Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tuesday Open Thread

It's Tuesday and time for an open thread.

What's on your mind? Horace Mann? Good hair?  Charter schools? Strategic plan? Board priorities? Special ed?

The state rejected the District's special education correction plan seeking greater detail. Will they hold up funding?

53 comments:

mirmac1 said...

SpEd parent advocates had some serious issues with the submitted plan, not the least of which was ask for our input AFTER they already turned the thing in. How considerate. This is the only kind of "parent engagement" that Tolley likes; token.

Interestingly, OSPI want to see our comments. Hmmmm, it won't be pretty.

Anonymous said...

Was Bryant on lockdown today? Shooting @ 26th and 55th, unfortunately. If so, how well did lockdown procedure go, and were parents notified? After the Café Racer incident, I want to know that SPS has it together.

NE Mom

Anonymous said...

Mirmac1 is Michael Tolley in charge of special education? Did he really bar parent and community engagement on the corrective action plan?

I hope Michael Tolley speaks out on this matter. It makes you wonder what is going on downtown.

reader

Anonymous said...

Bryant went to a shelter-in-place during dropoff. Teachers and staff were at entrances directing kids directly into the school rather than onto the playground and kids were sent directly to their homerooms. Parents were notified via email and it was posted on the school website. I thought Bryant handled it very well. It was a time of transition from busses as well as both the offsite and onsite LASER (childcare) sites so I can't speak to how the transition from childcare went since I don't have a child there.
Bryant parent

mirmac1 said...

The minimal time provided for parent comment fits his modus operandi. I have every reason to believe that he had no interest in our concerns and no intention of incorporating our comments. He should not be overseeing special education (nor AL nor ELL etc etc).

A-mom said...

Tuesday, Sept. 10:
• Meeting with Pinehurst K-8 families and staff.
• In the Pinehurst building lunchroom, 6:30-8 p.m.
• District staff will share information and request input and feedback from families and staff with regard to the possible closure.

Here we go again.
Pinehurst k-8/AS-1...
Fighting district closure threats since 1979!

Charlie Mas said...

Katie Johnson has been hired as Manager, Student Health Services, at Seattle Public Schools effective Sept. 17. See District press release here.

Charlie Mas said...

Seattle Public Schools won an award from the National Network of Partnership Schools for excellence in community engagement.

See notice here.

TechyMom said...

This has probably been discussed here before, but just in case...

Pinehurst parents, have you considered filing the paperwork to be a conversion charter? Seems like it would give you leverage, even if you didn't go all the way through with it.

Anonymous said...

I see that "community engagement" is on the board executive committee agenda tomorrow. I hope they will ask Mr. Tolley and Ms. McWilliams to describe the current state of "community engagement" with special needs stakeholders, who were given a deadline for submitting inputs on the corrective action plan ... a day after the plan was submitted.

wondering about SPS

Anonymous said...

@charlie Mas
Sps wins an award for *community engagement*

HA HA HA. TEE HEE HEE

Best laugh of the day. Thanks.

Readers:
Make up a tag line to go with the award - post here. Let's all get as many chuckles as we can from this. Because, seriously, it is that funny.

Thus, why not make it even more deliciously funny.

-irony inc

Anonymous said...

A contrarian comment to the first one on this thread. Why would any administrator in JSCEE engage with Mirmac at point? Community engagement is not a law, though it is certainly seems a best practice. But if Mirmac is certain his engagement, along with apparently most every other JSCEE administrator, will only and always be token why should he bother?

Had Enough

Charlie Mas said...

The public is going to have their say, no matter what. If the District allows the public to comment BEFORE the decision is made, then it is input that can only improve the decision and improve the implementation. If the District allows the public to comment AFTER the decision is made, then it is complaint that cannot improve either the decision or the implementation.

The District decides whether they get input or complaints when they determine the timing of the public input. Are they getting complaints? That's their choice.

Charlie Mas said...

The award for community engagement was for work done in the schools, not work done at the headquarters. The community engagement in the schools is good and getting better. The community engagement in the district headquarters is bad and getting worse.

