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Whoa, must be a slow news day. I thought I'd be late to the gate today on the open thread. Guess not.Anyway, two events are coming up. The first is an invitation for parents, teachers and students to join Parents Across America, Seattle in a meeting at Volunteer Park on May 7th at 2:00 PM.We will be meeting at the Noguchi sculpture, what I refer to as the big tire, and from there we will select a good spot. Family members and children are welcomed to join us.For additional information, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The second event is a forum: Fighting Racism in the Public SchoolsThursday, May 19, 2011 at 7:00 pmMt. Zion Baptist Church1634 19th Ave.Seattle, WA 98122Sponsored By: Social Equality Educators (SEE), Parents Across America , Seattle Education: News and CommentaryFeaturing:James BibleCivil rights attorney and the President of the King County chapter of the NAACPWayne AuProfessor of Education at the University of Washington, Bothell, editor of Rethinking Schools magazine, and author of Unequal by Design: The Standardization of InequalityJesse HagopianTeacher at Garfield High School, contributing author to the forthcoming Education and Capitalism: Struggles for Learning and Liberation, and founding member of the Social Equality Educators (SEE), a rank and file committee of union teachers.Olga AddaePresident of the Seattle Education AssociationGabriella Gutierrez Y MuhsSeattle University Professor, Latin American & Women StudiesRickie MaloneFormer Principal, African American Academy and current teacher, Seattle Public SchoolsThis line up of speakers guarantees a lively discussion.For additional information, go to:http://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/2011/04/26/3772/(Blogger is not allowing me to post the link in html.)
...heard the new interim superintendent of schools say on the radio that she doesnt sleep well in her new job - lots to think about.... Her predecessor was famous for saying "the first thing you need to know about me is that I dont lose any sleep at night"... so is this a sincere improvement or merely PR manipulation?
Unless proven otherwise, I'll assume she's sincere.
The CPPS meeting is coming up as well.Here's the notice:CPPS ANNUAL MEETING - 21st Century Parent EngagementTuesday, May 24, 2011 at 6:45pmLincoln High School Library4400 Interlake Ave N Come learn about our Parent Leadership Training, encounter action opportunities where you can make a difference for our schools, and help define parent engagement for quality neighborhood schools in our city. Special guest, interim superintendent Susan Enfield, has promised to bring regional directors to engage in conversation about district AND local level community/parent impact, and we want you to be a part of the conversation.
Royal Wedding?What a waste of money!!!
So far, I believe the interim supt is sincere. What a welcome change, no?
Schmitz Park and Concord elementary were both awarded Washington Acheivement Awards. Both were honored for “overall excellence,” and Schmitz Park received additional honors for math achievement.http://westseattleblog.com/2011/04/congratulations-to-schmitz-park-elementary-concord-international
So, is anyone looking at the revised Governance procedures? These are classified as Series 1000 and primarily address Board and Superintendent responsibilities. Although I have a little trouble discerning whether they're edits to existing or brand-spanking new, I believe I see more evidence of the Superintendent being held accountable to the Board. Less of MGJ's "sit down and shut up 'til I need something" attitude.
There is a study just out of Duke called Project Bright IDEA. Students in a North Carolina district were taught as if all the kids were gifted and the low performing kids did better. Wow, gifted programs and high expectations for students achieves positive results. Isn't that why SPS wants to make Spectrum more accessible and is encouraging ALO programs? Kids will ramp it up if they are expected to do so and this study shows that training teachers in gifted ed methods, while hard, is possibly the best way to bring up kids who are struggling. Advanced learning at SPS needs to promote itself and encourage a dialogue on its programs. Gifted is still a dirty word to many parents, community members and staff. All kids need to be pushed and watering down Spectrum to placate the PC police is not the way.
The district is recommending elimination 27.5 Certificated FTE (30 individuals) and 42.5 Classified FTE (49 individuals).The district has set aside $1.9M General Fund dollars for "Performance Management".The district recommends elimination of a District Truancy Representative, Drug/ Alcohol Intervention Specialist, Re-entry Intervention Student Assistant(4), Instructional Assistants (4.2), Interpreter for deaf, Substance Abuse Awareness Training Specialist, HS Language Arts(4.6), Social Studies (4.3), Elementary School Counselors (8.5 FTE) and more.12.5 Elementary counselors will be funded with discresionary dollars or "other funds".I know of atleast one HS Language Arts class whereby a teacher has above legal allowance of 150 students. Any more?
