Curriculum and Instruction Policy Committee 8/17

Here is the agenda for the Curriculum and Instuction Policy Committee meeting on Monday, August 17, scheduled for 4:30-6:15pm.

1. Call to Order – H Martin-Morris 4:30 PM
a. Approval of Minutes
b. Introduction of CAO – S Enfield

Has anyone seen anything of the new Chief Academic Officer? This may be one of her first public appearances.

2. Grading Policy Update – H Martin-Morris 4:35 PM
a. High School Credit for Middle School Students
b. Change in State RCW

I know that Director Martin-Morris wanted to move forward with this a year ago, but the staff assured him that they would get it done as part of an integrated comprehensive grading policy reform by January or February of 2009. That didn't happen, so maybe he will not be dissuaded this time.

3. Alignment – C Thompson, K Vasquez 4:50 PM
a. White Paper draft

This should be interesting. While everyone is in favor of aligning curriculum, the staff, Ms Thompson and Ms Vasquez in particular, are keen on standardizing materials and instruction. There's a lot of opposition to that idea by the people who know about it, and there will be more opposition as more people come to know about it. The idea is not just bad; it is evil.

4. Textbook Adoption and Materials - H Martin-Morris 5:15 PM
a. Definitions
b. Strategy

Following the disaster that was the high school math textbook adoption, the Board has decided to become more delibrate about the guidance they give the staff and the materials adoption committee on the selection of textbooks. This is a step towards the design of those new instructions.

5. Math Intervention – S Enfield 6:00 PM
a. What was done over summer
b. Plan for 2009-2010
6. Adjourn 6:15 PM

Math intervention? That sounds wonderful. I look forward to hearing the district's plan for identifying students needing intervention and the district's plan to deliver that intervention and the district's plan for what that intervention will be. Something good will be better than something weak, but anything will be better than nothing. So far, our students have mostly gotten nothing.


Dorothy Neville said…
Speaking of math, has anyone been able to listen to the audio recording of the infamous meeting where the Singapore details were sussed? So we know exactly what the staff promised with respect to the dual adoption?

I read the staff response to the math commitment on Harium's blog and it was kinda oddly put, imo. Seemed to imply that the principals had wide discretion on supplemental material. Did not address any specifics with regard to Singapore promises.
Charlie Mas said…
Dorothy, which meeting do you mean? The one when the Board adopted Every Day Math and Singapore as a dual adoption? Or do you mean the one when the staff finally admitted that Singapore materials are not being used?
Dorothy Neville said…
I mean the one where the "dual" adoption was approved. I have watched and rewatched the one two weeks prior, where the staff was Very Clear not to make any promises as to the extent of the Singapore supplementation and was Very Clear that there would be No professional development dollars for Singapore. The staff presentation then did not look like a dual adoption at all, more like a minimal supplementation, voluntary and with no support from the district. Someone (Sally Soriano?) even asked why they didn't provide data about Singapore's effectiveness (when showing slides promoting the effectiveness of ED) and the answer was pretty frank, that since we weren't adopting the Singapore pedagogy, not providing any professional development on that pedagogy, that data was irrelevant, misleading even.

However, the meeting with the vote, two weeks later, was not videotaped (or at least not available). I have been assured, mostly by Dan who attended, that there were significant changes and specific Singapore promises. I believe -- in response to the surprise surrounding the admission that Singapore wasn't implemented -- that someone was going to get and listen to the audio from that meeting. But I haven't heard any follow up. Did Dan get the audio or only board members? Certainly the committee on C&I policy would be interested in that?

As for what the agenda means, there were a LOT of promises in that HS Math Theory of Action that were supposed to be in place by Fall. Including producing DVDS for parents to watch, tools to help them help their child with mathematics homework.
Charlie Mas said…
Dorothy, if you will give me the date of the meeting, I'll do what I can to get my hands on the audio.
Dorothy Neville said…
Charlie, looks like Channel 26 only keeps two years available on line, so the meeting I have watched is gone. It was the first meeting in May 2007. Probably May 2nd. I've mentioned this before when outrage over the lack of Singapore first appeared. Watch that math presentation and find that there should be no surprise, there was no true dual adoption and the staff promised no such thing. HOWEVER, the vote was two weeks later, and that meeting was Never available on Channel 26s website. Dan said he was there and that staff gave clear and significant Singapore promises. If so, it would have been a 180 degree change from the presentation 2 weeks prior. More recently, I thought Dan mentioned getting access to an audio of the meeting, but I haven't heard more.

So what I would be interested in hearing or seeing or even reading the minutes of, is the second meeting in May 2007, probably the 16th. When the elementary math adoption was approved.
MathTeacher42 said…
Will this meeting tomorrow be on the local t.v. at some point, or, will there be a video of it available online at some point?

thanks to all,

Good Luck Tuesday Charlie,

Charlie Mas said…
No TV. Committee meetings are not recorded on audio or video. Minutes are available, but they are brief and lack detail.
Charlie Mas said…
ACH! What a frustrating meeting!

As so many of them are. I only saw three members of the public at the meeting: myself, Mel Westbrook, and Dorothy Neville. I think everyone else there was getting paid by the District. Where were all of the other school board candidates?

They didn't discuss the revised policies around grading. Instead, they discussed the procedure of moving the policy forward. Oddly, one part of that procedure was to note that they discussed the policy at tonight's meeting - even though they never actually discussed it. Anyway, the revised policies will be introduced in September and voted on in October. After that, students will be able to get high school credit for the high school courses they take in middle school so long as they meet the requirements for a high school course (high school level work, 150 hours, teacher qualified to teach a high school class). Since policies are effective as soon as they are passed, students can begin requesting the credit in October. You can be sure that I will be petitioning for credit for my daughter for the classes she took in the 7th and 8th grade.

