Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Tuesday Open Thread

Update:
From City of Seattle:

"...We still have trees in need of good homes! If you, a friend, neighbor, or family member have room in the yard for a beautiful Western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla), grand fir (Abies grandis), or willow oak (Quercus pehllos), please let me know. The yard tree application is still open and we're still accepting applications for these lovely yard trees. Send your friends to our website to learn more.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions. I look forward to seeing you at the workshop on October 24th!
Sincerely,
Katie Gibbons
Seattle reLeaf Project Manager
(206) 684-3979
www.seattle.gov/trees


Hearing from the Kids Not Cuts group that one school, having gone to their principal about the staff cuts, he/she directed them to the Ex. Director for that region, Sarah Pritchett.  Ms. Prichett's office is refusing to take messages, directing them back to their principal.  That directly goes against the established protocol AT the district's website.  As well, appealing to the board director of that region, Stephan Blanford, has gotten no answer as well.

Very disturbing and "talk to the hand" stuff.

In the "Brother, can you spare a reader" category, ed blogger Mercedes Schneider reports:

On September 03, 2014, I wrote a post about Education Post, a nonprofit set up to pretty much just operate a pro-corporate-reform-promoting blog. Upon start-up, EdPost scraped together $12 million.
Now that’s one expensive blog.

It turns out that billionaire Eli Broad convinced Peter Cunningham, former communications official for (freshly resigned) US Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, to run the cushy, pro-privatization blog operation.

EdPost has been in operation for just over a year, and it seems that Cunningham can’t seem to attract what he cannot purchase:

Readers.

Are you a worrier?  What about your kid?  Relax, you are probably a creative genius.  

Tonight is the first look at the Democratic candidates for President.  It's on CNN at 5:30 pm PST.    Wonder if public ed will come up at all?

What's on your mind?

74 comments:

Po3 said...

Is there a job description available for Exec. Directors? It would be interesting to see an outline of their job responsibilities.

blandford yuck said...

Blandford what an utter disappointment... And how about transparency/accountability from the EDs how much do they make again and what would getting rid of them save in classroom FTEs


-Blandford yuck

Anonymous said...

Did anyone go to the School Board candidate meeting at Eckstein last night? If so, did any of them touch on the teacher cuts?

Thanks,

Ravenna

Melissa Westbrook said...

Ravenna, I'm going to have a wrap-up from all the forums soon. I did go to the Eckstein forum; they briefly touched on the teacher cuts. McLaren said that part of the reason for the loss of students was the strike. I guess she's going with the party line.

One audience member asked the candidates what they would tell parents to tell friends/neighbors/co-workers about voting for the upcoming school levies when parents are so deeply unhappy.

Anonymous said...

Po3 ... hummm outline of Exec. Director job???? but the look to the Plan

It is interesting to read the Strategic Plan (2013-2018)

(page 7)
Implementation of evaluation systems for central office staff;

The budgeting process dedicated to the realignment and deployment of resources to the strategic plan will begin immediately after the Board adopts this refreshed and revised strategic plan.


Well ... we may not know what the Exec. Director job entails ... but the persons are being evaluated.

Certainly those Exec. Directors are not being over-paid for resources has been realigned and deployed.

Does the above make you feel better? If not read read page 2 =>

transparency of processes and sound fiscal controls.

high-quality service in support of teaching and learning.

We believe community partnerships and family engagement are fundamental to achieving and sustaining student success.


Certainly Nyland would be carrying out Banda's plan so thing must be OK, right?

-- Dan Dempsey

Disgusted said...

UGH. Blanford has been completely USELESS from day 1. And McLaren blaming the teacher cuts on the strike, OMG. Get rid of both of them.

Anonymous said...

Nyland needs to can "the strike caused these teacher cuts" message immediately. One, it flat out isn't true and I defy him to prove otherwise. Two, he and his administration are on a downward avalanche of public opinion.

DistrictWatcher

Anonymous said...

Not the same type of position, but there is an executive director job open - imagine some of the same language is at play for ALL exec directors

Director/Executive Director, Strategic Planning and System Improvement


reader47

Anonymous said...

Which leads to three: Board candidates voicing no faith in the current administration's operating MO - like boosting Central Administration budgets by millions while kids go teacherless in the classroom - is going to be a winning talking point. (Let's hear that talking point candidates!)

And if post-election the candidates calling Foul on the current foul situation have gained office, Nyland and his people may very well find themselves out on their a$$e$. Few voters would argue with removing the full lot of high paid positions of District upper and middle management and starting over with a substantially downsized JSCEE. And, with an eye to the upcoming levies and the amount we are all expected to pay to keep that behemoth of a downtown HQ, few voters would argue with removing the building itself and downsizing to a much smaller facility. There's cheaper real estate south. Which is where HQ should probably be anyhow, to better-serve our diversity of families.

In short, the JSCEE house of cards could tumble right quick if Nyland doesn't get out there and lead starting with addressing the Half-Baked Sale and protests today and the committee meeting tomorrow, both of which will be featuring skeptical, angry parents.

