Monday, June 01, 2015

SBAC Opt-Outs - No Fun for You at Denny

Update:  another Denny parent let me know there was no separate Denny opt-out form.  What appears to have happened is that only students who took the SBAC  and completed a "Denny Way"form got to go the school carnival.  The form was given ONLY to students who took the SBAC.

So for the students who didn't take the SBAC, they were "empowering" students by having them write "appeals" to go to the carnival.  

I don't know how many students who opted out got to attend the carnival  based on appeal.

end of update

A Denny parent let me know that their opt-out info from Denny had a tiny notation at the bottom about if a student opts out of the SBAC, he/she might not get to do some activities.

That apparently has now taken the form of the principal, Jeff Clark, not allowing students who opted-out to attend a school festival that was held last Friday.

I'm thinking some people would find that punitive and unfair but that's just me.

I'm trying to get a copy of the opt-out form that was used at Denny.  Anyone?

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is not cool, not cool at all. There will be a ----storm coming the Principal of Denny's way if this isn't rectified.

Parentwhois---ed.

Anonymous said...

Jeff Clark is the biggest brown noser. He was the shill for Goodloe-Johnson's MAP. He wanted a TFA for SpED.

SW parent

Anonymous said...

That's terrible! I would be furious if I was the parent of one of those students - and demanding answers and restitution for my child from the school and district!

Momof2

TheGoodFight said...

I'm curious to see what language the new CBA might contain around SBAC. Parents should also understand that the current CBA expires August 31st 2015 and that SEA, the current board and current SPS staff are now in the process of writing the 2015-2018 CBA, which will be setting in STONE many provisions that the new board and new superintendent will be forced to follow.

The current CBA contains lots of references to Parents and guardians as strong participants in student learning, but purposely not equal partners in the process of creating the new CBA.
i.e
"We believe that our success demands that a strong parent/guardian and community engagement process be built into this effort. We must provide the training, time and support for school staff to engage with parents/guardians and communities, to develop the shared responsibility for supporting student learning."

I wish more parents would take the time to read the CBA and see some of the restrictive language that can prevent rapid changes. There is also a noticeable absence of any references to compliance with federal IDEA laws.

Take some time and read APPENDIX N : BEST PRACTICE FOR SUBSTITUTE TEACHERS

Notice only reference to SPED is on the very last line.

The regularly assigned teachers will provide for substitute teachers:

Ask a building colleague to check with the substitute teacher periodically throughout the day and provide assistance for students who have significant behavioral issues or special needs.

Anonymous said...

@The Good FIght,

Where are you going with that (interesting) information?

The issue at hand is student exclusion in a punitive fashion from an authority figure in a public school due to the student exercising their choice to opt out of a high-stakes standardized test.


WMS

Greenwoody said...

That is a horrible thing to do. That principal ought to be fired.

Anonymous said...

On a tangent

Figures

Anonymous said...

Let's all give Principal Jeff Clark a call and ask for clarification: 252-9000. Really, isn't is a good idea to get it from the horse's mouth?

You will be routed to voice mail, so fill the box up a lil bit. Can't hurt. We're just trying to find out the truth.

OPTOUT

TheGoodFight said...

Where I'm going is....It appears that many of the roadblocks to improvements in day to day SPS school practices could be due to the CBA. So, those of us who are against the SBAC or similar tests better take a look at the new CBA before it's signed, sealed and permanent. If you think there's retaliation or bulling going on around "opting out" then you need to contact SEA and ask for some specific language to be added to the CBA to prevent it. I know SPED has some very specific PD needed to improve IDEA compliance, but it first needs to authorized somewhere in the CBA. If SEA blocks the language then the PD will voluntary.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, I did ask SPS Communications and still have no answer. It's a pretty simple question.

Anonymous said...

Seems about par for the Common Core - SBAC actions.

It was OK for Arne Duncan to bully states into compliance through extortion .. so this Denny action fits right in.

So much for local control of anything -- right Arne.

Fall in line you sheep right now or turn into lamb chops or mutton.

--- Dan Dempsey

Po3 said...

