Tuesday, November 09, 2010

School Reports Issued Today

I believe the link for the new school reports is to go live at 10 a.m. today. Let us know what you think.

From the Seattle Times story:

"In addition to test scores, each school's report includes data about attendance rates, average class size, percent of high-school students taking college classes and much more. The schools also outline their goals for the year and how they plan to achieve them."

"One example: Seattle distinguishes between high-achieving schools based on how well low-income students are doing. Schools that have a significant gap between the performance of students from low-income families versus middle- and high-income families get a ranking of four rather than five."

166 comments:

FLL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Milky Way said...

Bring it on! The more data families have access to the better!

Milky Way said...

And I hope that we take the time to acknowledge and thank MGJ and staff for their efforts in creating the school reports.

David said...

One problem with these reports is that they make it appear that Seattle public schools compete against each other. The Seattle Times buys into this, for example, emphasizing that the problem is the achievement gap.

But this way of stating the problem makes it sound like you can improve the situation by bringing all schools closer to the average, even if the average drops by doing that. You could, for example, shuffle children around in the district from poor performing schools to high performing and visa-versa, which will reduce the performance gap, but without any improvement to the actual education of children.

A better comparison is with other districts (like Bellevue) or looking at why people choose private schools at unusually high rates in Seattle. That comparison forces Seattle public schools to maximize overall performance and does not focus the public schools on a false competition with each other.

Anonymous said...

Not really David. There's no achievement gap in the private schools because they don't take on challenges. Why does everyone always fixate on "private" schools as if they had something to offer the system? Imagine the whole TFA/low pay teachers in relation to private schools, who can hire whoever they want at any low price they can get away with. And no, if you actually measure the gap within a school, moving students around doesn't fix your problem. You'll still have a gap at the school, and that's what they claim they're measuring. I'm not sure if this measure is good or accurate, but I'm with Milky, I think it's something positive.

Chocolate Way

hschinske said...

Er, there's "no achievement gap" at private schools because WE DON'T SEE THE DATA. Some of them probably do do a good job of narrowing, possibly even eliminating, the gap. Some of them probably don't. We wouldn't know.

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

I've got kids in private schools. They aren't that diverse. Sure, there's some pick-and-choose diversity but they simply don't take any significant problems. There's no diversity like public school which takes all (absolutely all) comers. Sorry. It isn't that good of a comparison.

C. Way.

Central Mom said...

The superintendent is front and center on state-and-local issues blog Publicola this morning. The reports will get a lot of play.

Look for parents who are unhappy to use the reports as proof of "change needed." Look for the JSCEE administration to use the reports as backing for its agenda. Look for edu-groups and edu-PACs to use the reports for their own messaging.

In short, we will all be talking, and that's a good thing. The question is...will we get anywhere, or just be shouting at each other? I have some personal doubts...

dan dempsey said...

Two Seattle system-wide school report cards issued today by The Math Underground using comparison of change in scores in Seattle Schools with the State.

The Math Underground reports on:

Special Education Students in Seattle Schools and MGJ's failure to serve them.

The progress of various demographic groups at various grade levels note the poor performance by Limited English Speaking students and students in grade 3 and 4.

dan dempsey said...

Central Mom,

The real change that is needed is to move away from the completely ineffective directions provided by the Superintendent.

Check my two reports above.

This could begin with Recalling MGJ's four rubber-stamping school Directors and firing her. It does not matter whether the four directors are discharged before or after she is fired with cause.

hschinske said...

Not all private schools are the same. Have you taken a look at the stats for parochial schools in the south end? Lots of kids there who fit the risk factors for being on the low end of the achievement gap.

When the AAA closed, quite a number of kids from there switched to parochial schools, according to an article in the PI.

Helen Schinske

Kathy said...

Does anyone know associated costs related to these school reports?

Do we really need these reports?
For years, Seattle Times has put out a book comparing schools, WASL reports, MSP reports, etc. etc.

Despite these fancy reports, I'm not seeing classroom support and dollars.

What is the cost: benefit of school report cards vs. dollars to the classroom?

FLL said...

Seattle Times hasn't done those reports in several years. I for one am grateful to have all of the information that I can.

ParentofThree said...

These reports do not give much more information than the current OSPI Report Card. Great marketing tool for those uber successful schools.

But pretty much another total waste of funding.

How many textbooks were not puchased in order to create these reports?

mirmac1 said...

The real story lies in the reports that we don't see; those reports that determine segmentation level. For these reports the District uses MAP, a test that is not designed to measure student growth. Bad test data will result in even more bad spending decisions. Look at what's spent on color ink toner alone!

John said...

I only looked at my child's school, but I found it to be quite interesting. I think these reports are a good thing. You can worry about a lack of transparency, or you can worry about the financial costs of providing transparency, take your pick.

The middle school kids' responses on safety and bullying were disquieting. The staff's rating of the principal and work environment at our school was very encouraging.

another mom said...

For years REA produced reports very similar thes new fangled ones. There are a couple of differences but really folks this is not that earth shattering or new. The school information looks like it has been reformatted and color added. That's it.. oh yeah the district has its own designation 1-5 that is not the same as NClB. I too am wondering what was the cost of this and how long did this take to get up and running? The old stuff had the average SAT scores and may have had average AP scores too. What a waste.

emeraldkity said...

While the Seattle Times hasn't published the hard copy of the guides for several years- there actually is some good info- including articles about how to evaluate what it is that you are looking for & how to work within the community
Class of 2008

This site also has some info on comparing schools
Great Schools

And of course this site is kept fairly updated
OSPI


Oh but lets give MGJ a hand for giving us the light in the darkness!

I also agree with Dan that SPS does a miserable job at educating many kids in SPED- I had to hire tutors to help my daughter, even though she had an IEP & when she attended a school that had a program started by very dedicated teachers to help kids catch up( outside of SPED) - it was canned by the district.

Public schools also can control how many kids they have at different levels of SPED.

Not to mention the huge class size that the inclusion kids have to suffer with.

How many kids who aren't verbal but are bright are shoved into a corner with a coloring book and a TA?


Class size & continuity, makes a HUGE difference to kids with special needs.
My kids attended private schools with deaf, autistic, asperger's kids as well as the much more common kids with LD's/ADD/ADHD.

Anonymous said...

Love the report, pretty much comfirmed what we are seeing in our school. Our school and PTA loves the art, and PE and it shows. Our science score plummeted. Our school is dismantling the ALO program and kids who do tested in will be disperesed. My kids who love to help other kids will get to work and be the teacher's assistants. School is so much fun!

When the kids get home and while on their school breaks, we break out the Singapore math workbooks, the science and history lesson plans and start their schooling all over again. We like the short school days and long summer breaks for this reason. (Of course, the kids hate us for this, so we only have, at best, 2 more years where we can get away with this grueling schedule.)

Hurrah SPS!

dan dempsey said...

From the Live report issued at 10 AM:

----
At Seattle Public Schools, we truly believe in excellence for all. It’s more than a saying; it’s our commitment to this community and the name of our five-year strategic plan to ensure every child graduates ready for college, career and life.

Seattle Public Schools is providing detailed information on how each school, and the district overall, is performing. These reports also explain what we are doing to increase academic achievement and close the achievement gap in each school and across the district.
----
If you check the links provided at the Math Underground, it is clear that when compared with the state changes over the last year the District is NOT increasing academic achievement and is NOT closing the achievement gaps.

The District is doing an absolutely pathetic job with SpEd students and with English Language Learners.

The High School Math adoption produced a differential change in math scores for SpEd students of 4.00% worse than the State change and 5.40% worse for English Language Learners.

Meanwhile the District is appealing the Court Order of Remand to reconsider the HS Math adoption using all the evidence available at the time of the decision.

Carr, Martin-Morris, Maier, and Sundquist were in favor of this appeal.

On numerous occasions these four directors have not used the evidence preferring to use anecdotes and disregard evidence in decision-making.

dan dempsey said...

Are you kidding me?????

From the report:

"We hope you also take time to read the narrative page, where each school documents the steps it’s taking to ensure every student is achieving."

How can many schools do that with the pathetic lack of content in the instructional materials used in the SPS?

Edu-Speak must rule because the results show nothing like the sales pitch.

SolvayGirl1972 said...

In reviewing the high school reports, I see "Graduates prepared for a 4-yr college." Two schools I looked at (one had IB) had rates of 20% and 37% (the IB school).

Does this mean that only 20/37% of kids in these schools had completed (passed) the required courses for a 4-year college? This is pretty dismal to me. Even the higher-performing schools don't have huge numbers. To me, this is a huge failing of SPS in general since it really limits kids options for college directly after high school.

How much of this is because of the 6-class schedule as opposed to 7? How much to individual failing students or limits of student populations? How much to unavailability of the needed classes to fit in a schedule? Etc.

I see lots of numbers, but not much explanation.

I found the school goals very telling and somewhat more helpful than all of these stats. It at least gave me more of a feel for the focus, culture and climate of a school.

Kathy said...

Hurrah SPS,

"Love the report, pretty much comfirmed what we are seeing in our school."

Exatly my point.

I see hundreds of middle school students falling through the cracks. No tutors, no math and reading specialists etc. etc.

I'd really like know cost of these reports.

ParentofThree said...

"The middle school kids' responses on safety and bullying were disquieting."

Again, this information has been available for years on the web site, under Testing and Survey Date Summaries. You see Demographics, Annual reports, Student & Staff Survey results (that give you a year to year comparison) Test results and a link to the Washington Stae School Report Card (outside link to the OSPI)

No new news here...just lots of back slapping on a job well done (as seen by the memos posted to the Auntie Broady doc viewer.) Would appear that the Gates Foundation LOVES them.

Anonymous said...

When the kids get home and while on their school breaks, we break out the Singapore math workbooks, the science and history lesson plans and start their schooling all over again. We like the short school days and long summer breaks for this reason. (Of course, the kids hate us for this, so we only have, at best, 2 more years where we can get away with this grueling schedule.)

To Hurrah SPS - though you may post in jest, this is pretty close to our reality.

h2o girl said...

What ParentofThree said. This info has been available for many years already. Looks like all they did was add colors and shapes.

