Friday, May 09, 2014

Friday Open Thread

I will be taking a short break for a few days as my family will be happily attending the graduation of my youngest son from his university.  We are very proud that he was accepted to the Evans School of Public Affairs at UW to work on his Master's.

I am disappointed to report that teacher Jesse Hagopian narrowly lost to Jonathan Knapp for president of the SEA.  The vote difference was 45 votes out of 1,342 cast.  About 54% of the SEA members voted which was apparently nearly twice what they have had in past elections.  There is to be a runoff for the treasurer's spot between Jennifer Matter (Knapp slate) and Dan Troccoli (Hagopian slate).  

According to OSPI, Rainier Beach High School will continue to receive a federal grant to help improve academic outcomes.

Ballard High School students won two awards for short films at the National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY).  Song for Anna by Lucy Harstrick, Isaiah Hoban-Halvorsen, Josh Vredevoogd and Kiana Wyld won the Audience Award of the Musical Masterpiece program. Just Plane Lucky took 2nd prize in the 48-Hour Film Off competition produced by Jonny Cechony, Will Erstad, Simon Gibson-Penrose, Elizabeth Rosario and Raven Two Feathers.

Garfield and Roosevelt are at the Essentially Ellington's Jazz competition this weekend in NYC.  Best of luck to both bands and thanks for upholding the powerhouse tradition that both your school bands have worked to achieve.   You can see it streamed live or keep up with the latest on the EE Facebook page.


Another thoughtful take from a school board director, Mary Fertakis, in the Washington Post's, The Answer Sheet, on the loss of the NCLB waiver. 

Two director community meetings on Saturday with Director Carr and Director Martin-Morris. 

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers who encourage and support their children.

What's on your mind?

33 comments:

Po3 said...

Congratulations on your youngest sons achievements. Enjoy your weekend celebrating, proud mama.

andrewr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stu said...

Let's see. Right now, our internationally recognized and celebrated High School Orchestras, from Roosevelt and Garfield, are in NYC competing in the premiere jazz competition in the country . . . which they've both won in the past.

SPS is building a new middle school and considering shifting a number of students, students from schools which currently feed these programs, over there. However, they're not planning on supplying an auditorium, instead relying on "sharing" existing rooms. (That's fine for concerts, by the way, but is, at best, poor planning for the future.)

Here's a little something from Hamilton's site:
Hamilton is fortunate to have a robust, award-winning music program. Our talented and energetic music directors - Dan Rowe, Mika Armaly, and Angela Babbitt - are the cornerstone of our thriving music program. Over 650 of Hamilton's students perform at concerts, local and regional festivals, symposia, and community events throughout the school year as members of the following ability-based musical ensembles:
• Five string orchestras: Beginning, Cadet, Concert, Senior and Chamber
• Four concert bands: Beginning, Cadet (2 sections), Concert and Symphonic
• Three jazz bands: Senior Jazz, and after school bands Junior Jazz I & II
• Two vocal ensembles: Vocal Jazz and Choir (2 sections)
Due to the strong interest in our music programs, Cadet Band and Choir have grown in size and are now offered during two classroom periods. A new Chamber Orchestra for our most advanced string students was also added in 2013.


That's 650 students . . . and then you add this from Eckstein's site:

Band: Beginning, Junior & Intermediate Bands, Wind Ensemble, Intermediate & Sr Jazz Bands (Jr Jazz is an after-school program)
• Orchestra: Beginning, Junior, Intermediate & Senior Orchestras
• Choir & Vocal Jazz
• 6th grade students can either sign up for a beginning level music class or audition for a more advanced class before the school year starts.


This doesn't bring in drama or community use . . . it seems so typically SPS to me. Ignore current data and do the least possible. You hear about concerns with building "empty space" but then design a building shaped like an "E". (I'm pretty sure that outdoor space, in between the sections of building, especially the parts unseen from the road, will be used quite a bit in the evenings by some members of the community.)

It amazes me even more that, since they keep looking to repurpose buildings, that they wouldn't build something that could be easily used for different programs in the future. Any building that's going to be able to house a thousand kids needs science labs, an auditorium, gym(s), and a lunchroom that can handle, efficiently, large numbers of students passing through. That's the MINIMUM and just once I'd love to see them NOT rush into something half-assed.

Sigh.

stu

andrewr said...

Congratulations and good luck to the Roosevelt and Garfield Jazz Bands at Essentially Ellington in NYC.

Here's a link to see the live streaming schedule for the competition:

http://jalc.org/media/jazz-webcasts/

I also thought about the district's constant moving around of programs and hope that they'll take a breath and consider redesigning Wilson Pacific. Since the board's already voted, though, I doubt we'll see much change.

