Thursday, November 05, 2015

State of the District

 Update: here's the Powerpoint for the Superintendent's speech.

Update: readers, I was blogging on the fly so it's a choppy account.  I'll have some analysis tomorrow.

end of update.

City Hall space starting to fill for the Superintendent's State of the District speech.  Lots of top SPS staff here.  John Rogers Elementary choir warmed up; they sound great and look adorable.

I see Sharon Peaslee, (saw Bruce Harrell but he seemed to know nothing although Communications tells me they e-mailed City Councilpersons twice this morning).  I see Directors Blanford and McLaren.  Looks like President Carr is unavailable.  I see Board-elect Rick Burke.  Sue Peters is here as well.

Program:
- Welcome from VP Peaslee
- John Rogers Otters Choir
- Every Student, Every Classroom, Every Day - speech by Superintendent Nyland
- Kent Koth, Center for Community Engagement and Seattle University Youth Initiative on Community Partnerships
- Closing - First Seatle Youth Poet Laureate, Leija Farr from Cleveland High School
Peaslee thanked the City for the space and said it was good to have it downtown where people can get to it (hmm).

She mentioned the Pre-K program and Families and Ed levy and said there needs to be more.

She also mentioned leaving the Board and hoping to continue her work on this partnership with the City (double hmmm).

John Rogers choir hits it out of the park with their patriotic song (a new one to me) about America.

Superintendent Nyland's Speech (introduced by Peaslee as our fabulous and distinguished superintendent.)
- reporting on year past and year to come
- referenced growing up here and going to schools in SPS, 50th anniversary of graduating from Roosevelt
- highlight of week is to be out in schools and he has gone to all of them now
- "the work our educators do stands up to any other system"
- used to teach social studies
- "what are the headlines for our district"
  • student growth
  • wireless technology
  • "encouraging SBAC scores"
  • "significant improvement in Sped"
  • Pre-K coming in and we will look back in 15-20 years at this effort (boy, I hope it doesn't take that long to figure out)
  • went thru district stats
- premier partner is City of Seattle and puts $34M into district and now the Pre-K with $14M

(Editor's note: not sure the City feels the same way.  There may be reps from offices of council members/Mayor but not a single City Council member is here nor is the Mayor.  I'm not sure what to make of what the Superintendent says versus who is here to support the district.)

Goals
- excellence and equity 
- system wide supports
- family and community engagement

SBAC is "harder" test because of higher standards for college and career (he said the old one was just 10th grade level.)  Didn't see a big drop and he called the drop "slight."  We outperformed the state even more than in past years. 8% in reading and 10% in math, outperformed state.

Special Ed got called out by Office of Education. Thanked Sped Department and educators "lots of heavy lifting" all 40 requirements met and not on high-risk lists. He says there are good teachers (filled 97% of Sped teacher slots) in front of "all our students."

Talked about new district website without mentioning that they had to do that thru a protracted argument with the vendor.

Thanked the Seattle Legislative delegation for support and money to reopen two new schools.

Trying to improve customer service and answer "typical questions" at website.

Bell Times was mentioned as year-long process.  Said when "we talk to one part of the community, we can sometimes create anxiety for other communities."

John Hopkins Award for family engagement

Thanked PTAs and noted SCPTA President in attendance.  Partnering with schools for a "backpack weekend" for food for needy students.

"Challenges = Opportunities"

Highlighted good things but got to opportunity gap for low-income students as well as students of color.  (He, like everyone else, is "passionate" about this issue.  This seems to be some key word to use.)

Also talked about disproportionate discipline.  Using RULER in elementary schools to help students with emotions.  Talked about ending elementary suspensions.

Talked about not being in the "in crowd" at Roosevelt and how he visited Ballard and finding name tags on desks and Linked Crew work (older kids mentoring younger students.)

Part of closing gap is two-fold; academics and relationships.  (No argument there but I would love to see more resources in the form of counselors and intervention specialists.)

Says they spend 6% on adm which is lower than region at 7%.

Goal 2 - Bell times, ELL, Office of Civil Rights, Technology and levies.  (He didn't mention that the district was forced by OSPI to provide ELL services in all schools.)  Who knew? Charles Wright was leading the Office of Civil Rights work.

He said the Operations levy was about "maintenance and operations" which is pretty much a lie unless you count emergency maintenance.

