Friday, November 06, 2015

Friday Open Thread

Good news - a Seattle trash collector found about $12K in checks that turned out to be part of money  raised at Lawton Elementary by the PTA.  Micah Speir said he found them scattered among other trash.  He called around and let the Lawton principal, Dorian Manza, know and returned the checks. (A PTA member had accidentally thrown them out in the trash.) Principal Manza tried to give Speir a tip but Speir said no.  He said, "I'm just happy I was able to come across it and it didn't blow away," 

Big tip of the hat to Micah Speir!

Kids filled the benches of King County Superior Court before Judge Hollis R. Hill to hear oral arguments about climate change, on November 3rd, 2015.
Bellamy Pailthorp, KPLU
A wag of the finger to Republican Ben Carson.  Apparently, there is nothing he won't say and in this clip, where he is asked about Common Core, he decides that public education is at the bottom of educational services in this country.  (Also, his personal belief is that the Egyptians didn't build the pyramids.) 

But another tip of the hat to kids who came to King County court this week to fight climate change.  This from KPLU:

Eight young teenagers are the plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the state Department of Ecology. They want to force action on climate change.

Their arguments are part of the lawsuit filed in Washington, one of dozens of suits filed and actions taken in every state and against the federal government, by a non-profit called Our Children’s Trust.

Here's a fun game - caption what those kids are thinking.  Those faces are priceless especially the girl in the blue shirt who looks very mad.

Did you hear?

It Was a Bad Week for Education Reform at the End of an Awful Era of Corporate School Reform

This from the Huffington Post Education:

The title of Jeff Bryant's Education Opportunity Network piece says it best: Education Reform's Very Bad, God-Awful Week. Bryant reviews the resignation of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, President Obama's apology for contributing to over-testing, and the stagnation and even the decline of the reliable NAEP scores after decades of growth.  

Bryant also surveys the national news on charters. A series of new stories in several states document how the lack of oversight opened the doors for financial irregularities by charter school operators, and the number of other reports documenting underperformance by charters continues to grow. Of course, the documentation of how Success Academy pushes out more-difficult-to-educate kids and Eva Moskowitz's arrogant response was a huge blow to reformers.

Not to leave out that the ed reformers on the school board in Jefferson County, Colorado all got recalled.

"It sends a large message that you need to be responsive to your constituents, your teachers and your community," Harmon said.

Bryant concludes his impressive catalogue of recent reform failures with the words of teacher/activist Jesse Hagopian: 

It should be clear that this national uprising, this Education Spring, has forced the testocracy to retreat and is the reason that the Obama administration has come to its current understanding on testing in schools. However, the testocracy, having amassed so much power and wealth, won't just slink quietly into the night.

There is a Friday Work Session on the District Scorecard/Data Dashboard which I will talk about in a separate thread.

There are no Saturday Community meetings (and I note that Director Blanford scheduled his next one for November 21st, right before Thanksgiving - why?)  I''m hoping that the new Board will make a pledge to have at least one director community meeting each weekend so that parents/public have access to one director a week.  With seven of them, I think it possible.

What's on your mind?

65 comments:

dj said...

Does anyone know just how far behind the advanced learning testing is this year? My kids were supposedly scheduled for three weeks ago and I still haven't heard anything,

Melissa Westbrook said...

Really "Y"?" Childish and pathetic.

Anonymous said...
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Ann D said...

I keep hearing folks bandy around about "growth mindset", which seems to rather assume that everyone else has a fixed mindset. Have you seen this too?

My mom sent me this interesting piece about author Carol Dweck's insights into "false growth mindset".

Carol Dweck Revisits the 'Growth Mindset' - Education Week
http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2015/09/23/carol-dweck-revisits-the-growth-mindset.html?qs=Carol+dweck

Lynn said...

I am wondering why three people who won't be on the board in December are setting the agenda for the board's retreat. Does that make sense to anyone? In general, I don't want any major decisions made before the new board members take their place. This includes:

Transportation service standards (as the staff proposal appears to be illegal)
Student Assignment Plan
Extending the Superintendent's employment agreement (Sue Peters's name has been removed from this BAR - was it at her request?)

Also, looking at the Superintendent Evaluation SMART Goals and Rubric is a window into the future of the district under Nyland. More district-wide standardized assessments are apparently the key to closing the achievement gap.


dj,

Behind according to their schedule for this year or compared to prior years?

