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Friday, October 12, 2007

Mixed Support over West Seattle HS Decision

West Seattle is a very interesting place with a lot of community support and interest. The West Seattle Herald has really good local stories and the West Seattle Blog...well, every neighborhood should be so lucky to have such a lively and informative source.

The Herald had a story about Carla Santorno returned to West Seattle HS to go over how the school will change from a 4-period to a 6-period day (per the rest of Seattle comprehensive high schools). Here was the mood at the meeting:

"Most who spoke at last week's meeting were pro four-period day. Some said they felt disconnected from the process and decision to change it. One parent said she would contact a lawyer to sue the district.

A West Seattle High teacher passed out a pamphlet lauding the four-period schedule.

"There's always going to be members of the community that will not agree with this decision, regardless," said Santorno. "We know there are people that like the four-period day, but we believe at this point in time (six periods) is the best way to go.""

I don't know about disconnected from the process; I think this has been going on for at least 2 years with teachers and parents on the committee(s).

Meanwhile, this was the editorial in the West Seattle Herald on the subject. To note:

"The Seattle District's new leaders are taking firm control of a district that has been left to wander for the past 10 years. Non-education leaders with good intentions permitted the individual schools to entirely chart their own courses which worked in some schools and was a disaster in others.

Now, with the roar for needed improvements reverberating over the city, Santorno and new Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson are showing the beginnings of what we hope will be firm, hand-on leadership.

To the person at last week's meeting who suggested a law suit over the decision, we say go for it if you like butting your head against a firm, reasoned and responsible decision."

There's some faith in the new leadership. This is the kind of thing we can only hope to see more of on down the road - newspapers and community/elected leaders showing faith and approval in SPS. (This is not to say I agree or disagree with the WSHS decision; I don't know enough to make that judgment.)

75 comments:

Anonymous said...

If you are curious about this situation, I suggest you actually follow up on how the district plans to jam a six period day into a building designed for a four-period day. We WSHS staff have already had to bail on creating graduation plans for anyone but seniors this fall since we don't know what credit requirements students will be held to, what staff we will have next year, or whether we will get the extra books, staff, and supplies we'll need for the change of curriculum.

We've spent a bunch of years working one way, and our curricula are different enough that someone better be providing some new staff and new resources to deal with the new requirements.

It would also be good if the district would explain quickly who is going to be fired and what classes will actually be available next year since reshaping the school is going to cause significant adjustments. Right now all of our new teachers are very unsettled. For this year's juniors, things are very up in the air.

How to make the transition hasn't even been discussed yet in the building, since the district has made it very clear that they are in the lead on this, though supposedly a schedule will be finalized by December (as it has to be if we are going to have any time to set up the following year).

One of the best programs at the school, the Environmental Science Academy, is going to be abandoned as a result of the decision. Our excellent senior project system is likely to be lost. There are also big problems with how Languages and other departments are going to deal with the sudden and unplanned for disruption. A number of departments will have to fire and then hire staff, or vice versa, for the next two years to adjust to the credit requirements of the six-period day. No news on any of this has been forthcoming. One cannot overstate how destructive this is to staff morale.

High schools don't swing on a dime. No program in Seattle Public Schools does. Generally, scheduling and budget processes for the next year start in earnest in February. At present one district consultant is slowly wandering the building, interviewing people, and analyzing the change. One man working that slowly is not a heartening sight. WSHS still has no idea how much control or lack of control they will have over the transformation process. It is all very vague.

I do hope the central district is held to account for what happens at WSHS. The teachers, even the 20 or so percent of us who actually support the six-period day (and I'm one of them), are fully assuming that the guiding hand of the district is going to disappear now that it has mandated the decision. Ordering the change made the vocal parents and the activist local paper happy, plus it made the district look decisive, but there has been a sudden silence since that mandate. Fixing the many inevitable technical problems that are stacking up is likely to be left as someone else's issue and blamed on someone other than the leaders downtown.

Either that, or they just don't feel like sharing any plans or processes with the staff at WSHS. That will further demoralize the staff and will likely miss key transition details. We'll wander into this change lamely, harm kids for a year or two, and see all manner of avoidable room, staffing, and resource problems.

Perhaps the change will be for the good, and I tend to think on balance it will, but my God it could it could have been done more competently. Even when this district accidentally does the right thing, it tends to do it so badly that success hardly merits the name.

Anonymous said...

As an long time WS resident, I am remembering all of the uproar that occured when the 4 period day was implimented.

Things change, you need to be flexiable. And, as far as I can tell, no one has ever said that any programs would be cut, in fact, I was at the meeting when the CAO said that an option that can be pursued is blocking some classes in which additional time is needed because the classes content is covering multiple areas of study. That happens at nearly every school.

WS is getting/got an transition adminstrator, which doesn't seem to jibe with your belief that central support would/is disapearing.

Anonymous said...

From West Seattle Blog: Thanks for the shoutout. We have a lot going on over on this side of the bay. One of our SPS focuses on WSB lately is the Denny-Sealth project -- if you haven't posted about it here lately, it's worth keeping an eye on. Several months after the last informational meeting, the district called one for earlier this week on very short notice, and put out a flyer pointing people to a website that didn't even exist yet (buildingexcellence.org) ... The SPS liaison on the project has since mea culpa'ed and they have now issued two-week advance notice of the next meeting, but it's not clear now exactly what timetable they are really on for this nine-digit project. Our writeup on this week's meeting is here.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous #2,

my mistake. When I said there was a consultant slowly wandering the building, that was the "transition administrator" of whom you speak. One person overseeing the transition of a 1,300 student, 70 teacher school is not a lot of resources.

As for "no one has ever said that any programs would be cut..." That's flatly wrong. The school has pointed out clearly and repeatedly what will be cut. The CAO can say programs won't be cut, but that doesn't make it true. Teachers make programs, and in a four-period day those programs that succeeded meshed well with the schedule. When the schedule changes, those programs will go away. That's just obvious. Most of the teachers who poured their hearts and souls into building programs are not going to rework everything for a schedule that directly rejects the work they've done. It'd be weird if the transition didn't ruin the old special programs. The CAO said what people want to hear to make the decision more palatable. When the programs get cut next year, we'll get blamed for inflexibility.

Blocking won't save senior project or the Environmental Science Academy. It doesn't really address the problem. The problem isn't longer periods, the problem is going from seeing 100 kids a semester to seeing 150. Additionally, scheduling complexities will make it impossible for teachers who used to easily work together to keep doing so. Moreover, blocking will damage other programs, such as running start. There are also union issues with denying teachers their prep on some days (blocking requires that). This particular magical solution has a whole series of domino impacts that the CAO has either ignored or not discovered.

It is rather impossible to explain to people who've never tried to schedule a high school how simple-sounding solutions such as "extended time" and "blocking" are not nearly so simple.

I am flexible. I'm for the six-period day, remember? I'm just frustrated with how and why this is being done.

There will be new programs a couple of years down the line, but my point was that the best ones we have now are going to go. And we will need more than one dude from downtown and some unrealistic promises about no cuts to make this change work properly.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and one more thing. The decision to move to the four-period day was supported by the WSHS staff and took at least two years. It was a slow and popular process, at least amongst the people implementing it.

The reversal is sudden, top down, and disapproved of by at least 80% of the faculty.

