Tuesday, May 12, 2015

SPS News Roundup

Good News
It is very pleasing to see different high schools do well with programs at their schools.  Ballard excels with video production, Roosevelt and Garfield with jazz bands and now Ingraham is doing great with their Rocket Club.

Last Saturday, Ingraham participated in the Team America Rocketry Challenge in Virginia, coming in third.  Over 700 teams competed. 

There were three Ingraham teams with Foxtrot winning 3rd and $1,000 for the school.  Each team had to create and build an under-two pound rocket by themselves.  They were judged on how close they came to their predicted trajectory and landing their rocket in less than 60 seconds. Foxtrot was just one foot off the 800-foot target and landed about 48 seconds after liftoff. 

Team Foxtrot's first score of 1.0 was the best single flight score in the history of the competition.  

Speaking of Ballard filmmakers, SPS Communications is reporting that Ballard was the ONLY school to win the top prize twice at the National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY) in April.   The students who took first place received a $1500 prize for their digital filmmaking program.  And, three Ballard productions will be screened at international film festivals during May.
The public is invited to view the work of Ballard High School's award-winning student filmmakers. The films will be screened at the Ballard Film Festival at 7 p.m. June 5.
Sobering News

The last day of school for seniors is Tuesday, June 9th.  The last day of school for all other students is Tuesday, June 16th.  However, I still don't know if some seniors will have to go to school an extra day somewhere in-between now and June 9th.


I was told that the Amplify contract did get moved out of the Curriculum&Instruction Committee for consideration by the full Board.  (Note: if something gets moved out of committee for "consideration" rather than "approval," it means the committee found issues with the item that the entire Board should review.)

Again, I believe it quite troubling that staff finds SBAC so wanting that they want Amplify.  They aren't saying that SBAC is for one purpose and Amplify assessments are for another purpose.  They said SBAC has limitations and gaps that Amplify must fill.  Why wouldn't the Board consider Peters and Patu's resolution to hit the pause button on SBAC if staff is so concerned?

As well, the Times is reporting that Superintendent Randy Dorn wants to pause as well on using SBAC test scores under NCLB.  He wants a year waiver because of the newest of SBAC and issues around giving and taking it by teachers and students, respectively.  About 25 districts, including Seattle, signed the letter Dorn sent to the feds.
Given the new standards and assessments, I don't know how we could defend professionally using this year's test data to (indicate) progress or lack of progress," wrote Raymond School District Superintendent Stephen Holland.  
Naturally, this seems an odd time to even consider using SBAC or PARCC for NCLB when the law is being overhauled as we speak. 

10 comments:

NW mom said...

It's my understanding that the last day for seniors was supposed to be Monday the 8th and with the walkout day it's now Tuesday the 9th.

Melissa Westbrook said...

NW Mom, and it would have been great for the district to clearly communicate that given the confusion.

Watching said...

The Seattle Times is reporting that Jesus Aguirre has been confirmed for Superintendent of Parks and Recreation.

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/seattle-city-council-confirms-new-parks-and-recreation-superintendent/

As you recall, Jesus Aguirre worked with Michelle Rhee as Director of Operations in Washington DC school district. He was also a charter school operator and worked as Superintendent of Washington DC Schools.

Aguirre's wife has been tapped to lead the city's Early Education Department.

Together, the City of Seattle will pay this couple $320K per year.

Anonymous said...

While not quite up there with Roosevelt and Garfield, the music program at Hale is improving:

LEASE CONGRATULATE NATHAN HALE’S WIND ENSEMBLE, JAZZ BAND AND ORCHESTRA for their success at the Music in the Parks Festival last weekend in Portland, Oregon. NHHS Orchestra…….Excellent Rating……… 1st Place
NHHS Wind Ensemble……..Excellent Rating…….. 1st Place, NHHS Jazz Band…….Excellent Rating……. 1st Place
BEST OVERALL GROUP IN CATEGORY……. NHHS Wind Ensemble, BEST OVERALL GROUP IN CATEGORY…… NHHS Jazz Band
BEST SOLOIST AT THE FESTIVAL…… Holden Predmore

HP

Anonymous said...

The push for SBAC is all about getting a foot jammed firmly in the door in SPS and Washington State. Once embedded, the coup is complete and hard to dislodge.

If there's another, better textbook example of READY -FIRE - AIM, I haven't seen it.

SBAC is a square-wheeled Edsel and it's proponents do not care. It's about force-feeding this crap down our throats, regardless of the red flags, tremendous wastes of time, and robbing days of learning from our kids. In short, it's about money, first, last, and all in-between.

The district sends out a letter explaining how they are legally compelled to have so many instructional days per year, and thus must replace the walkout day, yet are hypocritically silent about all the days lost to SBAC and other non-educational testing.

If this doesn't tell us what the district staff's top priorities are, I don't know what does. WSDWG

Eric B said...

A couple of minor corrections on the rocketry item: there was one better score in the last couple of years (sorry for passing bad information earlier) and the goal was to land the rocket 46 to 48 seconds after liftoff. Foxtrot's first flight was 1 foot off of altitude and landed in the time window.

Melissa Westbrook said...

HP, that info on Hale had crossed my desk and then got lost. They are doing great things there (and their theater program is good, too).

Anonymous said...

Some interesting little tidbits about Aguirre and his wife here:
http://www.dcurbanmom.com/jforum/posts/list/30/330105.page
Scroll down a little...

CT

Feeling Worried said...

It is interesting to note that Fenty hired Jesus Aguirre for PARKS department and Aguirre was eventually transferred to Superintendent of Washington DC schools:

"D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty today introduced his latest choice to head the Department of Parks and Recreation, Jesús Aguirre. Like his controversial predecessor, outgoing interim-cum-acting director Ximena Hartsock, Aguirre comes from DCPS, where he's been Director of Operations under Michelle Rhee. "

What type of plans does Ole Ed Murray have for Aguirre?

Anonymous said...

It is curious, isn't it, Feeling Worried? Step 1 in a play for mayoral control of schools? Get the right people into key positions on the chess board so they can slide right over into checkmate?

My bigger concern is the finances he'll have control over given the issues with his AZ charter school were largely financial and failure to report spending of federal dollars. I just don't find that particularly reassuring.

CT