Friday, January 14, 2011

SPS News Updates and Meetings

There are two new SPS schools on this year's state list for low achievement; AS#1 and RBHS. Now SPS, trying to put a good spin on it, makes it sound like this is a great thing for them to be able to apply for state grants (ranging from $50k to $2M a year over 3 years starting next fall).

Sealth is also on the list but SPS is NOT going to apply for a grant for them"because the school is well into implementation of a plan to ensure a high‐achieving school. “While additional funding would be helpful, we do not want to disrupt the momentum that has been created.”

Again I say...what? There is a chance for money to help a school that is still getting its footing and is going to be transitioning to a joint campus with a middle school and we aren't applying for the funds? How is more money "disrupting the momentum?"

Districts that participate have to choose from four federally designated intervention models and SPS, in 2010, chose "Transformation." This was for Hawthorne, West Seattle Elementary and Cleveland High.

What's interesting is that if they got the grant for RBHS, they wouldn't just give up one of the two principals there (and this was one of staff's second-tier recommendations) but BOTH of them. Meaning, a totally new principal would come into RBHS. Principal Roy Merca would stay at AS#1.

There is not enough money for all the schools on the state list so there's no guarantee SPS will get grant money.

Next is good news for Chief Sealth. From KUOW a report that Chief Sealth seniors get a free year at South Seattle CC.

The scholarship comes from a foundation that raises money for South Seattle Community College. The only requirement: Students have to apply for financial aid. Whatever they can't get in grants, the foundation will pay. Graduates of Cleveland High School have had this same offer for three years. Fifteen students took advantage of it this school year. The principal at Chief Sealth says if all his students go for the South Seattle scholarship next school year, the whole deal will be worth about a million dollars.

Tomorrow, Saturday the 15th, Directors DeBell, Martin-Morris and Sundquist all have meetings. Here's the School Board listing for places and times.

28 comments:

ParentofThree said...

Isn't the reason for not applying for the $$$ for Sealth is that they are starting an IB program? Aren't they also starting an IB program at RBHS? I don't get that logic. Also, what would happen to the two principals at RBHS, do they loose their jobs or get assigned to new schools?

seattle citizen said...

That is fantastic news about the scholarship grant offered by the foundation to Sealth and Cleveland students. Tuition, even at CCs, is very high and this grant will allow many, many students who might otherwise be forced to delay school by job responsibilities to go into school.

Kudos to those people who are organizing this grant, whomever they might be!

seattle citizen said...

By the way, I've been a board member (full disclosure!) for a number of years in a small organization that gives scholarships to students attenting Seattle Vocational Insitute's Bright Future program. SVI's BF program offers certificate programs in various careers, such as dental assisting, and works primarily with students who are economically on their own.
Our scholarship organization, Bright Futures Dollars for Scholars, originated with a group of neighbors of John Marshall HS fifteen years ago. These neighbors wanted to help Marshall students, and started fundraising, then offering scholarships for non-tuition purposes: Books, uniforms, baby food sometimes...Bright Futures had some Marshall students and when Marshall closed John Marshall Dollars for Scholars swtiched to supporting students in that program and became Bright Futures Dollars for Scholars (Dollars for Scholars is a national group, that helps little locals like us organize.)

I say all this for two reasons:
One: Please feel free to call Reza Khoustou at Bright Futures, SVI, and donate to Bright Futures Dollars for Scholars. These students are dedicated, working hard, and often face money crunches for the little things.

Two: The little things, just a few dollars here and there, or just a few hours here and there, can make or break students, in K-12 and beyond. BFD4S is just one example of the many little groups that are formed by citizens wishing to lend a hand. If you're not part of such work already, I encourage everyone to jump into one, or form your own. The rewards are enormous.

Charlie Mas said...

Am I the only one who finds it difficult to reconcile the idea that AS#1 is both a School of Distinction for achievement growth and a Persistently Low Achieving school?

LA Teacher's Warehouse said...

Sealth already has an IB program. There has been talk of an IB program at RBHS, but I haven't heard anything definite yet.

Phyllis Fletcher reported that both principals will leave RBHS.

It will be a mistake for the district to impose an IB program on RBHS. On the other hand, if the teachers really want it and lead an effort to bring it to RBHS, then it might be a good idea.

I know that I personally would never want to work at a school in which the district was implementing one of its plans.

Melissa Westbrook said...

LA, what I think I understand is that the parents are good with IB but staff hasn't really been part of this decision (which, to your point, is odd).

According to the press release, the two RBHS principals would be reassigned and someone else brought in. My fear is that they will move Martin Floe from Ingraham where he is doing good work AND would be a great help in overseeing the APP IB program AND the International school program. But he was with the IB program at Ingraham from the start so they may think he's the best person. (But you can imagine how well that will go over if they just install him without talking to staff and parents.)

