Friday, August 25, 2017

Friday Open Thread

I'm listening to a story this morning on NPR's Here and Now about some school districts "seceding" out of a large district.  I'll put the link up as soon as it is available.  This seems to be a growing trend.

Great story from the district in meeting cultural challenges in teaching children. 

Families and Students Create Somali Alphabet Book


A collaboration between Seattle Public Library, Seattle Housing Authority, Seattle Public Schools and the Somali Family Safety Task Force, the book will include cultural symbols and artwork that represent each letter in the Somali alphabet and will eventually be printed and circulated citywide.

The book also accomplishes several goals. It will fill a lack of culturally relevant Somali children’s books in circulation, honor Somali parents as teachers, encourage learning and reading at home and further grow the district’s efforts to create classrooms that culturally reflect all of our students.
This is a great idea.  I think all kindergarten classrooms could use updated alphabet books as I have seen some very dated ones with items used to define letters that kids don't even know.

 I do see one term used at the district website that I have not seen before - identity safety.

Identity safe classrooms are those in which teachers strive to ensure students that their social identities are an asset rather than a barrier to success in the classroom.

Once again, yay, Target.   Target Unveils Clothing For Kids With Special Needs

A survey of parents with hearing and/or sight-impaired children is out and could use your help.
As part of a grant activity funded by Washington State Dept. of Health's Early Hearing-loss Detection, Diagnosis & Intervention (EHDDI) program, WA State Hands & Voices Board members are gathering information to identify needs of families who have deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, or deaf plus (D/HH/DB/D+) children across the state. Your participation in this brief confidential and anonymous survey will allow us to provide support and information for families and inform systems of care and education in our state.
 What's on your mind?

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

There are two new portables at Ballard high school. Anyone know recent enrollment projections?
-HT

Anonymous said...

There are 2 now and 2 more to be added. Total enrollment is set at about 1900. -TeacherMom

Anonymous said...

I wonder if they are creating books in English in Somalia?

Devils tongue

Melissa Westbrook said...

Probably - most countries try to get in a second language far more than we do.

Anonymous said...

@Teacher Mom-- Thought it was projected to be much higher than 1900 this next year.
-HT

Jet City mom said...

Reportedly construction at Ballard will be taking a few more months.
Should be really fun as there are not only multiple apts and condos in immediate vicinity without parking, but construction has also been using most of the lot at Ballard for their work.

Anonymous said...

MW >> Sorry you don't like inclusion for Sped and ELL kids and think that minority kids aren't bright enough to be in your child's class. Or that's how it reads to me

Inclusion is great! (of Sped and everyone else) Essential and the law. I fully support it. But classes that are 1/2 sped aren't inclusive. They are dumps. McClure was a dump for at least half the kids. AL was at least partially to blame. Minority students are plenty "bright" enough. It's AL that insists on using instruments that EXCLUDE minorities. Got it? The tests that are the gate to to AL report that minorities are a full standard deviation BELOW white people. If we must have a test, then we must design one that is equitable and has an equal distribution of results across races and cultures.

And for your information. Go to any middle school. You will find 6H and 6HH listed as math classes. This is exclusive math classes that not only indicate level. (7th and 8th grade math).But also the exclusive cohort, including all those who pay to play. For those AL parents, having "walk to math" isn't good enough. They also demand club membership, no matter the cost to the schools or to other kids. This is damaging.

Btw. Robert E Lee didn't think he was racist. Nobody does.

McClureX

Melissa Westbrook said...

McClureX, you should have made your point about the type of test earlier. Naturally, it begs the question of why Asians are in the program. No one ever addresses that issue.

And fyi, math in middle school is NOT dependent on being in AL. Go ask. Any kid can test in and it's not the same test as AL.

I'm sure none of us wants to believe we are racist and yet, we all are in some way. Glass houses, you know.

If you feel this strongly about how terrible this is, I say to you, as I do to FWIW, stand up, sign your name and do something about it.