Maureen said...

I don't know, I don't find the survey data very compelling (except possibly the staff responses.) Only about half of our kids say English is Always spoken at home, even though our ELL rate is only about 10%. I'm thinking about 38% of the kids are counting Dora the Explorer or Passover prayers! The family response rate is about 30% (I have no memory as to whether or not I answered.)


Anecdote, on a survey she took when she was five or six, my daughter said she spoke a foreign language because we had been reading her Strega Nona books and using an Italian dictionary to teach her a few other words.

mirmac1 said...

People, the difference is:

the subjective surveys that can be interpreted any number of ways (ala OSC push-poll),

the segregation levels.

The latter is the construct of the performance management plan, predicated on thrice-yearly MAP. The cost of for this "student growth" measure is minimum $4.3 million and days and days of instruction time lost. Money and time better spent on the things SPS says it's gonna do in response to below-average growth.

See an early example of the real analysis here:

dan dempsey said...

Dear SolvayGirl,

Spot on about graduation and prepared for a 4 year college.... pathetic.

I still believe an amazing amount of this is due to crappy k-4 programs.

I have repeatedly mentioned Project Follow Through and Hattie's Visible Learning, these are the two most authoritative reports to use in correcting the k-4 mess.

The Board and the Superintendent are following some ideological agenda completely unrelated to reality.

Does anyone actually believe any of these reports are used to improve academic outcomes?

The purpose of these reports looks to be busy work for idle hands and empty heads. By emphasizing reports on each school, it draws attention away from system-wide poor performance.

I was equally horrified at the long report given by Brad Bernetek recently. It was a reasonable report BUT I thought how much time and energy went into this report and that none of the data he presented will ever be used in any meaningful way by the Board or the Superintendent.

-- Dan

PS. More Smoke to cover the Chaos is the MGJ constant.

Steve said...

I haven't dug into the District Scorecard yet, but on this introductory page, it says in the "Areas for Improvement" section:

District Strategic Projects Fell Behind Schedule

* The percentage of district strategic projects on schedule has fallen from 95% in 2009 to 64% in 2010. In 2008, the rate was 60%. The strategic plan project work has been significantly impacted by the number of central office staff reductions. From early learning to the school-family partnership model, on-going budget shortfalls continue to impact the work that supports student achievement.

o This indicates the need to reprioritize strategic projects to ensure the district has sufficient capacity to successfully deliver on all projects it commits to. The executive management team reviews strategic plan project issues twice a month, actively working with project managers to form corrective action plans for projects that are behind schedule.


So, it was the staffing cuts are responsible for not achieving the specific milestones from the Strategic Plan.

Meg said...

Um, despite SPS's claims, it's not the first time that families and the community have been able to access school reports - the name has changed (from Annual Reports), and some additional (but already available) data has been added in. On the plus side, I will say that I think it's a good thing to streamline to a single report. However.

Annual reports used to have a little dissonance - enrollment would be listed for the current year, but budget and test data was for the previous year. These reports have enrollment and test data for the previous year, but budget data for current year? Odd.

Not too shockingly, there's a high correlation between having a school with low student mobility (under 5%) and being categorized as a 4 or 5. The correlation of performance/student mobility continues on down the line. There are some outliers that are 3s (Salmon Bay has 4% student mobility, but is listed as a 3, South Shore K-8 has 7% student mobility but is a 2, JS Int'l has 17% mobility but is a 4). So, great to see it lined up, but this is surprising how? Again, it's not new information.

I'd like to know two things. What, exactly, is the "increased flexibility" that 4 and 5 schools will get? And how much did the school report effort cost?

Charlie Mas said...

Which of these data points is new?
Not many, but surely some of them. I think the number on students who took the classes needed to gain entry to a four-year university might be a new number.

Which of these data points lead to a decision by families?
I'm not sure that any of them do.

Which of these data points will lead to a decision by the school?
Again, I doubt that any of them will. Schools have been pouring over their data when writing their CSIP (Transition Plan) for years. There's nothing here that will change that.

Which of these data points will lead to a decision by the District?
Again, none of it. This data does not feed back into their decision loop.

So what, then, makes this report better than the reports that were previously available?
Again, none of it. Although bringing the data together like this facilitates summary if not meaning.

SolvayGirl1972 said...

KUOW is discussing this RIGHT NOW-12:08 PM, Tuesday.

Bird said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bird said...

It's weird on the district score card that they undercounted the "annual growth" metric.

Some of the district's metrics should have a check mark both in in "Annual Growth" and "On Track for 2013", but it looks like they only have check for one or the other.

Odd.

ParentofThree said...

Well here is something to consider, historic information. These report only show three years data. The OSPI Report Card goes back for YEARS.

So what you don't see, (for example) is how schools did in math pre-EDM.

In my school, the year before EDM was imposed there was a 90% pass rate for 4th grade. The first year following EDM scores tanked to 72%, then went up to 76% and finally up to 79%. Still 11% behind from where my school was pre-EDM. But on the SPS report things look like they are spiffy at my school. Scores are increasing, no problems here.

BS!

So, if you want to see the real story behind your childs school, I recommend using the OSPI score card and look back to 2006/07 and see where your school was then and where is it now!

dan dempsey said...

Parent of Three,

Great point about life before EDM.

My point about SpEd is made very clear when comparisons are made with life before MGJ.

-- Dan

Eric said...

Fail. Big fat fail.

Overall it seems like the "scores" on average are going down district wide. SO where's the "progress" MGJ, or is this coming by 2013?

I love the comments at 11/9/10 10:50 AM, that state she has to use Singapore math etc. to supplement during the summer, then goes on to say Hurrah SPS! Was this being sarcastic? I expect school to actually teach.

BTW - We are moving out of the system to escape Everyday Math, overcrowding, and the absolute lack of listening to what parents and teachers are asking for. Not to Private, just out of Seattle. Selfish, self-centered, self-important Seattle. G'Bye!

Fail. Fail. Fail.

FLL said...

Solvay, any child, in any SPS school can be college ready, but it is up to the child and their family to choose the right classes. For instance 2 years of foreign language is not required by SPS, but it is required for entrance to most 4 year colleges.

I also noticed a trend that most high school math pass rates dropped (while most middle school math pass rates went up). Could this be a direct result of Discovering books? Or is it because of the switch from the WASL to the HSPE?

ParentofThree said...

I also noted the drop in HS math scores across the district, in some cases like RHS down 14%, except at Franklin, up 8% there.

So what are they doing differently from all other schools?

Also the one thing that you cannot capture in these math scores is private tutoring. There are two middle schools that run math classes before or after school.

I am sure that has to have an impact on text scores.

SolvayGirl1972 said...

FLL...since SPS has opted to drop college counselors, kids whose parents are ESL or did not attend college or absent (being raised by grandma,etc.) will often be at an extreme disadvantage. I don't think this is something that should be thrown back into the parents' laps. I expect a public school system in a city as wealthy and educated as Seattle to do a better job making sure public school students have a variety of options open to them upon graduation.

According to these reports, only 46% of ALL HS grads have the right courses to apply to a 4-year college. I can't believe that is all by choice. In addition, only 26% (district-wide) have advanced carer prep.

And my real point is that I would like to see some analysis of this data—Why are the results like this? Why do only 46% have the credits they need? I am sure the answers may be different for different schools, but I'd like to see some reflection and action rather than hear a bunch of edu-babble about "all students achieving."

dan dempsey said...

For Parent of Three - the data
on Non-Low Income
and Low Income

Grade 4 Reading GAP
Year, Non Low Inc,Low Inc, GAP
2004-05 WASL 90.40% 61.20% 29.20%
2005-06 WASL 90.10% 67.00% 23.10%
2006-07 WASL 90.00% 66.60% 23.40%
2007-08 WASL 87.60% 58.50% 29.10%
2008-09 WASL 89.10% 57.60% 31.50%
2009-10 MSP 84.50% 47.60% 36.90%

Grade 4 Math GAP
Year, Non Low Inc,Low Inc, GAP
2004-05 WASL 76.80% 37.50% 39.30%
2005-06 WASL 74.40% 39.30% 35.10%
2006-07 WASL 77.30% 40.00% 37.30%
2007-08 WASL 72.30% 33.70% 38.60%
2008-09 WASL 77.60% 36.20% 41.40%
2009-10 MSP 78.40% 39.90% 38.50%

Grade 4 Writing GAP
Year, Non Low Inc,Low Inc, GAP
2004-05 WASL 70.30% 42.00% 28.30%
2005-06 WASL 74.60% 49.40% 25.20%
2006-07 WASL 76.60% 52.40% 24.20%
2007-08 WASL 73.30% 48.50% 24.80%
2008-09 WASL 80.90% 54.60% 26.30%
2009-10 MSP 75.60% 50.00% 25.60%

Grade 3 Reading GAP
Year, Non Low Inc,Low Inc, GAP
2005-06 WASL 84.80% 50.20% 34.60%
2006-07 WASL 86.20% 52.40% 33.80%
2007-08 WASL 86.90% 53.60% 33.30%
2008-09 WASL 88.30% 54.90% 33.40%
2009-10 MSP 88.20% 54.80% 33.40%

Grade 3 Math GAP
Year, Non Low Inc,Low Inc, GAP
2005-06 WASL 81.00% 49.00% 32.00%
2006-07 WASL 84.90% 54.30% 30.60%
2007-08 WASL 86.00% 56.00% 30.00%
2008-09 WASL 86.10% 51.10% 35.00%
2009-10 MSP 82.90% 48.10% 34.80%

Anonymous said...

Um Eric, yes my comments were in sarcasm. By the way, we already have TfAs at our school by using our best and brightest kids to help other kids with their math and reading problems. (My kids want to be teachers now which truly is wonderful.)

We suspect there are lots of parents like us who put in the work to get our kids to perform to the test and more importantly, learn something. A big credit to SPS in their strategy in finding ways to engage parents in their kids' schooling. Boy, are we ever engaged. We just wish we get some of the credits in the school report card. Can't your justify another million to hire another non-data,( percentile vs. percentage) person to add a line for that in the school report?

Hurrah SPS!

dan dempsey said...

