Friday, May 13, 2016

Friday Open Thread

Sanislo Elementary is holding their 2nd Annual Garage Sale this Saturday from 10:00 am-2:00pm in front of the school (1812 SW Myrtle, Seattle Wa 98106). 

If you have any items you would like to donate please drop them off that morning or contact me so I can schedule a time to pick up. You can also hold your own sale along side our sale if you would like!  David Flores  Cell- 5035508684 Call or Text

The PTA is working hard at trying to raise funds for after school programs for next year. If you have not already heard the bell times will be changing dramatically. This years start time is 9:30 and ends at 3:40. Next years start time is 7:55 and ending at 2:05. We realize that this might become a inconvenience for some parents so hopefully with fundraisers like this we will be able to provide after school programs with little to no cost! 
Thanks for your support.
No board director community meetings tomorrow.

Seattle Schools Communications lost its head, Jacque Coe, and now spokesperson Stacy Howard is leaving.  I wonder who I get to talk to now.


So the Mayor says we are having a homeless crisis, need more cops and get free space for its pre-K programs in SPS buildings (plus the program uses building resources without paying) and yet they spent over $850K for the opening of the the two new light rail stations.  Oh.

From the New York Times:
The Obama administration is planning to issue a sweeping directive telling every public school district in the country to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity.
A letter to school districts will go out Friday, adding to a highly charged debate over transgender rights in the middle of the administration’s legal fight with North Carolina over the issue. The declaration — signed by Justice and Education department officials — will describe what schools should do to ensure that none of their students are discriminated against.

It does not have the force of law, but it contains an implicit threat: Schools that do not abide by the Obama administration’s interpretation of the law could face lawsuits or a loss of federal aid.
I'll ask SPS for a statement today.

I attended the Audit&Finance committee meeting yesterday and it was a bit of a sober affair.  HR head Dr. Clover Codd carefully walked the committee thru the payment to subs for an item that had been negotiated in the CBA but then done via a settlement signed off by only one person at SPS. 

The members of the committee - Chair Sue Peters and Directors Blanford and Harris - all voted for an investigation by the Board into how this happened.  There were several steps that should have happened that didn't before these payments were to be made.  The most important one would have been the sign-off by the Board.

The alarm was raised only AFTER payments of nearly $600K had gone out.  (The committee was told that to get the money back would take individual lawsuits against each teacher.  Not going to happen.  But, the final $105,000 payment has now been frozen.)

Superintendent Nyland was in agreement on the investigation.  It was stated that hard drives have been frozen and employees instructed to aid in the investigation.

What's on your mind?

69 comments:

Anonymous said...

Quick question: How do students who move to Seattle for high school typically make up their WA State History requirement? Does it have to be a full semester-long class, or are there other options (even online options?) for getting credit?

Incoming

Anonymous said...

Incoming - this is what the WA WAC says - looks like you can use "alternative learning" with Principal's permission to cover it but I'd get that confirmed by whatever school your student ends up at

The study of the United States and Washington state Constitutions shall not be waived, but may be fulfilled through an alternative learning experience approved by the local school principal under written district policy.
(C) Secondary school students who have completed and passed a state history and government course of study in another state may have the Washington state history and government requirement waived by their principal. The study of the United States and Washington state Constitutions required under RCW 28A.230.170 shall not be waived, but may be fulfilled through an alternative learning experience approved by the school principal under a written district policy.
(D) After completion of the tenth grade and prior to commencement of the eleventh grade, eleventh and twelfth grade students who transfer from another state, and who have or will have earned two credits in social studies at graduation, may have the Washington state history requirement waived by their principal if without such a waiver they will not be able to graduate with their class.


reader47

mirmac1 said...

I would love to know more about the details of the settlement. Have you seen a copy? I think there could potentially be a huge settlement to IAs for the stipends owed when they cover for a missing teacher. I'm surprised there hasn't been a grievance filed.

Charlie Mas said...

@mirmac, the settlement was to pay TRI to long-term subs. A long-term sub is one who works for 90 days in a single assignment.

I'm sure Superintendent Nyland doesn't think this contract thing is a very big deal. After all, he did the same - signed a contract for more than $250,000 without board approval - and dismissed it as an innocent oversight because he didn't know the rule.

Then again, Superintendent Nyland isn't very consistent when it comes to accountability. When some teachers break the rules on a field trip and a rape is reported there's no consequences at all, but another teacher is fired for similar violations. So he may be the kind of guy who determines that it's no big deal when he breaks the rule but a very big deal when someone else breaks it.

mirmac1 said...

If it was already in the contract, just wasn't paid, then it is not "new" or additive money. I expect the Garfield teacher's back pay would not be something the board approves either. I may be wrong on that. It is merely fulfilling a contract obligation that the district tried to avoid, like it tries to avoid many other obligations. Now if the district was buying every long-term sub a new TV, THAT would be a change and require approval. I'm too lazy to read the CBA so ignore me if I'm all wet.

Lynn said...

mirmac1 - there's a copy attached to the agenda for yesterday's A&F committee meeting.

