Open Thread Friday

Reminders for Saturday:
  • Community Meetings - Patu and Smith-Blum, 
  • Seattle Spring College Fair at Seattle University
  • Pinehurst K-8 Festival


Greg Linden said…
Since we have an open thread here, I thought I'd post this video link. It's arguing against seniority-based layoffs for teachers and might be of interest to this audience:

Looks like the organization that produced it is StudentsFirst, which is led by Michelle Rhee, the former (and somewhat controversial) Chancellor of DC public schools. The video is quite well done, though, and the topic seems worthy of discussion.
Salander said…
Open Thread Thanks

I want to thank those who maintain and regularly contribute to this blog. It has become the source of news I could not be aware of otherwise. It reminds me that there are intelligent and sane folks out there acting as watchdogs over our schools.
Thanks so much for your information, concern and oversight of a system that would have continued its crash and burn without your fearless interventions.
Anonymous said…
only 10% of RBHS grads go to 4 year college. What does this say about our schools?

Sep but unequal:

mirmac1 said…

I will agree with you partly. What does this say about the unequal treatment of schools in our district? RBHS is slowly being starved to death. Students and staff come to every board meeting pleading to save their school. This situation hasn't changed since I was in HS (70's)!

Furthermore, what has happened to student financial aid in the last ten years? Even if a higher percentage of RBHS students a) met 4-yr college requirements; and b) wanted to go to college, who would pay?

I live in West Seattle. But I want RBHS to succeed for the sake of its students and neighborhood.
mirmac1 said…
Astonished, just read your link. I agree with you 100%
SP said…
"only 10% of RBHS grads go to 4 year college"
Astonished- I just read the link, but where did you find the 10%?

Unfortunately the new SPS school reports just show a very uninformative "enrolling in higher education" rate of 49% for RBHS in 2010.

But, does show both the 4 year & 2 year rates for each school. Apparently this reporting is done annually now by the BERC Group, funded by OSPI.
2009 WA State ave.
34% (4 yr), 59%(both 2 & 4 yr)
41% (4 yr), 67% (2 & 4 yr)
26% (4 yr), 57% (2 & 4 yr)
Anonymous said…
Since this is an open thread, does anyone know what the snafu was with the K enrollment letters? I have heard there was a computer glitch, also that all the letters were sent but returned? It seems like people that did early enrollment are the ones that haven't gotten letters.
Anonymous said…
On the SPS website.....

Chief Communications Officer appointed
March 25, 2011 | Contact: Communications, (206) 252-0200

Seattle Public Schools on Friday announced the appointment of Lesley Rogers as the district’s Chief Communications Officer, following a national search.

Rogers, who starts April 4, will oversee internal and external communications for the District. She replaces Bridgett Chandler, who resigned on Jan. 3. The appointment follows a national search and interview process that included a team of more than 30 people – District staff, school staff, community members, a union representative and parents. Candidates in the final interview had to present a professional development workshop, a strategic communications plan, a mock media roundtable and take a writing test.

“I look forward to having Lesley Rogers join Seattle Public Schools to lead our communications efforts,” said Interim Superintendent Dr. Susan Enfield. “As the daughter of educators, she understands the core values of public education and the unique needs of public school communications. Her leadership will be key to our success moving forward as we earn public trust and confidence and become more transparent and accountable to Seattle Public Schools staff and our community.”

Rogers is leaving her job as Vice President of Communications for Strategies 360, where she directed communications efforts for a wide spectrum of clients in fields including education, environmental protection, renewable energy, public policy and transportation. With more than 14 years of experience in communications, Rogers understands the unique needs of public school communications, and has worked as a consultant to Seattle Public Schools in strategic communications for the past several months. Rogers has also worked with teachers and educators in Alaska.

As Chief Communications Officer, Rogers will be responsible for the communications strategy to support the District’s goals, and will collaborate closely with District staff and the School Board to ensure transparent, accurate and effective two-way communications with families, students, parents, community leaders and the media.

“These are challenging times for Seattle Public Schools, and communications will be a key part of restoring the public trust and confidence in the District,” Rogers said. “I’m a proud product of public schools, and come from a long line of passionate educators. I’m looking forward to being a part of the team that will continue to improve how we listen and communicate within the District, and with students, parents and the community.”

