School District Events This Week

There are a couple of interesting Board meetings this week.

Wednesday the 7th - Board Work Session on Infrastructure and Maintenance from 4-5:30 pm
Sadly, I will be unable to attend this one. If anyone else is able to attend, please take notes and let us know what is said.

After that meeting is the regular Board Meeting at 6:00 p.m. The agenda will likely be available Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning.

Thursday, the 8th - Audit and Finance Committee Meeting from 4-8(!) pm. There must be a lot on the agenda here. Again, I can't be there but I hope someone can attend at least part of this one because there must be a lot of important items to be discussed for it to be this long.

Director Meetings on Saturday the 10th:

Director Carr - 8:30-10 am
Director DeBell - 9-11 am
Director Smith-Blum - 10:30-noon

See their webpages for sites.

Also, Mayor McGinn and Estela Ortega, the Executive Director of El Centrol de la Raza, will be hosting a community caucus on the Mayor's Youth and Families Initiative.

Monday, April 5, 2010

7- 8:30pm

Ballard HS Library

The Mayor added an attachment to a story from the NY Times about cities struggling with small child populations and the issue of having meaningful city lives for families.


dan dempsey said…
Agenda is available NOW.

Great opportunities for testimony on NTN Contract and Action on Instructional materials document

Creating an Infrastructure that Works Well Ensuring Excellence in Every Classroom

.... The revised process for adopting instructional materials will be used for all materials adoptions after approval.

....... The Adoption Committees are a creature of Seattle
Public School policy, and are used to provide subject matter specific adoptions.
How is that working out for ya'all?

#1 ..One other change to the adoption process is to clarify the type and amount of community input
that must be gathered.(and ignored)
#2 ..The new community input plan includes two phases of input, frequent feedback to the
School Board, and clarifies how input shall be solicited (before discarded)

DO NOT forget the stage demonstrated on May 29, 2010 where the district gets granted their usual extension from Superior Court so they do not need to provide evidence to the public within the regular standards of STATE LAW RCW 28A.645.020 {moving NTN appeal evidence from March 25 }and useful for NTN re-do on April 7 to May 7, 2010 {and totally useless}

Judge Laura Middaugh has been added to the "Writ of Mandamus" at the Supreme Court and for a mere $280 a motion for Discretionary review of her May 29th Action of granting a 40 extension to the 20 days allowed by RCW is on its way to the Supreme Court as asked by appellants.

Somehow I am missing that piece where the SPS is all about Transparency and Accountability.

Not to mention I am also missing the SPS Sanity part ... except that has never been claimed and rightly so.

Consider MGJ's appeal of Judge Spector's violation of Queen MGJ's right to exclude evidence in math adoptions... Seems the Monarchy's right to exclude evidence should be included in the Action Item for instructional materials so Judge Spector would have a heads up making the unwritten rules now the written rules.

Those members of the public attempting to fund the $7,000 to $9,000 resisting MGJ's pointless appeal of Judge Spector's ruling would appreciate that addition to
C 21.00.
Meanwhile back to sanity or insanity.

Last day to appeal St. Patrick's day Performance Management outrage is April 16 ... hopeful to git'er dun by April 14 so can keep cost to $230.

6-1 vote {UGH!!!} Consider this from Perf_Man:"Creating an infrastructure that works well"

The district has been working on a system of performance management for some time. ... NO KIDDING .. that was the inspiration for the pointless MGJ bonuses.... remember the $5,280 bucks in this enormously budget restricted year for the great job of meeting around 25% of her own goals.[Real Accountability eh?]

This system is designed to support and hold schools, central office departments [totally BS part] and individuals accountable for continuous improvement.

Regardless of academic achievement, all schools and programs are expected to use approved district materials and curriculum, including assessments.

Makes perfect sense to me use k-12 math materials completely mismatched with state math standards and coming common core national standards. Then penalize teachers who fail to make crappy materials work..... while Central Administration claims they are accountable for continual improvement, while appealing Judical Order of Remand because it challenges the accepted practice of making Whimsical Decisions.

