Thursday, June 26, 2008

What You Missed At the SLC

So the Student Learning Committee meeting and the sandwiched in Public Hearing on the budget was a sparsely attended affair. But it's summer and it was a beautiful day. And, of course, not to mention that the district did near to nothing to publicize the meeting/hearing. The website News and Calendar page STILL is a month old with no link to the new budget.

(My remarks to the Board and Dr. Goodloe-Johnson during the public hearing reflected my deep disappointment on this issue. I know it is not incompetence that allowed this to happen; it was by design. Staff does not want parents or the general public to interfere with "their" budget. When some of you wonder why I am cynical and suspicious of staff, well, it's just this kind of nonsense that has gone on for years and years that makes me that way. Also as Chris Jackins, a district watchdog, pointed out in his remarks, the budget used to be very detailed with each school's budget as part of it. This is a very abbreviated document.)

Mary Jean Ryan who is the president of the State Board of Education gave an hour presentation about their "Core 24" initiative to change high school graduation requirements to 24 credits. This is long discussion item that I can't suss out now but I will at some point. There is good and bad to this idea and luckily, the Board recognized that in their questions to her.

The Special Education department did a presentation which was okay. I'm not sure I got a lot out of it except that (1) they are launching a national search for a new director and (2) Colleen Stump is leaving August 1.

I left after the public hearing. The SLC meeting continued on for another hour and a half.

Here are the documents that were given out (and I hope they will be available online at some point but don't hold your breath - if you are interested in seeing them, call the Board office):

-the Operating Budget for 2008-2009 (presentation to the Board)
- the Operating and Capital Fund budgets for 2008-2009 presentation to the Board by Don Kennedy (dated June 18th)
-the School Board Action report on the Operating budgets dated June 18th
-the School Board Action report on the Capital Fund budget dated June 18th
-Superintendent's Recommended Capital Budget 2008-2009 dated June 18th

-the High School Mathematics Implementation and Adoption Update dated June 25th
-Survey results for Everyday Math Survey from teachers (sadly, no note of when the teachers were surveyed, how many answered and what grade levels they teach at)
-High School Math Adoption Timeline

-High School Requirements/Math and Science Update by Mary Jean Ryan at the State Board of Education

-Special Education Student learning Committee Major Accomplishment sheet
-Special Education presentation to the SLC dated June 25th

-Statement of work - Safety Net/Drop-out Prevention dated June 25th
-Memorandum to Dr. G-J from Michael Tolley (high school director) about "Restructuring the District's Relationship with Education Centers)
-Info sheet on "Students Attending the Education Services Centers during 2006-2007; Where Are they Now? Final Educational Status of Students as of 6/9/08

Yes, there was quite a lot of paper given out.


Michael Rice said...


Do you have a way to put the high school math information in a place where I could access them?

Unknown said...

Re: limited public notice "I know it is not incompetence that allowed this to happen; it was by design. Staff does not want parents or the general public to interfere with "their" budget.....the budget used to be very detailed with each school's budget as part of it. This is a very abbreviated document."

That was exactly how they did it in Charleston, too. The annual budget was reduced to an incoherent waste of paper. Individual schools were lost in a flood of numbers that revealed nothing. It was to remind us that certain things were supposed to be beyond the understanding of ordinary mortals. It didn't increase public confidence or win them much trust either.

MathTeacher42 said...

Mike - won't we get them in email or something from the District?

You've been here 3 years, I've been here 2 ...

The last I'd heard about anything was an informal meeting with someone from downtown who is no longer in the job, and that meeting was in April or late March.

Ummmm ???

I'm skimming several of the latest meta analysis from the Dept of Ed.


Bob Murphy

reader said...

I was disappointed in the 11th hour reorganization of the Special Ed part of the meeting. Parents came for the scheduled 6.45 slot for special ed to find that it had been moved up to 5 or 5.30. And there was hardly anything to hang a hat on in the papers that were distributed.

SS said...

Yes, last minute changes to the agenda does tend to leave concerned and involved families in the dark (is this by design also?).
I wasn't aware of the new and very active Special Ed PTSA with 100 members so far. Does any one have a contact for them?

In Mary Jean Ryan's presentation on the proposed 24 credits for high school graduation ("Core 24") the key word seemed to be "flexibility." This might have been in reaction to feedback that the Board of Education has received so far. The PowerPoint handout,"High School Requirements Math and Science Update" is a general "Core 24" intro (with Math/Science updates added on at the end) and includes one page titled "Flexibility Provisions."
It sounds as if the state wants to increase the credit requirements, but will water-down how students can get them, including allowing High School credits from many Middle School classes. Examples Ryan gave: art class in Middle School (one high school credit), World Language in MS (check one more credit), advanced math in MS (another credit), plus sports (waive PE credit), native/world language speakers (2 credits, just for speaking it? Mary Bass pointed out that then maybe native English speakers should also get 2 credits!), "2-for-1" classes (i.e. 2 credits in some CTE classes- 1 for lab science & 1 for CTE at the same time), besides "demonstrating competency/content mastery (exit tests, on-line, after school, native language)".

