Friday, April 06, 2012

Friday Open Thread

What's on your mind?

64 comments:

Anonymous said...

Today Eric Sigliano and Jordan Royer at Crosscut (rarely known for adding anything that isn't derivative to the education discussion)disses bloggers, activists, "civic gadflies" and pretty much anyone not associated with Downtown or LEV.

Barf.

DistrictWatcher

Anonymous said...

Any thoughts on the Social Studies textbook adoptions (introduced at the last Board meeting)?

parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

District Watcher, thanks for the heads up on the Crosscut article. It deserves its own thread as DeBell is continuing to stir the pot.

Someone said...

Nice comment over there MW - yep, I'd say Mr. DeBell is playing politics in the press - how frightened of the truth must one be to continue this barrage on forthright discussion.

mirmac1 said...

Oh, but DeBell didn't go to the press (and with Crosscut, that's using the term VERY loosely), I'm sure Frank Greer will take the credit/blame because he's teflon-coated, isn't he?

Anonymous said...

Following up from 2 weeks back on an abuse investigation in a NE elementary school;
I know emails SENT from SPS employees can become public record, but what about emails sent TO? I've contacted the principal, as SPS and Ron McG advise, but he/she refuses to email back.
Any knowledge how it works?
Juliette

Po3 said...

I loved this line:

"The district hired the third, Maria Goodloe-Johnson, who like Manhas left after a relatively brief, stormy tenure."

She was FIRED, she did leave for another job like Manhas.

And Melissa, nice job setting the record straight. You civic gadfly!

Po3 said...

oops:
She was FIRED, she did NOT leave for another job like Manhas.

Anonymous said...

I have to laugh at the article due to the sheer irony it poses. It makes a big deal of using the Super search to bash the "monsters" that scare off would be candidates. So it said. But who really scares off the candidates? (which includes snippet of a fictional interview to underline the scare.)

With an article titled:
"So you want to run a school district? Don't let us scare you away."
By Eric Scigliano

I think these guys have just answered their own question!

-chuckle

mirmac1 said...

Juliette,

Yes, all emails are public records except for some very specific exemptions.

Ron McG has an escalation sequence, give that a try, set a deadline, then go to the next level.

Anonymous said...

I find these pieces interesting. It is their "new" approach to push back the "gadflies" that are actually accomplishing a lot these days. Grassroots campaigns that resulted in two new board members, for example.

Do they realize that everytime they print one of these silly pieces they give the gadflies more opportunity to educate the public, as Melissa's comment, nicely placed right under the article, does today?

Nice work pesky bloggers!

SPS Parent

Sahila said...

Legislation would allow Louisiana charter schools to discriminate against gays, non-english speakers and just about anyone else they dont want.... limit to contract clauses proposed

Anonymous said...

Glad to see that there is possibly some support for Social Studies. A year ago, we teachers were told that there wasn't time for Soc. St.,that all the time was to go to Science. That was a choice made from the powers that be. We had just gone through meeting all summer over developing our Social Studies content. At September, we were told that Soc. St. was no longer a priority.

Is this adoption of text books for elementary school? That's where we experienced pressure to give former Social Studies time to the other sanctioned subjects of Reading, Writing, Math, and Science. Those current programs left no time for anything else.

Former Seattle Teacher

Anonymous said...

Juliette
I can't get a live link to work, but go to the SPS homepage/District/Departments and scroll down to Public Records. You will find all the infromation you need to make a request.

hope that helps

mirmac1 said...

Ridiculous articles like Crosscut's demonstrate to me that the gadflies have them on the defensive.

Sahila said...

one education for the rich, another for the poor: CSU also explores 2-tiered pricing plan

Anonymous said...

Former Seattle Teacher, I don't know if you're the one my kids had before you "retired", but just want to let you know, my kids loved SS and how it was woven into the LAs and yes geography and science. Even if you are not and have contacts with current SPS teachers, please encourage them to sneak it in.

-grateful mom who supplement a lot at home

Someone said...

Juliette - yes - emails "TO" SPS personnel are also part of the public record - but as suggested, if you feel like you are spinning your wheels, add a deadline, and start ccing up the food chain as far as you are comfortable going. Sometimes it's knowing that one's boss is also reading the email that moves things along.

