Open Thread Friday

Attended the Town Hall last night with newly-elected State Senator Scott White, Sherry Carr and Peter Maier. Pretty interesting and I'll do a write-up today.

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said…
Architecture 101 classes offered during mid-winter break as well as Martin Luther King day and January 28th, the break between semesters.

See: Architecture 101 for details.
SeattleSped said…
Here's a bizarre development. We all know the District handpicks consultants and awards $$ contracts without performing their due diligence. But did you know that central office, in all its wisdom, makes schools COMPETE for critical services like RTI?!Schools are expected to commit building funds and resources in a competition (like Race to the Top?)for services children need NOW.

Here's a particularly ludicrous observation:

"Many of the schools were more worried about not being selected given their student demographics (north end schools), than those worried about workload, district roll outs etc."

Yeah, the south end schools are just trying to survive MGJ's wacky initiatives.

Race for RTI
Unknown said…
Does SPS have available any tutors that teach the Orton-Gillingham Multisensory Method (or one of its variants) for dyslexic students.

Has anyone had any exposure to such methodology or success with overcoming the significant issues with dyslexia?

What do you need to do to get a student assessed for a LD?
Sarah said…
Who is this Broadie? What does he do? How much is he paid?
dan dempsey said…
Hyperlink for Broadie Above:
Cordell Carter
dan dempsey said…
I wish to know if any or all Directors are going to take Charlie Mas's advice and refer the conflict of interest violations of state law for prosecution.

They are school directors, who took an oath of office to support the constitution and laws of our state and these are crimes.

Charlie speaks from minute 29 to minute 32 here.
Robyn said…
Regarding the McDonanld Intl School: Apparently, they knew mid-December! I am shocked and appalled by the decision. Why not Viewlands or somewhere else that might not be an attractive school? Melissa said in another post - Share the wealth. I totally agree. And, to make matters worse, these are not option schools. I just do not understand how this could happen. At the very least, the district should pay for foreign language classes in other schools since I would never stand a chance of getting into JSIS or McDonald.
Maureen said…
From the link: Cordell Carter was recently appointed as director of school support services for Seattle Public Schools where he previously served as director of business systems and special assistant to the Chief Financial Operations Officer. His current division provides support for several departments, including: student transportation; child nutrition services; athletics; traffic education; customer service center; and district archives

That is Ammon McWashington's old job (he retired last summer.) He was paid $125,000 in '07-'08.
My ear at the district says Mr. Carter tends to wander the headquarters a lot and many wonder what he does as well.
ttln said…
Just a question. I don 't know if anyone can answer it. But...

I was just reading the state constitution and ran across something that made me go "huh?"

Article II section 28 Special Legislation: The legislature is prohibited from enacting any private or special laws in the following cases:...7. authorizing the apportionment of any part of the school fund... 15. Providing for the management of schools.

What might might "violations" of these two items look like in real life?
Jan said…
Geri asked:

Does SPS have available any tutors that teach the Orton-Gillingham Multisensory Method (or one of its variants) for dyslexic students. Has anyone had any exposure to such methodology or success with overcoming the significant issues with dyslexia? What do you need to do to get a student assessed for a LD?

I don't have all the answers here, but will tell you what little I know from working with a language disabled child.

1. I don't know if the SSD has any Orton Gillingham folks, but this is the heart of the pedgogy at Hamlin Robinson School (currently housed in the old TT Minor building). Even if you don't want to look at that as an option, you might want to contact them for SSD information. Because they get so many kids referred from public schools, they may know what the Orton-Gillinham resources are, who to talk to, etc. Also, based on laws that require public schools to pay for private education if there is not a public school solution, my understanding is that SOME (not all) dyslexic kids can actually get a referral (and financial resources) to attend Hamlin Robinson, though I don't think this happens often. They have a high rate of success, and their model contemplates that most kids spend two to four years there -- and then successfully return to regular schools.

You may want to have your child "assessed" for Hamlin Robinson, even if you don't think that will be a solution. They have arrangements with Orton-Gillingham trained folks who do a screening assessment (to confirm that the child has the sort of disorders that the school works with). I don't think that that assessment is "formal" enough to qualify you for SPED services within the school district, but they are pretty good at figuring out whether there is a disability that the O-G method can help.

