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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Board Community Meetings

I attended part of Director Martin-Morris' Community meeting on Saturday. There was a group of moms who talked about Special Education issues, primarily the change to spreading out Special Ed under the new SAP. It was an interesting conversation as it touched on many areas.

One is making sure all principals are up to speed on the legal issues of Special Ed. Many aren't and it can make for difficult conversations between parents and principals over accommodations under the law.

Another is the issue that since the Education Directors' positions are being revamped, should their new job description include watching over Special Ed at the schools they cover? Currently, they don't do this.

The parents at the meeting were asking Harium how to get this discussion in front of the Board. He told them that it could be put on the agenda at a committee meeting but that it would be better to have it at a Work Session as that is a meeting with the entire Board present. He said those Work Sessions are currently full up to about July. He also said something interesting about the parents coming to give a presentation. I questioned if that was possible because I thought the presentations had to come from staff but he said just because it hadn't been done before didn't mean it couldn't be done. Okay then, so keep that in mind. If you have a group, it can't hurt to ask to present to the Board at a Work Session on that topic.

The parents also stated that they felt that Marni Campbell, the head of Special Ed, tended to tell parents a lot of "happy talk". Harium said that Ms. Campbell had been pretty frank and serious in her presentations to the Board.

Then there was some discussion over alternative schools. I agree; the new SAP calls them Option schools but is there a difference between Option and alternative? The frustration here is over the alternative schools audit and why the district seems to keep postponing this discussion. My take after watching this for awhile is that the district doesn't really know what it wants. I'm not sure they like the parent/staff partnership at alts (we know how Dr. G-J feels about parents and their ability to give objective input) and would love to somehow restructure those schools but can't figure out how to do it.

Then there's the issue of what qualifies as alt. One issue, for example, is at the Schools page at SPS's website. You would think that we have 7 alts and that's not true. (Side note: I mentioned to Harium that Thorton Creek got put in this pull-down menu and no other alt. He said that because of "coding" problems, the district can't seem to fix this and move Thorton Creek. What? File this one under the VAX and other mysteries of SPS computing.)

So what do we have?
  • K-8s. What are they? The district used to call them non-traditional (think Blaine which has a traditional curriculum) versus alternative (Salmon Bay). They are widely accepted in this district so what should they be labeled or it is more about the offerings?
  • foreign language immersion - not alternative but not traditional. Looking at the drop-down menus at the Schools page, you'd have look for International in the name to figure this one out. To me, a school that teaches in a language other than English IS alternative. But that's me. That they are neighborhood schools also seems odd. Until you have them in all corners of this district so that there is even a chance for every child to access them, I think they should be Option schools.
  • then we have alts but TOPS is somewhat alt light versus Nova which is very alt. And yet, most of our long-time alts are very popular and have people waiting to get in. So why do we replicate foreign language immersion programs and not one alt?
  • Montessori - part of a couple of "regular" elementaries yet clearly alt and again, popular. We still haven't done much duplication here.
Over at the Lake Washington school district, they put everything under "Choice" including alternative and reentry. (They have a wide variety here including yet another option which is grades K-6 and 7-9 and a K-12. They have no K-8s. Most of the elementaries are K-6 and run around 425 students. However, for junior high, they have several small junior highs (under 500) and only one large one (over 1,000). They also have several small high schools including their International school which is ranked 24th out of 100 best high schools in the nation by US News and World Report. It seems like they have much bigger elementaries than SPS but then, they tend to offer smaller middle and high schools.)

I only stayed for an hour. If you attended the rest of the meeting or Peter or Sherry's meetings, let us know. (I know a few of you mentioned Sherry's meeting and some boundaries discussions around JSIS.)

32 comments:

Bird said...

To me, a school that teaches in a language other than English IS alternative. But that's me.

No, that's you and everyone else. The only reason they are not officially designated as "alternative" is because they don't want them to draw from outside of the neighborhood. They clearly are alternative in curriculum.

I have mixed feelings about replicating popular options schools, especially ones like TOPS where it's difficult to identify exactly what's alternative about them. My unconfirmed suspicion is that the attraction to a few of these option schools isn't their distinct and unsual pedagogy, but the fact that they are an alternative to a particular neighborhood school that parents are fleeing.

Perhaps instead of duplicating the option schools, we just need to fix the schools that families refuse to attend -- and by fix, of course, I mean actually take the radical step of asking families what needs to be done to draw them back to the school.

