Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Tuesday Open Thread

Just a few days left to view new K-5 Language Arts materials during the adoption process, more here.

Wondering what Donald Trump's plan is for K-12 public education?  So is everybody else. From Media Matters:
Education Week reporter Andrew Ujifusa surveyed a bipartisan group of education experts and advocates about Trump’s education stances, and found widespread confusion over what Trump believes and what he could actually accomplish. Several conservative and centrist experts concluded that Trump did not know “what the federal role is, or could be” when it came to education policy, and that he “doesn’t know what ESSA is,” referring to the Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaced No Child Left Behind in December.
Looks like Seattle Schools is not the only district growing; Bellevue SD has grown about 600 students per year over the last few years.  From the Bellevue Reporter:

Despite the need for a new elementary school to relieve the district's enrollment growth, some Bellevue residents have reservations about changes to the attendance map will impact their schoolchildren and property values.
Although one resident took a fairly mature attitude:
"This could potentially change the value of our homes," said Iulia Georgiu, whose children attend Bellevue High School. That being said, she recognizes that she may not like the changes made.

"They can't chose one thing that will be best for everybody," she said. "They have to do what they have to do, especially with all of the growth."
Portland Public Schools voted yes on a resolution for ethnic studies in all Portland high schools within two years.   From NBC News:
The impetus for the resolution comes from a multiethnic and multiracial group of Oregon high school students who participate in Asian Pacific Islander Leaders for the Liberation of Youth (ALLY), the youth-led organizing arm of Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO)

Students argue that a comprehensive ethnic studies program including content about Asian-, African-, Latino-, Pacific Islander-, Arab-, Native-, and LGBTQ-American communities, grounded in critical theory and histories of resistance, will help improve student grades, reduce absenteeism, and result in higher graduation rates for all students, especially as the demographics of the community become increasingly diverse. 
 Have you taken the district's website survey yet?  It's still live.  Here's the remaining meeting schedule for it:

Tues., May 24, 6:30 -8 p.m. Thurgood Marshall Elementary PTA
Thurs., May 26, 6 – 7:30 p.m. Wing Luke Elementary family event
Wed., June 1, 5 p.m., School Board meeting
Thurs., June 2, 6 p.m., Leschi Elementary family dance 


These conversations are the building blocks we will use to create a more intuitive navigation and a friendlier web experience.

What's on your mind?

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

May 20th Friday Memo up - always something "interesting" ;o)

Re: SBAC testing from the Supe

Smarter Balance Assessment:
The Federal Government requires 95% participation for the state assessment (Smarter Balance).We received notice from OSPI that SPS must increase our participation rate to 95% on the state assessment (SBAC).SPS did not meet that threshold last year and OSPI has given us six weeks to detail our steps taken to increase the participation rate.Washington State has been placed on a “high risk status” by the U.S. Department of Education for our low participation rates. The implications for our students and schools are that federal dollars could be withheld if our state –and our district do not meet the minimum guidelines. We recognize that the state summative assessment is only one indicator of a student’s overall success in our school system but is criticalto our funding of basic education. The data from the assessment also informs our work to eliminate the achievement gap and ensure we are providing all students with opportunities for learning and achieving at high levels.


hmmm....

and apparently Carmen Rahm - the CIO is also resigning...
CIO RESIGNATION:It is with both sadness and excitement that I announce that I officially
tendered my resignation as CIO for Seattle Public Schools. My last day on the job at SPS will be May 31st. I have accepted a new position as the Assistant Superintendent, Chief Information & Digital Strategy Officer for the Kent School District. I know that the SPS Department of Technology Services (DoTS) is well positioned for the future with solid funding thanks to the voters of this great city, outstanding staff, and a supported vision/roadmap for the future. I want to thank Dr. Nyland for his leadership and trust over the past nearly 2 years at SPS, and Mr. Stephen Nielsen who has restored my dreams and hopes for SPS in ways few can only imagine.



reader47

Anonymous said...

I would strongly advise this blog to avoid partisan politics.


API

Melissa Westbrook said...

Reader47, thanks for those items.

