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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tuesday Open Thread

 What's on your mind?

 To quickly note:

  • from Diane Ravitch's blog, beware of any education petition at Change.org.  Michelle Rhee's group, Students First has numerous "education" petitions there (which you may or may not support).  However, what happens if you sign one is that makes you a member of Students First.  This is how they expand their numbers without you ever knowing.  
  • K-5 STEM Meet & Greet

    When: Wednesday, June 13th from 6-8 PM
    Where: Madison Middle School (3429 45th Ave SW)
    Who: Enrolled families, interested families (kids too!), community members, and partners
    What: Meet the faculty and staff and get an update on K-5 STEM Fall 2012

     

     

     

58 comments:

mirmac1 said...

Come see a free showing of "Finding Kind" at Madison Middle School in West Seattle, tonight at 6:30pm.

This powerful film is part of the Kind Campaign, a movement that brings awareness and healing to the effects of meanness within "girl world." Suitable for ages 11 and up. This a great opportunity for girls and their parents to talk about bullying.

Anonymous said...

I highly recommend Finding Kind. Go if you have the chance!

FHP

Anonymous said...

The Nathan Hale New Family and Student night was a great last night. We learned about all the wonderful clubs, how to sign up for sports, there was info on all the sports offered, and there was info on all the parent groups (PTSA, Nathan Hale Foundation) and booster groups. They really seem to be building a great community.

FHP

Anonymous said...

A funny spin on ed-reform. Try the turn around tab on this site !
http://www.standillinois.org/

Public School Parent

SeattleSped said...

Word is Becky Clifford, interim Exec Dir of Special Education is leaving. Her last day is June 21st. So parents want to know, what's the short-term plan to have a short-term plan to devise the long-term plan for SpEd?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, it would seem, like AL, the district is waiting for Banda. I find this very worrying as it seems like these areas would not be left dangling.

Floor Pie said...

Yep, they're waiting for Banda. I really hope he can deliver.

Anonymous said...

So all work stops until the new boss shows up? What about the old boss? Why isn't she doing her job?

FHP

Anonymous said...

I have a question (hoping not to open a can of worms) - Is scoring above 85% on MAP an essential benchmark for being able to test for advanced learning? Can my current kindergartner, who didn't score well on the MAP test but is above grade level in reading and math, take the test next fall if she has support from her teacher?

Thanks for any info.

--southpaw

Po3 said...

New organization has landed in Seattle:

"The Equal Opportunity Schools® organization (EOS) is a not-for-profit educational reform start-up. EOS changes lives and narrows the achievement gap by consulting with and coaching principals and superintendents to address an inequity in our schools: under-enrollment in the best academic programs -- especially by students who are Latino, African-American, or low-income. EOS identifies these "missing students" -- who we have shown can succeed at the highest academic levels within their schools -- and works with school leaders to transition them into the best classes."

http://www.equalopportunityschools.org/Pages/default.aspx

Floor Pie said...

@ Southpaw - The year my son tested in, his fall MAP reading score was below 85% but his math score was quite high. There is an appeals process, too. Good luck.

mirmac1 said...

Po3

Holy crap! Another social entrepreneurial astro-turf group. Take a number. The "donors" are really into the philanthropic, emerging, innovative, scalable, leaderish blah-dee-blah garbage. Gates must launder his money through the Social Venture Partners.

Jan said...

PO3 and Mirmac1: Frankly, I wouldn't mind at all if an organization came along and wanted to focus on getting minority, low-income, and ELL kids into Spectrum and ALO and APP programs. I have personally seen "smart" kids get off to a good start in Spectrum, flounder (mostly I suspect due to lack of family support for reading, homework, etc. -- but I am guessing as they weren't my kids) and "fall out" of the program after a few years, because they were no longer keeping up. What specifically makes you think this is a BAD new group, as opposed to potentially a GOOD one?

Po3 said...

"What specifically makes you think this is a BAD new group, as opposed to potentially a GOOD one?"

I didn't say one way or another.

Anonymous said...