Chris S. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris S. said...

Bird, your suspicions are common, and one of the primary reasons the alternative community had been in favor of an audit.

People walk around saying they don't know what we are, when a 2005 community advisory committee developed an operational definition. We recognize that there is a continuum and some neighborhood schools do some alternative things; in fact there is a list of quality indicators developed by a 2007 committee where any school could assess it's degree of alternativeness. The district and board choose to ignore this work - that is soooo last-board!

Of course there is a component of our populations that is fleeing "bad" schools. This hardly approaches 100%, and as it increases, it hurts us, since our MO depends so heavily on community buy-in and participation. However, I do see a significant proportion of those "fleeing" (or "squeezed out" in my neighborhood) families do really embrace the alt-ness once they see it in action.

Finally, you have to realize that in the environment created by this administration that we have to be purposefully quiet about the things that really distinguish us.

Charlie Mas said...

At the Curriculum and Instruction Policy Committee meeting on Monday afternoon, Director Martin-Morris got the Special Education work session scheduled.

I LOVE the idea of a group asking to present to the Board. I can think of lots of applications for that. After the Special Ed families present, I'd like to see Spectrum families present. They could talk about program capacity in the north and program quality in the south. I'm sure the APP community would like to present on the fulfillment of promises in the post-split world.

The Alternative Schools Coalition should also present. Right now their message is being filtered through Susan Enfield before it gets to the Board. I don't think Dr. Enfield is the person they want presenting for them.

Lori said...

I'll go out on a limb here, because I've never seen anyone else say this, but I personally don't have any interest in sending my child to an immersion school. It boggles my mind for many reasons why JSIS is a neighborhood school and not an option school. If we lived in the area and were assigned there, I really wouldn't be that happy about it. Given their popularity, I'm sure I'm in the minority, but this point of view is left out of the debate.

Immersion programs need some number of native or bilingual children to make them successful, yet that population may be drawn out in the NSAP, while others who aren't interested in immersion are drawn in. The whole thing makes absolutely no sense to me.

Cade said...

I agree 100% with Lori.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Lori, that's a good observation in the reverse. With all the foreign language immersion schools being neighborhood schools and that's not what you want, then you have to go farther out (and all you wanted was a school in your neighborhood).

Chris S. said...

Charlie, we alt people would love to present. We'd love to have a work session. That idea got axed by MGJ earlier this year. And what of our message is being filtered thru Enfield? I was a little surprised at the district ignorance in the room. At least Aleta managed to come up with our name.

This was my second committee meeting - the first being a finance one -where I don't know very much. I was surprised and the small number of allowed-to-speak people in the room (7, and Aleta didn't really talk.) It was also striking that district staff could not provide information that I'm sure others sitting in the room could - if allowed to talk. Is this the usual situation? (pretty effed up, if you ask me) If so, I should share that one time Harium said we could pass them notes.

Bird said...

That idea got axed by MGJ earlier this year.

Who owns these meetings? The board or MGJ? I would have thought the board would own the rules for their own meetings.

Central Mom said...

Two words folks: Public Engagement. Keep pushing every board member on the idea that it needs to get better. And supply them with key reasons why, as Chris is showing. Parents who know more about policies than board members, and often staff, need to have a bigger voice in this district.

Now, OT: Just posted minutes ago, the NYT Magazine's main article this weekend will be on Race to the Top. Title: The Teachers' Unions' Last Stand. Nine pages online. Read it before staff and board does. Be prepared to discuss as you know they will be. Perhaps another thread should be started?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Chris, I pass the Board notes at Work Sessions and Committee meetings which they generally don't reference in specific but I sometimes hear them ask for a clarification based on what I have written.

I know staff doesn't like this but again, it's the Board's meetings, not staff's.

Also, I share your frustration over knowing something that staff doesn't - this happened to me at the BEX Oversight Committee meeting when they were asking if Hamilton would be filled when it reopened.

zb said...

"I'll go out on a limb here, because I've never seen anyone else say this, but I personally don't have any interest in sending my child to an immersion school."

You are certainly not alone. I love the idea of a good immersion school (and agree that it requires the presence of a native-speaking cohort) to work. But, I've certainly talked to a number of parents who would not want to send their children to immersion programs. That was less of an issue when the "choice" + sibling preference meant that you could reasonably choose an alternative school to JSIS. But now, the lack of sibling preference makes that choice option much less tenable. You could, now, get into one of the other nearby schools, which aren't terribly over-subscribed, but then, you couldn't guarantee that a sibling could go to that school.