Charlie Mas said...

wondering about SPS, please don't read anything into that line about community engagement on the agenda for the Executive Committee. Its a section title, not an agenda item.

Charlie Mas said...

I've expanded and updated the list of education acronyms on the blog home page.

Lisa said...

On a previous thread I wondered when we would receive EOC results. In case anyone else was also wondering, we got ours a couple days ago. They are on The Source (the new one) under "assessments."

Anonymous said...

Any idea when the Walk the boundaries event is going to happen? It was supposed to be this month.

A parent

Anonymous said...

Can someone please come teach Spanish 2 and Spanish 3 at Garfield? Still no Spanish teachers for them.

I guess they were able to hire a teacher for Spanish 1 and AP Spanish...but my kid is still waiting.

One week of completely wasted class time with substitute teachers.

-GHS Parent

Anonymous said...

Switch to Latin at GHS. It's great!

Sorry, don't mean to be flip. It is ridiculous that Spanish staff is not in place. But Latin really is that good at GHS.

sidneyd

ben said...

Speaking as someone who took 9 years of Latin - learn a living Romance language first. There is a different set of skills involved in speaking as opposed to just reading a foreign language.

Anonymous said...

Ben, these are kids who have two or three years of Spanish already and would therefore do fine in Latin. The deep understanding of grammar and the roots of Romance languages will be there when they pick up Spanish again. Roosevelt and Garfield both have vibrant Latin programs. I'd recommend them over a haphazard Spanish program.

sidneyd

Anonymous said...

But there is only one Latin teacher at GHS, and if all the Spanish students denied Spanish try and switch to Latin, they will be denied that opportunity also. As the kids move up in Latin, they are winnowed out by GPA. It is not as lovely as it seems over in Latin. Need three years of a language at GHS - earn all high A's or be cut.

GHS parent alum

Anonymous said...

Next Tuesday evening there is a forum at Town Hall debating standardized testing.

- interested

Anonymous said...

"These kids" who take Latin are not all from APP. There are some that actually take Latin who have not been in the K-12 APP pipeline, and do not all have 2-3 years of Spanish behind them. Please stop assuming all high achieving kids at GHS are in the APP pipeline - all kids can be successful at GHS!! And they go on to Williams and Brown etc and successful lives!

Non APP GHS parent with high achieving kids

Jet City mom said...

My D had the same problem @ Garfield.
Third yr Spanish was taught by subs as the teacher was on maternity leave. Good grades, but didnt feel prepared enough to take AP Spanish senior year.
When suburban districts are teaching Japanese & Arabic, it is disheartening to Seattle having such difficulty finding SPANISH teachers!

Anonymous said...

@ Non APP GHS Parent,
Who said anything about APP? Foreign language is not a part of APP, and APP middle school students don't have special access to foreign language classes.

I understand that some folks like to blame APP--the programs, the kids, the parents, etc.--for everything, but it's just not the case. Nice try.

HIMSmom

Maureen said...

Didn't Jim Valiere teach Spanish? Maybe the statute of limitations on allowing athletes to cheat has run out and they can hire him back? It always seemed a little weird to me that he was the only one who took the fall given that the principal had approved the class.

Maureen said...

I should note that in the article I linked to, the principal denies having approved the class.

Maybe Tony Wroten could send a check to pay to hire a Spanish teacher or two? It looks like he is employed.

Anonymous said...

Please enlighten me Middle School parents,

I don't want to bother the schools or teachers during this crunch time but I'm trying to find some basic information on the MS science curriculum at various schools. I have looked at the some school websites and the SPS website, but I would like some verification of what is actually happening out there. Does your child's middle school use science textbooks or just the kits from the Science Materials Center and the teachers' own lesson plans? Does your middle school teach topics in life science, earth science, and physical science every year or separate them into a different content focus for 6,7, & 8th grade?
Any info would be much appreciated.

-Was There

Anonymous said...

Thank you, non APP parent at Garfield, for demonstrating the widespread blatant prejudice against APP families. Nobody said anything about APP, but you pounced anyways. Perfect example of the irrational, hyper-prejudice so many have against people they perceive have it better. Thank you for the concrete example.

