Thursday, February 16, 2012

Open Thread Friday - Have a Good Time

Watch this video and see what looks like a community of happy kids and dedicated staff.  Inspirational.

Green Lake Elementary Rocks!

43 comments:

David said...

Anyone see this "New Haven Experiment" idea of paying teachers a lot more in exchange for giving up tenure?

I am supportive of the idea, but I am bothered by the lack of data in the article. Other cities must have attempted this? Does anyone know whether, in districts where union contracts have reduced provisions intended to provide job security in exchange for higher benefits and pay, whether there has been any measurable increase in student performance?

uxolo said...

GREEN LAKE STAFF! BRILLIANT!

Cap'n Billy Keg said...

Fire at Broadview-Thomson

It is not often that represented classified employees of this (and other) school districts are thanked PUBLICLY for the job they do when it comes to "saving the day".

In this day and age when the mantra is to blame "public employees" for the ills of the economy, it is nice to hear about a "public employee" who put the safety of those in his building FIRST. Upon discovering an electrical panel on fire in the boiler room , this "public employee" (Custodian Engineer at Broadview-Thomson) didn't hesitate to pull the fire alarm to evacuate the building. The fire department was on scene within a matter of minutes and doused the fire thus averting a more disastorous scenario.

So, when you encouter a "public employee" in one of the many schools in this school district, take the time to say "thank you" to them just as you would take the time to say thank you to those who serve in our military (i.e., "public employees").

THANK YOU, Mr. Custodian Engineer at Broadview-Thomson for a job well done and for "saving the day"...!!

Josh Hayes said...

Had a good turnout at the Pinehurst tour yesterday morning, including several parents anxious about whether their kindergarteners would make it through the wait list. THE WAIT LIST. Oh Lord, please let us have a wait list.

And let everyone get through it.

peonypower said...

A shout out to Ballard High School that won an award in the Funky Junk Competition at the NW flower and Garden show. Ballard won "most creative funky design" for their garden Club Fungi. This makes 3 years running that the BHS greenhouse has won at Funky Junk. Hats off to those creative and innovative students.

Charlie Mas said...

Heather Swanson, principal at Catherine Blaine, is moving on.

See this story in Magnolia Voice.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Anyone find it odd that Brian Rosenthal hasn't had a story in the Times about the Creative Approach Schools? It was quite the tussle and, of course, we all know if could mean many things to many schools.

Oh and the Board gave up its oversight rights.

Why would this not be an important story?

Remembering how several speakers, including staff, said have the CAS MOU in place would help stave off charter legislation (something for the Seattle delegation to tell other legislators) - I wonder if the Times isn't printing something because they DON'T want other legislators to see that a district and a union (and it should be a School Board as well) can work out agreements WITHOUT charter legislation?

If we don't see something this weekend, I'm really going to wonder.

Bulltrout said...

Lowell@Lowell staff told by Nancy Coogan yesterday that Gregory King will be principal there this year and the next.

Awaiting results of investigation...

Anonymous said...

Green Lake Staff COMPLETELY Rock! It was all my kids talked about about after school that day. They never expected it. (and just to be clear, the assembly was for ALL kids at the school, not just a subset as the Roosiehood blog sort of implies).

Green Lake Parent

Catherine said...

Green Lake ROCKS!

Rufus X said...

First, the good: I know folks sing the praises of this blog from time to time, and I just want to add my voice to that chorus. This has been my one-stop for information for a while, and I am constantly amazed at 1) just how much I don't know, 2) how informative this innerweb-place is, and 3) how repsectful and intelligent the conversations are. Just want to say thank you for its existence, the work that's put into it, and the goldmine of info and opinion available here.

The not-so good: I am curious about parents' experience with inappropriate, intimidating, or threatening interactions between your child and fellow students via text messages and social media. Specifically - has your child been the recipent of or accued instigator or threatening, intimidating, or inappropriate messages, during or outside of school? If so, what actions did your student's school admin take or not take? I know the district has a fairly open-ended code of conduct which includes cyberbullying, threats, etc, but I'm curious about personal experience with how specific schools have handled these types of incidents. I will not reveal too much about our family situation, and I don't expect anyone else would reveal too much personal detail. Just general first-hand accounts would be greatly appreciated.

TraceyS said...

Chris Cronas at Wedgwood announced yesterday that he is postponing Spectrum changes for 3rd grade next year, but will continue with changes in 1st and 2nd grade. Here is a copy of his memo to parents.
Cronas Letter

I have very mixed feelings about this, since the main concerns around working with the entire community, identifying metrics of success, and having a written plan, were not addressed in this memo. We also still do not have any description of what is happening in 1st grade this year, nor what will be happening in 1st and 2nd next year.

