Sunday, October 11, 2015

Seattle Public Education This Week

Monday, Oct. 12th
Board Curriculum&Instruction meeting from 4:30-630 pm at JSCEE.  Agenda
Highlights:
- there's a Race to the Top grant for the Seattle Teacher Residency.  The Board should reject this.  Why?  Because the relationship with one partner for the STR, the Alliance for Education, is tenuous and the district may be left holding the bag for this project.  I think that the district had the right idea but, like most district initiatives, did not have the long-term planning or backing to fulfill the mission.
- Did you know our district has NO "Instructional Philosophy?"  Apparently not, as a new Board Policy A.01.00, has been written.  Sigh. Yes, that's the most important thing to get done.
- High School Credit for World Languages (this is for both students who have taken a language as a second language and those whose first language isn't English and can receive credit for what they know in that second language).
- Special Ed program review
-Elementary Math implementation

Please Join Eckstein’s PTSA for a Seattle School Board Candidate Forum! Mon, Oct 12th, 7:30-9:00 pm, Eckstein Auditorium. Do you know who you're voting for on Nov 3rd? Come learn more about the eight Seattle School Board candidates and what they think about the issues that matter - from school funding to standardized testing. The Eckstein Middle School PTSA, in collaboration with Eckstein students, is pleased to welcome parents, teachers, kids and community members to a moderated forum with Seattle’s candidates for School Board. Everyone is welcome! Eckstein Auditorium. If you have questions for the candidates that you'd like to submit in advance, please send an email to kendall.levan@gmail.com

Tuesday, October 13th
Half-Baked Bake Sale from 11 am- 1 pm outside of JSCEE to call attention to teacher/staff cuts.  Step up to support this effort because 1)parents should stand united against cuts to any school because cuts for ANY kids are wrong and 2) next time it could be YOUR school.

Wednesday, October 14th
Executive Meeting of the Whole, 4:30-6:15 pm at JSCEE - main topic: Seattle Pre-K program with special topic - Alliance for Education.  Uh oh.

Work Session - 2015-16 Board Governance Priorities, Superintendent Evaluation Instrument and SMART Goals, 6:15-8:00 pm at JSCEEAgenda

Thursday, October 15th
Washington State Charter Commission meeting, 10 am-5 pm - STAR Center Voyage Studio, 3873 S 66th Street, Tacoma.  Agenda
Highlights:
- Supreme Court charter school ruling
- Commission operation and finances
- Annual Report to the Board of Education
- Charter Schools update

School Board Candidate Forum,  Nathan Hale Government classes are putting on a student led Election Forum the evening of Thursday, October 15th from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center involving candidates for Seattle School Board and would like to invite you, your friends and your neighbors to attend. Candidates will make short opening statements, respond to questions from students, and then make a short summary statement. Be an informed citizen and attend!

I want to give a shout-out (and perhaps a heads up to candidates) about the Hale seniors.  At each Board meeting, the first speakers slot is given to one high school.  Last week it was Hale and the students brought up a VERY good point.

Several Boards ago, a policy was passed on what kind of food could be sold at high schools.  Soda was banned and there were more juice and milk products.  The vending machine money went to ASB and was a big source of revenue especially for high schools that didn't have as many fundraising opportunities (RBHS went to nearly zero dollars.)

At that time, high school students rose up, complained and complained, and finally, a few years back, they were PROMISED the revenue from calendar advertising (another policy put into place).  Guess who never saw that revenue?  ASB.  And what is that revenue spent on? No idea.

I hope the students extract a promise from the candidates on this issue.  I note that BTA IV has some kind of slogan, "Promises made, promises kept."  A big of an irony that makes many promises and promptly forgets about them.

38 comments:

ClassroomFundsNeeded said...


