Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Bellevue School District

A reader recently referenced the high PISA-like scores for students in Bellevue School District; I read about it in the Times via this article:
If the Bellevue School District were a nation, its high-school students would rank among the top of the world’s developed nations on an influential international exam.
According to the Times, Bellevue pays for their 15-year old students to take the test.  (It's a bit confusing because the Times then says they don't take the "official" test.) Bellevue has a "randomly" selected group of 15-year olds but I'd be interested to know if all 15 year-olds in BSD get put into that pool of students.
District officials said they are particularly pleased because Bellevue’s students are more diverse than in many of the countries that traditionally rank high on the PISA.
That's probably true but I think it may be racial/ethnic but not economic over at BSD.

Comments from the Times' article:

Why does Bellevue score so well ? Many reasons:
 1. In Bellevue over 62% of adults  have a college or graduate degree, which means the population is both educated and values education. 
2. Those adults make sure their children work hard in school and if their kids are struggling, they make sure their kids get assistance to enable success. 
3. Those same adults pass school operating and capital levies, volunteer in the classroom, fund PTSA which pays for science fairs, field trips, books, teachers aids, reading programs, etc. etc. 
4. The school has great facilities due to a capital bond that was passed years ago so the kids are comfortable and have the facilities needed for the various classes. 
5. The voters passed a technology levy so today all high school kids (and some middle schools) have personal lap tops, internet at school, smart boards in every classroom, etc.
 6. The school funds 7 period high school days (the state pays for 5(?)) which means the students can take more classes which prepare them for college and increase academic achievement. 
7. Most Bellevue kids are well fed and have comfortable, supportive homes which makes it easier for the teachers to teach. 
8. Bellevue has the funds to reward teachers who have national board certification, which means Bellevue has one of the highest (if not the highest) rate of nationally board certified teachers in the state. 
9. Bellevue has a relatively low crime rate and low unemployment rate, therefore, the kids are safe at home and at school so have lower anxiety and can focus on being students, and their parents are most likely gainfully employed so there is less anxiety at home as well.

 Interestingly, gifted education comes in:

 
Bellevue has one of if not the best gifted program in the state, which those of us in the neighboring districts can only envy. They identify, actively cull and nurture talent from a young age, and the result shows. A lot of East Asian families move to Bellevue because of its excellent gifted program, which further boosts its base results.


Bellevue does have a great gifted program but it also has great programs for all students. Spiritridge, one of the primary schools where the gifted program begins, has a nearly 100% pass rate in spite of maintaining nearly 50% of spots for neighborhood kids. That means everyone, not just gifted kids, are passing.

It is, on the contrary, an extreme commitment to every last child that is what makes the school district great. Many school districts manage to achieve high results for one group or another, in specific schools. In Bellevue every single school, even those with high special ed program populations, continue to improve. 

See: Phantom Lake Elementary, which intakes special education children from its pre-school program and yet for the first time, thanks to dedication of staff, managed to exceed the district average for math scores in the 4th grade. Yes, the special ed program in the poorest area scored above average. 


I'll let you all in on a little secret, there must be something in the water in Bellevue that makes kids so darn smart! Magically, Bellevue only has 9.5% of its students in Special Education while the state and national averages are both around 13.2%.  

Meanwhile, just like Seattle SD, Bellevue has been having programing just for "African, Black, Latino, Native American or mix of any") males (BOOM) and for females (SHOUT).

I also heard about an incident that happened right after the presidential election involving some white female students at Newport High who openly denigrated black students on Snapchat.  Apparently it caused a lot of strife at the school with the white students being kept at home for their own good (which is an interesting way to say you are disciplining students.)

From the Bellevue Reporter:
The Bellevue School Board passed a resolution Tuesday reaffirming the district’s stance on discrimination, bullying and harassment following parental concerns about incidents of hate over the last month.

It’s words, actions are more powerful, why are we doing this?’ I think that as several incidents have come to light in recent days … I don’t think they’re all election-relation. Things like this happen all of the time in our district and don’t make the radar. But, I see a reason to come out and make a strong statement,” Board President Christine Chew said.

“I have over 65 students who have sent out emails and texts … regarding the issue of racism that’s happening within the school district and has never been resolved… They feel like it’s hidden and nobody wants to talk about it,” Bellevue resident and YMCA volunteer Adam Dibba told the School Board on Dec. 6.

The morning after the election, a group of Puesta del Sol students aboard bus No. 26 chanted “build the wall.” A Bellevue kindergartner was reportedly told to leave the country by a student, and a Snapchat message involving the N-word sent by a Newport High School student was widely shared.

Newport High School student Jahdai Alcombrack teared up on Dec. 13 while discussing the Snapchat incident and others she had experienced over the last four years in the Bellevue School District.
There has not been an uptick in student bullying or discrimination, according to the district, and teachers and other staff are trained on handling such incidents and receive reminders about how to address them regularly.  

108 comments:

Anonymous said...

I know a teacher who moved from teaching in Bellevue to one of our ALO elementary schools and this person was quite surprised that he/she needed to create so much of the curriculum and that there isn't more guidance from the District.

Flailing SPS

Anonymous said...

I know a number of wealthy people living in Bellevue who all send their kids to the public schools and do anything/everything to support their school. In Seattle, these same people would shift their money to private schools and extra curriculars. The middle and some upper middle class still "stick it out" in SPS, but very few people with serious money stay in the system.

If SPS earned their trust and participation back, we would all benefit. If my friend who spends $8K on the mediocre catholic school in Bryant would send their kid to any of our good neighborhood schools and donate $4K per year to the PTA or a Foundation supporting SPS, this could be a win-win. But this is never going to happen with the current "leadership" downtown. There is too much money wasted and too much animosity towards effectively meeting students' academic needs, not to mention the years of endless studies and zero action or accountability.

Fix AL

Anonymous said...

yeah well said fix al. we are chasing a ton of resources out of the district especially with the hate towards al. no spectrum cost us kids. no real hcc that is costing us kids. i wonder if tolley gets a commision from the public schools every time one of his teachers calls the hc parents racist without any redirection. i am pretty sure nyland does with those inane friday memos.

-nc /nocaps

HCC Parent said...


There are plenty of teachers and parents supporting efforts to dismantle advanced learning. Participating principals, teachers and community members share responsibility for dismantling advanced learning.

ML said...

I looked it up. As of 2013 Bellevue was sending 20.1% of school-age children to private school and Seattle was sending 28.6%. In 2014 that was 17,259 Seattle kids going to private school for preK-12. I think some real improvements to advanced learning programs would really put a dent in those numbers. And if we won back some of those kids, I can't imagine it would lower test scores. And I'm pretty confident PTSA contributions wouldn't go down.

Anonymous said...

