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Monday, March 01, 2010

STEM Contacts

You may wonder where to direct your questions about STEM.

Here are a number of people who may have the answers:

Cleveland STEM stem@seattleschools.org
This is the STEM information email box. It has not been responding. It also has a phone number where it ignores messages: 252-0046.

Dick Lee rjlee@seattleschools.org
This guy has some kind of responsibility for the communications on STEM. He works in the Office of school partnerships. I don't know what he really does.

School Board schoolboard@seattleschools.org
Speaking of people with job duties that appear unclear...

Susan Enfield saenfield@seattleschools.org
Chief Academic Officer and the face of the STEM effort.

Princess Shareef pshareef@seattleschools.org
Current Cleveland principal and likely to be (one of) the principal(s) at STEM next year.

Michael Tolley mftolley@seattleschools.org
Director of High Schools, but seems even more out of touch on STEM than he appears on other high school issues.

As usual, you'll notice that the Superintendent has not been the one to present on STEM or even be the one to answer questions about it.

Susan Derse WAS the project manager for STEM but she was replaced in that role when she was named the interim principal of Interagency. I don't recall the name of the yound woman who took her place, but whoever that she is, she hasn't been a public figure.

Don't bother the project manager of the Southeast Education Initiative about it, I don't think she has had anything to do with STEM.

34 comments:

SolvayGirl said...

Think any of these people could tell us what the contract is with NTN as siged?

Charlie Mas said...

Every single one of them should have the information about what contract was signed by the District with NTN.

Not one of them has shared that information so far - unless, of course, the final contract was the one that was posted to the District web site.

Patrick said...

Does schoolboard@seattleschools.org actually go to all the board members? I've typed a long to: list of all of their individual e-mails when I've written to them. It would be nice not to have to do that.

StepJ said...

If you use the schoolboard@seattleschools.org address then your message goes to Pamela Oakes who in turn forwards the message on to all the Board members.

If you send it to their individual address they will be able to see your message as soon as it is delivered.

wsnorth said...

Did I read someplace there might actually be yellow bus service to STEM? I can't find it, but thought I saw/heard that someplace. ON the one hand, that adds more to the cost, of course, but on the other hand Metro service to this site seems pretty lousy.

Charlie Mas said...

Every so often, when I do something particularly obnoxious, people ask me "What kind of prick are you?"

It's a worthy question.

Here's the kind of prick I am. I have been writing to the STEM email box expressing my concern for their health. After all, the only reason that they could be taking so long to answer simple questions about STEM is because they are either too sick or injured to be on the job.

Here's the latest:
"Dear STEM,

Another day has passed without any word from you. I'm deeply concerned. I can only conclude that your illness or injury have precluded you from using your computer all this time and therefore must be grave. Thank goodness your employment with the District comes with major medical. Please don't worry about answering any questions from the public about STEM right now; you just focus on getting healthy. After all, if you don't have your health, you don't have anything.

I do hope you have someone there at home to care for you, run your errands, and bring you soup and juice. No matter what you've got that's keeping you from your job, rest and hydration are always two of the keys to getting back on your feet.

Rest up and come back strong. We are wishing you a full and speedy recovery.

- Charlie Mas
"

I copied the board, Princess Shareef, Michael Tolley, Susan Enfield, Dick Lee, and Bridgett Chandler on the email.

That's the kind of prick I am.

dan dempsey said...

At minute 78:00 on the February 3, Board meeting video (last information from staff prior to voting)

CAO Enfield says:

There will be two different academies,
2 different STEM areas of focus within the one school.


Brown adds: Engineering and Life Science with 500 students each

----------------------------
These statements are a good match with the Action Report, just like what had been said for two weeks.

These statements DEFINITELY DO NOT MATCH the Contract.

---------------------------

The Two Schools, Two Principals, two of many things CONTRACT will add a great deal more expense than what was forecast.

This is a very significant difference.
----------------------

Unbelievable ......

Can anyone explain this too me?

dan dempsey said...

Charlie said:

"Not one of them has shared that information so far - unless, of course, the final contract was the one that was posted to the District web site."

Since the Contact with NTN was approved on 2-3-2010 that makes Friday 3-5-2010 the 30th day and the last day to appeal this School Board decision.

Definitely in a fine "Open & Transparent" organization like MGJ's organization the "Correct Version" of the contract would be posted by now.

