Open Thread Friday

Just as a reminder, there are 4 directors having community meetings tomorrow (see this thread for times/locations).  I note that Director Maier is now having his meeting in a location in his own district (for some reason he had it in Sherry Carr's for a couple of years). 

Also, going out to your child's soccer game or other group activity?  Chat up other parents about the School Board races.  What are other parents saying?  If you feel so moved, advocate for the candidate of your choice.  


dan dempsey said…
For the first time there is actually a way to compare high schools in their ability to prepare students to complete an algebra test. The reporting of OSPI on the End of Course Algebra test allows me to report on the performance of Low Income learners at any high school. I will report results for low income students who took an algebra class in the 2010-2011 school year.

I will be posting on a separate site the performance of Seattle, Tacoma, and Spokane High Schools. I will also compare the Bethel School District and the Clover Park School District high schools. These two districts adjoin each other and have somewhat similar demographics .. in WASL days their performances were somewhat similar. Bethel has used "Discovering Math" by Key Curriculum Press (just like Seattle except Bethel hds used it longer) and Clover Park used the OSPI recommended HOLT series for Algebra in 2010-2011.

Look for my report later today.
Anonymous said…
Did anyone see Kate Martin's responses on the Seattle APP website Http://

Kate had specifically asked people to post questions - but now won't answer them. I found her response kind of odd. I'd be leaning towards voting for Kate over Sherry Carr but now am leaning towards Sherry Carr. Jane
Anonymous said…
that should read "I'd been leaning" not "I'd be leaning"

dj said…
Jane, I found both of her responses kind of odd.

--I won't answer your question if you don't give me your full name.

--I won't answer your question unless you tell me what you think first.

Considering that everyone had been asking straightforward, reasonable, totally non-confrontational questions, it was off-putting.
Another Jane said…
I feel the same way. It doesn't bode well for someone who will have to "play well with others" which has been a concern of mine since the beginning. I asked a question on her website back before the primary, and she not only didn't answer it she deleted it. It wasn't rude or vulgar but it WAS anonymous. Hmm.

I'm amused at how several of the posters are signing their questions Jane with random last names. It reminds of Buckaroo Banzai. Was going to leave a question signed Jane Bigbootay but figured that didn't stand much of a shot at being left up there.
Anonymous said…
The questions being posted are genuine concerns, too. No one is asking crazy things. I don't think she thought through offering to answer questions on the blog. Either she doesn't know the answers (very likely since she asked me for my opinions), or she's concerned about messing up further. Neither sign is good for someone that we need to fight for us. We don't need someone else on the board who doesn't have a backbone.

Jane Hudson - Now we know what happened to Baby Jane
Anonymous said…
A timely article:

Achievement Gap Mania

Anonymous said…
Here's a question I've been pondering: is Betty Patu really that fabulous? The reason I ask comes from the meeting on Wednesday, where she spoke about her opinion of the TfA vote, said she would vote no, but then abstained. I've noticed she's abstained a bit lately and wonder why she is using that method. If she feels strongly enough about something (such as TfA), what is so hard about saying no? She voted no for that last year, why waffle now?

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate her concerns about TfA and like that she is willing to voice them, but what goes down in the record is her vote, so why not stand up to the rest of the board with a no vote?

Jane part deux, electric boogaloo
ArchStanton said…
I find the Kate Martin "Q&A" on the APP blog to be disappointing and frankly kind of weird. I was all "throw the bums out", but if Ms. Martin can't make a graceful recovery there, I'm likely to give Sherry Carr a pass - though it would pain me to do so.
Anonymous said…
I wonder if Betty is abstaining because she's got people in her district that are FOR TFA and have asked her to vote THAT way but personally feels inclined against them? That's enough of a clash that it would give me pause.

Arch-I think you've hit on the reason it's not always good to say "anyone but (the incumbant)". Look what happened when we did that to former Mayor Nickels.

--Jane for today
RosieReader said…
Melissa, I may not be remembering correctly, but I think you said a few months back that when the time came to evaluate Board candidates, you would want to get insight into their philosophy and experience with oversight and governance - -that is, specifically what do they understand their role as Board members to be, and how would they act to realize that role. I have now read the referenced APP blog and frankly, I'm pretty appalled at Kate Martin's response. It shows either an almost painful level of naivete about the role of an elected official, or a real inability to read and react to, frankly, pretty reasonable requests from potential constituents.

That leads me to ask that you and Charlie consider offering all the candidates an opportunity to respond to similar threads on this blog. I certainly have things I'd like to ask several folks, beginning with one for Kate Martin ("To your mind, does governance/oversight require any cooperation with fellow Board members, or do you share the 'never compromise' philosophy that is currently such a strong part of American politics? Whatever your answer, please explain how it squares with, or contrasts with, your recent intransigence over the 'full name' issue on the APP blog?)
I'll ask Charlie about it but I would be inclined to say no. To be fair, we would have to offer this to all the candidates and that would be 8 separate threads on a variety of topics. I think it would be pretty confusing.

