Thursday, November 12, 2015

Curriculum And Instruction Committee Meeting

I wanted to also update you on all the items discussed at the Curriculum&Instruction Committee meeting on Monday.  The agenda was jam-packed and Director McLaren did an admirable job keeping it moving.  Sadly, though, it meant truncated discussions.  (Note; this will not be inclusive of all items on the agenda.)

Director Blanford, who is Chair of the committee, was absent so Director McLaren filled in with Director Peters also there as the third member of the committee.  I also noted that Rick Burke, Jill Geary and Leslie Harris, newly elected members of the Board, were also in attendance.

There was discussion of the Alternative Learning Experience (ALE) at Interagency with Principal Kaaren Andrews.  She told the committee that they served about 1,000 students with one-third of them homeless students and twice the number of boys than girls.  Associate Superintendent Tolley pointed out that many of the students were "recovery" students and I believe he meant students who dropped out but came back into SPS.

Director Peters singled out Interagency's description of their program and said this could be the guide for most high schools:
Interagency Academy serves students who have not found success in other high schools, including many students who face complex and daunting barriers to success – poverty, domestic violence, homelessness, early parenthood, substance abuse and mental health issues, for example. By providing small, personal learning environments, focused instruction in math, reading and writing, and a variety of ALE courses to meet individual
needs and interests, we support students to accelerate their progress toward graduation, and to prepare for college, careers and life.
I want to note that Principal Andrews is one of our hardest working principals.  She was recently awarded the Crosscut (online magazine of the NW) 2015 Courage Award for public service. 

Last school year was especially hard for the Interagency Academy staff and students. Between mid-October and late March, six students died. They were murdered or committed suicide. Over the summer, four more were killed and another took her own life. When asked about it, Andrews furrows her brow. “It’s pretty remarkable loss. It makes me crazy because they were amazing people.”

Kaaren Andrews is now in her 6th year as principal there.
“There’s no real road map for what we’re doing,” Andrews says. “Our school wouldn’t exist if anyone really knew how to serve the kids we’re serving. We’re trying to pave a totally new course. 
What is troubling to me is that, while Crosscut covered this story about the number of students at Interagency who died in the last year, the district was silent.  If that many students had died at any other high school, I suspect much, much more would have been said.

It is also troubling that a program like Middle College was trimmed down earlier this year without explanation.


The Continuous School Improvement Plan (C-SIP) process was also discussed.    From the WAC:
A School Board’s annual approval of schools certifies to the State that each school has a school improvement plan in place. School improvement plans must be data driven, promote a positive impact on student learning, and include a continuous improvement process for monitoring, adjusting, and updating the plan.
 The C-SIPs should be available by Nov. 18th (right when the Board votes this item in and this seems to be a trend to get them in at the last minute.)  It is unclear how many schools have theirs done and into the district.  It will be at your school's webpage.

Use of Reasonable Force/Use of Isolation and Restraints of Students

Due to changes in law, the new law applies to ALL students.  There is to be notification to parents and followup written report. If either restraint or isolation is in IEP/504 plans, then a parent has to give permission.

Pegi McAvoy said they are "looking at the notification to parents and how to do that.". As well, security staff may break up fights and put the combatants into two separate rooms and "is that isolation?"

Wyeth Jessee said there should be "no isolation relating to disobedience" but it is for "harm or destruction of property." He said the documentation is something to grapple with in our own depts. as well as collecting data and that they are not set up for this yet.

Peters asked patterns in data as well as teacherss access to discipline history Jessee said they already have that. McEvoy said they also want to look at where incidents happen in buildings and . how to prevent if there are patterns for locations.

Peters asked what term "unreasonable" meant.  McEvoy said WSSDA (school board association) has some language but they still need to get those down. Erin Bennett said that would be in procedure and Peters asked how would policy and procedure be created at the same time. Bennett said there is sometimes "a lag between two" and how to reconcile direction they're going with best practices.  There was also mention of the idea of "restorative justice."