Disgusted said...

Does anyone else suspect the Superintendent has already been selected? Heck, DeBell will lead the pack. DeBell, Carr and Martin Morris will stick together. Then, DeBell will convince McLaren to vote with them. Job done.

Anonymous said...

It's a high school SS adoption. In my child's elementary, SS is still getting the short shrift and state standards are not close to being covered...one more thing to supplement at home.

sigh

Anonymous said...

It looks like the problems concerning the Lowell principals has already been swept under the carpet.

L@Lincoln watcher

Anonymous said...

To Grateful Mom who supplements a lot.

Yes, it sounds like that teacher was me. I was a senior teacher who was pushed out. My retirement had not been planned, but I needed to get away from the bullying. I still care about what is happening with with SPS, and speak to issues that are raised. It is time for the pendulem to swing back to supporting Social Studies as an important subject.

Former Seattle teacher

suep. said...

L@Lincoln watcher

I agree that such sweeping has been going on.

And instead of a community forum some have requested and which the community is owed, the district is instead offering a "coffee chat" with Rina and Nancy next Thursday at 9:30 AM at L@L.

Scheduled during the day when many working parents can't make it, and a couple days before spring break when many families may be leaving or already out of town.

But it's still an opportunity to discuss principal misconduct, what it means to have a principal who has received a written reprimand, and a chance to ask why the principals falsely instigated an investigation into two employees who were doing the right thing, and why L@L parents should believe that our kids are safe and staff will be treated properly at L@L -- over coffee.

Coffee Chat with Rina and Nancy
Please join Nancy Coogan and Rina Geoghagan for our April Coffee Chat, Thursday, April 12th at 9:30 AM in the third floor staff lounge, room 307. As this meeting is occurring during the school day, parents should remember to check in at the Lincoln office.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Juliette, when you do a public disclosure request you usually do not have to say "e-mails from and to" but any and all e-mails between X and Y, time period and subject(s). I mean you don't want to go on a fishing expedition; that wastes your time and the district's. But you can ask for specific things.

I suspect that DeBell probably has someone in mind already as do all the Board members. Do I believe that he will fend off the Alliance or others from looking at the applications? Hard to say but given how much he leans their way, I wouldn't be surprised.

The Lowell investigation is not over. I suspect some movement will happen by the end of the school year.

mirmac1 said...

repost

Okay this is hilarious, one of the phony orgs on the Korsmo piece (no names, only a "communication specialist") has been hacked! And since nobodies home, who cares right?

College and Work Ready Agenda wants you to buy Cialis

Eric B said...

From the Crosscut article: "In 2003, all five finalists took themselves out of contention, forcing the board to higher Raj Manhas, who didn’t place and didn’t have education experience." [emphasis added]

Is copy editing dead? I know it's a bit snarky, but if people are going to put themselves about under the journalist title, shouldn't we expect correct usage?

mirmac1 said...

But Eric B! You saw all those journalism awards the dude won. Weren't you impressed? Where those awards for muckraking?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
mirmac1 said...

Here's some more "empty suits" in the Korsmo article on A+ Washington in the Everett Herald. (you would think that some of phony groups would maintain their phony websites)

Powerful Schools

America's Edge (clone of A4E just national)

Washington Global Health Alliance (another Gates-fronted foundation that has nothing to do with K-12 education

Spokane library ladies (we get the blue-stocking demographic here)

This link takes you here: BlackCollective.org (huh?)

Executive Council for a Greater Tacoma (basically, one guy who lobbies)

Floor Pie said...

New topic, if I may: I'm curious to hear about what your schools are doing for Autism Awareness Month, if anything?

Anonymous said...

In his book With Liberty and Justice for Some, Glenn Greenwald, who blogs for Salon.com, talks about the separate justice system for society's elites, and how they are often exempt from the laws the rest of us have to follow. This attitude also is evident in public policy.

There's an increasing contempt by those in power and those who serve them of the democratic process and the idea that the rest of us might have some say in societal decisions. Scigliano, Varner, Brewster and their cronies do not debate the facts of school reform - they essentially say that debate itself is illegitimate, ascribing shady motives to those who would dare question them. Of course, if they had the integrity to debate on the facts, they would have no chance, so they change the subject.

