School Improvement Superstars Summit

I was at the SPS website checking for any new updates and came upon a notice about an event happening tomorrow - the 2011 School Improvement Superstars Summit.   I thought, "Darn, how did I miss putting this on the events page?"  Upon examination there's something very odd about this event.

First, it has both a webpage and a blog page which are separate from the SPS website.  I don't know why or if they are privately maintained (the blog page appears to be).  The organizer seems to be the woman who maintains the blog page, Rachel Osborn, billed as "consulting teacher in SPS Grants & Fiscal Compliance." 

Second, what is the event for?

Title 1 managers and principals from around the state will attend the event to learn together, share ideas and collaborate. The purpose of the summit is to help raise student achievement at the highest need schools and to strengthen the statewide Title 1 network.

Okay, fine but why is SPS putting this on?

Third, the speakers are all SPS staff and there's at least 3 principals on the list.  (One of them is the head of the Native American program who managed to screw up the federal grant application this year and cost the district $300k.  Really?  This person is a good speaker to give others advice?)

Fourth, this is an all-day event at the headquarters which means not just the presenters doing work but probably other staff as well.  

Where do we have the extra funds to do this?  It's almost like an echo chamber to the Silas Potter program.  I am hoping there was a grant for this because how does SPS have the money to be training other districts' staff? 


Zebra (or Zulu) said…
1. Go to the Website

2. Scroll down to this link: Teacher Incentive Fund Jessica DeBarros Katy Virga.pptx - on Mar 8, 2011 2:22 PM by Rachel Osborn (version 1)

3. Open the document

4. Ask yourself this: Where is the TIF money for those teachers that consistently (already) produce high quality instruction? Answer...there isn't any! If you are already an innovator you are S.O.L.

About the conference: This conference looks like more of the same expensive, useless, chest pounding that has become the hallmark of downtown "professionals" whom light their wood stoves with the public's hundred dollar bills. I see nothing on the agenda that indicates a change is coming to SPS. In fact, it looks like more of the same - squared!
Anonymous said…
Jessica de Barros is not a friend of SPS teachers. She, like Bill Gates, appears to believe that teachers aren;t working as hard as they can and will work harder for a couple hundred dollars more a month. She has never been in the classroom.
Jet City mom said…
oh lordy- I clicked on something over on the left & it took me to Facebook.

no- I do not " like".
+ when I see " Summit" capitalized like that- I think of Summit K-12 the school that my daughter attended ( & my other daughter wanted to attend). The one that MGJ closed.

A state-wide Summit for collaboration and networking for those who lead Title 1 schools in improvement. Title 1 Schools in Improvement face both the sanctions of NCLB and public scrutiny as test scores are reported in the media. These schools need effective and focused support to achieve Adequate Yearly Progress with a population that has historically included the highest need students and most vulnerable families. Do you need ideas for planning, budgeting, and supporting your Title 1 Schools in Improvement? Take advantage of this opportunity to network, share ideas, and learn from other School Improvement Superstars in our state!

Ya gotta hand it to them- they are not shamefaced in the least.
Jet City mom said…
I expect they will be hiring this young lady soon for some product placement/PR


( she made the only comment on the blog that Rachel Osborn created)
Charlie Mas said…
Wow! I also found this on the web site this morning and my thought was: "This is great!"

Isn't this part of what the District should be doing?
Charlie Mas said…
Oh, wait.

I just went to the web page for the event. There's nothing here about actually teaching students.

Here's the list of topics and speakers:

Superstar Ideas and Strategy Sessions (Summit Schedule is below in 'attachments'):

•We Made AYP! A Title 1 Success Story ~Dr. Norma Zavala, principal, Dr. Anne Reece, literacy coach of Concord International Elementary, Seattle Public Schools

•Literacy Success: Ongoing assessment and leveled texts to increase reading achievement ~Dan Coles, Literacy Manager, Seattle Public Schools

•Transformation and Reinvention: One School's Journey ~Vicki Sacco, principal of West Seattle Elementary School, Seattle Public Schools

•Got Data? Use AYP, Safe Harbor, Uniform Bar, Steps of Improvement to plan and target instruction ~Rachel Osborn, Robert Bernstein, Seattle Public Schools

•Innovations inTeacher Quality and Improvement: ~Jessica De Barros and Katy Virga,Teacher Incentive Fund, Seattle Public Schools

•iPad Innovations: Math and Literacy Classroom strategies for the classroom (using an iPad of course!) ~Mary Gallagher-Cummings, National Board Certified Teacher at Kimball Elementary School, Seattle Public Schools

•Closing the Achievement Gap at a Restructured School: ~Ann Cuoio, Director of Compensatory Programs, Clover Park School District

