School Board Meeting In Progress

Michael DeBell offered thanks to all district staff from the cooks and the carpenters to the janitors, principals, central staff and Superintendents and most of all, teachers.

Packed house, high tensions (although most people are being respectful). Interestingly, an almost even number of pro and con on TFA. Good points on both sides but as has been pointed out, TFA tends to use a lot of antedotal stories rather than concrete data. La Raza, Urban League, NAACAP are all have grave concerns. One high school student who had a student teacher and regular teacher in math and said the difference was so great they dreaded the student teacher days. She said she couldn't imagine someone with no classroom experience. One lone AS#1 parent speaking up for his school. The mood of the room is largely against TFA but I still have no doubt that it will pass.

8:10.p.m. break and then the vote.

Back with CSIPS vote. Jessica de Barros belatedly tried to explain the process but a little late. Steve is trying to ask if this is just pro forma and the quality of the CSIPs. Concerns that CSIPs are guiding documents that we want them to be high quality documents and in my district aren't complete. Affirmation tonight is just that they exist to State. Jessica said they are two-year documents and living documents. Quality might not be what you expected is that they weren't updated since March. (But Dorothy points out STEM had been approved in March and yet didn't appear on the document until now.) A lot of backpedalling so good on Charlie for holding their feet to the fire.

Carr said that she doesn't doubt that this is true but she looked last night and they weren't ready. She said I can't support it and she needs to look at th evidence before she votes.

Betty asked what are we doing to support schools that are in improvement plans?

Dr. G-J said it has been developed over last 2 years and aligns to school reports. Can't type as fast as Dr. G-J talks so sorry. Flip side of school reports has what is happening. There is also an intervention matrix that I haven't seen that she is referencing. "We do have tools and supports."

Maier: I want to understand the consequences of this item. If Board doesn't make certification to State, we don't get money. (Steve and Peter are so predictable - always backing the staff.) It should have gotten done so the district knew this and thought the Board would rubber-stamp this action.

Smith-Blum: I went to website last night and see variety of them. Unfortunately, couldn't do that and I can't vote and say we have plans if they are not readily available to review. The work didn't allow the Board to do their job of oversight. Jessica: regardless of quality, are compliant with state law. They are now updated and refreshed and the leap of faith you reference is there.

Dr. G-J, I understand the concern about not reading the plans. It's not a leap of faith and plans exist. Publicly apologize for not getting them done.

Jessica - more backpedalling on why they aren't done. Deadline was Oct. 29th and they weren't readable and been fixing errors over last two weeks.

Harium - Understand what is being done here is our CAO has reviewed and looked at them and has done due diligence and is certified them and that is what this vote is about.

Michael - looked and waited for the updates but I have tracked it but haven't seen latest version. I understand the hesitation but state asks us for an assurance that the work is done. (But they haven't seen them? Michael?) We need to make sure these are thoughtful and high quality; appreciate level of concern. Encourage public to look at and if not good, voice your concerns. This is a community process (we can express our concerns AFTER you vote?)
Next year, that 90 days should not run up against the vote.

Vote: Carr voted against. All other for. Good for Sherry and shame on the rest of them. Smith-Blum did pause before agreeing so I think this was one that was against her better judgment.

Teach for America vote. (Going to hear a lot of blah,blah here. Big fun.)

Presentation by staff first! Good grief!

Enfield is going too fast and I can't keep up, sorry. She tried to pull this stuff that their current corps is more diverse BUT she didn't say the candidates SPS would get would have that same diversity. And she can't guarantee it (and I was asked, and what other options do we have? We do have.)

Maier's amendment was read. He said this was to strengthen the proposal. By this required public report, the public could assess the outcomes of this intiative.

No questions on his amendment.

Vote: Patu - no, all others aye. Passes 6-1.

Smith-Blum question on main motion: phase III hiring,concern about candidates coming in, when they would enter, would TFA overwhelm the pool.

HR person answered: timeline is negotiated with SEA and no advantage to any candidate. "Even, level playing field". We in HR would NOT know they are TFA; only principal will know. (Yes, and I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn. I'm sorry, the district isn't signing a contract and not hiring these people.) HR said same pool but no Holly Ferguson comes up and explains Phase I and II are internal candidates and Phase III is anyone who wants to apply.

Carr: FERPA issue, can Legal clarify? Compare what was originally there with what is there now.

Noel Treat: TFA could have student data and TFA could give it to third parties for PD, handling in accordance with FERPA. Feedback with people weren't "comfortable" with third parties having info. New contract prohibits this. End of contract TFA can destroy/return info (but he left off that district has to REQUEST this).

Smith-Blum : court decision?

Noel Treat: highly-qualified teacher under NCLB. 9th Circuit court of California, need to be fully qualified in state of issue. I know you received thoughtful e-mails that walked thru the WACs. It's up for each state to decide who if fully certificated. What I see in determinative factor from OSPI for compliance is written guidance, that doc states that conditional certificates are okay. (Well, let's go to court and see, shall we?) If you violate NCLB, you could lose Title One funding but substantially make mistakes. Would have to have a disproportionate number of unqualified teachers. We seem to be on safe ground. Even if 9th Circuit does apply, the Sec'y of Ed is the primary defendant in case and he stated the policy. So the Court ruled against Sec'y and full 9th Circuit court will look at this and Sec'y may take to Supreme court. Sec'y has indicated to CA that there is no change in DOE position on who they consider highly qualified. Even if his opinion is incorrect, it's very remote that anything could happen to our Title One funds.