But it is a start, and I am glad to see that there is recognition that upcoming AL Taskforce recommendations could very well impact future plans for Spectrum at Wedgwood and at other schools. Waiting on the taskforce to complete its work is a good thing.

TraceyS said...

Let's try that link again:

http://wedgwoodes.seattleschools.org/modules/newsletter/newslettereditionview.phtml?nedid=14147

Johnny Calcagno said...

I just got back from TOPS, where my son’s 8th grade class is having a debriefing session on their “Planting the Seeds” experience this week. PTS is an amazing and inspirational program, now in its 4th year at TOPS, that places students in a wide assortment of social service agencies and shelters around town.

The students are put in small groups (not with their friends!), assigned a leader (usually one of TOPS great staff members), and then walk from agency to agency serving food, cleaning sleeping mats, washing windows, doing nail care, etc. They sleep in church basements and leave their electronics and money at home.

On arrival back to school this morning, the 8th graders were greeted by a sweet lineup of kindergarteners, and kind words from staff, parents, and from each other. This afternoon they will share their stories with kids in the primary grades.

On the way to school today, a homeless man ran across the freeway ramp in front of our car. My son said “I bet I served him yesterday.” Yeah.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Rufus, the NY Times has covered this issue and you could check in to see what is happening in other states. The one article I read said that some districts will not touch the issue if it is something that did not happen at the school (or with school computers). I don't know SPS' policy well.

Tracy, yes, Principal Cronas mentioned this at the AL meeting. Apparently, he is hearing a lot from both sides. My thought is that it would have been better to have full transparency from the start as change without explanation naturally makes parents unhappy/nervous/upset.

Johnny, a teacher at the Arbor Heights charter forum last night (very lively and a good conversation) was talking about telling the good stories about SPS. Yours is a great one.

dan dempsey said...

Catherine Blaine k-8 has been a strong performer and often is used as an argument for more k-8 schools.

I remember from years ago that k-8 schools do not suffer from the middle school adjustment problem faced by many students as they transition from an elementary school, as there is no change of scenery.

Blaine has only 15% low income students. WASL and MSP results for low income kids at particular grades are not alway available becuse of less than 10 students as low income.

HERE are scores for 8th grade students classified as low income.

Congratulations to Heather Swanson for her fine service to students and families.

Anonymous said...

@Bulltrout-wonder if the investigation came out (or will be coming out)in favor of Mr. King and that's why they're keeping him on? And if I understand correctly, it's for the Lowell (non-APP) building only?

Very Interested

Anonymous said...

Wondering if any of the SPED-watchers here would comment on the new assignment plan for secondary SPED students ... it seems so disturbing I feel I must be understanding it wrong.
--monkeypuzzled

SeattleSped said...

I understand Blaine was also quite successful at keeping special education kids OUT. Raspberries to Swanson.

And I'd like confirmation whether she is representing PASS on the Supt Search Committee. Hardly seems appropriate now.

SeattleSped said...

Monkeypuzzled,

Some principals only heard about it yesterday. There is a meeting Monday night (holiday?!) with Sped Staff and administrators to talk about the new definition of service Model 4; it's a class for both inclusion AND self-contained. See SPS makes it easy. Rather than offer a continuum of placements in the district, they offer a continuum in ONE ROOM!

Yeah, we're pissed!

Melissa Westbrook said...

Seattle Sped, I believe she is on the superintendent search committee representing PASS.

Anonymous said...

Seattlesped, I'm probably naive to be so shocked but ... isn't the result going to be taking kids who may have thrived in inclusion and forcing them into self-contained? Can this be correct???
--monkeypuzzled

Anonymous said...

And can it possibly be legal?!
--monkeypuzzled

Maureen said...

I second Johnny's kudos to the TOPS 8th graders. I also want to thank the supportive administrators, parent coordinators and volunteers and especially the eight teachers who spent three days and two nights away from their own homes and families. Those kids are so fortunate to be part of a community that is motivated to support them as they become active participants, leaders, learners, and contributors to social justice.

SeattleSped said...

Many of us question whether it is legal. We're not lawyers. What is not questionable is that, there is no way in h*ll that one special educator with specialized expertise can be in both a gen ed classroom AND a SpEd classroom at the same time. The result will be NO ONE will be served.

There's been NO community engagement on this. There's been no school staff engagement. Who MAKES these decisions and steps in these cowpies?!

dan dempsey said...

Can Community Colleges train workers for high tech jobs?

