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Monday, September 26, 2011

Curriculum & Instruction Policy Committee

The Curriculum and Instruction Policy Committee will be meeting this afternoon from 4:00pm to 6:00pm. This committee has been totally useless and ineffective for the past four years. That's a fact. I defy anyone to name a single positive that has come out of this committee in four years. It has been chaired by Director Martin-Morris all that time.

The Committee utterly fails to do its work - items are forwarded to the Board for a vote without any kind of discussion, vetting, or proper review, it performs absolutely no oversight of teaching and learning staff, it doesn't enforce any policies or investigate policy violations, and it has proven incapable of advancing any ideas. Again, this is a fact. Here are the supporting details:

Failure to properly review motions
This is the committee that purportedly reviewed the NTN contract.
This is the committee that failed to review the CSIPs - they didn't even review the annual approval of schools motion; it went to the full board without review.
This is the committee that reviewed the discontinuation of the 2.0 GPA graduation requirement.
This is the committee that reviewed the contract with NWEA for the MAP test and never noticed the superintendent's conflict of interest.
This is the committee that somehow reviewed the Highly Capable grant application without ever seeing the application.
This committee has never even asked about the community engagement done on a motion, let alone rejected a motion for lack of community input.
I defy anyone to name any motions that got a meaningful review in this committee.

Failure to oversee
This is the committee that oversaw the Southeast Education Initiative.
This is the committee that oversaw the proliferation of coaches.
This is the committee that oversaw the errors in the school reports and the district scorecard.
This is the committee that oversees the curricular alignment project and the way it has steamrolled biotech at Ballard, the literature classes at Roosevelt, marine biology at Garfield, and AP European History.
This is the committee that oversees the selection of materials.
This is the committee that oversees the absence of academic interventions.
This is the committee that should have demanded the review of policy D15.00 that was ordered by the Board on January 29, 2009.
This is the committee that should have demanded the implementation of the written APP curriculum concurrent with the split as promised by the district staff.
This is the committee that should have demanded the fulfillment of all of the other promises made to communities at the time of the school closures.
I defy anyone to name any oversight action taken by this committee.


Failure to enforce policy
This is the committee that failed to enforce the promotion/non-promotion policy.
This is the committee that failed to enforce the program placement policy.
This is the committee that failed to enforce the Highly Capable policy.
I defy anyone to name any policy enforced by this committee.


Failure to advance ideas
This is the committee that delayed high school credit for classes taken in middle school for a year.
This is the committee that has proven incapable of developing a waiver process.
This is the committee that has proven incapable of putting any meaning into "earned autonomy".
This is the committee where ideas go to die.
I defy anyone to name any ideas launched in this committee.


This month's meeting
This month, the Curriculum and Instruction Policy committee will allow a number of critical items to slip through their fingers. That's a prediction based on past performance and a knowledge of the individuals at work.

MAP
They will utterly fail to ask any meaningful questions about MAP and the renewal of the contract with NWEA. In fact, they have only scheduled ten minutes for discussion of the contract. Some serious discussion of why we use MAP and how we use MAP is needed, but it won't happen here.

Waivers
They will spend twenty minutes nattering about waivers. Do not expect any results from their meandering discussion. Director Martin-Morris will speak in the most general and abstract terms. Dr. Cathy Thompson will hold the hard line on material standardization. No action will be advanced. We need someone to write the procedure for waivers, but that won't get started in this committee. They have been talking about waivers for years without any clear, concrete procedure visible on the horizon.

Board Policies C and D.
Although more time has been alloted to this discussion item than any other (an hour and twenty minutes), do not expect any meaningful discussion. This committee was supposed to have been reviewing and revising these policies for the past two years. They haven't done diddly. In fact, according to the policy revision calendar written a year ago, they should be done with the policy revisions by now. They haven't even started.

