Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Washington Middle School Upheaval Update

An update on the story at Washington Middle School where the principal flipped schedules at the semester with no warning to students or teachers.

The students did hold a protest outside the school last Thursday. They also wrote a thoughtful letter about their concerns.

The principal, Emily Butler-Ginolfi, has not acknowledged the letter nor the protest as of the date of the letter.

Reflecting what the 8th graders have been learning in class, the letter starts this way:
In our 8th Grade history classes this year, we have spent a lot of time learning about the U.S. Revolution and the beginning of the country we live in today. Unfortunately, we are not able to continue those important and historical discussions with many of our same classmates, peers in other classes and programs, and even in most cases our teachers, but we have learned a lot about how much power matters in a system. This kind of situation not only happens in our history classes, but is now reflected throughout the school. If we are going to make a school where everyone learns and is cared about, we need to start having more student voice in decisions, because when different groups of people are involved, just like it should have been in the American colonies, everything works out better for the whole.
These are partial excerpts from the letter.  The concerns seem real enough AND address valid academic concerns.

On teaching changes:
Even though we all deserve the best education possible, the worst thing to do is to interrupt any of these learning experiences. Instead of switching students and teachers around so that every student is better served, why can’t we make sure that every teacher is able to benefit every student?
On race:
Communication is so important, but it isn’t a one-way street.  One student says, “Students are treated differently because of their skin. As a black student, it sucks that people like me get in trouble and are being suspected of things that other people aren’t.”
On working with other students
Now students in science fair groups are mainly in different classes and they don’t know if they will be able to finish the project on time. Book clubs were also created in some Language Arts classes so now students will not have a way to continue discussions and meet with their groups in class, these issues were also not made clear with teachers before Tuesday, 
Periods, Periods, and more Periods 
        This year the passing periods have also been changed. Last year we had 5 minutes and the schedule and times were easy to memorize, but now we have to remember exactly when class ends and when it starts and it is really confusing. This is in addition to us having to memorize a completely new schedule in the middle of the year.
Also, four minutes is not enough time to get to our classes especially if we need to use the bathroom. I know that as a girl, it can be very inconvenient to have your period because of the bathroom limitations. It’s stressful to have to deal with your period when there’s no time to use the restroom due to the fact that we don’t want to be tardy. Girls can’t plan their periods, sometimes they start during class or passing periods. Girls can’t always wait until a class is over to take care of it.  
In addition to the passing period problem, we are not allowed to go to the bathroom the first or last 10 minutes of class. This is completely unfair because you never know if someone is having an emergency. This goes back to girls getting their periods as well, sometimes going to the bathroom is necessary. It shouldn’t be a shameful thing or a thing to get in trouble for. 
The students also express concerns over lunch and music changes.  They conclude:
In addition to these changes that are being made, we can’t ignore that in the letters the principal has given us, they show no apology for not communicating to students and families, no regard for raised opinions by the community, and they often blame other sources for problems that have cost us time being educated and much more. 
She even got the address of our school wrong; it is the address of the school she previously worked at. 
That the principal did this is bizarre.  She kept the template from her old school and just used it for Washington Middle School? 
She also mentions that the changes being made happen often in secondary school, but secondary school is high school and not middle school.
The students are incorrect here; middle/high are secondary but, to their point, I have never experienced this kind of out-of-the-blue changes in either of my sons’ middle or high schools.

They conclude:
We need to be treated like the school we are, and we need our principal to set an example of how to act in these situations, because believe it or not we are all still learning. We understand this is all part of her own principles and values, and understand how hard of a job she has with little state funding, but we think everyone should be able to have a voice in the decisions being made at our school, no matter how much the impact.
I can only add - why is the district allowing this to happen?  Not only is Washington's enrollment in decline, it appears the entire school is in free-fall change.  What good is that?

Again, why are principals so empowered in this district? And why would a new-to-the-district principal be allowed such leeway?

I found this in Parent FAQs; maybe this is why:

Advocacy for additional funding for WMS with district, given our unique population and being a middle school. We are 79% Free and Reduced Meals eligible without the HCC magnet, which means we would be a Title I school. 