I think the main reason for our country's decline is that there are so many mediocre people in positions of leadership. While there has often been cronyism, I can't remember a time where there was so little regard for our country's welfare by hiring and appointing the highly capable instead of unqualified yes-men.

-- Ebenezer

Anonymous said...

To Melissa:
"The Lowell investigation is not over. I suspect some movement will happen by the end of the school year."

I am wondering what are the facts you based this statement on? And in which school? Is it related Lowell on Capitol Hill or at Lincoln?

And I agree with Sue P that this offered chat instead of a community meeting, when a community has a chance to show up at least, is ridiculous. The time of the day, the day before the break and the way they want to have a serious talk. Ot maybe I am just plain wrong: they don't want to have a serious talk at all with the community members...

LL

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the great replies/answers/resources!!
I'm not planning on doing a FOIA request, but I'm hoping SPS leaks or someone else might, later, when this all comes to light. Especially after the brief talk I had with another parent at pickup this week - he's saying his child was one of the 5 kids 'abused' by the teacher, and he let me in on some of how it's been handled (read: hidden) so now this rumor has some adult credibility. I've got some fierce words for our principal but she/he's apparently not responding to emails about it. Thanks for verifying that even if the principal doesn't respond there's still a record of reporting - it may be important later.
Juliette

Anonymous said...

Nova Annex Theater presents:

The Firebugs
--a play by Max Frisch
April 6th and 7th
2 shows daily- 6pm and 8pm
@ Nova on the mainstage of the Cafetorium
300 20th Ave E, Seattle, 98112

It's a fun show! Come on out Friday or Saturday evening!

-Nova Theater Patron

SeattleSped said...

Floorpie,

I heard you. Takes me back a few years when I asked for and got permission to do an Autism Awareness bulletin board in the entrance of our elem. school. It had fun facts, resources, and a little game at the bottom: match the name to the person with ASD.

Let me tell you, it is very hard to find someone "famous" with ASD that a kid would know. Sorry, they're NOT going to know Temple Grandin, (great) designer of slaughterhouses! So I googled and found a number of recognizable figures in science, business, and music who many consider to be on the spectrum, including Bill Gates Jr.

Well, the principal took all their pictures down, claiming our little elem school could get sued for slander. I argued "what kind of message does that tell the children and parents? That ASD is something to be ASHAMED of?! That there is no one to admire that exhibited some aspects of ASD?"

Her reaction was what AA Month is trying to change. Needless to say, I was so upset I never attempted to do that again in that school.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious if any of your schools are losing money from the new regulations regarding OST funds and linking them to closing the achievement gap and I guess the MSP? This seems like kind of a big deal.
-- beth

K Parent said...

Does anyone know when we'll hear about the Option schools? I can't find anything on the SPS website about it.

Floor Pie said...

@SeattleSped - FYI, Satoshi Tajiri the creator of Pokemon has Aspergers (actual diagnosis, not speculation).

I know our school would be receptive, but I think it would make my son extremely uncomfortable to draw attention to it. He still thinks he can overcome Aspergers through sheer will, poor guy (maybe he'll be an SPS principal when he grows up).

I'm wondering if there's some way to promote awareness among the adults in the school community without "outing" the children? Maybe that's why we don't see more of it at the elementary level. I'm going to give this some further thought...

Melissa Westbrook said...

"I am wondering what are the facts you based this statement on? And in which school? Is it related Lowell on Capitol Hill or at Lincoln?"

I based this more on King and his behavior than Geoghagan at Lincoln.

Again, I believe that if you have a leader that produces this kind of fractured community, something is not right.

The number of teachers who say he yells at staff is a bit high for it to be hyperbole.

He tried to leave the job in mid-year.

He then comes back and says he loves the place.

I also understand that he spend a good deal of timing shadowing Dr. Goodloe-Johnson as he wants to be a superintendent someday.

This is not a person who will stick around long and if he tried to get away once, maybe he might just do it again and leave SPS.

As for ASD, your principal was wrong. (Also, it has been said so many times in the media that Gates exhibits some autistic-type behavior, he's not suing anyone over it.)

