Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday Open Thread

Better late than never!

Thanks to the people who remind me of these things!


Linh-Co said...

Did anyone go to the Math In Focus parent training last night? What did you think? Was it well attended?

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

Lucky you! How many mandatory "IEP" trainings given by a bunch of nit wits, can a person endure?

I guess the answer is one per year. And more. Every new batch of fresh hires at JSEE thinks they know everything about everything sped, even though most have been working just a few years, and were nearly all hired by a completely discredited management. Expert hiring expert. NOT!!!

At least the IAs got 2 choices: Diversity sensitivity training, and problem solving for classroom behaviors - by people who haven't solved a problem in years. At least IA trainings only lasted 2 hours!



Anonymous said...

I tried to go the Special Education training today for IEP compliance. It is mandatory for Sped teachers. Yet, when I showed up, they told me I couldn't attend because all of the seats were full! I asked if I could stand in the back of the room and was told no. Many teachers were turned away. I am so angry that I paid for a babysitter for the day and wasted my time and money. No one knew if we could get into another training either. It was extremely frustrating to go all the way to another school for a "mandatory" training just to be turned away! It was a total mess. Who is in charge of Sped these days anyways?

Oso Compliant

(you gotta sign with a moniker)

mosfet said...

More info about the attempted shooting/abduction of the Graham Hill students:

Lynn said...

I've been thinking about the Gatewood situation. Does anyone know why our wait list remains active through the end of September? If it were dissolved at the end of July, teachers and students would be better able to prepare for the new year.

Lynn said...

Superintendent's Friday Memo included information on:

Graham Hill Safety
Public School Choice

Anonymous said...

What if we stopped the wait list first week after start of school... You'd already have some actual attendance numbers. How many kids really want to move their wait list a month in.

Actual attendance

Anonymous said...

I pulled my kid after kindergarten at Gatewood. The mix of student learning needs at Gatewood in classrooms is too diverse for the class size there. I wish they would cap kindergartens at 15 kids or sort classrooms by ability/instructional needs so learning could happen. About 1/3 of students were not getting adequate instruction due to starting behind or ahead of the majority of the class. That would be about 10 of 30 students. There is not time in the day to tailor teaching that much unless you have a MUCH smaller class size. I don't know if anyone has seen similar proportions of students missing out on instructional opportunities at other schools?

1/3 LeftOut

Charlie Mas said...

Graham Hill update from Friday Memo:

Re-routing always begins on Wednesday as this gives time to determine which families/routes will be added and the impact of scheduling on the students currently on the bus. All families must get letters in their native language before we can implement any changes. We are scheduled for next week for Graham Hill (10/8).

Approximately twenty students have been added as “space available” including the 9 students who were directly impacted by the incident. The new stops were created to directly address the concerns of the impacted students.

Status update:

 School has confirmed the list of students to be added to bus.

 Two new stops have been added per the locations requested by the school.

 Using the school’s list, students have been routed. This has caused a change in the routing schedule and therefore letters to impacted families are being sent out today.

 The principal has been notified and will receive the updated list this afternoon. The principal will send a robocall to update families.

 The new stops will begin on Wednesday.

Charlie Mas said...

New chaperone rules reported to the Board in the Friday memo:

Title IX and Chaperones: High School principals met today to review the Title IX requirements and the changes in the chaperone procedures. We are required to have Title IX designees at the district level and at each school. We have designated the principal and given them the option of delegating that responsibility in writing to another on their staff.

Chaperone procedures enforcement training have been tightened (below). The Title IX task force will also
have an opportunity to review and recommend further additions to this procedure.

We are taking the following steps to insure the safety of our students on overnight field trips:

 Insuring at least 2 chaperones on each trip including at least 1 chaperone for every ten

 Not allowing parent / teacher chaperones to bring their own younger children on the trip

 Requiring 24/7 supervision with bed checks in the middle of the night

 Requiring chaperones to maintain proximity to the students

 Requiring parents and students to sign off on the guidelines; including the understanding that violation of the field trip behavior requirements may result in the student being sent

 Requiring lead chaperones to provide training to all of the chaperones on the trip

 Providing emergency procedures for the chaperones to report student or chaperone violations up the chain to security, the principal or the superintendent/designee as


"enforcement" appears twice here, but I'll believe there is enforcement when it appears in deed instead of just as a word.

Lynn said...