Comments from the Board

Steve - go back to district's release of score cards. references Times' editorial and it is sobering data. As a parent, I cannot accept those outcomes. The line that divides this city and no school south has better than a 3 (and also the north edge of the city). That's where I start. No pancea, more hard work. We are working hard to try and engage the community leaders to move towards Harlem model. Challenge around how - money, coordination, etc. I look to principals for leadership and accountability. Over 90% of principals with TFA found them "helpful and useful". (Question is, were they hall monitors or teachers?) He seems to believe we will get more diversity but there is NO guarantee that will happen. SEA said no but he got an e-mail saying going forward maybe we can work this out. I welcome this in ADDITION to our work with TFA (if that is the vote). Seems to me to be a different path, to a similar place. Not to put an obligation but to give the district the opportunity to hire them. (We're paying them for the privilege of having them? Hiring them?) If principals want to look at them and willing to be accountable for "how that works", they should be able to. They need authority as well as accountability. Voting yes.

Betty - first, TFA is a wonderful organization and many corps members have done a great job. But we have laid off many great teachers who are here. I have worked with both kinds of teacher, good and bad. What is our commitment to our teachers? There is low morale. And students are graduating and going to college from SPS. We have an obligation to our teachers and stop undermining our teaching corps with support and belief in them. We have new standards and expect them to align themselves but how can we ask them of them if we don't seem to believe in them? Signing the TFA contract will tell our teachers we don't believe in them. No

Harium - lots of e-mails and blogging, looked at data and other places similar to us. Embracing TFA and results aren't quite in yet but principal reports have been positive. Important for me to explain that if we bring TFA that we disrespect other teachers who went thru traditional path. Many paths that lead to that one place, kids in individual classroom. TFA won't answer all our ills and "won't close achievement gap in our district." As a director I want as many arrows in our quiver as possible. TFA is just another arrow. Says that if we have qualified teachers they shouldn't feel TFA is a threat to them. (Again, the district is signing a contract with TFA - they will get hired.) If one classroom is changed, it's worth it. Yes.

Peter - number of communications, discussions with public (but not because you did your job and told people about this and explained it yourself). TFA is promising in area of expanding applicants of color and math and science. (Again, no guarantee that we will get any of them.)
Just expanding the pool. Peter just said it comes at "no cost to the district". (That is a complete lie and I can easily prove that.) Yes.

Carr: thank you to public for communications. definite split on this issue. Data is mixed. I don't see this as an 'either or' decision. It's about options. Referenced SEA contract. Alternative source of potential candidates. Point out that there is one source for best candidates. Employ an array of tactics. Principals will make decision that is "right" for their school. Yes

Kay: giving colleagues handout, Director Carr referred to principals being the final say in who comes in. After the 178 e-mails and from state legislators and people stopping her on the street. Went thru her principal survey (missed stats). 68% had over 100 highly qualified applicants for a position and most had between 15-25 qualified candidates. Do you want TFA? 49% said yes, 48% said no. Comments were equally mixed. She went over candidates. A shortage at some schools but that may be HR's fault for late hiring. She agrees. We need to get HR process in order and we have a wonderful new HR director. We need to get started in March, not June. TFA is simply another option. She said to TFA recruits if you don't want to be a teacher don't come to Seattle. Voting yes.

Michael - Address this issue of training. the 5 weeks seems to be a theme. Does initially seem small. Flip side is that is 5 weeks more than School Board directors (light-heartedly). Life experience is important (especially for a 22-year old). (Why do these directors believe that only young people have burning passion and idealism?) No illusions they will do great but willing to give them a chance. Helps bring them here for smaller districts.

(None of these people mentions that not ONE of them did outreach to the public. It is only thru the PUBLIC learning of this that they had to discuss it with constiuents. Shame on all of them.)

Vote - 6 for and 1 against (Betty)

So we have seen tonight - twice - the Board letting the district not do what the Board has said is important. The school reports were late and not available for review by anyone but the Board said naughty staff and voted yes. And then now, no public engagement, on a very serious issue - the teachers in our classroom.

As I said in my remarks - as you sow, so you reap. And if you sow the wind, you shall reap the whirlwind.

One good thing here - I don't have to go to any more Directors' community meetings. Totally not worth it. Anything I have to say will be via e-mail.


seattle citizen said…
I appreciate your presence at the meeting to report, and also your passionate testimony tonight.

Whether one agrees with your assertions or not, you deserve great credit for the effort you put into keeping us informed, and for your passion about our schools.

Thank you!
Anonymous said…
I was there. You were right on and brave too, Melissa. This whole thing is so damn racist, harmful to kids, insulting to teachers and infuriating due to the failure to involve the community. The board members and supe overall have some real bad karma.

sick of them all
deteechur said…
... time for the BIG RUBBER STAMP ...

because only those Ivy Leaguers and Ivy Leaguer wannabees are DEDICATED -

does that mean all us teachers will have to stop playing online scrabble and windows solitaire all day? We better file a grievance, cuz our union protects us to just serf the web all day!

Eric M said…
Nice speech, Melissa. Too bad it was like shouting into a gale.

I was at the meeting and impressed with how Teach For America markets themselves. They own the "achievement gap", they own "passionate" and "dedicated". They own the School Board.

