Monday, March 16, 2015

The Rainier Beach Success Story

 Update: I realize my original headline that did contain ("no thanks to the district") and  was not fair.  The district DID create the IB programs at Ingraham, Chief Sealth and now Rainier Beach.  It just that they don't support them in the way those programs should be supported if they expect them to thrive.  Again, the district creates programs they do not support (like IB and dual-language.)

end of update

The Times owns up to something good happening in Seattle Public Schools (without charters or a state turnaround order). 

Tangled in bureaucracy and tradition, public schools need years — often the better part of a decade — for real turnaround, so skeptics may wave off the spike in graduation rates at Rainier Beach High as a mere blip.

Or ignore its ballooning enrollment.

Or shrug at the dozens of students on track to leave with college credit for advanced studies.

No marker is more stunning than Beach’s 25-point increase in graduation rates since 2011. Last spring, 79 percent of seniors left with a diploma — better than the 74 percent district average.

Naturally, as we have found out at Ingraham, then Chief Sealth, and now, RBHS,

Seattle Public Schools does not consider the program part of the district’s official Advanced Learning options, and has no plans to fund IB beyond the startup grant that Rainier Beach will exhaust in 2017.

 In other words the International Baccalaureate, despite its encouraging results, is an extra, something that parents at other schools eventually end up paying for.

“When we started, there wasn’t necessarily a vision at the district level for how we would sustain this,” said Colin Pierce, who manages the IB program at Rainier Beach. “That does raise the question of how Seattle uses advanced learning — is it just a student-sorting mechanism? Or can it be a way to address equity?”

To note, parents at Chief Sealth have been loudly complaining about the lack of textbooks and support materials so this is not just RB's issue.

What is really stunning in this article is that the Times does not even ask a single district official - why are you putting in IB programs at schools without district support?

36 comments:

Greenwoody said...

This success didn't require a charter school, it didn't require firing all the teachers, it didn't require teaching to the test, and it didn't require TFA. All it requires is money.

Anyone running for SPS board this year needs to explain to voters how they will support and grow these kinds of proven, successful programs - specifically, how they'll properly and fully fund IB at Ingraham, Sealth, and RB. Maybe stop giving unnecessary tests, save some money there?

Anonymous said...

2 questions

how much is the yearly cost of IB at RB?

What is the charter high school that is opening in the fall in the CD?

thank you in advance for your answers

pillowtalk

Anonymous said...

"IB is an extra, something that parents at other schools eventually end up paying for."

No, not really... that's why IB is increasingly at risk at the other SPS schools and will be at RB. IB is a good program but, duh, it takes money. $50K a year for 5 years and then a good luck push just doesn't cut it. The district either needs to support it or not. Guess what I'd say?

-IB Supporter-

Anonymous said...

Seattle Public Schools does not consider the program part of the district’s official Advanced Learning options...

Huh? It's listed in our highly capable grant application to the state, as well as in the district's new highly capable and advanced learning procedures (SP 2190). So official, yes--just not adequately funded.

Then again, APP hasn't been fully funded either--at least lack of funding was always the reason given for why there's no middle school LA/SS curriculum...

HIMSmom

Charlie Mas said...

Let's remember the District's plan for Rainier Beach: to give it a Performing Arts focus.

Anonymous said...

I'm not familiar with RB at all. Is the improvement due to the existing population performing better or that new, higher performing, kids are being attracted to the school's IB program and raising the school's average performance?

Curious

Eric B said...

@Pillowtalk, I can't tell you what the annual cost of IB at RBHS is, but Ingraham's program runs about $175K/year for ~200 people in the full diploma program and more taking classes. IB is a great program, and I fully support it, but it's sure not cheap. It needs support from District HQ for a school to be successful.

Anonymous said...

A comment on the Times article suggested an increase in enrollment of Asian students at RB. Looking at OSPI data, RB's total enrollment hit a low in 2011 (366). 2010 enrollment was 420 and 2009 enrollment was 498. I'm not sure what was happening in the district at that time (new assignment plan?), but it was a clear dip in enrollment.

Comparing Oct 2013 (most recent data on OSPI Report Card) to Oct 2011 (the year of lowest enrollment), the Black/AA enrollment increased about 20% over those two years, while the Asian enrollment increased about 80%.

curious too

Melissa Westbrook said...

I know of no charter high school opening in the Central district this fall. There is one in the south end.

Anonymous said...

Naturally, as we have found out at Ingraham, then Chief Sealth, and now, RBHS,

You have GOT TO BE KIDDING!

