Monday, March 28, 2011

Dr. Goodloe-Johnson's Record in Southeast Seattle

There has been some lively discussion about the steps that Dr. Goodloe-Johnson took to improve schools in Southeast Seattle (if any) and the positive impact of those steps (if any).

Because this discussion came in another thread with another primary topic, I thought it would be useful to bring the discussion out to its own thread where it would have better visibility.

14 comments:

David said...

Just to get people started, there is an old post on this blog that covers a lot of this, "Southeast Initiative Accountability". See the data in the last half of the article, especially the data at the end showing a drop in academic achievement at all the SE schools while Maria Goodloe-Johnson was superintendent.

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

I think there has been an attempt at improving SE schools in the past two years. Not saying it has been successful or even done right (as many pointed out on the other thread), just saying that there has been an attempt made.

Transformation of both SE high schools: Cleveland into STEM school, with Core24 curriculum. The addition of IB at RBHS. And the placement of a strong and proven principal, Lisa Escobar, at RBHS. (and yes I know the community didn't accept her, just saying that I think it was an attempt at strengthening the school).

New SE APP elementary site at TM.

New ALO's added at Dunlap, Emerson, Graham Hill, and TM.

Aki Kurose test scores finally moving up.

Addition of a new International school (Concord) in SE Seattle.

Longer school days at some of the struggling schools.

The New School moved into a larger building, where they can continue to grow.

AAA, finally closed.

Again, not saying I agree with the way it was done, or that there wasn't a political agenda behind some of it. Just saying that there has been improvement. Oddly, none of it due to the SE Initiative - at least as far as I can tell.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Peon, it's fine if you believe everything you read. The district says it does a lot of things but are they true?

Are they really starting an IB program at RBHS? They say they are.

Are there really ALOs at those schools you named? They say they did.

(I won't even go into New School again except to say - still not full and why not?)

Anonymous said...

OK. So the SE initiative didn't work. That's fine. Not all solutions wind up working. Now the district is trying something else: STEM. That seems to have a better promise of working than the SE intiative. What's wrong with Plan B? Isn't that what you do when Plan A doesn't work? It seems perfectly logical to me. You try something new.

Laughable is the notion that the district moved APP around to get improved test scores. So what if a schools' scores improved? Their NCLB AYB status was uneffected. That fact seems to be lost on the still crying APP at any cost proponents. Failing students are still accounted for in their school's AYP status. The district never got out of any hot water by such a move.

The worst possible scenario, huge bastians of high poverty students clustered together, caused by clustering of APP and/or spectrum at certain sites, and caused by people using white flight or its equivalent, has been fixed. Garfield seems to have worked out by having a truly diverse student population. Why not expect similarly good results for the lower grade levels?

As to Title 1 funds. It isn't clear that the district has lost Title 1 funds or not. Perhaps a knowledgable person could address that question. Are those funds now available for other schools in the district? In any case, it's unlikely that Title 1 funding could possibly make up for the huge concentrations of poverty that were there before. Think of it the other way around. Would we ever suggest sticking a whole bunch of the neediest students together for the sole purpose of federal funding? I think not.

NSAP was a long time in coming. It is a huge benefit to communities. It brings neighborhoods together and forces them to deal collaboratively with each other, and their schools, instead of escaping to "better neighborhoods". The fact is, the old way didn't work, and wasn't productive. Time to try something else. Whatever MGJ's shortcomings were, the NSAP is a success and it won't be undone anytime soon.

Another Parent

Anonymous said...

Peon - is there ANY data on the number of kids struggling and the number of adults hired to help THOSE struggling kids?

I'll bet there has been plenty of money poured into the masters of the edu-babble universe making all kinds of power points blaming teachers, blaming principals, and blaming schools ---

and little or NO systemic change where it matters - with the kids who are struggling.

Sign Me - Closer To The SE Struggling Kids Than Arne's Toadies.

seattle citizen said...

I agree with Sign Me.

I read your list Peon, and no disrespect, perhaps you can come up with examples, but I see nothing (except perhaps the extended day) that directly and immediately supports individual students by identifying their individual successes and struggles and working with those.
As Sign Me asks, where is the FTE identified and strengthened that works specifically with struggling students?
Your list has many ideas that might or might not pan out, but it's all programs and curricula, not something like "ten intervention specialists were hired to case manage specific students."

Peon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charlie Mas said...

Point by point:

Transformation of Cleveland into STEM This was good, but it wasn't what she said she would do. She essentially eliminated Cleveland as an attendance area school, which, the year before, she decided could not be done (due to gang issues).