Lynn said...

The SEA Executive Director is quoted in the Seattle Times saying "No one disputes that this is the right thing to do and everybody is fine going forward."

Until the district is legally required to make these payments, I will dispute that this was the right thing to do. The CBA doesn't address payments for prior years. This was a gift of public funds.

Melissa Westbrook said...

What the settlement says (in part):

The purpose of this Settlement Agreement is to mutually agree to resolve a grievance timely filed by the Union on June 11, 2014 claiming that the District violated Article 5 of the 2015-2018 certificated collective bargaining agreement between The Parties when it failed to award leave replacement contracts to certificated substitute teachers who had been in a single assignment for greater than a 90-day period where no unusual circumstance existed. The District, while conceding no contract violation, seeks to resolve this dispute as well and proposes the below language to resolve the grievance."

The agreement is signed for by Geoff Miller, Director of Labor and Employee Relations, SPS and John Donaghy, Executive Director for SEA.

Charlie Mas said...

It is reported in the comments on another thread that the principal at Stevens has resigned. Does anyone else have news of this?

Anonymous said...

The SEA Executive Director is quoted in the Seattle Times saying "No one disputes that this is the right thing to do and everybody is fine going forward."

Because you know this district. Always lookin' to do the right thing!

Chuckles

Anonymous said...

just fyi - Sound Transit is a completely separate governmental entity from the City of Seattle. Its revenues can't be used for things like homelessness, police officers or pre-k. I'm not saying I agree with their decision to spend so much money on the opening of the stations - but I'm not sure why you're blaming the Mayor or implying that Sound Transit revenues could be used to pay for city expenses like police and human services.

Jane

Maureen said...

Excellent article in the South Seattle Emerald about sustainably funding IB programs in Seattle. Thanks to Tammy Morales for addressing this issue!

Anonymous said...

1) King 5 is reporting WEA is going back to court to challenge the charter law again. As well, Inslee has written a letter to the Attorney General saying he is "deeply concerned" about oversight of charters not being public enough. I continue to find Inslee very weak on this issue (letting the legislative "fix" for charters stand, now "walking back" his support in a letter.) His actions to both sides are slippery in my book. I would respect him a lot more if he picked a side and defended it, even if I didn't agree. Coupled with his complete abrogation of leadership on an education funding fix, I find myself wishing I had a different Gov. candidate on the Nov. ballot. For sure no $$$ donation from this household which has generously supported Dems in the past.

2) The Labor and Relations/SEA settlement is a curious story. It was covered by KUOW this a.m. and there is also a story in The Seattle Times. From what has been reported thus far, it appears that Donaghy (SEA) and Miller (SPS) were acting in good faith to settle a grievance that both sides had indeed agreed to resolve. There is no one higher on the food chain on the SEA side to "approve" a final $$$ amount in such a situation. There are a number of higher-ups within SPS who probably should have signed off on the final amount operationally, and then on the political + governance side, yes, the Supe and Board should have been notified. It is noted in all stories and in the Board agenda item from this week that Miller is out at SPS. But I noted the separation is official as of Sept. So, he is gone now and paid through Sept? That would indicate that internally, too, the organization is not saying this is fully or even majority (or at all?) the fault of a "rogue" negotiator. It indicates, to me at least, that SPS knows this is a cluster)@(#(@*# and that it is going to look bad, so out goes Miller. But....really....the larger question is who gave him his marching orders to negotiate the settlement; who did not pass the information up the food chain; why is payroll and accounting processing large backpayments, without a doublecheck on approvals? This is all supposed to be simple stuff (for most professional organizations running workflow software and with strong internal communications.) I am being long-winded. The net is what bothers me about the story is not at all Miller's actions. It's the worry, as always, that highly paid downtown administrators aren't providing the oversight they assure the public they have handled. And that HR/Accounting/Legal Counsel/Technology all continue to be deep and wide black holes, as they have been for years. Probably a decade at least. In short, the worry from this story for me is that processes I had assumed were fixed, or at least substantially better, following Silas Potter ---- and the subsequent emphasis on internal auditing, not to mention the turnover of heads of HR and legal counsel and technology -- may in fact be a mess. That really, really bothers me.

EdVoter

Old Timer said...

I'm absolutely confident that we have a board that will investigate and will follow-thru.

Years ago, we had an incident and a board member told staff to "handle the isse" and never followed-up.

Lynn said...

From the South Seattle Emerald:

The program could be rolled into the advanced learning program, a $4 million program that is based on excluding some students. Instead, it could shift the focus to all students and focus on college readiness and inclusion by embracing the inclusive IB program.

Sigh

I still don't get why we assume IB is worth $250,000 more per year than AP classes. RBHS could just as easily require every junior to take AP English - without hiring extra staff.

NO 1240 said...

EdVoter,

Inslee is spineless. Years ago, the legislature was trying to pass a charter law. Gregoire stood-up and told Rodney Tom et. al that she would not sign a charter bill. Inslee should have done the same.