More unfunded initiatives from District Administration:

"Shauna Heath’s, Executive Director of Curriculum & Instruction team are working on
closing the achievement gap around the Multi-Tiered System Support (MTSS). 77
teachers and district office staff participated in the Formative Practice Institute.
Teachers are looking at formative assessment work to support collaboration around
common classroom assessment. This is based around showing teachers showing tier 1
work and identifying tier 2 work in the classrooms. The curriculum specialists will
initiate a deep dive in instructional shifts for students. This will be year one of a 3 year
rollout. The funding source has not been identified and will not be allocated until
December. There is an initiative to look at how we fund the district."

http://sps.ss8.sharpschool.com/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/School%20Board/committees/C&I/2015-16/20151012_Agenda_Packet_C&I.pdf

Anonymous said...

At Monday's Curriculum & Instruction Policy Committee meeting at the very end of the 4:30 to 6:30 meeting, Heath and Box will be part of 10 minutes devoted to the "Elementary Math Implementation" ... This will be the third of 3 special attention items.

note: there is no wording on the agenda indicating that "Math in Focus" was the Board approved Elementary School Math adoption. Hey shouldn't the 10 minutes be about Math in Focus implementation? Wouldn't that be special?

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

I would like to say that I am excited that elementary school math is on the agenda. It should be, it is a mess. The more I try and use the district Scope and Sequence, the more I realize how ridiculous it is. At many grade levels, it is unbelievably cumbersome to use the Scope and Sequence with the MIF book. As most textbooks, MIF builds from chapter to chapter. It doesn't work to do a chapter from the beginning of the book, a chapter at the end of the book, and then go do a chapter in the middle of the book. So basically one has to choose between using the Scope and Sequence or using MIF. UGH! What's frustrating to me is that Heath and Box are just going to talk a good talk about blah, blah, blah, and the Board will say "okay". Nothing will change.
Frustrated Math

Anonymous said...

If anyone wants to email my comments above onto the board, feel free. I would send them myself except that I'm worried about retaliation and I don't have enough time to send comments by snail mail like I did in Septembers.
Frustrated Math

Anonymous said...

There is a school board candidate forum at Nathan Hale on Thursday, Oct 15th at 7PM. It is run by the Hale seniors.

HP

Anonymous said...

Frustrated Math, I forwarded your math concerns to the school board. I titled the message “Math in Chaos.”

No idea why they allow the central administration to undercut their new curricula Math in Focus. It was the best accomplishment of the current board.

S parent

ClassroomFundsNeeded said...

Shauna Heath reports:

"This will be year one of a 3 year
rollout. The funding source has not been identified and will not be allocated until
December. There is an initiative to look at how we fund the district."

District administration is taking funds from classrooms to support administrative projects. Heath is only on year one and doesn't have the dollars for this project. Put the dollars into our classrooms. K teachers should not have 26-30 students.

Administrators want to provide teachers with assessments, and mechanisms to hold teachers accountable, but they won't relinquish the funding.


Anonymous said...

Melissa - The A01.00 Policy shows an adopted date of March 2010, so maybe this isn't something new?

Just Sayin'

ClassroomFundsNeeded said...


The Seattle Teacher Residency is another program that is full of administrative bloat. At a quick glance, we're looking at half a million dollars worth of administrative salaries and benefits:

EXPENSES
Salaries $335,400 Program Staff = 4.5 fte; Research/Data =.4
Benefits $97,266 ~29% of salaries.
SPS Liaison (Sal & Benefits) $75,726 FTE and benefits

http://sps.ss8.sharpschool.com/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/School%20Board/committees/C&I/2015-16/20151012_Agenda_Packet_C&I.pdf

The present board is passionate about math and they should be all over the district regarding their present shenanigans.

FundClassrooms said...


Re: Teacher Residency Program, travel and events:

Out-of-Town Travel $3,600 Conferences & UTRU events

It is time to shut down the travel budget. If we don't have dollars to keep K classes below 28-30 students, we don't have dollars to to send administrators all over the country.

Melissa Westbrook said...

There is an initiative to look at how we fund the district."

