Thursday, January 21, 2010

Yet Another STEM Update

It seems that there is hardly a Board meeting that does not include a STEM update. Last night's meeting was no exception.

The superintendent is pushing very hard for this, but the harder she pushes the more we see the faults in the proposal.

Here is the latest on STEM.

Like a plane that can't get off the ground, they are starting to toss stuff out the door to lighten the load. To cut costs, they are dropping cargo. They have tossed out the extended day. It will no longer be for all STEM students, but only for those who are "struggling". They have also dumped the Summer Tech Academy, claiming that it was a marketing effort rather than an educational one.

Without the extended day, I don't think that STEM is quite the program that it was advertised to be.

Here's a basic principle for everything. Whatever you want, you can have it cheap, fast, or good - pick any two. If you want something good and fast, then it isn't going to be cheap. They want STEM to be good and fast, so they have to buy an off-the-shelf packaged product and they have to pay full retail for it. They could have it good and cheap, but then it wouldn't be fast and it wouldn't be ready by the fall. They could have it fast and cheap but then it wouldn't be any good. I understand this principle and I accept it. I think that we had the option, however, of deferring STEM until 2011 and saving ourselves a ton of money.

I am a little troubled that in the course of their "due diligence" they didn't see that the wonderful outcomes from some NTN schools is false. But these people have never been known for their ability to critically analyze data. I perform due diligence for a living and the misrepresentations in the data are obvious to me.

I continue to have trouble with the idea that there are NO costs associated with maintaining the NTN software license.

The budget continues to have costs for which no funding sources have been found. The budget still does not have anything like the kind of private source support that we were promised.

The staff has applied their skills with shifting capital budgets to the LAP dollars for STEM. Now, through their financial tricks, they are claiming that the extra LAP dollars for the startup costs and first year of STEM will not come from any other schools. For years two and three they say the LAP fund sources "are dependent on several variables (i.e. carry forward funds, school demographics and student performance)" In other words, they now claim that it is too far out to project and we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. They package ambiguity with some vaporware about the possibility of private money that might come later.

I find it hilarious that the expense they haven't been able to fund yet is the very expense that they are asking the Board to approve - the cost of the NTN software.

The next STEM update will come with the Open House on Saturday, followed by a Board Work Session on the 27th, and then the Board vote on the NTN contract on February 3. That's four STEM updates in two weeks. That's a full court press. The superintendent really wants this but she just doesn't have what she needs to make it happen. It could all be fixed if she could find a donor with about $800,000 for it. Supposedly she's been looking and hasn't found anyone yet.

Why not? I think because philanthropic organizations know that the STEM school won't be Cleveland anymore. STEM will not serve the school's historic population. It will serve a completely different population imported to take advantage of the opportunity. The new group of students who will enroll at STEM would have had strong academic performance with or without STEM. STEM won't improve outcomes for many students, so the whole proposition is questionable from the start. Philanthropic organizations are interested in improving outcomes for students who are under-performing and they can see that STEM won't do that.

I haven't heard anyone else talk about it yet, but I'm becoming increasingly concerned about the potential for STEM to create a "brain drain" at Rainier Beach and, to a lesser extent, at Franklin. Any student living south of I-90 who is performing well academically, concerned about having a safe school, or wants a motivated peer group, might choose STEM over their attendance area school. In fact, there is a risk that EVERY student meeting that criteria would choose STEM. That would leave Rainier Beach and, to a lesser extent, Franklin, without those students in their population. This is already a big contributor to Rainier Beach's problems, and with 1,000 open STEM seats practically in the neighborhood, things would only get worse. Let's remember that right now there is room at Cleveland for about 60% of the students at Rainier Beach. Consider a potential outcome that would essentially look like a swap of 500 low performing students moving from Cleveland to Rainier Beach and about 100 high performing students moving from Rainier Beach to STEM. That would both increase the number and concentration of under-performing students at Rainier Beach while simultaneously reducing the number and concentration of students performing at grade-level and better. That, my friends, is an ugly picture.

