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Friday, March 12, 2010

NTN Contract Re-Written - Will Be Re-Approved

The contract with New Technology Network has been re-written and the new contract will be re-introduced at the next Board meeting on March 17. The Board can then re-approve it at their following Board meeting on April 7.

The Contract has a new section which reads:
(j) Specific Provisions relating to Cleveland High School. The parties acknowledge that the New Tech High Schools will be located at one campus, Cleveland High School. The two schools will be termed "academies", one for Engineering & Design and one for the Life Sciences. There will be a single principal for the campus, with separate assistant principals to lead the development and implementation of the two separate academies. The individual academies will have a separate identity wherever possible. Classes for each academy will be largely separated into one of the two main buildings at Cleveland. Students from both academies will continue to use the commons and gym. For the purposes of sports and extra-curricular activities, students will still be identified as Cleveland Eagles. In addition, music, art and world language classes will be shared between the two academies. Staff (i.e., teachers, front office staff and counselors) will be designated to one of the two academies. Custodial, security and technology staff, who have little direct student contact, will work for the site as a whole.

The estimated enrollment at Cleveland in 2015 is 925 or 463 per academy. The parties understand that the NTN Model is ideally designed for a school size of 450 students per school or academy. However, NTN recognizes that some schools may have a larger student body and agrees that an enrollment of up to 500 students per school (or academy) would be consistent with the STEM program, with appropriate adjustments.

Running Start will continue to be offered. This year Cleveland piloted a college-level math course on the campus and is looking to offer additional college-level courses in coming years.

The provisions of this paragraph supersede any contrary statements in Exhibit B and elsewhere in the Agreement.

The Board Action Report also provides a much more balanced assessment of the academic outcomes at NTN schools.

I'm not sure if this counts as a win for citizen action, but I think it does. The outcome won't be any different - the Board is sure to approve it again, but the process will be more honest and correct.

The only problem, of course, is that Dr. Enfield won't be able to answer any of the Board's questions about the contract due to the pending litigation.

103 comments:

dan dempsey said...

I am still looking for my evidence that is due me by 3-25-10.

This still does not change a thing in regard to how poorly these schools perform in math. Note there is no claim about .... (2/3) are STEM schools

We still have the Project based learning is every where model.

If the board is planning on using actual evidence they may still have a problem honestly voting for this proposal...... did I say honestly voting? Wow I am tired.

Charlie Mas said...

How does this affect the appeal of the previous vote? Is there any point to it? Is this an admission that the previous vote is moot? What if the contract fails on this vote? There will be one Board vote to approve and one to reject. Then what?

Is this an admission that the first vote was a mistake? Will they reimburse the appelants the filing costs? Will they even bother to put up a defense? Wouldn't it be a pointless expense?

dan dempsey said...

I do want the required materials that under state law the district is to deliver to me by March 25. These may be useful in arguing against the approval action on April 7.

This is again another interesting twist as the District's Legal representative asked for additional time beyond the 20 day limit to submit the required evidence record to the court regarding the February 3 NTN 4-2 vote of contract approval. It there evidence of having weighed the evidence appropriately or is there NOT?

The request for a time extension coupled with this (3/17 & 4/7) DO OVER plan seems suspect. Particularly so, given the Superintendent's refusal to obey a DO OVER legal "order of remand" in regard to MGJ's own appeal of an "Arbitrary and Capricious" in which the board refused to weigh any written reports submitted by the public.

It seems this Superintendent and board operate beyond the law and have a great resistance for following the law, even when a Superior Court Judge orders the law to be followed.

This current set of actions coupled with similar actions involving the Cooper School Closure decision and the Student Assignment Plan's approval make it quite clear that decisions are made without following the requirements of the law. So we have a group of public officials on a regular basis failing to perform their legally required tasks in a legal manner.

Perhaps this is an operating procedure that must be stopped by something other than an expensive series of appeals with Seattle #1 as defendant. SPS has done nothing to redress a continuing stream of legal complaints in regard to SPS behavior, and thus far only responds by ignoring Judge Spector and continuing to disregard the need for evidence in decision making.

dan dempsey said...

Of interest to all should be how the claims made about NTN success have changed from Action Report used on 2-3-2010 to current Action report.

It must be yet another variation on the continuing theme of "Just in Time" delivery of the "Truth of the Moment".

I believe that courts take a dim view of such "Truth Delivery" to the public.


Consider this:
RCW 42.30.130
Violations — Mandamus or injunction.

Any person may commence an action either by mandamus or injunction for the purpose of stopping violations or preventing threatened violations of this chapter by members of a governing body.

Get your legal "RCW" education HERE

I believe that at the Washington Supreme Court level violations are often stopped abruptly by telling the offender to shape up immediately and giving "the Big Heave Ho" to all previous misapplications of legal proceedings that are under review.

Again I am NOT a lawyer and perhaps I do not understand all the complexity involved in a "Writ of Mandamus" but it sure would be nice if instead of having to chase these rascals for years that the "Court" proclaims "Game Over" SPS loses "Right Now".

Something to think about from above link:

RCW 7.16.160
Grounds for granting writ.

It may be issued by any court, except a district or municipal court, to any inferior tribunal, corporation, board or person, to compel the performance of an act which the law especially enjoins as a duty resulting from an office, trust or station, or to compel the admission of a party to the use and enjoyment of a right or office to which the party is entitled, and from which the party is unlawfully precluded by such inferior tribunal, corporation, board or person.

Well there is a whole pile of these RCWs to look through....Get your legal "RCW" education HERE

So which one or ones should be filed with the Washington State Supreme Court? Make your pick and I'll take it under advisement ..(whatever that means .... because I am not a lawyer ... Oh My that sounds far too similar to Director Sundquist with his "I am not a teacher ..but ..")

Good Night or Good Morning .. bye bye and back to bed.

Don't miss the option school fair at JSCEE from 10 AM to Noon today.

dan dempsey said...

Mr. Mas please consider an editing of the current headline:

NTN Contract Re-Written - Will Be Re-Approved

to:
NTN Contract Re-Written - might possibly - Be Re-Approved.

I believe your initial headline is very likely if the board ignores the relevant information just as the gang of "Four" did last time.

However just imagine that all the directors carefully examined the evidence and made an evidence based decision .... instead of "We must do something" ...."to do nothing is NOT an option"

hummmm.... so how did the Board arrive at the corner they have painted themselves into ....

Oh yes now I remember, it was by approving the Student Assignment Plan, which is under appeal by the public.

That is the one where even though it creates greater racial imbalances within several low performing Seattle schools.... it is all OK because every school will be a "Quality School".

SAP passed by Board on Nov. 18, 2009. "Quality School" still undefined March 2010.

The quality school idea is the entire basis on which the SAP is founded ... looks like separate and unequal from here. R.I.P. Thurgood Marshall

dan dempsey said...

CM said:

The Board Action Report also provides a much more balanced assessment of the academic outcomes at NTN schools.

But is it accurate in stating the true quality of these NT schools based on their performance?

------------------------
BACKGROUND
On July 1, 2009, the School Board adopted a new student assignment plan. As part of the plan, Cleveland High School was designated as an option school with a proposed focus on Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics curricula. And "quality school" was never defined.

"The PDT visited a number of STEM high schools around the country" ... true STEM high schools like the NTN 10 STEM high schools or just the nebulously defined "STEM" focused schools.

So was the NT Sacramento visit to the STEM high school that WAS not a STEM high school now viewed in a better light?

dan dempsey said...

Due to the public availability of databases from the California Department of Education, the District was able to conduct an inferential statistical analysis of school performance for all the California high schools. Memo to board on Jan 29. (unreported to public until now).

Same with:"However, performance in math was generally lower than expected for these subgroups."

Which went completely unreferenced by any board member for the public on February 3, 2010. So was this a basis for directors decisions in regard to 4 votes to approve contract or was this memo unread just like the contract that wasn't there?

"The review found anecdotal evidence" Did it also find HEAR SAY and "Happy Talk" as evidence as well?

"even in cases where test scores remain low", which is most NTN schools.

"Without an in-depth qualitative study, it cannot be known whether instances of underperformance are due more to"

Wow!!! I am shocked.

NTN which is hailed as the best provider of an established network of schools .... comes to the board for approval "Without an in-depth qualitative study"

Seems a bit arbitrary and capricious for the Board to be committing the district to $800,000 "Without an in-depth qualitative study" in these financially uncertain times.

Who would be committing an entire school to an expensive and costly program that purports to be STEM but is exceptionally weak when student Mathematical knowledge is tested at state levels in Oregon, California, Colorado, and North Carolina ?? The gang of "Four" that is who.

"NTN was selected as the only national vendor capable of providing a comprehensive, whole-school reform model that fundamentally changes the teaching and learning process across all curriculum areas, including STEM, through project-based learning."

The vendor which is: "Without an in-depth qualitative study, to assess its frequent instances of under-performance."