The charter folks put on quite a show. I've seen documents between Strategies 360 and the Mary Walker School District. Messaging was aimed at making individuals feel guilty.

An entire legislative session was spent on watching kids get bussed to Olympia and passing a law that is likely unconstitutional. The privatizers will be back in Olympia next session- I am sure.

Anonymous said...

Hale has a gender neutral bathroom too now!

I agree to a point Lynn, on the IB vs AP. I would rather have both be available. They each have pluses and minuses. Hale has required AP classes for Juniors and Seniors in language arts.

I think IB suits some kids better than others but I think by RBHS having IB for all, it sets up a certain mindset in the students. I don't see the AP classes for all doing that.

HP

Eric B said...

Lynn, because IB is more than a class and a test. Or even a few classes and a few tests. AP even figured that out--they have a competitor certificate coming out in the near future.

Lynn said...

Eric B - I've seen that new AP program. It looks really interesting. I wonder if it will be more or less expensive than IB?

Every student at RBHS is only required to take one IB class - correct? So for most students, IB is just one class and they may or may not take the exam. Do you think teachers can't provide the same quality of instruction without the IB curriculum?

If IB is truly superior to AP, the district should provide it in every school. If it's not, why would the funding for the program come before many other unfulfilled needs?

Anonymous said...

IB and AP also take away power and respect from the teaching profession. If people who are not teachers and not even from this state or country can set your standards...and charge you a lot of money for it then why would anyone respect a regular class without the brand name? This may seem like a fix but it undermines the profession and increases the corporatization of our schools.

Keep it local and rigorous.

pm said...

Editorial that points out that even affluent students are not prepared for college and attributes this to opting out of Common Core:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/10/opinion/guess-whos-taking-remedial-classes.html?_r=0

Lynn said...

The Washington Post has this article on school choice and academic success: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/education/wp/2016/05/11/the-problem-that-school-choice-has-not-solved/

Anonymous said...

But wait, CCSS were just recently adopted. How can opting out of Common Core be considered part of the reason students take remedial math in college? The study looked at students who entered college in 2011.

huh?

Anonymous said...

Finally !!!!!!

10th Circuit Rules that District Courts Cannot Delegate the Responsibility to Remedy an IDEA Violation to the IEP Team.

SPED Parent

Anonymous said...

Not seen in the Times:

Posted: Thu May 5, 2016

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/05/public-school-walks-ins-protest-charter-takeover-testing

In nearly 75 cities across the country, students, parents, and teachers marched at their public schools on Wednesday, protesting inadequate funding and charter school takeover, issues that especially affect black and Latino students in urban areas. (more)

-McClureWatcher

Melissa Westbrook said...

Ed Voter, you said this:

"There is no one higher on the food chain on the SEA side to "approve" a final $$$ amount in such a situation."

Yes, there is and a roomful of people all agreed on that yesterday. Why do you believe that Mr. Miller had sole ability to spend district money?

Further, I have info from a very solid source that this settlement was never agreed to in the CBA.

What I am told is that the SEA wanted this money for subs for school years 2012-2013, 2013-2014, 2014-2015. The district and SEA went to arbitration and the judge ruled for the district. What the district did agreed to was that going forward (I believe starting from 2015-2016) is that the district would pay for TRI for subs working more than 90 days at a school.

And that Mr. Miller and Mr. Donaghy (the SEA rep) used to work together at another union, the SEIU.

I have no idea what this all means but there is not just smoke - there's fire.

Maureen said...

Lynn, am I correct in thinking that your kid(s) aren't in HS yet? I have had one go through RHS with a full AP load and one through IHS as a Diploma candidate.

AP works fine for a well supported kid with very focused interests and a willingness to follow a very prescribed forced feeding of content and then regurgitate it on command. (That sounds bad, but it actually works as an educational strategy for some kids and may be superior to IB for kids who are single subject gifted.)

There is no comparing AP to IB for a kid who learns by synthesizing information and thoughtfully expressing what they have learned by speaking and writing. And for kids who want to bring what they are doing in school out into the world and apply it. And for the kid who is really interested in thinking about how we learn and how we combine all of the different things we know to create a world view.

AP teaches content. IB teaches a way of looking at learning and your place in the world and values synthesis and expression.

I don't think my older one would have signed on to IB because he wouldn't have liked the "extra" work involved and he was well supported enough at home that he could plow through the content and developed enough of the "meta" world view thing just through life experience. I don't think IB should necessarily be placed in every High School, not because it is expensive, but because I think it is a different way of learning that doesn't suit every kid equally. (I think every HS should be an option school-not a neighborhood school).

I think the formal structure of the curriculum and the deliberate way IB focuses on synthesizing knowledge and a world view is especially suited to a school like Rainier Beach because those kids, disproportionately, don't have the supports at home to get the full value out of AP classes and benefit disproportionately from spending time explicitly thinking and talking about how we think and learn and being taught very explicitly about ways to express themselves in speech and writing. They also get acknowledgement of all of the value they add to their communities outside of school, even for things like taking care of their siblings and holding jobs, and are encouraged (required) to reflect on those things.