Wyeth Jessee said they hoped to hear back from OSPI next week on the sites reviewed (five of them.)  Peters asked about the $3M being withheld and when the district might see this if OSPI signed off on the work the district has done.  Jessee said it could be an "immediate release" but that it would not come in a lump sum.

I do want to call to your attention a list in the documents section of the agenda, starting on page 85.  It is a list the grades/ages of students who drop-out/disappear from SPS.  Interesting reading.

Native American Education Report 

This was a great report from Mr. Ruiz and Ms. Morris.  Ms. Morris is right on top of making sure that federal forms for each student are filled out properly.  (If this doesn't happen, the feds will take money back and this happened several times to SPS.)

She stated that they hired a "secondary liaison" to help track NA students who are struggling.  They track attendance, grades and discipline records and get the parents involved and updated.  She said, somewhat wistfully, that if she "had one more person, that would be amazing."  This is what they did in Everett and they had tremendous success.

This is exactly the kind of support schools need for all struggling students.

She also said it is a challenge to get these kids in after-school activities, mainly because of transportation.

Peters noted that the test score dips should have an asterisk because it's a new test.  She said the on-time graduation rate is trending up and the expulsions are down.

I wish Ms. Morris was the one getting a raise.

Highly Capable

Head of HC, Stephen Martin, talked about the Advanced Learning Taskforce (I'm assuming he meant the second one, not the first one but the district acts like the first one never happened.)  He said there would be two weeks of community engagement over the changes in the HC policy.  See redline version staring on page 113 of the agenda.

One thing was was confusing to me was around appeals.  It appears the district wants to clamp down on the appeals to a more narrow window.  I don't have a problem with that but for this:

Mr. Martin stated that ALL appeals had been paid for by the district.  This is news to me (and I am attempting to confirm this is what he meant.)  It's an issue because it is a done with a different test and is not cheap.  I had thought that if parents wanted an appeal, they paid for it themselves and that parents of F/RL students were the only ones that the district paid for to be retested.

Peters asked for numbers on the appeals.

Last year, 493 intent for appeals were filed.  Most were from white families, with six from black families, 46 from Asian families and 50 from Hispanic families.  The total number that DID appeal was 426.   He said that roughly 166 appeals were successful.

Peters asked about the test being used and Martin acknowledged there were better ones but it would cost around $2.5M to use them.

Beyond that discussion, I have not had time to read the red-lined version of the policy.  If anyone would like to chime in with the changes, please send them to me or put them in Comments and I will then insert them here.

Program Evaluation and Assessment

This was lead by program director, Eric Anderson.  Special notice to page 150 of the agenda with the page -  Where We Were and Are: Assessment Changes - that shows the number of assessments and tests.

Program Review

I missed this part of the meeting and regret that as it covered this (starts on page 163 of agenda):

Sample list of programs potentially eligible for review **

School Programs: e.g., Spectrum/ALO, International Schools, Montessori schools, STEM schools

Student Services: e.g., Special Education, ELL, Highly Capable

Intervention Programs: e.g., Read 18/System 44, Summer School

Community Partnerships: e.g., City Year, Communities in Schools

Strategic Programs: e.g., Seattle Teacher Residency, Family Engagement Action Teams (FEAT)

** Note: Criteria for selecting programs still under development


Anonymous said...

Private appeals are not and never have been paid for by the district for non-FRL families. I hope he just misspoke and wasn't actually ignorant on this point!


2E parent said...

Appeals need to be available to students with diagnosed disabilities. For example, a kid with dyslexia who just barely misses the cutoff should be able to appeal. I'd go so far as to argue that a 'quirky' 2e kid needs the cohort more. 1:1 testing with a psychologist is much more accurate for students in this situation, and should be allowed. If the district wants to pay for, ok, but it seems wasteful.

Anonymous said...

SM may have meant that the staff that reviews the appeals is paid by the district and not the State's money like initial identification appeals. Which if you think that there were ~500 appeals and let's guess it takes a group 10 min to review each appeal -- That is 80 hours and I understand that is times 3 or 4 staff.