Really? Why is that at the end of an MTSS item?

Just Sayin', that may be true but I cannot find it at the Board's policy section. I see it in the Superintendent's procedures section but procedure follows policy so I am confused.



Anonymous said...

From the 2015/16 Budget book (pg44)

CENTRAL ADMINISTRATION Actual 2013/14 Adopted 2014/15 Recommended 2015/16
Board of Directors $4,377,610 $2,603,840 $4,270,653
Superintendent's Office $5,263,869 $5,515,745 $6,418,660
Business Office $5,790,899 $6,207,175 $6,980,623
Human Resources $4,685,999 $4,705,558 $5,283,638
Public Information $490,227 $500,189 $623,449
Superv. of Instruction $11,886,009 $14,331,199 $16,131,620
Super.Nutrition Services $766,624 $916,965 $904,898
Super Transportation $1,125,084 $1,648,618 $1,876,805
Super Maint and Operation $836,484 $1,010,144 $1,093,617
TOTAL CENTRAL ADMIN $35,222,804 $37,439,433 $43,583,963

By my calculations, that's about a $6 million increase in Central Admin - what could the schools (remember them, the places kids go) do with that?!

reader47

Anonymous said...

ClassroomFundsNeeded wrote...

The present board is passionate about math and they should be all over the district regarding their present shenanigans.
====

That would be the case ...
if the present board is passionate about the MiF math adoption and
if the Board directed but it rarely if ever directs.

Shenanigans are an SPS tradition.

The math plan of Box and Heath is clearly focused on CCSS-M standards at each grade level (likely believing that focus will improve SBAC test performance).

The focus of Heath and Box is clearly not to assist teachers in implementing "Math in Focus" by supporting them in delivering instruction in an orderly coherent way in the manner and order the MiF authors intended. Maximizing each student's math learning k-12 should be the focus but it?

Anyone still wondering why SPS math results show very large achievement gaps?
If a kid does not have access to math support from home or Kumon, Mathnasium, Sylvan, other tutoring, etc. how will they make sense out of this math mishmash?

Welcome to SPS Elementary Math debacle part II. (The confusion of Everyday Math continues but without EM. The MiF textbook won't help much because it will not be used in a coherent way.)

So sad as SPS SBAC grades 3, 4, 5 math scores were good last year. There was no call for this Central Office change of direction from what the publisher intended.

Instead of focusing on techniques within MiF to close achievement gaps these Central Office actions will likely continue to instructionally disable some students in math.

Does anyone actually believe that changing the scope and sequence from that used by "Math in Focus" will maximize student learning?

What arrogance to think that:
SPS teachers and central program staff worked with a national consultant to create a standards aligned scope and sequence, which would be superior to the "MiF" scope and sequence. Where is the evidence to support that belief?

Who was this national consultant? What has been their track record of improvement?

WOW the district really needs Directors that direct, so sad.
To improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

S Parent,
Thanks for forwarding.
Frustrated Math

Anonymous said...

Frustrated Math,
I know one of the directors forwarded your comments to Tolley this morning. They absolutely need to rein in the administrators who think they know best.

Keep on them, Dan. Your attention to data on math has been so important over the years.

S parent

Anonymous said...

Apparently the Directors are duped by Common Core nonsense... (deception and outright lies)

A whole pile of those can be found HERE.

Myth: Key math topics are missing or appear in the wrong grade.

Fact: The mathematical progressions presented in the Common Core State Standards are coherent and based on evidence.
(The progression will not match MiF) (The standards lag far behind those of the big six from east Asia, particularly weak through grade 4, well behind at grade 8)

(Here comes one-size fits-all next)
Part of the problem with having different sets of state standards in mathematics is that different states cover different topics at different grade levels. Coming to a consensus guarantees that, from the viewpoint of any given state, topics will move up or down in the grade level sequence. What is important to keep in mind is that the progression in the Common Core State Standards is mathematically coherent and leads to college and career readiness at an internationally competitive level. (This is a blatant lie .. these standards are not internationally competitive and the college readiness is not preparation for a rigorous 4-year college.)