Dear FLL,

you said:
"I also noticed a trend that most high school math pass rates dropped (while most middle school math pass rates went up)."

The middle school rates for math had been declining for a few years. This up tick in 2009-2010 was in part due to moving up from the depths of 2009 scores in middle school math.

Keep in mind that even the new MSP may not test computational arithmetic well enough to give a good idea of math readiness for eventual collegiate math, engineering, and science classes.

Here is a one page graph
and here is the report on math readiness for College Chem.

Anonymous said...

Raised eyebrows at item on district report.

*All capital projects completed on time and on budget this past year.*

Reaaaaallllllyyyyy. Let's see those details.

-skeptical-

Anonymous said...

Helen, sure there are some Catholic schools serving mostly minority students who aren't especially wealthy. Yes we know about that. I guess that's what you mean by "at risk". But, it's still pick-and-choose. Schools that accept "at risk" aren't really taking kids already over the edge, and publics do, plain and simple. Are those parochial schools taking lots of behavior problems? (no). Do they kick them out if they can't behave up to code?(yes). Do they take disabilities? (no). Do they have service for ELL? (no). Do they even take kids whose parents are uninvolved, homeless, etc? (no, no, more no) You see, it's still a totally different ball game.

--Been There, Done That.

Maureen said...

According to these reports, only 46% of ALL HS grads have the right courses to apply to a 4-year college.

Does anyone else think that it's weird that while the above is true, 59% of the students (and up above 80% at some HSs) take a college level class while in HS?

Doesn't it seem like it might make sense to make sure the students have the right courses to enroll in a real college before we require every one of them to take an AP class in HS?

Central Mom said...

I am looking at the District-wide roll up of items. What I see reflects my general concerns for this district.

1) I don't even see Sped students mentioned on any goal setting.

My comment: I don't want to hear that they're gen ed students first. We break out ELL and FRL...we can do some general goal-setting for our most vulnerable kids. Goal-setting = visibility.

2) FRL and ELL kids are losing ground, eg going backward, in proficiency on the state reading test. There is barely any forward movement (2 percent) in FRL proficiency on state math tests.

My comment: Did anyone read the story about the Roxhill librarian yesterday? About how that position is the center of literacy at the school? And how we only have 15 full time elementray librarian positions left in all of the District (and even when full time, they are now acting as, for instance, test proctors for a ridiculous amount of time each month.) And how about the reduced IA and math/reading specialists? Or the elementary counselors and family support workers. Does anyone REALLY think we can help each individual ELL and FRL achieve his/her academic potential with the teaching/support cuts our classrooms have taken?

Which leads me to 3) There is a lot of data floating around, but when you roll it up to the goals our Own Downtown Administration has set for Our Own Students, the District is on target in only 4 out of 23 areas for reaching its 2013 goals.

My comment is my usual one. This superintendent can plan. This superintendent can put on her Leader hat and look GREAT to the downtown community. But, whether she and her staff are capable of managing complex operations is another matter entirely. Three years into the much-waved-about Strategic Plan, the rubber is starting to meet the road, and I remain unconvinced that she has the skillset we need for the coming 3-5 years.

Anonymous said...

Exactly Central Mom.

I add that given shortages of funding in schools and the report's self-authored whining about cutbacks to staff downtown, one would think we need additional controversies like the ill-timed TFA proposal like a hole in the head.

NO NEW PROJECTS UNTIL WE FULFILL THE COMMITMENTS TO THE ONE WE'VE ONLY HALF-A$$ED IMPLEMENTED.

-skeptical-

dan dempsey said...

In Middle School Math their were some impressive gains from 2009 to 2010.

Did the 75 minutes of math a day for a few years make a difference?

Do students who have a teacher that specializes in Math at grades 6, 7, 8 make a difference?

Tumwater School District's Peter G. Schmidt elementary school has teachers that specialize beginning at grade 1 but not quite to the extent that happens in middle school.

Here is the data:

Seattle Scores
Grade 5 Math
Year, Non Low Income, Low Income, GAP
2005-06 WASL 75.90% 33.50% .:. 42.40%
2006-07 WASL 79.20% 40.70% .:. 38.50%
2007-08 WASL 81.20% 45.70% .:. 35.50%
2008-09 WASL 83.80% 45.60% .:. 38.20%
2009-10 MSP 76.00% 38.90% .:. 37.10%

Grade 6 Math
Year, Non Low Income, Low Income, GAP
2005-06 WASL 69.20% 25.00% .:. 44.20%
2006-07 WASL 68.90% 25.10% .:. 43.80%
2007-08 WASL 69.40% 27.90% .:. 41.50%
2008-09 WASL 75.50% 35.30% .:. 40.20%
2009-10 MSP 78.20% 40.20% .:. 38.00%

Grade 7 Math
Year, Non Low Income, Low Income, GAP
2004-05 WASL 64.50% 24.40% .:. 40.10%
2005-06 WASL 64.50% 24.50% .:. 40.00%
2006-07 WASL 71.90% 29.50% .:. 42.40%
2007-08 WASL 70.20% 30.20% .:. 40.00%
2008-09 WASL 73.60% 32.90% .:. 40.70%
2009-10 MSP 80.60% 44.70% .:. 35.90%

Grade 8 Math
Year, Non Low Income, Low Income, GAP
2005-06 WASL 62.90% 25.10% .:. 37.80%
2006-07 WASL 67.50% 26.00% .:. 41.50%
2007-08 WASL 70.30% 31.70% .:. 38.60%
2008-09 WASL 71.30% 32.30% .:. 39.00%
2009-10 MSP 75.10% 41.50% .:. 33.60%

District change from 2009 to 2010
.:. Non Low Income .:. Low Income
Grade 5 Math -7.80% .:. -6.70%
Grade 6 Math 2.70% .:. 4.90%
Grade 7 Math 7.00% .:. 11.80%
Grade 8 Math 3.80% .:. 9.20%

State change from 2009 to 2010
.:. Non Low Income .:. Low Income
Grade 5 Math -8.30% .:. -6.80%
Grade 6 Math 0.60% .:. 2.60%
Grade 7 Math 3.10% .:. 5.20%
Grade 8 Math 0.70% .:. 2.50%

Seattle minus State Change
.:. Non Low Income .:. Low Income
Grade 5 Math 0.50% .:. 0.10%
Grade 6 Math 2.10% .:. 2.30%
Grade 7 Math 3.90% .:. 6.60%
Grade 8 Math 3.10% .:. 6.70%


The above 3 bold lines show a definite improvement in middle school math performance particularly for low income students.

dan dempsey said...

Central Mom,

It is not just the MGJ skill set that needs a whole lot of improvement. Her ideological stance needs a lobotomy.

"Assessing every student and placing them according to ability sounds like tracking and discrimination…and we’ve moved light years away from that."
-- MGJ

That explains the poor performance of SpEd and ELL students under MGJ.

Light years measures enormous distances ... can anyone bring MGJ back to reality?

emeraldkity said...

it seem like it might make sense to make sure the students have the right courses to enroll in a real college before we require every one of them to take an AP class in HS?

But Newsweek doesn't print covers extolling the numbers of kids who have completed two years of a language or high school algebra- they want the numbers of students for whom someone paid $80 for ea AP test.

Charlie Mas said...

So, here's where I am on these reports.

1. What are we supposed to do with this data? There is no decision that it supports, there is no action that it prompts.

2. The District claims that "These reports also explain what we are doing to increase academic achievement and close the achievement gap in each school and across the district." But the reports don't do that. There is a space on the second page where schools can describe the school's goals and their plans to achieve those goals, but read what they have written. It would be the rare occurance that one of the reports actually describe anything real. And, again, so what if it did? No decision is supported and no action is prompted as a consequence of those statements.

3. These reports are supposed to have something to do with accountability, but there are no goals or benchmarks associated with any of the measures. Without goals or benchmarks there is no accountability. And, again, what accountability. There is no accountability in Seattle Public Schools and no one at all is accountable to the community.

These reports are just more noise to cloud the fact that there is no action.

Here are two statistics that the reports SHOULD have included:

Students working above grade level who got more challenging work.

Students working below grade level who got effective intervention.

FLL said...
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FLL said...
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dan dempsey said...

But Charlie ....

What you advocate sounds like tracking and discrimination to MGJ.

FLL said...
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FLL said...

"kids whose parents are ESL or did not attend college or absent (being raised by grandma,etc.) will often be at an extreme disadvantage. I don't think this is something that should be thrown back into the parents' laps."

How about students? Do you think students are capable of taking some responsibility for themselves?

Just FYI, all public high schools do have regular councilors. My son meets with his councilor on a regular basis, and EVERY time he has to pick his new classes. The councilor asks him if he is planning on going to college, and then guides him on what classes to pick. I actually had to call the councilor this year and ask him NOT to call my son in to pick classes because we like to make those decisions at home as a family. In addition to the assistance provided by the counseling office, the 4 year college entrance requirements are posted on his HS website, and on the front page of the course catalogue. Not to mention the myriad of resources available in the community. We get invitations to college fairs, college "night", financial aid workshops, free SAT test prep classes. If a kid isn't prepared for college, that is because the kid didn't take the initiative to prepare himself for college. Not sure how much blame we can lay at the schools feet. The classes are there. The information is there. But kids have to want it.

I'd like to know if the college bound rate was much higher two years ago when we had career and college councilors? My guess, is that it wasn't, but I'm still curious.

dan dempsey said...

Charlie,

Your point is well made about those above grade level and the lack of challenge and those below and the lack of effective interventions.

From the Atlantic:
Your Child Left Behind.

For years, poor performance by students in America relative to those in other countries has been explained away as a consequence of our nationwide diversity. But what if you looked more closely, breaking down our results by state and searching not for an average, but for excellence?
-------
As it turned out, even these relatively privileged students do not compete favorably with average students in other well-off countries. On a percentage basis, New York state has fewer high performers among white kids than Poland has among kids overall. In Illinois, the percentage of kids with a college-educated parent who are highly skilled at math is lower than the percentage of such kids among all students in Iceland, France, Estonia, and Sweden.
----

Needless to say Seattle sure fits the mold of NOT searching for excellence.