Ingraham high is terrible when you remove IB from the equation.

The IB programs are schools within schools creating even larger divides and class systems.

Why does Ingraham BUS students in for the IB program while locals must take metro or walk.

It's a disgusting display of pomp and circumstance. Ask any Non-IB teacher at Ingraham what is going on.

Ingraham grad

Anonymous said...

Why does Ingraham BUS students in for the IB program while locals must take metro or walk.

@ Ingraham grad, is this a rhetorical question, or do you really not understand that IBX is one of the district's highly capable services, and thus Ingraham is an APP/HCC pathway high school? Programs designed to meet the needs of students identified as highly capable are required by legislation. These services are concentrated in a few schools, and transportation is provided since most students are not in the neighborhood assignment area. Neighborhood students in the regular IB program don't need transportation.

As to your larger complaint that IHS is terrible other than IB, but IB is terrible because it's elitist, I'm not sure what you're suggesting. Is it a hopeless, lose-lose situation?

HF

Anonymous said...

Charlie,I'm almost certain I recall your calling for the district to shut down Beach as well as Aki for their poor performance. In fact, I remember you saying something about if you transported the poorly performing students from S. Seattle to a higher performing north Seattle school, they would do just as poorly.

But I see you pretty strongly defending the IB program being at Beach, so I'm wondering what changed your mind.

As a S. Seattle resident, I've always known that the schools here had more going for them than outsiders thought. I'd send my kid to Beach in a heartbeat, we know lots of kids there who are thriving.

Beach Res

Anonymous said...

Beach Res again-Charlie is strongly defending the IB program in the comments to the Times story. I didn't make that clear.

BR

Po3 said...

Where does Ingraham get their money for their IB program?

Melissa Westbrook said...

First, Ingraham Grad, I meant that the district put in IB at Ingraham but did not provide supports for it (as they are now doing at Chief Sealth and RBHS).

Second, that transportation is only for Advanced Learning students in IB, not all students in IB.

I would differ in the belief that Ingraham without IB is "terrible."

Beach Res, Charlie didn't write this piece, I did. I'll let him defend any remarks he made in the past. (I think he was saying if the district was saying it was operating on numbers alone, why were RBHS and Aki - then with very low enrollment - still open.)

I have no idea how the IB schools get money to run their programs (beyond the minimum the district gives them).

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that at RBHS there was a million dollar grant to use as the Principal/Staff saw fit, the only I believe caveat was longer days. And for RB they have incorporated the IB into the classes overall which is a way of upgrading curriculum. Not all enrolled will complete the testing and requirements let alone the individual costs.

At Ingraham I believe that is supported by Parents and fund raising but I am not sure if they have grants.

Can't comment on Sealth and have no idea how they do it.

And there is ample integration in Ingraham it is not physically large enough to do the school within a school as Garfield has managed.

Some of the problems are the fact that the kids come from a hodge podge of middle schools that have had their own way of doing things and in turn require some variations in class structure and course demands. So that may contribute to some of that. But that is at Ballard as well as they have had to divide and conquer some of the issues.

Take a look at the feeder schools, the varying K-8s that also have their own way that also has to be included.

It is why we have some problems in some schools over another and it will get worse as the boundaries will change again with Meany re-opening. Good times.

- Not a Robot

Anonymous said...

@MW Really and you should know because you;

1. Attend the school?
2. How students at the school?
3. Live in the attendance area?

I know because;

1. I attended the school.
2. Have friends currently attending.
3. Live close to the school.


Please stick to facts not your feelings, you have no credibility when it comes to IHS.

Ingraham grad

Anonymous said...

There are few Metro routes to and from Ingraham, but don't all students get a transit card, nonetheless? In the morning, a yellow bus brings students from the Central District and a few other stops along the way. There is an afternoon yellow bus to the Northgate Transit Center. There is not door to door yellow bus service like in elementary school.

IBX at Ingraham was started as a way to handle space constraints at Garfield. APP at HIMS relieved crowding at Washington. APP at Thurgood Marshall relieved crowding at Lowell (only in that case, Lowell ran out of room just a couple years later). Isn't it the district MO to place APP/HCC in what were lower performing schools (Garfield)?

off topic

Eric B said...

IB at Ingraham is not substantially funded by parents. There are some grants from Friends of Ingraham (books, scholarships for test fees, training, etc.) but I would be very surprised if these totaled over $5-10K of the total annual cost. The remainder of the cost is borne by the school budget. If I recall correctly, SPS provided some startup money, but that ran out after a couple of years, and it is all on the school now.

