Sunday, May 16, 2010

District News

I've attended a few meetings and received some information from other sources that may be of interest.

First Item - Math Placement

Apparently the district math department (via MAP scores) sent out honors math placements to middle schools based on winter MAP scores. The placement lists were done BEFORE all 5th graders had taken the Spring test. Teachers had been assured that the Spring MAP exam would determine placement. I was told that, for example, at one school 80% of the kids would have qualified using the Spring scores versus about 50% with the Winter scores. There seems to be an issue with seats but if we have qualified kids, they all should get the placement.

The district will probably get a lot of blowback on this issue but may try to dodge it some other way.

Second Item - Facilities

I attended the BEX Oversight Committee meeting on Friday. I was particularly interested in hearing what was happening with South Shore. I arrive a few minutes late and wondered if I missed any info on this topic. (Note: there does not seem to be a Board member attending these meetings regularly. This is disappointing because of the huge amounts of money being spent. The minutes of the meeting never seem to cover the meeting in depth.)

Denny/Sealth - Sealth will be almost ready to be moved back into in September. However, the issue came up (with some discussion) over the readiness. There will still be finishwork to be done as well as the final punch list. Apparently, this was conveyed to the principal and he said it was fine and that they wanted to be in the building in September.

This is quite problematic. It was pointed out (and I agree) that principals should not be making these decisions by themselves (this was without any school staff input, he just let them know it was happening). Member of the Oversight Committee pointed out that it can take longer and be more difficult to get everything done with a population moved back into a building. So if you have a student going to Sealth, there may be work still being done on it when your student comes in September. Why the district is doing this (it was stated this was the "culture of the district") when we have had issues in the past over move-in dates (see Garfield) is beyond me. It was pointed out that there was no problem with Sealth staying where they are currently until their building is finished.

The district is working with City Council members to get school district projects to the top of the City permitting process.

Hale is in its next phase. They have started construction on the new greenhouse for Hale over at the Jane Addams site - it was noted that it will be a very large one at 3,000 square feet. It was also noted that this had been a very "dusty" project because of the concrete cutting. (It had been previously pointed out elsewhere in the blog that there had been some health concerns over the dust created by the project.)

Hamilton will finish on time (they are working 9-10 hour days, again, that's overtime pay). The Committee had visited the site recently and one member said the views from the 3rd floor of downtown were stunning. It was noted that they replicated the old historic front doors which cost less but hadn't done it at Garfield (for reasons unknown). It was also pointed out that they saved the historic window glass but it wasn't double glazed. It was stated that Hamilton was built for 900-1000 but members couldn't get clarification if the school would be full when opened (it seems it will be by the early enrollment numbers). There were remarks made by staff over neighbors who had raised concerns, saying there are always people trying to "slam the district." (I wasn't sure if that might have been directed my way or if Bill Martin just meant the Hamilton neighbors who had complaints.)

Ingraham. It seems the last court date that occurred on this project found for the district. The neighbors against the addition have filed an appeal that will be heard in 4-6 weeks. The district has changed the number of trees cut down from about 75 to 29 and made the courtyard area in the addition smaller to accommodate the change. Several Committee members were very disparaging of the neighbors concerns and expressed exasperation that a few people could hold up a project. It was interesting that one member asked district staff if a mediator couldn't have been brought in to help. Staff demurred and said no but numerous staff including Ron English had spoken with neighbors. The member asked again but didn't it occur to you to bring in a neutral party? Shrugs.

This is the kind of district cultural thinking that hurts us. Why wasn't a mediator brought it? Even if it didn't solve the issue, the district gets to take the high ground. Saying they talked to Ron English (a long-time lawyer with the district who is distinctly non-approachable) signals to me they had no intention of listening to the neighbors at all.

Staff went on to say they were creating some kind of white paper on the Ingraham issue as they felt there were factual inaccuracies being spread by the neighbors. They expressed frustration from the "random calls" from the Mayor's office/City Council offices about this issue.

There was information on the Strategic (tired word) Infrastructure and Maintenance project. Apparently the state has passed an "assess preservation" program for schools that the district is trying to work with. The district has purchased software to organize and chart maintenance projects. They reported (it's true, I swear) that they had hired/moved 2 staff to go through and organize roughly 6,000 maintenance requests. So now, in 2010, we find our district has not had any organized way to chart and order maintenance and we have hire people just to go through the list they do have.