As a 12-hour a day teacher for 25 years, I am disgusted beyond measure.

As for the SEA, their response was beyond anemic. More like a death rattle.
Unknown said…
Just got this email.

Hello all,
I have spent the past 2 weeks absorbing and challenging every possible aspect of the both the TFA contract and the implementation of how TFA candidates might be introduced into our district – to be sure we are not signing anything that would not be compliant with local or state or federal laws, implementing a hiring process of candidates that would not jeopardize our funding sources for high poverty students, compromise other highly qualified candidates chances in our job pool or in any way create a “favored” route of application for TFA candidates. I am also clear, that even if we have 20 – 25 candidates in the applicant pool – no principal or program is committed to hiring even one. I believe we have crafted a contract, as of 3pm this afternoon, that guarantees all of this..

As the eloquent speaker said tonight – we need to think first about the child in the classroom – and I believe that is what our principals do every day – at least the ones whose opinion I value in all my decision making. So after sifting thru 362 emails from constituents, responding to 6 legislators and vetting my thoughts with multiple friends, mentors, current TFA core members and current SPS teachers – I believe we have at this point, had a great deal of public engagement. Additionally, I reached out to 28 principals, mostly in our lowest performing schools. The results of that survey is attached.

The programs that currently exist are turning out many fine candidates for our SPS teacher openings. We have a HUGE challenge in our Human Resources department to create a much better system to be able to draw and capture those candidates in a timely fashion. THAT is how I will spend my efforts going forward – making sure we hold our leaders feet to the fire to create a system that is more effective in our ability to attract the best candidates AND drive more funding and support for the current programs.

But tonight I have made a decision to give the principal core, for whom I have great respect, what 50% of them have asked for – just the opportunity to have TFA candidates in their applicant mix. I trust they will make the best choice for our students in this task, just as they do in every task they have during the course of every day with our children. I am clear that those who do not feel the TFA candidates are right for their school, will not choose them. And in the rare cases where a principal feels the TFA candidate is indeed the best choice, I believe they should have that choice made available to them.

Thank you all for your attention to this issue – I have truly appreciated all of your thoughts, insights and concerns on behalf of our children.

Kay Smith-Blum
Seattle School Board Director, District 5
mirmac1 said…
Gee, Noel was doing some quick backpedaling. What happened? He finally read the decision? Oh plz, so Arne's gonna make the fast break and take it all the way to the Supreme Court. Let's see, what happened the last time SPS was at the Supreme Court? BZZZT, busing lawsuit, AAIIRBALL!

What's gonna happen in the interim? Is Arne gonna sue Randy Dorn to make sure all the non-certs are counted as full-certs? That'll raise the bar!

More of the same testimony from the whizkids. Lots of "I" statements.

As for Kay Smith-Blum, you trust your principals? Well, your principals don't trust you or MGJ. They'll be applauding with the rest of us when we see the door closing behind you.

The Board's gonna regret this one.
dan dempsey said…
Dear KS-B,

Thanks for taking the time to give a reply to some folks on your vote for TfA.

100% of Secondary principals claimed to support the adoption of the High School "Discovering Math" textbooks.

Check how that turned out.

With a highly politically charged Central Administration any expectation that principals who wish to keep their jobs will oppose MGJ seems vary naive.

-- Dan
GreyWatch said…
@ Mary - wow. can't say ksb rubber stamped that vote. i'm impressed with the process she went through to arrive at her decision.
mirmac1 said…
Holy Cow. Just read KSB's "scientific" survey. Could anyone get anymore UNDERWHELMING support for her stance?!
seattle citizen said…
Director DeBell said that this action "opens the debate" on who we bring in as teachers...Umm, forgive me, but BY this action, that debate was precluded - the debate should have happened BEFORE we hire un-certified candidates.

But oh, Noel Treat explained to us that according to Randy Dorn, for NCLB purposes conditional certs ARE certs! They're the same! Guess that debate never happened, either, or did not matter for Seattle's purposes.

I heard a lot about "the law" and "what is a cert" tonight, but nothing about ethical decision-making. The parties that petitioned the Ninth Curcuit (and won), based on the predicate that not-fully-certified is not-highly-qualified, were right: We have a certification process for a reason, and until we change it, the notion that conditional certs are full certs is obscene and Orwellian.

Bravo for Director Patu for recognizing the damage the board was doing by even entertaining the notion of TFA when we have a glut of appicants - The admin and the board, much as they deny it, have sent the message that their fully certed teachers just aren't cutting it, that they want to bring in half-certified TFA to address the acheivement gap (because, as Dr. DeBell said, we've had it for forty years and something just has to be done! Like TFA!), that the teacher corp is lacking. They've just lost most of the confidence of those they lead.

The comments made by some directors about deferring to principals: THEY can choose "the best" negates the certification process and ominously ignores the power of administration - if YOU were a principal, and the superintendent and your Director said, "here's a TFAer for your pool; hire them," you'd be hard-pressed to say no. I mean, the board and superintendent brought TFA here for a purpose: They WANT TFA in the classrooms.

Conditional certs are certs.
"Shortage" or "unusual skill" is meaningless.
Teachers don't care about students.
The achievement gap is teachers' fault.
"Black is white.
Night is day....
Teaching is dead."
An Excellent Teacher said…
Director Smith-Blum:

I thought you were wiser than the rest of nabobs on the board. I hoped that you would demonstrate some independence and leadership on this contentious TFA issue. I believed you would consider the long-term consequences of hiring Scabs to take the jobs of highly qualified, but, albeit, more expensive teachers. And yet, you have demonstrated your true colors.