Bellevue is a much smaller district than Seattle..no? Probably also more affluent? Less economic disparity? Diversity likely means affluent or middle class Asians? But they can state statistics "diverse" (non-white) kids are achieving? Not as many poor students? Middle class/affluent Asians are achieving at rates similar (or better) to whites? They probably also have low per pupil funding etc as WA state is not spending what is spent in other states. There is much more diversity in Seattle both in income and race. We are a bigger district with likely much bigger achievement gaps due to those reasons. Likely so much harder to manage.
-2 cents

Anonymous said...

Improvements in programs won't help much while we have so much overcrowding. One of the big advantages to private is smaller class size and more personalized attention. Many students really need that. I don't know how many people go private for the curriculum itself. I could be wrong, but I think it's more about the overall experience.

Also, it's not just advanced learning programs that need improvement if SPS wants to retain students. Plenty of GE kids leave, too. Most private schools don't focus on advanced kearners. Or @ML, are you suggesting we improve AL programs to try to "win back" the right students--those who are high performing? I can't see SPS doing that at all--not only would it be wrong to focus on improving services ONLY for the top performers, but it would increase the achievement gap.

HF

Melissa Westbrook said...

HF, right on all counts. Several years back the argument could be made for AL when schools were not full but not now.

Anonymous said...

I didn't mean just improve Advanced Learning to retain people from fleeing to private, but it is one big piece in the puzzle. The opportunity gap work needs to happen before 3rd grade, IMHO. Programs like this one, reported on today in the Times, will help:
http://www.seattletimes.com/education-lab/teaching-parents-how-to-teach-their-toddlers-seattle-area-program-yields-lasting-benefits/

A lot of frustration is misdirected and should be aimed at the Legislators, but our District could be doing more to support the classrooms and all programs.

Fix AL

Anonymous said...

Folks are disgusted with SPS when you look at their salary schedule

http://data.spokesman.com/salaries/schools/2013/92-seattle-public-schools/employees/

and see that the top 200 employees all make over $100K and not one of them is a teacher...

PissedOff

Po3 said...

I have never talked to a parent who sends their kid to private school say it is because AL is dismal. It is actually the opposite--it's special education resources they site. In those cases, they choose the Catholic schools. It's also the reputation that SPS middle schools have that takes them out for three years and many return for HS. They also talk the underfunding and overcrowding that drives them away.

Anonymous said...

Here's the strategy.

Attack the district and discredit as many staffers as possible. Paint the district as corrupt and incompetent.

Attack anyone who wants to change the delivery of HCC from a self-contained exclusionary model.

Call people lots of names.

Trot out anecdotes and and lists of complaints about mistreatment.

Harass anyone who supports a different vision for HC services.

Hire some professional internet trolls to do the above while you're sleeping, on vacation or just because it's cheap.

Rinse and repeat.


Umbellularia

Melissa Westbrook said...

Catholic schools have better Sped services than SPS? Never heard that one before.

Anonymous said...

Really Po3? There has got to be tremendous selection bias then. Probably on my end too, but I talk to many parents who have left for private school for minor AL services. Specifically the most common story is that their kid is lost in the cracks. The gen ed curriculum is too easy, and the teacher spend most of their time catching up the kids who are behind, but the child doesn't stand out enough (doesn't fit most blog commenters' criteria for "smart"- Sheldon Cooper, socially awkward science interested white male) to receive attention at the other end, doesn't qualify for hcc and/or doesn't want 2 years acceleration anyway. These students are so cheap to educate. We should be keeping them with mild walk to math and reading programs, and pocketing the rest of the money to spend on students who need more. Like we do now, only more and better, with the happy side effect of actually educating students. Being underfunded is MORE of a reason to try to attract those students.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

I have heard that Catholic schools are better for kids with Down's syndrome, more inclusive. But I know parents who have moved from Catholic school to SPS for dyslexia/dyscalculia services. They often still have huge class sizes and not a lot of differentiation.

-sleeper

Lynn said...

The only family I know whose child with Down's attended a Catholic K-8 personally paid for a full time classroom aide for nine years. I also know parents of kids at that school with dyslexia who either sent them to Hamlin Robinson for a year or two or spent much money and time on after school tutoring. Catholic schools are affordable because they only serve kids without problems.

Anonymous said...

Po3,

We left for private because of weak AL. Hate paying that kind of money as it is a bit out of our reach, but not enough to qualify for aid. Wish it were different.

Problem is that kids come in on very different trajectories, which would only diverge further if SPS wasn't putting all its effort into closing the gap. Ignoring the kids on the steep trajectories and working like heck with the kids on the lowest trajectories will at best, keep the groups parallel.

Really liked the article in the Times today that someone referenced above. That's where all this effort should be placed, helping parents get kids ready by playing with them and talking to them (many, many words). And ensuring that we have a social safety net that ensures kids have a home and enough food.

asdf

Anonymous said...

"Catholic schools have better Sped services than SPS? Never heard that one before."

I don't think that is the case. I am aware of some of the parish schools, OLL in Wedgwood, partnering with Hamlin Robinson, on some learning issues programs as such.

I have seen a few students who do attend a parish school then go down the street for some specific Sped services at their neighborhood school for part of the day.

Observation

Anonymous said...

Catholic schools get support from the Seattle Archdiocese, and their parishes, which helps keep the cost down.

asdf

Anonymous said...

sleeper, do you really think race has anything to do with it? i was with you until then. the fact a family has the wealth to send a kid to private /parochial says volumes. amount of pigment in their skin is really irrelevant.


mc troll to what advantage would anyone pay to advocate for hcc on this blog? again you are placing an unreasonable, most likely paranoid, importance to something that means nothing. to my knowledge you are the only one who admitted shilling your voice for money. i hope after reading your post for the last few years that you didn't charge too much ar at least gave a discount for poor grammar.

as for name calling, it is the hcc haters who wield the big false racism card in all their post... including you so not going to bite on that one either.


nc - no caps

Anonymous said...

@ sleeper, the situation you mention--kid getting lost in the cracks, b/c gen ed is too easy and kid doesn't stand out enough and doesn't qualify for HCC--might be partially interpreted as leaving for AL services as you said, or it might be considered leaving for smaller classes and more personalized attention (so kids aren't as likely to fall in the cracks) and leaving for a more rigorous GE-type curriculum. Many of these private schools serve a lot of kids who are not HC or "advanced learners," and they do it with their standard, challenging-but-GE-appropriate curriculum. It's usually still based on common grade level expectations that aren't all that different, and it's not like they're pushing kids ahead. They just expect a bit more in their grade-level work, and they don't seem to neglect as many basics as is often seen in SPS.

HF

Anonymous said...

I do think that people have a stereotype of a "gifted" student in their heads which is an autistic white male, and I know that when teachers choose students for acceleration rather than relying on test results, the pool they choose is whiter, male-er, and older for grade than the tests.