Good for you and your high achieving kids. I'm glad Garfield is there for them to thrive in. I only wish folks like you would reciprocate instead of bashing APP all the time.

WSDWG

Anonymous said...

Ugh! Can we NOT start!

Tired

Maureen said...

I'm with Tired.

Kristin said...

Question about Pearson / PowerSystems / edLine -- when did Pearson stop supporting it? The closest thing I can find online is " "eSIS Customer Advantage." This program will ensure ongoing support for eSIS customers and provide opportunities to take advantage of the broader Pearson technology platform" -- that's on the Pearson press release from 2010.

http://www.prweb.com/releases/2010/11/prweb4791294.htm

Also can somebody explain what the scheduling problems are and which schools are experiencing them?

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Was There,

Eckstein does not use science kits. Sometimes they use textbooks, but not for every unit & not driving the curriculum. Historically each teacher has done their own thing. Now they are working on aligning across grade levels.

Typically, physical science in 6th, biological sciences in 7th & earth sciences in 8th.

-eckstein parent

Anonymous said...

The fact is there's no science in middle school. There's no texts, no kits, nothing. All are roll your own, mostly devoted to learning about test variables etc. Then, there's an unbelievable amount of time spent on science fairs which are glorified poster projects on nothing. Unless, of course, your kid is in APP, in that case they're smart enough to deserve science.

STEM parent

Patrick said...

STEM parent, I think it would be more accurate to say it's up to the school and the teacher.

Science fair can be a good way of learning. Think of it as a little taste of project-based learning, driven by what the student is interested in with some guidance from the teacher.

Anonymous said...

New topic on this thread. Does anyone have an electronic version of the Seattle Education Association CBA? In the past, once the contract has been signed, it has been posted on the SPS website, but I have not seen it yet. I am interested in seeing the actual "hard-fought" compromises both SPS and the teachers said they made.

Thank you.

EdVoter

Anonymous said...

Re: contract

It isn't on the SEA website yet either. Check there in a couple days. It shouldn't take this long to enter the minimal changes that were made to the proposal that was rejected.

SSD staffer

Anonymous said...

Re: Mann School and Meany

From Capitol Hill blog

http://www.capitolhillseattle.com/2013/09/schools-says-with-community-issues-sorted-out-14-2m-plan-moving-forward-to-re-open-hill-middle-school/#more-2067131852

NEmom

Anonymous said...

I am interested in learning about the curriculum and experience for general ed kids at Garfield because I am considering the school for my daughter next year.

Thanks, RR

Anonymous said...

Garfield does not have "APP" classes. There are APP students there, but they are in general ed classes with other Garfield students. In many classes there are students who are in different grades in the same class. I run into a lot of young Garfield alums working in various places when I am out and about with my Garfield student. When they find out what school my daughter goes to they often say those were my favorite school years, and that they "loved" Garfield. Music is an opportunity for all interested Garfield students.
NEmom

Eric B said...

@NEMom, When we toured Garfield a year and a half ago, my daughter was interested in an oceanography class. The teacher flat out told her that she probably couldn't get in since she didn't go to Hamilton. I hope that your experience is more typical of current conditions than that.

Anonymous said...

Eric,

Is it possible the teacher thought your daughter wanted to take it as a freshman? Biology is a prerequisite for that class and most kids (not enrolled in APP) don't have the opportunity to take it in middle school. I believe she could take it after completing biology.

Just a thought.

Lynn

Maureen said...

At some point within the past three years, Garfield intended to require all 9th graders (except those who came from APP) to take Physical Science in 9th grade. That would make it next to impossible for any nonAPP student who is serious about doing science in college to take Marine Biology or another science elective (because a serious student should really have Bio,Chem, and Physics.) Money fell through for the science text adoption and GHS backed off on the 9th grade requirement for last year at least, but that might not be true in the future.