Everyone will teach their classes as well as they can, I'm sure, but you aren't going to see much of anyone willing or able to go above and beyond. 70 people scrambling to rewrite all of their lesson plans is going to make for some disturbing silences when we talk about special programs or volunteering for anything. That's not sullenness or petulance, that's the sound of classroom survival.

Anonymous said...

New to the discussion, but I have to ask: if the 4 period day was so great, why has nearly every school that ever adopted it abandoned it?

Anonymous said...

Dear Teachers:

All of the other comprehensive high schools have 6 periods. You will adjust. Change is difficult. This change isn't to make the teachers happy or unhappy. This change is for the students and the community.
An A grade at West Seattle High School needs to be the same as an A grade from Roosevelt High School.


West Seattle will become more competitive with the other schools and it will attract more of the neighborhood kids, especially if you have AP classes. Neighborhood kids will bring their volunteering parents along with them with their fund-raising dollars as well. Students will be able to take both a foreign language and band/orchestra.

Anonymous said...

Again...

The point is not that the four-period day is so perfect, it is that moving from it badly is unnecessary. Can't even hear that I am in favor of the six-period day... Odd.

It has always been my experience that the people who hate the four-period day are not willing to contemplate the damage likely caused by their rapid rush to change.

Oh well. This is how things change is Seattle. My-kid-first parents, alienated teachers, and sudden and unpredictable central administration.

Time to shut my door and ignore everything outside of it. Not my fault. Not my problem. Nothing to be done except teach on my side of the 1.5 inches of wood and all else be damned.

The parents of this district get the district they demand.

Anonymous said...

Anon Teacher:

What part of this two year process is coming as such a surprise to you all? The Board pretty much ordered this to happen last year, did staff stick thier heads in the sand and pretend that this was not a possibility?

Anonymous said...

It is OCTOBER. The decision was made in September. Really, how much hand holding do you need to plan for a change that is is a year away, that everyone saw coming?

Dan Dempsey said...

Very odd the statements in this blog so far.

It appears that almost everyone saw this 6-period day coming. Very peculiar in that virtually no one has looked at the WASL data from the last two years and the attendance data.

Now I get it. Other powerful forces have spoken, that base decisions not on what is working, but what we the powerful wish to have happen.

No wonder this school board rarely listens to a rational argument or looks at relevant data, that clearly has zero to do with how decisions are made in Seattle.

Onward to the partial re-segregation of Seattle.

If only we can gentrify the entire city and drive out all the poor, then all will be well in the promised-land.

Really excellent having a Seattle Education Association President who believes in collegial relationships with the central administration and school board regardless of what the dues paying members or parents of the majority of the current students prefer.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Maybe it is now time to ask for directions.

data available from:
dempsey_dan@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

If only we can gentrify the entire city and drive out all the poor, then all will be well in the promised-land.

WIth 68,694 in gross salary plus $17,139 in benefits, I guess you wouldn 't count among the urban poor- do you Dan, especially not for only 182 days of work.
What does that work out to be $47 an hour if you assume8 hours a day?

Of course it isn't the poor who are worried, they have subsidized housing, its the middle income taxpayers who can't afford housing or to pay the increases in property taxes that are due even if they can't afford to maintain their home.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'm puzzled. The senior project is a graduation requirement so how could it go away? Also, what I would tell you about prep and blocking is that many high schools have implemented (and I personally don't love) late start days once or twice a month for teachers to collaborate. WSHS might go this direction (if they haven't already).

I would agree with the unease about how it will come about. Sometimes the district has a way that "everything will just fall into place" and it doesn't. The district has made its decision, they should be accountable. That said, no major change comes easily.

Dan Dempsey said...

Anon at 6:58 AM,

Care to talk about the issues, that involve students?

Care to talk about decisions made with no transparency?

Care about better learning for all?

I am amazed at how little concern there is on the part of the larger community with the SPS failure to follow policies D43.00 D44.00 & D45.00

The failure of SPS to follow those policies have a huge negative impact on student learning, especially in mathematics.

It appears that Anon would rather attack me, than spend the time and effort to discuss how to substantially improve student learning in our schools.

Prior to Ms. Santorno's 6-period mandate. I sent a proposal to Dr. G-J for a five period day on trimesters (the Vashon Island schedule) that I believe has greater promise than either the 6-period or 4-period schedules.
The 5-period trimester schedule allows much easier access to running start and vocational classes because of its trimester scheduling. It also allows for class length to be determined by content. Vashon has some year-long classes = 3 trimesters as well as 2 trimester and 1 trimester classes.

Oh - even though I am not at this time an SPS employee your maximum salary calculation is from last year's data. You might wish to up-date that. Again it has nothing to do with the schedule discussion.

The fact that WSHS has among the best attendance of the 10 comprehensive high schools in Seattle and in 2007 on WASL writing had no achievement gap for WSHS Hispanic Students, who scored higher in writing than SPS White students.

Those facts are of importance in the schedule discussion.

Oh -- what was I thinking -- there is no discussion as things happen by autocratic mandate in the SPS.

Anonymous said...

Dan, simply saying the district failed to follow policies D43.00 D44.00 & D45.00 is useless to me. I do not know what these policies are and do not know where or how to look them up. When you accuse the district of not following policy, it would be helpful for you to translate what that policy is and explain HOW you think the district did not follow them. You do this often in your posts, and I find myself not having a clue what you are talking about.

Dan Dempsey said...

Anonymous at 9:27 said...

New to the discussion, but I have to ask: if the 4 period day was so great, why has nearly every school that ever adopted it abandoned it?

Dear New to the Discussion,

The answer may well be that education is driven by fads and the following of fads.

The current trend in large districts is toward one size fits all uniformity. The student population has incredible diversity so this uniformity will not work. Bellevue has been on this plan for a while and the Math achievement Gap for Hispanics and Blacks is slightly larger in Bellevue than in Seattle.

Yelm high school had a very successful 4-period day and abandon that much like Seattle. No Data autocratic mandate to change.

The decision of change for change sake is epidemic in US education. It seems driven by the need for non-teaching higher salaried administrators to do something.

Check out math books and instructional practices in high performing nations. They do not change much. When something works well, they fine-tune it.

At West Seattle instead of support and fine tuning -- we find nonsense.

Now you know some of the rest of the story.

Dan

Dan Dempsey said...

Anon at 4:25 PM,

Thanks for the request for clarification.

Go to district web-site--
lower left click on site map
then scroll to bottom inside SPS

click on policies
click on students

Or find the policies at:

http://www.seattleschools.org/
area/policies/index.dxml

and look under students

-----------------------
D44.00 & D45.00
call for defining of grade level necessary skills, and the acquisition of those skills.

D45.00 (middle school) is a little shorter reading than D44.00 (elementary school)

Cheers,

Dan

Anonymous said...

Ummmm Dan...Shouldn't we be using Bellevue as an example to follow? They are Seattle's behinds in academic achievement. They have 4 high schools that ranked in the top 100 schools nation wide, Seattle has none. They also have a much higher college bound rate, and a much lower drop out rate. Apparently one size fits all worked just fine for them, along with their strong college prep curriculum with an infusion of IB and AP programs and classes.

Dan Dempsey said...