Southpaw, you can appeal to be able to take the Cogat in the fall. I'm not sure if written teacher support/classroom evidence would be adequate or if you'd need to get private achievement testing.
--NEM

Anonymous said...

This might be a silly question but I am wondering- who Is Lynne Varner and why do we care what she thinks?


Urban Legend

Charlie Mas said...

Lynne Varner is a member of the Seattle Times editorial board. She takes the lead on writing all of their editorials about public education.

We care what she thinks because:

1) She has, essentially, the loudest voice about education in five states.

2) She helps to form the opinions of people who get their opinions from the print edition of the Seattle Times.

3) As much of a dinosaur as it may be, the print edition of the Times is where the geezers who control this town get their news.

4) The Seattle Times is the newspaper of record around here.

Charlie Mas said...

Seattle Public Schools is organized as a feudal kingdom. The superintendent is the king, and therefore holds all of the authority, all of the property, and all of the people. The king grants fiefdoms to vassal nobles who, in turn, can make grants to lesser nobles (knights). Nobles who please the king can be rewarded with larger or more lucrative fiefdoms. Nobles who displease the king can find themselves with smaller or less desirable ones.

The queen is dead and the new king has not yet been crowned, so no one is going to make any moves lest the move (or even the initiative) displease the new king.

Dr. Enfield has been a lame duck since December and nothing has been done since then.

When Mr. Banda starts, all of the switches will be reset to zero. All of the plans stopped and archived. All of the promises will be void. All of the procedures will be repealed pending further notice.

mirmac1 said...

Jan,

I'm the one who simply ASSumed it was another phony group.

mirmac1 said...

Sorry

Melissa Westbrook said...

FHP, I think Enfield checked out awhile ago. In fact, I think they even bumped a previously scheduled Special Ed student file handoff at headquarters in order to accommodate her going-away party this week.

The EOS looks interesting. Might be worth talking to; their leader is quite accomplished (and was a teacher but not via TFA).

Po3 said...

The head of the EOS is looking for an assistant to help out for 18-24 months:

http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/npo/3073775188.html

Anonymous said...

Maybe we can just inject knowledge as we do childhood vaccines. This is over the top for me!

http://mynorthwest.com/11/692043/Bracelets-could-help-teachers-better-understand-students

Public School Parent

Kathy Barker said...

DId anyone see anything like this at other Seattle high schools?


June 8, 2012

Military Recruiter at GHS Academic Awards Ceremony

Dear GHS people and PTSA,

I attended the Garfield High School Academic Awards Ceremony for the 2012 class, in Quincy Jones Auditorium. The first part of the program was Scholarships and Awards, given by Special Presenters: examples of these awards and presenters were the Against All Odds Award, given by Dr. Carole Simmons, and the Key Club Award, given by Marta Trimble.

But near the end of these presentations, and not on the program, a Navy Recruiter came on stage to present an award to a senior who had enlisted in the Navy. The recruiter, in a manner that seemed more in keeping with a T.V. situation comedy than a high school academic event, presented the student with a huge blank check, saying that the Navy had faith that the student could get himself not only a bachelor’s degree, but a master’s and Ph.D.

This was an absolutely dishonest and completely inappropriate display.

There is no academic honor in being signed up by the Navy. Who allowed this? A Navy recruiter, or a family, somehow got permission from someone at GHS to interrupt the proceedings to give a little boost for the military.
There was no scholarship offered, though money being part of a package was implied. That Navy recruit has the right to take courses while working for the Navy, and might be eligible for financial aid for school after his 8 year commitment.

The Navy recruiter made his presentation and left shortly afterwards, showing little respect for the other students or the proceedings.
The student receiving the ridiculous blank check from the Navy recruiter was African-American, and the racism inherent in this patronizing celebration of a Naval enlistment at an academic awards ceremony was shocking.

One of the academic awardees was, as the presenter said, from a war-torn country, and the audience applauded for all that surviving such a history means. To hear the audience clap just as vigorously 5 minutes later for a Garfield student going to wage war was to see a total disconnect from reality.