I have heard that there were a half dozen kids retested last year that were FRL so AL performed those test one-on-one at no charge.

I think, especially with the switch to SBAC for achievement this is no time to wholesale change the appeals process and that this is really feeling like a move to help staff not students to receive the best services available for them. In addition this will mean more computer literate affluent kids will will get in then prior years. So an attempt to make the program more equitable will have the exact opposite effect... Meaning more heat.


Anonymous said...

Oops "like initial identification" scratch appeals from the end of that sentence.

and than not then.

-frown squared

Charlie Mas said...

Wow. What an unwieldy document. Have they never heard of embedding links in a pdf?

CSIPs - Didn't the District promise to include advanced learning in CSIPs? Where is the CSIP for APP at Lincoln. I didn't see it in the list.

Program Review - Astonishing, but it looks like the district is actually going to review programs. I wonder what inspired that change. Well, at least they say that they intend to do it, in some future year. They aren't going to do it this year. First they need a planning year to decide which programs to review. Then they need a planning year to determine how to review the programs. Then they can start delivering completely inadequate program review documents that don't actually provide any meaningful information.

Anonymous said...

Wow! 166 new HCC students based on appeal. How many new HCC students overall? This is a significant contributor to the explosion of growth in HCC. This should put a lid on the idea that private-tester-inners are a small number. Clearly not!


Lynn said...

The best way to reduce the cost of testing would be to reduce the number of families who feel their children need to be tested to have their academic needs met. Michael Tolley could do that by requiring schools to provide advanced learning opportunities to every child who is ready - whether they're labeled by the district or not. The high number of children tested each year is the result of the district's focus on increasing the number of kids who are able to pass the state tests - rather than on ensuring every child is learning every day.

I wish the advanced learning staff would send out a survey (just something simple like Survey Monkey) to parents of children testing this year. If the district knew what parents think their kids need, and which school they attend, they'd be able to make the necessary changes.

As for the number of appeals - if they are a large percentage of the total students identified as highly capable, that's evidence that the district identification process isn't working well. Reducing appeals would make sense if only 10 in 500 were successful.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Lynn, a lot of issues with AL could be addressed if the district would provide supported differentiation in their home schools. There is no way a teacher can effectively differentiate with 25-27 students during a 1 hour math block and no IAs.

I think the proposed elimination of ability to appeal is very alarming. Many kids do not test well in a group setting or with a lot of distractions. Last year my child was tested the morning after a family pet had died the night before and before being diagnosed with ADHD. My child is very bright. Keeping my student in a classroom unchallenged and bored because they didn't test well is asking for a lot of behavior issues.

NB Parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

Lynn, Martin DID mention a Survey Monkey survey but it was unclear to me what it was about.

NB Parent, Martin did say that the more expensive testing worked better not only because it's a better test but it's one-on-one testing which works better for more types of kids (if not all).

Jujubee said...

Reader, remember that the Advanced Learning testing identifies both Spectrum- and HCC-eligible students, so those 166 successful appeals probably do not all represent new HCC students. It would be interesting to see the breakdown, though (and I'm refraining from commenting on the dearth of meaningful Spectrum offerings--that's all been said before).


AL2 said...

Reader, the AL testing is still the only way to get your child into the Spectrum program. It is highly likely that many of these appeals were for kids who got refused for Spectrum services.

Anonymous said...

It is absolutely the case that the understanding of disabilities and disabilities accommodations for these tests is weak and that, consequently, these tests very often wind up testing the disability, not the ability. But you never hear boo from Advanced Learning about this. The only hat trick they have is to suggest the kid take a few extra breaks during the test. In this context parents should be free to pursue outside testing if possible to afford, with professionals who understand how to test the ability, not the disability. And, SPS should fund these tests for people who can't afford them until SPS can gets its equity testing act together for students with disabilities.


Anonymous said...

Yes, we were one of those: a successful Spectrum appeal.

Spectrum family

Anonymous said...