Staff's proposed changes to the identification process (to be implemented for the current testing season) should be posted to the board website today. As they are considering drastically reducing the circumstances under which an appeal will be considered (limited to errors in scoring I hear) things should move more quickly this year.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, first of all, that retreat agenda is not set in stone and I think new members could say, well, we'd like to do something different.


Second, I am SO tired of the staff setting the agenda (previously the Alliance). It's the BOARD's retreat and they should talk about what they want to.

Yes, Director Peter's asked that her name be taken off the BAR about the super's eval because it no longer resembled what she thought they were working towards. She had wanted to review the State of the District speech and the District Scorecard/dashboard first and THEN see what they might offer him. That seems the correct order to me.

Lynn said...

Ann D,

I have seen that and passed it on to various Growth Mindset evangelists. I expect the theory to die a long, slow death. It's hard to give up the idea that anyone can do anything they choose as long as they just try hard enough. (It so nicely blames the individual rather than society for failures.)

Anonymous said...

Can someone explain the schools websites? you used to be able to pull up a Teacher see their schedule and that way know what they were teaching, their prep period, etc.. I just found that one of the Teachers no longer work there so what is that about?

- confuzzled ?

SF said...

Saw this today and thought I'd share it here.

To: The School Board of Polk County, Florida

I love teaching. I love seeing my students’ eyes light up when they grasp a new concept and their bodies straighten with pride and satisfaction when they persevere and accomplish a personal goal. I love watching them practice being good citizens by working with their peers to puzzle out problems, negotiate roles, and share their experiences and understandings of the world. I wanted nothing more than to serve the students of this county, my home, by teaching students and preparing new teachers to teach students well. To this end, I obtained my undergraduate, masters, and doctoral degrees in the field of education. I spent countless hours after school and on weekends poring over research so that I would know and be able to implement the most appropriate and effective methods with my students and encourage their learning and positive attitudes towards learning. I spent countless hours in my classroom conferencing with families and other teachers, reviewing data I collected, and reflecting on my practice so that I could design and differentiate instruction that would best meet the needs of my students each year. I not only love teaching, I am excellent at it, even by the flawed metrics used up until this point. Every evaluation I received rated me as highly effective.

Like many other teachers across the nation, I have become more and more disturbed by the misguided reforms taking place which are robbing my students of a developmentally appropriate education. Developmentally appropriate practice is the bedrock upon which early childhood education best practices are based, and has decades of empirical support behind it. However, the new reforms not only disregard this research, they are actively forcing teachers to engage in practices which are not only ineffective but actively harmful to child development and the learning process. I am absolutely willing to back up these statements with literature from the research base, but I doubt it will be asked for. However, I must be honest. This letter is also deeply personal. I just cannot justify making students cry anymore. They cry with frustration as they are asked to attempt tasks well out of their zone of proximal development. They cry as their hands shake trying to use an antiquated computer mouse on a ten year old desktop computer which they have little experience with, as the computer lab is always closed for testing. Their shoulders slump with defeat as they are put in front of poorly written tests that they cannot read, but must attempt. Their eyes fill with tears as they hunt for letters they have only recently learned so that they can type in responses with little hands which are too small to span the keyboard.

SF said...

(continued)

The children don’t only cry. Some misbehave so that they will be the ‘bad kid’ not the ‘stupid kid’, or because their little bodies just can’t sit quietly anymore, or because they don’t know the social rules of school and there is no time to teach them. My master’s degree work focused on behavior disorders, so I can say with confidence that it is not the children who are disordered. The disorder is in the system which requires them to attempt curriculum and demonstrate behaviors far beyond what is appropriate for their age. The disorder is in the system which bars teachers from differentiating instruction meaningfully, which threatens disciplinary action if they decide their students need a five minute break from a difficult concept, or to extend a lesson which is exceptionally engaging. The disorder is in a system which has decided that students and teachers must be regimented to the minute and punished if they deviate. The disorder is in the system which values the scores on wildly inappropriate assessments more than teaching students in a meaningful and research based manner.

On June 8, 2015 my life changed when I gave birth to my daughter. I remember cradling her in the hospital bed on our first night together and thinking, “In five years you will be in kindergarten and will go to school with me.” That thought should have brought me joy, but instead it brought dread. I will not subject my child to this disordered system, and I can no longer in good conscience be a part of it myself. Please accept my resignation from Polk County Public Schools.

Wendy Bradshaw, Ph.D.

TheGoodFight said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Lynn,

I agree that Dweck's mindset theory has been completely misunderstood. It has now turned into basically "pull yourself up by your bootstraps harder."