Melissa wrote: "While I understand the reasoning for the "E" shape of the building, I believe it will allow for less flexibility and I think that should be a primary consideration for every building in the district."

I just wish they'd listen.

- a

Stephen said...

Eckstein also has a chamber orchestra; they meet once a week after school.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I think that Wilson-Pacific Middle School - because there will be no auditorium and the district says there are plenty of them that WPMS can use - their community should demand equal use rights.

Doesn't matter where the auditorium is situated - the district made a decision and said there is access via other schools' auditoriums. So be it.

So for practice, sure use the music rooms at WPMS but for performances, well, all the middle schools will just - under the district's justification - have to share the space equally.

Let's just see how Roosevelt,JAMS and Eckstein react to that one. (And I love those schools but if the district believes it's the way, then this is how it will be.)

It's an equity issue.

Anonymous said...

If you want to see a how a city and school district can work together to create an amazing school, you should look to The School for Creative and Performing Arts in Cincinnati. It's a K-12 public magnet school for the arts, serving over 1200 students. A public-private partnership raised over $30M in matching funds. Of course it took about 10 years of fundraising...

SCPA building pics

-dreaming

andrewr said...

Melissa,

Do you happen to know, off hand, which middle schools currently do not have an auditorium? (I know I can look on the site and go school by school but I thought it might be something someone knows.)

I know it's about equity but there's equity and there's "political equity." The district never wants to be seen giving the North end something the South end doesn't get. The difference this time 'round is that WPMS is being built from scratch and they have the opportunity to construct a building that can serve the needs of the school community AND the neighborhood.

I no longer have a horse in this race but it's hard to watch another decision being made that spends a lot of our money but doesn't use realistic, or current, data and doesn't effectively meet the needs. This is going to house a really large group of students -- it'll probably already be over capacity when it comes online -- and not planning ahead is short-sighted and disappointing.

- a

Ragweed said...

From the Urban Native Education Alliance:

"Hello Community Members, family and friends,

You are all invited to attend the premier of a documentary on Robert Eaglestaff and Indian Heritage School. This documentary has been in the making for the past 8 months and we are excited to announce the premier date May 22nd @6pm at Indian Heritage Seamat building (Wilson-Pacific). Free event. Dinner and panel discussion to follow the viewing.

Special thank-you to Struggling Productions and the many people who participated in the interviews and planning for this documentary. We want to honor the late Robert Eaglestaff and his family and hope the community will benefit from learning about Mr. Eaglestaff and the Indian Heritage school."


Trailer for Eaglestaff

robyn said...

I pulled some information together about MS auditoriums from google pictures. So, take this with a grain of salt.

HIMS, McClure and Madison appear to be the only middle schools that don't have auditoriums. Add Wilson Pacific to that list and middle schools without auditoriums are disproportionately located in the north-end.

Madison only has 800(?) students and can use WSHS's auditorium 2 blocks away. WSHS is not currently facing capacity issues making the auditorium easier to book than the north-end schools.

HIMS can currently use Lincoln's auditorium which is also about 2 blocks away. Coordinating use will get more difficult when Lincoln comes online as a HS.

I don't know what McClure does.

Wilson Pacific will be a totally different beast than any of these above schools. There will be about 2000 kids on the WilPac campus daily. It also does not have an auditorium within two blocks like the other middle schools without auditoriums. It will also have 3 programs/schools on site trying to coordinate assemblies, performances, etc. in the "lunchroom/gym - cafeatorium" while all the school kids are actually having lunch or going to PE.

I am actually surprised no one has yet brought up the inequity in the sports fields between middle schools. Some have dedicated baseball and soccer/football fields with lights and synthetic turf as well as tracks. WilPac will have one unlit, combined practice field with no track for 3 programs plus a high school.

I guess inequity is OK as long as it is in the north-end.

Anonymous said...

WMS did not have an auditorium when my kids were there. We used to schlep stuff to Mercer MS auditorium or Langston Hughes for concerts or had concerts in the gym. Looks like they go to Washington Hall now -which is a private venue. BTW the gym was awful.I doubt that equity has anything to do with the very bad decision to not build an auditorium at WPMS.

Old one.

TechyMom said...

McClure is in Queen Anne, which was south of the ship canal when I lived there. If McClure is in the north end, then so is Meany. Do those plans include an auditorium?

Melissa Westbrook said...

I don't know right off hand (but others have chimed in). I don't know if Meany has (or will have) an auditorium.

I understand the sensitivities about what the north "has" versus what the "south" has. I can point to the first BEX programs where the renovations were more in the south-end.