-----------------
I sent an email with Subject line:
"Cleveland Questionnaire" to each director.

NTN PBL (STEM) Questionnaire

Please answer the following questions.

1. When did you learn that what this NTN contract obligates the SPS to do is substantially different than what the Staff told the public in the time between the posting of the introductory item on Jan. 15 and the Vote on Feb. 3, 2010?

A: I knew about this prior to Jan 31th
B: I learned about it on Feb 1
C: I learned about it on Feb 2
D: I learned about it on Feb 3 before the meeting
E: I learned about it after the meeting

_________

To the best of your knowledge when do you think this contract was available for viewing by the public?

A: On Feb 2 the date of the contract
B: On Feb 3
C: After Feb 3

_________

Can you explain why this contract was concealed from the public?

Please see the attached letter written by one of the world's foremost researchers in the field of learning and cognition, Dr. Paul Kirschner, of the Netherlands. {as in Europe with no NSF grants or American Publishing connections to cloud his view} He writes to Issaquah Superintendent Dr. Steve Rasmussen about the failures of inquiry based instruction.

Why is the SPS obligating itself to develop two separate Schools with all the costs associated with two instead of one school, where teachers at one school are not allowed to teach classes in the other. NTN has sold you Problem Based Learning and the SPS is required to use it as the main instructional approach in every classroom. It is now clear that despite what you were led to believe there are only 6*** NTN STEM schools out of 41. All of the NTN schools are under performers academically. You did not purchase an effective delivery system. You bought bondage to a failed system of instruction. The evidence was clearly presented to you: Effect size =0.15, schools are horrible performers academically even the “Demonstration schools”. The STEM school visit made was not a STEM school. There is no evidence that Project Based Learning as done in the NTN schools works, in fact all the data shows it does not. Instead of STEM taught in an effective manner, you bought PBL. Now we can go looking for STEM content that we will be required to teach in one of the most ineffective ways imaginable.

Feel free to write you answers on this document and just return in to me at:

dempsey_dan@yahoo.com

Thank you, Dan Dempsey
- - - - - - - - - - - -
= = = = = = = = = = =

Fionnuala and Danaher should consider starting the sons and daughters of Ireland with "cool" first names, who ask Great Questions of SPS, club.

Our first official act could be to make Charlie a non-ethnically-qualified honorary member.
- - - - - - - - -
6*** : well that is what I learned on the phone from NTN but they later sent me an email and said there were 10 NTN STEM schools and gave me their names.

dan dempsey said...

The Questionnaire and letter from Dr. K were attachments with this
Cleveland Questionnaire
letter body:

Hi Sherry (or any of the 7),

#1 ... Paul A. Kirschner of the Netherlands wrote to Issaquah attached. Your thoughts on this?

Seems to apply quite well to my difficulty with PBL for all.

#2 Questionnaire attached.

Thanks,

Dan

dan dempsey said...

I received this reply from Harium:

Dear Dan

Just so you I will not answer the questionnaire you sent. I have already publicly stated may views and findings on NTN, and the contract. As to the attached letter, I hear what he is saying. My view is that I make a distinction between the text, the curriculum, and the teaching methods used in the classroom. Sadly these have all got mixed together.


Harium Martin-Morris

Seattle School Board Director

dan dempsey said...

May be when the attached questionnaire written in word was opened It should have had a different document name at the very top instead of:

NTN STEM gate Quest.doc


Naw I think it was the questions not the name.

dan dempsey said...

Correction I sent the Questionnaire to 5 Directors not KSB or Betty Patu as they voted against NTN contract.

I also sent a letter to MGJ and the CAO and all 7 board members.

KSB replied:
------------------
OK – Dan,

Appreciate your points – but it gave me the first good laugh in days – thank you – and as always – appreciate your diligence.

ksb
-----------------
but MGJ and the CAO did not respond.

On 2/24/10 4:27 PM, "Dan Dempsey" wrote:
-----------------

Dear Directors and Drs. Goodloe-Johnson and Enfield, 2-24-2010

This letter is in four parts:

A: When did you know about “the actual NTN contract and its specific requirements” and how did you know it.

B: What the public was told

C: What I learned from Research

D: What the contract informs us was really purchased, which certainly was not described in over two weeks of SPS communication efforts.