On the other end, SPS does not currently provide additional funding for HCC programming. 

As a middle school, we must have teachers who are licensed to teach both middle and high school courses—an issue which is unique to schools with HCC programs and more challenging at a school like WMS that would otherwise be Title I.

Many schools might be Title One if they didn't have more students who come from high-income families, HCC program  or not.  To blame not getting Title One funding on the HCC program is very odd.

47 comments:

Anonymous said...

Considering the importance of relationships between students and teachers in a kid's life, it's really very hard to understand why this was done in this manner, leaving neither teachers nor students the opportunity to say a proper goodbye to one another. It was a very difficult situation for students and will have lasting effects. They should have a day where kids get with their former teachers and reconnect and close things out.

Parent

Anonymous said...

Wow. All this flap because a principal exercised her judgment and created a new schedule. She’s absolutely right. That’s her job. And yes it does happen all the time. Teachers should have finished their units at the semester. Do students get a vote or a voice? No they don’t. They get a beauty pageant called asb. It is good that they write it down and petition. Parents now want extra money because of HCC. Typical. Yes, let’s start another “poor HCC thread”. There hasn’t been one in 15 minutes. The bottom line is what the kids actually stated: “believe it or not, we are all still learning.”

No Problem

Anonymous said...

SPS receives categorical funding for HiCap and last school year the state increased the amount to 5% (up from just over 2%, as a percentage of total district enrollment). From what I understand, SPS spends most of the funds on identification/testing and AL department staff. SPS testing, identification, and administration is for all AL services, not just HiCap.

more FAQS

Bull Winkle said...

Kind of brilliant in a Snidely Whiplash way to leave the Indianapolis Public Schools phone number on communications to families that you think might draw complaints. I mean, I'll give her that!

Melissa Westbrook said...

" now want extra money because of HCC."

Absolutely not true. What's your evidence?

And absolutely true from more FAQs.

I will note that like many discussions about girls and women and their bodies, if you're not one of them, you should not be saying much. I suggest that most, if not all, women recall being a young girl with a period at school. Not fun.

Anonymous said...

If you look at the principal's motives and objectives on paper, it all looks and sounds good. Nearly everyone in Seattle would agree that underserved groups of children need more than they get. Nearly everyone in Seattle would agree that funding is screwed up. Nearly everyone in Seattle would agree that capacity management is not effective.

Now, this principal lands in Seattle as though dropped by aliens from a spaceship and starts unilaterally making hardcore changes to schedules, courses and more. Locked away in her high tower, she issues edicts and directives on falsified letterhead. It sounds like a Marvel adaptation of a comic book villain! But no, like much that has gone haywire in recent years, this is not an Onion article.

She could easily have created a coherent community at Washington, with everyone on the same page working together to improving the state of education at a school where not every child's needs were being met. Her PTSA and BLT could have taken the reins on certain tasks, her R&E team could have taken the reins on other tasks. She could have started outreach and lining up parent volunteers to help with tutoring and supervision. She could have used an advisory period to have her student body focus on her equity agenda and not be pawns of it but participants in it.

In the end, she is left with a school spiraling into a vortex. She has divided her community to no purpose and squandered the good will of that community and of her teachers. She is trying to achieve educational justice objectives with fairly arbitrary changes that will not improve educational justice at her school. She has scared off a certain percentage of families whose students will not return next year and another percentage of current 5th grade families who students will not show up next year. With those expected departures, she is literally driving funding out of her school, money that any eventual Title I categorization cannot make up for. She will have to make new hires over the summer to fill missing faculty positions. Low caliber hires also make low caliber hires. After 18 months in her job, she will have created a dysfunctional school that will be the envy of no one in the district.

But if the district continues to tolerate this malpractice, I'm certain there is no hope for the next decade of public education here.

Exasperated

Anonymous said...

Evidence? Well duh. You posted it yourself.

Advocacy for additional funding for WMS with district, given our unique population and being a middle school. . Sounds like HCC parents asking for money for their unique population. School fundraising needs to at a minimum, be for the whole school.

No Problem

Anonymous said...


