Friday, October 29, 2010

Spooky, It's Open Thread Friday

I'm going to do something very scary and that's drive downtown for the first (and mostly unadvertised) drop-in session on the NSAP. (The scary is driving home during rush hour. On a Friday. I try to NEVER go out on the freeway on Fridays.) But 3-5 pm is the time they picked so I'll be there.

This is a sad Halloween as I have no party to go to and I just thought I would be a great Snooki. (She's a short girl like me but she uses a "bump-it" to get height.) But don't worry if you don't know who she is; it's not important and you really don't need to know. But she would serve a great example for children as to why they should stay in school but then they would have to watch just one episode of Jersey Shore (as I did). That would be wrong and scar their eyes for years.

45 comments:

Dorothy Neville said...

Take the link! Let's you off just a couple blocks away.

hmm, if I can get my act together and errands finished in time, maybe I will go.

Maureen said...

I think as many of us who can possibly go should, and we should all make a point of saying that the only reason we knew about it at all is because we read it on this blog!

Does anyone know what the format will be? Is it one of those things where Tracy is there and has maps and data? I want info on their thoughts about Geographic Zones, but probably won't bother if Tracy won't be there.

mirmac1 said...

I know I posted this earlier (and was a little off-topic) but here it is again.

Don't know how many of you read one of the other great school blogs in our nation Transparent Christina, but I recently found the most uplifting Board action.

Christina School Board policy permits submittal of proposed policies and amendments by students, parents, board members and staff. The following was passed by unanimous vote. Why doesn't our school board care for our kids this way?

Whereas, the Christina School District Board of Education is the elected governing body of the Christina School District whose mission in accordance with Board Policy 01.05, Statement on District Accountability, is to improve student achievement and eliminate racial socio-economic achievement gaps by supporting teaching and learning in the classroom;

Whereas, the board lauds the Governor of Delaware, Jack Markell for signing into law on the 17th of June, 2010, HB 328 with HA/1, an act to amend Title 14 of the Delaware Code Relating to Exceptional Persons, a bill that requires courts, administrative tribunals, school districts, and schools to use the definition of “free and appropriate education” with respect to disabled children that has been enumerated for this region of the country by the United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Ridgewood Board of Education v. N.E., 172 F. 3d 238(3d. Cir. 1999);

Whereas, the Board recognizes that the Christina School District’s special education population, as a whole, has historically failed to meet its proficiency targets in Math and ELA; as evidenced by the 2010 DSTP testing data which confirms that students with disabilities in grades 2 through 10 not only failed to meet or exceed the standard in Reading but further fell by 9 percentage points from 2009 to 2010 and further reveals that only 32% of special education students scored 3 or higher on the DSTP in Reading and Mathematics in 2010;

Whereas, the board acknowledges the adoption of the new statewide measurement of achievement, the Delaware Comprehensive Assessment System, DCAS, and the subsequent higher standards integrated into DCAS as approved by the Delaware State Board of Education,

Whereas, the CSD Board, in accordance with Board Policy 01.02, Statement on Management Oversight, has charged the superintendent with overseeing the district’s major systems, which include but are not limited to Human Resources and Curriculum and Instruction;

Whereas, the board has received numerous complaints of irregular, atypical, and inadequate hiring practices, the board stipulates that its oversight in the administrative hiring process is limited by the superintendent’s contract commencing on July 1, 2009 which cedes to the Superintendent administrative authority and responsibility for the assignment, reassignment or transfer of all personnel other than the assistant superintendents and deputy superintendent.

Whereas, the board recognizes the de-facto Turnaround status of two district schools as a result of failed efforts to win School Improvement Grants and the resulting destabilization through high employee turnover and the recent inclusion of two district schools in the Governor’s Partnership Zone which has the potential to result in continuing destabilization;

cont.

mirmac1 said...

cont.

Whereas, the board acknowledges that the failing status of many of its schools does not reflect on the current leadership of those schools, but is the result of repeated administrative turnover and a historical lack of administrative support and oversight;

Be it resolved on this date, October 12th, 2010, The Board directs the Superintendent in accordance with Board Policy 01.02, Statement on Management Oversight, to enact the required annual review of the performance of all major management systems using metrics proposed by the Superintendent and approved by the Board and commencing with Human Resources.