YES, YES, that is it. We have found yet another way to throw massive amounts of money away and to commit the the district to going in a very expensive direction, that appears to be entirely inappropriate. For after all its the Cleveland way .... yet again.


Charlie, please edit that title away from "Will be Re-Approved"

dan dempsey said...

Local News Video HERE

Now on to finances and the real reason SPS is in a such a hurry to do something at Cleveland (the rest of the story):

March 12, OSPI press release

The 47 schools on the list are eligible to apply for School Improvement grants ranging from $50,000 to $2 million annually for three years.

hummm... so is this why the Cleveland community was excluded from decision making about Cleveland's future? {What about community engagement?}

"It also calls out the need for a statewide strategy for dealing with the challenges. Our achievement gap committee has begun the work of developing such a strategy.”

So "Project Based Learning" which is a form of minimally guided instruction, that fails to impart sufficient content knowledge in many areas but particularly so in math is what is needed for a STEM school where the "E" is for Engineering and the "M" for mathematics. I beg to differ unless the district is looking for a "ST" school as missing in action will be "EM" with this plan.

"Why minimally Guided Instruction Does NOT Work"

The top cognitive scientists in the World: David C. Geary at University of Missouri, Paul A. Kirschner of the Netherlands, John Sweller of Australia and many more know precisely why the instructional techniques proposed for Cleveland from NTN do not work.

At Cleveland, the expensive three year fall 2006 to Spring 2009 Math program funded by the NSF was of similar "Minimally Guided" design and was an incredible flop.

Don't worry the SPS will try it once again with even more money this time and in more areas than just math.

ttln said...

Isn't the spirit of the money to help the students- who are the people behind the scores in the building- not just fix the 'school'/shell by gutting it of its human beings and redistributing them under other schools/shells and putting new kids into the 'repainted shell'? Consider the racism going on- money meant to be spent on the demographic currently there spent on attracting, retaining, and providing for a different demographic. Meanwhile, nothing gets done for those who are still in need. Why do minority group continue to feel disenfranchised and angry?
This action is morally wrong. It feels like a human rights issue to me.

Charlie Mas said...

Dan, et al,

I don't see any reason to change the headline on the post because I have no reason to believe that any of the Board Directors will vote any differently on April 7 than they voted on February 3.

While Director DeBell might join the minority, I don't see any indication that Director Carr, Director Sundquist, or Director Martin-Morris will reconsider their vote.

It appear to me that Directors Sundquist and Martin-Morris were blinded by the shining light they were exposed to in Sacramento. I don't think Director Carr could stand the glare of attention that would fall on her if she switched her vote.

Director Maier, of course, doesn't have to reconsider his vote just as he didn't have to consider his vote the first time around. The staff recommends it, so he's voting for it. No thought required or desired.

You may think that the $800,000 could be better spent elsewhere in these times of austerity, but they will claim that the money will all come from federal grants (despite the clear statement in the Board Action Report that $250,000 of it is coming from LAP funds). This quarter of a million dollars in LAP funds were withheld from schools last year to create a pool of money for pet projects like this.

That's right; think about it. The District had this $250K last year but chose not to spend it in the classrooms of seriously under-performing students so they could save it up to spend on STEM. The money is an intentionally unspent part of last year's budget - a budget that required 200 teacher lay-offs.

dan dempsey said...

From the Press Release list at #2:

Restart model.
Convert the school or close and reopen it under a charter school operator, a charter management organization, or an education management organization that has been selected through a rigorous review process. Washington does not currently authorize charter school operators or charter management organizations. The restart model can only be used through an education management organization.

Welcome to the "Race to the Top" but really race to the "Bank" model.

Here we have a vendor with a track record of 41 under performing schools that fits the supposedly wonderful criteria.

What a brilliant business model....
#1 NCLB requires the model NTN offers or something similar. Obama race to the top will fund (most likely) this failing to be effective plan. This is the basis of their strategy to go from 41 under performing schools to over 500 in 5 years.

So now the question becomes for us are we going to allow this sorry boat to be floated in Washington Waters?


"an education management organization that has been selected through a rigorous review process.

So does the shoddy work by Staff constitute a rigorous review process?

Probably all depends on which truth is being delivered. When a process brings forward a group of 41 under-performing schools without any "in-depth qualitative study" of that under performance of that "education management organization".

I would say the study did not constitute a rigorous review.

Enjoy watching another fiasco brought to you by federal law makers and policy gurus. Yes from the producers of "The Savings and Loan " debacle and the Housing Bubble due to a change in Leading Practices comes .......

Our latest production:
"The Race to the Bank"

Watch as our nation continues its massive debt explosion through wasting funds so bigwig providers of Sham Educational services can produce bloated bank accounts all at the expense of the children and the children's children.

Go Goodloe-Johnson go. Please help enslave my grandchildren "Eli Broad-Academy style". Not a Seattle resident? Hey do not be disappointed this fiasco will soon becoming to your district or one near you, because it is important to have the maximum number of path available to funnel federal dollars into providers accounts.

The fact that the leading Cognitive Scientists in the world know this is a failed model and NTN performance data confirms it, should be of little concern as this is about wealth not kids.

I mean really check it out. This is not about helping kids who struggle. It is about replacing the student body at Cleveland with different kids. Effectively removing the nicely remodeled building from the communities kids.

After all, that is the history of the SPS with South and Southeast kids. Give them ineffective learning model after ineffective learning model. I thought the SPS just could not do any worse than the expensive waste of NSF dollars on the three year damaging math experiment inflicted on Cleveland kids ..... but clearly that was just a warming up for the really big show.

dan dempsey said...

Mr. Mas,

You are correct stick with the current head line. I had failed to appreciate the carry over for purposes likely unrelated to original intent.

Looks like I need further work on Misfeasance, Malfeasance, and/or violations of oath of office.

Thanks for my next task. Greatly appreciated.

Dan

Charlie Mas said...

Dan,

You're going to be surprised. Regardless of the efficacy of Project-Based Learning, the STEM school will post amazing scores and be hailed as a great success.

No one will offer any kind of attribution analysis, but the reason, of course, will be the selective recruiting. Since the STEM school is very upfront about requiring four years of science, two years of world language, four years of language arts, and four years of math extending at least through calculus (five years of math for students who didn't take advanced math in middle school), only highly motivated and high performing students will enroll at the school.

With a student body like that (unlike the under-performing one that Cleveland has now), the school cannot fail to produce high scores on standardized tests regardless of the quality of education in the building. I daresay that most STEM students will be able to pass the 10th grade HSPE (WASL) on the day they enroll for the 9th grade.

This school transformation won't do a thing to help the students currently in the building. It will only relocate their problems to Franklin and Rainier Beach. It's more of a "school TRANSFERmation".

And much of the cost of this shiny, new school for high performing students will be paid for with LAP funds - money designated to help raise up underperforming students.

The irony is so rich it hurts my teeth.

Anyway, the test scores will be great and they will proclaim success, but the success will be with students who were going to succeed regardless.

Just so folks understand how the academic requirements at STEM will be different, they will be CORE 24 plus calculus. Given a six-period day and four years that means that every student will have to pass every class every year and use two of their electives to take an additional math class and an additional science class. Is that something that the historical Cleveland population is likely to volunteer for? Think about who is likely to volunteer for that.

Some less than stellar students may try it, but if they fall even one class behind, they are very likely to transfer out to another school with less stringent graduation requirements.

TechyMom said...

Am I the only one who thinks it's a good thing that SPS is finally trying to serve a population it has always ignored -- high performing kids who live in the south end?

I know a lot of people would have preffered IB or a similar well-rounded program, but Core 24 + Calculus is an attempt to serve high-performing kids. I for one am glad that SPS has finally noticed that the south end has such kids.

wsnorth said...

TechyMom, I have high hopes for STEM, too!! It seems like a great idea overall, and I know some families interested in it even here from West Seattle. That said, it seems like SPS has something of a knack for taking the worsst possible approach to implementing a good idea (witness NSAP, Math books).

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, and all the other issues I raised from the contract (work product, principal choice, teacher choice, etc.) get swept under the rug. Keep in mind that this contract gives NTN power beyond even what the New School Foundation gets at South Shore (and we're paying NTN!).

"This quarter of a million dollars in LAP funds were withheld from schools last year to create a pool of money for pet projects like this."

Yes, Mr. Harman was asked this question at the A&F Committee meetings and no, it wasn't for STEM but they had made the decision to carry it forward. So yes, it was for pet projects.

Techy Mom, you're not alone. I've talked about it for years and actually going to Board meetings and hearing Roscoe Bass and Don Alexander speak made me aware of the south end lack of quality. But truly, I don't think this school solves anything.

I don't believe that it will attract as many students as Charlie thinks if only for the transportation issue alone (and by the way, where is the money coming from for these "shuttles" for Cleveland?). What happens if it is just 50-100 kids the first freshman class?