Taking one IB class, may not be any more valuable than taking one AP class (unless that class is "Theory of Knowledge.") But that doesn't mean providing a slate of AP classes at Rainier Beach would be just as valuable as providing the IB Diploma Program.

mirmac1 said...

Thanks for providing the background. Yes, an arbitrated agreement that is binding should go before the board. Otherwise, how would they know the C*&#)$ ups etc going on?!

Wonder what, if anything, this had to do with the odd switcheroo between Brent Jones and Clover Codd who, she'll readily admit, is on a way steep learning curve.

Anonymous said...

PM-- Read this article from Diane Ravich as well. I find the NY times article really hard to believe. In my own experience, friends kids opting out of common core were admitted to some of the best colleges in the country. One just completed his freshman year at an elite private college receiving multiple academic scholarships.

https://dianeravitch.net/2016/05/12/dont-believe-the-ny-times-editorial-about-remediation/
- Dana

Anonymous said...

Wonder if this has anything to do with the contract snafu/issues - as of the 3/31/2016 org chart, there are a number of vacant positions that "might" have caught this situation with sub pay early - Asst Supt of Business/Finance, Director of Accounting and Manager of Payroll. Not to mention there is a job announcement for Internal Auditor - those all seem like places a check/balance "might" have occured... but with SPS, who knows, eh?

reader47

mirmac1 said...

I doubt the internal auditor would have any culpability here. Unlike the Potter fiasco, the current (jr) internal auditor role is arms-length from shenanigans. independent from the influences of Asst Supts or Exec Dirs in the executive branch. They work under the Director of Internal Audit for the Board Office.

I do think that the Board needs to start planning for the next round of superintendent search. Middle managers, career climbers and gadflies are quick to move to the next raise and title. No great loss.

Lynn said...

Maureen,

I have one graduating this year with a bunch of AP credits. She would have found the writing required in IB difficult but would have enjoyed the courses.

If IB isn't for everyone (and I agree that this is true), kids should be able to choose between IB and AP schools. There's a district near WA DC that does this. A boundary is drawn around two high schools - one with IB and one with AP. Students choose between them. I expect not everybody gets what they want - but at least everyone has a chance. The district could fund IB and provide equivalent funding at the AP school.

Anonymous said...

They don't need to necessarily provide equivalent funding, just equitable options. If you can provide a similarly rigorous and comprehensive AP experience for cheaper, you don't "owe" that school more money to make it "fair."

HF

Anonymous said...

What Maureen said. I'm glad to see IB available and succeeding at Sealth and RBHS, in part because it's the opposite of what poor & minority kids are usually offered in this world (test prep and regurgitation.) I also personally think it's a lot more interesting to learn that way (thinking, synthesis, communicating) and is much more like what you'll encounter in college (& life) should you choose to go that route.

Chris S.

Maureen said...

Lynn, I agree that all SPS HS assignment should be by choice (though not in AP/IB pairs.) I have no idea how to do that in a fair (equitable) way.

I do not agree that RHS (for example) should receive extra funding just because they don't offer an IB diploma and Rainier Beach does. I'm sure you've seen the ubiquitous "equity vs. equality" graphic. How do you think this applies in this case?

Anonymous said...

@Charlie, yes, the Stevens principal resigned this week. She sent this letter of resignation to Stevens families on Tuesday:

Dear Stevens Elementary School Community
It is with mixed emotions that I am writing to inform you that I will be stepping
down from my role as principal at the end of the school year.
After 6 amazing years and careful consideration, I have decided it is the right
time for me.
I want you to know this was not an easy decision for me. We have a great staff,
supportive families, and the most brilliant, caring, and committed students.
As many of you know, I have had some health issues this year. I feel the need
to slow down a little and concentrate on other aspects of my life. While I am
sad to be leaving such a wonderful community, I am also very excited to move
forward on other chapters in my life and career.
As we wrap up the year, I am hopeful that you continue on the path we have
laid together. Together we have worked toward the mission of fostering a school
climate of compassion, academic excellence, problem solving, creativity and
cultural awareness. It inspires me to see the school, families and the community
working together for the social, emotional, physical, and intellectual
development of each student. This mission lives with you. Your relentless
commitment, drive and compassion for our students will ensure that our mission
of excellence continues on!
The formal search process for hiring a new principal will soon begin, and will
include an opportunity for Stevens staff and the community to provide input.
Stay tuned for additional details.
Thank you all for your kindness and support. I have appreciated that support
more than you can imagine. And thank you all for your continued commitment
and dedication to our school, staff and students.
With love and appreciation,
Kelley Archer, Principal

--A parent

Ann D said...

Stevens Elementary, after many years, is making advances with its BLT. However they seem to only be adhering to CBA agreement requirements and are ignoring board policies in membership and structure. The decision matrix is also questionable as it is unclear who developed this latest document and how it is in support of the BLT when parents are given a consultative role only and community members are excluded entirely from the table. That the PTA also has a place at the table is questionable as the PTA is not representative of all parents and caregivers and not all community members belong.

