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Thursday, April 01, 2010

Performance Management Spending Goes Where?

Here's something that I don't really get: How will the District spend $3.1 million on Performance Management? I mean, where will the money go? Will it be spent on computers? on salaries? on consultants?

When I think about Performance Management doesn't it just come down to supervisors doing meaningful performance evaluations of their employees? Why does that cost $3.1 million? I know that it shouldn't cost anything and that it should already be happening, but even if it isn't happening now, why does it cost money - and so much money - to make it happen?

I know that a lot of the Performance Management work is misguided and has been misdirected into evaluating schools - an absurd idea - and that this somehow requires the collection and dissemination of data, but why does that cost $3.1 million? Don't we already have that data? How much could it cost to upload it to a database and run a few queries? I've seen the school scorecards (still in their draft state) and there's nothing new on them. There's no way that these can cost anything like $3.1 million. So where is the money going?

If anyone knows, please tell me. From my perspective Performance Management shouldn't cost much at all. The costs are all in making meaningful employee performance evaluations, informing the employees of how their performance will be measured, and training the managers on how to conduct the evaluations. Beyond that, I don't get it.

If the District is going to spend $3.1 million on this then that $3.1 million has to end up in someone's pocket. Who gets it and what do we get for it?

51 comments:

Megan Mc said...

AS#1 is one of about 5 schools in phase 2 of performance management (meaning this is our second year under the pilot project). I think there are 8 other schools in phase 1 (this is their first year under the project). Here is what I know from being on the BLT and talking with the district last year. During our first year of PM
*replace any and all staff - Principal change ($0)
*the district mandated how much time students had to spend on math and literacy instruction each day, called restructure the school day ($0)
*paid for .5 math and . 5 literacy coaches ($95,000)
*provided professional development money to pay for teachers to have collaboration time in cluster meetings with our ed director (Ruth Medsker) to analyze student data and discuss learning outcomes ($14,500)
*paid for a .5 principal coach ($1500).
*it also mandated that we rename the school and come up with a signature program to promote the school. This last one was dropped after parent complaints and I think a realization from the district that it wouldn't be worth their time to fight us on it.

Now in our second year of PM, the district is paying to continue the .5 math and literacy coaches and kicking in a little money for common planning time for the teachers. The BLT requested funding for our Family support worker as our #1 priority for PM money but the district kicked it back and said that they determined we should take the coaches instead.

On Harium's site he said that schools get to determine where the PM money go and I informed him that this is not true in AS#1's case.

I wish I could tell you what being a performance management school really means. Unfortunately, our principal is not the best at communicating complex ideas and I think he doesn't really know or care as long as he is checking off items on his to do list. When asked what being on Performance Management means, he said that it meant we get more money. When asked what were the drawbacks of being on PM, he said he didn't want to find out so we better make sure we bring our scores up. Well now we know; first he loses his job, then the school gets closed or reorganized. What do we have to do to get out of performance management? Have 3 years of sustained growth as determined by the district. It is supposed to come from our CSIP but the way the language is written there is a lot of room for fudging.

AS#1 won an award for 5 years of significant growth in Math and Literacy as measured by the Phi Beta Kappa group so if the district determines that we have not made adequate growth at least we have some outside data to contradict them.

seattle citizen said...

One part of it could go to coaches, perhaps. We've discussed coaches and what they do....if the district were to "manage performance" at the classroom level, coaches would be an asset for such purposes.
A friend sent me a link to an announcement by CEL, the UW's Center for Educational Leadership, about their summer seminar series.

http://depts.washington.edu/uwcel/
postcard/201_summer_coaching/
aboutCEL.pdf

This has interesting information about what a large UW think tank thinks about coaches.
If you don't know about CEL, check 'em out...they're big players in ed research and consultancy, statewide and nationally. Looking a their materials, I have questions about their direction and motives (it appears they are bright people with good ideas, but I haven't researched their funding sources yet)

Charlie Mas said...

I do not understand why the District sees only schools and can't see students.

They seem to think that low test scores indicate a problem with the school (or, more precisely, the teachers) when multiple factors other than the amorphous "teacher quality" play much stronger roles in determining student achievement. Yet their response to low test scores is to send additional training to the teachers rather than the students.

