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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Board Meeting Agenda

Among the items on this week's Board meeting agenda:

- update on STEM from Dr. Enfield
- transfer of $1.4M from BEX III (savings) for a new roof at Bailey-Gatzert*
-amendment by Director Martin-Morris for the new SAP:

"I move that the special program assignment preference for Thornton Creek 5th graders applying to attend Salmon Bay be renewed for three years (2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13) without transportation."

(This doesn't preclude any other directors from putting in an amendment but Harium is the most likely one to put forth one.)

-introduction of an item to pay $800,000 over three years for technical services from NTN for STEM start-up (Dan D. points out that the district cherry-picked some data here to strengthen the case for New Technology Network.)

-introduction of the high school language arts adoption. (They include survey results which are meager to say the least and also very difficult to read. I don't believe the word got out to parents or students in a big way about this survey.)

*Bailey-Gatzert's roof is at a critical phase and failing. Luckily there were savings from the South Shore building so that BEX III monies could be used to redo this now. The Meng Facilities report did not find this but it's not their fault. Apparently they were paid only to check the blueprints for the type of roof on each building and do a visual check...from the ground. We all know the best way to judge a roof is looking at it from the ground. So, they could have found this earlier (they did know the roof had problems but no one knew how serious it was. Maintenance was probably told to patch it and no one bothered to figure out the real problem. Pretty expensive problem.)

17 comments:

Josh Hayes said...

Melissa reports that Director Martin-Morris proposes:

"I move that the special program assignment preference for Thornton Creek 5th graders applying to attend Salmon Bay be renewed for three years (2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13) without transportation."

This I find interesting. Not that the assignment preference is to be renewed, but that transportation is to be taken away. Since transportation boundaries for option schools are as of now completely undefined, we're all left wondering who exactly WILL get transportation to SB -- and to TOPS, and Orca, and AS1, and - but you get the idea.

This all betrays the underlying assumption that all "option" schools are the same -- so that giving every kid on-paper access to an "option" school (despite the reality that most kids can't get into their assigned "option" school) is fair and equitable. Of course this is ludicrous on its face, but it's the SPS view.

When will they just come out and admit they want alternative schools to go away?

mkd said...

Any LA adoption has to include curriculum that teaches student to write: paragraphs, summaries, research papers, compositions, in fact, how to answer a question on a test and how to write a paper based on a prompt. I've found teachers who accept plagiarized material as routinely acceptable. So far, I've found teachers who assign writing assignments, but not one who teaches their students how to do it.

seattle said...

The district will proveide transportation to option schools for all of the kids that live within the MS attendance area associated with that option school. So for instance for Salmon Bay, only kids living in the Hamilton and Whitman MS service areas will get transportation.

Thornton Creek is not within the Hamilton service area and so even though their students may get an assignment preference it will not include transportation.

From the district NSAP Q&A

What are the option schools to which I would be provided transportation?

If your Middle School Attendance Area Is Aki Kurose then your option schoo would be South Shore.


Denny International= Pathfinder

Eckstein= AS #1, Jane Adams, Thornton Creek

Hamilton= Salmon Bay

Madison= Pathfinder

McClure= Old Hay

Mercer= Orca

Washington= TOPS

Whitman= Salmon Bay

ParentofThree said...

MKD makes an excellent point about LA Adoption. The only thing I have seen thus far is book lists. Where's everything else?

MclCure = Old Hay. Um, Old Hay is a K-5? So QA/Mag have no Option middle school available to them?

STEM: Interesting that they are only introducing $800K of the $1.5 mill they need. Will the new directors show us that they are not rubber stampers and the others start to get a clue!

dan dempsey said...

$800,000 for what????

A difficulty that I have with introduction to action items is the short time frame to fact check. Often I find things very difficult to fact check. California has End of Course Assessment. This combined with Great Schools.com demographic data allowed me to get an accurate picture of NTN schools in California. Some data in the $800,000 introduction item is not cherry-picked rather it is blatantly false.