Take a look:

Stevens Elementary

Building Leadership Team & Decision Making Processes
http://stevenses.seattleschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=9951&pageId=9990162

Decision Making Matrix
http://stevenses.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_9867/File/News%20and%20Events/BLT%20Matrix.pdf

Stevens Speak - 4/25/2016 - page 2 about BLT
http://stevenses.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_9867/File/StevensSpeak/StevensSpeak04_25_16.pdf

BLT Survey
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PWRZ6HC

The board policies around BLTs can be found in the links under "Governance", F20.01 and F20.02
http://www.seattleschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=15289

The Seattle Education Association Collective Bargaining Agreement about BLTs (p 12)
http://www.seattlewea.org/static_content/CONTRACTS/2015-2018%20CERT%20FINAL%20CBA%20WEB.pdf

Anonymous said...

I have also sent one kid through AP classes, 12 of them, & one kid through IB diploma. I agree with Maureen.

AP is about learning facts, practicing, memorizing, to get the right answer. The humanities & social science classes are like survey courses in college & math is like Kumon. I am not suggesting that is bad, just different. My AP kid appreciated the skill building, but felt like very little learning or thinking happened and curiosity had no place at all.

The IB diploma was much more about thinking & learning. They learn to evaluate different ways to think through problems, compare different kinds of knowledge, investigate and wrestle with new information then present conclusions within different frames of reference. They do this in every subject.

My AP kid didn’t need to get the ‘how to think & learn’ part at school, but was annoyed that it seemed to have no value in school. For students who don’t get that at home, I think it is more valuable than the skill building that is emphasized in AP. I think that more diverse learners can benefit from IB than from AP because it respects the individual learner more. There are many choices about how to approach information, also built in opportunities to choose topics of study & design investigations. The responses are about 'what do you think, what choices did you make to design your analysis & what about you personally informed those choices'. IB is much more about building a learner, than about how much information you can digest. It has been very interesting.

-Tried Both

Lynn said...

So, IB is both an intervention for struggling students and a superior method of meeting the needs of some (but not all) advanced students.

The district's FARMS rate is 38%, Ingraham's is 28%, Chief Sealth's is 62% and RBHS's is 76%. If parents and staff at RBHS and Sealth think IB is an effective intervention for their students, I think the district should pay for it.

What is equitable when it comes to enhancements to the basic education program at low poverty schools? Should parents at Ingraham, McDonald and JSIS be allowed to pay for IB and language immersion IA's? Does the school's status as an attendance area vs option school make a difference? If they are allowed to do this, should parents at other schools be allowed to pay for math and reading specialists, recess supervisors, full time librarians,IA's etc?

I don't have the answers to these questions. I have opinions but would like hear what others think.

In an ideal world, we'd have enough money to provide for the basics at every school: librarians, books, social/emotional counselors, college and career counselors, musical instruments, nurses, two planning periods a day for every teacher, an IA in every primary classroom, and the money to pay for necessary interventions at high poverty schools. Every school in the state would receive that funding. We could then decide whether or not to collect local taxes so that every school could offer language immersion or IB or another enhanced academic program.

In our current situation, what is fair?

Finally, I'll note that the $600K HR just gifted to substitute teachers would have paid for IB at Sealth and RBHS for two years, keeping the programs afloat as we fight for the McCleary money.

Lynn said...

On a related note, why is it necessary for the teachers at Sanislo to hold a garage sale to provide after school care for their students?

If the mayor wants to help our schools, the city should be sending staff to every elementary and middle school to provide enrichment programs before or after school.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Lynn, PTAs already pay for staff at some schools. Some, like Ingraham, won't do that because of the difficulties of keeping that level of funding going year after year. Title One schools with ELL services get IAs that can be used for the dual language programs (that's how they have IAs without having to fundraise as non-Title One schools do.)

I think one of the worst statements ever to come out of JSCEE is Michael Tolley saying the district never intended to continue to pay for IB at RBHS and that schools have to do their own funding.

That is complete nonsense on a couple of levels.

One, if the district starts a program which is directly related to their Strategic Plan and academic outcomes, THEY need to fund it. Otherwise, don't even get it started. I point to both dual language and IB on this point. I recall that Michael DeBell, as he was leaving the Board, worked to get more dual language schools opened because "promises" were made.

That's all good and well but if the funding isn't there, why do it? These schools are a good idea and are popular but it is a lot of pressure to find that consistent funding to enact the program to fulfill its mission.

IB is an academic program that all students can access and is showing success at Sealth and RBHS for the exact groups of students that the district says it very much wants to help. I'm not sure what more any district needs to know than the program they started is helping underserved students find academic success.

So Mr. Tolley's statement is somewhat shocking in its belief that if these schools really want the programs, they'll find the money (either in their own budgets or thru fundraising.)

That said, I wish the City would help fund the programs at Sealth and Ingraham. They have $7M in the Families and Education levy for pre-k and yet now, there is a stand-alone Pre-K levy. Surely the City could give up $500K out of that funding in the F&E levy to help support IB in Seattle Schools.