So, by the time a kid graduates from Middle School they would be almost ready for Running Start! Why bother with High Schools any more? What happened to the concept of increasing high school classroom "contact" time to raise the academic bar? The Washington State High School diploma will be a Middle School joke!

Jet City mom said...

From the minutes of last months meeting with Michelle corker curry/SPED
It is available as a file through

Regarding the search for the new Executive Director of SpEd, the hiring will involve a national search. The job description for the position has not yet been posted. The Exec. Dir. will report to Carla, giving that person a more “direct ear” to the Superintendent than what currently exists for the department. The Director will have a staff that will look at intentional practice vs. day-to-day operations. The following existing supervisors will retain their positions: Julie Mack (for Elem), Michael Sanford (for 2ndary), Martha Lawson (for transition planning) and Glenda Morga (for Elementary). Bilingual services will lose a director and manager; Curriculum and Instruction loses a director, and a new Transportation manager has just been hired.

The Exec. Dir. will also be in charge of the implementation of the Review’s recommendations. At this time, Michelle does not know how community involvement will be handled (re. the Review). As for the status of the current review task force, Michelle acknowledged that the group has not met for 3 weeks due to illness in Glenda’s family. However, Glenda is still the project manager for this group.

A question was asked about who is making decisions about SpEd programs for the next year (2008-2009). Michelle said that class sizes were part of the bargaining agreement with SEA; therefore there was a need to keep opening new programs across the district. Michelle said 14 new programs have been added (8 added originally, 6 just recently). In placing new programs, the Program Placement committee looks at the % of SpEd per building, and includes a walk-through of all buildings. The district is trying to build where existing classes are located. These decisions do not intentionally reflect the audit. Michelle said she believed there were two unplaced programs; the schools are not ready for the programs. In adding new programs, the Sped Department is not getting to choose; it is a site-based decision. Sped Teachers want collaboration with other Sped Teachers, so even if a building has capacity, some teachers don’t want to be placed in a building by themselves.

Michael Rice said...


I have not received anything on paper. All I know is what I get told by our department chair when she comes back from department chair meetings and that is nothing is going to happen until the new standards are finished and then the district will decide on what curricula it will support. The rumor mill says that IMP is going to be supported no matter what the new standards are. We are just hoping College Prep Math will also be supported. We are so tired of waiting that we went ahead and ordered new algebra 1 through algebra 3 books from CPM. Our books were 10 years old and ratty. CPM has significantly upgraded its curriculum and we really like what we saw.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Chris, FYI, the reason the Special Ed presentation got switched was that Michelle Corker-Curry's daughter was getting married on Saturday and she had a dinner to attend.

It's a public meeting with an announced agenda. Colleen Stump, who could have easily sat in for Michelle, was there as well. And yet, they changed the order of the agenda for Michelle. I saw some of the disappointed parents and felt for them.

This district doesn't really put much stock in public information or making it easy for the public to access information.

reader said...

Melissa, thank you. I think SPS officials took the situation seriously, for instance, the Chief Academic Officer indicated that she would meet with the SPED parents who had come for that part of the meeting and go through what she and her colleagues were presenting.

Dorothy Neville said...

How much you wanna bet the last minute change violates the Open Meetings Act?

Wonder if Legal made sure they took it seriously?

dan dempsey said...

Dear Mr. Rice,

I think that there is absolutely no way IMP or Core-plus get even near the NMAP recommendations. Look at the data from Seattle's math results. RBHS has made CPM do the job. CPM was a very worthwhile purchase by RBHS because your school is using it to do the job.

The rumor mill must be acting on Garfield, Cleveland and Hale IMP usage. I say usage not results. Tacoma abandoned IMP because of poor results. The data I've run on Cleveland and Garfield can't hold a candle to RBHS results.

Ms. Wise and Ms. Hoste brought the IMP recommendation to the School Board work session and during questioning were sliced and diced.
Has the Grapevine factored that in? or the fact that Harium is looking for a school board advisory math panel separate from the SPS dmin.

Taking a look at the last two SPS math adoptions and the data from the last 10 years.... Harium is right on target.... clearly whatever processes have been used in the last decade should not be used any longer as the results are pathetic.