Sarah said...

We're considering placing our daughter in Ingraham's IB program. Moving the principal would negatively impact our decision.

basically said...

I would like to echo exactly what Sarah just said, only I have a son....

If they TRULY want to woo the 8th grade APP families at Hamilton over to Ingraham IB, giving us a brand new principal to a brand new program in a school is really NOT going to help at all.We just went thru that last year at HIMS.

LA Teacher's Warehouse said...

IB is a demanding program both for students and teachers. The teachers, like the students, need to be motivated for the program to work. For that reason, teachers need to choose to teach in an IB program. It would be foolish for the district to impose IB on any school.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Please let me be clear - I have no inside knowledge that the district is considering moving Mr. Floe to RBHS. That is my analysis based on what the district seems to be moving towards doing (bringing IB to RBHS, a struggling school).

I don't know how many extra high school principals there are floating around out there. Phil Brockman left Ballard to be an Executive Director. He's out. They are moving not one but two princpals from RBHS, so they are gone. Maybe they might hire someone new.

I'm just supposing that they would want the IB program to get a good start and someone who already knows IB might be their choice.

Charlie Mas said...

It's unclear if accepting the SIG money for Rainier Beach will absolutely require the replacement of both principals. Maybe only Dr. Gary will have to go since Ms Escobar is still so new to the school.

Also, if either or both of them leave the school, that doesn't necessarily mean that they will leave the district. They could be re-assigned to another school or to the headquarters on "special assignment". What, exactly, is Susan Derse's job title?

Anonymous said...

I think AS1 should get Thornton Creeks' principal. That would encourage a lot of NE families to put their kids on a bus and away from over filled schools. AS1 need a charismatic leader and while Roy is a nice guy he is not inspirational and wouldn't know what to do with the grant money. The distict would waste it on half-cocked "innovations".

-looking for an alternative

Maureen said...

looking, Thornton Creek and AS#1 are entirely different alternative models. AS#1 may need a better leader, but that is no reason for them to be given TC's (especially given the role John Miner is playing as a sort of Alt-Ed Director and given the proposed enrollment increases at TC). AS#1 should have been allowed to choose their own principal under Board Policy C54.00. They should go out and recruit someone who fits their philosophy and lean on the Supe to appoint him/her. Poaching another alt's successful principal is not the answer.

IB at Sealth is already up and running, that's why they don't need the grant money. I wonder if downtown has been counting on this money for RBHS and that is why they have proposed IB there. The projected cost is $100,000 (for some reason twice what it cost to start up at IHS and Sealth.) I wish the staff was more involved, but I wonder if SPS is just counting on adding a whole new group of teachers, under the assumption that IB will draw an almost entirely new group of students and the existing staff will stick with the existing population of kids? They should have plenty of room for new students and teachers, but it seems like a divisive way to start a program.

8th grade Hamilton Parent said...

Regarding principal moves, I think it is important to call out that Mr Flo's welcoming attitude to the APP families, as well as his warmth and accessibility, have been a key factor in getting APP parent to consider the new Gifted High School Program at Ingraham.
That said, I can understand why Mr Floe might be a good fit to start up the RBHS program. And the RIGHT new principal at Ingraham could help strengthen Ingraham as it launches the new Gifted High School program-- especially if they could recruit a strong leader with experience/interest in rigorous academics and high achieving kids. Ingraham should evolve as it brings in both the Gifted High School program and the International students from Hamilton. Hopefully, the district will learn from the Hamilton experience. In this case, having a new principal the first year of blending program was no so successful, in part because many APP families had the perception that the new principal (unlike the old principal) didn't have a strong commitment to the APP program.

LA Teacher's Warehouse said...

Pop Quiz!

1. Who is more important to an IB program, a principal or an IB coordinator? Please explain your answer.

2. Who started up the IB program at IHS, a principal or its teachers? Be specific.

3. What are the ingredients of a successful IB program? Explain your answer with specific examples.

4. Where in Seattle Public Schools does an expertise in IB actually reside? Be specific.

Sahila said...

if we stayed in the US, if TC's principal moved to AS#1 and the school was not further mainstreamed but was supported in its alternative pedagogy, I would consider going back to the school... though my son is happy socially and doing well at Room 9...

Point is, I think there are many people who would give AS#1 another go...

Maureen said...

Sahila, but why a principal with 25 years at an Expeditionary Learning School? Why not someone new with an interest in something more like Summerhill? Wouldn't that be better?

Sahila said...

@ maureen... is there someone here in the District with that interest, experience?

If there is, yes, yes and yes...

If there isnt, then I think the TC or Nova principals would be best...

I dont know about bringing in someone from outside the district...