And finally, either the O-G screener, or the Hamlin Robinson School, may have very useful referral names for folks that CAN do the kind of work up that will qualify an LD child for SPED services. I realize that the School District is supposed to, and presumably will, do this for you for free, but I have found their services to be unreliable (sometimes, they accurately and adequately assessed problems, and sometimes their assessments concluded that everything was "fine/normal" when it blatantly was not; and in any case, their assessment was extremely shallow, in comparison with what a good private evaluation will get you.) In my experience, ALL the SSD has looked for are enough data points to drive an IEP and the services under it. Comprehensive understanding of the nature of your child's strengths and weaknesses is not (at least was not for us) their concern. For every stellar special ed person who worked with my child (and there were some!), there was at least one who seemed to be "pushing" the diagnostic findings toward whatever services they already knew they could provide cost effectively (and toward whatever level they wanted to provide them at) and at least one more who was just "pushing paper" through the system, so as not to violate federal law.

In the end, I did most of my testing outside the SSD (either before seeking services, or at the same time the District was doing its assessments). So, I cannot speak definitively to the process for assessment, though I know others know this stuff cold.

Finally -- lest this seem too much like an endorsement of Hamlin Robinson, it is not, and we did not stay a second year. Nonetheless, I think that the method can be extremely helpful for many dyslexic kids, and I suspect the school can and does work very well for many children --just not for my child (and some of his classmates), for various reasons.
Jan said…
Geri: one more thing. In years past, I think Hamlin Robinson ran a short (4 to 6 week) summer program -- that did not require that your child be enrolled for the school year. My recollection is that they ran it in conjunction with O-G training for their teachers.While that is not enough time to remediate dyslexia, I think the cost was low and it might be a way of determining how Orton-Gillingham will work with your child, assuming they are still running the program.
SeattleSped said…
Wow Jan, what an informative answer. You have helped many families with this info.
Unknown said…
Thanks Jan! That is very helpful. Any recommendation on who to have test for LD outside of the SSD? Would SSD still do their own testing for an IEP?
Anonymous said…
Does anyone have information about how the preschool programs at SPS work? Such as: which elementaries offer them; who can apply and how to do it; and, are the preschools for 4 year olds only or can 3 year olds attend also, and who to contact to enroll. I have a friend with a 3 year old (December birthday), who lives in the Beacon Hill/Rainier Valley area, that could really benefit from attending preschool. They do not speak English at home, and the child currently spends most of his time with his great grandmother as everybody else work more than one job. He has almost no playtime with other children and does not speak any English, so would certainly need to learn some skills in preschool in order to be ready for kindergarten. Any help with info would be much appreciated.

SPS Parent
SeattleSped said…
SPS parent, have they checked with head start?
ParentofThree said…
So I was reading all the comments from the Budget survey. 31 pages listing what stakeholders thought should be eliminated:

This comment leapt off the page, it was tagged that it came from a Principal.

What struck me about this comment is that this principal thinks APP/Spectrum should be eliminated at the middle school level, not elementary.

Boy, I hope that this principal is not running a MS that has an APP or Spectrum program in it, as it is obvious she/he does not support the programs to the point of destain!

"APP and Spectrum should be done away with at the middle school level. If we are truly committed to serving ALL students, why can't ALL students be in ALL classes? We are giving mixed messages by allowing certain groups of families have an entitlement while other families do not get access. When we say all students do we really mean all? No-because we have programs which allow families and students to be "more than" at the expense of those who are given they are "less than"-if we really believe in differenciation, why can't that happen at the middle school level?"
Maureen said…
SPS Parent, they might want to try the Denise Louie Center.
Maureen said…
I was just reading the state constitution....


I don't have all the answers here, but will tell you what little I know ....


I have a friend....


So I was reading all the comments from the Budget survey....

I love this blog!
Anonymous said…
SPS Parent-you should look into Head Start, which offers preschool for three-year-olds, and provides transportation. There is a good one at Dunlap, and Dunlap K also has one of the best teachers, hands down, on the planet.

Thurgood Marshall's Head Start preschool is also very good, as is the one at Emerson. There are both full-day and half-day Head Start preschools. Here's the link:

