Friday Open Thread

Tomorrow - Community Meetings with Harium Martin Morris at Diva Espresso on Lake City from 9:30-11:30 am and also with Director Smith-Blum from 10-11:30 am at the Capitol Hill branch library.

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said…
Tonight is the More Music at the Moore festival- "a training and performance program for selected young artists representing diverse music genres..."

This year's line up includes Nova students in the rock and spoken word categories. Looks like a fantastic program, all the way around!

Anonymous said…
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Anonymous said…
I will be offering Architecture 101 Summer Workshops for students in grades 3 through high school.
Maureen said…
I have some questions for this group. Do any of your schools require parent contracts? Does the District have to approve them at all? Has there been any pushback from families? Do they seem to help? If so, how? Thank you! (please identify the schools)
Highland Park Mom said…
A couple weeks ago I posted the following comment on this blog:

I would like to initiate positive change at Highland Park Elementary in West Seattle; In particular, I would like my neighbors and more families in my Highland Park neighborhood to feel good about their neighborhood school and that it is a viable option for their kids.

I live in Highland Park and know of no family who has children at HP Elementary. All the families I know either got their children into another SPS school through open enrollment or have chosen private school. 55% of kindergardners in SPS that live in the attendance zone for HP Elementary are attending HP this school year (according to a document on the enrollment page of the SPS website). That is lowest percentage of kindergartners for all of West Seattle schools. The SPS Segmentation level is level 1 (the lowest). Twice (once in 2011 and again in 2012) a parent of an incoming Kinderardner has asked the West Seattle communinity via the WS Blog if anyone can give first hand experience of this school. Both times no families that have children at HP Elementary responded. The school is a new building and beautiful.

I love my neighborhood and am proud to be a resident of HP. What I can I do to bring in more HP residents to HP Elementary? How do you go about making a neighborhood school a neighborhood school? Any ideas, suggestions, comments, will be much appreciated. I have been a reader of this blog for a couple monthsnow and I am impressed with the infomative articles and comments I have read.

A Highland Park Mom

I need to add that I do have a child in SPS and my child also does not attend Highland Park Elementary. I want my neighborhood school to be a school that I want to send my child to. I know many other families in my neighborhood feel the same. I am wondering what would be a good next step for me. The only thing I can think of is starting the process to add an option school component- is that possible? Or maybe see if the school can become a language immersions school- is that possible? Any ideas would be much appreciated.
Anonymous said…
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Anonymous said…
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Kathy said…
Highland Park Mom,

Contact Stephanie Jones from CPPS. I believe this group has an interest in parental empowerment. You sound like the perfect parent!!
Anonymous said…
Last night, I attended the 10th annual Many Cultures One World event at Orca K-8 in Columbia City. Huge kudos to the staff and students who made this event possible. My students (3rd and K) studied Azerbaijan and Zambia, respectively, and each classroom presented incredible information on everything from UN countries to migrant workers to the American south to countries who use child soldiers. The whole school comes together for this event, and I'm proud to be a part of it.

- southpaw
Jet City mom said…
I agree that contracts can't be enforced- however I think it is necessary & appropriate for a written compact to be part of clear expectations for the school, the student & parents.

Just as it is more difficult for students to be successful if they aren't given clear expectations, parents also need to know what is expected of them.

Learning compacts in Minneapolis

( my html link didn't work-sorry)
Anonymous said…
Are you asking about the parent/teacher/student compacts? If you are, I believe they are required of all Title 1 schools. I haven't heard of a non- Title 1 school having them.
Highland Park Mom said…
Maureen I forgot to sign my comment.
Commenter said…
Southpaw, I have several friends with kids at ORCA and they love it. They've come there from private, other SPS schools and wish they'd discovered it sooner. Good luck to your school!

Highland Park Mom, I have a nephew there and his parents like it a lot. They do get a little bit of a cold shoulder from the older, more educated parents who seem to think that because they are young and have only high school degrees that they're not interested in the best education for their kids.