If I had only tried harder, I could've won that gold medal after all. Americans just don't like the idea of difference, and we must put forth the idea that we are all "equal," even if we don't understand what the word means. I believe this thinking is a big reason that people regularly vote against higher taxes on the rich - anyone could become a billionaire!!!!!

Everyone should be provided a good foundation in order to accomplish their goals, but we all won't achieve at the highest levels, no matter how much effort we put in. We should also make sure to provide extra help to those who want to achieve at a higher level (I would love for all schools to have tutors or additional help for those who want it). We all can't get the highest scores, and we all can't get the gold medals. People should be appreciated for who they are, and we should stop with the nonsense that we all can do everything. It diminishes the achievements of those who are the best swimmers or cello players, and it puts ridiculous pressure on everyone else.

-anti mindset

Maureen said...

Reposting for Anonymous

Anonymous said...
I hear people talking about the governance of Seattle Public Schools and saying that the District has a serious governance problem. I would agree with them. All of them say that the source of the governance problem lies in how School Board Directors become School Board Directors. This is, of course, absurd. That may strongly influence the persons in the positions and to whom they owe their alligience, but it will not impact governance one whit.

The District's governance problem is this: The Board has not been afforded the tools necessary to do their job.

I see a lot of confusion around the Board's job. Many of the people who give public testimony seem to think that the Board is the Complaint Department; they are not. Other folks seem to think that the Board writes the District's budget; they don't. The School Board is not supposed to get involved in the day-to-day administration and operations of the District. It is, after all, supposed to be a strictly part-time volunteer job.

State law gives the Board a set of jobs. These include reviewing and, as appropriate, approving all District expenditures (the warrant report), District hires (the personnel report), outside contracts, and the total dollar figures of the various funds - though not the way the money is allocated.

So far as I know, no one has any serious complaints about how the Board has fulfilled these duties. Yes, some may kvetch about Director Bass always voting "No" on the personnel report, but it always passes. And it is true that I, and others, have objected to the approval of capital projects that ALWAYS exceed their budgets. But this is not the governance crisis that people speak of.

In addition to these - and a few other - legal requirements, the Board is supposed to be a policy-making body. As such, they are supposed to determine, in broad strokes, how the District is supposed to function. They are not to concern themselves with the details of how those policies are implemented, but they do have an oversight responsibility to insure that the policies ARE implemented.

The problem is that the Board can WRITE policy but the Board cannot ENFORCE policy. Consequently, the Board cannot be said to have SET policy.

For example, let's say that the Board writes and approves a nutrition policy for schools. The Board must rely on the Superintendent to implement the policy. If the Superintendent does not implement the policy, there isn't much that the Board can do about it. First of all, there is a very real chance that the Board will never know whether the policy was implemented or not - not unless they go out to the schools and check, which is pretty unlikely. Secondly, if the Board does know that the policy hasn't been implemented, they can bring that fact to the Superintendent's attention and encourage him to follow through, but not much more.

Unless they are ready to fire him and conduct a national search for a replacement Superintendent over a failure to comply with policy, the Board doesn't have many tools for getting the Superintendent to implement their policies. They could, I suppose, write a less than favorable performance evaluation. Boo hoo. As a direct result of this grosteque hole in the governance structure, the Board is incapable of doing their primary job. Without the ability to enforce policy, they can't really set policy. If they can't set policy, they are restricted to their only other role: to sign the checks.

Of course, the Board's inability to enforce policy or effectively manage the Superintendent only matters if the Board and the Superintendent do not share a Vision for the District. Since the Board hires the Superintendent they would, of course, be sure to hire one who shares their Vision. In those cases when a Board inherits a Superintendent from a previous Board, we would expect the Superintendent to recognize the Board's authority and adopt their Vision.



11/6/15, 11:08 AM

Anonymous said...

I imagine she will home school. Although I understand why some people might choose private school, my own belief is that a good public education system is part of a true democracy, and we still have a lot of great things happening in our schools, even with the problems. There are lots of parents willing to fight for improving it so let's keep going. Even the Supreme Court is on our side now. We are potentially on the verge of a big change with McCleary. Also, I watched a show on Netflix the other day called 'On the way to school', showing the lengths that kids around the world go to just to get to school. Highly recommended viewing for you and your kids! Makes you appreciate more what we have and what is possible.

BT

Maureen said...

I actually like Dweck's mindset work, and I think it would have helped me as a child. I definitely was told "Oh you're smart, that's why you can do that." And took it to mean that if I couldn't do something easily it meant I wasn't good at it and couldn't be. I found it difficult to deal with academic failure for most of my life (all the other kinds of failure, I was fine with!)