It's bizarre.

Based on Megan's recounting of how Performance Management works at AS#1, it seems that Performance Management is a means to hiring more "coaches". As I feared, the money goes into central administration salaries.

SPS mom said...

Won't that $3M also include the [high] cost of MAP testing, once the Gates Foundation grant runs out?

SolvayGirl said...

I still have a hard time understanding why anyone puts any weight in comparing scores from year to year (2009's 4th grade compared to 2010's 4th grade). I just don't see how that comparison tells anybody anything other than different kids perform differently. Am I misunderstanding something here? Do they follow the scores of individual kids to see if gains were made? Even following a grade-level in a school could still be skewed because the kids might not be the exact same kids from the year before. How can these kinds of comparisons be real indicators or teacher/school performance?

Please correct me if my understanding of how these scores are compared is wrong.

SolvayGirl said...

I forgot about MAP; I guess that would give some more usable data.

seattle citizen said...

Two reasons one would look at a whole school instead of the individual children in it:

1) It's politically expedient - A district (or "philanthropic foundation" or what-have-you) can make easy claims to "success" or "failure" based on the mere numbers, soft numbers at that. This is an easy sell, apparently, to a public eager for their children to get a "quality" education, but often (always, in this economy) too busy or stressed to spend a lot of time thinking and acting on education issues. We've all got our pet beliefs, our ideas, our allegiances in the world in terms of how we think, etc. It's easy to co=opt this thinking by using buzz words and amorphous ideas to convince people you have the miracle cure. Heck, it's even easy to convince people that there's a sickness ("a lack of qaulity!")
Why go deep? That would be a sure way to expose deeper and more importand issues of complexity, and no one can take the credit for "fixing" all that!

2) We live in a society predicated on numbers and profit. Look at the last crash - numbers, numbers, numbers, thrown hither and yon until they scattered to the winds. All false, all wisps of hope, will, greed...
Profit runs this world. We may do our own unique things under the umbrella it forms over all of us, but it RULES. Not just in the grand way of the CEOs making 16 million, but also subconciously in every one of us: "How can I combine what I'm doing with turning a buck?" There is always a need for profit, lurking darkly in the subconscious of each of us. And there is HUGE profit, at the moment, to be had in the ed biz. We've heard the litany: Curriculum, texts, assessments, buildings, staffing...And right now, 99% of those ed dollars are public tax dollars, just waiting to find their way into the pocket of some well-meaning educrat who, subconsciously, decides that hey, numbers are good! This is the 21st Century! I should get with that program, and also turn a few bucks...

Easy numbers, easy propaganda, easy profit.

The sad thing is that we will be paying corporations for our own intellectual demise, for the pap they call "standards" and the loss of our ability to critially think about the very system we bought for ourselves, the very system that will continue to feed us pap as we continue to feed its corporate arm tax dollars. A self-sustaining system.

seattle citizen said...

Who's seen "Idiocracy," by the way?

zb said...

"I do not understand why the District sees only schools and can't see students."

Isn't that because of the ways the laws are written? I think it's the wrong approach, but I don't think it is initiated by the district. It's a part of NCLB, and the measurement of schools, not students. I think the data is collected that way for expediency, longitudinal data on individual students is nearly impossible. But, it's also political. The fact is (as someone else said on middle school reading scores), measuring individual student progress is really, really hard, because the effect sizes based on intervention (i.e. school, methodology, teacher, . . . .) are all so very small.

If we happened to have a set of identical twins and sent one to the "worst" school in Seattle, and the other to the "best" and measured their progress, odds are that we'd see no difference at all.

ParentofThree said...

Don't we already spend $10 million a year on coaches?

dan dempsey said...

If the emphasis is on Student Performance then ....

#1 scrap this expensive plan .. unless plan is to spend $5.95 on plan and $3,099,994.05 on legal defense of administrative BS.

(as Charlie points out that is a lot of digits after the $ sign. where is all this going?)

#2 trash Performance Management plan and redo entire k-12 math and scrap Student Assignment plan with imaginary yet to be produced Quality Schools...... or proceed directly to Federal Court with discriminatory math texts in left hand and Separate and unequal schools plan in right hand.