They also said they were working towards a "total cost of ownership" form for each building so that they could understand "why some schools cost more to operate than others". Really? Again, hard to believe it's 2010 and they are just getting around to figuring out this is information they need to maintain our buildings.

Also new facilities info to me. There was mention of Esco which is:

An ESCO, or Energy Service Company, is a business that develops, installs, and arranges financing for projects designed to improve the energy efficiency and maintenance costs for facilities over a seven to twenty year time period.

The district is developing a list of 10 buildings to have audits of their energy use. Apparently McClure has already had this done. One benefit of doing these audits is that a project might then be able to be moved from maintenance to the capital eligible fund (meaning, using a different pot of money for these projects that the state pays into - the state pays nothing for school maintenance itself).

There was also a short presentation about a new Project Delivery manual being create to better track BEX projects from selection of projects to finished projects.

South Lake (a project I thought was long finished). Well, it turns out that they have heating issues in the daycare area (too cold) and that it because of "poor design". It can be "fixed" to a point but you can't correct a bad design. Again, who pays for this fix?

As for South Shore, it seems the Committee got an update in an Executive Session (that meant I had to leave). This could mean any number of things from
  • they still haven't figured out the problem (and don't want me or anyone else to report that)
  • they have figured it out but don't know how to fix it or
  • they do know the problem but not the costs to fix it or
  • it's worse than they thought and so they need more time to figure out the situation
And, of course, there is the question of who is at fault and who pays for what. If they need a fix and can't get the blame figured out, the district will likely pay it themselves just to get it done for the building to reopen in the Fall.

43 comments:

SolvayGirl1972 said...

"Also new facilities info to me. There was mention of Esco which is:

An ESCO, or Energy Service Company, is a business that develops, installs, and arranges financing for projects designed to improve the energy efficiency and maintenance costs for facilities over a seven to twenty year time period.

The district is developing a list of 10 buildings to have audits of their energy use. Apparently McClure has already had this done. One benefit of doing these audits is that a project might then be able to be moved from maintenance to the capital eligible fund (meaning, using a different pot of money for these projects that the state pays into - the state pays nothing for school maintenance itself)."

Why aren't they working with Seattle City Light on this? They do the VERY same thing for FREE!!! They even give large energy users money towards retrofits, etc. This is what my husband does at City Light. There is absolutely NO REASON the District should be paying an outside firm to do this!!!

SE Mom said...

About math placement and math pathways: Our math teacher stated he submitted different math recommendations for some students and those families should be receiving new math placement letters from the district.

I really appreciated that because it will be easier (I hope) than dealing with a family math contract to move up to a different math class.

gavroche said...

Melissa Westbrook said...
First Item - Math Placement

Apparently the district math department (via MAP scores) sent out honors math placements to middle schools based on winter MAP scores. The placement lists were done BEFORE all 5th graders had taken the Spring test. Teachers had been assured that the Spring MAP exam would determine placement. I was told that, for example, at one school 80% of the kids would have qualified using the Spring scores versus about 50% with the Winter scores. There seems to be an issue with seats but if we have qualified kids, they all should get the placement.

The district will probably get a lot of blowback on this issue but may try to dodge it some other way.


Okay, this is particularly troubling because I have heard from two District sources that the winter MAP results trended downward district-wide -- so much so as to render them unusable and invalid.

So it sounds like no decisions about our kids should be based on those questionable scores.

I also heard that the District consequently isn't using the Winter test results, but our kids are being forced to take these cumbersome, resource-draining tests three times a year anyway, not because the District needs the data, but because the test vendor, Northwest Evaluation Assessments wants this data for its own purposes.

Can anyone corroborate this?

If this is true, and our kids are being used as free data-fodder for for-profit test-manufacturers, this is appalling and should not be allowed.

How does everyone else here feel about this?

Also: Melissa/Charlie do you know if SPS parents have the right to opt their kids out of MAP?

ParentofThree said...

When did MAP become a placement exam, I thought it was to measure progress?

grousefinder said...

Having done for years the type of work ESCO is doing, and doing that work in both public institutions and mammoth industrial facilities, I can state unequivocally that this ESCO endeavor is a waste of public resources. The reason can be found in the deplorable state of mechanical systems throughout the SPS. I have addressed in previous postings that the grossly understaffed Facilities Dept. (50% staffed) has established a policy of "let it fall apart" rather than repair critical Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems. In numerous conversations with facilities maintenance personal they have told me that routine maintenance is impossible under this staffing level.

