Friday, October 14, 2011

Updates

Well, look who's the interim superintendent in Tacoma?  None other than our former CAO, Carla Santorno.   This news comes from the Tacoma News Tribune.

The board voted 4-1 – with board member Debbie Winskill dissenting – to name Santorno first as superintendent-elect (interim), beginning in January. After serving six months in that position, Santorno would become interim superintendent from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013. 

The plan would include a board evaluation and community forums to collect public feedback in January 2013, after Santorno serves in her new leadership roles for a year.

Then, the board will decide to either extend her contract or conduct a national search.

 Sounds sorta familiar.

Also, recall Middle College HS teacher Beth Brunton being nominated for 2011 teacher of the year by  the Simon Youth Foundation?  Well, she won.  This is a great story of a teacher going far above and beyond for her students, helping to create the program there and raising funds for a life coach and substance abuse counselor.  Congratulations Ms. Brunton!


Saturday, October 15th
Family and Community Engagement Symposium at Garfield from 9 am - 2:30 p.m.
The district will offer workshops for our families and community partners on research-based best practices and practical strategies to help them support student academic achievement at home and in the community.  Free transportation, supervised child activities for ages 4 and up, light breakfast and lunch will be provided and there will be a Community Resource Fair.

Nathan Hale All Community Celebration from 10 am to 1 pm. to celebrate their new building.

Community Meeting with Michael DeBell at Caffe Appassionato from  9-11 am.

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

And, look who their new attorney is over there in the Tacoma School District -- Shannon from our own SPS Legal, Special Ed. Of course this is the reason the teachers went on strike!

What goes around ....

Anonymous said...

Oh, poor Tacoma. Just think if she hadn't left Seattle--she might now be our interim superintendent. She would have made Dr. Goodloe-Johnson look like a saint.

DWE

Anonymous said...

I actually really like Carla Santorno. I think most people who actually had dealings with her, did respect her. SHe was everything MGJ wasn't. She listens well, she considers community, she is engaged, she is very intelligent, and she gave-a-hoot. Seems like her main detractor are the 1 issue math book people. I think Tacoma is pretty lucky to have gotten her.

-parent

Anonymous said...

parent - "1 issue math book people" that is great!

You sound kind of 1 issue - like that money and reality thing doesn't matter kind of issue. I suppose money doesn't matter to you, because, with your trust fund you can afford to have money irrelevant to you! Consequently, it is irrelevant that we're sending thousands of Washington's kids into the community without the skills to participate or the skills to compete.
They should just get a trust fund, or, have enough money to not have to worry about money... and jobs ... and skills!

Or maybe you own a wal-mart kind of place and the more numerically incompetent your employees, the better you can rip them off?

1IssueIsMe

dan dempsey said...

WOW!! a parent.... you saw someone greatly different than many of us saw.

Santorno was a bully and single handedly installed Everyday Math in May 2007.

She offered to meet with me to discuss evidence prior to the math adoption .... then I sent her a list of questions and that ended her offer. Carla refused to meet... saying I was persecuting her perhaps because she was a Black woman.

Eventually SEA president, Wendy Kimball, got Carla to agree to meet with me but she would only agree to meet after the adoption had already taken place, because she was too busy to meet before that time.

She never answered the questions and I had ZERO interest in meeting with her after the Board approved Everyday math.

Carla stated that fidelity of implementation to the Everyday math pacing plan would eliminate the achievement gaps in 5 - years. ... Complete nonsense.... you can check how its going with EDM... here are some OSPI testing grades 3.4.5 comparisons.

Seattle & Auburn

Seattle and Clover Park

Anonymous said...

With all due respect, parent, you have incomplete information. As a union rep, I have specific knowledge of how she went after a teacher who crossed her. In my experience and opinion, she is the single most vindictive person I have ever met in any line of work. In my view, her use of district funds to attempt to destroy the reputation of a teacher was loathsome.

I love my students, my colleagues, and my school. But I have long disliked my district. Carla Santorno is but one sad, distressing saga in a long line of sad, distressing sagas in SPS. I would greatly appreciate it if Santorno's successor, and now interim superintendent, could work toward improving the climate at SPS. It has to get better if I am to continue to work here.

My students and my colleagues appreciate me, but I see little or no evidence that anyone above the level of my principal cares whether I stay or leave. Indeed, I see little evidence that those policymakers who are driving education policy nationally care whether a teacher like me stays or goes.