The immersion schools really need to be Option schools.

And, to respond to the "alternative" debate -- my take is that I don't care how an alternative school is defined. It's fine with me to call those "option" schools, which means that people canot be assigned to them, and that people can choose them. Then the schools can describe themselves. And, we could well have a perfectly ordinary regular school that happens to be an option school.

I do think that mandatory assignment schools need to have a certain set of commonalities of offerings and staffing and populations.

Maureen said...

I think that JSIS is linked to BFDay so that if you don't want immersion you can treat Day as your assignment school (and have guaranteed spots for sibs). I think the other immersion schools are designed to have English language classes as well.

That said, I completely agree with zb. I could have sent my 2nd kid to JSIS, but given the 50% chance of getting Japanese and her personality at the time I sent her to TOPS with her brother instead. She probably would have spent the first two years sitting under a desk crying in frustration. AND I didn't want all of her science and math to be in a foreign language.

I know that TOPS is one of those schools that people say isn't 'really' alternative, but what it IS is a community of people who all chose to be there. When we joined up it had the feel of a co-op school. The academics were very strong but didn't feel rigid. Over time, the community has put more focus on social justice issues and less on the old 'city school' concept. Now it feels like those two are coming back together through a focus on compassionate citizenship K-8. But part of what makes us alternative is that the choice of focus is driven by the community and we all choose to be there.

Maureen said...

At the Curriculum Meeting they said that kids will be assigned to STEM academies in the same way they get a language at JSIS (and BioTech at Ballard). Get into the school first and then make a request. You aren't guaranteed your first choice. That seems so backwards. Why can't you choose an academy (or a language) and then go to a different school if you don't get your choice?


I've heard of families with strong Spanish skills (not native) being assigned to Japanese at JSIS. Not knowing if he would get into BioTech until after it was too late to pick a different HS made our kid skip Ballard altogether.

Lori said...

I'm glad people brought this up because it's yet another peculiarity of our system. I have friends that are English/Spanish bilingual with a child at Beacon Hill. However, there was no guarantee for their child to be put in the Spanish-language program back when they first enrolled. They spent much of last spring hoping for Spanish but living with the possibility that their bilingual child would end up in the Chinese-language cohort. I remember thinking surely they were misunderstanding; why in the world would they put this child in Chinese instead of Spanish? Yet, apparently, there was no guarantee based on what languages you already speak upon admission. Hard to believe.

Chris S. said...

Maureen, I would characterize what I heard at the meeting about STEM academy assignments as the typical "magical thinking" seen in preschoolers: Students get to choose. But it will be "balanced." it will happen it will happen it will happen

mirmac1 said...

Harium's comment about Ms. Campbell's "frank and serious" nature sounds a bit patronizing. But then, that's what they hand special education families all the time.

I wonder if staff thinks he let the cat outa the bag now. There's going to be parents and groups lining up to get their voices heard. But let's not out-PowerPoint the PP gurus. Our stories are compelling, and should play better than staff's talking points.

Jet City mom said...

As a parent of two children with learning/processing and gross/fine motor differences I have to say loudly that my kids were well served in private schools and given generous financial scholarships as well.

When my younger daughter wanted to attend public school with her friends , I had to quit my job just to deal with the hoops the schools and the district set up for her to even be partially served.

I am frustrated when private schools are repeatedly held up as places that only serve the wealthiest as well as the " best"- when it was private schools that treated my kids like individuals first, and not as a problem to be dealt with as little as they could get away with.

seattle citizen said...

Re Central Mom's OT post on the upcoming NY TGimes Magazine article on the "Teacher's Last Stand":

Got a few lines in, first anti-union person cited is "Jon Schnur smile. Schnur, who runs a Manhattan-based school-reform group called New Leaders for New Schools"

Went to NLNS website, fodun board, and, oooh, was I ever surprised! Their "Manhattan-based" board is:

Board of Directors

Josh Bekenstein, Managing Director, Bain Capital, LLC

Christopher M. Chadwick, President, Boeing Military Aircraft Integrated Defense System

John E. Deasy, Deputy Director, US Program, Education, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Domenic Ferrante, Managing Director, Bain Capital, LLC

Barbara Hyde, President, J.R. Hyde III Family Foundation

Vanessa Kirsch, President and Founder, New Profit Inc.

