Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tuesday Open Thread

I know - kids at home and Thanksgiving dinner to get ready for but I'll ask: what's on your mind?

44 comments:

SPSLeaks said...

Please check out the Teacher Evaluation thread for a glimpse at the videos ALL teachers were required to watch.

This kind of malarkey eats of $$$, and instructional/planning time.

Anonymous said...

College applications—my capable and competent teen is stressed to the max trying to gather all the info she needs, write various essays, etc. and try to meet at least a FEW early app. deadlines—all while keeping up her grades in some very difficult subjects. A private school student, she has tremendous assistance from both her school college counselor, the amazing website Naviance, and a little help from mom and dad (both college grads).

I despair over how difficult this chore must be for kids who don't have this kind of support. How much support do public school kids get from their teachers/counselors (if they have one)? I had a lot 40 years ago, which was a godsend since neither of my parents had even graduated from high school.

I know that the Rainier Scholars program offers tremendous support to the kids who went through their system, but what about the kids in all the other schools? I know that counselors were cut last year, so I'd like to hear from other parents of seniors. Do you feel your kids are getting the assistance they need (especially if your kid is like mine and much more likely to take advice from anyone but her parents)?

All this talk about "college readiness" is wasted if the application process is not supported.

Anonymous said...

The college comment above was me—Solvay Girl

Melissa Westbrook said...


Yes, this is a HUGE task and one time when you do have to do a some helicopter parenting.

The district did just have several college application sessions and I know other groups do the same. Unfortunately, the district got rid of the college/career counselors a couple of years ago due to budget cuts.

Some schools pay for someone on their own. When I was at Roosevelt, some parents read essays and did a bit of help. The regular counselors do their best but yes, they are swamped.

What's more is that first generation kids really need hand-holding all along the way as it can be a daunting first year for many students.

I attended a recent meeting of Native American parents and students where the Superintendent and staff were and this got mentioned by a UW student who is Native American.

Anonymous said...

Nathan Hale seems to have a good college program there. They have an after high school day for all the kids and lots of stuff for writing essays.

HP

Maureen said...

The Ingraham counselors pair with students from UW's Dream Project. The UW students are paired with IHS kids when they are juniors I think. Anyone can work with them-not just first generation students.

Anonymous said...

A non profit that helps kids evaluate their prospects and fill out college applications is Education Access in the University district. Some of the teens they help are homeless, and this organization gets them back on track.

I have heard presentations from this group and have donated to them. They do a great job with few resources.

S parent

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be great if the Alliance financed these kinds of activities (which actually help students but have to struggle for every dime) instead of fake surveys, "events" and endless propaganda whose real aim is to divide and conquer and wear down the teachers of your children?

--enough already

Anonymous said...

I ran a college tour in another state. We took 50 high school students to different public state schools, and spoke directly with admissions counselors who process and read applications. It's surprising how public perception differs so greatly from actual admissions criteria. Test scores, GPA, and strength of schedule were significant factors. Extracurricular activities counted for very little, and letters of recommendation are only looked at if the application status is challenged (if an applicant is deferred or denied).

I would suggest calling or visiting the universities your student is applying to and asking what they are looking for in a potential student: what counts (and for how much), what doesn't count, and then always ask about scholarship opportunities. Public universities should be fairly transparent.

For parents of seniors you might consider allowing your student to engage in one less extracurricular and focus on college prep work (Or, have them for a college prep club and nominate them self as president). Parents of underclassmen should do this to set a direction for their student. Remember, college admission is only based on the first 3 years of high school.

-Another Stat

mirmac1 said...

Vulcan on shortlist to renovate Yesler Terrace

Oh, you know they are in it for all the most altruistic reasons. Nevermind that there are great views from this property.

I'm McGinn, Harrell, Burgess and Clark recognize who RIGHT this is!!

WV: ghtscam (no kidding!)

mirmac1 said...

one more time:


I'm sure McGinn, Harrell, Burgess and Clark recognize how RIGHT this is!!

emeraldkity said...

My youngest participated with College Access Now, however she is still really struggling - weve had to hire tutors & coaches to help her despite graduating with honors and multiple AP credits from highschool.

this program to support through graduation sounds promising for students who are just entering college.

CAN Expands in its Eigth Year
This fall College Access Now will continue to serve students at Garfield, Franklin and West Seattle high schools, and will add Roosevelt, Nathan Hale and Chief Sealth to the roster. CAN’s high school programs will serve nearly 500 students this year, assisting them at each stage of the college application and enrollment process – from writing essays to helping to secure critical financial aid to advising students on their college decision. CAN's programs fill a critical gap to traditionally underrepresented students.