Dorothy said...

Techymom, absolutely. But where's the money coming from? Who was the money supposed to help?

Seems like a widow with two kids, one severely handicapped and the other one developing normally. And she gets supplemental assistance from the government to help with the extra costs of caring for the handicapped child. Instead she provides bare minimal care to that child and uses the money to send the other child to a better school and college.

I'm with ttln here. Morally this is horrible.

dan dempsey said...

Dear Techy Mom,

If only this were true:
"Am I the only one who thinks it's a good thing that SPS is finally trying to serve a population it has always ignored -- high performing kids who live in the south end?"

They are going to replace most of the student body. They selected NTN not because it has a proven record for anything that resembles success but rather because it apparently fits the funding model that was put in place by the state on March 12 (if you do not look too closely... it fits).

You said:
"I know a lot of people would have preffered IB or a similar well-rounded program,"

You are definitely correct most parents and sane people would have preferred the district spent the $800,000 on something that works for a broad spectrum of kids ... but if you are expecting PBL to have anything other than a disastrous impact, you need the highest performing group you can find or create. This will certainly NOT be the kids that NCLB restructuring is supposed to be helping with these increased funds from Race to the Top.

dan dempsey said...

I agree with WSnorth,

It looks great at first glance. It took me about one hour of on line research to see it as the disaster that it is. Many more hours confirmed the depth and breadth of that first hour impression.

Nice job with the Math comparison. Same lousy underlying failed instructional approach only extended to all classes.

Meg said...

I think I said it in another thread, but it bears repeating: in addition to the LAP carry-over money being used for STEM, it looks as if the performance management hold-backs are another pet, er "strategic," project holdback - $2m from Title and $1.1m from FRL.

dan dempsey said...

Dorothy said:

"I'm with ttln here. Morally this is horrible."

Well at least it is no surprise.

====================
Big question ?????

So if I write to the district about the current introductory item and coming action item will they refuse to answer because of pending litigation?

If "no" is the answer for me then you all best not get any answers either. I mean let us be fair. At least this time, SPS have a bogus answer for their usual failure to fully communicate instead of no excuse at all.

udubgrad said...

This NTN stuff could be all about gentrification like in Chicago under Renaissance 2010.
It has to take a more devious form in Washington State since we don't have charters, but
see if any of this clip looks painfully familiar.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFOu05bh1Z0&NR=1
OR type in "you tube": Renaissance 2010--what is it--why it matters

dan dempsey said...

More from the Action report:

"Due in part to the fact that most of NTN schools are less than 3 years old, the District was not able to discern meaningful long term trends.


More likely the District decided not to look for any long term trends; because the knew they would find:

NT Sacramento API

2003 opened fall
2004 first spring as open
2005 6
2006 5
2007 4
2008 3 with similar schools API =2

Sully said...

I totally agree with Techymom. Families have continually accused the district of ignoring and neglecting south end schools. Additionally, parents of high performing kids have pleaded with the district for years to provide a south end school can meet their kids needs.

The district has RESPONDED by opening STEM. But they can't win. Now parents are accusing the district of opening STEM and simply replacing low performing students with high performing students. They are saying it's racist. They are saying that the at risk kids are just being shuffled to other schools where they will continue to be under served.

Lets think about this.

What schools are they being shuffled to?

The only school that has excess space in the south end is RBHS. Lets look at RBHS very closely. Over the course of the SE initiative we have seen much improvement in the school.

They have added many rigorous courses. In fact they now have more AP classes than Nathan Hale does in the north end.

They offer many honors classes to freshman and sophmores. Not many other schools do that.

They have a new and growing drama program, and are growing a music program from the ground up.

They have a new, popular, and proven principal in Ms. Escobar.

They will also get all of the students that flee STEM. Their enrollment may very well jump up considerably.

The increased enrollment will help RBHS. As the school grows so will their offerings, electives, higher level classs. More teachers, new programs. A drama program that may have previously only had a handful of interested kids, may grow tremendously.

It just does not look that grim to me. It looks like progress all around. Maybe I just don't uderstand?

dan dempsey said...

Meg ... nice work as usual.

"I think I said it in another thread, but it bears repeating: in addition to the LAP carry-over money being used for STEM, it looks as if the performance management hold-backs are another pet, er "strategic," project holdback - $2m from Title and $1.1m from FRL."

How about giving us a definition of "Open and Transparent".

dan dempsey said...

Suul said:

"Lets look at RBHS very closely. Over the course of the SE initiative we have seen much improvement in the school. "

Spending does not = improvement.

Charlie did a nice analysis of SE Initiative schools Aki, RBHS, & CHS.

I would definitely take issue with the RBHS statement if we are talking about either a measurable improvement in student performance in WASL testing or increased enrollment numbers.

dan dempsey said...

Sully,

My real gripe beyond the abysmal lack of research is the complete failure to engage the community in any plans for their newly remodeled school.

If anyone in the area was advocating for NTN STEM we all must have missed that person or persons.

I would really like to see something done well. I doubt this plan is it.

Anonymous said...

You did miss them, Dan. Not everyone reads and posts on this blog or goes to all the board meetings. I know several minority families pleased with the STEM project and looking into it for their kids.

Of course, I also know families with kids at Rainier Beach, Cleveland and Frankline who are good students and happy with their choices. Not everone "flees" south Seattle schools-some even choose them on purpose.

People need to remember that this blog does not represent all parents; in fact, I'd go so far as to say it represents very few. And that's why you and Charlie missed those supporting the idea of STEM.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Sully, it is progress. It is pretty late progress, though (but better late than never).

But the district did not ask the Cleveland parents or students or community what they wanted. And now they have no comprehensive high school in that area. They are many easier and cheaper ways to have created rigor which they didn't try and could have.

And now, at one of the worst financial times ever, they want to throw a lot of money at one program. Divert money from other schools for one program. Take money from the BTA for one program. Sign a contract for a service the district is paying for that puts the service provider in the driver's seat (allowing selection of principal and teachers and non-ownership of any work product).

So no, it's isn't all grim and I think if you look back you'll see I always thought it was a good idea but poorly executed and explained. The fact that Charlie is considering sending his child there speaks for itself.

But all that money for one program that they still don't know how they will pay for or who they will partner with is troubling. Not grim, but troubling.

Charlie Mas said...

I certainly like the idea of an appropriate academic opportunity for high performing students in the south-end. Why couldn't they provide it at a comprehensive high school? Why does it require a magnet school? Why is rigor in the south-end something out of the ordinary that the District needs to create a special program to offer?

I even like the STEM idea. It was my daughter's second choice on her open enrollment form after Sealth.

Don't get me wrong. I like the STEM thing.

So why am I kvetching?

Mostly because of the gross dishonesty of the effort.

The District is acting like they are transforming Cleveland to promote better academic outcomes for the students who have always attended Cleveland. That's simply not true, but just wait until they crow about the improved test scores in the building - nevermind that the improvement will have come from replacing the students instead of from improvement in student outcomes.

The District got the money for this through with lead-pipe cruelty, by taking it from money provided to help under-performing students which they intentionally withheld from spending on those students while claiming poverty that required laying off teachers.

The District is spending this money unnecessarily. We want STEM and we can have STEM without every class using Project-Based Learning. In fact, we could have it without ANY class using Project-Based Learning. The NTN contract is for Project-Based Learning, not for STEM.

And, of course, there were the usual broken promises around community engagement. The usual dishonesty when communicating with the public about the program and the plans. The usual effort to mislead the Board. The usual flim-flammery with the money. The usual demand for something real today in exchange for an insincere and easily broken promise of future action.

But I'm not complaining about the district providing the opportunity for students. I'm delighted with that.

Charlie Mas said...

As for how many families in the south end are pleased with the STEM project and will take advantage of this opportunity, we'll see the numbers when they come in. Open Enrollment continues through the end of the month.

I saw about 100 possible STEM students represented at the Open House. Not all of them will choose it. Some who did not attend will choose it. I am willing to predict that the 9th grade enrollment will be between 50 and 100. I will be thrilled if it is much more. I would love to be wrong about this.

I will also say that only about 10% of those potential STEM students were black. Cleveland is currently 46% black. This would represent a very big change in the school's demographic.

I will also say that I got some hints that Cleveland staff aren't really prepared to meet the needs of high performing students. For example, they seem to think that only a handful of middle school students take world language or music classes and it will be easy to accomodate those few either before or after scheduled classes. The sort of students who are likely to enroll at STEM take world language and music classes in much higher numbers than the historic Cleveland population.

Again, this represents a big change in the school's population.

I don't know how many of the current Cleveland students will stay on for STEM in grade 10 or the College Readiness Academy in grades 11 and 12. I have a rather dim projection for that. Again, time will tell.

I don't know what sort of budget the District has allocated to STEM, but I don't think there will be enough students to justify it.

