Monday, February 01, 2010

Want To Know More About STEM?

My husband decided to send me a couple of links to various STEM articles which then led me to even more interesting links. If you are interested in this subject from a state and national level, here are some links. Happy reading!

Apparently, Ohio is waaay ahead on this stuff so many of this articles are about different projects in that state.
  • From Government Technology magazine, an article about a new STEM school in Ohio.
  • From the University of Cincinnati (a key sponsor of a lot of these schools), an article about FUSION (Furthering Urban STEM Innovation, Outreach and New Research).
  • A link to the Cincinnati STEM Partnership
  • A link to the Ohio STEM Learning Network
  • A link to the STEM Coalition. The STEM Education Coalition is composed of advocates from over 1,000 diverse groups representing all sectors of the technological workforce – from knowledge workers, to educators, to scientists, engineers, and technicians. The Coalition is co-chaired by the American Chemical Society and the National Science Teachers Association. A huge number of groups belong to this Coalition.
  • A link to the National Science Digital Library, a very cool site I want to dig deeper into.
  • From the University of Massachusetts, a link to their STEM site
  • A link to the Coalition for Science After School.
  • A link to A Million Ways to Teach, an advocacy program that encourages adults to help teach middle school students about science either through teaching as a second career or volunteering through their Citizen Schools program.
  • Washington State STEM Education Foundation link.
One interesting thing in the reading; most of these are small high schools that top out at 100 students per grade level. From the Tri-Cities Delta High FAQs:

"Why limit the number to 100 per class?

This number works well at other STEM schools, including Metro School in Columbus, Ohio,
which is associated with Battelle and others. Highly personalized learning within the small school model is a core attribute of the school. This model focuses on a small learning community, emphasizing individual student and faculty interaction. Each student’s progress is individually assessed and addressed and personalized graduation plans are unique to the student’s strengths, interests, and areas of growth. "

I truly wonder if the district is overreaching in its goal to fill Cleveland with a STEM program.

25 comments:

goeagles said...

Just a note that Cleveland STEM will consist of two separate academies, not to exceed 500 students each--one focused on Engineering and another focused on the Life Sciences.

A2Z said...

Who knows if the district is over reaching on STEM as there has been no transparency on their choice of how to do STEM. Please contact the board and have them insure all options are explored before moving forward with NTN.

Meg said...

Hm, this is a little off-topic, but sort of relating to STEM.

What do folks here know about LAP funding? I was reading through some of the rules about LAP, and I think that the budget chop for STEM's extended day may have had less to do with staff trying to bring the budget down and more to do with the rules of LAP. I called OSPI with questions, and while it is allowable to use LAP funds for an extended day, only kids who are behind can benefit from that extended day. My read: kids at or above grade level would have to have their extended day teacher funded from a source other than LAP funds, and that the cut from $600K to $200K may have had as much to do with the rules involving LAP money as it did demonstrating fiscal responsibility.

But my read could be waaaay off. What do you all think?

dan dempsey said...

Check my comment #13 under the previous posting. KW is Ohio based.

Goeagles good luck with an Engineering Academy, the last time I checked Engineering requires math content knowledge and that is something that ALL NTN schools fall down on. I've been quite impressed with scores from Napa New Tech even their math EOC scores are pretty good especially when compared with all the other NTN math disasters.

Fact in 2008 Napa Valley Unified was 44% Low Income but Napa New Tech was only 19% Low Income. Still the district out performed Napa NT in math in 2008 and 2009.

The STEM has "M" for Math and "E" for Engineering.

NTN Cleveland will be faking at least half of ST EM the last half.

Goeagles you have failed to address the staggering failure of anyone in the district to answer any questions about the poor performance of NTN schools. Again why was anyone promoting this NTN model before doing the research to see if it was worth promoting?

Goeagles I put up a lot of questions for you under STEM Jan 28. They are very similar to the questions that MGJ and Mr. Tolley will not answer. Are you going to answer any of them?

The big one is why would anyone spend $800,000 for guidance in copying schools this bad?

I really must congratulate the KW business men, they have a great strategy for making money. Use the children as a conduit to put dollars in the KW wallet.