You cannot audit mechanical systems that are functioning at limited capacity, because it gives a erroneous data to the energy auditors collecting fuel and electrical consumption information. For example, if a boiler has a clogged heat exchanger, and the building runs generally cold, it appears that the building is consuming more natural gas than it should be...that is true but, in fact, most of the waste heat is going out the boiler stack. The auditor will say the boiler is inefficient, when the steamfitters can tell you within an hour that the heat exchanger is clogged with scale. The auditor will recommend a boiler replacement to a high efficiency boiler, but a qualified boiler mechanic will tell you to just fix the dang thing already.

Energy audits are useless unless HVAC systems are first repaired and running to within 90% of efficiency, design, or capacity.

My guess...ESCO is the first shot across the bow of the Local 32 (Plumbers and Steamfitters Union) and the Operating Engineers Union. Can you say privatization?

Charlie Mas said...

MAP is supposed to be a formative assessment. That means it's purpose is to determine which elements of the curriculum are strengths and which are weaknesses for each individual student and for classes as a whole with the purpose of informing instruction.

I would say that placement falls into the category of informed instruction.

Charlie Mas said...

As for the Executive Session, thanks to Washington's Open Meetings Act, there are very few reasons that the Board is allowed to hold a closed meeting, an Executive Session. They include discussion of personnel issues and discussion of litigation.

Which was this?

grousefinder said...

SE Mom...can you expand on the "he submitted different math recommendations for some students and those families should be receiving new math placement letters from the district" statement you made.

I ask because it sounds like the teacher knew about where students would be placed before the district letters even went out. And the "new letters" thing sounds like placement letters already went to some families ahead of the May 15th date stated by the district.

Privacy being foremost in my mind...I am curious what school your child attends...if you don't feel comfortable providing that information, a cluster designation (or region) would help answer some perplexing issues around Honors Math seat allotments.

It would be good to find out if the district provides certain schools favored placement for Honors Math seats over others.

Many thanks...

Chris said...

Ahhh, must be they expect litigation over the South Shore fiasco. Or maybe SPS is going to sue body?

Yeah, I'm being facetious. Far more likely they are ignoring open meeting law.

SE Mom said...

Grousefinder:

My understanding is that the high school math class recommendations from the district were assessed and sent to families without any input from the student's current math teacher. My kid goes to a k-8.

I think that the 9th grade class recommendations went out earlier than they did or will for 6th grade.

Our teacher is simply making the recommendation after the fact. This would be information they have had all school year about how their students have been performing in math class, but the district apparently did not solicit that information.

I am kinda confused about the honors placement with the district recommendations. My kid did not get recommended for an honors course which would have been at Franklin. She certainly would qualify for an honors class based on class grade, WASL and MAP scores. I have no idea why she was placed in a regular rather than honors class. I've been more focused on getting her into the correct level of math that I didn't even think of honors placement. Who knows, the info we've gotten from Franklin about classes has been very limited.

Toni said...

The confusion and chaos around math placement was so great this year, that we decided not to bring our child back to SPS for MS. Nobody could answer the most basic questions about math placement this year and we are just to burned out on SPS to trust them with something so important.

grousefinder said...

Speculation Moment: The "closed meeting" is most likely due to potential liability because students were exposed to toxins in quantities that exceed EPA/OSHA guidelines. When nobody is talking to the public you know it's bad. The crickets have been chirping for weeks.

Executive Session Conversation Topics:

Contractor Insurance Limits
Performance Bond Limits
District Insurance Limits
Cash on Hand
Personal Liability for District Personnel
Public Relations Team Action Plan
Cost to Fix the Existing Mess

grousefinder said...

SE Mom:

If your child has the MAP scores to qualify...enroll in the advanced math classes. It will save you a bunch of money on college tuition for remediation in the area of math. This is why parents fight so hard at 5th grade to get on the honors math track...the kids end in calculus by their senior year (or sooner). Then they don't have to take calc. in their first year of college.

Lisa said...

Gee, I hope I don't have things wrong. I got the impression from the counseling office at Ballard High that at high school you can simply sign up for honors if you want to do so. She said it was "helpful but not required" to include a letter from the 8th grade math teacher with the course selection paperwork.

WV: outol, as in are we outoluck?

dan dempsey said...

Toni said: "Nobody could answer the most basic questions about math placement this year and we are just to burned out on SPS to trust them with something so important."

"SPS to trust them with something so important"

Like say the education of children.

dan dempsey said...

grousefinder said...

