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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Curriculum Audit

This article appeared in today's Times about the curriculum audit in SPS that is currently underway.

Has anyone seen this at their school? The auditor came to Roosevelt yesterday - unannounced - to go on a review with our principal. Our principal mentioned that this had happened to the principal at Hale as well. The least the district could have done was to give the principals a heads up on what day they were coming. My co-president and I were having a meeting with our principal that we had set up a month ago. The principal was gracious enough to continue our meeting but we did keep it short because he had someone waiting.

I haven't had time to go down to the district headquarters to talk to the auditors - you can still do this today and tomorrow from 4-6 (not the greatest time of day). Anybody gone down to talk to them?

This from the article:

"The district is paying Phi Delta Kappa International about $125,000 to do the review. Chief Academic Officer Carla Santorno said the outside look will show the district "the reality of our situation" and help district leaders — many of whom are fairly new to Seattle Public Schools — focus their efforts."

There will also be audits of special ed, advanced learning and ELL programs.

I appreciate that the Superintendent and Carla want to get an overview and I welcome it. But, I hope this doesn't mean a huge overhaul and a whole new system. There are problems but it makes me tired to think of bringing in a large amount of change.

It will make for interesting reading when all these reports are done and released.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Superintendent talked about these audits last night at our PTA meeting. It was a full house of NE Seattle parents asking her lots of questions. She said the purpose of the audits were to have outside experts come in and give the district perspective on how the SSD is doing, etc etc. I believe changes will be made if the audit results warrant them. It didn't alarm me in anyway. Some people at the meeting were concerned about special ed changes, but it seemed more people were concerned about changes to the student assignment plan, school closures, etc. etc.

I know the Superintendent has only been here since July, but I felt like her answers to questions were "I don't know" a lot. As a parent, I felt like I knew the answers to some of the questions that she didn't such as the special ed moving out of Lowell and what Portland does for sharing funds, I don't think she knew the size of Eckstein, etc. etc. Her focus is definitely on curriculum right now and closing the achievement gap.

Michael Rice said...

The curriculum auditors will be at Rainier Beach on Thursday. If they come to talk to me, I will post what goes on.

Anonymous said...

I think it is important that the principals not know. That way there is no time to create a false picture of the school.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if they will post the results of these audits. They did one for special education last year. No word on anything. There was also an OSPI audit. Again silence. It would be great if they posted the results on the website. That is, the results of all the findings, not just the issues.

Anonymous said...

It's a lot of money. I wish I could believe that the reports will have any influence on the district.

And honestly -- if the superintendent wants to annoy principals, treating them like lackeys who can drop everything on their schedules, less than a month into the school year, seems like a great start. I wouldn't treat a roofing contractor that way, let alone a principal.

Anonymous said...

My principal knew in advance that they were coming.

11:06 - I see the sup knowing more and more every time I see her - and don't have an issue with her saying "I don't know", though I do wish at View Ridge and on KUOW today she'd followed that with up with something so people could get answers that she didn't have at the time.

Someone should be going with her to take notes (and - no offense- to get her places on time - she was late for the live interview this a.m. at KUOW and had Steve Scher free=lancing on air - not very charitably - about giving her a tardy slip.)

Anonymous said...

they are auditing what?

they are counting some subset of nebulous benchmarks derived from yet more worthless education 'research' from the Ivy tower?

Anonymous said...

I teach at an alternative school site that was visited by an auditor Wednesday. The visit was originally scheduled for Thursday at 2:00 pm, but this was changed the night before/morning of the actual audit.

The auditor asked questions about assessment, differentiation, amount of support from the district administration, community-based learning programs, etc.
Our principal toured her through the site and the auditor observed students in class using a variety of curricula.

I was at JSCEE around 4:00 pm Thursday for a meeting, and looked for the auditors in the community room just off the lobby, but saw no one. Where was forum for community input supposed to be? I checked the district website, and could find no mention of it.

Our school site was also part of the evaluation by the alternative education team last spring.

What I wonder is, what is the district going to do with the recommendations that these outside parties are making?

So far, beyond closing Marshall, little has happened with the recommendations from the alternative education report. I contacted Barbara Moore (special principal on assignment leading the task force that will recommend where to place the programs currently at Marshall) and she stated that a task force will be created at some point in the future to address the recommendations for alternative education.

I wonder if both of these evaluations were designed to elicit recommendations that would seriously considered, or if they were simply exercises to justify some changes already being
contemplated by administrators at the JSCEE.

Dan Dempsey said...

I visited with the auditor on Thursday in the community room at JSCEE.

I began with what is the purpose of this?

I. How student learning is supported in the SPS.

1. focus on Direction and Policy
2. Curriculum
3. equity issues
4. Assessment and program Evaluation
5. Budget

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She said they triangulate everything. Meaning it needs to come from three different places. That way hear say does not become fact.
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I spoke to the first four items not the budget.

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I think the other audit of the ten largest school districts in the state is being done by the State Auditor's office - Brian Sonntag.

Not OSPI. { I am not 100% sure on this }.

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I was somewhat amazed that this school district would have such an audit. I will be even more amazed if they do anything constructive with it. Given their practices that ignore large numbers of their own policies, SPS dispenses direction via autocratic mandates, ignores relevant research, is usually secretive about decisions,
hid the math adoption with no video and after posting the math adoption information on the SPS web-site took it down shortly there after.

To get the information they took down the freedom of information act was used. WOW!! what a school district.

If you would like the math adoption report, send me an email.

No FOIA request needed here.
{ If I'd produced that report I would have tried to hide it. It is very poor with no justification for the action. Very similar to the West Seattle mandate to 6 period day, School closures etc. }

dempsey_dan@yahoo.com

Dan

Roy Smith said...

The auditor visited AS#1 yesterday (Thursday). If any feedback from the visit reaches me, I will post what I hear about. The school knew at least 10 days in advance that this was happening.

Anonymous said...

The auditor and Superintendent came to our school last week. All of my students were quietly working when she entered the classroom. This was nothing out of the ordinary--most of my "low-achieving" students work hard most of the time. I hope she noticed that.

Anonymous said...

Anon -@ 8:51 -

Which school are you at?

Mr. Rice - feedback on their visit?

Anonymous said...

Auditors will only see what the district is willing to show and not what is really happening. Audits can be used for assassinations and not for really finding out where and how to improve. I doubt anything new or enlightening will come from the audits since the folks who are protecting themselves are navigating the audits. SO everyone is a fool if they think anything the district navigates from the inside has any merit. I think the district should be audited by the city or state on a large scale.