Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Open Thread

Boy do I like public disclosure laws because that story out of LA about the iPad debacle only gets better/worse.  I'll have another thread on that soon.

Kids and Uzis - I'm not sure there is anything that could better demonstrate a lack of common sense.  

Very funny story from the Scary Mommy blog about going back to school in the 1970s (some of us were doing that) and going back today.

In a big "what were you thinking," the clothing store, Zara, had to withdraw this offensive t-shirt for kids.  

Hey, maybe it's still useful to take notes...like with a pencil or pen.  (Even the Cleveland Browns coach thinks so.)  From the Washington Post.

There's a new high school space in town - Seattle Waldorf just opened its new high school building at Magnuson Park.  Interestingly they absorbed another Waldorf high school in 2007 called Hazel Wolf High School

Oklahoma got denied its NCLB waiver so Washington State is not the only outcast.

According to the newest education ranking, Washington State ranks 15th in the country.   They give WA state a "mixed" rating because it's 29th in spending but somehow has better outcomes than other states.  (This supports my belief that legislators don't want to fund education more because hey, look how well we do in spite of the low dollars?)  

What's on your mind?

103 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hazel Wolf High School was started as a Waldorf High School by parents from Seattle Waldorf who wanted a Waldorf High School. At the time, none of the local Waldorf schools - Seattle, Bright Water or Three Cedars - were willing to add a high school. Later, there was a big push by Seattle Waldorf parents to have a high school be a part of Seattle Waldorf School. A team from Seattle Waldorf decided that instead of reinventing the wheel, that the school would team up with Hazel Wolf High School thus was born Seattle Waldorf High School. Seattle Waldorf High School draws students from Seattle Waldorf School, Bright Water Waldorf School, Three Cedars Waldorf School, Whidby Island Waldorf School as well as homeschoolers and other public and private schools.

The new facility is lovely and close to many opportunities for outdoors activities. The facility while house up to around 125 students eventually.

HP

mirmac1 said...

Somehow I missed this in the Capital 8/22/14 Friday memo.

- Early Learning Center Southeast program is opening at the Van Asselt building.

-An Interagency program is moving into a separate wing of the Van Asselt building. (Additional Interagency programs are located at the Columbia building.)

First, HOW MUCH is this Early Center SE costing SPS? Who came up with that brainstorm?

Second, who had the brainstorm to site an Interagency program in the same building as special education preschoolers?!

Charlie Mas said...

Also in the 8/22 Friday Memo is this memo about the implementation of the recommendations from the Advanced Learning Task Force.

It looks pretty straight-forward except for the first item about delivery model. They act like they don't know about the plan for Fairmount Park. Or am I the one who doesn't know the plan for Fairmount Park? What is the plan for the deliver model at Fairmount Park?

Anonymous said...

What is an "interagency program," and why would it be a bad idea for it to be in the same building as special education preschoolers?

CR

Anonymous said...

Mirmac, what, exactly is the "Early Learning Center Southeast?" As far as I know the only preschools located in one building at old Van Asselt, are 2 special education developmental preschools. No safe playground, nurse, secretary, or access to breakfast/lunch for students, sharing a "principal" or administrator with the Transition Program located in a different building.....I am sure that they will have working phones and computers eventually....!

Casey

Anonymous said...

CR, the other program at old VanAsselt is called a Transition Program - according to the SPS website, it is a program for 18-21 year old students with special needs who need support to transition out of high school into the workforce independently or with support. They are not early childhood students.

The center is called an Early Learning Center, but looks more like a special education school at this time. Seems like a step backwards.

Casey

Po3 said...

Here's an article about the Interagency program printed several years ago.

http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2018513097_lastchance24m.html

Anonymous said...

Sounds like SPS is establishing a self-contained sped school. That can not possibly be legal. What are they thinking?!

-HS Parent

mirmac1 said...

This is demo project for the City's grand scheme of preschool for all - except they pulled out so its just preschool for youngsters with disabilities.

I greatly value the students and teachers at Interagency. I do not think it is appropriate to site it with a standalone preschool.

Lynn said...

HS Parent,

The district would argue that it's not a self-contained special ed school - it's a self-contained Pre-K school. There are no general ed Pre-K classrooms with which they could co-locate.

This is equivalent to placing a program for 18-21 year old special ed students at Lincoln. There are no general ed 18-21 students in the building.

maple leaf mom said...

Does anyone have any ideas about what is going on with transportation for the new JAMS. There are lots of students in the "assignment area" who are getting Orca cards, not yellow bus service. I thought Orca cards were for families that were in a different middle school service area.

I have to say that it really stinks that my 8th grader was forcibly moved to a new school. But now, my 8th grader is expected to take three busses and then get dropped off in front of "Dream Girls at Ricks." Am I missing something?

Anonymous said...

I think the plan for Fairmount Park, so far as I understand it, is to include Spectrum students in the APP classes--these classroom may be muti-grade, but will not be integrated with general ed. The Spectrum students are guaranteed to be included in these classroom placements with their cohort, but there was also mention that if they get a critical mass/over-abundance of APP students eventually,the Spectrum program may not stay around forever (but no current students would lose their spots), possibly recreating self-contained APP classrooms if there are the kids for it. Even though it looked like it might have been an experiment with a new delivery model, I think the main motivation was to create a sufficient population for AL-contained classrooms in an area that didn't yet have a critical mass of APP students.
--future FP parent

Lynn said...

maple leaf mom,

That doesn't sound like a workable option. Could your child bike instead? Here's some info on the rules:

2014-15 Transportation Service Standards

From Page One: Middle Schools - Middle School students who live within the boundaries of the Seattle Public School District and who live more than 2.0 miles from their assigned school are eligible for transportation. District arranged transportation is provided for those students attending a middle school in their service area or linked service area. ORCA cards may be provided for students attending a school outside of their service area or linked service area.

From Page Eight: Middle School Students (other than those that attend Aki Kurose) that live more than 1.5 mile but less than 2.0 mile from their attendance area school receive ORCA cards as an exception to normal Middle School eligibility standards.

Anonymous said...

Melissa: We've worked together on the NO on I-1240 campaign. I'm now working on helping the WA State Charter Schools Commission avoid the errors of other states. If you have my email address, send me a message; as I need to pick your brain about blog sites. If not, look for me on Facebook and message me. Ken Mortland

Anonymous said...