Then there was an absence of discussion about Curriculum Alignment. Again, they didn't discuss it so much as they discussed discussing it.
The new CAO, Susan Enfield, said that there had been a lot of confusion over terms and what they mean. Then she redefined "curriculum" as meaning something completely different from what anyone had ever said it meant before. Doesn't matter. Thirty minutes later, Cathy Johnson was using the word curriculum to mean something completely different again. They should publish a freakin' glossary, but that might keep them from playing this game of changing the definitions of all of the terms every half hour.

After that, they discussed adoptions. Well, once again, they didn't discuss adoptions so much as they discussed discussing adoptions.

This was followed by a brief discussion about a new policy for students with severe allergies. Oddly, this new policy, which they discussed more than any other, was the one for which there could be no discussion because the policy is required by law.

Finally, they discussed math. Only they didn't discuss math interventions, as promised on the agenda. Instead, they discussed math implementation. This was really funny because we got to hear all of the staff people pretend they had nothing to do with the failure to implement Singapore math and that the Board didn't really adopt it, or they didn't mean it when they adopted it, and they don't know anything about it, and feign blank wonder at the news that it hasn't been implemented and what was the question?

GARGH!! I don't mind lies, but such feeble ones are insulting.
Charlie Mas said…
What I could see of the new policy, D15.00, which will replace D46.01, looks good. There are none of those procedural (and probably illegal) requirements on requesting the credit such as making the request within the first five weeks of high school.

Also, on the good side, I think we can get a glossary with definitions of words like "curriculum" and then the district staff won't be able to play that game they have been playing of changing the meanings of words - often in the middle of a meeting. There is a draft "White Paper" on Curricular Alignment which could be finished and made public. Once it is, there will be something else that the staff can be held to.

And, on the good side, the Board members - Harium Martin-Morris and Sherry Carr - although they appeared ready to abandon Singapore going forward, seemed to genuinely make it clear that the staff did not follow the Board's direction to adopt and implement Singapore. While they are all for dropping it going forward, they may actually want to get it clear that the staff - and, more specifically, the superintendent - failed/refused to follow the Board's direction, and that such a failure/refusal is intolerable.

They will probably blame it all on Ms Santorno. That's standard practice for bureaucrats: blame the person who isn't here.
Dorothy Neville said…
There was at least one other parent there, and some of the folks on the edges were Gates folks, I think. Not all district employees.

I mostly agree with your characterization of the meeting, but the severe allergy policy, I think you are exaggerating. They really didn't discuss the policy, they discussed how to appropriately fast track it. (and it was somewhat silly to bring it up at the C&I meeting, but protocol means every policy must start in a committee?) Is it an "emergency" that warrants intro/approve in a single meeting? While not exactly an emergency, it's implementing a new state law on allergy health plans that by law must be in place when school opens.

Both the LA and Math discussion at the meeting were sort of bizarre, deserving of their own discussions.
SP said…
Charlie & Dorothy,
I was the other parent, in the "parent's corner".

The timeline for implementation of the ex-D46.01/new D15 needs to be confirmed. In his introduction at the C&I meeting yesterday, Tolley said that IT had worked on the technical issues over the summer, and that he and the district continue to recommend all 5 points of the proposed changes, to be "ready for next year." This I take as being not this school year, but next year 2010-2011.

This also was the same conclusion that the whole Board ended up with at the 4/29/09 Board Work Session, for both technical and many presumed "equity issues" which I have written about several times earlier (ie "it's too late to implement for 2009-2010 because middle school students were not notified that HS credit may not be available in the school that they were registering into last March", etc.).

On the other hand, the draft Action Report 8/17/09 handout states, "Policy changes become effective upon School Board Approval" BUT the next bullet states, "Development of Communications and Implementation Plans upon School Board Approval." Does this mean that the policy itself become adpoted Policy this fall, but the district can then choose to implement these changes to be effective only in the 2010-2011 school year?

Charlie, in your case also, the new handout "Results of Meetings...Grading Changes" still specifies that student application for HS credit must be submitted before the end of the 1st semester of their freshman year.

I am now understanding that the District's goal is to keep "Policy" as basic as possible, and all the implementation details will now be found in the District's "Manual" (or "administration procedures book") that they kept referring to in the C&I meeting. These important details & procedures are very convenient then to be changed at any time. Will there be any review or oversight by the Board or the stakeholders? Is this manual available online to the public?

It's kind of like having the RCW's available to the public, but hiding the "how to details" of the WAC's?
SP said…
oops-I think I found the implementation/timeline answer for the new grading policy:

On the same C&I handout, "Results of Meetings...Grading Policy Changes" I missed this sentence at the top, "The following five recommendations are to be implemented for Fall 2010."

So it appears that the when School Board Action Policy states that "Policy changes become effective upon School Board approval", that this does not mean the same as actual implementation of that same policy!
Charlie Mas said…
Yeah, the timing is going to be weird.

Until now, the Board has denied petitions for credit by claiming (erroneously) that Policy D46.01 prohibits it. After D15.00 replaces D46.01 they won't have that excuse anymore and will need a new one. They have a couple choices.

They could deny the petition by saying that they don't know if the middle school class was essentially equivalent to a high school class. Of course, I will provide evidence to substantiate my claim that it is. More than that, I'm not sure if they can deny a petition based exclusively on the fact that they are too lazy to do the work necessary to approve it.

Another option would be for the Board to deny petitions for credit based on administrative requirements not mentioned in the Policy. This would be tough because the law is written such that they are REQUIRED to grant the credit if the student meets the statutory requirements. It does not appear that the Board or the District can add requirements beyond those listed in the law.

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