One thing - districts want to say that the feds could take the dollars (and indeed they could) if there is not a 95% participation rate. However, there has never been a single district in the entire country punished in this way. I think it's a bit of saber-rattling because they know if they pulled the funds, then they are pulling Title One funds that would directly hurt low-income students. It wouldn't look good especially if those are the schools that aren't participating as much as other schools.

This does play into the hands of those who would say that some parents are hurting other students because of opting their own child out. I can only say that every parent has the right to act within their own rights for their child especially if it is not a health/safety concern.

As for Rahm, that's too bad. What's interesting is that I think that SPS is becoming a training ground for talent, not a place where people flee from. As I previously reported, Arlington, for example, is a small district (5400 students, 9 schools) and they are paying their superintendent $220K a year. If you could work in a smaller district with good pay, I can see someone thinking it might be easier than a large urban district.

I agree - the rehire of Steve Nielsen and Noel Treat seem to signal a new (and better) day for SPS.

API, this is the last time I will say this to anyone. Do NOT make cryptic comments. If you have something to say, then state it with an explanation attached.

That said, Charlie and I can endorse or review any candidate we want.

Po3 said...

API -
It's an election year, the candidate's position on education is fair game. The Democratic candidate was covered here: http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/2016/04/what-hillary-said-on-public-education.html

And I note you have no comment on that post, why here? What is your issue w/ covering the Republication candidate's (or lack of) position on education?

Melissa Westbrook said...

In BOTH cases, I am reporting what others have reported. I made no comment on Trump at all.

On Clinton, I said this:
"But she offers zero solutions and that's troubling. And she has a lot more faith in charter schools than I do but that's another thread."

I note that Senator Sanders' website doesn't even address K-12 ed, just higher ed.

I'm not sure if what readers are asking me to be fair to candidates. I think I am; I'm unimpressed with ALL of them on K-12 education.

mirmac1 said...

I see SPS belatedly sent a letter to SpEd families on the latest data breach (stolen laptop). I'll bet this never happens when the Director for Native American Education had her laptop stolen out of her car last year.

When do these people learn about laptops in cars?!

Anonymous said...

Interesting discussion about proposal at Thurgood Marshall to
address HCC/Gen Ed concerns:

http://discussapp.blogspot.jp

--interesting

Melissa Westbrook said...

Mirmac1, I did ask about this and never heard back. What is troubling is that it keeps happening. I wish the district would issue a statement that they have a policy in place for people who do this. There is truly no reason for it.

Interesting, yes, I've seen this already and I plan to write about it. Once again, the district seems to be letting schools decide what Advanced Learning looks like. But again, no one in leadership cares so it's a fairly moot point.

Anonymous said...

My comment is not what I would consider cryptic by any measure.
Maybe this will help clarify my earlier comment;

I personally find it's best to avoid bringing up politics or religion, unless of coarse this is a political or religious blog. I would recommend to leave your little political snipes to yourself. You never know who you might offend or anger.

I think you might mistakenly assume all your readers share your progressive views and that's ok if you want to roll in the mud, that's your choice.

In response to "That said, Charlie and I can endorse or review any candidate we want."

Yes you can, but it could come at a cost to the civility of the dialog here.

API

TechyMom said...

Does anyone know how math placement works at Garfield for students coming from private school? I haven't been able to find it online. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

API-

How could an education blog possibly ignore politics? Politicians are the ones who decide the amount of funding going to education, testing requirements, etc. Ignoring the presidential election and their views (assuming they even have any), would be nuts.

This is a privately run blog and it can be read or not as one chooses.

-randy

Josh Hayes said...

I would suggest that the whole region's public schools are growing by leaps and bounds: we passed the bond measure over in the Lake Washington SD a little bit ago (thanks, voters!) because the district has been growing at about one elementary school a year for the last several years, without any new buildings. I would not be at all surprised to see similar goings-on in Northshore, Edmonds, and especially in districts around the South Sound.

Anonymous said...