We have all watched an education budget decline, and a war budget grow to 50% of discretionary funds, and still don’t relate education decisions to war. We talk against gangs and killings, and then act as if going to war is a personal choice that shouldn’t be commented on. We say schools teach critical thinking, but I wonder if that poor young man and his family know how few enlistees go to college, how many are homeless, how many break down with the reality of killing other human beings in wars even most politician decry? And yet, someone on staff at Garfield allowed the Navy recruiter to make a mockery of all of Garfield’s efforts to help every student achieve. We treat the military with a reverence that contradicts all we know of history, and we sacrifice our own students to keep alive the idea that everything will be okay.

My last child is graduating this year from Garfield. During the time my kids were students at Garfield, I've seen loss of counselors, teachers, a career specialist, and more etceteras than I can count. I've seen the military recruiters break all rules, and be invited back, again and again, to take advantage of the economic situation in the school.

I hope someone will want to take on the job of military recruiter monitor. The students are not being given the information they need to make an informed decision about the military. GHS was in the forefront of this civil rights struggle to control aggressive military recruiting in schools, and a monitor is needed more than ever.

Sincerely,
Kathy Barker

Parent of Zoe Barker-Aderem ’09
Zan Barker-Aderem ’11
Sasha Barker-Aderem ’12

Melissa Westbrook said...

Thank you, Kathy. This was inappropriate. There are absolutely rules about when recruiters can be on campus. That this is the call Principal Howard made does not surprise me at all.

I hope you told the Board this story.

Kathy Barker said...

Melissa, I did send it to the Board and Superintendent, as I sent the story of the Marines recruiter visit in the fall that broke all rules (huge van, jeep in the parking lot with a sound system disguised as weapons, blaring away, etc), and many other letters, to no avail.

The Garfield HS PTSA has a military recruiting monitor, and maybe someone on this list from Garfield is interested in this compelling job...or wants to set one up on their own board?

If anyone would like to, or sees such goings-on on their own schools, please let me know. And if you have the time to drop a note on the recruiter at Garfield- why, it would be greatly appreciated!

Kathy Barker

Anonymous said...

Thanks Floor Pie and NEM... that helps as we think through how to approach things in the next year or two.
- southpaw

Anonymous said...

How many of you know about Firing Day at charter schools?
http://www.alternet.org/story/155717/'firing_day'_at_the_charter_school?page=1

Somehow I fail to see how this type of situation is better for kids than having a teacher who has job security thanks to the evil teachers unions, but since I am just a teacher and not a millionaire/billionaire infused with all of the magical knowledge to help save the American student from the horrible teachers union and lower-class public schooling, it's probably no surprise that I can't see the benefits of charters.

-CT

Anonymous said...

Still wondering why all schools don't Shelter in Place when a crazed gunmen is loose.

Freaked Out

tired at lowell said...

Seems like Gregory refuses to acknowledge his desire to go somewhere else and in the least do his job. He is never in the building and now kids are fighting and nothing is being done. There is a bullying incident and nothing is being done. Staff are thinking of leaving once again because they feel unsafe. Thank god school is almost over.

Anonymous said...

Yeah...that evil teachers union that has so much power...;). I am a new teacher who was disliked by a principal and the union couldn't do anything to stop me from getting fired. Whoo hoo.

-just another bad teacher

Anonymous said...

Speaking of principal evaluations - how do I fill out a school survey? I never received anything about this on my phone or in the mail. Is there some way to fill out the survey? Don't I count? I know it isn't much, but I want my little place to say what I need to.

-parent fed up with principal - an how!

Anonymous said...

The Teachers' Defense Committee is collecting data on rotten principals. If you are a teacher or a parent you are welcome to share your story with us.
salander688@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Just another bad teacher,

The same thing happened to my kid's teacher and I am disgusted. How is a new teacher supposed to develop skills with no support?

~sad parent

Anonymous said...

As for a principal promoting an agenda, that's a reason why voting for the Creative Approach Schools needs to be done by secret individual ballot and the count tallied publicly. Imagine having a hand vote when administration hadn't left the room and could see who did or did not vote the "correct" way. Think about how an unscrupulous principal could find out how the people s/he disliked voted and really go after them.