Maybe the chief of police can arrest all those little opt-outers when she visits today, solve that problem once and for all, by golly.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Po3, thank you for the laugh of the day.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Forcing them to write letters in order to go seems even worse than straight out disallowing them to go. Empowering or belittling?

-wow

mirmac1 said...

Watch Clark not even get a limp noodle reprimand - even if many parents complain. Because parents and kids don't count for mierda.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Horrible. What a strange thing for a school to do. Ick.

North End Parent

Anonymous said...

maybe you should get all the facts before making passionate posts. it's not exactly time sensitive. a good reporter gets some confirmation before reporting scandals.

u tube

Melissa Westbrook said...

U Tube, I don't think this is a particularly passionate post but yes, I had multiple sources. I did check with the district and no answer. When I get no reply (not even "we're checking") that's my cue that I'm asking the right questions.

But UTube, tell us what you know.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Just so readers know, I am generally discouraged by SPS in contacting staff members so no, I did not call Principal Clark. If I didn't have that general directive, I would have called him.

Appalled by this said...

My friend teaches at Denny. Her report: The principal did say that students who opted out would not be able to go to the carnival. Teachers complained and those students ended up being allowed to go to the last hour of the carnival. If my child where there (we opted out at another school) I would be furious and would demand some answers. His approach is coercive and really not acceptable.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand what's wrong with what Denny is doing. Kids who sign a form acknowledging the expectations of the school (the Denny Way), and work their hearts out on a test get rewarded. Or. Students who opted out can write a persuasive notice in order to be included. Why can't schools set expectations in order for kids to get the end of the year reward? It is a reward, right?

-hp gal

Lynn said...

It's not acceptable to bribe students to perform twelve hours of uncompensated labor for the benefit of their principal and teachers and a for-profit corporation. It's unacceptable to punish children whose parents have chosen not to provide their children as literal test subjects (and oodles of personal data) to that corporation.

He's being manipulative and it's really inappropriate.

Anonymous said...

It is NOT okay to punish people for exercising their rights.

The parents and students have the right to opt out of standardized tests.

It is NOT - repeat not - okay to punish them in any way for doing so. And it is SO not okay to punish kids themselves for this - send snarky emails to parents, WHATEVER, but to say kids couldn't go to the carnival? What?

While not a perfect analogy in the legal case sense, this incident does seem similar to punishing people for choosing to vote, or telling them that they will be fired for voting for a certain candidate, or firing them if they go to a voting place.

The government -- and school is part of the government - -is absolutely not allowed to punish people for exercising their rights. But the principal seems to have forgotten this - I hope the legal department downtown educates principals about this, b/c it is clear retaliation. But I doubt they have the will to do so, esp. at the end of the year and with what appears to be a lot of lack of leadership in the legal dept. When opt out started rolling through, there should have been a clear legal directive to all admin at all schools saying what they must NOT do, and being very clear that no form of retaliation was acceptable - but obv. not all principals got that message.

Not to mention this action reeks of incredibly poor leadership - way to build morale in your building, earn respect of your parents, team work and respect with your students, just Way.To.Go.Principal.

Signed: Disbelief

TheGoodFight said...

Just to be very clear, school students did not opt out of SBAC, their parents did. The whole anti-SBAC movement was disingenuous and handled very immaturely by SEA. I'm not defending the SBAC, just criticizing the hypocritical actions of SEA and the few teachers who organized the opt out and walk out. Several teachers I spoke with mentioned they felt pressured into going along with the walkout and believed the walkout was wrong for obvious reasons.

That being said, the adults should not punish children for the actions of their parents. Retaliation and intimidation are against SPS policy and code of professional conduct. I would expect any SPS teacher or administrator engaging in Bullying to be suspended pending the outcome of a PSED investigation.

Anonymous said...

Where's the letter? Did parents know when they opted out? Your teacher friend, @appalled, did the principal tell the students like you're reporting? Verbally only over the intercom or through the teachers?

Where is Q13 or KIRO when we need them?


paparazzi

Anonymous said...