Well said Reader. I agree wholeheartedly. We have a 2e child and they only got in because of outside reading achievement test. Then was diagnosed at the APP School as 2e which we were unsuccessful getting at neighborhood school. Now finishing MS HC and grades are great as are State test scores.

-Sleepless fight

Lynn said...

This discussion is bringing up some interesting issues.

1. Access to an appeal is being constrained without any data to support the change. Are students who appeal less successful in HCC than those who don't require an appeal? Are students who at the time of testing (or later) have a 504 plan or IEP more likely to require individual testing to qualify for the program? We should know the answers to these questions before making any changes.

2. We are using state highly capable funding to identify advanced learners. Identification of these students is not required by state law - and there is really no reason to be administering the CogAT to them. If the nomination process was only used to identify highly capable students, far fewer parents would nominate their children for testing. (This would reduce the number and cost of appeals.)

We should be looking at Spectrum. Is there a point to identifying Spectrum students? Is there any benefit to an elementary student if they are not placed in one of the three schools that offer self-contained classrooms?

If every elementary school was required to implement walk to math and group advanced readers so that they receive appropriate instruction, wouldn't that be better for everyone (except the students who currently score a spot in a self-contained classroom?) You don't need CogAT testing to do this - a quick beginning of year math assessment would do and teachers are already assessing reading levels.

Melissa Westbrook said...

To again note, they are going to narrow the parameters about why parents can appeal.

Anonymous said...

Yeah Lynn, they seem to be throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I just assumed they were all HC applicants. I would think that restricting spectrum appeals as the limited amount of services that these kids get and the fact that the State doesn't fund this would make sense.

Get that baby back in the kitchen!

-Sleepless fight

Lynn said...

I am advocating identifying advanced learners based on information we already have - removing that entirely from the formal identification process.

Lynn said...

Edit: I am not necessarily advocating for that change - but am wondering if it makes sense.

Anonymous said...

Just want to say thank you to Director Peters. I am impressed with the job she doing and the questions she asks. I wish she was running our school district instead of Nyland.


Anonymous said...

The more interesting question. How about increasing access to HCC and advanced learning and simply eliminate all criteria? Anybody who wanted in could be allowed in. In that case, we wouldn't need any appeals at all. Is there any data to show that students who aren't tested fail to benefit from AL? Wouldn't many, many more students benefit from AL who are now denied it based on ability, test, or other manufactured criteria? The only thing these entrance requirements provide.... is exclusivity, it would seem. And removing entrance barriers would certainly make the service diverse. Exclusivity has always been the goal of the service though. Many threads have been posted about it. And they all can be summarized as "It's the cohort, stupid." I believe that is a direct Mas quote. Which simply denotes that exclusion is the goal, not a by-product.


Anonymous said...

@ Reader,

The rationale for providing "highly capable" services is because these students learn differently and have different needs. What works best for them doesn't work best for others, nor vice versa.

Anonymous said...

Don't bite on the equity excuse, folks. Cutting down the appeals process will just force more kids who clearly belong in advanced learning classes to suffer in fake ALOs. That 40% or so get in from re-testing or private testing tells us all how bad the district's primary testing is. They want to limit appeals to only those where someone can cite factors that compromised the testing environment or administration of the test, yet, how would anyone know? They don't allow parents to observe, or even leave the lunchroom to see where the kids are tested. Who, if anyone, would be in a position, or have the knowledge of what to cite as the basis of any appeal? This new proposal essentially kills all appeals, but for a scant few, which is complete BS.

HCC is blowing up because Spectrum is essentially dead. This is classic SPS: When demand or success of a program gets too high, it's time to cut it down, in the name of equity. So has gone Spectrum, Montessori, and now HCC.

The district testing misses approximately 200 out of 500 kids who take the test. My God, with an error rate so high, how many gifted kids who don't even test are being overlooked and missing out? The old lie that people work the system and buy their kids way in is music to the district's ears, even though their own testing regime demonstrably sucks and they know it. Under the new policy, few to none of the 200 or so who got in would stand a chance of getting into the program that is appropriate for their needs. And the district would move forward, whistling Dixie, ignoring all of those kids not having their special needs met while knowing damn well they exist starving to have their needs met.