#3 be ready to explain why funds aimed at educationally disadvantaged learners are redirected to Performance Management instead of used to assist struggling students as original law intended to have happen.

#4 Get act together or be ready to hire defense for seemingly unending stream of lawsuits and associated legal actions.

Note: SPS failed to submit transcript of administrative record in regard to NTN contract approval on 2-3-10 as required by law by 3-25-10 ... but no problem as Judge Middaugh offered a free pass until 5-7-10 for once again no apparent reason worth squawdiddle.

So on 4-1-10 no April fool
will be filing motion for Discretionary review in this situation with Superior Court ($280 fee) and adding Judge Middaugh to "Writ of Mandamus" action with State Supreme Court.

Looks like the SPS needs a newsletter to be issued daily to keep up with legal action involving screwy Judges and Screwy decisions involving SPS.

Don't care to follow state law RCW 28A.645.020 ... well no problem at all just have anyone of currently three superior court judges write you a free pass...... these folks must have handed out the "Get out of Jail Free" cards when playing monopoly as kids. The SPS just loved those cards and still do love them.

dan dempsey said...

Parent of Three,

I believe Ms. Diaz last calculation was $11 million on coaches .... but who knows maybe there will be administrative cut backs to get this down to $10.9 million.

dan dempsey said...

Charlie don't forget to budget for the 5 directors of Performance management at $150k each. They will likely be Broad interns so only charge up $75k each x 5 ... but be sure to note that they will soon be with SPS forever at $150k.

I sure don't know for sure I'm just trying to find out where that 3.1 million will be disappearing.

Be sure and note that little if any of this is really related to classroom practice and actually improving what happens in classrooms. Instead just meddling, the SPS are experts in UN-Productive expensive meddling.

Meddling by cherry-picking audits. Meddling by hiring more expensive outside consultants.

Megan Mc said...

I should also add that the teachers on our blt voted for the math coach as #2 priority. Some, but not all, have found the coaches to be really helpful. The literacy coach has been a strong advocate for the struggling readers at the school. The math coach has been telling teachers that its more important to focus on the state standards than the EDM pacing guide.

In a lot of ways I appreciate the advocacy of the coaches because I don't think our principal does a good job of that. The coaches are being used to make up for the lack of instructional leadership in the principal. Its not really Roy's fault. He was a PE teacher so he relies on the professional expertise of his teaching staff and tries to get them what they need.

wseadawg said...

To answer your initial question Charlie: Yes, yes, and yes.

wseadawg said...

SeattleCitizen 4/1/10 at 10:04 a.m. absolutely nailed it. It cannot, and has not been said any better folks. Kudos.

Mr. Edelman said...

That was my question: what will the $3.1 million be spent on? That is the equivalent of 39 teachers.

Did the Board know what the $3.1 is to be spent on? If so, why didn't they tell the rest of us. If not, why did they vote for it?

MathTeacher42 said...

Coaches - I've had really helpful, and I've had really useless.

TO ME - helpful is someone who comes into a class on Tuesday, sees what I'm trying to do, HELPS me with concrete tasks for Wed. or Thursday to improve on the Tuesday lesson, HELPS or makes the assessment, HELPS grade & sort the assessment ...

TO ME - useless is someone who takes up my prep / lunch / before school / after school time with some kind of time wasting Socratic dialog, cuz, that is what the most irrelevant school of 'education' theoreticians pontificate about.

I've had lots of chats with coaches - I'm always interested in how people got their job, and what they like about it, and what is frustrating, and what might be next ... I'm frequently close in age, but from a very different background. Many of told me that they've been told to NOT help teachers with specifics.

With all this accountability blather floating about - could someone please get the names of those theoretician coach policy people and fire them?

Finally, about coaches and math. IF the coach is a reform math advocate, who sees all learning problems as solvable with group work - how much longer are our kids going to have to endure this failed theology?

R. Murphy

wseadawg said...

SC: Idiocracy is soooo close to home.

But until SPS reaches that ultimate goal, we must endure its Absurdithon.

wsnorth said...

zb, can you explain this comment? "If we happened to have a set of identical twins and sent one to the "worst" school in Seattle, and the other to the "best" and measured their progress, odds are that we'd see no difference at all."