I think if candidates want to put out their positions issues, they either do it on their website, in forums, at other public gatherings, in e-mails or their own blogs.
Po3 said…
I don't have a pony in the APP ring, but did take a look at that thread over on the APP blog and have to say that I probably won't cast my vote for Kate Martin.

Everybody is asking the same basic question, how would she avocate for APP. Doesn't take a "learning curve" to understand the situation - APP is at capacity at the northend - L@L needs a home; Hamiliton APP probably will need to relocate. What does she as some potential solutions. What questions will she ask the district. For example - has ANY director asked to see how many APP qualified students are in Reg Ed and Spectrum across the district? And where are these students? (scatterplot) This is a important number to have as any one of these students could transfer into APP at any given moment. Knowing the potential capacity is key in planning.

Pretty simple stuff here, people.

But, I think because we are talking about the "APP" population there is that age old stigma attached.
Anonymous said…

I think Rosie R's idea is a good one. A few years back-maybe the 2007 election(?) when Linda Thomas had an education blog, that's exactly what she did-gave each candidate a chance to be the "guest blogger" of the day. Although I'm pretty sure comments allowed for threading there (it was on the PI I think), I'm sure we're all bright enough to follow things if you invited them there.

I would personally love to have a chance to ask them each questions.

All for guest bloggers
Po3 said…
I know the Seattle Education 2010 blog has done something like this. I just cannot find the link to them anymore. If anybody has it can you post. Was really great. Of course no incumbents responded - and they won't here either!
RosieReader said…
Jane for today @ 3:47 -- If she wants to hide her opinion of TFA, or any other issue, one way or the other, that troubles me. THe point of asking questions is to get answers.

It shouldn't matter who asks the question. A democrat asking a republican a question doesn't make it a "gotcha" question. As voters, we should expect candidates to respond candidly to any thoughtful question on any topic that is directly related to the position they are seeking to fill.

Funny, though, the things that can sway a race. I'm guessing Kate's got a full on tempest, and she better have a good answer ready at the Stranger forum, cause I'm guessing the topic of refusing to answer is going to come up
StopTFA said…
My guess is Betty may think a no vote is against the individual.

But I too think, if you feel strongly against, as Betty expressed at the meeting, then vote no.
Jet City mom said…
I'm pretty appalled at Kate Martin's response. It shows either an almost painful level of naivete about the role of an elected official, or a real inability to read and react to, frankly, pretty reasonable requests from potential constituents.


Lots of dancing around- what difference does it make if people asking legitimate questions give you their legal name online?
Either it is a good question or it isn't.

I was ready to vote for her, just from what I knew of her from my time as Summit K-12 parent chair, but now I am reserving judgement till after the Town Hall forum.
anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
anonymous said…
I'm really not sure what is going on with Kate Martin. She agreed to do this Q&A on the APP blog, and many people asked her very clear, coherent questions on her position and vision for APP.

She has Greg Lynden posting her canned positions and statements, and blog guarding her. It's all so odd.

In the thread she responded twice to ask people to sign their full names, despite many people (potential constituents) explaining how important anonymity was to them. She just refused to answer, and her body, err, blog guard defended her and requested blog moderation. Not a great start, and so odd???

She responded again to ask a poster (who asked a very clear question) to be more specific. Again, odd - made me scratch my head.

And here is her 4th response:

"Hello. I didn't have time to read all the comments. I get the feed once a day because as you can imagine there is not time for me to do otherwise. I'm sorry that I didn't realize the nature of this blog before I entered into this Q&A. I'd love to answer questions about APP and ALOs, because I truly want every single student challenged, so here's how I imagine this can work best. Please organize. Take whatever your discussions precipitate here and distill it as a group and then please describe your issue and what you want me to do to help you on one side of one piece of paper.
Please select a messenger who agrees to not be anonymous. Bring me your top 3 concerns so I can focus on what's most important to all of you. Your ability to organize and distill will mean all the difference in moving your concerns forward because capacity does not exist and probably should not exist to respond to each and every person's concerns. Thank you for your help. "

So Kate doesn't have time? Really? She agreed to do a Q&A and doesn't have time to keep her word. Her commitment? This is a huge red flag for me. She wasted a lot of peoples time - they took the time out of their busy days to ask her questions, only to hear, I don't have time to answer. Not good. Not good at all.

As of this writing she has still not answered one single question. Further she appears incoherent, and not knowledgeable. Why is she avoiding answering questions about APP? Does she have something to hide? Is she uninformed? Or is she is just really slippery and evasive.