I hope we see some Board candidates at these functions.

DistrictWatcher

DistrictWatcher

dan dempsey said...

The recent Math in Focus "scope and sequence" skirmish brings to light a BIG PROBLEM of huge importance ... The Common Core State Standards.

The Standards as near as I can determine are driving the Heath and Box "scope and sequence" instead of the use of the Board adopted materials Math in Focus "scope and sequence".

The CCSS-M are apparently the "justification" for "scope and sequence" chaos coming from Box and Heath etc. with apparent support from Marty McLaren ( I guess )

Did anyone observe the C&I meeting yesterday in regard to "elementary math implementation"?

--------------

This formulation and enforcement of a "Scope and Sequence" document strictly aligned to the Common Core State Standards and not aligned with the "Scope and Sequence" of the Math in Focus materials is in direct contradiction of the Mission of the Seattle Schools : of ... ensuring equitable access, closing the opportunity gaps and excellence in education for every student.

This "strict alignment" scope and sequence will continue the tradition of math mishmash jumble ... which "ensures" maintenance of large math opportunity gaps.

MORE at
Seattle's Strategic Plan a misguided or ignored document in too many ways

Are Seattle Schools closing the Math "Opportunity Gap"? or just failing to report the data?

STOP Common Core in Washington State

Watching in Bleachers said...

Wouldn't it be lovely if we could have genuine performance evaluations and reviews of management/director level staff at JSCEE... authentic evaluation with consequences attached to it. Maybe that would prompt some, like Pritchett, to actually return a call or engage with the public or attempt to feign passing interest in Goal Three of the Strategic Plan. It is unfortunate that there are climbers like Pritchett, whom I have to question.. is she really worth the $163K that she is making, when she can't even be bothered to engage with the public and instead toys with the hierarchical chart as thought it was a game?

That being said, not all EDs are as disengaged or neglectful of their duties when it comes to the protocol of contact/resolution. Kelly Aramaki is a wonderful example of an Exec. Director who is not only visible in his region but accessible. Personally, I think if it were possible to hand Mr. Aramaki the reigns, with appropriate and "qualified" staff, he could effectively secure better outcomes than Pritchett/Whitworth/Halfaker (and possibly Vela) combined. I fail to understand why we need all the EDs ... there are five... and isn't there supposedly a position between Tolley and the EDs, a "Chief of EDs" as well ... and yet no one seems quite clear, including staff at site level, as to what EDs are doing? At $163K a head I think we really ought to have some answers and some accountability on this, don't you?

Anonymous said...

I agree with Dan. The administrators are directly opposing the majority of the board, who voted for Math in Focus curricula. Why are they allowed to reverse course and substitute something else? Is test prep for Common Core more important than a fundamentally sound math program?
Math in Focus should be the primary textbook for elementary students and better curricula should also be implemented for middle and high school students. We have far too many parents supplementing poor math instruction with tutors, worsening the opportunity gap.
Teach real math, SPS, not something cooked up by a few downtown administrators!

S parent

Watching said...

Re: Cuts to high schools. There is at least one school advocating to delay cuts to high schools until after the semester. Kids are in classes and they need classes for graduation.

Anonymous said...

S Parent,

In regard to: Math "scope and sequence" revision as something cooked up by a few downtown administrators

The justification for the cooked up "revision" is the "supposed need or requirement?" for strict adherence to Common Core State Standards.

Melissa spent some time reporting on the downward spiraling of Gates attempt to control "USA public schooling" through CCSS and other measures ... support for Charters etc.

Today we are faced with a strategic plan with Common Core State Standards language and apparently Board members to timid to act in the best interests of students.

So a Board was elected and Math in Focus was adopted but Bill Gates and his cronies run elementary school math in Seattle at least until further notice.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

Have there been any cuts to the high schools? I haven't seen any proposed yet.

HP

Anonymous said...

The downtown administers are using "common core alignment" as an excuse to push their own math curricula agenda.
Anna Box does not really care about CC alignment. She is using it as an convenient means of eliminating Math in Focus.

-Box Yuck

Maje said...

Does anyone know if the Math in Focus online material is still available? I tried to log on this morning (after successfully using the same credentials for the Source), but got a message that said my credentials are invalid. Then was routed to a staff page to reset the password.

Anonymous said...

Couple of mentions on blog now of deteriorating relationship with Alliance for Education. Can someone be more specific on this? Alliance not loving SPS or the reverse or both? Never been a fan of the organization under "CEO" Sara Morris. Notice they've gone dark on their public announcements. But hey if the marriage isn't down the tubes maybe the Alliance can kick SPS a few $10Ks to keep teachers in place. Isn't their fundraising All About the Kids?

-skeptical-

Anonymous said...

@ HP
I heard there were cuts to Special Ed positions at the High School level. Haven't seen any details.

