An op-ed from a Seattle Schools parent in the
What’s equitable about a school district that provides special services for the elite, white, privileged, top 2-3 percent of the children and families it serves?Really? What special curriculum or training or support did your students and you get from being in HCC?
What message does this send to students in the district? That white students are the current and future members of the intelligentsia, while black and brown students are not.No, it sends the message that the district needs to reach out in new and better ways to find students of color who would benefit from the program.
More than thirty years later in Seattle, the opt-in systemWhat? HCC is not that big and that the entirety of "equitable education" changes in SPS rests on it?
continues toleads to a serious stratification of students and their opportunities for advanced learning. Until this is addressed, I can’t believe that the district has any real intentions of working to achieve equitable education across socio-economic and racial divides.
Her suggestion of testing all kids (except those who opt out) is fine but I'm troubled by how long she takes to get there.
I now truly believe more is going on here than one program. This is way too much noise over it.
Also, here is a link to the Advanced Learning budget that the district provided to me. Anyone have any questions on it?
end of update
I attended the HCC Committee meeting last week at Thurgood Marshall.
The head of Advanced Learning, Stephen Martin, was there along with new Curriculum Specialist, Diann Sanusi.
Members of the committee include teachers and teachers at different schools. They still are trying to fill spots on the committee including all the middle schools.
Ms. Sanusi gave an introductory talk about her work. She said she had worked with middle/high school counselors to give them support, added more PD and with funds from Race to the Top, bought books on how to keep data. She said her goal is to work more closely with counselors to identify and support highly capable learners and their socio-emotional learning needs. She wants to identify more students who are flagged via PowerSchool and alert counselors to those students.
She can be reached at email@example.com.
Mr. Martin then went over new data from AL.
- He said the office had worried about the new referral system but that they had 5,000 applications (!), most thru The Source but about 400 from private schools that were paper-based. They had applications printed in nine languages that were available thru schools and on-line.
- He said the testing would be on Saturdays because there is no room at schools during the week. (I'm not sure if he meant during the school day or after school.)
Editor's note: I see at the AL page this notification:
We initially hoped to have all tests scheduled and families notified by the end of the day Tuesday, November 1. However, our timeline has changed.
- He said that every school had to have an "AL presence" in schools' CSIPs this year. That great but most of what is in the CSIP just isn't happening anyway so again, words on paper.
He then went over the documents on the trends on diversity in Advanced Learning.
Martin said the trends for more diversity in the program are going in the right direction (the document itself says that "the gap in AL is slowly and consistently shrinking.")
Committee member Gail Herman said that the effect looks even more pronounced than the graph even shows.
On page 2, Ms. Herman asked about the category of "Hispanic" and if that category breaks into sub-groups. Marting said no, it doesn't.
He said that the appeal process is in the form that the family gets when they get their notification letter after testing including that private testing is available for free for F/RL students.
One interesting fact is that students with IEPs do get tested with any accommodations they receive via their IEP. They would be not be tested in a group setting if they have an IEP.
What I see from Page 2 is:
- the number of Asian students dropped after 2011 (1045) to 926 in 2012, then 921 in 2013, then back up to 2016's high of 1152
- the number of black students also dropped from 2011 (252) to 2012 (189) and then were dropping until 2015 when they went back up. But 2016's figure of 234 is still not good.
- the number of Hispanic students has shown a steady rise - from 241 in 2011 to 451 in 2016.
- there is nothing good to say about the rate for Native American students. Martin said the biggest group growth is in the multi-racial category and he thought that many Native American students may be in this group.
- students who identify as multi-racial has group from 464 in 2012 to 1040 in 2016.
- the white student rate has soared by from 4023 in 2011 to 6415 for 2016 but that is only a 5% growth rate
There was some discussion about the issues for the pending 24-credit graduation requirement. Most of the members of the committee didn't think it was a big issue for those students but that there is no room to fail a class.
The big number was at the bottom:
Appeal decisions increase the numbers of white students in the newly eligible HC pool by 45% in
SY 14-15 and by 77% in SY15-16.
There was a great, if somewhat depressing, presentation by Mary Margaret Welch who coordinates science PD and she talked about the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for Washington state.
She said there will be a big change from learning vocabulary and facts to more "systems thinking and modeling" with students "conducting investigations, solving problems, and engaging in discussions with teacher guidance.
She said that the "shift in practice is bigger than anything before and better for engaging students."
BUT she said not all schools are on the same page to get this preparation work done. She said there are "a lot of people operating alone." She said the district has a Boeing grant to get this work done but not all teachers are coming to get this PD.
There was some discussion about middle school science pathways to high schools and that it is not the same for all middle schools. Ms. Welch said that some high school principals were frustrated over this because they had kids coming into their high schools at different levels of science preparation.
This led to a tangential discussion of ... where is the line between principal autonomy and district mandates? There was a Garfield parent who was quite concerned over the inability for some parents to navigate many district programs.
Ms. Welch continued on with her presentation and explained that the new science standards would have an equity focus and that the emphasis on examination of phenomena would start with a blank slate for every student and their ideas.
There was mention that the principal at Emerson had wanted her students to work on just reading, writing and math but when teachers told her that science was a tested subject, she allowed them to teach science.
Ms. Welch mentioned there was a middle school principal (unnamed) who would only allow a half year of science in grades 6 and 7.
Then there was an update from the principal at Thurgood Marshall, Katie May, on their blended social studies classes. She said it was from grades 1-5 and it was happened once a week for 30 minutes. She said they would be trying for more time later on. She said the emphasis was on "blending diverse groups and developing relationships."
She also said they were using a 4th grade textbook that "isn't great" but that they are working with Teaching and Learning to find high quality materials.