"We can't do everything."

Goal 2 - School Supports and Systems -  a laundry list of items under Instruction, Capacity, Systems (did include two-tier busing on Systems.)  Says he meets with people weekly that say "if we just had a $1M ..."

Was frank about not fulfilling promises made to Advanced Learning, IB, International schools but no specifics.

Hoping for State Legislature to fulfill McCleary.

Goal 3 - Families and Community Engagement

Frank about communications issues around bell times and student assignment plan - letting parents know and making parents more of decision-making process (some applause). He said they were issues of "perceptions."

Mentioned RBHS principal Dwane Chappelle and his work (and him leaving.)

Talked about Seattle University and their efforts at Central Area schools.

Showed a video about this work, stressing the high poverty of the area these schools are in.  Featured  one of my favorite principals, Greg Imel, at Bailey-Gatzert (he was principal at Whittier when my kids were there.)

(Editor's note; man, this thing is running long.  We're at 2 pm and still have one more speech and a poem.)

Kent Koth about "Our Kids" book by Putnam about how American kids may not get to equality in U.S. If you are low-income, that fact gets stacked against you from start of life.  "While schools are important, they can't do it alone."

He mentioned that Principal Imel, when he came to B-G in 2009, ended ALL suspensions in the school.  Koth called Imel "ahead of his time."  Talked about extended learning program with full-time Seattle U person at B-G.

Leija Farr talked about race and equity and being an African-American female and the struggle for African-American males.  Her poem was on this theme and to keep hanging on.  It was a lovely poem about boys who have feelings.  She was frank about them maybe not getting what they need from their moms.

She received a standing ovation.  

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but what they're saying about improvement to special education - it's shameless. They are completely shameless. They keep themselves as far away as possible from their customer base, teachers and families, they mislead the public that bunch of paper fixes downtown mean a brand new day for students with disabilities in the system, and they falsely claim that there are no staffing shortages. It's just too bad there is no organized way to hold these people accountable.

Freeme

Anonymous said...

" Special Ed got called out by Office of Education. Thanked Sped Department and educators "lots of heavy lifting" all 40 requirements met and not on high-risk lists. He says there are good teachers (filled 97% of Sped teacher slots) in front of "all our students."

There's no proof of any improvements. SPS failed the recent NW region SPED audit conducted by OSPI., so whatever Nyland say's is meaningless.
So, Nyland is basically doing the same disservice he performed for the Marysville School District.

I don't understand why parents of special educational students don't band together and fight? I guess people think lunch and recess is more important than the special educational issues.

I'm voting for school vouchers, wait I'm going to start a school voucher initiative.

I will be contacting Tim Eyman next week and get the ball rolling.

SPED Parent

Anonymous said...

SPED Parent, how did SPS fail the NW region SPED audit conducted by OSPI. How will Michael Tolley and Wyeth Jessee spin that? Oh, right, I forgot, there is no organized parent community that they're accountable to, so they can say anything they want.

Freeme

GarfieldMom said...

SPED community: get the word out NOW to media refuting what he said. Draft a statement, use the contact info on the Soup for Teachers Facebook page, and alert them. Tweet at the media who were in attendance, reporters are very tuned in to their Twitter accounts.

mirmac1 said...

I'm glad Murray's not there. Last year at the Alliance soire, Murray made a very aggressive and snotty speech after Nyland's, hinting at governance changes, more "embedded" craps or similar (a year's gone by and I don't remember the points exactly but the tone was CLEAR).

Anonymous said...

SPED Parent,

You do know the voucher system is flawed? It's flawed in that parents have to sign away there rights under IDEA for only $5k. If your going to actually try and create a Washington state voucher system, then you need to increase the dollar amount to $15K which is still less that the average SPS SPED bld location of $16K. I don't think WA law will allow a voucher system for just one LED, but I'm not a legal expert.

If you're serious and actually want to do this, then I will support the effort. If nothing else it will most certainly get a lots of attention.

PBJ

Anonymous said...

"While schools are important, they can't do it alone." Cue Ed Reformers Spit Take - Sppppttttttt!

Oh, but yes they can(!) say all the Ed Reformers! In fact, it all depends upon Teacher Quality as measured by Standardized Test Scores! Have we forgotten that trend all of the sudden, pushed by LEV's Korsmo, the NCTQ, Michelle Rhee, Students First, New Teacher Project, Teach for America, et al. It's the unions, Larry! The UNIONS!