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

What were the selection criteria for the elementary math adoption, and does Ms. Box's newfangled, hodgepodge curriculum meet those criteria? Can she demonstrate things like:

Proven outcomes?
Usability?
Cultural competency?
Differentiated lesson and homework materials?
Problem sets that support mastery?
Appropriate lesson progression?
Online support/immediate feedback?
Quality graphic presentation?

Many of these were deemed important when they were going through the adoption process, so why not now?

HF

Another GW parent said...

Still haven't seen SBAC scores. Has any SPS elementary parent seen them?

Anonymous said...

HF ... excellent questions.

Odd how last year the "Scope and Sequence" from MiF was used and SBAC results were good..... yet this year the big revision was inserted at the start of school.

Supt. Banda watched the "math sedition" of central staff and eventually acted. Likely his action was inspired by the Board.

Apparently this year central staff's "math sedition" has yet to be checked by either Nyland or the Board.

---
I've answered your questions for Ms. Box as best I can.
Perhaps she will choose to join in and answer your questions.

Proven outcomes?
- NO we just threw this stuff together

Usability?
- NO teachers will need to shuffle and juggle

Cultural competency?
- revised materials are unknown and untried but kids without support outside of school are going to find making good progress difficult.

Differentiated lesson and homework materials?
- cannot say as still under construction)

Problem sets that support mastery?
- all of this is yet to come (still under construction)

Appropriate lesson progression?
- NO as the progression through the textbook has been tossed aside.

Online support/immediate feedback?
-(still under construction)

Quality graphic presentation?
- do not know

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...


We got our ES SBAC scores in an envelope. Nothing for our other kids.

-Do it

Anonymous said...

Box Yuck wrote:

"The downtown administers are using "common core alignment" as an excuse to push their own math curricula agenda."

So does that make this any different than the original sedition moves that took place under Supt. Banda before he stopped the sedition?

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

Direct quote from a teacher I won't out:

We're not teaching from MIF because we need to be sure we've covered what will be on the SBAC.

Direct result from this mom: My kid now has to do math out of school as her class lessons appear to be worksheets pieced together by the math whizzes downtown. We were excited for MIF and consider this to be an inappropriate intervention from managers who aren't even in our classrooms. MIF book hasn't been opened this year, as far as I can tell. The replacement of MIF with worksheets is shocking. What a waste of district money.

Math Mom

Anonymous said...

The math switch is very short-sighted. Yes, this year there may be a slight positive impact if topics are taught out of the most logical order, to be sure certain topics are covered prior to the test. But MIF is a strong curriculum, and jettisoning it in favor of handouts that some teachers say puts important components of learning in an inappropriate order is going to depress math scores long-term, as kids won't learn the math as well. What are they even thinking? Talk about the tail wagging the dog!

Depressing math

SummerSolstice said...

Two things stuck out at me in the above posts that I want to comment on. New parent here to the forums, but have been working with Melissa for kidsnotcuts, parent of a first grader.

1. I have had the opportunity to see SBAC scores. I can't comment on exact numbers since they're not public data I guess (yet) but they suck. Across the board suck. As a district, we never got close to 70% meeting standard. Highest was 5th grade girls. Lowest was 3rd grade boys. Don't know what that means entirely since I'm new to this system, but man that doesn't look Good

2. I tried calling Pritchett. Wish I had the transcript from my phone call. It was the end of the day so I assume Heather (assistant) had been getting an earfull all day. I was told to talk to my principal about staff cuts. Pritchett had sent an email asking us to share with her if there weere extunating factors which we wanted her to consider. That's what I was attempting to do. I was not allowed to 1) leave a name, 2) leave a phone number and ask for a callback, 3) leave a voicemail for her so the assistant wouldn't have to write anything, 4) Ask when would be a good time to call back as Pritchett was (in a meeting). At some point, Heather started complaing to me that people had been calling and yelling at her all day. I tried to apologize on behalf of the passionate parents out there that we were just trying to get some information. The last few seconds of the conversation were, sorry sir I can't help you she will not be calling you back, you need to talk to your principle, good bye. THen she hung up on me.

Astounding.

Po3 said...

And the district is going to ask us for how much money in February?

Seems to me they should be kissing our little behinds at this point in time.



Anonymous said...

I'm going to copy-and-paste a comment I made earlier on the Central Administration thread since it seems even more relevant here. SummerSolstice, how would you rate your interaction with JSCEE? ;^>


One non-classroom expenditure I'd like to see: the Board should have funding to hire an independent consultant who presents them with a quarterly report of satisfaction ratings for every employee in the JSCEE, based on feedback from parents, students and teachers. I'll bet they could find $6 M in administration cuts pretty easily. Why are there always more and more assessments of students and teachers, but never any of downtown?

I pretty much stole this idea intact from a comment by someone else a week or two ago. I liked it so much I intend to keep repeating it as long as necessary! :)

Scrawny Kayaker

SummerSolstice said...

My interaction with JSCEE? hmm...If I got to speak to anyone beyond secretaries I could answer that question better.

