Showing posts from May, 2011

Seattle Schools Student Assignment Info for 2011-2012

Here's a link to the SPS webpage. The automatic enrollment/waitlist number is 252-0410 - you must have student's ID # and birthdate. (Thanks to all for the updates.)  

Noodling Around the SPS Website

Just so we all keep up to date, looking at the district website, it appears we now have four Assistant Superintendents.   Pegi McEvoy - Operations (interim) Robert Boesche - Business and Finance (interim) Cathie Thompson - Teaching and Learning  Noel Treat - Deputy Superintendent (interim) It states at the Superintendent's page: The process of restructuring central office at the John Stanford Center has a near zero budget impact.  What?  Cathie Thompson has a new job title and her old job is being filled by someone else.  Don Kennedy was COO/CFO and now those jobs are split into two.  Noel Treat isn't being paid more for his new workload?   So that statement about zero budget impact is a little hard to believe but like most statements about money in the district, no data is ever given. Also, I see they are advertising for not only Cathie Thompson old job, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, but also for the additional Executive Director job.   Also, just to ke

RIFs (I'm Puzzled)

I may have missed something so please help me out if you know the answer to this confusion. I was just putting in a public disclosure request for RIFs - the categories, schools and subjects (if secondary schools).  I wanted to give the request some context so I looked for the district's own numbers. Here's my confusion.  First, there is one presentation from a work session on April 27th .   Then, there is one staff presentation from May 4th and one to the Board on May 5th .  The one on May 4th matches the April 27th Work Session presentation. But they don't match in numbers or categories with the May 5th one. April 27th/May 4th both say they will RIF 30 certificated individuals (27.5 FTE).    It also says they will RIF 49 Classified staff (42.05 FTE - 13 SAEOP FTE and 36 paraprofessionals).   So if you wanted to add them all up, you get 79 people RIFed from throughout the district.   But the May 5th one says 36 people certificated employees will be RIFed.   Lin

Seattle Area Teacher Blog

From Salander: Here is the blog I have just created for Seattle area teachers. All are welcome to comment.

Seattle Schools Meetings Week of May 30th-June 3rd

Monday No school, of course, for the Memorial Day holiday.  However, if you wish to speak at the Wednesday Board meeting, they are still counting Monday as the day they use to see who signs up.  So if you wish to speak at the Board meeting, do not wait until Tuesday (the next business day).  Sign up on Monday starting at 8 am, or 252-0040.  I note a more sternly written instruction for being on the list: Provide your " full legal name, topic you will be speaking on, telephone number, and email address.  If complete information is not provided, you will not be included on the list. " Interesting that "full legal name" stuff.

Goodloe-Johnson Applies to be Florida Education Commissioner (along with 18 other people)

Dr. Goodloe-Johnson continues to seek employment this time in Tampa Bay, Florida.  The deadline was May 25th but they are thinking of extending the period to Monday, June 6th. The Commissioner of Education in Florida is the equivalent to the State Superintendent in Washington State.  He/she reports to the Governor as an agency head.  The salary range is $195k-275k. Reading through the qualifications, I noted a few areas where Dr. Goodloe-Johnson might run into trouble: • Inspires trust, possesses self-confidence, and models high standards of integrity. • Possesses excellent communication skills and can effectively establish dialogue with all stakeholder groups. • Is a “team player” who inspires others by example. • Creates an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect, open channels of communication and shared decision-making. The site says this: We provided a partial list  on Thursday evening. Here are the additional names provided this afternoon: Oleh Bula ,

SPS News and Events

According to the SPS website, Open Enrollment letters are to be mailed out Tuesday, May 31st. Update: The automatic enrollment/waitlist number is working. 252-0410 - you must have student's ID # and birthdate.  (Thank you to reader Laura for this info.) There will also be an online lookup tool and automated phone line that families can use to check assignment and waiting list status. These should be available by mid-day May 31, so check back here for the online link and phone number. Also, the district wants to remind families that there will be no SPS summer programs but there's a summer resource list . Free Youth Cardiac-Screenings at Garfield on Wednesday, June 1st from 8 am to 5 p.m.  These are in partnership with the Nick of Time Foundation.   The screening takes about 25 minutes. Screening packets are available at the Garfield office or Teen Health Clinic or can be downloaded .  You can also pre-register your child for a screening by email (jasmine.brook

School Board Campaign News

Charlie brought us up-to-date in a previous thread on School Board candidates.  I'd like to add some new information. First up, the King County Democrats had an endorsement meeting this past week.  None of the incumbents won an endorsement.   Apparently, Sherry's was the closest vote but she still lost.  Initially, both Michelle Buetow (Harium's announced challenger) and Kate Martin (Sherry's announced challenger) both won endorsement from the endorsement panel.  But they held a hand-count vote and Kate lost endorsement by a handful of votes.  Michelle retained her endorsement and was the only candidate for School Board endorsed. I have seen campaign letters from Steve Sundquist and Sherry Carr.  Both are somewhat disappointing.  Both are asking for early endorsements.  (FYI, Peter seems to have quite a large number of endorsements at this stage.)  Steve's is much shorter.   He points out the NSAP passed and new teacher and principal contracts with new ass

Open Thread Friday

RIFs.  Three-day weekend.  About 3 more weeks of school. 