My only point is that if W-P doesn't have an auditorium and the district says they can share with other schools in the region that do, then W-P should get just as much favor in scheduling as the schools who have them.

Nothing political about that.

Anonymous said...

Washington Middle School does NOT have an auditorium. So yes, inequity is alive and well in the southend

WMS parent

robyn said...

I shouldn't have put in the "equity" snark at the end. It takes-away from what could have been a normal discussion and it served no purpose. I wish I could delete it. Apologies.

Techymom, We can agree to disagree on your thought that Meany should be in the "north-end" if QA/Mag is. I'd throw Meany into the Central district.

Anonymous said...

Hagopian lost to Knapp by a very narrow margain. Just heard Hagopian on a KUOW interview. Very impressive orator.

No doubt JSCEE is breathing a big sigh of relief.

Discussion for this thread: Now what?

DistrictWatcher

Melissa Westbrook said...

No offense but kids, do you read what I write?

Because I did put the link in to the live streaming for Essentially Ellington (and yet a reader put it in as well) and now, there's DW's info on the SEA race (which I also included).

I don't mind if you don't read everything (although Open Threads are generally short and pithy) but repeating what I said sometimes makes me wonder what I'm doing.

andrewr said...

No offense but kids, do you read what I write?

Sorry 'bout that Melissa. I read everything you write very carefully but didn't see the highlighted text in your original Friday Open Thread post.

- a

Anonymous said...

So, in another blow to Spectrum and to Lafayette, the Lafayette principal has decided that there hasn't been enough "growth" demonstrated in MAP scores for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade Spectrum classes (they were high to start with and have remained high...), so he announced at a PTA meeting that he was moving those long-time Spectrum teachers to gen ed, and moving gen ed teachers to the Spectrum classes for the coming year. Huh?

Also in question is whether he told the PTA of this change before telling these teachers. In the aftermath, two of these three amazing teachers are now leaving the school.

Such terrible news for Spectrum at Lafayette and for Lafayette in general. This school has taken a beating over the last three years, with one bad principal after another, and an assistant principal who has completely alienated the staff and most parents. The school has gone from long waiting lists to no waiting lists over the past three years, and it's clearer than ever that Spectrum is in significant jeopardy there.

-Disgusted parent

Anonymous said...


Tomorrow (Saturday) is the annual Orca K-8 plant sale in Columbia City. Come on down and get your spring planting started! (When you're done, you can have brunch/lunch at any of the amazing Columbia City restaurants - Geraldine's Counter, Island Soul, Lotties, etc.) And if you haven't seen Orca's garden, you really should. It's nationally known as a model for a fully-integrated garden program. Below is the promotional information - feel free to spread the word.
* * *
Now is the perfect time to gather all the things you need for your summer garden at the Orca Plant Sale this Saturday from 10 - 3!

* Veggie starts planted by Orca students and grown in the greenhouse
* Berry plants, herbs, and more veggie starts grown by Cascadian Edible
* Native perennials, shrubs, groundcovers and trees grown by Go
* Colorful flowering
* Ceramic wall vases and plant tags made by Orca Middle School students – perfect Mother’s Day gifts!
* Seasonal and delicious Food and beverages — lunch offerings as well baked goods to take home — curated by the fabulous Kelli Kirk
* Raffle with garden-themed prizes
* Canned food pyramid making with Mr. C and Orca’s “A Kid, A Can, A Month" program to benefit the Rainier Valley Food
* Orca Playground Committee outreach – learn more about the play space coming soon to Orca’s west
* Garden books for sale by Readers to Eaters
* Music by Orca's jazz band
* Rock Painting!

Bring your family and neighbors to fill your garden and support local kids gardening! Orca K-8 is located at 5215 46th Ave. S. (at Dawson, a few blocks west of PCC) 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

- southpaw

Anonymous said...

Oops - I made some sort of formatting error that had me leave off the last word of some of the bullet points! Sorry for the duplication. Here's the full list of what you can do/buy at the Orca Plant Sale:

* Veggie starts planted by Orca students and grown in the greenhouse

* Berry plants, herbs, and more veggie starts grown by Cascadian Edible Landscapes

* Native perennials, shrubs, groundcovers and trees grown by Go Natives

* Colorful flowering perennials

* Ceramic wall vases and plant tags made by Orca Middle School students – perfect Mother’s Day gifts!

* Seasonal and Delicious Food and Beverages — lunch offerings as well baked goods to take home — curated by the fabulous Kelli Kirk

* Raffle with garden-themed prizes

* Canned food pyramid making with Mr. C and Orca’s “A Kid, A Can, A Month" program to benefit the Rainier Valley Food Bank

* Orca Playground Committee outreach – learn more about the play space coming soon to Orca’s west side

* Garden books for sale by Readers to Eaters

* Music by Orca's Jazz Band

* Rock Painting!