Hey there scratching my head,

Guess you failed to look at several items.
1) Bellevue's pass rate for Black students in math at grades 4, 7, & 10 on the WASL is now about the same as Seattle's. It used to be higher before one size fits all.
2) Ditto for Hispanic students.

No, if you would care to start reading education periodicals and research, you would find that one size fits all leaves large portions of the population unserved.

Check out Oceanside CA for an easy plan:
1) decide what the students need to learn
2) decide the ways to teach it
3) decide what you will do when students do not learn it

Seattle's plan is not to even do #1
but its all good because SPS socially promote everyone who can't pass the WASL. SPS has no standardized connection to reality, until the High School drop out problem and the College drop out problem.

Check the number of Sylvan Learning Centers and Kumon etc. on the East Side of the Lake.

Dan

Anonymous said...

Dan, you can break things down a hundred different ways if you want to. The fact is Bellevue is kicking our behinds. They have 4 schools that ranked in the top 100 schools nationwide. Four!!! Acknowledge that, please. Seattle has none. Doesn't that mean anything to you??? You are like a one trick pony, hyper focusing on one thing. The achievement gap. Perhaps Bellevue can work harder toward closing the gap, but you can't let the one issue negate all of the success they have had as a district. Which, by the way is quite impressive.

Anonymous said...

As regards Anon's comment at 4:48:

Shouldn't we be using Bellevue as an example to follow? They are Seattle's behinds in academic achievement. They have 4 high schools that ranked in the top 100 schools nation wide, Seattle has none. They also have a much higher college bound rate, and a much lower drop out rate. Apparently one size fits all worked just fine for them, along with their strong college prep curriculum with an infusion of IB and AP programs and classes.

I have HUGE concerns about how Bellevue gets these numbers and results. It is policy in Bellevue to assign middle schoolers out of their home high school areas that are not succeeding at the top of their game to Robinswood "Alternative" school, where they are warehoused and exposed to very weak curricula, higher drug, behavior and drop-out rates by far with no IB or AP classes offered. There is no "alternative" at Robinswood as the term has been defined by experts and compared to SPS definition as the "choice" is paramount. There are no appeals to these assignments other than threats of litigation. Once assigned there it is darn near impossible to transfer to their schools.

The ethnicity numbers as well are quite different. There is a great deal of backlash in Bellevue as a result of these policies and heavyhandedness that the less than stellar kids will knock schools off the top 10 lists and the lack of communication from Mike Riley's office and the absence of outreach and responsiveness from Boardmembers. Likewise, the Bellevue Schools website is woefully deficient for gaining information on the policies and systems in place.

So the true irony is that folks who moved to Bellevue who wished to access their terrific schools are in fact, denied access.

The above is from personal experience of less than 18 months old from a nephew and not anecdotal.

None of the above would fly 10 minutes in Seattle nor do I believe it should. With all of our faults we are better than these practices.

Anonymous said...

Standing back and reading this as a senior leader in a neighbor district, I find it frightening and informative as now I understand why so many folks have moved to our district.

First of all, Bellevue has a different population of kids since they only have a fraction of the students Seattle has and their kids of color come from highly educated and often well employed parents, one cannot make the comparison statistically.

Also, I find the WSHS issue to be a poor discussion because the issues of that school were not attributal to the schedule, but to the instruction and professional development, which are actually leadership issues. So Dan is right, stay focused on student learning and teacher learning and you will have success.

You have wasted time, money, and political energy changing schedules and fighting amongst each other. Get back to improving instruction.

Anonymous said...

Is anonymous above by chance from Shoreline. We have found that sending our Seattle child to Shoreline schools has been a godsend. Shoreline was gracious enough to offer us space even though we live in Seattle. We are currently looking for a home in Shoreline so we can look forward to both of our kids having the advantage of the stellar schools there.

Anonymous said...

anonymous at 8:07 again...

Can someone corroborate the accusation by anonymous above that Bellevue does not allow lower performing students to remain in there high performing schools. Claims were that they banish them to an alternative school where they are left without adequate resources. It sounds surreal to me.

If indeed there is any truth to it, were those children that were send to the alternative schools having any other issues....behavioral, social? Not that that would be a better reason to banish them either, but it would make more sense than banishing them for getting average or low grades.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the last person and am also from a neighboring district, I feel compelled to respond as I was in a conference with Dr. Maria Goodloe and was a bit concerned when heard her statements about just HOW BAD Seattle Schools was and how terrible the instruction was. The fact that she stated that she did visited 3 K level classrooms in different schools and thought she would not place her own child in Seattle Schools is telling and supports the above blog. The problem is not the schedule, it is instruction. Dr. Godloe suggested she would fire most of the folks she thinks are responsible for the poor education in Seattle; however, I would challenge that her school leaders are simply victims of the poor instructional leadership that surrounds her. If she wants to improve academics then she needs to do better research about those she has surrounded herself.

Dr. Goodloe has an odd organizational structure and it reflects the weak instruction she sees in her schools. She has people in very senior positions who are not focused on student learning and who lack the skills.

Operationally, it was a shame that Mark Green was allowed to leave the district. He was a person who brought balance into the decision making. Every district would have hired him in a second if he had the interest of staying in the k-12 world. The curriculum director from a few years ago was a person who brought an academic focus and a real understanding of student learning. Renton is benefiting from her expertise and every superintendent is seeking her advice now. Also, the data director left and she brought Seattle to the center of attention because she brought focus and analysis that no one in the state had ever experienced. Now, proportedly, Seattle Schools has no one in that role who is an academic visionary. Looking at the website for Seattle, there is a strange structure where the students with the most needs are in some strange organization separate from the acaademic leadership. It sits under a non-academic name Corker. The organizational structure reflects a bunch of adults who want power as reflected with too many hire ranking district administrators and too few people in schools. Seattle needs to flip the structures and move all student services under the Curriculum Director or the CAO where student learning can be the focus.

Dan Dempsey said...

Hello to still scratching my head at 7:00 PM.

Let us look at WSHS leadership of Susan Durse, the principal who has bounced around tossed out of Garfield and assigned to WSHS (not a choice made by WSHS). Finally after too many years at WSHS she left due to medical circumstance. Then went to the Center School for a few brief moments. Now the district has her downtown so she can be with many of the others of questionable worth.

Look at the WSHS improvement last year- remember Ms. Durse was only present for 2 days (no administration was a big improvement).

I think an incredible transformation was in process at WSHS, until once again the insanity from the JSCEE mandate ruined a great start to the school year.

Seattle is an excellent lesson in how to accomplish as little as possible.

To improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data. ---- If you think this is happening in either Bellevue or Seattle you had best take another look.

I find it interesting that in a school district that has a 42.4% white population and 11% of the school age population are English Language Learners, you see the fact that WSHS serves the Black and Hispanic population better than perhaps every high school in Seattle as unimportant.

Bellevue's free and reduced lunch 17% Seattle's is 40%.

If we really wanted to know something about academic performance in this state, we would need to have Iowa standardized tests or something similar return. Highline uses the MAP so at least they have a worthwhile tool. Seattle on the other hand has a contract with Edu-Soft from which we've learned very little. Typical of Seattle sign a contract spend money and receive little of worth.

No I don't think I will be voting for a simple majority on school levies for this crew. I need to see something a lot better than Dr. Bergeson and the Seattle mess before I want to let go of 60% and at least 40% of the last general election for validation.