I was on the fence about who to vote for until this point. But now I know that Sherry is going to get my vote. At the very least she coherently answers her constituents questions (even if she doesn't give the answer you want) and she is responsive. Kate needs to stick to her activism - it's a better fit for her.

Just sayin'
someone said…
Your ability to organize and distill will mean all the difference in moving your concerns forward because capacity does not exist and probably should not exist to respond to each and every person's concerns.

wow - really that's what she said? Um.... I might not really understand the job, but don't the Directors do a great deal of "responding to every person's concerns"?

troubling - I too will have to see what comes out of the upcoming forums - my lean just tilted a bit more towards Carr at the moment though...
dan dempsey said…

Good idea about waiting for the coming Stranger candidate forum on Wednesday 9-28.

I would add that Ms. Martin's apparent evasiveness described above is disturbing but hardly on a par with many of Director Carr's actions.

I wrote Director Carr several communications about the Law in regard to TfA and the granting of conditional certs. I testified at both the recent Board meetings on this issue. Dr. Carol Simmons testified on this issue and asked for a response...... Director Carr never responded to any request on the legality of requesting conditional certs for TfA . Nor did she care to discuss the required careful review of all options for closing the achievement gap, likely because it never occurred.

I would add this is hardly a one time communication failure on the part of Director Carr.
No communication of TfA evidence..
No communication on Math adoption evidence
No communication on New tech Network contract
No communication on how NSAP will make every school a quality school
No communication on the failed Southeast education initiative.
etc. etc.

Under state law it is the Board's responsibility to provide a certified correct transcript of evidence used to make decisions.... when decisions are appealed. Ms. Carr has been on the Board for four-years ... and the Board never supplies a certified correct transcript. That is a HUGE Communications failure ... appeals court on Nov 3 is next.
dan dempsey said…

Sherry At the very least she coherently answers her constituents questions

Well no that is often NOT the case.

In addition to instances I mentioned above...

Sherry failed to respond to whether she had even read the New Tech Network contract at the time of the first approval Feb 4, 2010... She failed to present the contract that had been approved when requested. ... Then after a $240 appeal was filed ... came the entire redo from square one on March 12, 2010 ... complete with a forged document submitted as evidence .... and the transcript of evidence never certified to be correct.

Sherry often evades and ignores issues like a "Good Company Man".

Try rereading all those audit reports from the State Auditor's Office.

As there is still litigation pending in the New Tech Network appeal ... the State Auditor's Office can not be involved .. YET.
Christina said…
anonymous, I can tell you that the challengers have very little time as they campaign: with few funds and no opportunity to update their statements on the General Election voters' guide, their energies are focused on networking, preparing for candidates forums and debates, meeting with campaign coordinators and strategists, designing campaign collateral, honing their messages, developing sound bites and answers to what they'd do differently once they replace the incumbents. Kate Martin could benefit from a communications coordinator, missteps are easy to make when one hasn't campaigned before and has a short timeframe between filing for office and last-minute statements before the mail-in ballots arrive to the voters.

I think it's a big improvement to have challengers who at least have the desire to know their constituents and to read their concerns, rather than the "I am minted, I have organizational support as long as I carry out an 'education reform agenda' funded by people outside my district" variety.

-- not a challenger, doesn't play one on television, but knows one (and it isn't Kate Martin)
Patrick said…
Ms. Martin promised to answer some questions, then put conditions (no anonymous questions), then when some people met those conditions still didn't answer a single question. After all, why wait until you're elected to start breaking your promises?
Kate Martin said…
I would love to answer questions about APP and other issues.

Please help me by distilling your group's priorities down to a few central issues and craft a statement of your position and make a direct ask to me and the other candidates as to what you want to happen. I understand that this is work, but it's productive work which will help me and others to work with you and your groups and not just read emails or blog posts leaving no time for formulating action.

I know a lot about average students since I raised a couple of them. There's a massive problem in gen ed classrooms and most students are victims of it. Super boring classes with zero challenges. It's a problem.

I want to know more about the needs of others at the low and high end of the spectrum and everyone in between and I'm sure many of you can help.

Please organize to the extend that you can assist me in quickly understanding the major issues of concern to you and be of assistance.
Hmmm said…
SPS challengers are awarded legislative endorsements throughout the city.

However, the voters guide will not be updated to reflect the changing landscape.

I expect our local papers to provide updated candiate information- including SEA's vote of No Confidence for Steve Sundquist.
dj said…
Christina, funny enough, Kate Martin had plenty of time to make multiple posts on the APP blog to tell parents that they would have to use their real first and last names; an additional post to tell a poster who did use her name that she wouldn't answer her question unless the poster told her what she thought first; and, now, to post on two separate blogs to tell people the conditions she places on communicating with them. Seems to me that time might have been better spent actually answering the questions that she originally solicited after asking posters to read her own set piece.