This fall College Access Now officially launches our College Persistence Program. We know that it isn’t enough just to help our students get to college, they need our emotional and practical support all the way through graduation. Nationally, only 11% of low-income, first generation students receive their college degree after 6-years as compared to 55% of their advantaged peers. In 2012-13, our College Persistence team will be lead by Veratta Pegram-Floyd along with four AmeriCorps members supporting nearly 400 CAN alumni in colleges across the country.

BTW- the captcha is really hard to read.

Anonymous said...

Somebody pinch me. I still can't believe my eyes. Apparently somebody at SFC went rogue in the Twittersphere with this, from a November 19th Tweet:

Stand for Children ‏@Stand4Children
Lack of parental support is considered one of the top contributors for high-school drop outs. Get involved in... http://fb.me/1GPnxspxL


Has SFC been infiltrated by one of us? Or did they just get bored of throwing teachers and unions under the bus? Either way, SFC, welcome to the modern world where people actually think, instead of playing toady & parrot for billionaires all day long.

Then again, with 11 mil in your bank account, you can pretty much say whatever you want, and get away with it, whether it contradicts everything you've been saying for the past 5 years or not.

WSDWG

Melissa Westbrook said...

SFC is doing a full-court press into schools. In Tacoma it was them and yet-another astro-turf group, Parents Union, trying to muscle in and guess what? Didn't tell the PTA or invite them.

So folks, while you are busy supporting your PTA with time and money, Stand and these other groups are happy to watch you do the heavy lifting while they convert the masses. There will come a day when your prinicipal will have to decide what parent group to support and guess what? It may not be one you even know about.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious to hear any parent/family thoughts on conferences at south-end schools.

SE Teacher

Anonymous said...

Think of it this way: SFC and similar astro-turf groups are all comprised of individuals paid by Gates, Walton, etc., to do their bidding. As with any business, their mantra is "grow or die." So, of course we'll see more and more of these groups infiltrating our public schools and districts, because of they aren't growing, they're dying. And what will they do then? Teach, God Forbid? No way. That's for the little people. They got that out of their system long ago, and they ain't going back.

Ah, the world of Ed Reform. They all know how to do it, so they say. They just don't, while others do. WSDWG

dw said...

Sorry if this article was already mentioned, but I didn't see it here or either of the last couple Open Threads.

Komo4News did a little investigation last week called Seattle Schools Literally Crumbling Around Students.

It's not super-insightful (W.P. would not have been my first choice to highlight as a crumbling building, since it's on the short list of properties to raze and rebuild, nor would I have picked the condition of Eckstein's tennis courts as a facilities problem to highlight), but it is spreading the word, in general. The sprinkler situation is really sad.

Anonymous said...

Yes on 1240 continues to drop.

50.69% Yes
49.31% No

I can't tell how much of the vote is outstanding.

HP

Anonymous said...

It's probably too late for Thanksgiving, but if you have the means, please check with your school and ask if there are families in need that you might help out during the holidays. Even in some of the "better" north end schools there are kids who live hand-to-mouth and special holiday gifts or meals are only fairy tales to them. Many thanks to the anonymous teacher who made tomorrow's Thanksgiving a little brighter for one such family I know.

--Tom Turkey

Anonymous said...

@HP
25,317 ballots left to count, with 13,000 of them in King County.

-North End Mom

Anonymous said...

@ -Antoher Stat...

And college tours! How do kids from low-income families manage this at all? We're moderate income and have spent funds we could have used for other essentials to travel to various cities, stay in motels, meals so my daughter could see the colleges she was considering. We did not go outside the PNW. I told her if she gets accepted AND good financial aid at the schools farther away, we'd visit during spring break.

The visits were very valuable. Schools that sounded perfect on paper, were not once she walked the campus and saw the student body. Other schools that seemed so-so were great! We were fortunate that her school give a week off to seniors at the end of October so they can tour schools while classes are in session, But the holidays will definitely be leaner this year since we spent so much discretionary income touring.

And I know that there can be great programs to help those high-performing, low-income kids...but what about the middle class—especially those on the lower end of the scale? It seems that these kids have the hardest time with few resources and little financial aid outside merit.

Surprisingly, private colleges and state schools become comparable in price to the middle class because the state schools give no needs-based aid, and the privates often do thanks to endowments.

Solvay Girl

Solvay Girl

Jan said...

