Monday, January 02, 2012

Seattle Schools This Week

Wednesday, Jan. 4th

Second part of a Work Session around Board policy Series 6000 from 4-5:30 p.m.  This series is about operations including budgeting, revenues, purchasing, etc.

School Board Meeting - 6-9 p.m.  Among items on the agenda:

  • approval of superintendent search 
  • capital levy planning policy
  • guiding principles for BEX IV planning  (I guess this is just here  because they need one because it says virtually nothing specific.)
  • a public hand-slapping of the district by the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) because they violated the union rights of a district employee trying to engage in union activities and failed to provide the union requested collective bargaining information in a timely fashion.
  • appointment of new members of the BEX Oversight Committee (they all look good - I wish there were a single one in there, though).
The two most interesting items will be the Actions for Short-Term Capacity Management and the NSAP: Transition Plan for 2012-13 and Waiver of Basic Instructional Materials policy.

It looks like Boren opens as a temporary site for a new elementary option to later be located at Fairmount park, Genessee Hill and/or Hughes.  (That "and/or" may mean two schools, I assume.)

The action states that even with opening Boren, "there is a potential need of 25-35 portables, to be located at various sites throughout the District."  

They are reallocating money from the Capital Budget from alleged saving from BTA III projects and BEX III projects.  (I'd have to see this on paper because I worry about all this magical "savings" the district is so fond of touting without proof.)

From the action:

The primary student assignment changes to accommodate capacity management issues are: (1)
boundary adjustments to John Stanford, B.F. Day, and McDonald; and (2) modifications to
Geographic Priority Zones for Queen Anne, South Shore, and Thornton Creek.

Other than capacity-related assignment components, very few changes are being recommended
for the NSAP Transition Plan for 2012-13. These are generally based on streamlining and/or
clarifying assignment rules where greater clarity is needed about the specifics of implementation.
The principal changes are: (1) guaranteed assignment of Spectrum-eligible 5th graders to
Spectrum at their attendance area school; (2) more clear and equitable processes for
twins/multiples and siblings applying for school choice; (3) implementation of the International

School pathway from Denny to Chief Sealth (Spanish), and (4) address boundary changes at
John Stanford International School. 


The program at Boren will be an elementary option school, serving grades K-5. No geographic
priority zone (GeoZone) is being recommended for this option school for 2012-13, since the goal
is to serve students from all West Seattle elementary schools. 


The Waiver policy action includes a "Research and Data Sources" section that seems a bit sketchy to me.  In short, the information there seems to be there to support the action and not what may be best practices.  They do say that of 46 principals who responded to a survey, 52.2% stated they did NOT support material waivers and 47.8% did. 

Boy, you should read the answers to the survey.   Principals have several answers but none of them seem to be "it's a bad idea."  The answers come out to:

- inequity between schools able to raise money for additional materials versus those who cannot
- yes, if the school can prove how it will enhance learning
- consistency
- this would be a step backwards from Aligned curriculum
- worry about students who move to different schools

As far as the policy, it still retains a multi-step process that looks like a big hill to climb.    It leaves all final decisions in the hands of the superintendent.  There is no parent input involved in the process.  T (That might happen at a school level but only if you have a principal who will agree.)

Don't look for more waivers anytime soon unless your PTA will pony up the money and your principal agrees to it.


Thursday, Jan. 5th
The district is starting its annual "College Goal Sunday" (apparently on a Thursday) at Ballard High School from 6-9 p.m.

The goal is to help high-school seniors applying for federal aid to higher education institutions.  Trained volunteers will be on-hand to help parents and students with the (dreaded) FAFSA (Federal Student Aid form).   Students and parents will also be able to talked with expert financial aid administrators about deadlines and other information about paying for college. 

College Bound Scholarship seniors must complete the FAFSA by Feb. 1, 2012 to meet the deadline for priority funding. 

 There will be an event at nearly every high school during the month of January; visit the district website for other dates.  Visit College Goal Sunday for more info.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

So the goal of the new option school at Boren is to serve all students in West Seattle, but apparently Thornton Creek is only to serve those from from the View Ridge or Wedgewood neighborhoods.

I also noticed in the actual Transition Plan document that siblings moved out of the JSIS assignment area will get an assignment at McDonald.

