Open Thread Friday

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said…
School stories aplenty. Korsmo at LEV posted her weekly (often headscratching) column. Why is it OK for her to call those who don't like charter schools "haters" when her blog kicks off commenters who use that type of wording. I have to say that I really disrespect her 'leadership' persona.

The Seattle Times posted a story on Enfield liking the Highline School Board more than Seattle's. As a commenter says, Isn't it time to get rid of the "prom queen disappointed because the uncool kids didn't like her popular kids board buddies" story? It's too simplistic a take on the situation AND it is hurting this district. Not to mention it makes Enfield and Sundquist and Maier and The Alliance for Education look like petty bullies.

mirmac1 said…
Apparently Cathy Thompson felt compelled to 'splain about Dr. Shannon McKinney's cruddy school scores. Full video here.

2nd Boren K-5 STEM meeting on the WS blog
mirmac1 said…
Quote from WS blog:

Dr. Thompson said she realized “a few weeks ago” that she “had better start learning about Singapore Math.”
mirmac1 said…
WS blog:

Asked about reports that writing scores at her “turnaround school” in Tucson had been less than stellar, Dr. Thompson said that was the result of the Arizona district’s priorities – “her district cares about reading and math.”

Well, what do you know! When the test scores suck, reformers say never mind the test scores.

So a "transformational model" means only reading and math matter. Everything else suffers. And in a STEM school, only math matters. Oh well, 1 out of 3.
Highland Park Mom said…
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
Maggie Hooks said…
from the New Yorker:

a great line, relevant to our current local conversation: "It’s one of my political rules of thumb that, when liberals and conservatives advocate the same policy, it’s a harbinger of disaster, because they agree on a course of action for different reasons and neither faction poses serious questions regarding the other side’s logic."
Dorothy Neville said…
At the presentation of the F&Ed Levy Annual Report, the city spokesman said they determined that their "elementary school investments were not deep enough to affect achievement."

'Nuff said.
Anonymous said…
@Ed Voter re: Korsmo: Amen.

In other LEV and Stand for Children shennanigans, do not miss Dora Taylor's damning piece on Kelly Munn of LEV, who issued the edict that Only Those Saying Nice Things About Stand and LEV May Participate on the PTSA listserve.

Kicking people with varying opinions off the PTSA listserve = OUTRAGEOUS. I want the whole city to understand how LEV and Stand operate. By hushing those with differing opinions. It is wrong and the PTSA should be ASHAMED for boosting this practice.


P.S. For those of you following the promise from LEV to PUBLICLY apologize for their crap-all-over-Rainier-Beach HS mailier in pursuit of getting Charter Schools into legislation, we are still waiting. It has not happened. LEV wants no criticism and ALSO slinks away from its own self-admitted mistakes. Horrible.
TraceyS said…
A friend forwarded me this paper titled "Evaluating Teacher Evaluations", authored by Linda Darling-Hammond, and published in the current issue of Kappan magazine. Worth a read.

Evaluating Teacher Evaluations

Here is the abstract:
"There is a growing consensus that evidence of teachers’ contributions to student learning should be a component of teacher evaluation systems, along with evidence about the quality of teachers’ practice. Value-added models (VAMs), designed to evaluate student test score gains from one year to the next are often promoted as tools to accomplish this goal. However, current research suggests that VAM ratings are not sufficiently reliable or valid to support high-stakes, individual-level decisions about teachers. Other tools for teacher evaluation have shown greater success in measuring and improving teaching, especially those that examine teachers’ practices in relation to professional standards."
KG said…
What about the Lowell debacle?
Anonymous said…
The linked article is worth a read, especially the teacher anecdotes about variation in value-added scores. One teacher was passed over for bonuses because well, you can't show improvement when your scores are already at 100%.

Another anecdote gives some credence to Charlie's talk about flipping the teachers/students at middle schools. According to VAM, some teachers would suddenly be highly effective, while others would suddenly be ineffective.

Jack Whelan said…
I've been thinking about the student motivation issue that is really at the heart of yesterday's thread about Dan Magill's op ed yesterday. His piece that focused on the teacher side of the motivation problem was very well complemented by commenter Don Matt, who and experienced teacher who gave a very good rundown about the causes of student lack of motivation.

I've taught students at the university level for the last 25+ years. My students are all motivated; otherwise they would not have made it to my class room in the first place. But their motivation falls somewhere on a spectrum defined on one end by a desire to learn and on the other by doing as little as possible to get the highest grade possible. The students on the "learner" end of the spectrum measure value intrinsically; on the "gamer" end of the spectrum extrinsically.

The personal challenge for me as a teacher is to get as many students on the "gamer" end of the spectrum moved at least by some degrees closer to the "learner" end of the spectrum. Because that's the whole point of education--to learn the love learning, to begin a lifelong process of learning because it's what you want to do, not because it's something someone is forcing you to do.

But Don Matt makes the point that many of his students, while at first they are motivated and want to do well, find that school is a game they are no good at and so stop trying. Again we don't need a lot of research to prove what our common sense tells us from our own experience: We like doing things that we're good at, and don't particularly like doing things we're not good at.

