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Friday, December 17, 2010

Open Thread Friday

So no more meetings for awhile. Time for me to do some serious reading and writing (not that what I write here isn't serious). However, I am going to be writing to an audience of elected folks and you know you have to get it right for them to listen.

I tell people that a blog is a beast that has to be fed to keep people interested. So we can talk about what we read, about what is coming and ideas for the new year.

Shout out to Cleveland: They are having a student poetry reading tonight at Cleveland at 6 p.m. with food and drink to be served. The title is "A Better Tomorrow Today: Our Revolution."

What's on your mind?

85 comments:

Curious said...

Someone made reference to a MAP score being needed to stay in honors math - Anyone have more details on this?

Maureen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maureen said...

I was at the Operations Committee meeting yesterday. They were addressing (among other things) the Transportation Service Standards for '11-'12 which they want to have updated in time for the NSAP transition vote in January.

K-8s had asked them to vet out the possibility of extending their transportation grandfathering. Tom Bishop brought the numbers. It would cost about $300K per year (mostly for TOPS and Orca), which is pretty much the same amount they saved by moving the K-8s to Tier 1. That's why it netted out zero when they did the math last year. This year, however, they aren't counting the tier change savings, so it looks like a net cost. Maier and Sundquist (standing in for Patu) voted against. Smith Blum abstained (she really tried to push for a solution,I give her credit.)

Unfortunately, they didn't ask to see the numbers for switching K-8s (or at least alts) to all community stops (including in their service area), which is what TOPS, at least, was proposing. We still have some hope that those numbers might be run before the final vote.

The underlying theme was that there is no money.

There seems to be a proposal on the table that will impact many K-5 students who are not at their neighborhood school. I'm not sure how likely this is to happen for next year, but it is out there. They are looking at restricting busing to an area outside of the schools' walk zones and inside of a 1.25 mile radius and inside the MS attendance area. (Think of a doughnut that might have an irregular chunk out of an edge.)

This will be a major change because they have been busing kids from one end of a MS service area to the other, even under the NSAP.

The hope is that it will save money, but also improve service to the neighborhood schools.

There was quite a bit of concern expressed (by Maier especially) that time is so short (especially over the holidays) that they won't be able to get community engagement on this. I didn't get the sense that they decided what to do about that, but they are definitely gathering numbers to see what the impact will be (Tracy Libros is counting up the number of kids impacted for instance.).

Just thought I should get that out there so people can talk to Maier/Sundquist/Smith Blum if they are concerned. There were a few other audience members who might be able to chime in here.

StopTFA said...

Seattle Parents and Community Groups will today file a lawsuit to stop the Seattle Public School District from bringing Teach for America recruits to the city's most disadvantaged children.

Appellants argue that the School Board's vote to allow Teach for America recruits in the District's lowest performing schools violates federal law, in that minority, high poverty children will not be given equal access to "highly qualified" teachers.

Appellants also argue that the School Board, knowing this, then violated Washington law by voting to approve the introduction of Teach for America recruits into city schools.

The law suit will be filed at the King Country Courthouse at 11am, Friday 17th December 2010.

Teach for America, Incorporated (TFA) seeks to create an alternative certification pathway program and placements for its recruits in the Puget Sound Region.

When a TFA intern is placed in a school as teacher of record, the individual is also concurrently enrolled in a teacher preparation program.

The expectation is that this individual will be issued a limited conditional certificate, and work for two years as a teacher of record while they make progress on a two-year teacher preparation program. These teachers will not qualify for a full State certificate until completion of the program

SPS seeks to place TFA teachers in high-poverty schools that receive Title I funds. No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation requires that all teachers in Title I schools be "highly qualified" and hold full State certification.

A recent Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling found that teacher interns without a full State certificate are not "highly qualified" under NCLB. The Court invalidated the U.S. Department of Education regulation that conflicted with the "plain language" Congress included in NCLB. The Court held that high-poverty children in Title I schools were harmed by the disproportionate share of inexperienced novice teachers.

The Seattle Public School Board was informed of the ruling before its vote, but elected to approve the Teach For America contract regardless.

In so far as the approval of the PSA will, if implemented, lead to a violation of NCLB, the Board has approved a policy that is in conflict with law. To approve a policy that is in conflict with law is a direct violation of subsection 1(a) of RCW 28A.320.015

Anonymous said...

I'm not following the proposed changes in Transportation - are you saying there would be no bus service for a student attending a school that's not their neighborhood school?