========
Do not forget another big lie underlying CCSS: the standards do not dictate curriculum.

Time for directors to lead the district instead of Bill Gates and his money. Heath and Box etc. need to stop this CCSS-M nonsense and get on with improving math.

Is the plan for the nation to run on H1B visas?

-- Dan Dempsey

Maureen said...

Melissa, can you format reader47's post and make a thread about it? It needs as big an audience as possible.

To start: Board of Directors ... $4,270,653

What is this even? I have been told for years that the Board has no staff (e.g., Erinn Bennett never answered to the Board)? And even if you put the newish auditor and their admin under here that leaves $4,000,000 unaccounted for (is this what Martin-Morris has spent on junkets?) And I correct in thinking they probably overspent their budget by $2M so now are asking for more?

Anonymous said...

To start: Board of Directors ... $4,270,653

Hey, ear plugs are expensive!

CJM

dan dempsey said...

I sent the following to the Board and then included my comments from above.
===

Seattle School Directors,

A huge part of your job is to direct the district in its mission to provide each child with the opportunity to maximize learning.

It seems clear from this year's actions in regard to Math in Focus that the Board is abdicating its responsibility for maximizing student learning.

The job of director is not to slavishly follow the CCSS-M, although that is apparently the current plan. Please discard the CCSS-M inspired "Scope and Sequence" modifications.
Please require the use of the "Math in Focus" "scope and sequence" so the adopted materials can be used to maximize student learning.

-- Dan Dempsey

==========

WOW ... imagine the SBAC testing Opt-Out coming spring 2016 if the Board allows Staff to continue with this huge focus on CCSS-M and all things Gates.

Anonymous said...

@Maureen - sorry, couldn't get it to format despite a few tries and can't use the HTML tag for tables on here.

You can see it for yourself on page 44 of the adopted 2015/16 budget, available on HERE

And no, I don't believe it means they overspent, in fact, they actually got a doubling of monies allocated for 2015/16 compared to previous budget allocation - which is odd....

But what they spend that much on is indeed puzzling ;)

reader47

Anonymous said...

CCSS???

If you want to know where we are headed.... just ask the Gates Foundation.

Here you go =>

What we do Washington State education pathways.

Included in The Opportunity section:

The Common Core State Standards, ensuring Washington’s K-12 students are fully prepared for success in college and careers.

A new teacher and principal evaluation program to give our state’s teachers and leaders ways to improve their practice and serve students better.

High-quality public charter schools to improve educational opportunities, particularly for those who struggle to learn.

=========
Apparently .....

School directors no longer need to be involved with decisions involving academics as Gates has in all planned.

Heath and Box get that .... but I do not.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

Is a Superintendent search part of the Board's budget? Maybe that could explain the discrepancy?

-katydid

Jan said...

When I look at reader 47s numbers, the thing that shocks me most is the TWO year increase -- which is over $8 million dollars (an increase of somewhere between 20 and 25% of the total budgeted amount from 2013). That is more than 10% per year -- and 6 million of the total increase comes from two categories: the Board of Directors ($2MM) and Supervision of Instruction (about 4.5 million).

CENTRAL ADMINISTRATION Actual 2013/14 Adopted 2014/15 Recommended 2015/16
Board of Directors $4,377,610 $2,603,840 $4,270,653
Superintendent's Office $5,263,869 $5,515,745 $6,418,660
Business Office $5,790,899 $6,207,175 $6,980,623
Human Resources $4,685,999 $4,705,558 $5,283,638
Public Information $490,227 $500,189 $623,449
Superv. of Instruction $11,886,009 $14,331,199 $16,131,620
Super.Nutrition Services $766,624 $916,965 $904,898
Super Transportation $1,125,084 $1,648,618 $1,876,805
Super Maint and Operation $836,484 $1,010,144 $1,093,617

TOTAL CENTRAL ADMIN $35,222,804 $37,439,433 $43,583,963


Frankly, if it would help the Board to do their job in overseeing the Superintendent and overseeing compliance with board policies, I would HAPPILY give them their 2 million (also, it looks to me like this restores money that was budgeted for the board back in 2013 -- it went down, and is now back up, though I have no idea why either move took place).