Finally, I have a VERY dim estimate for how many students from north of the Ship Canal or west of the Duwamish will choose STEM. Transportation is an issue (especially with the closure of the South Park bridge) but so are competing opportunities closer to home. Why walk away from a guaranteed seat at Garfield, Ballard or Roosevelt for STEM? The math and science classes are at those schools as well. Why schlep all the way to Cleveland from north of 85th? That's a long haul. Students in West Seattle have a sterling academic opportunity in the IB program at Sealth, so I don't think many will cross the bridge for STEM. That means that STEM will have to recruit primarily from the Franklin and Rainier Beach attendance areas.

This is a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation. If STEM can pull 150 high performing students a year out of those neighborhoods, then won't that create a "brain drain" of sorts? There simply aren't that many high performing students in the area to begin with. The District seems more focused on re-allocating them than they are on creating more of them.

TechyMom said...

I think (and hope) that some kids who would have gone out of district to Mercer Island or who would have gone to private school will give STEM a try. I bet a fair number of people will have is their second, third or 4th choice, and will be assigned there.

Sully said...

Charlie asks "Why does it require a magnet school? Why is rigor in the south-end something out of the ordinary that the District needs to create a special program to offer?"

Over the years the district has tried multiple strategies and approaches to improve Cleveland as a comprehensive HS. None have been succesful. Their latest attempt, 3 college prep academies was a complete and utter failure. Cleveland is the lowest performing school in the district.

The school did not need a coat of paint. It did not need a couple of extra AP classes. It did not need a longer school day. It did not need a new principal. And, it did not need a new bio tech academy.

It needed a complete overhaul. It needed a transformation.

Many of us argued that the district should close Cleveland down and open it as a brand new re invented school. Well, the district listened to us. They did it. We may not like the way they did it. We may not like the large amount of money that it costs to realize the effort. We may not all agree that STEM was the best choice of programs. But surely we can all agree that the district took much needed and much requested action. Transforming Cleveland into STEM has improved access to a high quality school in the south end.

After years of Cleveland having such a horrid reputation it took this major effort, this creation of an expensive magnet school, to get people to even consider giving the school a second look.

Do I agree with how the district has gone about the process? No, I don't. But I also feel that we have to give credit where credit is due.

STEM at Cleveland is progress. It is what south end families have been asking for for years and years. If we are going to close schools, limit choice, and eliminate HS busing (a couple of years ago) then we better provide equal access to high performing schools all over the city.

Charlie, if there was no STEM at Cleveland, what would it have taken to get your daughter to consider the school?

jason said...

While the idea of a program like stem can be worthwhile, the district is being short-sighted in another way. Why is the district trying to improve rigor at the high school level, while at the elementary they are cutting budgets so severely that schools can't afford reading and math coaches? There seems to be little disagreement that catching kids who need additional help early is a major factor in kids graduating high school. If this school is supposed to support these types of kids, why would they also cut the people who are supposed to help them get there. The district can't really expect teachers with ever-growing class sizes to make up for this.

TechyMom said...

There are two reasons it needed to be a magnet school:
1) it's easier. What would happen if you tried to implement Core 24 + Calculus at a neighborhood HS in one year, with no changes in elementary or middle schools in the 9 years prior? With an opt-in program, you can do that.
2) there's federal money available for magnet schools. Whether or not you agree with the federal strategy, there are a lot more grants available for things like STEM than for things like the South East Initiative. It makes sense to take advantage of that.

seattle citizen said...

Charlie, you wrote that you thought many of the incoming 9th graders to STEM will be able to pass the WASL on entry to 9th. This will be easily checked in, say, November - ask the district to give you a comparison between the 8th grade WASL scores of Students at Cleveland this current year and 8th grade WASL scores of students entering the school next year as 9s. That data will tell us if the change is, indeed, serving students who haven't been successful, or if it's merely attracted a bunch of students who are already successful and are opting into Cleveland.
(Of course, "success" is measured on many other metrics, but since the WASL seems to be the only number that matters anymore...ach.)

wseadawg said...

And for the non-STEM attending kids? You know, the at-risk kids who read 3 grade levels below average, score horrible on the WASL and drop out at alarming rates? Nada.

How does all this help close the achievement gap again?

Yup. Another generation of invisible men and women - the expendables and acceptable losses disappear from SPS.

I'm so happy we're doing so much to close the achievement gap.

I'm with Charlie. I just wish people would be honest. STEM may be great, but it does nothing for struggling kids. Again.

SolvayGirl1972 said...

Sully
I live in the Southend and don't know anyone who was asking the District for a STEM program. We want a high-quality comprehensive high school with strong college-prep for all kids—not just math and science wonks. Are some people happy it's going to be there. Sure. It's better than RBHS or even Franklin on some levels.

And please don't keep telling us how marvelous RBHS is. Just because it offers classes doesn't mean the rigor in those classes is up to par with the higher performing schools. Friends took the tour this year; they were still not ready to send their kids there. Does your child go there?

And as for the fabulous drama program, they may be working on one, but it in no way compares to a program like Roosevelt's. Ditto for the music. Building a music program from the ground up doesn't help the kid who's been playing since elementary school and is in need of more challenging pieces to play.

WIll it get better? Maybe. Should we risk our kids' high school experience to see if it happens? Sorry, but few of us want our kids to be guinea pigs. It may still fill though, since most of the families I know are putting it somewhere on their list of 10 as it is the only guarantee out of RBHS. So it may fill by default. Even Charlie's daughter didn't put it as her first choice, and he's been positive about the idea of STEM since the beginning. He's even a fan of PBL.

And the majority of the kids who would have been assigned to Cleveland will now be assigned to Franklin, not RBHS.

SolvayGirl1972 said...

Reread this P and realized my pronouns were confusing. See edit.

WIll it get better? Maybe. Should we risk our kids' high school experience to see if it happens? Sorry, but few of us want our kids to be guinea pigs.

Cleveland may still fill though, since most of the families I know are putting it somewhere on their list of 10 as it is the only guarantee out of RBHS. So it may fill by default. Even Charlie's daughter didn't put it as her first choice, and he's been positive about the idea of STEM since the beginning. He's even a fan of PBL.

wsnorth said...

Is there a lawsuit about the New Student Assignment Plan now, too? It wouldn't surprise me. At the option school open house today the people staffing the table were enthusiastic and knowledgeable, but didn't have much info to hand out.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Techy, you can't be assigned to an Option school.

"It needed a complete overhaul. It needed a transformation."

Yes, and technically that's what the district is supposed to do including changing the principal and/or staff. This is under the federal scope of what Cleveland, Hawthorne and West Seattle Elementary are supposed to do. And yet, is Cleveland changing its staff? No. Why not if the transformation description includes changing the staff?

The district makes up its own version of what people want.

And have you read the district's tortured explanation of the redoing of the NTN contract?

Plus they say this under best practices:
"Under this approach teachers design rigorous projects tied to state and district standards and customize them to their location and the interests of students."

Sounds great? Of course except that (1) under the contract, NTN owns all the work product created by the district and/or any outside partners and then (2) that means if SPS wanted to use any of the project-based learning developed at Cleveland, we would have to license it from NTN.

I love how we are paying NTN and they have say over the principal, the teachers and the work product.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Techy, you can't be assigned to an Option school.

"It needed a complete overhaul. It needed a transformation."

Yes, and technically that's what the district is supposed to do including changing the principal and/or staff. This is under the federal scope of what Cleveland, Hawthorne and West Seattle Elementary are supposed to do. And yet, is Cleveland changing its staff? No. Why not if the transformation description includes changing the staff?

The district makes up its own version of what people want.

And have you read the district's tortured explanation of the redoing of the NTN contract?

Plus they say this under best practices:
"Under this approach teachers design rigorous projects tied to state and district standards and customize them to their location and the interests of students."

Sounds great? Of course except that (1) under the contract, NTN owns all the work product created by the district and/or any outside partners and then (2) that means if SPS wanted to use any of the project-based learning developed at Cleveland, we would have to license it from NTN.

I love how we are paying NTN and they have say over the principal, the teachers and the work product.

Sully said...
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Sully said...

Solvay to answer your rhetorical question, no, my kid doesn't go to RBHS - we live in the far north part of Seattle. But my kid does go to Nathan Hale which, though comprehensive, is another school you've said you would never consider for your child.

From your previous posts I gather no school is good enough for your daughter except Roosevelt or Garfield.

Just remember that Roosevelt didn't become the school it is by the districts hand. Their award winning jazz band and drama program were not gifts and they didn't just appear one day. They were the result of many years of parents hard work, dedication, and fund raising.

If you really want a high quality comprehensive high school in the south end then put your kid in one. Roll up your sleeves and get to work. Rally your friends and neighbors to give the schools a try too, instead of feeding off of each others complaints and gossiping.

And don't say "that's not my job". It is your job if you want quality schools. It's all of our jobs. Every "good" school in this district has tons of parent support and a strong community.