Curious George said...

For those filing lawsuits, could you please post the case number so that those of us with an interest in the litigation can follow its progress and obtain copies of the pleadings?

Maureen said...

Anon at 9:33, you need a name or your comment will be deleted.

From what I could tell, kids could be bused to a school that is not their 'neighborhood school' only if they lived inside the 1.25 mile circle around the school they do attend. So no bus from Broadview Thompson to Adams, but probably a bus from at least some part of Loyal Heights and Whittier to Adams (sorry, I'm not sure about the distances between these schools so could be wrong.)--Note, not from West Woodland because WW is in the Hamilton service area and Adams is in Whitman's.

Note an interesting impact: Van Asselt and Wing Luke are practically across the street from each other, but their transportation doughnuts wouldn't intersect because they are in different MS service areas.

keith@fixbassoon.com said...

Dear Blog community,

I am involved in the NE area schools performing arts community. We have many parents, teachers and community members who are trying to get involved in the process of decision-making concerning the SPS. Great ideas, talent and resources are waiting for the opportunity to contribute to the education of the next generations.

This blog is a fantastic resource. It helps me politically navigate, maybe just understand, the SPS. All of you that contribute have my respect and gratitude.

As new parents are entering this new school landscape they are overwhelmed by the difficulties within the political structure. This blog could help us navigate within the SPS, and grow your own community with talented newcomers.

Would someone or several blog contributors put together a list of must read articles from the blog and an introduction? I would like place that in just a few readings a newcomer could find important long-term themes, an easily shared place that I can send my parent colleagues.

Thank you,

Keith Bowen

Sarah said...

Map Sucks,

Thanks for this:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/45375008/Pulling-Strings-for-Friends-at-NWEA

It appears that Bill Gates wanted to use NAEP test to study the achievement gap. Then, Maria Goodloe Johnson got together with her NWEA friends Joseph Wise and Matt Chapman.

What happened to the NAEP test? Was this test proposed to the board of directors?

Can't wait to see Maria Goodloe-Johnson's back end in court over this one.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Keith, I'll see what I can do to pull that together.

Maureen, do you recall what Bill Martin from Facilities said about Franklin's bleachers (or any other capital topic)?

Just curious.

Maureen said...

Melissa, I left right before that part, but there were at least three other parents there (including Joanna Cullen)so someone else may be able to tell you.

Unknown said...

In September (or maybe October) there was a discussion in the comments in the context of the NSAP about how flawed the District demographics were. One thread of this discussion was (to paraphrase) that Seattle was no longer a low-child city, that every neighborhood was brimming with those under 18.

The Seattle Times reports today that, in fact, Seattle remains very low on the "under 18" category. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2013699496_census17m.html Of course, I am sure that some neighborhoods have more kids now than they did 5 or 10 years ago, but apparently, the macro demographic trends remain the same.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I saw that too, Rosie, and it does seem that the kid population may shift around but the overall number is stable.

I've used that stat (smallest child population in the US for a major city besides San Francisco) to make the point that as parents we depend on friends and neighbors who don't have children to help pass our school levies. And, because they do help us, we do have a responsibility to make sure the money is well spent and accountable.

Anonymous said...

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2010/12/former-charter-school-principal-pleads-guilty-to-embezzling-school-funds.html


Public School Parent

Dorothy Neville said...

Does anyone know anything about the current state of RTI in the district?

What exactly is it and who is responsible for it and any other information gladly accepted. Below see what the district claims is happening:

"As the district continued in its attempts to meet its goal to provide optimal support for all learners, a Response to Intervention model was implemented district-wide utilizing assessment data and progress monitoring tools. The RTI model determined which students needed academic and/or behavioral interventions, which kind(s) of intervention(s) will best meet these needs, and tracked students' response to those interventions"

Anonymous said...

http://www.seattleschools.org/area/spi/index.dxml

This has a 2009 date and alot of information.

Public School Parent

Dorothy Neville said...

Thank you Public School Parent. I had seen that webpage and frankly find it all frustrating. The wording on the RtI page says they are going to implement it. The current Center School CSIP says they are a pilot program for RtI.

But the document I quoted above is from the 08-09 school year and says that they DID implement it district wide.

So I would like to know if it really has been implemented district wide. The whole idea seems very abstract. Isn't it simply paying attention so you identify struggling students very quickly, then seeing that they get the support they need? Are there more details anywhere? Anyone have experience with such a model in their school?

seattle citizen said...