Recent email from Sherri Kokx, special assistant to the superintendent to the School Board:

Good Morning Directors,

A quick follow up on the situation at WAMS. The principal made multiple master schedule changes at the semester for a variety of reasons. While this is disruptive to students and families and it is not a common practice at the semester for middle schools, it is also not outside of the norm. Principal Butler-Ginolfi is working with her leadership coach and her supervisor to better communicate and engage with her families."

Umm, her supervisor, Ms. Pritchett, has only made this situation worse since she hired the principal, as Ms. Pritchett has merely defended the principal at every turn.

One scheduling error example among many from last week: Principal placed numerous children in advanced choir at random and now says too bad. Among other issues (lack of respect for teacher's decisions about appropriate skill level etc!), this impacts the ability of anyone in the class to go on planned field trips for this semester due to inadequate bus space. Upending the plans and hopes of students and teacher alike.

WMS staff

Anonymous said...

It is a key part of the principal's job to avoid "all this flap". She sounds like a heavy-handed, ham-fisted incompetent. I've seen principals like this before. They don't usually last long if the district has to deal with fallout.

Flap Away

Melissa Westbrook said...

No Problem, you said this:

"Sounds like HCC parents asking for money for their unique population. School fundraising needs to at a minimum, be for the whole school."

The principal is saying that it costs more. I'm checking that statement out but I'm not sure that is so.

Also, it is NOT HCC parents asking for money; it's the district's legal duty to provide services for those students. All state-mandated programs like Sped, ELL, HCC, have costs.

As for school fundraising, well, that's up to the parents who raise the money. I know of almost no schools that don't use their fundraising dollars for the benefit of all students. I know that in years past, the Garfield PTA was funding tutors for students of color who wanted that service. So no, that particular PTA spending didn't benefit all students.

As well, school booster groups - like music or arts or sports - specify what activity gets their dollars but those activities are open to all students.

WMS Staff, well, if you were expecting help from an ED, I'm sorry to say you won't get it. I'm still perplexed about what they do but mediation doesn't seem a strong suit. What's odd is one ED, Jon Halfaker WAS the principal at Washington and when he was principal, it was a strong school. Might be good to pass off that mediation to him.


Anonymous said...

Principal Butler Ginolfi has a history of incompetence and chaos. (Any surprise she's a product of Teach for America?)

From her experience at Indianapolis Public Schools’ George Washington High School:

https://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/in/2015/07/20/a-third-of-george-washington-high-schools-teachers-wont-return/

You almost have to wonder -- Is that why she was hired?

That's 2 principals in a row at Washington Middle School who have disrupted and weakened the school overall and taken an antagonistic stance against HCC kids. There appears to be a pattern to the WMS hires.

Michael Tolley was the head of the Teaching & Learning Dept that oversees principal hires so he was responsible for hiring Ginolfi Butler (and May before her). He is also responsible for promoting Sarah Pritchett to ED. Look how well that's worked out.

Is it possible that the district is allowing Washington to fail? So more students will choose charter schools? Or to further divert HCC students away from GHS?

Whatever the underlying motivation, the chaos at Washington Middle School is hurting all the kids and helping none, despite all the fake equity talk from the principal and the district.

Ginolfi Butler has failed as a school leader and should be fired.

- Chaos Theory

Melissa Westbrook said...

Chaos Theory, I will have a post next week about connecting the many dots in both the district and the city about public education. I don't think your off-track.

Anonymous said...

Reposting this recent comment from the older WMS thread:

https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=28765366&postID=3985174263594611204&bpli=1

Anonymous said...
I just heard that the Washington Middle School principal shifted schedules and teaching assignments but is telling staff and students not to discuss it at school. Teachers are being removed from classes they've been teaching all year, kids are being withdrawn from advanced classes like Spanish, and parents are not being told the full story. Is this just another attempt to get rid of HCC or is this just another insane move from the woman who didn't even have schedules done the first day of school and won't allow kids to go to the restroom during class time (because nature calls only during the period for the entire student body)? Are teachers & students aware of the transfer/open enrollment process out of that insane asylum? Is the union aware of this environment? Does anyone know if there's been discussion yet of her removal? I thought the new Superintendent was going to FIX Seattle Schools, not hire Professor Umbridge!