You are the tool of an inflated bureaucracy with little regard for efficiency and data driven decisions. The outrage we feel towards you and your colleagues is palpable. You have demonstrated once and for all that you are not worthy of the position for which we elected you.

Don't run agin...we don't like you. Please just go away...BTW the "Principal" cover story is bogus...
Charlie Mas said…
There were three things said at this Board meeting that will be sure to transcribe and retain.

First, the absurd claim by Director Martin-Morris that he trusts the CAO and if she says that the CSIPs are there, then that is good enough for him. He said something about her doing her job. He totally doesn't get it. This vote is really about HIM doing HIS job. His job is oversight and he couldn't do his job because he couldn't confirm the presence of the CSIPs. By saying what he said, he is affirmatively declaring that he will not do his job.

Here's one I am DEFINITELY going to keep: Director Sundquist stating, in very strong language, that the school reports show such dreadful performance. He really trashed the performance of every school south of downtown. He said it was unacceptable. Let's save those words and play them back to him when he next considers the superintendent's performance.

Same for Director Carr who also characterized the school performance as unacceptable. Save those words and play them back to her at superintendent performance review time.
The First Arnold said…
The district wants to hire TfA recruits for more "diversity".

Ahhhhhhh.....didn't the district loose a Supreme Court Case over using race as a tie breaker??????

I'm not a lawyer, but this sure feels discriminatory!!!

Go get them, Dan. You can use testimony for your documents.

Melissa, you are -on about our district's attorneys.
peonypower said…
ditto on Seattle citizen's comments- you were passionate and well spoken and you called it like it is. Here here for transparency and truth. I am glad there are others who are willing to speak out for our community and our students. Elections here we come.
dan dempsey said…
So let us just say that your child has a few disabilities and is a Special Education student.

The principal of your child's school decides to hire a TfA newbie as the teacher of your SpEd child.

Really 5 weeks of training for someone that was not an education candidate as an undergraduate.

This borders on insanity ... guess I am the insane one.

As this was approved 6-1 ... I must be missing something.

If I had a child in school in this situation, those six directors would be the object of all my energies in campaign season.

Here is all the recall paper work.
The District responded with two .pdf
today. Recall Sufficiency hearing at 3:00 PM Thursday.
dan dempsey said…
An update on the SAO Seattle Audit office. The SAO and the AG will NOT act on anything currently in litigation.

My MGJ alleged forgery complaint can not be handled as NTN is in litigation and the MGJ memo mess is part of that.

That NTN appeal will be done in three months or less I hope.

Then back to the SAO and the AG on the MGJ alleged forgery.

Something substantial must be done to stop .... 6-1 approvals of actions opposed by 90% of the community.

WOW what was MGJ thinking she did not need to misrepresent documents in constructing the NTN Action Report. Her Board will approve anything. OK sometimes only 4-3 but good enough.
mad said…
does anyone have melissa's speech on video to link here? it was awesome. i want to rewatch when i need to get my anger out at them!
The First Arnold said…
From Steve Sundquist:

"We are working hard to try and engage the community leaders to move towards Harlem model"

So there you go.
karyn king said…
"But oh, Noel Treat explained to us that according to Randy Dorn, for NCLB purposes conditional certs ARE certs!"
I'm so sad. According to the Seattle School Board, teaching is no longer a profession. I am no longer a professional educator. Our town no longer wants professional educators. Amateurs can do the job better with just five weeks of training! By allowing TFA, they have said college grads with no experience with children are qualified to teach our city's children - but only those students who are most at risk!
Being highly qualified doesn't matter any more. The superintendent can designate anyone as someone with “unusual skills.” These trainees are "certified" because of their claim (disproven by the data) that they can raise achievement. My job can be done by a privileged 22-year old with 5, count ‘em – FIVE weeks of training.Oh, I forgot - if you've been to school, you can teach! So if you've never done anything BUT attend school, and the more recently you've been there, the better teacher you'll be!
Why is the Board doing everything possible to demoralize its teaching corps?
I am sad and angry.
But there is solace in knowing I will be with my students tomorrow, making sure they all know and believe they can succeed.
dan dempsey said…
Here is how to crush the District on appeal.

For an appellant, a parent with a Special Ed Child in a Low Income school, make the challenge on the basis of a newbie TfA Teacher being that child's teacher.

Highly Qualified to teach special education really !!!! How can that be?

We certainly can see that all the Board talk about "teacher quality" and "highly qualified instructors wanted" is just total BS.

Are there any parents with a SpEd kid in a low-income school that would like to be an appellant?
dan dempsey said…
Steve Sundquist where are you going to find the $25,000+ per student per year to implement the Harlem model?

Has Steve really looked at all the data surrounding the Harlem model?

Reality calling Steve ... come in Steve.
An Excellent Teacher said…
The Harlem Model?!? Sundquist is truly a Nabob! That has got to be the most ignorant statement I have heard in years. Rainier Beach is not Harlem! West Seattle is not Harlem! The Central District is not Harlem!

Harlem is Harlem.

