Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Updates on GHS "Honors for All"

Via our friends at the HCC blog;

Updated GHS page on Honors for All


GHS 9th grade parent survey
Some at the HCC blog found this somewhat lacking in question #3  and I agree in that "higher level thinking" seems to cover more advanced reading and they completely leave out class discussion.

3. What do you believe differentiates an honors class from a regular education class? Choose all that apply.






I also had to smile at this question:

9. In general, what do you think 9th graders should learn?

I hope they are prepared for the answers they may get.  As well, it appears anyone could take this survey.  I have no idea how they will know it is truly representative of what 9th grade parents think (especially those that don't read blogs and know the survey is out there.) 

Also, I had a conversation with Wyeth Jessee today about his new job and what might happen in each area.  Thread to come.

55 comments:

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Melissa Westbrook said...

Anonymous, no anonymous comments, please. Next time, give yourself a name.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Reprinting for Anonymous,
"The research cited on the GHS page is from 2006. That is a long time ago. They ignore anything newer, like the Ed Week dialogue from Jan of 2015 http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2015/01/07/differentiation-doesnt-work.htm."

I also want to note that not all the district's policies, including those around Advanced Learning, were noted in info from the district/school.

I also want to note there is research in all directions for public education to support many different points of view.

Anonymous said...

Related discussion:

http://educationnext.org/all-together-now/

-parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

Thank you, Parent. Petrilli is a pretty conservative guy (who had the courage of his convictions to come out recently and refuse to support Trump.)

From the article:

"One of the reasons that detracking advocates claimed so many victories is that they painted their pet reform as a strategy in which everybody wins. Oakes and others insisted that detracking would help the lowest-performing students (who would enjoy better teachers, a more challenging level of instruction, and exposure to their higher-achieving peers) while not hurting top students. But by the mid-1990s, researchers started to compile evidence that this happy outcome was just wishful thinking.

That’s not surprising; these accountability systems, like No Child Left Behind (NCLB) in 2002, pushed schools to get more students over a low performance bar. They provided few incentives to accelerate the academic growth of students at the top."

"The attack on tracking also claimed an innocent bystander: ability grouping, which became suspect in many circles, too. Yet in recent years, the “peer effects” literature has shown the benefits of grouping students of similar abilities together. One clever study, by economists Scott Imberman, Adriana Kugler, and Bruce Sacerdote, looked at the fallout from Hurricanes Rita and Katrina. They wanted to know what happened when students who were evacuated from New Orleans ended up in schools in Houston. They found that the arrival of low-achieving evacuees dragged down the average performance of the Houston students and had a particularly negative impact on high-achieving Houston kids.

When school reassignments resulted in the arrival of students with either very low or very high achievement, this boosted the test scores of other students with very low or very high achievement, probably because it created a critical mass of students at the same achievement level, and schools could better focus attention on their particular needs."

"Does that mean students should be sharply sequestered by ability? Not exactly. Here’s how Hoxby and Weingarth put it in their conclusion: “Our evidence does not suggest that complete segregation of people, by types, is optimal. This is because (a) people do appear to benefit from interacting with peers of a higher type and (b) people who are themselves high types appear to receive sufficient benefit from interacting with peers a bit below them that there is little reason to isolate them completely. What our evidence does suggest is that efforts to create interactions between lower and higher types ought to maintain continuity of types.”

In other words, a little bit of variation is okay. But when the gap is too wide—say, six grade levels in reading—nobody wins."

"Hertberg-Davis worked with Tomlinson on a large study of differentiated instruction. Teachers were provided with extensive professional development and ongoing coaching. Three years later the researchers wanted to know if the program had an impact on student learning. But they were stumped. “We couldn’t answer the question,” Hertberg-Davis told me, “because no one was actually differentiating.”

Teachers admit to being flummoxed by this approach. In a 2008 national survey commissioned by the Fordham Institute, more than 8 in 10 teachers said differentiated instruction was “very” or “somewhat” difficult to implement. Even ed-school professors are skeptical. A 2010 national random survey of teacher educators asked them the same question and got the same result: more than 8 in 10 said differentiated instruction was very or somewhat difficult to implement."

Melissa Westbrook said...

Continued:

"Since Mr. G.’s arrival five years ago, the percentage of African American 5th graders passing the state reading test is way up, from 55 to 91 percent. For Hispanic children, it’s up from 46 to 74 percent. It’s true that scores statewide have also risen, but not nearly to the same degree.