"..the kids end in calculus by their senior year (or sooner). Then they don't have to take calc. in their first year of college."
===========

Well maybe... College enrollments have gone up substantially in the last 20 years ... while the raw number of Students enrolled in second year Calculus have continually declined each year.

With the selection of "Discovering" I suggest you look at the Algebra II book and reconsider the prepared for college Calculus idea.

more HERE

or only the letter here.

Charlie Mas said...

Students have the option of taking their upper level high school math classes as Running Start classes.

dan dempsey said...

Really easy to believe this:::
"They reported (it's true, I swear) that they had hired/moved 2 staff to go through and organize roughly 6,000 maintenance requests. So now, in 2010, we find our district has not had any organized way to chart and order maintenance and we have hire people just to go through the list they do have."

'cuz of what they do about RCW 28A.645.020

THE LAW: Within twenty days of service of the notice of appeal, the school board, at its expense, or the school official, at such official's expense, shall file the complete transcript of the evidence and the papers and exhibits relating to the decision for which a complaint has been filed. Such filings shall be certified to be correct.

In the Briggs appeal (school closures and NSAP continue) the district dilly dallys around and eventually sent the attorney 68,000 pages of BS material .. many of these were email dumps of 1000s of pages where less than 5% had anything to do with the case.

There is also a "Civil Rights" complaint filed with the Federal Dept Of Ed. and the DOE Justice folks were less than pleased to essentially shut their office down for two weeks sifting through the supposed evidence to find that less than 5% was really evidence.

In NTN contract appeal #1 of the 2-3-2010 board approval, the district as usual could not produce the "correct" record of evidence used on 2-3-2010 by the school directors ... so the Judge gave the district lots more time to assemble the evidence???? {So what were the board members using on 2-03-10 ???}

The Assembled evidence (???) turned out to be 15,644 pages. [at least that is what the district sent] Certified to be correct {???}

District needs to fire General Counsel Gary Ikeda and get those paper handlers from maintenance over to legal.

dan dempsey said...

"The member asked again but didn't it occur to you to bring in a neutral party? Shrugs"

Neutral .. Neutral
We don't need NO stinkin' Neutrals... we are bullies
get it bullies.

Check the record...bullies.

Charlie Mas said...

I don't really understand the function of the BEX Oversight Committee as it is refuses to offer any sort of oversight.

Toni said...

"Gee, I hope I don't have things wrong. I got the impression from the counseling office at Ballard High that at high school you can simply sign up for honors if you want to do so"

Well. maybe, if your high school offers honors classes. Our assignment high school, Hale, doesn't offer any honors classes at all. A student can earn honors in a regular math class, but they are doing the same work at the same pace as the rest of the class. They just have to get good grades, do a little extra homework, and go to math tutoring to help struggling students.

No thanks.

SPS mom said...

They just have to get good grades, do a little extra homework, and go to math tutoring to help struggling students

Tutoring (without compensation) as a condition of getting honors status? How is this equitable or even legal? Wouldn't tutoring of other students have to be voluntary? Can anyone else weigh in on this?

Toni said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Toni said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melissa Westbrook said...

Gavroche, I'll check but I'm fairly certain that your child doesn't have to take the MAP. Now, of course, they will tell you that it helps the teacher know your child's skill level (although I think most teachers are smart enough to figure it out without the test) and, of course, if they base math placement on this test, it might exclude your child.

I'll ask.

Charlie Mas said...

At the bottom of the first page of my daughter's math placement form it says:

WASL: Not Available
MAP: Not Available
8th Grade Course: Not Available
1st semester grade: Not Available

From this, they were able to make this 9th grade Math Course Recommendation: Algebra 1 with Support.

I'm going to call and ask how they got any conclusion from the total absence of inputs.

Toni said...

Charlie did your daughter take the WASL and the MAP? I remember you had thought about boycotting the WASL.

If your daughter did take the WASL and MAP why is the info absent? If she didn't take it then what criteria did they use to determine where to place your her?

sam said...

Does any know what these magical numbers are to qualify for honors math in 6th grade?

My son's teacher said he should be in, but I don't trust it until I get the letter.

The information has been sorely lacking on how placements would be made. Just makes everyone more anxious and frustrated. Way to go SPS!

Charlie Mas said...

My daughter didn't take the 7th grade WASL. She took a fall MAP but stopped getting her math instruction at school after that, so she didn't get a winter MAP. Since she's not taking math instruction at school, there's no 8th grade course (it had been Algebra) and there's no 1st semester grade. It's all Not Available.