Have you tried sending your child to the worst school in Seattle? I think most parents want to send their children to the best school possible, and with good reason. For my kids, their peer group, their teachers, and even the way the principal runs the school and maintains discipline are all huge motivators and contribute to their acedemic success.

StepJ said...

Thank you WSNorth,

I do know of identical twins that were assigned to separate schools a few years ago (not by the choice of the family.)

Both were assigned to schools in the Central District which could be considered among the best and the worst in the District (depending on perspective.)

Twin A was assigned to an Option School that begins with the letter "T". That twin has thrived, made friends, and academically performs above considered grade level.

Twin B was assigned to a school that begins with the letter "M." This twin endured a bus ride of over an hour to attend Kindergarten. Twin B was bullied and teased for the entire hour bus ride to school (perhaps, because he was the youngest on the bus) and the hour bus ride return. This twin was bullied and harassed at school and was even denied recess. A very great hardship for a young healthy boy. This twin in their third year of school still has anxieties that manifest in personal and school hurdles that are yet to be overcome.

Even with identical genetics the school environment does make a difference.

Both boys started on an even keel. Three years into their SPS experience they are dramatically different in their emotional and academic success.

ParentofThree said...

"I think most parents want to send their children to the best school possible,"

Hence why the SAP stinks for so many families

seattle citizen said...

wsnorth,
When I read zb's comment, I thought he meant that given the enrichment and support outside of school, a student can do well anywhere. But that's just my take on it, I'll let zb respond.

Yes, of course other students, teachers etc matter, but in the case of teachers, there will be some great, some medium, some mayne not so good at any school, so through the grades the classroom experience is probably similar. The school culture could be radically different between schools. Maybe the students are somewhat different, but maybe not as much as you think.

And of course....with current federal, state and district synchronization and standardization, the "curriculum package" at each school will become more and more average. Alas.

Anonymous said...

It’s all about the “data”.

The money is where the “data” is.
From the text of the Performance Management Policy that was approved two weeks ago in the school board meeting:

“ To track and report progress toward our goals, we will use accurate, timely and relevant data, and ensure that employees are trained in the use of that data to make decisions that best support their students’ academic success.”

“…to do this the Superintendent will use a school performance framework to evaluate how all schools are doing against annual performance targets. This framework must be data driven, looking at a variety of indicators of student academic success…”

“The school performance framework will use school performance data to group and segment schools based on both absolute performance and growth measures.”

Now, the “Assessment Program” policy will be coming up for a vote at the next school board meeting and guess what that’s all about! Student assessments based on data collected by “frequent monitoring of student progress”, also known as the MAP.

I know, there is already $4.3M for the MAP roll out thanks to the generosity of the voters of Seattle, but, to keep this constant testing and retesting of students which is to occur three times per year for each student going, well, that’s gonna get a little pricey. There will be more computers and software to purchase, more coaches to tell the teachers that there REALLY is a good reason to be doing this and hopefully paying school staff, particularly the librarians, for putting in the extra time to monitor this test.

These two policies are tied together and money for “Performance Management” will inevitably be used to ensure that the “assessments” are carried out through the use of the MAP test.

By the way, on a related issue, a teacher's performance based on student "assessments", see The Washington Post, "Duncan silent on Florida’s education mess"

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/education-secretary-duncan/duncan-silent-on-floridas-educ.html

wsnorth said...

This is an interesting subject, though. I'm a non-educator passionate about education (though, perhaps, not quite as passionate as some of you - except about the #&!*$ NSAP, math books, closures, overcrowding, etc. etc....).

I do have a question, though. Do teachers with seniority get a choice of assignments? My kids have had some great teachers, but is the school assignment teacher choice, environment, principal/ leadership, or luck of the draw? Even an ignorant but involved parent like me can tell a good teacher, why do we need to spend three million $$$$. Survey us, we'll tell the district, and I'll bet we'll be right!!!

Anonymous said...

Ask a parent? What a novel idea!

One would think that the best way to evaluate a teacher would be to talk to the principal, their peers, parents and students. It's called a 360 in the corporate world and it can be quite an effective evaluation tool.

