Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Today's Work Session

I had planned to go to the Work Session today.  As you may recall, it was to include Advanced Learning but that got pulled. 

The line-up of topics includes the Families & Education Levy which is the their first topic.  Their presentation's page 8 is an interesting pie chart showing the different areas of education they fund and how much. 

Early Learning and School Readiness  $7.7M  27%
Elementary Academic Achievement  $6.4M  22%
Middle School Academic Achievement  $5.9M  21%
High School Academic Achievement  $2.6M  9%
Student Health  $6.3M  22%

I'd have to ask about the Early Learning and School Readiness portion and how much includes pre-K.  Early Learning is generally defined at pre-K to 2nd or 3rd.  I raise the issue because the City now has its own Pre-K levy so it would be good to know how that spending breaks out because of the new levy.

This is certainly important:

Last summer, DEEL funded 12 summer programs serving more than 1,000 elementary and middle school students across18 sites. 

I don't know how many parents/citizens know that if the City wasn't funding summer school, there wouldn't be any.  I wish there were more dollars for high school summer school for students who either need to catch up or want to get a requirement out of the way so they can take an elective during the school year.

But I didn't know about this:

Growth mindset training for staff at the elementary, middle and high school levels, helping teachers help students to develop key 21stcentury learning skills, including persistence, effort & self-

I'd love to see the documentation on what this looks like because that's a large and overarching kind of training for every single teacher in our district.

This was also important to see in Next Steps:

New SPS/DEEL partnership process

We've seen from the City's Pre-K process that they have some interesting ideas about what "partnership" looks like.  As well, I have been hearing about the Mayor's remarks during a race and equity discussion.  He sure sounds like a guy getting ready to take over the district.  There are plenty of things the city could address on race and equity - from the city side - without getting directly involved in running the district.

Then there's the next portion of the Work Session.  The presentation is labelled:

Building a Shared Understanding of Policy and Superintendent Procedure 2200:Equitable Access to Programs & Services

but the agenda calls it:

Program Changes - Process, Communication, and Decision- Making 

This should be a Work Session all by itself because the presentation is very long and very involved. I have to wonder how directors will work in their own questions.  I mean no disrespect - truly - but I find the presentation to be somewhat incoherent.  For example, for Highly Capable, they only list APP schools with no mention of Spectrum BUT, just a couple of slides later, it's mentioned in passing with other programs that they lump together. 

I just don't know if it's worth it to go down there and sit thru it all.

The last part of the Work Session is, once again, on Special Education.

- By October 31, 2016, implement successfully 100% of the Special Education Memorandum of Understanding with OSPI requirements, including the recovery of IDEA Part B funding withheld.
- the state is due to give back $3M withheld and this presentation reports that the NW and SW regions had their scheduled visits and received $500K each from that sum.
- Slide 9 on principal feedback is heartening.


I consistently hear from Sped parents that they are not seeing these changes for their own students.  There is virtually nothing in the presentation about how the end-users - the parents - feel about all this activity.


Charlie Mas said...

Here's the thing about program placement. It doesn't matter if the element that is changing is determined to be a school, a service, a program, a curricular focus, a classroom, or whatever. If the decision means that kids who were going to school in one place start going to school in another place, and the decision was made at the District level, it is program placement.

The procedure may make distinctions between schools, services, and programs, but the policy does not.

Anonymous said...

The thing about OSPI. 100% of the MOU - is about SPS doing all the paperwork so that the district is liable for nothing at all. So that OSPI doesn't get in trouble for its perennial position of doing nothing at all. OSPI seeks to do nothing - but to ensure that the district promises nothing. EG. IEPs are supposed to basically have nothing in them nowadays. No minutes, no programs type, no school choice, no ratios of service - basically nothing that would ever get anybody in trouble. That way, if there's a ever complaint, OSPI can say - "Yup. You were promised nothing in your IEP and you got it. We aren't giving out Cadillacs you know. You get a floor of opportunity. And on the floor you will stay."


Charlie Mas said...

Here's what the policy says:
"This policy addresses actions to make changes to existing programs or services, the development of new programs or services, the replication of existing programs or services, as well as the closing and/or relocation of existing programs or services throughout the district, to the extent that those programs or services have an impact on budgets, hiring or placement of staff, or on space within a building."

Since the EEU decision, the InterAgency decision, and the Middle College decision all had impacts on budget, placement of staff, and space within a building, they should all have been reported.