleveland demographic. Look at Aki Kurose math scores. Look at NT Sacramento Advanced algebra scores.

I think the board is completely out to lunch if they approve the NTN contract.

If you look at who is behind NTN you see lots of businessmen not educators ... not STEM folks but businessmen. If you look for who they are hiring it is not educators or STEM people it is a sales force.

The sales force is doing a great job if Seattle buys the sizzle when there is no steak.

LA Global is another NTN demonstration school in CA.

It has been open for three years
2007 API 1
2008 API 1

Cleveland needs to wait a year to get this right before wasting another pile of money on slick vendor's wares.



“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories instead of theories to suit facts.”

–From A Scandal in Bohemia (1892) By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

IF the School Board votes for this $800,000 lemon, they clearly will never understand or appreciate that to improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data.

This is a major opportunity for the board to actually direct the superintendent ... if they do not do it now .... they likely never will.


The Central Administration has control and will never relinquish it to the public in the form of rational decision making about math or finances. Central Admin does what they wish to do regardless. Perpetual cheerleader Cheryl Chow is gone but will that make any difference?

Michael Rice said...

Charlie writes:

They have been told that so long as they cover the knowledge and skills required by the District-adopted curriculum, there won't be any conflict between STEM's project based learning and the District's curriculum alignment effort.

Then Maureen writes:

If this is true, I am choosing to take it as a commitment from the District that all other Option Schools may do the same.

The Option Schools? I take it as committment from the district that I can do the same at Raineir Beach. If the Discovering Series is not good enough for the students at the STEM school, then it won't be good enough for my students. I will cover the skills and knowledge required.

Sully said...

I wonder why Hale, which also practices project based learning, is using Discovering?

Stu said...

There's been a lot of that with STEM. On one hand, there's a lot here that serves my narrow self-interests and pleases me as a father. On the other hand, there's a lot here that is very bad for the District and angers me as an activist. Much of it is the same stuff. My response is either personally minded or publicly minded, but they are not in agreement.

Charlie,

One of the things I respect about you is the ability to see and discuss both sides of this difficult coin. What's best for my son is no necessarily what's best for another family; my job is to get my son the best education that I can afford and the moment that I feel SPS can't do it, we're gone. In the same breath, I will continue to vote and fight for the things that I believe will make this district stronger for all kids.

stu

Melissa Westbrook said...

A couple of things:

-thank you Charlie for going and keeping an open mind

-I attended Director Martin-Morris' community meeting today and could still hear a lot of lingering doubts over STEM from him

-$1.6M - that's an interesting figure and the exact one for the academic portion for STEM in the BTA levy (plus $1.1M in the technology portion); yes, STEM would getting money from just about everywhere

-Dr. Goodloe-Johnson attended Ingraham High school's PTSA meeting recently. A friend told me (as I think someone else reported here) that she was quite terse with teachers who asked questions about math. Then, a student asked and our Super was quite cordial. Apparently she said that the math adoption was a process and not her decision and that the math series chosen is only a book and therefore not the only thing to be used to teach math.

So I'm thinking the district won't mind if teachers choose to use other materials and manner of teaching to teach math.

SolvayGirl1972 said...

Melissa, I hope you're right about the teachers being able to use other materials, but where are they supposed to get the funds to purchase these materials? And, if all of the teachers start using other materials, why are we taxpayers paying for the Discovery series? I wish the District had just picked a proved math curriculum instead of the latest fad.

old salt said...

I think that parents are being told teachers can use other math materials. I think teachers & principals are being told that they can't.

A teacher I talked to found the discovery text unacceptable for an independent study class. But was told that she would have to apply for a waiver to use a different text & she would be unlikely to get it.

wseadawg said...

The Discovery Math adoption demonstrates the inroads the corporate hacks have already made into our schools. As D.D. laid out in great detail, the math adoption committee was stacked and rigged. Then the Board acted like they couldn't vote no because "the process was followed" and now MGJ cops out by saying it wasn't "her decision." Sorry Super: If it happens on your watch, you own it.

Sounds like NTN is another handout and outsourcing of public funds to more private interests. Of course, any material or program purchase does that, but the influence and control being surrendered at the expense of our children, who become the lab rats for the latest fads, is increasingly disturbing, as there is not, nor will there ever be, accountability when things go bad.

Clearly, MGJ has been ordered by the corporate puppeteers to open a STEM school. The vultures are circling in the sky, hoping it works, or more importantly, that they can convince the public it works (with their mouthpieces at the Times cheering them on), so they can gain further and deeper inroads into our schools.

Call me a conspiracy nut, but to my eyes its plain as day: Families and kids come last on the priority list for all these corporate hucksters and their minions at SPS. My bet is many of the folks currently at SPS are positioning themselves for jobs in the booming parasite cottage industries that have flourished since NCLB came into effect. Testing companies, curriculum companies, remedial curriculum companies (from the same folks who develop the tests), EMO's, and a variety of private interests offering "solutions" for our private schools.