Dorothy, from what I have heard, RTI in these initial stages IS the identification piece, with some directed academic support (and, when schools had them...some might still...truancy officers to track and act on absences.)

The "dash board" that was rolled out by Research serves the purpose of helping identify absences, dropping grades, test scores, etc. So IF there are eyeballs on it, and resources to act on it, then RTI as initiated by SPS is in effect.

If you're looking at the bigger picture of resources available to address identified needs, well...see the various discussions on this blog about needs, met and unmet.

FTE has been dropping in buildings, including some key people who could be watching the dashboard. Classroom teachers, as usual, are getting varied information about the pertinent pieces (differentiation, use of IAs, inclusion, MAP, and all the other newer directives...) so it's harder to see how RTI might be functioning from the classroom end.

Anonymous said...

RTI plans? are seen in many school csips for 2010-2012. All are somewhat different. Sacajawea pg.11 RTI toolbox introduction, Vanasselt pg.15 notes RTI committe, Center RTI pilot school with training (PD) at the district 10x per year, Broadview-Thompson pg.16 RTI team, Daniel-Bagley RTI seems to be PD by math coach on differentiation, Coe pg.10 RTI as needed with SPU students tutoring. YEAH Coe. Lots of hierarchy.

http://www.seattleschools.org/area/spi/staffdpt.dxml

Public School Parent

Anonymous said...

This chart is easier to follow for the RTI flow.

http://www.seattleschools.org/area/spi/images/orgchart.pdf

Public School Parent

mcdonaldmom said...

From the McDonald PTA newsletter:

Superintendent Designates McDonald as the Next International School

On Wednesday, December 15, Superintendent Dr. Goodloe-Johnson announced that McDonald was selected as the new elementary International School.

Implementation is contingent on funding and would not start before September 2012.

Please join us for a COMMUNITY MEETING on Thursday, January 13, 2011 for more information: Lincoln Library from 6:00-7:30PM.

StopTFA said...

Curious George,

Case number 10-2-43733-9SEA.

All three local news stations were at the courthouse. Tune in at 5, 6 and 11...!?

Conscientious parents want children EVERYWHERE in Seattle to have an experienced, effective teacher. And by that we don't mean effective at teaching to the test...

Anonymous said...

While I am not disappointed to hear that the district is planning to invest in another language immersion school, and I'm not even disappointed to hear that it is McDonald (makes perfect sense to feed into an int'l MS), I WILL be extremely disappointed if the district doesn't make these schools option schools. They always should have been, and now even more so.

Parent of 2 SPSers

Bird said...

Hey macdonaldmom,

How's the MacDonald community taking this?

I thought that until very recently the district had been telling MacDonald they would get to choose what kind of school they wanted.

I can't say I'm surprised by the move. I think that the district wanted to take some pressure of both Bryant and JSIS which both abut MacDonald's attendance area.

There are a lot of JSIS sibs that are in MacDonald area.

SeattleSped said...

Dorothy,
Saw a nice Powerpoint on it once... Not a peep since...

SeattleSped said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charlie Mas said...

It is just like the District to act as if they have implementted RtI when they have barely piloted it (see my post this monring about giving credit when credit is due).

There was an exchange between Director Smith-Blum, Dr. Enfield and Dr. Gooloe-Johnson at a Board meeting in which Dr. Enfield said that the District has piloted RtI and is seeking private funding to take it to scale.

Charlie Mas said...

I, for one, am disappointed that the District has decided to place a language immersion program at McDonald.

Think of it. There are only two language immersion programs north of I-90 and they are at two attendance area schools that are adjacent to each other.

That means that if you don't live in Wallingford, you can just about forget about access to language immersion.

That is not my idea of equitable access to programs and services.

The District only pays lip service to this value, but they clearly do not really value it. That's too bad, because it is abundantly clear that the community places a high value on it. Consider the survey results on the budget priorities in which providing a wide range of program offerings ran a close second to small class sizes.

GreyWatch said...

Wow - opening an immersion program in a high income neighborhood during a time of budget woes? Interesting choice.

Delighted as I would be if I were a McDonald parent, I'd be really upset if I were a parent at a struggling school that could have used a boost like the immersion program will likely bring. Sorry, this is my part of town (although we aren't in the Mcdonald boundaries), and I think parents in south Seattle would be delighted to go to any of the "regular" schools in this area. And yes, I've lived in both hoods.