SeattleSped said...

I KNOW Melissa and can you imagine all the kids thinking, wow KOOL I wanna be the richest guy/gal in the world too!

Floorpie, the bulletin board was very positive. I observed many adults and kids alike, slow down and look at the various graphics (Nobel Prizes, chess players etc). Actually, a few parents came up to me as I was putting it up and confided that their nephew or friend's child may be on the spectrum. I made sure to post the 10 signs adults should look for for early diagnosis.

Happy Autism Awareness Month!

Jan said...

sue p and L@LWatcher: another thing about this meeting -- the invitation is only to parents. I am willing to concede that they have the primary interest here -- but not the only one. The cost of the investigation, the peril to the program of bad leadership -- these are things that concern a lot of folks who are past or future APP families, as well as citizens and voters in general. I hope that parents go and ask (respectfully) very difficult questions -- including why Rina is not on a version of a principal PIP with respect to her treatment/management of staff and other issues that have been raised.

Anonymous said...

There are quite a few former APP teachers who will be at that meeting in spirit. They have been watching what the school district does here, after knowing all that we experienced last year. At the time, we kept wondering how long this treatment would go on before someone was able to put a stop to it.

L @ L watcher

Anonymous said...

The cost for the outside investigator is over $37,000. That does not count the time spent on the whole issue by SPS people. Nor does it count all those other costs that can't be measured in $'s. What a waste of resources.

-upset

Melissa Westbrook said...

Jan, well, they may be kicking me out then. It's a public meeting in a public building.

dw said...

suep said: And instead of a community forum some have requested and which the community is owed, the district is instead offering a "coffee chat" with Rina and Nancy next Thursday at 9:30 AM at L@L.

So is there anything that can be done about this? Are we just eating whatever scraps the district/building tosses us? What exactly is the agenda, and who controls it?

I think everyone should stick around after Rina and Nancy leave, to discuss the matters further in a more uninhibited conversation. If booted from the lounge, then maybe the library, or if not there, there are numerous nearby cafes.

The biggest problem is that the actions that received district attention and investigation last year were indicative of, but only a small part of the overall problems at L@CH. I still don't believe I've heard anyone in the district discuss this at all yet, at least not publicly.

emeraldkity said...

Re special needs- because of privacy issues it is much more difficult to network with other parents for support & to share resources. You can't get mailing lists & contact info for example.

One thing that could be expanded is teaching children about their brains. We teach them how to eat healthy, how to have safe sex, but we don't teach them about how their brains work, until perhaps high school health when we teach them about how substances affect decision making.

a 20 minute lesson, makes a difference.

( I am on my iPad so if the link doesn't work the research was published this month in the journal Early Education & Development, by Temple University researchers, Peter Marshall & Christina Comalli)

Anonymous said...

The APP Advisory Committee sent out an email yesterday asking for the APP community at large to make their opinions known about what they think should happen to Lowell@Lincoln. They specifically want to hear from middle and highschool APP families and folks at Thurgood Marshall.

Based on their talking points, I think that the Option School community also needs to let the APP AC know what they think about the APP AC's proposal.

The APP AC basically says that there are two options under equal consideration: splitting L@L and placing small cohorts at various Option Schools OR keeping L@L intact at a standalone school.

They then provide a list of rather subjective Pro's and Con's for each option. These Pro's and Con's seem highly skewed toward wanting to convince people that co-housing is the best choice.

How this affects the Option School community is that the APP AC states that a Pro to co-housing with an option school is that enrollment to the option school can be capped when/if/as APP grows. That's right: the APP AC thinks it's fine for the APP program to come into your building and take it over. If it means that your younger siblings can't enroll in your older child's option school down the road, so be it.

If you have an opinion on this, please let the APP AC know before Tuesday, when the Advanced Learning Task Force will be meeting to consider the community's opinions.

Just to be clear, there are L@L families who are unhappy with the direction that the APP AC is taking. L@L families have already experienced what happens when multiple programs are put into one building. Some of us do not want to move into an Option School and cause its program to suffer or have to cap enrollment. Please know that the APP AC does not speak for everyone. Their Pro's and Con's seem poorly thought out and should not be the basis for a decision on L@L future's home.