Rhee is NOW gone.
Klein is NOW gone.
Why is MGJ still around?

kid not like the others said...

The accountability is in the new teacher contract. In Tier I schools, all teachers will be evaluated using the new system which includes test data. Tier II schools will fall into the new system next year, with the rest falling in the third.

Anonymous said...

North End Says:

Hey, where is Jane Addams on the school dropdowns. Not as sorry as when the District referred to AS#1 as a High School last week, but still...

Charlie Mas said...

Ah, someone has put their finger right on it.

We talk about setting and maintaining the same high expectations for all students, but then we disaggregate numbers for analysis and compare sub-groups of students to standards other than the same high standards for all.

We sometimes say that it is unfair to hold un-privileged students to those high expectations.

So how do we reconcile all of this talk and thought? How do we act on our beliefs?

The answer is simple, but the work is hard (and potentially expensive).

The answer is to set and maintain the same high minimum standard for all students... THEN

A) provide struggling students with the support they need to meet the minimum standard

AND

B) provide high performing students with the support they need to achieve beyond the Standards. The Standards should be a floor, not a ceiling.

When schools do these things, then we can end the talk about academic achievement gaps and the soft racism of low expectations.

Nothing should be a higher priority.

Yet our District does not insist that schools provide early and effective interventions for students working below Standards. They don't assess for it and they don't hold anyone accountable for it. Neither does the District insist that schools provide appropriate challenge to high performing students. They don't assess for it and they don't hold anyone accountable for it.

This failure is not just disturbing. It's worse than that. This isn't a failure that occurs despite someone's best efforts. This is a failure that results directly from an obstinant refusal to do the right thing. And that drives me barking mad.

kid not like the others said...

So, how is the "School Segmentation" number calculated?

hschinske said...

Been There, Done That: I don't think you realize how widespread the achievement gap is. You write:

Are those parochial schools taking lots of behavior problems? (no). Do they kick them out if they can't behave up to code?(yes). Do they take disabilities? (no). Do they have service for ELL? (no). Do they even take kids whose parents are uninvolved, homeless, etc? (no, no, more no) You see, it's still a totally different ball game.

And I say: do those categories include anywhere near all of the poor and minority students who are failing to keep up with grade level in SPS? NO. Not even close. I agree it's a different ball game, but I say it's got some of the same players.

Helen Schinske

Melissa Westbrook said...

Charlie and Meg for co-superintendents.

I'll take public engagement.

Give us two years.

Anonymous said...

When the kids get home and while on their school breaks, we break out the Singapore math workbooks, the science and history lesson plans and start their schooling all over again. We like the short school days and long summer breaks for this reason. (Of course, the kids hate us for this, so we only have, at best, 2 more years where we can get away with this grueling schedule.)

To Hurrah SPS - though you may post in jest, this is pretty close to our reality.

It's our reality too. (I wonder if our kids are at the same school!)

I like the reports. You can't fix what you can't measure. Every principal should have their staff together tomorrow with these numbers in front of them and start working on how to improve.

Mom of 3 SPS kids

dj said...

Can I ask a question? Ok, district. I now see that the school a few blocks from me (which you have now assigned me to, but which I was not assigned to when I bought my house) is a "one". While the school that I am next closest to is a "five". What is the justification for sending my kid to the school with the one, rather than the five? Isn't my child entitled to the same excellent education as a kid a few blocks from my house?

Why must any kid go to a "one" school and just hope it improves?

dj said...
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FightingForKids said...

Charlie and Meg for co-superintendents.

I'll take public engagement.

Give us two years.


OK that's the funniest thing I've read on this blog to date!! A huge LOL from me.

2 years to do what? Are you really that full of yourselves or are you so ignorant about what it takes to run or turn around a district?

It's one thing to be a gladly, it's another to step on and do the job.

Just sayin'.

Melissa Westbrook said...

We could not do any worse.

And you're welcome for the laugh.

mirmac1 said...

BINGO dj. So much money pissed away on MGJ's "supermanagement skills and initiatives" while we have fewer librarians, tutors, counselors. It's freakin' criminal.

kid not like the others, the District uses MAP tests to come up with the magic segmentation number. It's not meant for that use, they just cooked up an algorithm because everyone else is doin' it.

Anonymous said...

Now, now, it is hard to be gadfly.

"You got a job?" (said the policeman)

"I dust a bit," Ignatius told the policeman. "In addition, I am at the moment writing a lengthy indictment against our century. When my brain begins to reel from my literary labors, I make an occasional cheese dip."
— John Kennedy Toole (A Confederacy of Dunces)

Sign me, one who loves a cheese dipper

wseadawg said...

Hey, they found the color pallets for the PowerPoints! Now that's an improvement. I'm sure with their 100 or so computer techs, they'll have music and flash video in the SI updates by next year! Anyone got an iPhone App I can get SI tweets & updates with next year? Awesome, dude! Totally awesome!

seattle citizen said...

F4K, the superintendent isn't turing around the district; look at the reports she created. If one believes in the HSPE as a measurement tool for schools, then one has to concede that things have been declining in SPS for three years.

Charlie and Meg for co-superintendents! Accountability and data in action, rather than abstraction, at the top!

jus' sayin'....

cascade said...

On the day these reports came out it is fair to compare our state of affairs to that of NYC. Even though we have completely different district dynamics we have leaders of very similar philosophy and style.

And so...from the New York Times article announcing the resignation of Joel Klein, Mr. Ed Reform in NYC and head of the Broad Board from which our superintendent has stepped down...there is this:

“He is leaving us with a legacy of classroom overcrowding, communities fighting over co-located schools, kindergarten waiting lists, unreliable school grades based on bad data, substandard credit recovery programs and our children starved of art, music and science — all replaced with test prep,” said Leonie Haimson, the head of Class Size Matters, an advocacy group and a critic of Mr. Klein’s.

The opposition was further emboldened when the state announced this summer that the test scores on which Mr. Klein’s accountability system hinged were inflated because the exams had grown too easy to pass.

A correction brought test scores nearly back to the starting levels of the mayor’s tenure, replacing a narrative of historic gains with one of slow progress.

Heidi said...

The survey responses to safety questions for high performing schools are disturbing.
Everyone's applauding Lafayette and Schmmitz Park's ranking, but
70% of Lafayette kids report being bullied (14% higher than district average), 71% report feeling unsafe on campus, and 83% report feeling unsafe in the neighborhood. 66% of Schmitz Park kids report being bullied, 67% feel unsafe on campus and 92% feel unsafe in the neighborhood. Contrast this with low test performing schools/more diverse schools, and they are all lower than the district average – West Seattle kids who report being bullied: 51%, Roxhill: 40%, Gatewood: 50%

Just some food for thought – maybe we’re focused on the wrong metrics for evaluating the learnings environment…

Anonymous said...

Heidi:

The high rates of bullying reporting are due to anti-bullying programs implemented school wide - across grade levels. All children who are aware of bullying will report it in a survey (they are trained to do that). The low responses from other schools reflect, not lower bullying incidents, but rather a lack of education to understand when one is being bullied.

It is best to look at suspension and expulsion rates (private) to determine the significance of a bullying report (or survey). A chronic bullier will be suspended - it's the law.

Concerned West Seattle Parent

Concerned West Seattle Parent said...

Here is a good one:

The Aki Kurose report says: "8th graders leaving middle school ready for high school math = 73%"

How is that possible when only 34.8% passed the MSP test?

Is it a lie, obfuscation or Brad Bernatek covering the butts of those expensive math coaches?

wsnorth said...

Heidi where do you see the numbers about the bullying and paranoia about the safety of the neighborhoods? I don't see that in the original link. The bullying could well be heightened awareness, but the neighborhood safety numbers don't make any sense at all. The SP and Lafayette kids probably don't feel safe on the playgrounds because they are so overcrowded it is like the running of the bulls.

kid not like the others said...

that is unfortunate about the MAPs used as segmentation numbers. They don't correspond to gains on the MSP- which is what NCLB and the state looks at. But, if we have to make something up to help us look better (notice Cleveland didn't hit Tier I, but one of the lowest HS programs in the state),...
or make worse so that we can bring in the cavalry to save 'em...

kid not like the others said...

ready for math is based on course work, grades, and MAP, not MSP.

Anonymous said...

Is it true that AS#1 parents just received a call about pending school closure? Or is this rumor? I'm wondering if the reports were used for a decision-making tool of any kind to reconfigure the New Assignment Plan (though they've had the data for a while)...

JA K-8 Mom

Anonymous said...

Also wondering... Do Thornton Creek and Schmitz Park both use Singapore Math? Their numbers are outstanding.

JA K-8 Mom

Sahila said...

AS#1 is slated for closure AGAIN... it was in the NSAP Transition presentation...

Concerned West Seattle Parent said...

WSNORTH...The numbers Heidi is using are from the School Climate Surveys. Schmitz Park's are skewed on the "feel safe" thing because a guy was taken down by the cops on the playground at gunpoint two years ago. It was during recess. The kids get warnings each year about what to do in an incident like that. It makes them a little squeamish. Here is the link: http://www.seattleschools.org/area/strategicplan/schoolsurveylist.xml


Kid: The MSP is used for placement at most schools. If you do not pass it and bomb the MAP you end up in remediation. Generally, a student cannot be ready for High School Math if they do not pass the MSP. It is not a great test, but it is one useful indicator of predicting preparedness for high school.

grousefinder said...

JA K-8 Mom - Only Schmitz Park uses Singapore Math. It is the only waiver for that curriculum in the district.

Other waivers are coming (probably for Singapore Math). Several schools have been there to observe their teachers using it. Schmitz Park's 5th graders are #1 in the district in math and #3 in Washington. 3rd grade is up there too.

kid not like the others said...

Then explain the disconnect between the ready for HS math and the MSP data. How can 80% and higher be ready in a building with 56% of the 8th grade passing the MSP?
I do believe that because the math MSP/HSPE is no longer a graduation requirement, being replaced by end of course exams, that the MSP number is not being used or used minimally.

Anonymous said...

Yes Helen, I do realize the extent of the achievement gap. I think you're saying that most "at risk" students are some sort of run of the mill poor minority kid. They aren't. And that the private schools do a better job of that. (If the private schools were so much better than AAA, we should be wondering why it took the school's closure for students to transfer to them.)