When I look at the Bellevue site I also notice that they have a lot of summer school options. Could that be part of it? I believe math is the hardest hit by "summer learning loss," which makes sense to me as of course you keep reading just incidentally. Fewer kids keep up their math skills. It also looks like they don't just skip for math levels, but more often place kids in different classes, faster moving "streams." That would result in fewer gaps I imagine.

-sleeper

NESeattleMom said...

I know some families who sent their child to Hamlin Robinson then to Kennedy (Catholic)high school. Dyslexia

Anonymous said...

Hf, sure, it could go both ways. In practice humanities in particular is about a year advanced, and sps could solve for that with reading groups, maybe flexible writing groups.

Potato potahto. You say personalized but ge, I say Ala Carte spectrum. Not hc, but mild advanced learning. Either way we get many of the cheap to educate students back, right?

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

I wonder what Bellevue does, if anything? A nearly 10% improvement on public school attendance is significant, and would be a lot of dollars to spend on kids who are more expensive. I know a lot of what they do is have a more SES homogenous population, so fewer needs to serve at once. But not all. I remember reading their mission statement one time and wishing we could just adopt it- so clear, didn't cost millions in consultants to come up with.

-sleeper

kellie said...

Here are the stats on Bellevue. Yes, they have less poverty but 19% FRL is a significant number and higher than half of Seattle Schools. They clearly are doing things that work, especially when you consider that they have had a very sharp enrollment increase.

https://www.bsd405.org/about/

The current Advanced Learning programs have their origins in "magnet programs". Magnet programs were very appropriately labeled because they were designed and intended to draw the upper middle class to public schools in general and to specific public school in particular. The specific schools were either underenrolled or high poverty or both.

This matters because as you see in Bellevue, when the majority of the middle class and upper middle class, buy into public schools everyone wins, because there is more money in the system. When the middle class abandons public education, you have problems that are far worse and more entrenched than Seattle "achievment gap" because the money also leaves the system.

This happened in Seattle in the 80s. After significant "white flight" to the suburbs "for the schools" the levies failed and draconian cuts were made. It is no surprise that shortly after this major loss of funds, there was a renewed focus on advanced learning and "Horizon" the precursor to Spectrum was born along with the old APP program.

When you look at advanced learning programs over decades, there is always a correlation between advanced learning and the desire to attract and retain the upper middle class.

Improving outcomes for struggling students and advanced learning are not mutually exclusive. It is a false dichotomy that hurts all students. If fact, if you follow the money, advanced learning and improved outcomes go hand in hand.

Anonymous said...

Wow. So, 28% of Seattles kids go private, and we all agree that these aren't really the brightest white kids. They are mostly just rich white kids, lots of disabled kids and practically all the gifted black kids. Doesn't that seem right? We know the gifted black kids almost be in private because we don't have them in our HCC. Where else would they be?

We also know that 76% of the National Merit Semifinalists are not earned by public school kids. 14 out of 48 Seattle NSMF are from public school kids. So, 28% of these private school kids kids are being awarded 76% of these awards. How unfair is that! We need to vastly improve our HCC so that our kids who are a heck of a lot smarter than kids nationally (at least 10x smarter) get a fair shake. Does anyone know how to get racial makeup of the NMSF? If we had that, we could prove once and for all, that gifted black kids are being educated privately and put those awful claims of segregation to rest.

HCC Numbers

Anonymous said...

I remember some years ago Professor Cliff Mass talked about how much tutoring families did in Bellevue, particularly in math. Considering how bad the math curriculum has been in Seattle over the years, this difference could be substantial.
Seattle math is getting better, but we cannot compete with better curricula and plenty of outside tutoring.
S parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

nc no caps, give yourself another name.

"We know the gifted black kids almost be in private because we don't have them in our HCC. Where else would they be?"

What? There are some still in SPS just as there are Hispanic, NA, and nearly every other group.

Why? Because not everyone is tested and yet, their smarts still exist. People don't test their kids for all kinds of reason, people test and don't use AL for all kinds of reasons.

There are smart kids - in every race/ethnic group and grade - in SPS. They just all aren't identified and/or their parents are not interested in those services.

And, once again, a thread gets hijacked out of its original subject.

Anonymous said...

Kellie said:

"When you look at advanced learning programs over decades, there is always a correlation between advanced learning and the desire to attract and retain the upper middle class."

Totally agree. Why is it still happening in 2016?

Nancy

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

When district funds are tied to enrollment it's true there's more state money for large districts, but school district property levies don't excluded childless properties nor do the levy proceeds flux based on enrollment. So irrespective of enrollment those levy approved taxes just keep rolling in at the same amount or more. Our district tends to spend it all by frivolous hires and unmerited wages increases. There seems to never be a surplus, of coarse unless there's a mistake.

The district's proposed three-year operations levy totals $758 million. About 63 percent of the money going to support teaching and another 9.5 percent to teaching support.

The state supplies the lion's share of the schools budget, but the operations levy accounts for just over 25 percent of the district's spending.

The six-year capital levy is set at $475 million, about $200 million more than the $270 million levy approved by Seattle voters in 2010.

The homeowner who has paid $1,016 in Seattle school taxes this year would, see the tax bill jump to $1,145 to $1,172 in years to come.

If it takes $500 Million or $9,433 per student to operate our district each year that means it takes an average of $1,172 from 437,000 properties to run this district. At some point our levy funding should more than cover expenses and the state funding can be used by more needy districts.

An alternative would be to cap the yearly levy amount and rebate distressed tax payers any surplus. It's really hard to stomach over 200 employees making in excess of $110K many well above that mark.

Money Monster

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

Actually, Money Monster, the levy is capped to a percentage of the state funding and the state funding is enrollment based, so a drop in enrollment would mean a drop in the local levy funding. As it happens, enrollment is rising rather than falling, so it is possible that the authorized levy amount could be less than the full amount that the District could be getting. This happened a few years ago and the District floated a supplemental levy for the difference.

Your math may be right but your reasoning is flawed. The "average cost" per student is a meaningless figure since it is nothing like the cost of education for a typical student. Likewise the idea of an average cost of $1,172 per property absurdly equates a modest single family home in South Beacon Hill with the Columbia Center. I assure you that the property tax on the Columbia Center is nothing like the property taxes on any single family residence.

So skip all of that pointless math and go straight to your point, which had more validity without the math: The school district central administration is too big and the executives are too highly compensated. Too many of them are doing work that they should not be doing, nearly all of them are failing to do work that they should be doing, and a few of them are doing no work at all.

Elsa said...

Charlie says it all and speaks for us.

Anonymous said...

Seattle has little curricular guidance for teachers. When I started there were protocols and curriculum but now teachers are having merge curriculum from diverse sources. Math is the most time consuming because we are getting guidance (if you can call it that) from the math department and some expectation that we might be using MIF and others Envision.

Reading is another "curricular calendar" put out by that department. We haven't had a real curriculum in years. Same with social studies.