I think her work has been oversimplified and popularized to the point that critics can say that it's all about bootstraps, but it isn't and I think her newer piece makes that point pretty clearly.

They've been teaching it in SPS and my kid hates it. She acknowledges that it's true, but she hates the way they've been shoving it down their throats.

mirmac1 said...

It seems back *ss-ward to a)set the Supe's "Smart Goals", then later have our new board establish ITS priorities!

I found Carr's comment odd at the last Exec Mtg that: a) the Exec Committee's been meeting alot lately (right, to ramrod your initiatives while your there); and b) that she's at JSCEE so much that she felt like she worked there! Everyone nodded and smiled knowingly. Stockholm Syndromw.

Anonymous said...

About Ben Carson and his ability to say anything.

Ben Carson was a top ROTC student in Detroit (I guess). He stated on at least two occasions that he applied to West Point. He recently said this on Charlie Rose, except the records show he never applied to West Point. His campaign is now backtracking and clarifying.

Looking at many leaders, perhaps the ability to deceive the public is a job requirement for the PREZ.

-- Dan Dempsey

Melissa Westbrook said...

Sadly, if the current Board and staff keep trying to ram things thru over the next three weeks, they only make it harder for the next Board.

Because yes, things can be undone/reviewed. It may not happen but if it doesn't it won't be pleasant. But the new Board will be able to point to a number of policy reasons why something might need to be reviewed.

mirmac1 said...

You give me hope Melissa!

Anonymous said...

Mirmac1, can you please refrain from interfering with Jill Geary's plans to fix SPED.
We elected her to implement the necessary change quickly.

Why I do believe your intentions are good, I would ask you now to step back and let a professional lead.

I respectfully ask that we all give Jill the chance to fulfill all her SPED campaign promises without interference.

King Duncan

Melissa Westbrook said...

King Duncan, I'll just note that if you think you elected Jill Geary to fix Sped, you were mistaken. Geary is now part of a team and while she can certainly advocate with authority on the issue, she'll need the agreement of the rest of the Board to direct the Superintendent.

Mirmac 1 is the president of the SPED PTA and I hope would continue the work that that group does. PTA is about advocacy.

Anonymous said...

Why don't we have more information from either SPS or local news media about the incident at Ballard HS yesterday.
Did the student actually have a gun either on school grounds or outside of the school during school hours?
Did the police locate the gun - if not why not (was there never actually any gun present or did the student or someone else dispose of it?). It was reported that the student was arrested - what was the student arrested for exactly?
Did the student threaten anyone?
Who did the gun belong to (owned by parents vs illegally obtained by student or associates?)
Was there any kind of incident at the Taco Bell or was this unrelated or misreported?
We got all the headlines about the school on lockdown and pictures of the SWAT team there. It was a big deal but there has been zero followup reporting about what actually transpired.
If anyone had been shot by this allegedly gun-toting student, the new media would be all over it - with days of coverage. But this potential near-miss - nada. I don't believe this is the first time there has been issue of student with gun at Ballard HS and that was similarly kept quiet.
To my mind - its not just the school shootings that warrant discussion, action, media attention - it is also all these instances (many of which we probably don't even hear about) that could have turned out just as bad but did not, either because of luck, vigilance, or lack or real intent.
It is HUGELY concerning to me if a child takes a gun to school even if no one is injured or killed and it warrants just as much examination as to why, how, and how to prevent it happening again.
So - why the SPS and media silence?

worrier



Anonymous said...

MW are you saying Geary's campaign promise to fix SPED was just political rhetoric?

Are you saying she used us? You're claiming she now needs agreement to make the school district follow the law?, you're kidding, I hope.

Make no mistake, Geary clearly communicated she was going to insure our district followed the IDEA and in doing so, would removed the achievement gap for special educational students.

Are you saying she did not make these claims?

King Duncan

mirmac1 said...

Is this Times editorial yet ANOTHER this week? I see that they reference the original one that was published on election day

http://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/editorials/how-the-new-seattle-school-board-can-repair-the-important-relationship-with-the-alliance-for-education/

My, they appear to be waving the white flag at the NEW school board. And they called their best pals "lameducks"! Gawd, I didn't realize how enjoyable it is to see the powerbrokers groveling!

Melissa Westbrook said...

