Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Tuesday Open Thread

4 P-51 Mustangs will fly over Seattle in formation on Friday, June 6th at about noon... This is the 70th anniversary of D-Day - one of these planes flew 4 sorties over Normandy on June 6th, 1944. The Mustang was, and still is, an absolutely brilliant airplane.

 Those slacker kindergarteners - check out some of the schedules from around the country.  An hour and a half straight of LA? 

Some smart kids in Ipswich, MA figured out that they were doing free testing for the PARCC test and calculated how much they should have been paid.  

Two sixth grade math classes lost an entire week’s worth of instruction taking a trial run of a new test and now they want payment for their time.

This time would have otherwise been spent writing and solving and graphing inequalities from real-life situations.

At 8 p.m. that night Laroche received a shared Google document with an attached letter from A-period student Brett Beaulieu, who asked that he and his peers be compensated for their assistance.

Beaulieu used his math skills in the letter, determining that the two classes would collectively earn $1,628 at minimum wage for their 330 minutes of work. He then went on to figure out how many school supplies that amount could buy: 22 new Big Ideas MATH Common Core Student Edition Green textbooks or 8,689 Dixon Ticonderoga #2 pencils.

What's on your mind (besides the looming math adoption vote tomorrow)?


Anonymous said...

Continuing on the topic of handwriting from the other day, this article has been making the rounds on social media today


Ann D

Anonymous said...

Such clever middle school students in Ipswich! I've half a mind to encourage my own students to do the same (especially the one for whom my opt out did not work and ended up taking the test anyway).


Jamie said...

A teacher friend of mine alerted me to this:


My friend is organizing a flash mob dance at the event.

Anonymous said...

In Waldorf the children in first grade learn to write as they learn their letters and they continue to learn to write at the same time they are learning to read. Students continue to write by hand through 8th grade though they are allowed to type some reports beginning in the 6th grade. There are other activities such as handwork (knitting, crocheting, needlepoint, etc.) that the kids do to help with fine motor skills and math.

I have noticed for myself that if I write something physically down somewhere, I am more likely to remember something than I am if I just record it on a computer.


Joe Wolf said...

Via The Oregonian: Interesting "update" piece on Portland Public Schools' 2012 $482M construction bond program.


Anonymous said...

Did you see the Times on "Teacher Absentee Rates"? Really? 41% of teachers in Seattle are absent more than 18 days per year? None of them district initiated days? Hmmmm. Really? No one in my building fits the criteria. Which schools have chronically absent teachers? (I find this hard to believe. Seriously? more than 18 sick days per year?)

Mary Griffin said...

Here's what's on my mind.

We live in a very progressive city and state. We have made significant strides in civil rights. We have marriage equality. We have legalized marijuana. We are going to have a $15 minimum wage. We are talking about universal preschool. But at the same time we have policies and procedures (3246 and 3247 http://bit.ly/1h63eO9) being introduced on Wednesday which involve physically restraining students with disabilities and locking them into rooms when they have challenging behaviors. This is about as regressive as it can get.

According to my pal Arne Duncan, "the use of restraint and seclusion can have very serious consequences, including, most tragically, death. Furthermore, there continues to be no evidence that using restraint or seclusion is effective in reducing the occurrence of the problem behaviors that frequently precipitate the use of such techniques. Schools must do everything possible to ensure all children can learn, develop, and participate in instructional programs that promote high levels of academic achievement. To accomplish this, schools must make every effort to structure safe environments and provide a behavioral framework, such as the use of positive behavior interventions and supports, that applies to all children, all staff, and all places in the school so that restraint and seclusion techniques are unnecessary."

As Arne notes, there is no evidence that restraints or seclusion are effective in reducing problem behaviors. This is important because both NCLB and IDEA require the use of Both IDEA and NCLB require Peer Reviewed, Scientifically Based Methods of Instruction for both academic and behavioral needs. NCLB mentions "Scientifically Based Methods of Instruction" 111 times.