A few years ago a friend who sent her kid to Seattle Schools through third grade gave up on us and chose a catholic school for fourth and beyond and was much happier. The kid is successful and she has become more academic than social. I know parents want their kids to enjoy school but really school is an academic endeavor and at my school, teachers are more afraid of offending parents than demanding that students work hard to learn. I know of few if any private schools that invite parents into the classroom. They are not social places.

We need good curriculum and the opportunity to work our kids hard during school time. If I could end the assemblies and crazy hair days, I would. Who can teach when there's no time to teach and kids have one reason after another to be excited and crazy.

One of our new teachers came from Northshore. I asked her the biggest difference and she said curriculum. She feels like she's making it up as she goes and she really misses having curriculum. It takes twice as long to plan for everything.

checking in

Watching said...

Private schools do not have to release test data. It is really hard to decide if private schools are better than public schools based on test scores.

Private schools don't need to accept all students.

I do think some flock to private schools for smaller class sizes. Some attend Seattle Day School for advanced needs.

Anonymous said...

Bellevue has class sizes similar to SPS, and it gets state funding the same as Seattle. So that can't be a huge difference. Private schools don't release testing data, Watching, because they don't spend lots of time doing tests. They don't have to. But, the College Board does release information on private schools. And the data it publishes reveals that Seattle Private schools have about 3X the National Merit Semifinalist rate (or 400% more) per capita than Seattle Public Schools, and much more per capita than even HCC. And that's overall. Some schools simply blow all of them out of the water. Of course the PSAT is just one test, but it is published by the College Board and is a good predictor of SAT which is also published by College Board. College Ready. Isn't that the thing we're looking for? Especially from our best and brightest? I'm surprised to hear HCC families that suddenly, in high school, don't care about PSAT, SAT and the key objective indicators of college readiness. So, it's pretty easy to say that private school students definitely test better overall than public school students. Does the fact that students in private schools do better academically? Most HCC families really value academics and test scores. So yes. It matters to lots of people. Lakeside had 24 out of a graduating class of 125, or about 20%. Interlake from Bellevue had 40 out of a graduating class of 400 - about a 10%. Garfield had 7 out of a graduating class of 450 - something in the 5-10% range. And even if you consider the HCC population alone (and assume) that the only HCC students are getting the NMSF, you'd still expect Garfield's HCC program to produce 20 NMSF to even be on par with Interlake - which is an opt in alternative school. So SPS is either putting all it's advanced learning effort into the wrong students OR the efforts are the wrong efforts. Clearly, the privates are doing something SPS isn't.

HCC Numbers

Anonymous said...

The levy lid is pure BS. The lid is only for SPS and not individual tax payers.

First, the tax rate is not part of the law. Only the total amount to be raised each year is legally binding. If the rate has to be increased to get this amount, the law says it will be. It's hard to imagine the city/district is not collecting more than the law allows. There's probably some sort of over payment clause or second set of books that allows them to keep the money.

Second, the law also specifically outlines that the levy funds can NOT be used for basic education, yet that's exactly what it's used for. If SPS is illegally using levy funds for basic education then those funds S/B returned to the tax payers and the levy amount be reduced to the appropriate amount.

It appears SPS continues to top load it's budget with what it claims to be basic administrators in an attempt to insure it drives up cost and straddles the levy funds lid, thus appears to be poor and in need of further raising taxes. I can't prove it's intentional, but it sure looks like budget loading to me.

It reminds me of the military were we would have to use it or lose it and if we were prudent and cut cost we would have our next years budget reduce by the unused amount.

Maybe that's how Stanford ran the district?

Money Matters

Anonymous said...

"Too many of them are doing work that they should not be doing, nearly all of them are failing to do work that they should be doing, and a few of them are doing no work at all."

any actual evidence/examples or is this just more hot air?


balloon

Lynn said...

HCC Numbers,

Interlake High School is the default placement for gifted high school students in Bellevue and made up 20% of the school last year. Identification for this program required CogAT scores at the 99.7th percentile or higher. There were 323 gifted students at the school last year.

Anonymous said...

Lynn wrote -"Interlake High School is the default placement for gifted high school students in Bellevue and made up 20% of the school last year. Identification for this program required CogAT scores at the 99.7th percentile or higher. " What do people think of having similar cut-off scores for Seattle's HCC program? - NP

Anonymous said...

I would absolutely support a 99% cut off for the cohort if the other schools all had consistently strong curriculum and open-minded/supportive teachers with a scalable "meet the child where they are" walk to math or pull outs that went 1-2 years ahead. YES!

Fix AL

Lynn said...

Bellevue changed their cutoff to the 98th percentile a year or two ago.

Anonymous said...

Bellevue does not give Nationally Board certified teachers more money. The state gives ALL national board certified teachers a stipend. $5,000 or $10,000 if in a title one school.

Bellevue Nat boards

Charlie Mas said...

baloon asked if there is any actual evidence or examples of central office staff who are either doing work that they should not be doing, failing to do work that they should be doing, or doing no work at all.

The Central office staff are doing work they shouldn't be doing because the administration suffers from mission creep and over-reaching. The Central office should leave the teaching to the schools and focus on the non-teaching work.

The work that they should be doing but are not includes policy enforcement and program evaluation.

The ones doing nothing are the Executive Directors of Schools who are not adequately overseeing principals and the Director of Schools who ostensibly oversees them.

Will that do or do you need something more detailed?

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas

It's good to be back.

-Santa

Melissa Westbrook said...

Balloon, Charlie and I have documented this, over and over. You are welcome to check.

Santa, all are welcomed here.

But you remind me to make sure that I put up my customary holiday greetings like Happy Kwanzaa (thru Jan 1, 2017), Happy Hanukkah (starting December 24th thru Jan. 1, 2017), Happy Solstice (that was yesterday), and, of course, Festivus (for the rest of us.)

Anonymous said...

@Charlie-what in the world is the Curriculum and Instruction department doing if all of the schools are having to pull together their own curriculum with little to no support, standards, guidance or rules?

Fix AL

Cap hill said...

Contrast Bellevue Schools "Instructional Initiatives" with Seattle Public Schools' "Mission"...

Seattle:Seattle Public Schools is committed to ensuring equitable access, closing the opportunity gapsand excellence in education for every student. (note that the typo is theirs)

Bellevue:
1. Preparing students for academic success in core content areas through achieving proficiency in literacy, math, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), as measured by state assessments.

2. Preparing students for college and career success by graduating high school, meeting college academic distribution requirements (CADR), and earning at least 20 college credits and/or professional certification.

3. Preparing students for a positive and productive life through the development of interpersonal skills and a commitment to the community.

One has measurable goals and is focused on instruction of all students. Another has no measurable goals and is focused on a small percentage of its city's population. Just saying.

Anonymous said...