FYI: 4th grade Black students
WASL 2007 MATH pass rates:

Seattle 32%

Bellevue 25%

NO I don't think one size fits all.


Dan

Anonymous said...

Dan, you are actually being sensible to turn to data. From the perspective of a leader from another district, I would say you are right to focus on data and maybe we need to talk off line because we are always looking for folks focused on data.

On the other hand, Seattle had an amazing data person who presented at the WERA conference and she blew my mind. She is now running a company and we are going to give her our data for reporting to the federal and state governing bodies. Her company has attracted districts like NYC and Chicago to run their data and technology. My suggestion to you Dan is to hook up with her company because they are becoming the leaders in data for states, large districts and universities and she might be a good fit for you. Do you know this person and her company name? She replaced a couple of older guys that represented the status quo for Seattle. She has since left and is doing a lot for us using data and has impressed a lot of government bodies and organizations already. What is you email Dan? I can send you her contact.

From my experience in education, it is time to move beyond WSHS Dan. The path has been set and the decision was made so it is time to accept it and either leave the school or figure out how to best support our students given the decisions already made.

Anonymous said...

Shoreline is the district doing very innovative things. We are happy to assist parents and families who feel that we may provide them excellent education and programs for family involvement.

Dan Dempsey said...

dempsey_dan@yahoo.com

Charlie Mas said...

Boy, has this discussion taken an odd turn.

Three themes have come forward:

1. Regardless of whether the decision to move WSHS from a 4-period day to a 6-period day was good, bad, or indifferent, the District does not appear to be living up to the responsibility of managing the change. The transition will be tremendously complicated - logistically, academically, and emotionally - and the District needs to put more people on the job to address all of these aspects.

2. The decision to move WSHS from a 4-period day to a 6-period day was not based primarily on student achievement data. The determination was driven by access to advanced classes and electives.

It's a funny thing, but WSHS is hugely popular with families from the south end of West Seattle. Check the data on the Student Assignment, and you will see that 440 of the students at West Seattle High School live closer to it than any other school. 707 of WSHS students live closer to Chief Sealth. That 440, while it doesn't appear to be a large number, does represent 2/3 of the students in that area. It is interesting to note that only 446 of the students who live closest to Chief Sealth choose it. In short, WSHS is, far and away, the more popular choice of students from the Chief Sealth area by about 5:3 and serves students from that area more than it serves students from the WSHS area by about 5:3.

Now that Chief Sealth has IB, and since Chief Sealth has always had more AP classes, I wonder if the two schools shouldn't switch academic programs. This would provide families in the more affluent north end of West Seattle with the academic opportunities they seek without requiring them to send their students far from home or to a neighborhood they suspect to be unsafe. It would also provide the lower income south end of West Seattle with the 4-period day they want, one which has proven more successful with a low income and minority population. Or am I reading too much into the data?

3. There is a dearth of people within the K-12 education culture who understand data and statistics. I work in the financial industry, which truly is data driven. And I'm telling you folks that most of the data that you really need to make a decision hasn't even been collected. There is scant data on inputs, scant data on outcomes, and absolutely no data that will help with the most important thing: attribution analysis.

How can ANYONE say what part the 4-period day had in anything when there is no attribution analysis? How can ANYONE say what the people who live close to WSHS want, when there is no market research? How can ANYONE say why people chose this school or that one when there is no market research? You can't make data driven decisions without data, and the K-12 education has no idea what it is like to really have data. I'll tell you something more; if you think what you've seen is cool, you haven't really seen anyone do interesting things with data yet.

Anonymous said...

I agree with some of Charlie's points, but not all.
#1. Charlie & the WSHS teacher are absolutely correct- the District needs to step up and make this transition successful! I heard Carla say after the last parent's meeting, "We will do whatever it takes" and they need to be held accountable for this.
#2. I do not agree with Charlie's conclusion that the "determination was driven by access to advanced classes and electives." If you look at Carla's 10/01/07 Power Point presented at WSHS (unfortunately not posted online yet), the most compelling reasons listed for the decision are: Continuity of learning, particularily in math; Better access to core academic classes; Nearly 30% more instructional hours per credit; System alignment; and Mobility between comprehensive high schools.
#3. There is some data available about why families chose WSHS- the Oct. 2006 REA report results from a survey sent out last fall to all families: "82% parents chose WSHS for it's location", while "only 22% considered the four-period day a primary reason for their choice."
As a parent of two students at WSHS, I agree with all of Carla's reasons to change the schedule, plus alot more. Until you actually experience the conflicts and limitations of the 4-period schedule, you have no idea the reality of it. One small example- Last year my 10th grader had LA and science only in 2nd semester. At WSHS, the LA class had only 35 classroom hours of instruction before the WASL, compared to 105 hours in a 6-period day! Later, in mid-April, for math and science, at WSHS students received 64 hours of instruction before the WASL, compared to 124 hours in standard 6-period day classroom!
We absolutely do NOT agree with some of the posters (who do not have students at WSHS, by the way) that "the problem is not the schedule, it is the instruction."
Finally, Data driven Dan- why don't you ask the REA for the data on the # of "N" and "D" grades at WSHS for 2006? The data is available for each school, even broken down by ethnic groups, subject levels and grade levels. When the district announced that over 450 students at WSHS failed a math class (out of under 1300 students), does that data not count also? Your WASL quotes are one thing, but my Hispanic friends know personally that 60% Hispanics failed (N grade)a math class at WSHS last year! Do the math, that is not a success!
Ex-4 supporter

BullDogger said...

Charlie… thanks for bringing the thread back into focus.

The district must put all possible effort behind the WSHS transition but the staff needs to act like professionals through this change. There is an unhealthy dynamic going on amongst the staff at WSHS. 20% support the change to 6pd (previous anonymous post). The other 80%, including some key department heads, do not and may see those who help this transition as collaborators. There are very strong personalities within the staff still fighting for the 4pd trying to work up other staff, students and families with facts and myths (the school’s too small). The assumed strategy of this group is to force a delay in the 6pd transition by claiming the school is not ready at a very late hour.

Some of the staff’s militant efforts are well outside the bounds of district policy, but the district and principal seem unable to enforce those policies. I agree, the district must provide resources for WSHS to make a healthy transition and all signs say they are beginning that process. Enforcement of policy is another responsibility of SPS, one they are performing quite poorly, and quite typically, in this case. Above all though, the teachers and staff need to put this behind them and work towards a solution, for the sake of students, rather than standing by and idly commenting on how little the district is accomplishing. If this transition fails, I hold the staff primarily responsible.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with the last person. The teachers and staff in WSHS were gracious and wanted to find a modified solution, but the parents made it perfectly clear that they would use politics and oppositional behavior to block any kind of reasonable discussion or debate. The staff and teachers and students now suffer because people were unreasonable and Carla lacked the ability to support a modified and reasonable position.

Anonymous said...

To the last blogger,,,,,the teachers were much more uncompromising than parents during the meetings to revise the shcedule. The district made the right decision.
Let's make WSHS a standout school, we need to work together.

Melissa Westbrook said...

This has been a very interesting thread; clearly, strong feelings on both sides.