And there’s no evidence that white students have done any worse over this time. In fact, they are performing better than ever. Before Mr. G. arrived, 33 percent of white 5th graders reached the advanced level on the state math test; in 2009, twice as many did. In fact, Piney Branch white students outscore the white kids at virtually every other Montgomery County school.

What’s his secret? Was he grouping students “homogeneously,” so all the high-achieving kids learned together, and the slower kids got extra help?

“There’s no such thing as a homogenous group,” Mr. G. shot back. “One kid is a homogeneous group. As soon as you bring another student in, you have differences. The question is: how do you capitalize on the differences?”

"And that’s when I was introduced to the incredibly nuanced and elaborate efforts that Piney Branch makes to differentiate instruction, challenge every child, and avoid any appearance of segregated classrooms.

So how do they do it? First, every homeroom has a mixed group of students: the kids are assigned to make sure that every class represents the diversity of the school in terms of achievement level, race, class, etc. Then, during the 90-minute reading block, students spend much of their time in small groups appropriate for their reading level. (Redbirds and bluebirds are back!) However, in the new lingo of differentiated instruction, the staff works hard to make sure these groups are fluid—a child in a slower reading group can get bumped up to a faster one once progress is made.

For math, on the other hand, students are split up into homogeneous classrooms. All the advanced math kids are in one classroom, the middle students in another, and the struggling kids in a third. This means shuffling the kids from one room to another (a process that can be quite time-consuming for elementary school kids). But it allows the highest-performing kids to sprint ahead; one of the school’s 3rd-grade math classes, for example, is tackling the district’s 5th-grade math curriculum. (Because of large achievement gaps at the school, these math classes are more racially and socioeconomically homogeneous than the student population as a whole.)

The rest of the time—when kids are learning science or social studies or taking “specials” like art and music—they are back in their heterogeneous classrooms. Even then, however, teachers work to “differentiate instruction,” which often means separating the kids back into homogeneous groups again, and offering more challenging, extended assignments to the higher-achieving students.

It sounds like some sort of elaborate Kabuki dance to me, but it appears to succeed on several counts. All kids spend most of the day getting challenged at their level, and no one ever sits in a classroom that’s entirely segregated by race or class."

Melissa Westbrook said...

Continued:

"Mr. G. and Piney Branch face some healthy competition. Montgomery County offers a half-dozen “Centers for the Highly Gifted,” magnet schools that are designed for supersmart kids and located in elementary buildings throughout the district. Pine Crest, just a few miles away from Piney Branch, hosts one such center, and an increasing number of Piney Branch 3rd graders were testing into it for 4th and 5th grades.

A year ago, 25 Piney Branch kids were accepted—more than any other elementary school in the district. If they all took up the offer, Mr. G. said, “That’s a teacher walking out of my building.”

So in 2009–10, in cooperation with the district, Piney Branch launched a pilot program to bring the “Highly Gifted Center” curriculum into its classrooms. This wasn’t easy; there wasn’t a curriculum, per se, at the centers. Teachers had the freedom to do what they wanted. So the district helped the teachers put down on paper everything they were doing in the classroom.

Mr. G. arranged to have a 4th-grade and a 5th-grade teacher trained on the Highly Gifted approach, and formed a “cluster group” of gifted students in their classrooms. This means that, in one classroom in each of these grades, there are 12 or so gifted students, along with another 12 or so “on-level” kids. While they are taught together some of the day, they are frequently broken into small groups, so the gifted kids can learn together at an accelerated pace."

Melissa Westbrook said...

Continued:

"If the school community placed its highest value on pushing all kids to achieve their full potential, including its high-achieving students, it would probably organize its classrooms differently. It would embrace “ability grouping” and homogenous classrooms wholeheartedly, and would skip all the gymnastics required to keep classes academically, racially, and socioeconomically diverse throughout the day. But Piney Branch understandably seeks to balance its concerns for academic growth with its interest in maintaining an integrated environment, so this uneasy compromise is probably the best it can do.

Piney Branch and Ms. M. might be able to pull it off. But how many Piney Branches and Ms. M.’s are there?

Technology may someday alleviate the need for such compromises. With the advent of powerful online learning tools, such as those on display in New York City’s School of One, students might be able to receive instruction that’s truly individualized to their own needs—differentiation on steroids.