Charlie, I don't think Fairmount Park is the only place the APP delivery model will get tweaked this year... Didn't someone say JAMS will do some mixed classes, too? And the model presented in the task force recs seems to refer to blocked LS/SS classes, and Hamilton has decided to unblock them. Then add in the fact that middle school students only get to accelerate in a single subject now (science), so the "significantly accelerated" portion doesn't seem to hold true anymore either.

I sure hope these curriculum specialists know what they're doing...

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

@maple leaf mom

I think part of the problem is that at least two different JAMS attendance area/walk zone maps have been published.

There was a map dated 1/10/2014, in which nearly all of the JAMS attendance area was within the walk zone.

A later map, dated 6/10/2014, and currently posted on the SPS School Directory and Growth Boundaries pages, shows a smaller walk zone for JAMS.

A big chunk of Maple Leaf falls in an area that was within the large JAMS walk zone on the 1/10/2014 map, but falls outside of the smaller walk zone in the 6/10/14 (updated) map.

From what I've heard, families who live between the old and new JAMS walk zone boundaries are being told that their child will not receive yellow bus service, even though they live outside of the currently-published walk zone.

Typically, if you live outside of a published walk zone your child should be eligible for transportation (at least that is how it seems to work for most schools), but as Lynn pointed out, the Transportation Service Standards state that transportation is provided if students live more than two miles away from their attendance-area middle school. In the case of JAMS, the new walk zone boundary does not seem to meet the 2-mile rule in all areas (perhaps it was altered due to walkability issues?), so it is all very, very confusing.

- North-end Mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

"Early Learning Center Southeast program is opening at the Van Asselt building."

Yes, this is the City's toehold into the district to set up preschools in as many buildings as they can steal space from (and yes, I use that "steal" deliberately).

I'll have a thread on this issue next week but you might just consider the space, time and resources that will be taken from the district because, so far, that's EXACTLY what it looks like.

Anonymous said...

maple leaf mom:
East-West Metro bus service is awful and not practical for getting from Maple Leaf to JAMS. Obviously transportation doesn't understand this.

HP

seattle citizen said...

“The Washington State Charter Schools Association invites you to a PUBLIC FORUM hosted by Green Dot – Join [them] in discussing Green Dot Public [sic] School’s application for a [planned 1200 student]6-12 charter school in South Seattle.”
Thursday 9/4/14, 7-8pm South Seattle Community College 6737 Corson Ave S
“If you are a charter supporter in Seattle, now is the time to come and support Green Dot in their application for a 6-12 school in Seattle. If you are just curious about the model, this is an opportunity to hear from local Green Dot leadership and a Green Dot parent, student, and Community Director.”
Original invite
Green Dot’s application
A Green Dot Teacher’s Terrible Experience With TFA, Staff Turnover, Crazy Admin…
Bree Dusseault, ex-SPS, will be in charge of Green Dot Seattle
Questions to ask at the meeting:
Every Green Dot school in LA is almost %100 Black or Latino (most are %99) – will Green Dot serve other demographics in Seattle?
Why does Green Dot rely on poorly trained (“five week”) TFA people who are likely to move on? Some Green Dot schools are almost entirely staffed by TFA. What’s up with THAT?
To whom is Green Dot responsible? To what metrics? What is Green Dot required to do to maintain its charter?
Will the staff be union? What are the work load expectations and salary/benefit packages like?
What percent of Green Dot students are Special Education?
How many students, as a percentage, of students are either allowed to leave the school during the school year or are counseled out? To what public schools are those students then sent? – does Green Dot follow the travails of its exited students?
What elective classes are available for students?
What formative and summative assessments are used for Social Studies classes?
What is the evaluation procedure for Green Dot staff? What metrics are applicable? Or is it merely hire/fire at will, with absolute power held by the principal? What protections do staff members have to keep them from being arbitrarily fired?
Is the general public allowed to attend and comment at Green Dot meetings, as Green Dot is funded by public dollars?

Lynn said...

North-end Mom,

Walk Zones only affect transportation eligibility for K-5 students. Middle school students are assumed to be able to safely cross any street.

mirmac1 said...

The public records suggest that the stump Preschool Ctr SE will be moved in two years to BH and Schmitz Park. Right, THAT Beacon Hill. They apparently have lots of space for those they choose to allow in. I'll bet there'll be some excuse why the SpEd youngsters will just have to go elsewhere....

Transparency Please said...

The principal of Graham was asking for the district to install a portable for preschool. Otherwise, Graham Hill wouldn't have qualified for Family and Ed. dollars.

Do we know if the district paid for a preschool portable for this buildign? Do we know if state dollars are being used for this purpose?

Anonymous said...

Three buses must take 1.5 to 1.75 hr. each way. Plus standing on the street six times in one day. The Ricks location is terrible.... Lake City Way is like the Grand Canyon as far as separating parts of the city. Plus biking from JAMS to Math n Stuff would be horrendous...straight up a mountain I feel for you. My kid plans to ride his bike. Busing on Sandpoint is our backup plan. The problem with 35th Ave NE construction is that buses are going around and cars are also going around. On quiet side streets cars are taking the parallel detour next to 35th. It is a bit scary.
NEmom

Anonymous said...

Yep, and that parallel route around the 35th Ave construction will be extremely problematic once school starts at John Rogers. Commuter traffic meets school drop-off/pick-up traffic on side streets with no sidewalks...it's not going to be pretty!

I am now hearing that the old middle school walk zones were drawn at 2.0 miles (the cut off for transportation). The new middle school walk zones are drawn at 1.5 miles, because that is where Orca Card eligibility starts.

I may be wrong, but I bet most parents assumed that if their address fell outside of the pink walk zone boundary on the JAMS attendance area map their child would be getting a school bus ride to school.

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

There are many parents with serious concerns about transportation to JAMS, with some serious equity issues as well.
Besides the east-west busing problems, there are also many students both inside and outside the walk zone that will have to cross Lake City Way. Since JAMS starts at 7:50 am, these 11-13 year-old students will be crossing a busy state highway in the dark for several months of the school year.
Also, many of the roads around JAMS do not have sidewalks, including on 34th Ave NE approaching the school. It's actually a narrow road with a deep ditch on one side.
Since parents just got their transportation letters this week, many of them are just now finding out what their limited options are.