I get the feeder rationale (must have more kids at HIMS who want to take Japanese, as the reality is the numbers dwindle each year so it's not cost effective with the current model). However, they still haven't figured out what will happen when these kids get to grade 9. Ingraham?

The issue of limited access to special programs is the one I find most troubling. Option, option, option!

Anonymous said...

No TFA Needed ! More national certifications earned.

http://blog.seattlepi.com/ingreenlake/archives/232141.asp

Public School Parent

peonypower said...

Also - saw a powerpoint on RtI- no support for it since. Cuts to tutoring, truancy, counseling. Nothing is happening at my school that is not initiated by teachers or counselors.

Anonymous said...

McDonald as an immersion program makes a lot of sense in some ways but not the way the district is handling this.

What makes sense is for JSIS to have just expanded into McDonald. They could easily have sent either one of the languages to McDonald or the 3-5 graders to McDonald and then they would have simply doubled the capacity of JSIS and folks would have been thrilled that they doubled the capacity of such a popular program but no ...

Rather than do this in a student and community centric manner they are going to force neighborhood families to go to Lincoln for two years and then re-start something that could have just been expanded.

Crikey, JSIS is already crazy over-crowded with no room to rollup the classes. Why are they re-creating this monster instead of just taking the two buildings and making them one program.

- University neighborhood parent

seattle said...

"I, for one, am disappointed that the District has decided to place a language immersion program at McDonald."

Wait a minute. Isn't the immersion program what the McDonald community has been advocating for? We say we want the district to listen to the community and take their input into consideration. This time they did it. And we are disappointed?

I get all of your points Charlie. They all make sense. But we can't have it both ways. Either the district listens to the community and gives the families in the McDonald community what they have been advocating for. Families "buy in", the school fills, and the new program thrives. Or they don't listen to the community and instead make a top down decision like they did at Jane Adams, and they don't get the community "buy in", and the school remains only half full two years after opening (in a severely over crowded attendance area).

Which one is it going to be?

seattle said...

I certainly do agree though that for the purposes of equity McDonald and JSIS should be option schools, as well as the Bagley Montessori program.

StopTFA said...

Our new Board President is about as truthful as our old REA director and soon to be ex-Superintendent

"...it's all perfectly legal"...(better ask Arne)

SeattleSped said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SeattleSped said...

Here are the cuts. How would you prioritize them?

Highly Capable Program - services for gifted students.
-$18,612,000
K-4 Enhancement - reduces class sizes.
-$216,000,000
Centrum (sic) Program - arts and sciences for highly capable students.
-$340,000
Washington Imagination Network - creative problem-solving programs.
-$180,000
Grants for Mid/Hi Applied Math - teacher training for sciences and math.
-$278,000
Beginning Educator Support Team Program - pilot teacher mentoring program.
-$4,000,000
Center for the Improvement of Student Learning - outreach services for sharing best practices.
-$450,000
Career and Technical Education (CTE) Start-Up Grants - program upgrades.
-$1,824,000
Focused Assistance - assistance for districts struggling to meet student achievement goals.
-$3,046,000
Leadership Academy - public funds for public/private partnership that develops education leaders.
-$1,800,000
Readiness to Learn - grants to school groups that support students in various ways.
-$7,188,000
Reading Corps - assistance from AmeriCorps, VISTA members to help with student reading.
-$2,112,000
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Lighthouses - outreach activities for best practices.
-$300,000
Superintendent/Principal Internship - for preparing educators for positions of increasing responsibility.
-$1,060,000
Transportation Coordination - assistance to local districts.
-$1,784,000
Achievement Gap Committee - support to advance the group's work.
-$236,000
Building Bridges Staffing - services to help students stay in school.
-$674,000
Dyslexia Pilot Program - regional training for teachers and reading specialists.
-$150,000
HB 3026 Staffing - supports compliance with civil rights laws.
-$266,000
Jobs for America's Graduates Program - dropout prevention services.
-$300,000
Project Citizen - civics education for middle school students.
-$50,000
Skill Centers Director - coordinates state skill centers.
-$196,000
Special Services Pilot - early identification of students with learning difficulties.
-$2,658,000
Support of CTE Organizations - staff support for student organizations.
-$194,000
Non-Violence Training - contract for providing school training services.
-$100,000
Teaching as a Profession - pilot program to attract bilingual K-12 students to teaching profession.
-$150,000

SeattleSped said...

Why would I be getting this through our school newsletter list? I see a number of cuts that should be prioritized as OFF THE TABLE (i.e. Readiness to Learn). And the whole potential RIF angle is unseemly: Save my job for a “better city and just society.”