1/3 Left Out,

The Kindergarten teachers at Gatewood (and West Seattle Elementary) have told several people I know that their children who were reading before kindergarten would be much happier elsewhere - as they would not receive reading instruction at Gatewood. I think they meant it kindly and they did say the kids would be able to read alone during LA instruction. The people I know who did end up there left mid-year or after kindergarten.

I don't know if Gatewood's students have a wider range of kindergarten readiness or if the school doesn't do a good job with differentiating.

Anonymous said...

I went to the "Parent Training" at Van Asselt Elementary. The presenter was very good at explaining how the aim of the program is to "teach to mastery". The lessons are supposed to be more "focused" so that there is more time spent on one topic and not so much repetition year after year. She gave a couple of examples of how the material that is given to the teacher has three different levels of practice, for those who are struggling to grasp the concept, for those who understand the concept and for those who can go beyond what has been taught. The teachers must have received "transition material", because the program does rely on building up competency. I feel optimistic about this new Math curriculum IF teachers are indeed being trained to implement it.

- Attendee

Catherine said...

Okay... it's Saturday... but


seattle citizen said...

@Lynn - Your comment about "the Kindergarten teachers" 9inclusive of all?) at Gatewood (and West Seattle! All those, too?!)telling "several people" that students would "not receive reading instruction" a huge generalization.

No Kindergarten teachers at Gatewood or West Seattle teach reading? They said this to several people?

No reading at all?

I understand that (I think) you meant this to mean that students who were above level (already reading) could read while other instruction was happening, but it's terribly confusing and paints the Kindergarten teachers in a bad light. Could you explain where this information comes from, how many K teachers actually said something like this, and what exactly they meant by it?

Anonymous said...

What I saw in the classroom were kids who could not recognize any letters or numbers or count to 10, and kids who could read, add and subtract, both groups could not be adequately taught when there were 20 others who were just starting to combine letter sounds and discover reading and use manipulatives and counting to discover addition. There we're just too many kids and not enough teachers in classes to differentiate that much.

1/3 leftOut

Lynn said...

seattle citizen,

I'm sorry I can see that was unclear. I didn't intend to make a statement about every kindergarten teacher at those schools.

I wrote in response to 1/3 LeftOut. I have heard from other parents that they feel Gatewood doesn't do a great job of meeting the needs of kindergarteners who are academically advanced. I've had friends get that message (we can't meet your incoming kindergarteners needs) from teachers at those two schools and I haven't heard of that happening anywhere else.

I'd like to have a discussion of why that might be the case. Do students arrive there with a wider range of kindergarten readiness than at most other schools? How should a school (and the district) respond to that? Maybe Gatewood's policy of trying to have smaller kindergarten and first grade classes is a good strategy for dealing with this.

How should we respond to this issue until we have the funding to have reasonable class sizes in every school?

Anonymous said...

Due to the extreme diversity in socioeconomic groups, both high and low in the area, ESL groups, parents very involved with extreme early education philosophies, an being a magnet school for those behaviorally challenged Gatewood may have more diversity in kindergarten readiness than other schools. I am wondering if others have seen classrooms where 1/3 of the students are way outside the middle. It looks like it could be an unusual distribution. Smaller classes or placement testing in K seem necessary. What have you seen?

1/3 LeftOut

Both Sides said...

"Requiring parents and students to sign off on the guidelines; including the understanding that violation of the field trip behavior requirements may result in the student being sent

Clearly, parents and students will understand the rules- especially high school students.

Why not make students responsible for breaking rules? Why should taxpayers be responsible for young adults that get hurt for not following the rules?

mosfet said...

@Both Sides

I understand your frustration about taxpayers being on the hook for the NatureBridge settlement. I'm frustrated that no -- absolutely no one -- in SPS has, as far as I know, been fired or at least disciplined for what they did wrong here. There were errors made regarding field trips, Title IX, 504, FERPA (allegedly), and no one's been held accountable as far as I can tell.

We can't treat rape as a natural consequence of sneaking out of your cabin when you're a teenager. Schools are responsible for keeping students safe, even when students do minor stupid things. It's ridiculous to say that schools only have to keep kids safe if the students act perfectly and obey every single little rule. Kids are kids. Occasionally they do stupid things or break the rules. That doesn't mean that they should suffer injury or PTSD for it. No 15-year-old thinks "I should stay in my cabin or not skip class because I might get raped by a classmate if I break the rules."