But the City, like the Alliance, seems very determined to spend its money in its own way. That's fine for the Alliance which, in a recent article, claimed that the district just wanted a blank check and that is something I have never, ever heard from the district, but the City should want to listen to the district about what the district needs help with and not just what the City, from the outside, thinks they should fund.

Outsider said...

Pardon a possibly dumb question, but -- in the beginning, didn't AP stand for "advanced placement" which meant specifically advanced placement in college? I would swear, back in the old days, the purpose of AP classes was to provide college credit for work done in high school. They were a way for bright and disciplined working class and middle class students to shave a year off college and save money. Is that no longer true?

Anonymous said...

Outsider is correct - the original intent of AP courses was to provide college level work in high school, as to allow students to enter college with advanced standing. As far as IB vs AP, though IB diploma students are seen favorably by colleges, individual IB courses do not carry the same weight with some colleges as AP classes. For advanced standing, some only recognize IB HL classes, of which IB diploma candidates can take only 3; the other classes are taken at an SL level for which many colleges do not offer advanced standing. If your child takes IB SL biology, for example, some colleges would require they take the SAT subject test for biology in order to get advanced standing. You could potentially have to pay for both the IB exam and College Board exam (for which additional study is required) in order to get advanced standing. AP is more flexible and offers more bang for the buck when it comes to seeking advanced standing.

-AP vs IB

Ann D said...

For outsider as well, found this:

College Credit in High Achool

http://www.wsac.wa.gov/college-credit-high-school

Anonymous said...

Lewis and Clark's policy on advanced standing:

https://www.lclark.edu/offices/international/admitted/academic_info/advstand/

I'd argue AP classes offer students better opportunities for getting advanced standing, and at a lower cost. Meeting the 6 or 7 mark on an IB exam may be more difficult than the 4 or 5 on an AP exam, plus only the IB HL (two year) courses seem to get credit.

-AP vs IB

Anonymous said...

Outsider,
For high school students needing WA St History, there is an independent- study course that a student may do on his or her own; district high school social studies departments have agreed to use this same set of readings, assignments and papers. The independent study includes visits to museums and other landmarks; there are assignments that go with these individual field trips.

Ask the counselor and social studies dept chair at the school where your child will attend.
--Rain Child

Maureen said...

I doubt the formatting will hold, but I hope it's clear enough to read. The FRL rate at Ingraham was 56.3% in 2010. The IBx program was introduced in 2011 and the FRL rate has declined to 28% since then as the size of the school has increased. Over the same period, %White went from 31% to 55.6%. Many poor kids and kids of color are still there, but they are just a smaller part of the population. Ingraham also used to have more room for kids outside the northend, but fewer of them get in now. The IB program was accredited at Ingraham in 2002, and the FRL rate ranged between 43.2% to 56.3 between 2002 and 2010. So not as high as Sealth or Beach's current numbers, but much higher than today's number would indicate.

Year FRL Population
2010 56.3% 1058
2011 54.2% 973
2012 47.5% 957
2013 39.0% 1021
2014 34.4% 1095
2015 28.0% 1236

Anonymous said...

Getting college credit is a different issue. Some colleges give more credit for AP exams than for IB exams. Others give more for IB, especially for the diploma.(Lewis & clark gives credit for the diploma & for the HL exams, depending on scores) Some colleges give more for running start credits. Many colleges limit the number of credits a student can get from AP, IB or transfer. Or they allow you to use the credit only for electives. Colleges want your tuition money. It is important to look closely at the policy for each college you are interested in, understanding that you will have to choose how to take advanced courses before you know which college your are going to.

If students want to go to college the cheapest way possible, then 2 years at community college paid for through running start, followed by transfer to a state university, is the most sure bet. The Wa College Bound Scholarship is also a great opportunity.

Students who are not trying to shorten their college career might use credits to skip general credits & specialize earlier. But many students benefit from the opportunity for broader choices than high schools can offer, like economics, astronomy, anthropology, philosophy, etc. So they may not want to specialize earlier. It could be hard to predict that as an 8th grader.

-HS Parent

Lynn said...

Are kids from low income families taking IB courses? Should the answer determine whether the district should pay for the program? Should it determine whether a school should allocate its resources to pay for IB?

Here are links to the dual credit enrollment numbers for:

Ingraham
Chief Sealth
Rainier Beach

At Ingraham, 50 of the 403 IB students qualified for FRL. 161 low income students took Tech Prep classes.

At Chief Sealth, 247 of the 406 IB students qualified for FRL. 310 low income students took Tech Prep classes. Ingraham requires all juniors and seniors to take IB English.

At Rainier Beach, 141 of the 184 IB students qualified for FRL. 167 low income students took Tech Prep classes.

Maureen said...

Lynn, that is really interesting data. I didn't know those pages existed!

Note that Ingraham does not have 403 diploma candidates, it has 403 students who took at least one IB class (that must include IBx students who have completed the diploma but take IB classes as electives in their senior year.) Same for the other schools.