BTW, did you ever take Michael Rice up on his invitation to visit his classroom at RBHS and see the school first hand? I bet not.

Sully said...
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Sully said...

BTW Solvay if you were in charge, what would you do to transform Cleveland into a high quality comprehensive high school?

Remember, as a comprehensive school, Cleveland would have an assignement area, and would have to serve the children that live in it's immediate neighborhood.

So please share your vision. How would you turn a school that serves predominantly low income, under performing students, into a high performing, college prep, comprehensive south end high school?

And remember the SE initiative and all of it's extra $$$$ didn't work. The longer school day didn't work. The addition of AP and honors classes didn't work. The arts conservatory didn't work. The academies didn't work........

seattle citizen said...

wsnorth, you wrote:
Is there a lawsuit about the New Student Assignment Plan now, too? It wouldn't surprise me. At the option school open house today the people staffing the table were enthusiastic and knowledgeable, but didn't have much info to hand out"

Which table at the Option Fair do you mean? I wen (and it was great! lots of people, schools talking to parents/guardians and kids...loved it!) and I saw lots of tables with information....information about a lawsuit regarding the NSAP? nooo, I didn't see any of that!

I'm confused by you statement.

TechyMom said...

"you can't be assigned to an option schoo"

I meant that people who put STEM as their 3rd or 4th choice would get assignments there if their higher choices were full. So, it doesn't need to be the first choice of a lot of families, just on their lists.

reader said...

Sully asks, BTW, did you ever take Michael Rice up on his invitation to visit his classroom at RBHS and see the school first hand? I bet not.

answered:
Friends took the tour this year; they were still not ready to send their kids there.

No Sully... she heard it was bad, friends said so... it must be true... and she doesn't like her neighbors... they're not too rigorous. Darn shame. Let's all cry about that private school tuition.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Sully, did the district ever do any self-assessment after choice after choice failed? Did they learn from their mistakes? I'm not sure they ever did. And so, my lack of confidence in throwing even more money and hoping it will stick. What is different this time?

Sully said...
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wsnorth said...

Sorry, I wasn't very clear. re: option school open house, I meant the STEM table. I loved it too, I just was hoping there would be more specifics on STEM, like the packages you get from some other schools.

Sully said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SolvayGirl1972 said...

Sully.
First of all I think Hale is a GREAT school; it's just too far away. Please don't put words in my mouth. I like to be involved in my child's school and don't want to have to drive up to the northend at rush hour. I could not drive my child to Hale, and the bus commute would have been arduous. I never said Hale was a bad school. We have friends there who LOVE it.

And Reader. I like my neighbors very much—all of them. I didn't take the tour this year because I don't have a 9th grader. Last year's was the non-tour; they didn't even realize they were supposed to have one, so they were not prepared at all. No hand-outs, no program, no principal. And I know you think that classroom disruption is just part of cultural diversity and I say that's BS. I know plenty of Black families that would not tolerate that kind of behavior in their children. They don't, and they did not send their kids to RBHS. Your nastiness is getting old.

And no, I did not visit Michael Rice's class. I am sure the kids in his advanced math class are great; it's the other classes that worry me. I'd like my child to be in classrooms where the majority of students are willing and eager to learn.

I'm getting pretty tired of the personal attacks. I am sorry I am not a cheerleader for RBHS, but few of my friends and neighbors are. I do care about SPS and stay involved.

As for what would save Cleveland, I thought that Princess Shariff was on a good track. She had a zero tolerance policy about classroom disruption etc. (unlike RBHS). I was impressed with her when I heard her speak at Meany when she was principal. Friends whose children go there have been relatively happy. The NSAP will eventually change the climate in all of the schools, but these first few years will be difficult for many.

Personally, I believe a change of staff would do more than a change of curriculum. As Charlie has noted, a staff that is used to working with a population that is primarily challenged has a lot less experience with kids who are at/above grade level, come from stable families and are college bound. To some, they are considered "privileged" and less in need of their time and effort.

Personally, I don't think the District can do a whole lot to transform the problem populations at the high school level. SPS's approach to Cleveland will do little for the majority of its current population. It's got to come from their communities. And it's got to start in elementary school.

And Sully. I busted my ass for our SPS public elementary for 8 years (pre-K thru 5th grade), and got rewarded with 9 principals in 6 years and the threat of school closure. My kid has 4 years for high school. I'm not going to sacrifice her chance of a good college and the life she wants to try and "create" a good school when the District does what it pleases. And besides, years ago I asked a friend who taught at RBHS what we could do to make it a school the middle class families would want to go to, the response to me was "We don't want a bunch of people coming in telling us what to do," much like the attitude at Madrona. So there you have it. My help is not wanted, so I went elsewhere.

I'm not quite sure why you are so obsessed with me sending my child to RBHS, or any SPS school. I do what I think is best for her. If I'm willing to go without vacations, cable TV, manicures, dinners out, etc. to send her to private school, that is my business. Do I care about public school? YES. Do I write letters to the Board and my political reps? YES. Do I want quality schools in the southend? YES. Do I want to sacrifice my child to the cause? NO. At least I chose to pay up for private school rather than use a fake address to get into a more desirable public school.

Let's stop attacking each other and put our energy into getting the District to live up to its promised and do what's right for the kids. Huh.

Sully said...
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Sully said...

Solvay nobody is attacking you. Rather, anytime the subject of RBHS comes up in any positive light you attack the person posting.

Note your response to my earlier post (a post btw that was in no way addressed to you) expressing my opinion that RBHS has been steadily improving.

"And please don't keep telling us how marvelous RBHS is. Just because it offers classes doesn't mean the rigor in those classes is up to par with the higher performing schools. Friends took the tour this year; they were still not ready to send their kids there. Does your child go there?"

Who's attacking who?

And you call Reader nasty.

SolvayGirl1972 said...

Sully
I was just curious as to why you were cheerleading so hard for the school. If you had a child there, and were speaking from personal experience, then great. Tell us about it. If you've based it on the District's PR and Michael Rice's comments, then you need to ask some of the families who are facing forced assignment there what they think.

SolvayGirl1972 said...

And Michael Rice is constantly talking up RBHS and I have never attacked him. I believe the kids he has experience with are probably great but don't represent the school as a whole.

owlhouse said...

wsnorth-
I'm glad you made it to the Option Fair today. Just a reminder, this was a "family-to-family" event. STEM is a district initiative, not yet in place. Thus, the current PTSA who represented the school today may not have all the information as much is still under development at the district level. I'm sure school reps would like to be able to follow up on any questions you have. Maybe they have a mailing list to share details as they become available? Give them a call, 252-7800.

Sully said...

Seriously Solvay? You really believe we shouldn't listen to Michael Rice who has worked day in and day out, year after year, at RBHS because he teaches an advanced math class? Wow.

Personally I'd listen to what Michael Rice had to say about the school before I listened to my neighbors who went on a quick school tour anyday.

ttln said...

As a practice, buildings view money like this (at least this is how Hudson had us view our budget when she was in charge of it): Students bring with them dollars to their assigned school. The budgets of buildings are supposed to be based on the dollars driven by those students . Buildings need to use the dollars on the students currently enrolled, not save it to use on future kids- those kids bring their own dollars. This idea alone is makes the use of funds for anyone other than who brings them to a building suspect.
I want good things for the South End- all kids here. This is not about whether or not STEM is needed or good. It is about how it is paid for and the ethics around that.

seattle citizen said...

Solvay, you write that "a staff that is used to working with a population that is primarily challenged has a lot less experience with kids who are at/above grade level, come from stable families and are college bound. To some, they are considered "privileged" and less in need of their time and effort."

I would argue that a) a staff that works with "primarily challenged" population DOES have skill - in differentiating, meeting a variety of needs, that might not be as evident in a school that is "primarily at or above level." Your comment about viewing students who come from stable families and are college bound as "priviledged" is off the mark - I doubt that they are seen as "priviledged," rather, they are probably seen as "more ready" and less in need of attention.
This is an old deabte (but a good one): should students who are at-level or beyond receive the same amount of attention (e.g. challenging them with higher levels) than students who are below level? I think my belief is that while teachers SHOULD offer at level students higher levels of instruction, the students who are below will suffer more at the end so teachers MUST give them attention. So if while a teacher probably doesn't look at an at-level student as priviledged, they probably look at the below level student as needing more help.
Heck, it's just compassion: who do you help cross the street? The person who is walking fine and moving quickly, or the person who is hobbled and wandering when they walk?
But I know this is an intense debate because everybody has some learning to do, and at-level students deserve attention, too...

seattle citizen said...

he will write "privileged" one hundered times to cure that old habit of adding the "d"
and, as promised many times before, proof-read his comment!

Dorothy said...

Seattle Citizen, perhaps you should watch this video one HundEred times.