When I first saw the email list of those students not able to go, and teachers quickly responding to the unfairness of it, I assumed it had been an oversight, as the form for the carnival was handing out to students after they completed their test. Students that opted out were not in the classroom. However, I later discovered that it was deliberate. I spoke to one parent and she said the letter her child had to write was basically that the parents "forced" the child to opt out, pitting parent against their child. As a staff member at this school, I am appalled at the admin for doing this as this is not the school I love. I am proud of the teachers for standing up for ALL of their students.

Upset Dolphin

Anonymous said...

As a proud SEA member, it was not handled very immaturely. It was well thought out and planned by many many folks, and was incredibly effective! When you see 6,000 people in a sea of red marching through downtown Seattle, you've done something right. Most of the folks that I spoke to found the walkout energizing and empowering, including me. Teachers are pissed off and finally starting to voice this. As for the anti-SBAC movement being disingenuous, do some research into the movement and why it is happening, and recognize that it is happening all over the US, for very good reasons. We are actually latecomers to this entire movement, but I am so glad we are finally doing something and finding a voice.

Union solidarity

TheGoodFight said...

There's more than one side to every story. I just get tired of parents being referred to as "equal partners" in the education of our children when SEA seems to do whats only in their best interest. It's great you feel empowered, now do something about the excessive administrative cost at SPS.

Charlie Mas said...

This is clearly punishment. Not only that, but it is clearly punishment done outside of the discipline system. Is this allowed by the student rights and responsibility handbook? I doubt it. This appears to be a violation of the student discipline policy and procedures. Has anyone viewed it from that perspective? Has anyone made a formal request for an appeal of a disciplinary action?

Melissa Westbrook said...

HP gal, you didn't read the post. Kids who didn't take the SBAC didn't get the Denny Way form. They had to ask for it and then write the essay. That's punitive for something that they did that was legal in this state.

Many people seem to put the teachers' actions with parents' actions. They are two different things and I don't believe parents were asked/coerced by teachers in our district. Each group made their own decisions.

TheGoodFight said...

Melissa, teachers where complaining about SBAC scores being adversely used against them in performance reviews. Teacher's where complaining that SBAC testing was taking away instructional minutes. SEA, WEA and some teachers planned to use a walkout strategy to show opposition to SBAC under the guise of a failure to enact the McCleary decision. In the end students lost instructional minutes around SBAC activities then again on May 19 during the walkout, that's called a double whammy.

Walking out was childish and I would like to see the teacher's openly explain to their students why they did it when they have a binding contract. I'm all for workers fighting for better conditions or more wages, but walking out when you have a valid contract, noway. You don't think the walkout has anything to do with SEA and SPS currently in negotiations for the new CBA do ya.

Brian Duncan said...

This action by Principal Jeff Clark is clearly discriminatory on the basis of policy decisions by parents, and is also a form of bullying of the subclass of students whose parents opted them out of the SBAC. A reward, just as a punishment, may not be administered in a discriminatory manner. It is unethical, and surely illegal in several different ways. Perhaps the parents of this children, together with ACLU, or SEA attorneys will sue to have the principal fired. If I were the judge, I'd not only fire him, but also strip him of his principal's and teacher's licenses, and prohibit him from working in a leadership position in Seattle Public Schools. The standard for fair and equitable practice in how students are treated in public school is higher for him as a person of trust, and an educational leader than it would be for a misguided student or parent. This should not stand. He has proven himself ethically unfit for his position by this action. Though no student was physically hurt or abused, they were psychologically bullied by a person of trust and leadership. I find it egregious enough to warrant resignation or firing.

TheGoodFight said...

Anyone is free to file a complaint with PSESD against the principal. Don't think SPS, ACLU or any lawyers are going to do anything. I'm not sure what the end result will be, but there will be at least a record of the complaint and investigation in his file.

http://www.psesd.org/

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty tired of union bashing by people who obviously have no clue about Union history. Walking off the job is in fact a great strategy that has been very successful over many years, and has earned us the many privileges we take for granted.Think 8 hour work day, 40 hour work week, weekends off, and the fact that our children can attend schools instead of working in factories from the age of 5. The SBAC is a farce. There were so many issues with its implementation and with the actual test itself. And don't get me started on the origin and funding of it. Google it. As for Seattle's walkout, there was no actual time lost as this day is being made up at the end of the school year. The majority of the districts in this state have also chosen to walk off, so it wasn't just an isolated Seattle action.