I suggest Board meeting be moved and televised live on Saturday Nights at 11:30 PM.......

Because given the Usual Agendas for these meetings and the items recommended for consideration before rubber - stamping it should all begin with ....

LIVE from SEATTLE its Saturday Night.
dan dempsey said…
Ms. Westbrook,

I am deeply disturbed by the snarky nature of this:
"After that meeting is the regular Board Meeting at 6:00 p.m. The agenda will likely be available Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning."

I think you need to give the district credit where it is due. The agenda is normally posted on Friday by the close of the day.

{It is on Tuesday late when revisions occur}.
Stu said…
Mr. Dempsey,

YOU'RE distrubed by snark?

It's one of the reasons I come here. Let's face it, most of us are preaching to the converted on these blogs. The stupidity of so much of what the district is doing is so obvious and frustrating . . . it's just too depressing with the snarkiness!

Dan, I meant that in no snarky way. My experience is that it comes up late on Friday and yes, the adjustments come on Monday or Tuesday. I give Pam and Joan in the School Board all the credit in the world for keeping a smile on their faces and in their voices for the work they do.

People, don't look for snark where there is none.
Dorothy Neville said…
Am I the only one that thought Dan was simply trying to be funny?
Sahila said…
I thought Dan was being ironic..... and funny!
Syd said…
Off topic. How do I get the test scores for two different programs in the same school. My child id at Graham Hill in the traditional program. I would like to see a breakout comparing the scores of the two programs as well as compare the scores of the traditional program to other schools.
udubgrad said…
Dan is the master of snark and was just being snarky when he accused Melissa of snark. I think he was highlighting the last minute adjustments to the agenda.
seattle citizen said…
Syd, you ask an interesting question: how can you (we) compare the MAP and HSPE (WASL) scores of two (or more) different programs in a school?

The HSPE scores are broken down into numerous categories (cells) The amount of cells is determined by the diversity of the building: More ethnic/races represented in school? More cells. F/RL? Cell. Special Ed gets a cell I think.

But beyond that, I don't think it's broken down publicly anywhere in terms of APP, AP, Spectrum etc.

The information is somewhere, obviously, because each student has test data( those that actuallly take the tests) and each student is "registered" in some way in particular programs (Gen-Ed, AP etc) but I don't think it's made public.

A FOIA could ask for such a thing. It would mean someone at District (if they haven't already) feeding the data of a school into a spreadsheet or something...They coulod not provide lists of students, unless they took the names and all identifying info out.

This would be interesting information to have.
Syd said…
I have another question. How are children identified for ALO? One of my children is scoring above grade level on MAP consistently, but no one has approached me about the ALO program.
dan dempsey said…
Dorothy and Sahila,

I do my best ... dealing with this incredible string of events.

I need one of those yellow smiley face guys with "Tongue IN Cheek" that I can place in appropriate places.

--- Dan
dan dempsey said…
Events of the coming week and the last several years ......

A thought:

The Seattle School District admits it did not attempt to produce or file an administrative record that complied with RCW 28A.645.020.

The ruling of the superior court upholding the school closures acquiesces in the District’s purposeful evasion of its duties under .020. As the superior court has no authority to allow the District to violate the law, it is likely both the District’s and court’s decisions are void.

If so, this fact should be made clear to all before further unconstitutional decision-making is allowed.

So what will the School Board and Superintendent be doing next?

Given what the State Supreme Court is looking at ... I believe the SPS will be figuring out how to use an administrative record as required by RCW 28A 645.020 in decision-making.

'bout time eh?
dan dempsey said…
So speaking of coming events ... can a court order all the Queen's men to reconstruct a broken egg?

what about several broken eggs?

Guess that would depend on the eggs and whether the eggs in question are slightly cracked or completely cooked and scrambled.

The egg line up.