But why are we spending almost 1/3 more supervising instruction (and why were we spending as much as $11 million back in 2013). That is what principals (and head teachers) should do. This seems to me a massive waste of money, and I think the board should ask the Superintendent to explain where that money is going, and what purpose it serves with respect to student learning. From what I can see, these folks are largely an impediment to student learning. They screw up the delivery of lessons, waste vast amounts of teacher time, and increase teacher stress. I get it that you maybe need a few folks in central administration supporting instructional stuff -- but this is so bloated it almost begins to have the feel of something worse.

Good Luck said...


Good luck getting what you want S. Parent and Frustrated Math. In the future, the board will have LESS options. From C and I minutes:

"The policy has been rewritten to comply. The adoption committee can recommend, in
rank order, up to two materials. Meaning that they can also only recommend one or
none. The Instructional Materials Committee"


"Director McLaren provided suggested edits to the document to make it easier to read.
Director McLaren does not believe that two adoption recommendations are enough. She
is still interested in receiving three recommendations."

Peters wrote an amendment to assure the board has more options and Peaslee, McLaren (despite her statement) and others voted against the amendment.

Anonymous said...

You're invited to the student led
School Board Candidate Forum

This Thursday, October 15th, 7pm-9pm
Nathan Hale Performing Arts Center

NHHS family, friends and neighbors are invited to the Seattle School Board Candidate Forum in the NHHS Performing Arts Center this Thursday evening.

Nathan Hale Government classes are putting on a student led School Board Candidate Forum the evening of Thursday, October 15th from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center involving candidates for Seattle School Board and would like to invite you, your friends and your neighbors to attend. Candidates will make short opening statements, respond to questions from students, and then make a short summary statement. Be an informed citizen and attend!

We encourage you to attend – if you have any questions, please contact Tim Ames at Nathan Hale at 206-252-3793 or tsames@seattleschools.org.

HP

Anonymous said...

Good Luck ... isn't all this Math adoption talk irrelevant given the belief in a strict adherence to the "scope and sequence" of common core math standards?

-- Dan Dempsey

Watching said...

Rainier Prep Charter School is accepting applications for 2016/2017.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Watching, and good luck to them with that.

Anonymous said...

I actually asked for a voter initiative- to make a LAW that (clearly defines the admin budget)limits how much of a school district can spend on the home office BS. Is there a RCW or WAC that dictates such spending- how monies can and will be used? Or is the money from the state/tax payers spent however a district decides is in the best interest of their communities? This issue is ludicrous and so is the fact that we have to deal with it every year. There is no recourse at the local level. We are powerless. We need some power other than "vote the bastards out". That takes too long and kids need help now, not next year.

- tired of this

Melissa Westbrook said...

Tired of this, one ray of hope - the newly elected directors will be installed by early December. Not next year.

Anonymous said...