And regarding the SBAC, I looked at the wrong papers. Its actually worse than I thought. Only had data for 3rd and 5th english language and math. As a district, no group scored 60% of MEETING Standard. Just meeting standard. Jesus, what are they doing to our kids....

GarfieldMom said...

"Talk to the Hand" is Sarah Pritchett's M.O. -- has been for a very long time, this level of disrespect for parents and students is nothing new.

Reader47 said...

Well now. That's some spiffy customer service there [insert sarcasm here]. While I can kinda feel sorry for poor "Heather" - playing gatekeeper to angry people is never fun, been there, done that - why is Ms. Pritchett allowed to be so...well..disconnected from those who pay her salary? I too wonder if perhaps the "Executive Directors" concept was a good one in theory but not so much in practice. I'd be contacting the entire Board about the poor customer service Dr. Nyland allows every day. They can't discipline the Exec Dir, but they could certainly suggest to their employee, Dr. Nyland that changes need to be made in services attitudes ASAP -

Good thing they've got all those funds for the Levy election coming up eh? Going to need some serious "messaging" if they want to turn the disgruntled citizen/parent ship around anytime soon...

mirmac1 said...

"And McLaren blaming the teacher cuts on the strike, OMG. Get rid of both of them." Hmmm, I'll bet that will go over well tonight at the SEA candidate interviews.

dan dempsey said...

Summersolstice... there is some SBAC data available.

Why not do what is known to work?

The link above will take you to some SBAC data as well as a huge observation about CCSS-M. => Implementing Common Core: The Problem of Instructional Time by Tom Loveless.

This talk about CCSS-M being internationally competitive is rubbish, no way is CCSS-M internationally competitive. Compute fluently with multi-digit numbers is a 6th grade Common Core Math Standard.

Using CCSS-M will put students at least two-years behind those students in the A+ countries by the end of grade 7

The USA has been doing better in recent years but take a look at TIMSS 2011 grade 4 and grade 8 results in
"Chapter 1: International Achievement in Mathematics"

East Asian countries continue to lead the world in mathematics achievement.

Singapore, Korea, and Hong Kong SAR, followed by Chinese Taipei and Japan, were the top-performing countries in TIMSS 2011 at the fourth grade.
Similarly, at the eighth grade, Korea, Singapore, and Chinese Taipei outperformed all countries, followed by Hong Kong SAR and Japan.

This would lead me to believe that following the Math in Focus "Scope and Sequence" as written and using MiF materials would be preferable to the Heath Box math mishmash "Scope and Sequence" aligned to match CCSS-M.

See exhibit 1.1 for USA 4th grade average; exhibit 1.2 for USA 8th grade

Exhibit 1.3 shows only 7 countries rank significantly above USA at grade 4 with Singapore 606 and USA 541

Exhibit 1.4 shows only 6 countries rank significantly above USA at grade 8 with Korea 613 and USA 509 and Massachusetts 561

8th grade score change in average from 1995 to 2011
USA +17 :: Korea +32 :: Japan -11 :: Massachusetts +48 (1999-2011)

If thinking about STEM for students consider this:
The five East Asian countries had the largest percentages of fourth grade students (30–43%) reach the TIMSS 2011 Advanced International Benchmark. Building on this head start, these five countries pulled away from the rest of the world by a considerable margin at the eighth grade, with by far the largest percentages of students reaching this benchmark—nearly half (47–49%) in Chinese Taipei, Singapore, and Korea.

While at the Advanced Benchmark the USA 8th grade had 7%
At grade 4 USA had 13%.

======
It is really time to find some competent leadership for SPS math.
The pipeline that promotes Math Ed philosophers into leadership is not cutting it.

Anonymous said...

A "Counseling Needs Assessment" dated May 2014 has been posted to the Garfield website here: http://garfieldhs.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_7283/File/Services/Counseling/Counseling%20Practices%20Needs%20Assessment_May%202014.pdf. Interesting reading for anyone looking at counseling at the high school level.

A few questions/notes:
Who paid for this?
How will changes/responses be funded?
Disconnect/distance between counseling and administration?
No mention of 504s, which were written & coordinated in the counseling office until at least June 2014 (not sure about last year, where are 504s administered now?)
"Equity" - whatever that means to you

Worth a read.

- hangin' in at GHS

Melissa Westbrook said...

"In short, the JSCEE house of cards could tumble right quick if Nyland doesn't get out there and lead starting with addressing the Half-Baked Sale and protests today and the committee meeting tomorrow, both of which will be featuring skeptical, angry parents."

I absolutely agree. It is a house of cards.

"Kelly Aramaki is a wonderful example of an Exec. Director who is not only visible in his region but accessible."

Also agree on this as well. A gem.

On the Alliance. The district has operated for over a year without a new MOU with the Alliance. They have met - over and over - and cannot come to agreement but I don't know on what issues. I know some of it is the amount the Alliance is charging to be fiscal agent for some schools. Last thing I heard was the Superintendent saying he called the office and no one returned his call (this was a couple of weeks ago). Maybe someone called him back but I doubt it.

