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Thursday, April 08, 2010

Sealth Declared International High School

I'm not sure what this means and I'm not sure what community engagement was involved (if any), but according to a press release:
Superintendent Maria L. Goodloe-Johnson, Ph.D., has announced the designation of Chief Sealth High School as the district's first international high school, completing a K-12 international program pathway in West Seattle that reinforces Seattle Public Schools' commitment to international education.


Here's the whole press release:


Seattle – Superintendent Maria L. Goodloe-Johnson, Ph.D., has announced the designation of Chief Sealth High School as the district’s first international high school, completing a K-12 international program pathway in West Seattle that reinforces Seattle Public Schools’ commitment to international education.
In 2009, Concord Elementary and Denny Middle – both in the same attendance area as Chief Sealth – received International School designations. Now all three schools will offer major components of an international education, such as language immersion at the elementary and middle school levels, academic excellence in all content areas, world language proficiency and global perspectives incorporated into each class.
“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. “The continued expansion of international programs is one of the strategies we are using to ensure that every school is a quality school and that we provide Excellence for All.”
The international education program integrates global perspectives into daily learning, with an emphasis on multicultural literature, world economics, global health and arts, music, dance and drama from around the world. Students will also learn about a variety of cultures and countries using an international social studies curriculum that explores current challenges and issues facing the world community. The mission of the international education program is to educate and prepare all students with the cultural competence and skills to achieve in a global community and economy.

Chief Sealth already offers the highly regarded, rigorous International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB) program, a demanding college preparatory series of international education courses and exams for juniors and seniors. The program, which is also offered at Ingraham High School, follows a two-year ninth- and tenth-grade comprehensive program that incorporates the best elements of college preparatory programs from a number of countries.
The international focus, coupled with the IB curriculum, promotes international understanding and world citizenship, which is reflected in Chief Sealth’s rich cultural diversity, where 1,049 students speak more than 25 languages. The school already offers world language classes including Spanish, Japanese and Mandarin Chinese, and student exchange programs to China and Guatemala.
“The International School designation will provide all students at Sealth with a global perspective that will benefit everyone, including those planning to complete the International Baccalaureate program,” said Chief Sealth Principal John Boyd. The IB Diploma program will now include a two-year, ninth- and tenth-grade comprehensive program that incorporates the best elements of college preparatory programs from a number of countries, Boyd said.

This designation coincides with Sealth’s return to its original building, which is being remodeled and is set to open in September for the 2010-2011 school year. As part of the designation, the school will officially take the name Chief Sealth International High School, and the change will be reflected in the remodeled school’s surroundings. “The old courtyards of the permanent school are being completely renovated, with each centered on one of the three languages we currently teach – Spanish, Japanese and Mandarin,” Boyd said. The $125 million project that will provide a remodeled facility for Chief Sealth and a new facility for Denny Middle School is funded by the 2007 voter-approved Building Excellence III (BEX III) bond. The project includes shared facilities to support the international program, such as language labs, a common area for community events, and space for teacher collaboration.
Of the other two schools in the K-12 pathway, Concord Elementary offers a dual immersion Spanish program at Kindergarten and first grade. Reading, writing and math are taught in a Spanish immersion environment. Other subjects are taught in English. Denny Middle School, meanwhile, offers dual language for Spanish/English program, Spanish classes for heritage and native speakers of Spanish, an enhanced Spanish class for beginning Spanish speakers, and Mandarin Chinese classes. Arabic language classes are a possible offering.
“Research shows that language immersion and other world language programs promote academic achievement for English Language Learners as well as English-speaking students,” Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson said. “Students with a global perspective have a better understanding of the world around them, the language skills to communicate across cultural boundaries, and a deeper knowledge of the connections that link our community to those of the world at large. These skills help our students and our country to thrive in an increasingly global society.”
Seattle Public Schools began its strong commitment to international education in 2000 with the launch of the John Stanford International School. With the addition of Chief Sealth High School, the District now offers six international school programs. John Stanford and Hamilton International Middle School offer language immersion in Japanese and Spanish; and Beacon Hill International School offers Mandarin Chinese, Spanish and English immersion programs. The school district is committed to expanding those international school programs to include a full K-12 pathway similar to what the West Seattle program now offers, although exact feeder patterns have not yet been determined.

20 comments:

seattle said...

So typical of this district to announce this one week AFTER open enrollment ended? Why, oh why?

Sahila said...

Once upon a time, a long time ago, far, far away in Aotearoa (Land of the Long White Cloud aka New Zealand), there was "Gliding On", a sit-com television series that poked fun at public servants and their ineptitude...

http://www.nzonscreen.com/title/gliding-on-1981

Then the Brits did The Office and the US now has its own version...

and here in Seattle - where "the bluest skies you've ever seen" exist - according to the soundtrack of another fantasy export named Here Come the Brides - we have SPS, MGJ and the Board!....