School Closures
a. Williams
b. Briggs

a. Porter, McLaren, Mass

Student Assignment plan
a. Ovalles # 09-2-45712-3 SEA
b. Glascock # 09-2-45711-5 SEA

NTN Contract decision
a. Anderson # 09-2-09408-3 SEA

Beats me why union of Seattle Education Association never appeals much of anything ... really Performance Management fails to get their legal attention ... must be nice to collect dues and do little else when it comes to actually addressing ways to improve current situation.

Also on the "coming events list" is an action involving the US Department of Education and Seattle Schools closure situation and perhaps student assignment plan. Look for something in June.

Office of the Inspector General / NSF agent Lewis Burkley is investigating the PD Cubed math disaster at Cleveland ... Black pass rates of 10% on math WASL with lots of NSF dollars apparently flushed. ... hummm Accountability like where the SPS failed to notice 3 year experiment that continually failed to produce results. Performance management oh yes lets us wave the Performance Management Wand.

Who will play the part of the Performance Management Fairy?

How are things going on the transparency and accountability fronts?

Have you read about all this in District Newsletters?
Jet City mom said…
I was reading the agenda & I don't even want to start analyzing some of it, because there are others who do it better- but I did have a question about the world languages.

French and Japanese are going to be stressed for World Language-and I am unclear on how much this is going to be different from what we are already doing, or how this will affect other languages that are taught.

I think learning a second language is extremely important- however- Spanish as the language spoken most often after English in the US, is not supported enough by the district ( skilled teachers are in high demand and the district IMO does not do enough to locate them) to enable every child in Seattle who wants to take it for more than two years- even at our comprehensive high schools,
even though Washington states Hispanic population grew 28 % between 2000 and 2006 and is now 8.9% of our states population.

I have other concerns as well- but I will save that for my board testimony.

As we have a very strong ASL program at Seattle Central Community College, have a great need for ASL translators in the area, many other regional high schools offer ASL, and colleges can't keep up with the demand for the language, I would like to see us consider offering ASL.

Many students who have difficulty learning languages
( as I did, because your command of grammar needs to be very strong to be successful- not to mention your phonemic awareness),
are successful with ASL, possibly because it incorporates gross motor skills and making it easier for many students to learn.

Arabic is the 5th most spoken language in the world, There is a critical shortage of workers in US who are versed in Arabic language and culture, and the US govt has designated Arabic as a language of strategic importance to the point of giving millions of dollars to schools including in Washington to increase instruction of Arabic and Mandarin among others.

Learning Arabic will promote cultural and global understanding, In addition to having limited exposure to real Arabic culture, Westerners are presented with one-dimensional negative stereotypes of Arabic-speaking peoples through the news media, Hollywood films, and other sources.

While we are somewhat familiar with French and Japanese culture, through generations of foreign films, anime' etc., unless we are Muslim
( which is a good possibility as it is the 2nd largest religion world wide and with a growing population in the US),
we don't likely speak it, or are familiar with the significant contributions to our intellectual history that the Arabic world has made.

How do we make decisions regarding what is taught ? Is it because there is a huge demand for French and Japanese from the community, or do those languages meet some other goals from another group to whom we have not yet been formally introduced?
dan dempsey said…

Super comment .. looking forward to your Testimony on Wednesday.

Nice taste in Music by the way.
Unknown said…

You need to ask to be tested in the early part of the school year, if your teacher next year doesn't recommend your child. I'm not 100% sure when the deadline is, but I believe it's in October or early November. As I recall, testing is in December or January.

It's a fairly painless process. I'd talk to your teacher about it next year as early in the school year as possible. This year, they didn't use MAP scores, but rather one-on-one assessments with your child. I think our older child suffered a little from this because she wasn't real comfortable with giving her best work to strangers. If your child is the same way, you might talk with him/her ahead of time to help prep them for the experience.

seattle said…
You can look at WASL scores broken down by advanced learning/Spectrum/APP, bilingual, special ed, free/reduced lunch, ethnicity and gender on the seattle schools "tests main page"

Here is a link:

Once you find your school go to the WASL section, click on select WASL report, and it gives you a drop down menu where you can select current year summary.