The policies in the C section include:
Additions to Catalog of Secondary School Subjects (what classes high schools can offer), Homework policy (recently gelded), High School Graduation Requirements (different at every school), Competency/Proficiency Based Credit (an exceptionally bad idea), Selection and Adoption of Instructional Materials (Discovery Math, anyone?), Assessment Program (standardized testing), Policy and Program Evaluation (routinely violated policy), School Effectiveness Measures and Review (as if we were doing that), Proposal for a New Program (curious about that one?), Transitional Bilingual Education, Career and Technical Education Policy, Alternative Education Policy, Program Development and Placement (routinely violated policy), Online Learning, Special Education, and Staff Training (coaches).

The D section of the policy book includes:

School Attendance, Student Assignment, Residency Verification, Non Standard School Assignments, Highly Capable Student Programs (oddly, not a part of section C along with alternative, bilingual, and special ed), High School Grade and Credit Marking Policy, Use of Directory Information (the Our Schools Coalition violated this one), High School Guidance and Counseling (a policy without people), Attendance Policy, Promotion/Retention (revised to be pointless), Equal Opportunity for Students, Student Complaint, Prohibition of Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying, Sexual Harassment, Anti-Retaliation Policy (good luck using this one), Alternatives to Military Recruitment - Equal Access (a hot issue for some folks), Student Discipline, School-Police Relations (when they call the cops), Student Fees & Charges (Pay for K, Pay for Play, lab fees, and more), Child Abuse Reporting (when is it mandatory and to whom must staff report), Removal of Student from School Grounds by Non-School Personnel (cops), Student Clubs (GSA might want to check this one, bible clubs too), Solicitations by Students (selling gift wrap has to be better for the schools than the gift wrap company), District Fundraising Policy (has surprisingly little to say).

Finally, the committee will seek Future Agenda Items from the committee members. Any such suggestions will be added to the long list of future agenca items already in the committee's parking lot.

30 comments:

Nick said...

I wonder if this committee will notice that Khan academy has been blocked by the Seattle School Internet filter? Keeping Seattle Public School students in the dark, its a disgrace! You can teach your kid more, by just keeping them home!

Anonymous said...

Parents of children in special education should know that Board "C" policies include Parent Procedural Safeguards (C69), Graduation (C62), and Special Ed (C60). If the Board is considering ANY modifications on these policies, neither of the community, community/district, organization has been notified and given an opportunity to comment (Special Education PTSA, Special Education Advisory and Advocacy Council). Changes to c69 would be especially important. Where can we find out the content of what is under review?

Parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

Parent, I think they are all under review. You could contact the School Board office (ask for Erin) for specifics.

Anonymous said...

I heard from a neighbor that her child needed to do some credit retrieval because of an illness last year.

She was told by the high school counselor that policy recently changed so her child could not take online classes to retake those credits. (Of course no night school or summer school.) Is that true? When did that policy change?



Rose M

Charlie Mas said...

Ostensibly, all of the policies are under review.

The Board is playing a game with them, however, by doing the policy review in two phases. In the first Phase all they do it re-number the policies and add in a few that appear in the WSDDA sample policies but are missing from ours. The actual review and revision of existing policies is supposed to happen in a second phase. The problem with this, aside from being inefficient and procrastinating, is that they can't be trusted to skip Phase II.

dan dempsey said...

Charlie has nicely pointed out an enormous number of failings.

For a district that likely wants to spend fewer dollars on outside legal help ... It certainly does not make much of an effort to stay out of court.

Here is the Discovering Math data... for four Districts using either Discovering or State recommended Holt.

So can the C & I committee tell me when the Careful Review of All Options for Closing achievement gaps took place?..... So far no comment from the SPS Board members and OSPI.... I am Looking to find an answer to this important legal question... apparently Superior Court is the place to look....

Only $240 per answer for those seeking an answer to get one.

Watch the District spend $20,000+ on Services from an outside legal law firm instead of answering the question.