Kindergarten siblings of students
attending John Stanford who live in Area 1 (changing from John Stanford to B.F. Day) will be guaranteed assignment to McDonald if they are not assigned to John Stanford. This applies to students entering kindergarten in 2012-13.


- interested parent

Anonymous said...

Is there anywhere at this point to view the proposed GeoZone changes?

South Shore Parent

dan dempsey said...

Melissa,

Good points about the inadequacy of the Waiver policy 2020. I will take that a lot further HERE. (My testimony for Wed. evening and a bit more.)

---------
Remember the main driving forces behind waivers are the defective instructional materials and practices in SPS math. ... I am sure a lot of teachers may not be thrilled with Readers and Writers workshops either.
---------
MW wrote:
"Boy, you should read the answers to the survey. Principals have several answers but none of them seem to be "it's a bad idea." The answers come out to:

- inequity between schools able to raise money for additional materials versus those who cannot
- yes, if the school can prove how it will enhance learning
- consistency
- this would be a step backwards from Aligned curriculum
- worry about students who move to different schools"


The amazing thing to me is that none of these principals seem to realize how poor the results are from Everyday Math and "Discovering Algebra". Are these principals instructional leaders?

How can effective leadership happen when few if any leaders are informed enough or perhaps brave enough to state what is occurring and act on the evidence?

What a Circus!!!

Time for the Directors to step up and direct the Superintendent .... the era of nearly No Management apparently continues on in academics.

Anonymous said...
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Wondering said...

Will the district be willing to provide materials and continued professional development for teachers? Or, will the district continue to withhold this type of support?

Po3 said...

I find the comments in the survey very interesting in that many people site granting waivers as a means to increase the disparity between the haves and the have nots. Yet we all know that one of the "Have nots" middle schools have been able to use their own materials (Saxon) and are seeing great results.

Ironic.

dan dempsey said...

Yes Po3,

I always wonder if providing the opportunity for each student to maximize their talents is the goal or if equal outcomes is the goal.

As to the granting of waivers increasing the disparity between the haves and the have nots, look no further than 9th grade Low Income Student pass rates on the Algebra EoC at RBHS 7.7% and compare it with Low Income 9th grade Algebra Students at Roosevelt 66.0%. ..... or White Students at Roosevelt 78.5% ....... I think that disparity is large enough that increasing "waivers" need not be a concern for the "Have Nots".

It seems that many folks like to have theoretical discussions ... which have no contact with reality in SPS schools.

I doubt waivers will adversely impact any student's opportunity to maximize his or her talents. If policy 2020 is adopted you will see likely very few waivers because that is the preferred plan of Central Admin ... NO waivers.

Charlie Mas said...

I'm suspicious of a waiver process that allows the superintendent to veto any waiver request for any reason without recourse.

Melissa Westbrook said...

When Betty Patu asked about this policy at the C&I meeting and said, "What if half the schools want to do this?" you could see the terror in staff's eyes. Then someone got a grip and remembered that it is, in the end, all in the hands of the superintendent. What a relief!

RosieReader said...

Here's another Thursday event.

Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Susan Enfield, state Rep. Reuven Carlyle and School Board Director Michael DeBell will host a question and answer session on the state of the Seattle School District at Coe Elementary School, at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 5. Coe is at 2424 Seventh Ave. W. Catharine Blaine K-8 is a co-sponsor of the event. Parents, students and all concerned neighbors are encouraged to attend.

dan dempsey said...

you could see the terror in staff's eyes.

For a small moment ... the thought of public results and public accountability appeared .... but then passed. The Super to the rescue.

Does Cathy Thompson know how Bad the Math results actually are?

This is akin to riding the illusory financial crest in the years prior to the big meltdown.

Will a Math "Margin Call" ever appear?

Likely not ... about the time OSPI Math testing would be a gradation requirement ... another big delay as we switch to Common Core testing.

SeattleSped said...

In case you didn't know, which is very likely since SPS made no announcement as they did for the Positive Climate and Discipline Advisory Committee or the Equity and Race Advisory Committee

An announcement buried on the Special Education Department webpage states SPS is looking for members for the Special Education Advisory and Advocacy Council. Please consider getting involved.

SEAAC memo

mirmac1 said...

Crosscut does it again...The Supe Seattle loved and lost

mirmac1 said...

37% favorable opinion of Enfield is "loved"?