Cap hill, GREAT points. As a parent I have been frustrated for many years because the SPS goals and missions and all of their policies seem to be unmeasurable by design. Fake verbiage masquerading as policies that make it impossible (by design?) for parents or the board to evaluate whether they are meeting their supposed goals.

-Parent56

Anonymous said...

How do their org charts compare and does their Curriculum and Instruction department spend years thinking about what it could do, or does it provide a scalable curriculum that a skilled teacher could use to meet the needs of many different students, while at the same time providing space for creativity and personal touch within each classroom?

Fix AL

Melissa Westbrook said...

CapHill, I recently pointed out and asked that the legislative agenda reflect the goals of the district for ALL students. I was quite surprised that the last line of that document singled out one group of students. I was glad the Board realized that the job of the district - whether in different ways or not - is to educate ALL students.

Anonymous said...

"Identification for this program required CogAT scores at the 99.7th percentile or higher."

This is an example of proper norming on the Eastside. Highly educated parents not living in poverty should have scores normed like this in order to avoid over-identification.

FWIW

Anonymous said...

Bellevue recently lowered their cutoffs now it is two 98 or above on the Cogat(132 is 98th percentile) and 95s on achievement. Just like Seattle.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

@sleeper and Lynn-why did Bellevue lower requirements to match Seattle? Did they believe this would improve access and diversity while helping more students reach their full potential?

Kudos!

Anonymous said...

I agree with you FWIW. But so long as SPS is focused on optimal education for some people, and remediation for everyone else, parents are going to do what they can to get the absolute best thing possible for their own kids. And free is good right? For a pretty small investment, you can get a private school education for your kid, so why not?

A local industry has sprouted up to get your kid into HCC, and PRISM in Bellevue.
Best In Class.
<a href="http://bigbrainseducation.com> Big Brains. </a>

A quick google will find you even more.

It seems like with all these resources, parents can surely assist the district in identifying the best and brightest so that it really knows who needs a challenging education. That way SPS can focus on providing a world class education to students who can handle it.

HCC Numbers

Anonymous said...

Oops. Sorry about HTML problems.
Big Brains.

is another business that gets kids who need an extra boost to get over the HCC and PRISM testing hoops.
Of course there are more too.

HCC Numbers

Moose said...

"best and brightest"? HCC Numbers, this is the second time I have seen this phrase from you. Yuck, just yuck. There is a tone deafness there that doesn't help your point and really, only serves to alienate people who may want ALL kids to be working at the top of their abilities (whatever that may look like). I am interested in SPS providing a great education for all kids; I hope you are too.


Anonymous said...

Kudos, I think they used to have two programs. Self contained for 99.7, pull out for 98. They went to just one program, self contained for 98(in addition to what looks like actual ALOS at every school- walk to math standard, different material, not just 7 more ways to subtract; verbal ability similarly ability grouped). I think there was pressure from the pull out families/teachers that those students needed more, and this answered that concern.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

Why can't SPS get ALO right? I asked a Bryant kid this week if they have walk to math or opportunities to pull out of class to try new different material, and he said: "they only do that for the dumb kids"....

Now, I realize he's a kid and that's his interpretation, but why can't a school get ALO dialed in so the students are pulled out or walked to classes that meet their needs without the stigma? They walk to multiple levels at Cascadia and it seems to work. Why the resistance at neighborhood schools? Is it the lack of curriculum? Is it parent push back? Teacher refusal?

Kudos

Anonymous said...


geez mc troll really. "For a pretty small investment, you can get a private school education for your kid, so why not?" that is the dumbest thing you have posted.

average math class size at up, bush, lakeside and sass is 18 at ghs it 27. good luck making that argument. that is 2/3rds as big. oh and your teacher doesn't think you are a racist for ability grouping you. and sorry that is just a tutoring folks mostly focusing on sat.

here is a thought as i know you know something about logic. i did the logical thing. i searched "tutoring to get into hcc seattle public schools" and got 8 results have from sps' domain and the other half coming from this domain. NOBODY IS TEST PREPPING TO GET INTO HCC. stop the misrepresentations.

and no they don't have a ton of walk to at cascadia... unless things have changed dramatically since my kids were there when there was NONE. but you know public schools you are at the whim of the adversarial principles.

nocaps attic / na

Anonymous said...

my kid said there were 30+ kids in their precalc class. that won't get $25k in seattle sorry mc troll. you really need to do some research before you post.

/na

Anonymous said...

@nocaps attic...Cascadia walks to math and it works well. They group by learning styles and needed pace. Some of the kids come in at higher grades and need a little more catch up, some have math anxiety issues and move to a different clock, some have built in calculators.... It's understood, accepted, and handled well so kids get what they need. I'm not sure when you were there, but I am positive it has changed considering the explosive growth since SPS demolished spectrum without any meaningful replacement.

Fix AL

Anonymous said...

fwiw really. over-identification. sounds redundant on its face. but why? if you are identified to be hc how can you be over identified to be hc? you are, or you are not hc. just like you are or are not white. (oh and very white bellevue doesn't do that anymore -- probably because they wanted to save money in the classroom. see compilation of nw/duke research. don't see the misapplied cogat author's directions that you post all the time.)

just because most kids who are in hcc are white that doesn't mean you have to be white to be in hcc. logical right.

you are putting out a fire that doesn't burn. solve the high ell/homelessness affecting the black households (like in other states) then you we will (or should) see those groups raise.

na

Owler said...

Nocaps, has it been a while since you've had students at Cascadia? My Cascadia student has been doing walk to math for the last 3.5 years. First grade started with three classes but four math levels...One with the math specialist.

Anonymous said...

I was at cascadia last year and the year before, no walk to math, a little pull out enrichment with the math specialist in 4th grade (projects), nothing in 5th. I was told that walk to was more for the younger kids? My kid was faster in math than most of his classmates despite being one that started hcc later.

Math hcc

Anonymous said...

@Math HCC--there are eight 3rd grade classes and lots of learning styles. I think walk to math helps everyone get what they need, even if it's just a break from their regular teacher.

Fix AL

Anonymous said...

thanks fix al, i didn't know. and it has been a while! thankfully. (there is a light at the end of the tunnel primary school parents.) makes sense. so it is walk "down" and not "walk" up. but it is still deeper and broader right. does that make cascadia worth it i wonder. with the over crowding, large class size, more split classes, no playground and uncertain future placement. sounds just like seattle country day doesn't it, mc troll!

na

Anonymous said...



wow owler yeah things have changed. my kids either started in an aggressive complete 2 grade skip (3rd grade in 1st) or modified holistic approach to get them up to 4th grade at the end of 2nd and a combination of singapore math too. the former was a result of the splits, a first year app teacher and no real curriculum. thanks for the lies michael tolley! there was never any walk to.

na

Anonymous said...

Why does Michael Tolley still have a job?

Fix AL

ML said...