-Lee G.

1/30/19, 6:10 PM

- Chaos Theory

Anonymous said...

My bad -- it was Susan Follmer who preceded Butler Ginolfi at WMS. Katie May is at Thurgood Marshall taking apart HCC there. Freudian slip. All part of the same story most likely. South end sabotage? Dismantling of south end HCC?

- Chaos Theory

Anonymous said...

The issue of kids not being able to access the bathroom during the school day is significant. As the WMS letter points out, girls can't always predict the timing of their periods, and they can't always wait. If forced to wait, they could end up in a situation where they're shamed in front of their classmates, and/or have to go home.

When I was in middle school, a girl asked to go to the bathroom and the PE teacher wouldn't let her. She ended up with blood all over her shorts and legs, and was completely traumatized and embarrassed. That was 40 years ago, and I've never forgotten the look on her face. It was heartbreaking.

This seems like a human rights issue, and schools should be ashamed of being so punitive with bathroom privileges that girls may feel like they can't go to school while they have their periods if they may not be able to get to the bathroom when they need to.

This also applies to other reasons for needing access to the bathroom. There have been numerous times over the years that my kids have had to stay home from school even though their only illness was that they knew they may need fast access to a bathroom during school, and they couldn't count on having that access because teachers wouldn't let them go. Having to miss school on this basis seems to be completely contrary to the reasoning behind the strict bathroom rules- keeping kids in class...

-Seattle parent

Anonymous said...

The strategic plan talks about educational justice. But when students are literally protesting for educational justice, SPS turns a blind eye, and Denise Juneau is nowhere to be found.

Doesn't exactly inspire confidence.

Save WMS

$a$$y said...

Based on OSPI's 2017-18 school report numbers, here is a list of Seattle's middle schools ranked by % low income.
1. Hamilton 9%
2. Eckstein 11.8%
3. McClure 12.8%
4. Whitman 17.1%
5. Madison 19.8%
6. Jane Addams 23.7%
7. Eagle Staff 24.2%
8. Washington 36.3%
9. Meany 45.2% (TITLE 1)
10. Mercer 59.6%
11. Denny 68.8% (TITLE 1)
12. Aki Kurose 73.4% (TITLE 1)

This begs one question. Why isn't Mercer MS a title one school? By low income percentage, they should qualify.

Second of all, these numbers might illustrate part of what Melissa mentioned in the post above. Melissa found something in the WMS Parent FAQs that she thinks might help explain why WMS appears to be actively trying to shed HCC students.

We are 79% Free and Reduced Meals eligible without the HCC magnet, which means we would be a Title I school.

The 79% number is interesting, but seems wrong. Without HCC, Washington's feeder elementaries are Bailey Gatzert (42.4% low income), Thurgood Marshall (33.0% low income), and John Muir (65.8% low income). How could Washington have a much higher percentage of low income students (79%) than its poorest feeder elementary ("only" 65.8%)? Seems implausible.

But, at the same time, IF you could scare away just enough HCC families to bring the 36.3% low income level up to 40% of the school population, I believe that is the magic number to qualify for title one funding. In Washington state title one funding brings an estimated $1135 per low income student.

So if we take 703 to be the number of students at Washington (last May's number), the current 36.3% low income rate would equal 255 low income students. 40% of the student population would be 281 students. That's only a difference of 26 students. So, if you could scare away about 26 non-low-income students, maybe you could qualify the school for title one funding. If you had 281 low income students at a qualifying title one school and you brought in $1135 per low income student, that would "earn" you $318,935. It's a pretty small fraction of Washington's total school budget ($5,788,262 for 2018-19). But maybe that's the goal: scare away 26 non-low-income students, bring in $318,935?

It would certainly be easier to scare away 26 students rather than the whole HCC contingent (that's over half the school, isn't it?).

But with the cost of living, rents, property taxes and other costs in Seattle shooting up and the district hemorrhaging FRL students to other, more affordable, neighboring districts, it's going to be a real challenge to shake off enough non-FRL students to equal the number of FRL students lost + 26...

I hope this isn't what's going on. I hope for better from educators.