NNE Mom said...

Identity Safe Classrooms by Dorothy M. Steele and Becki Cohn-Vargas (http://identitysafeclassrooms.org)

Looks interesting!

Anonymous said...

"Sign your name"--is this part of "the spirited debate" you claim you have with those with whom you disagree?

Why is signing your name only directed to dissenters? Did/do you request this from anyone else? The answer is no. You only tell those you don't like to sign you name (implying what? cowardice?) before or after telling them to move on.

How do you know what work anyone is doing on any issue outside of blog postings?

Why did you allow people to try to out ME on the previous thread, and then blame ME for synthesizing the information...then blame me--the TARGET of the outing for, what? outing myself?? (You only deleted one post--the others about having a kid in HCC, writing a civil rights paper, and being at TM REMAIN on that thread)?

As Ross Perot would say, it's all very "inersting"...

Poor Me



Anonymous said...

At Eckstein there has not been honors math for some years now.

They have simplified the process so the student has a default assignment of the next year in math than what they were participating in the previous year. If an incoming sixth grader was doing sixth grade math while in fifth grade, they would have a default assignment to seventh grade math for their sixth grade year.

At the beginning of the school year an in class assessment is given to determine if the default assignment was correct and adjustments made accordingly.

I knew of sixth grade students with no AL designation taking 6th grade math, 7th grade math and 8th grade math. And sixth grade students with an AL designation taking 6th grade math. There are no special classes for only 6th grade students taking 8th grade math. There just all in there together.

-StepJ

Anonymous said...

Correction: they're

-StepJ

Anonymous said...

It doesn't indicate a "strong feeling" when somebody simply answers a question. And that question, repeatedly asked, is how could it possibly harm anyone if certain groups of students (AL students) get their own private program. No hard or strong feelings or anything like that, but it definitely does harm students as explained.

Melissa you missed the point entirely. 6MHH is the same exact class as 8M contentwise.. Except one is all white, with preferential class size and time, the other nearly all minority, with ALL the students with disabilities and ALL the ELL. Yes, we all get the test in part. But why actively promote a highly segregated system when it isn't necessary? You shouldn't get to test in to exclusivity for the sake of exclusion. And that is what the AL parents have done. Walk-to math isn't good enough. They won't stop until they get their separate and unequal class, even with the same content, no matter the implications for others.

As to Asians. Were Asians enslaved for hundreds of years after being brought here against their will? Were medical experiments performed on them? Are there statues extolling the virtues of those most responsible for perpetuating slavery, kidnapping, murder of Asians around for us to all admire? Are Asians the subject of the "achievement gap"? No. Nobody addresses that issue because it isn't an issue.

McClureX

Anonymous said...

"Don Quixote is considered the most influential work of literature from the Spanish Golden Age and the entire Spanish literary canon. As a founding work of modern Western literature and one of the earliest canonical novels, it regularly appears high on lists of the greatest works of fiction ever published, such as the Bokklubben World Library collection that cites Don Quixote as the authors' choice for the "best literary work ever written".[2]
The story follows the adventures of a hidalgo named Mr. Alonso Quixano who reads so many chivalric romances that he loses his sanity and decides to set out to revive chivalry, undo wrongs, and bring justice to the world, under the name Don Quixote de la Mancha. He recruits a simple farmer, Sancho Panza, as his squire, who often employs a unique, earthy wit in dealing with Don Quixote's rhetorical orations on antiquated knighthood. Don Quixote, in the first part of the book, does not see the world for what it is and prefers to imagine that he is living out a knightly story."

Source Wikipedia

Anonymous said...

@McClureX,

You're trying to scapegoat AL, but it's not the problem. The issue is much larger.

You said: If we must have a test, then we must design one that is equitable and has an equal distribution of results across races and cultures.