@sleeper

There is NO standard walk-to-math at ALO schools. Ours used to do it and has been aggressively phasing it out over the last 3 years. There were a few kids who had been doing walk-to-math and were thus one year ahead. And the principal REALLy didn't want to keep doing the walk-to-math thing. The principal fought and dragged her feet and hemmed and hawed. It took the school over 80 school days before they grudgingly let those kids walk to math. Which meant that they missed all the review of the previous year's math that applied to them. Instead they had to sit in with their age peers who were reviewing the math these walk-to kids had done two years earlier. For 80 days. Lord only knows what the point to that was. Some of the kids probably really needed that reteaching and review, but some of them DEFINITELY did not. Mine begged and pleaded with me every day when I picked her up from school to please, please, please do something. What could I do?

80 days with the fastest learners forced to review and be re-taught math that they'd easily mastered 2 years earlier. They learned nothing in 80 days of math class. Such a stupid waste of human capital. Again, I'm positive the reteaching and review was useful for some of the kids, but what a waste for the ones who didn't need it. 80 days of babysitting.

Cayley said...

Is there a map of Seattle by school assignment zone of how many kids go to private school? Does the map of private school attendance simply match money? Or are there hot spots around certain really lackluster neighborhood schools (like mine)?

Anonymous said...



ml and fix al, i hear you loud and clear. what a shame. and yeah it is all brought to you by michael tolley! his lies cost my kids at least two redo-years thankfully they missed honors for none at ghs. divide, conquer - repeat. eventually we will have nothing worth going to. even mgj didn't bring him with her when she left, says volumes.

-na

Anonymous said...

Classic tactics, na; try to completely discredit the whole district so they don't take away your HCC.

It's called "scorched-earth politics".

It basically follows the plan of:

"If I don't get my way, I'll ruin the whole thing and take everybody down with me."

Sounds like you didn't spend much time in your kids' classrooms.

Likewise @Kudos

Really? getting other kids in your post to call kids dumb?

Despicable behavior.


Nikolai Rimsky

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

Whoever posted about their kids losing two years sounds very bitter.

Time to move on, quit antagonizing, look forward and realize you control your life from now on, not SPS..


Surya Siddhanta

Anonymous said...

mc troll, ha - i would have never thought you had a sense of humor. i'm the earth scorcher?!?!?!? good one. imho i prefer logic and facts and you prefer the flame thrower.


and no reader na is not mc troll but occasionally mc troll is nc but we both have congenital 5th grade grammar levels. i like no-caps. and i just took two breaths after reading some of your post. i am still alive.

/na

Anonymous said...


repeating classes is really what sps should be about. ask michael tolley as he has mastered that in his overview of curriculum. does bellevue have kids repeat classes for really no reason? i doubt it. look at those scores; is that why they are so high? i don't know. mc troll you should read your post and then tattoo it right under buddha on your left leg. reincarnation mc troll how many monikers does it take to define a man. you, it seems like to have 12 a thread. again do us all a favor and pick one so we can ignore your dribble

/na

Anonymous said...

Yes, very bitter and paranoid. And truly obscure! He directs someone (we don't know who) to tattoo something (we don't know what) underneath a Buddha!

Let's stick to writing that we can all understand. If it was/is so awful, why didn't you send your kid to private school?

reader

Melissa Westbrook said...

"And free is good right? For a pretty small investment, you can get a private school education for your kid, so why not?"

That's just ridiculous if only because money is not going to buy lower class sizes (unless it was a lot of money - I think even McGilvra gave up on that.) But I'll bite; what Seattle public school is providing a "private school education" for its students.

That statement also throws a LOT of shade at all Gen Ed teachers; I put both my kids through SPS and felt, for the most part, they did have good teachers especially in high school where there was no Spectrum.

Kudos, your comment points out one problem with pull-outs - either kids think other kids are getting more attention or they think it's for the "dumb" kids. I recall they stopped doing pull-outs at our sons' elementary school (a long time ago) because of this perception that someone was getting something "better."

Cayley, I know of no such map and it would be hard to create given the variations of what parents can do - private school, homeschool and now charters.

And, as I read the last several comments, I am not a happy camper.

1) we don't out people here so please stop doing that
2) no name calling (even troll) Disagree without it.
3) don't comment on other people who you do not know or phrase it in a way that does not sound hostile.

I'm closing this thread now.

Anonymous said...

Majority-minority districts in the Puget Sound area
Auburn, Bellevue, Clover Park, Federal Way, Franklin Pierce, Highline, Kent, Mount Vernon, Mukilteo, Renton, Seattle, Tacoma, Tukwila

Districts within 2 percentage points of becoming majority-minority

Edmonds, Everett, Fife, North Thurston, Steilacoom, University Place

Kudos

Anonymous said...

I think we all know private schools are not easily affordable for even middle class families in Seattle. Plus, the spaces are limited. If you don't apply at the typical entry points - K/1, 5th/6th, or 9th - then spaces are even more limited. If your child has already started the school year, you can't just say, darn, wish we had gone private and switch over. If you missed the fall testing deadlines you can't even apply for the following year. You are left to stick it out and make the best of it. Yeah, it could make one bitter. Lost years? Yep. That's how middle school felt for my kids. Coulda shoulda and all that. I can't even follow the rest of whatever is being discussed, but do agree that MT has not brought positive change to SPS.

coulda shoulda

Anonymous said...

I have heard a number of parents discuss "the private school education" aspect of HCC/SPS in regards to certain schools. GHS is one of them. Yes, the classes are large, but the opportunity to do advanced work in many subject areas, the Oceanography class and trip to Hawaii, UW in the High Schools classes, and the chance to work with UW instructors in computer science at GHS really gave some of my friends' kids an extraordinary education at a fraction of the price of private schools. -NP

Anonymous said...

Were those opportunities not open to every student at GHS though? Every class at GHS was opt in, no self contained classes. It is being dismantled now, but this seems like a perfect synergy. The presence of a cohort of advanced students allows for advanced classes, but anyone can take advantage of them. So students not in the cohort also get extra opportunities that it woukdn't make sense to offer to a smaller number of students by virtue of it being there. Now those opportunities will just move up to Roosevelt and Ballard as hcc students move back, and the level of opportunity at GHS will go down.

-sleeper

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, NP, but are those programs open to all? I would presume yes and I know UW in the High Schools is also open to all and the Computer Science and Engineering department has programs and one-day events open to all.

Anonymous said...

I am a first year middle school HCC teacher. It has been shocking to me how little curriculum support there is. Every day I am trying to figure out what to teach and how to teach it. I spend huge amounts of time researching units of study so that I can teach every day. Often I end up using other districts/teachers units of study because Seattle provides absolutely nothing except for a textbook that took about a month for me to actually get my hands on. What do the curriculum and instruction people do? Why are they not in direct contact with all new teachers providing them with teaching ideas, lesson plans, units of study, support? Why are we paying them when they are doing nothing to support the people they should be supporting the most: new teachers!
My friends in other districts have so much more curriculum support than I do. Vast curricular resources to make their job so much easier. I am not sure I will last more than this year in this district.
-No Support

Anonymous said...

