WASL Success Honored

This article appears in the Times about the state superintendent honoring schools who achieved WASL progress over the last 6 years in reading and writing. From the article:

"In Seattle, the winners included Garfield High and five elementary schools: Graham Hill, Leschi, Loyal Heights, Olympic Hills and West Woodland.

This is the first time that the state superintendent's office has given the awards. Each school received a trophy and a banner, but Superintendent of Public Instruction Terry Bergeson hopes to offer cash awards in the future, said spokeswoman Molly O'Connor.

The 86 schools represent the top 5 percent of the state's 2,500 schools judged by how many students moved up at least one level in reading and/or math on WASL. Schools, for example, received credit when students moved from a score of one to two in reading. WASL scores run from one to four, with a three or four considered passing."

Why six years? It doesn't say. Why not math? It doesn't say. It's interesting because this list doesn't reflect the higher scoring schools or schools that have made dramatic gains. It must be slow and steady progress. Good for them.


Anonymous said…
And here is the link for a much longer, better version in the P-I: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/334974_schools11.html. This is the second award for academic achievement at Graham Hill this year. As a Graham Hill parent, I must say I'm thrilled. We fought very hard to keep the school open, and these awards are a taste of why. We're at 375 students at present, according to Principal Morningstar, and are now one of the district's immersian language schools - Mandarin Chinese.
Dan said…
According to OSPI news release (http://www.k12.wa.us/Communications/pressreleases2007/SchoolsofDistinction.aspx), both reading and math were in the mix but not science or writing.

Does anyone know what "the state's learning targets" are for math and reading? Are they established statewide or specific to a school or school district?

"To be considered for the award, each school had to meet the current year’s state learning targets on the Washington Assessment of Student Learning for students in both reading and mathematics.

Schools that met the reading and mathematics targets were then evaluated for six-year gains on the state’s 'Learning Improvement Index.' Because the award is based on improvement across a six-year period, only results from grades four, seven and 10 were used, as those are the only grade levels with six years of trend data."
Jet City mom said…
Does anyone know what "the state's learning targets" are for math and reading? Are they established statewide or specific to a school or school district


Would they be the EALRs?
Charlie Mas said…
I think the State's learning targets are the WASL pass rates necessary to meet AYP
Anonymous said…
I just had a look at Shorelines policy for Middle School students who are failing classes or the WASL. I was quite impressed. It seems quite supportive. I wish Seattle had a plan in place like this to support our struggling students. It seems like common sense. Here it is:

Meeting with success in the middle school years is key to the academic, social and
emotional development of a student. To ensure success for students in their current
learning environment as well as in high school, meeting standard in English and Math is
essential. General Policy Students identified as being “at risk” to meet standard in
English and or math in the spring will be placed in a study techniques class first trimester
of the following year in addition to their standard English or math class. Study
techniques will replace an elective.
Students who receive a grade of 65% or below first trimester in either English or math
will be required to take study techniques for second and third trimester. Students who
receive a grade of 65% or below in second trimester in either English or math will be
required to take study techniques third trimester.
WASL: To support students being prepared to meet with success on the WASL in 10th
grade, students who do not meet standard the math, reading or writing section of the
WASL will be placed in study techniques or a reading support class for the first trimester.
These students may exit study techniques at the end of first trimester if they earn a grade
above 65% in the appropriate subject area.
Charlie Mas said…
That is a GREAT policy. One worthy of duplication.
Anonymous said…
For those interested here is Shoreline's promotion policy for middle school. their middle schools are only 7th and 8th grades.

PROMOTION POLICY GRADES 7 TO 8 English and/or Math
Seventh grade students who have a grade of 65% or below for two or more trimesters of
English and/or math in seventh grade will be required to take study techniques in eighth
grade until they can demonstrate consistent mastery in English and/or math.
English and/or Math
Eighth grade students who fail two trimesters of English and/or math must attend
summer school in the failed subject. Students may begin fulfilling this requirement
through after school options available in the spring.
Revised by Site Council November 16, 2005
Anonymous said…
I feel like we going full circle. The research on retention indicates that retained students drop out. Mainly for happens for them is more of the same that they already failed.
Charlie Mas said…
I think that no one is advocating retention. Holding students back doesn't work.

Promoting them doesn't work either.

We need a third way. We need to divert the students who aren't working at grade level into a program designed to quickly bring them up to grade level and then return them to a regular classroom.

This diversion program needs to be extended, intensive, and enriched.

Extended time on task with 90 minutes a day of reading, writing, math and science. Extended day with before-school and after-school. This includes homework support. Extended week with Saturdays. Extended year with jump-start and summer school.

Intensive with small class sizes. Intensive with accelerated curriculum.

Enriched with art, music, and field trips to the zoo, museums, libraries and performances. These will come mostly during the extended day or week. They are intended to provide the sort of experiences that, when absent, have been shown to contribute to the academic achievement gap. This enrichment also takes the sting of punishment out of the program.

Never forget that the goal is to get the kids OUT of this program as quickly as possible.

This could be the Seattle remedial program. This would close the academic achievement gap by bringing every student up to Standard. The program would be VERY full the first year, but less full in subsequent years.

Think of students who are caught up in the first or second grade instead of going without remedial support until high school. Once caught up, they could work at grade level on their own for the rest of their schooling. They could love school. Able and ready to do the class work, they would be less likely to be bored or disruptive.

Think of the regular education classrooms where EVERY SINGLE STUDENT is working at grade level. What could happen there! The teachers could more easily support students working beyond grade level. The behavior and discispline issues would be markedly fewer. The range of skill readiness would be narrower.

I know that I make it sound like a paradise on Earth, and all within our reach if we would only develop and implement such a plan, but I also know how much it would cost and what sort of logistical problems it would create.

As far as the costs go, I think that we could make good use of paraprofessionals to reduce some of the costs. I also think we could find some grant support for this sort of effort. Finally, I think that we need to place a priority on this. Enough lip service to the priority that we claim to put on closing the gap. Enough lip service to targeted class size reduction. Time to put our money where our mouth is.
Anonymous said…
So, you won't be complaining when your child's class size is increased to 40 or 45 students? They'll all be so ready and eager to learn without the deadbeats sitting at the next desk that the increase won't effect them? Because those kind of tradeoffs are exactly what it would take to create the "remedial paradise"... and why we don't have it now.

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