Interesting, SolvayGirl. I recall reading somewhere recently that someone looked at high end colleges who give a fair amount of college aid (Ivies, places like Williams, Amherst, etc.) -- and the single group LEAST represented on campus -- the one with the lowest number of admits/acceptances, was lower-income, mostly rural (or small town) white males. There existed lots of help and ladders for all sorts of other lower income groups -- but virtually NONE for them.

Patrick said...

Looks unlikely that we'll even get close enough for an automatic recount. Practically all of the outstanding ballots should have been counted by now, if they were mailed by election day.

Lisa said...

re: college tours. We are not planning any. I had thought that we could do that instead of vacation, but vacation just got cancelled for the forseeable future by job loss. I felt awful that we now can't afford to look up close at colleges, but then I recalled that I went sight-unseen to first college, then grad school. It went fine. Anyone else feeling like college tours may be nice, but not necessary?

Anonymous said...

We did not tour college before acceptance; nor did my student apply to a lot of schools (three). Was a pretty stress free process. I often wonder if the private schools push students to apply to a lot fancy private colleges to increase their chances on getting into one so they can promote their acceptance to these schools to prospective students. I hear a couple ads for schools on the radio listing off the schools their grads have/are attending.

College mom

emeraldkity said...

Save your visits for after the acceptances and financial aid offers are in.

While some schools will offer travel packages to students they really want, if it is difficult to visit, it will be difficult to come home during breaks or in emergencies.

Some schools do offer to meet 100% of need, but those schools are often quite competitive and ask for more financial information than the FAFSA to determine need.
Need also can be met with any combination of loans & work study as well as grants.

Need based aid can be a better deal than merit aid which may be tied to a pretty high GPA.
Additionally some schools give generous merit aid freshman year, then the next year restrict the aid to a % of the class. Its not possible for everyone to recieve it.

If Williams & Amherst offer 100% need based aid, they will offer it to all accepted students. They will not differentiate between an urban,Asian female student with need and a rural white male.

Oftentimes a student from a rural environment isnt interested in attending a small school in a rural environment. Id look at the application and admittance rates for larger schools.

Anonymous said...

Our school actually stresses that students should consider colleges "they've never heard of" explaining that the education is usually just as good, smaller, easier to get into, easier to get aid at, and can often be a better fit than a big-deal Ivy league.

We didn't get pushed into applying to any schools, and the only reason we are applying to a lot is to see what sort of aid is available out there. My daughter did the questionnaire on the Naviance site to determine which schools met her criteria (everything from distance from home; academics; size; location—urban, small town, etc; extracurricular activities; to political leaning). Once we got a list of schools, she checked out their websites and narrowed it down.

Visits IMHO are very valuable—even though I went to school sight unseen 40 years ago. For example, Reed looked perfect on paper (right down to a geek-focused dorm), but none of us liked the vibe we got from the student body, or the admissions staff. Many students were smoking and all seemed too focused for my daughter's tastes. I was glad we went, and we crossed it off her list. We toured UBC and UVic last week. Though UBC was more of an academic powerhouse it was a little too big and urban—walking the campus felt like being in New York City. If you can afford the time and money (we didn't spend much as we drove everywhere and did Best Westerns) it's worth the trip.

Solvay Girl

College costs so much now that I'd like the chances of it being a good fit for my kid to be good. As noted, we did not visit the schools in Colorado or travel to Missoula...we will if they accept her AND they pen out financially.

Anonymous said...

A school that gives seniors a week off in October to tour colleges so they can see classes in action seems like a push to me.

What do students who are not touring doing that week or do 100% of the class go on tours?

College mom

Anonymous said...

Watch out for the generous grants provided by private schools freshman year. They tend to decrease each year by a substantial amount.

Molly

seattle citizen said...

emeraldkitty mentioned loans as a way to meet need.
This should go without saying, given the many news reports lately, but avoid these at all costs and only use them as a last resort. Students can carry loans for a very, very....very long time.

IF they are used, try to make sure your student understands the concept of credit, and how loans are only being taken out as a last resort, how money spent should be carefully monitored (a loan so a student can go to a coffee shop every day? So a student can maintain their Netflix account?) and a plan should be in place to pay off the loan as quickly as possible upon graduation, all financial planning focusing on paying the loan(s) off.

Anonymous said...

College mom

Actually, the entire school gets M–W that week off (break between semesters) and Seniors get an extra two days. Most tour schools; it's a college prep high school, so I don't see that it's out of line. Pretty much 100% of the kids go on to some higher education or take a gap year.