Perhaps. But until that time, our schools will have to wrestle with the age-old tension between “excellence” and “equity.” And that tension will be resolved one homogeneous or heterogeneous classroom at a time."

The point is two-fold:
- You can find research and practice to support almost any POV
- It takes real buy-in (from parents and staff), supports and time for this kind of mixed-ability grouping.

But you'll notice that even in the great case of Piney Branch, they were still using ability grouping especially for math.

Anonymous said...

It's best to read the full article for a discussion on tracking and differentiation. MW copied only a small portion. Other points from the example elementary school:

- The Montgomery County school district had gifted centers for highly capable (sounds like HCC)
- Piney Branch clustered by ability (sounds like a version of Spectrum)
- The school began using reading materials for advanced students such as Junior Great books and Jacob's Ladder, then trained their teachers on the materials
- Piney Branch worked with the district on curriculum and piloted the set up
- By trying to meet the academic needs of the advanced students, some chose to stay at the school rather than leave for the gifted center

-parent

Anonymous said...

I guess I'm not understanding why "honors for all" is something that people wouldn't want? It's not like they're taking anything away; they're just making it more widely available. Isn't that a good thing? What am I missing?

- Luna Lemon

Anonymous said...

Interesting article - thanks. It's very clear that Garfield is NOT Piney Branch. There is just no way that nuanced level of differentiation is ever likely to take place in Garfield's classrooms, unfortunately.
-current GHS parent

Anonymous said...

Luna Lemon,
I also think "Honors for All" is a wonderful idea, in theory, and I wish it would work. But I really don't think that it will, as it is being proposed by the school. Educational ideas and beliefs, which sound great in theory, so often don't work out in the gritty reality of the classroom. The only thing you might be missing here is the "Honors for All" secret key to success - differentiation. Whether adequate differentiation across the wide span of abilities in Garfield's classrooms is realistic or achievable is very much up in the air.
-current GHS parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

Parent, of course read the whole article; I didn't want to print the whole thing. But your statements make the entirety of it even more valid.

Luna Lemon, you are missing a couple of things.

One, transparency and communication. If the school had been planning this all year, why not tell parents? I have received mixed messages on whether the PTSA was planning to have teachers come to a meeting (the teachers say they weren't and the parents say they were invited and declined.)

And, why were 9th grade parents not told about this on tours? Like many Spectrum programs before it, the incoming HCC students got a bait-and-switch.

No, they are not making honors more widely available. Every single advanced class at GHS was open to every single student. Why more students did not take these classes is unclear but they were open to all.

If the teaching is at a high level, yes, that's a good thing...on paper. If you read the article cited, you will see how difficult it is to pull off (in elementary school, no less.) With large class sizes and no support from the district, it's going to be a challenge. For kids who haven't had this level of rigor, they may find their electives cut out because they will now have to go to remedial reading classes.

TechyMom said...

Differentiation gets even harder with large classes, and Seattle has *very* large classes.

Anonymous said...

Hi Melissa - regarding "One, transparency and communication. If the school had been planning this all year, why not tell parents? I have received mixed messages on whether the PTSA was planning to have teachers come to a meeting (the teachers say they weren't and the parents say they were invited and declined.)"

My email address is listed on the PTSA page of the Garfield website (last years president). Send me a mail and I will forward you the communication with the teachers. Alec

Charlie Mas said...

Students and families had to self-select into a 9th grade Honors class at Garfield. That may not seem like much of a barrier to us, but it was enough of a barrier to keep out a lot of students -students who are capable of doing the work.

z said...

Charlie, your statement is more or less correct, but playing around the edges. What do you mean by "a lot"? Certainly there are a few kids that did not sign up for Honors in recent years that would be able to keep up or excel in those classrooms. But the reality is that most of the kids that do not sign up for those classes are simply not in a position to be successful in them. There is (was?) a policy at Garfield that you need to get at least a "B" in your previous LA/SS class in order to sign up for Honors the next year. That's a clear statement that the staff has found that to be an effective measure of deciding which kids will be successful with the Honors curriculum.

Wouldn't a far, far, more reasonable approach be for the teachers and counselors to work together to find the kids who are doing well enough to consider Honors classes, but are somehow not signing up for them? Then encourage, or even incentivize them, to sign up for Honors classes? This type of outreach could target underrepresented kids specifically, if desired. It could also be done quietly, without embarrassment if there were other outside factors, such as work or family obligations taking a huge toll on some kids' schedules. The "Honors for all" push may help a few kids, but the likely outcome is that it will be detrimental to many.