We also have to remember that the recent settlement was about more than just a girl (allegedly) being raped. Or about the failures with field trips. The settlement also came about because, after a rape was reported, the district looked at Title IX and pretty much said "haha, no, let's completely ignore that." If the trip had been properly chaperoned, a girl had been raped nonetheless, and the district had followed Title IX afterwards, I doubt that they would have been in such hot water.

Pro-sleep Mom said...

I went to Sherry Carr's community meeting today. Very lightly attended- just me and a mom speaking articulately on behalf of deaf and hearing impaired kids.

We talked some about capacity. I expressed my worries, and she responded that BEX IV was going forward as planned, enrollment numbers were actually slightly under projections for this year and last, and things are handled. I asked for more details; she said there should be reports and projections under Capacity on the District website (hard to find, but there.) I've looked for them this afternoon; can only find stuff a few years old; finally wrote her asking for a link.

I had had a similar conversation with Sharon Peaslee at the last Board Retreat; capacity, not a crisis, it's handled. She mentioned there would be information going out, as I told her many people are quite concerned.

I quite look forward to seeing what exactly this capacity plan is; until then, I think we've got big problems coming.

Both Sides said...

Even if students were sent home on the first night, even if all forms were signed and checks were unwanted event could have happened.

Let's look to the future:

Parents and students sign contracts. If all procedures are followed and a student decides to break the what extent should the district and taxpayers be liable?

Mary Griffin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary Griffin said...

Stephen Colbert's hilarious take on the Seattle School Board's attack on Columbus Day:Colbert Report Attacks SPS School Board's move to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day.

Anonymous said...

Parents should check out the Khan academy. I'm taking Algebra 1 this month to be prepared to help my kids with their Home work. It's a fantastic site and covers every subject, best of all it's free. Sign-up as a Parent then add your student/s you can monitor their progress and receive tutoring tips when your child is struggling. There are both video tutorials and live mentors to help.

Good news

TransparencyPlease said...

Please take a look at the Curriculum and Instruction agenda.

It is interesting to note that the city's preschool initiative is on the agenda.

It is interesting to note that the city's prek initiative has morphed into P5 (prek-5th grade) Schools Aligned with Seattle Preschool Program. The district needs to be reminded that the board has NOT signed a Partnership Agreement.

It appears the district is attempting to create a model, similar to S. Shore while infiltrating the city into K-5.

It is interesting to note that there is NO attachment. What is going on? Something smells rotten and it is coming from the head of the fish.

kellie said...

@ pro-sleep mom,

What Sherry Carr and Sharon Peaslee said is technically correct but it misses the point in a big way. The overall numbers relate to total budget, NOT capacity. Because total enrollment has been about 300 students under the projections, there is a "feeling" that things are going to be OK.

However, because they rely very heavily on 5 year averages for their forecasts, that means that they are "over-predicting" total enrollment, in a very predictable way that has big impacts on capacity. This is because the 5 year average model completely misses the impact of when students roll up to the new grades. It takes several years before those students are in the model.

The elementary numbers have been over-estimated. That means that we have most likely reached the new-normal elementary enrollment with some predictable growth on top.

However, high school is dramatically under-projected and there will be problems because under-enrollment at elementary does not suddenly generate high school capacity.

The BEX plan was very light on high school to begin with and all the high schools are full, except rainier beach and each grade gets larger.

Transparency Please said...

Please consider writing the board and ask them NOT to sign onto a grant that allows the city to align/ insert itself to K-5. According to the C&I agenda, this item will be voted on Oct. 15th. I suspect it is a $750K grant that has language related to P5 and prek. I suspect the grant comes from the Gates Foundation. Also, please ask that this item not be voted on until after the election.

Watching said...

It is interesting to note that Cashel Toner will be presenting a BAR at the next Curriculum and Instruction meeting. The agenda indicates that the board will vote on this issue on October 15th. The agenda does NOT link to any documents. I have to wonder if this is by design:

I recall seeing a grant for $750k being proposed that would support preschool. For some reason, I want to say the grant is from the Gates Foundation.

Ms. Toner would be smart to realize that it is against the law to withhold information from the board. Lack of transparency is a serious legal issue.

FOIA documents reveal that Ms. Toner has been working with the City of Seattle and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation regarding prek in Seattle Public Schools.

