Friday, September 27, 2013

Friday Open Thread

Good morning and it was a great talk by Diane Ravitch last night.  I'll have a wrap-up. 

A new program from Seattle Police: Do We Have Your Bike?  via Twitter.

Right now, SPD has about 500 “found” bikes in storage at our Evidence Warehouse. Each one of those bikes was abandoned somewhere in the city, then later recovered by officers. We may have your bike, and we’d like to reunite you with your wheels.

Also, from the State of Washington, the Governor's office has an initiative, Results Washington, where you can register ideas on five goal ideas including "World Class Education."  (Still hate that "world-class" term which Diane Ravitch can easily refute.)   They seriously want the ideas so let them know.

The other initiative is The Great Washington Shake Out on October 17th to practice earthquake drills  (So far SPS has not registered to participate and it's only Bryant, South Shore, Stevens Wedgwood and West Woodland that have registered.)  Good ideas here about how to react during an earthquake and resources to be prepared. 

What's on your mind?


mirmac1 said...

I've been looking at the latest competition for RTTT crumbs via the Road Map Project.

"Project 1: Teaching and Leading Investment Fund: Goal is to improve teacher and principal skills and abilities to implement personalized learning environments in the Consortium’s high-need schools. The emphasis of this fund is on scalable, high impact improvements in math, science and ELL instruction as well as teacher/principal leadership. Investments start in fall 2013."

The range in quality of proposals varies considerably, with one of SPS's quite poor. Ironically, this is the one prepared by the UW for yet another Leadership training effort. You know, instructional leadership and all that. Old news. The PD would serve "aspiring leaders", Principals and APs, the Exec Dir of Schools and District Level Leadership. I suppose they think this PD will trickle down to teachers who will still not get sorely needed training in SpEd, ELL, math, STEM etc.

The other SPS proposal is the equally unhelpful Seattle Teacher Residency, to be managed by subgrantee the Alliance. This will only help 25 teachers at a cost of $1.3M. Since this is the Ed Reformers baby, they got $500K from the usual suspects: Gates, Bezos, Runstad, Boeing, the PPPE etc. This is for year one. Guess who will be left holding the bag after that? Think of what $1.3M could buy in PD and incentives for teachers to get dual-certs in ELL or SpEd and improve their practice? Oh well, not sexy enough I guess.

Meanwhile Highline's proposal was obviously written by a professional grant writer at WASTEM or TAF. It will set up a STEM Academy for teachers, and STEM coaches; summer school; and affect up to 12 needy schools It will help more teachers and students. *sigh*

Anyway, whether we get the money or not, ten years of your student's personally-identifiable information is being handed over to CCER and its consultants.

Mary Griffin said...

Mirmac, FYI, most of WA STEM is funded by your favorite group. While it lists donors by amounts and includes itself in the 500,000+ category along with Microsoft, Boeing and McKinstry, it gave $10 million. I'm not saying that it's a bad thing. I'm just saying.

mirmac1 said...

I know. I'm not sayin' I love WASTEM. I *sigh* because the proposal would actually help more teachers and students.

Trish Millines Dziko said...

@Mirmac1, before you start to bash TAF and our role in the Highline RTTT proposal, I'd appreciate it if you'd ask smart, critical questions instead of making assumptions.

I'm happy to share TAF's role in this proposal and I'll do it now. Please feel free to ask questions.

TAF has been working in the White Center area of the Highline School District for eight years--mostly after school until two years ago where we are supporting them during the school day.

As of this year Mount View Elementary is transitioning into a STEM school with the same pedagogy as TAF Academy. We're starting with 5th and 6th grade and working down one or two grades each year thereafter.

Most of TAF's work is providing PD to the teachers so they can create the kind of environment that we know has been successful. Some of those teachers are being trained by other entities to be math and/or science content specialists. We're also working with the Principal to help her lead and foster that kind of culture.

We did not write the grant. Relative to the rest of the proposal, our role is small (dollar wise), but very important in the overall goal of making the classroom work for students and teachers.

I'd be happy to meet with you to discuss further or you can visit TAF Academy to see what we're aiming for.

Mary Griffin said...

@Trish. I am pretty sure mirmac1 is not bashing WA STEM. She says it was part of a better proposal and she wishes that Seattle's was like Highline's.

mirmac1 said...

Trish, by suggesting the proposal looked professional was not, by any means, a dig. I am contrasting it in a positive light, compared to those submitted by our district. I drive by your lovely facility every day and am glad TAF is helping the students in Highline and White Center.

Trish Millines Dziko said...

@Mirmac1, I apologize. My mistake. I thought you were saying that wasn't good (mostly from your *sigh* at the end, which I mistakenly took as negative).

My invitation to visit TAF Academy still stands though 'cause I think you'd like what you see and maybe can lend your talents to one of our student projects.

We have student led tours (that are no where close to being canned dog and pony shows) that are open to the public: Tour Schedule

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

I have a non-policy question -- how to SPS high schools assign students to math and science classes based on previous work? I'm interested specifically in Roosevelt & Garfield, but am interested in how anyone does it.

Back in the olden days when I was in school, access to higher level math/science/foreign language was based on teacher recommendations. But that doesn't address how students new to the system (new to SPS, home schooled, coming from private or other non SPS schools) are handled.

To be more specific -- if a child has already completed "geometry" when they enter the 9th grade at Roosevelt, how are they assigned there?


Anonymous said...

zb --

My child is at Garfield, and came into SPS after 8th grade from a private school.

His teachers at his middle school recommended what levels of math/science/foreign language he should be ready for, and then signed off on the form that he turned in to the school requesting those classes. So he did skip right to Algebra II and Latin II. He chose to take Biology, even though he'd had it in MS, because all his science instruction had been in a foreign language and he felt that in order to pass the EOC, get comfortable with having science in English, etc., he would prefer to start there. He successfully passed the Geometry EOC despite only having had that instruction in another language -- math is much easier to translate! Anyway, it was pretty easy. As long as they have a rec from the MS teacher, it shouldn't be an issue to get placed into higher level classes. Can't speak for Roosevelt, but I imagine it's similar.
--Garfield Mom

Anonymous said...




dj said...

How are other people faring with transportation this year? I have an elementary school kid on the 9:30 opening track. His bus is supposed to arrive at our community stop at 9:00. It once arrived as early as 9:13, but, as many mornings as not, it has been arriving at 9:20, 9:25, or even after school starts -- it was 45 minutes late one morning. After school has run as late as an hour past drop-off times.

Anonymous said...

Just got yet another Banda letter saying Halfaker is out at Washington Middle, moving on to become Exec Director for the NW, and his replacement will be Patricia Guenther, former Assistant principal at Eckstein and Hamilton.

Anyone care to comment? Anyone know anything about Ms. Guenther? Good? Bad? Indifferent? History? Favorite color?


Po3 said...

With latest SPS boundary churn afoot I thought I would post this link - a report from the Broad Foundation (remember them?) on how to close schools - SPS is showcased!

Maybe they need to release an update titled "How Did That Work Out for Ya?"