What are you saying, Larry? That poor kids can't learn? Well, that's what Ed Reformers hear, regardless of what you actually say, then say we need to fire teachers, replace them with TFA, etc. Larry, Larry, Larry....You're not playing ball here! You're ruining everything Larry! If we can't blame poor kids and teachers for their academic struggles, we'll have to take on the Tax Code, foreign trade and the Banks! We can't go there, Larry! We just can't!

BTW, how much money did we raise for our pet cause today? Good. Now mail that 5% to the charity while I order my new tablet and leather chair. Said somewhere at an Ed Reform org recently.

WSDWG

Anonymous said...

As a Spec Ed Parent, i can say we are very busy managing the very complicated needs of our spec ed kids, but we are fighting. (Although, there are quite a few who use their money to move rather than pay for lawyers, and the district knows it.) I would like to know where I can find out more about this supposed list of "all 40 requirements met and not on high-risk lists." I am quite sure I could pull it apart. They cannot possibly say they have fixed Sped Ed, and if someone believes them I would like to talk with them. I am so furious with this district!

Anonymous said...

As a Spec Ed Parent, i can say we are very busy managing the very complicated needs of our spec ed kids, but we are fighting. (Although, there are quite a few who use their money to move rather than pay for lawyers, and the district knows it.) I would like to know where I can find out more about this supposed list of "all 40 requirements met and not on high-risk lists." I am quite sure I could pull it apart. They cannot possibly say they have fixed Sped Ed, and if someone believes them I would like to talk with them. I am so furious with this district!

reposting

kat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kat said...

Dwane Chappelle. Though Dave Chappelle would make an awesome principal.

Wondering said...

Did Queen Anne parents protest the principal's forced resignation?

Anonymous said...

Anyone can request a full RC-CAP report from OSPI.

(360) 725-6075

Also, keep an eye on the special ed blogs popping up.

SPED Parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

Sped Parents, I believe there could be momentum for rising up and you would not be alone. I won't say more but I will contact Sped PTA. When I heard the Superintendent saying the info on the Sped program, I was somewhat surprised. I believe the district probably did all the things on the OSPI checklist but as far as the classroom? I don't believe him.

The QAE parents were there in smaller numbers (and it was the middle of the day downtown so who could blame them) but they sat quietly.

Kat, ha! I was blogging on the fly and look what happened.

Anonymous said...

Who cares about the RC-CAP, SPED Parent. I don't mean to diss you at all but that was a very flawed accountability framework. Accountability for making sure that paperwork is in order? Really? It was really inexcusable of Doug Gill OSPI, who should have taken the concerns and objectives of parents and teachers into account and didn't/wouldn't.

Another sped parent

Anonymous said...

Hey, why are you so irate? I was just answering a question.

You don't have to let me anything about SPED, RC-CAP, MOU I'm very well versed in all matters related to SPED. Trust me ;)

SPED Parent

Anonymous said...

As a special education teacher in Seattle, I have no idea what is fixed. Whatever Olympia and the District worked out/changed, does not seem to have a wit to do with educating kids. Paperwork. How would Nyland know about "good teachers." Special ed teacher evaluations are based on what? How many programs still without teachers? That's a crime. Hope it's not my kids class or your kids class.

Yes, there used to be a real, actual and functional Advisory Council called SEAAC, including administrators, parents and educators and community. Does it even exist today? Monthly meetings are now bi-monthly (this year 5 times total) or less. Last year, they were secret. Who are the members? Are they different from last year? Are there meeting minutes......Is the public invited? Must be a secret.

Don't get me started

Anonymous said...

This just arrived in my inbox...

(SW Mom)


Student Assignment Plan Community Meetings

The board action for the Student Assignment Plan, originally scheduled on Nov. 4, 2015, has been postponed until Nov. 18 in order to allow for additional understanding and feedback from our stakeholders and families.