However, I'm a little surprised at why you think anyone should listen to you telling them to send their kids there when you yourself do not. Putting your money where your mouth is always seemed like the best approach to me.
Maureen said…
I was thinking more about a parent involvement contract (like co-op preschools have). But I do like the idea of the teacher/parent/student compacts emeraldkity linked to. (Nice to see you here again kity-I thought we had lost you to College Confidential!)

I know they wouldn't be enforceable, but like the idea of everyone being informed about what is expected (for Option schools in particular-since no one is assigned there.)

I see that BFDay has had a Partnership in Learning Agreement since 1996. I'll have to try to get a copy of that.
Anonymous said…
reposting for Anonymous at 10:00am because it's a great point. Remember, pick a moniker.

"Anonymous said...
In looking at the scores at the Washington State Report Card website, Highland Park seems like it would greatly benefit from a math waiver to teach Saxon math. If the teachers and principal would get behind that it seems to me it would target the principle weakness in the school's performance."

Mr Ed
Anonymous said…
Wouldn't most schools benefit from a Saxon (or Singapore) math waiver??

fed up with the math
Anonymous said…
Informal survey to help me decide if my two kids are safe: Related to an inquiry I heard may be happening at my neighborhood school, how do SPS families /parents/community feel about corporal punishment ? What would you include in a list defining these punishments -other than spanking and hitting? e.g. What about denial of food, water, toilet, or exposure to cold, and other subtle, less-direct versions?
I wont judge, and Honesty counts: I know there's a wide range of opinion out there sometimes. Thank you for your feedback!
Sahila said…
KIPP charter schools - Kids say KIPP stands for Kids In Prison Program:

Sahila said…
@Juliette.... you are kidding, right?

corporal punishment in any form at school?

everything you have outlined is abuse...
Anonymous said…
According to Wikipedia Washington state banned corporal punishment in 1993. If there is pain being inflicted as punishment then the next couple of folks up the administrative food chain should be notified (which it sounds like might be happening).

Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Highland Park, write to me. I have talked to some parents about what they have done for their school to raise awareness in the their neighborhood.

Juliette, SPS does not allow any kind of corporal punishment. I myself would not allow it on my children.

As for the Lowell report, I'm sure it's all done. But see, we have a superintendent to find and I suspect it's going to be released AFTER that person is announced.

It's been over a year. Tick,tock.
Anonymous said…
I don't read a lot of Sahila's links because she posts a lot and I don't have time. But I happened to click on one from today's Open Friday thread a few minutes ago and it is SO important to Lisa MacFarlane's CHARTER CHARTER CHARTER chant.

KIPP is the darling of MacFarlane and Korsmo and their lot. Results for poor black kids! Well, OK, courtesy Sahila here's a real life look at a KIPP school, student, administrative attitude and teacher morale.

Hell no to charters in WA.

Why Students Call KIPP 'Kids in Prison'

Savvy Voter
Anonymous said…
Quite serious . Certain elem school boys involved at an SPS school are being denied basics as punishment for bad behavior. i.e. like, make a mess with food, lose your lunchtime, or spit water and no more drinking fountain use, or worse.
Anyone know the WAC to cite?
Anonymous said…
That would be a great question for the new Ombudsman.

Anonymous said…
Juliette - also look at OSPI's site:

Sahila said…
wasnt going to do any activism stuff for next few days/week... but wanted to make sure we all know what we're dealing with.... this ed deform stuff is all VERY DELIBERATE...

ED Deform MO: advice for Gates and Co. at a conference last year in an article titled Selling Schools Out, selling schools out

Here is an excerpt:

But as recently as last year, the radical change envisioned by school reformers still seemed far off, even there. With some of the movement's cherished ideas on the table, Florida Republicans, once known for championing extreme education laws, seemed to recoil from the fight. SB 2262, a bill to allow the creation of private virtual charters, vastly expanding the Florida Virtual School program, languished and died in committee. Charlie Crist, then the Republican governor, vetoed a bill to eliminate teacher tenure. The move, seen as a political offering to the teachers unions, disheartened privatization reform advocates. At one point, the GOP's budget proposal even suggested a cut for state aid going to virtual school programs