Again, there is no push to tour big name, private or fancy schools. One of the schools we toured was Western—very nice. We toured the BC schools because colleges in Canada are petty affordable and relatively close by (oh to be Canadian and get resident rates—far cheaper than the UW). We did the three in a round trip starting in Bellingham and ending in Victoria before heading home. The last two days we spent driving to and touring U of O in Eugene. You make it sound like we're doing something precious and oh-so-special

My point is that the school my daughter attends supports students in their college search, something that public schools can no longer do because our state legislators do not adequately fund schools.

Others are correct in pointing out that aid can change (ie reduce) after Freshman year. It IS important to watch for. And sadly, loans are the reality for far too many kids due to the high cost of college. It's a fine line to walk between affordability and quality/value of education. The new rule is that student loans should not exceed a student's probable salary for their first year. So, an engineering student can take on a higher loan than a journalism major.

Our entire college system is a mess.

Solvay Girl

Anonymous said...

I would highly recommend checking out Mount Holyoke, Amherst, Williams, and Smith for a fine liberal arts education. They are small schools. Need based scholarships are generally available.
--Old School Music

Anonymous said...

NY Times:

Degrading Schools isn't the

-- Dan Dempsey

SPSLeaks said...

Varner Writes an Inaccurate Editorial?!?!

Oh no she didn't!

SPSLeaks said...

Let's do some creative brainstorming about DT School, Memorial Stadium etc.. Just between friends.

SPSLeaks said...

Whadya mean we don't get any money?! Our services are so darn valuable! So what if school volunteers do it for free! It's all about "value-added"!

SPSLeaks said...

Bet you didn't know that OSC/A4E/LEV is signatory to the SEA CBA? Or at least think they are...

SPSLeaks said...

Send in the clowns... From "big girl pants" herself.

Anonymous said...

College Possible (not currently in Seattle) does excellent work with very low-income students to support and coach them in prep for college, including the application and financial aid process. They are currently in the Twin Cities, Omaha, Milwaukee, and Portland, OR and growing. Check them out:

http://www.collegepossible.org/index.aspx

Sea Mom

emeraldkity said...

Speaking of jobs- anyone know anything about Renaissance Learning? My daughter has a callback for some sort of position writing educational testing.
( they are based out of Wisconsin, but the position is in Vancouver- she lives in Portland)
Since it would require her to get a car for the first time in her life- which she would also need our help to do, i wanted to check them out.

seattle citizen said...

emeraldkity - quick google search turns up http://www.renlearn.com/aboutus/

"long line of nationally acclaimed products and professional development offerings make classrooms and schools better places to teach and learn. Students that use our products learn faster. Teachers that use our products teach more effectively. Administrators that use our products meet state standards and Common Core State Standards. Let the learning begin."

Tech tools for the classroom.
Jury is out:
Beneficial or merely production line?

There are certainly benefits to be had from tech and standards. They can also be bludgeons to use in order to reform education into a mere production line.

RL, in that view, for your daughter...Probably a good move, in order to gain experience in a valuable and up-and-coming new wave of education. After a couple of years, she can decide if RL is a "good guy" or "bad guy" - is it an asset to educators? Or is it snake oil? Is it being used to help educators or standardize them?

Should educators be standardized?

There are some big-picture issues coming to the fore with technology in education. Pro and con. It couldn't hurt your daughter to get experience with the tech, because it WILL be in classrooms...soon. The questions she might ask over time are how it will be in the classroom, to what end, and what's behind it?

seattle citizen said...

Addendum- of course, tech (and packaged curriculums) are already in classrooms, but I predict they will be surging. Heck, within ten years the classroom as we know it now could be gone completely, replaced with some mix of online and school-based mentorships or something.
Perhaps schools, in the tradition form, will exist only to support orchestra and football.

Anonymous said...

SPSLeaks: of COURSE OCS/A4E/LEV is a party to the CBA. In their opinion, that line where the District signs -- they just sign as "agent" for the "real" party "behind the throne." But ssshhh. We aren't supposed to be in on that part of "the deal."

Braessae

SPSLeaks said...

Got it Braessae, so when does Banda decide their bluster is a sham and actually impedes his work to actually directly improve things for kids in schools not "owned" by Larson/LEV or "pre-charter".

Waiting to see that independence rear its head. At least I'm sure he's not going out for runs and bar-trolling with Sara Morris, like Enfield. I even think he will pass the ski trips to Mazama or Debell Whidbey Island hideways.

Time will tell.