Anonymous said...

I took the survey and it seemed unscientific. Also I send my kids to school because I'm not a teacher, I don't know how to answer "In general, what do you think 9th graders should learn?" It almost seemed like a set up, like they were asking us questions we clearly could not answer because parents are (mostly) not professional educators. Now they can throw the answers back at us and say, "you don't know as much as we do." I don't like to think Garfield staff would set up parents like that, but it kind of felt that way. I'm happy to let teachers teach, and if they can pull off Honors for All, good for them. But please don't create an "us against them" atmosphere between teachers and HCC parents.

-cynical

Anonymous said...

The prior approach resulted in a second tier of mostly African American and Latino students in the non-Honors classes. The progressive and justice-minded teachers at
Garfield (who were lauded for their MAP protest) couldn't stomach it anymore because they saw a perpetuation of historical injustices first-hand, on a daily basis. So did all of the students.

The people who are defending this approach can stomach it.

Case closed.

FWIW

Anonymous said...

since it's happening, shouldn't parents and rsponsible bloggers try their hardest to make it work?

instead of grumbling hcc parents should get in touch with non hcc parents who are enrolling their kids in honors and parents who enrolled in non-honors and find ways to help the staff at garfield - not sit around predicting failure, cherry picking pro ability grouping articles and maligning experienced hard working teachers.

scared

Anonymous said...

@scared, Give me a break. It is not up to parents to try and figure out how to make Honors For All work! It's the teacher's job; and I say that as a teacher. When I switch things up in my classroom, I don't expect parents to help support kids who are behind. That's my job. Honors For All is a big experiment that may or may not work. I'm pretty mixed about the likelihood of teachers being able to adequately meet the needs of all the different levels of students in one class. I think it would have been better to individually approach kids about taking honors classes. No matter, the bottom line is that the teachers chose to make the change and they need to make it work.
Teacher

Melissa Westbrook said...

Scared, I don't have to do anything. I'm not paid to write to support the district. And, that is not the function of this blog.

I have stated my issues and I wished them well. I do have another thread about a high school in our region who tried this and no, it didn't work.

Also Scared, how in the world do you think HCC parents could"get in touch" with non-honors students' parents? It's not like there is a directory. That would be for the PTSA to do.

No one "picked a pro-grouping article" - in fact, it was quite balanced about the whole thing.

I myself have not maligned a teacher (except the one who maligned parents and even then I never printed her name.)

It is reasonable to ask questions. And, if they don't tell parents about what they are doing with any advance notice, especially for incoming 9th graders, what else won't they tell parents?

Anonymous said...

In past years it was my understanding that honors classes at Garfield were open to anybody, but not everybody, meaning that you could request an honors class, but once the sections offered were full, you would not get in due to lack of space - the remaining students ended up in non-honors classes, or maybe taking a different subject entirely. Was this true? And will the new scheme eliminate at least that particular problem?

Irene

Anonymous said...

"The progressive and justice-minded teachers at
Garfield (who were lauded for their MAP protest) couldn't stomach it anymore because they saw a perpetuation of historical injustices first-hand, on a daily basis. So did all of the students."

The thing I find most annoying about Seattle is that it doesn't matter how good your plan is, or how well you do your job. The only thing that matters (at least to a big segment of the population) is are you appropriately PC (the new terminology is progressive/social justice minded). Execution is totally optional.

I'm pretty sure this is a GHS teacher posting this. we'd prefer you to focus on being great teachers. Is that too much to ask? After all, who appointed you as the decision makers for historical injustices and the appropriate remedies? Did you spend any time at all asking incoming non-honors 9th grade parents whether this is something they wanted?

The academics at the school are wildly uneven in terms of quality. Many of the department heads could obviously care less about the quality of their departments. The school "strategic plan" bears no resemblance to what is actually getting done. Of course, fixing all that isn't as fun as being on the vanguard of social justice.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I'm not a Garfield teacher, but nice attempt at ad hominem. Suddenly, the classes lack quality and the department heads aren't up to par. We heard none of this prior to Honors for All. I hope your took your complaints to the school in a timely manner. Otherwise, it's a rather transparent version of Sour Grapes.