King Duncan, calm down. I'm explaining the nature of working on a Board - it's a team. She could only have promised to bring her expertise to the Board and work with staff and the Board to right the Sped ship. She cannot do it herself. She has no individual power. That's not how it works.

I'm saying you misheard her.

Anonymous said...

Nyland said closing the achievement gap between students of color and their white counterparts remains a top priority. Another goal is for the district to do a better job of figuring out when to communicate information with schools and parents.

“When do we ask for input; and how, and when do we ask for input from parents and make them more a part of the decision process,” said Nyland.

=====================

About the GAP ... which is now called the opportunity gap but achievement can be measured more precisely than opportunity, it may remain a TOP Priority but it is largely unchanged during the last 5 years of rhetoric.

So what is the plan?

Ever care to examine whether "differentiated instruction" works in actual practice?

Easier just be blather on, I suppose.

The focus should be on maximizing educational opportunity for each child. The gap can be reduced by lessening the performance of "their white counterparts". Is that the plan?

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

Now you are telling me that I did not hear Jill Geary correctly? Preposterous and nervy.

Sounds to me like you're suggesting she never said or implied she was going to fix SPED, yes? I guess you must have had her mic-ed during the whole campaign, no?

I feel duped by Jill if what you're writing is true. Tell me, should I start to regret my vote.

King Duncan

Anonymous said...

Troll alert.

CP

Joe Wolf said...

I wouldn't want to cross the young man in the blue jacket either.

Today, in Ben Carson:

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/11/ben-carson-west-point-215598

Melissa Westbrook said...

If folks have issues with elected candidates, go take that to them.

Anonymous said...

King Duncan, one thing I think you are bringing out is that we are all -- parents of kids with disabilities -- at our wit's end. If anybody wants to have a nervous breakdown, try escalating your problem getting services for your kid first to the apathetic principal and then beyond to the Great House of Mirrors: JSCEE. The best fiction writer in the world could never make this up. Nobody has accountability, nobody is being assessed on whether or how they solve family's problem. Everyone wants to maintain the status quo. And Tolley meanwhile recedes further and further away from the realities of families, preferring to get all of his information from people whose job has become more or less to spin. It's hopeless.

reader

Benjamin Leis said...

I'm still looking through this but if anyone else is interested in the Advanced Learner Policy changes:

http://discussapp.blogspot.com/2015/11/new-version-of-policy-superintendent.html

Anonymous said...

Are you calling me a troll? Why, just because I ask for a politician's accountability? or just because I challenged MW assumptions? Is that trolling and what am I trying to hook?

I know what Geary said and I was lucky enough to have spoken with her regarding the current state of special education in Seattle public schools.

I asked Jill why I should vote for her and she assured me she would insist Seattle public schools followed the IDEA to the "letter" of the law and not Anderea Schiers's vague interpenetration of the laws.

She used the words "strong arm" when describing how she would work to insure compliance. I don't believe "strong arm" means playing along! Jill went on to mentioned how the SPED PTSA is creating friction which is creating a hostile relationship and it would be best to let a qualified professional work to solve the problems, it's was the "main reason" she's was running.

I agree with Jill's view that a professional lawyer is the only type that seems to succeed in convincing our district's lawyers to either comply or pay up.

So, with respect the SPED PTSA president, she needs to step back and not interfere with our new professional lawyer. Jill will be able to convince it's in the best interest of the Seattle school district to listen to a former OSPI judge and follow the law.

I think my request makes sense and Jill deserves a chance to fulfill her promise without interference.

King Duncan

Lynn said...

There's a surprise Operations Committee meeting Monday evening with one item on the Agenda: Student Assignment Plan (F. Herndon/A. Davies).

No attachments to the agenda.

Anonymous said...

KD,

It's ensure. Don't feel bad - the superintendent doesn't know the difference either.

West Seattle

Anonymous said...

KD, you seem to have a beef with mirmac. What exactly is your beef? You're speaking in tongues again. What do wish for mirmac to do or not do.... and why? You seem to fear something. What?

Curiosity

Anonymous said...

Yes. I got a robo call from Keven Wyncoop. He said "Remember, it's always great to be a beaver." .... Same as always.

Leaveit 2Beaver

Blah said...

Sad to hear that Coe Elementary After school program is losing its dedicated space and moving more kids to the cafeteria for before
And aftercare to make way for another class room, after losing the tech room and art room.

From the posted letter:
"In early September we were sent a letter from Seattle Public Schools to let us know a portion of our lease has been terminated and asked us to vacate within 90 days. Our room 110, known as Junior Big Kids (JBK), will be converted to a kindergarten classroom beginning December 14."