So what is this experience of being "good at". I think that being "good at" means simply recognizing we have a basic capability to do something without being embarrassed; it means being able to hold your own. In other words our "being good" at something means that we've discovered our basic competency to do it. We may not be the best, but we can hold our own, we have a respectable game, so to speak, and we enjoy the experience of working at something, getting better at it, and being recognized for the progress we make.

So I'm not saying anything particularly original here, but the point is worth emphasizing. Our job as parents and educators is to awaken our kids to their real competencies. There is both a subjective and objective aspect to this. On the subjective side, students have to have the experience of "I can do this"; on the objective side, they have to measure their ability against real-world standards for performance.

In other words, it does the esteem of our children no good to tell them that they can do something when in fact they can't, but on the other hand, continually forcing kids to measure up to standards that they have not chance in meeting reinforces their sense of incompetency and makes any normal kid want to stay away from school. None of us wants to play a game that no matter how hard we try, we get exposed as an incompetent.

So it strikes me that our pedagogy has to be structured in such a way that we never lose sight of the intrinsic factors. Because as soon as a kid loses the interior desire to learn, to improve, to develop his competency--for whatever reason--there's no hope of his being able to meet the objective standards.
best way to evaluate ? said…
Teacher evaluations…
This is such a difficult area to have consistency in. If best intentions were always followed and teachers were supported it would be great but the opportunity for abuse is so abundant. The new evaluative system can be used indiscriminately by aggrieved administrators. This gives them a universal hatchet to chop down good teachers and older teachers with experience that the district wants gone because of their expense. There has to be a better way to evaluate teachers fairly.
Bad science is bad science and to bend the facts to fit the hypothesis is bad administration . I'm sure there are both teachers and parents out there that know of inadaquate administrators abusing there soveriegn authority in the school.
Dorothy Neville said…
KG, after promising Tuesday this week, then Thursday, the latest from Lesley Rogers is that no one knows when it will be released. So to clear up some rumors because some are unhappy that some names are being named but not others and the implications are big but all rumor. Since King pushed this to public discussion by announcing (prematurely it appears) a mid-year move to another district, and since the district has promised this report many weeks ago, I feel ok in finally sharing the bit I know. In a nutshell, Ms G accused several staff members of endangering children and subjected them to an investigation that she planned to lead (conflict of interest, anyone?). Whether she knew it or not, an accusation of endangering children is a criminal offense, so not something to take lightly.

As far as I can tell -- and I have seen all the documentation that has been made available -- the accusation and the investigation were completely without merit. What she accused them of doing or not doing conflicts with verifiable facts, it conflicts with appropriate procedures. This bit is truly troubling to me, because it points out that the district does not have procedures in place to deal correctly with issues of alleged misconduct regarding children. I assume that the investigation is daylighting the district need to implement procedures or train supervisors in the procedures.

And everyone up the chain knew about this, King, Coogan, Enfield, Treat, Sundquist (who was board president at the time). Also several folks in HR and folks in Health and Safety knew about this situation, including participation in the investigations by HR. And I have read one truly bizarro explanation from someone in HR as to the justification for the accusation.

That's what I know for sure. I have also heard second hand that RG's actions were taken directly from GK's playbook and he supposedly used the same tactic for intimidation. That aspect I do not know, do not have first hand knowledge of. I assume the investigator will have explored all of that as well.
Anonymous said…
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TraceyS said…
So have there been no or only few improvements in district policy and procedures surrounding reportable offenses since the Laurence Hill case in 2005? That would be highly troubling to me as a parent.
Anonymous said…
Just a details question: does anyone know if the letters from the Advanced Learning office on appeals are mailed out in waves, or will all be sent in a single batch on 3/9?
Bryant is with you Dorothy said…
Wow this is so standard in the district an angry or retaliatory Principal or administrator using the tools to take out a teacher. Look at Bryant elementary and Principal Kim Fox. She has one of the lowest approval ratings in the district as rated by her staff. She has not let this slip by. Fox is well know in the community and by the teachers for heinous retaliatory actions much the same as Mrs. G has levied. Why protect these administrators I think it is our duty as parents and community members to call them out on it. Bryant has lost much of what it once was under the dictatorship of Fox.Teachers have been forced out under the same I open the investigation I investigate then I get HR and Enfield and Treat and Brockman to sign off on it. Wow this system is so outrageous when you get an inadequate or retaliatory administrator running a program. The manipulation is unthinkable and it is all "legal" At least we know for a fact multiple investigations have been opened up on Kim Fox. The question is where is the accountability . Does Phil Brockman ever pass along the mountain of complaints to his supervisors.? Or Does he bury them in house. Clearly his communication thread with Fox is pathetically daily as he is constantly having to redirect and "coach" her.
At least Fox has corrected her long lived relationship with using a regular substitute to do her job. I guess the community voice was heard on that one. More then ten thousand dollars for a lunch room sub last year….. After her approval dipped into the low 30% zone some heads were bound to spin.
How can we protect our teacher from such administrative animus.
Anonymous said…
So Dorothy, I'm a little confused-are these documents public records or did someone show them to you in some official role that you have and I'm not understanding? How is it that you have so much inside information?