--APP AC does not speak for me

Anonymous said...

Co-housing APP with an option school seems like a thinly-veiled takeover. With APP growing like topsy, with no end in sight, it will be a matter of a year or two before the option school is turned into an APP stand alone school. Seems like getting what you want on the backs of schools that have worked hard to create learning environments with missions and visions often contrary to APP. It is slapping the other cheek, in a way. It is what happened at Lowell, except now APP wins, forcing the other co-housed population out. Can't we do better?

Come on

Anonymous said...

Looks like Crosscut has taken the latest Scigliano column down. I had to Google several key words to find it. At least it is buried.

Also, I have directed several parents to outside help for dyslexia because the District simply does not know how to handle it. One parent returned whose kid eventually moved to Lakeside and told me Gates had been dyslexic. Second hand, I know. But not the first time I'd heard that. Same with Craig McCaw. And Hamlin Robinson was the school attended by the son of Detlef Schremp-former Sonic. (??- did I get that right/) That I know for a fact. Of course, dyslexia is not autism. Neither the schools nor the State is doing a decent job with these kids. A good percentage of our low achievers are simply dyslexic.

n...

Melissa Westbrook said...

Whoa Nellie.

A couple of points on the APP Lowell situation.

One, this APP Advisory document is not one that the AL taskforce created. I've never seen it and have requested a copy.

Two, rest assured that the AL taskforce is considering several options (not just two). And, during those considerations, many issues have come to light. We do NOT want any program to take over any school. That would not work for either group.

(I would say, in consideration of the co-housing at option schools that just as the option school has students from around the region, so does APP.)

APP is not growing like Topsy. There are several reasons for its bringing in more eligible students but there is a leveling off that will occur.

One, the district is making the program much more regionally accessible. If a program your child qualifies for is now closer to your home, you may be considering it.

Two, if we strengthen Spectrum and/or ALOs, it may cause other parents to say, "well, I'm happy in a neighborhood school that supports my child's learning."

Also, what happened at Lowell with the growth would be different than growing with an option school. NO one would be forced out. The district would have to open yet another space at another option school, not close any option school for APP.

This discussion does bring up important points about co-housing or co-locating for ANY group and the district should watch and learn from what happens going forward.

I don't particularly agree with the co-housing of the World School with a new Meany middle school. It defeats their planning and I'm willing to bet if Meany's population grows, the World School will be forced out.

Anonymous said...

"There are several reasons for its bringing in more eligible students but there is a leveling off that will occur."

I enrolled my student in APP for 6th grade for two reasons. The northend site - Hamilton - was easy for our family to access and I knew our assigned MS was (is) watering down Spectrum. And I wanted rigor for my student, not three years of coasting.

Once there was a northend APP for 1-8 MANY parents opted to move their APP qualified student to the program, which is one of the reasons for the growth.

It will level off, but they do need a permanent solution as you cannot keep moving these kids around like chess pieces.

I also agree, if Spectrum was stronger and aligned (i.e no site based changes) more families would stay put.

The district just cannot seem to get that point. Its odd to me.


HIMS Parent

Anonymous said...

Juliette --

Abuse allegation in a NE school? My son attends a NE school. In which school did the event take place, and what happened?

Concerned parent

dw said...

APP AC does not speak for me said: The APP Advisory Committee sent out an email yesterday asking for the APP community at large to make their opinions known about what they think should happen to Lowell@Lincoln. They specifically want to hear from middle and highschool APP families and folks at Thurgood Marshall.
...
The APP AC basically says that there are two options under equal consideration: splitting L@L and placing small cohorts at various Option Schools OR keeping L@L intact at a standalone school.

They then provide a list of rather subjective Pro's and Con's for each option. These Pro's and Con's seem highly skewed toward wanting to convince people that co-housing is the best choice.


I totally agree. The pro/con lists were quite biased, and that alone is kind of embarrassing. Stephanie Bower sends out those emails, and as of now, she is leaning toward splitting the cohort again -- into 3 buildings! But hers is a very small minority position, and I don't think it's right that any APP-AC "position document" should reflect the opinion of a leader over its constituency, especially when the vast majority of its constituents have such a strong differing opinion. The APP-AC position should reflect its membership, and should not water down or qualify the recommendation of keeping the cohort of kids and teachers together. It's hard to understand why Stephanie feels this way, as she was such a strong supporter of keeping the original cohort at Lowell together 3 years ago. This is just a continuation of the dilution and weakening of APP.

