Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tuesday Open Thread

From SPS Communications:
Officials of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) announced the names of two Seattle Public Schools students included in the second group of winners in the annual National Merit Scholarship Program.
The National Merit $2,500 Scholarship winners are:
Anthony L. Bencivengo from Nathan Hale High School, whose probable career field is playwriting; and
• Tara I. Martin-Chen from Garfield High School, who listed her likely career field as international relations.

Several SPS high school theater groups have been nominated for theater awards from the 5th Avenue Theatre to be given out on June 9th at Benaroya Hall.  Congratulations to Ballard High, Ingraham High, Franklin High and Nathan Hale High.  

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

amazingly detailed report on a new model for AL written by two Ingraham students, apparently IBx students, can be viewed on the APP blog.Many other ideas from other task force members, but this first report on the document, by the students, is interesting as it comes from students who have gone through APP.Those two and i presume many other high school kids these days, know how to put together very effective presentations. Good job to the students and their teachers!

Melissa Westbrook said...

Aurora, thanks for that. I found some other interesting things and I'll start a thread.

Anonymous said...

Can you remind us of the link to that blog?

Lynn said...

Here's a copy of the report mentioned. It's a collection of the recommendations of individual members of the task force. The first 8 1/2 pages were the contribution of the IBX students. There are many members who did not submit recommendations and there is not general agreement between those who did.

You can find minutes of task force meetings and some of the presentations on the Advanced Learning web page (scroll down to the bottom.)

Joe Wolf said...

A few things:

Link to the Expanded FAQ doc for the Wilson-Pacific project, developed in the context of questions that arose from the community meeting.


If you have a question not covered in this doc, please email me (jawolf@seattleschools.org) and I'll do my best to get an answer.

Did a photo shoot over the weekend at the Genesee Hill site; my attempt to give the old school a proper farewell.


I want to second Melissa's shout-out to our high school theater students, teachers and supporters. I caught Ballard HS's production of "Urinetowh" and was blown away by the quality at every level.

My cast photo - https://www.flickr.com/photos/joebehr/13495610905/

Charlie Mas said...

As usual, the District has created a committee that gets together and tells us what we already know. The recommendations are the same ones that people have been making to the District for twelve years.

Is the current leadership listening any more than the previous leadership?

I didn't see people talking about the need for a policy, but it was evident in almost everything they wrote. What I did see was a deep need for the District to step up and take control of the programs, dictate staffing, delivery model, professional development, and curriculum, and then to closely monitor quality and efficacy.

Joe Wolf said...

Also: Here, photo set from the Mann BEX IV project.


Anonymous said...


what: email traffic related to the K5 adoption, most emails dated in April and May (up through mid-May)of this year; a few emails dating back to December 2013.

Various pages interesting, including pages 228-232 ad 81-82: find in these pages some idea of Shauna Heath's plans for curriculum waivers.

FOIA Forever

Charlie Mas said...

This talk about the APP Task Force got me to reading a number of the documents associated with it, including the annual application for the grant. The grant application specifically requires the District to tell how they will evaluate their program:

"Describe the district’s plan for evaluating how well the district is meeting the academic needs of the identified students. Include the assessment data and other indicators used in the evaluation process."

SPS responded like this:

"All students in grades K-8 take the NWEA MAP in the fall as a pre-assessment and again in the spring in order to measure growth."

Really? Where is that data and what did it indicate about APP?

This answer, of course, is from the current grant application. We'd have to see earlier grant applications to know what evaluation method the District claimed in those. But we do know that the senior staff has acknowledged that they have not ever evaluated the program for quality or efficacy. So anything they told the state in the past was a lie.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Charlie Mas said...

Wow. Shauna Heath is clearly opposed to waivers for instructional materials, no matter what the Board's policy might be.

Anonymous said...

Looks like it's back to All Kids Fit In The Same Box thinking from JSCEE.

Wow, just wow to Heath's multiple moves to dodge Schmitz Park's MIF reasoning - which principal Kercher lays out in his emails with grace, thoughtfulness and persuasiveness. Heath doesn't even seem to want him to have a waiver for MIF.

Having watched JSCEE for a long time it's this sort of Central HQ control insistence that leads to parent rebellion and yet another cycle of churn in administration.

Hope the board overrides staff and figures out a dual adoption way forward. Kercher is right - parents should not have to pay for the materials that work best for a school's population.


Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous: you have to post a user name or your post will be deleted according to blog rules. Reposting your thought from above:

Interesting reading. So, is this the short of it? It was down to three programs, the staff liked the price of enVision and told the committee to keep costs in mind, then redacted and said pick the best program, without regard to cost. Staff still wants enVision, so will frame the recommendation to support enVision. Then since Singapore math is part of Schmitz Park's school identity, they will have MIF, or continue with Singapore? Still reading...


Anonymous said...

Charlie, I believe the hi cap grant also provides an assurance that the district has written HCP policy and procedures. Oops.

Looking forward to seeing next year's application before too long--and hoping the board won't just sign off if they are made aware (publicly?) of the inaccuracies.


Greg Linden said...

This might be of interest. PBS Newshour ran a report last night on overuse of portables in public schools.

The report was produced locally, by KCTS Seattle, but was mostly about the Puyallup district's use of portables. Key message was that portables are much more expensive long-term (about twice as expensive).

Report is here: "Temporary portable classrooms get sustainable makeover"

Lynn said...

Charlie and HIMSmom,

The grant application for the 2013-14 year that you can find on the board's website isn't current. I pointed out inaccuracies in the original document and an amended application was filed with the state.

The original application stated that the district was in compliance with the requirement of the new law. We are not - as we have no testing process for students in grades nine through twelve, and no services were available for those students had they been identified as highly capable.

Here's Michael Tolley's memo on the issue.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Lynn. I had wondered about the K-12 issue myself, and figured it was just more of the pretty picture they were painting. Glad they fixed that part--but I'm assuming they didn't address the issues Charlie or I brought up, is that right?


Lynn said...

I don't know - the revised application was not published or approved by the board.