Schools need students of all types to maintain balance and good function. Rainier Beach is already seriously un-balanced with too many students who arrive working below grade level and too few working at or beyond grade level. That situation could be made much worse by the appearance of STEM. If I'm a member of the Rainier Beach community, I would be very, very concerned about the impact that STEM will have on the mix of students at Rainier Beach.

33 comments:

SPSMom said...

Nail on head in regards to families choosing STEM over RBHS. Both CHS and Center provide excellent opportunities for families to avoid RBHS and I think you will see that this fall. (and I think you will see many families choosing CHS regardless of STEM.)

ann said...

Has anyone found out what's going on at RBHS? The principal shifts and what not? I'm curious to find out what the district has in store for the school???

Charlie, I think you are spot on with your assessment of STEM. Without many support services, few, if any, struggling kids will choose the school. And the few that may, will not be able to handle the academic rigor. That will lead to a school that serves at or above grade level kids. This is a good thing in that south end families who have high achieving students deserve a school that will meet their needs in their own community. But it will negatively impact the schools ability to attract outside funding. Private funders don't generally want to help over achievers, they set out to help the under served. This may put STEM in a very bad spot.

SolvayGirl1972 said...

I thought that the majority of kids that had been in the Cleveland draw area will now be assigned to Franklin. If that is the case, few will end up in RBHS, but it WILL make Franklin less accessible to southend families outside it's official zone. Franklin was not considered a perfect option, but many opted for it instead of RBHS. I think many slated for RBHS will choose Cleveland by default, with or without STEM.

Isabel D'Ambrosia said...

I think we should do whatever we can to support STEM at Cleveland. The district MUST provide a school in the south end that values and provides academic excellence and rigor. Hand wringing about a "brain drain" at Rainier Beach does not get the south end closer to that goal.

Charlie Mas said...

Although the problems at Rainier Beach have gotten more press than the problems at Cleveland, the situation at Cleveland may actually be worse.

Consider these measures:
District averages are for comprehensive High Schools, NOVA, and The Center School only.

WASL Pass Rates (2009):
Cleveland Math: 21.2%
Rainier Beach Math: 17.6%
District average Math: 52.9%

Cleveland Reading: 64.4%
Rainier Beach Reading: 61.5%
District average Reading: 84.1%

Cleveland Writing: 76.2%
Rainier Beach Writing: 82.4%
District average Writing: 86.6%

Average SAT scores:
Cleveland Math: 395
Rainier Beach Math: 419

Cleveland Verbal: 389
Rainier Beach Verbal: 398

Cleveland Writing: 378
Rainier Beach Writing: 371

First Choice for Assignment:
Cleveland: 18.0%
Rainier Beach: 12.8%
District average: 54.4%

Percentage of returning students:
Cleveland: 64.4%
Rainier Beach: 62.5%
District average: 81.2%

Attendance:
Cleveland: 75.5%
Rainier Beach: 77.5%
District average: 87.3%
(NOVA excluded from District average)

Class of 2009 dropouts:
Cleveland: 36.9%
Rainier Beach: 25.9%
District average: 15.3%

Class of 2009 Graduates:
Cleveland: 54.1%
Rainier Beach: 61.9%
District average: 76.6%

Suspensions:
Cleveland: 15.6%
Rainier Beach: 19.0%
District average: 7.7%

Student Survey (2009):
"I feel safe at my school"
Cleveland: 2.6
Rainier Beach: 2.8
District average: 3.0

zb said...

But isn't it already true that every student who can avoids RBHS? Establishing STEM at Cleveland might draw families from RBHS, but so did having a good program anywhere else. That's not an argument against establishing STEM at Cleveland (unless we think it should be established at RBHS instead).

I would like to hear more about "NTN" and the "false outcomes". Right now, most of that stuff seems like code to me, and most of the complaints on this board like complaints about spending significant resources on a south end school (i.e. without a more concise story).

zb said...