Three community meetings have been scheduled to present information and gather feedback:

Nov. 10, 2015
6:30 until 8 p.m.
Ingraham High School Library
1819 N 135th St Seattle, WA 98133

Nov. 12, 2015
6:30 until 8 p.m.
Washington Middle School Library
2101 S Jackson St Seattle, WA 98144

Nov. 16, 2015
6:30 until 8 p.m.
Rainier Beach High School Library
8815 Seward Park Ave S Seattle, WA 98118

A copy of the Student Assignment Plan with the proposed changes, an FAQ and additional information can be found on the district website under Enrollment Planning. Comments and questions may be emailed to enrollmentplanning@seattleschools.org.

Anonymous said...

Don't get me started,

You need to contact Jill Geary the new expert special education Seattle school board member.

She has promised to fix special education for "real". That's why she ran for office. She has years of experience and knows the law inside and out.

So, call her today and she will work on your issue. Don't worry she's really going to fix SPED

Go Jill

Jan said...

I am betting that Sharon Peaslee is employed by the City before the year is out.

Bubba said...

Where did you hear that NW Region "failed" OSPI review?

Program Pathways said...

Student Assignment Plan Community Meetings are being scheduled, but there is NO mention of program placement and pathways:

The board action for the Student Assignment Plan, originally scheduled on Nov. 4, 2015, has been postponed until Nov. 18 in order to allow for additional understanding and feedback from our stakeholders and families.

Three community meetings have been scheduled to present information and gather feedback:

Nov. 10, 2015
6:30 until 8 p.m.
Ingraham High School Library
1819 N 135th St Seattle, WA 98133

Nov. 12, 2015
6:30 until 8 p.m.
Washington Middle School Library
2101 S Jackson St Seattle, WA 98144

Nov. 16, 2015
6:30 until 8 p.m.
Rainier Beach High School Library
8815 Seward Park Ave S Seattle, WA 98118

A copy of the Student Assignment Plan with the proposed changes, an FAQ and additional information can be found on the district website under Enrollment Planning. Comments and questions may be emailed to enrollmentplanning@seattleschools.org.

mirmac1 said...

Nyland announces at the evening SOTD speech that he "just got a letter today" that SPS is now at Level 2 with respect to sped. He said they fix the nobrainer crap like getting paperwork done on time, train downtown mgrs (if they don't know their job WTH...?) etc. Guess NOW they will start actually helping students and teachers. We'll see. RCCAP was just a fig leaf for Doug Gill. If he doesn't want to regulate SPS then he must go.

Ballardite said...

There was a report of a gun at Ballard High, today. While students were in lock-down, and police/SWAT team were in the school, Nyland was at City Hall. What is wrong with this picture?

Anonymous said...

In the email sent by the district today regarding upcoming assignment plan meetings, the link to the new student assignment plan also provides an FAQ that states:

FAQ:
What are the changes to the Student Assignment Plan?

There are only two proposed policy changes:

-Waitlists will now be dissolved on May 31, instead of September 30.
-The distance tiebreaker has been removed, in keeping with the Student Assignment Plan that was approved in 2009

Yet, there's also a link to the presentation that's apparently been used by SMS staff during the "growth boundary" meetings that says that the new plan addresses:

-Tiebreakers standardized among attendance area (AA) schools
Eliminates distance tiebreaker
-Student Assignment Plan document streamlined
Specifics around programs and services maintained by respective offices (Advanced
Learning, ELL, Transportation, etc.)
–Waitlists dissolved prior to start of school

So, the district now insists that the ONLY changes being proposed (and they reiterate this multiple times in the FAQ) are related to tiebreakers and waitlists. If so, why the second bullet point above in all their presentations, and why the massive redlining in the current proposal (below) that affect FAR more than tiebreakers and waitlists?

Today's letter and all the language on the page it links to are blatant CYA by the district staff after having been caught trying to slip through major changes with no notice or parent involvement. Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but it seems like for all the district insistence that the only proposed changes are related to tiebreakers and waitlists, the other redlined changes related to student assignment, program pathways, grandfathering, etc. are all still in the final version that will go to a vote on 11/18!?

REDLINED VERSION:
http://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/School%20Board/15-16agendas/110415agenda/20151104_Action_Report_Student_Assign_Plan_Packet.pdf

FINAL VERSION:
http://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/Enrollment%20Planning/Student%20Assignment%20Plan/Proposed_Student-Assignment-Plan_Revisions.pdf

-Seattle parent

Anonymous said...