Lamenting this series of defeats, Patricia Levesque, a top adviser to former Governor Jeb Bush, spoke to fellow reformers at a retreat in October 2010. Levesque noted that reform efforts had failed because the opposition had time to organize. Next year, Levesque advised, reformers should "spread" the unions thin "by playing offense" with decoy legislation. Levesque said she planned to sponsor a series of statewide reforms, like allowing taxpayer dollars to go to religious schools by overturning the so-called Blaine Amendment, "even if it doesn't pass…to keep them busy on that front." She also advised paycheck protection, a unionbusting scheme, as well as a state-provided insurance program to encourage teachers to leave the union and a transparency law to force teachers unions to show additional information to the public. Needling the labor unions with all these bills, Levesque said, allows certain charter bills to fly "under the radar."

If Levesque's blunt advice sounds like that of a veteran lobbyist, that's because she is one. Levesque runs a Tallahassee-based firm called Meridian Strategies LLC, which lobbies on behalf of a number of education-technology companies. She is a leader of a coalition of government officials, academics and virtual school sector companies pushing new education laws that could benefit them.

But Levesque wasn't delivering her hardball advice to her lobbying clients. She was giving it to a group of education philanthropists at a conference sponsored by notable charities like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation. Indeed, Levesque serves at the helm of two education charities, the Foundation for Excellence in Education, a national organization, and the Foundation for Florida's Future, a state-specific nonprofit, both of which are chaired by Jeb Bush. A press release from her national group says that it fights to "advance policies that will create a high quality digital learning environment."
Juliette, it's in the Board's own policy. You should go to the Executive Director or Ombudsman and soon.
Anonymous said…
King story just played on KUOW. I missed most of it. I will have to look for a link.

-APP parent
Anonymous said…

These types of interventions are not best practices and should be reported, at least to the education director, or to the district Ombudsman. Also please email your school's PTA/Parent Group leader and Seattle Council PTA, as often they can help walk through the system in my experience. These things you describe are not in line with SPS discipline policy (google seattle schools discipline policy for the right webpage), and may not be ok within with the law, esp. if the student is receiving certain special education services (see e.g. WAC 392-172A-03120).

I also have seen and heard of some questionable discipline strategies. The district now has a new director of discipline and climate, Dr. Davis, why not also contact her at the main district office.

Thanks Juliette for putting this out here. I hope you get some action on your concerns. PLEASE let us know how it goes.

Another Mama
Watching Rodney Tom said…

Funny, Rodney Tom doesn't mention charters.
dan dempsey said…
Delaware received $119 million in RttT funding as one of two winners in round one.

((Note: RttT and CCSS are bribery schemes the illegally drive education decision-making at the state level. Much on what WA state is doing is in an attempt to get some of the bribery money. Almost none of this nonsense is based on research. These dollars are largely wasted if an effective efficient method of improving student learning is desired.))))

Duncan: Delaware making progress
Education secretary hears Race to the Top strategies.

From Delaware Online (complete with video)

WILMINGTON -- U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan told a group of educators, parents and union and business leaders that he believes Delaware is on the right track with its plan to improve the state's public school system.

"I think that what you guys do here has a chance to drive the national conversation," Duncan said Friday at a meeting with state leaders in Wilmington.

The timing of the secretary's visit comes about two years after the state earned $119 million in federal Race to the Top funding, making it one of two winners in the first round of President Barack Obama's signature education-reform effort.

"That wasn't a gift. It was an investment," Duncan said, "because we really believe in the potential here. And, honestly, we knew each other much less well then, and having spent the last few years working together as a team, I honestly feel better about that investment today than I did then."

The visit by Duncan was invitation-only at the Carvel Building and included Gov. Jack Markell and state Secretary of Education Lillian Lowery. Dozens of representatives from school boards, unions, business interests and school district leaders took part.

The state's education- reform work, which began prior to winning the federal grant, aims to fix failing schools, boost student achievement and reward teachers who excel. Keystones of the reform are raising academic standards, building data systems, improving teachers and school leaders and fixing schools with low scores on academic achievement tests.