Teacher Assessments

By request by a reader: Indeed, today I met a teacher friend that theoretically now confirms 3 local districts supposedly practicing the technique of giving negative evaluations to older (read "non-reform" and/or expensive) teachers to help force them out as a combo cost-saving/pro-reform move. What I am hearing is that while some schools are not having RIFs, many first-year teachers are not getting their contracts renewed.  (If they get an unsatisfactory in just one area, they're out.)  I have also heard that the teacher assessments are having a rough first implementation with some older teachers only getting one visit to review their performance and even stellar teachers are getting an "overall proficient" rating.   Teachers? Parents, ask at your school about RIFs.  I'd like to develop a list of them.

A Goal Without a Plan

I spoke to someone last night and it reminded me of one of my greatest frustrations with Seattle Public Schools. I have been a school district activist for about 11 years. For all of that time the District's stated number one goal and priority has been to close the Academic Achievement Gap. Ask anyone in the district leadership what their primary goal or highest priority is and that will be named. So where is the plan to achieve that goal? There is none. They have never made one. What kind of organization - business, sports, government, non-profit, cultural, whatever - sets a goal, swears commitment to that goal, but never makes any kind of plan to achieve it? That's simply not credible. If the District were ever to write a plan to close the Academic Achievement Gap, they would do it by bringing every student up to Standards. And the only reasonable way to do that would be to identify every student who was working below Standards and give them the support they need to r

News Roundup (Local and National)

Only one Director community meeting this Saturday .  That would be with Betty Patu from 10am-noon at Tully's, 4400 Rainier Avenue South.

Walk to Math Follow-Up

Fellow activist Dorothy Neville went deeper after the discussion around Walk to Math and penned this thread. I'd like to follow-up on the Walk-to-Math issue that I brought up at a recent Open Thread. I had heard Anna-Maria dela Fuente tell the board that Walk-to-Math was not ability grouping across classrooms, but rather students being instructed by a math specialist instead of their classroom teacher. Since I know some schools implement math instruction in ways that violate that, I gave the head's up. I have now contacted Anna-Maria. We corresponded in email and spoke on the phone. I can now clarify the situation as far as I know it.

Great Job, CPPS

The stars aligned last night and Charlie and I were once again in the same place - the CPPS event on parent engagement at Lincoln High.  This event was great because there was evidence that the work CPPS is doing around parent engagement is reaching the right people. Also, I feel this may be a signal or a golden moment for parents to seize upon; this based on what the Superintendent had to say about parent input AND the CPPS idea of "training" parents to be advocates for their child.   I only wish this wasn't coming at the end of the school year when people are starting to dial back. Credit goes to all the CPPS staff but especially Stephanie Jones .

Gentle Pressure, Relentlessly Applied

I attended the CPPS annual meeting last night. Dr. Enfield spoke and talked around a number of questions. She didn't answer any of them, but she expressed a lot of enthusiasm about answering them in the near-term, but unspecified, future. In the context of her talk she introduced us to her new motto or slogan or modus operandi, or whatever: "Gentle Pressure, Relentlessly Applied." She got the motto from her former boss, Vicki Phillips of Portland Public Schools , but I like it anyway. I'm going to use it also. That's going to be my modus operandi as well. Going forward I will be in front of the Board and the District leadership at every opportunity and I will be in their email inboxes relentlessly applying gentle pressure. It will be grueling, but I think it has the potential to be as wearing on them as it is sure to be on me.

Teacher Pay Cut 1.9%

The state legislature balanced their budget today, in part by cutting teacher pay by 1.9%. Given the contracts that the Districts have with the teachers, does this really result in a cut in teacher pay or does it result in a shift of 1.9% of the state's contribution to teacher pay from the state to the districts? From the story in the Times : Other cuts to K-12 education in the proposal include suspending two initiatives dealing with teacher pay and class sizes worth around $1 billion. Another $215 million is saved by eliminating other money to reduce K-4 class sizes.