Someday, somebody needs to understand that true equity requires more avenues for student success, not less. But this is vintage SPS, where, once again, they say, "Something isn't fair and you're not getting what you want or need? Okay, we'll just tear down the good stuff others have, so everything can be equal." So, here we go, over, and over, and over again.


Anonymous said...

Or as most people might say, a whole industry has sprung up so that the majority of AL students are there due to privilege, not actual need. Are we to believe that suddenly the HCC community cares so much about disabilities, that they will preserve the appeals end run on the entry process at all costs? Or do we believe that the this community wishes to have an extraordinary education granted to themselves alone? That is, they are entitled to an education that is free of the burdens and costs of diversity: disability, poverty, language barriers etc, that is truly the aim of public education. Most people think the astounding rate of exceptions is not a testing problem, it's an entitlement problem. Especially since entitled parents have resisted any small attempts at implementing reevaluation procedures. Once in AL, you're a lifer with a golden ticket. And you get all sorts of goodies.

At my school, with a large HCC/AL component, staff doesn't even consider the private-tester-inners as legit, and doesn't use that information for placement in our cohort model. Truly, appeals must change, or they'll be changed on the ground.


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Anonymous said...

WSDWG said that the SPS attitude was "we'll just tear down the good stuff others have, so everything can be equal"

But isn't that a requirement of the state constitution's definition of common school - it needs to be uniform for all students. The state Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that way throughout the years.


Anonymous said...

Reader can always be counted on to post uninformed comments regarding HCC. It has been going on for years.

My goodness, even saying HCC provides "extraordinary education" to HCC students proves that. Where is that happening? HCC gets the same crap curricula, in the same crap buildings, as every other student.

- moving on

Anonymous said...

Yes Moving on, Readers recent post is bogus. No way would they know who utilized private testing to get into no services. Which school is that Reader.

Yeah Anon WSDawg's point though is that 40% who appeal get in with outside testing. We have no idea how many who didn't get in didn't appeal or had private testing that reflected was similar to the districts. What we do know is that 5% though are being missed that now will have no recourse for no real reason... Except to help enrollment get numbers quicker perhaps.

And no lisag that is not what common school means. And HC is now considered basic education.


Melissa Westbrook said...

"But isn't that a requirement of the state constitution's definition of common school - it needs to be uniform for all students. The state Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that way throughout the years."

I don't believe that is the definition of "common school."

You may be confusing equity with equality. They are not the same thing.

Reader is lumping all AL together and HCC is not Spectrum. I actually would support Spectrum level teaching in all schools. Indeed, Maple Elementary tried it many years back, with great results, and then it died because the district did not support it.

Anonymous said...

Staff knows.


Anonymous said...

Yeah Anon WSDawg's point though is that 40% who appeal get in with outside testing.

Once again, misrepresentation of the data. We don't know if those that appealed used private testing, district testing, or no additional testing. An appeal can include a letter from a teacher, work samples, etc. The appeals process is also for both Spectrum/ALO and HCC, and the numbers provided aren't broken down based on program. It's also more like a third, as 166/493 = 34%. That's still less than 5% of those that go through the AL application process (around 5000 this year?).

anon again

Anonymous said...

Staff does NOT know anything about Cogat scores, appeals, any of it. Only MAP scores. I'm not sure why it's interesting to people to try to stir this up.


Anonymous said...

At our school, we are told by the principal and do placements accordingly. Fact. Not sure why others are bothered by simple facts. Isn't it best to know? People should know all of your appeals are kept, and knowable moving forward.

Empl(staff and parent also)

Anonymous said...

The Constitution says "The legislature shall provide for a general and uniform system of public schools."

This has been upheld for example in Bryan 498, "The system must be uniform in that every child shall have the same advantages and be subject to the same discipline as every other child."


Melissa Westbrook said...

Again, equality doesn't not mean equity. You do know that words in any constitution are open to interpretation by a court. You can do it, I can do it but the courts get the final word.

