Friday Open Thread

Reminders for Saturday:

Board Community Meetings:
DeBell from 9-11am at Cafe Appassinato

Family Symposium/Road Map to College Event at Chief Sealth High School from 10 am- 3 p.m.

Good News in SPS:
Hawthorne Community raised more than $11K to "reimagine" their library.

Roosevelt High School's Hands for a Bridge program received the World Educator award from the World Affairs Council.  The program is being recognized for "its dedication to increasing global awareness and fostering dialogue about issues surrounding social justice."

SPS's LGBT Families Dinner is Thursday, November 9th from 6-8 p.m. at NOVA/World School at Meany.  Dinner is provided.  Questions and RSVP to Lisa Love at 252-0982 or with how many people in your group or for more information. 

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said…
I think it's time to seriously consider year round schooling. I say this as a parent of a child who has been in overcrowded NE schools from Kindergarten on, and will be in middle school before solutions are on-line, then high school before that crunch is ameliorated.

- Let's really discuss this
Anonymous said…
I am the parent of a kindergartener and newly tuned in to all these capacity issues, so please excuse the basic questions... How would year-round schooling help? Different kids take their "summer vacation" at different times of the year in order to keep the buildings utilized year-round?
Anonymous said…
There would be intense competition for the August-September summer break!

Seriously, though. This district was not able to pull off an assignment plan based upon where the kids live (they couldn't figure out how many seats they would need, where,and when). I can see them coping with such a radical concept as year-round schooling.

Feeling very cynical this morning.
-North End Mom
Anonymous said…
oops "can" should be "can't."
-North End Mom
Anonymous said…
MAP testing and teacher evaluations - how are test results being used?

If I opt my child out of some MAP testing so they have only one data point each year, will this prevent the scores from being used against a teacher? Are children with no scores counted against the teacher (or principal) come evaluation time?

If the measurement error of the test is higher than the projected growth, how can the measured growth, or lack of, be a statistically valid measure of teacher effectiveness?

-debating about opting out
Jet City mom said…
I'd like to at least look at year round schooling as well- if it could give students the flexibility to take 12 months for a course, instead of 9 with breaks, if needed.
I think advancement should be on mastery, not seat time.
Maureen said…
Hands for a Bridge is a great organization! They are having their annual Auction on November 17th. It is guaranteed to provide fabulous South African crafts and a rousing version of "Lean On Me!"

If you want to know more, follow the links on the website including to the Hands for a Bridge Movie.
mirmac1 said…
LEV wants to know what you think of upcoming
CBA negotiations

We know how they like to interject themselves into our district's business.
Jamie said…
Anon at 9:01 - yes, that is how year round schooling works, at least it did in the 70s in California when I did it. Our program was called 45-15. You went to school for 45 days (9 weeks) and then had 15 days (3 weeks) off, and you went all year round. There were I believe 3 or 4 "tracks" so different kids would be on their three week vacation at different times.
Anonymous said…

If you are going to have your kid take the MAP at all, I'd take it whenever offered. There is enough noise (margin of error) in any single score that a single score is not that useful. My kids take it 3 times a year and now they've taken it 7 times I can see the trend in their performance. An individual outlier score is obvious, which it wouldn't be if we had taken it only once per year.

If I were going to opt out, I'd opt out completely.

Anonymous said…
Regarding the MAP test. My kiddo goes to a k-8 where they take it three times a year. We are new to this school. She had to attempt the math MAP three times before being able to take the test. Problems with the software the first two times. Finally on the third try, she was able to complete it. Even though they had a fire drill during the test. This is how the MAP went down for us last week.

-Really not convinced what we get from the MAP
Anonymous said…
Can someone tell me why there are no FACMAC meeting notes on the SPS website since last February?

- in seach of transparency
Anonymous said…
-in search of

If the notes were posted it would be apparent that staff is making decisions that relate in no way to community input.

Sue in Zen Field
Anonymous said…
Reg year round schooling - if we lived in a sunny climate like CA, I wouldn't be opposed to year round schooling. In a city like Seattle, I can't imagine kids going to school in July or August and they would definitely not be productive at my kids' school where it gets unbearably hot on the few really warm school days they do have. No air conditioning and poor ventilation with the old school with weeks in a row of mid-70's-90 degree weather sounds miserable.

Does anyone know how closely the FACMAC recommendations align with the district BEX list?
Anonymous said…
I taught in a year round school in CA and here are some of the cons:

Instead of one summer break where students fall backwards, they have 4 of them. A maddening regression.

