Sunday, October 31, 2010

High School Credit Delayed Further

Incredible as it may seem, Seattle Public Schools still refuses to allow high school credit for high school level courses taken in middle school.

Let's review the timeline on this cluster.

Around 2004 or 2005 the State Legislature adopted this part of RCW 28A.230.090:
(4) If requested by the student and his or her family, a student who has completed high school courses before attending high school shall be given high school credit which shall be applied to fulfilling high school graduation requirements if:

(a) The course was taken with high school students, if the academic level of the course exceeds the requirements for seventh and eighth grade classes, and the student has successfully passed by completing the same course requirements and examinations as the high school students enrolled in the class; or

(b) The academic level of the course exceeds the requirements for seventh and eighth grade classes and the course would qualify for high school credit, because the course is similar or equivalent to a course offered at a high school in the district as determined by the school district board of directors.
In 2007 - just two or three years later - Seattle Public Schools forms a High School Steering Committee. The Committee appoints a Grading Subcommittee and that sub-committee discussed complying with this state law. They were generally in favor of it, but, since it represented a big change, according to Susan Derse,
Dr. Goodloe-Johnson has very correctly requested extensive stakeholder involvement during this coming school year, prior to presenting the proposed changes to the Seattle Public Schools Board of Directors.
After a year of indecisive inaction on the issue, the subcommittee decided to squander another year in indecisive inaction.

During the summer of 2008, the Board wanted to take action on the matter. All they needed to do was delete a single sentence from Policy D46.01 that appeared to prohibit high school credit for courses taken in middle school. But the Board Student Leaning Committee only met quarterly. Their next meeting wouldn't be until September. Director Martin-Morris discussed the matter on his blog (this was back when he used to actually engage people on the blog). Scroll down to July 20 when the discussion began.

On July 23, Director Martin-Morris wrote on his blog: "I am planning to see the policy change before the board on Middle School credit by end of September."

At the September 2008 Student Learning Committee meeting, Director of High Schools, Michael Tolley, asked the Board to hold off on making the change so it could be part of a comprehensive high school grading reform. He promised the Board that they would be ready to bring that reform to the Board for action in January or February so there would be no delay in granting credit to students. The Board agreed to wait and denied all petitions for credit in the interim.

It is worth reading the whole thread in Director Martin-Morris' blog on this.

Michael Tolley did not bring comprehensive high school grading reform before the Board in January or February. He said it would be ready in March or April. He did not bring it before the Board in March or April. He said it would be ready in May or June. In fact, after a number false promises and blown deadlines, Mr. Tolley finally brought comprehensive high school grading reform - including high school credit for courses taken in middle school in September of 2009. It is worth noting that no one ever held Mr. Tolley accountable for the delay or the blown deadlines or even suggested that he should have been held accountable for the delay or the blown deadlines. It is worth noting that the Board did not take any action on their own to delete a single line from their Policy and allow high school credit for courses taken in middle school as state law requires.

Finally, on October 21, 2009, the school board passes the new Policy, D15.00, that complies with a four- or five-year-old state law.

All School District policies are effective immediately upon adoption. Nevertheless, the Board denied petitions for credit that were submitted following the adoption of the Policy.

Now, I have in my possession, a letter from Dr. Susan Enfield in which she denies a petition made this year for credit. In her letter, Dr. Enfield says that only classes taken after September 1, 2010 - nearly a year after the policy was adopted - are eligible for credit.

I am, of course, appealing this decision.

13 comments:

Hawk said...

I seem to recall hearing a while back that the credit would not be granted retroactively, and would only be given for classes taken after the policy was created.

I don't see how they can do that though, without breaking the law. Appeal.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Funny how when the district wants something, like TFA, they will break the speed barrier to get it done.

The change to the law for certification for teachers is something they HAVE to enact. But the high school credit is a law that HAS to be followed if the parent follows the protocol. That the district has dragged its feet and the Board has allowed it is troubling.

Charlie, you may have to end up in court to get their attention. It's sad but now it is bordering on the ridiculous.

I think it is a good time to search out all Charlie's posts on broken promises (making sure this one is on the list). Board members who run again next fall should be held very accountable for what they have not done. I do not think any excuses are going to be enough for the laundry list that appears to be building.

Hawk said...

Melissa would you considering running for Peter Maiers spot?

Seattle Parent said...

Susan Derse wrote (in 2008):
"For recommendations which involve changes to existing policies or practices, Dr. Goodloe-Johnson has very correctly requested extensive stakeholder involvement during this coming school year, prior to presenting the proposed changes to the Seattle Public Schools Board of Directors."

If this still holds true, then what is the process and timeline for the current recommendation which just came out of the C&I Committee to "up" the credit requirements from 20 to 22, way before CORE 24 even kicks in at a state level? It took only one 45 minute session in the C&I Committee to support this change?
Go back to Harium's blog from 2008 (that Charlie gave the link for) and look at the discussion- it's a huge issue yet it seems that the community isn't even aware yet of these proposals hitting the rubber soon, and the impacts it will have on students.

Hawk said...

Some high schools, like Hale, require 23 credits to graduate. If a kid only earned 20, which meets the district requirement, but went to Hale, would they not be able to graduate?

Seattle Parent said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Seattle Parent said...

Charlie,
Board Policy D15.00 was introduced & discussed on Sept. 16th, 2008 BEFORE the 2009 "updated" version of the Counseling Services Manual was released (and, for the first time, made available to the public). It was only in the Manual (referred to at the bottom of the D15.00 policy- with no link, of course) that is was decided by the district & not the Board, that:

"Currently, no middle school courses have been determined to be equivalent to high school courses. This is anticipated to change for the 2010-2011 school year."

And it wasn't until this fall that the district issued that letter which states that the policy is not retroactive before Sept. 2010 classes.

To me, this all is a problem caused by the Board allowing the district to write their own procedure, rather than the standard WASDA method of having Board Policy & Board Procedure on the same page, side by side.
You can not even find the district's K-12 Manual (used as Procedure)- it's hiding online somewhere in the student discipline section and not even linked on the Board's webpage!

Patrick said...

Why is the District dragging their feet on this? I don't see why they're avoiding it.

Seattle Parent said...

...ooops,Charlie-

I meant Sept. 16, 2009 (not 2008)when D15.00 was introduced...

The K-12 Manual was tecnically released online just before D15.00 was approved (but only because it was postponed by 2 weeks), but I don't think any of the Board members were aware that the manual was available (I was asking them for a copy in the C&I committee, but everyone said "ask the district").

The point being, the Board was voting on a new Policy without knowing about this sentence in the procedure, "This is anticipated to change for the 2010-2011 school year." ...
"Anticipated to change" could mean anything, even "never"...?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Hawk, I'm giving it serious thought.

Patrick, good question.

Charlie Mas said...

My intention - or hope - is to get an opportunity to make an appeal to Directors DeBell and Martin-Morris directly.

In the end, the decision to award the credit or deny it is the Board's decision - not the CAO's. If I can get before the Board, remind them of the timeline for this fiasco, and remind them of their assurances that the credit would be available, I'm hoping that they will do the honorable thing and award it.

It is literally more than two years since the Board said that they wanted to do this and the District staff is saying that it will be yet another year. That's a Board that has absolutely no control over the District.

Ananda said...

The high school steering committee had a couple hard workers who have left the district over the last, so it doesn't surprise me hear this. Too bad.

curious said...

Melissa, I sure hope you do.