The private schools get to whack off that big piece of the so-called "at risk". In reality, a huge number of minority students are disabled, a disproportionately large number. Do those particular minority students get to go to parochial schools? (no) Minority students are suspsended at a tremendously greater rate than others. Do those minority students get to go to parochial schools? (unlikely)

So yes sure, there are some "at risk" students who are less at risk than others. But why would anybody think it particularly interesting or significant to make a comparison?

This is very much like the whole KIPP thing. KIPP schools say all those same things that you claim is true of parochials and a few (very few) others. "We take at risk students and do better." Yeah right.

Been There, Done That

dan dempsey said...

Of what value are these reports?

Pathfinder report says:
8th graders leaving ready for high school math = 90%

I am thinking great!!!

So how is this number calculated?

I just don't get it.

MSP numbers Math 2010:

8th grade Math pass rate = 50%

Percentage of students testing
far below basic = 23.8%


So only 76.2% of students can score above Far below Basic

but 90% of students are ready for high school math.

This is sick ... so terribly sick.

How much money when into this irrational production?

Yet the District has no money for a core mission like Interventions for struggling students.....

Oh I see a bunch of those level 1 students in math are not really struggling because they are ready for high school math. WOW miracles are occurring.

wsnorth said...

dan dempsey said...
"Of what value are these reports?"

That's a good question, isn't it?

Let's just assume for a minute these reports contained the perfect data needed to help choose a school that is right for your child. OOPS, DOH! Did I say "choose a school"? Dopey me, sorry. Never mind...

Spruiter said...

I'm looking through the segmentation section of the reports - where it ranks the schools. The difference between level 4 and level 5 is supposed to show schools with high scores, with (4) and without an achievement gap (5) for FRL students.

Is it really fair to credit schools with closing the achievement gap when their numbers of FRL students are so low?

Of the 12 level 5 schools, 7 of them have FRL rates below 10%, and 2 of them are under 5%. That doesn't really seem like such an accomplishment.

I am glad to see the district try to apply some analysis to the achievement gap, but if we're going to compare and rank schools in this way, how about comparing apples to apples?

dan dempsey said...

I would love to have the district supply some analysis to the Achievement Gaps.

Unfortunately the SPS absolutely refuses to use instructional practices and materials that have been proven to work with educationally disadvantaged learners in grades k-4. (and other grades)

The District continues to use what Project Follow Through informs us are practices that DO NOT work and the SPS continues to prove they DO NOT work.

Check the grades 3 and 4 data I posted. The idea that TfA is needed to address the achievement gaps is ridiculous.

Look at the Data I posted about the UW's Math Education Project ... their results are horrible. Yet no one mentions this obvious fact.

The SPS can not finish all the shotgun scatter of projects in the Strategic Plan ... no money for interventions ... but money for an avalanche of unproven coming stuff.

TfA and the NTN contract to name just two.

Charlie Mas said...

Here's my favorite part of the story in the Times:

"the Alliance of Education, a nonprofit organization of business and civic leaders"

The Alliance is no longer seen as a community group but as the education arm of the Chamber of Commerce.

Charlie Mas said...

For the record, I am in no way qualified to serve as superintendent. It is an executive position and I have no executive experience. While I know what the job requires and how it should be performed, I don't have the skill set to do it.

While I'm at it, this is also true when it comes to major league baseball - I know what the job requires and how it should be done, but I don't have the skills for that job either.

Not having the skills for the job, however, doesn't mean that I don't have the skills to assess the quality of the work performed.

My job in real life is to assess the quality and efficacy of portfolio managers, but I don't claim to have the ability to be a portfolio manager myself. Nevertheless, I'm very good at finding good managers and I'm very good at revealing poor ones. Performing due diligence and analysis are skills in their own right, and valuable ones at that. Mostly it's the talent, insight, and experience to ask the right question and listen carefully to the answer. Sometimes the answer is good - candid and thoughtful. Sometimes the answer is bad - deceitful and careless.

For what it's worth, the answers from Seattle Public Schools are much more commonly deceitful and careless than they are candid and thoughtful. They are candy floss - all fluff and sugar with no substance or nutritional value.

dj said...

WSNorth, that is part of why I am so bitter about the reports. I live in a neighborhood where I talk every single day to other parents about our neighborhood school and whether it can be an acceptable option for my neighbors who historically have fled it and now that they are assigned to it still are either moving out of the neighborhood, using the local independent schools, or finding paths to other public schools. I have three kids under the age of five, so this is an issue of central importance to me. Now that the school has received a one, do I think that the neighborhood parents are going to be more likely to use the school? Well, what does anyone think? Did these reports come with concrete proposals to improve the low-rated schools? I mean, actual concrete proposals, not vague hopefully incentive plans for some teachers? No. So what are those of us who live by such schools to make of or do with these numbers? Not so helpful.

Maureen said...

Heidi and WSNorth, I get that antibullying programs cause an increase in bullying reports, but those numbers are still really weird. In particular, look at Laurelhurst: 94% of those kids report a "positive" response to: Did you sometimes feel unsafe this year in any of these locations...(neighborhood by school) . I looked at Laurelhurst because it seem like it has to be the safest neighborhood in the city--not much traffic even.

Is it possible that "positive response" means happy/good response, not "yes" in answer to the question?

I wonder if the "prepared for HS math" thing is just the % of kids who passed at least 8th grade math (i.e., the 3rd year of CMP2). I don't see how it could be based on MAP data since it goes back 3 years. Do we have a MS math teacher out there who could define it? (The number might make sense for my kid's school, but only if about five kids actually failed 7th and 8th grade math (they all take algebra in 8th grade).

Susan said...

dj: you said it. These reports are just like rubbing salt in the wound. We moved to this neighborhood under the previous school choice system. With the new plan we are told that nope, we now have to go to our neighborhood school. And now these reports confirm our suspicions that our neighborhood schools are pretty dismal (as are most south of I-90). And in the middle of a recession with dropping house values, there's really no way we can move. So what now? I guess the district is hoping enough involved parents band together to fix the schools? With a school rated a "1", it just seems like an impossible task, and those who can possibly avoid it, will.

Central Mom said...

Susan, d.j....This isn't perfect AT ALL, but please note that choice still exists in a little space in the system. You can go to any other school that has room (which doesn't much help in West Seattle) but also, you can go to any Option School, which could be great paths for both of you. YES, transportation is an issue, but there are carpools, as well as possibly other bus options if the alt school communities can get movement from the board/staff on this issue, and there are communities waiting to embrace you.

hschinske said...

I think you're saying that most "at risk" students are some sort of run of the mill poor minority kid. They aren't.

That's exactly what I'm saying, and I would add that moving into the middle class doesn't always take these kids out of risk, by a long shot. The data I'm going by exclude special ed, they exclude ELL, and by high school they exclude a lot of kids who've dropped out. There are lots and lots left who are working below grade level (and I haven't even touched on the ones who are capable of working at or above grade level, but are still alienated from school).

Yeah, I do think there is a considerable population of "run-of-the-mill" poor and minority students. I think the attitude that there isn't is one of the big things that stands in their way.

So yes sure, there are some "at risk" students who are less at risk than others. But why would anybody think it particularly interesting or significant to make a comparison?

Well, in large part because those are the very students whom the district has most obviously failed, whom the district can't find any excuse for having failed.

Now, I don't know whether the private schools are doing a better job. I suspect they are, most of them. But all I specifically said was that we don't KNOW, because that data isn't provided to us. What we do know is that families of all socioeconomic classes choose private schools more often in Seattle.

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

Schmitz Park math scores certainly indicate the success of Singapore Math for the entire school. Pass rates for all demographics are 88-89%, with the FRL pass rate at almost double the District average.

Good curriculum choices, well executed, can have a large impact.

amsiegel said...

Central Mom-- You are right in theory that choice remains in the system, but the superintendant and her gang are quietly dismantling those options. The large geographic zones around the option schools will make them inaccessible to most (I'm still furious about the idea that Eastlake parents have guaranteed admission to both Montlake and TOPS while many central families only have a guarantee at a school rated "1"), the district is capping enrollment at some schools by pretending they are full, and the algorithim may well change from a true lottery to a strategic game. The vise keeps closing.

Lori said...

Does anyone have experience with or insight into South Shore's report? I was disheartened to see scores go down so much in 09/10 relative to the prior 2 years there because it seems like an innovative program that is doing a lot of what we would like to see at all schools: small class sizes (22/class), extensive community outreach (parenting classes, in-home visits), significant per-pupil spending (over $8K/child versus about $5-6K/child elsewhere).

I know that a private foundation supports all of this, but seriously, if these things can't help kids in that school achieve, what will it take? Are we to believe that South Shore just has a bunch of poor teachers?

My interest in this school was piqued a few weeks ago when the Supt was doing the NE community event. This is where her daughter goes and she told an anecdote that I suppose was to help us relate to her as a parent (about how excited her daughter was when she found out who her K teacher would be). The tidbit that makes most of us not able to relate is that the K teacher called their home in the summer to introduce herself and schedule a home visit. I don't think that happens anywhere else in SPS other than this privately funded "experimental" program. And surely the teachers there who sign up for this care as much about the students and are willing to work long and "extra" hours the same as any new TfA grad would.

So why isn't South Shore doing better? Am I missing something in its history or story?

dj said...

Central Mom, in systems where schools get report cards and so forth, ordinarily the idea is to let people out of those schools and choose other schools with better rankings. Instead, we have the NSAP which is intended to (depending on your perspective, and, I imagine, on whether your own school is a "4-5" or a "1-2") "guarantee you your local school" or "force you into your local school."

I am just not understanding the purpose of releasing these numbers, nor do I agree with many of the posters upthread who suggest that publishing this information is helpful or useful (I mean, "This school is a one, and we are therefore going to cut class sizes significantly, or reopen the school as language immersion"? *That* might be the accompanying press release if the point here were to be productive).

lostinspace said...

"That's exactly what I'm saying, and I would add that moving into the middle class doesn't always take these kids out of risk, by a long shot."