NE Parent said...

My daughter ended up with cramps and blood in her urine after not being allowed to go to the bathroom by her substitute soccer coach. A young, part-time male foreign soccer coach making such a mistake is one thing, and we let it pass. But if the principal, in fact, has such a policy, it would seem pretty stupid. I understand kids sometimes use the bathroom as an excuse to cut class. But if my daughter is ever prevented from using the bathroom because of district policy, I will have a serious issue.

Anonymous said...

$a$$y, it could be that's what's going on, but from the looks of things, I doubt it. What seems to be happening is SPS made a really bad principal hire at WMS and has no plan to fix that mess. The principal thinks that her approach is somehow addressing equity and educational justice, when in reality she's just incompetent and arrogant and using buzzwords to try and justify her mismanagement. The bigger issue is that nobody at SPS sees to care about this problem. WMS is Denise Juneau's first real scandal, her first serious challenge, and so far, she's nowhere to be found. I hope WMS students go protest her office next.

Save WMS

Anonymous said...

Principals have a CBA just as teachers and as such must go through a similar process for performance improvements. A PIP, if that's even in place, is given some 60 days. Think carefully about how to address concerns. I would hope students don't harass the principal in her office. By all means though, put concerns in writing, ask for meetings, talk with board members, etc.

observer


Anonymous said...

The list of middle school FRL percentages is interesting. I have a child who will attend Madison in the fall. It is at capacity, and already has portables. Madison will have the full West Seattle HCC cohort in the fall, because those kids won't be going to Washington anymore. Denny has room for more students, Madison does not, but West Seattle HCC is being placed at Madison. Is that to keep the FRL numbers high at Denny so it gets extra funding? I would hope not.

CAPACITY

joanna said...

This is in part a sad result of reopening Meany and the gerrymandering of assignment areas in an attempt to guarantee at least 800 students at meany. Generally for a great comprehensive middle school 1000 students is thought to be a good number. Now both Washington and Meany are under 800 students. There were better solutions but politics got in the way of good meaningful and common sense discussions and solutions. I certainly hope the district is not just wanting to create title 1 schools for the sake of title 1. The way those funds are distributed is just not fair especially in a city like Seattle where assignments can be drawn for political purposes not for the good of students or neighborhoods. A school serving 300 low income students will not qualify if not at 40% and a school serving 25 low income students will qualify if the student population is less than 100. Good program offerings are the most important part of a good middle school. Everyone wants their child to go to a good school. The situation in Central District represents one of the most obvious cases of gerrymandering.

Anonymous said...

This thread has taken a weird and racist rant given that people are complaining about two African American district administrators. While this situation at WAMS is really unfortunate, blaming to AA officials is curious... Would the same complaints be made if Tolley and Pritchett were white?

-It's Black Lives Matter weel & month at SPS!

Anonymous said...

@IBLMW&M@SPS

I have never laid eyes on either of them, so I had no idea their race. I don't think I've laid eyes on any ED actually. Has anyone? They seem to mainly lurk. I have laid eyes on Butler-Ginolfi, and she seems plenty white to me. Do you feel like the searing and deserved criticism of her incompetence is too mild because of her race?

BLSMRISA
BlackLivesStillMatterRegardlessofIncompetentSchoolAdministrators

Elsa said...

"Umm, her supervisor, Ms. Pritchett, has only made this situation worse since she hired the principal, as Ms. Pritchett has merely defended the principal at every turn."

Ditto!

Nothing to do with race.

Royal do as royal are.

Anonymous said...

“Would the same complaints be made if Tolley and Pritchett were white?”

Yeah, if they did as poor a job as they do, which they probably would, since it’s them. I’ve never seen either of them myself, either. Didn’t know their race(s). Just know that Tolley has done a crap job on so many things (MTSS, 24-credit reqt, HCC, etc.) and know that most EDs do little of obvious benefit ( and if WMS is in Pritcett’s area, then Pritchett shares the blame.).

There are plenty of ineffective white administrators who get called out here, too, The idea that we can’t criticize ineffective public officials because they happen to be black is much more racist than your insinuation.

ya know?