Momof2

Anonymous said...

I am envisioning many cars on NE 110th St. with Hale students plus JAMS parent drop offs. The north side of NE 110th St. has no sidewalk. JAMS said no drop offs allowed on 34th Ave NE, only on NE 110th St. We all need to be very careful.
NEmom

Anonymous said...

...there are also many students both inside and outside the walk zone that will have to cross Lake City Way. Since JAMS starts at 7:50 am, these 11-13 year-old students will be crossing a busy state highway in the dark for several months of the school year.

Our child's bus stop has required crossing Lake City Way (at a very busy intersection) for the past few years. And yes, it was in the dark for several months as well. Letters to Transportation about safety did not result in any change.

The staggered starts of Hale and JAMS should help somewhat with traffic. How did JAK-8 deal with drop-off and pick-up routines?

just fyi

Charlie Mas said...

"JAMS said no drop offs allowed on 34th Ave NE, only on NE 110th St."

I'd love to know how they intend to enforce that.

Anonymous said...

As a former JA parent (now HW) who did drop off daily, I will say that parents who dropped off southbound on 34th truly did muck-up the buses. We couldn't really use 110th because the JA start time was so close to Hale's, but the best solution in my opinion was to head west on 110th from 35th and turn north onto 34th and park head in (diagonally) on the east side of 34th (have a younger kid who I walked across the street). Parents who parallel parked took up way too much room. Then you can turn right to get back to 35th at either 113th or 115th. We had a designated crossing site (kids with AP supervision) at 113th. Alternatively, avoid 34th altogether and drop off on 35th, but with 35th blocked until December, it leaves few options to get out of the area. I'd avoid going around that blockage to the east - NE Mom is correct - that just puts you right in the middle of John Rogers....

Best solution for middle schoolers is probably to drop them at 120th and let them walk the sidewalk down 35th to 113th. That is just one block without a sidewalk and there's a decent shoulder on the south side of 113th.

Are they truly saying NO drop off on 34th? That does seem unrealistic. I would think it would be better to manage traffic flow rather that expect something that isn't realistic.....

- previous JA parent

Patrick said...

As a JAk8 parent, I dropped off southbound on 34th Ave. north of the school building, next to the garden or athletic fields. It worked well and the child didn't have to cross the street. However, I usually did dropoffs about 20 minutes before the tardy bell, at the same time the first buses were arriving, so it wasn't at the peak crowding time.

I'm a little surprised JAMS thinks they need to ban dropoffs on 34th entirely. As a neighborhood school, they should be having fewer dropoffs than an option school, so if it wasn't a problem last year it shouldn't be a problem this year. Maybe I'm missing something.

Anonymous said...

Please help me,

How do a get a teacher to READ our child's IEP

BEFORE

school starts?????

There are accommodations that need to be in place DAY ONE otherwise he'll be too self-conscious to use them.

I emailed nicely saying how I'd like to meet BEFORE school starts to go over his IEP but I got an anew seer back like 'no time, but later...'

I doubt she'll read it because, apparently she's got 'no time'.

I've asked for this pre-start-of-school meeting every year, basically as a way to make sure the teacher has read his IEP before school starts, every year. And 3 times out of 4 I get turned down. I know it is a busy time. But, the school has low SpEd enrollment, and getting them to truly follow the IEP is really, really hard. And, I don't want to alienate teacher and principal and get reputation as the 'difficult one' because they have my kid for more hours of the day then me -- want to avoid phenomenon of negative transference.

Suggesting effective wording and specific strategy would be really helpful.

2E

Patrick said...

2E, if I were in that situation, I'd email again saying how important it is to have that in place on the first day, and cc the principal. It's their job. If that's the most difficult thing that happens to them, they have it pretty easy. If you can offer some scheduling flexibility that might help.

Melissa Westbrook said...

2E, I would explain exactly why it is important to get it started day one. And I would cc the e-mail to the principal and the executive director.

Anonymous said...

Thanks parents for all the kind help about JAMS drop off ideas. The "neighborhood" for JAMS is quite large and has some challenges: arterial streets/highways (Lake City & Sand Point), lack of sidewalks, parked cars on the shoulders of nearby roads, construction. I'm sure we will figure it out--I can understand no drop offs where the buses load. Planning for student safety is most important.
NEmom

Anonymous said...

@Patrick

Closer to bell time, drop off on 34th at the Jane Addams building (for the K-8) was pretty crazy. I think it is wise of the JAMS administration to try to avoid that scenario.

I suspect that, due to the surprise lack of transportation some families are experiencing, and the difficult access some JAMS neighborhoods have to JAMS via Metro (like kids crossing Northgate Way to catch a bus, or multiple transfers), there will be quite a bit of parent drop-off traffic at JAMS, especially for the first couple of weeks.

Almost all of the JAMS attendance area falls within the 2.0 mile boundary for yellow bus eligibility (there are only a few pockets in the corners that don't), and the 2.0 mile transportation boundary extends well into the Eckstein service area. When you factor in all the APP kids from the Eckstein service area, JAMS is essentially draws from both the JAMS and Eckstein attendance areas (like Hazel Wolf K-8), but very few families qualify for transportation to the school (unlike Hazel Wolf K-8).

Kids living between 1.5 miles and 1.9 miles from the school will qualify for Orca cards, but if there are multiple transfers required or bus stops/walking routes that parents feel are unsafe, those with the means to do so will probably drive their kids to school.

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

seattle citizen said...
“The Washington State Charter Schools Association invites you to a PUBLIC FORUM hosted by Green Dot – Join [them] in discussing Green Dot Public [sic] School’s application for a [planned 1200 student]6-12 charter school in South Seattle.”
Thursday 9/4/14, 7-8pm South Seattle Community College 6737 Corson Ave S

In case you missed it - article names names, explains ALEC, union busting, ineffective online "learning", etc.:

http://www.progressive.org/news/2014/08/187821/fbi-tracks-charter-schools

… Charter schools are such a racket, across the nation they are attracting special attention from the FBI, which is working with the Department of Education's inspector general to look into allegations of charter-school fraud. (more)

-districtWatcher

Anonymous said...