--Old School Music

Anonymous said...

My principal is leaving so I'm not sure collecting data on them is going to have any repurcussion or any point. I'm frustrated that I'm the one who is going to struggle to get hired again when there is no repurcussion for lack of leadership. I guess that's the real world!

-just another bad teacher

Anonymous said...

And excuse my mispelling of "repercussion" (twice)!!!

-just another bad teacher

Anonymous said...

Wow. With Becky Clifford leaving next week and Gregory King playing coy with his future plans (Detroit or Seattle?), how are special education parents and staff feeling about support and direction at Lowell for next year?

-concerned

mirmac1 said...

I want families in this district to have the information to process: a) whether methods and measures for evaluating teachers are fair; and b) whether the same are fair for principals/AP. Some materials are available here.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Can any Bryant parents comment on the day care situation? I was shocked to hear that the daycare is closing. We were really happy with Tamie's and are really questioning what happened.

Confused at Bryant

Anonymous said...

I think we are all confused at Bryant. In addition to the PTSA email, one (out of two) of my children brought home the SPS official statement From Susan Hall and Phil Brockman - noting Tamie has had multiple issues complying with DEL and City of Seattle regulations. And it is too 'risky' for SPS to renew the lease with all her care issues.

Funny - when I check DEL's site, it shows no recent inspection (since July 2011), nor does it site any complaints (post 2005). I checked a few other providers in the area and could find some pretty current information. I am really skeptical of SPS accusations, and the coincidental missing DEL report.

No need to worry though (sarcasm) -SPS is putting the program out to bid and Tamie is welcome to participate?! And family representatives will be part of the decision process. Not sure what parent would vote against her?! So it is a bit patronizing.

A meeting will be held later this month and SPS will answer any questions. I will be in attendance! Tamie does a lot more for our school than just run a daycare.

Also Confused at Bryant

Anonymous said...

Could this be another instance of the Bryant principal trying to get rid of people who stand up to her? She claims to be very chummy with Phil Brockman.

Can Bryant parents ask to see the evidence on which this decision was based?

- former bryant parent

mirmac1 said...

"Anonymous said..."
The Sample Math PGE (not from our district) was really disturbing to me. It was so focused on MAP scores and trying to achieve a certain amount of growth - are teachers here having to show similar objectives? I couldn't bring myself to read through all of it. Please, please, tell me this isn't how MAP scores are being used.

There was a year that a teacher seemed to be prepping the class for MAP with a week or two of very random work, and looking back, it almost seems like it was only an attempt to improve test scores (not long term learning). Please, please, tell me this isn't what's happening in classes here. -

Anonymous pick a name, any name, or you'll be deleted.

Yes, that is what is happening here. Lame, isn't it? The posted materials are from the training materials available to principals and APs to help them write goals with teachers. Then, teachers, WATCH OUT if you fail to meet them.

Unfortunately, there is no set criteria for formulating these goals (at least according to materials provided to date).

Anonymous said...

Last school year only one principal received an unsatisfactory rating in the five areas in which principals are evaluated. At the same time 42%(roughly 430) of teachers with 15 or more years of experience were placed on probation under any number of the 73 criteria of the Danielsen Framework.MAP scores were used as supporting data.

Urban Legend

Anonymous said...

My child showed little to no growth on MAP this year. It was the first year that I held back on supplementing math at home. The teachers were new and by all accounts followed the district materials. Maybe they followed them too closely, because there wasn't much new learning for my child (by my child's reports, not just MAP scores). So are they bad teachers? Or is it the district materials that are bad? Or is this an invalid use of MAP scores?

any name

Anonymous said...

I find it outrageous that the district is not going to renew their contract with Tamie. One of the reasons they cite is too few adult supervisors per child. But it's a-ok for Bryant to have almost 600 students go out to recess every day with zero district provided adult supervision? The PTSA has to spend fundraising money for playgroud supervision - why is such a basic element of safety not provided by the district? The ratios at Tamie's are much, much lower than my child experiences at any other time during the school day.