From my own experience, and this is speaking not of the situation at WSHS in specific but in general, I find that teachers in middle/high schools feel an ownership of their schools that elementary teachers (at least to me)do not exhibit.

On the one hand, you want teachers to feel invested in the schools where they teach. Teachers are so often the ones in middle and high school who are sponsors/advisors for clubs and other activities. You want them to want to be part of the programming at the school where they teach.

On the other hand, it frankly had not occurred to me, until my sons reached high school, how invested teachers are. I have gotten the distinct impression from teachers that students/parents are just passing through but that these schools are their careers. I can understand that; many teachers probably want to find a school to put roots down into and feel a part of a bigger effort.

But, for parents, our children are our single biggest investment of time, energy and love. So whether our children are going through a school for 6, 3 or 4 years, it's their education. So parents really are invested in the school where they place their child.

So I can see, beyond the specific issues at WSHS, how parents and teachers might not "get" each other.

This day of reckoning at WSHS was probably going to come. I think, because of remarks that both Carla and Dr. Goodloe-Johnson have made about high schools, that there is going to have a day of reckoning for more schools. Teachers and administrators are likely to have to make room at the decision-making table for parents or we may see more parents leave the district. Parents should have some voice in the programming at SPS (and that voice should include some kind of vote).

Dan Dempsey said...

Dear Anonymous at 2:54 PM,

You said:the teachers were much more uncompromising than parents during the meetings to revise the schedule. The district made the right decision.

This decision as Charlie so nicely pointed out is based on no data.

This district and state have seemingly no interest in collecting data that is relevant to improved decision making. The administrators in authority have in most cases never used it in their careers. It is far easier to issue mandates while saying data driven.

Wake up --- this is all about centralized decision making based on the need for uniformity to make the bureaucracy easier to run. The WSHS decision and the Math adoption have zero to do with improving instruction.

Look at the current actions of Dr. Bergeson in regard to the OSPI selected Math Standards re-write team. This entire state education system is largely based on the power of autocrats. This will remain the case until the public gets concerned enough to do something to bring about improvement. That unfortunately appears to be very unlikely.

No one even cared to look at a move to the Vashon style 5-period day on trimesters. This would have given students easy access to vocational and running start classes. Isn't that something that was desired? but wait the SPS might lose some FTE $$$ to the community colleges.
This may be more about what is good for SPS central administration than any concern for children's well being.

The large Urban school district mode of operation is to respond to diverse political concerns and change course so often and erratically that little is ever accomplished. Even programs that show promise or are working are rarely allowed to continue.
Greater control by centralized dictators far removed from the classroom, who are disinterested in hearing from their employees or in developing well devised sustainable long term programs, will hardly create long term improvement.

The decision to be cooperative with a failing system and whistle the politically correct tune is far more important than competence. Note: the continually widening achievement math gap for Blacks and Hispanics, while adopting an ethnically discriminatory k-5 math curriculum. Seattle's K-12 math program manager is a former middle school science teacher, who has little idea about what an effective math curriculum would look like. She has been opposed to defined grade level necessary skills and remains so. SPS has adopted Everyday Math and still has failed to define what children should learn at each grade level.

Little wonder so many in this state would like to dismantle the Seattle Public Schools. The allowed continuation of this mode of operation by a supposed highly educated electorate is unfathomable.

Dan Dempsey said...

Melissa Westbrook said...

On the one hand, you want teachers to feel invested in the schools where they teach. Teachers are so often the ones in middle and high school who are sponsors/advisors for clubs and other activities. You want them to want to be part of the programming at the school where they teach.

On the other hand, ... I have gotten the distinct impression from teachers that students/parents are just passing through but that these schools are their careers. I can understand that; many teachers probably want to find a school to put roots down into and feel a part of a bigger effort.

This is an excellent observation. Unfortunately for many teaching in the SPS is not part of a bigger effort at the district level. At the school level it can be part of a bigger effort, if there is reasonable direction at the building level.

Look at the turn over rates for teachers in the SPS and how many get some experience and head elsewhere.

The district decision to sabotage a program that was headed upward in a big way despite little help from downtown, will hardly create confidence and attachment to the SPS. It looks to me like another anti-recruiting tool for teachers.
It will fit right in with Dr. G-J's comment about the poor quality of teachers in the SPS.

This district does many things to drive students away.

It now appears they wish to drive the teachers away also.

Dan

Anonymous said...

Dan, you're coming across as a tiresome whiner, full of sour grapes. While you may have a point here and there, your delivery had me skipping over your posts long ago. That's not the way to get hired, elected, or even listened to. Take a deep breath and re-think your approach.

BullDogger said...

To ananymous at 2:12...

I was at all the steering committee meetings and saw plenty of ungracious behavior from both sides. This is a devisive issue and people have been emotional. From my perspective, parents were never treated as legitimate stakeholders, with legitimate concerns, by the staff. If you were there what "reasonable and modified position" are you referring to? The continuous math option for 9th/10th graders has class sizes bloated to over 40 students and 450 students a year failing math. Is that reasonable?
Dan... you keep going on about this decision but I didn't see you there once. Parents who opposed 4pd included honors student families, special ed families and people of color. Most will never see the benefit of the change (unless they have a younger child). Give these folks a break. They were out advocating for all kids without a lot to gain for themselves. The achievement data is mixed and inconclusive. Larger class sizes, difficulty getting courses, course continuity issues and transferring problems can't be argued. I find it hard to believe WSHS has found the "secret answer" to the achievement gap as you would claim. Do children of color blossom exceptionally in math classes with 40 students? I think not. Race is not the issue here. Providing the best education possible for West Seattle families is the issue.

Anonymous said...

I always think it is dangerous when people compare Seattle to the surrounding, smaller districts. Seattle faces problems that Shoreline and Bellevue simply don’t. Most notably is poverty. West Seattle High School has 29% of students who qualify for Free Lunch. The two high schools in Shoreline have 13 and 16%. And yes, there are only two high schools there, so centralization and communication are far easier. District decision-makers can more easily follow what is happening at every school.

I also find it interesting that someone posted “Shoreline is the district doing very innovative things.” There is certainly great instruction going on in Shoreline, but my experience is that (good or bad) they wouldn’t experiment with something like the 4 period day at a single school. Most parents favor a more conventional approach and the district seems to respect that. They also try very hard to make sure that every school offers equivalent programs, which is easier to do there, because the schools have more similar populations.

What makes me crazy in Seattle is that they don’t repeat the experiments that work well. Parents move, lie, and bully to get their children into John Stanford. How wonderful would it be to repeat the program in the South End where there are more bi-lingual kids who would benefit from it?

Dan – we all understand your frustration with the demise of the 4-period day, but you must have seen at the various meetings how many parents felt their kids weren’t being served well by the school. If the parents were wrong, it was the schools job to convince them otherwise. You couldn’t do it, and so the program is gone. I believe that a full year should give teachers enough time to switch to a program that is already in place in most high schools in the district. I hope that Carla stands by her word to give you the resources you need. However, it won’t do any good unless you accept that this is what parents want and this is the way it is going to be.

Anonymous said...