Seattle is an affluent city swimming in self-important, bloated, bureaucracies. The inefficiencies at all levels of school administration and facilities would be comical if they weren't so sad.

It's time for an expose' on the "Real Seattle School System." We need to expose these BS-ers for the frauds they really are.

Wow...Harlem?!? Has Sundquist been to the real Harlem?

wseadawg said…
Don't be too hard on KSB folks. At least she did SOME thinking on the subject. Most Board members just go with whatever staff says, rarely asking questions except leading questions to help staff make their case.

I have faith in K. I may not like, or agree with her decision, but I won't toss her under the bus. I think she operates in good faith.

Sundquist, on the other hand? Wow! What "if money is no object" world is he doing his thinking in? Harlem=Seattle. Seattle=Orcas Island. (I guess. I mean they both have trees and saltwater, right?)
wseadawg said…
And frankly, as long as Wall Street can put a smiley face on itself by giving money to folks like Geoffrey Canada, they'll continue to do it for the positive PR that they badly need.

Call me cynical. I'd have to agree.
curious said…
i am with wseadawg. i don't always agree with ksb, but she always responds fully to all of my emails and questions, she always gets back to me with information, she gets questions answered, and i do think she tries to do her homework. i think she tries to hold the district accountable in ways her fellow board members do not. i don't agree with her vote, but she appears to be the only one who attempted to do any real homework on the matter. i would rather have her on the board than those others, who are useless.
Anonymous said…
I would say that the board members have remained clueless about what is happening nationally and how that pertains to what is happening in Seattle.

It is as if they choose to remain ignorant.

The mayor in Chicago is saying that Arne Duncan's/Broad's idea of ed reform is not working in Chicago, Rhee being voted out of DC and Sacramento saying "No!" to TFA and anything Broad says that the neo-liberal notion of ed-reform is not working.

Unfortunately, because the board members are not tracking what is happening nationally, almost in a willful fashion, it means that they will of course follow what the supe skillfully minds for them to do.

There are two options. Vote the school board members out, which is a fine option and/or go for a lawsuit, something that most school board members would hate to go through.

Stay tuned on Seattle Education 2010.
Anonymous said…
"Are there any parents with a SpEd kid in a low-income school that would like to be an appellant?"

Let's find one.
Anonymous said…
"We are working hard to try and engage the community leaders to move towards Harlem model" by Sundquist.

What a stupid thing to say.

The Harlem School Zone model cost millions of dollars every year provided by hedge fund managers to stay afloat. This money goes to "wrap around services" including family counseling, health services, clothing, food and whatever else is necessary to support the family of a poverty stricken and struggling student.

Seattle will either need 1098 to pass next time around or another "mysterious donor" who is willing to provide hundreds of millions of dollars for this plan to succeed in Seattle.

I have lost patience at this point with the stupidity and ignorance of these board members.
Anonymous said…
I have come to the conclusion based on my own experience in testifying in front of this school board, that most of the members during testimony look at the screens of their laptops while parents like myself, teachers and students try to share information about the item that is on the table.

The only way that these school board members will pay attention with what we have to say is through elections or lawsuits.
curious said…
Someone told me this evening that title 1 schools do not have full control of their phase 3 hiring. You know how they kept saying that it would just be TFA and regular teachers equally in the pool and the principal, on site, deciding? Is this true? Is it different for a title 1 school? Does the Super/district/etc have some different level of control over who gets hired? If so, how does that work? And why wasn't that brought up? Or was I misinformed?
Central Mom said…
Ditto support for ksb despite disagreeing with her vote. Was appalled that DeBell seemed shocked that she went out and polled a constituency (principals) who in her view had the bottom-line decision here. DeBell even mumbled something like "never seen this type of matrix handout" at a board vote decision point before. Really? Why not? Aren't we all about "data driven" these days? from what I can see, not one other board member attempted to glean info methodically (although at least they all seemed to be reading their mail, which sadly is an improvement over Boards of the recent past).
Central Mom said…
Curious: I believe you are asking about the 3rd slide in Dr. Enfield's TFA presentation tonight. It went by REALLY fast, but not so fast that bells didn't go off for me. So I went back and grabbed the text for all to see/discuss.

Full text of slide:

Phase III hiring starts at different times:

School Improvement Grant (SIG) schools (3) go immediately into Phase III, skipping I & II

Per the teacher contract, Level 1 schools start in Phase I and move to Phase III, skipping Phase II

All other schools start in Phase I, move to Phase II and end in Phase III

Therefore the Phase III process starts earlier for SIG & Level 1 schools
Anonymous said…
This probably needs a new thread but there's a budget survey up now at
apparently "Important Business operations and procedures that are compliant with state and federal guidelines" are somewhat optional as they are something you can rank in importance.

i am suspicious, too. look at our contract article viii, section 2, item g. it defines 'displaced teachers' as 'new recruits who have a contract' but no position. These new recruits are part of phase I. All they have to do is give 20-25 tfa 'teachers' a contract and they become 'displaced' 'new recruits.'

barn door wide open.
Unknown said…
I am heartened that Director Patu addressed the issue of undermining staff and the low morale that results from that. It is not often that anyone explicitly recognizes that teachers who are continuously told that we aren't closing a 4 or 5 grade level achievement gap all on our own can somehow do our best most creative and engaging work in a hostile environment. Support comes from a baseline of respect and this 6-1 decision is not respectful of dedicated teachers.