S. Joshua Lewis (Board Chair), Founder & Managing Partner, Salmon River Capital

Julie Mikuta, Partner, NewSchools Venture Fund

Ted Mitchell, Chief Executive Officer, NewSchools Venture Fund

Jonathan Schnur, CEO & Co-Founder, New Leaders for New Schools

Naomi O. Seligman, Senior Partner, Ostriker von Simson, Inc.

LaVerne Srinivasan, President, New Leaders for New Schools

Here's some info on Bain Capital, which NLNS Managing Director is affiliated with:
"About Us
Established in 1984, Bain Capital is one of the world's leading private investment firms managing approximately $67 billion in assets under management. Our affiliated advisors make private equity, public equity, leveraged debt asset, venture capital, and absolute return investments across multiple sectors, industries, and asset classes. Since our inception, our competitive advantage has been grounded in a people-intensive, value-added investment approach that has enabled the firm to deliver industry-leading returns for our investors."

The President of NLNS is of Boeing (hey, didn't they give a ton of money to the Alliance?)

The Deputy Dirctor is from the Gates Foundation.

Then the board has reps from New Profit, another Bain guy, Salmon River Capital, a bunch of people from New School Ventures...

Sounds like the investors and the corporations have allied pretty will with the ed-reformers over there at NLNS.

I'm soooo surprised.

I'm also glad, because you KNOW how groups like these are reaching out to the poor and the minority communities for support...I know that the poor and the minority communities will really connect to these rich white people, and understand their message of hope.

I doubt that venture capital in search of public dollars has anything to do with the "Last Stand for Teachers Unions," it just wouldn't make sense for corporate America to go after the unions...that's just crazy talk!

seattle citizen said...

Been poking around New Schools Venture Fund, the big players behind this "Manhattan-based" (ha!) NLNS group...they evidently provide funding for "entrepreneurs" who run charters etc.

Here's a link to the "portfolio," some profit "ventures," some non-profit (but I'm sure paying a decent, non-union wage to their CEOs and others), some "real-estate management" companies (maybe cashing in on those tax credits)...overall, a bunch of entrepreneurs hoping to turn public education into an "enterprise."
Whow funds them?
Well, let's see, there's Gates, Broad....etc etc etc

This ain't about making schools better, it's about attacking the teachers and their union. Plain and simple.

seattle citizen said...

oops, here's the link:
http://newschools.org/portfolio/ventures

Here's there "investors":
The Annie E. Casey Foundation
The Aspen Institute
The Broad Foundation
CityBridge Foundation
Doris and Donald Fisher Fund
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
The Goldman Sachs Foundation
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
The James Irvine Foundation
myCFO Foundation
Noyce Foundation
Perkins Malo Hunter Foundation
Robertson Foundation
U.S. Department of Education
The Walton Family Foundation
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

Unknown said...

I agree that the language immersion/international schools should be option schools because they are unique and have limited availability within the district. I don't know much about Beacon Hill or Concord, but I've been a parent at JSIS for 10 years, and I wouldn't describe JSIS as an alternative school in philosophy or pedagogy. Teaching in another language is not alternative the way AS1, Thornton Creek, Nova or Center school are alternative.

JSIS is linked to BF Day, so if you live in the JSIS attendance area and don't want immersion, you are guaranteed a spot in BF Day.

While native speakers unquestionably add to the classroom, and in the past JSIS has had seats for ESL students, we've never had a class with half native speakers. Nonetheless, I'd say the program is successful.

I'm interested Lori's story about the Spanish/English bilingual family that was concerned about placement in the Chinese class. It is true that you are still unable to apply to "JSIS Spanish Kindergarten" of "JSIS Japanese Kindergarten" and my understanding it was an enrollment/VAX glitch. However, at the JSIS language lottery, the teachers interview any children who are bilingual (to be sure that they are bilingual, not just a parent claiming it) and if so, they are put in the appropriate class and are exempted from the lottery. I thought that the same system existed at Beacon Hill and Concord.

wsnorth said...