See contract here: http://www.seattleschools.org/area/board/09-10agendas/020310agenda/ntncontract.pdf

I will be sending each of you a questionnaire to be returned to me. This involves the major discrepancy between what the public was told about Cleveland STEM and what this contract actually requires the district to do.

I think NTN STEM-Gate (NSG) is an appropriate title for this situation.

“D: above” looks very little “like B: above” and I believe that should be an item of major concern to everyone in Seattle. How did such a situation occur in this age of the SPS’s claimed transparency?

Please respond. I could carefully detail what the public was told and would be happy to do so if any of you would like.

As the Superintendent, the CAO, two directors, and I were at the Cleveland STEM open house, and nearly everyone was at the Board meetings and Cleveland STEM work sessions. It is unlikely anything I would tell you would be new information. What I learned from my research has been forwarded on or sent to you.

We also learned a lot in public testimony from people like Meg Diaz.

“C:” has some serious conflicts with “B:” which apparently were of little concern to 4 directors that voted for the contract proposal.

As to what the directors believed the contract proposal to be at the time of the vote is very unclear to me. I am hoping each director can clarify their understanding of what each believed was being voted on Feb. 3, 2010.

I thought the voting was about “B:” and my concerns and objections were founded on my “C:”

but to my later surprise the directors were voting for “D”, whether they knew it or not.

Please explain fully. The mismatch between “B:” and “D:” is frightening. I will address the frightening aspects of “D:” in the future but first please explain the origin and existence of that particular contract and how, when and where it came about. More on NTN STEM-Gate can be discussed later.

Thank you,

Danaher M. Dempsey, Jr.

{There is one of those first names again}

dan dempsey said...

Harium said:
" I have already publicly stated may views and findings on NTN, and the contract.

Can someone here clarify that for me?

I do not know what Harium said about the contract.

------------------------
Anyone out there had an explanation to the Contract v. Action Report misalignment?

Charlie Mas said...

I think the plan is to defer making information about the NTN contract available until after the deadline passes for appealing the decision.

dan dempsey said...

Deadline is Friday March 5, 2010 for filing an appeal of the $800,000 NTN contract.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Charlie, that may be what they are planning but that would be a big mistake. It is one thing to withhold information (as they did to me on BTA levy issues) but it is another to not published a signed contract. This may be a grave error that they will regret. How funny would it be if Kay and Betty ended up being the senior members on the Board at the end of all this?

Sadly, I almost think that even if everything we suspect is true that many of the public would say we were second-guessing them, let them do their jobs, etc. It is so hard to understand how so many people will let error after error, mistake after mistake go, with money wasted - money that should be in the classroom - and just not listen.

Maybe this time.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Solvay, I don't know if I ever told you but I love your picture. I don't know if that is you but it's really cute. I may actually have to upload one of me.

SolvayGirl said...

Thanks Melissa. Yes, that's me...from over a half-century ago. A simpler time for sure.

seattle citizen said...

Melissa, I think people let a lot go by because all they know about schools is what they're fed by the national media (and local) and this is, mainly, that "schools fail," teachers are bad, the union is bad....so people think if we just let admins, or the gov't, "fix" everything (and, sadly, "fix" things that aren't even broken) than things will be fine.

Dorothy Neville said...

STEM funding solved! If the Seattle Times is correct and CHS is one of the failing schools to get transformation bucks. Of course, as Charlie keeps saying, will transform the school by changing the population. But who cares! Looks like this federal data stuff tracks schools, not kids.

Charlie Mas said...

I have a response from Susan Enfield regarding the NTN contract. Apparently, the District has permission from NTN to violate the terms of the contract.

"Dear Mr. Mas and Ms. Westbrook,

We appreciate your questions regarding the New Technology Network (NTN) contract. In response to your various emails to the School Board and other district leadership, we wanted to provide some clarifications:

* NTN places a heavy emphasis on small learning communities to help facilitate personalized learning and to create a culture where every student is known by the adults in that school. Mr. Mas's February 24, 2010 email to the School Board identifies a number of concerns, pointing to references in Exhibit B to the contract regarding the physical separation of school facilities, separate school identities, staff and leadership, limits on enrollment, and suggesting that the two academies planned for Cleveland do not meet the requirements of Exhibit B of the contract.