The Gates Foundation and Their Never-Ending Reach

First off, bless Melinda and Bill Gates for being willing to give away money for world health and public education in the U.S.  I applaud anyone who steps up to help.  They are likely helping many people. However, we all know, as citizens in a city where we have more than one billionaire, that while philanthropy is a great thing, these people giveth...and they taketh.   The new mantra is " venture philanthropy" - they expect a return on their investment.  

SPS News Roundup ( the 6.3% Claim)

Apparently the Alliance had an event at High Point Center this evening with Dr. Enfield, Steve Sundquist, and other district officials.  It was billed as an evening with Dr. Enfield. 

More Tedium

The Seattle Times has published yet another moronic editorial about Seattle Public Schools. This one reflects absolutely no knowledge or understanding of the test scores in our high schools, what those test scores mean, or what can be done to raise them. Every comment to the editorial so far takes the Times to task for their poor understanding. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= At some point we need to talk seriously with the people at the Times to discover their major malfunction. Why do they have such a broken perception of education issues? Are they unduly influenced by the District leadership? Are they unduly influenced by some local big shots like the Alliance for Education? Are they unduly influenced by some outside entity such as the Gates Foundation? Are they just not very bright? Have they just not given these matters much thought? What, exactly, is going on? It's not just that they write things from another perspective or that we don't agree politically; they h


I hate to be so tedious about all of this, but the District still has not updated the School Reports as they promised to do in December. When I contacted Mark Teoh about this he wrote back to say that he would write to me the following week. That was three weeks ago, and I still have not heard from him. I have written to him and the Board, but still haven't heard back.

Strategic Plan Survey

The District invites the public to fill out a survey regarding District's Strategic Plan. Seattle Public Schools is updating and adjusting the Strategic Plan with input from teachers, principals, parents, families, and members of our community. Please visit the following survey link to provide feedback to Seattle Public Schools: . The survey consists of 21 questions and will close on Tuesday, May 31. Responses to the survey will remain confidential and anonymous. For questions about the survey, please email . There are some trick questions here. 1. As you envision Seattle Public Schools in the year 2013, for what would you like it to be widely known and respected? They list some possible responses, but I answered "providing interventions for struggling students, challenge for advanced learners, and rigor and support for all students." 5. What kinds of

Meetings Week of May 23-27

Monday Curriculum and Instruction Policy Committee , agenda . This is from 4-6 p.m. This agenda reflects issues that have been brought up before so I think it is an on-going discussion about previously discussed issues. These include Student Rights & Responsibilities, Families and Education levy, anti-harassment policy and procedure (students), high school graduation requirements policy, and high school grad and credit marking policy. Tuesday Parent Engagement for the 21st Century: A CPPS Event Tuesday, May 24 6:30-8:30pm Lincoln High School Library 4400 Interlake Avenue North Join us as we bring together parents, community members, and our education leaders to explore new possibilities for parent engagement. You’ll learn about our Parent Leadership Training and opportunities for you to make a difference in our schools. Dr. Susan Enfield - Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools - and her Regional Executive Directors will be our special guests. You won’t want to mi

TFA - UW and SPS and Outcomes

I have to thank so many of you for your input.   You don't know how many times someone either reaches out to me at my Save Seattle Schools e-mail ( or writes something here that sticks in my brain.  It's like a phantom itch; it doesn't matter how much you scratch, you can't make it go away. So I think I have figured out (and some of you probably as well) why TFA is so damn sure they'll be putting their recruits into SPS.   That Wendy Kopp doesn't even try to demur should tell you something.  (Janis Ortega, the regional TFA director, does the same thing in her e-mails to the Dean of the UW's College of Education.   Funny, he never asks her why she's so sure.) They are sure because I would bet money that the district has a quiet agreement (beyond the contract) about TFA.  Here's how it will work: As many of you have point out, there are many schools (not just a couple) that the district projects as under-enrolled.  One of

Candidates for School Board 2011

There will be elections in four Director Districts. here are the candidates District I, North Seattle Peter Maier (Incumbent) District II, North Seattle Sherry Carr (Incumbent) Kate Martin District III, Northeast Seattle Harium Martin-Morris (Incumbent) Michelle Buetow District VI, West Seattle Steve Sundquist (Incumbent) Joy Anderson(?) Charita Dumas (?) Martha (Marty) McLaren (?)