It appears that there is quite a bit that you're still not sharing-how is it that you know who had this information, for example? Frankly, I'm concerned that any of this is being made public at any point-aren't most personnel issues non-public??

Color me really confused
onthefly said…
So have there been no or only few improvements in district policy and procedures surrounding reportable offenses since the Laurence Hill case in 2005? That would be highly troubling to me as a parent.

It's troubling to us teachers also. The district's policy in 2005 was to blame us teachers for not doing enough, even though many teachers complained to principals about the problem for years.

The principal in charge at the time of the entire debacle is still a principal.

The teacher who was most outspoken and courageous about reporting Hill was also outspoken about some other issues and was forced into early retirement last year after a year of harassment through the evaluation process -- even though her students' test scores were on the rise.

The message is always "don't rock the boat," and "blame the messenger."

When the Lowell report comes out (or, if it comes out), people will be incredulous about how the same alleged issue was handled there.
Anonymous said…
In Dorothy's post, I understand GK is the principal. Who is RG? Who is Mrs. G?

This is destroying a community. By "this" I mean yet another ill-handled central administration effort.

"Skin in the Game"
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Schoolparent said…
Wow. This information about RG conflicts with what I've seen of her this year as a parent at L@L.
cascade said…
2 Things:

Positive Thing: Dear Highland Park mom...the best way to get interest in your school is parent-to-parent. Keep talking it up, day in and day out. Eventually other parents will also see the gem you see. Also - too late this year - get your school to organize a kick-butt recruitment campaign for incoming kindergarteners and new neighborhood residents. Start next fall. Invite the neighborhood to a school potluck. Reach out with school events. Make the school hallways welcoming and your enrollment tours enthusiastic and professionally run. It will make a difference slowly but surely.
cascade said…
Second thing:

I hadn't heard about the PTSA "Thou Shalt Not Speak Critically of LEV and Stand for Children" until now. Quite a damaging policy from Kelly Munn and decision from the state PTSA head. They should know better. The free exchange of ideas beats censorship any day. I don't know what to make of the PTSA these days, post-charter flap. It let me down. A lot.

I too cannot get over LEV leadership actions. Aside from Munn, above, we have Hanauer's now infamous tirade against state Democrats, the other LEV co-founder MacFarlane leaving to head up a NYC hedge-fund-backed PAC to privatize public education (DFER), and Korsmo throwing weekly stink bombs.

LEV does some good work, but it either needs a sweep of its leadership or someone who can educate them on public affairs.
truth will out said…
Was there also an investigation at Lowell regarding the handling of the climate surveys last year? I thought there was some problem with the union and principal as it related to how the survey was handled... Is that also going to be part of this mystery report?
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
onthefly said…
Schoolparent said...

Wow. This information about RG conflicts with what I've seen of her this year as a parent at L@L.

I understand that many supervisors appear much more friendly, respectful, competent and professional to their own supervisors and to parents than they do to those they see as their underlings.

I don't think this is specific to education, but pretty much every field, job, team, company, etc.

I don't know RG and have never met her, but I do see this issue come up frequently here on this blog when you get teachers arguing with parents about whether somebody is a competent or even just a nice person.

From a transactional analysis standpoint, we all have different interactions with people based on our different roles.

Usually a restaurant owner is going to be much nicer to me as a customer than he/she will be to the waiters he/she supervises. That's not really fair, it's just the way it is.

It happens in all areas, including with teachers. I have seen some teachers be absolute monsters to their students when they think nobody else is around, and appear to be the kindest, gentlest saint when a parent or principal is within earshot (and yes, I have reported those teachers for such behavior).

I think what we as teachers are looking for is someone who treats everybody respectfully, professionally and fairly. Yes, sometimes a principal does have to have unpleasant discussions with somebody who isn't performing up to par or who has made a mistake... but that can still be done professionally, ethically and with decency.

Once in a great while you meet a supervisor (in any field) who can do that.
Anonymous said…
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StopTFA said…
Parents can be privy to alot of information if they know where to look, or know the affected parties.
Schoolparent said…
onthefly, really good points. What I meant is that I have seen her protect and support teachers and rebut parent concerns. It's true I don't know what is happening behind the scenes.
Highland Park Mom said…
Thank you for the response and ideas.
Anonymous said…
So Dorothy got a look at these documents even though they were private? Is that what you're saying StopTFA? I don't care for that at all, no matter who did what. There's a reason they weren't public records.

Tin Hat On
Anonymous said…
FWIW a Great Principal serves kids by dealing respectfully with both teachers (plus staff) AND parents while still navigating the waters of their own boss(es). A principal that pits any of those parties against each other is not a great principal. Period.

P.S. We don't have a plethora of Great Principals in SPS.