Charlie Mas said...

@Both Sides

You wrote: "Even if students were sent home on the first night, even if all forms were signed and checks were unwanted event could have happened."

The idea is not to eliminate the risk, but to manage it. Eliminating the risk entirely may not be possible and would require an extraordinary effort.

So, sure, even if the procedures had been followed, an unwanted event could have happened, but it would have been significantly less likely.

Life does not offer us guarantees. That's not the nature of it. Certainty may be available, but usually only at great cost. Most people don't need certainty, just confidence.

So while certainty would not come with reasonable measures, certainty is not the goal. It is a straw man argument. The goal is to significantly reduce the risk, and reasonable measures would achieve that at a reasonable cost.

Lynn said...


The information on the $750,000 Grant was attached to the agenda for the Audit and Finance Committee's September 11th meeting.

It's also attached to the agenda for this week's board meeting.

Anonymous said...

These assessments of "enough district capacity" by Carr and Peaslee seem to miss the point that kids are not spread evenly across the city. There are just MORE kids in some parts of town than others, and there is less capacity in some parts of town than in others.

The "we came in under projections" is NOT "the Northeast came in under projections" or "oh, the band of schools along the ship canal came in under projection" ... or "High school came in under projections". Some places are a little tiny bit under because the projections were very high - others are at or above projection - but seats that are available in say the south east of the city are not ACTUALLY usable by kids without seats in the northwest of the city.

So it's a big game of make a general statement, that might be sort-of true (yes, there are lots of high school seats - all in the very south at Rainier Beach which doesn't help all the over capacity high schools in the north where there are no more high school seats.)

It's just not a perfectly spread out system, and pretending that it is doesn't make it so. Director Carr ought to know this. You can't put a part that is sitting in Wichita on a plane that is in Everett, after all. It's not a hard concept. Just as you can't put a 9th grader in Ballard in a class in Rainier Beach - you have to put the kid in Ballard, b/c that's both the SPS assignment plan (and what the Supreme Court sort of told Seattle...)

Capacity and enrollment: not PB&J. They don't spread out evenly.

Signed: capacity sucks

Transparency Please said...


Thank you so much. The $750K grant comes from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Please look at page 5:

"9) Staff Education All newly hired staff will be required to meet the following standards: Director and/or Program Supervisor: Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education or BA with college-level.... Expertise or coursework in educational leadership and business management is also required.

Lead Teachers: Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education or a BA and a State Teaching Credential with a P-3 Endorsement.... Coaches: Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education or a BA and a State Teaching Credential with a P-3 Endorsement. “Endorsements” in selected curricula are also required. Current staff will be given 4 years to meet these requirements The City will work with local colleges and universities to develop an alternate route program for teachers with Bachelor’s Degrees"

The city's prek initiative wants individuals with a degree in EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP and BUSINESS MANAGEMENT. The city also wants universities to develop alternate route program for teachers with Bachelors Degrees.

Having an individuals with EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP and BUSINESS MANAGEMENT would be very desireable for those that want to support CHARTER schools. Additionally, alternative routes to certification is Teach for America rhetoric.

It appears city wants to transfer governance structures from the board to the city and they plan on doing so via Prek-5th grade alignment. Additionally, one can see putting prek teachers into SPS buildings with business and leadership degrees, and Teach for America, would make a conversion possible. All of this comes with the Blessing of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, LEV, Burgess and Murray.

It is absolutely essential that the board does not accept this this time.

The board needs to NOT sign this grant until after the election when the city/ school district Partnership Agreement is in place. If the grant is signed at this time...the board will loose their power to negotiate with the city.

If the initiative does not pass, the board can sign this grant within a few weeks, Bailey Gatzert will get their preschool, and the board will retain control of SPS.

Please write the school board regarding this issue.

It is also worth noting that there is a professor from Brown University that has studied the city's ed. dept. The city has enough administrative staff to run sps and control the board. 1B will have the ability to fund 42administrative positions with in the city's education department.

Melissa Westbrook said...

"Why should taxpayers be responsible for young adults that get hurt for not following the rules?"

Well, there were no "young adults" involved so you aren't paying for that. These were, by law, kids and no, kids don't always follow the rules. Teens, by nature, don't.

"Even if students were sent home on the first night, even if all forms were signed and checks were unwanted event could have happened."

Do keep up - we already covered this ground. Yes, things happen. But they are A LOT less likely to happen if rules are followed.