Unfortunately, it doesn't break down scores by program - IE Montessorri vs regular program. I bet an administrator at your school could give you the info you want.
hschinske said…
The formal testing on a deadline is for Spectrum/APP qualification, not ALO. As I understand it, if you qualify for Spectrum or APP, they have to offer you whatever they do for ALO if you remain in a school that has only an ALO program, but you can also be identified to participate in an ALO program in a less formal way.

Helen Schinske
Charlie Mas said…
You're supposed to be able self-select for participation in an ALO. There aren't supposed to be any barriers to entry. The additional challenge is supposed to be there for anyone who wants to accept it without any qualifications.
hschinske said…
Currently the Advanced Learning site says "ALOs serve two primary student groups: (a) district-identified students who are academically highly gifted/gifted, and (b) teacher-identified students who demonstrate skills and readiness for participation in an accelerated and rigorous curriculum that is based on Spectrum curricular guidelines."

Nothing about self-identifying (or parent-identifying) there. It may *amount* to that in many cases, but what they say is teacher-identified.

Helen Schinske
ttln said…
Madison's ALO allows for self selection as part of its structure. It isn't necessarily a good thing, especially in the upper middle grades. Who wants to choose to do the hard stuff when they can do the regular stuff and get an A?

We would like to keep the ALO with our pending Spectrum addition to help mitigate the disproportionality typically seen in the traditional self contain structures.

Ask your student about the work they are doing. Perhaps they are being challenged but not aware of it. A good teacher who is adept at differentiation can "sneak it in" and the student won't even know it is happening.
seattle citizen said…
Note this, on the status of the John Marshall building: The introduction items include a motion to change the status of Marshal from "essentisl - intermin site" to vacant and available for lease.
The motion partly reads:
"Property Management is in the process of securing tenants for 7 of the District’s vacant buildings. During the advertising for tenant RFP process, the District has received multiple inquiries on the availability of the Marshall building for rental, indicating that there is a likely market of available tenants"

Yet we note that Marshall already has at least two tenants: Lifeling Learning, and Seattle Girl's Choir.

So, evidently, the district has already rented out this space before the board votes on whether to take it off interim site status.

SolvayGirl said…
Syd: Not sure how things are now, but when my daughter attended the Montessori Program at GH the PTA was told the scores could NOT be separated out. Talk to Ms. Morningstar and see what the current policy is.
WV: Being funny today--sarksm
seattle said…
ttln - Shorline does not have a Spectrum or APP type program in middle school. But they do have a thriving "opt in" or "self selected" honors program. They offer honors classes in math, science, English and Social studies. A student can take 1,2,3 or all 4 honors classes, or they can take none at all. Any student can elect to take honors classes but they must maintain a grade of 75% or greater, otherwise the teacher can bump them out.

More than 50% of students opt into at least 1 honors class, about 35% opt into 2 or 3 honors classes, and about 15% opt into all 4 honors classes!

Students in honors classes do not have to do "extra" work or more homework than the regular ed classes. The difference is that honors classes move at a much faster pace which allows them to cover alot more content (for instance a 7th grade honors math class covers the entire 7th and 8th grade math curriculum), and they do more analyzation and at greater depth than the regular classes.

Many kids really appreciate this.

It's a stellar program that I wish SPS would duplicate. If you ever find yourself in a meeting with the powers that be please mention this model to them.
Charlie Mas said…
I am now - and have long been - an advocate of self-selected Spectrum.
Syd said…
I do not believe it can not be separated. There have been reports (one of the individual reports Charlie pointed out last year; one for school planning) that hinted that they were working on improving the discrepancy between the scores of the two programs, noting specifically that the traditional program need additional support.

I will take your advice and ask Ms. Morningstar.
SolvayGirl said…
Syd...keep in mind that one of the biggest advantages the majority of the Montessori kids have is that they have been in the school since they were three!