The achievement gap exists irrespective of AL, so by your logic shouldn't this expectation of equal outcomes also apply to things like standardized test results and graduation rates? I mean, if minorities graduate at lower rates, doesn't that mean the graduation requirements are biased too? If they score lower on required state tests, those must be biased, too, right? I guess you must assume there's a measure out there that can more "accurately" indicate knowledge and that will produce equal outcomes by race, without lowering the bar, so I'm curious to hear what you think that is. Or maybe you think education should somehow be based on innate ability and not actual performance, and that innate ability is distributed equally across income levels, so the higher minority poverty rates and the academic disparities that exist prior to K are irrelevant?

Instead of bizarrely focusing on AL, maybe your efforts would be better directed toward the larger disparities that exist within the other 90+% of the SPS population.

By the way, a math 6HH class is unlikely to be just like a math 8 class. Same general content, yes, but different pacing and depth. Probably different outcomes, too (e.g., EOC results). It's like what happens when districts push everyone to take ALg 1 in 8th grade--it becomes algebra lite.

Push Everyone

Anonymous said...

SPS basically operates on a separate but equal platform, not unlike Jim Crow southern America. The blacks that SPS has in leadership are not progressive at all, they are extremely accommodating to the interests of the powerful and to the white majority.

The white "progressives" in SPS administration are likewise either cowed by the furious attacks of the HCC parents or more interested in Scandinavian style socialism which pretends racism is gone from the world, or soon will be.

Obama was the saving grace and the bad optics of the HCC were merely a hiccup on the way to a utopia of color-blind education.

Maybe they have smelled the coffee of race hate and division that spilled onto the stove in Virginia and across the U.S. Maybe they see that dividing kids by "ability" is code for racial and class segregation.

Some in SPS get it and always have, but most seem to want to avoid conflict and hope that somehow it will work out in the end.

They are wrong. It will take work and energy to make SPS a fair and equitable school district, not wishes and ponies.

Bruce Lee

Anonymous said...

@ Bruce Lee, why is "ability" in quotes? Do you not believe that different people can have different abilities? That some people are taller, or stronger, or faster, or sing better--or are we all the same in all of those, too?

Separate but equal? Most white and Asian children do NOT qualify for AL either.

If my child is four years ahead of another in math and reading and science reasoning and so on, are you seriously saying they should be in the same class and learn the same thing to make it more fair? Should mine spend the K-12 years being bored and prevented from learning much so that others--many of whom are unlikely to catch up--will at least theoretically have a chance to?

Nuts

Anonymous said...

SPS is why we have Trump for president.

Typical middle class, job secured liberals who couldn't be bothered to even put up money much less actively work towards getting a decent candidate for the Dem party.

The poor shall always be with us. Right?

Bruce

Anonymous said...

@Bruce is a lot like Trump: immune to reality, pathologically sensitive, focussed on only one message, and virulently bigoted.

Enjoy

Anonymous said...

Last time I checked Africans are still enslaving Africans. Last time I checked Africans are still committing genocide. If blacks feel so discriminated against here perhaps they should reflect on their mother land and why things there haven't improved there.

Unless all Africans can unite to stop the atrocities the black race can never achieve the status the world expects.

There have been countless charitable campaigns to help Africans rise up and join modern society but the atrocities continue. Maybe it's just hopeless or just maybe it's just the way it is.

Reality

Melissa Westbrook said...

Poor Me, it feels like you are 1) trying to argue me into the ground and 2) it's something personal with you. I don't have time for this so I won't be engaging with you any further.

I have always said that except for teachers/staff, I have to wonder about people who don't sign their names and that applies to everyone, not just those I disagree with.

We have an outing policy and I repeated it several times. Sometimes I find the back and forth confusing and it's hard to know what to delete. You try doing this work sometimes and see if - over eight years and hundreds of threads and comments - if you get it right every single time.

I think it's time to end this thread as well because I'm not sure this discussion is useful.

McClureX, I find some of your statements incredibly distasteful. My party line will continue to be the same one - the state and district mandate is to educate ALL kids. I refuse to pit kids against kids in that effort.