`furious

Anonymous said...

I think what SPS needs is a complete house cleaning. And I mean COMPLETE. "Separate" all the those ed directors and others who have gotten financially fat off the of money that should have gone for student needs. Create an entire new administrative structure. People like Desault and Brockman could apply for new positions based on all the wonderful things they have accomplished. Review all the principal qualifications. Those who have little or no teaching experience should be placed on interim status. A panel of community members and teachers should be convened to hire new principals who have at least five years classroom experience as well as lettesr of support written by parents and teachers.
SPS is rotten to the core. The only way to fix the numerous problems is to start with a clean slate and hire managers who are experienced, intelligent, thoughtful and creative. Oh, and these people must have integrity and be able to authentically engage and lead-not just be liars and frauds who cipher the commands of the corrupt.

jt

Anonymous said...

I agree with furious. I have great concerns about the safety of our completely administrator free playground. Does Kim Fox, the assistant vp or counselors ever spend a lunch period on the playground? No, the only coverage for all 550+ kids are paid parents and parent volunteers. On the other hand, I feel very happy with the care my kids have gotten through Tamie's and the after school classes she coordinates. There has got to be something more behind this than is being let on. Also disappointing to make the announcement as many are, with litte time for parents to react or make statements before the end of the year, and the day after the last PTSA meeting. Something must be done to hold Kim responsible for the turmoil.

Also furious at Bryant

Anonymous said...

If you are a new teacher and fail Danielson, you do not get the chance to go on probation...you are just fired ("non renewed" and can't even apply to work on the district again until you've worked somewhere else for at least a year). Wouldn't new teachers need probation the most?

-just another bad teacher

Anonymous said...

I also have a child who showed no improvement on MAP this year, despite being placed in an accelerated curriculum. I wish I could understand what is going on here! After jumping 2 years ahead in math and operating successfully all year (judging by grades) how could my kid not gain in MAP? It is really puzzling, and I have to say it makes me doubt MAP more than the teacher or curriculum. I've seen the homework and often helped with it, so I know my kid has been challenged and learning all year.

Anonymous said...

If the "accelerated" curriculum to which you're referring is CMP, the acceleration may not be as accelerated as you think. It's accelerated in terms of using 6th grade books in 4th grade (APP), or 7th grade books in 5th grade, but the actual math isn't as comprehensive as a more standard pre-algebra book. It's maybe a year ahead, content wise, to a standard math sequence.

We used an older pre-algebra book to supplement and it actually covers a lot of the material that the district Algebra I book covers, in addition to topics covered in CMP.

anon

Anonymous said...

Tami does alot more for Bryant than Kim Fox does. Why can't we keep Tami and get rid of Kim.


and yet another furious at Bryant

Anonymous said...

Some info on CMP (may refer to an older edition of CMP, not CMP2, but you get the idea):

http://www.nychold.com/cmp.html

SPS has had these books for seven years and it's time to reassess and consider a new adoption.

anon

mary s said...

My kid showed no growth on MAP in grade 5, so I pulled him out and home schooled for grade 6. He jumped 20 points using Singapore instead of CMP.

Anonymous said...

http://www.apluswashington.org/resources/

A+Washington , web pages , ad found on The Daily Caller

Public School Parent

suep. said...

I agree with jt @ 6/14/12 8:07 AM --
SPS HQ and admin. is rotten at the core and needs a complete overhaul.

Urban Legend - Where did you get those numbers? Are teachers identified by name? How can I find out if one of them is the brilliant master teacher from my child's school who is being run out of the school this year by the principal?

Anonymous said...

suep-

I am a member of the Teachers'Defense Committee. This group is made up of master teachers who have been run out of schools by idiot principals. We are amassing data that is not available to the general public. We have a team of three attorneys working with us. Unfortunately we do not have names. We try to find teachers through word of mouth and posts on various blogs. Please encourage this teacher to contact salander688@gmail.com. Or if you feel comfortable with giving us the name we can try to find him/her. The SEA has helped the district rather than helping teachers so we have to do the legal work.

Urban Legend