Hi room Parents,

Out of extreme concern I contacted -----'s legislative rep, --------, yesterday to find out what Christine Gregoire's cutting the AP budget from the state budget would mean for Spectrum and APP students. She quickly contacted Bob Vaughn the Director of Advanced Learning and I am forwarding all of you his response.

Another great opportunity to find have some questions answered on a district level and perhaps get clarity on the outcome of this proposed cut would be to attend Steve Sundquist, our school board reps, coffee chat tomorrow from 11-12:30 at the Delridge Library.

thanks, (redacted)

Hi (redacted)
The Highly Capable grant is used in Seattle to fund my position, our test coordinator, office assistant, and a consulting teacher. These people create and adjust our advanced learning programs and identify the students served in them. In their absence, students now in programs could continue to be served, but identifying new students would be problematic, if not impossible. If you are counting on advanced learning programs being a part of your children’s and our community’s future, express your opinion to your representatives. I personally think these programs are of bedrock importance to our entire way of life in Seattle. The presence of you and your bright, engaged family (emphasis added) and others like yours are what gives me hope that we can work smart to rise above our differences and create an ever better city and just society.
Thanks for your concern and continuing engagement in how we educate our kids.
Bob
Robert C. Vaughan, Ph.D.
Manager, Advanced Learning
Seattle Public Schools
206-252-0130

StopTFA said...

I want to know which weasel submitted this amendment....

Some people really tried to call in some favors on this one...

StopTFA said...

Well Steve, I guess if it was all perfectly legal some slimeball Senator wouldn't try and slip a TFA goodie into an omnibus appropriations bill.

The ed reform lobby is scared. They know Republicans haven't all drunk the reform Koolaid. I NEVER thought I would like Republicans in D.C.... And maybe Harry Reid actually does have balls.

Incredulous said...

It is true that SOME of the McDonald families wanted an immersion school, they were very vocal and well organized, and they lobbied extensively, Sherri being a great advocate for them. As for the wisdom of having two language immersion schools so close... what happens when a 3rd grader who does not speak any foreign language moves into JSIS's or McDonald's AA?
Furthermore, option schools and/or special programs in different elementaries (Montessori, immersion, spectrum) made sense before the NSAP, but with attendance area schools, that becomes unfair. Either you offer equal opportunities, equal education across the board, or you offer equal access to the schools.
Does anyone know of any other program placement decisions?

Sahila said...

Harry Reid pulls Bill containing sneak amendment that would have relaxed "highly qualified" requirement...

http://transparentchristina.wordpress.com/2010/12/18/wow-just-wow-four-words-i-didnt-think-i-would-say-thank-you-harry-reid-tfa-tntp/

Bird said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bird said...

what happens when a 3rd grader who does not speak any foreign language moves into JSIS's or McDonald's AA?

If they are in the JSIS area they get an assignment to BF Day. I don't know about McDonald, but I'd bet that they would get an assignment to Green Lake.

But, yeah, part of the problem with the schools not being options schools is that kids living in the neighborhood who want to go to school with the neighborhood kids don't get that choice.

I don't know what to say about the fact that the district won't make immersion schools option schools. It's exasperating.

StopTFA said...

pg 1,068 out of 1,924 Senate Appropriations Bill

"SEC. 310. (a) A ‘‘highly qualified teacher’’ includes a teacher who meets the requirements in 34 C.F.R. 200.56(a)(2)(ii), as published in the Federal Register on December 2, 2002." (amendment failed)

Think how much money is pissed away on lobbyists and crooked politicians, that could be better spent helping teachers help kids.

dan dempsey said...

Good Job Sahila on the piece at Transparent Christina.

Big News from WA DC on TfA

Who wants 5-week wonders labeled "Highly Qualified"?


Could be Randy Dorn, I don't know.
How about it, do you know?

Likely Sherry Carr or whoever directs her.

MGJ for sure and Susan Enfield.

dan dempsey said...

My latest FOIA arrived and
Dr. Goodloe-Johnson needs to be fired with cause or some School Directors must be recalled.

This is a first draft. I've been up all night, but I think this first draft is intelligible. Packed with supportive documents. I can prove everything that I wrote.

If the Board does NOT begin action, they may be subject to prosecution as well. This act of failure to hold the Superintendent accountable would be intentional and will pass a recall sufficiency hearing.

==========
I am going to bed.