David Westberg said...

Yes "ya know".

We do.

That insinuation has affected Seattle Schools forever and there will probably not be any change on the horizon.

Melissa Westbrook said...

There are two comments that are improperly posted. Our rules state no more than two word names (and includes run-on words). Please do not have a longer name.

To the point about Tolley and Pritchett, there’s nothing racist about it. (And Tolley is not here any longer.). Actually, it should be Mike Starosky to point to because he is in charge of the EDs (and he’s white). As for Ms. Pritchett, it’s an unfortunate thing that she seems to have the most schools with issues or with issues she can’t seem to handle.

I would agree with Ya Know; criticizing SPS staff and then having someone call you racist because that staff member is black is ridiculous. For myself, I criticize a lot of people across the spectrum.

Jet City mom said...

Change in FRL status can be as simple as families in elementary not filling out the forms.
They can feel pretty invasive, especially if you are not planning to take advantage of meals hosted by the school.

Some school administrators take filing for FRL seriously and stress to both students and parents that filing the forms will benefit the school by increasing eligibility for funding.

Anonymous said...

$a$$y has some errors in trying to analyze FRL student numbers at the WMS feeder schools. First of all, at Bailey Gatzert in 2017-18 the Free/Reduced Lunch population was 74% of all students. (That number has gone down over the years; as recently as 2014-15 it was 92%.)

Also, Thurgood Marshall is 33% FRL *with* HCC included. Without the HCC kids, its FRL percentage has been in the 70s and 80s in recent years. Not all kids in those elementaries ultimately attend Washington, so the 79% figure cited by Butler Ginolfi is plausible.

What perplexes many families and staff at WMS is that she won't try to build broad support for her strategies, which are intended to improve the poor SBA test performance of about 70% of the FRL kids. Compounding that failure is that Butler Ginolfi doesn't seem to accept that "basic education" for the HC-eligible students involves non-standard academic and social supports. She regards HCC kids as having received undeserved privileges WMS can't afford. At a school where HCC is 60% of the enrollment, that's not going to be popular or sensible.

Numbers Guy

Anonymous said...

Inexperienced and unqualified administrators were hired in other schools as well, sometimes over experienced and well-qualified ones. Thornton Creek now has three administrators with little experience - a principal with almost no public school teaching experience, one AP with no elementary experience and another with minimal elementary experience. They appear to be tasked by the E.D. with making significant changes to the school.

I believe they filled last year's principal pool with inexperienced admins who had the sought after "equity lens," which for some reason seems to preclude anyone who has actually been attempting to do good work for any length of time.

-Exasperated

Anonymous said...

There does seem to be something wrong with principal hiring in Seattle. They are trying to recruit principals (and teachers) of color, but candidates of any race with talent are getting snapped up by suburban and exurban districts, where the cost of living is lower and the salaries are higher. At the same time, they are not hiring internal candidates and letting candidates with experience land nice jobs outside the city. Many of the candidates left in the annual hiring pool are thus decidedly second rate. (Not all, of course, but many.) But Seattle can't recruit the talent it needs or draw the diversity it desires at current pay levels, so we continue to make surprisingly weak hires as we have for a few years now.

Hiring

$a$$y said...

Ah, you're right, Numbers Guy. My mistake. Bailey Gatzert is at 74% FRL. That does make the 79% number more plausible.

Anonymous said...

The goal of the district is and has been to shut down programs of privilege like HCC. Hasn’t this already been stated? Of course parents rose up in backlash to retain that privilege. So, the practice of creating discomfort for HCC to cajole them back to their already pretty good neighborhood schools is a desirable leadership quality from an administrative perspective. The district does have to educate everyone. It does not have to retain self contained or cohorted models, that are obviously harmful. The strategic plan considers only African American males. So far, those who are strategic aren’t showing up to the segregated HCC offering. It isn’t a concern that a large chunk of WMS is somehow uncomfortable. As a student stated, “believe it or not, we are all still learning.” It sounds like the district is meeting its obligations to everyone. You have options. Stay put and keep learning. Learn in your neighborhood, select an option school, or go private. So still

No Problem

$a$$y said...

