Saturday, April 30, 2011

Saturday Community Meetings

I note that Directors DeBell and Patu have Community meetings this morning.  As well, Dr. Enfield is having a meeting this morning with Fillipino parents and community.

If you attend any of these events, let us know what you hear.

The Board finally gets back on track with Board meetings this coming Wednesday, May 4th.  Here is the agenda.   And, in the category of colliding issues, there will be an appreciation for teachers as it is Teacher Appreciation Week AND they will introduce the motion for RIFing.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

At least this year in Seattle, MGJ won't read an urban legend teacher story for teacher appreciation. Why does he hate teachers so much?
Also, the TIF propaganda machine has started in full swing including testimonials from unknown teachers about how great this system will be. The problem with this program and other miracle cures is the lack of time and consistency allowed to prove success. Yesterday on KUOW the new supt. described West Seattle Elementary as a symbol of success. The problem is that WSE program is brand new this year, new teachers, new principal, new program. She described teachers that were exhausted from their efforts. This must be why TFA teachers are needed because teachers can not maintain a sprint for long, teaching and learning is a long process requiring stamina. TFA teachers are sprinters because they are moving on to become admins. What about the schools of distinction like Coe and Hay, or do they not count because of location and economic status?

Juana said...

The consulting fee of $364,930.00 gnaws at me. At this financially dire time for the district that amount can be used towards other things with predictable outcomes.

Melissa Westbrook said...

The fee is paid for by the grant. Still, it seems like a lot of time and other resources towards this effort. I'd love to know what teachers and principals think.

Anonymous said...

I went to Michael DeBell's coffee chat today. Besides myself there were David Picard, science teacher at Roosevelt, and 5 parents who had children at McClure, some with younger children at Coe or Queen Ann Elementary, and some who either worked with the District, or had spouses who worked for the District.

2 issues, both connected to Science Curriculum, took up most of the 2+ hours:

1) the parents gave DeBell an earful about problems and lack of public/teacher input on science alignment. All the parents were concerned about their respective children having to follow a District chosen track to meet science graduation requirements. Michael DeBell agreed with their assertion that parents and students should have some choice for determining which science courses best meet a student's needs and interests. He strongly urged them to send emails to Susan Enfield.
Also, Michael said that he's been having conversations with Kay S-Blum about this issue.

2) David Picard spoke about the "absurd" process of science text adoption (my words). David wondered why is there such a hurry to make a choice from texts that have never been tested in Seattle Schools. He pointed out that for several years he has been using 90+ texts and materials that he got for free from Prentice Hall, with excellent phone and online support. David said we should be testing curriculum materials for 2-3 months before making a choice--publishers are quite willing to provide these texts, materials, and supports without any obligation, as did Prentice Hall. He brought a physics and a chemistry book from the last round of text adoption in 2003. Neither text had ever been used. Both looked very attractive, but when teachers were able to review them in depth the texts were found to be poorly designed. Millions of dollars had been spent on a science curriculum that turned out to be useless. Michael DeBell was taking detailed notes, asked if he could take the 2 books, and was concerned enough that he listened to Davic Picard for 30 minutes beyond the end of the coffee chat after everyone else had left (save myself). He urged David to call in 8:00am Monday to get on the Public Testimony list. Wed's meeting is shaping up to be very interesting.
ken berry

peonypower said...

I'll be getting on that list about science as well. The presentation slides just show the "vote of the adoption committee" many of who I know and also don't understand the rush. The chemistry team was so frustrated they opted to not pick a text and keep working to find something suitable. Wish I had gone but I was grading at school and some students dropped by to finish up some school work.

Just saying said...

Noticed Christine Coxan is leaving West Seattle.

Wasn't she the TFA graduate- she testified in favor of TfA.

Just ssaying.. said...

Sorry..correct spelling is Christine Coxon.

Melissa Westbrook said...

INteresting, Just Sayin'. The Times said she was one of the reasons for the turnaround at West Seattle Elementary.

Salander said...

TIF- The District has just conducted a survey to find out what teachers think about TIF.

I am a teacher. I have been a teacher for over two decades. I LOVE teaching- except of course for the interference from meddling administrators and politicians. I want to continue to be a teacher.

I could care less about career ladder "opportunities". They have nothing to do with teaching and create another layer of positions with unclear responsibilities.

ttln said...

I responded to the survey with doubts about the formula for calculating impact based on test scores. It isn't worth being a test subject to get the paltry sum of money to do what I already do for the district anyway.

I am willing to for go TIF as part of our contract to help bridge the budget gap and save money.

Central Mom said...

She was profiled in the Seattle Times as being the face of change at West Seattle Elementary.

Curious as to where she is headed.

kid not like the others said...

Get the times to follow up on her leaving...

Maureen said...

Re Chrissie Coxon: TFA Program Director?

Maureen said...

Does anyone know why the High School Science alignment has been pulled from this week's Board meeting agenda? If I get a speaking spot, I plan to say that all rising 9th graders who are registered for Geometry or above should be able to register for Biology if they promise to take Physics before they graduate. (All High Schools, no placement test.)

Dorothy Neville said...

I believe they were concerned with time, too many items on the agenda, so they postponed the update on Science Alignment. Not positive, but that's what I sort of remember from the Exec committee meeting.

Maureen said...

Thanks Dorothy.

Jan said...

Anonymous at 10:04 said: The problem is that WSE program is brand new this year, new teachers, new principal, new program. She described teachers that were exhausted from their efforts. This must be why TFA teachers are needed because teachers can not maintain a sprint for long, teaching and learning is a long process requiring stamina. TFA teachers are sprinters because they are moving on to become administrators.

Someone (might have been Michelle Rhee) actually admitted this not long ago -- that her vision of the best system required teachers willing to work 12 to 14 hours a day, 7 days a week, and maybe the right system was one that didn't assume those jobs could be filled by career folks (sort of like the analyst systems at the big investment banks -- where college grads go in at 8, and work every day until 2 or 3 am the next day -- but after a coupld of years, they either stay and move up (to more $, and fewer hours) or leave -- with a good resume entry.) She actually proposed that maybe we should look at something like a law firm -- a few partners/master teacher/administrators at the top, and phalanxes of 1 to 2 year grunts who work ridiculous hours, and then burn out and leave. She didn't note, though, that both of those systems pay the grunts a LOT of money (check out starting salaries at large law firms and investment banks). She also gives NO credit to the value of time and classroom experience in creating great teachers.

Anonymous said...

My guess is Christine Coxon's two years (and fifteen minutes of fame) are up. I say good riddance to this self-important know-it-all ("the best and brightest").

grumpy