What I think is happening is that because the Thurgood Marshall building is actually functioning reasonably well, they don't want to be mucked with. Fair enough, so don't! But what works best for one group is not necessarily what works best for another. Instead of trying to blend everyone into the same homogenized product everywhere, how about looking at the best outcomes for all kids, depending on their situation?

Making a special effort to reach out to south end families, and middle/high school families is ridiculous. That's like me getting to vote on property taxes for people living in Tacoma. What it really is, is a way to dilute the cohesiveness of the families that are actually being affected.

Thurgood Marshall may be working now (and I'm very happy for them!), but the situation there is also very fragile. More so than the parents there seem to understand. First, they have an incredibly strong and competent principal that not only understands APP, but is a strong supporter of all kids and knows how to do what she's doing. If something happened to Julie, or if the district decided to move or promote her, things will deteriorate pretty quickly. The 250 number is unlikely to stay constant, it just happens to hit the "sweet spot" right now. If the population bumps up significantly, there are issues (how many portables do you want at your site?), if it drops down (testing/entry criteria has been wonky lately, numbers could easily go down as well) it becomes very difficult to avoid split-grade classrooms.

Also, the situation at ThM is different from any building that SNAPP could possibly be colocated with. Not just poverty levels, but also race and nationality are factors. The fact that SNAPP's placement is being conflated in any way, shape or form with what's happening at ThM is a huge mistake.

dw said...

Melissa said: One, this APP Advisory document is not one that the AL taskforce created. I've never seen it and have requested a copy.

Melissa, have you received a copy yet? The pros/cons are terribly biased. I can post here for discussion, or if you'd rather open another thread that works as well.

hschinske said...

So I googled and found a number of recognizable figures in science, business, and music who many consider to be on the spectrum, including Bill Gates Jr.

Okay, I think that's kind of appalling. If you know of people with actual diagnoses, fine, but just to speculate? That seems to me to fuel myths about ASDs, not to provide education on the subject.

Heck, I've seen Jane Austen on a list like that. It turned out to be based on someone talking about one of her CHARACTERS (Mary Bennet in Pride and Prejudice) as possibly having Asperger's. Practically a game of Telephone here.

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

- dw
Don't you think that Stephanie Bower has been there and done it a couple times before (when you and I were not even in the APP program)?
Just think about it, is it possible that she knows the district quite well by now and the AL Office also to know for sure what can happen? How about she has chosen the better option out of the two (or more) the district is considering?
I trust her (she is the APP president not by chance for years) better than the district or any other parent group.
- Trust

dj said...

DW, I don't think it is true at all that Thurgood Marshall families are not well aware of the possible future problems the school faces or the precariousness of the school's position. We have been "lucky" thus far that growth has been steady but not astronomical, that the neighborhood program is unpopular,and the principal is protective. Allow for the possibility that the reason th APP-AC has looped south end families into the conversation is that long-term planning for the program involves everyone.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know why the APP AC's list of pros and cons are all from the perspective of the APP program, and don't take in to account how co-housing would affect the option school program. Also, if this is a serious proposal, why have the option schools not been consulted about this at all? No discussion about what it might mean to co-house, what it might mean to an already thriving program to decrease it...? That seems short sighted and, well, rude. One of the "pros" is that non APP siblings could be given priority in the option school. How is that not hurting, say, and alternative school? People are supposed to pick an alternative school because of a philosophical fit, not because a family member goes there in another program.
--wants all programs to thrive

Anonymous said...

Pitting APP and alternative\option schools against each other is a genius plan for dividing and weakening two powerful and organized parent groups.

-just saying

dw said...

Trust,

Don't you think that Stephanie Bower has been there and done it a couple times before (when you and I were not even in the APP program)?

It sounds like you're relatively new to the program, don't make the same assumption about me. And as for "been there and done it a couple times before", all I can say it that the previous split happened in spite of nearly universal opposition by the parents, students and teachers. I wouldn't be using that as a positive example.