There are
41 NTN schools and 6 of these are in California. These 6 CA schools are all under-performers in Math. Whatever NTN is doing for math it does not work very well.

In the intro item 4 NTN schools are mentioned and for:
Sacramento, CA: Ninety-eight percent of students graduated from New Tech High School Sacramento. This is the highest graduation rate of any high school in the city and one of the highest graduation rates in all of California, particularly for high-poverty schools.


Two problems with that:
1.. The graduation rate at New Tech High is nowhere near 98%.
(only around 70% of 9th grade students become 11th grade students)
2.. The graduation rate is not the highest in Sacramento City Schools.
(some Sacramento schools advance 80% of 9th graders to grade 11)

In addition graduation from New Tech requires 3 years of Math above algebra I; but the end of course assessment for Algebra II at New Tech shows only 3 students out of 50 can score basic or better. EOC Algebra II results:
0% advanced, 2% proficient, 4% basic, 36% below basic, and 58% far below basic

New Tech offers no math below Algebra and the Algebra I EOC scores are substantially worse than Sacramento schools with more challenging demographics. EOC Algebra I results:
1% advanced, 5% proficient, 13% basic, 42% below basic, and 38% far below basic

North End Mom said...

The sibling grandfathering analysis has been posted as a memorandum:

http://www.seattleschools.org/area/board/09-10agendas/012010agenda/nsapmemorandum.pdf

Lori said...

Thanks, NEMom. Here is an interesting sentence from that document:

Group Three: Known Capacity Problems: These are schools where we already know we have significant capacity challenges. Schools included in this group need additional classrooms to accommodate the projected enrollment for 2010-11, even before considering adding out-of-area kindergarten siblings

Huh? I thought the NSAP boundaries were "right-sized". But they have a list of schools that already cannot accommodate the kids in its area, all of whom are guaranteed a spot? How is this going to play out if everyone guaranteed a spot wants one? Yikes.

Here are the schools they are talking about: Wing Luke; Sanislo; West Seattle Elem; Olympic View; Wedgwood; Catharine Blaine; Maple;
Stevens; Broadview-Thomson; Greenwood

Melissa Westbrook said...

Those are them, Lori. And, look at the list? Not the usual suspects. Weird.

Unknown said...

From North End Mom: The sibling grandfathering data analysis is now posted online under the Transition Plan item on the agenda:
http://www.seattleschools.org/area/board/09-10agendas/012010agenda/nsapmemorandum.pdf

I just read through most of this information and it is appalling to me. Did the district not foresee any of these issues when they drew the NSAP boundaries? It seems like the data they used to create boundaries was outdated. What the district really should do is NOT implement the NSAP until the Fall of 2011 so they can more accurately draw boundaries based on capacity issues and projected attendance.This seems ludicrous to adopt new boundaries only to maybe have them change several times over the course of the next few years because the attendance projections they used were inadequate. This is definitely NOT the predictability parents are looking for. Or is the district too vain to put the brakes on this for the time being? I support attending neighborhood schools, but not when it is going to have such a huge and unsettling impact on our kids.

Unknown said...

What frustrates me even more is that Olympic View is where my daughter currently attends (it used to be our reference area school. We originally chose our neighborhood school). However, they can not guarantee a spot for my incoming kindergarten son in the Fall of 2010. As a result he is assigned to Broadview. BOTH of these schools have huge capacity issues. Did they not foresee this issue? This is extremely disheartening. They really need to put the brakes on this NSAP and reconfigure their boundaries. **Huge sigh** ... what a mess.

Josh Hayes said...

ann writes:

"The district will proveide transportation to option schools for all of the kids that live within the MS attendance area associated with that option school."

That's crystal-clear -- and since Salmon Bay has a waitlist in every grade every year, this means that for every K-8 child, EVERY K-8 child, west of I-5 and north of the Ship Canal, they have no option school with transporation. And hence, for most of those kids, there is no option school.