What this all means for what the Alliance does, I don't know. But someone did point out that Bainbridge district has a Foundation and I'd like to learn more about that.

Jan said...

The time and energy being spent ruining MIF for elementary kids is driving me nuts. If the big concern is that the stupid SBA tests are given too early in the spring -- so they are wrecking the scope and sequence of the program in a misguided effort to cram more "test" stuff in earlier -- why don't we either just (a) move the tests to the very end of the school year (since we don't get results back until the following fall (or will it be winter when we finally get them) anyway,or (b) start the books the prior spring -- so they have a full year worth of time to get through them.

The whole thing is silly because we should scrap the test for any number of reasons (excessive cost, excessive time spent taking and preparing for them), invalidity of SBAC test questions and responses to assess anything of value, inability to evaluate test due to proprietary nature and test format, expense of (and problems with) computerized format -- and general invalidity of high stakes testing to evaluate students, teachers, schools, etc. Now we can add to that --degradation/destruction of curricula in a ham-handed, poorly thought through effort to "cram" for the test by mis-ordering (not a word, maybe, but "reordering" is way too benign) the sequence of concepts taught and substituting poorly thought out "worksheets" for the professional materials we bought a year ago. We are paying a huge amount to destroy something that we just paid a lot of money to buy (MIF). AND -- we are doing all this so that we can actually teach math in a worse, less effective manner! Agghh! This is like buying a new car, and then paying someone a lot of money to crash it. Only to discover that now you have no way to get to work!

What on earth is going on downtown -- and why does the Board let the Superintendent get away with it?

Jan said...

I think that the Alliance has no further use for the District. Once -- when the plan was to take over education in the District through the Board, they had to play nicey nicey and suck up and try to run Board retreats, influence elections, etc.

It didn't work, and they have now moved on to trying to take over the district through stuff they can get done through the City and the state legislature. So -- there is no deal because there is no more will, on the Alliance's part -- to make even a pretence of caring about whether a deal gets done. Fortunately, the board is not a total corpse -- so they haven't been willing to sign just ANYTHING -- even blank pages, or stuff marked "draft" with obvious errors -- or things so glaringly NOT in the districts best interests as to threaten a recall vote -- the way the MJG board would have done.

Anonymous said...

I sent the comments above about MiF to the School Board. They appear to be asleep when it comes to protecting quality math for elementary students.

S parent

Jan said...

But I have to say -- I wonder if Nyland isn't encouraging (passively? or maybe not so passively?) all this parent outrage as part of a set up to throw District control to the City. (Look -- parents are mad! We just have to do something! Can't have all this outrage and chaos! And oh NO! Look! Levies are failing! Quick! Have to do SOMEHTHING! I know! Everybody likes the mayor (well no, but nevermind)! Let's let HIM clean this up!(Never mind that mayoral control has not produced good educational outcomes anywhere else -- la la la la we can't HEAR that) -- it is a whole lot easier for pro-charter ed reform money to corrupt just one guy (Murray) than it is to try to hoodwink all the voters in Seattle! -- Especially if the same money can grease the skids for other things Murray cares about (transit, density, neighborhoods, public safety, etc.). Selling the city's schools to private ed companies just becomes a small problem in a sea of other city issues!

I don't have a solution. I just see the threat. And I have to wonder perhaps some of the board members (Peaslee and Blanford? Carr, perhaps? HMM?) are being complicit -- whether they are doing so "knowingly" or whether they are just clueless tools handing over the asset we care most about -- public schools and our kids' futures -- without having any idea of the harm they are doing.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, Jan, that's probably one possibility given how closely he seems to work with City Hall.

mirmac1 said...

From: Herndon, Flip
Subject: Space Prioritization for SPS School Program Partners
Date: Tue, Oct 13, 2015 7:00 am

Dear Seattle Public School Partners,

You are receiving this letter because you are a valued and collaborative partner working with the students of Seattle Public Schools. As you may be aware, the population of our public school enrollment, as well as the city, has been increasing rapidly over the past few years. The growth of student enrollment within our schools has been climbing by roughly 1,000 students per year over the past several years and is a trend that we see continuing for the foreseeable future.
In addition to the increase of enrollment growth, there has also been legislation and movement in allocation of additional resources to reduce class sizes in kindergarten through third grade classrooms. The lower class size student to teacher ratio of 17:1 is called out in both the McCleary decision (a court case that requires the state to fully fund public education) and Initiative 1351. The result of lower class sizes is an increase in the number of classrooms needed to have such instruction take place

As a result of both of these changes, the Seattle School Board recently supported an emphasis on using all spaces within buildings owned by Seattle Public Schools for the primary purpose of K-12 instruction. This prioritization may result in the displacement of some support activities or programs (e.g. preschool, before and after care, or other youth activities) from current spaces being used in such manner. However, there was also some clarity on the prioritization after K-12 instruction. The following is the list of prioritization related to non-hourly before/after hourly use:

1. K-12 Instruction
2. Preschool (because it requires dedicated space and licensing)
3. Before and After Care (because it is more flexible in utilizing multi-use space)
4. Other Youth Activities
5. All other Activities

Currently, it looks like most of the impact will happen at the elementary level of buildings, but this space prioritization is applicable to all buildings. Additionally, an evaluation of space needs will happen on an annual basis and any impact to an organization or partner would be communicated as soon as possible to allow time transition. Just because you are receiving this letter, does not mean that you are losing space that is currently being used. This is a general notification. In the event that the space currently being used by your organization needs to be prioritized for K-12 instruction, a specific letter referring to the applicable lease would be sent with a timeline attached.

We do appreciate the fact that this is very challenging for many of our partners and that we have long standing partnerships that have been developed over decades. However, the growth and movement on class size reduction is something not experienced in Seattle Public Schools for many, many decades and is what we must do in order to respond to the instructional needs of our students.

Sincerely,
Flip Herndon
Associate Superintendent
Facilities and Operations

Well duh. Our high-flying "Associate" Superintendent realizes that, maybe, our classrooms should go towards K-12.

mirmac1 said...

Except knowing his aspirations, I'll bet Herndon will cram K-5 into rooms with 30:1 so that his pet project/entre' to City Hall payroll will have more PreK spaces.

Melissa Westbrook said...

The Pre-K classrooms enrolled by the City currently in SPS aren't even full. Who's on first?

Anonymous said...

I supposed if Murray's City takes over the SPS it will all be done in an open and transparent process... right???

Confused Mind

Melissa Westbrook said...

When I have time (and can take a breath), I would like to sit down with a group of strategists and see how the Mayor and Burgess (and some senior staff) think the City can take the district. I perceive it is a step-by-step process (see Families and Ed levy and pre-K) but this parent uprising and a complete flip of the majority of the Board may accelerate that.

n said...

@Astounding
Did I hear you some time ago on KIRO? Good for you. It is madness!

@Maje - this from an email I received at school last spring. Try it, it might work.

From home, the online resources may be accessed from any computer at http://spscatalog.seattleschools.org/onlineresources.

In order to access the “Math in Focus” and “Washington Our Home” textbooks (and other online resources) from home they must log on:

Username: studentsps
Password: access (or use individual SPS logon to access the math textbook)

n said...

Peter B. in his podcast today directed me the center for media and democracy - which published CMD Publishes Full List of 2,500 Closed Charter Schools (with Interactive Map) - See more at: http://www.prwatch.org/news/2015/09/12936/cmd-publishes-full-list-2500-closed-charter-schools#sthash.umr55EGg.dpuf

This article dates back to 9/15.

He also says he went to the Healthcare exchange in California and his computer was immediately infected with malware and he lost a lot of data. Oh my gosh!

Angry mom said...

Wow, Herndon's letter concerns me. I think before and after care should be prioritized before preschool, although I'm sure the city disagrees. No one built a legacy to pave thier way to national office with before and after care. But if those programs go away, there will be serious hardship to many families. The Boys & Girls clubs and community centers simply cannot handle the demand.

Lynn said...

We have access to the current draft of the Superintendent's proposal for flipping bell times - see page 374 of this document: http://sps.ss8.sharpschool.com/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/School%20Board/committees/Operations/2015-16/20151015_Agenda_Ops_Packet.pdf.

I am seeing a cost savings measure I don't believe has been publicized. Students in all grades whose IEPs requires the district to provide transportation would only receive that service if they attend their assignment area school or an option school in their middle school service area. If they choose an option school outside of the middle school service area or manage to get a choice seat in another attendance-area school, they have to manage their own transportation.

Boy, that sounds like equitable access to me. (Sarcasm.) Nyland should be ashamed of himself.

The updated bell times schedule is the very last two pages of the report. Why is the Denny the only middle school in tier one? Does sleep science not apply when you get that far south?

Anonymous said...

@Lynn

I think the reason why Denny is in Tier 1 is because it cannot have the same start time as Sealth, which has a Tier 2 start, due to the shared campus (I have seem this in previous transportation standards, though I can't remember why this is, perhaps access issues?).

I don't know why Tier 1 was chosen over Tier 3.

- North-end Mom

TechyMom said...

Garfield not in the top 10 WA high schools" this year (it's #12), but Roosevelt is there.

SPS Mom said...

Re: Denny and Sealth start times from report Lynn references above:

"Note: Per construction Master Use Permit, Denny International Middle School and Chief Sealth International High School must begin school a minimum of 30 minutes apart."

Melissa Westbrook said...

SPS' (under)funded state mandate is K-12. All services should be for that. I believe before and after school care IS a big deal and that pre-k should not trump it especially in an overcrowded district.

Part of the co-location of Denny and Sealth was that the students at each school would not get there at the same time. But NE Mom is right; why Tier 1 over Tier 3 is a mystery.