There should be a Chinese/Spanish immersion path in all parts of the city, and it should be an option program with strong tie breaker preference for siblings to provide a truly predictable and convenient path for families from elementary all the way through MS and HS. As so many have said, the district's approach is baffling, and - unbelievably - the NSAP made it worse! In West Seattle we have a somewhat fledgling attempt at an international elementary, but the district put it in the most inaccessible place possible - then after elementary, it would be a random lottery for access to the "International" MS and HS, unless you lived in that area. It would have been the perfect way to turn High Point (WSE) around, but nooooooo....

Melissa Westbrook said...

EmeraldKity, I'm glad you had that experience with what I would think is 1 private school. My experience is that private schools didn't want my son who has a special ed challenge. It was very disappointing and frustrating. Overall, most private schools do not offer special ed services.

Jet City mom said...

Matheia which is now in Ballard has students with learning differences.
( When my daughter was there, they had students who were deaf ( and they have teachers who know ASL), students who had ADD/OCD/& similar issues and students with more extreme challenges)

UCDS & SAAS also take kids with challenges.
( but if you stick to the big names like Bush & Lakeside- probably only if you are known in the larger community)

There are others- and it depends on the learning differences-for example while my daughter needed OT therapy, ( as diagnosed by school district professional), it was not " severe" enough to be provided by the district.

The OT attempted to teach me how to do the therapy myself- as we didn't have the money for outside provider ( ins doesn't cover it as it is considered " educational"), which didn't work so well- but her teachers at her private school were able to work a bit into her regular day- because the class sizes were so small.

It makes me want to bang my head against the wall when I hear people say that because IEP's are a legal document that kids are getting what they need in SPS.
There are people who care in SPS. The OT was great- she didn't have to take time to educate me on what might help- but her hands were tied- she couldnt' say it was more severe than the district cuttoff.
Even though the difficulties impacted her ability to function- they weren't at a crisis point.

Kinda like how we run maintenance on the buildings.

spedvocate said...

OK Emerald Kity, you must not really know many types of disabilities. FYI. Lakeside also now claims to take students with disabilities. So does Bush, look a their website, it claims not to discriminate based on disabilities. Lakeside has a "brain-lab" for learning problems. Yeah right. And UCDS, another... yeah right. Does SAAS or UCSD have any students with Down Syndrome? Do they have any non-verbal students? I know for a fact that UCDS would never even consider a student with Down Syndrome. They look kinda funny, and the other parents might think it would screw up their kid's reputations.

The question for those school is... do they accept students who are fundamentally different and may not be able to produce the standard/expected results? Do they accept that students really do gain different things from exposure to standard curriculum and membership in school? Do they understand that success means different things for different people? No, No, and more No.

Fundamentally, they might deal with a challenging student... that they picked up because they couldn't figure it out ahead of time. Or maybe they need the enrollment. Eg, wouldn't places like SAAS rather admit a student without a challenge, than one with a challenge? AND, if there were enough students without challneges, they'd surely dump the few slight problems they do have.

Sure, there might be a private school out there that has accepts some more significant disabilites. Maybe Matheia has done this. Good for them.

Jet City mom said...

OK Emerald Kity, you must not really know many types of disabilities

I realize that disability is an enormous spectrum- my family participated in studies @ CDMRC/CHDD for over 16 years.

The percentage of people in SPS/general population that have aspergers/ADD or other differences/syndromes that do not prevent them from getting an education or even advanced degree or having a professional career, is much larger than the numbers of people who have a chromosomal malformation such as Down's.

Do we even have a Down's syndrome program in Seattle Public Schools?
How about for ADD or apraxia?

Dyslexia?

Given that all public schools do not attempt to insure that all students all well served- can we fault privately funded schools for limiting their focus?

CHILD , Hamlin Robinson, Morningside are just some of the schools that serve students with disabilties better than what some families have found in SPS.

In fact my daughters SPED teacher advocated for a private school where she would have more resources-


This is from last Saturdays Times.

When their infant son's condition was diagnosed, the doctor cautioned Tom Leavitt and Darcy Goodman against exploring the condition because it would "scare the hell out" of them.
They investigated anyway and learned their son, Alex, might never speak or walk. But, 24 years later, Alex Leavitt is graduating from the University of Puget Sound.

His father, Tom, who's on the board of trustees, will hand Alex a diploma Sunday, capping a five-year journey leading to a degree in history.
"The kid who was never supposed to walk or talk, he's about to graduate from one of the fine liberal-arts colleges in the country," Tom Leavitt said last week. "I keep telling everybody it's going to be a two-handkerchief day."