This is in response to the last anonymous post, which mentioned Shoreline high schools - "they wouldn’t experiment with something like the 4 period day at a single school." I am a Seattle parent and a Shoreline eductaor, and I just want to clarify - Shorewood initated a 3 period day back in 94-95. Shorecrest adopted it much later. The district was perfectly content to allow the initial experimentation on the schedule, just as it did in the late 80's when Shorecrest adopted an early release model once a week that Shorewood did not adopt in 2001. Again, quite a bit of room for experimentation across the schools, even in a small district. Just so you know.

The whole WSHS discussion is fascinating to me as I think about our work in Shoreline with what we call the ABC schedule. A days (Wednesday and Friday) are periods 1-3-5, B days (Tuesday/Thursday) are 2-4-6, and C days (Monday) are 1-6. In Shoreline you would be hard pressed to find a significant body of high school staff interested in returning to the daily 6 period day, or even the type of modified schedule like Garfield has (they have extended periods twice a week). I think it is safe to say a return to a 6 period day is inconceivable in Shoreline.

Dan Dempsey said...

Anon at 11:03 said...

but you must have seen at the various meetings how many parents felt their kids weren’t being served well by the school. If the parents were wrong, it was the schools job to convince them otherwise.

WSHS has been consistently poorly served by central administration in support of academic programs. If you think the schedule is the problem, you have not looked at a large number of other factors.

If the district had ever had the inclination to listen to those involved with the program about how to support and improve it, things could have been much better.

Anon - have you requested that the district begin following D43 D44 and D45 that would produce a much larger positive change in Math than schedule change will accomplish.

At Fife HS (grades 10, 11, 12)in one year we moved to year long algebra at 90 minutes for grade 10.
The result: level one WASL dropped from 30% to 15% and level 4 went from 14% to 27% in one year.

Amazing that a district changes a schedule rather than attempting to fix the problem.

I still think this is more about centralized control issues than academic improvement.

Charlie Mas said...

In response to anonymous at 11:03 who wrote:

"What makes me crazy in Seattle is that they don’t repeat the experiments that work well. Parents move, lie, and bully to get their children into John Stanford. How wonderful would it be to repeat the program in the South End where there are more bi-lingual kids who would benefit from it?"

There is going to be another dual language immersion program, this one at Concord. I'm not sure when it is supposed to start, but enough people make the exact same complaint as you that the District actually had to do it.

Just to clarify, the complaint was "The district TALKS about duplicating successful programs but never does it. Take for example JSIS..."

There was, at one time, some talk about creating a dual language immersion program at Beacon Hill also, but I haven't heard much about that lately.

Anonymous said...

Graham Hill is now a Chinese immersion program. It is growing quickly in popularity.

As for Shoreline schools following a more conventional model, this is simply untrue. As the above poster mentions they have modified their MS and HS schedule as A,B and C days. four of the days students only attends 3 classes, one day they attend all 6 classes. It works great!. It gives the kids block classes! It helps with homework as they usually have at least two days to complete it, which helps them learn time management.

Also, I will say that in general, Shoreline schools are more conventional, and that is exactly why we chose to send our Seattle kid to a Shoreline MS, and are planning on sending him to a Shoreline HS too. They are structured without being oppressive, and they uphold the values that I believe in when it comes to classroom behavior and discipline.

They are also at the forefront of technology in schools, with every middle and high school student not only receiving his/her own laptop to keep for the year, but they do all of their work and calendaring on the laptop. Just think Seattle, no more forgotten homework, it's a document on your laptop!!!!

And, BTW, the MS my son goes to has 29% FRE, it's 60% white (so fairly diverse for SEatte), and it is a reasonable size (under 700 kids)!!!!

Anonymous said...

Shoreline has only two middle schools. According to the last data I could find, the FRE numbers are 21% and 18%. Now look at Seattle where Eckstein has 16% and Aki Kurose has 72%.

Does anyone wonder why Seattle has a greater acheivement gap.

Anonymous said...

It is amazing that an affluent city like Seattle has such a disproportionate number of poverty stricken children. Seattle has done a miserable job of attracting middle class and affluent families, and the high number of FRE eligible children is a direct result.

Maybe Shoreline just does a better job at attracting ALL of their families instead of just the families that have no other options.

Whatever the reason, and I'm sure their are many, Shoreline offers consistently better schools than Seattle does. Maybe Seattle should try to figure it out???

Anonymous said...

"Graham Hill is now a Chinese immersion program. It is growing quickly in popularity."

My understanding is that studenst have 30 minutes a day of immersion. While this is great, and I think it is wonderful for the students, I don't count this as an immersion school. If it were, West Woodland, where students get Spanish every day, would be immersion as well.

Roy Smith said...

Dan, you're coming across as a tiresome whiner, full of sour grapes. While you may have a point here and there, your delivery had me skipping over your posts long ago. That's not the way to get hired, elected, or even listened to. Take a deep breath and re-think your approach.

Of 48 posts on this thread, 10 are from Dan Dempsey, including 2 of which where he is answering himself. I've monopolized a thread or two on this blog, but I think he has me beat.

And the excessive use of bold type in his posts gets tiresome, as well.

Anonymous said...

Interesting, because Graham HIll has been marketing themselves as a Mandarin Chinese immersion program. With 30 minutes of immersion per day, they are really no different from the many Seattle elementary schools offering a foreign language. Perhaps, immersion has something to do with it. 30 minutes of immersion vs 30 minutes of Spanish class at Stevens elementary??

Anonymous said...

Dan, do you not want the people to get what they want?? Do you want the district to ignore their requests? You keep blaming the change from 4 periods to 6, on the centralization of the district. I think not. I think the people have spoken. The majority. Do you not believe in majority? Do you want the district to over ride the people?

Dan Dempsey said...

Anon at 5:08,

When was the election? who was registered to vote? What were the results?

The people have spoken ---
when? where? how many?

Charlie said the following:

It's a funny thing, but WSHS is hugely popular with families from the south end of West Seattle. Check the data on the Student Assignment, and you will see that 440 of the students at West Seattle High School live closer to it than any other school. 707 of WSHS students live closer to Chief Sealth. That 440, while it doesn't appear to be a large number, does represent 2/3 of the students in that area. It is interesting to note that only 446 of the students who live closest to Chief Sealth choose it. In short, WSHS is, far and away, the more popular choice of students from the Chief Sealth area by about 5:3 and serves students from that area more than it serves students from the WSHS area by about 5:3.


Send me your data about the election that I missed

dempsey_dan@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Dan, do you go to board meetings? Do you read this blog? Have you read the articles in the newspaper? Have you been to any WSHS community meetings?

If you have, you would have heard loud and clear that families want a 6 period day. THEY WANT IT.

You are thick, Dan. Thick.

Dan Dempsey said...

Dear Argggg,

I guess the 707 students who live closer to Sealth than West Seattle and yet attend a four period day rather than a 6 period day, must be really stupid in that they do not realize the superiority of the 6 period day.

Some how it appears that the supposed enormous masses that are crying out so loudly for the 6 period day seem to be the only ones you hear.

Please send data in support of your hypothesis.

Respectfully Yours,

Thick Dan

Dan Dempsey said...

Dear Argggg,

Check Charlie's posted map and start adding. It tells a greatly different story than the one you tell.

Instead of attending their nearest High School the following students come to West Seattle from:
Ballard 10
Cleveland 67
Franklin 38
Garfield 25
Ingraham 2
Rainier Beach 59
Roosevelt 4
Chief Sealth 707

It seems that the four period day is quite a magnet.