I am very optimistic for HC children at this point with the TF recommendations. And yeah that is right Charlie Fairmont Park implementation will be dicey especially if the board doesn't accept RECOMMENDATION 2: Define the Advanced Learning Office’s role in services, programs and
curricula. The Advanced Learning office should provide guidance and oversight on:
(1) consistent alignment of scope and sequence, curriculum and instructional materials for Highly
Capable sites and services
Two new positions created to accomplish this work: Curriculum Specialist for K-5 and
Curriculum Specialist for 6-12. Candidates will be interviewed in August 2014.
(2) specific mechanisms for evaluating AL programs and services, with metrics and checkpoints
Finalizing MOU with UW Research team to develop metrics for academic growth and other
impacts of participation in HCS – August-September 2014
(3) programs and services that emphasize rigorous and fast-paced instruction that is deep and
appropriately accelerated, providing differentiation without a ceiling. The District should provide
adequate staffing and funding to allow AL to fulfill this recommendation.

Hard to think that they could as it is way past the 11th hour for the WACs and they need to get something in place ASAP.

3inAPP

Anonymous said...

Forgot to add...

The 2-mile transportation boundary extends up to the Shoreline border along 145th (i.e. kids from Little Brook, up at 145th and 30th, do not qualify for transportation), and all the way to I-5 in the Pinehurst/Northgate area. Both of these areas have pockets of low-income and minority families.

With the geo-split these families lost both an assignment to the middle school they had been attending (Eckstein), AND they lost school bus transportation to middle school.

Driving their kids to school is not an option for many of these families. Hopefully the Orca cards will help, but it will be a big adjustment, when they are used to a bus to Eckstein.

- North-end Mom

Lynn said...

3inAPP,

The plan for 2014-15 is in place already.

The task force recommendations are directed at the Superintendent, not the Board. The Board's only opportunities to make decisions related to advanced learning are their vote on the annual plan and any requirements they include in a new advanced learning policy. They approved the plan for 2014-15 and Shauna Heath will write the new policy for them. In reality, we know that no Superintendent gets involved in advanced learning. We will get what Shauna Heath chooses to provide.

It's not clear how she'll enforce anything. Principals report to the Executive Directors and the EDs report to Michael Tolley (not Shauna.)

Lynn said...

North-end Mom,

Combining a two mile walk with a 7:50 start time is definitely a burden on low-income families. The district isn't going to make any changes for this year. Maybe JAMS could arrange neighborhood walking groups? There might be safety in numbers in crossing the streets. I'd focus the rest of my energy on making sure the board knows what time middle school students have to get up to walk to school on time.

Anonymous said...

3inAPP, I'm curios as to why you are so optimistic. At this point, what exactly will be better than what happened last year? All I see for this year are further deviations from the recommended model. These include mixed classes at FP (and JAMS?), elimination of blocked LA/SS classes at Hamilton, implementation of a new middle school humanities scope and sequence lacking an actual curriculum, and reduced opportunities for acceleration in high school.

Perhaps the curriculum specialists will do an amazing job of creating a rigorous new curriculum that all HC sites will implement with reasonable fidelity, but that's a pretty big if at this point--and certainly doesn't help this coming year.

Am I missing something re: improvements for this year, or is your optimism more long term?

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

I'm curious about the MOU with the UW to "develop metrics for academic growth and other impacts of participation in HCS – August-September 2014." I heard JAMS won't be administering the MAP test this school year, so will they pilot an alternative assessment? And what does it mean for students wanting to test for AL opportunities? Will the metrics change for qualification?

-somewhat optimistic

Lynn said...

The Highly Capable Students Program Annual Plan says: A new plan for evaluating and monitoring the success of the district in meeting the academic needs of the identified students is currently in development. James Cowan, Research Consultant with the Center for Education Data and Research at the University of Washington is an expert in the field of student growth modeling. He has applied for a DOE grant to conduct research on gifted education programs in Washington State. In particular, we will focus on assessing the long-term effects of HC participation on student test scores, advanced course-taking in high school, and college attendance. SPS, in conjunction with Spokane and OSPI, has agreed to be part of that project.

I personally don't think that will produce any meaningful results. Enrollment in APP doesn't increase student test scores. They have to have excellent test scores to qualify for the program. HC students would take the most rigorous classes available in high school with or without the program. I can't imagine it would have any effect on college attendance either.

Are parents going to be able to opt their children out of this project?

seattle citizen said...

Lynn, are you saying students' test scores would be the same whether they are in APP or not? It appears that the UW wants to see what impact HC/APP has on test scores. Are you arguing there is no impact?

Anonymous said...

@2E re "How do a get a teacher to READ our child's IEP BEFORE
school starts?????"

2E, you are an equal partner in your child's education, not a supplicant. I don't understand why you are being treated like a nuisance in waiting already. This type of strategy session should be taken for granted as a professional good practice by your school. It is understandable that you don't want to get the tag of "that type of parent" so why not call your Special Education Supervisor. Let them duke it out with the principal and/or principal's boss. Families need to be shielded from the blow back of simply asking for basic good practice.

IMHO

Anonymous said...

Dear 2E...Getting the classroom teacher ---vs. special education teacher ---to read the IEP AT ALL AT ANY TIME DURING THE YEAR is often impossible in SPS.

This general education teacher seems to be that type. You are unlikely to get any movement at all without being 'that kind of parent'. Sorry, but you will probably have to nag in person or by emailing the teacher and cc:ing the principal and special education teacher immediately. Even so, preparation for your child on the first day of school is unlikely, so start making backup plans.

Sped Mom

Anonymous said...

I think the question is whether grade level tests can measure growth for students working above grade level. If growth on grade level tests is being used to measure the impact of gifted education, well, that's problematic. Even MAP has a ceiling.

Maybe the statement, "Enrollment in APP doesn't increase student test scores" should be qualified as, "Enrollment in APP doesn't increase student test scores [on grade level tests].

Lynn said...

seattle citizen,

Yes - that's what I'm saying. These kids had at least 95th percentile achievement scores before they entered the program. In my mind, the point of the program isn't to turn them into academic superstars. The program provides them with a place they can fit in socially, gives them an opportunity to deal with a challenge and to learn that it's OK to make a mistake. Without something like APP, these kids are at risk of losing their love of learning.