The President and his Republican challengers are battling over who can create more jobs. But mechanization has devastated the workforce, and Americans are not being trained for the high-tech economy of the future. How much would the President’s plan for mobilizing community colleges help?

dan dempsey said...

About Blaine and SpEd students

Special Education (May 2011) 79 14.5%

That was 79 students out of 546.

The SpEd average for the SPS is 14.2%

The WA State average is 13.1%

Anonymous said...

Has anyone read Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5898? If so, do you understand how measures of student growth will be developed for teachers of all subjects? In other words, who (and at what expense) will develop measures of student growth for Auto Tech, Theory of Knowledge, Family and Consumer Science, IB Business,and so on? For subjects for which standardized district-based or state-based assessments don't exist, will teachers then have the latitude to develop classroom-based assessments that will figure into their own evaluations? If so, what incentive would anyone have for (1) teaching in a district-based or state-based tested subject, (2) taking on classes of historically low-growth students, (3) teaching, say, three preps instead of one or two, (4) taking on a new course, or (5) working an especially difficult schedule (teaching a 7th or 0 period, working an 1.2 FTE contract, and so on)?

In the absence of funds to develop new measures of student growth, won't most high school assessments be classroom-based? In that case, why would anyone want to teach language arts or math?

DWE

seattle citizen said...

DWE asks, "do you understand how measures of student growth will be developed for teachers of all subjects?"

Here's another question, so far unanswered (but I've heard that SPS supposedly HAS an answer):

Student takes Reading HSPE or MAP. Student's score goes up or down. Question: Who is responsible? Who get's credit or discredit? The student has Reading, Language Arts, History, Science, math, and elective teachers, all working with text in one form or another.

Other variables to throw into the mix - Student has never been tutored after school in the past but has been the semester before the test. And/or, student's parent's divorced and mom took the household library and reading time with her and the student, through her/his tears over the divorce, cannot read anyway.

Who is responsible for growth or lack of it in Reading?

I've heard rumor that the district has decided that in cases where a student has both a reading teacher and an LA teacher, the teachers share responsibity got growth or regression (as measured by tests that invariably show both growth AND regression over time...)

seattle citizen said...

DWE asks, "do you understand how measures of student growth will be developed for teachers of all subjects?"

Here's another question, so far unanswered (but I've heard that SPS supposedly HAS an answer):

Student takes Reading HSPE or MAP. Student's score goes up or down. Question: Who is responsible? Who get's credit or discredit? The student has Reading, Language Arts, History, Science, math, and elective teachers, all working with text in one form or another.

Other variables to throw into the mix - Student has never been tutored after school in the past but has been the semester before the test. And/or, student's parent's divorced and mom took the household library and reading time with her and the student, through her/his tears over the divorce, cannot read anyway.

Who is responsible for growth or lack of it in Reading?

I've heard rumor that the district has decided that in cases where a student has both a reading teacher and an LA teacher, the teachers share responsibity got growth or regression (as measured by tests that invariably show both growth AND regression over time...)

seattle citizen said...

DWE asks, "do you understand how measures of student growth will be developed for teachers of all subjects?"

Here's another question, so far unanswered (but I've heard that SPS supposedly HAS an answer):

Student takes Reading HSPE or MAP. Student's score goes up or down. Question: Who is responsible? Who get's credit or discredit? The student has Reading, Language Arts, History, Science, math, and elective teachers, all working with text in one form or another.

Other variables to throw into the mix - Student has never been tutored after school in the past but has been the semester before the test. And/or, student's parent's divorced and mom took the household library and reading time with her and the student, through her/his tears over the divorce, cannot read anyway.

Who is responsible for growth or lack of it in Reading?

I've heard rumor that the district has decided that in cases where a student has both a reading teacher and an LA teacher, the teachers share responsibity got growth or regression (as measured by tests that invariably show both growth AND regression over time...)

dan dempsey said...

DWE,

This entire game is a giant sham.

From CATO
The War against Core

---
Today’s new front comes in the form of the Brookings Institution’s 2012 Brown Center Report on American Education, which includes three sections attacking rampant misuse of standards and tests. The first focuses on the Common Core, looking at the discernable impacts of state-level standards on achievement, and finding that (a) varying state standards have no meaningful correlation with achievement on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, and (b) there is much greater variation within states than between them, meaning national standards will do little to change big achievement gaps.