It is cheaper to pay the overage of kids (I know of LA teachers at 161) than it is to pay another FTE. No benefits required...Higher burn out rate, less one on one... but hey, what is the cost of human capital.-ttln
Not Ashamed - Do you have a link to the study you mentioned? I've read of other studies in which some kids were labeled as gifted who didn't really have test scores or performance to support it. Later, those kids were shown to have higher achievement than other similarly performing kids who were not labeled gifted. The one I'm thinking of was trying to demonstrate the subtle impact of having your teacher believe you are gifted.The difference between believing you are smart and having your teacher believe you are smart - and being put in a class you and your teacher believe you shouldn't be in can be huge. Just yesterday, I told my kid's new LA teacher (who is frustrated with his writing skills) that indeed, my child only seems to progress in writing in the years he has a teacher who is able to convince him that secretly, he is a great writer, and he just needs to work on a few things. Otherwise, he languishes. The harder it is, the more he can't meet the requirements, the more he believes he's stupid and can't. My son, for one, would not be helped by being placed in a class above his level. Anonymom Today
Not Ashamed -- boy, MANY layers in THAT onion. If there is a link to the study, I would love to read it, because while I agree with many of your points, there are many layers of gifted (and many KINDS of gifted). I think many more kids in this District could be taught at Spectrum levels (as I understand them from years ago at Wedgwood). And I wish that there were more opportunities in the District for parents to opt their kids into accelerated learning without having to pass some stupid test -- because the tests are so flawed for some kids, and it is so unfair to treat them as infallible, which we do. But -- it is not a one size fits all deal. There are still kids who require direct instruction (which I would NOT impose on most gifted kids -- it would be a waste of their time) to learn well. Teachers and administrators need to stop thinking that they "teach" a curriculum, or a course, and start internalizing that they teach each child -- each separate mind -- with all the ramifications that imposes on teaching styles, curricula, etc. We do a huge disservice both by underteaching kids who could do more, and by refusing to repace, or reconfigure teaching to reach those whose minds are sufficiently different that the "regular" methods don't work.
Sahila asked: so is this a sincere improvement or merely PR manipulation?I think it is WAY more than PR, but is mostly good intentions. While those are necessary prerequisite for doing a good job (and I personally don't think MGJ ever had them -- harsh though that may sound), they don't get you all the way to actual improvement. Dr. Enfield still needs to fix much of the remaining disfunction downtown. Dr. Enfield should start making meaningful efforts to pull in community involvement BEFORE decisions get made (it would be nice if the Board would insist on this, but they haven't -- and she could take the lead here). We could avoid the ridiculousness of the science waiver stuff if parents had been consulted FIRST about the ramifications on transcripts of moving Biology I to the sophomore year, etc. Parents are such a resource -- and this District squanders that resource time and time again. When they DO engage parents (as in the NSAP), it doesn't fix everything -- especially since they ignore so many good points, but it sure helped.Dr. Enfield needs to pull together the report that really tells us what is going on with the Strategic Initiative -- what is in it, what got dropped, how much we are spending, what is being delayed. IF she did this, she could also follow up on stuff that should NOW be dropped (like the STEM contract for the project software that evidently no one uses (again, -- lots of NOVA parents could have headed THAT one off at the pass, but they were never asked for input).She needs to go to bat for alt schools, the alt policy, and educational excellence as it manifests itself in each school (not as it is imposed from downtown). Dr. Enfield needs to fix the SPED problems with the new delivery system.
Jan,Can I say Amen to that?! It seems there's a push for more time between introduction and acceptance of Board agenda items. That's a positive. But we need a coordinated community engagement plan that does more than count bodies or web clicks! How about true partnerships with families? Not psuedo-grassroots lobbyists?I am keeping fingers crossed that those children that fall between the cracks of minimal support to self-contained, are provided what is their right by law and humanity: a continuum of alternate placements that let's them learn along with their peers.