Techymom, home-based and private schooled students fall under the some of the same rules when entering public school. Per Washington State code, the school may require a standardized test and has the authority to determine the appropriate grade and course placement after consultation with the parent and a review of the student's records.

http://www.k12.wa.us/privateed/homebaseded/PinkBook/pinkbook.pdf

(see Q#17)

How Garfield handles placement, I'm not sure, but at least you know how it's supposed to go...

-homeschooled







Anonymous said...

For 9th grade placement (after homeschooling) we contacted the head of the math department for the high school our child would be attending and confirmed that our child could be placed in the next course in the math sequence. We were given the ok to request the appropriate course on the course selection form.

-homeschooled

Melissa Westbrook said...

"I personally find it's best to avoid bringing up politics or religion, unless of coarse this is a political or religious blog. I would recommend to leave your little political snipes to yourself. You never know who you might offend or anger. "

Well, I don't bring up politics or religion at Thanksgiving but this is a blog, not a family dinner. As well, I wish public education was not so political but it has gotten that way. There is no way to report on education issues without including politics.

I have no idea what "mud" you are speaking of but this blog is small potatoes politically. I find it hard to believe I would get any political supporters honing in on what is said here - it would take up valuable time that they could use advocating over in Eastern Washington.

Onward.

Anonymous said...

Josh is right. There is lots of growth all around the region. Shoreline is reopening 2 previously closed buildings for more elementary capacity. They just recently built 2 new high schools to replace old, crowded ones, and I think I read something about a new middle school, or at least a remodel. Northshore will be opening a new high school either next year or the year after, and will also shift their 6th graders to middle school and 9th graders to HS whenever that new HS comes online to create more elementary capacity. I've heard stories of 5-6 classes of Kindergarteners there being housed at some elementary buildings that had more space, with some returning as first graders to their home schools. I think Edmonds was forecasted to increase by about 500 students over the next few years, but their growth was primarily concentrated in one area, so overcrowding in some schools, probably some boundary adjustments. I'm not sure how far north the growth exists - a friend up near Bellingham said their school was losing teachers due to declining enrollment, but I don't know what district her kids are in. South Sound friends have also expressed concern over increasingly crowded schools.

CT

GarfieldMom said...

TechyMom, my kids just put the math class on their schedule request that their 8th grade math teacher recommended, and had the 8th grade teacher sign off on it with a phone number/email so the Garfield math department could contact them with any questions.

Anonymous said...

TechyMom, it probably depends on the school but for Hale we just put down Geometry for 9th grade and had no issues.

HP

Anonymous said...

We still have a ways to go:

https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/how-early-are-gender-stereotypes-ingrained-this-vi/

… In the video, a group of boys and girls aged 5-7 years, are asked to complete a simple task: draw a picture of a firefighter, a surgeon, and a fighter-pilot. (more)

-McClureWatcher

Melissa Westbrook said...

Saw that McClure, interesting.

TechyMom said...

Thanks, everyone. I had imagined it would be more complicated.

Anonymous said...

I took a look at the Waitlists today. Hale's actually went up. Hazel Wolf K-8 Kindergarten waitlist is a whopping 121!

Hazel Wolf K-8 K Gen Ed 121

Must be the new building.

HP

Anonymous said...

I've seen a little movement at the schools I track, but not much.

They haven't updated the waitlist page since 24th, I wish they did every day as they move closer to May 31. I am surprised this isn't automatically done.

http://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/Admissions/School%20Choice/2016-17%20Waitlist%20Report/1617WaitlistSummary_05_24.pdf

(From http://www.seattleschools.org/admissions/registration )

- MemoReader

Northender said...

There has been minimal movement this year, specially in AL program placement. Flip H/Ashley D. said at a board meeting last year that all movements would happen by May 31, and that the waitlists would stay until Aug in case of any last minute unforeseen changes.
Yeah right...

SPS Mom said...