I tell you, there's a fortune to be made by someone willing to turn this complete and utter shambles into a reality show!

Sahila said...

Only slightly off topic... thought a bit of humour might help us all...

I'm on a quest to find a great school district... maybe Lynn of Tawa can give me some pointers...

http://www.nzonscreen.com/title/lyn-of-tawa-in-search-of-the-great-new-zealand-male-1994

Unknown said...

Wow. I find this simultaneously very good news and very frustrating. I'm glad that Concord, Beacon Hill, Mercer and Denny will have an international pathway. Sealth will have time to build the international portion of the program for the 8 or so years before the Concord and Beacon Hill kids get to 9th grade and enter the immersion language program. That's absolutely great, and I hope it works.

However, I am tremendously frustrated that Hamilton has been an international middle school for 10 years, and has had immersion Spanish for 5 years, and immersion Japanese for 3 years, and there still is no north end high school that offers any language continuation in the immersion program. (Not to mention that the international portion of the Hamilton curriculum has been weak. I do think Principal Carter is addressing this.)

The recent Seattle Times article on international schools was really a rehash of every other article they've written about international schools in SPS. Yes, 1st graders are adorable learning a foreign language. That article was written in September 2000 when JSIS opened, but those same kids that finished 8th grade in 2009 did not have any good choices for international education. Immersion language could not be used as a criteria for high school choice, because it doesn't exist in any SPS high school.

I believed the district was building a K-12 international program when I went on the tour in February 2000, when 2009 was so far away I couldn't imagine my 5 year old as a 9th grader. I really hope that my soon to be Hamilton 6th grader will have an international high school option.

Sahila said...

Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson said. “Students with a global perspective have a better understanding of the world around them, the language skills to communicate across cultural boundaries, and a deeper knowledge of the connections that link our community to those of the world at large. These skills help our students and our country to thrive in an increasingly global society.”


so why arent ALL our kids getting this opportunity....

Charlie Mas said...

I agree that Ingraham should have been the first "International" high school.

Moreover, I think only the Board has the authority to change the name of a school. The Board had to vote to add "International" to Hamilton's name.

Once again, the Superintendent usurps the Board's authority and once again they allow it.

uxolo said...

http://www.alliance4ed.org/Teacher%20Quality%20Town%20Hall%20Flyer.pdf

in case you haven't been spammed with this already

seattle citizen said...

Thanks, uxolo, for the link to the Alliance's flyer. I've already seen it, particularly this gem:
"How can teacher professionalism include an acceptance of responsibility for student achievement?"

that's rich!

Shannon said...

There is no International School in North Seattle because schools are (or are projected to be) full in North Seattle.

This isn't about pathways. Its propaganda.

SE Mom said...

OT: Received an email from our middle school math teacher about the new process for recommending secondary math courses for next year. The process is being centralized and recommendations are being sent out by mid April for current 5th and 8th grade students even before it is reviewed by the current year math teacher. It's called the "Seattle Math Pathway."

Also something called a "Placement Contract": "Skipping any one course in the Math Pathway can negatively impact a student's success in future classes and is highly discouraged. However, in extremely rare cases, the data above may not reflect the best math placement for the student. In that unusual situation, a parent/guardian and student may choose to opt up one course level, if room in the course is available, through a Placement Contract."

There is a Math Pathway chart with grade level recommendations for each grade from 6-12 and an accelerated pathway that appears to only bump kids up one course level.

District recommendations to be made using first sememster math grades, most recent MAP scores and WASL results.

Have no idea if this is available online or not yet. Letter to teachesr generated by Anna-Maria de la Fuente, Math Program Manager.

hschinske said...

"Skipping any one course in the Math Pathway can negatively impact a student's success in future classes and is highly discouraged."

I would bet a rather large amount of money that in almost all cases where a student has been allowed to skip a year of math, they have in fact ended up doing vastly BETTER than the average in math -- which, duh, is kind of why they were allowed to do it.

Helen Schinske

SE Mom said...

Plus, I am wondering if the "space available" statment will be in part due to high school choice seats. If math class assignments are being made in April and families won't know about those choice seats until the end of May, will that limit math placement options for choice seat students?
Nice!

ttln said...

Funny, I was just talking to our math teacher about the math pathway here and the impact of skipping algebra (what? why on earth is that okay?) on later math success, as well as the "space available" issue. Space depends on the program structure at a given school. Should 6th graders be in algebra with 8th graders, especially if the sixth graders are SUPER confident and the eighth graders- mostly girls in the case we were speaking about- were far from confident and in the realm of "I suck at math and will never be good at it." In this case, we fear for the 8th graders who will continue to view themselves as non-mathematicians.
A special class for a handful of kids isn't cost effective.