Anonymous said...

Actually, WSDWG's point is that district testing has a terribly high failure rate and isn't reliable. Without private testing providing a check on the district's failed testing model, even more kids would be denied the proper education they need, and the district is diving head first into making the already poor testing system ever worse.

Reader, privilege is not enough to get a kid into HCC. You are dead wrong on that charge, once again. The district only admits kids into HCC who belong there, and when district testing has failed to identify them. They are the gatekeeper and there is not one fault with the appeal process as it stands now. The obvious fault is in the district testing.

Whether private or publicly granted appeals, the process exists to right wrongs and address mistakes, just like a Court of Appeals.

Spin it any way you want, Reader. But the facts show it's the testing, not the appeals therefrom, where the problem lies.

That was WSDWG's point.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you regarding appeals. Every year, I have bright,young students who do poorly on the district advanced learning group testing. When they test privately their scores mirror what I am seeing in class, unlike the district testing. If the appeals are taken away, or limited as proposed, these kids won't get the proper education they need.

Also, some people think that folks "buy" their way into advanced learning with private testing. That has not been my experience. Some kids who are privately tested do well in the testing and some don't. I have more faith in the integrity of the private evaluators.

Anonymous said...

Oops forgot to sign my name. That was me at 10:40.

Anonymous said...

@Teacher: Thanks for "getting it" re: district testing. The issue is properly identifying HC kids. The steps the district is proposing will severely limit appeals of all types, both privately funded and district funded. The fault in their logic is to act as though the district's testing is itself effective enough to do the job. If 40% or so of appealed cases are clear "misses" by the district, then the district's proposal is ill-conceived and troubling. The fact is that hundreds of HC kids are not identified by the district and screened out when they shouldn't be AS THE DISTRICT ITSELF ULTIMATELY DETERMINED through the appeals process. Thus, the only known inequity in the process is neither the number or type of appeals, but the district's testing process which erroneously screens out hundreds of kids who shouldn't be screened out. Why that fact causes so little concern within SPS is perplexing if they truly seek to be equitable. The proposal leaves a faulty process in place, while limiting what can be done about it. What a fix! Take a no-brainer, ignore it, and fix something that isn't broken instead!

Instead of asking why are we getting and granting so many appeals, and what we can do to improve the testing process, they are only asking "how can we cut down on appeals(?)," which makes the admittedly error-prone district the sole determiner of placement, which completely undermines the idea of equity and fairness.


Anonymous said...

@Sleepless & Anon again: Actually I said almost 40% of TOTAL appeals were granted. I didn't say 40% of PRIVATE appeals were granted. I don't know the actual breakdown of those numbers. Given the numbers we have, my 40% estimate is actually too high. 166 out of 493 is actually 33% or 1 in 3, which is still quite significant. That said, I'd appreciate people parroting and quoting me to use "one-third" instead of 40% from this point forward, for accuracy's sake.

Again, I'm not playing private against public or rich against poor (as some do perpetually). The point is that the district is missing dozens, if not hundreds of kids through it's administration of the admissions tests. So, whether private or publicly granted, the appeals process is later appropriately placing a substantial number of kids who slipped through the cracks of the district's screening process, meaning appeals are likely a godsend for the 166 or so families who entered HCC through that process last year.

And the district is now proposing to slam the door in the face of similarly situated families in the coming years, instead of fixing or improving a very broken process. All this proposal does is reduce the work for SPS's AL Department while knowingly depriving hundreds of kids of an appropriate education. And some people will support such disdainful actions in the name of equity and fairness, while slamming and maligning other people's kids as "privileged little darlings" who get a "golden ticket," etc. Classy.


Anonymous said...

Spin it anyway YOU want WSDWG. Appeals are tightening up. Most people, inside SPS and in the community, don't believe in the private testing industry - and support the district on this one. You won't get a lot of sympathy for your cause.


Anonymous said...


Provide your source/data, please? I look forward to seeing it.

Some people don't "believe" in global warming either. Just because you can point to someone who holds a non-fact based belief doesn't make it so.