-- Dan

Sarah said...

Dan,

Show us the documents.

Anonymous said...

how ironic, my middle shool classe are participating in Project Citizen for the first time and on class is taking on the issue of state appropriation of fed. ed. grants/earmarks to plug holes in gen. fund. the project is a victim of its issue. i just got them excited and engaged and now the rug is potentially pulled out from under them. way to crush the spirit and kill active civic participation. here's to the next generation of alienated and disengaged citizens.
-ttln

Anonymous said...

how critical is testing to advanced learning program placement? couldn't teachers be able to know if a 99 percentile student is in his/her class? aren't there other ways of measuring? maps might be okay, but itbs or naep might be more accurate/reliable. my old district used itbs-in 3rd grade a student's score in 95%-99% generally qualified him/her for a teacher administrated follow up test. the second test was in class w/the other kids silent reading (which was a routine activity, no academic time was lost). perhaps we can develop a less expensive process.
i want to see how the 18 million is distributed. most certainly we don't see it going to gifted C&I development.
socrates taught w/sticks and dirt. gifted people are creative and resourceful. it's time to get creative and resouceful- show how talented and gifted we are.
-TAG you're it

Bird said...

way to crush the spirit and kill active civic participation. here's to the next generation of alienated and disengaged citizens.

Maybe your could spend some time explaining to them that we are going through some seriously hard financial times. Families are struggling. The state is struggling.

No one's happy about the current situation regarding the state budget, but it's worth remembering that these cuts are coming down because of the miserable state of the economy, not because scrooge hates civic participation.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Gifted Ed has 1 consulting teacher. Special Ed has more than 20, plus extra director, plus extra coaches. Chop, chop. Rather, let's redistribute the central office staff in the classroom.

sped parent

MAPsucks said...

Bob Vaughn,

Consider youself replaced by the magical testing software MAP that you worked so hard to introduce into SPS.

Eliminate human error, use MAP!

Sahila said...

@Bird - maybe its time for ttln to teach our students why the economy is in such a miserable state, why people are doing it tough - unless you are one of the elite 1% of this country, who have just been given $16B in tax cuts over the next couple of years... $16B that would have gone a long way towards fixing what's not working in education - crowded classrooms, for one thing...

time to get real about what's going on.... and to see our own place in that and decide if we want it to continue... that's how we get an engaged and active citizenry - tell them the truth and give them info to make choices...

Melissa Westbrook said...

TAG, to the best of my knowledge, they have never done what you are asking about in terms of NOT testing. I think it would be near impossible for APP but I think you could do that for Spectrum.

NAEP isn't taken by all kids and we stopped with the ITBS years ago. (That said, it's a cheap test and we could go back to using it.)

Most of the money for the advanced learning program has always gone to testing. Yes, it's ridiculous especially when you have some parents testing just to test without any intention of moving their child.

Anonymous said...

TAG, you're it - SPS uses its WA gifted money for testing. Other districts use it to provide the programming. The loss of that money may "just" be testing for SPS but is even more serious for other districts.

-Tag Backs Allowed.

Anonymous said...

First of all, I'd like to thank Melissa, Charlie, Dorothy and other contributors of this blog for your tireless work in attending the meetings and blogging here to keep all of us informed. I wish all of you a very happy (and restful) holiday season.

I saw this post in the Rainier Valley blog today, I read it often even though we do not live in the South end, because it is very well written and informative. Please keep the South end schools in mind when you clean out books you no longer need.

From Rainier Valley Post:
“I think we have a LOT of challenges, and with the economic situation being what it is, some problems seem hard to solve,” said Graham Hill parent volunteer Anna McCartney in an email to the community.
But she added that there is at least one idea that strikes her as fairly simple, and that’s collecting as many new and gently-used books as possible for the budding readers at Graham Hill and other schools.
In her plea to the community, McCartney underscored the importance of every classroom having a wide array of interesting books at a variety of levels so students are challenged without being bored or frustrated.
She asked community members to raid their shelves for books their children have outgrown and donate them to Graham Hill in Seward Park or other south-end schools looking to beef up their classroom libraries.
“We have preschool through grade 5 at our school, so new or used books at all levels would be great,” said McCartney. “We need both fiction and nonfiction, and nonfiction and science-based books would be wonderful.”

If anyone has books to donate, please get in touch and you can either drop them off at my house or I’m happy to pick them up. anna AT mccartneyfamily.com.

SPS Parent

wsnorth said...