Finally an education CEO making more salary than MGJ and at a non-profit. His Benefits and Deferred Compensation are also more. But I want to be a KW director but not just any director I want to be the one that makes 42k for working 2 hrs a week.

I mean really a few of those directors are only making 10k for 2 hrs a week and that pencils out as the equivalent to $200,000/annum if it was a 40 hour week worked.

Nope I want the 2 hr/week job that is equivalent to $800,000+ per annum at 40hrs/week.

Now you know why KW is a non-profit. It is hard to make a profit paying those salaries.

The above numbers are provided by JoanNE ...

This website provides general information on public access to nonprofit Forms 990
http://www.qual990.org/cbbb.html

As I understand, the federal tax filings of nonprofit corps are public domain. It should be possible to get a copy of this. It may show what their top five salaries are. To access Form 990 for 2007, register as a user at www2.guidestar.org (it's free).

dan dempsey said...

Meg,

I think you are on the right track.

The district never takes public comments seriously. You rocked them with the Central Administration $$$ numbers.

I have no idea what the odds are on winning the high school math appeal but I learned a lot.

I learned that if the board decides to devote a lot of resources to a small group and disadvantages a large group in the process, they had best have a fabulous explanation. Why? Because most folks would see that as "Arbitrary & Capricious" decision, which if appealed in a well made case is winnable.

Meg, your Jan 20th powerpoint is an excellent case in point. You have made the board aware that approving the STEM decision will take resources from many other parts of the district. How big an imbalance would be considered an "Arbitrary & Capricious" action by the board?

Was the SE education initiative "Arbitrary & Capricious"?

The SE education initiative was a failure as it did not do what is was supposed to do.
==========================

So what is STEM at Cleveland supposed to do?
What are the real goals and how will success be determined?

Princess Shareef did not ask for STEM. Who did and how did this get started? Who did all this analysis and determined that NTN was the best?

What criteria determined that NTN was best? It sure had nothing to do with a measurable record of improving academic performance.

Look at the schools I've cited as seriously deficient (most of these are demonstration schools) and the avoidance of Admin to address any of this.

On Feb 12, we will find out if using article IX of the state constitution is good way to win an appeal.

Hopefully we are entering a new era where the public's use of relevant data can force the board to make intelligent decisions.
Hopefully an intelligent application of the relevant data by the board will occur on Feb. 3.

dan dempsey said...

The District has mentioned that Cleveland can become self sufficient after three years of NTN guidance or not. Here is a list of some NTN schools... the XXXX indicates no longer listed in the NTN network as dues paying members.(Unsure of correct terminology)


North Cal
New Technology High School, Napa
XXXX Anderson New Technology High School, Anderson CA
XXXX Technology high school, Rohnert Park
XXXX Mare Island Technology (MIT) Academy High School, Vallejo
Sacramento New Technology High School
Leonardo DaVinci High School Davis
XXXX Castlemont Business and Information technology School, Oakland

Southern Cal
XXXX Arleta New Technology High school for environmental Studies LA

Jordan New Technology High School for student empowerment LA

Los Angeles School of Global Studies LA

Alaska
XXX Highland Tech High, Anchorage

Louisiana
Patrick F Taylor Science & Technology High School, Thorton

Illinois
XXXX Little Village Infinity Math, Science and Technology High School - Chicago

Oregon
XXXX North Eugene School of IDEaS, Eugene
BizTEch High School, Portland

North Carolina
CAMTECH High School, Camden
New Technology High School at Garinger, Charlotte

XXXX Robeson County IT High School Pembroke
XXXX Cherokee New TEchnology High School, Cherokee

Scotland High School of Math, Science and Technology, Laurinburg

XXXX East Wake School of Integrated Technology, Wendell

Texas
Akins New Technology High School, Austin
---------
Sure wish I knew more about the xxxx
schools.

Since the district seems to know very little about current NTN demonstration schools ... they likely will not have any time to investigate the XXXX by wednesday night.
----------------

I wonder what Harium and Steve had to say to CAO Enfield when they went to visit New Tech Sacramento as a STEM school, upon walking in finding out it was NOT a STEM school.

dan dempsey said...