Growing up in Wisconsin, both her parents were teachers. Her father retired from teaching after 34 years, and still coaches at the high school level. Rogers moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2006, after a decade as a daily newspaper reporter in the Midwest, covering local and state politics for The Indianapolis Star, the Wisconsin State Journal and the State Journal-Register (Springfield, Ill.).

Rogers received her Master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois, Springfield. She holds a Bachelor’s in journalism and political science from Northern Illinois University.
Eric B said…
Just in case you thought we were in bad shape, there was an article in the Wall Street Journal this morning that said Portugal currently has a ~25% high school graduation rate, on a par with most developing countries. The US as a whole was just shy of 90%.
dan dempsey said…
Greg Linden,

About the Rhee video:
#1 There are no valid reliable consistent measures of VAM (Value Added Modeling).

#2 Rep. Eric Pettigrew of the 37th introduced this exact legislation this year in the HOUSE. A school board president testified that this would be a "Sue Us Now" bill for School Districts.... precisely because of the lack of any reliable tool to measure teacher effectiveness.

#3 Michelle Rhee like MGJ and Joel Klein in NYC was a pusher of reform math and all three districts Seattle, NYC, and WA DC ... use Everyday Math. Is Ms. Rhee in touch with why things are not going as well as she would like in the classroom?

#4 Most of these reports appear to be put together by economists interested in $$$ savings only.

#5 To improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data .... if anyone thinks Rhee is doing that in this video, they are 100% wrong. VAM calculations for teachers in Florida showed incredible variations from one year to the next.

#6 As Diane Ravitch points out, this fits the "Billionaire Boys" agenda to deprofessionalize teaching.
dan dempsey said…

CCSS- Common Core State Standards is being pushed upon all in WA State in spite of costs to local districts and a virtual complete loss of control. Note my Recall efforts for Randy Dorn and Gov. Gregoire.

This is a boondoogle of enormous proportion and the "Conventional Media" is giving this a free pass.

Here is my article.=> Washington State: Major Battleground for CCSS and More
Po3 said…
"Rogers is leaving her job as Vice President of Communications for Strategies 360"

Well maybe now we won't have to spend so much on consulting fees to this company...
mirmac1 said…
Right Po3,

Maybe they won't be able to hand so many non-compete contracts to them due to conflict of interest!
dan dempsey said…
Eric B,

I dispute your USA 90% number. I think this calculation is meaningless.

If you take the number of students entering grade 1, multiply that by 75% and then compare that number with graduates 12 years later, I doubt even 75% are graduating.

"The Education Lobby" generates all kinds of meaningless stats using bizarre formulas. Among my favorite examples was the 98% graduation rate for New Tech Sacramento, which can be found in California records. However when number of entering ninth graders is compared with number graduating 4 years later not even 50% graduate.

Percentages are often produced to push an agenda and are far too often disconnected from reality.
Spruiter said…
Transportation letters for next year are supposed to be sent out today. I hope nobody is taken too much by surprise by the new transportation plan.
Northender said…
Oh I think there will be more than a few surprises in the Transportation letters from what I've heard - adventures yet to come...
SP said…
re: The news release about the new communications position just filled.

"The appointment follows a national search and interview process that included a team of more than 30 people – District staff, school staff, community members, a union representative and parents."

Really? Team of 30? I'd live to see the roster.
Which community members and parents (both plural) participated? Did anyone see any announcements about this for either volunteers or for the process itself? Maybe that should be a good question for the new communications person?
Lori said…
If I remember correctly, the transportation letter that comes out this time of year just basically says whether or not you are eligible, right?

The details about the specific bus route and times come in August.

Not disputing that people may be surprised, such as folks who are being cut off from transportation, but details about the community stops, level 3 school start times, and shared routes won't be put into writing for a few more months, I believe.

Of course, this also makes me wonder since they just mailed out the letters confirming each student's assignment next year, why do they need a separate mailing (ie, double the postage)? Couldn't this have easily been put on the assignment letters we just got?
SP, my heart sank when I saw who they hired for Communications. The Alliance and Strageties 360 are very aligned (in fact, that's who does the Alliance's communications). Very neat fit,no?