You do not send the worst trained, most raw, and inexperienced cadre of teachers to address the most complicated and challenging battle you have...and pay a $4,000 premium to do it. This is domestic outsourcing. I think SEA should take a cue from that. Every fully qualified teacher that SPS hires that is represented by SEA will require SPS to pay $8,000 per person for a premium due to our training, proven enthusiasm, achievement gap closing skills, and overall excellence because OUR students go to college and careers on a regular basis. Every year. Every School.
Anonymous said…
What exactly is phase 3 hiring? Who will get to hire these TFA'ers?

Inquiring Mind
dan dempsey said…
I believe that this TfA approval reveals how little the 6 directors who voted to approve TfA know about teaching and learning.

As someone who started teaching in 1968 with no student teaching but far more training than the TfA newbies will have, I say that the idea of completing all of the work for certification and/or a Masters in two years borders on "Insanity" given the situation they will find themselves in especially year one.

The vast majority of beginning teachers need more time to learn about the real job, their students, and their surroundings but NOT MORE outside school CLASSES and TRAINING unless I suppose they have had only 5 weeks of training.

Most studies I've read advocate for a minimum of other demands on teachers.

The teachers I know who begin a Masters program scheduled to be completed in three years make sure not to take on additional duties and often do not do very many new things in their classrooms during that three years.

I as a director could never say ... oh if the principal and hiring committee want a TfA newbie that is just fine with me.

I would not put parents in the position of having newbies on Board when fully credentialed teachers are available.

In my situation in 1968 ... I was the only applicant for the Job.

I also witnessed significant improvement on standardized tests scores.

Note these were 1968 Idaho kids from very stable rural families with lots of community support for education both at home and in the community. Economically poor as wheat was $1.25 a bushel but all with extensive connections to the welfare of each other and the community.

I think that the Superintendent, CAO, Board, OSPI, WSEA, and the SEA all had a hand in creating this absurd TfA situation.

Ain't that the leadership we see far too often....

Thanks Director Patu !!!
Your experience with teachers, classrooms, students and instruction in southeast schools is certainly evident.
curious said…
well, i thought this person was saying that the school principal and school did not get to make the final hiring decision about who to hire-- that maybe someone else (someone more inclined to hire a TFA applicant) had some say. i didn't know anything about that and had never heard that, so wanted to ask here.
gavroche said…
This Board is a waste of our time. Puppets on a string.
dan dempsey said…
The entire program of TEAM MGJ is built as a house of cards. It seems the Board is the only group that hasn't notice the wind.

TfA is yet another momentary distraction away from MGJ's repeated failures.

Consider MGJ's favored answer to every instructional problem "Differentiated Instruction":

Does Differentiated Instruction Work?

In a recent Education Week commentary piece, When Pedagogic Fads Trump Priorities education consultant Mike Schmoker argued that, despite the claims of its adherents, in practice differentiated instruction tends to "complicate teachers' work" and "dumb down instruction". Nor, he added, is it supported by empirical research.

In a response published this week, Carol Ann Tomlinson, often cited as the "architect" of differentiated instruction, charges that Schmoker mischaracterizes "the basic tenets of the model he is criticizing." In fact, she says, when "implemented with fidelity"—that is, when grounded in instructional best-practices, rigorous goals, small-group instruction, formative assessment, student engagement, and strong student-teacher connections—differentiated instruction is an effective pedagogical method that is well-supported by research from numerous fields.

What's the Seattle view? Does differentiated instruction work in Seattle's classroom?
Check the data in regard to improvement of test scores.
Check the nature of learning in the classroom.
How is the skill of gramatically correct persuasive writing using logical arguments and facts going?

How difficult is the "differentiation" progressing in practice? How is the tossing of most students no matter how poorly prepared in Algebra one at ninth grade entry progressing.

What challenges or opportunities does Differentiated Instruction present for your child?

Please share your experiences, observations, and thoughts.
Anonymous said…
Listen, people:

Martin-Morris, Carr, Sundquist, and Maier are up for re-election in 2011. If they are to be defeated, or at least given a run for their money, we had better start recruiting candidates and RAISING MONEY right now.

Did I say raising money? Let me repeat that. We will need to raise a LOT OF MONEY to beat these people at the polls, because we know who will be financing the incumbents.

We know that money should be going to help our kids' schools. But this is the reality of campaigning. We know also that we will need to recruit candidates with whom (channeling my inner Bob Murphy here) smug Seattle yuppie parents will "feel comfortable" with.

That means no "bomb throwers," and no "Dirty F(*) Hippies," no matter how much they know. Love ya, Dan and Charlie, but you had your chances and the voters weren't buying what you were selling. No more Sally Sorianos, OK?

It means power suits, management-speak, Powerpoint presentations, and all the buzzwords. It means talking about efficiency, innovation, "doing it better." We can beat them at this game, because the MGJ regime has been a manifest failure. We have to mention the audit every other sentence.

Teachers and their supporters should join their Democratic Legislative District organizations and pack their meetings. School directors will begin to show up there in February, sucking up to party activists for their endorsements.

If we can't find credible opponents, we can deny them endorsements, and make that very public. I assure you, this is not trivial.

It means an far more active, aggressive, litigious, and PUBLICLY VOCAL SEA leadership, This behind-the-scenes stuff will not cut it anymore. Teachers have allies, and they should use them.