(Eric, was it actually Marine Bio (not Oceanography)? That is a VERY popular class at GHS and includes a trip to Hawaii (and Eastern WA?). It used to be full of 10th graders and up. Since APP students are covering Bio in 8th grade, I hear many more 9th graders are enrolled and some people are concerned that the trips may not be sustainable because so many of the kids are so young.)

Anonymous said...

I think the Marine Bio is actually named Oceanography. The Hawaii trip this year had a drawing, and only half the students were eligible to go due to the limited number of spaces. It is a class that can get UW credit, and I am sure it has a prerequisite, however it is not an APP class, so if a student takes the prerequisite in 9th grade, I feel certain that student could take it in 10th grade. I seem to remember my daughter saying there were 10th graders in the class.
NEmom

Jet City mom said...

My daughter took Marine Bio in 10th grade @ Garfield, it was my impression it was mostly if not all 10th graders.
( she graduated in 2008)
She did not win the lottery to go to Hawaii, but I was the only female chaperone on the eastern wa marine biology trip, which was a fantastic opportunity to see fossils on top of slate peak! ( marine fossils)

Anonymous said...

Why Hawaii? Which island? Why not Baja California? For marine biology, the Sea of Cortez is the best, esp from here. Less expensive and less crowded too. We always go there for fieldwork at UW Earth Sciences. It's one of the few places where we can still find hammerheads, sigh. If you can swing it, go see the coral reefs now, they will be gone in the next 10-15 years. We thought we would still have around 20 years, until the last ocean temp and CO2 reports came out. Ocean is warming much faster than we thought. Borrow some money, put it on your credit card, take your kids and go now. That ecosystem will be gone when they grow up.

CCA

Anonymous said...

Thanks for answering about MS Science. No wonder the websites aren't very helpful. Anyone else want to share. I wonder if physical sci in 6th is a pattern or just at Eckstein.
The list of MS science kit checkouts from the SMC is up, but its hard to tell if and when they are actually taught.

-Was There

Anonymous said...

The state standards for 6-8 science:

WA State K-12 Science Standards

Unless, of course, your kid is in APP, in that case they're smart enough to deserve science.

Huh? APP uses the same science kits as the rest of SPS students, but in a different order. They skip some units in order to accelerate to the high school Physical Science and Biology in middle school - same texts as everyone else, just earlier. I think some WMS students can take Physical Science even if they aren't in APP (assuming they are also on an accelerated math track).

Just like math, there's a lot of room for improvement in SPS science curriculum.

SPSparent

Anonymous said...

There's no reason to link math and science except to exclude people. All science can be taught to anyone, if adequately differentiated. Accelerated science simply means some kids (yours evidently) have access to science, while others do not. And it starts really early. Lots of kids don't even get kits. Why can't all students at WMS take physical science? Because what they're skipping, is actually nothing at all.

STEM parent

Maureen said...

STEM parent, I, in general agree with you, but I'm not sure about this: All science can be taught to anyone, if adequately differentiated

My D is in the 1st week of the 1st year of IB Chemistry and I just don't see how she could do it without knowing some algebra. Maybe you are just referring to K-8 science, in which case I agree. Or maybe you are saying 10th graders with no math skills could still be taught some sort of Chemistry, but I can't imagine a level of differentiation that could serve kids who know algebra and those who don't all in the same HS Chem class. (Her 7/8th grade science teacher did it by teaching everyone the algebra they needed to make it work, but they didn't cover anywhere near the amount of Chem that HAS to be covered in IB Chemistry. And most of those kids knew very little algebra to start with.)

Anonymous said...

Or maybe you are saying 10th graders with no math skills could still be taught some sort of Chemistry, but I can't imagine a level of differentiation

I'm saying exactly that, and I'm saying it isn't that hard to do. First of all, overwhelmingly, kids have algebra and it isn't that big a deal. Really, they could do Physical Science with anybody, at any level, no excuses. And probably, they could do some Chemistry in middle school. And, phone the neighbors, teach them the algebra (or skip it if they have to) in middle school too. If they can do it for some, they can do it for all. What passes for middle school science is a waste of time.

STEM parent