What does it mean that the district average for I feel safe at my school is 3%? Does that really mean that 97% of SPS students do not feel safe at their school? Or am I misunderstanding?

Melissa Westbrook said...

My notes on STEM reflect (but I haven't finished watching):

- Dr. Enfield went through the criteria for picking NTN and one was
"Many models are not flexible and won't work with SPS context and constraints"
Well, that just about covers every single reason or objection.

- There were a couple of pretty compelling/rah-rah testimonies from a teacher at Cleveland and the principal and someone else - Katherine Brown - who's affiliation I didn't catch. The teacher said to come and spend some time at Cleveland (I'm thinking he meant the Board but I can ask.)

-there was also mention of a non-profit, Seattle Biomedical Institute, as a partner for STEM. It looks like a pretty good place.

- my take on the funding was boy, that's a lot of backpedalling. The district guy (and I forget his name) who keeps updating the Board on this clearly said, at the last Board meeting, that money would be taken from other LAP schools AND other programs. Now, they rearranged the chairs so that it won't affect other LAP schools until years 2 and 3. They said nothing about other programs but I assume that could still happen.

-I also note, again, the movement of BEX dollars to STEM and then back if BTA III passes. Oddly, they said these funds are from BEX II. I'll have to check but I'm not sure that's possible since we are on BEX III now.

- Harium asked a "back of the napkin" calculation of these various non-funded costs. Mr. Kennedy seemed quite surprised by the question. Note to district; the Board isn't stupid.

-I think it was Kay who asked if they would have to pay more to adjust the NTN software for our needs. Dr. Enfield didn't answer the question. She merely said they wouldn't need to adjust the software. Right.

- Kay asked a question about Beacon Hill losing LAP dollars and yet there's this carry-forward of LAP dollars available for STEM. They said they would check but they didn't think that was so. (Apparently schools, until this year, could get LAP AND Title One dollars but that has ended.)

-Kay also asked about the tba for IT support. Dr. Enfield said that for NTN there is a non-negotiable part about having a dedicated IT person at Cleveland. Kay pressed her to ask if it could be a teacher or student teacher. I think she was getting at not having someone just for IT but whose primary job was the IT for NTN.

- It was verified that there would be Calculus for STEM at Cleveland.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Continued,

- It came out that the hiring freeze applies to baseline hiring and not grant hiring. There is likely some important issue here but I'm not sure who is hired under what. I do know, for example, that the head of Technology and a couple of other jobs are funded out of the BTA. The head of BEX is funded out of BEX.

-I was deeply disturbed that Sherry Carr asked for information that she asked for at the LAST meeting about NTN and they did not have it. Sherry had asked about more background on NTN as she said their website is sketchy and she wanted to know who was on their board of directors, etc. Dr. Enfield said, oh, we'll get that to you tomorrow and Sherry let it go. No, Sherry, you just firmly say, "I asked for it at the last meeting and you said you would have it this meeting." Sorry, that was two weeks ago and staff need to know they can't just blow off Board requests.

-Another hilarious item. Peter Maier asked about our relationship with NTN after 3 years. Dr. Enfield said, oh, they work themselves out of a job in 3 years because that's their role, set-up. Really? They just walk away? Nope, I'll be they have lots of extra stuff we'll need to buy.

ZB, I'd complain about STEM no matter where it was located. This is not about the south end. This is about taking funds from around the district to fund one program at the exact same time they are reopening 5 schools at a high financial capital cost and yet with no real programming. Why STEM and not them when they probably will be serving more students? It's a fair question.

SolvayGirl1972 said...

Broken Record Here...STEM is not for everyone. Many students want a high-end program but not the extreme emphasis on math and science. Before STEM, I would prefer a quality, comprehensive HS in the southend—something for everyone. If I were on the Board/CA staff, I'd be looking to Garfield as a model for the southend since it serves a similarly diverse population.

dan dempsey said...