More on Silas Potter:http://www.king5.com/news/local/Tacoma-official-suspended-for-links-to-Seattle-Schools-Scandal-121004739.html
Jan,Layers in an onion. I guess the bottom line for me is that each and every kid needs, and on some level wants, to be pushed up to and beyond their comfort zone of self-defined ability. Gifted programs encourage that kind of teaching and teachers often feel more comfortable demanding more effort out of a classroom of the identified gifted. I believe these teachers can use these methods on "average" kids and get superior results and that is exactly what this study has illustrated. It was funded by the US Dept of Ed and you can Google Project Bright IDEA and read news articles or the complete reports. Gifted programs like Spectrum self-contained are used, among other things, to incubate new teaching models and introduce them to all classrooms if they are successful. Like AP classes in high school. When I was young, AP was new, limited and considered only for the very ambitious or very bright. Now AP classes are expected of all kids going straight into a 4 year college. Standards get raised for all sometimes by raising them for a few at first. I don't follow the logic of parents who insist on "blending" Spectrum students into gen ed classes instead of demanding that their non- Spectrum children get teachers who have taught gifted ed and will treat their kids' classrooms with the same level of expectations. This study, and it encompassed 4 years, shows that we need more gifted teaching methods and the expectations associated with that style, not less.
I went to a fundraiser this week where Peter Buffett (son of Warren) was the keynote speaker. Besides the fact that he was a great speaker, he brought up a term that I feel is very apropos to what we all seem to discuss here.When his father decided to give all his money to charity, Peter and his wife went out and researched charities with the express purpose of not becoming "colonial philanthropists". The term so resonated with me and his rationale that just because you have a lot of $$ doesn't mean you have the right to tell folks what to do.Food for thought on a sunny Saturday.
For sharing:Kitsap SchoolEnjoy...
What is the current status of the budget? In the KUOW interview Dr. Enfield was asked where the budget situation would be felt. The first thing she mentioned was special education. But she didn't say how and the show's host didn't ask her. Parent
North Kitsap article:One repeated point of contention in the district's budget has been its goal for keeping a 5 percent contingency fund. Board members said they would consider reducing it but needed more information.Board members also directed staff to look for other cuts, possibly in administration, and to talk with union leaders about what they'd be willing to give up, such as professional development funds or salary."We'd all like to hear what they're willing to give up to save jobs," board member Kathleen Dassel said. "We'd like to hear from them, and put that into the mix."Members of the Public School Employees already have agreed to give up $45,000 slated for professional development, Anderson said. Chris Fraser of the North Kitsap Education Association, which represents teachers and other staff, said union leaders have talked with administrators about other cuts but have not yet made a decision."We would need to know that that money would be used for jobs," she said.The Trust Issue.....So why did the WEA endorse 6696 in March 2010?Because WEA wanted RttT money.So why has the WEA continued to push for the adoption of the Common Core State Standards, which is an unfunded mandate that will require districts to pay $165 million over the next 5-years?165,000,000 / 100,000 = 16501650/5years = 330That equates to at least 330 fewer teaching jobs each year statewide.So members pay $75 / month to a Union, for what?To have the leadership support anti-teacher policies and mindless reforms as exemplified by the RttT 4 turnaround models.================Teachers need to wake up and expand that trust issue to Union Leadership.Seems that $75 / month supports bloated out of touch Union leadership, which mirrors many School District Central Offices in far too many ways.)=============If the good of the teachers is the primary goal and if the good of the students is any kind of goal, then Evidence Based decision-making is certainly not happening in the WEA or the SEA.WEA Pres. Mary Lindquist and her crew should be tossed out by membership at the next opportunity.Note: SEA leadership has supported WEA on the 6696 and the CCSSI. Why?
The Naramore Art Exhibit runs from May 5th through June 5th. High School and Middle School student art will be on display at the Seattle Art Museum. The Opening Event sounds like it will be a lot of fun.
To Dan - Not being a teacher, I can't really speak to teacher union leadership, except to say that I do support rank and file union activity. But this bothered me a bit:"Teachers need to wake up and expand that trust issue to Union Leadership."Maybe it's just me, but I find it offensive when somebody tells people to "wake up." I honestly don't think teachers are asleep. :)
Hello Everyone!CHS Music will be hosting a great big Rummage Sale on May 7th in the cafeteria to benefit the program!We hope everyone turns out to support us, and will be accepting donations to our cause for the next week.Thanks for reading!!!
Not Ashamed: I think I mostly agree with you --- and I think far more harm has been done by subtly conveying to kids that you think they are stupid and CAN'T do well, than the other way around. Just as long as this is not another "lemmings over the cliff" deal where every single kid, regardless of their issues and learning styles, gets pushed into a certain style of class. The beauty of the system we USED to have (and still sort of have) is that there were so many options. But I do think you have a very good point -- many many kids would do far better if we assumed giftedness, instead of averageness, and treated them as though we assumed they could excel.
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