I desperately want the climate in education to change. That is one reason why I am involved in this School Board race. This election is really, for me, about a lot more than a set of personalities. It's about whether we're going to preserve and foster a climate that is worthy of good teachers.

DWE

Anonymous said...

As I said, Math Whiners Ye Shall Always Have. And they come out of the woodwork.

Interesting comment about the vindictiveness. I certainly never saw that. I would like to hear more about the details DWE reports.

-parent

Anonymous said...

Carla was very likable in person, listened well, and make lots of promises to do things. She just never did them. Par for the course at JSCEE, really.

There's an infamous exchange between her and Michael DeBell at a board meeting where she was pushing the discovery math adoption, wherein Michael asked her why, 3 years after they had adopted everyday math at the elementary level, they still had not incorporated traditional math curriculum supports they promised to implement three years earlier.

Santorno's response, essentially, was: It's not that we aren't doing what we promised; We just haven't done it yet. After three years...

Being obsessed with one issue is great, when that issue is the greatest challenge we have in the district right now. The one college professors are up in arms about. The one that American kids stink at, so lose high-paying jobs to foreign students who know traditional math. The one we spent a cool 25 mil on, just at the HS level. The one that has caused struggling students from years back to plummet into the ranges of catastrophic failure, blowing the achievement gap wide open, as Dan has demonstrated, with hard data, repeatedly for several years. Need I go on?

Dismissing "1 Issue" folks may feel good. But when that issue is the most controversial, expensive, and wrong-headed farce the district has engaged in during the last decade, it's sort of a "it's the math, stupid" situation, isn't it? And Carla was the CAO, and I don't recall a single matter she dealt with that was larger than the math adoption during her tenure here, so....let's be fair at least. WSDWG

Anonymous said...

DWE,

After many years in Seattle, I threw in the towel. My new teaching job is not perfect but the respect afforded teachers by administration at my new district confirms my daily experience of being totally discounted in Seattle's (including by most principals). I think having a very weak union has a large role to play.

Like you, the parents and my colleagues were excellent. However, I have never looked back.
Susan Enfield is another leader who has shown disdain for teachers.
Look at how she manhandled TFA--and then lied to the board. She continues to support the MAP, even if it is used 2 times. Her treatment of Martin Floe, and reliance on her deputy (Bree), was disgraceful.

When I read the comments of support here (earlier this week) of this woman for superintendent--currently on her best behavior since she is interim--I felt very bad for my former colleagues.

--Good luck to you

Melissa Westbrook said...

1Issue, please, that was pretty harsh on one person's opinion. It's fine to disagree but making comments that I'm pretty sure aren't true (how would you know who has a trust fund) is not helpful.

dan dempsey said...

Dear -parent,

Interesting that your support for Ms. Santorno seems based more on an intuition than fact.

"most people who actually had dealings with her, did respect her." and
"She listens well", and
"she gave-a-hoot".

The had Brad Bernetek playing the role of lap dog and cherry-picking data for her. ... so gave a HOOT about what?

She listened as well as Steve Sundquist.... and disregarded evidence in making decisions in a very similar manner to Steve's M.O.

Writing the following certainly does not make it so:
"most people who actually had dealings with her, did respect her."

Seattle is largely a dysfunctional district when it comes to making Centralized Decisions about Academics ... I think at least some of that could be attributed to CAOs.

Tacoma has been plagued with similar dysfunction for years ... Carla has been and will continue that Tacoma tradition.

I am sure that a few folks in Tacoma will find Ms. Santorno to be:


A good listener
Concerned and "giving a hoot"
and these few will respect her....

in spite of massive evidence to the contrary.

dan dempsey said...

NEWS FLASH !!!

One meeting (Intro/Action) on the evaluation instrument for the Superintendent ... See "looking ahead" thread

Anonymous said...

It doesn't feel good to dismiss 1-issue folks. The fact is, they won't go away. We can have a million superintendents, and they will still complain. A new math book won't make anything better. Nor would anybody who actually opened their eyes believe that this is "the single biggest reason"... for anything at all, nor the biggest failure. If it's the "biggest failure" then we truly are in great shape. It's just something people like to complain about. There are lots of reasons we've got an achievement gap. But the math-whiners can only think of that. And, afterwards, the same people say "there's nothing we can do about the achievement gap". Go figure. We have discovery math because good-ole-time math didn't work for loads of kids either. And really, it's no surprise that people are dismissed when they sing only one song, from the same book, for years on end.

