Sunday, July 12, 2015

How Many of These Does Seattle Schools Meet?

Interesting crib sheet on 10 Signs Your Child is in a Failing School District from Randy Turner, a former English teacher, now writing at the Huffington Post.
It has nothing to do with low scores on state-mandated standardized tests and more to do with the culture in the school district.
 How many do you think fit Seattle Public Schools?

17 comments:

seattle citizen said...

Eight.

n said...

Oh my gosh. I just posted about these on the "Duncan" thread! Just got carried away!

Anonymous said...

The one on discipline doesn't seem right - that teachers are monitored to reduce referrals to the principals. That is not The SPS Way. Because our teachers are so entitled. But the rest of it seems right on.

Marty

Po3 said...

#4 - YES on PD and data data data, I hear this a lot from teachers and what a waste of time it is.
#5 - I see controlled messaging more by admins then teachers, teachers have more eye-rolling (LOL)
#6 - Rubberstamping is changing with Patu and Peters, hope will get better in next round of elections
#8 - SPS is so admin top heavy it is shameful
#10 - Civics, citizenship as well as race and gender education big deficit in our schools


Can't answer for #2 and #3 and on the fence for #9.

A bit alarming.

However...in the trenches I think our teachers do a pretty darn good job despite the district and national education climate.

Anonymous said...

Major Bingo on

3. Teachers receive no support from administrators on discipline issues-
to the extent that state law is even violated.

In 2006-2007 I was teaching at West Seattle at the end of Day 2 I was informed by Asst. Principal Bob Court that I could not send misbehaving students out of the classroom for any reason.

I documented the first 7 days of teaching and sent a letter via email to Carla J. Santorno with cc: Supt. Raj Manhas titled possible violations of state law at West Seattle HS on Sept. 18, 2006. I doubt things have improved much since 2006 in the SPS especially at Aki Kurose. I will say that upon Bruce Bivens arrival as principal at WSHS he took the RCW 28A.600.020 seriously.

I referenced RCW 28A.600.020 in my letter.
Exclusion of student from classroom — Written disciplinary procedures — Long-term suspension or expulsion.

(1) The rules adopted pursuant to RCW 28A.600.010 shall be interpreted to ensure that the optimum learning atmosphere of the classroom is maintained, and that the highest consideration is given to the judgment of qualified certificated educators regarding conditions necessary to maintain the optimum learning atmosphere.

(2) Any student who creates a disruption of the educational process in violation of the building disciplinary standards while under a teacher's immediate supervision may be excluded by the teacher from his or her individual classroom and instructional or activity area for all or any portion of the balance of the school day, or up to the following two days, or until the principal or designee and teacher have conferred, whichever occurs first. Except in emergency circumstances, the teacher first must attempt one or more alternative forms of corrective action. In no event without the consent of the teacher may an excluded student return to the class during the balance of that class or activity period or up to the following two days, or until the principal or his or her designee and the teacher have conferred.

I also referenced SPS Board policy D 74.0 in my 2006 letter.

Few administrators will admit to knowledge of 28A.600.020. much less act on it.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

4. Professional development is limited to indoctrination and data-

and

5. The message is tightly controlled, eliminating constructive criticism-

#4 and #5 identify the demise of anything professional about professional learning communities. This demise is nearly universal and hardly just limited to SPS and a few districts. Top Down autocratic mode is the preferred operating procedure.

In 2007 Carla Santorno notified WSHS principal Bruce Bivens that I was to stop testifying at School Board meetings unless I had new information to present.

I told Mr. Bivens that I always presented new information. His response was "Excellent, carry on."

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

Geezuz, love to hear the union, and teacher-hating drivel here Marty.

HW teacher

Anonymous said...

The Administration wants little or nothing to do with Teachers and Discipline problems. Even minor ones that could simple be handled with a little time out.. nothing. My favorite is asking for someone to take out a student who was verbally abusing me with foul language. I was told by the VP that the word "abuse" was a trigger word with that student and as a result further upset her and I would be investigated to see what caused that incident. Uh I am a substitute asking her for work and she was having none of that, investigation is done and thanks I will leave never to return so we can leave that here and now and not let it go downtown for "investigation" okay? And her response, well we need you to stay as no one else will come here. Okay then. Many many subs have similar tales from many many schools.

And the young teachers I sub for.. well they are nice kids but in way over their heads and some of the upcoming student teachers I can not say anything nice so I wont.

As for that checklist.. SPS all 10.

-my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

#Yes and no to #6, big yes to #8 and yes to #9. You can be a smart user of technology or waste time and money. A lot of schools have problems with #9. I'm glad I see so few of these at play in my daughter's school.

I asked her about discipline and teachers. “The good teachers have control over the class. If the teacher makes it clear they don't tolerate interruptions, most kids don't cause trouble. The teachers who want to be our friends don't have control.” She attends Sealth and describes it as diverse and laid back. She doesn't see disproportionate discipline and has never seen a teacher hesitate to remove a disruptive student. The principal checks in on classes and walks the halls but doesn't make a big splash. She thinks Ms. Fraser-Hammer does a good job because school is a good place to be. Daughter enjoyed her teachers last year, with two glaring exceptions.