The Board further resolves to direct the Superintendent to review the Integrity of all major management systems, where a review has not been completed within the past three years, in accordance with Board Policy 01.02 and further directs the superintendent to provide all documents generated regarding these reviews to the board for consideration.

Lastly, the Board affirms that the Christina School District can and will become a destination district for all children regardless of ability where the emphasis is on teaching and learning, curriculum and instruction where the maximum regulatory requirements are viewed as a minimum foundation for the achievement and success and; where all children are of intrinsic value, where a love of learning is cultivated and success is celebrated and; where students who are need of special education services are provided those services by the most dynamic and dedicated leaders who have the demonstrated the ability to convey their own educational and experiential strengths through our many dedicated teachers, specialists and professionals to our children who will succeed in the attainment of their goals whether they are academic, vocational, or self-determined domains and specialties.

mirmac1 said...

where all children are of intrinsic value, where a love of learning is cultivated and success is celebrated and; where students who are need of special education services are provided those services by the most dynamic and dedicated leaders who have the demonstrated the ability to convey their own educational and experiential strengths through our many dedicated teachers, specialists and professionals to our children who will succeed in the attainment of their goals whether they are academic, vocational, or self-determined domains and specialties.


So, when the Seattle Council PTSA pushes for higher graduation standards (despite Washington's college-bound students scoring #1 in SATs), do they fail to recognize the intrinsic value of ALL students, including those that are not necessarily college-bound? As a friend recently posted:

How about get everyone to pass the standards we already have? That's the only sobering fact omitted from this list. Why are we considering piling more on, when so few are graduating as is? Will more standards improve a single thing? Is that what's really wrong with today's schools? Not enough "standards"?

Anonymous said...

On the http://westseattleblog.com/forum/topic/seattle-schools-levy-for-or-against
one of the last posts suggests that there is a state audit of SPS capital projects soon to be released. Any verification on this? If so, what nasties are going to be uncovered?

Thanks,
Todd in W.S.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Todd in West Seattle, that would be my post.

That it has taken the Auditor's office TWO years to get this one done should tell you something. They hired the consultants who did the Port Audit (remember that one?) but it took so long to get through the data/even get the data they asked the district for, that the project got brought back in-house. There were also some legal issues that caused the audit to slow down.

What will come out? My belief is that it will shine a very harsh light on the capital building program. It will likely show a lot of waste, lack of oversight, not following state building regulations, etc. Basically, it will probably read a lot like the operations audit of the summer. The poster child for all that is wrong in the capital program in the audit will likely be Garfield's building.

I will be very interested to see what the Auditor's office says but I doubt if the district is getting any gold stars.

This may be the one to change some minds. This may be the one that will make many who vote for this levy say, "I wished I known this sooner. I wouldn't have voted yes." This may be the one that will be just one more thing that any incumbent running again next fall will need to explain.

mirmac1 said...

Deja vu' allover again. Meet Joe Wise.

Another School Superintendent with poor social skills (read the comments to this link)

Joe Wise could compete with MGJ for boss of the year

Another (former) Superintendent on the board of NWEA that contracted for MAP without competition

"Who me, conflicted?"

Rosie said...

Great, feel good video showcasing Ingraham students and teachers, and from a Seattle elementary school. (Sorry, I forget which one, please post if you know.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrI-unhj7IQ

The First Arnold said...

Just got a robo call from SPS. MGJ was reminding voters to vote for the "Operational Levy".

What happened to the "Supplemental Levy"?

Gads...does the misrepresentation ever stop!

wseadawg said...

I'm not answering my phone this weekend.

I hope the evil mean creepy SOB who invented robo-calling burns in hell!!

ParentofThree said...

Got the same call, disguised as an invitation to engage in NSAP meetings. The first one to he held 11/7.

Melissa Westbrook said...

MGJ was reminding voters to vote for the "Operational Levy".

First Arnold, she didn't say vote for the levy, right? She said there is a levy and don't forget to vote. Because if she said vote FOR the levy, there's a problem. That said, I think she's too smart to have said that but you tell me.

Rosie said...

She encouraged everyone to vote, and mentioned that there were many important issues on the ballot including the levy. She said nothing that any reasonable listener could argue suggested how to vote for the levy. So yes, she followed the law.

seattle citizen said...