Union proud

Anonymous said...

Where is the appropriate line? Schools are punitive all the time, right? Don't do you homework or study for your exams? Get a bad grade. Goof off in class? Lose recess so you can stay in and work. Don't keep your grades up? No participation in this weekend's game. And so on. If you don't do x, you don't get y. Yes, kids have the "right" to not do their homework, to good off, etc., and schools can and do dish out consequences. So how different is it if there are consequences for skipping this particular exam--or a reward for participating, if you prefer to look at it that way?

Given all the concerns over this exam--and that opting out is probably more parent-driven--it does sound like this was handled poorly. If the idea was that the carnival was a reward for hard work, I get that--they had to sit still and work for a long time, writing essays, etc. But if it was intended as a reward, that could have been made clearer, and there should have been equal opportunity for anyone not taking the SBA to engage in a similar level of hard work to also earn participation. That would have been more equitable. I don't think it's unfair to ask kids to write an essay or do some other work to earn attendance at the event, but they should have been given the opportunity to complete that alternative work while others were taking the SBA.

HF

TheGoodFight said...

A few things;

1. It was the adults not the students who orchestrated the opt out. Don't punish the students for obeying their parents.

2. I have no problem with unions, just how SEA behaved over the SBAC. Like I said before, we need more money for teachers (not administrators), more funding for class room supplies. Teachers need more support in the form of TAs, PD or useful technology. Actually I would like to hear from teachers what they want that will improve their careers and student outcomes. God knows we have heard enough from all of us non-teachers.

3. SEA members are free to get involved in the CBA, like the new one being negotiated now. Don't come back in 2 years and walk out over something silly. You don't have it so bad here in Seattle, go ask some of the teachers who work in districts without additional supplemental levees what that's like.

4. It is possible your May 19th protest will result in our local levees being distributed across the state or removed completely. We could see Seattle teacher's wages actually deceased. So in a way you where actually protesting for your wages to be decreased while increasing your WEA bothers wages. It that what you want?"

Lynn said...

Yes (bad) schools are punitive. Schools that do the things you listed are at least attempting to manipulate children with good intentions. They are mistaken in their methods, but they do believe that doing homework and being attentive in class help children to learn. This action was taken not to entice children to do something that would help them learn, but to punish them for refusing to do something that would benefit Jeff Clark.

If schools are going to reward children for hours of hard work that benefits only adults, they need to pay them.

FIVE CRITERIA FOR EFFECTIVE DISCIPLINE

Helps children feel a sense of connection. (Belonging and significance)

Is mutually respectful and encouraging. (Kind and firm at the same time.)
Is effective long - term. (Considers what the child is thinking, feeling, learning, and deciding about himself and his world – and what to do in the future to survive or to thrive.)
Teaches important social and life skills. (Respect, concern for others, problem solving, and cooperation as well as the skills to contribute to the home, school or larger community.)
Invites children to discover how capable they are. (Encourages the constructive use of personal power and autonomy.)

Anonymous said...

This take on ethical administration might be useful here:
http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/living-in-dialogue/2014/03/michelle_gunderson_shares_an_a.html

TheGoodFight said...

"Walking off the job is in fact a great strategy that has been very successful over many years, and has earned us the many privileges we take for granted."

Sorry, I don't have the luxury of walking off the job. If I did walk off, then I might as well keep walking. As a salaried employee, I work as long as it takes to complete my assigned task. It's always 8 hours minimum with no maximum. Sometimes I have to come in at 4AM other times I start at 11PM. These expectations I knew when excepting the job and by the way my rate is fixed for 3 years, again these are the terms I agreed to. Every 3 years I get the chance to negotiate for a raise or better a benefit package.

With that said, my company is reasonable and if things would become difficult or my life style changed requiring more flexibility I believe they would work with me. Regardless, I would not try and extort my employer under any circumstances.

So I say to you, honor your agreement and stop with the childish behavior.