Just think about it, is it possible that she knows the district quite well by now and the AL Office also to know for sure what can happen? How about she has chosen the better option out of the two (or more) the district is considering? I trust her (she is the APP president not by chance for years) better than the district or any other parent group.

First, Stephanie is not "APP president", she is the co-chair of an advisory committee. And please understand that the advisory committee is NOT, as a group, in favor of splitting again, although there are some members that seem to be okay with it. In fact, the co-chairs don't necessarily even agree. Blindly supporting a minority-position without justification other than so-and-so said it's okay, is very strange.

The previous strategy of "playing nicely" and funneling the community's feedback through the APP AC was a big mistake. When APP at Lowell was blindsided with an unplanned move this last summer, EVERYONE was encouraged to show their strong support of keeping the kids and teachers (the few that are left) together. Meetings were packed and many emails were sent. That worked much better.

What bothers me most is that the message being put out by the committee right now feels biased. Some of the Pros/Cons could easily be put into either bin, depending on your outlook, or more reasonably, put into a neutral "considerations" category, rather than pushing toward one unpopular solution. That's what SPS staff usually does and we lambaste them. Now the APP AC appears to be doing the same thing, and that's very sad.

For example, this is listed as a Pro:
--teachers can benefit from collaboration within programs and across programs

Right now SNAPP is struggling to get new teachers up to speed on gifted ed (this is a HUGE concern right now, but it's a constant issue in general to get gifted ed PD in any building). The teachers' first and foremost job is to teach the students in their classroom. Somehow, taking away from the precious little training time the teachers get now to figure out how to collaborate with other programs that you happen to be co-housed with is considered a Pro? Taking any time away from our teachers to deal with issues outside their kids/classroom could easily be considered a Con. Understand that in most APP-mixed buildings getting gifted PD is frowned upon because it's drawing resources away from teachers in other programs. That's not unreasonable on the part of the other programs, in fact it's more or less expected, but it highlights the problems with multiple programs in the same building, let alone under the same principal. Look how crappy HIMS is functioning right now.

I could go on about several of the Pro/Con items, but I'll leave it at that.

dw said...

dj said: I don't think it is true at all that Thurgood Marshall families are not well aware of the possible future problems the school faces or the precariousness of the school's position. We have been "lucky" thus far that growth has been steady but not astronomical, that the neighborhood program is unpopular,and the principal is protective. Allow for the possibility that the reason th APP-AC has looped south end families into the conversation is that long-term planning for the program involves everyone.

I like your posts and thoughtfulness in general over the years. It sounds like you're aware of the precariousness, but I'm not so sure if that's true throughout the general parent population. Let's hope so.

Here's the problem with "giving a voice" to south end families about what happens with SNAPP: Picture the situation in reverse right now. Imagine that SNAPP gets to stay put in Lincoln for the next few years (or John Marshall or wherever). Imagine their situation is working great for the students, families and teachers, and is expected to be stable for at least the next few years. Then next year ThM has a huge unexpected rise in APP students, and because of budget issues, rather than dropping in 4 new, expensive portables, the district has decided to either:

A) split the south APP population between ThM and Hawthorne
or
B) Kick out ALO or Bilingual or PEACE kids (or all) from ThM to make room for APP

Would you want northenders to be "weighing in" on the problem. Wouldn't the worry be that if the unified north end APP building is working great that they would push for you to adopt the same model? A model that would have completely different consequences for ThM than for SNAPP. The problem is that a model that works best for one group or area is not necessarily the best for the entire city. The program is ALREADY very different between L@L and ThM. Trying to shoehorn either of them into the other's model is frightening. That this is lost on some people is hard to believe.

Anonymous said...

Which school in ne quadrant had alleged abuse? Thanks, worried mom

Anonymous said...

Mirmac...Powerful Schools is a very good organization that has been providing a variety of after-school classes (academic and enrichment) to elementary school students in the Southend for over a decade. I would not call them an "empty suit." They offer scholarships and provide school bus transportation, making them accessible to low-income kids as well.

SolvayGirl

mirmac1 said...

I agree SolvayGirl. Not quite 1/2 of the listed orgs actually exist, and even fewer really DO good things.