What is next classes in the stairwell?
Quality before and after programs are such an important thing for working families. Will onsite programs be edged out completely?

Blah

Anonymous said...

I also wonder what happened with Ballard. I never heard the resolution. Was there a gun or not? Did the kid hold up Taco Time? Anyone know?
What's Up?

Anonymous said...

"...we must put forth the idea that we are all "equal," even if we don't understand what the word means."

Equal: is the same as = at least that's what we teach in math. :)

So each student is the same as . . . every other student I guess. No diversity and no differences.

Everyone "equal"

Anonymous said...

King, just imagine if Michael Christopherson had also won? That would have been an even bigger bonanza for sped families. We'll just have make do with the new board without him. Let me see. You want Geary's"strong arm" but no "friction". That makes a lot of sense!

Great House of Mirrors. Ha! That's a great description.

Sped reader

Anonymous said...

THIS

Why don't we have more information from either SPS or local news media about the incident at Ballard HS yesterday.
Did the student actually have a gun either on school grounds or outside of the school during school hours?
Did the police locate the gun - if not why not (was there never actually any gun present or did the student or someone else dispose of it?). It was reported that the student was arrested - what was the student arrested for exactly?
Did the student threaten anyone?
Who did the gun belong to (owned by parents vs illegally obtained by student or associates?)
Was there any kind of incident at the Taco Bell or was this unrelated or misreported?
We got all the headlines about the school on lockdown and pictures of the SWAT team there. It was a big deal but there has been zero followup reporting about what actually transpired.
If anyone had been shot by this allegedly gun-toting student, the new media would be all over it - with days of coverage. But this potential near-miss - nada. I don't believe this is the first time there has been issue of student with gun at Ballard HS and that was similarly kept quiet.
To my mind - its not just the school shootings that warrant discussion, action, media attention - it is also all these instances (many of which we probably don't even hear about) that could have turned out just as bad but did not, either because of luck, vigilance, or lack or real intent.
It is HUGELY concerning to me if a child takes a gun to school even if no one is injured or killed and it warrants just as much examination as to why, how, and how to prevent it happening again.
So - why the SPS and media silence?

- From one in the Building

Anonymous said...

2 years ago, a BHS student murdered a man with a gun. Nothing said at the school. Not a peep about guns, safety, behavior. Nothing. Suicide attempts at the school. Similarly. Nothing said. Now, complete lockdown... and all we get is. "It's always great to be a beaver.". How about "It's always great to get a clue!"

Leaveit

Ballard Parent said...

There isn't information coming-out of Ballard High School regarding the gun incident. The incident that brought us the SWAT team.


In 1994, there was a gang related shooting at Ballard High School. This story was in the paper, on the same day that Ballard High locked down. Ironic.

Melissa Westbrook said...

You can get the police report about the Ballard incident. It's a public record.

That incident in 1994 was not just a shooting but a murder. Pretty horrible and yes the Times' story is that after 20 years there is a feeling that the shooter's age wasn't considered enough.

Anonymous said...

A lot of schools are beginning walk-to-math programs. I'm at a school contemplating the same and am wondering what you all think about these programs. Are they working? I'd like to hear some feedback.

Feedback please

Anonymous said...

MW. The 2014 parking lot incident with a BHS football player was a shooting and a murder by a student. Are we seeing a pattern? How about some social skills instruction? How about community engagement instruction for students? How about something besides glib blather? Parents weren't even alerted to the evacuation this week, until long after it was over. And students have had 0 followup. 0. Pathetic really.

Leaveit 2beaver

Anonymous said...

To "get" the report it is a matter of filing an FOIA request. It must be very specific and detailed or you will get the generic stuff, not the actual phone calls, the 911, the transcriptions of interactions

Let's find out why floor 2 was released but floor 1 held longer for another 20 minutes or so in the gym with no information as to why?

Why was attendance records not taken to ensure that all kids were accounted for? What is the protocol for that?

Were all the classroom searched after removal or just lockers? Were any lockers opened? Were warrants issued to do so? Why or why not

What was the Taco Bell story?

How are people in the building, say volunteers, etc that are not full time staff accounted for? How do they know what to do and are they trained in the procedure and communicated with?

I have a lot of questions

- In the Building

Anonymous said...

Seattle Times did have a short story about last week's events at Ballard High School, though it did not seem to provide any more detail than had already been reported or posted elsewhere.

fyi

Anonymous said...