Two of her teachers openly criticized the principal for things like enforcing the dress code, which daughter found ridiculous. Daughter described one teacher as yelling a lot due to constant interruptions, with a core group of students always talking, even playing cards in the back of the room. This same teacher often spoke about her personal life when it had no pertinence to the subject at hand. Daughter expected more from this class than learning lists of vocabulary words. The one time daughter spoke up and asked if they could get back on topic, this teacher became offended and asked if daughter wanted to leave her class! The other disappointing teacher showed movies and gave out packets, but had little engagement with the class. Lax management and lax teaching appeared to go hand in hand.

The classes where she learned the most had teachers who made their expectations clear. While daughter saw no differences based on age, the teacher earning her highest praise is the youngest. Daughter said she learned a lot in a subject (biology) that had previously intimidated her. The same students who talked and interrupted in one class were attentive in biology.

Westside

Anonymous said...

Marty,
Just what do you think "our teachers are entitled" to? In SPS teachers are entitled to keep every child in the classroom no matter how much a child's severe and often dangerous behavior robs classmates of the right to learn. THAT is the SPS way.

Gone is the era in which principals supported teachers in managing disruptive and sometimes violent behavior. Gone are supportive school counselors. Gone are intervention specialists. Gone are classroom aids.Gone are smaller schools where an alternative may be found.

Here to stay is the misguided and narrow belief that teachers are the scapegoats for all of modern society's ills. Here to stay is the ignorant belief that teachers are a class of "entitled" do nothings who don't deserve to earn a living wage.

Your post reminds me of why I no longer choose to be a public school teacher: I am "entitled" not to perform a thankless vocation.

Etta

Anonymous said...

"Here to stay is the misguided and narrow belief that teachers are the scapegoats for all of modern society's ills. Here to stay is the ignorant belief that teachers are a class of "entitled" do nothings who don't deserve to earn a living wage."

I agree. I hope the mostly glowing picture of my daughter's school doesn't convey that I feel teachers are entitled. They're not. My daughter's experience is confirmation for me that teachers do amazing work with little respect from the sector that's supposed to support them.

Westside

Anonymous said...

A Big Question remains in regard to classroom discipline:

Why is the SPS violating RCW 28A.600.020?

The answer is likely because the SEA Union collaborates with the district in the failure to enforce the law.

(1) The rules adopted pursuant to RCW 28A.600.010 shall be interpreted to ensure that the optimum learning atmosphere of the classroom is maintained, and that the highest consideration is given to the judgment of qualified certificated educators regarding conditions necessary to maintain the optimum learning atmosphere.

(2) Any student who creates a disruption of the educational process in violation of the building disciplinary standards while under a teacher's immediate supervision may be excluded by the teacher from his or her individual classroom and instructional or activity area for all or any portion of the balance of the school day, or up to the following two days, or until the principal or designee and teacher have conferred, whichever occurs first. Except in emergency circumstances, the teacher first must attempt one or more alternative forms of corrective action. In no event without the consent of the teacher may an excluded student return to the class during the balance of that class or activity period or up to the following two days, or until the principal or his or her designee and the teacher have conferred.


-- Dan Dempsey

Melissa Westbrook said...

"Lax management and lax teaching appeared to go hand in hand." I wouldn't quite agree but I think I see your point.

I don't think lax management creates poor teaching but it certainly allows it to go on.

That principal needs to get those teachers in her office, go over their plan for teaching their classes, offer a support plan and then given them a timetable. That's how you help a less-than-effective teacher. And then you exit them if they cannot meet that timetable.

That's what Roosevelt's principal did in his first year. It takes time but, in the end, you do the best thing for the students.

Anonymous said...

Here's my list,


4. Professional development is limited to indoctrination and data
5. The message is tightly controlled, eliminating constructive criticism
6. School Board members serve as rubber stamps
8. The district is top heavy with administrators

Dan wrote; "Why is the SPS violating RCW 28A.600.020?"
Dan, SPS is violating many state RCWs and the federal IDEA what makes 28A so special?

I don't know if SPS could survive the disruption caused by a school board that enforced laws and district policy. People sometimes forget SPS works for thousands of students, those student's parents are worried about disruptive changes or chaos that could be caused by an aggressive school board having a negative impact on their students. The public backlash against the school board is well documented. New and current board members need to be aware of both when perusing much needed changes.

MJ

Anonymous said...

MJ - There are a variety of laws that need enforcement . ..

Maintaining an optimal environment for learning should get a large emphasis . ..

Aki Kurose needs an increased learning atmosphere.

State laws should not be views as recommendations but rather tequirements.

Remember the recent Garfield report on the choir trip .. A culture change is needed so that policies are viewed not as optional recommendatipns...

State and Federal laws are often ignored or viewed as weak recommendations -- violators should be held accountable .

Or are those engaged in the education enterprise disinterested in creating an optimal learning environment for each child.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

Dan,

Board of Directors
2015 Code of Conduct


3. Uphold all applicable federal and state laws and regulations

13. Strive to keep the Board focused on its duties of setting shared goals, providing oversight, holding the district and
Superintendent accountable, and representing the interests of the public.

16. Hold myself and my colleagues accountable for abiding by this Code of Conduct, Board policy, and law; and
understand that a motion of Censure may be brought for an egregious violation.

When does the Censuring begin?


MJ


Anonymous said...

MJ,

Censuring beginning? ... I guess it is a bit like impeachment proceedings...

It all depends on what the definition of "egregious violation" is

... Sure there were violations but were they really "egregious"?

-- Dan Dempsey