I dont trust MGJ and her bunch of Broadies to not bring inanother reformer... remember, Bush is setting up his equivalent of the Broad Academy to have something like 50,000 reformist principals (from the ranks of sport's business and the military)on line in the next 9 years... why not start that in Seattle???

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/District_Dossier/2010/09/laura_bush_is_set_to_unveil_bo.html

Sahila said...

sorry for the grammar and formatting errors in the previous post - long, hard, hard day and not enough coffee... and too lazy to delete, fix and repost...

Maureen said...

I dont know about bringing in someone from outside the district...

About 12 years ago, when Karen Kodama was known to be leaving TOPS, their Site Council sent out a call for applications for a principal nation-wide. They phone-screened a number of candidates and recommmended several to the District to interview. Instead John Stanford hand selected a central office exec and appointed him with little (no?) input from the community. Of course, that was before C54.00 had been adopted by the Board.

Seattle Parent said...

re: School Improvement Grants (SIG) and the Persistently Lowest-achieving Schools list recently announced-

The district said that they will not apply for grant funds for Sealth. According to the OSPI SIG info sheet:

"For schools not participating
Eligible schools that decline to apply for the grant program may be subject to future required action. Engrossed Second Substitute Senate Bill 6696, passed in 2010, requires districts to intervene in their Tier I and Tier II schools if the grants are not pursued and the school remains in the lowest five percent in the subsequent year. Depending on available funds, those schools will be required to use one of the four federal intervention models for the 2011-12 school year. Please refer to Washington State RCW 28A.675 for further details."

Sahila said...

I love the thought that the District might follow Policy C54.00 (as in working with the community of a school to bring in a principal rather than appointing/imposing one), but in my short association with it, I have seen none of that - quite the contrary, as you know... and I am not hopeful, under MGJ, of seeing it beginning any time soon....

Anonymous said...

where is dan and his data run down? i looked, sealth's graduation rate, momentum is down hill since starting IB. not only that, but the district school report on the graduation stat doesn't match the states. which is both good and bad. good: there is a change between 4 & 6 year % in the state's report, unlike the district's. bad: the on time rate is lower.
-just sayin'

Melissa Westbrook said...

Thanks Seattle Parent. Interesting news.

I think the district is trying to push Sealth as a success story (based on stronger enrollment and a partially new building) for many reasons. One, despite the district's belief to the contrary, West Seattle parents have shown compelling numbers over how Sealth will be bigger and West Seattle High smaller. That does not bode well for West Seattle.

They want the joint campus and the IB program to succeed (and I think we all do). BUT saying it will be so, doesn't make it so. I think there is tremendous concern over the joint campus being a huge headache with years of getting it right.

I think the district likes the principal, John Boyd, and doesn't want to move him (as they would if they took the grant money).

Reading the West Seattle blog about the South Seattle CC's foundation funding a year for all 2011 Sealth seniors, there were two people saying it didn't seem fair that they got it and not West Seattle (they do have somewhat comparable FRL). My thought was gee, why don't you give 10 deserving senior at BOTH schools a full two-year ride? I get that their feeling is that if they encourage all the seniors to find financial aid (for the next year) they would get more kids going. But Cleveland only had 15 seniors take them up on the offer and I suspect that maybe a lot of seniors worry about finding the money for the second year.

I just sense that there is tense in West Seattle and that should make for an interesting West Seattle School Board race in the fall.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Sorry for all the errors in that post; I'm watching the Seahawks play and got distracted by the Bears making a touchdown right away.

ParentofThree said...

"families had the perception that the new principal (unlike the old principal) didn't have a strong commitment to the APP program."

So, in the end, was this a perception or truth?

Charlie Mas said...

I thought, for a moment there, that Seattle Parent had found something critical - that the District could be forced to impose one of those four school transformations on Sealth if they didn't apply for the Grant. Then I saw these words "Depending on available funds" and I knew that nothing would come of this.

Josh Hayes said...

Way back on Friday, Charlie asked:

"Am I the only one who finds it difficult to reconcile the idea that AS#1 is both a School of Distinction for achievement growth and a Persistently Low Achieving school?"

No, Charlie, you're not -- what puzzles me is that AFAIK, this is the first year AS1 has made the "trouble" list - despite that the metric I'm sure they use, test scores, have risen substantially the last two years in a row. So NOW it's troubled? What?

Mind you, I'd love for the school to get some money, but I worry about the attached strings.

Finally, discussion of the relationship between Thornton Creek and AS1 is welcome: I think AS1 is a natural middle school location for TC kids who don't want to go to giant Eckstein or make the schlep over to Salmon Bay, and we've had some parents from AS1 attend the most recent TC Site Council meeting to pitch that very idea.