But, what would be really good is something else. This blog has become a one-stop character assasination - from Sarah Pritchett as insane, to Carla Santorno as vindictive, to Kate Martin as xyz, to board members. If you've got a real beef, then great, let's see the "evidence". Now all we have is innuendos, character slams. That doesn't buy anybody any credibility, and it doesn't buy a seat at the table of ideas.

-parent

MAPsucks said...

Santorno was all about phony MAP pilots because her boss, MGJ, was all about favors for friends.

Anonymous said...

But the math-whiners can only think of that. And, afterwards, the same people say "there's nothing we can do about the achievement gap".

Parent: Apparently you've completely missed the massive pile of indisputable evidence put forth, including the nose-dive and huge expansion of the achievement gap that has occurred since the adoption of discovery math, compared to the "good ole math." Facts are stubborn things.

If single digit passing rates are okay with you, then I suppose this whole math thing is silly and annoying. For many, it's not that easy to ignore.

WSDWG

Anonymous said...

parent,

Carla was fairly personable, and I had quite a few conversations with her. But as soon as you said something she didn't like, good luck. You're on her shit list. She mocked me and other parents, and I will not forget, nor forgive.

Since it sounds like math isn't important to you (wtf?), how about another, non-math, Carla issue. When the district proposed the previous APP split, she was talking (off-mic) about how in Colorado she purposely put their APP-ish program in the crappiest, scariest part of the city. She laughed out loud and mocked those parents as well, proudly (yes, beaming with delight) exclaiming how the parents pulled up to the school with their kids and were afraid to get out of their cars.

This is not a person I would even remotely say "considers community", nor "gave a hoot".

- not signing my name

Melissa Westbrook said...

Parent, you paint with a broad brush:

"Now all we have is innuendos, character slams."

That's not true and you know it but I'm pretty sure you don't like most of the info disseminated here. That's okay but don't say the whole blog is non-factual. Most of the comments might but but Charlie and I operate on facts. That many don't like the reality or truth is troubling. The Times certainly doesn't and someone, somewhere has to daylight these issues.

Anonymous said...

On the one hand even I feel guilty for piling on the Santorno complaints, but I will never forget how she bullied us who questioned why we received less than promised in book $ by the district (and way late). I walked away from that MGJ/Santorno listening tour realizing Santorno thought we should be incredibly thankful to the JSC administrators that we received what we did (never mind it was less than promised).

I heard plenty more, but that was my only direct interaction with her and it was enough - I thought the district was fortunate when she left.

--- good luck Tacoma

Anonymous said...

parent,

I cannot share the details of the vendetta that Carla Santorno carried out against a teacher. I cannot tell anyone the details. When you are a union rep, you cannot betray confidences. Ever.

"Good luck to you"--I miss you, but I'm happy to hear that things are better for teachers where you are.

Anonymous said...

DWE above.

dan dempsey said...

A new math book won't make anything better.

says a parent.

Clearly "a parent" never looked at Clover Park data since CPSD changed books and Seattle did not.

Anonymous said...

Dan, everyone's got data. You poo-poo theirs, they poo-poo yours. Clover Park ain't Seattle, and it ain't that great.

-parent

Anonymous said...

Is there anyone who has worked as a high level SPS adminstrator that people who frequent this blog respect? I see the occational compliment to Pegi McEvoy, which is sometimes followed by a dig about her being a nurse.

-Curious Kate

anonymous said...
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anonymous said...
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anonymous said...

This is the third year that SPS has been using the Discovering text books in high school. I have two kids in two different SPS schools, and between both of them we have had 3 years of classes using the Discovering texts. I have asked, actually grilled, all 3 math teachers, about the texts. Two of the three teachers thought Discovering was a huge improvement over the old integrated textbooks (CMP???), and were pleased with them. The third teacher said she'd only used Geometry and really liked that book, but had not had a chance to use or evaluate Alg I or II yet. Not one teacher told me that they didn't like the Discovering texts, or thought they were a poor choice. I don't put a lot of weight into what the district has to say about texts, nor do I put a lot of weight into what parents, and activists have to say about the texts. I do however, put a great deal of weight into what my kids teachers, who work with the kids, and use the materials on a daily basis have to say. The feedback I get from them, and choose to go with, is that Discovering is working OK.