If she said "Operational levy," Rosie, she might have followed the as to not advocating either way, but she misrepresented the levy...is that against the law, to represent a levy you want passed as one thing when it's another?

hmmmm....It might be a mistake...If it's not a mistake, is it fraud?

Meg said...

although it's supplemental, it is for the operating fund. The call was annoying, but above-board.

seattle citizen said...

"Stand down, SC! At ease!"

The First Arnold said...

MGJ did not say how to vote. Only a reminder to vote.

MGJ mentioned the Levy is listed on the back of the voting form. I think they are worried folks won't realize ballot is 2 sided.

mirmac1 said...

Wish some of us parents could afford robo-calls to put our "spin" on the issue.

kid not like the others said...

I want robo calls to call the robo callers homes, while they sleep.

WV-hotti

Melissa Westbrook said...

Even worse is that it's at the end after all the judges (which I find is a category people tend to skip).

On Seattle Channel they had a wrap-up of the election with local journalists and included the levy. The intro only talked about how the district got less money from the state so that's why they want another levy and not how it was proposed to be used.

The host asked Joni Balter at the Times why they said for voters to reject it. She said that the audit was bad and she made the point that the district was asking for more than they are down (and why is that they wondered?). She said the audit showed that the district, unlike other government entities, was still doing things the same way in a different economic time.

Josh Feit of Publicola said the critical thing was not the audit but the teachers contract. That it is a historic contract and broke a lot of new ground and the district "got" the union to agree to a lot of new things. He said the levy is needed to make good on the contract. He said if the Times is for ed reform and that it was surprising the Times came out against it.

Joni said the fact was that there were two other levies this year that got support AND the Families and Education levy comes up next year. She said, "There are many ways to talk to the district and this is one message we wanted to send."

Just to comment. Josh's explanation is funny because (1) he couldn't have read the audit and said "it wasn't the critical thing" and (2) the teachers contract is NOT that groundbreaking. Different yes but radical no. The student scores only trigger an evaluation if they are down and are not part of it. (That's the way Olga Addae explained it to me.) But Josh and Publicola did not do their homework and so did not have enough information from the other side to have made a fair assessment. Also, the district has the TIF grant to put the contract into motion at 34 schools. That's a good start.

I applaud Joni, not because of their final endorsement, but to put an end to this weird idea that you can't vote no on a school levy or bond. That the only time to send a message to the district is at School Board election time. I find that troubling.

Dorothy Neville said...

Olga thinks it's benign because student scores only trigger action when they are low. The district thinks it is wonderful because the union has agreed to having the district implement the measurement. That's why both sides feel like they won.

Read the Washington Policy Center's take on the contract. The link includes a link to the NCTQ analysis of the Teachers Contract (report paid for by the Alliance). Very interesting reading.

Dorothy Neville said...

I've been playing around with spreadsheets and some historical levy election figures. The school levy tends to get between 30 and 35 percent turnout. Of those, about 3/4 vote yes. That's about 25% of the registered voters.

The 2004 Feb school operating levy won (by a landslide 78%) with only 25% of all registered voters saying YES. September 2004 the Families and Education Levy won by a narrow margin, (53-32) but the YES votes were once again exactly 25% of all registered voters.

Except for the Die-Hard core of 25% of the registered voters who go out of their way to vote in Feb, the rest of the city seems on the fence about such levies.

Given trends with past school levies and the other recent similar levies (Parks won with 47% of the registered voters saying YES and Low Income Housing won with 36% of registered voters saying YES) and given that there's a complicated ballot, some opposition to the levy, it is really hard to predict what will happen.

We didn't robocall or direct mail. We got some endorsements. Seattle Times endorsement provided some exposure but some certainly distrust the Times endorsements. Word of mouth is powerful, I hope people followed through. But most of you are anonymous to me, so I have no idea how many of you are out there.

I heard that over time, especially after the TFA agenda thing, more and more teachers were opposed to the levy, but were they comfortable actively campaigning?

It's hard in Seattle to vote down a levy. But not impossible. There are some plausible scenarios in my spreadsheet that make for a very close race. But others have it winning approval comfortably.

Eric M said...