I believe South Share also has three-year-old preschool spots, but I could be wrong. It's been some time since I was there. You may want to check the Refugee Women's Alliance on MLK, they run a free preschool, obviously for ESL families. Also, I know of an ESL family with a child at MLK Day Home Center run by Catholic Community Services. They are very happy there.
Parent of Three, I want to do a whole thread on budget survey open comment responses.
Jan said…
Geri: I can't recall whether they did their own testing, or whether they just adopted mine. I think at the early childhood level, the did theirs, and also used the private ones I provided -- and went from there. At high school, we just arrived on day one, announced that we were taking a partial course load due to learning disabilities, and oh by the way -- could we get an IEP meeting set up, and here were our test reports. If they did any additional testing, it was not much -- and it was only to confirm what we had already told them, or to comply with whatever their rules are. We were way ahead of them. As for testers, my child is now old enough that much of my information may be dated. That said, I got really good information from testing done by Dr. Fred Provenzano (has, or used to have, offices near Northgate), Dr. Valerie Wall (has, or used to have offices on Capital Hill), and David Aroesty (originally contacted through Dr. Steven Glass -- a pediatric neurologist working from Bothell). Mr. Aroesty later had private offices on Mercer Island, and may no longer live in the area(at one point, when I couldn't find copies of my child's tests, I tried to track him down, and could not). Drs. Provenzano and Wall both had enough clients in SSD to have had some knowledge of where good public school people/programs were -- and Dr. Glass does too, though he draws from such a large geographical area that his information is maybe less focused on Seattle, and more on the east side.
There is a testing company called ABCD Educational Testing (or ABCD something) that I have heard generally has good testing resources (I think Dr. Provenzano worked from there at one point, before I knew him). Or, ask your pediatrician (especially if they work in developmental pediatrics), or call the Experimental Education Unit at UW (a school run by the U for disabled kids -- I would bet that EVERY ONE of their kids has had testing done!) and they know whose assessments are solid, and whose are weak. Waits for these folks can be months long (I have been told there were times when some of these practices have been closed to new patients altogether) but if they have no availability, they may also have a good referral to someone who does. All my best names came from my child's speech and occupational therapists (along with a name or two of people to avoid at all cost -- priceless information). If your experience is like mine, from a decade ago, you will find that the educational LD/testing community is small and interconnected. They all know and work with each other -- and they all tend to know who is good.
Anonymous said…
Uh, Parent of Three,

I see nothing wrong with that principal's thinking. In my book Spectrum is an artificial contrivance to convince some that some are more above average than others. In my day, the students that excel had some ALO, but we were not "self-contained". Use this money for saving those that may slip through the non-existent safety net.


P.S. Let me guess there'll be 165 comments tell me to got to h*ll
SE Mom said…
There is an interesting article on the Rainier Valley Post home page -it is titled "Are You Afraid to Come Here?" and is written by a Seattle Rep intern teaching a drama class at Rainier Beach High School.

The class will be performing an original play:

Rainier Beach TeenSpeak: Two Truths and a Lie
Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011 at 7 p.m.
Rainier Beach High School
Free (please RSVP to 206-443-2202 x1043)

"How do truth and lies blur together to become an accepted reality? How much of reputation is made because of truth and how much because it sells news? For several months three teaching artists have worked with a drama class at Rainier Beach High School through Seattle Rep's TeenSpeak program, using theatre as a forum to discuss their lives, their school, and the rumors surrounding it all. Taking their words, reactions, and stories, Seattle Rep Education Director Andrea Allen wrote Two Truths and a Lie for these students to perform. Embracing the scary, the silly, and the awkward, these teens present the truth of their lives. Or is it lies? Come and watch to decide for yourself."
SE Mom said…
Correction, as I mis-quoted the title of the RVP article:

"Are You Afraid to Come to Rainier
Anonymous, Spectrum gets no extra money nor costs the district money (beyond some time from the AL staff). The teachers get no extra training (many get it on their own), no supplies. Kids who take the test, well, you'd have fewer overall but I suspect the number would still stay high. Not a lot of savings there.
Central Mom said…
SPS Parent...TOPS also hosts a DHH (deaf, hard of hearing) preschool program that invites non-DHH students to enroll in the same class. It's the 1st year in this building. Previously at Lowell, I believe. This would, perhaps, be a chance for the child to get even more individualized attention due to the very small class size.
ParentofThree said…
Actually, I don't have a problem with the point of view of the comment that was tagged as being made by principal. My point is that this principal should not be assigned to a school with Spect/APP as he/she would not be the best leader for that school. And most likely would not be all that happy either!
Charlie Mas said…
All of the middle schools have Spectrum programs. All of them. If the principal works at a middle school, then that person is responsible for a Spectrum program.

If students working beyond grade level - which is not a particularly rare or remarkable thing - cannot reliably get an appropriate academic opportunity in a general education classroom (and in Seattle it is not reliable), then it seems appropriate for them to have a program that offers them a better chance at an appropriate opportunity.

The mistake that the principal makes is in thinking that Spectrum is something more, when it is just something different.

Again, if we could reliably deliver differentiated instruction, then Spectrum would not be necessary. Since we cannot (or at least do not) reliably deliver, then Spectrum is necessary.
The Real Arnold said…
@Melissa: "My ear at the district says Mr. Carter tends to wander the headquarters a lot and many wonder what he does as well."