Transformation of Rainier Beach with IB First, IB does not "transform" the school any more than the addition of a bunch of AP classes "transformed" the school. It is, essentially, the same. The presence of the IB classes does nothing for the students who are not in them any more than the presence of the AP classes at Rainier Beach helps the students who are not in those.

The assignment of Lisa Escobar as a second principal at RBHS served no purpose, was never adequately explained, was opposed as wasteful and purposeless by the community, and has since been undone. It didn't strengthen the school, it only weakened Dr. Gary.

APP elementary site at Thurgood Marshall isn't in the southeast, didn't do anything positive for anyone (APP or local), and actually cost the previous TM students their Title I funding. It didn't even bring an ALO to the school since they had one before.

New ALO's added at Dunlap, Emerson, Graham Hill, and TM. Graham Hill and Thurgood Marshall already had ALOs and ALOs are meaningless, structureless, and ineffective. They are ALOs in name only.

Aki Kurose test scores finally moving up. Really? Really? Is that due to work at Aki Kurose or is that attributable to the closure of escape routes to Meany, Hamilton, and McClure?

Addition of a new International school (Concord) in SE Seattle. Concord is in West Seattle. Beacon Hill, the closest language immersion program is not really in Southeast Seattle. It's on Beacon Hill and it is north of College.

Longer school days at some of the struggling schools. There are no struggling schools, just schools with a lot of struggling students. The only one to get extended day were Hawthorne (not really in the southeast), Aki Kurose (with questionable impact), and STEM (with an eight period day which actually translates into LESS time on task. STEM had to become an ALE because the school wouldn't meet the required number of hours of planned instruction to comply with the State Law on high school credit.

The New School moved into a larger building, where they can continue to grow. The New School moved into the same building it started in. It should have moved to the AAA (and taken in all of the scholars already there), but that wasn't good enough for them. Instead, they needed to take money that could have gone to Pathfinder, which would have saved Cooper. Do NOT brag on this. It was a tragedy.

AAA, finally closed. And replaced with what? Are the AAA students in a better place now? Probably, since many of them are now in Renton schools.

Peon said...

I said this in the previous thread, and I will say it again here - this list in no way excuses the district from offering direct, individualized, support and intervention to struggling students. We absolutely need that and the district is not providing it. No arguments here. I agree with you Anonymous and Seattle Citizen.

But struggling students are not the only students residing in the SE. There are plenty of families with average to above average achievers. "Those" families needs are not being being met either. "Those" families have been forced to send their kids to schools outside of their neighborhood, or to option schools, or to private schools.

So go ahead and keep advocating for intervention and support for struggling students, just don't overlook the needs of average and high achieving students along the way. Advocate for both. They are all students of the SE and they all deserve to have their needs met.

There is no reason that we couldn't have an IB program at RBHS ***AND*** offer a regular program with support and intervention for struggling student.

It doesn't have to be either or

Peon said...

Charlie do you see anything positive happening in the SE? Anything?

Charlie Mas said...

Of course there are positive things happening in the southeast. But those things are happening at the schools and have their genesis in the schools. They are happening DESPITE the District, not because of it.

Remember the teacher from Mercer who spoke at the Seattle Speaks event? He described a lot of good things happening there - none of them a result of District influence.

Further south in the community (Mercer is at Columbian Way/Alaska, not all that far south), there is certainly some good things happening at Dearborn Park, Van Asselt, and Southshore. They are working with a lot of students who came out of the AAA, which has slowed their growth as they have to assimilate a lot of new students into their culture.

Graham Hill is making a lot of new progress in the general education program, spreading the success they have had in the Montessori.

There are other good things happening, but they are all school-based and flying under the District's radar.

In some ways the District's failure to monitor the schools is a benefit - if the school has strong leadership. However, there are schools in Southeast Seattle that do not have strong leadership and in those cases the District's failure to monitor compounds a disaster.

wsnorth said...

I have to question this one:

"Aki Kurose test scores finally moving up. Really? Really? Is that due to work at Aki Kurose or is that attributable to the closure of escape routes to Meany, Hamilton, and McClure?"

This might be tough on the non-escapees the first year, but isn't this what the SE really needs? For its own "acheivers" to stay in the SE and hope those schools improve with the increased local family support?

Anonymous said...

New School is a mess. I wouldn't send anyone there.

RBHS is likely closing. 300 kids don't cut it

Aki Kurose. Another school nightmare.

AAA should not have been closed but changed to meet the wider New School concepts.

Why does South Lake exist at all when RBHS is across the street?

When you go into these schools you are faced with such a level of histrionics and chrun of leadership and staff it is a nightmare.

Cleveland is well Cleveland with a new focus not necessarily better just "different."

Why is when you work in these schools on a daily basis I see what is going on and what isn't but that is not what matters its PR baby all PR.