Lynn said...

The executive committee will be discussing their communications protocol this afternoon. Is it just me or does anyone else think this is the superintendent's attempt to muzzle Sue Peters? They are limiting a board member's ability to request information from staff, to add a policy revision to the board's calendar, to present an amendment at a board meeting (staff will now be able to refuse to answer questions about amendments if they are not given notice before the meeting) and to prepare a resolution for the board's consideration.

Is there any other elected board that allows their employees to dictate the terms under which they can work? The board works for us, not the superintendent and it is our power they are giving away. I cannot wait for December.

Anonymous said...

@Lynn. Please track what I consider to be restraints on board directors acting on the concerns of the community. Sure, they could pass new procedures now, but if so, and the board majority changes, these same items could be unwound in 2 months.

Parents need to get the word out on which potential board members will be driven by community and which will be driven by staff. Any reader of this blog knows those answers, but I'll leave it to Melissa to post her knowledgeable take. No doubt she'll give a rundown, tying it to this latest JSCEE outrage, soon. Some of the candidates in the current race would be calling Nyland and saying: Fix it. Fix it now. Others most certainly would not. I want Fix It Now board members.

DistrictWatcher

Lynn said...

I read the report on Garfield's counseling office linked above and it was interesting to be sure. I assume the PTSA paid for it. It's full of complaints about entitled parents who demand that their children are assigned to appropriate classes and receive the documents they need for college applications - then adds that these parents can help support the counseling office by providing it with funding. Oh - and the counselors feel that Garfield caters to students in the Advanced Placement Program by offering too many advanced academic classes and shortchanges students who are not college bound by not offering enough electives they can pass.

How do seniors get to their final year without fulfilling basic requirements? “Part of it,” offered one counselor, “is that the curriculum is heavily weighted to AP, and we need more classes that are regular and honors. That would give students more choices. Right now our curriculum is set up for kids who are headed to college; many of our at-risk kids, they can’t take those courses.”

I'd like to point out that even students in the Advanced Placement Program can and do have academic and social challenges and that I have seem no evidence at Garfield that anyone other than the nurse is concerned about them. It's reminiscent of the 2007 or 2008 outside report on APP where they interviewed counseling staff at Washington Middle School. Those counselors simultaneously reported that they saw many signs of distress (including incidents of cutting and eating disorders) in APP students and that they were focused on meeting the needs of non-APP students because the APP kids got all the supportt they needed from their parents. (Seriously, who looks at a child who cuts or has an eating disorder and thinks "that's a kid who doesn't need help?")

TechyMom said...

@Lynn and this is why Garfield is losing its status as a top school. It used to be one of the top in the country, now it's not even top in the state. We can't have anything nice.

Anonymous said...

I think Garfield has fallen out of the top ten high schools because its demographic has changed since the NSAP was instituted in 2010. Prior to the NSAP, Garfield filled up during spring enrollment, and after the freshman class was full, anyone coming to register later was placed at a different school. The last year of that system, 2009, the northern cutoff for GHS was at Aloha. North Capitol Hill kids who were not in APP couldn't attend Garfield.

Fast forward and the percentage of FRL students at GHS is now hovering near 40%. There is a lot of section 8 and transitional housing in the GHS boundaries and students enroll everyday throughout the year. One of the main qualifiers for the US News and World report top ten high school list is the percentage of students taking AP classes. The number of kids at GHS taking AP classes has not fallen, but the number of students not taking them has increased dramatically because of the NSAP.

The sky is not falling. If you look at the list of the top 10 schools, they are all very affluent communities and the percentage of kids taking AP classes is going to be very high. The counseling office at GHS has long been dysfunctional, nothing new. GHS is a complex place because there are so many different kinds of people (race, religion, SES) trying to get through high school. It makes for a dynamic and sometimes challenging environment, but at the end of the day, the kids learn so much from being around differences. But yes, because of the changing demographic due to the NSAP, the percentage of kids at GHS taking AP classes has probably decreased.

Chicken Little

Anonymous said...

Roosevelt requires all students to take AP Human Geography and AP Lit (?), thereby increasing their ranking when evaluated based on percentage of students completing AP exams. Don't want to take AP Human Geography? Tough. All students are required to take the 9th grade AP course and the specified 11th grade AP course.

-jk

Jan said...

I agree with Chicken Little. I can't speak to GHS demographics (my kids have graduated) except that CL's points seem to make sense. I DID look at the high school rankings, though, and the actual percentage differences between GHS and the schools right above it that DID make the top ten are extremely small (and then there is that -- how valid is the entire ranking exercise question -- but that is sort of a rabbit hole, so I wont' go down it).