The teachers are obviously mostly excellent professionals or you wouldn't have sent your children to the school. Putting them down to get your way shows no class.

They couldn't stomach the injustice any longer.

FWIW

Melissa Westbrook said...

No caps, we do NOT out people at this blog. Please do not do that again.

Anonymous said...

This isn't an act of social or racial justice. It's a facade, a fake version, lacking meaning or effectiveness.

For decades, people working for civil rights and equity have known that you can't just wave a magic wand and declare segregation to be over. Merely putting all kids in the same classroom doesn't do anything to achieve equity. It doesn't help those kids get the supports they need to learn better, or go to a good college. It's just something that white liberals can do to make themselves feel better, pat themselves on the back, and act like they're good allies in the fight for racial justice.

If folks were serious about this they'd contend more seriously with the quotes Melissa shared above. But people aren't even responding to them. There's no thought being put into this, and without deliberate thought, there is no commitment to kids of color. There's no assurance those kids will get what they need. There's just a bunch of white liberals who are going to tell themselves they did their part, and walk away once all kids are in the same class, without doing anything else to actually address the problem.

IMHO

Anonymous said...

Reposting for Anonymous 12:19

"The progressive and justice-minded teachers at Garfield (who were lauded for their MAP protest) couldn't stomach it anymore because they saw a perpetuation of historical injustices first-hand, on a daily basis. So did all of the students."

The thing I find most annoying about Seattle is that it doesn't matter how good your plan is, or how well you do your job. The only thing that matters (at least to a big segment of the population) is are you appropriately PC (the new terminology is progressive/social justice minded). Execution is totally optional.

I'm pretty sure this is a GHS teacher posting this. we'd prefer you to focus on being great teachers. Is that too much to ask? After all, who appointed you as the decision makers for historical injustices and the appropriate remedies? Did you spend any time at all asking incoming non-honors 9th grade parents whether this is something they wanted?

The academics at the school are wildly uneven in terms of quality. Many of the department heads could obviously care less about the quality of their departments. The school "strategic plan" bears no resemblance to what is actually getting done. Of course, fixing all that isn't as fun as being on the vanguard of social justice.

Interested

Anonymous said...

gotcha mw it is just that they really think using several names is makes them somehow more important. and i didn't really out anyone just lumped them as i did not use their real name; but i certainly don't intend to be a nuisance.

cm said "it was enough of a barrier to keep out a lot of students -students who are capable of doing the work." says you. can you prove that. and couldn't that have been a teaching/counseling moment.

also ghs has honors/gen ed in the same classrooms for some classes. why couldn't that model have been expanded? grading is going to be a mess, right?

no caps

Anonymous said...

Garfield is 38% white. Honors LA classes comprised 2/3 of the ninth grade LA offerings last year. Unless someone is suggesting that the Honors LA9 classes were all incredibly small and the non-honors classes were incredibly large, the classes were already racially integrated.

DisAPPointed

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Interesting comments, more reposting (you need to sign as something):

Anonymous said...
"Suddenly, the classes lack quality and the department heads aren't up to par. We heard none of this prior to Honors for All. I hope your took your complaints to the school in a timely manner. Otherwise, it's a rather transparent version of Sour Grapes."

Who is we? The school certainly did (math department, choir class, spanish classes). You must not be a Garfield parent.

7/21/16, 3:03 PM

Anonymous said...
Students who aren't cut out for honors--because they don't have the time to put in the extra work it requires, don't have the interest, don't have the ability/prerequisite experience, whatever--are really getting screwed here. Not only do they get cheated out of an elective (since they have to take the reading support class), but now they have to spend more time on homework (the Garfield catalog said 5 hrs a week for LA), and they will have 2 *harder* classes that are more heavily weighted, so potentially a double whammy on their GPAs. Or is grading going to be "differentiated" too, kind of a "sliding scale" based on race and/or prior track?

7/21/16, 3:05 PM

Interested

Anonymous said...

"Suddenly, the classes lack quality and the department heads aren't up to par. We heard none of this prior to Honors for All. I hope your took your complaints to the school in a timely manner. Otherwise, it's a rather transparent version of Sour Grapes."

Suddenly? Apparently you didn't read the HCC blog regularly. After access to AP World History was eliminated for incoming HC 9th graders, people did complain about Honors LA9 being too easy and boring. It's just that nobody really cares whether HC students are adequately challenged or not, so nothing changed for you to notice.