StopTFA said…
No. I'm saying that there are ways parents can be privy. One may be asking for and receiving legitimately public records (n/a in this case, I suspect). Another would be knowing some parties involved and having conversations.
Schoolparent said…
SavvyVoter- I'm with you!
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
TraceyS said…
Anonymous, there has been an ongoing investigation for months. The resulting public report is overdue, and many of us have been waiting a very long time for even generalities about it. The affected parties are well aware that they have been under investigation, from what very little I know about it.
Anonymous said…
StopTFA, this wasn't having conversations. Dorothy said she'd seen documentation. It's one thing if she made a legal request. It's another if she got them in secret. If that's indeed what's happened, it's even worse than the rumors. There are rules in place to protect the "innocent until proven guilty". The whole thing stinks.

Tin Hat
Dorothy Neville said…
Hm, I wrote a longish reply and it appeared to get published, but is not here.

Anyway, I know what I know because I am friends the a staff member accused and investigated. She has shared with me the letter Rina G sent that started the investigation into suspected child endangerment and I have seen and all the other supporting documents she has gotten.

BTW, when she asked for a copy of her personnel file, it went through public disclosure office. I have seen that and also the results of a couple other public disclosure requests she submitted.

I have her permission to share what I have and I have been careful not to give details that might allow someone to identify others who might or might not be involved. I have been told by the district that the report will be public and therefore everything I know, every piece of paper and email I have seen, has been seen by the investigator. I am not commenting on Rina G's motivation nor on anyone else's motivation. That's for the investigator, not me to decide.
StopTFA said…
Well, I'm speculating here but I have seen enough stonewalling, collusion and PR manipulation from this district that, if I were an affected party, I would not be opposed to getting the word out any way I could.

Tin Hat, again speculating but if I had a parent friend who was being retaliated against (in fact I do but in an entirely different matter) and they showed me an email clearly demonstrating that fact, then I saw "documentation".
Patrick said…
Anonymous at 2:51 pm posted:

Ok, say you know the parties involved and you have details of the situation. Why would you post them here? To be vindictive? If the allegations are as serious as you imply, would the affected parties want the info posted?

On the other hand, if the allegations are as serious as she implies, shouldn't parents get to know about it before the open enrollment period?
Annie said…
That is my thought as well Patrick.
Anonymous said…
In other news...Nathan Hale's Principal won the Thomas B. Foster Award for leadership and a $50,000 grant for the school (sponsored by the Alliance for Education)

Dorothy Neville said…
(trying to repost, maybe first was too long?)

The only reason I use RG and Ms G is that I have no idea how to spell Rina's last name. I thought everyone involved with Lowell already understood that is who I meant, the Assistant principal who is now L@L principal. Sorry for the confusion.

As I said, I have had access to the letter that Ms G wrote my friend with the allegation of child endangerment and that Ms G would hold an investigatory hearing. Eventually someone in HR conducted the investigation. I have seen the written results of the investigation. I have seen everything else pertinent from my friend's personnel file. I have her permission to say what I have said. I do not have Ms G's permission, but she should know that her letter subjecting my friend to the investigation would be public.

Here's my motivation for sharing what I know. I really do not know what the investigation will say. Was my friend unfairly targeted or was it an appropriate investigation? I am not speculating on Ms G's motivations. But the underlying story is something that parents ought to know. The fact is that people at a building supervisory level and on up through HR do not know how to appropriately handle allegations of misconduct against children. The district does not have an easily accessible guide for appropriate behavior. The guide they do have is lacking. I have felt quite awkward not daylighting this yet, because it is serious. I keep waiting for the investigation to be done so any discussion of what the district is going to do to fix this issue can be discussed in a positive way.

After being investigated, my friend filed a public disclosure request to get a copy of any district procedure manual for dealing with suspicions of misconduct and what she got back is sorely lacking. She compared it with her church's very clear policy and procedures with appropriate conduct with children and was as surprised as I was.

As I have said to Mr Treat (who has not discussed the personnel information with me!) that regardless of whether or not an investigation turns up any wrongdoing, the very most important thing for me is that there is a lack of clear district guidelines for behavior with students and for how to properly ensure that suspicious behavior is handled appropriately.

Here's just one example of the differences in the two manuals. What, do you think is the age at which lap sitting should be considered appropriate? I mean, of course, non-family lap sitting in a school, field trip, Sunday School or similar setting. Her church's guideline say appropriate up to age three, whereas the information from the district says either second grade or 8 years old or something like that. (It's been a while since I have seen that so don't have the exact info, but you get the idea.)
Mag Mom said…
Just got the email for another professional development day, March 16. Sheesh....are these kids ever in school for an entire week in a row (without a field trip or watching a movie like they do in my daughter's first grade class), let alone a month in a row. I'm getting ready to jump ship for another school district or back to private school.
StopTFA said…
One would think that, once a concern of this nature is known at the appropriate mgmt level (Ms. G's boss and up), an immediate review of district policy on this topic would be made top priority.
StopTFA said…
BTW. did you all notice that increase in number of upper mgmt?