I was planning to vote for her. I didn't know just how quickly a candidate could lose my vote.
Anonymous said…
What has Sherry done for you? She smiles and nods and never follows through. Look at her voting record. The problems facing APP right now, from capacity management to dismantling of Spectrum programs have happened on the incumbents' watch.

-Missing Link
anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
anonymous said…
Kate are you really going to stick to this? I'd urge you to reconsider and answer the individual questions that you were asked. There were only 9 or 10 questions total. Seek assistance if you need it, but answer them. To ask all 900? families in the APP program, or blog posters who do not know each other, to come together and form a few questions for you is outright ridiculous. Actually, it shows how completely out of touch you are, and how huge the learning curve would be for you if you were elected. Let me ask you this. Do you think everyone in gen ed faces the same challenges, asks the same questions, has the same concerns? Would you ask gem ed families to organize and present you with just a couple of questions? That would be, well, ridiculous wouldn't it? Same for APP. A family with a student at the new IB/APP at Ingraham has vastly different concerns and questions than the family dealing with the Lowell split, or the reduction in advanced math classes at Washington MS, or overcrowding at Garfield, or safety concerns at the Lincoln building, or, or, or.

RickB said…
Okay, Kate Martin's request to organize into a few central themes seems reasonable, and a good way to see if she'll follow through. I'll start with my top-4 beefs with the whole APP/ALO/Spectrum System.

1) Dilution of the Spectrum program with the ALO label, and the resulting loss of academic rigor.

2) Spectrum seats should be guaranteed like APP. This isn't that hard - can folks at JSCEE use a spreadsheet?

3) The whole debacle with fragmenting the APP program across Lowell and Lincoln, and the clear lack of planning involved in this. What will be the surprise for next year?

4) Replace Bob Vaughn with somebody who actually advocates for Advanced Learning families.
Anonymous said…
Some kids in APP classes sit bored and unchallenged as well.

Note to Kate: This blog doesn't necessarily represent the unified APP community. It was started because some SaveSeattleSchools bloggers complained that APP parents were dominating the blog. I don't think folks are going to organize and draw up a list for you. The questions are coming from individuals. It's a blog. Best of luck with your campaign.

John Smith
dan dempsey said…
About replacing Bob Vaughn ... that is the Superintendent's job NOT that of a director.

The directors should be replacing the current interim Superintendent.

Susan Enfield was the person that submitted the transcripts of evidence in both Appeals of the New Tech Network contract ... The first transcript missed the required timeline of the law. The second like the first was not certified to be correct and contained a fraudulent document masquerading as an original.

That is precisely the kind of Board that is in place. The Board is unable to follow state laws. As the Auditor pointed out ... the Board did not adequately supervise its one employee ... the superintendent.
Patrick said…
What has Sherry done for you?

Well, her motion ended the rumor that Jane Addams would be closed before it even opened. And Jane Addams isn't even in her district. Not a huge thing, maybe, but it showed a commitment to the District keeping its promises at least in one instance.
Anonymous said…
Kate Martin,
Huh? Your proposed solution is not realistic and not particulary inspiring the confidence of constituents who are looking to a leader who can do what you're asking APP community to do (again, btw, b/c I'm sure APP/AL community are repeating the same things over and over). Isn't that your gig? To listen, distill the main themes, come up w/an action plan ???

That's kind of the whole point - that APP and AL communities have been trying to resolve ever evolving list of threats to AL programming. It's like perpetual firefighting. Once one fire is put out, another pops up and there really is NO ONE at SPS HQ who cares, or can effectively support this community and these programs even though there is a whole department dedicated to it.

To ask us to come up w/a list and the solutions... is there any other part of your candidacy job that you'd like us to do? Maybe do some fundraising, speechwriting, perhaps do a public appearance? Shall a few of us rotate through the candidates forum next week on your behalf, perhaps behind a cardboard cut out of you?

You have documented comments that show a lack of support to AL students/programs. This is your bed. You better get to making it.

There are other ways to close this infernal achievement gap (which is the only thing SPS seems to care about) without bringing the highest achieving learners down. And that's where its heading.

-Kate J.

ps. News flash. Advanced Learners put in classes that don't have the ability to meet their acadmeic needs or for attendance area capacity issues or b/c a school just up and decides to change a program... they are also victims of "Super boring classes with zero challenges" - maybe more so. You may not have meant it that way but it was super condescending.
suep. said…
In answer to PO3's Q, here's the link to the Seattle Education Blog.
Anonymous said…
while it natural that parents advocate for their children as best as they can, in a lot of corners of the district, when someone says "app parents want..." eyes roll.

too bad kate didn't tell everyone everything they wanted to hear.

if people want to vote for 1 of the 4 rubbers stampers, who can be counted on to sell your kids out for the goals of the billionaire boyz club, have fun.

i want my bottle
mirmac1 said…
Sherry Carr has NEVER responded to my concerns, on any numbers of things. I have presented her with well-researched, documented reasons why she should reconsider her positions. Zilch, nyet, nada.