Look for an appeal of the TfA decision of 9-21 on or before 10-21.... then I will have a transcript of evidence within 20days (if the district follows the law) in which I can look for the answer to my and Dr. Carol Simmons question.

Do not forget -- Appeals court hearing on 11-3-2011 to find out if the District needs to follow state law and provide a certified correct transcript of evidence when an appeal is filed.

The Directors apparently never do this. The Directors just do not get it.....

Or maybe I don't get it ... that the big money gets to ignore the laws with support from some superior court judges.

Patrick said...

What's WSDDA? Thanks.

SP said...

Mentioned at the Sept. 7th School Board meeting:

Oct. 12th Board "Work Session" re: all the disciplinary policies, practices and guiding principles

This is a bit confusing as the SR&R (Student's Rights & Responsibilities) handbook update was just approved last month which builds on the policies. The SR&R has had updates each year but these changes are always listed as "minor" and no community engagement is allowed, to the point that now a bystander/observer at an off campus fight has the same automatic suspension as the fighters themselves!

Apparently, the Board has been getting a bit of push back that there is NO public engagement for many of these policy reviews, except for a lame "we sent it to the PAC" or sometimes to the Seattle Council President for feedback (less than one week before final Board vote). Never once have I seen any of these proposed policy changes trickle down to the local PTSA level for actual community engagement or feedback.

Maureen said...

Patrick, actually it's WSSDA: Washington State School Directors Association.

dan dempsey said...

Anyone go to this meeting? If so how about a report.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, could you expand on why you think the Competency/Proficiency credit is a bad idea? Doesn't NOVA award credit this way?

--Curious

Anonymous said...

could you expand on why you think the Competency/Proficiency credit is a bad idea?

I was wondering the same thing. It might be harder to do (well) in some classes, but seems like for a foreign language or math class this would be a good idea. Is there something I'm completely missing?

-also curious

Charlie Mas said...

Curious -

Here is the current policy. It was adopted in March of this year

For now, students can only get proficiency credit for world languages. In fact, they can only get it for world languages that are taught in Seattle Public Schools.

The idea here is that students who speak Spanish at home can take some sort of test and get credit as if they had taken a Spanish class. That's great. Can my kids take some sort of test and get credit as if they had taken an English class?

The District won't award credit for languages they don't teach - like Amharic or Arabic. Apparently only some languages are worthy of credit.

The policy may be expanded to include credit for other classes later. That would be a disaster as well. I can see students deciding to challenge all kinds of classes. They would hope to get the credit by taking the test instead of taking the class. Eventually all of the well-supported and well-prepared students won't have to come to school at all.

Credit should be for work.

As for NOVA, students take classes - they don't just take tests. They have to do the work to get the credit. NOVA doesn't award credit just for proficiency any more than any other school does. So, no, NOVA does NOT award credit this way.

Charlie Mas said...

Melissa and I were at the meeting. She was there from the start and I arrived at about 4:45.

In addition to the regular committee members, Directors Martin-Morris, Maier, and Patu, the meeting was also joined by Director Sundquist and Director DeBell.

When I got there they were discussing waivers. After everyone was done talking it was forty-five minutes later and no one had said anything new. The Board members listed some of the elements that they believed should be included in the procedure that they wanted the staff to draft - all things which they had already listed at previous committee meetings on this topic. The staff provided a table on the costs associated with Saxon and Singapore math. I don't think anyone had asked for that, but that was the only new thing brought to the table. After talking around and around without any clear direction, the committee chair, Director Martin-Morris brought the discussion to a close by saying that the Board was very interested in this and wanted to move forward. He said that they definitely wanted to see a draft proposal by the end of this year - in six to eight months. He meant the end of the school year, not the calendar year.

So, all by himself, Director Martin-Morris kicked this can another eight months down the road with no progress whatsoever. He killed it.

They then quickly skimmed the C and D policies - series 2000 and 3000. Staff noted the ones that were new (from WSDDA mostly). The staff had a table that showed all of the polices noting which were old, which were new, which needed to be revised, and which did not. They did give the Board members an opportunity to pick out a few that they want to discuss. The rest will go forward to adoption without any review or discussion.

