What the Superintendent wants to talk about

In a recent Seattle Times interview, Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson said:
"We don't have charter schools. So let's put that over there, and let's talk about something else. How about kids being successful, how about kids being challenged? How about providing interventions to close the achievement gap?"
Okay. Let's talk about those things.

How about kids being successful and challenged? Under Dr. Goodloe-Johnson's administration, what changes have we seen? On the good side we have seen more AP classes in the high schools that didn't have many before. We have certainly seen more students taking AP classes. That's in the high schools. What have we seen in K-8? More schools have been designated as ALOs, but there is no quality assurance so we don't know if there is anything there beyond the official designation. That's particularly true with Spectrum programs.

Is there really a Spectrum program at Aki Kurose? In 2008-2009 there were two Spectrum students there. Two. And those two were in the 8th grade that year. They both graduated. That's the latest data available. It is very possible that there were zero Spectrum students at Aki Kurose this past year and it is very likely that there will be none there in the coming year. How, exactly, can anyone say that the school has a Spectrum program? What's the story at other designated Spectrum sites?

And why isn't there adequate Spectrum capacity in the north-end? Why didn't capacity management right-size the capacity of those programs to meet the demand?

APP is not improved. She has not kept her commitments to the students in that program.

Challenge isn't just for students in the advanced learning programs. What about teachers' ability to differentiate instruction in general education classes to provide more challenge or accelerate. It isn't clear how that is possible within the vertical alignment and the fidelity of implementation mandates. Even if the District staff claim it is possible, the message coming to teachers seems to be "Don't do it."

How about providing interventions to close the academic achievement gap? I'm not seeing them. Instead of providing interventions to the students who need help, I'm seeing the District send coaches to work with the teachers. Is there anyone who is seeing something else? What supports has the Superintendent introduced for students working below grade level? Where the superintendent's plans are more developed, in math and at the high schools, I see a refusal to provide any classes simpler than algebra. Are you seeing something else? Honestly, I just not seeing the interventions that she says she wants to talk about, and I'm really not seeing them K-8.


Stu said…
"She says the reforms she's pursuing should start to show results in the next year" - The Seattle Times

Wouldn't it be nice to quantify what SHE considers results? Since she's all about accountability, she can then be accountable at the end of next year.

Anonymous said…
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Unknown said…
Is there anyone who is seeing something else?

At Loyal Heights Elem, we have a new program ("Walk to Math") where students above grade level will work with a out-of-classroom math specialist during math time. While this does not specifically address kids working below grade level, the teacher has a smaller class size during math class. In theory, this will improve instruction for all students.

Why we couldn't just have smaller class sizes overall and a math curriculum that allows differentiation, I don't know.
whittier07 said…
Blumhagn - that's so interesting ... we've been trying to get a "walk to math" system started at Whittier but there is push back from staff and the feeling that kids would be then have a label ... "good at math" vs. "bad at math".

Was this started by staff, principal or district??
Anonymous said…
Teachermom - can't log in.....

The "walk to math" or "walk to reading" that I know about involves the entire school teaching math or reading at the same time, and all of the students go to the room that is teaching at their level.

The description of the Loyal Heights program seems more like ALO pull-out.

Yep, the entire staff needs to buy in. And the all-school program being used has to be high quality and linear, with clear assessment. I think it could be the answer to all of the differentiation headaches.
Anonymous said…
I believe atleast half the cost of "Walk to Math" at Loyal Heights is being paid for by PTA.
Unknown said…
Whittier07--I don't know for sure who started the LH Walk To Math program. I'll ask. The PTA does provide quite a bit of money for this, with a dedicated line item for donations at the fundraising auction.
Dorothy Neville said…
At the math work session recently, the staff (Enfield, dela Fuente and Thompson) said that they did not like walk-to-math and that research shows it is not effective and harmful. In particular, there's a lack of accountability, since no one teacher has "ownership" of any particular student. Instead, they love teaching teachers how to manage group activities, and suggest varying the groups, sometimes by ability level, sometimes mixed, so that there's a solid student in each group to teach the others.

(please note, I am just commenting on what they said at this work session, please do not assume I agree.)
Sahila said…
Something going on with Blogger... some of us are having problems with our posts appearing and disappearing - been going on for three days now. And I've had weird google error notices immediately after hitting 'publish' saying something to the effect that the comment URL is too long...

Lets see if this one sticks...

Sent to the Board last night (sorry, no time to convert to live links):

Board members:

For your information, here are where things are at with the various no confidence in Dr Goodloe-Johnson votes:

1: So far, 12 school staffs (independently of the SEA) have voted no confidence in the Superintendent...

Those schools are: Ballard, Franklin, & West Seattle High Schools, Adams, Schmitz Park, Sanislo, Laurelhurst, Maple, Green Lake & John Rogers (signature #340 community declaration) Elemenatries, Orca K-8 and Ida B Wells.

2: The SEA has recommended to the Board that they not extend MGJ's contract; they are waiting till fall to decide on a union-endorsed vote of no confidence.

3: 78% of people voting on a straw poll conducted by the Queen Anne & Magnolia News Online think MGJ is doing a poor job... See here:


4: The majority of the 627 respondents to the CPPS survey were critical of MGJ... see here:


and see here for the comments on the survey from the SSS blog:

5: 379 people from a good cross section of SPS schools have signed the Community Declaration of No Confidence... see here for their names, zip codes, school affiliations and comments:


6: And you could also go read the comments people posted to the recent (multiple) Seattle Times editorials praising MGJ's performance - hardly a kind word about either Lynn Varner's uninformed, error-filled formulaic
writing or about MGJ's management "skill"... and there was an article by Linda Shaw in the Times yesterday, that also did the "rah, rah, rah for MGJ" chant, and it too drew a lot of negative comment.

Do you really want to ignore this widespread community dissatisfaction, to shrug it off as nothing major worth worrying about, considering, acting on?

7: And now we have:
Schedule of Audit Findings and Responses, Seattle School District No. 1, King County June 21, 2010

The latest State Auditors Report of the Seattle Public School District finds the Superintendent and Board
(yet again - three years running now) woefully lacking in managing the finances, assets and resources of the District responsibly... in many cases acting on the wrong side of the law...

see here:

In any other business, Maria Goodloe Johnson would have been fired for gross incompetence...

According to a Board member I spoke with a month or so ago, the Board had discussed the possibility of firing MGJ, or buying out her contract at a cost of $750K, but had decided that in these tight budgetary times, that move would be seen as 'fiscally irresponsible'.

Well, in any business with which I consult, KEEPING such an incompetent employee (who, by the way, is paid more than the governor of this state) who has cost the firm so much money ($48M and counting) would be considered fiscally irresponsible...

There comes a time when one has to cut one's losses, and now is the time for you, the Board to listen to your constituents and free yourselves and us from the losses that are embodied by MGJ - loss of trust, loss of confidence, loss of competence, financial losses, educational losses, loss of the best possible future for many SPS children and their families...

Please fire her - we can and must do better for our children...
Maureen said…
Dorothy said: please do not assume I agree

Oh that made me laugh!

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