Because of the class size reductions, I suspect there will be very little waitlist movement in 1-3rd grades. Most current K-3 class sizes are above the new limits, so grades would need to have enough attrition to get below those limits in order to offer off the waitlist. For instance, if the limit is 22 in first grade and there are currently 25 kindergarteners in a classroom, that classroom would need to lose 4 kids before 1 spot would be offered into 1st grade.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting that link to waitlists MemoReader. I don't have a kid on a list so hadn't been paying attention. Can anyone explain why there would be waitlists for HCC at Cascadia, JAMS, Hamilton, Garfield and Fairmount Park? There's an HCC wait list at Ingraham still too, and I thought that was all resolved. What is going on with HCC and waitlists?

2HC

Anonymous said...

At our school I believe the wait list is not moving because they want to force a split grade 4/5 classroom to allow for reduction of one FTE. This is especially egregious as the class sizes in grades 1-3 are not being made smaller. This could be accomplished by retaining the FTE scheduled to be cut, and have that teacher teach a lower grade level classroom.

Oh, and the kicker...it is stated the split grade class and the reduction of the FTE is to comply with McCleary!! I guess that is the latest spin coming from SPS.

Anonomish

Anonymous said...

I believe the waitlists at Cascadia, JAMS and Hamilton are due to students wanting to attend a non-pathway school (eg - you're a TM reference area student but want to go to Cascadia). The only thing I can think of with Garfield would be possibly the students who have entered HCC after 8th grade, which is now available, and perhaps the process is protracted and they are waitlisted until a final determination is made that their needs cannot be met at their reference high school.

PW

Lynn said...

PW,

I think you're right about Cascadia and the middle schools. Fairmount Park isn't a guaranteed assignment for any HCC students and its advanced learning classrooms are full. In the future I think kids will only get in there for first or second grade. Anyone identified after that will only be able to access the cohort at Thurgood Marshall or Cascadia.

The kids on Garfield's waitlist could have been newly identified or identified earlier but attending a K-8 option school or their neighborhood middle school. There's not a chance any of them will be assigned to Garfield. Every attendance area high school will claim they can provide either AP or IB classes to meet the needs of highly capable students.

Anonymous said...

Garfield is our attendance area school anyway, but does being in the HCC make it easier to get the classes you want? I gather they have first dibs on AP or honors classes. Do non-HCC students ever end up unable to take higher-level classes due to lack of space? Wondering if this is something to look into before my kids get to high school.

Mom of 4

Anonymous said...

I had 2 non-HCC kids go through Garfield in the recent past and they never had an issue getting AP or honors classes. We knew many non-HCC kids and it was also never an issue. The only cases I remember that were a challenge were upper level
language classes where placement was based on previous grade and space in the class was restricted due to limited sections.

grad

Anonymous said...

@HP

I don't think the new building is entirely responsible for the huge wait list at Hazel Wolf. All the local elementary schools (John Rogers, Olympic Hills, Olympic View, Northgate, Sacajawea, etc...) are scheduled for MAJOR boundary changes in 2017, some of which have been planned to be implemented via geo-splits (no grandfathered assignments), and there will be no grandfathered transportation for kids drawn out of their current school's attendance area, regardless of whether or not a grandfathered assignment is granted.

Incoming kindergartners may only get to spend one year at their current attendance area school before they are forced to move to another school, due to an assignment change or loss of transportation.

Hazel Wolf is the only option school serving the JAMS attendance area. It is the currently only "guaranteed" long-term assignment for any child who lives in the REALLY LARGE 2017 boundary change areas.

-North-end Mom

Northender said...

I think the major reason why Hazel Wolf's waitlist is so long is because it covers both the JAMS and Eckstein attendance area, and provides transportation to both of those regions. It also has a great E-STEM program. I'm guessing in the future they will limit the transportation to only the JAMS attendance area, since the new location will be in Pinehurst.

Anonymous said...

@Northender,

I'm pretty sure that transportation from the Eckstein AA to Hazel Wolf was just temporary, and that it won't apply for 2016-17 incoming kindergartners.

-North-end Mom

SPS Mom said...

@Northender and @North-end Mom -

There is district transportation from both areas to HW for the 2016-17 academic year. It was approved in Aut 2015 when the assignment plan and transportation plan were approved at the board meeting (it was listed as linked to both middle school service areas in the assignment plan document). I do anticipate, though, that it will be up for discussion with the board in Autumn when the 2017-18 assignment plan is brought the board. The school has been clear with the families during open enrollment that the transportation was just guaranteed for this coming academic year.