And that committee was NEVER announced. I know this because I asked repeated how one could be on it so I could post it here. But I will find out who did end up getting on it and how they were recruited.
Anonymous said…
RBHS stats:

and this is the graduating class, the percentage is certainly much lower if you account for students who started as freshman but dropped out.

seattle citizen said…
"The appointment [of Lesley Rogers, of Strategies 360] follows a national search and interview process that included a team of more than 30 people – District staff, school staff, community members, a union representative and parents."

No way. Just when I was getting quite optimistic that things were opening up, transparency was happening...Lots of good things, but now this.

Really? After a nationwide search they just happened to hire someone from the company that is the Our Schools Coalition, the short-lived astroturf Gates/Alliance machanism formed to influence contract negotiations?

As Melissa said, Strategies 360 is in bed with Gates/Broad, has been long? At LEAST a year, and has postured itself as "the community" (specifically the members of its "coalition": some minority interest groups - including at least three, probably more, of the groups in the latest scandal)- business, and a couple politicians, specifically Tim Burgess, who has made such a hoopla lately out of "helping" the city become ethical.

Why, oh why, would the district hire Strategies 360, uh, hire one of its employees, into the Chief Communications Officer position?

My trust level just retreated to where it was before we switched superintendents.

Anonymous said…
Not disputing that people may be surprised, such as folks who are being cut off from transportation, but details about the community stops, level 3 school start times, and shared routes won't be put into writing for a few more months, I believe.

Actually -word is that those details WILL be in the letters - staff is preparing for lots of post-delivery phone calls and questions

"in the know"
dan dempsey said…
SC asked:

"Why, oh why, would the district hire Strategies 360, uh, hire one of its employees, into the Chief Communications Officer position?"

Because the District is not hiring "Broad Interns" any more. With all the talk of openness and transparency comes an action to maintain access for "Special Interests". Same-O same-O.
hschinske said…
In other words, they've done a 360-degree turn from their old position?

Helen Schinske (who has heard people say that seriously)
seattle citizen said…
Yes, Helen, they've turned completely around from their old ways. They are no longer aligned with Broad/Gates, now they're aligned with Gates/Broad. It's very different.
Disgusted said…
Leslie Rogers as SPS Cummunication leader!

Shall we expect a bandwagon of charter banter?
wsnorth said…
Has anyone tried to find anything anything on the new SPS website? The search is terrible, and I find the navigation useless.

My student's orca card got lost (or stolen) but typing in "Lost Orca Card" returns two totally unrelated searches!

btw, anyone know how to get it replaced?
Charlie Mas said…
Each school has someone in the school office who is responsible for helping students to replace lost ORCA cards. Be prepared for it to take more than a couple weeks.
SP said…
Seattle Times article today:
"Ousted principals quickly find new education jobs"

After Red Lake High School was labeled one of Minnesota's worst schools, its board moved quickly to dismiss the principal. It didn't take long for Ev Arnold to land on his feet, though: The same district now pays him the identical salary to oversee the school's turnaround.

Hmm...No news here- Seattle has been doing this for years!
David said…
Melissa and Charlie, can you check the Blogger spam folder again? I think one of my comments got stuck in there. Thank you.
Anonymous said…
Guess who's back on the home page of the Broad Academy website?

Anonymous said…
Here's an interesting blog about gifted education in Bellevue:

What's interesting is how there is talk about moving away from the PRISM program and instead differentiating instruction within the regular classroom (kind of like ALO...hmmm).

Another anonymous
Po3 said…
USA Today published article about potential cheating on standardized tests in DC school, which resulted in nearly $20K in bonuses for staff.
Noteworthy said…
Bonus doesn’t lure best teachers to worst schools

March 28, 2011, Joanne Jacobs

According to an article posted on Joanne Jacob's blog, fewer than 1 percent of Washington’s certified teachers move from low-poverty to high-poverty schools each year, despite the $5000 incentive offered by the State.

A commenter posted this:

Forgive my crankiness, but whoever came up with this plan shows a stunning lack of appreciation for just how difficult it is to work in a high-needs school, and how comparatively easy it is to work in a low-poverty setting.

So let’s see. You want me to move from my low-poverty suburban school, where students are mostly engaged, relatively motivated, high-functioning, with responsive parents and multiple support structures, to teach at a high-poverty school, where I have to fight to be heard, deal with unbridgable gaps in skill levels, little parental support and function as a de facto social worker. And let me guess, if I fail to produce the results I produced in my old school, you’ll brand me a bad teacher? For HOW much extra?



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