* Early in the planning process, it was determined that there would be two academies at the new STEM Option School at Cleveland; one focused on Engineering and Design and one focused on the Life Sciences. This has been repeatedly presented to the school board and in almost every public meeting or presentation to families, students and community members. Both the District and NTN understand and agree that the two academies will meet the requirement for separate "schools", that they will have separate assistant principals but a single principal, that except for a limited number of electives (such as foreign language, art and music) the teaching and office staff will serve only one of the two academies. There are two primary buildings on campus, allowing separation of the two academies, except for essential common areas such as the gym and commons.

* With respect to enrollment, NTN understands, agrees and has confirmed that while the projected enrollment is roughly 450 students per academy, possible increases to 500 students are consistent with the NTN program.

* You also raised the question of whether students are allowed to take Running Start classes. We have confirmed with NTN that this can occur.
"

continued...

Charlie Mas said...

...continued

"* Ms. Westbrook raised a number of additional questions such as to whether the District has fully identified funding for the program. This was discussed at the January 20 board briefing and detailed in a PowerPoint presentation by Mr. Don Kennedy. Mr. Kennedy reiterated this information at a board work session on February 24, 2010. The Planning application required by NTN has been submitted and approved, and the Master Plan will be completed in March. The NTN role in any future principal selection process will be advisory only. The lead teacher will be paid a stipend, which is included in the budget. Travel costs are also included in the SPS budget which was presented and approved by the board. Parents and community members will be invited to an auction held at the Museum of Flight this spring that will help raise additional funds for Cleveland High School.

This past week, Cleveland's leadership met with its entire faculty to talk about the work ahead. The staff is enthused and energized about this comprehensive and systemic reform effort. Cleveland's leadership and faculty continue to believe that NTN is an absolutely critical partner in helping support this work.

We appreciate your thoughtful review of the NTN contract and the concerns you have raised. We are hopeful that in coming weeks and months we can focus our attention on the important work of ensuring this new STEM program is successfully launched next fall.

Sincerely,

Dr. Susan Enfield
Chief Academic Officer
"

Have you ever been presented with a contract by a salesperson and there were some elements of the contract that didn't quite match up with the discussion? And the salesperson says that you shouldn't worry about the differences because you had talked about it and had reached an understanding? How did that work out for you? How would it work out for you in Court?

This may be how you get a $150extended warranty for your dishwasher, but I don't think it is anyway for a professional organization to contract for $800,000 worth of consulting services.

Charlie Mas said...

Yes. I have confirmation from the District that they will get up to $2 million per year for three years to transform Cleveland High School.

Dorothy Neville said...

Harium via Dan:
" My view is that I make a distinction between the text, the curriculum, and the teaching methods used in the classroom. Sadly these have all got mixed together. "

Interestingly enough, the NTN contract is not about text nor about curriculum. It is strictly about teaching methods. Not just is a particular style of teaching method required (project based learning) but a particular implementation of this method. It has to be "project based learning" as envisioned by the architects of the NTN proprietary software. What does that look like?

All with no authentic buy in from teachers or students or parents. Please share, those who have attended one of the STEM open houses, how clear was this made to you? Did you get to see sample lessons as they will be taught on the NTN software? Was there a clear explanation of exactly what they mean by project based learning?

Lori said...

from Charlie: "Both the District and NTN understand and agree that the two academies will meet the requirement for separate "schools", that they will have separate assistant principals but a single principal, that except for a limited number of electives (such as foreign language, art and music) the teaching and office staff will serve only one of the two academies."

This is simply stunning. If this is what both parties understand and agree to, why isn't THAT the language in the contract? Seriously. The entire point of a contract is to clearly define the terms so that both parties understand their obligations to the other and the ramifications of a breach of those obligations.

I run a small consulting business, and there is no way in the world that I would sign a contract with one set of requirements when in fact I had an entirely different verbal agreement with the client. No way, no how. I deal in relatively small dollar amounts compared to the NTN contract of $800K, but I know better than to sign something that does not refect my understanding of the agreement. It strains credulity to think that the contract language would not be revised to reflect both parties' understandings when nearly a million dollars is at risk. Seriously, do they know nothing about risk management? And don't try to tell us that it was boilerplate language that couldn't be changed. For $800K, words can be changed.

Wow. I'm simply stunned at this admission and that they would think this is an acceptable way to conduct business.

wsnorth said...

On a positive note, I emailed the STEM contacts about possible transportation options and they did respond quickly. They are working on a shuttle bus system of some sort, and will update their website soon! I know it is not "free money", but I hope they get the funding, at least that would not take budget fror other schools.