FWIW, my older child got a 3 on his Algebra EOC exam, and a 4 on the math MSP last year. That without any tutoring, and only the occasional and very basic help at home.

If you are concerned about Discovering I'd urge you to talk to your kids teachers - the real experts.

dreamer

Melissa Westbrook said...

Curious Kate, what I have heard here is praise for Enfield for her communications skills (and the effort she puts into it), I think most people respect Tracy Libros, head of enrollment.

I personally like the crop of new people at the the top - Bob Boesche, Doug Nichols, Paul Apostle and Pegi McEvoy.

Problem is Pegi and Paul are permanent but not Bob and Doug.

I think what is troubling is that what I want to see is different ways of doing things. When I see the capacity meetings with little notice and scrunched into one week, I see no change from what came before.

Different people don't mean a different district. Actions are what signal the difference.

Dorothy Neville said...

Dreamer, the new HS books are probably MUCH better than SOME of the previous books, so it really depends on which school these teachers have been teaching at. There was Integrated Math and something else? Investigations? Both had some real flaws. Now I would be curious to know if these teachers had taught from those or from Unified Math, which I really liked (but was dense).

Anonymous said...

Great idea Dreamer! Right on. Talk to the teachers. My kids' teachers really liked EDM. In fact, they went out of their way to praise it. My kids did well with it. And, my child with a significant disability did great with EDM while in elementary school. We also did TERC Investigations. Our teachers liked EDM better, but didn't rant about TERC either. They made that work too. The new ones also like CMP. Our principal told us schools could use any math text they wanted. All you hear around here is that "no", everybody is in lockstep. And "boo" everybody hates it. I'm not hearing that either.

People like WSDWG seem to hate the math. But isn't she an APP parent? Your kid should be plenty smart enough for it, right? Are you really going to be suffering from low achievement, or any sort of opportunity gap? Is this really the #1 thing for your kid? I sure hope not. So, she must be complaining on behalf of somebody else. Same with Dan Dempsey. Why not let the "injured parties" speak for themselves? Do they really feel damaged by this? Are new math books something they really want? Seems more like the judgements of others.

In any case, there we go. Math books have taken over the thread, when really it was about a few teachers.

-parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

Actually, the only teacher in this thread was our national teacher of the year, Beth Brunton. Somehow in the comments, we got to teachers.

"But isn't she an APP parent? Your kid should be plenty smart enough for it, right?"

If you disagree with APP as a program, fine. Please do not denigrate anyone's child. If I see this again, I will not hesitate to delete it.

Anonymous said...

Gary Pounder said at curriculum night that the geometry Discovering book is better than the algebra ones, but he still supplements fairly heavily. I don't get the impression he's crazy about this series.

Hamilton mom

Anonymous said...

Melissa, how many times do we hear about how minorities and ELL students can't hack inquiry based math? That never seems to be a comment worthy of a single eyelash bat. In fact, isn't that the main complaint (supposedly)? But gee, suggest that inquiry math wouldn't/shouldn't be a problem for an APP student? Now that's an outrage. Quite the double standard, don't you think?

-parent

Anonymous said...

Parent, My APP student struggles with Discovery Math and really struggled Connected Math. There are three problems 1)My student needs old fashion instruction where the teacher shows how the problem is done, asks students why it works and then completes practice problems to master the skill. 2)My student thinks in numbers and so the language arts based "explain your answers" in writing is very hard for my linear thinker. 3)My student does not work well in groups.

APP Parent

WenD said...

parent, you're cloak and clear intent to bully has me wondering who you really are. Four out of five years running, my kid has been classed FRL but tested into honors math. She complaining about EMD, how much it sucked, but how cool her 6th grade teacher was for giving extra assignments from Holt math to help her class. Is my girl a whiner, Sasha Fierce?

Charlie Mas said...

Actually, parent, people don't write that "minorities and ELL students can't hack inquiry based math". What is written is that the texts rely on the students to have strong English skills, which some students, particularly ELL students, do not have.

If you're going to characterize other people's statements please try to do it accurately.

Anonymous said...