Trying not to keep score, but the North (with 4 high schools and 4 directors) gets another international elementary, while the South/SW (with 2 directors and 4 high schools) gets a lump of coal. Again.

Bird said...

I think that the S/SW are also slated to receive new international schools.

At least that's what the NSAP transition plan slides indicate.


Elementary School Expansion

•Add a second elementary school international program in current service areas
− HAMILTON (current: John Stanford Int’l School) • B.F. Day, McDonald, Laurelhurst, West Woodland
− MERCER (current: Beacon Hill Int’l School) • Dearborn Park, Hawthorne, Kimball, Maple, Van Asselt
− DENNY(current: Concord Int’l School) • Arbor Heights, Highland Park, Roxhill, Sanislo, West Seattle


The district hasn't announced the plans for the Mercer and Denny area, but really they didn't exactly announce the plan for McDonald either. The only evidence available to the public for the change is the announcement on the McDonald PTSA website.

Anonymous said...

As another McDonald parent, we know the decision has been made, all board members have been notified. The district didn't so much do this out of recognition of what some in the community mobilized around last year, but for the two primary purposes of adding a needed 2nd feeder school to HIMS immersion program and to relieve the over-enrollment burden of JSIS and Bryant.

The district told us we would have an "exploratory year" this year to consider all options and decide as a school community. That didn't happen. This decision was handed to us without asking for input.

To top it off, current students in the newly opened school, whose families had to deal with a ton of uncertainty from SPS and poorly planned opening processes, won't benefit from the program as we've been told it will be implemented starting with K students in 2012.

Agreed, immersion should be an option program.
--McDonaldParent

MAPsucks said...

Oops, here's another part of history SPS forgot to rewrite...

Note the TREMENDOUS progress they hope to make on the 17% number

Dorothy Neville said...

Good going MAPSucks! That FAQ has last update listed as March 2009. Haven't we been told that they discovered this problem in 2009 and stopped using it internally? Hmmm.

MAPsucks said...

Double Oops!

seattle said...

That didn't happen. This decision was handed to us without asking for input."

Really McDonald parent? I was on the McDonald list serve list year and all I seemed to hear were parents advocating for an immersion school. Did something change between last year and this year?

Bird said...

To top it off, current students in the newly opened school, whose families had to deal with a ton of uncertainty from SPS and poorly planned opening processes, won't benefit from the program as we've been told it will be implemented starting with K students in 2012.

Yeah, I think the current McDonald families got a raw deal. I think they should push hard to be included in the program if that's what they want.

There is no good reason why immersion couldn't start for the kids in the first grade class next year. The district should do what it can for these families that stepped up and took a chance on the school when others would not.

McDonaldParent, do you have any insight into how this is playing with the families already at the school. Would most want to be included in the immersion program, or would most not want to be included?

Sahila said...

First Celebration Of The Season

seattle said...

Bird, it wouldn't just be first grade students that would need to be included would it? I thought McDonald took k-5 students last year? Wouldn't they need to include all grades then?

Anonymous said...

@ sahali - my kids know about why we are in this mess. they are excited to attempt to DO something, even if it is just being heard . project citizen is about analyzing issues of public policy and finding solutions for those issues- including creating an action plan. oh, they know and they are mighty ticked off that the consequences for the b.s. of the greedy few has trickled down to them. they see that their next eight years -including college years- is majorly impacted by this 'tough spot.' they see it's not the fault of their parents or themselves, yet it's their ed. $ going to bail the b.s. of others out of the red. they want to look at how fed $$ can be granted to states for ed, then usurped by states for other purposes. to them, it just don't seem right.
ttln
-WV says that the kids are tired of the elite and their mamings

wsnorth said...

Why open a school and THEN turn it into an immersion school? In West Seattle (as someone has pointed out) addition of an International elementary would be a perfect way to reopen Fairmount Park, reduce overcrowding in the "North" part of WS, balance enrollment between the high and middle schools, AND provide a pathway for any family in West Seattle who really wants an International/immersion track for their kids. I guess this solution might seem too equitable, predictable and understandable to make the cut.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Thanks MAPsucks. We'll all have to point this out to the Board. This is a page that anyone could easily access.

Spruiter said...

Regarding seattle's post on 12/17 at 8:57:
------------------------
"Or they don't listen to the community and instead make a top down decision like they did at Jane Adams, and they don't get the community "buy in", and the school remains only half full two years after opening"
------------------------

Jane Addams is an option school - there was no identified community when the decision was made to create an environmental science program. In under 2 years, the school is 2/3 full, is growing and thriving, and has a strong engaged, diverse community. Come visit during our open houses Feb 8th and Mar 9th to see first hand what is going on at our school.