Maybe we're misunderstanding each other. What kind of test scores are you talking about?

Anonymous said...

The Smarter Balanced Assessments are supposed to be adaptive (like MAP?), plus they have both interim and summative (year end) tests. Does anyone know how tests will be administered in SPS - just the summative, or will there be additional interim tests throughout the year? Can you opt out of the interim tests (not required by state) and just have your child take the summative?

test averse

Lynn said...

If he's looking at tests taken in high school - which ones would be affected by APP enrollment? AP/IB and ACT/SAT? Any student can take AP or IB classes and exams in high school - APP students aren't any better prepared for them than anyone else. Aren't ACT and SAT scores dependent on a combination of classes taken and general intelligence? Again, there are no APP-exclusive classes at Garfield and I don't believe for a minute that APP makes students more intelligent.

Lynn said...

Here's a district assessment calendar for the year. Some tests are marked as required and some as optional. (I think this refers to whether the schools have to administer them.) You can opt your student out of any exam. Unless you need test scores for advanced learning qualification, there are really no repercussions for your child until you get to the exams needed for graduation.

seattle citizen said...

Lynn, my read of your quoted stuff from UW was that they wanted to see what sort of improvement in a student's knowledge APP/Hc classes engender. I suppose this could be comparative: do HC students do better (on tests, or whatever metric) when they are in APP as opposed to gen ed? It could study what it is about APP is helpful...I understand about the social considerations, but what about the academuc adoect - maybe UW wants to study what's effective in APP/HC instruction.

Lynn said...

I am posting links left and right in this thread - I'll try to make this the last. Here's a link to some information on James Cowan and the Center for Education Research. Because he'll be looking at long-term effects of HC participation, I doubt he'll get into particular instruction methods - more likely a comparison of HC students who enroll in APP and those who do not. That's only my impression though - I don't know what the plan is.

Frustrated said...

I took this from Lynn's link. Testing applies to grades 3-8:

" Schools participating in Amplify
interim benchmarks should NOT
assess students on MAP in grades 3-8
 For all other schools MAP testing is
optional in grades 3-8. They may
optionally continue to use MAP for all
students (or) a subset of students
 If schools do not use MAP they are
encouraged to use SBAC Interims in
the late winter/early spring (More
information about the SBAC option will
be provided as it becomes available)"

Looks like the district added "Amplify"..whatever that is.

Between Amplify and SBAC Interims, I think it is safe to say that assessments don't mean a damn thing.

Frustrated said...

"The Highly Capable Students Program Annual Plan says: A new plan for evaluating and monitoring the success of the district in meeting the academic needs of the identified students is currently in development. James Cowan, Research Consultant with the Center for Education Data and Research at the University of Washington is an expert in the field of student growth modeling. He has applied for a DOE grant to conduct research on gifted education programs in Washington State"

Is anyone else upset that our children are continously being used for research??

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link to the district assessment calendar. Now I know what questions to ask our school: 1) will MAP be used? 2) if not, will Amplify interim assessments be used (and how often), and 3) how will data from Amplify testing be used?

It also looks like they will be scaling back on the math EOCs in middle school and only administering the Geometry EOCs to students that haven't passed the Algebra EOC (which is very, very few for those taking Algebra in 7th or lower).

test averse

seattle citizen said...

Google Amplify. Gates, inBloom, Aris (NYC data system)...adaptive tests...Sounds like MAP to me. Who is paying for it? How come there is an RFP from SPS for a test such as this but no further notice of it in later Board agendas?

Anonymous said...

Amplify is only being piloted in 40 schools this year.. It's actually going to tell teachers more than a score (like MAP did) and they will actually be able to use it to help them teach.

Pilot

seattle citizen said...

47 schools, Pilot. Why is it different than MAP? Who is paying for it? Did board approve contract?

Lynn said...

I don't remember where I saw this - but I believe the contract ended up coming in under $250K and so did not require board approval.

seattle citizen said...

I wonder if contract was $249,999.... ; )

Anonymous said...

North End Mom, Thanks for sharing more detail about the JAMS zone. I hope someone at school will be helping students figure out what bus to take. It does sound like a challenge to get from 145th & I-5 to JAMS on metro. I think they have to transfer at Northgate transit center or at 125th&Lake City Way. I don't think any buses go around the way cars drive (130th/125th/Sandpoint). To get to school by 7:35 or 7:40 they'll have to be at the bus stop by 6:15, I think. My 6th grader is not that comfortable riding a metro bus on his own yet.
NEmom

Anonymous said...

Is there a list of schools in this "pilot?"

http://www.amplify.com/assessment/mclass-beacon#overview

It does seem to offer more than MAP in that teachers can see what specific standards have been mastered (or not). It doesn't seem that Amplify will offer much for those working at or above standard, however, whereas MAP had the advantage of above level questions.

Is Amplify being piloted in the lower performing schools?

very curious

Frustrated said...

Seattle Citizen is exactly correct. The district purchased BOTH MAP and Amplify. The contracts did not come before the board because each test was below $250K When you combine the costs of both tests...that is a different story.

In essence, the district did an end-run around the board. They purchased TWO different tests to avoid board approval.

Frankly, I"m having a problem with the amount of "pilot" tests and the manner in which there was an end-run around the board.

Long Island is reporting teacher effectiveness based upon socio-economic areas. I hope the board takes down the Academic Warehouse ASAP. These scores can and will be used to promote privatization. And..as we see, the district is throwing in a brand new test that hasn't been assessed.

Frustrated said...

Con't:

Throw in Common Core and the system is completely screwed-up.

Frustrated said...

What test will our children be expected to take? MAP? Amplify? or SBA??

What will these tests mean?? Nothing, but the data banks will be filled with informtion for someone, or some organization, to spin for their agenda.

Anonymous said...