Also @NP, those are not unique to Garfield. Other SPS high schools also have special programs and provide the opportunity to do advanced work in many areas. UW in the high school isn't a special Garfield thing, either--over 100 schools in the state participate.

This is NOT an "HCC is like private school" issue at all. It's not even a "some SPS high schools are like private schools" issue. These schools simply offer many things that high quality public schools SHOULD offer. It's not a private school experience--it's just a good public school experience (mixed in with some of the bad aspects of public school, too, like not being able to get the classes you want/need).

HF

Anonymous said...

Thank you HCC middle school teacher. This is a problem for every teacher in SPS and it's shocking to me that our board hasn't put the smack down on Curriculum and Instruction. Time and money would be saved for some up front investment in proper supports to create some structure and guidance for all teachers across all schools and programs, and I believe the results would pay off. Why?!!! Why?!!! Why don't the C&I people do the work they are supposed to be doing instead of spinning their wheels for YEARS analyzing why HCC is disproportionately white. We know the answer, move on now and start giving the teachers and schools so tools so they can do something--anything--to make MTSS work for students.

Fix AL

Anonymous said...

Before you get too eager for Curriculum and Instruction to get involved in creating lesson plans, I'd look back and see the mess they made of trying to rework Algebra I to match the standards a couple years ago. It was apparently a nightmare, and the following year they abandoned their reworked scope and sequence and let teachers go back to teaching things in order.

At least, that's my recollection of how it all went down. I'm sure others will clarify if I've got it wrong.

DisAPPointed

ML said...

When I was a T.A. at UW we had no curriculum or lesson planning support. They just handed us a book and said, "teach this." Ultimately we banded together and shared our work. For the greater good. We created files that all the T.A.s could access of the quizzes and homework assignments we wrote. We kept the soft copies on the computer. I don't know if it's still going, but we felt good about what we'd started. It's crazy to have everyone reinventing the wheel. This problem should be easier to solve. Right? Surely in a school district of this size there are other teachers teaching the same material at the same level? Why not share efforts?

Anonymous said...

I am simply stating what people have said to me about Garfield and how it is like a private school in some respects. Feel free to disagree, but that has been their experience. And yes, UW in the High Schools is at many schools throughout WA. As for classes being "open to all "- not exactly. Unless you have the pre-reqs (which you get from being in HCC) you often can't get into those programs. So advantages accrue, and others get left behind. -NP

Anonymous said...

This is complete malpractice, if that is such a thing in education. Middle and HS math curriculum stinks. Maybe they need two, one for kids to just hit the basics, and one for kids who may want to go into STEM fields. Because two years advanced in this sucky curriculum is way underserving a lot of kids who could go much farther in math, and may need to in order to get into the fields they dream of. And no textbooks in most classes. How are they supposed to study? And teachers are expected to invent it themselves? SPS. It's all mediocre, maybe until you get to honors or AP, I don't know. We finally gave up and went private.

bleah

Anonymous said...

What have we heard from people who move to Bellevue for the schools. Is it worth it? I'm too new in town to know anyone who has done this.

NE Mom

Anonymous said...

used to be that you could get into mercer island hs even if you were a seattle resident. but i haven't heard of anyone doing that for at least a few years.

na

Anonymous said...

@NP, well if some people are saying it, it must be true. I'm curious, though, how they know it's like a private school experience if their kids are there, in public school. I suppose they might have had high schoolers in both, but if they did, I have a hard time believing they'd feel a lot of similarities. But maybe in "some ways", I suppose. Although probably the same ways that could be said about non-HCC high schools, too. As for those prerequisites you get by being in HCC, can you please clarify? As far as I know, science is the only area in which HCC students enter ahead, and that's only one year ahead. HCC middle school isn't the gatekeeper into that supposed private school experience, even if some people say.

HF

Anonymous said...

math is two years or even three depending on your abilities. science is two as well i believe. in the years before the michael tolley i might have agreed with app being worth paying for (like private)` as though it had all the elements of public school especially large class sizes. but it had a developed curriculum based on the great work from the robinson center specific with hc kids. but year after year that has all been lost. now it has no developed curriculum (which tolley promised), teaching primary kids in dilapidated an overcrowded hs and advisorial principles with full autonomy to destroy al as they see fit. so not worth private school money, in fact i am wondering if i can have my ptsa money back.
-na




Anonymous said...

@Watching
The parent moved her kid for academic reasons. It worked. Just an anecdote but a truthful one. You can think what you wish but it doesn't change one mom's experience. By the way, this was an Indian(East) family.

checking in

Anonymous said...

@Cap Hill: Did you know that the articulation of Bellevues goals are precisely the smart goal format that Seattle requires of every single teacher? The only missing piece is the time frame. How funny! We teachers have to comply but these very overpaid administrators get away with an ambiguous and general mission statement. Parents should hold administrators as accountable as administrators are holding teachers.

@Kudos: It is a lack of curriculum and also lack of expectations for what each level is supposed to reach. At my walk-to-math school all levels are using the same curriculum. The high group just works at a faster pace supposedly and the lower group at a slower one. But the high group does not teach a higher curriculum. The math is such a mess in this district. A help would be to eliminate the math coaches, buy good curriculum, and let teachers who are supposed to be trained to teach already teach it. Having said that, we desperately need teachers with better math skills in elementary. But the math coaches are not out there training unskilled teachers. They are down in administration rewriting our purchased curriculum and workings with a few small groups of teachers.

@NoSupport: Exactly. Same with the new teachers I know. It is too much. Simply put, too much.

checking in

Anonymous said...

@na, math may be 2-3 yrs ahead in HCC elementary, but math is not part of HCC starting with middle school. Lots of kids join HCC in middle school and they aren't automatically stuck being 2-3 yrs behind, nor are non-HCC kids. Math placement is by ability/test scores. Kids who do not participate in HCC elementary can still jump ahead to higher level math in middle school if ready. In other words, the idea that HCC gets you prerequisites for higher level math classes at Garfield that non-HCC students can't get is inaccurate. That's why other high schools can offer the same high level math classes, too--because it's not only HCC students who get the foundation to qualify for them.

For science, while HCC is theoretically two years ahead in middle school, the practical impact is one year. In other words, if you go to Garfield (the HCC pathway school), you get to skip Bio. That's it. And since there are a lot of different science options and pathways, HCC students aren't really "ahead" since it's not linear. They may be able to take an AP corse sooner and thus get in one extra one over the course of their 4 years, although from what I understand there can be challenges getting the classes you want regardless.