From the presentation:
New Tech Sacramento ...
Ninety-eight percent graduation rate which is one of the highest graduation rates in all of California, particularly for high-poverty schools.
====================
The way graduation rate statistics are calculated is straight mumbo jumbo.
Here are the number of 11th graders and its percentage of the 9th grade class from two years earlier.

2006 2007 2008 2009
. 79 . 78 ... 73 ... 66
52% . 72% .. 70% . 65%

these drop even more from 11th to 12th and then a bit more from enrolled in 12th to graduating.
========================
It was stated that all 41 NTN schools are successful.

New Tech Napa has an 11% poverty rate with 3% ELL .... Discard anything about New Tech Napa results overall as they are irrelevant.
========================
New Tech Sacramento is in 2008-2009
45% poverty and 18% ELL making it close to Seattle demo graphics.

Seattle 41% poverty and 12% ELL
Cleveland HS 70% poverty 14% ELL
=======================
California has an API index Ranking for measuring academic achievement at schools. this is based on school tests scores which are broken into groups of 10%. Thus API rank of 10 puts a school in the top 10% of all schools and an API 1 means the bottom 10%. API 6 is slightly above average and API 5 is slightly below average.
------------
Really cool is the Similar schools API ranking... schools are evaluated based on only schools that are demographically similar to them.
------------
New Technology HS in Sacramento
.......API Ranking .. enrollment
Year State API :: Similar schools
2005 .. 6 :: 9 .. 240
2006 .. 5 :: 6 .. 239
2007 .. 4 :: 3 .. 236
2008 .. 3 :: 2 .. 223

Is this a successful school?
Would you select this school to copy?

Keep in mind there are 6 NTN schools in Calif. but only 3 are designated as demonstration schools and this is one of the demo schools.

dan dempsey said...

Keep in mind that NTN Sacramento has been going for at least 6 years. Last year 2009, only 6% of the 50 algebra II students tested with End of Course testing scored at basic or above... with 36% below basic and 58% far below basic.

Here is a .pdf for download
that has Sacramento chart on top and LA Global an NTN demo school in LAUSD at the bottom.

Look at what is happening in Algebra I also. these kids are not learning enough to be successful. Susan Enfield says Calculus at Cleveland is the plan and that the after school program has been cut from $600,000 down to $200,000 because not all kids will attend only those struggling in math.

Cleveland will be centered on Project Based Learning and Inquiry NOT Direct Instruction or Mastery learning. Keep in mind Hattie's effect sizes.
Problem Based Learning 0.15
Inquiry Based Learning 0.31
Direct Instruction 0.59
Mastery Learning 0.61

NMAP "Foundations for Success"
Students struggling to learn math need increased "Explicit Instruction".

================
The Starting Calculation on buying this Lemon is $800,000 to NTN for three years but there are other costs as well.

==========
==========
It is most apparent that TEAM MGJ has absolutely no clue about how math is learned or how to improve math achievement. What is also disturbing is a complete lack of due diligence in reporting accurate information to the school board on which to make a decision.
=========
Also the UW will be helping...
Three years of UW help with NSF funds produced a WASL pass rate of 22% in 2009 .... I am not really seeing the Calculus talk as in any way realistic.

Remember Enfield said all 41 school are successful ... that is a credibility gap to go with the achievement gap.

dan dempsey said...

Isabel said:
I think we should do whatever we can to support STEM at Cleveland. The district MUST provide a school in the south end that values and provides academic excellence and rigor.

The problem is that NTN STEM at Cleveland is not a sound or rational undertaking.

I am all for the district providing a school in the south end that values and provides academic excellence and rigor BUT New Technology Network is NOT going to produce this.

southend girl said...

Solvaygirl,

I'm with you. The south end needs a comprehensive high school that offers rigorous courses of all kinds to meet the many different needs of all students - yes, like Garfield.

On another note, does anyone know whether Franklin still has a (good) Humanities program? It was excellent back in the 80's and was definitely a draw for neighborhood families, along with families from Q.A. during busing.