I don't have horse in the race so to speak but I am surprised the school district expects children as young as 6th graders (11-12 year olds) to ride the metro bus. High schoolers I can understand, but I would not want my 11-12 year old kids waiting for the metro bus or getting off in the dark, doing multiple transfers etc. Having ridden metro buses, I know there are often 'unusual' characters riding on them, waiting for them. There are news reports of people (teens/adults) being assaulted after getting off buses, verbally harassed or subjected to indecent exposure or assault on city buses. I just don't think it is appropriate or safe for kids this young to be expected to do it by their school - that's a judgement call that a parent should make. Not all these kids have cellphones to call if there is a problem. What happens if someone follows them off the bus? What if someone harasses them at the bus stop? What happens if someone persuades them to skip school get off at another stop with them?
My understanding was that middle schoolers got yellow school bus service - when did this change? Are students at other middle schools required to use metro buses or is it just the new JAMS?
I think this puts an unfair burden on safety conscious parents, and parents of younger/less mature/less confident kids who expected transportation but will now have to make other arrangements to get the kids to school . Some parents of savvy tweens may be comfortable with it but to my mind it is not right nor safe to expect all 11-13 year olds to handle to our urban metro bus system and safely and confidently navigate multiple bus transfers.
There is no way in hell my 11 year old daughter (she will be 11 in 6th grade) will be riding a metro bus alone in this city!

No way Jose (or Larry)

Anonymous said...

Another day another front page Seattle Times story about the disaster that is SPS special education.

Is there a deadline for knowing when the special education director will or won't be back? Does it matter? Does the acting special education director have any special education background? School starts in three days and special education looks off to its worst start yet. Insane.

DistrictWatcher

Joe Wolf said...

Regarding Graham Hill portable for Pre-school:

(Answering for the second time)

The portable placement at Graham Hill this summer was/is to support implementation of the Access SpEd delivery model. Not for pre-school.

mirmac1 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
seattle citizen said...

An article about Amplify being awarded 12 million in a grant to partner with SBAC
Author notes opportunity for Amplify to make other money from curriculum as a result of this. Author concludes with this:
"Amplify is no benevolence association. It is a business.

Just a reminder of [Rupert] Murdoch’s comment upon his purchasing Wireless Generation [now Amplify]in 2010. Pay attention to how he begins his comment:

'When it comes to K through 12 education, we see a $500 billion sector in the U.S. alone that is waiting desperately to be transformed by big breakthroughs that extend the reach of great teaching,' said News Corporation Chairman and CEO, Rupert Murdoch in a statement.

When it comes to K-12 education, Rupert Murdoch “sees a $500 billion sector” first.

The 'great teaching' part is not what is foremost in his mind."

Anonymous said...

"Is there a deadline for knowing when the special education director will or won't be back? Does it matter?"

Personnel investigation. If it looks like she will get fired or suspended without pay, there will be necessary meeting and hearings before a decision is made. There may also be negotiations to have her resign instead of being disciplined or fired. Or of others are involved, it could drag on. Will also depend on if it the investigation is done in-house or they hire an outside person.

"Does the acting special education director have any special education background? School starts in three days."

Per the announcement, he was an Assistant Sp Ed Director in Olympia before coming to Seattle to be an AP and then a Principal. Which is more experience than Marni Campbell had, and roughly the same as Zee had (though she had never been a principal or the overall leader of anything before coming to Seattle).

-SWWS

Anonymous said...

@2E Parent: There are a couple of issues that I hope you will take into consideration. First, that the three days last week that teachers were to prepare were taken up by district or building mandated training. This meant almost no time for teachers to be in their classroom. This varied from building to building with some teachers having no time and others having three days to schedule an appt. Special Education teachers were able to set their own time to get services in order but the gen ed teachers were mostly not able to do so. So that means when Tuesday rolls around that will be the only contractual day that many teachers will have to work with parents, set curriculum, arrange their rooms etc etc. Advocating for your child isn't being a helicopter parent but perhaps in a few ways your teacher is being kept from assisting you due to their having been scheduled rather than it just being a 'busy' time of year.

-Lemons

seattle citizen said...

Amplify (ex-Wireless Generation)owned by Rupert "Education is a $500 billion industry!" Murdoch; Amplify run by ex-NYC Chancellor Joel "Worked with Gates bringing Wireless data product ARIS to NYC" Klein before being hired by Murdoch;
Amplify "wins" contract with SBAC, which is a consortium founded on Gates' CCSS.
Murdoch and Klein and Gates are bringing Amplify assessments into our schools without the Board's approval.
Ah, democracy, eh, swk?

Anonymous said...

A timely article on the importance of knowledge for the sake of knowledge:

http://blog.coreknowledge.org/2014/08/28/knowledge-for-what/

Interestingly enough, Amplify is developing curriculum based on the Core Knowledge sequence.

Amplify Core Knowledge piloted in Spokane K-2

parent

Transparency Please said...

Thank you for the information on Amplify.

The city is promoting a preschool initiative and Teaching Strategies Gold is being proposed for assessments.

I've learned that Teaching Strategies Gold also offers a plethora of online curriculum for toddlers (and infants!), assessments and professional development. How about this one: "generate comprehensive reports that can be customized easily and shared with family members and other stakeholders; to learn more about this state-of-the-art feature, download our Teaching Strategies GOLD online Reports Brochure. (PDF)"

To date, the city's preschool initiative campaign has $27K and has spent $36K to unlisted source.

Will see individuals involved with Teaching Strategies Gold fund the preschool initiative?

Transparency Please said...

Thank you for the information on Amplify.

The city is promoting a preschool initiative and Teaching Strategies Gold is being proposed for assessments.

I've learned that Teaching Strategies Gold also offers a plethora of online curriculum for toddlers (and infants!), assessments and professional development. How about this one: "generate comprehensive reports that can be customized easily and shared with family members and other stakeholders; to learn more about this state-of-the-art feature, download our Teaching Strategies GOLD online Reports Brochure. (PDF)"

To date, the city's preschool initiative campaign has $27K and has spent $36K to unlisted source.

Will see individuals involved with Teaching Strategies Gold fund the preschool initiative?

Anonymous said...

Per the announcement, he was an Assistant Sp Ed Director in Olympia before coming to Seattle to be an AP and then a Principal. Which is more experience than Marni Campbell had, and roughly the same as Zee had (though she had never been a principal or the overall leader of anything before coming to Seattle).


WTF SWWS? Have you not been here long?