It's not just parents that should be rising up. All taxpayers fund this dysfunctional administration and deserve an accounting of where their tax money is REALLY being spent (hint- not on the children). There should be restrictions on how/where our education dollars are spent and it should not be to support (and grow) this bloated bureaucracy. It should be in classrooms, schools! School should not be losing staff 6-8 weeks after start of the year in order to cut district cost when there are so many other areas that don't directly impact the core mission (hint; students, classrooms, education) of the district - although I'm starting to wonder their core mission is in fact to drive me to drink - because on that score they are performing quite well! And what's with the elementary math meddling - how much money ( and time is money remember) have they spent reinventing the wheel on that -when they just, 1 short year ago, adopted a new, perfectly adequate (perhaps even great) curriculum??? Look at the increased espenditure on administration. Look at the lack of transparency in everything they do. It's all smoke and mirrors and hidden agendas. I wish people realized that we have this big important school district, in this successful, well educated, progressive city and it is so woefully mismanaged that they virtually do not manage to get anything right (not transportation, not curriculum, not Sp Ed, not designing new buildings or maintaining their old ones........). Not just parents, who of course, know and live this, but the wider community should know this.
It may not affect everyone personally right now but it does indirectly in many ways (tax dollars and levies, property values, employee retention) and in the future (local grandkids, future children). What about all these highly educated young people taking jobs in the city - they will have families one day and I'm sure they don't want to inherit this mess ( and they can't all go private). I sure wouldn't settle in Seattle to raise my family knowing what I know now. People are drawn to live where there are good schools. Can we in all honestly say we have good schools here? I think we could have some great schools in some areas if only the district actually nurtured them instead of sucking them dry.
Pity there isn't some real investigative journalism in this city - because chronicling the last decade at SPS would be rich material. Everyone in Seattle should know about these issues not just parents of schoolchildren, because EVERYONE (starting with our schoolkids, yes) deserves better.

Spread the word

GarfieldMom said...

Here's what doesn't make a lick of sense about the math scope and sequence mess. The MIF curriculum was adopted BEFORE the creation of the scope and sequence (which it seems is still ongoing, not completed). They've known for a very long time that they intended to create the scope and sequence -- it's written into the Strategic Plan. Why in the world did they wait until AFTER the new curriculum was chosen, a full year after implementation of MIF began in the schools, to write the scope and sequence? Cart before horse, anyone?

Anonymous said...

Garfield Mom,
The math scope and sequence is new this year. It was created last spring by volunteer teachers. It may be that that intention in the Strategic Plan was to have a scope and sequence document all along, but math was just developed last spring. What's odd is that they could have easily aligned the scope and sequence with MIF. It's not unusual for districts to do that with some minor tweaking to meet the needs of their particular district. I heard they couldn't align the district scope and sequence with MIF scope and sequence because MIF isn't common core aligned enough. I don't buy that at all. Some minor tweaks and it works fine with common core. Most teachers made those tweaks on their own last year. Other people said it was so kids could do better on standardized tests. Who knows! Either way, it's a lousy way for a district to support students in learning and teachers in teaching math.
Frustrated Math

Anonymous said...

The directors chose MiF as the elementary math curriculum. Michael Tolley and some volunteer teachers should not undermine that decision with something else. Kids need to learn math — not more stupid test prep. I can imagine this is confusing to teachers as well.
The directors need to rein this in and not allow the central office to pull another fast one. Of course, the Seattle Times will call it micromanaging but I call it doing their job.

S parent

Anonymous said...

Last year, teachers at my son's elementary school, a Title 1 school, spent much of the first half of the year trying to fill the holes in the kid's math knowledge caused by Everyday Math, and getting them up to grade level in MIF. They did a little skipping of things not "aligned" with Common Core, but pretty much followed the MIF curriculum, and I think that for the first time in years the kids actually learned math! I can't believe SPS is messing around with such a strong math curriculum!

- North-end Mom

GarfieldMom said...

Frustrated Teacher, I think that's where my brain was trying to go...why, after adopting a new curriculum, would you write the scope and sequence and not use that curriculum as the starting point?

Scrap the Scope doesn't have the same ring as Scrap the MAP, but I'd love to see teachers rebel like the Garfield faculty did and just refuse to drop MIF. The board adopted it -- seems like that ought to give teachers all the justification they need to just use the darn curriculum. Easier said than done, I know...

Anonymous said...

Garfield Mom, Thanks I got it! I didn't quite understand what you were saying in your earlier comment. I'm with you!
Frustrated Math

Muller Travolta said...

Authentic Assignment Writing Reviews get reliable analysis of academic websites and find your desired choice.