MGJ and Board: When will you stop giving away the store? Its hurting our kids?

Charlie Mas said...

All of talk about the use of district-adopted texts is filled with contradictions.

First we hear that every school must use the books.

Then the public is told that the books are only a resource for the teacher and that the focus is on the knowledge and skills (content) taught to the students.

Then the teachers are told to use the books or else and there's this big focus on fidelity of implementation.

Then the public is told that curricular alignment does not mean "be on this page on this day".

Then the teachers are told that they must adhere to the pacing guide and they must be on this page on this day.

Then the public hears about earned autonomy and the ability to get all sorts of waivers.

Then the teachers are told that earned autonomy does not extend to the books and all requests for waivers are denied.

Then the public is told that the District is getting serious about performance management and that all teachers will have an annual performance evaluation that specifically measures how well they covered the required knowledge and skills (content) for the grade level or course.

Then the teachers go without a meaningful evaluation, no one has any real idea what they taught, and the evaluation doesn't much matter anyway.

I take this jumble and I look for what is real. Here's what I find that is real:

There are no consequences for teachers who do not use the District-adopted texts. You can see this as a positive or a negative, because there are also no consequences for teachers who don't cover the District-defined content.

In short, the total lack of effective enforcement makes all of the talk meaningless. In the end, it's the Wild Wild West out there and teachers can pretty much do as they please without fear of consequences. They can catch a lot of grief from their colleagues and department heads, from the academic coaches, from their principals, and possibly even from central office staff, but no real consequences - outside of hurt feelings - will befall them. And, if the academic outcomes are good - if the students show progress or pass the standardized tests - then all will be forgiven.

Here's the insane part: the better your outcomes, the more autonomy you get. So, where the system works, people may deviate from it. But, where the system doesn't work, the more closely people must follow it. The failure is always presumed to be in the execution and never in the system. This is an unwarranted assumption.

I have only two words for the school district: Dr. Deming.

yumpears said...

I recently asked my son’s teacher if she used Singapore math (this is elementary level). She told me that they got a year’s worth of material, but were told to not use them until they had training. There has been no training. When she asked about it at a staff meeting she was told that it was not adopted (i.e. there would be no training). So she has the material and tries to incorporate some of it into homework.

It seems absurd so provide materials and not follow up with the training so that teachers who are inclined to use them can use them. I’m going to ask the principal about it. The principal is new to our school this year and is a huge cheerleader of Writer’s Workshop, so I don’t much hope for our math conversation.

Dorothy said...

Yumpears: Singapore was included in the adoption as a supplement for extra computational practice (ie, so the actual pedagogy of Singapore wasn't really the point, it's just a source of computational practice materials) with the clear understanding that there would be no training. There was not one dollar allocated for Singapore PD. So your son's teacher should be completely expected and allowed to make use of the Singapore materials she has without waiting for any training.

The only thing the district was supposed to do was to create a document linking the particular pages in the Singapore books to the EM pacing guide, to give teachers some guidance in where to look for appropriate worksheets.

Dorothy said...

That C&I committee meeting in December, the one Charlie missed due to terrible traffic. The one where I got a copy of the 2008 PSAT scores which were hastily put together for the Public Records requests (and still hasn't been distributed?) Well there was a small nugget somewhat relevant to this discussion of materials vs curriculum.

One of the more mundane(?)things on the agenda was looking at a draft revised policy on assessment. This was pretty straightforward. Updating a policy that hadn't been updated in years, eliminating portions that are no longer applicable, cleaning up the language to be policy oriented instead of procedural. But Susan Enfield made this casual comment about it, saying that this policy will help ensure fidelity of implementation. I so wanted to interject with Say Wa? I sure wish a board member had.

See, if this were a policy of fidelity of implementation, I can really see someone commenting of how this will guide assessment, but the reverse? I didn't follow the logic at all. Not to mention that that three word phrase sets off all sorts of alarm bells, and really ought to set off alarm bells in the C&I committee members.

Maybe that's the ticket here. Can the parents formally petition the C&I committee to clarify the agreed upon definition, restrictions and other policy issues pertaining to the phrase "fidelity of implementation?" That's the issue here, yes? Parents being told one thing, teachers another. Isn't this in the board's purview? A policy statement on exactly what implementation of materials or curriculum means with respect to autonomy?

yumpears said...

Dorothy: this is from the teacher -

"A year's worth of materials were delivered
to schools and we waited (and waited) to get training (we were told not to use them until we were trained)."

So maybe just poor communication to the teachers?

Dorothy said...

Poor communication and/or hidden agendas. Hard to tell.

Charlie Mas said...