SolvayGirl said...

Where is the press on this? It is astounding! Unbelievable! Insane!

Charlie Mas said...

Thank you, Lori, for those words.

Here is what I wrote back to Ms Enfield:

"Ms Enfield,

You wrote: "Both the District and NTN understand and agree that the two academies will meet the requirement for separate "schools", that they will have separate assistant principals but a single principal, that except for a limited number of electives (such as foreign language, art and music) the teaching and office staff will serve only one of the two academies.

"With respect to enrollment, NTN understands, agrees and has confirmed that while the projected enrollment is roughly 450 students per academy, possible increases to 500 students are consistent with the NTN program"

If this is what both parties understand and agree to, why isn't that the language in the contract? The entire point of a contract is to clearly define the terms so that both parties understand their obligations to the other and the ramifications of a breach of those obligations. In the event of a dispute, no verbal understandings will have any weight in opposition to the language of the co-authored signed document. Why weren't the negotiations codified in the contract? Why were agreements that are different from the negotiations codified instead? This simply makes no sense.

The Entire Agreement clause of the contract specifically states: "This Agreement, the Exhibits attached hereto, the Trademark Use Policy and the website user agreements for the NT Technology and the NT Commons constitutes the entire agreement and understanding between the parties and supersedes all prior agreements and discussions with respect to the subject matter hereof." I'm not a lawyer, but I am literate. This clause means that all of your negotiations, agreements and understandings outside of the language of the contract are voided.

The Entire Agreement clause not only nullifies the discussions you mention in your message, Ms Enfield, it also nullifies your explanation of the differences between what has been told to the Board and the public and what is codified in the contract.

- Charlie Mas
"

dan dempsey said...

So if you care to review the
video of the board meeting:

At minute 77:30 to 78:45

CAO Enfield says:

There will be two different academies,
2 different STEM areas of focus within the one school.

Brown adds: Engineering and Life Science with 500 students each

--------------------
Then the contract that was posted and dated 2-2-2010 says something entirely different.

dan dempsey said...

Dorothy,

What is clear to me that we are lead by "Happy Talkers" with a great disregard for relevant data.

These NTN schools universally are substandard. Minimally guided instruction is incredibly ineffective when trying to acquire knowledge and skills that require the learner to learn something that they have little familiarity with.

The Cleveland Open house had a video of NT Sacramento. There was never a single static given in the entire time I was there.

Amazingly they failed to mention that the NT Sacramento Annual API went 6, 5, 4, 3

or that of 50 algebra II students tested:
advanced 0 students = 0%
proficient 1 student = 2%
basic 2 = 4%
below basic 18 students = 36%
far below basic 29 = 58%

NT Sacramento is a demonstration school founded in 2003.

SPS is going to copy this school with our kids required to take Calculus.

We are clearly led by the deaf, dumb, and blind when it comes to making decisions through the intelligent application of relevant data.

Education suffered through a decade of New Math in the 60s, a decade of Whole Language, 2 decades of reform math, get ready for the coming decade of PBL, the Project and Problem twins, The PBL Decade.

dan dempsey said...

We have been sold the equivalent of the Automotive Lemon. Several Board members helped with the selling.

dan dempsey said...

Read this:
Why Minimal Guidance does not work.

The results at NTN schools and in Math in Seattle and Bellevue confirm these guys know their stuff.

John Sweller

Paul A. Kirschner

Richard Clark
============================

David C. Geary would tell us the same.

WOW !!! just listening to the gang of four on this is frightening.

They won't use data and they refuse to use the knowledge of cognitive scientists ... but they will call vendors.

and there are a number of hopeful indicators... and the quality of the implementation will matter greatly. So four votes yes.

dan dempsey said...

More HERE Instructional Implications of David C. Geary's Evolutionary Educational Psychology
Author: JOHN SWELLER

Interdisciplinary Perspectives Inspiring a New Generation of Cognitive Load Research
Journal Educational Psychology Review

Publisher Springer Netherlands

On the Math Underground

"Biologically Secondary Knowledge
takes effort to acquire"

This posting informs about things that are critical to instructional design.

But Cleveland will have project based learning so none of the above matters because the pathetic scores at NTN schools were not important to four directors.

dan dempsey said...

Check out more on local superintendent's decision making skills.

In defense of the indefensible