Remember, Solvaygirl wasn't saying she felt like some kids were privileged, just that some teachers who primarily deal with low SES and low achievement students feel that way. I have heard it as well, teachers speaking with a tone of resentment. Too many years of trying to help some kids in an environment where no one gets enough funding and everything is too much a zero sum game.

Sully said...
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Sully said...

Solvay said:
"I live in the Southend and don't know anyone who was asking the District for a STEM program. We want a high-quality comprehensive high school with strong college-prep "

Then Solvay said:
"Personally, I don't think the District can do a whole lot to transform the problem populations at the high school level."

It's easy to say "I want a comprehensive HS", but when served with the task of how to make it happen, succesfully, you realize that it is much more complex than you think.

Under the NSAP, comprehensive high schools must serve the students in their immediate neighborhood. Since many students in Clevelands neighborhood are low income, and under performing that is who they must serve.

The district has tried over and over again to transform Cleveland, as a comprehensive high school, into a high performing college prep school. It is still the lowest performing HS in our district.

When you advocate for Cleveland to become a comprehensive high school it would be helpful for you to include how you think it could/should be done. How can they serve the "troubled populations" and also be a high performing, popular, school? If you can't answer that question, then maybe you should acknowledge that an option/magnet school is worth a try.

Anonymous said...

Sully said: "Personally I'd listen to what Michael Rice had to say about the school before I listened to my neighbors who went on a quick school tour anyday."

You seem to have an odd bone to pick with certain people and topics. While I don't know who she is IRL, SolvayGirl has been a member of this board for a long time, contributing many insightful and relevant posts without coming across as aggressive or attacking. The same cannot be said for others, perhaps myself included.

Back on topic:

Your statement shows at the very least a bias, and perhaps a lack of insight. (Good) teachers have the best visibility of their current students, their own classroom and their own curriculum. Next might be grade-level matter in elementary, or specific subject matter across grades in MS/HS. Another step away is insight into their building as a whole. And there are very, very few teachers who actively try to understand, compare and contrast the different buildings, programs and district as a whole. However, that is exactly what many active, knowledgeable parents do on a regular basis. And if such parents happen to be personal friends, who know your kids and your priorities, who could possibly be a better source of information?

Michael Rice seems like a dedicated, diligent teacher. I'm extremely happy that he takes the time to post here on this blog. Few teachers will do so publicly. But he also has biases (we all do), teaches atypical material, in at least some classes, for his school, and I have no idea how well-versed he is in comparing and contrasting LA/SS/Science/Lang with other buildings and programs. Most people don't choose a building for their incoming HS student solely on math.

Again, I'm very happy to hear Mr. Rice's views, but SolvayGirl is definitely doing the smart thing by listening to her peers.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Okay, I note that Solvay Girl is getting a lot of heat. I remember the excitement over the "academy" system which is in use elsewhere. THe SE Initiative wasn't around long enough and again, how different was it from what was tried before? But I'll ask again: what is different this time from the other attempts to remake Cleveland?

Cleveland is one of three schools on a federal list of schools. One of the federal transformations is to take out the entire staff. Is that happening at Cleveland? No. If that's what the feds think it takes (and Obama backed up the Rhode Island firings), why didn't that happen here?

From outward appearances it looks like bringing in outside processes (NTN) and throwing more money at it is how the district thinks it will work.

Time will tell but it seems odd that the district is not following the kinds of transformations that the feds ask for.

Josh Hayes said...

I too attended the "Option" schools happening at the JSC yesterday - lots of fun, really! So good to see all the energy out there for non-traditional models of schools.

I did feel a little bad for the STEM folks, and also the Queen Anne Elementary folks, since both programs are, in some sense, hypothetical right now. It's nice to be able to show off shiny artwork your kids have done, and hard to be brand new!

I'm going to stay out of the high school argument, but I must say, I was impressed with the savoir-faire of the Nova folks I talked to. It can't have been easy to uproot and move to a considerably less equipped school, but they've weathered it well.

seattle citizen said...

Dorothy
" [SC]...watch this video one HundEred times."
VERY funny clip!
I watched it, but didn't see any "Hund-E-, red" or otherwise! Must've driven off...

Hmm, maybe some teachers feel resentful...I suspect that it's often aimed at the lack of resources, not in a glowering snarl towards students lucky enough to have access to resources, those on the other side of the "opportunity gap."

Sully said...
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Sully said...
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ttln said...

Then let the buildings receiving the kids get the $$ too. They will need it for the support and interventions required to bring them up to standard. Unless the whole thing is a district plan to make ends meet. Get schools set up to fail so the feds give them money allowing the district to move funds to other programs/departments.

Sully said...

Melissa said "But I'll ask again: what is different this time from the other attempts to remake Cleveland?"

The difference is that Cleveland will now be an option school. As such it will only serve the students who choose to be there. The students who choose a core 24+ college prep curriculum, the students who choose 4 years of math, and 4 years of science. Non motivated, under performing students will be a thing of the past at STEM.

That is the difference, and it it's a HUGE difference.

The other difference is that the students of the south end will finally have options in their own neighborhood. ALL students will now be able to choose between a core 24+ college prep math/science magnet school, an academy approach at Franklin, or a comprehensive traditional HS at Rainier Beach.

Next year almost all of the students that STEM enrolls will be motivated kids working at or above grade level. Next year the school will get great WASL scores. It will become popular and hard to get into. It will be considerd a success.

By the same token many of the SE Seattle "neighborhood" kids that choose not to go to STEM will enroll at RBHS (where there is PLENTY of room for them). I truly believe this will strengthen the RBHS. As I said in an earlier posts as the school grows it will be able to offer more higher level classes, more electives, more foreign language options, more CTE options, maybe they will be able to grow their band and drama programs, maybe offer more intervention or remedial services....

I think it's a win/win situation for everyone, really.

On a side note: folks when you say that "STEM will skim off all of the above average achievers in the neighborhood" just remember that APP has already been doing a great job of that for years. So have the private schools.

Melissa Westbrook said...

"Non motivated, under performing students will be a thing of the past at STEM."

Okay, I'll bite. Where will these students go and who will help them? I mean, okay, Cleveland becomes better because the district redefined both the program and who can attend it.

You didn't really answer the question about why this is any different from what has come before EXCEPT they redefined the population. And how come the academy system works at Franklin but didn't work at Cleveland?

And without any announced partnerships or internships, you really believe people will line up to go to a more isolated high school that will take longer to get to over a known quantity like Roosevelt or Garfield?

If the first year population is small (100 kids or less), then they better have some kick-ass programming because they need those kids to go out and preach the gospel of STEM. They will need more bodies in the school. But that means real programming,real partnerships and not promising "they're coming". Otherwise, parents will not sign their kids up.

Sully said...

Honestly, I doubt many families will sign up for STEM the first year. I think Charlie is right, maybe 50-100 families?? Families are going to take a wait and see attitude. Nobody trusts the district to do the right thing anymore.

Families will want to see the school in action....see what the environment looks like, see what project based learning looks like, wait for the kinks to get ironed out. And they may even want to wait to see what the first years WASL scores look like. Honestly, I don't blame them for their caution one bit.

And to answer your question Melissa, I doubt STEM will lure any families away from Roosevelt or Garfield. I know the district predicts that it will, but I'd place a wager on the fact that they won't. At least not in any large numbers. Maybe a couple of science/math kids here and there, but that's about it.

But, and it's a big but, they will attract MANY families with high performing kids in SE Seattle. The very families that were busing their kids way up north to Ingraham and Hale. The very families that will pay for private school. The very families that drive their kids to Mercer Island public schools every day. The very families that go to NOVA or CENTER not because they are the best fit for them, but because they are a better fit than RBHS, Franklin, and Cleveland.

And, they will probably attract kids from the Central area too. I would imagine that high achieving kids that didn't test into APP might opt for STEM, especially if they don't live in the Garfield boundaries.

That will probably be enough to fill the school. In year two, I am willing to predict that Cleveland will be wildly popular and may even get a waitlist.

But we'll have to wait and see......

dan dempsey said...

agibean said...

You did miss them, Dan. Not everyone reads and posts on this blog or goes to all the board meetings. I know several minority families pleased with the STEM project and looking into it for their kids.

[sure hope they do some careful looking.]

Of course, I also know families with kids at Rainier Beach, Cleveland and Franklin who are good students and happy with their choices. Not everyone "flees" south Seattle schools-some even choose them on purpose.
===================

Several things worth mentioning here. I just finished constructing a huge comprehensive spreadsheet. Since we will likely be looking at a revised WASL this year and a huge shuffling of students next year I thought this would be a good opportunity to run comprehensive data over the entire WASL time span.

#1 RBHS is among the highest scoring schools when only Black students are considered in the Math Testing.