Unfortunately, this data driven obsession that we are having to live with right now comes from the likes of Bill Gates and the Broad Foundation, education reformers extraordinaire who have bank rolled this reform movement which is affecting us and our children in Seattle today.

Our superintendent, who is on the Board of Directors of the Broad Foundation and a graduate of the Broad's Superintendent's Academy, has as her agenda to follow through on the Broad Foundation's idea of a better (paternalistic) idea of a better education for all.(See:
http://seattle-ed.blogspot.com
for all of the details.)

Unfortunately these philanthropic individuals have no clue what public education is all about or how the rest of us live. They only have their statistics, data and "reports" to guide them. They may have good intentions, but the road to hell is paved with that already.

Unknown said...

If anyone is interested my understanding is that any of the former tasks that the Southeast Initiative were to perform are now rolled into Performance Management. This includes FTE for teachers and support staff which is why the figure is high. Maybe there are more than one Performance Management category but I think this is the answer you're all looking for.

dan dempsey said...

Oh this is really RICH....

#1 Districts select books that do not work elsewhere and are unsound for high school math.

#2 High Performance school directors ignore Superior Court Order of Remand and endorse Superintendents exclusion of evidence in decision making.

#3 District has widened Achievement gap at grade four for over 10 years and keeps buying elementary programs for math that don't work.

A proven record of failure seems to be attractive to MGJ and TEAM. See problem as teacher performance because teachers cannot make defective materials work.

#4 District claims that State Math standards are the curriculum but uses EDM which EDM authors claim teach EDM focus algorithms and only lightly touches on some of the four standard algorithms.

#5 EDM authors state that Coming Common Core National Math Standards are all wrong because EDM is perfect and National Standards do not match up with EDM ... thus National Standards are wrong.

#6 Science is going to be discovery inquire based

#7 Writers Workshop & Readers Workshop.

#8 Project Follow Through details what worked in the largest study in Education history ... SPS could not possibly care less and decides to continue doing what PFT shows does not work but will hold teachers accountable for not being able to make defective materials work. So why not use strategies and materials known to work?

It seems to me the Key to improved results would be found in using known data that has shown improvement intelligently. Instead district does exact opposite.

#9 New Technology Network requires all classes to be Project Based Learning .. research shows this to be a horrible practice. Data from NTN schools confirms in almost every case this does not work.

So who should be accountable for PERFORMANCE?

I think we should start with

#1 MGJ #2 CAO

#3 ==> #8 the six directors who voted for this Perf_Man mess

all except Betty Patu.

==============
This is right up there with Bizarro SAP. Just assume all schools can be quality schools .... evidence for this NONE.

Now comes Bizarro Perf_Man plan...which just assumed that teachers are provided with the correct materials and guidance to produce optimal performance ... yet PFT and NMAP etc. say no way.
================

This is completely nutzo....

We have screwy judges not holding screwy school board accountable for NON-Evidence based decision making.

No transcript of the administrative record used in decision-making ... no problem take a PASS because at least three Superior Court judges have NO Problem when SPS does not follow the law.

Good Luck Seattle with this performance idea.

dan dempsey said...

Read the following about Discovering:

Dr. John Lee’s Report:
http://www.box.net/shared/hr088yp3fq

Just incredible junk.

This is an absolute disaster in Bethel.

Who would ever consider education to be a profession when decisions like the approval of Discovering are made by the directors.

So who in the admin or school board can offer a rational defense for this "Discovering" selection.

dan dempsey said...

Dora said:
"They only have their statistics, data and "reports" to guide them. They may have good intentions, but the road to hell is paved with that already."

Note: The Univ. Wisconsin at Madison Famous Math Professor Richard A. Askey wrote paper "Good Intentions are NOT enough."

This is about the "Connected Math Project" which the SPS prefers for Middle School Math.

Performance Management begins with the selection of efficacious instructional materials, which it is most apparent the SPS from actions of Superintendent and school board have "ZERO" idea how to select. It is all about process and the process is defective and so is the product selected. Every time in Math.

This failure ranks right up there with the Student Assignment Plan's creation of Separate and unequal schools...... It really is time to take a visit to Federal Court ...