Another scary thought:

Napa, CA (Vocus/PRWEB ) December 5, 2009 -- New Tech Network President Monica Martinez today announced that 19 high schools in seven states will become National Demonstration Sites. The schools are in geographically diverse locations, from California to North Carolina and from Louisiana to New York, but they share a key common trait – all were chosen for their excellent implementation of the New Tech approach.

So those demonstration schools I was looking at that had horrible math scores:
New Tech Sacramento
LA School of Global Studies
Welby in Colorado

but were chosen for their excellent implementation of the New Tech approach.....

That is especially troubling.

Note in 2008
NT Sacramento when compared with demographically similar schools scored in the bottom 20% of similar schools (It was in the bottom 30% of all CA schools.)

but LA Global was even worse. It scored in the bottom 10% of all california schools and when ranked with schools demographically similar is was also in the bottom 10%.
==============================

The schools selected are as follows:

Sacramento New Technology High School, Sacramento;

Napa New Technology High School, Napa, Calif.;

Los Angeles School of Global Studies, Los Angeles;

Welby New Technology High School, Denver; New Technology School of IDEAS, Indianapolis; Zebra New Tech High School, Rochester, Ind.; New Tech High @ Arsenal Tech, Indianapolis, Ind; North Daviess 21st Century High School, Elnora, Ind.; Bloomington New Tech High School, Bloomington, Ind.

Columbus Signature Academy, Columbus, Ind.; Patrick F. Taylor Science & Technology Academy, Jefferson, La.; Tech Valley High School, Albany, N.Y.; Hillside New Technology High School, Durham, N.C.; Anson New Technology High School, Wadesboro, N.C.; Manor New Technology High School, Manor, Texas; Math, Engineering, Technology & Science Academy @ RL Turner High School, Carrollton, Texas; Akins New Technology High School, Austin, Texas; and New Tech High@Coppell, Coppell, Texas.

About New Tech Network:
New Tech Network is a school development organization that supports the start-up and implementation of innovative high schools. It currently comprises more than 40 schools across the county, including schools in Indiana, Illinois, North Carolina, New York, Oregon, Colorado, Texas, California and Louisiana.

It is a subsidiary of KnowledgeWorks Foundation.

About KnowledgeWorks:
KnowledgeWorks Foundation strives to be the leader in developing and implementing innovative and effective approaches to high school education in the United States. The organization primarily focuses on redesigning urban high schools, developing STEM and Early College high schools, and supporting student-centered approaches to delivering real learning and results in our schools.
==========

whoa did KW say results??
Were they thinking good results?
=============

No wondering MGJ, CAO Enfield, and Michael Tolley are not talking about this.

These performances are so bad no one would try to explain or justify them.

This will be a most interesting vote on $800,000

dan dempsey said...

Delta in the Tri-Cities will be using Reform Math ... Core-Plus.... This is another embarrassment. When Ann Arbor high school switched to Core-plus their graduates performed poorly at University of Michigan in comparison to their graduates before the switch . Core-Plus was widely used East of the Lake and North of the Lake and widely maligned.

The programs that really raise Cliff Mass's ire are TERC/Investigations, Everyday Math, Connected Math Project, Interactive Math Program, Core-Plus, and he considers Discovering unsound but at least it has some numbers.

I have no idea how Delta picked Core-Plus but it darn well was not based on the intelligent application of relevant data.

As an Ann Arbor Core-Plus grad said: I came to U of M planning to be an automotive engineer but found out I am not mathematically prepared for much more than Art history.

Good grades in Core-Plus are the equivalent of good grades in Math appreciation .. you can talk about math ... but .. you just can't do math.

A friend of mine Sudhakar was an Intel manager. He was involved with making some recommendations to schools. He said that business had no idea when they asked for increased collaboration and communication skills that knowledge of math content would be a casualty. What are these people thinking... you cannot be an engineer without good math skills.

Charlie Mas said...

So the concern that the STEM model with project-based learning might not be scalable is addressed by saying that the school will be like two smaller schools working in close collaboration rather than like one bigger school. Hmmmm. I will have to ponder that.

