Sunday, December 21, 2014

What is Happening In Seattle Schools?

It's before my time here in Seattle but during the lean years of Boeing, someone had put up a billboard that said, "Will the last person leaving Seattle -- turn off the lights?"

I'm starting to feel that way about Seattle Schools but maybe with the question, "Will the person who understands what is going on in Seattle Schools -- please clue the rest of us in?" 

Example one is this letter from Ballard High School (partial) to families with seniors:
" A serious error was made recently. On December 8, 2014, the student transcripts of the Ballard High School senior class were inadvertently sent by a Counselor through email to a Ballard High School parent and the admissions office of Western Washington University."

The letter goes on to that the "...transcripts released in error have been deleted and are no longer in the possession of any private parties outside the district."


First of all, someone in IT needs to get a grip on the mass re-education to teachers, administrators and staff about student data privacy in this district.  All this kind of trouble is going to do is open this district up to a massive lawsuit. 

I don't care if it's an "error," "mistake," or what - people handling student data have got to do better.

So the Ballard High parent who received the excess transcripts and Western Washington deleted all those transcripts?  What about parents who might have received them and didn't tell the district?  It's possible. 

Is the district sure that these two slips are the only ones in this case OR just the only ones they know of for certain?

As well, I'm still wondering if ALL the Sped parents in the November data breach were ever notified as the Superintendent told the DOE?  I'll follow up but now it's been about 6 weeks so I can't understand the delay.

Then there's this:

Dear Seattle Public Schools family of a fifth-grader,

To make an initial sixth-grade math placement recommendation, Seattle Public Schools reviews both fourth-grade Measurements of Student Progress (MSP) scores – the state tests administered in the spring – and fifth-grade Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) scores – one type of district test.
This year, some elementary schools are not administering MAP to their students. Principals have been notified that even if the school is not participating in MAP testing for all students, fifth-graders who scored a 426 or higher on the fourth-grade math MSP should be MAP tested.  (See the attached placement matrix for details.)  

Your elementary principal has received a list of all fifth-graders who scored a 426 or higher on the MSP and will be scheduling them for MAP testing. Families who would like to see their student’s math MSP score may log in to the Source on the district website: https://ps.seattleschools.org/. After logging in, find the assessments link in the menu on the left.

Thank you!

MAP has become the defacto gatekeeper for higher level courses and programs (like Highly Capable).  Is this what MAP was designed for? No.  But they want to keep MAP going AND keep those high achievers taking it.   It's a good way to keep parents quiet and in line.

I'd lay odds that if you took two General Ed classes and had one take the MAP and the other not take it, then ask both teachers (without them seeing any MAP scores) who they think would benefit from a high math placement, both teachers could tell you without a MAP score.

Still waiting for that leadership from Nyland because, right now, things seem to be operating exactly the same.

6 comments:

Oy said...

Regarding the students with MSP scores of 426- the district has half the students taking MAP and the other half taking Amlify. If a student took Amplify, do they STILL need to take MAP?

Anonymous said...

I am the parent of a student in special ed. We got a letter this week from Mr. Nyland mentioning the data breach, along with other special ed changes. I've recycled the letter, but I think it noted the new director (not interim anymore) for special ed, how hard they are working to make improvements, and the new special edombuds.
Oddly, the letter was addressed to my student and not to parent/guardian of student, as I would have expected. But, at any rate, I guess that is our written, postal notification about the data breach.
--Parent of student with IEP

Anonymous said...

We moved districts over the summer, but received the letter mentioned in the post above (sent to our new address). Good to know that the letter is going out to people whose children were in the district last year (and in special education) but not there this year.

Also, if the Ballard mistake also happened because of embedded data in PDFs, isn't it time to stop embedding data that way? Is there a reason that needs to be done at all?

Another parent

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

Are there neighboring school districts that do a better job of providing special ed than SPS does? If you have knowledge or experience with adjacent school districts, could you share? I'm especially interested in Shoreline. Thanks.

--Exploring leaving

Robyn said...

How will they do math placement for current 4th graders? Does anyone know?