I couldn't agree more. My middle class kid has ADD and struggles in school every day and it has absolutely nothing to do with class, race, and socio economics. Many factors put kids at risk, divorce, family member with a debilitating illness, military families that move around a lot, depression, and the list goes on. None of these things can be attributed to a class, race, or socio economic status.

Bird said...

So why isn't South Shore doing better?

I see that the "Staff feeling positive about school leadership" is at 18%.

I don't know if that is related. Or maybe it's related to the problems they had with the building last year.

Could the lower test scores be related to that? If the building was making people sick, might that have disrupted learning last year?

The First Arnold said...

Susan,
As a parent, you have the right to opt out of an under-performing school. Don't know procedures- but it can be done.

I've been reading neighborhood blogs. As suspected, these reports are contributing to further tensions between neighborhoods. Thanks, MGJ

Bird said...

Wow. Looking at the South Shore test data on the state's website, it looks like performance has dropped rapidly at the school

Two years ago the school's fifth graders were at 91% annd 75% for reading and math. The next year it was 67% and 58% and the next 56% and 42%.

I see that the FRL percentage has gone up over that time from 44% to 58% which might play a role, but student mobility is really low 8%.

I don't know what's going on there, but it does look like a change rather than a blip

Heidi said...

To answer whether a "positive" response to the safety questions actually means something postive (e.g. I in fact feel safe)- the answer is no. Read the detailed report - the question was "I was bullied, threatened or harassed at school" a yes answer is clearly a bad thing. I know some may one to defend or explain away these responses (e.g. Schmitz park with coyotes or an incident two years ago)but that doesn't explain the bullying responses - explaining it away and ignorning it is a huge community problem, don't fool yourself. We should be doing everything we can to have 0%.

hschinske said...

lostinspace, you make a valid point, but it's not what I was talking about at all, so it's a little confusing that you say you "couldn't agree more." I was thinking of situations such as those described in http://www.thegrio.com/specials/education-nation/mind-the-achievement-gaps.php

Helen Schinske

Maureen said...

I happened to notice that South Shore's CSIP was never posted last year (There is a new one there now). That is one of a principal's (or asst. principal's) most basic jobs. Seemed like a bad sign.

It looks like they have a new (interim) principal and the retired TOPS principal is listed as "principal support." Add in an asst principal (and what is a "House Admin?"), and SPS is into big money there (unless the New School Foundation is paying?).

Susan said...

@Lori and Bird:
My kids go to South Shore, and the teachers and the program are stellar. My guess is that last year's drop in scores are related to the big influx of kids we got at the beginning of last school year due to No Child Left Behind. Because we had a large new building, the district made us open up seats to a lot of neighborhood kids that weren't happy with their current schools. These kids hadn't had the early interventions (including Pre-K) and the small class sizes that the school previously enjoyed. We also suffered last year with an adversarial relationship between administration and staff, and of course having to move for 8 weeks because of toxic fumes. I would expect scores to improve moving forward. (Of course we apparently got a new influx of kids this year as well, so we'll have to see...).

Maureen said...

Heidi, can you link to the "detailed report?" When I look at the surveys it doesn't make clear that yes answers mean the same as "positive response."

When I compare my school's responses to last year's climate survey (linked to from each school's annual report page), the Q & A is much clearer, about 70% of the kids said they had NOT been bullied. This year's report said 55% of the kids gave a "positive response" to the question: I was bullied, threatened, or harassed at school.

I'm honestly not trying to minimize the impact of bullying (45% is still shockingly high to me), I'm just trying to understand what the report is saying. (And why would more kids from Laurelhurst feel unsafe in their neighborhood (94%) than Bagley (89%)which is right on Aurora?)

Josh Hayes said...

JA K-8 mom asks:

"Is it true that AS#1 parents just received a call about pending school closure? Or is this rumor? "

There may be some confusion about this. Certainly the district has proposed closure for AS1 - again; geesh, it's like "if this is Wednesday, they must be trying to close my school" up here - but the District did not inform parents of that.

The principal was informed, of course, and via an emergency BLT meeting, and discussion on this blog, the information got out to the AS1 community, and there was a school-wide meeting last night to work on strategies to deal with this. We few, we happy few, will gird our loins again and try to make the argument to Board members that AS1 is a valuable program, and with expected increases in SPS populations in the North and Northeast, it'd be wise to leave it where it is, with the expectation that enrollment will rise along with all the other schools up there.

So, in short, we all know about it, but the district didn't tell us. Okay?

Bird said...

Thanks, Susan,

This is the sort of information I'd love to see in a school report. Something along the lines of "Our scores went down. We think A,B and C are contributing factors."

Lori said...

yes, thanks, Susan. And this is precisely why these school reports that include data but no critical analysis of those data aren't that helpful. South Shore sounds like a great program, but will this report keep families away next year?

ParentofThree said...

As predicated, school reports being touted around town.

Local blogs point to Level 5 schools.

In Magnolia - and note lack of comments.
http://www.magnoliavoice.com/2010/11/09/catharine-blaine-scores-high-in-new-rankings/

In Queen Anne - one comment, Rah Rah..
http://www.queenanneview.com/2010/11/09/neighborhood-schools-score-high-marks-in-new-rankings/


In Ballard - and note lively discussion:

http://www.myballard.com/2010/11/09/neighborhood-schools-score-high-marks/

hschinske said...

I just took a quick glance at a report, and throughout "positive" appeared to mean "good," or "what you would want to see." "Families feeling positive about family engagement," that kind of thing. Typical jargon. Yeah, "positive" does not necessarily equal "good" (ask anybody with HIV), but try to convince any speaker of bureaucratese ...

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

As a mom looking at McClure MS for my oldest next year, the school report is not giving us much confidence. What is going on w/the low numbers (in the 30%) of staff feeling postitive w/ schol leadership and school culture? It is a maked contrast to the high numbers by parents (mid 80%).

The school results for state science test is also dismal. The goal to raise the score from 48% to 55% is rather low, but perhaps realistic. What is uninspiring is how they are going to achieve the goal by basically telling us what kind of science curriculum they use and how they offer an afterschool program for girls because they are underrepresented in science and math field. That's it? That is how they are going to bring the 8th graders' score up? Keep doing what you are doing.

Contrast that to Washington MS science goal where they actually mentioned incorporating the understanding of the scientific process, lab and real life experience as part of learning. Teaching critical thiking skills is something we like to see more of in schools. (NOTE: we do understand the skewing of data due to APP students, FRL, etc.)

Who writes up these goals and benchmark and the strategies on how they are going to achieve them? Please would someone from McClure give us a little more insight into all of this.

Check out the schools that do well and how they discuss their strategies to meet their goals. There is some thinking that go into their descriptions. Please schools, we parents do read this stuff. It is not the only criteria we use, but it gives us some insight to your leadership and learning culture.

Prospective parent

dan dempsey said...

I predict that Schmitz Park scores in all areas will likely decline this year due to a large influx of other students and larger class sizes in a severely over crowded school.

As was noted earlier about South Shores drop in scores, drops might be reasonably attributed to large numbers of transfer students fleeing failing schools.

Is everyone still believing that the New Student Assignment Plan has a mechanism to make every school a quality school?

Given the Superintendent's admission that the Southeast Education Initiative was only in force for three years ... do not be expecting every school to be a quality school any time soon. Again where is the actual plan that will make every school a quality school?

hschinske said...

So where are people finding the information about the surveys and such? The reports I saw from the drop-down menus at the linked page didn't have any of that.

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

Addendum to my first posting. The frustration with the school report is in looking beyond the numbers to the goals and strategies schools set for themselves. There seem to be a lot of fancy graphics in the report, but not a lot of depth in presenting how schools plan to fix their problems (or make improvement) that leaves us parents befuddled.

As a parent, I am not afraid of a school w/ low scores if I know and have some confidence there are plans that the school's leadership and staff are developing to fix things. I want to see that clearly stated. It is NOT enough to state what programs/ curriculum the school is using. You need to say this is how we are going to address our problems and list them with SPECIFICS.

This is pretty basic stuff and we parents should not have to ask for the obvious info. So please district heads and schools, get this informaton out there before the school tours start and get it on your school's website.

Prospective parent

Lisa said...

Prospective Parent, why not contact the McClure PTA to try to get an inside view of the school? One of the officers may be able to talk to you or hook you up with a parent. Make sure you talk to someone in the program your child will attend. When my kid was there the difference in climate & work level between Spectrum and regular classrooms was astounding. Even though I generally respected the teachers, the huge concentration of kids with behavior problems in the non-Spectrum classes made learning in those classes very challenging and expectations were very low.

My experience is several years old now and predates the new assignment plan, so get yourself some fresh information!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Lisa! I plan on doing that and using the parent underground network, but I also like to get the official black and white version because that forms the baseline I work from.

My partner and I work and as the kids gets older, it gets tougher for us to re-teach them after school. We are looking at some private schools, but prefer to keep our kids in public. During the school tours, we look first at what is publicly posted and then we start digging.

Prospective parent

wseadawg said...

I expect both Lafayette & Schmitz Park's environments have become far more stressful, less accommodating, overcrowded (Lafayette parents can't walk kids to class because their isn't room in the halls), and far more likely to produce stress and anger reactions from children than before. Lafayette's halls were crowded when it had a hundred less kids. I can't even fathom it now.

Get used to it. It's called "Capacity Management" brought to you by the wise folks in the JSCEE silo and your wonderful School Board.

Hmmmm. Wonder if any of their kids ever had to endure this?

Robyn said...

Math Wars are over...Someone tell SPS.

from www.learningthings.com

The math wars of the 1990’s have quieted down and are almost a thing of the past.

With the release of their 2006 guidelines, the National Council for Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) effectively ended 17 years of promoting ‘reform math’ programs and acknowledged the need for schools to return to more traditional math programs.

TechyMom said...

re parochial schools. I knew quite a few kids when I was a teen who got sent to Catholic school after they had behavior problems, were held back, or got expelled from public school. I also knew a few who were sent to various out-of-state boarding schools that specialized in such things. The Church actually sees this as part of its mission, or at least it did in the 80's.