In addition to 707 students who are closer to Sealth. There are 205 other students who are leaving 6 period day high schools to in many cases travel long distance to come to West Seattle.

I hope you have more than anecdotes to support your claims. It is very interesting how the SPS makes decisions; sad but interesting.

Data Driven Decision making rarely happens.

Post some data please.

Sincerely,

Dan

Anonymous said...

Data Dan,

The 4 period day is not what draws kids from Sealth to West Seattle. Sealth is a very very low performing school, ridden with violence. West Seattle is not. The families who want a better school for their children will go to WSHS whether they have a 1 period day or a 10 period day. They want an adequate school. Sealth may be on it's way to becoming a better school with the addition of the IB program. Maybe they will start to attract some of their neighborhood families back. But right now, WSHS is an obviously better choice, and NOT because of the 4 period day.

And let me stop you right now. Please don't say that WSHS is a better school BECAUSE of the 4 period day. That doesn't hold water.

Sealth 10th grade WASL scores
60/20/62/40

WSHS 10th grade WASL scores
82/33/78/43

Note: WSHS is higher in every subject

Sealth has 67% FRE
WSHS has 32% FRE
It has been shown that low income students perform at a lower level than middle and affluent children. This is one reason that Sealth struggles. Again, nothing to do with a 4 period day.

On the website greatschools.net

Sealth received a parent ranking of 3 out of 10 stars

WSHS received a parent ranking of 6 out of 10 stars.

On the WSHS parent reviews in which 7 parents participated, not one mentioned the 4 period day as an attraction to the school

Sealth offers 4 AP classes at this time.

WSHS offers 7 AP classes and they offer honors classes.

Dan do you think perhaps, just maybe some of these things are why parents choose WSHS over Sealth?? The community at WSHS has spoken out against the 4 period day, so stop trying to strong arm everyone into buying into what YOU think is the right thing. Thank god you did not get a seat on the board. It would be very troubling to me. You are clearly not interested in what the greater community wants.

Anonymous said...

Right on with the details from the last blogger.....Dan , the four period day is not the reason kids come to WSHS. Most do not understand the difference and come for the reasons stated abouve!

Anonymous said...

From the often quoted REA Report "WSHS 4-Period Schedule Program Evaluation" Oct. 2006, page 7:
"Survey results show that the majority of parents (82%) choose WSHS for it's location; only 22% considered the four-period day a primary reason for their choice."
Dan- start listening to what parents are telling you, and not what you conclude from your hand picked data! We are still waiting to see if you've looked at the "N" grade data, mentioned by one parent this weekend. Did you see it & it doesn't fit into your theories?
Another WSHS Parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

I don't know the SW well but my observation is that WSHS is chosen because of its location (and, of course, good academics; no location makes a good school). I always think of West Seattle as its own little community and with its geographical isolation that it's harder to get around and that most would choose WSHS given how long a student would have to be on a bus to get to another school outside of the SW.

That seems more likely than whether they had a 4 or 6 period day.

Anonymous said...

That's right, Melissa- We did a complete Metro bus analysis of the commute time to any school outside of West Seattle (knowing all high schools will be on Metro next year), and decided up to 3 hours per day (yes, it's true!) was not worth sending our kids out of our neighborhood.

But Melissa, we chose WSHS mostly because of it's neighborhood location, "despite" it's reputation of poor academics, not because of "good academics". In 2006, only 42% of all WSHS students passed "all 3" subjects in the WASL, compared to 57% passing "all 3" as a district average. That's 15% below district average! (SAT scores are even lower, ave. only 479 last year).

No, WSHS has not had a good academic reputation, and I'd say from my experience as a long-time West Seattle resident, the majority of families see the 4-period day as the reason for it's poor academic reputation. Additionally, last year, a WSHS administrator said that WSHS "lost" approx. 50 kids at registration due to the new IB program at Sealth, and 60 students because WSHS no longer offers Honors classes in 9th grade! (that's 110 kids lost for "academic" reasons, out of about 350)
WSHS Parent

Anonymous said...

Yes, I would have to agree, WSHS is academically, mediocre at best. A much better choice than pre-IB Sealth, but none the less mediocre. If moving to a 6 period day is what the community wants, and a chance to improve academics, then I am very happy that the district has decided to move forward with it. It's about time to see some academic oriented action in this district. Action that directly translates to the classrooms and students. Go Goodloe!!!

As for Dan, it's time to let it go. The community wants this, and that has to be respected. You asked for data, and hopefully now, even you, will be satisfied with what has been provided.

Dan Dempsey said...

Thanks for the update and what has been provided. Much appreciated, I follow your line of thinking.

WSHS parent said:
We did a complete Metro bus analysis of the commute time to any school outside of West Seattle (knowing all high schools will be on Metro next year), and decided up to 3 hours per day (yes, it's true!) was not worth sending our kids out of our neighborhood.

Yes depending on where you live. Cleveland is about 1+ hour on the bus. Considering wait times you have about 3 hours per day.

I wonder why many of the 205 students are coming to West Seattle from that far away or farther?

Anon at 6:56AM said:
It has been shown that low income students perform at a lower level than middle and affluent children. This is one reason that Sealth struggles.

Excellent point when poverty rates go above 50% academics become difficult - This is a great argument for discarding the New Student Assignment plan which will further enlarge the poverty differential between "Rich" & "Poor" schools.

In regard to WASL SCORES:

WSHS / read / math / write / science
2006 / 82.1 / 44.6 // 77.8 // 32.8
2007 / 81.2 / 44.8 // 88.4 // 29.3
change -0.9 / +0.2 / +10.6 // -3.5

Sealth read / math / write / science
2006 / 62.9 / 40.1 / 62.2 / 20.1
2007 / 64.9 / 29.3 / 63.7 / 13.5
change +2.0 / -10.8 / +1.5 / -6.6


SPS gr10 read / math / write / science
2006 // 82.4 // 55.7 / 79.8 / 39
2007 // 77.7 // 50.2 / 80.6 / 32.5
change -4.7 // -5.5 / +0.8 / -6.5


WSHS minus SPS with 06 to 07 change
------- read / math / write / science
2006 / -0.3 / -11.1 / -2.0 / -6.2
2007 // 3.5 // -5.4 // 7.8 / -3.2

change +3.8 / +5.7 / +9.8 / +3.0

The point is that WSHS made significant gains with administration changes.

Again I remember Charlie's excellent point about attribution analysis. The positive gains are present, what to scientifically attribute them to is impossible.

It is time to look at instruction and what would be best for all children. Again I say the move should be to a Five period day on Trimesters like Vashon. This enables students to easily interface their high school schedule with running start and vocational classes. This could eventually be an excellent change for all 10 high schools.

Again SPS math as a district is disgraceful and not getting any better with EM and CMP2. West Seattle is reducing IMP use this year - Good.

Lets now look at Black and Hispanic students with the same type of WASL analysis as above remember the SPS has a 42.4% white population and the achievement gap is a supposed area of concern. West Seattle HS's current ethnic demographic distribution is very similar to the school district.