A major aspect of reform still to be completed is a teacher-evaluation system. The full launch of the evaluation system was delayed a year as the state fell behind on work to link student assessments to teacher evaluations, which is a key portion of the new system.

Look at the legislation in WA State ... check its direction.
Really Disgusted said…
The folks over at LEV are doing a really good job discrediting themselves. Check out this post:

After Rodney Tom voted with the Senate Republicans, temporarily empowering them to cut funding for higher ed, K-12, and a vast area of mental health and social services, Kelly Munn, listed as Field Director for the League of Education Voters, posted the following on Senator Rodney Tom's Wall:

"Thank you for being willing to stand up and take the heat, to do what you were elected to do. To listen,... and learn and do what you believe is the right thing to do. You are going to take tremendous venom over this. I suspect our state will be stronger and better because of your willingness to stand up to the pressure.
Thank you."
Anonymous said…
I have a question about something I don't understand. There seems to be controversy about common core standards and I don't know anything about them. Is it that
A) Folks don't like the idea at all of having them
B) The actual standards adopted are no good
C) something else entirely?

Thanks for any help!

dan dempsey said…
Dear Clueless,

The Two Moms video covers much of what is wrong with CCSS.

(1) Lots of spending that misses the core problems about why USA education is not achieving results that are realistically attainable.

(2) More one size fits all. These standards are not internationally competitive with high performing nations .... I think because the wish is that more students will be able to meet lower standards. ((But for most states these standards are an improvement ... yet the standards have little to do with WA state's problems .... and spending at least $183 million over five years on CCSS while underfunding education is CRAZY Nonsense)

(3) In math many districts are only emphasizing the CCSS Math Practice Standards (largely more pedagogy in 8 standards) while ignoring the 300+ math content standards.

(4) A huge amount of money will be spent on this nonsense nationally rather than on educating students in ways proven to be effective.

(5) Currently for the first time in WA there were two End of Course tests given in math (Algebra and Geometry). A lot can be learned from investigating the results of the Algebra EoC because OSPI did a really nice job with the tools available to sort into various subgroups.

All this will stop with CCSS because it has no plan for EoC testing.

(6) We really do not know much about what is being done in classrooms and the ineffective materials and practices that are pushed ..... but i do know this much about .... "Discovering Algebra" from the EoC given to all students completing an algebra class in grade 9 .... from the sorting =>

see below....
dan dempsey said…
continued from above...

District Pass rates for 9th grade low-income algebra students on the OSPI Algebra EoC

38.5% : Seattle (Discovering Algebra)
29.6% : Bethel (Discovering Algebra)
33.1% : Everett (Discovering Algebra)
31.4% : Highline (Discovering Algebra)
43.8% : State average

56.7% : Clover Park (Holt Algebra)
51.3% : Spokane (Holt Algebra)
58.3% : East Valley SD (Holt Algebra) Yakima ⇐ BEST

Percent of Students at level 1 (well below basic) for 9th grade low-income algebra students on the OSPI Algebra EoC

36.7% : Seattle (Discovering Algebra)
38.4% : Bethel (Discovering Algebra)
40.6% : Everett (Discovering Algebra)
43.1% : Highline (Discovering Algebra)
30.8% : State average

19.7% : Clover Park (Holt Algebra)
28.3% : Spokane (Holt Algebra)
16.7% : East Valley SD (Holt Algebra) Yakima ⇐ BEST

Neither Seattle or OSPI has much interest in this data that shows how poorly Discovering Algebra works... and do not expect those wizards at the UW Math Education Project that helped lower scores at several SPS schools to know anything.

WHY? Why is the intelligent application of relevant data never undertaken? Is there big money to be made by doing poorly? Worried about the impact of not producing enough instructionally disabled "look like SpEd students" to rake in funding dollars?

Note: Key Curriculum Press sold the Discovering Textbook series to Kendall-Hunt publishing but ...

drum roll please ....

Santorno and MGJ previously were pushing IMP ... the Interactive Math Program materials ..... Key Press has been unable to find a buyer for that pile of thrash.

It seems the CCSS plan will remove what little control we have of education and move it to a higher power... and do so at great expense.

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