When I toured private schools, I saw a kid in a wheelchair who could not write being helped by an aid, and heard an admissions officer at another school tell a parent that his autistic son was welcome to apply and they would make efforts to accomdate him. There are also private schools specifically targeted to kids with various learning disabilities.

Private schools are all different, and you can pick the one that fits your kid and your family. That's what the old choice system was trying to bring to everyone else who can't afford private school. And that is what MJG is doing everying in her power to undo.

Anonymous said...

The reports have been successful, because they are suppressing what educators think about the district. An entire section of the staff survey focuses on opinions of the district, yet that is not covered in the school reports at all. Clearly those ratings are low so the district does not want them published. They would just reinforce the teachers' "no confidence" vote in the superintendent.

I wonder if the raw data will be made available on the REA site, or if this massaged rollup data is all we'll be allowed to see now?
http://www.seattleschools.org/area/siso/test/smallsisoschoollist.xml

Anonymous said...

Link didn't take.
See here for REA in years past.

dan dempsey said...

Charlie made excellent points on 11/10/10 at 1:09 AM among them was this:

"For what it's worth, the answers from Seattle Public Schools are much more commonly deceitful and careless than they are candid and thoughtful. They are candy floss - all fluff and sugar with no substance or nutritional value."


The "commonly deceitful and careless" is in at least a few cases crossing that line into illegal.

ParentofThree said...

Seattle Times wrote a good story. Made me feel sorry for Harium, trying to defend the direction of the district, in reference to high school scores (particularly math, which has dropped)

"Harium Martin-Morris, another board member, was more hopeful, saying he expects the results will improve next year, especially in high school.

"I still believe we are on the right track," he said. "I think a lot of the things we are doing will bear fruit in one or two years."


Does he not remember, he voted against the math textbooks, which is showing horrible results in the first year of adoption?

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2013385195_schoolreports10m.html


So there you have it folks, the mantra of the day is:

Just wait a couple of more years...then things will turn around. I guess they have a point, once you hit rock bottom, there is no place to go but up!

Melissa Westbrook said...

South Shore's WASL scores have shown some real promise in recent years especially in terms of rising scores of African-American students. But what is very interesting is how the achievement gap between white students and black students is still there and still large.

I thought the whole purpose of South Shore was to show the Legislature how if you spent more money, you would get better results and close the achievement gap. South Shore had certainly had a lot of help and this is confusing. To say the following:

"Because we had a large new building, the district made us open up seats to a lot of neighborhood kids that weren't happy with their current schools"

Well, yes, if they build you a big building, you have to fill it. We're not building these Taj Mahals to keep them 2/3rds full. And I'm sorry but no school gets to handpick who gets in. We have a neighborhood plan now, remember?

I think there's a lot of work to be done pouring over these reports and figuring out what has been left out, underestimated, overestimated and what is truly useful information.

Anonymous said...

Talked to a friend whose kids goes to South Shore and she does not believe the numbers reflect what goes on in their school. Her oldest is a 5th grader and thriving in a small classroom. Same with the youngest in the K class. Her kids are 1st generation Americans so they have no language barriers.

She does not check this blog, but refers to RVP (Rainier Valley Post) and it has a great discussion about the school report card.

http://www.rainiervalleypost.com/raw-numbers-south-end-schools-plagued-with-cs-ds-fs/#comments

It was a good reality check for this blog reader.

Prospective parent (looking for perspective)

perspective said...

"Well, yes, if they build you a big building, you have to fill it. We're not building these Taj Mahals to keep them 2/3rds full. And I'm sorry but no school gets to handpick who gets in. We have a neighborhood plan now, remember? "

Wow, I think you are reading much more into Susan's post than she wrote. I don't think she insinuated that New School didn't want to fill their building, or that they wanted to cherry pick their students. I think she was just explaining why their WASL scores dropped this year, and it makes a lot of sense. The NCLB opt out students came in to New School at all grade levels, and arrived without the support that the existing New School students had received (pre school, small class size, home visits, extra funding). That was the reason the schools WASL scores dropped.

Susan said...

@Melissa, I'm certainly not suggesting that we should be able to "handpick" who gets in. South Shore has always been a neighborhood school, originally with a draw of a 1-mile radius around the school. I was only trying to give possible explanation for the lower scores in 2009/2010, for the two commenters who asked.

The New School Foundation program works. But if you come in at 2nd or 3rd or 4th grade from a failing school, and miss the PreK - 3 program altogether, then the program can't really be held accountable for these lower test scores.

ParentofThree said...

"The New School Foundation program works. But if you come in at 2nd or 3rd or 4th grade from a failing school, and miss the PreK - 3 program altogether, then the program can't really be held accountable for these lower test scores."

Only accountable for students who register by age 4?

mirmac1 said...

In the wake of NY Schools Chancellor Joe Klein's slinking out of town:

" The manner in which school communities were targeted (often on the basis of faulty Data, when an attempt to justify the decision was even made), labeled, shamed, and slated for destructive action is sadly very familiar,"

What a sham

Jan said...

Parent of Three: I can't really speak for Susan, but I think we need to look further at these numbers and the influx of kids. If, as it seems, the school had solid test scores (never mind the problems I see with test scores -- lets assume that in the aggregate they say something meaningful about student learning) - at any rate, IF they did get a huge influx of NCLB kids transferring out of worse schools, isn't it reasonable to conclude that it will take some time to get those kids back on track and up to speed? I think so. What would be really nice to know (and can't be discerned from this data) is whether, and how fast, the South Shore methods and resources are making a difference in the lives of these new students. I, for one, am hoping for a happy ending here!

Anonymous said...

Prospective Parent,

We are a new McClure family and we love it. The staff bends over backwards to help every child. My kid attended the so-called tier 5 great schools on QA. They were definitely good, but the staff at McClure out-does them in every possible way. If you're worried about test scores, you should think about who you are. Is your kid the type that will excel with excellent teachers? Sure, there's been a rougher crowd of students there because it was a south-end preference school. Mostly people seeking to avoid Aki. What school has done well with this group? Evidently, not many, possibly not any. You might notice, no school does well with that crowd. Why should McClure be any different? As for "aren't they using some different science curriculum" to fix a science MSP problem? Well, the district has a pretty much standard science program. And, the science MSP is really more about "science appreciation" than real science. In short, I highly reccommend against basing your school decision solely on test scores. If you're living in QA/Mag, you're pretty much going to be assigned to McCLure in any case. We were, and it has been great.

McClure parent

wsnorth said...

I still don't see where people are getting the numbers about bullying or paranoia about neighborhood safety. The only similar thing I see in the school report score card is this "Students feeling positive about school environment", in which Lafayette, for instance, scores a significant (but not huge) percentage higher than the district average.

wsnorth said...

I still don't see where people are getting the numbers about bullying or paranoia about neighborhood safety. The only similar thing I see in the school report score card is this "Students feeling positive about school environment", in which Lafayette, for instance, scores a significant (but not huge) percentage higher than the district average.

ParentofThree said...

South Shore:
The problem I see brewing at South Shore is that they have created a program that only works for students enrolling at age 4. Unfortunely, you cannot operate a public school in this type of vacuum.

Now that SS knows that their student population has changed due to an influx of students from failing schools and they are seeing declines in scores they need to respond by altering their program so that these students get the help they need the minute they walk through the door.
I hope that is the message they received when these scores were published.

McClure

Careful about placing the the schools problems on the backs of south end kids (trying to flee Aki). My understanding is that QA students have been the root cause of some problems in the school. Look into the the Facebook bullying incident last year!

Lori said...

The problem I see brewing at South Shore is that they have created a program that only works for students enrolling at age 4. Unfortunely, you cannot operate a public school in this type of vacuum.

Now that SS knows that their student population has changed due to an influx of students from failing schools and they are seeing declines in scores they need to respond by altering their program so that these students get the help they need the minute they walk through the door.


This is the problem of only showing within school scores. We don't know that SS only works for those who enter at grade 4. What if all the kids who transferred in from "failing" schools last year actually did improve relative to their prior school? And maybe this year's scores are the new baseline from which gains will be made moving forward, assuming a relatively stable population from this point on.

I have no reason to believe that class sizes of 22 and significantly increased per-pupil spending only "work" at age 4. They probably work at higher grades, but the data right now are too immature to show it. We need to see what happens to the newly mixed population over time. You can't compare last year's score from one population to the scores two years ago that apparently were derived from a very different and smaller population.

But again, here is where we need thoughtful and critical analysis from the school and the district to put these school reports into context.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Perspective, yes I do believe South Shore (and New School) wanted to cherry-pick because it's right in their MOU. (I read these things so it's not some opinion on my part.)

And sorry, they are responsible for all kids. That some didn't come in experiencing their program from the beginning doesn't let them off the hook. It explains it somewhat.

But again, I wonder about this achievement gap between white and black that continues despite their funding and help.

New School Foundation has poured a lot of money and resources into this program to show that it can work and that, a decade later, it still lags is troubling.

ParentofThree said...

Seems like South Shore is ready for TfA teachers, all 25 that SPS plans to hire.

I do not jest...

Dorothy Neville said...

Seems to me that South Shore could now demonstrate how well it can do to take kids at any age and target effective interventions, that's their whole thing right, effective support and intervention? It is of course easier with a closed cohort that all started at age 4, but the reality is we need to figure out effective interventions that start at any age. If this school model is working for the closed cohort, it could be a great place to figure out good ways to be effective with older students as well.

Anonymous said...

Ready for high school math is determined by...

are you ready for this?...

wait for it, you will love it...

taken straight from my notes from a subject matter specialist meeting written directly on a copy of a district provided "segmentation goal sheet"...

the percentage is determined by...


the number of students passing the eighth grade math class at a C and better.

bam. this just happened.

-sms at a school near you

Anonymous said...

Because I am a teacher who puts in the extra time it takes to make the gains her students deserve, I don't know how to make the link live. But here is the explanation to support my scribbled notes on the "segmentation goal sheet."

http://www.seattleschools.org/area/strategicplan/ms_schoolreportsexplanation.pdf

now, I have to wonder if the number includes sixth and seventh graders enrolled in the eighth grade classes.

and what test is the Colorado Growth Model being used on? MAP? again, and I am only one teacher with 79 kids worth of data, but the growth on MAPs was not the same as the growth on MSP. In fact, the class with below average gains according to MAP grew the most on MSP. So, what is the district gonna do with that? With teachers' careers on the line, I see a potential for legal action.