What Kate Martin suggests is what Susan Enfield said to many groups on her PR juggernaut post-MGJ. I think parents felt she was genuinely interested in what we thought and needed. Unfortunately, Enfield's deal went nowhere.
ArchStanton said…
too bad kate didn't tell everyone everything they wanted to hear.

My concern is not that Ms. Martin didn't tell me or anyone what they wanted to hear. My concern is that she didn't tell anyone anything. After agreeing to participate in a Q&A on the blog, she inelegantly deflected reasonable questions by at first insisting that people identify themselves and later asking the APP community to come together and distill their concerns for her to respond to.

It indicates to me a lack of understanding of how the blogs function, an unrealistic assumption that the APP community is unified in their wants and needs, and a lack of awareness as to how her response would be perceived.

I have no problem with a candidate who doesn't have all the answers or wants to get more information before taking a position - in fact, I respect someone who can acknowledge that they don't know everything. But, if her original intent was to learn about the needs and concerns of the APP community, she certainly chose a poor approach.

How can anyone not be concerned that she would behave similarly when approached with the concerns of: the Special Ed., Alt School, ELL, FRL communities? If she shut down conversation with those folks, would you roll your eyes and whine "i want my bottle" just as quickly?
Anonymous said…
"My concern is that she didn't tell anyone anything."

Yes, exactly, Arch. And I'd have no reason to expect she'd react any differently with any other group. The most damning fact is that she ASKED for the Q & A and took her ball and went home when people didn't bow to her demands. That sets a pretty poor precedent in her ability to deal with ANYONE.

Sure, she may not be one of "them" but is someone that unable to work with even a small group of parents ready to work with an entire city of people with expectations? I don't think so.

Jane Too
Lori said…
Definitely one of the weirdest things I've seen on the blogs in all my years of reading.

I'm particularly troubled, however, that Kate Martin is supposed to be a long-time education activist, and I find it impossible to believe that such a person would have no understanding of or opinions on the state of advanced learning in SPS today.

Even casual readers of this blog probably know that Spectrum programs are being dismantled, schools are being forced to develop ALO "programs" (such that they are) even if they don't want to, and that capacity appears to be driving these changes, not student need. The biggest, most immediate challenges for APP are also capacity: where do we put the 500 kids at Lincoln this year for the long term, and what are we going to do about middle school?

Readers of this blog also probably know that Kate had opinions about APP and AP classes back in 2007 when she called them "a club for white, affluent families" in a letter to the editor of the Times.

So I'd like to know where she stands in 2011. I don't think that is an unfair question and I don't think it should be difficult for an education activist to answer.

A Board director cannot expect a self-selected group of parents who voluntarily comment on blogs to organize and problem-solve for her! No, a Director should expect to hear from constituents, as individuals, and a Director must be able to quickly assimilate what she hears with other information and make decisions. And since you can't please everyone, particularly when there are multiple points of view out there, the decisions will be hard because someone will always be disappointed with the outcome. But you have to have confidence in your convictions and put them out there; you can't hide, claim ignorance, and obfuscate, particularly when you asked others to join a conversation.

This blog Q&A debacle suggests to me that Kate Martin does not have the requisite skills to be effective on the Board. Indeed, it sounds like she is running to be the Board Director for "average kids" rather than for District 2. We all form our opinions based on our own kids' experiences, but a Board Director needs to move beyond that personal experience and represent all of her constituents. If you can't do that, fine, then just continue your current activist work on their behalf. It's just a shame we've gotten this far into the election process without a viable challenger to the incumbent.
Anonymous said…
Actually, Lori, people were talking about Kate's "my way or the highway" mentality back early in the primaries. I remember the stories about her being trespassed at Roosevelt and the letter to the editor going around even then. And some of her neighbors were posting about something she did involving a skate park (?) The evidence was there, but the "anyone but incumbent" fever drowned it all out and that's a shame.

Melissa, you've endorsed Kate and you're working to get her elected, plus you're from her neighborhood. What can you tell us to resassure us that we won't be in terrible trouble with someone like her on th board?

Jane Too
anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
anonymous said…
"Sherry Carr has NEVER responded to my concerns, on any numbers of things."

That's odd. I have found her to be the most responsive (to the community) of all board directors. She has always answered my emails to her, even if she did not tell me what I wanted to hear. And I am just a parent.

Kate on the other hand has shut down a conversation with the APP community before she has even been elected. She has refused to answer a single question on the Q&A.

And besides her damning letter to the editor in 2007, she was so nasty and antagonistic when she posted on the CPPS Yahoo group that the CPPS moderator banned from posting.