- southpaw (again)

Anonymous said...

when i attended meany in the 80's, there was no auditorium. we went to garfield or langston hughes center for concerts, and sometimes had joint concerts with GHS. i personally loved it - we were playing at "grown up" venues!

i recall a large band room, locked instrument storage, and stage in the lunchroom. separate gym.

has anyone mentioned Wil-Pac using NSCC audtoriums?

-diane

Anonymous said...

Disgusted Parent from Lafayette,

There is a pattern to what is happening. The most experienced APP teacher at HIMS is being shuffled into gen ed, while someone with very little experience with advanced learners is being put in her spot.

The new line I've heard from principals is "any teacher can teach any student". Yes, principals have the prerogative to shuffle their staff around, but what is best for the kids?

And teachers of advanced learners all over town are being hounded to show adequate growth on the MAP. This was one of the reasons for the boycott! Statistically, these kids are not going to show growth as they bump along the top of a test they max out in 6th or 7th grade, then the teachers are punished.

open ears

Anonymous said...

@ Open Ears-

Thanks for this information. I appreciate the context. It's completely infuriating, though, that this now seems to be an edict from the district. I should have suspected as much. I wonder if this is happening widely...

I completely agree that this is pure sabotage for accomplished Spectrum teachers. They have high achieving kids who have historically done well on these tests, so growth is very difficult to show.

In one case recently, a kid scoring in the 99% was put in the lowest math group because he wasn't showing growth on his MAP. How could he? He was already in the 99%? The Lafayette principal completely supported this placement until "growth" could be shown. That would mean scoring very low (on purpose?), so that there could be subsequent growth.

Two kids in my daughter's class actually said their parents told them to completely blow the fall MAP so they could show growth in the winter and spring to advance their placement for middle school.

This whole thing is absurd, and dedicated teachers are paying a high price for the district's artificial focus only on "growth."

Thanks again,

-Disgusted parent

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a misuse of the MAP test. I'd write your school board member and Executive Director on this. I'd also question the reassignment of Spectrum teachers.

The sequence of math skills on the MAP test is not necessarily aligned with the sequence of math skills as taught in class. Using individual MAP scores for math group placement is questionable. This situation sounds absolutely crazy.

The [Spectrum] program is guided by four core principles:
1) Provide a rigorous curriculum.
2) Provide an accelerated curriculum that focuses on student proficiency in grade level expectations and one grade level beyond or more in reading and mathematics
3) Bring district-identified students together through self-contained or cluster-grouping strategies to form classroom rosters.
4) Provide instruction by teachers familiar with the needs of students who are academically gifted.

disgusted too

Anonymous said...

Clearly readers are not practicing "close reading" as dictated by Common Core standards, nor are they focusing solely on the text, requiring them to not utilize background knowledge to help with comprehension or provide context....

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alan-singer/reading-without-understan_b_4323239.html

CT

Anonymous said...

What a loaded article.

First, it conflates the standards with their implementation. Yes, the ELA standards are skills based, but the preface to the CCSS also stresses the importance of content:

The Common Core asks students to read stories and literature, as well as more complex texts that provide facts and background knowledge in areas such as science and social studies…It is important to note that the grade 6–12 literacy standards in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects are meant to supplement content standards in those areas, not replace them. States determine how to incorporate these standards into their existing standards for those subjects or adopt them as content area literacy standards.

Second, it is an example of selectively quoting primary sources to create an imbalanced and incomplete picture of events.

This is how CCSS is playing out in some SPS classrooms. Content is being disparaged and the facts are selectively presented to support a predetermined viewpoint. CCSS is being used to support both.

CCSS skeptic

Carol Simmons said...

Melissa,

Many congratulations on the achievements of your son. Entrance to this program is highly competitive.

Hope you and he will attend the 2014 UWAA MAP Bridging the Gap 20th annual Breakfast at the HUB on Oct. 25th at 730 a.m. As you know many SPS students have been honored and receive scholarships. Also, Distinguished Alums are celebrated.
Have a happy Mother's Day.
Fondly,
Carol

Anonymous said...

Meany has the ever-popular (ha!) 1950s/60s "cafetorium." (Meaning a stage at the end of the lunchroom).

Current Nova Parent

robyn said...

Current Nova parent, I sense sarcasm in your comment. If I'm right and the cafetorium doesn't work too well for Meany, please send a note to the Board and staff letting them know the issues with the set-up at meany.

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