Central Mom said...

Melissa, you said something I'd previously missed. "The head of technology is funded w/ BTA funds." Do you mean the CIO, Jim Ratchford? Interesting. Would be good for you to clarify.

And it would explain something I heard about this a.m. A parent told me how she had a question for him at the mtg. last night about District online communications practices. (Abysmal.)

Anyhow, he made her wait while he texted away to who-knows-who...and only gave his full attention when she asked if he thought the BTA would fail. Apparently he looked up flabbergasted. As if such a thing could never happen. Then he ran for the hills.

She knows I don't support the BTA, so I find the story hilarious. And telling. Another official who prefers texting to listening. And comprehending.

dan dempsey said...

Great Cool Tool
For school tests scores.

Look Here .
Try Seattle Grade 10 Math 2008
it shows the trend line for all schools.
Then Change it to Cleveland the Seattle all high schools trend line is still there and that colored ball is about 12% passing. A great testament to two years of UW directed NSF math help at Cleveland.

You can move your cursor over the dots to see the scores for each high school. It would have been nice if they had an additional page that showed only the comprehensive high schools with a trend line. Note that no comprehensive high school scores below the trend line.

If you want a shock switch to reading. Note that the trend line is not so severely sloped by free/reduced lunch impact.

Another great look at the achievement gap from the influence of poverty ... Yes the gap in Math is absurd but the district is still on their Exploration/Discovery/Inquiry approach ... so do not plan on seeing improvement.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, Central Mom, Mr. Ratchford's salary is paid through the BTA (or at least it will be now). I confirmed this with him. It is on the original levy list but not in the levy flyer. Also, the levy flyer doesn't explain that the Operations levy contains the money for basic maintenance. You'd think that would be important to list but apparently not.

sfoster said...

Good heavens.
Please stop spreading FUD.

I don't pretend to know anything about STEM.
Nevertheless,

In a single post you accuse STEM of
1 being too starved of resources to possible work.
2 stealing scarce resources from other programs.
3 working so well that all good students will leave franklin and rainier beach.

Understood that you hate the STEM program and dislike the school district administration.

Seems to me that the district is working pretty rapidly (within the bounds of their contracts) to fix two problem schools - RB & Cleveland.
RB with the principal change, and Cleveland with a brand new program.

Nobody here, or at the school district knows if these changes will work.
And nobody will for at least a few years.

PSF

Melissa Westbrook said...

Foster, if no one here has ever said they hate STEM. No one. Please direct us to where you read that because I sure missed it.

Dislike is a weird word - I don't know these people. I don't believe in their effectiveness to manage.

Sorry, we WILL know that STEM will be weak if it doesn't have the resource stream for all the things the district says it needs. If they don't identify where the money will come from, then it is a big problem. It will have to come from somewhere if they start it up.

This is a huge undertaking that really needs more time and assurances that the money is there. We all want it to work. The devil is always in the details. That's the problem.

Charlie Mas said...

The Student Survey data point is based on a 5 point scale.

1. Strongly Disagree
2. Disagree
3. Neither Agree nor Disagree
4. Agree
5. Strongly Agree

The statement was "I feel safe at my school." The averge value for responses for high school students was 3.0. The average at Rainier Beach was 2.8. The average at Cleveland was 2.6. This is the lowest average response for all of the high schools surveyed.

Charlie Mas said...

There are a number of voices on this blog. There is no unified editorial perspective. So there's no one "you" to be presenting conflicting opinions.

There is a legitimate concern that the resources dedicated to STEM will not be sufficient to realize the vision.

The teachers will only get five days training on project-based learning, no time to plan lessons, and no practical industry experience as a background for designing those projects. There may well be an answer for this, but we haven't heard it.

The extended day that was supposed to be for all students will now only be for students struggling in specific course work. Most of the students will still have to double up in math since taking Algebra, Geometry, Algebra II, and Pre-Calculus won't get them through Calculus in four years.

