Some of the speaker comments:
- "It sounds like blame the teacher is the message."
- Meg did a great presentation that the audience really appreciated. Her data-driven testimony really strikes a chord. She explained how the Superintendent had given an explanation in a letter about Title One and LAP money but did not give a full picture/details to the story. Her specific example was what will happen to Thurgood Marshall with the loss of Title One dollars.
- an executive from a labor council said, "Don't dumb the debate down to 'getting rid of bad teachers' ".
- A NOVA student ceded her time to Ola Addae the head of the SEA. She was blunt - don't adopt the performance management policy. She said a substitute motion had been given to the Board (wish I could see that - maybe it's at their website). She then went on the attack against what Dr. Goodloe-Johnson had been doing since coming to Seattle. She claimed that Dr. G-J had refused money from the state for a CTE center (that funding was in the BTA III levy). She said "disruptive change is what she does." I'd call it churn but whatever you want to call it, I'd agree. She also said that seniority is "sacred" and the only way to RIF. (I don't agree but it got a lot of applause.) Ms. Addae was the next scheduled speaker and tried to continue to Michael told her no, every speaker only gets 3 minutes for fairness sake. She went ballistic and claimed it wasn't in the rules. She said it was racist and wrong. The crowd started to chant, "Let her speak, let her speak." but Michael held his ground and said no. She told the crowd they should all leave and go chant in the lobby and got a great number of people to go. Oddly, there was no chanting and most of them didn't come back.
- At this point I noticed one of the teacher who exited had left a catalog under her chair. It said, "Massage and Bodywork Franchises".
- Patricia Bailey, a 2nd grade teacher, pointed out the difficulties of assessing kids with issues like poverty, math books, student mobility, etc. She asked how MAP accounted for these factors in the scores of students. She showed the Board that the MAP book has 24 pages of goals for students and with 28 students in a class, how was she to do it?
- Another speaker asked about performance management when they had lousy materials (see math) to use. It was pointed out that Cleveland had tons of resources given to it with students going to UW for help and yet their math pass rate is much lower than RBHS.
- Robert Femiano, another elementary teacher, said that the performance management plan doesn't acknowledge the art to teaching and doesn't accommodate creativity.
- Dora Taylor asked for open meetings with Brad Bernatek, staff and parents to answer questions about MAP.
- Laura Reback, a South Shore parent with a child with many issues, said they couldn't help their son without the South Shore counselor. She pointed out that losing the counselors could cost money if the district has to hire outside help to work with IEP students.
- One parent, Jennifer Matter, questioned whether the performance management policy might hurt schools if parents don't want a school that gets labeled by the district as "low-performing". (The same might be asked about teachers not wanting to go teach at a labeled school.)
- Gail Longo, a Montessori educator at Ballard's pre-school, had several parents speak highly of her program which integrates teens and pre-schoolers in working together.
- Another speaker was Jonathan Knapp who read the rest of Olga Addae's speech. Continuing she states that now Dr. G-J is coming for counselors. She pointed out that we have 90+ coaches but only 5 STAR teachers (mentoring new teachers) when there used to be 12.
- the last speaker, Rickie Malone, a former SPS principal and frequent speaker at Board meetings, complained that she had a call from a SPS staffer who warned her that she would not be allowed to speak if she signed up for a place and then did not speak on the topic. (Apparently she has done this 3 times in a row.). I only put this in to point out that yes, it is a rule that people who are speaking to an Action or Introduction item get first dibs on spots. That's because it used to be whoever signed up first but many people who wanted to speak to an item being introduced or voted on that night didn't get the chance. The Board feels (and I agree) that it is important to allow speakers who are speaking to agenda items. And most of the time, the list isn't full so there are usually speaker to general topics.
Then came the math presentation by Miss de la Fuente. It was very long and pretty dull (except when she figured out that she misspelled a word in one of her titles). And guess what? The Math department has a "vision and mission". "Every student empowered to do rigorous mathematics with confidence." Really? They really spent time on thinking that up? Good to know.
She said that the district is in year 2 for Everyday Math, 4th year for CMP2, and first year for high school of Discovering Math. She said that with cuts the math coaches would likely work with teams of teachers instead of one-on-one. She said there would be transition work for 8th graders to 9th grade for algebra readiness. She said the next Board Work Session on math "will provide a national national perspective on systemic math change and achievement in urban districts, and in-depth analysis of district math data with recommended changes for improvement. We will also engage with national experts and mathematicians as we move forward and examine how we increase math literacy and student skills."
Sherry asked about on-line resources and that she knows one school that can't get access. Would be looked into. Betty asked about how difficult math is for ELL students when there is so much reading. Miss de la Fuente said that ELL students acquire language skills through math and that all national strategies support this. (Really? Can she back that up with data?) She said it was a challenge but the district supports this.
Peter passed on a couple of ideas he had and then said that he wanted to hear more about middle school outcomes given how long the district has been using the materials. Kay echoed this and said at the next Work Session she wanted to see in-depth data on gender, race, etc. (Let's see if the "I'll get back to you" line gets used at that Work Session given that two Directors said to come armed with data.)
I wish this had been done at a Work Session. I feel like so many people want to get to the Agenda items and yet staff does these long presentations.