Note also that the teacher received a year's worth of materials. If the teachers uses them, then they will be gone and there won't be anymore Singapore math materials in the classroom. There is no provision to replenish the one year's supply.

Chris said...

Charlie, re:
"They have been told that so long as they cover the knowledge and skills required by the District-adopted curriculum, there won't be any conflict between STEM's project based learning and the District's curriculum alignment effort."

Do you know WHO told WHO? any way you can find out?

seattle citizen said...

"Here's the insane part: the better your outcomes, the more autonomy you get. So, where the system works, people may deviate from it. But, where the system doesn't work, the more closely people must follow it. The failure is always presumed to be in the execution and never in the system. This is an unwarranted assumption.

I could never figure this out, either, Charlie - in a system that wants good results, if a plan was getting good results it would be continued, even replicated. But if a system is "results driven," and a particular plan does well (say, common curriculum) then why would it then be discarded for some new and untried plan?
The problem I have with "earned autonomy" is where there already is a "plan" that works, say, NOVA, and it is asked to give that up, do what everybody else is doing, then if it does well in the new plan (again, say common curriculum) then it will be free to go back to what it was doing before...
hmmm...

Limes said...

Just a quick note to say that the 106 comes close to Cleveland as well, definitely within walking distance. The 106 connects to many south Seattle neighborhoods: Rainier Beach, Skyway, Othello Station, etc.

It's probably a 5 minute walk from the 106 to Cleveland. Maybe 7 if you walk slowly.

Sully said...

Yes, I just checked out a schedule from NE Seattle. Looks like a 50 minute ride with one bus transfer downtown in the tunnel (to the 106). Not so bad at all....

Charlie Mas said...

Chris asked:
"'They have been told that so long as they cover the knowledge and skills required by the District-adopted curriculum, there won't be any conflict between STEM's project based learning and the District's curriculum alignment effort.'

Do you know WHO told WHO? any way you can find out?
"

I got this straight from Susan Enfield herself during the Q & A at the STEM Open House on the 23rd. It was in direct response to my question about whether Project Based Learning would conflict with the District's Curriculum Alignment effort.

That question and answer was followed by a number of questions specifically about math. That's when Ms Enfield and Mr. Tolley both said that the books were just a resource for the teacher and that they did not dictate how the class operated nor did they have to be the only (or even the primary) material used.

In project-based learning the students rely on materials primarily as a resource. Since the books from the Key Curriculum Press are not particularly effective as a resource, it is unlikely that the students will make much use of them.

Sully said...

Charlie, if I were considering STEM for my child I think I'd have a chat with Princess Shareef about her vision for math at the school. She may have a different vision than Susan Enfield and Michael Tolley do. She may like the idea of an aligned curriculum, one text book, and pacing guides? Maybe not, maybe she is thankful to chuck Discovering. But I'd check before I'd commit to the school, if it were important to me.

dan dempsey said...

Math in NTN Schools.....

WOW!!! you must be kidding if you think there is any plan for success happening.

I already posted several of the California schools results on the California End of Year test.

Now remember Dr. Enfield is the one that said all 41 schools are successful and that is why NTN was selected for the $800,000 contract.

Here comes Biz Tech in Portland:
Scale: % meeting or exceeding standards
Grade 10
Reading
43% (2009)
52% (2008)
41% (2007)
The state average for Reading was 66% in 2009.

Science
40% (2009)
33% (2008)
The state average for Science was 58% in 2009.

Writing
46% (2009)
52% (2008)
32% (2007)
The state average for Writing was 55% in 2009.

Math
32% (2009)
33% (2008)
35% (2007)
The state average for Math was 54% in 2009.

==================

CSAP Results for Welby New Tech (just outside Denver SD) grades 9 and grades 10

Scale: % at or above proficient
Grade 9
Reading
36% (2009)
30% (2008)
31% (2007)
32% (2006)
The state average for Reading was 67% in 2009.

Writing
14% (2009)
16% (2008)
19% (2007)
13% (2006)
The state average for Writing was 51% in 2009.

Math
11% (2009)

10% (2008)
10% (2007)
7% (2006)
The state average for Math was 35% in 2009.


Source: CO Dept. of Education, 2008-2009
Grade 10
Reading
39% (2009)
41% (2008)
43% (2007)
15% (2006)
The state average for Reading was 69% in 2009.

Science
18% (2009)
31% (2008)
The state average for Science was 50% in 2009.

Writing
20% (2009)
20% (2008)
19% (2007)
9% (2006)
The state average for Writing was 49% in 2009.

Math
4% (2009)

7% (2008)
1% (2007)
8% (2006)
The state average for grade 10 Math was 30% in 2009.


At Welby …Note that cohort math scores actually decline from grade 9 to grade 10:
9th at 7% in 2006 -> 1% 10th 2007
9th at 10% in 2007 -> 7% 10th 2008
9th at 10% in 2008 -> 4% 10th 2009

Wow from really bad to even worse as time passes.