One class per grade doesn't have their own classroom and has to rove from one open room to another every 3 weeks.

There is always one track that ends up being more appealing to families (usually the one with the 3 weeks off that fall in Dec. April and Aug). For the most part, everybody else just feels like they are getting the short end of the stick.

With the building never really being empty, the janitorial duties are never completed as effectively as they could be if the rooms were empty.

It makes prof. development and staff meetings very challenging when a 1/5 of staff in not working at any one time.

Walk to math, walk to reading..etc. no longer work because a 1/5 of the students are always missing but teachers must continue with the curriculum.

Transportation costs soar, as the busses are ALWAYS running.

Assessment is more challenging to organize when students are all on different pacing calendars. The state wants them all tested during one small window, so at least one or two tracks get tested with remarkably less school days under their belt.

Specialist schedules are really challenging to create. CA had an easy answer to that conundrum- eliminate most of them.

I'd make a list of PROS, but honestly, other than being able to vacation off-peak I can't think of anything else I liked about year round schooling.

If Seattle does it, people will flee the district, myself included.

Jamie said…
JP & TS, all totally valid points. My only experience w/it was as a 9 year old in a very mild climate. :) Doesn't sound like it would work very well here, but if Kellie is correct (and she usually is, it seems) we are going to need to do something creative in the NE soon.
Steve said…
Hi. I'm trying to find out which schools were recently notified of staffing cuts by the District, due to the October 1 enrollment numbers. Our school (APP @ Lincoln) was notified that we're going to have 1 teacher cut, and as a result, we're now below a threshold for .5 FTE PCP. So, we're essentially losing 1.5 teachers because of a small shortfall over the expected enrollment.

We're having trouble finding out from the District which other schools are having staffing cuts. If your school is, could you post the details here, or email me (stevepalbertson at

- Steve
RosieReader said…
Steve, Ingraham was on the other side of the equation. Numbers higher than expected are leading to some additional hiring. Everything's a balance -- in short money times, we're really grateful to be able to trim down class sizes that are well over 40 in some cases.
Anonymous said…
Coe is also on the other side of the equation, they are gaining a full time vice principal, an addition .5 teacher and an extra half day from the nurse.
QA Parent
Anonymous said…
If your student missed the Spring MAP test at Ham for any reason - new to district, absent, or even opt out, they were given a make-up test this week. Parents were not notified as far as I know, and last Spring's opt-out kids were just pulled and teasted. The librarian proctor had no indication which kids were which. It may not have even been tracked. If my kid had been involved, I'd be livid.

open ears
Anonymous said…
whichever side of the equation you're on the big message at the district has no business making major adjustment the way it is in October. it's too hard to hire good new staff this late in the school year and get them fully up and running to serve kids, and it pulled the rug out from under programs that have already gotten going. the district haa to find ways to avoid these upheavals in the fall.

Charlie Mas said…

I'm pretty sure this question was worked through. If you review the WSS and the enrollment numbers from APP @ Lincoln you can calculate for yourself how many teachers should be assigned to Lincoln.

Count the number of students in grades 1, 2, and 3 and divide that number by the staffing ratio, which I believe is 26 for those grades. Then count the students in grades 4 and 5 and divide that number by the staffing ratio for those grades, which I believe is 28. Take the total of those two dividends and multiply it by .2 to get the number of PCP teachers. Add the number of classroom teachers and the number of PCP teachers and then round up to the nearest .5 FTE. That's the number of general education and PCP teachers the school should have.

Then add another teacher for the 14 SpEd students in the building. There are no ELL students so there is no allocation for ELL.

That's how many teachers APP @ Lincoln should have. Has the District budgeted for the correct number? If not, that should be the focus of your complaint - to get the right number of teachers following the WSS formula. If the number of teachers is right then you can stop complaining.
kellie said…
FWIW, I think year round schooling is not a great plan. Shifted schedules are an even worse plan. I have spoken with many people who experienced a "shifted schedule" at some point in their schooling and they all talk about it like a battle scar.

However, something is going to have to give. Many districts use either year round schooling or split schedules as a bridge strategy until they are able to build new facilities.

I sincerely hope we are not there yet. However, I do believe that the crowding at Eckstein is severe enough that a broader community conversation is in order.

IMO, the crowding at Eckstein was 100% predictable and families have a right to be outraged. This situation has dragged out much longer could be considered reasonable, with the definition of reasonable being a solution in sight.