So, if none of the data points that are used to make the determination are available, how can they make a determination?

hschinske said...

Typically by birthdate, I should think. (WV "gueess" -- I'm gueessing here ...)

Helen Schinske

ParentofThree said...

So here's gonna be the rub for your daughter, she can only opt up one year. So at best she can only get into 10th grade math. But the "with support" designation may work against her there also.

I am assuming that since she is coming from APP she should be ready for Alg II, but will be lucky to get her into Geometry.

As much as I hate these tests, I have never opted out as I never know what they will use them for, I think this is a good example.

Please keep us posted, I think you have a fight on your hands.

grousefinder said...

It's worse than we all thought...to get into Math 7 (or Math 6 Honors...same thing) the District used 4th grade WASL Scores, Winter MAP scores and Spring MAP scores. They applied some complex algorithm designed to limit the Advanced Learning (Math) seats in Middle Schools. And, if your child is SpEd., they tag him/her with some weird moniker that leaves your child in purgatory until the SpEd. gurus figure out his/her future status (even if your SpEd. child is a math Wizbang with 230 on the MAP).

In a nutshell...if your child had a good year in 5th grade, but was Level 2 or 3 on the 4th Grade WASL...don't plan on Honors Math, unless the Winter MAP score was out of this universe.

That said...there is a contract you can sign to override all of this mishegoss (Yiddish for "craziness"). Here it is:

http://www.seattleschools.org/area/math/mp_opting_up_6th.pdf

Wow! I never thought the term "moving target" would ever be applied to education, but here we are with a new placement policy...AGAIN!

Joan NE said...

I just got word that SEA representatives' vote tonight on the RttT Partnership went in favor of signing. It was roughly a 2/3 to 1/3 split, with about 130 some members present.

There were about 1/2 dozen teachers and one parent handing out flyers to teachers as they entered the meeting.

The SEA webite, as of this afternoon, had a heading "Everything you need to know about Race to the Top." There were two links. Both were basically pro-RttT propoganda.

With this, the SEA leadership is showing its true colors, isn't it?

I was told the leadership would be telling the reps at the closed door meeting that parents want SEA to sign on to this. Olga knows personally many parents that are strongly opposed to RttT, me being one of them.

How can SEA leadership presume to know that parents across the city want this? Do they have survey data?

Maybe Ramona Hattendorf (president, Seattle Council PTSA) put out an appeal to her PTSA distribution list, and got parents to write to SEA in support of the RttT Partnership Agreement. I saw her do this with the pro-RttT SB6696; I do not know if she tried to influence today's vote through this means. In general SC-PTSA leadership is playing a most unhelpful role.

To the extent she is doing this and succeeding, she is, in my opinion, abusing the trust that parents place in her leadership. I have said as much to her a number of times, so I have no reservations about saying this here.


For the life of me I can't see why any teacher would support this, unless they were persuaded by SEA leadership that the union would be excoriated by the local press and the astroturf orgs (LEV, A4E, CPPS, too maybe).

This is a poor reason indeed for SEA leadership to give to members. I hope the leadership did not do this earlier today in the closed door session.

http:\\RaceToTheTop.pbwiki.com

SE Mom said...

Grousefinder:

I looked again on my kid's math placement recommendation from the district for high school, and they used WASL scores from last Spring.

Why do you think that 4th grade WASL scores were used? Even for next year's 6th graders should be
scores from spring 2009, which would be 5th grade for that cohort.

And, although I don't have letter in hand yet, it seems that moving up more than one math class is possible. I think that the distinction is "skipping" courses rather than actually have taken more advanced classes. For example, my kid took the equivalent of two math classes this year. She isn't skipping over classes, she has completed them. This info is from communication with Anna-Maria de la Fuente and the 8th grade math teacher.

Toni said...

SE mom I was told by the head of the math dept at Eckstein that they would be using 4th grade WASL scores for 6th grade math placement. It doesn't make sense, but then again, what does in this district?

ParentofThree said...

I was told that they were using 4th grade math scores, winter MAPs scores and teacher recommendation for 6th grade placement. Parents were not told of the the option to opt up one level via the parent contract, that seems to be only for those "in the know."

ParentofThree said...

Which by the way, I learned of the parent contract on this blog.

Many thanks for keeping parents informed!!!

Maureen said...

SEMom--the others are talking about 6th grade placement, not 9th grade.

If they are using WASL at all, it would have to be from 4th and 7th grades since the 5th and 8th graders are taking the WASL(ish thing) right now and placement is being done right now as well.