It depends on the building as to what "space availability" means.
But for the love of Euclid! please don't let them skip basic algebra! Accelerate them early, not at the beginning of the higher math pathway.

hschinske said...

A student who is a candidate for skipping basic algebra is one who has in fact learned whatever would be covered in that class, whether officially or unofficially. The skip is supposed to be just a recognition of that fact. Granted, it's a lot more common to skip pre-algebra or some other middle school year, but you get the occasional student who needs to go still further, and has never previously had access to *formal* acceleration.

I'd have thought that eighth graders who were not very confident at math wouldn't usually be in an algebra class anyway -- that's an honors placement in most schools.

Helen Schinske

Dorothy Neville said...

"Should 6th graders be in algebra with 8th graders, especially if the sixth graders are SUPER confident and the eighth graders- mostly girls in the case we were speaking about- were far from confident and in the realm of "I suck at math and will never be good at it." In this case, we fear for the 8th graders who will continue to view themselves as non-mathematicians. "

One is never going to be able to divide the kids into the confident and the unconfident and teach them separately. That's a red herring here. Frankly, a math teacher's job is to teach all and to foster confidence (and competence!) in all. If a few younger brasher capable kids suck the life out of a class and spoil so that the others cannot learn, well, that's the teacher's fault.

SE Mom said...

Another twist is that some 8th graders this year took Algebra I and these are not advanced learning classes. Additionally, some 8th graders have taken a year of Geometry as enrichment after school. Some of these kids will be looking to start 9th grade with Algebra II. They're not skipping clasees, they are just ahead of the usual pathway.

Whether it is better to have a cohort of 9th graders taking the same advanced class or to mix it up doesn't really matter practically, because the ability to accomodate different math levels varies from school to school. We were told at Franklin that they had two 9th graders this year taking Junior level math and that isn't going to chnage alot for next year.

Also wondering if there is a completely separate math pathway for Advanced Learning students.

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seattle said...

"Should 6th graders be in algebra with 8th graders, especially if the sixth graders are SUPER confident and the eighth graders- mostly girls in the case we were speaking about- were far from confident and in the realm of "I suck at math and will never be good at it." In this case, we fear for the 8th graders who will continue to view themselves as non-mathematicians. "

Here we go again with yet another teacher who believes that we should sacrifice meeting the needs of our high achieving students to better serve the struggling students. This mentality is so frustrating to me.

And TTLN Helen is right, Algebra is an 8th grade honors class. Why would any struggling student be placed in that class anyway?

And then TTLN gives us this statement "A special class for a handful of kids isn't cost effective."
Well, guess what neither is a bloated administration, math coaches, the NTN contract. Before we pay for this pile of crap we should fund classroom that meet the needs of all of our students...including our high achievers.

Does anyone wonder why families who have high achieving kids that have the means go private? Duh.

wsnorth said...

This is total, pure, propaganda. However, there was community engagement - I can assure you many in West Seattle lobbied for this and worked hard on this for years, only to be wiped out by the New Assignment Plan if you don't live in the (already artificially overloaded) Sealth area. Numerous questions about this went unanswered and warnings unheeded during the Assignment Plan "process".

ttln said...

I am reporting the conversation had with our math teacher and former district math coach. The concerns expressed are his more than my own. He does work hard to help develop the math phobes into math philes. The trend from 7 to 8 seems to be to put as many kids in algebra as they can based on teacher recommendation.

Personally, I argue with the math teachers every year about the way they place kids in their 8th grade math class- teacher recommendation- not scores or demonstrated mastery. I also cannot believe that the practice of putting kids in Geometry based on teacher recommendation instead of "evidence" of mastery of the Algebra course content is the policy as it currently stands. The end result has been that these students are not doing well in Algebra II at the high schools they travel on to. National studies are showing that Algebra II is the quitting point for many students the reason given is because that is when "it gets hard." Kids give up when it gets hard. (Instead of “That is what the SAT tests, so why go on?”) Therefore we have the question, what to do with the algebra, geometry - math pathway to ensure kids don't quit math later on down the road and proceed to the higher levels of math. More kids at the higher level gets the district more ‘props’ nationally, right? We want to be one of the Newsweek’s top districts, right?

As a former "fast tracked" math kid myself, I say, "Bring kids up (or in the case of our building, it is "down"), meet their needs." I took math with 9th graders as a sevvie. You cannot hold kids who are ready back- you will kill their math spirit if you do!

Historically, we have brought kids up grade levels/downstairs to take classes that meet their needs and have opened up Geometry courses for those who require/are ready for them. My hope is that despite the district's efforts to prevent building from being flexible enough we can continue to develop strong mathematicians at our building in a legitimate way that ensures that they have the skills to move onward.