I've also been pondering the loss of the extended day for students who are not struggling in math or science and then the replacement of that extended day to allow for music and world language classes.

Why did they have to take it away, and, if it was for budgetary reasons, then how can they afford to bring it back?

I think it's pretty clear that the Board will approve the NTN contract - there just aren't four who will vote against it. There aren't even four to vote to defer it. With the approval of the NTN contract comes the approval of the "deliverables" required by the board motion that created the STEM school. Nevermind that the budget, for example, remains incomplete.

So, after Wednesday night's vote, the emphasis will have to switch from questioning everything about this program - from why we are doing it in the first place to whether we have the right people working in it - to making the program as good as it can be.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, my take is that Michael, Steve and Kay are really questioning the NTN. Pull in Sherry (it's possible) and you have 4 votes. That's what I am hoping for tomorrow night. Or they can do the expected and wag a finger at the staff and then vote it in.

Meg, I don't know enough about LAP but your argument makes sense to me. The Board probably doesn't know either and that's what staff counts on. FYI to all, the staff counts on no one following up because that's the case 99% of the time.

GoEagles, I like your tenaciousness. But I do believe you are neither a parent there or community member. You likely work for SPS. Welcome.

gavroche said...

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, my take is that Michael, Steve and Kay are really questioning the NTN. Pull in Sherry (it's possible) and you have 4 votes. That's what I am hoping for tomorrow night. Or they can do the expected and wag a finger at the staff and then vote it in.


What about Betty? If NTN/STEM is a boondoggle and it won't help the kids in her district who need help the most, then shouldn't/mightn't she vote against it too?

Central Mom said...

I don't think Steve will vote against it. He wants a magnet school at Cleveland to solve some of the enrollment pressures in West Seattle (like some kids that might have gone to the IB program instead going to Cleveland).

That, and when have you seen him vote against MGJ yet? Over the past days, following the comments of other West Seattleites, I've started changing my opinion of his ability to stick up for community interests. I thought he had potential. If he votes in NTN, I'd say that's another indication that he's weaker than I'd hoped.

Dorothy said...

Wasn't it Steve who looked so ridiculous last Spring, when he told the news cameras flat out that there was no such letter sent absolutely positively. But then, sure enough, there was the letter. Certified delivered to each and every teacher at a cost in the tens of thousands range. Staff flat out lied to him and he was a sucker for the camera and looked really bad. Wouldn't you think he'd learn his lesson and start thinking for himself and not trusting staff?

(my ballot is sitting waiting until after this vote, then I will fill it out and mail it in.)

Charlie Mas said...

It's going to pass.

Director Martin-Morris has already signalled that he will be voting to approve the NTN contract. He said that he has all of the information he needs.

Director Maier will, of course, approve it. He believes that the Board's role is to facilitate the superintendent's intentions, not to question them (let alone oppose them).

Director Sundquist will vote to approve. In the end, he doesn't trust his own instincts, knowledge or experience enough to question the superintendent's expertise.

All of the other votes are conditional, but the ayes only need one.

Director Patu will vote aye if they can convince her that STEM won't pull funds from other schools. Since that's what they now claim, she could very well support the measure.

Director DeBell will vote aye if they can convince him that the academic outcomes at NTN schools really are good. They have a lot of practice cherry-picking data and producing misleading numbers. They could do it.

Director Smith-Blum will vote aye if they can convince her that there isn't any alternative vendor. Honestly, I don't see any evidence that Project Lead the Way provides a full curriculum complete with humanities and the arts, so this is very likely.

Director Carr will vote aye just as soon as she sees that the ayes will win. She doesn't really have any basis for opposing this contract.

The thing could be unanimously in favor.

STEM will replace Cleveland in the fall. About a hundred students might enroll as freshman. Meanwhile, a lot of the Cleveland students will leave, choosing not to participate in STEM or the College Readiness Academy. The low enrollment will exacerbate the budget problems as the school will be committed to providing classes for very few students.