There will be three more meetings on these policies including a work session on October 12. They will be introduced in November and voted on in December. None of the Board members played a role in setting that schedule.

Yet another Curriculum and Instruction Policy Committee meeting in which nothing was decided or resolved. Everything was pushed off until later - as usual.

SP said...

Charlie- Are you sure that the district won't give world language credit for languages they don't teach?

The Board's Action Report from March 2011 states, "Students who have learned another language outside of the school day will be able to earn high school credit for World Language credit." When this policy was being developed I talked with K. Kodama about this and she assured me that there would be a process for testing all languages, but that parents might have to pay for setting it up for a language that they did not have a test for.

Also, once again it would be really helpful to have a link on this blog to the current K-12 Counselor's Manual which includes more details about this testing (besides other issues such as grading, credit retrieval, etc that are frequent items of discussion on this blog). The link is way too long for copying (sorry I still haven't perfected the slick link system), but you can find this Counselor Manual on the SPS website- go to Departments, then to College & Career Readiness, then to the link for the Counselor Manual.

"On March 16, 2011 the Seattle School Board approved School Board Policy C17.00 – Competency/Proficiency Based Credit. One or more high school credits will be awarded based on the student demonstrating an overall proficiency level according to the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines. There is a maximum of four credits that can be earned through this assessment. Students must show proficiency in reading, writing and speaking. This is for native/heritage speakers, immersion students from our International Schools, and students who have learned a World Language outside of the school day. This is not intended for students who are in our regular World Language classes so it is not based on seat time. The assessments will be:
• STAMP – Standards Based Measure of Proficiency – reading writing, speaking. This assessment is available in Spanish, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Mandarin.
• ACTFL assessments OPI (Oral Proficiency Interview), OPIc, and WPT (Writing Proficiency Test) for languages for which STAMP is not available.
• ASL assessments – Sign Language Proficiency Interview
• For language that do not currently have any nationally available proficiency based assessments, SPS will work with OSPI and the local language communities to develop a collection of evidence process to align with the ACTFL guidelines"

mirmac1 said...

Is this the one?

Secondary Administrative Procedures and K‐12 Counseling Services Manual

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

No, Mirmac1, that's the older version in your link.

The new one is found at the College & Career Readiness department as I described, and is dated Spring 2011 with Enfield & C. Thompson's names on front page.

The really screwy thing is that the new Google search box on the SPS website does not give the most recent version of a document first which is really worthless & misleading- beware users!!

none1111 said...

The District won't award credit for languages they don't teach - ...

The policy may be expanded to include credit for other classes later. That would be a disaster as well. I can see students deciding to challenge all kinds of classes. They would hope to get the credit by taking the test instead of taking the class. Eventually all of the well-supported and well-prepared students won't have to come to school at all.


Okay, after reading the above and thinking more about it I'm convinced that there could be implementation issues with foreign language. Should we issue world language credit for a language that was learned natively, but is not taught in SPS? What about for a language that IS taught in SPS, but a kid spends a summer in France or Japan or takes a non-accredited class outside SPS? I can see gray areas, and that tends to make people nervous. Still, if it's a class that exists in SPS and a student can pass an EOC-like test, why hold them back?

Suggesting that losing the well-supported and well-prepared students is somehow reason for not affording them the most appropriate level placement doesn't help anyone. I'm really surprised you wrote this, and I'm wondering if you could explain your rationale here.

Don't forget, the same sort of thing happens with math. Kids take classes or study outside school because it's a topic they enjoy. Then the district refuses to place them in an appropriate class. When you say "They would hope to get the credit by taking the test instead of taking the class.", I can only respond with: Yes, they should absolutely be able to get placement and/or credit in these cases if they pass an EOC-like test because that's what best meets the needs of the students.