The extended day was supposed to be for everyone so they could meet STEM's higher graduation requirements. Now the students will have only a six-period day to meet graduation requirements based on a seven-period day.

There is concern that the staff's lack of industry experience represents a missing resource.

There are no private donors lining up to underwrite the costs of STEM.

So those are most of the concerns about inadequate resources.

Those don't contradict concerns that the program is stealing resources from other schools. This thing is going to cost a lot of money and that money has to come from somewhere. We had been told that it would come from other schools. The District has revised that answer, but it's unclear how else they will come up with the money.

Finally, there are two other apparently contradictory concerns. One is that STEM will pull the bulk of the (remaining) students working at grade level out of Rainier Beach. At the same time, there is legitimate concern that STEM enrollment won't top 300. It's a shame to report, but those can both be true at the same time.

I live in the south-end. Cleveland is probably the high school closest to my home. My daughter is likely to enroll in STEM. I don't hate it.

Finally, the south-end doesn't need any special high schools. If the south-end elementary and middle schools would do a better job of teaching students up to grade level, then the ordinary high schools would suffice. We have seen a lot of progress at a number of South Seattle elementary schools: Maple, Kimball, Beacon Hill, Dearborn Park, and Van Asselt have all delivered excellent academic outcomes for their students - with no apologies for demographics. Mercer Middle School has responded to the change by providing the additional challenge that these students want, need, and are ready for.

These kids will be assigned to Franklin High School. I expect some really strong improvement there in the coming years.

The elementary schools further south, however, Emerson, Brighton, Dunlap, and Wing Luke, have not done as well figuring out how to improve the academic outcomes for their students. These students are assigned to Aki Kurose, which can't bring them up to grade level. They then enroll at Cleveland and Rainier Beach where their under-performance continues.

High schools can't fix nine years of under-performance in the two to four years they have the students. No matter how fancy their programming.

SolvayGirl1972 said...

Charlie
If your daughter enrolls in STEM and it turns out to be a big bust, does that mean she will lose her AP status and be locked out of Garfield for the following year (or even as a Sept. 30 transfer)? I know you chose NOVA for your older daughter, so it may be a moot point for you, but it would probably be helpful to others in AP to know if trying STEM forces them to lose their chance at Garfield.

dan dempsey said...

PSF said:
"Nobody here, or at the school district knows if these changes will work.
And nobody will for at least a few years.


Based on Data from NTN demonstration schools. It costs more than the district average to run an NTN school.

Napa New Tech has poverty of 11% and ELL 3% in 2009 they did not offer Algebra. Kids entered in grade 9 into either Geometry or Algebra II. Napa Valley Unified is so dissimilar to Seattle it is NOT relevant to the Cleveland conversation.

At both New Tech Sacramento and LA Global (LAUSD) the two other two demo schools as well as Student Empowerment Academy (LAUSD) there are no math classes taught below Algebra I. Here are the percentages of students testing at Below Basic or Far Below Basic for each of the last three years on End Of Course Algebra I assessment.
2007 . 2008 . 2009
(77) : (70) : (57) .. Global
(52) : (53) : (80) .. Sacramento
(67) : (54) : (43) .. StudEmpower

in Geometry
2007 . 2008 . 2009
(55) : (94) : (84) .. Global
(63) : (65) : (69) .. Sacramento
(87) : (90) : (85) .. StudEmpower


in Algebra II
2007 . 2008 . 2009
(55) : (75) : (82) .. Global
(79) : (89) : (94) .. Sacramento
(85) : (77) : (77) .. StudEmpower

The fact that Susan Enfield is talking about Calculus at Cleveland as a graduation requirement shows a disconnect in planning.

Given a continued emphasis on Discovery/Inquiry math and a cutback in proposed after school funding etc., math achievement at Cleveland STEM will be far below expectations.
=====================
To Improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data. How often have you seen the central admin intelligently apply relevant data?

Charlie Mas said...