Friends of Ingraham has been talking about what it would look like to require all students to take an IB class. My personal preference would be that they could choose which class to take (so a math or science oriented kid wouldn't be forced to take Lang and Lit, for example.) But that is apparently a challenge to schedule. It's interesting that you say Sealth has all students take two years of "IB English" (Lit or Lang & Lit?). A parent there told me that they take one year - of Lang and Lit, I think-not Lit (which I thought problematic--since you have to take two years of either to test.) An issue is a lack of teachers trained for IB. I wonder how Sealth and Beach get around that? It may be that their trained staff don't have enough diploma and certificate candidates to fill their schedules?

I know Roosevelt requires all students to take two AP classes (not sure what supports are in place), does Garfield require the same?

Anonymous said...

Even a long time ago, some colleges accepted AP classes for advanced placement and others didn't - it really varied by school.
Another good option is the UW in the High Schools program. Their home page also has a good explanation of different advanced learning opportunities - AP, Running Start etc.
http://www.uwhs.washington.edu/about/
- NP

Lynn said...

Maureen,

Garfield does not require students to take any AP classes. Sorry if I wasn't clear - I did mean students taking at least one IB class when I wrote IB students. According to Sealth's registration guide, 11th Grade IB consists of Language and Mass Communication and Literature: Critical Study 12 Grade semesters include Language and Culture and Literature: Texts and Contexts. Sealth is also offering the Career Programme beginning next year.

Anonymous said...

I think that if all students are required to take one IB class it should be theory of knowledge.

" a thoughtful and purposeful inquiry into different ways of knowing, and into different kinds of knowledge, TOK is composed almost entirely of questions.

The most central of these is "How do we know?", while other questions include:

What counts as evidence for X?
How do we judge which is the best model of Y?
What does theory Z mean in the real world?

Through discussions of these and other questions, students gain greater awareness of their personal and ideological assumptions, as well as developing an appreciation of the diversity and richness of cultural perspectives.
Assessment of TOK

The TOK course is assessed through an oral presentation and a 1600 word essay.

The presentation assesses the ability of the student to apply TOK thinking to a real-life situation, while the essay takes a more conceptual starting point.

For example, the essay may ask students to discuss the claim that the methodologies used to produce knowledge depend on the use to which that knowledge will be used."



-Tried Both

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if the problems with the SBAC tests have been fixed? We are most concern about the questions that can have more than one answer but the tests don't tell you which (ex. math problems where answer can be expressed in different forms - fractions/decimals/percents/mixed numbers). We're also concerned re how bad the reading comprehension and analysis questions were last year.

Has anyone heard from their student about this year's tests? Confusing? Nonsensical? Frustrating? Stressful? Useless?

Really appreciate your help. We're trying to decide about opting out. We're not against testing, just don't want to put kids through tests that are useless for students and teachers because their purpose is to make money from public schools.

CCA

Too Long said...

Fourteen year old students are expected to take a 5 hour LA/SBAC text

Ramona H said...

In my experience there are 2 views of building leadership teams. One is purely a labor management agreement, in which case staff looks at community and families and thinks, I don't want them dictating my workplace procedures, climate, etc. The other view is blt as shared decision making on issues that affect kids. The cba supports the former, and board policy the latter. It has been that way for years. And involving PTA just sets up so many problems. PTAs are private organizations, and schools should not be in the business of discriminating against parents who don't belong to a private group. And the fact that so many focus on fund raising to my mind exacerbates problems with budget decisions. As in, can we pass along this expense (materials, library support, etc) to an outside group. That starts an insidious process. Unfortunately, I don't see staff -- administration or teaching corps -- embracing public decision making. They are just too bought into labor negotiation model. Not a civic engagement model.

Melissa Westbrook said...

CCA,yes, I have heard this from several parents (and some from blogs in other states.) One mom reported that she asked her teacher about it and the teacher said to tell her daughter to just pick any answer. I'm thinking that's frustration on the teacher's part as well.

But let's think about what would be the reason to have a long, confusing test for a student of any grade. You could frame it as having "national standards" but all the while you are not giving the same test so how does that really help?

No, if you really wanted to undermine a system - including its largest number of workers - what would you do? You'd figure out a way to make it look like the students are not being well-taught and the teachers are the problem.

So then, you could say, let the parents be consumers and have it be a free for all.

Clever, no?

Melissa Westbrook said...

"PTAs are private organizations, and schools should not be in the business of discriminating against parents who don't belong to a private group."

Yup and parents should realize this. PTAs have just been around in schools the longest but it doesn't make them the best parent organization at either a school or regional level.

Good points all, Ramona.

Ramona H said...