Grade 40 poitions and above
TraceyS said…
StopTFA, this should have been a top priority back in 2005 after the Hill incident. I am gobsmacked that there are not clear policies and procedures already in place.
Anonymous said…
I am one of the complainants in the Lowell investigation. I have friends and acquaintances who post on this blog who have given me advice and support over the past 11 months. Believe me, this has been a stressful time and I am extremely grateful to them. They have seen district emails which generally are public documents. They have also seen documents I requested through several public records requests. Some of the documents would be available to anyone who requested them. Some documents might not be available to the general public because they were MY OWN personnel records When I received my personnel records and other documents through a public records request, there was NO restriction on sharing them. The documents, while telling part of the story, do not tell the whole story, however. Someone seeing the same documents my friends and acquaintances saw probably would not be able to understand all that happened. These people know the story because we have discussed it over the course of 11 months.

During the investigation, there has been no requirement that I refrain from speaking with others. I have refrained from discussing the investigation with other complainants and witnesses because I want to respect the integrity of the investigative process. People who know the details have been very good about not sharing them with the general public. However, it would be naive and unrealistic to expect these people to pretend the investigation does not exist. The issues are serious. It has been a balancing act for them to maintain the confidentiality I have requested, and yet provide others with information that affects issues and decisions facing the district, voters and parents.

The report will be out soon, though there is not a specific date. I am confident it will reflect a thorough, fair and professional investigation. If it is otherwise, be assured that I will post about it. In the meantime, I remain optimistic.
(I posted as SLP in June but realized someone else had used that name.)
I continue to find Susan Enfield's on-again, off-again remarks about school boards to be irritating. Either say what she thinks about the Seattle School Board or stop being coy.

Clearly, she misspoke in saying that the Board changes had nothing to do with her departure. Why? Who knows but she continues to make sideways comments about our School Board.

Highland Park, I'll try to work up a separate thread.
Kathy said…
It is time for both DeBell and Enfield to stop offering innuendos to the media. They are damanging our district.

The board has legitimate concerns; I won't dismiss their concerns regarding a failed math curriculum and a Strategic Plan that was never sustainable.
CT said…
Rina G is well-known in another district for some unprofessional bullying tactics. None of what has been outlined here comes as any surprise, other than the fact that she showed her true colors so soon. SLP2 - I hope the investigation concludes shortly and that the outcome reflects the truth. Good luck.
Anonymous said…
SLP2 says: "I am confident it will reflect a thorough, fair and professional investigation."

This of course is the hope of all who care about Lowell's children and staff, and SPS kids and staff generally. But at some point, the length of an investigation begins to give folks concerns about professionalism -- and maybe fairness (though it possibly bodes well for thoroughness). My confidence is buoyed by the fact that Noel is there and is involved (and boy do I hope that confidence is not misplaced). I worry that . . .oh, never mind. All my worries are conjectural wheelspinning --

Concerned and wondering
Highland Park Mom said…
Thank you for responding and considering a seperate thread. I think I should clarify that I do not have a child at HP elementary even though it is my neighborhood school. I have a kindergartner that attends another SPS school.
Anonymous said…
@"Bryant is With You Dorothy" - I get a sneaking suspicion that you are the teacher that feels she has been "retaliated against" at Bryant. How sad that you are using this blog to try and curry support by pretending to be a Bryant parent. As a parent there, I can honestly say that even Kim Fox's critics (who are in the minority, btw) would never post something as vindictive, angry, bitter and poorly written as what you wrote. They are smarter than that. I suggest you think more clearly before you post something like this again because even Kim Fox's critics are becoming aware of your posts and will not want to be associated with such pathetic lashing out.

Bryant Parent
Anonymous said…
You guys should be watching the debate over SB5967 going on right now on TVW. It is so eye opening. Lisa Brown is awesome. Channel 23 on my TV.

StopTFA said…
"I get a sneaking suspicion that you are the teacher that feels she has been "retaliated against" at Bryant. How sad that you are using this blog to try and curry support by pretending to be a Bryant parent.

I suggest you think more clearly before you post something like this again because even Kim Fox's critics are becoming aware of your posts and will not want to be associated with such pathetic lashing out."

Goes to show the culture of fear and intimation is alive and well on this blog.

Your post more than other makes me think there's a serious broblem at Bryant under Kim Fox.
Anonymous said…
Also, you should check out this letter to Nick Hanauer from a WA State prof:

It is a fabulous read.

dan dempsey said…
About that k-5 Boren meeting:

(1) Dr. Thompson said she realized “a few weeks ago” that she “had better start learning about Singapore Math.

OMG that says it all about SPS and MATH.... Dr. Thompson is Assistant Superintendent for Teaching & Learning, and she states she had better start learning about Singapore Math. .... District should have started learning about Singapore Math before adopting EDM in May 2007..... Little wonder NO WAIVERS had been granted.

To improve a system just might require some intellectual curiosity on the part of Central Office Administrators.

(1a) Nation is largely in Math toilet and SPS certainly so... What me worry?