Hyah! Get into those rows of desks, little dogies!

The point is, the district is making it harder and harder to send your kid to an alternative school - I know, they're "option" schools now, but that's just sophistry. This is because the district wants public alternatives to go away. Anyone who'd deny that is seriously reality-challenged.

dan dempsey said...

Josh said:
"This is because the district wants public alternatives to go away. Anyone who'd deny that is seriously reality-challenged."


Check this from the PI to confirm what you say:
"Teresa Wippel, a spokeswoman for Seattle Public Schools, said the district won't comment about pending litigation. According to documents in the case, the comprehensive curriculum that Goodloe-Johnson created is intended to give students the same content and performance outcomes across the district."

Team MGJ believes best way to do this is to make all schools the same.

These folks have no interest in educating each child to maximize their full potential.

seattle said...

Josh I guess I'm confused. The NSAP shows kids from the Hamilton and Whitman service areas all getting transportation to Salmon Bay. That would include all kids west of I-5 and north of the ship canal wouldn't it?

seattle said...

Or do you mean that kids north of the ship canal and west of I-5 do officially have access to Salmon with transportation , but that they won't be able to get in to the school because it's too full?

If so, that's always been the case for Salmon Bay. They have historically had over 140 kid waitlist for 6th grade! For such a small school it's a huge waitlist!!

I was thinking that after a few years families in the SB service area will have better access to the school? I guess we'll just have to see how it all plays out???

Josh Hayes said...

The second point, Ann -- the only option school to which they'll have transportation (not, as I wrote above, "transporation" - what is that, walking and talking at the same time?) doesn't have anything like the room to handle the kids who are now attending other option schools.

Most people on this blog know by now that my kids go to AS1 - and take the bus there. Since we live near North Seattle CC, we're officially in the Salmon Bay zone (although it's twice as far from us as AS1 is). It's really irritating that the district constantly harps on low enrollment at AS1 and then takes actions that seem designed to drive our enrollment down. We have reasonably good Metro transportation options, but I don't know how many parents will put an elementary school kid on a Metro bus!

Stu said...

I know we'll all be discussing the board meeting tomorrow and the next day and the next day, full of "how could they vote for THAT" and "what were they thinking" stuff. That said, I'm in the middle of watching it on TV and the public testimony is over; I thought I'd say something about the TOPS people and the transportation issue.

Time and again, I heard people make intelligent, easy to follow, logical, arguments and then ruin it by making it personal. If the issue is "TOPS DESERVES TRANSPORTATION," then THAT'S the issue! By saying that it deserves to have 5 years of transportation instead of 2 years, brings it to a "my family needs this" level and invalidates all the "equal access for all" arguments. It either deserves district-wide transportation or it doesn't; arguing for a few more years isn't valid and gives the board an easy out.

Personally, I believe that any elementary or middle school program that isn't represented within a particular cluster should have transportation. If the only way to get into a language immersion program is to leave your area, then the district should supply the transportation because it's the district that's denying you equal access.

stu

(For the record, I'll also say that if they're going to go ahead with throwing millions of dollars at STEM, they should consider some sort of transportation there as well. It's the only STEM program in the entire district but is so far from so many areas, they're not going to get the numbers necessary to make it successful. If you tell families that we'll not only supply the STEM education but we'll get you there and back . . . step back, you'll be trampled.)

Josh Hayes said...

I hear what you're saying, Stu. Here's an alternative proposal, which I worked out with my dog while we were walking this morning -- what, you don't talk to your dog?

Anyway. The district should provide transportation to the nearest option school with room. If that's not the option school you want, then you're responsible for your own child's transportation.

This recognizes the fact that some "option" schools fill up, and just saying "this already-full school is your option school" is not an acceptable state of affairs. It encourages the district to spread "option" schools evenly, so that even if one's nearby school is full, the next one out likely has room, thus minimizing transport distances.

Anyone think that SPS will go for that? Not me.