Not only does that mean that they have had two years of preschool (which at least some of the kids in the traditional program may have had), but, more importantly, they enter kindergarten completely comfortable and acclimated to the school, unlike ANY of the kinders in the traditional program. They have been in the school and a part of its community for TWO YEARS, so they hit the ground running on the first day of kindergarten. They know where the bathrooms are; they're itching to eat in the lunchroom; they're eager for music with Ms. Adams, etc. To me...that's what gives them such a huge advantage—not necessarily anything that's happening different in the classrooms (though I DO believe the Montessori approach to math is very good for early learners).
Jet City mom said…
um What?

From this mornings Times
Schools group urges contract changes
A coalition of Seattle community groups is pushing for big changes in the contract for Seattle public-school teachers.

By Linda Shaw
Seattle Times education report

Last year, a group called Communities and Parents for Public Schools (CPPS) petitioned the district to consider performance as well as seniority when it lays off teachers.

That led to the formation of another coalition, Seattle Organizers for Community Engagement in Education, which also has been lobbying the district about teacher quality and about giving parents a voice in policies that affect it.

Some members of that group, which has been around for about six months, were taken aback by the rapid formation of Our Schools Coalition, led by the nonprofit Alliance for Education, a fundraising and advocacy partner for the school district.

We'd been working closely with a lot of different groups including the Alliance, and it completely took me by surprise that they were doing a coalition," said Ramona Hattendorf, president of the Seattle Council PTSA.
Jennifer said…
Just heard that the district is using the MAP scores as a basis for a summer school spot. At least for Kindergarten, only a child's MAP scores (being below average)can get them a spot. As the test is NOT a good measure of a kindergartners skill level (most kids struggled to move and use a mouse correctly)and there is no other way to get a child a seat in summer school, I see the district as already putting too much weight on a single test score. The MAP assessment started the year as a tool for teachers to use to guide their instruction, next the scores were being sent home to parents (with little meaning attached as to what the scores mean) and now it is being use to decide if a five year old is "on grade level". I find this to be very worrisome!

PS they are using a combo of MAP scores and WASL scores for forth and eighth graders
owlhouse said…
Link to emeraldkity's article:

Wow. The Alliance manages to piss off/dismiss PTSA and CPPS. Wow.
seattle citizen said…
I wonder if anyone in PTSA or CPPS is going to publicly challenge the Alliance on all their crap.
Fed talking points by Gates/Broad (and, perhaps, with the Broad Supt. and the Broad "interns"....Broad/Gates/Suptletting the Alliance manage nine million); "design" crappy survey that delivers talking points; take survey offline and put it on telephones when people point out how crappy it is; hold "community meetings" around the talking points (such as "how can we make teachers accept responsibility for student achievement?"); select comments from the meetings to support the original talking points; blow off you partners in the community (maybe they questioned this fiasco?);go to the media with the "results" of all this, claiming this is the will of the people....
What a sham.
Unknown said…
SCPTSA clearly wasn't too happy, since they sent me an email last night saying that they had nothing to do with the coalition. I didn't really know what was going on until I saw the paper this morning.