#2 Cleveland and RBHS are demographically almost identical. The Three year NSF funded PD Cubed math project at Cleveland can now be considered as an experiment that failed and damaged a lot of children over three years. Despite spending lots of Dollars and providing expensive professional development and every bell whistle and Best Practice imaginable.... Cleveland's three year passing average for Black Students was 10% (the lowest in the district).

Look Here

Note how bad the UW reform math failure was.

THE New Technology Network promises more of same. I would like to point out that Doctor King maintains that this Cleveland Project he directed was successful. Your Federal tax dollars being squandered by the NSF EHR.

New Tech Sacramento graduation rates.

Open letter to Dr. James R. King with data

The original action report of 2-2-10 Apparently not well liked as now we have the rerun.

Here is the Original Draft contract that wasn't there to sign I guess. I remember Peter Maier talking about how there was only one board meeting in February and how we need not wait ..... so now we are waiting until April 7, 2010.

Here in this letter is precisely why this New Tech Project Based Learning is an extremely poor choice for STEM.

KS-B read this letter from Dr. Paul A. Kirschner and said now I really understand this. It is really clear. Unfortunately the Superintendent is apparently without much understanding or interest in understanding.

Project Based Learning is just a complete fiasco for math. So good luck with anything like a real STEM Career without the Math. Take a Look: The SPS has just hit their highest Black-White achievement gap ever at 51.5% and the Four Board Members and MGJ want an even bigger one .. take a look at Discovering.

dan dempsey said...

Read "Why Minimally Guided instruction does not work"

Now the question is why do not our hired professionals get it?
Watch this and scratch your head some more.

Charlie Mas said...

There are, without a doubt, a lot of families in the southeast part of the city who have not been enrolling their children in the local high schools.

Check out this map.

Of the 1,645 SPS high school students who lived closer to Rainier Beach than any other comprehensive high school, only 247 were enrolled at Rainier Beach. The other 1,400 were enrolled somewhere else.

263, more than the number at Rainier Beach, were assigned to service schools such as Marshall, South Lake, the SBOC, or Interagency.

Only 29 were at Summit, The Center School, or NOVA.

Most of them were at other comprehensive high schools. The greatest number of them, 563, more than twice as many as at Rainier Beach, were at Franklin.

If we consider the market for STEM to be those students from the Rainier Beach and Cleveland areas who selected comprehensive high schools north of the Ship Canal, then the number comes to 290 from the Rainier Beach area and 190 from the Cleveland area, for a total of 480.

Even if we add in the 263 who chose a school in West Seattle, it's still not enough to fill STEM.

Imagine that. Even if every single student who left the Cleveland and Rainier Beach area for Ingraham, Hale, Ballard, Roosevelt, West Seattle, and Sealth all chose STEM instead, there would only be 743 students at STEM.

For STEM to fill, southend families are going to have to choose it over Franklin and Garfield OR they are going to have to choose it AFTER Franklin and Garfield and then be denied access to Franklin or Garfield.

STEM could fill with a lot of second, third, and fourth choices.

There is one other dynamic at work, however.

Under the old system, people were sent a menu and asked to pick a school. Under the new system everyone was sent a letter saying "Here is your assigned school". There are a lot of people who will not express a choice if they have not been asked to make a choice.

Under the old system every student in an entry grade participated in Open Enrollment. Under the new system only those refusing their default assignment will participate. The participation numbers will be down considerably.

Will those 743 families choose a school other than their neighborhood school if they are not asked to make that choice?

Theo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sully said...

Franklin used to be the highest performing school (by far) of the three S end high schools. It was also the largest. Of course most S Seattle families chose it for their kids.

But just as Franklin was much higher performing that RBHS and Cleveland, STEM will be much higher performing than Franklin.

Many kids who in the past enrolled at Franklin to get the most rigorous school, will now enroll at STEM. I believe the numbers will shift.

Charlie, while I do think some (many?) south Seattle families will not participate in open enrollment, I don't think they will be the families in the STEM market.

I think the STEM market will be private school families (who fill out pages of applications, take tests, and have to interview for spots at private schools)

I think the STEM market will include families that drive their kids to Mercer Island (maybe not many but these families are clearly dedicated and wouldn't be stopped by filling out an open ernollment application)

And I think the STEM market includes most of the families who would have in the past sent their kids across town to Ingraham, Hale or Sealth. They were already filling out open enrollment forms to get their kids into those schools.

I think STEM will do fine. But it will take a couple of years....

Stu said...

So, strange question . .

What are the actual laws about public comment on board action items? I saw on Harium's blog that he "can't comment" on the STEM vote because of the lawsuit. However, is there a "required" comment period? After all, this is a different "contract" and vote than last time. By not commenting, aren't they leaving themselves open to another lawsuit based on a lack of public involvement and dialog? Can they honestly say they weren't arbitrary and/or capricious is they can't even consider public opinion and/or facts?

Just curious,

For the record: I think STEM is a great idea although completely out of the question for our NE/APP son. First, I would never ask him to do the busing necessary to get to/from school every day; second, while I think there's a chance the program will grow into a good one, I can't ask him to possibly risk his high school education on the experiment. (I do appreciate the busing issue of him traveling to Garfield but there are a number of other families nearby that will be going as well and we'll be able to have a 4-5 family carpool.)

My complaints about STEM are that I think project-based learning should be used in some classes, not all; I also think spending a million dollars on someone else's un-successful program is ridiculous; I also feel we're giving up on the current Cleveland population.

stu

TechyMom said...

Are we giving up on the Cleveland population? The district is moving them to Franklin and Beach, which are BETTER schools than Cleveland. Efforts at improving their service can now be concentrated at 2 mostly full buildings, rather than 3 mostly empty ones.

I agree that this is disruptive for the kids currently in the building, but it could be a good thing for the younger kids in the neighborhood.

zb said...

I'll chime in with the people who think that the Cleveland STEM plan is well worth a shot, and might indeed create a school that provides opportunities to "high performing kids who live in the south end", and who are currently underserved.

"I'd like my child to be in classrooms where the majority of students are willing and eager to learn."

in the south end, doesn't that require an option school? Or, do you have another solution for creating that outcome at an assignment area school in the south end, in areas where gangs and crime, FRL, and other community/home issues are much more prevalent than in other areas of Seattle? Is it possible to create that environment from the "top down"? Are there strategies for doing so?

Stu said...

Are we giving up on the Cleveland population? The district is moving them to Franklin and Beach, which are BETTER schools than Cleveland.

Actually, that's a good point . . . we might be serving those students better by shifting them to the other schools.

I guess my concern is more that, by shifting them to the other schools, they're "averaged into" the masses a bit more and the district doesn't have to look at the failing test scores.

It seems to me that, if you have a high percentage of students performing below level, it's a bit disingenuous to shift them to another building and then point to the success at their former locations.

My concerns are more based in my belief that this district likes to shift people around to make things LOOK better without actually improving them. I'm concerned that they're committing enormous resources to a new program at a time when they're slashing others; I'm concerned that they're relying on NTN instead of trying to develop something with the community involved; I'm concerned that the location is difficult to get to, for anyone not living in the area, and that they won't draw the numbers necessary to keep it operating; I'm concerned that the board voted on a contract they couldn't have read 'cause it didn't exist . . . I'm just concerned.

stu

TechyMom said...

Stu, I'm concerned about all that stuff too. I just think that, on balance, STEM is more good than bad. I don't really expect the district to do anything well. It's enough for me that they're doing something good, badly. I think the parents will make STEM work, and the increased enrollment will help Beach and Franklin.

Sully said...

Charlie said: "Imagine that. Even if every single student who left the Cleveland and Rainier Beach area for Ingraham, Hale, Ballard, Roosevelt, West Seattle, and Sealth all chose STEM instead, there would only be 743 students at STEM."

Now add to that number many (half?) of the 560 students that live closest to RBHS or Cleveland that chose Franklin. I believe, as STEM will now be the highest performning school in S Seattle many of the families who in the past chose Franklin will now choose STEM.

Now add in all of the private school families (I bet there are a lot of them too), the homeschool families, and the out of district (Mercer Island) families that may give STEM a try.

I'd even go so far as to say STEM will attract some APP families too.

I see a very full STEM, with a waitlist even....

But as I said it will take at least a year. People will want to see the school in action, see the test scores, see the environment....

Stu said...

But as I said it will take at least a year. People will want to see the school in action, see the test scores, see the environment....

I sincerely hope that you're right; it would be nice to have some more success stories in the south end. However, I believe you have to give something like this a few years and, unfortunately, I don't know that many families who are willing to risk their child's entire high school education on something unproven. Therefore, I'm not as optimistic in terms of enrollment, even in the "best case" scenario. I don't believe you'll have that many APP kids opting out of the proven success of Garfield. (I do believe that the district will continue to dismantle APP, however, and that they'll eventually split the high school program.) A lot of "advanced" kids are also interested in music and the arts; they're not going to opt out of Garfield or Roosevelt for STEM; a certain number are interested in IB and won't leave Ingraham.