The district's goal has never been to shut down programs of privilege, no matter what kind of privilege you focus on. If privilege is financial wealth, the district loves wealthy families ("wealthy" meaning too "rich" for FRL, which is $46k for a family of 4). SPS is happy to let families with $$$ pay $10,173/year to attend SPP for full price. They are happy to let families with $$$ pay for librarians, counselors, pretty much all athletics, drama, music, field trips, recess/lunch monitors, IB/AP, special ed testing, library books, paper, pencils, nurses, graphing calculators, tutors, bear costumes, and whatever else students need. The district is happy to accept all the Go Fund Me, Donors Choose, foundation money, grants, volunteer hours, etc. They're happy that 60% or so of families pay full price for school lunches. You want to donate to a school, SPS would LOVE that. They are definitely not trying to shut down programs benefiting from the privilege of lots and lots of donations.

If privilege is choice, SPS LOVES choice. They've got option schools all over town and they would LOVE for you to apply to them right now during open enrollment. Louisa Boren, Cedar Park, Center School, Cleveland, Licton Springs, McDonald, Orca, Pathfinder, Queen Anne, Salmon Bay, South Shore, John Stanford, Thornton Creek, TOPS, and Hazel Wolf. They love them so much they keep opening new ones. I'm sure they'll open even more. SPS and SPS families LOVE options and choices. Cleveland is an effin option school high school that kicks butt. They're 55% FRL, 7% white, and have a graduation rate (92%) that's way better than the district as a whole (79%). All over town families are choosing the privilege of dual language immersion: Beacon Hill, Dearborn Park, Concord, John Stanford, McDonald, Hamilton, Denny, Mercer, Ingraham, Sealth. SPS is so thrilled with immersion that they're opening a new dual language privilege school next year (Lincoln). SPS loves the privilege of option choices. Thousands of families have made the choice and you can too until the 20th of February. Forms are available in English, Chinese, Spanish, Somali, and Vietnamese: https://www.seattleschools.org/admissions/registration/school_choice
You can even sort of home school through SPS at Cascade Parent Partnership. No self respecting school district that hates programs of privilege would allow this (homeschooling? in your pajamas? with no commute?)

If privilege is academic acceleration, SPS loves that, too. The district wants all students to be able to access AL right in their own schools. But they ALSO let families test into AL any year between K and 7th grade (and for HC any year between K and 12). Not only that, they let advanced learners switch to 14 Spectrum sites (Arbor Heights Elementary, BF Day Elementary, Fairmount Park Elementary, Hawthorne Elementary, Lafayette Elementary, Lawton Elementary, Lowell Elementary, Muir Elementary, View Ridge Elementary, Wedgwood Elementary, Whittier Elementary, Wing Luke Elementary, Broadview-Thomson K-8, Hazel Wolf K-8). They have no legal obligation to do that, but they still do. Because they LOVE advanced learning privilege. They want it available in all schools. They want low income students to get it if they need it so bad that they screen all 2nd graders at title one schools automatically. Do too well on your SBA test and they'll send you a letter inviting you to test, because they love it.

And SPS is definitely not trying to shut down HCC if that's your definition of privilege. They've been spinning off and opening new HCC schools left and right. SPS LOVES students who test well. They want MORE students to test well.

$a$$y said...

I don't know what you mean that HCC students should go back to their already pretty good neighborhood schools. HCC students live all over the city. Here's the 2017 HCC Enrollment by Middle School Attendance Area (Grades 1-12)
Aki Kurose 105
Denny 110
Washington 138
Jane Addams 184
Mercer 219
Eagle Staff 258
Madison 286
McClure 358
Hamilton 360
Meany 458
Whitman 458
Eckstein 663

Anonymous said...

Programs like HCC or option schools or dual immersion schools aren't "privilege." The problem isn't that they exist, it's that they're not fully inclusive. People are pushing a lowest common denominator definition of equity that suggests those programs are the cause of injustice. But getting rid of them doesn't do a damn thing to address the issues being faced by kids who aren't currently getting what they need in school due to structural racism. All it does is cut down what some see as the "tall flowers."