...... BUT where are #1 the SEA Union on Perf_Man? Lots of BS talk but no lawsuit from Olga and her crew (yet anyway). Last SEA totally ineffective President W.K. got a cushy job at JSCEE after her reign ended. Correlation does NOT necessarily indicate causation but sure has raised my level of curiosity. Leads me to watch current SEA President Olga's actions with a wary eye.

#2 Ten years plus of Black v White growing Math gap yet .....
where are NAACP and Seattle Urban League?

dan dempsey said...

The answer might lie in as a friend once told me:
Prior to 1968 the NAACP was a highly functional organization ... founded to stop lynching etc.

When NAACP had no piece of the pie great strides were made with meaningful lawsuits, demonstrations, civil disobedience, etc. [look at Civil Rights Timeline] {NAACP Timeline}

Once tiny sliver of pie was gained the constructive actions ceased for fear of offending the providers of that tiny piece of pie.

Check out the "Funders" of the Seattle Urban League. No wonder the League are just cheerleaders for the powers that be. James Kelly is a wonderful speaker but what has he done for the community he supposedly represents?

So what happened to NAACP national??? The National Director etc. decided BIG BIG salaries were in order and NAACP National suffered major financial collapse.

NAACP Seattle / King County is an all volunteer organization and seems to suffer from lack of engaging action on SPS policy improvements and actions in regard to instructional materials.

As a friend told me ... We Do NOT need a complaint department. What is needed is educational leadership and the Urban League and NAACP are nowhere to be found on Educational Leadership in Seattle.

Cheer-leading just ain't leadership (think of C. Chow .. a full supporter of every Nonsense Math adoption.. CC loves the process and loves the result..... Say What???)
============

dan dempsey said...

Note in the interests of Full disclosure .....
Three Mathematicians
Askey University of Wisconsin
Milgrim Stanford
and one other each sent McLaren $100 to fund her math materials Lawsuit against SPS.

About the McLaren Arbitrary and Capricious ruling ....
Milgram said this is the most significant event in US Math education History in at least the last 10 years.

Erich Martel from Wilson High in WA DC wrote me and said: Dan this is absolutely super ... don't blow it. Run with it and make it work. See running to Supreme Court in Olympia as an attempt not to blow it but follow the Martel plan. (Note the name Martel as in Hammer ... History note: Charles Martel was "The Hammer" check him out here)

On District's goofy Fuzzy Math side would be UW college of Education and UW Math Prof James King who authored the Cleveland High School 10% Black student WASL math pass rate, the Dr. King I have filed a complaint against with Office of Inspector General of NSF.

Download cool poster here. If I was in school in the SPS, a couple of these posters would be on my Math book cover.

My OIG NSF complaint is that Dr. King was the PD Cubed Project Manager that ran an unmonitored novel experiment purporting to teach math, which should have been stopped before its three year destructive run. Of course SPS also failed to monitor anything ... as they believed best practices were in use.

KEEP in mind these are the folks that believe they are capable of performance management ... just the kind of folks you would give $3.1 million to ... RIGHT????

Theo is likely right about Southeast initiative being rolled into Perf_Man ... for SE Education Initiative was set to expire in August and HOW could anyone vote to renew it????

Because .... the district never wrote the performance criteria on which it would be judged. It has now run for more than 2.5 years and the criteria were never written (Guess the SPS had insufficient personnel in Central Office administration to complete that task (???))

Also the SE Education initiative by any measure did not accomplish anything in the way of measurable gains in either student achievement, increased enrollment or
first place preferences for Cleveland, Rainier Beach, or Aki Kurose. Thus the motivation to hide one more central office major blunder by continuing funding in a more Public Relations friendly way.

uxolo said...

Seattle's Local-Flex program may provide some history that explains how federal dollars got moved around. See http://www.seattleschools.org/area/grants/localflexhistorywwaiver.pdf

Here's what was promised:
"Seattle will be held accountable for the specific goals and annual measurable objectives set forth in its Application. Seattle's long-term, strategic goals are as follows:

All students enrolled in the Seattle Public Schools will reach or exceed State and District standards in Reading and Mathematics by 2013-2014;
Disproportionality in student achievement in Reading and Mathematics will be eliminated by 2013-2014; and
The graduation rate for high school students will meet or exceed State standards by 2013-2014. The unexcused absence rates for elementary and middle school students will be less than or equal to State standards by 2013-2014."

zb said...