DisAPPointed

Anonymous said...

hcc parents can complain but since it's going to happen it just makes them look like the stereotype people have for them so get over it and try to make it work
maybe your kid will enjoy the diversity of ability and see the world and seattle in a more expansive light

teachers don't want help? ours did in 9th grade. they ask for parents to follow the workload, follow the source follow schoology, make contact if there are problems, etc

keeping kids focused on the group projects was a job for sure, getting the work of all kids coordinated and turned in

if a parent keeps their kid in line it makes the teacher's job with the less supervised kids easier

i think there is a lot a parent can do to support a school like go to every event and send snacks on appreciation day!

and what about just giving moral support? believing that these kids howard is worried about can succeed?

a bad attitude is contagious and you poison the well and influence children with the constant negativity

i also find dropping a gift card on teachers at the end of the year is never refused

the bulldogs have an image problem and some of the stuff on this blog is not helping

ram

Melissa Westbrook said...

"i think there is a lot a parent can do to support a school like go to every event and send snacks on appreciation day!"

Yes, and that happens with most parents in a high school. By the way, I want a pony, too.

Why does this topic mean a lecture on what parents should be doing at school? I'll just say that many parents invest in their child's school but if I was not informed about a major change to a program my child was in, I might feel a little less vested in the school.

No parent is obligated to give "moral support."

As well, I'm not sure all parents discuss this kind of stuff with their kids; I think their kids come to the parents and say, "Here's my schedule. Why can't I have an elective?"

This blog is not GHS' problem. Their problems are internal. That they come out for public view is something to take up with GHS administration and the district.

Again, don't shoot the messenger.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Interesting article from Edutopia on gifted learning in reg ed classrooms.

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/gifted-students-general-ed-classrooms-elissa-brown?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=socialflow

Anonymous said...

"major change to a program my child was in, I might feel a little less vested in the school."

what program? honors classes are not a program and there is no change for the kids who requested honors only those who didn't sign up originally

as far as image, you're right, the blog just lets people vent, which is good

as for kids hearing their parents gripe, i'm afraid that is pretty common and it's not the kids taking remedial work and missing an elective whose parents are complaining on this blog

it's the hcc parents

not that i don't get it

class would be smoother and more productive, maybe, without the non-honors kids, some of whom may have discipline issues not encountered in the kids who signed up for honors

that's the crux if you ask me, these harder to teach kids who may slow down the class or cause disruption

the staff says they can deal with it and we have to give them a shot and no you don't have any obligation to provide moral support, you can complain all year if you want but it is happening and being hopeful and positive is infectious and will help your kid.

ram

Anonymous said...



did you say how these teachers were going to grade combayah el/ss? did howard say how they were going to grade it? did the central director say how they were going to grade it? did mt say how they were going to grade it?

the crux of all differentiation research is done in elementary and ms. this is hs were kids are expected to self differentiate. howard isn't letting that happen. college bound kids it's all about getting the tools to succeed their.

cm says a lot of these kids can do the work. let them know that in ms!!! right vice sup mt? otherwise you look like you are just dismantling a program that is a basic education need. and i know i will be watching this doomed policy for the daylighted data with baited breath; you bring no one to the table to make a decision like this and you eat alone.

no caps

Anonymous said...

@ ram,

So parents are supposed to keep the kids focused on group projects and get the work of all kids coordinated? In high school honors-level courses? Seriously? I don't need to worry about "keeping my kid in line" because my kid is well-behaved and focused and passionate about learning. When my kid shows up in an honors class, they are there to work hard and learn. That's what an honors-level class should be able to expect and ensure.

Yet, in your words, "class would be smoother and more productive, maybe, without the non-honors kids" because they are "harder to teach kids who may slow down the class or cause disruption." If classes will need to slow down and become less productive, and if they will focusing more on group projects so they can better accommodate the needs of lower performing students, how exactly is that "no change for the kids who requested honors"? It seems like a big change--a lowering of expectations and a lessening of rigor. Don't just dismiss that, and claim that things aren't changing. Yeah, we'll deal with it, like we always do. But realistically, the likelihood that the Garfield staff will create a magical curriculum and learn differentiation methods to deal with classrooms that include such a wide mix of students--from students who are likely to be unable to pass the exams required for high school graduation in 12th grade, to kids who are ready for college-level work in 9th grade--is pretty low, even if the teachers have good intentions.