UW and TFA - Part Two (Let the Right One In)

Question: how is Teach for America like a vampire?  Now if you know your vampire lore, they have to be invited in.  And so it is for TFA. TFA didn't just ring up Dr. Goodloe-Johnson and say, "Hey, we have a swell program going.  Want to be part of it?"  No, they needed a facilitator.   The facilitator in this case is the Dean of UW's College of Education, Tom Stritikus (also former TFA alum).   He's the one who got the ball rolling.  And boy, he did it fast. From my last post that contained e-mails from my public disclosure request, we learned that he couldn't do enough for TFA.  Not just bringing them here, not just setting up a hidden (well at least from the public and his own students) partnership between UW and TFA but as he said the week of Sept. 13, 2010, " I am open to pursuing other ideas that would be helpful to TFA. "   You have to wonder if he was actually aware he had a whole college of education to run. So what happened is that fin

Open Thread Friday

Fire and rehire - first Martin Floe and (hopefully) Cliff Mass. Two Community meetings tomorrow: DeBell - 9- 11 am at Cafe Appasionato Maier - 10:30 am-noon - Bethany Community Church Plus, the Superintendent meets with members of the Latino Community at El Centro de la Raza at 2524 16th Avenue S. from 9:30- 11am. Lastly, are you ready for tomorrow?  Got someplace for the pets to go?  Or, maybe conversely, looking forward to the extra room here on Earth?  You did know that The Rapture is happening tomorrow, right? So if you are not in those good numbers, well, it's going to be hell on earth. If I don't see you again, thanks for being part of the blog.  Otherwise, have a good weekend.

We Want Cliff Mass!

You'll have to read it to believe it.  KUOW has fired/let go UW professor Cliff Mass.   If you're not familiar with Professor Mass (he of the perfect radio voice), he did a regular feature on Friday mornings about the upcoming weather in the Puget Sound.  He usually added some kind of science feature to his work and it was usually related to the weather/science.  I actually didn't hear him do this all that much.  He was usually on between 3-5 minutes. But I guess sometimes he talked about fuzzy math.  (He was part of a small group that successfully sued the district over the math curriculum only to later have it reversed on appeal.)  And I guess that made some people (like UW which owns KUOW) mad.  Read about it at his blog and how he matches it to the firing of Principal Floe.  He makes some very strong points about how other "regulars," who are on much longer also provide commentary.  If you like Professor Mass' work on KUOW, I urge you to consider bo

Upcoming LEV Event

The League of Education Voters is hosting an event in their "Voices from the Education Revolution Speaker Series". This one is called Innovations in Learning: Technology in (and out of) the Classroom Here's how they describe it: Technology has revolutionized our lives. But has it changed education in the 21st century? Join us to hear leaders share their experiences using technology to deliver better individualized learning and outcomes for students. Read our blog series on technology in the classroom. I think you will hear a lot of people advocating for a vision of the future in education that approaches the one I described in a blog post titled "The Future - Education Reform Version". The speakers will be: John Danner, CEO of Rocketship Education Cheryl Vedoe, CEO of Apex Learning Shantanu Sinha, President of Khan Academy Moderated by Tom Vander Ark Thursday, June 9 at 7:00 p.m. University of Washington Kane Hall, Room 210 4098 15th Ave NE, Seat

UW and TFA - Part One

Let me take you on my UW/TFA journey for the last several months.

Films for Kids at SIFF

It's that time of year again - the Seattle International Film Festival .  I always like to give it a shout-out because they feature films for families as well as for teens. For teens there are the Adobe Youth Voices where youth from 32 countries created short films to communicate about their lives.  As well there is FutureWave with films about teens with FutureWave Shorts with filmmaking by youth under 19.  My favorites in this category are Detention ( Mix Donnie Darko, The Breakfast Club and Heathers - it's not the end of the world, it's just high school ),  Finding Kind , a documentary about girl bullying, and Hooked , a Russian film about 6 college students who suddenly find they have the powers they use when they play video games. Then there is Films4Families each weekend.   This year's films include a look behind the scenes at Elmo from Sesame Street and behind the scenes at a youth circus, an animated French film about a cat and a cat burglar, and a se

Capacity Management Briefing

The District staff gave the School Board a briefing on the current status of Capacity Management yesterday afternoon. I'll give you the short version: The plane has flown into the mountain. The District will be seriously deficient in capacity for 2012-2013 all over the place: Elementary schools in every part of the city except the Hamilton and McClure service areas will be at or over capacity. Elementary schools in the Denny service area will be critically over capacity. Four middle schools will be critically over capacity: Aki Kurose, Eckstein, Mercer and Whitman. The numbers for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 just get worse. Here's the worst news of all: the District does a perfectly terrible job of counting students and counting seats. The numbers shown to the Board are "adjusted" numbers. They are adjusted to discount students in option schools, students in APP, and students in K-8s. So, although the District reduced the student count for these populations,

Can You Hear You?