Use your own judgement, but for me, Sherry gets my vote.

just a mom
dj said…
Just a Mom, I had the same experience with Sherry. I emailed the board about an issue and received a direct response from her (the board ended up making the change I asked for, although I am sure I wasn't the only person contacting them about it). I still wasn't going to vote for her because I was planning to vote only for challengers.
uxolo said…
re: Kate and APP: come out and say what you need. Go to your APP Task Force meetings or your blog and have a survey. Give her a list of the most pressing points. It is certainly not her fault if the program continues to be dismantled. Sherry has not publicly done anything for APP and definitely not for Spectrum. Sherry's vote for the Discovery math was a vote against accelerating math instruction (and based her opinion on a tutoring session with her daughter).

To start, I think it's fair to say that what APP families want is one strong program that continues from elementary school through high school. Most families love the cohort which means that the APP kids do well in a big group.

The same issues have existed for decades. Don't kids yourselves. Once upon a time there was a Highly Capable Review. Then another. Then another. And another. Bob Vaughan has been at the helm for a very long time.
Anonymous said…
so the APP parents are tweaked because a candidate can't make heads or tails of their 500*500 demands, and are going to vote for sherry bobblehead in protest.

eye roller
Patrick said…
Eye roller, there were only about 10 questions posted. And she didn't answer any of them. What did she think would happen in a Q & A?
Kate Martin said…

We're making some progress over at the APP discussion blog. Here's some cut and pastes. Thank you to Greg Linden, the moderator there, for helping to clarify the most important needs of APP families.

Greg Linden said...
I don't think I'm in a position to be able to summarize the concerns of all APP parents, but, if I were to try anyway, I'd say the top concern is stability, as I detail below. What do you all think? Is this roughly correct?


APP parents primarily want stability. That is, they mostly want the district to leave them alone. When a change to expand or move is necessary due to popularity of the program or other issues, parents would like to be involved in the solution instead of the district forcing a change on them at the last minute in a crisis. They want to know what school their children will be going to next year and that the school will still be there the following year. I don't think that is any different than any other alternative program or any general education school.

In fact, ignoring the minor issues around the edges, I don't think APP wants anything different than any other alternative program or general education school, they want the same resources and support others schools get, the same desire of parents to be involved in the future of their children, friends, and schools.

I think the general perception is that, despite the popularity and success of these programs, the district has been hostile to APP and other alternative programs for the last five years. I think the community has a feeling of being under constant threat, not knowing which school they would be at next year, not knowing if the program would exist at all in a few years. Stability is what APP parents are seeking.
September 24, 2011 8:13 AM

Kate Martin said...

That's really helpful, Greg. Thank you.

I apologize for not understanding what I was getting into, as far as the time and diversity of questions, but I would like to try to answer your questions now, and I welcome further questions -- but please be patient, as I have an extremely full plate right now and would like to be able to devote time to research and then write back to you. Unlike others on the school board, I don't want to just accept the school district's position and not look at differing opinions within the community, or ignore parent input outright. But this takes time and some back-and-forth discussions. It's fine if you can't leave your full name.

The theme that Greg identified - the need for more stability - is essential. Less drama would be great as well which would mean no unexpected changes or surprizes. I believe that the community needs to be able to have an expectation that the APP program will be protected and nurtured by the district.

Your continued help identifying other common concerns would be great. Meanwhile, here’s some answers to previous questions.

1) Do you think that all kids who qualify for Spectrum should be guaranteed a spot (similar to APP)?

Yes, I think all kids who qualify for Spectrum should be guaranteed a spot. I’ve also heard about Spectrum being dismantled at some schools, and I’d like to hear more about that from families who were affected by the upheaval. It sounds like the district is redesigning the program, and I'd like to find out who that redesign serves best, and if there's any evidence to support the redesign.

2) What is your long-term vision for APP? I'm asking this in the context of APP being removed from Lowell due to lack of space and wondering how long the same thing happens at Hamilton.

I’d like to see APP in a stable location, a “home” as it were. Moving families and children from place to place is incredibly disruptive to families and a child's learning experience. Where is that location?
I’d like to hear suggestions from families and the district.

continued on next post....
Kate Martin said…
September 24, 2011 12:16 PM

Kate Martin said...
continued from previous post...

3) Do you think language immersion schools like John Stanford should continue to be neighborhood attendance schools or should they be option schools that everyone has an equal chance (via lottery) to attend?

I think it’s good to replicate success. The popularity of the language immersion programs is undeniable, and can offer a challenge to all children. I’d like to consider the possibility of making them option schools, and perhaps ask other schools if they’d like to transform into language immersion programs, so we have more options throughout the city. I think the immersion programs are a great way to challenge all children, which is important to me, along with boosting international understanding and foreign-language competencies.