In a couple years, however, the WASL pass rates will leap up - due entirely to the change in the student body rather than any improvement in the instruction. The reason won't matter. The District will trumpet the gains and, after a couple years, more students will enroll.

If the State ever gets it together to fund CORE 24, that will remove another barrier to STEM enrollment as the graduation requirements will no longer be higher than the rest of the District's. Then word will get out that you don't really have to take and pass calculus to graduate and another barrier will fall.

Eventually, thanks largely to selective enrollment, STEM will become a famous success story and a demonstration school for NTN.

dan dempsey said...

Wait just a darn minute here.

Betty Patu has worked for the district she has watched them squander money on ineffective programs regularly.

She knows that Reform Math is a disaster. Betty is the one who raised the issue of the budget deficit and the funneling of $$$ into Cleveland STEM.... and away from programs that need it.

I have got to believe that Betty Patu understands the real issues here and has from the start. If she votes to approve the $800,000 NTN contract I will be totally amazed (not to mention horrified). She gets it that Cleveland will be serving a different population and that as usual the typical SE kid will get shafted.... as will most every kid who is not at Cleveland.

Lets not forget that the NTN model's record indicates that a fair portion of those that attend NTN Cleveland will be shafted as well, if they are expecting to learn the content and to attain the skills necessary to major in Engineering or Math in College.

Math appreciation sure... Engineering appreciation as well ...
but actually becoming a highly skilled professional in a heavy math intensive field would require at least a few years of remedial math for most after leaving NTN Cleveland.

Here is my list of Mostly likely to vote against this boondoggle:

#1 with a Bullet to the top Betty Patu

#2 in hot pursuit of Betty for first place... KSB she gets this.

========
This could wind up 5-2 for
========

Tied for 3rd

Michael and Harium ... They get the reform math fiasco and voted against it
===========
This could be against by 4-3
===========
#5 ... Director Carr as she asks meaningful questions and has now been in office long enough to be wising up to MGJ's continued deception. Sherry is not a big fan of NO Answers to questions. She has asked some good ones and may connect the dots on this one.
===============

Proposal crushed by 5-2

==============
#6 & #7 in no particular order

Neither of these two would ever cast the 4th NO vote. If the order of voting came to them and it was 5-0 against, well then maybe.

Steve is likely currently authoring his creative fiction piece that he will present to explain his vote. His explanation for his pro vote for "Discovering Math" back in May was a real master piece of creativity. He is going to work hard to top that one.

Peter on the other hand will not be nearly so challenged .. I expect:
"This is about Math and Science improvement. This is a good thing, I am all for it. I vote yes."

Peter voted for Discovering because it had an Algebra book, a Geometry book, and an Advanced Algebra book. Not Integrated 1, 2, 3.

What was in the math books was rated mathematically unsound. Who looks, who cares? well certainly NOT Peter.

Similar situation here.. an absolutely pathetic track record in regard to academic performance at NTN schools but it is about STEM ... I vote Yes.
======
I, Dan, am setting myself up for a major disappointment. I am leaning toward a 4-3 defeat of the NTN proposal.

No I am definitely not taking bets unless I get a really big point spread for this one.

Melissa Westbrook said...

whoops, I meant Harium, not Steve.

I still think it could happen.

Keepin'On said...

I politely beg to differ. Sherry Carr asks questions, but has never voted against a staff recommendation. She will do whatever they want.

It is disappointing, because she makes you think she is going to actually do something - but then never does.

I do appreciate her asking questions, but would just once, like to see her follow through with a vote for reason.

Meg said...

Sherry voted against hiring a curriculum consultant this past summer.

That said, she hasn't pressed much on STEM; I don't expect her to vote no on the NTN contract.

Overall, my bet is on the board giving approval to the NTN contract. It's not what I'm hoping for, but the way I hope and the way I bet when it comes to SPS issues are not usually... in alignment.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I would consider 3 votes, even for a losing cause, to be good. If Michael and Harium stood up, they might convince Betty as well. Sherry sometimes listens and I have seen more backbone from her lately. Just speculation. FYI, I am on the speakers list but I am ceding my time so that Heidi Bennett of the Seattle Council PTSA can speak on the Seattle Organizers Coalition Values Statement that we presented today to the SEA, district, PASS and School Board. More on that later but it was interesting and I look forward to a lot more interesting discussion about the teachers contracts.