Melissa Westbrook said...

HF, totally not the same thing. This is just punitive. To write an appeal on what you allegedly did wrong (that your parents didn't think was wrong because it is legal) is making a hypocrite out of a kid.

See my update as well as Marty McLaren's reply. If she believes this is truly okay,then my vote will go to Harris.

Anonymous said...

MW -- it is worse than making hypocrites out of kids. It has that creepy "turn-on-your-parents-and-report-them" feel of the Chinese regime during the Cultural Revolution or the Soviet "Youth Comrades" stuff. If I were a parent in that school, the principal would hear about it -- whether my kid had opted out, or not. I don't know if the carnival has happened or not, but it would be great if the parents would all get together and run an inclusive, separate carnival of their own -- and he could sit around and bite his thumb by himself. Just ick.

The GoodFight: I don't always love SSD union decisions -- but I DID love this one. Watching the TV coverage the following week of the various rolling walk outs around the state by other districts made me really proud that the teachers of MY district has participated as well. (And frankly, if teachers were doing nothing other than writing to their legislators -- we would be hearing "and where are the teachers? THEY don't seem to care! They are doing NOTHING while the state ignores McCleary. Why should we do all their hard work for them -- etc., etc." Really, how can they win. They are damned if they do something (the classic, time honored walk out) and damned if they don't.

And the reason you and I would be fired if we walked off our jobs is (wait for it --) we aren't part of a union that has organized a walkout! Maybe that is ok (we have reasonable benefits and job protections without it, etc.) but unions HAVE delivered a lot of good benefits in the past, and SOME sort of organized effort (whether a union or something else) is the ONLY way to get powerful people to play fair in some instances. I don't really want to argue all the pros and cons of unions. But in this instance, I thought the SEA did absolutely the right thing.

Jsn

Anonymous said...

"had participated" --sorry for the typo.

And Jan -- not Jsn (clearly typing too fast, or something)


Jan

CottonCandyLeftOvers said...

How does the principal reward a 60% failure rate? Perhaps he dishes-up left over cotton candy, from the carnival, to those that passed.

CottonCandyLeftOvers said...

"I spoke to one parent and she said the letter her child had to write was basically that the parents "forced" the child to opt out, pitting parent against their child. As a staff member at this school, I am appalled at the admin for doing this as this is not the school I love. I am proud of the teachers for standing up for ALL of their students."

Wow. So true.

Anonymous said...

Is it bullying by the Denny principal? Yes. Does he care? No, and don't think this will bother him an iota except as a 1-2 day inconvenience. Those who haven't been in this community don't realize he doesn't give a hoot what you or anybody thinks - years of egocentric shilling for the "district" trying to move up the ladder, yet somehow even the JSCEE staff knows not to move him up as retribution is his standard.

The principal reportedly treats teachers with the same lack of respect as the students. Notice the teacher turnover rate at Denny? Some teachers who stood up for these students will get grief with next year's reviews if history is an indicator.

Those who recall the Sealth-Denny merger community meetings may recall the audience rumblings after he spoke... "he didn't answer the question" as each question was answered with a talking point, not genuine interactive debate. The party/district line. If you want a genuine debate with a principal about the pros/cons of testing go somewhere else - the Denny principal will be in no trouble for this and wouldn't care anyhow.

SWer

Anonymous said...

We are realistic about what it means to be union members. Unions have brought about important labor laws in their nascent beginnings. But these days, trotting out child labor laws and safe working conditions are not enough to hang our boots on. There have been many points SEA could have made itself heard. SPED is one area. Sorry, but SEA and WEA appeared to be standing on the sideline taking public opinion temperature. SBAC appears more a coattail issue to grab on and rather last minute at that given that it has been stewing for sometime now. Priority: CBA.

real world


Anonymous said...

Michael hates unions

Lurker

Anonymous said...

Not everybody is Michael. Some of us feel the union would be better served and far more genuine by paying attention to why some teachers must work under impossible conditions juggling trying to do right by their students while being hamstrung by administrators and fellow teachers. You aren't going to keep good people for long if they burnout.

real world