I think part of the problem is that there are now lots of different programs "competing" for the same students. The advanced kids have many options and would have been served by a comprehensive program, with rigorous AP and music, in an existing school. I worry more about the kids who aren't getting the education they deserve.

stu

Sully said...

Quick question:

I know the freshman class at STEM this year will all be families who chose the school.

But what will the sophomore, junior and senior class be made up of?

Are the kids currently enrolled at Cleveland automatically assigned to STEM next year? Or do they get assigned to their neighborhood schools and then have to re-apply to STEM?

If the currently enrolled kids are automatically assigned to STEM next year that could have a negative impact on the programs popularity, at least for the next 3 years.


I
This will surely affect enrollment.

Melissa Westbrook said...

According to the STEM website:
-current 11th graders will remain at Cleveland and be enrolled in a "College Readiness Academy with challenging courses and additional support"
-current 10th graders, ditto
-current 9th graders will remain and choose between the two STEM academies

or they could all, through Open Enrollment, choose another school or through the new SAP and their address, go to their new assignment area school if it isn't Cleveland.

So, yes, it will be quite interesting to see what parents choose. I'd think most of the 10th and 11th graders will stay (although what part of the school they will be in given that NTN demands two separate areas for each academy, is unknown). As for the current 9th graders, that's a huge unknown.

TechyMom, with all due respect, I think your expectations are a little low. The whole STEM project could have been done right and they chose not to do it. So we may be spending a lot of money for something that could have been a wild success if well-thought out and the Board is settling for crossing their fingers.

SE Mom said...

Wow Sully, talk about optimistic.
I think your projections are really unrealistic.

STEM will be enough of a draw for droves of private school families, those opting for Mercer Island and homeschool families?

I think it will take more than a year for sure to see what happens at Cleveland. And I agree with others that many families will wait to see what happens before being willing to enroll.

My family is not looking at STEM for high school next year. IB at Sealth is our first choice. Why? We need music and art in addition to strong science and academics. Sealth doesn't really compare to Garfield or Roosevelt in terms of science and music offerings but better than Franklin or Cleveland for sure.

dan dempsey said...

Here we go again....

NTN is not an approved provider as yet through the OSPI process.

Check it out HERE

emeraldkity said...

So perhaps this was addressed at another time- but what is wrong with Franklin?

As freshmen, each ninth grade student is randomly assigned to a team of teachers when entering Franklin High School. That team is composed of a Language Arts teacher, a World History teacher and a Physical Science teacher. Those three teachers share the same group of students and those students travel together as a class between those three classes. This structure makes a student's entry into Franklin more personal by giving students a common group of peers and a common group of teachers.

That sounds like FIG that they have at the UW- which students like cause it makes the transition smoother.
Its a nice building- I know that the students can clump together more by ethnicity than at Garfield, but that probably changes by year.

As others have said, students and parents both like Jennie & I think they have fairly involved parents.

Anonymous said...

My daughter found the transition into Franklin a smooth one because of that team approach, EK. She still keeps in touch with many of the kids even though they've long gone their separate ways.

Interesting that you thought they segregated themselves more than at Garfield. As a swim team member (yes, they HAVE swim teams), she thought Garfield kids sat at events as if they were two separate schools-one black, one white. She often mentioned that the kids at Franklin didn't do that much. So I guess it DOES change year to year.

In case anyone wants to know, the academies are NOT required after sophmore year, and even if you stay in one (finance, etc.) you can take plenty of non-academy courses for a full compliment of high school classes.

Someone had been saying you were stuck in your academy of choice for all 4 years, which is not true, nor is the inability to take electives not related to the academy. It was a good choice for my daughter, who got into every college to which she applied.

SE Mom said...

Franklin seemed like a nice community to us when we went to the open house and tour. I have heard from others (but have no first hand experience) that the community does mix it up more than other schools.

The teachers we talked to about the academies seemed really interested in what they were teaching.

Reasons why our family is looking for alternatives to our assignment at Franklin: No orchestra / no strings program. Science curriculum did not seem particularly strong. At the Franklin open house they had info tables set up for different subjects but none for science, which we thought was telling.

Teachers said that a student did not have to stick with a particular academy but most do as they get to know others in their academy well. In our case, the academies did not really match our kids academic interests well. The academies did not strike a spark really which is important to my kid.

spedvocate said...

So what's the plan for the students with disabilities at Cleveland/STEM? Will the current students all have to be shipped out? A few years back, a bunch of NE end kids with disabilities were forced to make the long trek to Cleveland, will they now be tranferred elsewhere? Where will they be shipped to now? What about students with disabilities who want a math and science focused education? Will STEM provide for them? Will an alternate math and science focused program be provided if STEM is unavailable to them? What if they want "math and science" but can't do the current college prep curriculum? "Project based" would indeed be a great way to cover that base... if the district thought it was worth it. This isn't rhetoric, I'm just curious.

emeraldkity said...

INteresting- about Franklin/Garfield.

My perspective comes from-
my younger daughter only was offered instrumental music for 3rd & 4th grade, none in middle school except for steel drum.
So instrumental music wasn't something that was a big priority.

I knew parents( Asian) at Summit who also had kids at Franklin & they complained that the kids segregated themselves- so this was the basis for that- it wasn't my personal observation.

My older daughters ( college) roommate had been in APP through middle school, but chose to attend Franklin instead of Garfield for a change of peers- it didn't seem to hurt him in science, he double majored ( which is very unusual at Reed College) in biology and chemistry and is currently in a Ph.d chem program. ( He graduated Franklin in 2001 however- so before Dr Wiley)

My younger daughter was also on the swim team @ Garfield & I can't say that either of us noted kids acting like they weren't all teammates or friends.
( now I have to got look at her photos- she has quite a few- she was also on the track team throughout high school- also fairly mixed- that was one thing we both really liked about the sport teams- because they drew from all grade/ethnicity & academic inclination segments of the school), she was also the only white girl in at least one of her classes and she had a diverse group of friends throughout ( by diverse I mean interest wise- not just ethnicity,) so maybe her experience was uncommon?

I always hear about the " two Garfields", but that wasn't what we saw at all.

Re Franklin- I would agree that a comprehensive high school should offer instrumental music programs- even if it isn't necessarily on the level of Roosevelt/Garfield right off the bat.

I would also be very concerned as well if science programs weren't adaquately represented-I realize that for much science a certain level of math needs to be attained- is lack of math competency the reason why the science is lacking?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Franklin, in the early '90s, was a very popular choice. But it seemed like the minute Ballard got rebuilt, QA/Magnolia people who used to help fill Franklin, went away. I honestly don't know a lot about Franklin but that it has had a tradition of great debate teams and is probably a solid, if not on the radar, high school. It will be interesting to see what happens to both Franklin and RBHS with Cleveland's change.

emeraldkity said...

Did you see this? In tonight's Times.
Howard has been Garfield's principal for six years, and is a Garfield graduate. Since he arrived in the fall of 2004, the achievement of black and Latino students has risen in reading, math and writing. In reading, for example, the passage rate for black students on the Washington Assessment of Student Learning has gone from 52 percent to 80 percent.

I would love to know what % of those kids went through the Pathways or the ReadRight program.

BTW- we have gotten a fairly clear handle on how to teach reading ( if not writing)- so why are we so befuddled with how to teach math?

dan dempsey said...

"BTW- we have gotten a fairly clear handle on how to teach reading ( if not writing)- so why are we so befuddled with how to teach math?"

Here is at least a partial answer to why the Math teaching befuddlement continues.

Charlie Mas said...

So if NTN isn't on the list of approved providers for the federal transformation grant, then the choice of NTN as the vendor at Cleveland will not only cost the District $800,000, but could cost the District an additional $2 million?

Charlie Mas said...

I know that this is kind of a naive question, but why does this contract need to be approved a second time?

Who was it that had the authority to override the first Board vote? Who was it that had the authority to say "Yes, I know that the Board approved this contract and therefore I have Board direction to sign it, but I'm not going to do as the Board directed me to do because I think the approved contract needs to be changed."

Who has that authority? Who did that? And who did it after EVERYONE else told us that it was not necessary?

Charlie Mas said...

This thread is getting pretty far down the list and folks may not still be following it. So, if for no other reason than to complete the record, I have word from Director DeBell on why the second vote on the NTN contract:

"The Executive Committee discussed this situation. Our Chief Counsel, Mr. Ikeda, advised us that the contract language agreed to by the parties needed to be clarified and submission of a revised contract to the Board would be the best means to do so. The Executive Committee approved a second Board action on this contract. The revised contract will be voted on at the next meeting."

So, there you have it, the district's lawyer (who apparently didn't review the first version of the contract either) suggested that the Board approve the revised version.

And if the people here on this blog hadn't questioned it, there's no way that would have happened. Instead of the people who are supposed to look out for the District doing this work it falls on us to do it.