I know that the School Board Directors can't hear me, but I wonder... Can they hear themselves? Can they hear themselves speak earnestly about closing the achievement gap ? Probably not. They approved cutting summer school. They approved cutting elementary counselors vital to SIT teams and RTI. They won't fund interventions. They approve the removal of required interventions from the promotion/retention policy. Can they hear themselves wax poetic about the value of community engagement ? The evidence indicates otherwise. They accept motion after motion that has no community engagement They don't enforce the community engagement protocols of the Strategic Plan They don't conduct any real community engagement of their own Can they hear themselves go on about the value of transparency ? Apparently not. They have not required transparency in the budget. They have not required transparency in program placement. They have not required transparency in any

5/24 Meet the Superintendent and Exec Directors

From the CPPS web site: CPPS ANNUAL MEETING - 21st Century Parent Engagement TUES, MAY 24, 2011 at 6:30-8:30pm Lincoln High School Library, 4400 Interlake Ave N Come learn about our Parent Leadership Training, encounter action opportunities where you can make a difference for our schools, and help define parent engagement for quality neighborhood schools in our city. Special guests, interim superintendent Susan Enfield and the regional directors, will be there to discuss the district AND local level community/parent impact. Join us! RSVP at More info:

Not Invited (Again)

Am I media or not?  I wish the district would make - up - their - minds.  Anyway, there was a media briefing this morning with Dr. Enfield.  Here's what the Slog article had to say. "I think there's a big difference between caving and listening," Enfield said. "The decision that I made originally was hard, but I made a commitment to the community to listen and I listened. I felt this was the best way to move forward." But Enfield said that her decision to not renew Floe's contract had come after a year-long review period. "I have to make the best decision with the data I have," she said. "... The challenge was Floe and I were privy to information parents didn't have. So that was frustrating."   She added that part of the problem was that people failed to understand that there was a proper process in place. Enfield hopes to make that more transparent in the future . "When we make hard personnel decisions, we

Interesting Take on the Floe Decision From the Weekly

Over at the Seattle Weekly, Nina Shapiro took a big picture look at what it all means.  She zeros in on some key points.  It makes good points to ponder and mull over. 

Changes in the Board Agenda for Tonight's Meeting

There have been quite a few changes in the agenda for tonight's meeting.  Some are a bit puzzling.  (I also suspect the speaker list - which is full and has 20 on the waitlist) will change now that Ingraham's principal is off the table as an issue.)

RIFs and Your School

A request was made for a thread on this topic.  Let us know what is happening at your school. One person commented they were interested in how this might affect Garfield and Ingraham.  From a discussion I had with Martin Floe, it does not appear that Ingraham will have any RIFs (or very few).   I do not know about Garfield.  (I did ask Mr. Floe about TFA and he gave one of his trademark hearty laughs.  Then he said that there isn't much movement of teachers out of his school and he didn't anticipate any RIFs.   It is one hallmark of a good school when teachers don't want to flee.)

Response to the Floe Decision

The Times' article this morning on the reversal of the Floe firing has some great quotes.  This from Paul Hill of the Center for Reinventing Public Education: "It kind of gives a blueprint for resistance," said Paul Hill, director of the University of Washington's Center on Reinventing Public Education. "It invites a political response to every action." He said it also suggests that Enfield didn't realize Floe could mount a strong political response to what she likely viewed as a straightforward personnel decision. Boy, Professor Hill makes a lot of assumptions.   Blueprint for resistance?  You mean like calling your School Board member, creating a Facebook page, going old school with a peition and talking to the Superintendent?  That kind of scary blueprint? Also, people act like somehow parents are now going to get listened to more often by the Superintendent and staff.  One half-way success does not make parents any more powerful than the

School News from West Seattle

Our friends at the West Seattle blog have some good stories from West Seattle schools.

Enfield Reverses Decision: Floe to Stay

From the Superintendent; May 17, 2011 Dear Ingraham staff, students and families: When I was appointed Interim Superintendent, it was with the clear charge to strengthen opportunities for all students to learn. You asked me to bring high levels of transparency and accountability to this effort. The decision I made last Tuesday about the leadership of Ingraham High School Principal Martin Floe reflects my efforts to realize these commitments. However, I also know that a good leader listens. After extensive conversations with Ingraham High School staff and the community, I have decided to renew Mr. Floe’s contact for the 2011-12 school year, under the condition that he continue on a plan of improvement, which I, along with his Executive Director, will monitor throughout the year. If Seattle Public Schools is truly to make gains for our students, we must hold all of our leaders to a high standard of performance.  The work my team completed over many months leading up to my

Should You Have Command of "American" English to Graduate?