For WSHS & SPS Black students:

BLACK
WSHS / read / math / write / science
2006 // 65.8 / 28.6 / 68.4 / 11.8
2007 // 66.7 / 30.8 / 83.3 / 22.5
change +0.9 / +2.2 / +14.9 / +10.7


SPS gr10 read / math / write / science
2006 // 61.4 / 21.7 / 60.8 // 8.7
2007 // 61.2 / 19.6 / 67.6 // 7.2
change/ -0.2 // -2.1 / +6.8 / -1.5

WSHS minus SPS with 06 to 07 change
------- read / math / write / science
2006 // 4.4 // 6.9 // 7.6 // 3.1
2007 // 5.5 / 11.2 / 15.7 / 15.3
change +1.1 / +4.3 / +8.1 / +12.2

The point is West Seattle Black students score above the state average for Black students in Reading, Math, Writing, and Science while the Seattle Schools grade 10 Black students score below the state average in all four areas. Again WSHS is moving in a very positive direction.

For WSHS & SPS Hispanic Students:

Hispanic
WSHS / read / math / write / science
2006 // 69.2 // 25.7 // 71.7 // 14.3
2007 // 76.7 // 30.0 // 90.0 // 13.8
change +7.5 // +4.3 / +18.3 / -0.5

Hispanic
SPS gr10 read / math /write / science
2006 // 69.5 //37.0 / 66.5 / 22.6
2007 // 65.4 / 31.3 / 71.6 / 16.8
change -4.1 // -5.7 // 5.1 / -5.8

WSHS minus SPS with 06 to 07 change
------- read / math / write / science
2006 // -0.3 / -11.3 // 5.2 / -8.3
2007 // 11.3 // -1.3 / 18.4 / -3.0
change +11.6 /+10.0 /+13.2 / +5.3

Again a large positive change has taken place in fact Hispanics at West Seattle in Writing have a higher WASL passing rate than SPS White students.

So I see a school moving in an extremely positive direction, I would be looking to continue the positive direction while attempting to correct deficiencies.

What I've noticed in one year in Seattle is:

#1 Adoption of ethnically discriminatory math curricula in a far from transparent process.

#2 A continuation of years of detrimental interference with WSHS teaching professionals by central administration.

#3 A total failure to acknowledge the positive direction that West Seattle is headed and significant achievements during the last school year.

#4 An incredible readiness to dismantle the high school with great attendance that is one of the few making tremendous progress in closing the achievement gap for students of color.

#5 A great drive to further separate this school district along lines of poverty with the new student assignment plan.

It apears as though Seattle takes the statutory responsibility to educate all children quite lightly.

That is how I see it.

All Sour Grapes or at least a partial connection to reality or spot on; time will tell.


Dan

Anonymous said...

Dan, you need a sounding board, and have decided this blog is the place to do it.

You repeat like a parrot.

Can you find nothing at all good about our district or our schools? The raging tirades, and endless negativity are wearing me thin.

Dan Dempsey said...

Dear Anon at 2:32 PM you said...

Can you find nothing at all good about our district or our schools?

Look at the data I presented.
I find a great deal of good at West Seattle High School.

There was excellent improvement in writing last year at Cleveland.

What is your point?

Having lived in Olympia and experienced the tactic of many Evergreen State College students to shout down those they don't agree with, your approach seems similar.

In regard to mathematics direction in this School District and State no I don't see a whole lot of positives.

In regard to the incredible change being forced on West Seattle no I don't see much positive.

What is your problem with the five period day?

No I don't think the data presented was repeated.

You have a peculiar form if you are looking to discuss a situation.

Dan

Anonymous said...

Dan, you have said all of the above over and over again. We have heard your opinion many times on all of these subjects. You don't have to beat it into us.

Anonymous said...

"...a high school with great attendance"?

2006 SPS Data:
There were 5 High Schools with great attendance within a 2% spread between 91.5% and 89.5%:
WSHS,Roosevelt, Ballard, Garfield, Nathan Hale.
It sounds to me as if this WSHS "attendance record" is worn thin!

Dan must be in Ramona Pierson's camp from the REA- at the 12/06/06 School Board meeting (still available on streaming video), Ramona measured WSHS's college readiness based on 4 measures: WASL scores, GPA, credits, and "persistence" scores (which Ramona then admitted were actually attendance scores)! I guess we all have different definitions of "college readiness" here!

Dan Dempsey said...

Dear Arghh and Anon,

Your opinion of the five period day is........

Dan

Anonymous said...

I don't really care about the 5 period day. We don't have a 5 period day here in Seattle. I know how much you do, as you repeat yourself on almost every post that you write. Over and over and over again.

Anonymous said...

Dan, stop wasting your time trying to defend a 5 period day, when it is not even on Seattle's radar. Why not work on ideas to enhance the 6 period day that Seattle is using? Wouldn't that be more productive. You seem so combative. If you focused your energy in the right directions, you might be an asset. Right now, nobody listens to you because the things you rant about are things that aren't going to change (at least not anytime soon), IE the 6 period day, math curriculum, etc.

Get over it and move on.

Anonymous said...

Having lived in Olympia and experienced the tactic of many Evergreen State College students to shout down those they don't agree with, your approach seems similar.

Pot calling kettle black?

Anonymous said...

Dan,

Having a 5-period day in only one high school sounds like a logistical nightmare to me. Can you imagine the poor registrar who has to deal with trimester grades when every other high school works with the semester system? Not to mention the difficulty of transferring credits if a student switched schools. And please don't tell me that your plan was for every school to change to the 5-period day/trimester system just because of West Seattle. That would be ridiculous.

Sometimes, Dan, I agree with your points. However, I am so turned off by your method of delivery (the rants, the bold type, posts relating to EM and the 4-period day no matter what the topic of the thread is) that I rarely can finish reading them. If I worked for the district I wouldn't give you the time of day as I'd write you off as a raving nut-case. I'm sure those people gets thousands of emails a day and I definitely wouldn't reply to yours.

And no, I have no data to back that up. I'm simply a college-educated professional who likes to discuss issues with the goal of possibly finding a solution. You seem very happy pointing out the things that you deem very wrong with Seattle Schools over and over and over again.

If you want people in the district and on this blog to take you seriously, please think about the way you deliver your message.

Anonymous said...

The scary thing is Dan could have been one of our next board directors. Yikes!

Melissa Westbrook said...

I would agree that Mr. Dempsey has a tendency to overstate his point multiple times.

However, running for public office, especially one that is for little pay and a lot of feedback from constituents deserves some consideration. It takes courage and a willingness to step up to the public challenge.

It is unworthy to be unkind to such a person whether you find his remarks relevant or tiresome.

Anonymous said...

Move on Dan, just move on...WSHS is going to improve with or without you!

Anonymous said...

Melissa, Anybody can run for public office (Bloomquist is proof of this). It does not give someone carte blanche to berate, rage, and attack the district. It does not give someone the right to be respected. As I tell my children, you earn respect. Mr. Dempsey is as negative as they come. His posts are almost unreadable. They are repetitive, and his delivery is not at all engaging. He is "stuck" on the math curriculum and the 5 period day, and can not see past it. He somehow winds these two topics into every post that he writes, no matter the topic. It is irritating to say the least.

Anonymous said...

Exactly! Not to mention the endless drivel on decentralization, only when he opposes something that is centralized. Or, he's gonna fix the poor minorities.

Anybody can run, and anybody has. No, you don't get a medal for it.