Sharon and Sherry both said everything is going fine with capacity? How odd.

Pro-sleep Mom said...

Would it be possible to get more details on your analysis of the northend high school situation? I know you have studied this extensively. I would like to be very specific and have my facts solid whenever I speak to Board or staff members- otherwise they just keep saying it's not a problem. (And as a parent of 2 north end high schoolers, my family will be living with this problem in a few years...) I can also write you off-blog for this if that is better.

Greeny said...

@ Linh-Co -
My husband went to the West Seattle MIF parent training this past week. We love what we're seeing coming home re: math, and wanted to do what we can to get up to speed with any key/new concepts with MIF. My husband said the WSHS auditorium was well-attended. The presenter (from MIF) knew the curriciulum, all grades, up/down & sideways, was kind, patient, and resourceful - when the overhead projector did not work, she was able to on-the-fly transfer her presentation, concepts and math equations to the chalkboard impressively easily, and with no whining. This apparently was in stark contrast to the parents in attendance, who whined often and rudely, including many "why did we adopt this MIF?(ugh.not again..), "this isn't the way I was taught," and from the woman sitting next to my husband after a math example (not hard but requiring "thinking"), a loud "I don't even know what the hell you just did." My husband wanted to respond out "and, THAT's WHY our KIDS are lucky to have a world-class math curriculum that will get them to where WE are not" - (unless tied for 26th place with Spain & Latvia in 2003 is someone's idea of as-good-as-it-gets.) But, I take heart in that, as Alki, Schmitz Park, and STEM have already ticked impressive improvements from year(s) of using Singapore Math, those happy parents were unlikely to have been present. Still, the idea that if ONE don't understand so it's THE PRESENTERS fault, AND also gives one license to make rude outbursts.? Have to say, embarrassed and disappointed. I do hope the MIF rep was better welcomed and your parent trainings more about the math.

Charlie Mas said...

There's a funny sort of coincidence with a $700,000 settlement and a $750,000 grant.

I wonder if someone had come to the District with a $700,000 grant to improve Title IX compliance how they would have responded.

In effect someone did. And they turned it down. So now they still have to improve Title IX compliance and they are out the $700,000.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't the $700,000 settlement be paid by SPS' insurance company?

So not out of the budget, per se?


Transparency Please said...

Matt Griffin has contributed an additional $75K to 1B. His total contributions are $100K and same for Christopher Larson.

I'm predicting an incredible inflow of funds over the next couple of weeks.

It is interesting to note expenditures on PDC are lagging.

Charlie Mas said...

@wondering, the settlement will be paid out of a reserve established to cover legal liabilities.

kellie said...

@ pro-sleep mom,

Please feel free to email me off-blog. However, the situation has gotten shockingly simple.

For the 2014 school year the only school with extra space is Rainier Beach. The 2020 projections showed that with Lincoln completely full with 1600 students and Rainier Beach completely full with 1200 students and that we would be missing almost 2,000 seats.

How is that handled? Full today and in six years after the plan is executed, even worse later.

Anonymous said...

Kellie, do you have figures re: what the HS capacity shortfall is likely to be in 2-5 years, in the years before Lincoln opens? These are not very far away--and if the shortfall is that large AFTER Lincoln comes online, it's likely to be even LARGER in a few years. I keep emailing folks at the district to get this info, but it seems like nobody is looking at the immediate crisis.


kellie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

When will information on the October enrollment numbers come out?


kellie said...

@ HIMSmom,

And that is why I keep trying to raise this issue whenever I can.

It seems so logical. If just an overly-simple back of the envelope analysis shows, that we are going to be short 2,000 seats after 2200 seats are pushed into service and fully utilized, six years from now, then there are definitely some timing issues. In other words, it is going to get a whole lot worse before those 2200 seats are in service. That is why the "it is all handled" statements seem implausible.

I was hoping that there would have been some detailed enrollment information at the work session on the downtown school that was cancelled. However, will all of the public enrollment information (aka the P223) removed from the SPS website, there seems to be very little information.

A simple roll up spreadsheet can easily highlight the troublesome areas. Roosevelt is the school that is expected to do too much and is likely the first one to break. With Garfield and Ballard, not very far behind. The simple fact that Queen Anne and Magnolia do not have a high school means that pushing those students into another school, means that the entire high school system is a little bit fragile.


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