From New London, Connecticut comes a story that the district there will make " knowing American English" a requirement to graduate from their high schools by 2015.  From MSNBC: "We know from colleges and employers, that our students are going to have to know how to read and write in English if they are going be successful," Supt. Nicholas Fischer, told the Day.  That is not to say that the school is instituting an "English only" program in which where students are told they can only speak English in the schools. New London's program is a literacy program in which students will be required to achieve a certain level of English reading and writing literacy by the 10th grade.  The school system will offer several ways for students to fulfill their English language requirement and they have until the age of 21 to meet it. " I'm thinking some of this is driven by district costs but they may very well feel kids are not b

FYI about Tonight

Apparently Dr. Enfield had been scheduled to attend an event at Hamilton tonight.  The word is that her appearance there has been CANCELED. Obviously she is going to the Ingraham meeting.  I'm sure she will reschedule at Hamilton another time. (This seems to be something that the Hamilton community wants known so I decided to put it up here.)

The Seattle Times Should Just Shut Up

Yet another misguided, misinformed, mistake of an editorial from the Seattle Times: Gov. Gregoire: Don't veto teacher performance bill . The comments are significantly more thoughtful than the editorial (as usual).

One More Meeting This Week

Ingraham PTSA meeting. Special Guest: Susan Enfield Tuesday, May 17. 6:30-7:30 IHS Auditorium

Meetings this Week

Wednesday Work Session on Integrated Capacity Management - 4:00 - 4:45 p.m.  No agenda/presentation available yet. Exit Conference for Financial Statements and Federal Single Audit Report - 4:45 -5:30 p.m. - This would appear to be for the State Auditor's office.  I'll call for more details.  Board Meeting - 6:00 - 9:00 pm.  Agenda Highlights: Science update by Cathy Thompson - ( for fun, look for those grammatical errors).  They feel they need to keep explaining what alignment is and is not but teachers, how are you seeing the alignment as it rolls out?   Page 8 gives the science scores for last year - there is quite a clear divide and I'd be interested to know what factors are in play.  (It can't be facilities; Nova does almost as well as the higher ranked schools like Garfield and Center.)  There is finally a written validation process - again, teachers how likely is it an alternative science course can be validated as this is written?  They are piloting

David Horsey (Ingraham Alum)

His take on the Floe firing.

Still Not Clear on the Reasoning for the Floe Firing

Been doing research and while I keep diving, the water is still murky. What have I learned? Yes, Ingraham is at Level 5 under NCLB.   Yes, Ingraham has not met AYP for 6 straight years.  BUT, Franklin and Ingraham have the exact same record for the past 6 years.   Three years at Level 5, then 4, 3, 2 after that.  Both have failed to make AYP for the last six years. (To note, the steadiest school in the district is The Center School which has only missed AYP once in the last six years and has never been higher than Level 1.) What is equally troubling is that there has been a steady decline, across the board at nearly every high school.  We have six high schools at Level 5. We had just one school in the last three years meeting AYP.  Just one in three years.  The decline starts around 2004-2005 and I have to wonder what happened that so many schools just started a downward trend. Back to Ingraham.  Thanks to several commenters (including ITK and Reluctant Poster), I found o

Kate Martin - Candidate in District II

Kate Martin has announced her candidacy for the School Board in District II. Sherry Carr currently occupies that seat. Ms Martin is frequent commenter on this blog. She has been following the District closely for about six years. You can read a large body of her work on Seattle schools and public education at From her press release: Kate Martin would like to see the District do more of what works, less of what doesn't, and put more of its scarce resources directly in the classrooms rather than layers of administration, excessive high stakes standardized tests and other areas that do not benefit students. She would like to see the District engage proven strategies more and ideological aspirations less. She thinks that all students need and deserve a personal learning plan (Individualized Education Program) and that schools, students and their families need to build stronger relationships in order to collaborate and work from the same playbook to ens

Neil deGrasse Tyson (Science Rocks)

I went and heard astrophysicist extraordinaire, Neil deGrasse Tyson, speak at UW last week.  What an entertaining two hours.  Students from Cleveland High were in attendance and seemed very enthused to be there.   He didn't talk on one subject but meandered around various topics (including the demotion of Pluto - very funny). Times columnist , Jerry Large, interviewed him and got some good quotes.   I had just been watching NBC news last night and the President was featured saying, " We have to make science cool ."  Sigh.  Here's what Dr. Tyson has to say: "Getting kids interested in science is not the challenge," he said. "Kids are born interested in science." The challenge is to get out of the way of their curiosity, let them develop their skills, use their creativity. "There is no greater education than one that is self-driven," Tyson said. You go to the library, visit museums because you want to learn, and your quest for kn

Michael DeBell on Reuven Carlyle's blog

Michael DeBell wrote a guest post on Reuven Carlyle's blog in which he says that students need to be threatened with the loss of their diploma if we expect them to take math and science education seriously. This is the same man who will vote this week for a new promotion/retention policy that will remove all requirements on promoting students from grade to grade.

