Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Annual Report on Equitable Access to Programs and Services

The School Board should reject the Annual Report on Equitable Access toPrograms and Services because it fails to fulfill the requirements of the policy. Instead of holding the required information, the report contains a lot of general information that should not appear. Either the superintendent is confused or he is attempting to confuse others. Neither situation is acceptable.

Per the policy, the report is required to contain detailed information about how each program placement decision relates to the eight decision-making criteria. These details are almost completely absent from the report. Moreover, a number of program placement decisions are not even mentioned in the report. Instead, the report contains comments about a number of changes and decisions which are not, in fact, program placement decisions at all.

The report is almost completely without any detailed information and it is almost completely without any mention of any stakeholder engagement.

The superintendent procedure 2200SP gives definitions for school, service, program, and curricular focus. The superintendent himself wrote this procedure and set these definitions a year ago. We can presume he and his staff are familiar with them. Yet this report does not reflect any knowledge or understanding of the procedure. The staff has made no effort to make progress on the “Equitable Access Framework” – whatever that may be – nor have they made any effort to follow the policy or the procedure. Instead, the superintendent and his staff have directed their efforts towards misleading and confusing the Board and the public about program placement. The Board has named program placement procedure and the equitable access framework as Board Priorities for each of the past three years. The refusal by the superintendent and the staff to take action on Board priorities expresses contempt for the Board and the Board’s authority. The Board needs to step up, demand accountability, and establish its authority. This is the time and place for that demand, at the presentation of the annual report.

The decisions listed in the report fall into two general categories. Either they should be there, but lack the detailed information required by the report, or they should not be in the report at all because they are about a curricular focus rather than a program or a service. In addition, a number of program placement decisions are left out of the report.

ELL at Madrona – The report contains no details about stakeholder engagement, fiscal impact, use of physical space, and has no analysis of impacts or discussion of best practices.

IB at Rainier Beach – IB is a curricular focus, not a program or service and should not have been included in the report.

Interagency Academy moved to Columbia – Interagency is a school, not a program, and should not have been included in the report. No details about stakeholder engagement, fiscal impact, efficient use of physical space, and no analysis of impacts.

Special Education Services – The report contains no details about stakeholder engagement, fiscal impact, use of physical space, and has no analysis of impacts or discussion of best practices.

Changes in course availability at Skills Center – CTE programs are specifically listed as an example of curricular focus in the procedure and should not have been included in this report.

Changes in course availability at Cascade Parent Partner Program – courses are not programs or services and therefore should not have been included in this report.

ALO at Kimball – ALO is a curricular focus, not a program or service and should not have been included in the report.

Indian Heritage Middle College moved to Northgate – Middle College is a school, not a program or service and should not have been included in this report. You will notice that the decisions to move The NOVA Project to the Mann building and the decision to move The World School to T T Minor are not included.

Opening Fairmount Park – Fairmount Park is a school, not a program or service, and should not have been included in this report.

Establishment of APP at Fairmount Park – no information at all about any of the eight decision-making criteria.

Establishment of Spectrum at Fairmount Park – no information at all about any of the eight decision-making criteria

Opening Jane Addams Middle School – This is a school, not a program or service, and should not have been included in this report.

Establishment of APP at Jane Addams Middle School - no information at all about any of the eight decision-making criteria

International Education at Dearborn Park – International Education is a curricular focus, not a program or service, and should not have been mentioned in this report.

Language Immersion at Dearborn Park – Although language immersion is a curricular focus (it is specifically listed as an example in the superintendent’s procedure), and therefore is correctly left out of the annual report, the inclusion of International Education at Dearborn Park without the language immersion contributes to the misconception that International Education and language immersion are synonymous. They are not. Consider, for example, the fact that all of the students at Hamilton International Middle School participate in the International Education there while only a small number participate in the language immersion.

McDonald converted to Option School – option schools are not programs or services and this should not have been included in the report.

John Stanford International School converted to Option School – option schools are not programs or services and this should not have been included in the report.

Establishment of Spectrum at Jane Addams Middle School – completely left out of the report.

Establishment of optional APP at Madison – completely left out of the report.

Establishment of an elementary Spectrum program in the Jane Addams service area – completely left out of the report.

Closure of Spectrum at Wedgwood – completely left out of the report.

Closure of Spectrum at Whitman – completely left out of the report.

Closure of Spectrum at Lawton –completely left out of the report.

The School Board has a duty to the citizens of Seattle and the school communities to hold the superintendent accountable for compliance with their policies. The duty of policy enforcement falls to them. This is the time and place for them to fulfill that duty and demand that the superintendent deliver a report that meets the requirements of the policy.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yup.

DistrictWatcher

Anonymous said...

Where is the info re the closure of Spectrum at Wedgewood, Whitman, and Lawton. We are a perspective Lawton family and hoping to have our child enrolled in Spectrum.

-Uhoh

Melissa Westbrook said...

Uhoh, that would probably be a question to direct to the district.

Lynn said...

Uhoh,

I'm pretty sure Charlie means the closure of actual self-contained Spectrum classrooms at those schools. They still have their ALO programs that are labelled Spectrum.





Charlie Mas said...

To answer Uhoh's question would require a definition of Spectrum. There is no definition of Spectrum.

I do know this. There is nothing that they are doing at Lawton that they would not be doing even if they were not a district-designated Spectrum site. Consequently, the designation is a distinction without a difference. It is meaningless.

Anonymous said...

My understanding was that these kids were still taught on e year ahead. Is this not correct?

Uhoh

Lynn said...

I think you'd have to go on a tour at Lawton or make an appointment with the principal and ask that question. They don't have self-contained classrooms - so I'd ask if they use walk to math and reading to teach them one year ahead - and how that works in the fifth grade.

Good luck!

Melissa Westbrook said...

Uhoh, Spectrum is different at every single school. Not one school - elementary or middle - does it the same way. That's why we argue so much on this topic - no one really knows what the district is doing or why.

Charlie Mas said...

Is that what Spectrum is? Being taught "one year ahead"?

How is that different from grade-skipping?

How do they do it? Does the teacher teach the 3rd grade curriculum for forty-five minutes, then stop, turn to a few students in the class, and teach them the fourth grade curriculum?

Shouldn't Spectrum be more than just acceleration? Shouldn't the students seek a deeper understanding of the concepts, rather than just next year's concepts? Shouldn't they be encouraged to apply the concepts in a broader range of contexts? Spectrum used to mean broader and deeper, not just further or faster.

What assurances, if any, can the principal or the teacher give you that your child will be taught even the thin gruel of "one year ahead"?

Charlie Mas said...

There has never been any assessment of the quality or efficacy of any advanced learning program. The principal has no data to support any claim of quality or efficacy. None.

So any principal or teacher who says "Our program is good." has no data to support that contention.

Think what that means. It means that they don't care if the program is any good or not. If they cared, they would monitor it. Since they don't monitor it, we can conclude that they don't care. I assure you that they monitor lots of other stuff - the stuff that they care about.