Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Curriculum and Instruction Policy Committee Meeting June 13 2016

The Curriculum and Instruction Policy Committee has a lot on their plate last month. Among the items for discussion:
  • Changes in the Program Evaluation policy 2090
  • Changes in the Supports and Interventions policy 2163
  • Changes in the Superintendent's Procedures for Highly Capable Services & Advanced Learning Programs
Nearly all of these changes are deeply flawed.
Program Evaluation policy 2090 (page 273 of the pdf)
The proposed changes in the program evaluation policy change it from requiring the District to determine the effectiveness of the instructional programs, you know, actually evaluate the programs, to just submitting a plan for evaluating the programs, you know, inaction. The old policy required the Superintendent to report on instructional programs. The proposed policy only requires the Superintendent to make that report, if the data is available. So forget any assessment of the quality or efficacy of any programs.

The Board should stridently oppose this codification of inaction and demand meaningful reports on the quality and efficacy of all academic programs and services including all advanced learning programs and services, special education programs and services, Montessori programs, international programs, language immersion programs, general education programs, service programs, and option programs. Schools are claiming to offer programs and services while doing nothing without anyone ever checking them. No more warehousing students and getting away with it.

Supports & Interventions policy 2163 (page 276)
The changes in this policy adds an "assessment framework" consisting of formative assessments, screening assessments, diagnostic assessments, and progress monitoring assessments.

The policy still requires parents and guardians be informed when interventions are used. The policy, very clearly, sees MTSS as a tool for helping students struggling to reach Standards and not as a tool to support students working beyond Standards.

If the staff is going to claim that MTSS is being used to provide Advanced Learning services then they better put something about MTSS being a tool for acceleration as well as remediation.

Superintendent's Procedure for Highly Capable Services & Advanced Learning Programs (page 295)
The revised procedure still doesn't describe Advanced Learning programs. It does, however, include the change in language around self-contained social studies that the Thurgood Marshall principal requested:
"Highly Capable Cohort (HCC) service model is self-contained in Grades 1-5 in ELA, mathematics, and science, and may also be offered as self-contained in social studies."
Garfield clearly is no longer regarded as part of HCC:
"For 9th grade, students who were enrolled in the 8th grade HC Cohort will be assigned to attend an accelerated AP pathway at Garfield or they may submit a School Choice form to attend an accelerated IB pathway at Ingraham. Placement at Ingraham is subject to space availability."
The revised procedure makes it clear that there is no difference between Spectrum and ALO except that Spectrum continues into middle school and ALO does not.

There is a change in the procedure about ALO/Spectrum program design that says:
"These students are typically served within General Education classrooms through flexible grouping, acceleration, and/or interventions through the Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) model."
Self-contained is not listed as a service model.

Of course, as we know, MTSS, according to the policy and procedure, are only for students working below grade level. There is no reference to supporting work beyond grade level in either the policy or the Superintendent's procedure.

The procedure does say that the Advanced Learning office will provide services to schools including assistance in curriculum alignment. It does not say what the curriculum will be aligned to.

Changes in Superintendent procedures are not subject to a Board vote, but the Board can choose to reject a change. They should send this one back and demand a meaningful description of the programs. They should demand curricula for HCC and Spectrum/ALO - or at least a defined set of academic expectations. They should demand language in the policies and procedures for MTSS that include support for students working beyond Standards.


Anonymous said...

Could you explain your statement "Garfield clearly is no longer regarded as part of HCC"

-Confused (as usual)

Charlie Mas said...

In the Superintendent's procedure for Highly Capable Services it defines HCC as a 1-8 program, not a 1-12 program. It says that former HCC students, upon entering high school, can enroll at Garfield, but it's pretty clear that the high school portion is not part of HCC.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I also want to note that there are some who seem to believe that the changes in AL somehow have been well-publicized by the district. That is just not the truth and Charlie and I can document that.

Lynn said...

HCC students at Garfield are directed there by the assignment plan rather than for an academic program. I expect that when Lincoln High School reopens there will be a huge shifting of high school attendance areas in the north end and there will be no more HC high school pathways. Everyone will make do with the classes offered by their attendance area school. Some will have access to many rigorous classes and some will not. There will be more competition for private school admission and interest in charter schools created to meet the needs of advanced students. (See Washington Latin and the Basis schools.)

Anonymous said...

Lynn, you're right, especially about the shift to charter schools designed for advanced students. This is definitely part of the long-term SPS plan in getting rid of advanced learning programs. It's galling and stunning to see people who have fought against charter schools now working to create a massive new base for charter schools by their support for the elimination of advanced learning.

-Done Deal

Anonymous said...

The board should also ask for details re: the "accelerated AP pathway at Garfield." Accelerated how, exactly? They eliminated access to AP World History in 9th grade a couple years ago. What is this supposed acceleration, and accelerated relative to what?


Lynn said...

What will the central region schools look like in a few years? Washington and Meany will be very different schools. Washington's elementary schools average 44% Black, 21% White, 64% FARM and 28% ELL while Meany's average 20% Black, 50% White, 29% FARM and 9% ELL.

Without HCC students from outside the attendance area, Garfield will be smaller and its students will be less Asian and White more Black and Hispanic, poorer and with a slightly higher ELL rate. The school will be less crowded and because of that I think the students in the neighborhood will benefit. I'm sure the Garfield staff will be relieved except possibly for the few who teach the most rigorous classes and will likely no longer be able to fill them.

HCC students will return to their much less diverse neighborhood schools where they may never have a class with a Black student (Ballard and Roosevelt at just 4%) or a White student (Rainier Beach at just 5%).

Is this a win for integration and equity?

Anonymous said...

Ask yourself, if GOD wanted us all to be the same then why did he make us look so different. Follow GODS laws and you will avoid the end of civilization.

Mark 12:30

Melissa Westbrook said...

Lynn makes a point; it will interesting to see - after BEX IV and the reopening of Lincoln - what the high schools will size at and look like.

TechyMom said...

Washington Latin looks amazing. I don't suppose Garfield would like to adopt *that* program for all their students?

Watching said...

Melissa is absolutely correct. The district has an obligation to notify Garfield's incoming advanced learners to changes within the school.

"These students are typically served within General Education classrooms through flexible grouping, acceleration, and/or interventions through the Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) model."

Non-sense. Middle school LA and SS has not been able to effectively differentiate instruction. Classes are geared towards those in the middle. Some say- group projects(!) Motivated students do the work for those that are not motivated.

The district has an obligation to assure advanced learners are having their needs met.

Anonymous said...

Bellevue may accept inter-district transfers if space is available.

Interlake STILL has openings in Grade 9.


- Hope it helps

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Anonymous said...

So what's the prediction for the HCC kids finishing at Washington Middle School in the spring of 2017? Will they still be directed to Garfield, or will they be the first class that's diverted to their local attendance area high schools? If they're still directed to Garfield, will they have access to advanced classes?

-Seattle Parent

paranoid? said...

Will Washington HCC kids living in the Meany area be moved to Meany when it opens? There are quite a lot of them.

Melissa Westbrook said...

And again, as Kellie LaRue points out, it all comes back to capacity management and facilities. The tail that wags the dog.

Charlie Mas said...

I don't see much point in trying to predict where or how HCC will go. The District's history has been to remove the services but retain the title - such as ALO's and Spectrum programs that exist in name only. They can continue to say that they have an HC program at Garfield even if there is nothing specifically for HC students there - you know, as they do now and as they have been doing for decades.

WHile they don't hesitate to remove the service or the access, they are reluctant to remove the title. The official truth doesn't have to reflect the actual truth.