The WSSDA has not provided the school boards across Washington State with a "Shamwow" of a model policy and procedure. It is up to this board to demonstrate that it hears the voices of both the positive climate committee and the Superintendent's Positive Climate and School Discipline Committee and the Superintendent's Special Education Advocacy and Advisory Council. Both groups recommend emphasizing positive supports, de-escalation training, eliminating the use of seclusion, and narrowing the use of restraints to prevention of harm to student or others.

Last year, the district defended itself from media around the inappropriate use of seclusion rooms by saying the district removed the doors from their isolation rooms, which are now considered "chill down" rooms. The new policy seeks to condone their use again.

There is no doubt that district needs to provide staff with the training and support it needs to provide positive behavioral supports to students who are exhibiting challenging behavior. That should be the focus of the policy and procedure.

Mary Griffin said...

And here's the next thing on my mind. (I broke my arm six weeks ago, had surgery and have had lots of trouble typing since then.) I meant to post last week on this subject when it came up, but couldn't get it done.

Getting back to the subject to whether Seattle really is progressive where it really counts (or do we just try really, really hard not to talk about race --Oops, I meant North End Schools and South End Schools,) more than two years ago, the Department of Justice began an investigation into whether black students were disciplined more harshly or more often than white students. The district said it wanted to collaborate with the DOJ. It said it wanted to come to a voluntary resolution with the DOJ. Yet, the most recent news I heard was that José Banda was ready to come to a resolution if there were any findings. If that rumor is correct, I can guarantee that by the time the DOJ comes up with findings, there isn't going to be any voluntary actions available for the district. There will only be mandatory ones. In addition, I heard that the district is waiting for the DOJ to call them. Maybe the DOJ doesn't answer their phone, maybe they d;, but it seems odd that the district can't be a little more proactive.

Meanwhile, as Charlie alluded to, there seems to have been a dearth of planning around discipline dis proportionality and achievement gap issues that should be a number one issue according to the strategic plan. On this front, I have heard that the district is making some moves around changing the culture in the buildings around students of color and students with disabilities. They are hiring a consultant group to do so. How that will pan out, I don't know, but again, I sure would like to hear some good news about coming to a voluntary resolution with the DOJ.

MIF said...

Someone on some thread somewhere asked about inequities arising from dual adoption. I am not for dual adoption for that reason. I am for the Board rejecting Envision and recommending MIF in whatever way they can for that to be the new math program.

Here's my story. I had a 2 minute conversation with our principal about how she'd solicit parent and student feedback quickly enough to decide what program we'd use if dual adoption happens. I was quickly informed that she'd choose Envision - there would not be any parent or student feedback taken into consideration. No teachers will push back since they are almost all brand new teachers.

This year has not been a happy year for my math-minded student due to the curriculum. We are at a school that piloted 4(?) curriculums last year and chose My Math for this year. It is very wordy and requires work to be shown in a specific manner. Even if an answer is obvious, my student needs 20 minutes to do a simple addition, subtraction or fraction problem since they are required to draw 100 boxes as "models" and color the answer.

So, if anyone else is concerned their principal will go rogue, please e-mail the Board asking for MIF and a rejection of Envision.

Apologies if that makes no sense. The point is dual adoption could lead to lots of inequity.

Linh-Co said...

Amendment 2

(a) Enact a sole adoption of Math in Focus Singapore Math 2013 Edition as approved K-5
Mathematics Materials


Linh-Co said...

Sorry here's the link again:


Anonymous said...

It is interesting that the district is being all restrictive with the math curriculum adoption when it seems like curricula for all other aspects of instruction are highly varied from school to school. I know that some teachers surveyed at our neighborhood school last year weren't aware that there was a district arts curriculum. Isn't Words Their Way the early LA curriculum but some schools are using Letterland?