More qualified than Marni Campbell? That's a new low bar for qualifications. Are we now looking for someone less qualified than Marni? Well, it looks like we might have found him! Jessee has 4 whole years of teaching experience. And what? A principal for 2 (or something). And "assistant director of spcecial ed" in Olympia. What type of job is that anyway? That's something like the million do-nothing "consulting teachers" (who neither consult nor teach) we have here in Seattle. Because everyone figured out that they don't consult or teach, they're called "program managers" (but we have no programs, remember??? only services). Or maybe his job was more like: "supervisor" - who only supervise the program-managemer/consulting- teachers, who really do nothing except play kick-the-can with students. And now what was he? Executive Director of Leadership? That's like Leader of Leader. Err. Sounds like a whole lot of nothing. We don't need a twenty-something career climber, using special ed as his stepping stone.

Zee was a former principal. So, that's something.

It would be good to know when it will be settled. But truly - we don't want Jessee. We don't want ANY of Zee's "hires".

Start over. Please. Families don your firesuits. Indeed special ed is as bad as it's been in decades. It's every family for themselves.


Old Dog.

mirmac1 said...

Acting SpEd director taught SpEd 4 years, then was Asst SpEd supervisor in Olympia for 9 months, yes 9 months.

Then SPS thought he was principal material, where he served 7 years.

mirmac1 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Transparency Please said...

Thanks for checking-in, Joe Wolf.

According to FOIA document, the principal at Graham Hill was asking for TWO portables. One portable for special ed and another portable for pre-school.

Graham Hill has a small amount of students that attend preschool and preschool at that location is important. However, voters approved $232M in Family and Ed. dollars to support low income schools. The city was essentially threatened to withhold Family and Ed. dollars unless the district put a preschool on that property. It is time for the city to stop holding the district hostage..."Give us what we want..or else!!".

I highly suspect the city will try and transfer prek costs to district.

Melissa Westbrook said...

"Is there a deadline for knowing when the special education director will or won't be back? Does it matter? Does the acting special education director have any special education background? School starts in three days and special education looks off to its worst start yet. Insane."

I did find it quite odd that the Times' article skipped that issue. (If someone said to me, "the director is on leave and there's an interim," my next questions would be "why" and "is she coming back." If those had been asked, the reporter would have said so.

But clearly, it's not such a big deal to the district (no matter what words they mouth).

I said this at the comment sections at the Times - the district is not managed or run well. They will NEVER get ahead as a district until they get basics like:
- transportation
- Special Ed-
- bilingual
- enrollment
- facilities
Never. When people (see politicians and business types) wring their hands and ask why? Well, there's your answer. The schools succeed in spite of the district. But on those issues, no school can fight those battles.

That the senior management is now doing end runs around the Board to get what they want and not bother clearly explaining what they are doing? - nah.

I personally am weary of this and I have no idea why the Board is doing nothing (and I mean truly almost nothing). But then again, I am in a position where it doesn't affect me directly (except as a taxpayer, I don't appreciate this lack of oversight and responsible spending of dollars).

Anonymous said...

RE: Reading the IEP:

Some commenters are spot on: there is no time to meet and review every students IEP before the start of school (if ever, sadly) given the mandatory meetings, in services, etc. So, at the very least, suggest the IEP case manager provide the various teachers with the IEP at a glance. That gives the goals in a nutshell.

I have been a SPED staffer for more than 14 years. When we change schools and pick up a brand new caseload, we have NO school time to review files. That has to happen on our own time.

Sped Staffer

ConcernedSPSParent said...

Sped Staffer, I have great respect for you and I feel it most unfair you need to spend your own time on this effort, however worthy. Is your union pressuring the district on this?.

ConcernedSPSParent said...

On reading my post I thought I should clarify. The 'however worthy' comment was derived from my belief teachers are presented with a range of 'must do' tasks that require their own time. These range from the mundane to the critical. Sped IEP reviews are critical and I am very unhappy the district does not give staff the time to prepare, it is shocking.

Anonymous said...

Is the new Van Assault program maybe the one (social skills sessions?) that replaces itinerant teaching services? Because that is a great idea for pretty much no kid who uses them?

Seattle parent

Anonymous said...

Sped Staffer

Could you email me at sld.advocte.seattle@gmail.com

I would like to use you as a witness for a hearing in October.

SLD Advocate

Anonymous said...

Seattle Parent:

"Is the new Van Assault program maybe the one (social skills sessions?) that replaces itinerant teaching services? "

Yikes! What do you mean? " What happened to the itinerant program....or, um, service? That is the program that sent SPS sped teachers to work with preschoolers with special needs out in the community preschool/childcares that they currently attend - to support them and their teachers, keep them with their peers.

That way the kids could remain in their community mainstreamed, integrated, blended (eg with typically developing peers) instead of attending "self-contained" (only kids with special needs) preschools in the elementary schools.

I guess I missed the memo on that....(communication?)

l.c.

Inside said...

I've heard that Stephan Blanford is going around the John Stanford Center and asking staff if they feel bullied.

First, I if this is true, Blanford's behavior is beyond unprofessional. It is weird and possibly political.

Second, what is Blanford.

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

Reposting, since this post didn't have a name:
-------------------
To No Way Jose/Larry,

I totally agree with you, and I am the parent of a soon-to-be high schooler. There is just no way I will feel comfortable sending her on a Metro bus to or from school in this city anytime soon. I speak from experience - it is simply not safe, and leaves children (even HS aged kids) vulnerable to all sorts of unsavory and potentially damaging approaches or assaults. It is very unfortunate that SPS has to put kids through this kind of experience to get to or from school. I had yellow bus service all the way through 12th grade when I was young, and am very sorry indeed that SPS cannot provide that for its students. Safe, accessible transportation should be a basic right for all students, along the lines of pencils and paper. Urban Metro bus service in any major U.S. city is simply not safe for school-aged children. Period.
------------------

For what it's worth, I totally agree. The only thing that makes it even remotely reasonable for some kids is that students congregate at the bus stops on the main routes to and from high schools.

That's not the case for kids at the end of the runs, or less-traveled routes. It's also means it's not safe for kids at some schools to stay after school, because they lose the safety of being in a group of students on the way home. If you have kids at Roosevelt or Ballard you might not understand the issues. If you have kids at Garfield or Beach, you're far more likely to understand.