4) Sherry Carr's past votes shows some of her thinking about APP. What do you see she has done that has helped/hurt the APP program? What would you like the district keep the same/change in regards to how it deals with APP?

I don’t want to put too much emphasis on the incumbent. But I do want to do a better job of listening to students and parents, communicating with students and parents and slowing the rate of “churn” for APP families in regards to location and leadership. I know that splitting the program into north and south was a very contentious decision, and family perspectives and the program’s solid history should’ve been taken into greater account.

I would also like to see the district streamline the process and make it easier for families to learn about the Advanced Learning options.

5) What would it mean to you for advanced learning to be a "successful" program? How would you measure "success"?

I would measure success by watching it thrive and grow, with a high rate of satisfaction by teachers, children and parents alike.

I would also like to consider making some high-challenge programs more available to families who would like to opt-in, without testing, as APP Mom suggests. We would have to negotiate the rules around how to opt in, maintaining standards and how to determine if kids could keep up. This might help alleviate some of the frustrations that parents of capable – but unchallenged – children feel.

6) You wrote an editorial letter a few years ago – do you still have the same feelings as then?

I wrote that letter without a full understanding of the situation.
I’ve tried since then to meet and get to know several families involved in Advanced Learning, and I wish I had more carefully thought through at the time what I was trying to communicate, which was my concern for at-risk communities. AL families often feel under attack by the school district and other parents, and I’d like to help our entire community move past that (both attacking and feeling attacked), in whatever way I can.
Jane Too, each and every one of us has to make our own decisions.

I read what Kate's blog said and frankly, a clumsy and somewhat misguided effort on her part. I do, of course, understand her wanting to know who she is talking to (as if she were talking face to face as you would in person introduce yourself). But in the blog world, that's not generally the protocol.

I think she was trying to get the lay of the land from the parents' perspective before wading in with just some general comments on Advanced Learning in general. I'd dare say if you ask almost any candidate - incumbent OR challenger - I think most would be hard-pressed to know the full story on the breakdown of Spectrum. As I've said in the past, I've never heard an incumbent speak of Advance Learning with any more than a surface understanding or certainly not as an advocate.

I think Kate sees this mistake and will learn from it. I cannot speak for her but I see that she is trying to get her footing on the subject.

Kate has explained that her letter to the editor was written when she was not a candidate and did not know enough about the program. She is big enough to say she was wrong and got educated. Let's give her credit for that.

We have discussed the Roosevelt issue here and I understand her frustration (as my son had the same lousy teacher) and why she decided civil disobedience was the course of action for her. I think her actions did spur on the process of exiting that teacher (which did end up happening).

I like Sherry Carr. I have found her responsive to me in that she answers my e-mails. I haven't felt like there was ever a lot of action on her part but maybe someone else has.

I worked on Sherry's campaign last time. She and I spent a morning walking the streets of Fremont stumping for votes. She is a bright and capable person who knows what an organized entity should look like.

I can't get past the unbridled support for MGJ, the very late-to-the-party attention to issues that have been festering for a long time. I can't get past that the audit in July 2010 was so clear in it concern and yet no one did anything to investigate the Silas Potter issues until AFTER he and Fred Stephens were gone. Until after the State Auditor launched their own investigation. Then, and only then, did the Board do something.

Then there's the sale of MLK,Jr. building, TFA, etc.

That Steve, Peter and Harium said that there is NOTHING they would do differently going forward is beyond troubling. Not saying they don't believe there were lessons learned but I don't know what to make of people who go through a firestorm and act like they were not part of it.

I know there is some things that did get done during these last years. That's fine. On balance, for me, I worry that they think they have it all covered now and I think it's waay too soon to think the district has straightened up and is flying right.

It's the American way. We have a crisis and we find blame and pull our hair out and then suddenly - squirrel! - and we look away. It's the looking away too soon that has hurt our district over and over.

That has got to stop.
seattle citizen said…
Relatively balanced article by Linda Shaw in today's Seattle Times Pacific Magazine on the the changing roles and expectations of teachers, how they're under fire lately:
What's the matter with teachers today?
Anonymous said…

As a teacher, I am involved in the school board races and I support all of the challengers because, for far too long, I felt the district was unappreciative and, at times, denigrating and even hostile toward its teaching corps. Under Goodloe-Johnson, the climate of fear and intimidation sometimes extended to teachers. I do not forgive the Board directors who gave unfailing support to a failed superintendent. I do not forgive them for extending the superintendent's contract in the summer of 2010, even after a slew of buildings had voted no confidence in her. I do not forgive Peter Maier for saying, in August of 2010, that he thought Maria Goodloe-Johnson was doing a good job.