As far as elitism, Ingraham allows any student who wants to to take either the full diploma or a single class. IB is not reserved for HCC students.

Anonymous said...

In the choice system, RB lost out big time. It wasn't as much the school as the environment around it that many parents bused their kids away from. The situation was exacerbated throughout the region during the light rail construction, as the neighborhood was torn up to lay the new rails & stations. And the issue of "rival gangs" is what purportedly kept RB and Cleveland both open during the Goodloe-Johnson era when she wanted to close one or the other, so the "bad school" label was never deserved. You can't blame a school for gang activity or the problems that occur beyond it's property lines.

But the biggest problem with choice was how the district used it to ship kids away from schools when their parents complained, instead of addressing the problems. Given some stability, a commitment from neighborhood RB alums, a great PTA, some very dedicated teachers and the removal of the choice option, the school has thrived as the district has had to provide attention and resources that people really want and need, instead of building a mini-Garfield (as Charlie alludes to) and foisting "solutions" upon the school that didn't fit and weren't asked for.

I think RB is a model of what every HS can be when the community receives what it asks for, versus some brilliant, quick-fix from downtown. And I credit the PTA and RB's long time supporters for the eternal vigilance they've shown in protecting and defending their school community.

To me it's a testament to what happens when you give people a chance and support them, versus eyeballing their school or children as the next great "turnaround example" for Ed Reformers to earn their stripes and advance their careers from. The folks in JSCEE could learn a thing or two about genuine "commitment" from the folks at RB.

WSDWG

Anonymous said...

Very much agree on District not funding the unique programs. The language immersion schools get only start-up money for those programs while it costs a lot more to adequately run them.

Wondering what Lincoln will be as a High School. Wouldn't it make sense for it to have IB program, given McDonald and JSIS are in the cohort area? Isn't the point of Int'l Schools to have K-12 tracks, so Lincoln would be a natural for IB?

Given what we know of how long it takes to really start a new school, when should rallying start to happen related to plans for Lincoln H.S., IB or not?
McDonald parent

Maureen said...

Re funding for IB at Ingraham: The principal reviewed the budget at the last PTO meeting. In line with what EricB said, if you tried to add up all of the additional IB related costs it would run about $200,000. Part of this is done by assigning 1.0 (I think) FTE from the WSS to administer IB instead of teaching in a classroom (at the cost of larger class size for the other teachers), part comes from the substitute budget (lots of subs needed during IB oral exams for example) and part of it comes out of the "discretionary funds," leaving very little to cover all of the things non-IB schools are able to spend on (from copy paper to additional staff.)

The principal explicitly turned down an offer of financial support for the building budget from the PTO. He thinks it's important for the school to run on it's own funding. That said, I know the auction has explicitly raised money to pay for textbooks and the PTO does have a fund that pays the IB exam fees for students in need. But, overall, the Ingraham PTO fundraising budget is tiny compared to that at TOPS or GHS or certainly JSIS or McDonald. IB does depend quite a bit on parent volunteer help, especially to proctor the exams and do things like run the internship program aimed at IBx seniors (but open to non IB students as well).

Maureen said...

Ingraham grad, I'm sorry you feel that way about IHS: Did you take any IB classes? Did you participate in any of the extracurriculars or drama or music that have grown as the school has grown post IB? We know many non-IB-diploma students who have. I don't think there is any High School that is a perfect fit for every kid, but I think IHS does a much better job than many. I think the fact that IHS has had a wait list for years now (as opposed to its pre-IB days) shows that more people agree with that than not.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, are you trying to assert that Ingraham only has music or drama classes because of the IB program? Please lady stop.

Is everyone out there clueless? IB isn't the silver bullet. There are not a bunch of Einsteins in those classes.

How do you think the non-IB students feel when all the accolades go to IB students.

To me and many other students it's just another way of create an us vs. them environment.

Stop by sometime and ask a few students from both sides how they feel, I think you will be surprised.

Ingraham grad

Melissa Westbrook said...

Ingraham grad, I know Martin Floe. I have a close friend who had two students go thru the program. I do know much more than my own "feelings" (which I am not pronouncing here anyway). I stand by my comments.

I would also gently nudge you towards not putting people down. You can disagree without being disagreeable.

Also, a huge shout-out to Principal Chappelle and Colin Pierce and the staff at RBHS for all their hard work.

McDonald parent, that's a good thought about Lincoln and IB.