(2) Some attendees were worried the curriculum might be too rigorous for their students; it was reiterated that this is a general-education program, not advanced-learning (and in fact, it was stated that this school, for starters, will not have either of the district’s advanced-learning self-contained programs, Spectrum or APP).

NOT real STEM but non-rigorous STEM ... just what one would expect from the non rigorous math school district.

LOOKS like those with a real interest in STEM will be staying at Schmitz Park. .... Dr. Thompson makes it clear that Boren will be designed for STEM Posers.

(3) They were so impressed, (with Dr. McKinney) they wanted to have her in the district somehow, some way, and then this came up. Asked about reports that writing scores at her “turnaround school” in Tucson had been less than stellar, Dr. Thompson said that was the result of the Arizona district’s priorities – “her district cares about reading and math.

Dr. Thompson slumbers on .... like almost all of SPS central admin when it comes to Math.

Hohokam MS math cohorts scores
6th grade 2009 => 40%
7th grade 2010 => 23%
8th grade 2011 => 24%

Dr. McKinney was principal beginning with the 2009-2010 school year.

Boren is supposedly going to be designed as a non-rigorous STEM school and Dr. Thompson completely neglects the Math scores.

(4)THE TEACHERS: Openings for this school will be posted a few weeks before other district openings for next year. Teachers will not be required to have special credentials or other special qualifications. But the Design Team could choose to have a science specialist, for example, the district reps said.

So if not the teachers, what will make this a STEM school that any informed parent would sign up their child to attend?

The more Dr. Thompson talks ... the worse Boren STEM School looks. .... Hopefully Dr. Enfield will take Dr. Thompson to Highline.
Anonymous said…
I saw DeBell's name listed as a possible replacement to Mary Lou Dickerson, retiring from the house.

The list was on facebook, 1 of many local political watchers I know.

the list is speculative, OBVIOUSLY, but, who knows. the downtown don't rock the boat crowd would have another BFF in michael - he doesn't have rueven's candle power, but - when it comes to keeping the 1% happy, they'll both step up.

Anonymous said…
Cathy Thompson's cute remark about Singapore Math is even more stunning when you consider that all elementary schools were given Singapore Math materials during the initial year of the EDM adoption. Sure, there was never any training provided (and most of the books are sitting in corners of schools gathering dust mites)but Singapore Math was Carla Santorno's carrot to the people who knew she was selling the students of Seattle down the river with EDM.

In other words, besides a shocking lack of intellectual and professional curiosity, Cathy Thompson admits to being totally clueless about a district purchased math program.

Don't look for Thompson or any of the other poseurs to go to Highline. Promotions and titles given to Thompson (and her ilk) are typically rewards for kissing up, not competence. The boss is usually as glad to be rid of their ineffectiveness as we would be.

Speaking of poseurs, my prayers go to the students of Highline. The families deserved an honest and well-meaning leader. Instead they got Enfield, who never strays far from the radius of her mentor and (benefactor) Vicky Phillips. Phillips seems to have trained Enfield well--she has mastered the art of telling billionaires what they want to hear while selling out the stakeholders.

--enough already
dan dempsey said…
Enough Already,

I believe you have excellent points for decentralized decision-making. The incredible inefficiency of the SPS in regard to academic decision-making coming from JSCEE when coupled with actual lack of results ... indicates this "top-Down" model is one of inbred folly.

With the NSAP must come decision-making at the school-community level if there is to be any hope of every school becoming a quality school.

Think what RBHS might look like if the community of teachers and parents had been making decisions rather than JSCEE "heavy-weights"

Instead we see stuff like Cathy Thompson's "Oh we wanted to get Dr. McKinney into the district" There was a STEM school principal opening so we put her there.

Kathy is Clueless about Math results or even math programs. Its a STEM school ... yeah sure ... there must be a few bucks attached to calling Boren a STEM school ... because that seems to be about the only STEM thing about it so far.
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
StopTFA said…
"your charade of pretending you are a Bryant parent and that you speak for all Bryant parents is disgusting."

Right back atcha anonymous. You clearly don't speak for all Bryant parents, yet liberally use the royal WE.
bryant jean said…
Wow, I can't stand it when people call out or name others. I'm a Bryatn parent and I have heard equally from other parents pro/con on Fox. I have yet to make up my mind, but yes, the extreme sounding responses aimed at the "assumed teacher" is really unnecessary. Please keep to the topic at hand and support your argument for or against. As I said, I'm undecided, so tell me what is going on. I've been listening to Rush's comments on Fluke too much lately, and it eclipses any reasonable discourse on the subject at hand. Let us have reasonable discourse!
Josh Hayes said…
Anybody know if the unread budget the R's managed to sneak through the state senate contains the charter school stuff so dear to Mr. Tom's tiny little heart? It would certainly explain why he put on his Republican costume for the day.