All this said, I believe it was the School Board, under the direction of Michael DeBell, that made this policy change, not staff. As such, I believe any changes to this policy would need to come from the Board. You might want to consider registering your dissatisfaction with them.

The fact that Metro usage is now bleeding down into middle school, with kids as young as 11 years old expected to get on buses with random adult strangers is unconscionable. It feels like the district is sending these young kids on an un-chaperoned (or poorly chaperoned, if you get my drift) field trip.

Unfortunately, as it seems to happen with everything else in SPS, changes regarding safety don't seem to get anyone's attention until something BAD happens. If then. The Garfield sexual assault obviously comes to mind.

Linh-Co said...

I actually like Orca cards for high schoolers. When my oldest first went to Ingraham, I was a bit nervous about having her take the bus on Aurora. It helped her to be a more "street-wise" and she learned to maneuver around the city. Before this, the girl had no sense of direction and couldn't find her way home even if she was less than a mile away.

She just started college in Portland and it has given her the courage to use their transit system to go into downtown.

Anonymous said...

l.c.

I hear the special ed option (travel to private/community preschools) option is being replaced with specific site services but don't know any details. I guess it isn't that different than if you receive/elect to receive PT/OT/etc on an itinerant basis and have to take your child to an elementary for itinerant services. I guess it depends how they are doing it and that I don't know, but it sure doesn't seem like a good option to me. There is no information on any of the preschool options/qualifications/etc on SPS's site (to be fair, not on virtually any school district I have ever looked at though either) so who knows what the program/services are.

Seattle Parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

I don't really like middler schoolers on public buses alone.

That said, many children - in the U.S. and throughout the world - ride public transit. Every day. Safely.

As LInh-Co said, kids gain independence by taking a public bus. And, the ORCA card is good for ALL rides, not just to school. Learning to ride public transit creates awareness in students that there are truly other options than driving to school in high school. (Of course you can walk or bike but frankly, I think biking is worse for danger.)

That awareness carries over into adulthood.

I was raised in a isolated, rural area and the only kids who got bus service lived very far away from the high school. The rest of us had to figure it out (no public transit). I would have liked that option.

Anonymous said...

SLD Advocate,

Just ask your atty to poll sped staff, including related service staff. It is very common practice to NOT provide staff time to review files. Much as I would like to be brave enough to publicly be a witness to this sad and unprofessional fact, I also have bills to pay and an offspring in college. We ARE bullied into going along with what Charlie calls, "A Culture of Lawlessness."

That being said, I personally do try to read pertinent info re: my students. I DO want to provide them with the best services possible.

Sped Staffer

Anonymous said...

My child took the bus from Northeast Seattle to Seattle Waldorf High School near the Children's Theater for 4 years. It was a great independence building experience. All high schoolers should be able to ride the bus to and from school. Life skills for living in the city. My child is now at American University taking the metro DC with ease.

HP

David said...

HP - I agree. For high school. Sixth graders should not have to ride Metro with multiple transfers.

Anonymous said...

My incoming 6th grader is 11 but looks about 8 or 9. No way Metro is appropriate.

Anonymous said...

I am sure in the best case scenario riding a Metro bus to school as a school-aged student is a great independence and confidence boosting experience. Until it isn't.

Every bus ride made safely to school in a major metropolitan area is made through luck, in my opinion. Too many things can, and do, go wrong, and then it can be life-scarring. There is a time and place to learn street smarts, and that is not in middle or high school on the way to or back from school.

We expect many things from our students, but they cannot be expected to use their minds freely and fully if they are constantly on the alert for dangers, missed connections, pickpockets, strangers following them home from bus stops, etc, etc, etc...

Those are street smarts gained, quite possibly, at the expense of book smarts. Which do we want for our students at SPS?

me2 said...

Reposting for people that can't read.

My incoming 6th grader is 11 but looks about 8 or 9. No way Metro is appropriate.

David said...

reposting for Anon at 7:26 pm - (you need a name or you will be deleted.)


I am sure in the best case scenario riding a Metro bus to school as a school-aged student is a great independence and confidence boosting experience. Until it isn't.

Every bus ride made safely to school in a major metropolitan area is made through luck, in my opinion. Too many things can, and do, go wrong, and then it can be life-scarring. There is a time and place to learn street smarts, and that is not in middle or high school on the way to or back from school.

We expect many things from our students, but they cannot be expected to use their minds freely and fully if they are constantly on the alert for dangers, missed connections, pickpockets, strangers following them home from bus stops, etc, etc, etc...

Those are street smarts gained, quite possibly, at the expense of book smarts. Which do we want for our students at SPS?

me2 said...

And reposting for 7:26 post.

Anonymous said...
I am sure in the best case scenario riding a Metro bus to school as a school-aged student is a great independence and confidence boosting experience. Until it isn't.

Every bus ride made safely to school in a major metropolitan area is made through luck, in my opinion. Too many things can, and do, go wrong, and then it can be life-scarring. There is a time and place to learn street smarts, and that is not in middle or high school on the way to or back from school.

We expect many things from our students, but they cannot be expected to use their minds freely and fully if they are constantly on the alert for dangers, missed connections, pickpockets, strangers following them home from bus stops, etc, etc, etc...

Those are street smarts gained, quite possibly, at the expense of book smarts. Which do we want for our students at SPS?


I agree with this post. Others may have their own views, but the big issue is: where do we draw the line?

If it's a good idea to make your kid more "street-wise" at 9th grade, then wouldn't it be an even better idea to make your kid street-wise in 8th grade? or 7th? or as we're talking about above, 6th?

If Aurora Ave is a good place to build this skill set, then wouldn't it be even better to make your kid transfer in Pioneer Square? They're bound to learn some really serious lessons there!

Sarcasm aside, I hope the point is made that these situations are very dependent on specifics. If you have a kid that looks 2-3 years younger than their age vs. 2-3 years older than their age, you have different worries. Aurora for a high schooler making a transfer is a different situation than waiting for the bus at Rainier Beach, which is different still from a middle schooler going anywhere on a regular basis on public transit.

Hạ Thu said...

Thanks for sharing, nice post!

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