Anonymous said...

My daughter is on the waitlist for grade 6 at Hazel Wolf. She started off at #3, went DOWN to #4 a couple of weeks ago, then back to #3 (after I asked about the downgrade, coincidence?) and suddenly jumped to #1 last Friday. I'm on pins and needles waiting to see if we get a spot....

My understanding of the transportation policy at HW is that the distant transportation option is ONLY for the students who are already enrolled from the Jane Addams or Eckstein service areas, and live more than 2 miles from the school. Since it is almost impossible to get a new seat if you are outside the geozone, and since they do not provide transportation if you move outside the geozone after enrollment, then in the future there will probably be very limited bus service for HW students.

Pinehurst mom

Anonymous said...

PS: If anyone else is tracking the waitlist changes, can you tell me if I am missing any reports from this list? This is what comes up when I search the SPS website for "waitlist summary report (2016)", but I'm not sure I'm getting all the reports....

4/15
4/18
4/22
5/3
5/4
5/5
5/16
5/18
5/20
5/24

Some pretty big gaps there when there don't seem to be any (documented) updates....

I'm also wondering what really happened to get my daughter moved from #1 on the list down to #4. There was an increase in the overall waitlist #s from 59 to 62 on 4/22. When I asked SPS enrollment about this, they said it was likely because data had been misentered originally and was corrected. But it doesn't seem statistically possible that of three missing or incorrect applications, all of them would be at a higher priority than my daughter's application. Could three out of three really be siblings of current students? And/or have a higher "lottery number" (I didn't realize geozone students would also be thrown in a lottery, and no explanation of how that process was managed was offered by SPS.

I'm just wondering if it is time for me to be a bit more pushy with SPS about this. We are just one seat away. But there is no transparency in the process, and I'm also a bit worried that if I start pushing they'll just think I'm annoying and shut us out altogether....

Pinehurst mom

Northender said...

There is a daily report that is published on their website, so maybe they only save a few of them. Waitlist will move through August, so you could have a good chance of getting a spot. We tried for K, and it was impossible. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Pinehurst: There are other reasons you might be bumped down a waitlist such as a newly hired staff person who wants their child to attend. Not a publicized priority placement but it is and is guaranteed. A mandated SPED or ELL placement that wasn't finalized before the enrollment deadline is another reason. The most likely reason is indeed misentered information. Behind every list is a set of hands entering data. Said hands may or may not be accurate.

By the way it is exceptionally hard for a parent ever to verify whether the waitlist has moved in a by the book manner and without errors.

CapacityWonk

Anonymous said...

Another truism that bears repeating every year: If you or your child has his/her heart set on an option school and cannot get in at K, 1, or 6, the big entry grades, try again the following year. The probability of entering at the other grades is exponentially higher. In every school there are almost always openings at every other grade, but parents discouraged by the first rejection mostly fail to try again. Persistence pays off.

CapacityWonk

Anonymous said...

@CapacityWonk-
I work in this district and turned in the paperwork a few weeks late (was that open enrollment shorter than normal and over mid-winter break??). When the look up feature went online, I checked for over a week and saw nothing in the "waitlist" column. I finally emailed and never did receive a reply, but miraculously, a few days later we showed up with a waitlist spot. I suspect we were put at the bottom of the waitlist. According to this 5/24 document, there's only one person behind us in line. So, staff aren't guaranteed a spot (admittedly, I didn't follow the due date), and I'm not convinced I bumped anyone down any spots once they realized they never entered our information. I bet there's a chance I would have been higher on the list had I asked about our missing placement earlier.

Not preferential

Melissa Westbrook said...

Capacity Wonk, I just gave a parent that advice. Sometimes easier to get in later.

SPS Mom said...

Especially true going forward with the class size reductions at K-3. Getting in on the years the class sizes increase will likely be easiest. 4th grade might be easiest (although unless you're shooting for a K-8, it might not make sense to move just for 5th grade.)