Folks "hoped" that a 2015 Wilson Pacific School would be enough. It seems to me that what the community is saying is that 2015 won't work and there must be relief for 2013. Considering that more than 25% of the Eckstein's capacity is in portables and that the school is already larger than most high schools, relief is a reasonable request.
Maje said…
Now that some of the kids have taken the fall MAP test, when do the scores appear on their accounts?
Jet City mom said…
When Olchefske was superintendent, he came to Summit & pleaded with them to accept an additional 6th grade class for a few years- which they did, quite a few stayed through at least middle school, and moved their younger children from John Rogers & Sacajawea .

I should be surprised the district still has a problem with crowding.
But I'm not.
Dora Taylor said…

And I really do dislike having to address anyone that way, you really should have the you-know-what's to use some semblance of your name, can it be verified that opt-out students were forced to take the MAP test?

Please advise.

Dora Taylor
Anonymous said…
My child was pulled out of class for MAP, and no, I wasn't notified by the school (correction - I did get a computer generated absence notification, which was in error). More than 4 periods of classes were missed and now my child needs to play catch up. I'm a bit peeved, as is my child. It's kind of ironic that the MAP, which is supposed to inform instruction, prevented students from getting instruction.

Dora Taylor said…
Thanks for the info.

When you refer to "Ham", do you mean Hamilton High School?

seattle citizen said…
mirmac1, thanks for posting the link to the Gates Foundation's newest push-poll. I mean their PR firm, Strategies 360's newest push poll. No, wait, it's S360's astrotruf group, the Our Schools Coalition's push poll, to be used as ammo, as propaganda, for the Gates war on teachers.
After bragging that they somehow “successfully advocated for significant changes to the 2010 contract” (how did they do that, one wonders? Did they have the ear of the District’s negotiators? Really?), they go on to say that much “of what happens in your child’s classroom is governed by the SPS/SEA contract. This includes class size, the length of the school day, how teachers are hired and evaluated, and how families can best interact with their school community”
Then, evidently, they did EXTENSIVE, I mean LOTS and LOTS of research:
“Based on research, best practices and extensive community input, together we have identified areas for the next contract to address”
I guess they forgot about class size, length of school day, and how families interact with the school, because all their survey questions relate to evaluation (each question has a space for comment by the survey taker, but no “rating” or anything – are they going to aggregate the responses qualitatively or what?) Here are the areas S360, uh, OSC has identified to lobby the district negotiators on:
"Aligned Professional Development:Restructure Professional Development to align with the recently adopted Danielson™ evaluation framework."
So there wouldn't be any PD except around Danielson? Great. How helpful.
"Career Ladders:Fully implement career ladders as agreed to in the current contract."
So some teachers can lord it over others, even though they won't get paid any more money, because there's no money for it.
"Peer Review: Include peer review in evaluations."
Right. Because teachers are in each other's classrooms so often.
"Student Feedback: Include student feedback in evaluations."
Yes, students are great at giving easy teachers glowing reviews.
"Student Growth Measures: Strengthen the student growth component in the current contract as required by state law (SB 5895)"
Because you just KNOW all those numbers really, really represent students.
"Accountability: Utilize performance as a key factor in staffing decisions, including placement, transfers and layoffs."
So those numbers, uh, "student growth via value-added computation generated from standardizeed test scores" will be used to lay people off. Fantastic.
"Hiring: End the policy of 'forced placement' of teachers in schools."
This one is particularly good: Don't want teachers displaced from a closing school to be able to work anywhere else in the district- there are TFAers to hire, damnit!
"Timing: Speed up the hiring timeline."
This one is actually a good idea.
Then there are a series of open-ended questions, which I'm sure S360/OSC will morph into further attacks on teachers and educators:
"What is the most pressing issue around your child’s academic achievement, if any?"
"What is the most pressing issue around your school’s academic achievement, if any?"
"What is the most pressing issue in the school district around academic achievement, if any?"
Anonymous said…
What is FACMAC and what exactly does it do? Are there other committees like it? (I heard about the advanced learning one).

Anonymous said…
these are group s of citizens that the district puts together so that they can pretend that they care what we think. But in fact they do not.

Steve said…
Thanks Charlie for the specifics about WSS for APP. I really just want to get a sense of staffing changes district-wide due to the October 1 data. Who gained and who lost? It is ridiculous that the District waits until 6 weeks into the school year to make these disruptive changes. I can't find any list from the District about the net changes.

mirmac1 said…
Yes, Seattle Citizen, I made sure to input my two cents on the Gates/LEV/OSC/etc push poll.

Based on supersecret (NOT) emails, LEV's sticks its finger in the CBA pie via "labor consultant" Lizanne Lyons, who was "chief negotiator" for the last CBA.