The "Ah Ha" Moment (But Not That Things Are Clearer)

Anyone who has ever read Oprah's O Magazine knows she has a column where she talks about an "ah ha" moment. So I have been pondering the Martin Floe issue and thinking that Ms. Dussault certainly isn't all powerful and Susan Enfield probably thought long and hard about this.  So I went back and looked through some other data (and talked to some trusted sources).  I believe I now understand the reasoning behind this firing but I think the district has a fight on its hands, nonetheless. Simply put, Ingraham is in Level 5 of AYP.  

Petition to Reinstate Martin Floe

Sign this petition and pass along if you are so inclined. Also, anyone who want to speak to this issue, call or e-mail the School Board office right at 8 am tomorrow morning.  Call 252-0040 or e-mail   You need to state a topic and I recommend stating that you will be speaking on the " high school science instructional materials " or " high school social studies instructional materials " and then relate how the high school alignment is probably a key issue to why Floe is being dismissed. 

Danny Westneat Nails It Again

This Sunday's column by Danny Westneat of the Times is spot on.   He explains how he wasn't really going to talk about the special 3-person Spanish class set up for basketball star, Tony Wroten, and 2 others.  It was especially niccceeee because Garfield is the most jampacked, overcrowded high school in Seattle. I figured there wasn't much I could add about the sway sports holds in schools and society that wasn't summed up best by that one tweet. But as he says, last week the class cuts started at Garfield. "At Garfield, budget cuts are being translated to cuts in Advanced Placement courses and other classes, including the cancellation of AP Calculus BC, reductions in sections of AP Chemistry, and AP Spanish ," read a bulletin from a parents' group. (italics his) Translation: After finding the wherewithal to gin up a three-person Spanish class so the star player can remain eligible to play ball in college, the school now is cutting back on

Congrats to Roosevelt

The Roosevelt High School Jazz Band took second place at this year's Essentially Ellington competition in NYC.  They also were awarded prizes for many individual and ensemble awards.    (Dillard High in Fort Lauderdale, FL took first place.)  Details in the Times' article. The article also explained why Garfield wasn't there (and I hadn't heard this before).  According to Massey, Garfield inadvertently failed to renew its membership in Essentially Ellington on time, so the school's sheet music arrived only a week before the due date for an audition CD.

What a PR Fiasco (and why SPS will never get ahead)

Talk about backpedaling - Dr. Enfield is now saying test scores had nothing to do with Martin Floe's firing.   This is as reported by several Ingraham parents and staff. The press release certainly made it sound like this was the case but here's what Dr. Enfield says: Unfortunately, the Times article was not correct. While we did share Ingraham's test scores since we were getting questions about the school's performance, I never said that these scores were the reason for my decision. They were not. Additionally, I never spoke with Katherine Long so I am puzzled why she would attribute any quotes on this matter to me. I have not, and will not, reveal the information that was part of the evaluation process and eventual decision. I am legally bound not to do so. Katherine Long is the Times' reporter on the story.  I reread the story and Ms. Long did not attribute any quote from Dr. Enfield as given to her personally.  She quoted what parents said Dr. Enf

Dr. Enfield is a Liar

Dr. Enfield has told us two things 1) Mr. Floe was fired from his job as principal of Ingraham High School because student test scores had stagnated. This was offered as the primary rationale for his dismissal. and 2) Students at Ingraham have been making gains on state tests at a higher rate than the district average. Ingraham's School Report shows 70% of Ingraham students making gains on the state reading test and 63% of them making gains on the state math test compared to 65% and 66% on the tests for the district as a whole. These statements cannot both be true.

Anyone Interested in Demographics?

This is the first I've heard of this and echoing Kellie LaRue who forwarded it to me, I don't know what to make of it. SPS Demographics Review Task Force Application Date: Thursday May 19, 2011 Time: 9:00 am - 10:00 am   Location: John Stanford Center Notes: SPS Demographics Review Task Force Application Due Thursday, May 19, 2011 Seattle Public Schools is looking for a few volunteers from the community to participate on a Demographics Review Task Force. Current demographic projections suggest that up to 7,000 new students may enter Seattle Public Schools over the next 5 years. The total student population could rise from 47,000 students today to 54,000 students over the next 5 years impacting every school in the District. The purpose of the task force is to review the impact of demographics on the New Student Assig