Not sure how great the school-based mismanagement is going. It would be one thing if every school had an awesome, long-term and well loved principal -- but our school didn't have that (even at $130K per year salary) and from discussions here it sounds like there are a lot of weak principals getting shuffled around the district.



Anonymous said...

It has been 14/15 years since the district adopted Language Arts curriculum for K-5. You'll be hard pressed to find a school still using that old curriculum- I think it's Houghton Mifflin something or other?? Words Their Way is a book that discusses methodology for teaching spelling. It can be used as a spelling curriculum but to do it well, it is very labor intensive. Everything must be created/copied and prepped by the teacher for multiple levels that are always in flux. I've used it in other districts and loved it, but it's especially challenging to use in Seattle, where I'm already making EVERYTHING else up as well. I can't wait until we finally join the next century and ditch Readers Workshop, and the level A-D patterned books that encourage poor reading habits.

ScrawnyKayaker said...

MIF: Are you at Green Lake Elem? That "I'm just going to do what downtown wants and I'm too dumb to pretend otherwise" sounds very familiar.

Anonymous said...

I think we're at the same school and you got me worried. My kid who is also strong at math, HATED envision when we trialled it last year - text heavy and having to provide written explanations for the (correctly calculated) answers was a huge turn off. I suspect adopting this curriculum will turn a great many kids who are great at math and highly capable of manipulating numbers into math-phobes.
Was the My Math curriculum always going to be just for 1 year?
It does not seem optimal for the curriculum to change each year - first EDM, then EDM plus mixture of others, then My Math, then ? Envision (bummer!). Any thoughts?
Are other families generally on board with the idea of Envision instead of My Math? And if not, is there anyway we can lobby to stick My Math?

No Envision

Anonymous said...

Received this today from HaleMail:

Parents and Guardians -- we need your help right away.
Our voices need to be heard at the Seattle Schools central office to deal with a significant issue.

Currently the district enrollment office has projected that we will have 1088 students for 2014. We know this projection is low. We have a long wait list and in the past years have consistently had more than 1100 students. But by projecting us for 12 students under that number, even though we have a wait list and a capacity for more than 1100, we have lost our counseling secretary and funding for several teachers. If this does not change, it will have a negative impact on our program and the classes and services we can offer our students.

We also learned that the reason the district is not moving our wait list is that if students are admitted to Hale from the Roosevelt neighborhood, Roosevelt will loose some of their funding. WHY ARE ROOSEVELT'S CONCERNS MORE IMPORTANT THAT OURS??? It is unconscionable to make families excited to come to Hale wait, and to jeopardize our excellent program in this way.

Dr. Hudson, our principal, has worked hard to explain our needs and concerns to the central office. The Hale Senate has had a meeting with Kim Whitworth, executive director of schools for the North East region. She supports our excellent program, but that meeting has not changed our situation.

Parents and Guardians, it is time for us to make some noise and be heard!! Our school is wonderful. Our program is fabulous and getting better every year. We cannot allow this situation to put us backward in our progress and our mission to serve our students.

Here is what we suggest every concerned parent should do:

*Tell any friends who are currently on the wait list about this outrageous situation and have them call and complain.

*Call or email one or more of the following:

Superintendent Jose L. Banda. Phone: 206-252-0180 , or superintendent@seattleschools.org .
Seattle School board. Phone: 206-252-0040
School Board President Sharon Peaslee. sharon.peaslee@seattleschools.org .
Lester Herndon, Jr., Assistant Superintendent with jurisdiction over enrollment planning. Phone: 206-252-0644 .

Tell them that our school should have a projected enrollment of 1100 or more, and that we have a long wait list and the capacity for more students. Tell them that we know that the enrollment office is holding our wait list rather than moving it, and that this is not acceptable.

Thank you so much!

Meredith Berlin ( tellmeri@msn.com ) and the other parent reps on the Hale Senate.

So what I want to know, is why then does Hale need a portable if they are keeping kids out?


Anonymous said...

Oh, and I had permission to post this here.


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