NSAP has changed a lot of schools in a lot of ways -- but change is inevitable. I think we just need to continue pressing to make ALL Seattle public high schools great places for learning. Not every school has to be identical, meaning not every school can meet each kid's needs exactly the same -- but if we want to, we can make every one of them better every year than they were the year before -- and that is what we should be striving for. While AP classes provide a certain amount of rigor -- in some ways -- they are not God's gift to education, advanced or otherwise, and some of them are mile-wide, inch-deep information cramming exercises that are of less value (in my opinion) than a really good seminar-type class would be -- one with lots of reading, writing, and analysis. I just want the best learning experience -- and the most learning -- for the actual kids who show up at GHS (be they APP, gen-ed, SPED, whatever) that we can figure out how to provide -- and let the rankings take care of themselves.

Anonymous said...

What's the size of the HC-identified population at Garfield, and what percentage is this of the total GHS population?

HF

Anonymous said...

The Garfield counseling report says almost 1/4 of the student population participates in the Advanced Placement program.

The US News and World Report rankings data says the GHS participation rate for AP exams is 55%.

Those numbers don't match up. Is the counseling report possibly referring to APP (HCC) rather than AP? Where on the district website can one find data on HCC enrollment by school?

HF

Anonymous said...

I think that's probably right. On the APP blog they are trying to figure out HCC numbers. I don't think there is data they can find on it, but about 24% of Garfield enrollment comes from out of attendance area. Assuming some of that is not HCC, but then some of the in neighborhood kids are HCC, that would work out to about a quarter. I would also assume almost all of those kids take an AP class, as well as many of the gen ed kids, so 55% sounds closer to correct to me.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

Just read the report. Yes, I am sure that was an error on the first page, and they meant to say "APP," although it is not clear to me that they understand what that is. I hope they did not actually pay for that report. It is terrible. Just a bunch of bolded quotes, in addition to a fundamental misunderstanding of the programs the school offers.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

Hey read this:

New Data on Early Career Teachers Finds Most Remain in Teaching

I am now thinking about the costs and reasons for starting the Seattle Teacher Residency Program... The motivation for beginning this program might be as irrational as the "educational" reasons for bringing Teach for America to Seattle.

New data reports 80% of new teachers are continuing to teach. Salary does matter.

-- Dan Dempsey

Melissa Westbrook said...

Dan, the district (via the Board and the Super) are ending their relationship with the Alliance for Education, one of the STR partners. I suspect this is the deathknell for that program. The district has no money to continue on. I think they would likely see the current cohort thru and end it.

mirmac1 said...

STR, another failed, wasteful ed reform experiment that drained staff time and resources away from the &*^% that matters!

I'm quite pleased with the results of the Exec Comm of the Whole. The board failed to fall for Toner's pathos and half-truths (there has been little to NO collaboration or mixing between the SPP shiny-new classroom and the Brand X Developmental PreK for disabled youngsters at Old Van Asselt.) Charles Wright was up to his old tricks, shilling for the Alliance and the City DEEL to ram things through before the election of a new independent board. I wonder if he sees his light dimming and he's not looking for greener pasture$$$ elsewhere. Let's hope so. That'll save $Million$$ in wasteful JSCEE spending per year.

Anonymous said...

Hypothetically, let's say you find on the district website a link to YouTube videos with privacy settings of "private - only available to someone who has the link" and it's accompanied by a note that specifically says "private link do not share" and the link takes you to videos of SPS kids in the classroom. To whom would you report this? That is, if you assume that it shouldn't be publicly available in any form and that someone should in fact be notified?

-Anony Mouse

mirmac1 said...

BTW, I laid out the bare, hard truths re: the increasing expense for the district for the STR back in 2013. I don't know whether the board majority's head in the sand approach was deliberate or they just don't train Boeing employees on fiscal responsibility, financial controls and accountability.

mirmac1 said...

Anony Mouse,

Report it immediately to the Acting General Counsel John Cerqui at jcerqui@seattleschools.org. Copy Jacque Coe at jacoe@seattleschools.org. Let them know of a potential FERPA violation requiring immediate attention. It is highly possible that the children's parents gave permission for their child to be video'd but better safe than sorry.

I believe they will look into it very promptly. Copy sss.westbrook@gmail.com to guarantee it. : )

Anonymous said...

I would guess parents gave the OK to video, it's the fact that it was marked as private - do not share but is now publicly available via a link from the district website that gave me pause. Looks like it's video of lessons being taught, intended for teachers, maybe in a PD capacity. Anyway, thanks for giving me specific contact people, I will follow up!

-Anony Mouse

mirmac1 said...

I think SPS appreciates getting the heads up on FERPA , now with English gone. Of course they still miss the boat with data-sharing

Anonymous said...

I'm very concerned about students with 504s in SPS, and the District's disarray around this situation. Students with 504s are typically outside the parameters of SPED activism, but are a protected class by law, and rely on the accommodations in their 504s in order to access public education. There's lots of teacher/admin bias in the schools against students with 504s, misunderstanding, and no training whatsoever. How can we help these students and families? If "equity" is something everyone's discussing, let's include these students with 504s. They're falling (or being pushed) through the cracks.

- every student, really