My understanding is that they are only placing kids at most one level up from standard, but that if a parent signs the contract, a student can be placed up one additional level.

APP and special ed students do not seem to be addressed in the standard 'Pathway.' Can we assume that those families have received different information and appropriate placement without signing contracts?

Tina said...

My family is the family that did not get into View Ridge where my older son is, in spite of the school district's "best efforts." My daughter is the five year old who is crying because she doesn't want to pick her brother up from school anymore because they "don't want her there." My daughter who is used to walking her brother to View Ridge is now being asked to ride a bus to school. My family is being asked to split our time and our money between two schools. My family is being asked to explain to a 5 year old why her brother gets art, music and technology classes but they won't have money for that at her school.

You had the chance to make Sandpoint a highly desirable school by starting a language immersion or Spectrum program there. But the money was denied and Sandpoint was relegated to being a tiny, poor, underfunded, undesirable school. We are the family that bears the cost of not including siblings in the assignment plan. I have seen the data on your website that congratulates itself on how clever they have been getting students into their siblings schools. But it does not say how families who didn't get that lucky are to manage.

I have written again and again asking for help to keep our family together. Moving my son out of the Spectrum program to Sandpoint where there is one 2nd, 3rd, 4th,5th grade class- something out of the 19th century, would only serve to harm our family more.

ParentofThree said...

I also noticed that there is no mention of APP pathway for math, and now see that Spec Ed is also pretty vague.
Here's my question: Was this Math Pathway program slapped together at the last minute? If yes, that would explain what it has been so poorly communicated and missing some key components like APP/Spec Ed pathway.

But, if this Math Pathways program is the result of year long planning then we should be very concerned as it does not demonstrate competence in the department.

Toni said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
grousefinder said...

SE Mom...Sorry I didn't get back sooner...big day at school with the math MSP.

Here is what I know:

You mentioned: "I looked again on my kid's math placement recommendation from the district for high school, and they used WASL scores from last Spring."

Using one year old scores is a way to limit the number of students placed in Advanced/Honors Math courses. It DOES NOT take into account that your child had a banner year (or made significant progress). I suggest, if you (or any of us) do not like your child's placement, tell the school you want to "opt up" to Honors or Advanced Math. Using old data for placement decisions is like eating old sausage...it just should not be done.

This is a great question: "Why do you think that 4th grade WASL scores were used? Even for next year's 6th graders should be scores from spring 2009, which would be 5th grade for that cohort."

Here we see the machinations of budget and disorganization at work. They are using old scores from last year (Spring WASL) to limit the number of qualified Honors Math students. It is disingenuous. They should just admit: 'We only have room for the creme-de-la-creme (high achievers).' But, that would mean SPS has to admit they cannot accommodate everyone they promised Honors Math seats. Additionally, the Spectrum parents have been promised "non-competive" seats for their children in Honors Math...even if that child scored lower than another 5th grader at a disenfranchised elementary school on the MAP.

This is an important point: "And, although I don't have letter in hand yet, it seems that moving up more than one math class is possible. I think that the distinction is "skipping" courses rather than actually have taken more advanced classes. For example, my kid took the equivalent of two math classes this year. She isn't skipping over classes, she has completed them. This info is from communication with Anna-Maria de la Fuente and the 8th grade math teacher."

The students don't actually skip coursework (you are correct). They have to complete the equivalent work in the grade prior to the next. So, if you are in 5th grade you must be ready for 7th grade work. However, few teachers are willing to do this in regular ed. classrooms. Your child is lucky if a regular ed. teacher went above and beyond to insure that students got two years in one.

Here is the rub on this placement thing...if a student is advanced, based on Spring MAP scores, they should be entitled to a seat in advanced or honors classes. If they are at standard, then the student should be placed in a classroom that pushes the envelope so that the following year they are ahead of standard. It is a shame that the district expects so little out of our students. Every year should be a banner year.

SPS needs to rethink its principals (pun intended with the homonym). AND, the district must get rid of the slothful CMP curriculum which drags down even the best math students. There is a running joke with some former elementary students I know who graduate to CMP; 'We get to 'sleep though the first year, write about numbers during the second, and do a little math in the third.' What a waste of teenage energy.

SE Mom said...

Grousefinder, I agree with you. Of course this is not the best way to decide path placements.

The whole process is so frustrating the only way I can cope with it is to try and decipher how the district wants it to go so I can circumvent it to my advantage. I have given up on loftier goals of thinking of how it should be.