During his last university class, Alex sat at the front of the room with his pen in hand as other students scribbled notes.
Alex's pen never touched paper. It's not that he doesn't need to take notes.
He can't write.
Alex said he's had a lot of help on his path toward graduation.
He attended the private Seattle Academy, worked with private tutors and used school-provided note-takers.
Alex's motor skills did not develop fully. His father remembers teaching Alex how to pour a soft drink from a can into a glass and how to hold a toothbrush.
He might not be able to pronounce a word or he might drop seven pencils in a row, but he did it all with a sense of humor, said Wanda Elder, a Seattle Academy learning specialist who knows Alex from high school.
Over time, Alex realized he might have a shot at graduating from high school. When he did, he imagined going to college.


What would have been his lot if he had stayed in SPS.
Most likely he would have a series of substitutes- given lots of dot to dot pages to pass the time- as other friend's kids have been given- would he have been identified as being able to graduate with a regular diploma let alone graduate from college?

spedvocate said...

SPS doesn't really have programs for any specific disability, as it is bad practice. It is also illegal under IDEA. (of course that has never bothered SPS) Programs most specifically are supposed to follow need, not label. So, there's no reason for it to have a specific Down Syndrome or Dyslexic program. They are dismantling the 1 disability labelled set of programs they do have, those for autism. As to those other schools:

CHILD - a maximally restricted school. Basically a dump for all the surrounding districts. Those surrounding districts dump the severely disabled students they don't want at this school on Mercer Island. You wouldnt' want your kid there, believe me. And no, it doesn't do an especially wonderful job.. you just don't get kicked out.

Morningside - a bit like all the other private schools. They don't take most disabilities, no autism, Down Syndrom, EBD, Prader Willi Syndrome, Angelman Syndrome, William Syndrome, nor any other cognitive difference. They're more for students who can't hack public schools for whatever reason.

Hard to say what would have happened to Alex in your excerpt, and it is commendable that SAAS took him on... but unfortunately, not too common either. My guess is his parents knew somebody. SPS doesn't do a lot for kids with many disabilities, but it does have to let them in the door.

Megan Mc said...

Speducate, you are wrong about Morningside. The schoolis world famous for their work with autistic children. While that is no longer the area of focus for the school I would say a big portion of their population is on the autism spectrum. When I taught there I had students with profound learning and behavior issue (neurological disorders, brain injury, hard of hearing, odd, adhd, sensory processing issues, apraxia, autism (almost nonverbal)

As for SAAS 20% of the total population is part of the learning support program and the admissions process encourages families to identify as learningb differences are scene as an important part of diveristy. That said SAAS is a college prep academy so students who apply are looking to prepare for that and the school provides accommodations and support to help them. The school typically does not accept students with severe developmental delays or cognitive impairments. The school does accommodate a wide range of learning and attentional differences.

I reccommend visiting the websites of some of these schools before you opine about what services they offer. You have made similar inaccurate statements with the alternative schools. I get that there is a lot of discrimination of sped students and especially for the severely disabled but you have to be careful about making broad statements about individual schools without first hand experience.

spedvocate said...

Hey Megan, my kids have been to and attended these schools. I assure you I haven't spoken of any school without firsthand, direct knowledge. I do know what I'm talking about. In particular, Morningside. They don't do severe, or even modereate, they don't like autism, they say so point blank, no behaviors, no cognitive problems. Well, that cuts out a lot... especially considering it is a school for the disabled. I'd say they're fairly snooty with their disabilities at this point, and would rather not even be known as taking students with disabilities at all. And that's really weird. If you didn't have a disability... you surely wouldn't want to attend Morningside. It's like they don't want to belong to a club that would have them. Sure, I can believe it might have been different at one point, I couldn't speak to that. But, these schools do provide service for some kids who aren't well served elsewhere and I give them full credit for it.

But, I'd go further than recommending a vist to their websites, people should go to the school... or better yet, apply and/or attend. Then you'll really know.

Megan Mc said...

thanks fot the update speducate and you are right that the best way to really know a school is to go and visit.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Megan and Spedvocate, now THAT's the way to handle a difference of opinion. No sneering, no namecalling, just "I know this about these schools" and "I know this about these schools because I went there".

I appreciate the maturity and calmness in this interchange. Thanks.