I'm pretty sure that if my daughter chooses STEM for high school that she will lose her APP status. We're okay with that because she does not find Garfield appealing. She thinks it will be just like Washington, only bigger. And she doesn't want that.

If STEM turns out to be a bust, then she will probably turn to either NOVA, where the sibling tie-breaker essentially assures her of access.

I'm not expecting STEM to be a bust. I don't expect it to be everything that they say it will be. And I fully expect them to come back with a revisionist version of the history and claim that STEM wouldn't be everything right out of the box.

Maybe that's a good question for me to ask them. "How much of the promise of STEM do they expect to be in place at the start and what elements will only come over time?"

amelia said...

Why didn't the district just put another IB school in Southeast? That model seems to be working. Does anyone know if they have looked at Aviation High School? I have friends who talk favorably of that, as well.

dan dempsey said...

Originally the district declined to partner with Highline in developing Aviation. The district may now have some seats at Aviation, the first few years they did not; right now I do not know.

zb said...

I really don't understand the objection to the STEM program at Cleveland on the grounds that it might attract higher performing students away from RBHS, unless we also think all the option high schools should be closed. Since, after all, they also all attract south end students away from RBHS (Center and Nova, too).

STEM at Cleveland certainly doesn't solve problems at RBHS, but it doesn't hurt them any more than any other option high school or open choice seats at other high schools do.

zb said...

How is Nova doing on these stats? I.e. graduation rates, drop out rates, attendance, etc.?

I'm guessing you left attendance out for Nova for some practical reason?

Stu said...

I really don't understand the objection to the STEM program at Cleveland on the grounds that it might attract higher performing students away from RBHS

I think the problem, at least from my own point of view, isn't JUST that it will draw students away from RBHS, it's the other side of the equation; the STEM program will not serve the Cleveland community effectively. The students who are there are not the ones targeted by this program and so we're effectively shipping them off to another school instead of helping them. The most important part of the original proposal was the extended day and remedial help that was designed to bring unprepared students up to speed. Without those pieces, the puzzle is incomplete. Once again, the district is shuffling students around to make a building look better.

A note to SFoster: As Charlie Mas wrote, there is no single point of view here; trust me, it gets pretty diverse. We do all seem to share a serious concern for the direction the schools are taking but, more importantly, if there's one consistent thread it's the lack of transparency and communication with the district. Most importantly, however, in terms of the STEM program; the district has stated, in no uncertain terms, for the record, that STEM is taking money from other programs and that those programs, including new school opening up in other areas, will have to wait a year or two for their turn.

stu

wseadawg said...

Stu's got it. Shuffling students versus helping them is the favorite trick for reformers and turn-around artists. Cherry-picking and excluding students is a hell of a lot easier than helping those who need it most. Nobody in power knows how to do that, nor do they seem very interested.

The plan is for "Quality Schools" where children have the "opportunity" to get a good education. Unfortunately, low performing schools get that way because of low performing students.

Where or where is a plan to help struggling kids versus making schools look better?

Charlie Mas said...

NOVA was left out of the attendance data because NOVA doesn't keep attendance records.

I could produce all of the stats for NOVA, but some of them would be misleading, such as graduation rates. Some students graduate from NOVA in four years, some in five, and some in three. My daughter got eight credits in her first year and is on pace to do that again in her second year.

Here are some stats from NOVA that I hope will have meaning:

2009 SAT Test Score Averages and SPS Ranking:
NOVA Math: 535 (#5)
NOVA Verbal: 613 (#1)
NOVA Writing: 567 (#1)

Historically, about 60 kids a year enroll as freshmen at NOVA. This year the incoming freshman class was expanded to 90.

Renee said...

Funny thing is that we just got an email today (I think all science teachers) asking if we would like to come to the Cleveland Open House and volunteer. I wonder if they have their staff yet...

dan dempsey said...

My objection is to spending $800,000 on a flawed expensive model. Copying something that does NOT work is irrational, just like continuing the vertically aligned k-12 SPS math program is irrational.