For the most part, any acceleration that HCC students are provided in the early grades is systematically eliminated by the time you start high school. Maybe it's all part of their plan to reduce the achievement gap, but SPS seems to do a great job of taking gifted students and making them more average. The idea that Garfield provides a private school type experience for HCC kids doesn't make sense.

HF

Anonymous said...

I am not sure why so many people seem compelled to insist that GHS doesn't provide many opportunities comparable to a private school at a fraction of the cost - especially since that has been the experience of a number of families. Many parents have experience with both private and public schools - either because their kids moved back and forth or because they have a couple kids at different schools.

Students coming out of HCC in middle school are often 2-3 years ahead in math and 1-2 years ahead in science, leading to earlier academic opportunities such as Oceanography, Physics, Environmental Science, and various advanced math and computer science courses. For example, it is possible to take UW's intro to computer science classes at GHS and place out of those classes at UW. AP World History in 9th grade has been eliminated although it existed before. Taking all those other AP options earlier in your academic career looks great on your college transcript and you can't take those classes early on unless you are ahead to begin with. Often students do have trouble getting the classes they want and are advised to be pushy and tenacious to get the classes they want/need. -NP

Anonymous said...

@NP, my point is not that Garfield doesn't provide a lot of opportunities, rather that it's inaccurate to frame these as special opportunities for HCC students. It seems like it's all part of the narrative to paint HCC as this elitist program that provides incredible and unfair benefits, when really it doesn't provide all the much.

Yes, students coming out of HCC in middle school are often 2-3 years ahead in math. So are many students NOT coming out of HCC in middle school. And so are many students who didn't go to HCC elementary school, which is the only level during which HCC includes math placement. This is why we find many of the very same math offerings at NON-HCC pathway high schools as well. If there weren't non-HCC students ALSO taking those same prerequisite courses, why would neighborhood high schools need to offer advanced math? Highly capable students, and many other high achieving students, are often several years ahead of average in whatever the subject--regardless of HCC. HCC might give some of them an opportunity to take a class at their level in those early grades, but it isn't what sets them up for advanced classes in high school. A student doesn't need to have attended HCC middle school in order to take calculus in high school. A student also does not need to attend Garfield to take the very advanced, 2nd year AP Calculus, since it's available at some neighborhood schools, too--even though few HCC students have traditionally opted for those non-HCC pathway schools. Does the fact that Roosevelt and Ballard also offer such high level math mean that we should start saying they are like private school, too? What about middle schools? Is any middle school that allows access to Algebra 1 before 8th grade also like a private school education, since that would make them 2-3 years ahead, too?

HCC students all take a set science sequence in middle school, and since we're talking about Garfield, specifically, my understanding is HCC students are only ONE year ahead. They don't have to repeat the Bio class they've already taken, but the physical science class they took in middle school is meaningless. So HCC students enter with one science prerequisite under their belts, and yes, that means they can start taking AP classes a year sooner. But access to UW's intro to computer science at GHS is not dependent on past HCC status, and non-HCC students at non-HCC high schools can also take courses for college credit. With the exception of maybe starting AP science in 9th grade instead of 10th, HCC students don't special access to AP courses.

Now maybe your real complaint is that Garfield--along with a few of the neighborhood high schools--offers good college prep programs that aren't available at some other SPS high schools? That's a valid complaint--we don't have equal offerings at all high schools. It would be great to get to a point where we DO have strong and equal demand and readiness for rigorous, high level courses in every high school, but until we are there, we'll see disparate offerings.

Since what you're claiming about Garfield HCC isn't really uniquie to Garfield or HCC, it seems that wha you're really suggesting is that any school that offers advanced classes is "like private school at a fraction of the cost," which for some reason is painted as a negative, unfair thing when really that should be the goal for all our schools. Garfield, the HCC pathway high school, does offer a lot of great options, but so do several other non-HCC high schools. There are inequities, but they aren't HCC-dependent. Rather, they are likely reflective of the larger opportunity gap and how parent income, education, language, environment, exposures, etc. impact child development and education.

HF

Anonymous said...

Which gets us back the point HF. If we have a critical mass of students getting a benefit, all in one place, then we WILL get the private school type services for at least our kids, which is what we want. If we just lump everyone together, then the advanced classes don't happen. So, better to get some advanced classes than none. What's so terrible about a gap? We're always going to have that, why should everyone suffer though, when we could advance a few?

HCC numbers

Anonymous said...

You clearly have no idea of the benefits most private high schools provide. They're mostly behavioral. Every school has to provide college prep classes. Private schools can and do kick out students whose behavior interferes with the opportunity for other students to learn. The other thing private schools provide is security. Private schools won't split off a portion of a school to another part of town with no notice or parent input. Private schools don't make major changes to the curriculum and advanced opportunities over the summer.

Learning Environment

Anonymous said...

Having attended a private, college prep high school, I would challenge the idea that SPS provides a private high school experience. There was a coherent sequence of classes with a planned curriculum. Texts were up to date, or at least were texts that stood the test of time. Science labs were well equipped. Writing skills were explicitly taught. Teachers were exited if they did not demonstrate mastery of the subject matter or didn't perform up to standard. Parents generally did not have to supplement at home to make up for poor classroom instruction. Classes were smaller. High performing students were valued and recruited, rather than disparaged. Struggling students were given supports. Students who didn't follow rules could be asked to leave. College planning was provided. I could go on...

What our small school could not provide, however, was the same variety of classes, clubs, multiple levels of band and orchestra, etc., offered at larger schools. Did it matter? Not much. There was still a good selection of honors, non-honors, and AP classes.

-not even close

Anonymous said...

Not-even-close, what private school or schools are you talking about? From what I'm reading here they don't have high performing students in private schools, even if they do better on the PSAT and probably the SAT. Oh the irony! The gifted students are in HCC. And we all know that behavior problems are never, ever get kicked out of public schools. They wreak havoc in the school, disrupting HCC students who actually want to learn. Private schools are for rich people. Maybe in a voucher system, HCC could just be a voucher for whatever private school not-even-close is talking about. And truth be told, our students would probably get better sports in the private school because there are more spots on the team.

HCC numbers

Melissa Westbrook said...

I think some here are conflating "private school" with "gifted education" and that's not true for most privates. They embed rigor and the expectation is that the student - with smaller classes and support - will do the work. Most privates do test students in.

Anonymous said...

Related to PSAT, NM cutoff scores in WA are among the highest in the nation. WA ranks up there with NY, TX, CA, VA, MA, MD, NJ, and DC, who have selection index cutoffs of 219+.

Map of PSAT cutoffs:

https://www.applerouth.com/blog/2016/09/08/psat-redesign-brings-changes-to-national-merit-scores/

Historical NM cutoffs for WA:
2017 - 220
2016 - 219
2015 - 219
2014 - 220
2013 - 216
2012 - 220
2011 - 218

just fyi