MacDonald is an attendance area school - a very different animal now with the NSAP.

And - I agree with seattle and other posters who think immersion programs should be option schools. It's outrageous to me that they aren't, especially with two in adjacent attendance areas.

Kathy said...

The Super sums up 2010.

http://www.mynorthwest.com/category/news_chick_blog/20101220/Seattle-Superintendent-sums-up-2010/

dan dempsey said...

On 12-18-10 at 9:41

Sarah asked for facts with proof.

Here is an update on forgery facts.

Here are a few other links:

Forgery Proof

Sent by CAO Enfield 2-2-10

I am working on updating and completing a few other related articles.

Given the poor weather in January, a big letter writing campaign may be more reasonable than a rally in getting possible action.

Your thoughts?

Anonymous said...

Incredible... so the McDonald placement is all about a feeder pattern into Hamilton??

When it was clear that QAE would open as an option school, over 80% of the community surveyed requested an international school. The answer was a firm NO from SPS...there is no feeder pattern for QAE into Middle school.

So SPS designated QAE as a Montessori school - never mind that there isn't a middle school feeder pattern for that, either!
The design team pushed back - very few QA/Magnolia parents would opt in given their other choices of Hay and Coe. Hence, the 21st Century learning/Tech school focus, which is going quite well. But also no feeder pattern for that.

And now - with only 57 students - SPS says McDonald is the new international school? Unbelievable.

Parent at Lincoln

dan dempsey said...

Kathy thanks for the link.

Here is my response to MGJ's letter:

Stemming the Tidal Flow of Misinformation from MGJ

Sahila said...

and education deform is part of this:

New Rulers Of The World

Sahila said...

This will get buried cos the open thread is so far down the page, but this is in response to some who called me crazy for stating that we have cellular memory and our ancestral history and culture are passed down in the genes, and need to be considered when we are thinking about the most appropriate ways to teach children from "non white" backgrounds...

The Ghost In Our Genes - BBC

Grace | Fashion Plants said...

@melissa

So if the funding for Highly Capable program goes to Dr Vaughn (yay) and testing, why didn't the testing identify my kid for APP, but his expensive privately-obtained independent test and a challenge successfully got him into Lowell? Then the $$ the school district is spending on testing isn't good enough.

Thanks SPED parent for your candid comment about 20 consulting teachers.

Grace | Fashion Plants said...

All-

How do I find out where I can find extracurricular foreign languages for my elementary school aged kid? His current school doesn't offer japanese. Other seattle area programs seem adult-oriented.

Charlie Mas said...

Methylgrace,

I am not aware of any resource for a comprehensive list of the world language instruction available at the various elementary schools.

Even if there were such a list, it would be of questionable value. These programs are typically not school sponsored, their quality varies widely, and they can come and go without notice. There was an after-school thing a couple days a week at Lowell when my kids were there, but it was more about familiarity and culture than instruction.

I believe there is a Japanese language pre-school - there was when my kids were little - and there is, of course, the immersion program at John Stanford International School.

If you haven't already, I suggest you contact the folks at the Blaine Methodist Church on Beacon Hill and the folks at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Washington on South Weller between 14th and 15th. They might know of a resource that can help you.

Finally, there are books for instruction in Japanese, many of them kid-friendly. You can find them at the Kinokuniya bookstore in Uwajimaya.

I'm probably not telling you anything you don't already know, but there may be others seeking the same.

Grace | Fashion Plants said...

Thank you Charlie, those are resources of which I was not aware. Regards, Grace

Anonymous said...

My child took the CogAT for the AL testing this fall and said there were only six parts to the test. Does this mean they aren't giving the full test (are they excluding the nonverbal section?) and is this how they've always administered it?

When I googled CogAT, it mentions nine sections: (3) Verbal subtests, (3) Quantitative subtests, and (3) Nonverbal subtests.

-Inquiring parent

GreyWatch said...

@ inquiring parent

Not sure, but my kids took it two years ago and said they had six sections.

JaneAddamsKindergartenMom said...

I'm pretty sure that for K-2, the kids don't get the verbal sections, just the other 6 sections.

Anonymous said...

I believe that the verbal and quantitative are administered to all. The nonverbal is administered only to English language learners.

Interested parent