Anonymous said...

"The staff had a table that showed all of the polices noting which were old, which were new, which needed to be revised, and which did not."

Can the pbulic see this table? Where is the link to it?

Ken Anderson

none1111 said...

Blogger ate another post. Please restore, thanks.

Anonymous said...

I would think the district would pay real attention to currriculum and instruction since they are in the business of EDUCATION. Sigh! I am done with this nonsense and it is not even Friday. I rather go back to work now because lunch and my frustration is bringing on serious indigestion. And I agree with all of you who are trying to find out more info from the website. It's a waste of time trying to stay inform when people responsible for this can't seem to do the work to stay inform.

-ARRGH!

mirmac1 said...

Okay, here it is.

Chris S. said...

Guess what, Charlie, the "costs associated with Singapore and Saxon" isn't really new. Staff produced it last year after being asked over & over again for it. In fact, it sounds exactly like several waivers conversations at meetings I attended last year. Which I why I don't go any more.

Charlie Mas said...

Right. If Chris S.'s comment did not make it painfully clear, the discussion on waivers has not advanced one inch in over a year.

Thank you Curriculum and Instruction Policy Committee. Gee, it's a good thing you really want this. I'd hate to see what the progress would be like for something that you didn't fully support.

none1111 said...

The District won't award credit for languages they don't teach - ...



The policy may be expanded to include credit for other classes later. That would be a disaster as well. I can see students deciding to challenge all kinds of classes. They would hope to get the credit by taking the test instead of taking the class. Eventually all of the well-supported and well-prepared students won't have to come to school at all.




Okay, after reading the above and thinking more about it I'm convinced that there could be implementation issues with foreign language. Should we issue world language credit for a language that was learned natively, but is not taught in SPS? What about for a language that IS taught in SPS, but a kid spends a summer in France or Japan or takes a non-accredited class outside SPS? I can see gray areas, and that tends to make people nervous. Still, if it's a class that exists in SPS and a student can pass an EOC-like test, why hold them back?



Suggesting that losing the well-supported and well-prepared students is somehow reason for not affording them the most appropriate level placement doesn't help anyone. I'm really surprised you wrote this, and I'm wondering if you could explain your rationale here.



Don't forget, the same sort of thing happens with math. Kids take classes or study outside school because it's a topic they enjoy. Then the district refuses to place them in an appropriate class. When you say "They would hope to get the credit by taking the test instead of taking the class.", I can only respond with: Yes, they should absolutely be able to get placement and/or credit in these cases if they pass an EOC-like test because that's what best serves the students.

none1111 said...

Hi Mel/Charlie. I've tried a couple times to post on this thread and it's been filtered both times. Could you please undelete this last one?

As incentive, there's a question there for Charlie.

Charlie Mas said...

Melissa hasn't written about it yet, but she was at the meeting from the start and she was there when the committee discussed the MAP contract.

Funny thing. It looks like the District is late paying the bill from NWEA for MAP. They missed the deadline. I don't know if there is any penalty or interest for paying late.

Also noted during this part of the meeting, MAP for kindergarten students and 9th graders is actually being expanded instead of cut. There was some confustion about this. Which way did the Board want to go and what were the reasons for the MAP test in the first place? No one seemed to have a clear answer. Rather, everyone had a different answer.

The review of the MAP contract was supposed to be 10 minutes, but it ran long.

MAPsucks said...

Well, I imagine they're late because they aren't doing the Fall MAP. The total fee won't be reduced by this approach, as it is a fee per student per year. In fact, it sounds like the price will go up if they expand the K's and 9th graders who take it.

I'm speculating but MAP for K's is probably for Spectrum-ish testing, and for the 9th graders, it's in place of the PSATs.

Anonymous said...

Mel/Charlie. I've posted here twice, both posts were auto-deleted. I posted after each time, requesting for an undelete, and those requests were deleted. Has blogger lost its mind?

Requesting again, using another name.

-- something different