DisAPPointed

Anonymous said...

"When my kid shows up in an honors class, they are there to work hard and learn. That's what an honors-level class should be able to expect and ensure."

gimme a brake
my kids took honors and it was a hard classbut 9yh graders are not normally self-motivating
ask a teacher

small

Anonymous said...

A parallel "we have racial inequity in this city, so you need to shut up and let us have our way" attitude?: http://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/get-ready-for-a-neighborhood-rebellion-against-mayor-murray/

But the mayor is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Instead of reforming the system, he is kneecapping the councils. They now will have the legal standing of a Boy Scout troop.

Rollout of the decision was so poorly handled that it immediately bred conspiracy theories. Because who trusts City Hall when it comes to what neighborhoods want? ....

The timing is awful. ....

But Murray didn’t make Nyland’s job easier by describing the district councils as a “barrier” for — get ready for this — “immigrants and refugees, low-income residents, communities of color, renters, single parents, youth, people experiencing homelessness, LGBTQ … to become involved in the city’s decision-making process.”

There were no thank-yous to district council volunteers for years of service.

Murray’s message was heard loud and clear in North Seattle neighborhoods: City Hall hears too much griping from the white, middle-aged, homeowner klatch. Nevermind these meetings are open to anyone.

“Neighborhoods are starting to call Mayor Murray ‘Mayor Putin’,” said Miranda Berner, president of the Wallingford Community Council. She said she voted for Murray because “he seemed to really listen” but got involved in Wallingford last year out of frustration with development plans.

“If he doesn’t like your input, he finds a way to dismiss it because of the color of your skin or the neighborhood you live in,” Berner said. ....

As the saying goes, you can’t fight City Hall. But you sure can un-elect the leaders who dismiss your voice.

Times Reader

Anonymous said...

Right DisAPPointed. Our students need rigor, and at a high level. It shouldn't be up to the kids to do it. We don't want them developing initiative or any mamby pamby skills like that. That's not what school is about. My kid deserves the best. 100s of posts should prove to people we are right doesn't it?

Curious

Anonymous said...

no curious you don't get it because you don't live it. it isn't the best, it is the best fit for hc kids.

please choose a moniker so i can ignore your dribble.

no caps

Anonymous said...

No Caps,
The word you meant is "drivel" not "dribble". How in the world can somebody who can't capitalize and doesn't understand when he's using a malapropism ever hope to comment on honor's LA? You clearly wouldn't know if your kid was doing honor's work - or not. You sound like Michael Christopherson - except he didn't represent the highly-capable cohort.

I live it, and I think we need to stick together. I signed up for the highly capable cohort which is defined by who is not in it. I don't really care about incapable cohorts - they are not my worry. This Garfield thing - is really messing everything up.

Curious

Anonymous said...

wow what a hot mess.

no caps

seattle citizen said...

The following statement is decidedly NOT what public education is about:

"I signed up for the highly capable cohort which is defined by who is not in it. I don't really care about incapable cohorts - they are not my worry."

Anonymous said...

Curious' ridiculously offensive phrases are not the believable sentiments of an actual HCC parent: 'incapable cohorts' (??!) 'defined by who is not in it' 'they are not my worry.'

Someone's trying to stir things up here. Don't take the bait.

- Sherlock

Anonymous said...

true true true.

no caps

seattle citizen said...

Yeah, good point. Sorry I fed the troll.

Anonymous said...

it is the troll who should apologize. but i too apologize for repeatedly feeding that troll. i am so sorry for the troll and i hope the best for his kid(s). seems like there is no right path for him and his kids so he is bullying the hcc community with his drivel*.

his - assuming he is male.

no caps

* thanks

Anonymous said...

Yes. All trolls should apologize. If you think I'm a troll - you are mistaken. All of your assumptions about me are false No Caps. I'm just saying what needs to be said but is unpopular because of PC realities. In your case, I find it hard to believe that somebody who uses the language as poorly as you do, is an HCC parent either. It's genetic you know. We're a diverse bunch in our small range. Who knows? Maybe you adopted your kid. You don't have to worry about Honors for All or Honors for None. You won't know the difference.

Curious

Melissa Westbrook said...

Curious, you and no caps need to take it elsewhere. We are not here for you to snipe at each other and your remarks are unpleasant. As well, we do NOT ever make remarks about other people's children.