Central Mom said...

My bet:

Patu, de Bell and KSB no, based on questioning the expenditure of dollars and not receiving data from district staff. At least one will say that they want STEM, but with another year of planning. (I HOPE that's what they'll say.)

The rest, yes, based on trust in Superintendent's judgment and desire to move forward w/ tangible new efforts at better offerings for South-of-Ship-Canal schools in conjunction w/ the SAP. Someone will cite Cleveland's design team involvement in choosing the vendor. Harium will express reservations, but vote "yes" anyhow.

Honestly, any "nay" votes will be politically risky because then Staff and Superintendent can say those members didn't back SPS' efforts to offer better South-of-Ship-Canal programming in conjunction w/ the SAP. It's a clever position that the Superintendent/Staff has created.

I think the commonalities of the possible nay voters is that they don't care as much about niceties between Staff and Board.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well and Central Mom, that's the crux of a lot of issues that get a simplistic answer. Nothing is as "simple" as it looks. People can have a lot of reasons why something that looks like a sure thing isn't.

dan dempsey said...

Melissa said:
"Nothing is as "simple" as it looks.

But it could be a lot simpler if:
the focus was improving student achievement through decisions that are based on solid proven materials and practices.

Instead we get decisions based on everything but the above, which is why it is in never simple and such decisions rarely improve anything academic. The lack of improvement produced by such decision making usually comes with increased costs.

wseadawg said...

Charlie said:

In a couple years, however, the WASL pass rates will leap up - due entirely to the change in the student body rather than any improvement in the instruction.

And that, my friends, is what passes for "reform" today. Make the hard cases disappear and the problem is solved! Raises and promotions will follow, while the struggling and the suffering children fall deeper and deeper into the cracks. Shame.

wseadawg said...

And for the record, the only SPS folks I've seen genuinely trying to help struggling kids are dedicated teachers and building level staff. But the reform crowd can't stop attacking, mocking and maligning those folks. Really tragic.

dan dempsey said...

WseaDawg,

Thanks for the above two thoughts. Here is what I'll say tonight, which is mostly an expansion of your thinking:

What’s the intent of the NTN contract proposal? I have clearly missed it.

My initial thought was it should improve the educational opportunities for a large portion of Southeast students.

After extensive research, way more than the Superintendent who generated this plan appears to have done, I discovered that improving such educational opportunities has NO chance of occurring with the passage of this proposal.

There is extensive usable research that could be used to create increased academic achievement but this proposal rejects the obvious solutions. Instead we see yet another proposal promoting the use of ineffective practices. Without sound well-researched plans, good intentions and spending will never produce much.

The Superintendent has repeatedly failed to answer questions about the clearly inferior results generated by almost all NTN schools. Instead the public gets claims of a 98% student graduation rate that while correct is calculated using a bizarre formula. Data reveals less than 70% of 9th graders became 11th graders at that school, and a smaller percentage graduated; but you know Ed Stats generated a 98% graduation rate. This is a typical use of the Education Club’s generated statistics to deceive the public.


Will the public ever see schools producing improved academic achievement? Unfortunately our Superintendent refuses to use proven successful materials and practices, she would rather have you believe the key is “performance management”.

In Math many students achieve far less than optimal results, because teachers are forced to use inferior materials and a pacing plan. This is beginning to look like the Administration likes poor performance, which can then drive the “Performance Management” agenda.

This district has futilely attempted to improve Cleveland with failing ideas a multiplicity of times, so now the school will be improved by replacing the students not creating a better k-12 learning situation for them.

The best data, research, and instructional practices should form a foundation for all we do. Instead it is proposed we copy ineffective schools for only $800,000 …. NO, we are Not in need of “Performance Management” we need rational leadership. Directors, Please show some leadership tonight.
This $800,000 fits perfectly with Dr. Goodloe-Johnson’s plans for herself, math and the district, but not our students.

Please reject this proposal.