"Even an ignorant but involved parent like me can tell a good teacher"

How? And, really, I'm not being rhetorical. I know which teachers my children like. But, I don't really know how to tell whether a teacher is good or extraordinary (or bad, though I suspect that part of my ineptitude might result from not having had any bad teachers as a parent).

As a kid I had some teachers who were probably ineffective with some of the other kids, but I don't remember any of them as being bad, either, and none of them harmed my education. There were teachers I clicked with, but, they weren't always the ones who were good for everyone, and the clicking depended on personality more than style.

TechyMom said...

To be fair to the SE Initiative... Expecting first choice numbers or test scores to move in 3 years was never realistic. It sounds like some great things are happening at Beach, like Freshman honors classes, AP classes, a new drama program, and a new co-principal. I would expect that these things will help to improve the ability of the school to serve higher-performing, middle-class kids. But, it will take years for the school's reputation to change, so those kids' families are willing to send them there. Once it's no longer a concentration of poverty, Beach's scores will improve. I wouldn't expect this to happen for closer to 10 years, perhaps with small measurable improvements in starting in 3-5. So, it may well be working. It's just too soon see the results.

dan dempsey said...
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dan dempsey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
seattle citizen said...

OT, but the John Marshall School has a tenent (maybe two: there's a sign for Northwest Girlchoir also)
Lifetime Learning is leasing space there. Kind of a shame the kids (many poor) were removed. Now there's learning going on there for those seniors who can afford it. I nice rich curricula, though a little light on other cultures besides the European canon...
Did anyone see anything about this building being leased? Is there any sort of process, or does the Facilities dept. just decide who gets in?
Here's some of their info from www.lifetimelearningseattle.com
Lifetime Learning Center, a nonprofit educational institution, offers quality classes and social events for older adults. Our courses provide the joy of learning and discussing great ideas without the problem of exams or grades.
Fees: To enroll, each student pays a $15 registration fee each quarter plus a course fee of $30/class. In addition, some classes require special lab, book, or materials fees.
[Here are the classes they offer:]
Greek and Roman Myths
The Short Stories of Frank O'Connor - Part Two
Cribbage
Shakespeare in Opera
Romanticism
Crochet
Keeping Up With Technology Trends: A 3-week course
Short Stories of William Trevor
Feldenkrais: Awareness Through Movement
Writing Your Life Story
William Faulkner and the South
Quilt Making Basics
Two Plays by Moliere
English Poetry and Art Song of the Early 20th Century
Tracing Tristan & Illuminating Isolde through the Arthurian Legends
Euripides
Bridge
Current Events
Film: Celebrating Director Billy Wilder
Piano-Keyboarding
Creative Writing
The Civil War-Beyond the Battles
John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Founding Brothers
Watercolor: Beginner and Beyond
Tai Chi
Book Discussion Group
Poetry Mosaic

KG said...

Maybe the District ought to wake up and use performance management money to keep the counselors that
directly help impact the classroom
and help teachers and families come up with strategies to prevent
future trauma. Instead the District under MGJ and RUBBER STAMP BOARD are aatempting to make public education fail, so their shares in Edison Schools snd love affair with the rich will flourish more. Class warfare perpetrated by elected officials in a public institution? THINK ABOUT IT!!!



Think about it!?

Unknown said...

This article in the economist might be interesting to some, it talks about moving to neighborhood assignment, and mentions Charlotte. There is another in the same issue about California schools that talks about Broad and Teacher's Unions.

http://www.economist.com/world/united-states/displaystory.cfm?story_id=15819135

seattle said...

I think a quality teacher is a teacher that truly understands children. Anyone with 2 brain cells can administer academics, but not many can relate to, and inspire children.

On what makes a good teacher by Cheryl Bell Patton 2003 "compassion, flexibility, communication, humor, imagination, and the willingness to be open minded. Most importantly, a good teacher is someone who uses both his head and her heart in equal measure throughout the school day. Compassion in understanding that a student may be frustrated, angry or just unable to focus on the academics at hand. A little extra attention, a hug, a query as to how he is feeling today or the simple expression that the teacher values that student and was glad he was there today"

Sorry, but none of this can be measured by test scores.