I dunno what (if any) action they'll take, though.
seattle citizen said…
Here's some info on the funders for our own UW's
Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) which is a "reformers" group, probably in cahoots with Alliance:
"Over the past 17 years, CRPE has received support from a diverse group of foundations and organizations. We would like to thank our current funders:
•The Annie E. Casey Foundation
•The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
•The Carnegie Corporation of New York
•William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
•The Joyce Foundation
•National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
•Rodel Charitable Foundation
•The Seattle Foundation
•US Department of Education
•Walton Family Foundation
past supporters of our work, those foundations and organizations that were instrumental to our early start-up efforts and those who helped fund key initiatives over the years:
•A+ Commission
•Achelis & Bodman Foundations
•Alcoa (grant to Brookings)
•The Atlantic Philanthropies
•The Ball Foundation
•The Boeing Company
•The Broad Foundations
•The Brookings Institution
•The Business Roundtable
•The Daniels Fund
•The Doris & Donald Fisher Fund
•Education Commission of the States
•Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
•Exxon Education Foundation
•The George Gund Foundation
•The Heinz Endowments
•Lumina Foundation for Education
•The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation
•Mann-Paller Foundation
•NACSA (National Association of Charter School Authorizers)
•National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
•Partnership for Learning
•The Pew Charitable Trusts
•The Piton Foundation
•Smith Richardson Foundation
•The Spencer Foundation
•Stupski Family Foundation
•Thomas B. Fordham Foundation
•Wallace-Reader's Digest Funds
SolvayGirl said…
When is someone going to work to "reinvent" the American Parent/Family so all kids will grow up in a stable household with parents who have the time, energy and inclination to be involved with not only their education, but their general upbringing? Where every parent can find a job at a decent, living wage? Where every child has access to quality healthcare? Where every child lives in an environment of clean air and water? Where known toxins are outlawed and organic food is cheap and plentiful? Where access to higher education is a right, not a privilege? Where tradesmen are valued for their skills?

Seems to me, those groups listed by Seattle Citizen would be much better off working at the root causes than trying to find a fix for problems after a child walks in the door at kindergarten and beyond. (I assume at least some of them do this too.) Bill Moyers had a wonderful report on last Friday that touched on some of this.
Unknown said…
I should clarify that the SCPTSA email was a mass mailing, not to me in particular. I sometimes have delusions of grandeur, but not that grand!
Jennifer said…
How is it not a conflict of interest that our superintendent is on the board of directors of the company whose assessment tools are beginning to dominate the district?
Sahila said…
On the agenda for the Board meeting, a motion to give the Superintendent new powers to fire certificated staff, supposedly to allow her to work within budgetary constraints:

This appears to be another back-door strategy to undermine professional staffing levels and to open the way for hiring cheap, non-union, junior, untrained people...

Where's the data that says this is necessary?

Who will most likely lose their jobs?

How much money would it save?

Would that money go into the classrooms?

Would this lead to more kids per teacher in classrooms?

Another case of rewriting the rules to allow the Super/Board to take actions that are directly contrary to our childrens' wellbeing...
Jet City mom said…
I wouldn't care where they get people- personally- if it would reduce class size and get teachers and administrators who felt personally and morally responsible and accountable for the impact they have on children every day.

I just spent the evening counseling a neighbor with boys who are attending Northgate.
( wow- between 2006 -2009, they went down -43 % in reading, -4% in writing and -8% in math)

One of her boys is enrolled in a self contained special ed program. They haven't given him a diagnosis & this boy needs to be in a regular classroom with perhaps pullout, not in a room with children who are assigned to SPED because of behavior problems and then not give ANY of the children the support they need, resulting in the behavior kids- pounding on the ones who need academic support.

Not to mention- we do not live anywhere near Northgate, but that is the school they were assigned- initially, they were assigned to TWO different schools, even though the bus stops were far apart.

I know mothers are supposed to be superhuman, but how many bus stops is it possible to be at, at once?
owlhouse said…
This Saturday, 4/10, Kay Smith-Blum is scheduled to join us for the Squire Pk Community Council meeting.

10am-noon at the CAMP building
722 18th Ave (on 18th N of Cherry)
dan dempsey said…
School Board testimony 4-7-10 HERE

There were some awesome testimonies and lots of them. Chris Stewart, Dora, and many others. Really well written well crafted stuff.
yumpears said…
News from the westside (news to me anyway)
wsnorth said…
“Adding Chief Sealth to the international program pathway gives us a predictable feeder pattern in West Seattle that ensures students can be immersed in international education from kindergarten through their senior year of high school,” said Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson.

I don't think she has read the rules of the NSAP. Clearly, this statement is inaccurate. If you live in the Sealth assignment area, it is predictable, otherwise, it is a wild card lottery.

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