Last part - I promise.
Q: Olympic View's new Special Ed inclusion program is great. However in one kindergarten class, there are 3 children with behavior challenges. The principal is frazzled from worried parents coming in and asking how all the children are going to learn if the teacher has to direct her attention to those children more often than not. Volunteers can't help because of liability issues. (The parent didn't say if there was an IA but I get the impression there isn't.)
A: We needed to give better service to students with special needs. They have a legal right to be in the class. Teachers need more training and yes the process is hard on parens. We intervene when things aren't working. Talk to the principal about providing resources and intervention but yes, it's about money.
Q: There was a question about a self-contained autism program that had 4 IAs and now has 1. Where to go to troubleshoot this?
A: There's a special ed manager for each region.
Q: We used to have more choice for high schools. We allowed schools to evolve their own way to meet the differing needs/wants of students. Now, with the NSAP, there is worry that your area high school won't have the AP you want for your child or the music choices. Can we modify the NSAP to meet needs of high school students?
A: (My notes here are sketchy but she seemed to throw this one off on the School Board. She said something about developing programs everywhere.)
Q: Right but if a school has concerns over advanced learning classes and orchestra, how do you look at this?
A: 1) choice option of 10% seats 2)on-going discussion.
Q: capacity issues in NE for a long time (a bubble versus a surge). The anomaly the district spoke of is now in third grade (best line of the morning). What is the long-term plan for NE middle school and when will JA get a commitment that we can communicate to parents? What about John Marshall?
A: We probably will need another comprehensive middle school in the NE. Marshall could be considered but there are needs and costs there.
Q: What about Jane Addams tours in January? What do we tell parents?
A: I agree we need to make that decision. There are Work Sessions in December and January on this issue.
Q: MAP and Advanced Learning. You have to get 85% on MAP to get into AL. One, where did that number come from and two, you don't get your MAP score until November and yet the AL deadline is October.
A: MAP is a screening tool to recommend testing.
Q: Our teachers don't recommend students; you have to go to the office to get a packet.
Q: Is it appropriate to use MAP? Will you miss the appeal deadline? We need a timeline for the whole thing to understand how this works. There's an issue of testing environments and kids. MAP should be out of the equation for AL especially for kindergarten.
Q: At our school many Ks had never used a mouse before AND were listening to words in headphones and trying to do what they were directed. It turns it into a high stakes test.
A: I hear your frustration. (These were several parents all chiming in at once.) We'll check on the technical piece. Fill out the application and don't get stuck on the MAP data. I've heard hundreds of conversations, pro and con (really??) But 85% wasn't arbitrary; I'll check where it came from. (She had noted that all questions were being written down by staff.)
Q: What about the website update? We need better communication with parents.
A: We're having that conversation now.
Q: MAP at Wedgwood. 20% of our Ks had never used a computer. They let the kids practice once for 10 minutes. When they started testing, 2 kids started crying. (And honest to God, you could almost feel the clutch in everyone's throat for those kids. We all know how much it would hurt us to know our child was confused and in tears at school over a test.) Other neighborhoods are under-resourced as far as computer access at home. It's a mistake for AL to use MAP like this.
Q: Are you getting rid of Spectrum?
A: Absolutely not true.
Q. At many middle school Spectrum schools, there aren't enough seats.
Q: Olympic View parents want an ALO but the staff is resisting. The principal seems okay but the staff says that it is extra work for them to have to use the AL report card. They try to differentiate teaching but it isn't apparent. Aren't all schools supposed to have ALOs? (The librarian at JA volunteered that her child is at Laurelhurst and gets an AL report card but she doesn't see much difference in what her child gets in an ALO.)
A: It's in the NSAP as part of academic assurances by 2015.
Q: Bryant parent, we knew it was coming and decided to be pro-active in creating ours.
Q: I have proctored MAP tests. You need a consistent proctor if kids ask questions that you can't help with. It seems unfair that the proctor comes out of a school's budget, not the district's budget.
Q: I asked about PTA help being included in a recent budget Work Session.
A: That was around the WSS and that was principals, not the district. (I checked and it came from the WSS Committee which is the district. It is pretty shocking to see PTA considered as part of where revenue comes from.)
Q: What about the alignment of high school science curriculum? Won't we lose science classes if we only create end of course exams for a few classes?
A: We can use other classes for science graduation requirements as long as they meet the standards.
Dr. Goodloe-Johnson wrapped up with an overview of topics that we discussed including MAP, Special education, NSAP boundaries, communication and ALOs. She circulated a bit and said goodbye to everyone.
Many parents stayed behind to talk. This is one thing I LOVE about going to meetings. You learn the most interesting things. Turns out that JA's librarian had been the MAP proctor last year but they have someone in to do that. She has a portable library cart and goes around to different classes (fun).
I was also told (but am sworn to secrecy) that one middle school LA class, all by themselves, decided to go on strike against MAP. They just sat there (or just put their name in the computer and called it a day). They said the type was too hard to read and it was boring. As you can imagine, not a happy teacher.
One thing that is becoming clear to me is that the pressure is getting greater and greater on schools. It used to be that the WASL was scary because you needed a good school score. Principals and teachers didn't want kids to leave for Spectrum or APP because it would drag their school scores down. Now, it's teacher's evaluations that will drag down if kids don't do well on the HSPE and/or the MAP. Can you imagine how fearful a teacher could get if kids refuse or don't really try? How do you motivate them? What if you are a parent and you find out the MAP stresses your kid out? Will you (can you) opt them out? Do you hurt your child's teacher to protect your child?
I still haven't heard from Dr. Enfield about how to opt-out. I can't imagine why not.