The whole maneuver is idiotic on its face: there is NO chance this budget gets adopted, there is CERTAINTY that we'll have a bunch of special session(s) to produce a budget, and the Dems are going to be so pissed that they'll just ignore anything the R's want. Was that the goal?
Josh Hayes said…
Mag Mom says, among other things:

"Sheesh....are these kids ever in school for an entire week in a row (without a field trip or watching a movie like they do in my daughter's first grade class)... (snip)

I can't condone movie watching in class just to pass time, but field trips generally have a substantial educational justification -- at least at Pinehurst they do. Don't know what school your daughter attends, but you might mention to her teacher(s) that you'd like to see field trips have some meaning, not just a day off school.
seattle citizen said…
Mag Mom wrote about "...another professional development day, March 16. Sheesh....are these kids ever in school for an entire week in a row (without a field trip or watching a movie like they do in my daughter's first grade class), let alone a month in a row."

Don't forget to add all the state/district testing to the non-classroom time. Students get three 1/2 days of HSPE tests next week...
seattle citizen said…
Meanwhile, over at the LEV blog, they continue to threaten and delete anyone who writes anything critical. They have some very, very thin skin:

On their blog:
wseadawg says:
Meanwhile 3 democrats turn against their party, joining hands with republicans to gut K-12 budget another 44 million, and higher ed another 30 million….
Folks: We’re fighting for scraps for the schools while those who can and should be paying their fair share aren’t.
Misguided efforts at rooting out bad teachers and turning struggling schools into charters are not solutions. They merely facilitate the ease with which our common interests are divided and our social conscience is fragmented, ultimately leading to the inevitable survival-driven pathology of “everyman for himself.”
Hollow, disingenuous slogans like “supporting great teachers” do not mask LEV’s intentions to further the agenda of those who don’t work within schools to nevertheless set the agenda for teachers and students. This is no different than calling a clear-cutting logging proposal a “meadow restoration act,” which fools no one, and only tarnishes the reputation of organizations which speak in such manners.
If you want to help, or save, public education, stop kissing the hands and behinds of the wealthiest among us, and start confronting them and demanding they play by the same rules as everyone else and pay their fare share for the large slices of the pie they eat everyday.

LEV replies:
We want to remind everyone of the rules of this blog: Be respectful. Be civil. Stick to the facts or even your feelings (hey, this *is* Washington).
You are really smart folks who know how to argue your points. If you want to spend hours on the web debating policy and comment on every post, that’s your choice. Fantasic. But be respectful. Be civil. You might even give someone a break – or consider their point of view.
Consider your intention when posting: Are you trying to influence or are you trying to insult? If it’s the latter, you will most likely find your post – and you – removed.
We respect your choice to disagree with us and with other organizations or political parties or politicians or commenters. We respect your choice to voice it. But if you are going to be disrespectful, it won’t be on our blog. You will be removed and your comment will be deleted.
The definitions of all of this remains with us. We’ll do our best to be reasonable, just as we’ve asked you to be.
Be safe out there.
Disgusted said…
I really like the idea of cross- posting with LEV. Seattle Citizen's post is already gone. Here is mine:

Rodney Tom is carrying water for the League of Education voters. Rodney Tom prefers backdoor deals to further the charter agenda. I believe Rodney Tom will try and pass charter legislation with the budget.

So much for democracy

You should also check out Rodney Tom's facebook page. Kelly Munn is practically singing him love songs.
John said…
Diane Ravitch has a good article, mostly about TFA, in the latest NY Review of Books.
seattle citizen said…
Disgusted, it was wseadawg's post that was deleted, the one I posted here. I can't believe they would pull that post. I guess they don't value community input.
seattle citizen said…
Disgusted, it was wseadawg's post that was deleted, the one I posted here. I can't believe they would pull that post. I guess they don't value community input.
basically said…
I can't figure out how LEV justifies calling people haters as resepectful and civil. I would call it rude and juvenile. I can't even muster up a snippy reply over there, it is so irritating.
mirmac1 said…
Hoo Boy, this is rich!...
seattle citizen said…
In today's New York Times: Confessions of a ‘Bad’ Teacher, By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Shortened version:
I AM a special education teacher…they struggle on standardized tests…my job can be extremely difficult. Beyond the challenges posed by my students, budget cuts and changes to special-education policy have increased my workload drastically even over just the past 18 months. While my class sizes have grown, support staff members have been laid off. Students with increasingly severe disabilities are being pushed into more mainstream classrooms like mine, where they receive less individual attention and struggle to adapt to a curriculum driven by state-designed high-stakes tests.
…I’m a bad teacher. That’s not my opinion; it’s how I’m labeled by the city’s Education Department. Last June, my principal at the time rated my teaching “unsatisfactory,” checking off a few boxes on an evaluation sheet that placed my career in limbo…my assistant principal at the time observed me…When the assistant principal walked in, one of these students, a freshman girl classified with an emotional disturbance, began cursing. When the assistant principal ignored her, she started cursing at me. Then she began lobbing pencils across the room. Was this because I was a bad teacher? I don’t know.
I know that after she began throwing things, I sent her to the dean’s office. I know that a few days later, I received notice that my lesson had been rated unsatisfactory because, among other things, I had sent this student to the dean instead of following our school’s “guided discipline” procedure.
I was confused. Earlier last year, this same assistant principal observed me and instructed me to prioritize improving my “assertive voice” in the classroom. But about a month later, my principal observed me and told me to focus entirely on lesson planning, since she had no concerns about my classroom management. A few weeks earlier, she had written on my behalf for a citywide award for “classroom excellence.” Was I really a bad teacher?
In my three years with the city schools, I’ve seen a teacher with 10 years of experience become convinced, after just a few observations, that he was a terrible teacher. A few months later, he quit teaching altogether. I collaborated with another teacher who sought psychiatric care for insomnia after a particularly intense round of observations….
seattle citizen said…
Part II of Confessions of a "bad" teacher:

…Teaching was a high-pressure job long before No Child Left Behind and the current debates about teacher evaluation. These debates seem to rest on the assumption that, left to our own devices, we teachers would be happy to coast through the school year, let our skills atrophy and collect our pensions.
The truth is, teachers don’t need elected officials to motivate us. If our students are not learning, they let us know. They put their heads down or they pass notes. They raise their hands and ask for clarification….Good administrators use the evaluation processes to support teachers and help them avoid those painful classroom moments — not to weed out the teachers who don’t produce good test scores or adhere to their pedagogical beliefs.
Worst of all, the more intense the pressure gets, the worse we teach. When I had administrators breathing down my neck, the students became a secondary concern. I simply did whatever my assistant principal asked me to do, even when I thought his ideas were crazy. In all honesty, my teaching probably became close to incoherent. One week, my assistant principal wanted me to focus on arranging the students’ desks to fit with class activities, so I moved the desks around every day, just to show that I was a good soldier. I was scared of losing my job, and my students suffered for it.
…My best teachers, the ones I still think about today, exposed me to new and exciting ideas. They created classroom environments that welcomed discussion and intellectual risk-taking. Sometimes, these teachers’ lessons didn’t sink in until years after I’d left their classrooms. I’m thinking about Ms. Leonard, the English teacher who repeatedly instructed me to “write what you know,” a lesson I’ve only recently begun to understand. She wasn’t just teaching me about writing, by the way, but about being attentive to the details of my daily existence.
It wasn’t Ms. Leonard’s fault that 15-year-old me couldn’t process this lesson completely. She was planting seeds that wouldn’t bear fruit in the short term. That’s an important part of what we teachers do, and it’s the sort of thing that doesn’t show up on high-stakes tests.
How, then, should we measure students and teachers? In ninth grade, my students learn about the scientific method. They learn that in order to collect good data, scientists control for specific variables and test their impact on otherwise identical environments. If you give some students green fields, glossy textbooks and lots of attention, you can’t measure them against another group of students who lack all of these things. It’s bad science.
Until we provide equal educational resources to all students and teachers, no matter where they come from, we can’t say — with any scientific accuracy — how well or poorly they’re performing. Perhaps if we start the conversation there, things will start making a bit more sense.
Anonymous said…
So, LEV deletes a post of mine which simply asks them to stop playing toady to billionaires and ask the wealthiest among us to pay their fair share as "uncivil?"


Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Incoming Parent said…
I am having trouble keeping track of all the principals coming/going right now. Would love to see a thread on this.
Dorothy Neville said…
Girl writes essay, teachers offended. Which only proves her point.
Response to "teacher at bryant" said…
Anonymous said...Bryant Parent
3/2/12 10:46 PM In

@"Bryant is With You Dorothy" - I get a sneaking suspicion that you are the teacher that feels she has been "retaliated against" .......

Um NO I would hope all teachers are at school teaching now and when I posted comments about Bryant Elementary last week at about 1:30 pm. I accidentally said "teacher" instead of teachers as we are aware of a handful of teachers who have been under the scrutiny of a mistrusted principal, as declared by her own staff at Bryant.The district has the climate survey results posted. Look, Facts are facts. Bullying at Bryant is not just an issue it is a culture. Indeed shame on you for trying to target a specific teacher. The real issue here is at the end of the day my kids go to a school with out leadership or direction. I went in to talk to Ms. Fox today about some of my concerns as a parent for my kids and she was not at school. For many of us Fox is unapproachable, and yes for some she is very approachable. This is not how a community is brought together to better education. Forget about the teachers, Bryant's principal has bullied parents. I'm glad that you are one of the parents that has a positive relationship with Fox but rest assured there are many of us who do not and no effort has been made administratively to bridge the community. Lastly read through this blog there are so many different parents who are making a point to have a voice here. I hope Fox reads this and can step up to bat and reach out to the community thus far she has not.
Is it too much to ask for good leadership for the largest elementary school in the NE Cluster.

Your comment just adds to the fear and distrust that circulates around the community rumor mill.
Trust the district said…
Parents Teachers Administrators what ever it is Bryant scores have gone down! Accountability rests with the admin and the teachers, but ultimately this decline in the school coupled with the principals very low approval rating is troubling. Phil Brockman has an excellent reputation it seems he should be trusted to monitor this situation.

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