Most teachers don't feel like they won anything with this contract. We feel like our union caved and stuck us with a lousy contract. There's a net loss of income in the contract (it doesn't even keep up with inflation), and the new evaluation stuff is really bizarre. Basing anything, even the weather report or your next on-line gambling bet, on the results of the MAP test is absurd. If students aren't accountable for their own results on the test, and furthermore don't want to take the test, and furthermore don't see any personal benefit to themselves in trying to do well on the test, how can their scores be held up as meaningful?

Even with a test that students have some motivation to score well on, the best research shows that standardized test scores aren't reliable and valid, even averaged over two years, as the contract stipulates. The statistics just aren't there. Teachers who find themselves in the top one year have an excellent chance to find themselves in the bottom the next year. It's junk science.


What this portion of the contract really does is institutionalize and enshrine Dr. Goodloe-Johnson's no-bid sole-sourced revenue generating MAP test contract for NWEA.

On a side note, the main thrust of the "new" teacher "evaluation" scheme is Charlotte Danielson's 24 bullet "Framework for Teaching".

http://www.danielsongroup.org/theframeteach.htm

On Thursday, a professional development day in the afternoon after early dismissal for students, I worked and researched and wrote a 5 page reflection on how I would try to move from PROFICIENT to INNOVATIVE in category 2a.

In order to do this, I need to move from "general warmth and caring" to "genuine warmth and caring" for my students, and provide evidence that I've done so over the course of the year.

I am not even making this up.

That's our new 4- tier evaluation system.

mirmac1 said...

MGJ would flunk her own evaluation framework.

dan dempsey said...

I need to move from "general warmth and caring" to "genuine warmth and caring" for my students,

Is anything about MGJ and her dictates genuine?

Really how many more acts in the theater of the absurd, before she leaves her Seattle Stage?

seattle citizen said...

Those teachers with generalized, genuine warmth and caring are sitting pretty, then. They've got both the "proficient" and the "innnovative" levels of 2a covered. Ka-ching! They get to earn a whopping 1500 more...by spending hours and hours mentoring TFA "teachers"! They're rolling in the dough, now!

The Real Arnold said...

@Melissa: "Josh's explanation is funny because (1) he couldn't have read the audit and said 'it wasn't the critical thing'...."

The only reason he said that is because he hasn't paid any attention to previous audits and, thus, doesn't know/believe/understand that many (if not most) of these issues were reported before in one form or another.

The First Arnold said...

Eric, What is going on in schools besides Ballard HS?

I recently spoke to an elementary school teacher- she was A-OK with all of this.

Anonymous said...

Dear First Arnold:

I can't identify my school because the teachers I have talked to individually and on multiple times are scared to death of the superintendent's reputation for retribution for going against her. This may not be a fair characterization of her, but it is fair to say that this is why they are scared.

This school is in the central district. The teachers uniformly hate what has happened to their classroom creativity, their funding, and their good names under this superintendent. They feel they are doing a worse job under her leadership. I have talked to 9 teachers. The same opinion, every one. I would say 6 of those 9 teachers are superstars in academic effectiveness, classroom management and whole-student (community, kindness, etc.) learning.

-skeptical

Dorothy Neville said...

I showed my spreadsheet musing to my husband and he says my assumptions do look as reasonable as one might use. My assumptions provide a plausible situation with the levy failing. Seriously, it could happen. It will require everyone who is even thinking about voting no to actually vote and vote No.

The typical operating levy in Seattle wins with getting YES votes from about 25% of the registered voters. That's less than 2 yes votes for every kid in Seattle Schools. Other than that 25% core YES voter for school levies, the rest of the electorate is wishy washy and quite likely tends toward NO votes. So teachers and parents who usually vote yes, if you vote no, it can make a difference. If you usually do not vote in the Feb levy, but vote NO now, it will have an impact.

King County elections predicted that 69% of Seattle Voters will vote. So far they have received about 30% turnout. So, get out the vote and encourage others to do so as well. Mail it in.

mirmac1 said...

Wow, is it getting hot in here?

Seattle isn't the only town lucky enough to have an insider at NWEA

mirmac1 said...

I hear Aunty Broad has more tidbits on Scribd.com

Sahila said...

mirmac1.... can you give me a link to AuntyBroad's new offerings?