On a personal note I asked my kids (one now in HS and one in MS) what it was that they liked most about their favorite teachers and here is what they said:

"he made me laugh, had a great sense of humor"

"he encouraged me to try out for the Ultimate Frisbee team"

"he took time to make sure that everyone understood how to do the problems"

"we did tons of labs instead of reading science text books"

"Mr.****** was my favorite because I know he really liked me"

"She thought I was a great writer"

"I always looked forward to her great stories about when her daughter and son were our age"

And "she brought lollipos to school for us on Fridays"

Now lolipops may seem trivial, but only a teacher that really cared about her students would spend their personal time (shopping) and money to buy treats to reward their class for a week of hard work.

Now all of my kids favorite teachers also challenged them academically. They had some very nice teachers that didn't push them, but they were not their "favorites". And, they had teachers that pushed them hard academically but whose class was no fun at all, and consequently they were not their "favorites" either. Being a good teacher is a balance. Pushing kids hard academically, while still engaging kids, making them laugh, having compassion, and fun, is the key.

Unfortunately there is no test to measure the human, compassionate, part of being a teacher.

SolvayGirl said...

Great points Sully.
And scripted lessons leave the teacher no room to deviate because of something that may be going on in the school/city/world that might relate to their subject. I don't see any good coming from the current trends in public education.

Mr. Edelman said...

Well said, Sully. You've just described the kind of teacher I strive to be. I often fall short, but a "compassionate" teacher is what I want to be.

mascarah said...

I just skimmed the comments, so maybe it has already been said.. I am a teacher at a Performance Management School and a lot of the money will be spent on extra time for teachers. Apparently we will be starting school a week early next year and I think they will be adding an average of 30 minutes on to the school day. I'm not sure what the extra minutes will look like from school to school. We also are doing a week-long summer professional development in Reader's Workshop, and they will be hiring an extra intervention specialist, an assistant principal-type person to help with administrative duties and an intervention specialist.

mascarah said...
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dan dempsey said...

Jamie's link to The Economist

United States

Desegregation and schools No easy answers

Has Wake County thrown out the baby with the bathwater?

Lloyd from OfficeDeskReviews said...

I totally agree to you Sully,

there's a great human part involved in being a teacher and the today school management doesn't take it into account. Let's hope that's going to change somehow

Lloyd,
publisher
officedeskreview.com

Charlie Mas said...

So the $3.1 million for Performance Management will be spent in the schools that have a lot of under-performing students? How do they budget for that before they know how many schools it will be, how many students are in those schools and what services they need?

ParentofThree said...

Sarah, the PM $$$ being spent on your school seems worthwhile. However, have you been told how the disctrict plans to evaulate your success or failure?

The main "tool" will be MAPs testing. You must show improvement over the course of the year. The other tool is a School report: Did attendance improve? Did students complete classes? Did academic performance improve (probably based on MAPS.)

Here is what I would be very concerned about. This is the first year MAPs has been rolled out in most schools. The district does not really know how effective this assessment tool is or is not, as the year has not concluded. There are still problems, such as over crowded schools that do not have dedicated computer labs, hence no MAPs in those schools currently. There is widespread concern that computer-based testing for students who are barely able to use a mouse may not be an effective way to assess their skills. There are reports of older students "gaming" the test, teachers "helping" students get results needed. There are also reports that teachers have not be trained to interpret and use the results in the classroom.

Yet...you as a teacher are going to be evaluated based on MAPs scores in your classroom.

I would be very concerned about the backend evaluation for Performance Management and ask some hard questions before signing on the dotted line.

TechyMom said...
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Meg said...

Charlie- the $3.1m may be for 2009-10, not 2010-11, and we shouldn't forget that the Broad Foundation donated $1.2m for performance management for 2009-10, with the expectation that the district would match that amount. So for 2009-10, that would bring it to somewhere around $4.3m? Ish? Unless there's more money for performance management (now called "School Improvement") that somehow, someone quite innocently "forgot" to mention.

For 2010-11, it looks like the district has already committed to at least $4.6m ($2m from Title, $500k from LAP and $2.1m from FRL)? Check it out for yourself from the 3/24/2010 budget workshop, page 10.