The report’s other two sections deal, first, with differences between the Main and Long-Term Trend NAEP – which brings up a central problem of using tests to judge quality without knowing what’s on them – and second, the misues of international exams to tout favorite policy prescriptions. Basically, pundits and analysts love to pick out countries in isolation and finger one or two characteristics of their education systems as key to their success. Some also love to invoke this stinker that I and others have railed about for years:

In the U.S., advocates of a national curriculum have for years pointed to nations at the top of TIMSS and PISA rankings and argued that because those countries have national curriculums, a national curriculum must be good. The argument is without merit. What the advocates neglect to observe is that countries at the bottom of the international rankings also have a national curriculum.

The report is well worth checking out.
----

Clearly we have too many elected representatives that DON"T KNOW SQUAT about education or research or the intelligent application of relevant data.

The size of various achievement gaps certainly would lead me to believe that article IX of the state constitution is being violated ... so who cares?
NOT the Courts
NOT the SPS Central Admin
NOT enough SPS directors
NOT enough legislators
NOT Randy Dorn

WA State = #42 in education spending and proud of it.

This is not solely about spending ... equally at fault is the disastrous decision making by leadership.

The SPS spends a lot irrationally.

To Improve a System requires the intelligent application of relevant data.

-- Dan

Anonymous said...

Principal change at Whittier next year. Linda Robinson is retiring. Perhaps assistant principal Helm will apply for the position? From Blaine to Whittier. Similar demographic isn't it?

n...

Anonymous said...

Upon reading Kristof's article, I see Randi Weingarten is behind it. Some years ago, there was a push for us to become AFT members. I endorsed that change. I believe Albert Shankar was a superb leader of teachers and we sure need another Albert Shankar today. He was really, really smart. I would still prefer that affiliation.

n...

SeattleSped said...

Dan, a wise friend of mine who knows more than just counting IEPS said:

"At Blaine school they call their middle school program "self-contained" to try to keep students with disabilities out of core classes. "Oh. We're self-contained, so you've gotta go to the room." But when they the get real, self-contained students. Those who have been in low-incidence self-contained programs, SM2, with lots of adaptive challenges - their tune changes and they say "Oh. We're NOT self-contained, like we were 5 minutes ago... you must go to Hamilton." They're self-contained when it suits them.... and no too self-contained when that suits them... all in an effort to limit service."

It's the principal that drives that kind of doublespeak. Hey, Blaine isn't the only place that does it. But they have a rep.

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

What kills me is, when has Obama EVER visited the Northwest without paying homage to the 1% in Medina? Does he think that represents US? We are MORE than Boeing and Microsoft!

Anonymous said...

DWE,
You're misunderstanding politics and math about money.

How many emails have you had from WEA about the possible health care changes? 5? 8?

How many calls to action on this stupid Right Wing Rodney Tom pack of lies blaming us working stiffs instead of the bosses? 1? 2?

If the state changes the health care, the union pooh-bahs get the same ol same ol as other state workers. If the state changes teacher evals and fires 1/2 of us, well, the districts hire new teachers and the pooh-bahs still get their dues.

With Tim Burgess ('I never met an ed deform lie I didn't parrot') showing up at School Board meetings to support Jonathan's and Michael's midnight MOU on 'creative schools', what is MOST important to union leadership is that they have a seat at the table when the cutting edge of conventional don't rock the boat "wisdom" is dished out.

ThereIsThemThereIsUs

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yeah, SpecialEd, I had to smile when I saw he visited Medina Elementary School. Of all the schools in Bellevue or the region, that's the one he got sent to. (I know it probably closest to where he needed to be but there is some irony. He would have been the only African-American in the building as they have no African-American students.)

dan dempsey said...

SeattleSped...

Thanks for the clarification of how the SpEd classification is used in different places.
=====

New topic

Puyallup Superintendent search has been narrowed down to three.

The three finalists are:

• Lester “Flip” Herndon, Jr., superintendent of the Bremerton School District and a former assistant superintendent for Tacoma Public Schools.

• Michael Newman, deputy superintendent of business and operations for the Auburn School District.

• Timothy Yeomans, superintendent of the Meridian School District in Bellingham.

Salander said...

Beloved Senior Teachers

SEA chooses to ignore the fact that senior teachers are being forced out by predatory administration tactics.

Please consider sharing your experiences.

http://seattleareateachers.blogspot.com/

Salander

Anonymous said...

Another element of 5895 that I haven't heard discussed is permitting student ratings of a teacher to figure into her evaluation. What are the implications of that? How would it change the dynamic between student and teacher? Would it contribute to even more grade inflation?

DWE

Baba Blacksheep said...

@ Josh Hayes: we are interested in Pinehurst. We toured it earlier this year. The only thing is that it isn't really in our neighborhood. People are always saying it is in danger of closing, I heard that is why people are wary of applying.