It means that every parent who reads this should organize other parents at their respective schools and lay down the word to their principals: No scabs at OUR school! Period!

More to come.
Ivan Weiss
Proud father of Salmon Bay and Hale graduate, now at UW on full scholarship. Friend of teachers and their students.
Dear Dan Dempsey said…
Dear Dan Dempsey,

I was that first year Special Education Teacher and my parents and students felt damn lucky I arrived. Their previous and "highly qualified", well-trained, special education teacher was an "inclusion" teacher that never stepped foot in his student’s gen ed. classrooms. He left after one year out of frustration with the system and a desire to find a more comfortable position in a higher-income district. (Sound familiar?)

My students’ lower-grade special education teacher before me, my tenured, "mentor teacher", decreased all of my students' minutes on their IEPs, assigned as many of them to paraprofessionals that she did not train or prepare, or lumped them into "consultation" minutes which actually meant nothing but coffee with regular ed. teachers in the lunch room. She did this so that she could have Fridays off.

By the time I arrived, her former students (my caseload) were more than 5 years behind in basic reading and math skills. 5 Years. This was not because they were unable (although many people in the field may associate disabled with unable...). Over the next two years, I worked relentlessly to catch up my students and they made more than 3 years of progress in basic skills and non-cognitive skills also to help them advocate for themselves in their gen ed. inclusion classes.

I had far more than "just 5 weeks" of training in educational experiences--just like so many of TFA's corps members do. I know it's threatening for certification programs to do the job in less time. But you can't guarantee traditional programs to prepare anyone for experiences that we encounter either. The difference is--I was selected because I had a vast amount of knowledge and experience working with students and adults with disabilities, and I had a track record of persistence in the face of insurmountable obstacles. And I got the job done.

It doesn't have to be about either-or. TFA can't do this without all of the amazing veteran teachers that already work here. It's about partnerships and a common goal. You can choose whether or not you want to fragment schools even further. When TFA teachers enter your schools, you have the power to help them impact their classrooms or choose to be another barrier we have to overcome for our students' best interests.

Sincerely Offended,
Your neighbor.
wseadawg said…
Ivan's right. Take note of what he says folks.
Lori said…
I've seen a post here and on another thread suggesting that the principals who talked with KSB didn't speak truthfully about TfA due to fear or pressure from the Superintendent. But that seems like speculation. KSB said 50% of the principals wanted a TfA option. That means 50% did NOT, and those principals apparently were not afraid to speak counter to their boss. Also, did KSB's handout "name names" and identify the principals, or is she keeping the names and opinions confidential, which is what I would assume to be the case.

My point is that I don't think we have enough information to conclude that principals felt coerced to give a pro-TfA opinion to KSB. I'm willing to accept that some of the principals in her sample truly believe TfA might be an option at their school. Unless KSB had MGJ with her during these talks, or tape-recorded the talks, or made the principals' name and opinions part of the public record, it seems safe to conclude that they gave KSB honest opinions. Please tell me if I'm missing something.
Anonymous said…
Dear 'Your Neighbor'

While I salute your dedication I offer that the correct, systematic solution to the situation you describe, and this is certainly spelled out in the new teacher's contract, is for parents to complain, staff to complain, students to complain, and the principal + ed director to first give support to that teacher and secondarily to remove that teacher.
A new teacher would come from our talented corps of certificated Seattle teachers.

Your personal story is compelling, but it doesn't address how a large system methodically betters itself...which is through consistent and driven evaluative process.

PS: Here in Seattle we do NOT have tenured teachers. Perhaps you were somewhere else. But tenure is a loaded word in Ed Reform and it unfairly casts the SEA as anti-progressive in its approach to teaching.

And no, I am not an SEA member.

Dorothy Neville said…
Kay's spreadsheet does not name names, just says which schools she polled. During break, Kay said to me that she doesn't think we will end up with any TfA folk because principals have final say on hiring and there really doesn't seem to be a need. She made it seem (as least the way I heard it) more like half the principals have an open mind, not that they are actively counting the days til they can interview a TfAer. She's convinced that MGJ won't twist anyone's arm. Now, one can agree or disagree with her conclusions, but you gotta admit that she did her research and is basing her conclusions on more than whim.

I was most shocked that our highly touted new HR manager who is supposed to fix an incredibly broken HR department (actually, Maria and co have been "fixing" HR for years as part of the strategic plan, evidently that's going as well as the SE Initiative) could not answer a question about the hiring phases.

Look, Seattle is going to be very attractive to TfA corps because of all the other reasons people want to come here. Climate, environment, etc. Plus the TfA gigs here are going to be way easier than the ones we read about, in some truly broken areas of the country. So tons of their applicants are going to want to apply. However, if their sneaky --I mean strategic-- organization is listening, they will only send first gen college grads of color who are math and science whizzes. Time will tell.
StopTFA said…
Any WS Elementary parents who are mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore, contact me at
Dorothy Neville said…
Dear Your Neighbor,

I do appreciate that you were able to walk into a challenging situation and improve the story for those kids. I am not clear on your point though. For the situation to have gotten so bad at that school, clearly, the principal was not doing his or her job. The teacher before you, the one who never stepped into gen ed? So did he get frustrated because he was trying to change things and was thwarted or did he leave because he didn't care a hoot about disabled kids and was putting in time to gain seniority. You gave both those reasons for him leaving, but they contradict each other.