Sounds like that internal auditor that quit (wandering). MY ear at the district says they were like two peas in a pod.
Yes and the internal auditor may have some interesting stories to tell. As may Silas Potter. But we can let them tell those stories to the Auditor who can thoroughly investigate them in a way we can't.

SPS keeps the Auditor in business all by itself.
dan dempsey said…
SPS keeps the Auditor in business all by itself.

If we could find a way to fund it.... SPS could keep a team of private investigators and two attorneys busy, unless it changes its MO.
Fremont Mama said…
I know it is not Friday anymore, but I have a random question that I'm hoping someone can answer:

If you have a child at Lowell, can your incoming kindergartener get into the regular program during open enrollment as a sibling? Then hopefully test into APP the following year.
Yes, Fremont Mom. Tracy and I just went over this point.
Anonymous said…
Article on coming changes for AP tests on the NYT:
Rethinking Advanced Placement

SPS Parent
Anonymous said…
Thank you to everyone who gave info/suggestions about preschool programs. It is much appreciated. I had thought about Head Start/ECEAP programs, but I've heard that because of budget woes, many spots for 3 year olds were cut from the programs and it is mostly 4 year olds that can enroll. Also, my friend's house is in Dearborn Elementary's boundary, which I have heard is not a very good school. Her little boy is very bright, and could be very successful academically if he can attend a school where he can get adequate support, but, as he will not be able to get any help with school matters at home, will have a very difficult time at a failing school. His mother is very loving and desperate to do the best for him, but she works very long hours, and has so many demands placed on her by family (both here and back in the original country), that she is overwhelmed. I was thinking, that if he can get enrolled in a preschool program ran by SPS, such as the one at South Shore, then perhaps he would be able to stay at that same school until 5th or 8th grade, and not have to go to Dearborn. I have tried to look at South Shore's and Graham Hill's websites, but could not find any info on their preschool programs.

SPS Parent
Anonymous said…
Article in NYT on changes to AP tests

SPS Parent
Anonymous said…
SPS parent-I can tell you from personal experience that the program at Dunlap is GREAT, no matter what you think of the school. The people in Head Start are bright, child-centered and very good teachers. They've shepherded several kids through who went on to advanced learning programs.

I know people who have gone through Graham Hill too and they can't say enough about it. The Montessori preschool is in high demand, though, so she may have trouble getting in. I also know one of the former teachers in the SS preschool-also an excellent program. The Refugee Women's Alliance might also be able ot help your friend with placement and other of the many issues non-English speaking families face. Their preschool is another very successful one.

I've been saying for YEARS though, please do not judge the S. Seattle options through the lens of those who think the entire area is "failing" a la the RVP. It's not, and there are some good options for your friend.
Fremont Mama said…
thanks Melissa!
Anonymous said…
I was just reading the draft NSAP Transition plan for 2011-2012 and it looks like there is no longer going to be guaranteed assignment to APP for eligible students - the table shows a sibling and lottery tiebreaker for next year.

Lowell is already over capacity. What does this mean for next year? And when did this change? Or am I misreading the plan?

Signed What's Up
Bird said…
it looks like there is no longer going to be guaranteed assignment to APP for eligible students - the table shows a sibling and lottery tiebreaker for next year.

I'm not sure what you are looking at, but my guess would be that this would be either for the general ed program at Lowell or for families in the Lowell walk-zone who would normally be assigned to Thurgood Marshall, but want to go to Lowell instead.

I went to one of the NSAP meetings and I didn't hear anything about removing the guaranteed access to APP. I'm sure I would have noticed if it had changed.
Anonymous said…
The table is headed "APP...Tiebreakers at Full Implementation...Transition Tiebreakers for 2011-2012," so it doesn't mean Lowell, it means APP. And rules are shown for elementary, middle and high school.

From the Draft (bold added):

If more students apply for a school than space is available, tiebreakers determine assignment and waiting list status. There are two types of tiebreakers:

1. Tiebreakers for assignment to general education at schools

2. Tiebreakers for assignment to some other programs at schools, including:
• Montessori
• Spectrum
Accelerated Progress Program (APP)

Both types of tiebreakers have already been approved in the NSAP (“NSAP Tiebreakers at Full
Implementation”). During the transition period, interim tiebreakers (“Transition Plan Tiebreakers”) are used
in some cases.

What's Up
Maureen said…
Bird is right, also would apply if someone from the North End wanted to get into TMarshall or Washington. (and south to Lowell or HIMS) Couldn't apply to Garfield since APP seats are still guaranteed there, but may apply to IB at Ingraham? I'm not clear on what the plan is there if the wrong number of kids apply (e.g., enough to overfill two classrooms, but not enough to fill three) since they seem intent on keeping the APP kids self contained there (unlike at Garfield).

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