•English Language Learners: Strategies that work ~Martin O'Callaghan, principal of Secondary Bilingual Orientation Center

•The Seattle Family Engagement Team: This team received a national award from John Hopkins University ~Bernardo Ruiz, Family Engagement Manager, Seattle Public Schools

•Unheard Voices: The Native American Achievement Gap ~Arlie Neskahi, Native American Education Manager, Seattle Public Schools

•I'll Take the Combo Please: Combining school improvement plans and schoolwide plans ~Rachel Osborn and Robert Bernstein, Seattle Public Schools

•Competing and Winning! A high quality, district run SES program that stands up to the competition ~ Margo Siegenthaler, Coordinator for District as Provider SES Tutoring Program, Seattle Public Schools

•Providers, Invoices, and Learning Plans...Oh My! Learn how to design a more efficient SES program ~sample forms in attendee binders

•Let's Chat: Small group discussion sessions for problem solving and collaboration with your colleagues~ participants will choose topics and form small groups

•Paperwork Panic? Forms, Checklists, and other record keeping ideas for Title 1 compliance ~provided to all Summit participants
Zebra (or Zulu) said…
1. Download Kelly Aramaki's PowerPoint.

2. Read the talking notes (he left them in).

3. Ask yourself: Why is anyone wasting the public resources, time, space, energy, food, or brain power, on this ridiculous event?

4. Get really angry that they're doing this at all while the district remains in crisis mode.
Juana said…
The culture of complaceny and lack of common sense in current financial crisis at the school district needs to stop NOW. We need to alert the school board of such things and if the district counters with "it is being paid by a grant" then they should be required to present documentation. We need to nip such things in the bud. Such activities will not sway people to vote YES for the next levy.
I sent an e-mail to Communications and the organizer (cc'd the Board as well) asking the following:

- costs (both time and resources)
- who is funding this event?
- how this helps academic outcomes for SPS students
- there's one person from another district presenting - is she being paid?
- why is it free to participants
- why is the district sponsoring this event
- there are 4 principals out of their bldgs to present - it seems like a lot for an event not helping their students
- has the district put this on before
- why does it have a separate website
gavroche said…
More on Jessica Debarros:

Jessica Debarros is one of the last remaining Broadies in SPS. She wrote the so-called "test assessment" report that led to SPS choosing the MAP test (and seeking no bids from any other test company). She was then hired by SPS.

She and Brad Bernatek (another 'Broad Resident' hired by SPS, but now gone, after the 17 percentgate scandal) were once in charge of MAP. Then she got switched over to some role involving the School Report Cards.

It is difficult to put much confidence in the integrity of what she is involved in. It seems like she and Bernatek have been doing someone's bidding in which they produce 'data' to support predetermined outcomes (MAP as the best choice for SPS -- debarros; 17% as the artificially low number of college-ready SPS graduates -- bernatek. This alarmingly low number was then used to create the crisis mentality to sell MG-J's Strategic Plan).

Goodloe-Johnson used MAP in Charleston. I am surmising she wanted to figure out a way to bring it to SPS too. So maybe she needed a 'report' that would lead to the conclusion that MAP was the best choice. How convenient that a fellow Broadie was able to produce that report for her.

Overall I agree this 'summmit' sounds like yet another misuse of scarce SPS resources.

Thank you Melissa for alerting the Board.
MAPsucks said…
Anonymous, I reposted your comment here:

"Jessica de Barros is not a friend of SPS teachers. She, like Bill Gates, appears to believe that teachers aren;t working as hard as they can and will work harder for a couple hundred dollars more a month. She has never been in the classroom."

Do you know what she is? She's an obsequious bootlicker who brown-nosed her way into a job by: performing an "expert analysis" (uh, visited websites and plagiarized NWEA promotional materials/regurgitated NWEA sales pitches) of available assessment tools; asked whether any recommendations were necessary (since the MAP pilot was already underway; helped Bernatek "price" assessment options (solicited a quote from one other vendor, for window dressing); cobbled a phony-baloney strategic assessment team that sat around and only heard about MAP MAP MAP. She presented the team's "findings" as gospel, stupefied the Board and bored the stupefied.

She's surely one of the wunderkinds pulling 1$00K+ that CO admin absolutely could not do without.
Anonymous said…
It looks like a smattering of currently offered PD sessions from downtown. We are doing that, it doesn't make things happen any faster.

On the "TIF" PowerPoint:
I just found $12.5 million for the district to save. As a high performing teacher, I will "take it for the team" and forego the incentive $$. I will "do it for the kids." Until they have a formula that takes into account all of the variables in a fair and accurate way, it is a waste of money.
Sign me,
-I don't work on commission.

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