Clearly the teachers at the school where you taught were not amazing, from your description. But you seem to acknowledge that Seattle teachers are?

How many Special Ed teachers view disabled=unabled? Over the course of the last 50 years over all of the USA, I would agree that the answer is probably quite a few. But how many here in Seattle in 2010? If there are a few dinosaurs with that attitude, then that should be addressed by principals, Ed Directors, Special Ed director and the superintendent. What roll does a TfA recruit have in getting rid of them? If the principal and on up have not taken the effort to identify, remediate or remove the dinosaur before TfA, why will having TfA applicants available do the trick? That might be the case when there are not any other applicants for the job, but that doesn't seem to be the case right here, right now.

I do agree that it should all be about partnerships. So how is TfA coming in without proper community engagement, with a hush hush donor providing funds a partnership? How is having TfA recruits coming in with their own separate PD, with their own lesson plans, with their own mentoring (yet still requiring mentoring from the amazing veterans) being a good partner?
Dorothy Neville said…
No matter how wonderful TfA would or could be (and I am dubious) my main point is still that we are in a different sort of crisis, with significant funding shortfall, with the teachers voicing strong no-confidence in management, in management continuing with new initiatives while not handling their existing obligations very well at all (witness the audit). Piling on new ideas instead of working on existing issues just does not make sense. If Central Admin really has become barebones, then how in the world are we going to handle the increased administrative obligations of complying with the TfA recruits?

Melissa's version of my analogy was good, but my original one spoke to the chaos that is Central and their plans for fixing the budget deficit. Since they claim Central has been cut to the bone, they simply cannot comply with all the state regulations for paperwork, documentation, or perhaps other state regulations. So they are lobbying legislature to relax their obligations, in light of reduced funding.

That's like your kid saying to you, my life has gotten really challenging right now with school, so I do not have time for my chores. But while lobbying you to accept that, your kid goes out and joins a soccer team. What about meeting your primary obligations first?

As several of the board members said (as well as Lynn Varner in her editorial) they really don't expect miracles, they don't expect the TfA corps to close the gap. They just want to increase the pool of applicants. Does that make sense?
Lori, have you met Dr. G-J? Seen her work? If you don't think the word will go out to principals in the high poverty schools who the TFA candidates are and that - ahem - the district has a contract with TFA, you'd be wrong.

I didn't see Kay's matrix but I doubt it names names. That's probably why principals felt secure in say yea or nay.

I would agree with Dorothy to Neighbor. Be fair. How do you think it feels from this side that no one up the food chain felt it important to tell the community at large and parents in specific about TFA? How is that building partnerships?
Kathy said…
Your Neighbor,

"TFA can't do this without all of the amazing veteran teachers that already work here. It's about partnerships"

Wonderful. Every teacher should enjoy the support of a wonderful veteran SPS teacher- on the district's dime. Doesn't happen.

Yet, for the past 2 years STAR has been unfunded. Guess our teachers don't need support.

Why does the district fund TfA mentors while leaving our teachers without support?

The district threw new programs at our teachers i.e. Every Day Math, readers workshop..while eliminating reading and math specialists. Yet, we better fund TfA mentorship programs. Nice.
mirmac1 said…
Sundquist hasn't been to Harlem, but he saw "Shaft" once!
StopTFA said…
I may know someone with a special needs child who is more courageous than most. I will call her. Meanwhile, everyone else contact me.
Mr. Edelman said…
I agree with Ivan. You want to change things? Organize. Volunteer on some campaigns. Knock on doors. Let's drive these people out of office and send Goodloe-Johnson packing.
mirmac1 said…
Central Mom,
If not on Powerpoint, does not compute for DeBelle
mirmac1 said…
Ok, who's appealing this one? The line starts here.
mirmac1 said…

As a parent of a child in SpeCEd inclusion, I'm sincerely offended that you try to depict highly qualified special educators as lazy bastards looking forward to the next bagel break. My daughter wouldn't be at the level she is now without their knowledge and caring. This goddamn District under this worthless Superintendent has dismantled inclusion services so that innocent children are now set up to fail and get shunted off to self-contained.

Sorry, 5 weeks is not good enough no matter what spin one wants to put on it.
Anonymous said…
Well Mirmac, there certainly are special education teachers like the one "neighbor" describes. There are inclusion teachers that refuse to step into classrooms. I know some of them. But you are right, students still deserve credentialed teachers. Neighbor didn't mention his/her own credentials. But he/she does seem to portray a good working attitude towards those with disabiliites.

sped parent
mirmac1 said…
Sped parent,

I know you know that we can ill afford having our few remaining special education teachers "mentoring" minimally trained teachers when our own children go for weeks without intervention or support. How much more of our "tight budgets" must we spend for on-the-job training for these inexperienced teachers? That's how student teachers and teacher's assistants learn at no cost to us.

In order to comply with NCLB 1)non highly qualified teachers should not even be hired if a fully certified HQ teacher is available (WS Elem there were 800 applicants for an open position); 2) barring that, these non HQTs will require a Teacher improvement plan, inform parents, provide assistance, use Title IIA funds for training.

Doesn't our district have enough unfufilled responsibilities? Don't our children have to make do with too little?

Frankly, it stinks.
Kathy said…
Does anyone know the cost for veteran SPS teachers to mentor TfA recruits?

So, the distrtict is paying TfA salary + mentorship. Would love to know.

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