Why is SPS spending good money hiring a consultant who is just a tool of the the Gates/LEV/OSC/etc machine? Oh, let me guess, the Alliance probably picks up the tab. Ms Lyons kibitzes with Korsmo, MJ Ryan, Holly Miller, Shannon Campion, you know the REAL power behind the throne.
Josh Hayes said…
Steve, I think the October 1 line is because enrollment at a school isn't considered final until then: kids on wait lists can still get in (if there's room), which means that kid LEAVES the school s/he was initially assigned to, and so on. After October 1, assignments are frozen, and the district regards that as the really truly solid enrollment number for any given school.

Maybe it's a dopey idea, but I think that's why it works that way.
citizen said…

FACMAC stands for "Facilities and Capacity Management Advisory Committee", a volunteer committee to advise on BEX.

If you go here you'll see more:

As far as what they do lately, they haven't posted any meeting minutes on that page since February, so we don't know.
Steve said…
Thanks Josh. I guess I just wonder why the district has to deal with exact numbers every year, instead of using some historical intelligence to determine what the data will likely show. The number of kids who move around between the start of school and October 1 has to be a small percentage of the total population, and they must have data from past years that they can use to estimate what will happen in any given year. If they are pretty certain that a particular school will increase/decrease from projections by the October 1 date, why not just plan for it and live with the fact that they might be off a bit on some schools, but probably right on the majority.

I don't pretend to know the complexities of this, but there has to be a better way. I'm happy that a lot of schools are getting additional staff, but why can't they know that on the first day? And for those schools losing valued teachers after six the kids say, "WTF"?

- Steve
Maureen said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said…

H. middle school. I don't know about "forced", but yes, when a kid gets asked to go to the library and gets put in front of the MAP test with no warning they tend to comply, even if they opted out last year.

And I'm sorry I don't have the you-know-whats, but I've stuck with one pseudonym over the years. Safer that way and let's me keep my ears open in the schools.

open ears

Anonymous said…
I think you need to opt out each year. That said, parents probably didn't anticipate having to opt out in fall because the test isn't given to all students in the fall. Like @open ears said, it seems to have been given to any student that didn't have a spring test - new students, those that opted out, or for some reason didn't have spring scores. What made it problematic is that those students missed class. It wasn't like the normal test administration where all students are taking the test.

I'm guessing the scores are wanted as part of the baseline for teacher evaluation, which brings up other issues of MAP scores. The reading portion of the test has a ceiling of 245. Once you hit the ceiling, you can't say with any statistical certainty that a score of 245 is any different than a score of 250 or 255. You can only say they all scored very high. Elementary APP students are hitting the ceiling of the MAP reading test. Once they hit the ceiling, using the MAP scores to evaluate teachers simply isn't valid. Using MAP scores in this way - to evaluate teachers, based on individual scores - is a problem on its own, but it's simply meaningless once they hit the ceiling. The test can no longer measure meaningful growth.

end of rant
Anonymous said…
Charlie writes: Then add another teacher for the 14 SpEd students in the building.

No. That's not how sped services are calculated for schools. If all those students are designated SM1 - then that will drive in 0.8 sped teacher. This service is 18:1, and is doled out in fractions with enrollment. If the students are all related services only students, they will drive in 0 special education students, and they will get a visit from a visiting SLP and/or OT. So, depending on the IEP designations of each student, the school will receive between 0 and 0.8FTE.

If those APP students are SM2 or higher - then they won't be able to go to Lowell@Lincoln, because there won't be a sped program there to serve them. Despite the legality of that, it is what it is. The "SM" labeling of programs replaced the old levels in a complicated scheme devoted to obfuscation.

-sped watcher
Anonymous said…
The teachers will be renegotiating their contract this school year. If I were teacher, I would be talking to my union now about putting in language about test measures needing to be statistically valid in order to be used as part of teacher evaluation. If the measurement error on the test is greater than the expected growth, is it fair to be judged on a student's measured growth? If the student has reached the ceiling of the test and differences in scores have no statistical significance, is it fair to be judged on the calculated growth, or lack thereof?

Educate yourselves on the limitations of the test.

(skeptical of MAP)
Anonymous said…
An analysis of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation "Measures of Effective Teaching" (MET) Project," which looked at value-added measures of teacher effectiveness:

Review of Learning about Teaching

The report disputes some of the conclusions of the MET project and puts into question the "value of student achievement data as a significant component of teacher evaluations."

a reader
ws said…
Schmitz Park in the Boston Globe.

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