- fact believer

Anonymous said...

@ WSDWG - You are spot on with your assessment of district testing. It is a way of identifying students but hardly the most effective way (as the research on the tests demonstrates!). Why not accept district testing AND private testing AND teacher recommendation AND parent recommendation AND private psychologist referral? Why not create more on-roads instead of less? Many families could opt out of the district testing right off the bat and go a route that is more fitting for their student. The district makes more work for itself by mandating everyone has to go through them first. I'd bet many families would skip the district-step if they could.

SW Mom

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Jan said...

I agree with WSDWG. There are many reasons why some kids test more accurately in a one-on-one situation, especially (but not exclusively) 2Es. The object here ought to be to identify as many kids as possible who would benefit from HC classes -- and then figure out how, and where, to provide them. I guess I don't know what the "community" says on this -- but I know for a fact that every single psychologist I have ever talked to (including many who do not provide testing as a service -- so they have no skin in the game) are adamant that limiting evaluations to large group environments (with little to no appeal) is flawed and is a diagnostically unsupportable position (though it may be cheap).

Anonymous said...

So, for the record, just to be clear, Reader, you and your "others in the community" will be much happier when more kids are denied an appropriate placement for their child, correct? And your kid isn't in an AL program, but you're at a school where AL and HCC are located, and have staff that snark about those kids behind their backs, alleging they "aren't that smart" and such, because the staff have seen, and discussed Cogat scores with you, a non-HCC, non-AL parent, correct?

Please, I don't want to misquote or misunderstand you when I speak personally with JSCEE staff about this. So, do tell all you know. And thanks for your help.


mirmac1 said...

WSDWG, discussing any scores with any parent is not okay. And I doubt anyone at JSCEE will give a rat's patootie. They weren't going to do anything re: the 7K SpEd student records until the PTSA called them on it. They don't seem to care when administrators' laptops with student data get stolen.

Rolling Eyes said...

SW mom - your privilege is showing.

Lynn said...


Maybe it shows privilege, but it's also true. I've twice had children tested by the district when I already had private test results in hand. The cost to the district of testing my children was a waste.

2e parent said...

@rolling, so is yours. Ever tried to get appropriate work for a 2e kid in a general ed class?

Charlie Mas said...

I have always supported self-selection for access to Spectrum. That's why I supported ALOs when they first appeared.

But programs change over time and ALOs have become nothing and Spectrum has become ALO, which is nothing.

There are district officials, principals, and teachers who will tell you that they deliver Spectrum "services" or their ALO through differentiation in the inclusive setting of the general education classroom. When they say this, you need to ask them: "Isn't this just good teaching practice? Wouldn't you do this even if your school were not a designated Spectrum or ALO site?" They will say that it is. They always say that it is. They may even wax poetic about it.

Then you can ask them "So what's the difference between having Spectrum or ALO and not having Spectrum or ALO if you are doing nothing different than you would be doing if you didn't have Spectrum or ALO?" Suddenly they will become a lot less talkative.

Let's set aside - for the moment - the question of whether the delivery method of differentiated instruction in an inclusive general education classroom can reliably deliver the deeper, broader, further lessons that are promised by Spectrum and ALO. We can come back to that question later. Let's start with the admission that a Spectrum or ALO with that delivery method is no different from having no Spectrum or ALO at all.

Spectrum is dead. It no longer exists. It has been replaced by MTSS. That has been the District's plan for years, dating all the way back to Wendy London when MTSS was called RTI. There's only one thing wrong with this plan: they are taking away the Spectrum before the MTSS is in place.

Before the 520 bridge across Lake Washington there was a ferry service that ran from Madison Park to Kirkland. The ferry service continued until the bridge was complete. The District has dismantled Spectrum before MTSS is in place. That's like ending the ferry service before the bridge is in place. The result is predictable: cars running off the end of the bridge into the lake.

It's actually worse. Engineers knew that the bridge would work. The is much less cause for confidence in MTSS.

The cake is a lie.