Taking away programs and services from kids is never acceptable. Ever. For any reason. And it's not just or anti-racist or equitable. The only answer forward is to stop pitting kids against each other just to keep the billionaires happy - and instead go get the billionaires' money so every child gets their needs met in SPS.

Sledder

Anonymous said...

SPS does a decent job of educating the majority of students—those in the middle 2/3 or so. For the other 1/3–whether at the high or low end of performance—SPS doesn’t do so well. Trying to eliminate services for the small group at the high end does nothing to improved services for those at the low end. If the goal is to actually serve those who are most behind, focusing on HCC as the bogeyman is not the answer. Tearing down HCC, or otherwise reducing services for HC students—and there will always be HC students—only makes sense if you’re interested in optics.

Optical delusion

Anonymous said...

Where do your facts support that SPS doesn't do a good job educating the higher end performing students?

The most extreme outliers are not well educated by SPS. That is true.

But the higher achieving students in general getting short-changed? There is no data to support that whatsoever.

Use facts next time before contributing to the poor-me HCC myth.

Fact delusion

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

@ fact delusion. I get that from (a) the outliers issue you mentioned; (b) the fact that SPS takes quick learners—AKA HC-eligible students working 2 or so years above grade level, and turns them into more average students by the time they graduate (by decelerating them); and (c) that many are forced into Running Start to get appropriate levels of classes.

Optical delusion

Anonymous said...

Melissa, you can say there no racist dog whistle in regards Ms. Pritchett. Your prerogative, but when we were at McClure during Ms. Ptitchett's last year as principal, a white parent came to office and hurled racial slurs at her. I'm sure she's had her share of racist attacks and I'm sure some people who post on this blog have a racial animus towards her.

We live in racist times, we live in a racially divided city - ever been to Magnolia? To assume there are no racists posting on your blog is to deny reality.

Dry Hopped

Anonymous said...

If students are taking Running Start, it's because they are beyond the classwork level that the school offers. In other words, they are accelerated.

Where is the data that SPS turns HC students into "average students"?

Again, facts please?

Fact Delusions

Anonymous said...

@Fact Delusions,

"But the higher achieving students in general getting short-changed? There is no data to support that whatsoever."

Actually, there's substantial data to support that fact. The infamous ST "biggest white-black achievement gap in the state" article states that SPS white 3-8th graders score two grade levels above nat'l average. That's astonishing as an average for that large of a segment of the population and you can easily infer that there are higher achievement levels within the average. The majority of those white students are in gen-ed and served grade level curriculum. The HCC students are also receiving fixed grade level work just accelerated by a year or two.

So if students are given one-size-fits-all age-based curriculum despite their demonstrated ability level on tests, then, yes indeed, high ability level students are being short-changed. As are all students far from the middle in SPS-land and districts far and wide.

Further evidence from Duke TIP that a sizeable percentage of elementary and middle school students score above grade level yet are stuck "learning" what they already know year after year after year.

https://tip.duke.edu/about/news/millions-us-students-underchallenged-school

Facts Matter

Anonymous said...

Facts Matter,

Was the article talking about being shortchanged in a cohorted program, which is self-contained through elementary?

Nah. Didn't think so.

Using data that exists about the need for HC services does not support the blanket statement that Optical Delusion made about about students in SPS HC getting shortchanged.

That is a straw man exemplar.

Good Job

Anonymous said...

@FWIW/Good Job/Facts Delusion,

Your inability to support your arguments with evidence and resort to insults is tiresome and your hallmark.

You specifically referred in your post to "higher end performing students" and "higher achieving students" and asserted "There is no data to support that whatsoever."

After I posted two articles supporting that higher end/higher achieving students are indeed shortchanged including one specific to SPS, you don't have the mettle to acknowledge the data.

Now you backpeddle to "cohorted program, which is self-contained through elementary".

Words matter.

Facts Matter

Melissa Westbrook said...

Dry Hopped, a bit off the rails with that comment. I had no idea that any parent said anything racist about Ms. Pritchett. I don't even know if that is true. If you are "sure" of something, you'd need to offer proof.

As for if there are racists here, there could well be. But not in that post.

I think this post has run its course.

Onward.