Yet Dr. Enfield tells us that all 41 NTN Schools are successful.

Well Cleveland should have no problem meeting her definition of success.

dan dempsey said...

W. Edwards Deming:

To improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data.

dan dempsey said...

Don't miss the Cliff Mass Weather Blog posting on Seattle Math.

dj said...

I'm sure some folks saw the Seattle Times article on STEM this AM:

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2010882968_stem25m.html

Chris said...

Thanks Charlie. That's good news.

Charlie Mas said...

Here's a hotlink to the Seattle Times article.

The story is mostly focused on the cost of STEM, not any other issues surrounding the program.

Patrick said...

Dorothy -- "The only thing the district was supposed to do was to create a document linking the particular pages in the Singapore books to the EM pacing guide, to give teachers some guidance in where to look for appropriate worksheets."

Did the District make such a document and is it available? I supplement a bit with Singapore and it might be helpful.

SPS mom said...

Patrick - the Singapore alignment document was (or is?) posted on the SPS math page.

The problem with it is that it's aligned with EDM, not to the state standards. So more challenging problems with multi-digit multiplication or long division are skipped over (because these aren't covered much in EDM). The alignment is also with the "extra practice" books, rather than the Singapore workbooks, so the Singapore (or traditional computation) methods are not shown.

Speaking from experience, you would be better off simply working through the Singapore texts as they are written, rather than skipping around to try to match the illogical EDM sequence.

yumpears said...

SPS mom - thank you for the practical advice. My sons teacher had provided a copy of each of the books she recieved to look over, but I was thinking of just getting the basic Singapore materials and working through as you suggested. You have confirmed that that is a good tactic.

Patrick said...

I see, thanks.

dan dempsey said...

Singaporemath.com

get the text books and the workbooks that accompany the textbooks. The SPS has neither of these.

Also the Challenging Word Problems were fantastic but are out of print and are being revised I believe.

leigh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
leigh said...

Music is such an important part of a student's education. I would like to state for the record that Cleveland offers Band, Orchestra, Choir, Drum Line, Piano and Guitar classes. The music program is growing quickly and both the Drum Line and the Orchestra performed at the STEM open house. The music teachers in the South end (and in the north end) work really hard to make sure that all of their students have a wonderful education. It would be really sad for a student to miss out on opportunities at Cleveland based on the misunderstanding that their instrument could gather dust.

SolvayGirl1972 said...

Will students have the time to take music classes under the STEM program schedule?

dan dempsey said...

Hey Michael Rice,

This is interesting about whether the use of particular textbooks is required. Charlie tells us that the SEA contract requires the curriculum to be covered but it is not necessary to use the Official Adopted texts.

The following comes from the actual adoption action of May 6, 2009:


Intended Rollout of Instructional Materials
Algebra 1 and Advanced Algebra: All schools will use the new books for these courses for the 2009-2010 school year (replacing Integrated Math 1, 1H, 3 and 3H). Courses will be renamed accordingly. Middle schools providing advanced courses will also use the new materials.

Geometry: Schools will have the option of using the new books for the 2009-2010 school year
(replacing Integrated Math 2 and 2H), or of holding off one year to give students time to
transition out of Integrated Math.


PreCalculus, Calculus, Stats (including AP classes): All schools will use the new books for the 09-10 school year.

Key Curriculum Press, with input from Seattle Mathematics Department Chairs, has developed supplemental lessons (from the new materials), which teachers will be able to use in May-June of 2009, and as needed during the 2009-2010 school year, to ensure that students make a strong transition, particularly at those schools currently using the IMP program.

====================

So does that last line mean that the IMP math program that MGJ was pushing for adoption in Spring 2008 is particularly defective when it comes to learning the new State Math standards?

Charlie Mas said...

SolvayGirl1972 asked:
"Will students have the time to take music classes under the STEM program schedule?"

There is no space in the mandated six-period STEM schedule for music or world language for students in the 9th or 10th grades. The folks at Cleveland said that they would find a way. They said that it would probably be a "zero period" class or a "seventh period" class. Students who are struggling in math or science, however, are required to attend extended math or science classes at those times.

World language, music, or extended class times for struggling students could interfere with any extra-curricular activities as well. A student who is required to take extended math in the afternoon, for example, could not attend sports practice at the same time.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I thought it had been stated, early on, that music, the arts and athletics, would probably take a backseat at Cleveland. Charlie?

Charlie Mas said...

There will be a Board Work Session on STEM this afternoon.

Here's a good question that I haven't heard anyone on the Board ask: What will success look like? By that I mean, how will we be able to measure success at STEM?

SPSMom said...

So students have to cram world language into either a before/after school period or wait until 11th grade to start the 2 years required? Right when they are taking more advanced math and science.
Yikes...