-sms

Maureen said...

the number of students passing the eighth grade math class at a C and better.

Thanks sms, that's what I was afraid of. And has it not occured to them downtown that the simplest solution to this problem (for low seniority, pressured or less than ethical teachers at least) is grade inflation? Look we improved on this metric by 10% this year! Hurray!

wsnorth, For the survey answers, I linked to the detailed surveys page above. Those surveys just refer to "positive responses." You can't see what percent of respondants answered 'yes' or 'no.' Heidi talked about a "detailed report," that maybe does do this (like the old climate surveys linked to from each school's "Annual Report" page.)? But I haven't seen her post a link to that.

Maureen said...

sms, if you cut and paste the last part of that address (from "strategicplan" on) I'll see if I can find it and make it a live link (I have had time to learn since my kids have great teachers and I don't have to homeschool them!). Thanks!

Bird said...

South Shore's per student funding is listed as $8.294 in the school report.

Does this figure include the additional funding from the New School Foundation?

Anonymous said...

http://www.seattleschools.org/area/strategicplan/ms_schoolreportsexplanation.pdf

here is the link. they have one of these for each level.

-sms

Anonymous said...

weird, it won't paste the last part. so, here we go, long hand.

http://www.seattleschools.org/area/strategicplan/ms_schoolreportsexplanation.pdf

weirder, it is pasted now. I did nothing different. let's see if it posts.
if not, here is the part that keeps geting left off:
_schoolreportsexplanation.pdf

-sms

Anonymous said...

When I was in college calculus (in an era when AP and college-level course in high school was not the norm), my professor maintained that a C was for anyone who was ready for...the next level of math, not unlike the district's saying 8th graders with a C in math are "high school ready".

A friend in the electrical engineering program (I was liberal arts) had a professor who used a similar system. If you got a C or better with him, he would recommend you for the next level electrical engineering class.

I'm not sure of your issue with this -sms-. Are you saying that one needs a HIGHER score than a C, which IS after all, "passing", to be allowed to take high school math? Are do you want the kids to pass some sort of test to prove their ability to take high school math. But I thought over-testing was the problem...

Anonymouse

Anonymous said...

My issue is with what constitutes a C may not be what everyone thinks a C means. after years of seeing kids placed into an honors math class by 7th grade teachers based on "grades" and other "factors" (good kid, I like 'em), then showing up without the real chops to cut it in the class, I have a really had time with buying that a C is meaningful. Shoot, let's go to give 'em all an A so we can jump segmentation levels.
Does a C in one building even mean the same thing from teacher to teacher let alone from building to building within the district?

What if a teacher/building/department decided to eliminate "toxic grades" a.k.a. 0s? (This is a current movement within the district, by the way) Is a C still a C?
I find the measurement dubious, but can see how it looks legit to those outside the "circle" of what really goes on behind the scenes.
-sms

Maureen said...

Cutting and pasting the URL did work for me this time, but here's a live link anyway:

MS report explanation.

The HS math explanation is: 8th graders earning a C or better in an on-track or advanced math course. On-track course is Math 8; advanced math courses are Algebra 1B and Geometry B.

Two things stand out to me:
(1)So even if you get an A in standard 8th grade math when you take it in 6th or 7th grade, if you get a D in AlgI or Geometry in 8th grade you aren't prepared for HS math. and

(2) If an administrator feels pressured to improve this metric for a school, the easiest way to do it is to pressure the 8th grade math teachers to inflate their grades and/or not admit kids to a higher level math course if they think there is any probability that they won't score a C. (Or throw the kid down to a lower level class part way through the year.) Of course, great teachers will work hard to get their kids up to grade in a challenging course, but they were doing that anyway.

mouse, I can't speak for sms, but my issues are: Couldn't they devise a metric that the admin and or teachers couldn't improve without actually teaching kids more effectively? And if they have to use a course based measure, why doesn't passing 8th grade math in 6th or 7th grade count?

Anonymous said...

First THANK YOU McClure parent. Glad to hear your perspective. I was hoping that the science curriculum would be more than as you aptly put it "science enrichment". We suffered through elementary science enrichment and was hoping for more, mainly because our kids love science. Presently our kitchen and dining table resemble something out of Dr. Jekyll's lab. Moldy food doesn't go into compost 'cause "it's cool to watch things rot" (though that has not happened to the Peeps after 2 years, scary!)

So if need be, we can keep our kitchen as Dr. Jekyll's lab for another 3 years.

Re: South Shore, it just maybe time is needed for their scores to catch up with the new influx of kids this past year. Many of us on this blog have a healthy skepticism for tests, their numbers, and policy based on (poor) data and their interpretation. I think we should bear that in mind and not throw South Shore latest numbers in their face and called their attempt a faliure.

So I am with Lori and Susan on this one.

Prospective parent

perspective said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
perspective said...

"Does a C in one building even mean the same thing from teacher to teacher let alone from building to building within the district? "

Can you expand on this in relation to math. I thought all grade levels were now standardized, covering the exact same material, at the same pace, and using the same texts. How would grade inflation occur?

"What if a teacher/building/department decided to eliminate "toxic grades" a.k.a. 0s? (This is a current movement within the district, by the way)"

Does a school have the freedom to do this? Can you expand more on this movement? This is very interesting to me. Especially since the district just went to the 11 point grade scale, recently changed policy to allow a grade of F to be calculated into a students GPA, and decided against allowing a D average for graduation. Seemed like the district was cracking down, not loosening up.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I meant " science appreciation", NOT "science enrichment". Boy would that make a difference!

Prospective parent

Maureen said...

I am disappointed in the definition of "mobility:" Number of students that enter and exit a school (excluding graduates) after the October 1 headcount divided by the October 1 headcount.

I think they should have a measure of how many yearsthe kids have been in the same school. In K-8s especially, but I expect in all schools, there is a real difference between kids who have had consistent access to the program for a few years and those who have been at several different schools, even if they always came to the new school on the first day.

As Susan and others posted above, this is part of what explains South Shores scores--even though their "mobility" measure isn't particularly high.

I had hopes that the MAP data would allow us to measure a student's growth individually, so if they had low scores but came to a new school, the school would be judged based on how well they helped that kid improve--not based on the level they are at. I don't see that reflected in these evals.

Anonymous said...

I would add that Southshore is not the only south end school with an influx new students from closed and/or NCLB schools. There have been many at Graham Hill and I'm sure other schools as well.

I also find it interesting that school climate surveys were quite positive for some of the schools on the lower end of the "report card" spectrum.

I don't think our school is perfect, but my kids are thriving and happy at their "2" south end neighborhood school. It's unfortunate that these report cards will be a measure by which parents choose or reject a school, likely furthering the divisions and inequities. They don't paint a complete picture.

It is depressing to see the stark contrast of "success" vs. failure along north/south and economic/diversity axes.

Graham Hill parent

Susan said...

Thank you Graham Hill Parent!
Brilliantly said. There are a lot of great things happening at some of these southend schools. My kids too are thriving and excelling, academically and socially. I hope other parents don't make rash decisions based on these report cards.

Anonymous said...

google "toxic grading" and get hits for Dr. Douglas Reeves.

at first mention of this, I went a snooping to find out if a school or a teacher bound by policy (if a student is to receive HS credit in MS the course must be equal to the HS class- expectations and content) could just "do" this. I read the board policy which referenced the counseling manual which I then read...

The board policy only dictates the reported/transcript grades and does not dictate how a teacher arrives at those grades. Much to my amazement, yes, someone could just "do" that. And I know of some who do.

Personally, I cannot buy into giving a 50 for 0 work. Others argue that the % range for the 0.0 is unfair/toxic with it spanning 59.9 percentage points while all the other grades get 10. Therefore, to balance the scales of evaluative justice, setting 50.0 for an "E" grade makes it equal rather than bottom heavy.

Standards are measured 1-4, each interval is "equal", according to their arguements. However, they forget that kids who don't take the test do get 0s and the point ranges are not equal when the test is scored. Some points to 370(?) is a 1, from there to 399 is a 2, 400-415 is a 3, and above to 500 is a 4. So, that arguement doesn't float well for me, either.

Regardless, that is why to me a C isn't a C if the math teacher is counting missing assignments as a 50% grade (5/10 points, etc.). Student skills are more than just popping an A on a test without doing any work in between.

Rumor has it another district close to ours currently uses this system.

-sms

Anonymous said...

Standards based grading and the 4 point/percentage systems do not mesh. Really, if we are to move in the standards based grading system like that of Federal Way, then we have to change the report card system and re-educate parents and the community, oh, ya, and the NCAA. Either that or we have to convert our system back to the percentage/4.0 system.

Again, too tired with other projects and teaching to take on a system wide reform.
-sms

Anonymous said...

ParentOf3,

Nobody's blaming southend kids for any problems at McClure or elsewhere. But, if you're looking at test scores alone, as Perspective Parent was, you're going to find bad test scores at south end schools. That is simply a fact. Since McCLure has been essentially a south end school, it won't be any different. I think it's a bad idea to base any decision on test sores, or AYP. I feel this way after being very impressed with the service and teaching, despite the mediocre test scores. My kids all went to fine Tier 5 elementaries before. Afterall, you'd never go to Garfield if you looked at test scores blindly. Yes, the facebook thing was bad, but the students got suspended didn't they? The school is pretty hard core about bullying. It's pretty easy for a 12 yo to click "join" isn't it? Do they really get the scope of electronic media? And that 1 click is all it takes to get suspended.

M Parent

ParentofThree said...

McClure Parent, your school has not been "essentially a south end school" given that nearly 60% of the population was coming from the North clusters, versus 32% from the south.


McClure 2008/09
Enrollment by cluster:
Northwest 275 50%
Northeast 45 8%
Southeast 167 30%
Southwest 12 2%
Central 45 8%
Non-Residents 8 1%
Total 552 100%


And good to year the school is coming down hard on bullying!