We do walk to math. We use walk to math to teach different grades of math within one grade level. For third graders, we have a couple of sections of grade level math and a couple of sections of 4th grade math. 4th grade math is mostly Spectrum. There are pros and cons.

The pro is that it is a much easier way to teach differentiated math. Instead of having to teach several levels of math in one class, you only have to teach "one". The reality is that no matter what group you are teaching there are always different levels you need to teach, but it is easier with walk to math. I feel like we meet the children's educational needs much better with walk to math.

There are a few cons. Once a child is advanced to a higher level in walk to math, it is hard to put them back down a level if they don't do well. So a child might have to do 2nd grade math twice, once in first grade and once in second grade.

Also, sometimes the spectrum numbers don't work out well. It becomes a dilemma. Do you advance gen ed kids who are really good in math? If you do, you need to be prepared to keep them in advanced math for all of their elementary years.In theory that sounds great, but sometimes it becomes a problem with classroom configurations. If you have four second grade-teachers, you can only have four walk to math classes. You need to somehow split all the kids up with the four teachers. The numbers don't always work well. You don't want some teachers having huge math classes and some having small math classes.

Overall, I like walk to math. I do think it is better model, even though it isn't perfect.
Math Lover

Lynn said...

We do walk to math starting in first grade. When the numbers don't work out, one teacher might have a larger class for math than the others. If the numbers are too far off for that to work, one teacher per grade teaches two levels of math. It seems to work out well.

Anonymous said...

One of the arguments that charter boosters use has to do with the public schools' failure to adequately serve the talented students. Note the regularly occurring highly capable controversies in the SPS.

It seems that "Walk to Math" serves students better than a belief in "differentiated instruction".

About multiple groups in teaching a class... more groups means less direct instruction time for each group. JUMP Math I think likes one group per classroom, which would also work best with "Walk to Math".

Read up on ITIP by Madeline Hunter.
Instructional Theory Into Practice.

-- Dan Dempsey

Lynn said...

One instructional level per class is necessary for Math in Focus too. (As the curriculum requires most of the time be spent on whole group instruction.)

Anonymous said...

So my kid's walk to math school has this config:

3 classroom teachers at kid's grade, plus a math aid (big school, part pta paid, I think)

math aid teaches small group needing extra scaffolding to reach grade level, drawn from all 3 classes. This is nominally 'grade level' but it's grade level with extra effort, smaller groups, etc.

2 teachers teach grade level in basically class-sized configuration - but they've moved around the kids for 'fit' and to make it less 'you're pulled out' = it's just something everyone does.

1 teacher does 1 year ahead, with some of the kids from the older grade walking to the class too - so the 1-yr-ahead math class is a blend of 2 age cohorts but taught by younger cohort's teacher and it's at least half or more younger kids. The older kids joined once numbers firmed up, and the older grade level saw that there was a little overflow space to readjust. (Which I assume has the ripple effect of letting them have one class that is smaller at their grade too, and thus better to help the struggling students).

One or two kids walk "up" 2 years by attending the class that is students who are one grade level older, and also working 1 year ahead of their grade - so two years up.

I think this is a fairly good system, for the most part - BUT it requires a commitment for every class in two entire grades to all teach math at the same time every day. And the assistance of the math special aid to pull the kids who need the most help to reach grade level is also key - because then no teacher has a too-broad range of the band, and those kids have a good chance of getting individual attention for their personal math challenges. I think by having 2 grades do it across all the classes, it really makes it a norm and the school culture supports it and doesn't just leave 'differentiation' up to the teacher/grade. Teachers collaborate a lot in this model, it seems.

-math info

Anonymous said...

@ math info, is a math aide a specialist? My child was in a small group that got pulled out for more advanced work in 5th grade, but they worked with the intern--who clearly didn't know how to teach math.

Math Mess

mirmac1 said...

To channel Trump, Monday's C&I agenda "is HUUUUUGE". Many policies up for review and action, including the district's belated revision of 3246BP to comply with state law. The district's changes to Use of Restraints and Seclusion/Use of Reasonable Force do not hew to the spirit of Pollet's SHB 1240.

Anonymous said...

Math info wrote this:
"I think this is a fairly good system, for the most part - BUT it requires a commitment for every class in two entire grades to all teach math at the same time every day. And the assistance of the math special aid to pull the kids who need the most help to reach grade level is also key - because then no teacher has a too-broad range of the band, and those kids have a good chance of getting individual attention for their personal math challenges. I think by having 2 grades do it across all the classes, it really makes it a norm and the school culture supports it and doesn't just leave 'differentiation' up to the teacher/grade. Teachers collaborate a lot in this model, it seems."