To her credit, interim superintendent Susan Enfield is doing a much better job of genuinely recognizing the importance and value of the work we do. She is more of a collaborator than her predecessor. I worry about her support of TFA, and I worry about what might happen to my school if she is given the superintendent's job. Yet, even with these reservations, she is still better than her predecessor and--here is my point--better than the Board incumbents.

For example, I sat in on the 36th District interviews of most of the Board candidates. I am struck by the lack of recognition the incumbents gave for the good work of good teachers. Peter Maier and Steven Sundquist, in particular, had not one good word to say about teachers. More importantly, in my experience with Board incumbents, I have found little evidence that they value the voices of teachers in policymaking.

For example, in April of 2011, my wife drove me down to one of Peter Maier's community meetings. I was still recovering from eye surgery, but I thought it important to share with him my concerns about the district's enrollment projections and school staffing. My wife observed that he was impatient, he interrupted, and he didn't seem to listen.

Now my worries go beyond the School Board. The Washington PTSA, in its legislative agenda, seems bent on pitting itself against the large majority of teachers. I worry that this conflict might reach all the way down to my school. I want the parents who read this blog to hear this: we will accomplish more if we find common ground and work for the things we can agree on. We need to build consensus and work together as a community. Those issues we can't reach consensus on should be set aside until we can reach consensus on them.

The business model is the wrong model for public education, which is part of the public trust, the commonwealth we all share. We don't need more competition; we need more cooperation. There is plenty for us to work on. However, if those bent on their version of "reform" sow division in the community and succeed in pitting parents against teachers, then they will have succeeded in taking more step toward destroying the great American institution of public education.

I am willing to hang in there for a couple more years, but if the climate doesn't get any better, then I will go overseas and work in an international school where teachers are better respected.

anonymous said…
"Those issues we can't reach consensus on should be set aside until we can reach consensus on them."

And that my friends is the dreaded Seattle process. No progress. Shut down and halt.

StepJ said…
For those of you with an interest in the Roosevelt area rezone, there is a nice compilation of links and recap. of the latest meeting provided by the Roosiehood blog.
Anonymous said…

You seem to be misapplying what I said to make a point. When I said that we should set aside the issues we can't agree on, I was referring specifically to the delicate relationship between parents and teachers in our PTSAs, especially at the school level.

It is not an invitation to "shut down and halt." Rather, it's an invitation for parents and teachers to work together on the huge ranges of issues we can agree on. Indeed, at my school, we're already doing that.

DWE, well-said and deserves a separate thread.
Maureen said…
The Advanced Learning Page says:Eighth grade students not currently enrolled in APP at Hamilton or Washington may test for eligibility to enroll in the APP/IB Program at Ingraham. Applications are due October 6, 2011.
Anonymous said…
Thanks for the info about APP/IB program testing. Do you know if the testing is just for kids who are already APP qualified, but not enrolled in Hamiliton or Washington. Or can it also be for any current 8th grader who has not been tested into APP?

-parent of an interested kid
Maureen said…
From what I understand (based on talking to the Advanced Learning Director last year and from what is posted on the web site) any current 8th grader can test for eligibility for APP/IB. They will have to have high enough content area scores (not just Cognitive scores) to qualify, so if they haven't been enrolled in Spectrum or some other advanced coursework they may have trouble qualifying.

The application says (in part):
Spring 2011 MAP data will be reviewed for all applicants in grades 1-8. .... 8th graders applying for the APP/IB program at Ingraham must have MAP scores at the 95th percentile or higher.
Anonymous said…
The MSP scores from last spring are on the source. Does anyone know where I can find the percentile rankings? It would be great if the district put the percentile next to the score, like they do with the MAP scores, but they don't.
hschinske said…
My understanding is that the MSP, like the WASL, is not a norm-referenced test and therefore does not actually have true percentile scores anyway. The frequency distribution report for 2010 is available at a link on (don't know when the 2011 report will go up) and the cut scores are available at

Helen Schinske
seattle citizen said…
I went onto the OSPI website looking for percentiles, but they haven't posted them yet, evidently. It just tells us that they've sent the info to schools.

That the school reports contain information from OSPI suggests that OSPI doesn't send schools percentiles?

You might go to the OSPI Testing main page where there is a link to "see your child's test," click on that, and see if there is a place to ask for a percentile while also seeing your kid's test?
seattle citizen said…
Pulley, this site might help (I'm not a statistician, but it gives you the state's averages...Statewide Assessment Trend
seattle citizen said…
the link I just sent for state trends is actually for grade ten. To get other grades, use the grade selector on that page.
seattle citizen said…
oops! That didn't work, it linked...

web address
words you want linked

Word verifier suggests that if that doesn't work, unionit!
Anonymous said…
Thanks Helen for posting where to find the frequency distribution chart. Thats's I was looking for, but forgot it was call frequency distribution. I'll keep an eye out for the 2011 version.

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