The new messaging and FAQs re: the proposed SAP do nothing to provide "additional understanding." Those of us who wrote in about the problems with the draft plan already understand the issues. True, removing pathway information from the document does not, in and of itself, eliminate pathways. We get that. But it opens the door for them to change or eliminate them at will, without requiring public engagement or Board approval. We get that, too--and that's why there's such concern. That they can't seem to understand why this is a problem is disturbing. It appears that the folks down at JSCEE are the ones who need some "additional understanding" on the issue. Hopefully parents can clue them in at these upcoming meetings.

HF

Anonymous said...

I just emailed them this, CCing the Board:

Hi --

My two questions:

1) Does the removal of the pathways for the Highly Capable Cohort from Board policy mean that changes to the HCC pathways will no longer be required to go through Board vote?

2) If so, can you address that in the FAQ? This was mentioned as a concern by families over and over again at the 11/4 School Board meeting, so I'm surprised to not see it mentioned in the updated FAQ today.

--JvA

Anonymous said...

New Student Assignment Plan (2009):

“Grandfathering”
Implementation of this plan will begin with entry grade students. During the transition period, current students will remain assigned (will be “grandfathered”) to their current school through the highest grade at the school without having to reapply, even if they live outside of the new attendance boundary for that school, as long as the services the student needs are available at that school.

Proposed Student Assignment Plan (October, 21, 2015):

Grandfathered Assignments
Enrollment growth and levy-funded construction occasionally result in a need to adjust school attendance area boundaries. As growth boundary changes are implemented, students and their families may elect to stay at their current school, through a grandfathered assignment, if available. All students enrolled with a grandfathered assignment who stay at the school are continued (grandfathered) at that school through the highest grade served by the school, as long as the school offers the services the student needs; no application is required.

"IF AVAILABLE" is a change to the grandfathering policy.

Why they don't acknowledge this as a change is beyond me.

-North-end Mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

North-end, they say "if available" has always been the defacto policy and they just added the actual words. Oh.

mirmac1 said...

I'm pleased to report that the district is close to agreeing with the SpEd PTSA that the Transportation Standards, as revised, violate IDEA. As I expressed to the Asst Supt of Operations, to ask the board or superintendent to pass policy or procedure that portends to override IEP Team decisions re: transportation as a related service is: a) illegal; and b) places the supt and board in jeopardy to go on record as overriding IEP team decisions.

We pointed out that our students' assignments are not equitable, and staff's arguments that we're no different than anyone else when it comes to choice because we're "gen ed students first" just like everybody else, are ridiculous. Every body else has access to choice, HCC, IE, alternative schools or their neighborhood school whereas ours do not. Our kids (that are not in RR) are assigned manually by downtown staff to put maximal butts in seats (optimize capacity while minimizing overages) wherever there's space (i.e. empty buildings like OVA), irrespective of whether the assignment is suitable, reasonable, or one that provides equitable access.

Historian said...

Sharon Peaslee ran for office because the principal at her child's school was fired. She and McLaren have become cheerleaders for their beloved Larry Nyand. Now, we see the district trash a well loved and highly regarded visionary principal.

Nyland was the guy that threatened to destroy the lives of teachers, not by firing them, but by threatening to remove their teaching certificates. Nyland's desire to file an injunction against the teachers, and the support of Peaslee, McLaren, Carr, Blanford and Harium Martin Morris will be part of their legacy.

Anonymous said...

@Melissa

Well, it wasn't the defacto policy back when the NSAP was implemented in 2010 (there were boundary changes then, too), or when Sand Point, McDonald, Viewlands and Rainier View opened.

Whether or not to grandfather students seemed to begin to come in question with Growth Boundaries in 2013, and of course, with the geo-split for JAMS.

Most parents assume there will be grandfathering, since it was an important part of the NSAP. There are going to be a lot of families caught off guard if their kids are re-assigned, particularly in the far north end in 2017. There are huge swaths of boundary changes planned. There needs to be intense outreach to individual schools.

-North-end Mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

NE Mom, I didn't say it was - I'm saying this is what I was told about the issue of inserting "if available" in the Grandfathering by staff.

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

Anonymous said...

King duncan - what are you talking about? I must be missing something.

Frozen

Anonymous said...

@ Melissa

Yes, I understand. It just seems bizarre that this is the staff party line, when the NSAP says otherwise. There seems to be no institutional memory whatsoever.

-North-end Mom