I want to help spread the word via my own networks and via MisEducation Nation... Miseducation Nation ,

Teachers' Letter to Obama, Parents Across America, SOS Million Teacher March, Uniting 4 Kids, Parents and Kids Against Standardised Tests, Support Public Schools and the various union pages....

mirmac1 said...

Go here and become a fan!

Aunty Broad builds SPSLeaks!

Seattle Parent said...

For parents interested in high school issues (and, believe me, that should be all of you!):

I just came across this new interactive website by the BERC group that's pretty eye opening, www.collegetracking.com. You can look up individual high schools & track their college attendance rates, persistence/retention rate, etc. You can break it down year-by-year by ethnicity, 2 or 4-year college, gender, etc.

If I were a parent with a middle school kid, I'd be looking at all of these charts. Some of the rates are just heart wrenching, at best. I just wish that they would have included the actual HS graduation rates as well.

From BERC's news release:
"The CollegeTracking website provides opportunities to see overall college attendance and persistence trends as well as the ability to disaggregate the data by school, graduation year, gender, and ethnicity. Log on to see what the college attendance and persistence rates are for the state and for any high school in the state. Visit CollegeTracking at www.collegetracking.com."

mirmac1 said...

Why is it okay for our Superintendent to receive emails that are non-SPS related to her work email? Why is it okay for her to ask SPS employees to print them out for her? (Will it be her dry cleaning next?) Why is she receiving emails from an SPS vendor discussing financial and business strategy?

Wouldn't any other public official be fired or at least censured? In our case, the School Board will probably give her another merit bonus. Way to go DeBelle and company!

Peel me a grape

Rosie said...

Seattle Parent -- thanks for that link. I was skeptical at first, but ultimately found it quite interesting.

It would be interesting to lay the data along the school's percentage of free and reduced lunch.

Lori said...

So, did everyone hear that MAP scores are now available on the Source? You can see the score as well as "subscores" in various categories (called strands).

What was interesting to me is that the subcategories listed for my child's 1st grade scores do not overlap with the subcategories for this year. Seems to suggest that the test is *different* based on grade level.

For example, last year for reading, there are strand scores for Phonological Awareness; Phonics; Concepts of Print; Vocabulary & Word Structure; Comprehension; and Writing

But this year, the strands are Word Recognition; Reading Comprehension; Know Text Components; Think Critical & Analyze; Read: Variety of Purpose

And, this difference in what is being tested seems to have a huge impact on scores. My daughter's supposed gain in knowledge over the summer is far greater than her gain all of last school year. In fact, her score is almost absurd for her age/grade. I've been generally supportive of MAP as an in instructional guide, but I'm rethinking it if something as simple as changing the test categories results in such different scores.

What are others seeing?

hschinske said...

Lori, the first graders take the MAP for Primary Grades, which has different categories. There's also a MAP for grades 2 through 5 and one for grades 6 and up. I don't know which ones are used in which grades in elementary APP. The MAP for Primary Grades has a pretty low ceiling, so she can probably show a much higher grade-equivalent score on the 2-5 or the 6+, whichever they're using.

Helen Schinske

Lori said...

Interesting, Helen. Thanks for sharing that information. It would be nice if the district explained some of this so parents would know what, if anything, these scores mean. Particularly if a score goes down spring to fall, which might reflect the student having moved to a different level of test rather than suggesting summer stagnation.

It will also be interesting to see how they use MAP in APP, whether they administer the version based on grade level or based on teaching 2 years ahead. The letter that came home in September suggested that they are still trying to learn how to use MAP in APP, so I'm guessing they use the grade-level version right now.

nacmom said...

Well, I'm not sure how it is that no one else commented on the Snooki costume, but I think you should absolutley come as Snooki to a board meeting or event. THAT might get their attention ;-) Besides, why save costumes only for one day a year?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Nacmom, that would be funny as an example of what we don't want happening to SPS students.

Anonymous said...

Oh no. They will never make APP students actually take tests that are above grade level. Parents would go up in arms over that, and write letters to their congressman. If anybody even suggests APP students need to even pass the grade level WASL/MSP, you can hear the cries on every street corner. Melissa has even reported that APP students were actually too smart to be expected to do well on the WASL, on a post long ago.

Besides, MSP is supposed to go automatically to any grade level.

SPS Observer

Bird said...

LEV's offering a day of education advocacy training