Oh please. Yes they do write that minorities can't hack inquiry based math. ELL is only 1 group that supposedly can't hack it, and language only 1 reason. But really, the underlying belief and subtext, is that they can't hack inquiry itself... and that inquiry has caused a widening of the test score gap. We even have had lawsuits with that very claim. I certainly would hope APP students could, and definitely do wonder about the appropriate placement if they can't.

If the presumption that certain racial groups fail to achieve due to the instructional use of inquiry doesn't have a racial sub-message, I don't know what does.

No WenD, I do not work for SPS, or know you, nor have any intent to "bully" you. Not sure how I would be able to.

-parent

Charlie Mas said...

@parent
Show me. The entire archive of this blog is here. Show me where anyone writes that minorities or ELL students lack the mental capacity to achieve with inquiry-based math.

Not only don't I recall anyone writing that, I don't recall anyone suggesting it. The flaw lies in the instructional strategy's dependence on English skills, not in the students.

Anonymous said...

As a math tutor, I can tell you for people who have issues with reading and reading comprehension, CMP text is harder to get through. CMP also requires more writing and that combination can make homework difficult and a turnoff for these kids, especially if you have parents who are also struggling with English. English is not my first language, so I do understand first hand the difficulty of working through layers of a language before you can work the actual math problem out. That said, I and the teachers I work with don't hesitate to pull out other texts and manipulatives to supplement (we just don't talk about it). The point is we want our kids to learn math and will help them using ALL our tools.

math lover

anonymous said...

Uh, c'mon Charlie. A quick blog search using "inquiry math and minorities" or "discovering math and minorities", pulls up pages of posts, mainly from Dan Dempsey providing data about inquiry math not working for minorities, and test scores dropping for minorities since the use of the discovering texts. For just one example take a look at Melissa's thread "court of appeals reverses previous math adoption" where Dan posts "Check the Data from OSPI Spring 2010 Math testing for grade 10... year one of Seattle's Discovering...Black Student pass rate in math at grade 10 declined to 12.5%".

At any rate do a quick search. There is way to much to copy and paste, and reference here, but you will quickly see what Parent is talking about.

level headed

Anonymous said...

I am missing your point "level headed". I don't always agree with Dan, but I will give him this- he does provide DATA to back up his math observations. The numbers he post are not his, but ones from the district's and state's data set. The state and district break down their data by many criteria and one is race/ethnic groups. I have gone back to look at some of those data he posts from the district's own websites just to double check. He spends, at least on this blog, a great deal of his time analysing the numbers. The district has its people doing similar things and pays them for it. Dan does it out of passion freely. Personally, I am glad to have a fact checker around. It balances things out.

If you have a different opinion on the district's math data, I'm all ears and would be happy to read your analysis.

-blog reader

Rufus X said...

-parent, you're being obtuse and insulting. Stop it. Please and thank you.

Charlie Mas said...

The difference, my dear level headed, is that Dan, and others, write that inquiry math does not work for minorities, not that minorities can't work with inquiry math.

It is not a subtle difference. One suggests that the problem is in the instructional strategy, the other suggests that the problem is in the student. No one has suggested, as parent accused, that the problem is in the students.

Jan said...

parent said: We have discovery math because good-ole-time math didn't work for loads of kids either.

I am curious, parent. You slam Dan and others for being one issue folks (though Dan, to his credit, has MANY issues -- math adoption being only one big one). But I have seen no evidence at all to back up what you are saying above.

Of course, if you are asking for a return to some really old, creaky, no concepts/nothing but drill math, then this is the same sort of red herring argument where you blame people for something they never championed. Because what most people here have asked for is (a) something more along the lines of Singapore, or one of the other sets of materials that has been evaluated as providing better coverage of materials, more ability for kids to "practice," some ability for teachers to provide the kinds of direct instruction (examples, explanations, and problem sets) that permit parents to work with kids at home, and for kids to work independently and use their books as references for questions), and (b) materials that have NOT been ranked as mathematically unsound (which Discovery was).

So -- if "sound" mathematical materials, that permit kids (and their families) to use the materials without reference to a teacher, that allow both some degree of inquiry learning, but also some amount of more direct-type instruction, that are flexible enough so that they permit ELL kids to progress through them without regard to their developing English skills constitutes "good-ole-time" math -- then I guess I am wondering where YOUR data (similar to Dan's) is that would suggest that those materials also don't work for "loads of kids." Because I have NEVER seen any research that suggests that.