Anonymous said...

@MW, good for you. You are twice removed from my experience.
Don't patronize me. As I remember Mr. Floe does very little for non-IB students.

I'm really surprised he has not been fired. He desperately holds on to the IB life-ring. He was known for flat out lying to students. So your friends kids went thru a program at Ingraham? , I'll assume you mean IB. There you go. Hey why don't you go there and speak to some of the non-IB students? Then make a post about their experience, or is that too much to ask.

Ingraham grad

Anonymous said...

Are you a first year IB student and feeling overwhelmed and stressed? We’re starting a Stress Relief group to learn how to unwind! Talk to Mrs. Bonney in the counseling office to get involved.

They must be joking? Poor little kids.

Sill Discrimination

Melissa Westbrook said...

Ingraham grad, I actually WAS at Ingraham recently covering a walk-out by Native American/Latino students.

You appear to be new here so I'll give you a pass that you don't know who I am, how long I've been writing and my current situation.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I will also note that the subject of this thread is Rainier Beach, not Ingraham.

Anonymous said...

@MW great, did you ask them how they feel about the IB program and how many of them felt welcome to take IB classes?

I found it uncomfortable and was treated as some sort of interloper, because I wasn't a full time IBer. Many full time IBers made a point to distinguish that.

It becomes more apparent when only FT-IBers receive invites to special events.

I understand the problem is now so bad that the district's administration is trying to attract more general educational students to take at least one IB class in an effort to tone down the elitist perception.

I doubt there is anything that can be done about that. You see many of the IB students come in to Ingraham with elitist attitudes which seem to be nurtured by their parents. Even worst is the combination of elitism with misguided belief that they are doing the school a favor by slumming it. No doubt they will try and add that into their resume as charity work when applying for collage.

Ingraham grad

Anonymous said...

No, I will remind you of bringing Ingraham into this,

"Naturally, as we have found out at Ingraham, then Chief Sealth, and now, RBHS"

So, you naturally found it out did you? With your little PC visit and from your friends IB students and possibly coffee with PBDB Floe!

Give me a break. I think more students need to see this blog and post whats really going on. I will see to it.

Ingraham grad

Josh Hayes said...

Ingraham grad, some of what you say is true, but you're saying it so unpleasantly that you're pushing people away. I just finished a five-month stint as a long-term sub at Ingraham, and there is definitely a perception among the students that the Gen Ed population is second-class citizens. Kids - people in general, really - are tribal, and making IB classes open to all isn't going to make people cross those lines.

When I left, a lot of my students told me I was "the only person at this school who cares about me." It's not true, of course: the teaching staff at IHS is very caring and involved, but if students feel that way, there's a problem. The perception that there are two cohorts and distinct inequities between them can't be erased by waving a hand and saying, "but they can take any IB class they want!": it smacks too much of "let them eat cake". The school needs to recognize that these perceptions exist and make concrete actions to combat them, otherwise they will persist. (There are troubling demographic differences between the two cohorts as well, which certainly doesn't help.)

Josh Hayes said...

And in order to connect this up to the RB-ness of the thread, this is something they have to watch out for there as well, the sense that there are two schools in the building and one of them gets all the swag while the other gets a piece of chalk and a broken meter-stick.

Anonymous said...

@Josh I can see how people could take offense to my straight talk.

I just get pissed when people without first hand experiences try and come off as experts, when from my personnel perspective they have no business speaking for us.

There were good teachers at Ingraham that thought IB was tearing the school apart and Mr. Floe was not an advocate for the general ed experience.

I would not recommend Ingraham for non-IB students, I didn't have a choice nor private transportation to escape. There are a lot of depressed students there just tired of having IB thrown in their faces and feeling second class.

I'm sure these bloggers are going to try and discredit your experience, but don't let them thanks for speaking up.

Ingraham grad

Anonymous said...

OMG I just figured out who you are.

My little sister was in your class, she came home very upset that your where leaving. You are great at differentiating class instruction and she was really responding to your teaching. You replaced a poor teacher that they had to suffer thru last year. I think she quit(good thing).

She had a friend who might drop out of school since you left. The student is really smart but is impaired in someway I'm not sure of. She said you really helped all the kids in your class.

The new teacher is very patronizing to the class and has already sent multiple students to the office for insubordination.

I don't understand why they would switch teachers this late in the year, basically starting over.

If it makes you feel better you should know you are truly missed.

Ingraham grad

Melissa Westbrook said...

And we are done here. Clearly.