In my experience there are 2 views of building leadership teams. One is purely a labor management agreement, in which case staff looks at community and families and thinks, I don't want them dictating my workplace procedures, climate, etc. The other view is blt as shared decision making on issues that affect kids. The cba supports the former, and board policy the latter. It has been that way for years. And involving PTA just sets up so many problems. PTAs are private organizations, and schools should not be in the business of discriminating against parents who don't belong to a private group. And the fact that so many focus on fund raising to my mind exacerbates problems with budget decisions. As in, can we pass along this expense (materials, library support, etc) to an outside group. That starts an insidious process. Unfortunately, I don't see staff -- administration or teaching corps -- embracing public decision making. They are just too bought into labor negotiation model. Not a civic engagement model.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know when the bell times for next year will be finalized?

Our school volunteered to move to a different tier - but no word yet if we can change tiers or will be at the one originally assigned.

Before/after school care locations are signing up kids now for the Fall. Parents will have different needs for care depending on the start/end times. It is putting parents in a pinch to not have certainly on the actual start and end times.

-StepJ

Outsider said...

On a totally different topic, the predictable backlash has started:

http://nypost.com/2016/04/10/youre-now-a-racist-if-you-say-schools-need-to-be-safer/

This is Rupert Murdoch's tabloid, not exactly authoritative or favorite read of the angels, but still interesting if you want to predict where the politics of public education are going.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Step J, I see nothing on this week's Board meeting agenda. I don't think the Board needs to approve anything at this point but just to put it before the Board "here's what we worked out" would be good. I'm assuming since there is nothing that staff is still working out the kinks.

Maureen said...

Tried Both, I don't think the school could require all students to take Theory of Knowledge (TOK) because it wouldn't count for any graduation requirement.

Per Lynn's post above Sealth requires what the kids call "Lang and Lit" which would count for English credit. In my opinion, it would be a shame to have all of the kids be required to take Lang and Lit because the other option (the kids call it "Lit") is more of a World Literature Class (teaches formal analysis skills and is heavier on reading and writing) while Lang and Lit has more of a cultural studies/film focus (both count for ELA credit).

I agree that TOK really gets at the heart of IB and is a really valuable course--perhaps because it IS outside the standard HS curriculum. It is part of the reason IB costs more though--at IHS it is taught after school during spring of 11th and Fall of 12th grade. I believe RBHS teaches it over two full years (during an extended day) so is able to include more time for working on the Extended Essay and Community/Action/Service (CAS) reflections. Ingraham IB candidates do those on their own time with minimal guidance.

One issue I take with all students being required to take an IB class as a junior is that it's too late then to sign up for the Diploma Program. If a school really wants to open the IB program to a more diverse group of students, they need to get them on board as freshmen and sophomores. Maybe the schools should require a sort of ELA/History Pre-IB block class for all sophomores and use that to prep and steer more of them into the Diploma Program?

Maureen said...

Shoot. CREATIVITY, Action, Service (CAS). I always get that wrong.

Requirements for CAS projects

CAS requires students to take part in a range of activities and projects.
These should always involve:

* Real, purposeful activities, with significant outcomes.
* Personal challenge.
* Thoughtful consideration, such as planning, reviewing progress, reporting.
* Reflection on outcomes and personal learning.

mirmac1 said...

How is it that SPS fund an additional FTE @$97K for 3 schools with Montesorri, but can't grant $50K to 3 high schools?

Anonymous said...

The discussion of AP vs IB is very interesting - from what is described, it sounds like the IB program would be a much better fit for my now-middle school oldest child than the AP program. Too bad it is not available to us due to where we live. On the other hand, it does sound like one has to commit to the full multi-year program, so it is not compatible with running start, for example.

I would be curious to also hear opinions on the Running start program from people that have older children that have done that - how does it compare to IB or AP? Despite being able to get an AA, I gather that most colleges still won't let one transfer in as anything more than a sophomore. And of course it may not be recognized at all if one goes out of state for college. I also have a concern of availability of classes, with things getting as crowded as there are. My daughter will be at Garfield in 2 years, and I have the impression that there is no guarantee of getting the electives one wants. Are non-HCC kids reliably able to get into AP classes? Or are they shut out because the HCC kids get all the available seats? Same question about in the running start program, which I expect will become more crowded as the high schools do. I know some high-school graduates that are having trouble getting the classes they want at community college because the running start students get priority, but I don't know if that affects people within the program yet.

I know we have about 10 month to go before we have to do enrollment paperwork for high school, but I'm trying to pull together as much info as possible before that point. Thanks!

Mom of 4

Ragweed said...

When I went to college some 25 years ago, the treatment of AP credits varied not just by academic institution but by department. There was a marked difference at my college even between how the Biology and Chemistry departments treated a 5 on their respective AP exams. I think a 3 on the Calculus AP got me more credits than a 5 on biology.

Anonymous said...

Mom of 4, how many of the credits a school takes from a Running Start student depends on the school. My eldest goes to American University in DC and his friend from Vashon Island was able to transfer over about a year's worth of running start credit. It was much the same for the AP kids. Every school treats transfer credits, AP and IB differently.

HP

Maureen said...

it sounds like the IB program would be a much better fit for my now-middle school oldest child than the AP program. Too bad it is not available to us due to where we live.

Mom of 4, There will almost certainly be room in the IB program at Rainier Beach for your Garfield area student in two years.