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Monday, November 05, 2012

First Quarterly Program Placement Report

In compliance with newly adopted policy 2200, Equitable Access to Programs and Services, the superintendent has made the first quarterly report on program placement decisions.

A link to it is posted on this page: Program Placement. The report is deficient.

There is no new information in the report at all. It is merely a re-cap of decisions made previously, but it is an incomplete re-cap.

The report claims:
"Prior to approval of the new policy, the basis for changes implemented for 2012-13 (completed in February 2012) are attached. (See “Program Placement Decisions for 2012-13” on the enrollment website.) No changes to programs have been made since this information was posted."
This claim is false. The District has obviously made a decision regarding the relocation of The NOVA Project from the Meany building to the Mann building - there are references to the move all over the BEX IV planning documents - but there is no mention of it anywhere in this report. This is a grave oversight in the report.

The policy - quoted in the report - says:
"On a quarterly basis the Superintendent or designee shall provide an update to the School Board on decisions made during the previous quarter and a preview of upcoming decisions, if known. (emphasis added) These quarterly updates should be provided to the School Board in April, July and October."
The report also states:
"In the last three years, the content (but not process) of program placement changes were discussed at numerous Board work sessions regarding the annual Transition Plans for the New Student Assignment Plan. Changes were reflected in each annual Transition Plan, and this information was posted at the beginning of Open Enrollment so families had access to information that might influence their school choices prior to Open Enrollment."
This is a very sympathetic telling of the history of program placement because it neglects to mention the fact that the previous Board policy specifically required the disclosure of the process for program placement.

Given that this report is nothing more than a re-distribution of previously released information, I don't understand why it took so long to produce.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nobody is impacted by this more than special education students. Last year - the longstanding autism program at Salmon Bay was closed. After open enrollment. Poof, gone. People who signed up for it were "waitlisted" and assigned somewhere else. Why? Because somebody in the dark of night decided to cancel that program! (this was June) Why? Probably because there was a long general education waitlist too. Close the autism program - free up a room for other people. How can you get away with cancelling programs after people they have been listed during open enrollment. The hue and cry was great, and ultimately parents prevailed and the program was restored.

Where are the special education programs today? Anybody know? Last known word on it is here. That is over a year old! Any new programs, well those are undisclosed and available on a strictly "need to know" basis. I can tell you for sure. This crap only happens to students with disabilities. Everybody else at least knows what the options are.

-sped parent

Jan said...

Boy, is this ever true. The only way I found out anything about where "programs" were for my kid (not that it did us any good -- we couldn't get into any of the known ones -- they were full and had unbelievable waitlists that were so long they weren't even taking names any more) was by paying for one of the local psychologists who does a lot of work with/testing for kids. Like others in the "service community" for disabilities, they tend to know where other kids are who are succeeding (or at least not failing). That parents have to resort to this -- in the absence of any public information about where and how services are delivered -- is beyond pathetic. It is utterly infuriating! And this is BEFORE we get to an administration so bumbling and callous that they could "cancel" a program after kids had enrolled in it (not "move" it to another school, like Lincoln APP -- which was bad enough -- but just walk in and shoot it in the head). And if that description seems violent -- well, those actions by the district seem violent, when they are done to YOUR autistic kid.

I have not lost faith in Mr. Banda yet -- but ONLY because I am hoping that the delay means ultimately major housecleaning.

Anonymous said...

Sped parent, Jan

What does Mr. Banda know/grasp about the situation you are describing? Will this secrecy and disorganization be fixed before tours and open (”open” in question for sped) enrollment? The district had know about these preferential practices favoring nondisabled students for years.

Reader

Jan said...

Reader: Heaven knows, I may be the most wishful of dreamers here -- but I see this almost as a Ford/Mulally moment. When Ford brought Mulally in, the company (by Mulally's description) was a piranha pool of little fiefdoms, backbiting, secrecy, passive agressive resistance. You name it. Now, I am not a complete Mulally fan -- but they brought him in as an "expert from outside," and while I am not saying that God now drives Ford, he did, in fact, manage to "turn things around" at Ford.

We were lucky enough to replace Kennedy (whom I thought was terrible) with Boesche (sorry if that is misspelled). The District needs similar "turnarounds" -- from outside in at least two places. One is Special Ed. The other is Human Resources -- and of the two, I think Spec Ed is the most critical.

But Brian -- if you are reading this, a great article (well, bad for SPS, but a good public service) could be done by someone who wanted to really delve into the cronyism, mismanagement, and general all around awfulness of the SPS HR department. Can't say that is the "beating heart" of the District (that would be the teachers) or the brain (that would be Banda) -- but it's something right up there on the "can't be healthy if it is rotten -- and it is" -- maybe it is the pancreas. Or the liver.

Another "ineffective, tepid, incompetent" promotion from inside is not what is needed here. We need someone who Banda brings in and gives real authority to. And THEN it will take at least 3 years to sort out the "A" level breakdowns in service (there are problems everywhere -- intake, assessment, diagnosis, IEP planning and implementation, site-based compliance with law, access, achievement disparity). While there are specific people in schools doing great work, there is no part of the system (to my knowledge) that functions acceptably.

Charlie Mas said...

The quarterly report is supposed to include a preview of upcoming decisions.

While we know that there are some upcoming decisions - NOVA and the World School to name just two - none were mentioned in the report.

So the report is incomplete and inadequate and the board should not accept it. They should demand a complete report.

Jet City mom said...

ITA with sped parent- I also noticed on the link that the Hamiliton middle school service area, as well as the Whitman middle school service area share the same choice of Option School- which is Salmon Bay.

It also blows my mind the way they move programs around the district depending on where they want to fill seats.
It don't matter if a child with special needs attends three or or four or five different schools before they age out of the system. It don't matter! They'll get used to it!

My kid wouldn't change her shirt! I couldn't move the couch! These kids are the last ones you can move around and expect them to easily recover.

Anonymous said...

Not only are programs closed after open enrollment, they are phased out mid year and students are shuffled and shoved into other classes. A current situation in the NE cluster is resulting in SC students being moved into different classrooms (from primary to intermediate) which means they will soon be going to 5th grade PCP classes when they currently struggle with 2nd grade PCP classes. These are 3rd graders I am referring to. Some students are being sent to other schools' SC classes even though there is room in their current reference school SC. What's with that? Oh yeah, this is done because parents trust the system when they shouldn't. Parents don't realize that they CAN question the misleading information they are provided. Really, ALL parents should bring advocates or attorneys to any SPED meeting about their child.

Signed,
Sad for sped students

Anonymous said...

What's an "SC student". What program? What school?

-sped parent

Anonymous said...

Jan, to be clear. The program at Salmon Bay had only eight graders. They were all graduating. But many, many selected it at open enrollment. The district cancelled the program, it said, because there weren't any students in it. Well duh! One program was full of students who are graduating, and, another was lined up at the door. Exactly how stupid do they think parents are? They claimed the decision to cancel special education at Salmon Bay had nothing whatsoever to do with the big long line of general education students who also showed up at the door wanting the room used by the autistic kids. As I mentioned, the district DID reinstate this program after everyone found out about it, and compared notes. Some students were even given the same waitlist "number." Clearly, there is no waitlist, and no process, and no anything.

But the larger point. For students with disabilities, every year there is no information on programs that are being added, or cancelled. Just guesses. There is no process other than space available, and in the dark of night, calculated by nobody identifiable.

-sped parent

Charlie Mas said...

"SC" is an abbreviation for self-contained.

mirmac1 said...

then, do we wonder why SPS gets a "needs improvement" from the Feds re: SpEd...?