My very first teaching at a small school in Idaho, used this structure for reading. The principal started it at the beginning of my first year.

There was one classroom per grade level that ranged from 20 to 30 students (usually closer to 20). Grades 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 had all students in a "walk to situation" for reading. It was a one hour class and each teacher taught two levels.

It worked really well especially for 7th and 8th graders who were above or well below grade level. The principal had a masters in the teaching of reading and really knew how to make this work.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

The proposed changes to the Advanced Learning procedures include more than changes to the appeal process. They put into policy some of the changes that have been happening at Spectrum and HCC schools, such as no longer having fully self-contained HCC classes in middle school. Another change is the removal of "pathway" from the language about HC high school pathways. It went from,

HCC students may choose to attend an accelerated AP pathway at Garfield or an accelerated IB pathway at Ingraham.

to, "HCC students may currently choose accelerated access to Advanced Placement (AP) courses at Garfield High School or an accelerated International Baccalaureate (IB)Program (IBX) at Ingraham High School."

Notice the addition of the word "currently." What will it be for next year's cohort? Parents were assured that loss of explicit pathway language in the Student assignment plan was immaterial as the language was in the procedures, yet the proposed procedure is removing pathway terminology. The addition of the word "currently" makes the future pathway somewhat nebulous, doesn't it?

-ch-ch-ch-changes

Anonymous said...

I am wondering what happens at K-2? Do they walk to math as well? How do you identify high primary kids? Do you pull second graders into third and some third into fourth? Can six-and seven-year-olds do all that math in one year?

I'm also wondering considering how MIF is set up if skipping a year's curriculum is advisable? I guess it takes a pretty mathy person to answer that one. Linh-Co?

more feedback?

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Oh yeah ...
This parade of excuses for the disappointing NAEP scores, notes Kevin Welner and William Mathis of the National Education Policy Center, is loaded with irony. It comes from “those who have been vigorously advocating for ‘no excuses’ approaches” that insist schools are failing and can only be improved through “a high-stakes regime” and the competitive pressures of charters.

The Wall Street Journal tells us that Common Core cost is at least $7 billion.
If the big boys had spent more, would the scores have fallen further?
Fine example of Billionaire Ed Leadership through federal cheerleaders. Duncan will soon be replaced by the equally if not more incompetent John King from New York's Common Core disaster.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 7:15. Can you tell me the name of the school? Is it elementary or K-8?
Reposting for anonymous

Our elementary school has a math block when all the classes do math at the same time. Each teacher teaches one level, the kids walk to the classroom for the level they're at. The levels went all the way up to calculus - there were kids who were very advanced in math. The PTSA raises money to pay tutors for the higher level math classes/groups. I believe the scheduling can be challenging because math block time can't be used for the teachers' prep period.

11/8/15, 7:15 PM
Math Lover

Anonymous said...

There's a K-8 in Seattle that teaches calculus?

Half Full

Linh-Co said...

@ more feedback

I was a half time Math Specialist at North Beach Elementary about 5 years ago. We were one of the first elementary school to do school wide math blocks. The math blocks was implemented by Principal Nikki Hayes in 2000. Our math block allowed us to have "walk to math" beginning in first grade. I taught the advanced first grade and fourth grade math classes. There were two math blocks, one for primary grades 1-3 and a second for intermediate 4-6th.

I taught 2 lessons per day to my first graders. By the end of January, the class started second grade math. Since the first 25 lessons of most math textbooks are review of the previous year's content, we dove into the second grade book starting at lesson 25. We felt it was important to not skip the foundation so we covered every lesson of the first grade curriculum. First grade math establishes base ten, place value, single digit addition and subtraction. By the end of first grade, students begin to add two-digit with two-digit and are introduced to carrying (regrouping). They also are introduced to the idea of 2 digit subtraction.

The advanced second graders went into third grade math directly the following year and so forth. We din't fudge with the curriculum. The advanced kids use the next grade textbooks. It was a good system. Placement was reconfigured at the end and beginning of every year based on teacher recommendations, our own in-house end of course assessments, MSP, and MAP test scores. We still had some parent complaints but the placements could be justified with multiple data points. Letters was sent at the beginning of every year explaining math placement.

You could use MIF or any other textbooks the same way as we did. Put the kids working at the advanced level in the next grade up. North Beach used Saxon but has switch to MIF.