School Beat

I get my regular copy of the district newletter, School Beat.  Imagine my surprise to learn that we now have an Interim Deputy Superintendent .  That would be General Counsel Noel Treat .  So now, the General Counsel is Ron English.  (I never thought I'd write that sentence but life is strange that way.) Mr. Treat is to serve in this capacity until June 30th.  There is no explanation why this appointment is necessary.  I'd have to go back and check but I don't think we have had a deputy superintendent since Mona Bailey (and I think that was the '80s).  We also have an Interim Director of Capital Programs, Doug Nichols.   Now I know that COO, Pegi McEvoy is now also Facilities head so what does that leave former Facilities head, Bill Martin, to do?  The Seattle Special Education PTSA is honoring two educators; Maki Ichikawa at B.F. Day and Carlen Luke, a teacher at Stevens at their May 17th meeting. Graham Hill Elementary is newly certified as a Washington Gr

The Case of the Missing Principal (No, not Martin Floe)

So what has happened to Principal Tate Loftin at Coe Elementary?  Apparently, staff showed up on May 9th and poof! Her office was cleared out and she was gone with no explanation.  They have brought in retired principal, Terry Acena, to fill in but for how long is unknown.       Apparently the district is to explain this all on Monday.   But think about it - if this were your school and your principal, wouldn’t it seem odd that neither staff or parents had any explanation of a sudden departure? My source on this says Loftin had some chronic health problems but thinks if Loftin had been leaving on her own, she would have said goodbye to staff, parents and students.  What’s going on here in this district with personnel?  We have the top leadership – superintendent, COO and CFO – all in interim positions.  The new head of HR, gone after three months of commuting from Chicago.   Martin Floe gets fired despite support from staff and community (and with principals in many school

Education News

From the Stranger Slog comes news that UW has moved its in-state waitlist by 210 freshman students.  About 120 remain on the list while all other students currently on the list will be notified there isn't room for them in the 2011 autumn quarter. 

So Why Was Floe Fired?

The district, feeling the heat, has taken a couple of steps in the Floe firing.

Open Thread Friday

We're Back!  So sorry, never happened before, cause to think of migrating away from here.  Onward. Community Meetings Tomorrow Carr – 8:30-10 am, Bethany Community Church Sundquist – 11 am – 12:30 pm, High Point Library Martin-Morris – 9:30- 11:30 am, Diva Espresso   Anyone attend the rally for Martin Floe at headquarters yesterday?  I note that Dr. Enfield is now saying they will put in an interim principal and then have a search that includes parents and staff in the fall for a permanent principal.   I find the stats they released to be somewhat weak given other schools’ performance.  Is this just the first in a line of principal firings to come?

School Board Policies Being Updated/Changed

FYI from the School Board webpage: WSSDA (Washington State School Directors Association) alignment work: In consultation with WSSDA, the Board is reviewing and updating each section of policies. The revisions will happen a section at a time. The policies will be renumbered in order to follow the WSSDA model. For example, Section B, Board of Directors, will become Series 1000. This website will post the proposed policies prior to their adoption in order to invite public input. Series 1000 will be an Introduction item on May 4th and an Action item on June 1st. New Series 1000 policies Series 1000 Table of Contents Policy Nos. 1000-1115 Policy Nos. 1210-1310 Policy Nos. 1400-1822 Grid showing how Series B fits in with Series 1000 Public comments for this series are due on May 18th by 5pm i n order for the Board to have an opportunity to review them. Please send your comments via e-mail to . Other Policies: New Policy D85.00, S

Yet Another PERC Finding

In addition to everything else, the District is an employer. As an employer, the District is required to comply with labor laws. Sometimes they don't. In fact, they often don't. And when they really mess up they have to appear before the Public Employment Relations Committee (PERC). And when they are proven to have followed unfair labor practices they have to read the decision of the PERC into the minutes of the School Board's meeting such as they did on March 10, 2010. This happens once or twice a year and it is a direct indictment of the District's culture and management practices. It has happened again. I would really like to see a clause in the superintendent's contract that dings the superintendent salary $10,000 for every one of these. Then I think we would see them stop. Historically the District never takes any action after one of these and never holds anyone accountable for their grotesque mis-management and denial of rights to District employees. I

Support For Martin Floe

From IHS PTSA: For Supporters of Martin Floe there will be a demonstration of support at the Stanford Center on Thursday 5/12 at 5:15 p.m.  Enfield deigned to give the community one 15 minute face-to-face meeting with parent and faculty representatives. FYI (Charlie alerted me to this): From School Board Policy B61.00 : "The Board of Directors shall:... Elect principals and teachers upon recommendation of the Superintendent." The Board retains final authority to hire principals. In addition, the Board has ALL of the duties, authority and responsibility. They LEND some of those duties and authority to the superintendent, but they reserve the right to recall any or all of those duties and authority. So, if Floe appeals, it will be the Board who decides.  There are 4 people who, I believe, want to be reelected and they are basing a decision on an interim superintendent's input.   They might want to think long and hard about this decision.