Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday Open Thread

 Update:  Free Admission to Washington State Parks this Saturday!  Beautiful weather, beautiful parks - get out there!

West Seattle HS culinary students place 5th in state competition with two students winning scholarships.  Our own Top Chefs in SPS.  Congrats kids!

From the "what do you want him to call it" category, comes this story about an Idaho science teacher who was called out by parents for using the word "vagina" during a unit about...the human body and the reproductive system.   I'd love to know what word they think the teacher should have used for this discussion. 

“I teach straight out of the textbook, I don’t include anything that the textbook doesn’t mention,” McDaniel remarked. “But I give every student the option not attend this class when I teach on the reproductive system if they don’t feel comfortable with the material.”

“It is highly unlikely it would end with his dismissal,” the superintendent mused. “Maybe a letter of reprimand from the school board.”

But McDaniel pointed out that even a letter of reprimand would be unfair.

“I’ve done nothing wrong,” he insisted. “I told them I won’t sign it.”

The students are standing up for their teacher by creating a Facebook page to protect him.

Not a Friday funny but a Friday think - a YouTube video of a 9-year-old whose grasp of science and philosophy far exceed his years. 

What's on your mind?


Eric B said...

Ingraham won a state high school debate tournament in the last week. Good job!

Anonymous said...

Robotics competition this weekend. I know Nathan Hale has a team. What other SPS high schools are competing?


mirmac1 said...

That thoughtful boy may well be blessed with Asperger, a form of autism spectrum disorder. Celebrate the differences =)

RosieReader said...

Ingraham is sending at least one team to the Robotics competition.

Eric B said...

Ballard usually also competes at robotics. Ballard won the local competition last year.

Anonymous said...

Ingraham students also won awards at the Japanese Speech and Skits Contest held at Roosevelt High last Sat. They were competing against student from Skyline High School and several private high schools, so kudos.


Anonymous said...

Adams' PTA raised enough money at their auction to provide the school with WIFI and purchase IPads for next year. Congrats and many thanks to the auction team and the Adams community.


Nation Watcher said...

Ex-Atlanta Schools Chief Is Charged in Cheating Scandal


Gee, what possible repercussions could there be to using standardized tests exclusively??

mirmac1 said...

The following is from Phil Brockman, Executive Director of K-12 Operations:

Dear colleagues,

After 30 years with Seattle Public Schools, I have decided to move on to a new challenge. I have accepted a position as Superintendent of the Sedro-Wolley School District. My last day with Seattle Schools is June 30th.

This was not an easy decision, as I am proud of the work we have all accomplished together. I have enjoyed my time in the classroom, as a teacher and principal, and then working in the central office as an Executive Director, supporting the great work we are doing in our schools. I am grateful for the people I have worked with in Seattle and appreciative of the experience I have received as a result of my years here.

I am looking forward to my new role as a Superintendent, and excited about working with the Sedro-Woolley school community.

Thank you for all you do every day; I wish you the very best.


Phil Brockman

Executive Director of K-12 Operations

Seattle Public Schools

I was never a fan

Maureen said...

KUOW is reporting that Silas Potter didn't show up for his hearing today and they can't find him. Don't see a link yet, but it's only 4:30, so they may repeat the story before the news ends at 6:30.

Anonymous said...

Cheryl Chow has passed away. She was able to live to get married to her partner, Sarah Morningstar. Their daughter just turned five this week. My condolences to the family.


No Name

Melissa Westbrook said...

Maureen, what?! I was looking forward to going to his court date in April (on the 22nd). I was wondering why he was going to trial and thought he either had some real dirt to use or was pushing as hard (and as far) as he could to get a deal.

I know the woman in the case already settled her case but the other co-conspirator also skipped out.

The saga continues.

Anonymous said...

From Seattle Times: No discipline for Seattle teachers in boycott of MAP exams - Superintendent José Banda said none of the protesting teachers had responsibility for administering the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) exams, so they were not insubordinate by failing to carry out their duties.


Maureen said...

Here's a link to Ann Dornfeld's report.

In part: At Potter’s pre-trial hearing today, defense attorney Seth Conant told the judge that his client was in the hospital last week, but the defense team hasn’t been able to locate him since then. Conant said Potter also missed a court appointment on Wednesday.

Conant told the judge he’d work diligently to locate his client. But the judge said it may be easier to find Potter if more folks were looking for him, and he issued a bench warrant for Potter’s arrest./

Patrick said...

Maybe he'll get pulled over for another traffic infraction.

Anonymous said...

Cleveland also fielded a robotics team.


Anonymous said...

As @Nice says above...

File it under things that make me smile.



Anonymous said...

Please see attached.


Explains difference between student RIT score and question RIT score, how a student gets a RIT score, how to interpret a RIT score, and more.


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

Above comment referenced expected growth norms.

See http://www.scribd.com/doc/133175518

for a chart showing expected growth as a function of grade and RIT level (or percentile ranking.) on the Math MAP.

The numbers floating over the graph provide clear evidence of the poor formative assessment value of the Math MAP except perhaps up till grade 5 or so.

As the curves get flatter, kids spend longer and longer intervals in a single Descartes Interval.

An eigth grader making typical growth and who enters the 241-250 Descartes interval with a score of 241 on the fall of G8 MAP test will stay in that same Descarte Interval for eight test cycles (i.e. for almost two years).

If a student is showing typical growth stays in the same Descarte Interval for a whole school year or more, what value can the teacher get from three test scores in one academic year?

Joan NE

Anonymous said...

Repeating comment 3/30/13, 5:19 PM since I forgot to sign it:


Explains difference between student RIT score and question RIT score, how a student gets a RIT score, how to interpret a RIT score, and more.

What are the take-aways?

1.Students (parents, teachers, too) will likely find it helpful to understand that they will necessarily have to guess the answer on about half the questions they will see on each MAP test they take (unless they are approaching the effective ceiling of the test). Guessing on a MAP test is appropriate necessary behavior.

2. Teachers can look at the Descartes Interval that corresponds to student RIT score minus twenty points in order to see a description of topics that student has strong (90%)mastery of.

3. Teachers (, parents, and students) need to understand that a student knows only about half the content of their (10-point wide) Descarte Interval. If RIT score corresponds to the bottom (or top) of the interval, then they know a bit less than (more than) half the content.

4. MAP test data provided to teachers does not tell us WHICH half of the material the student needs to learn. If NWEA says otherwise (which they probably would) I beg to differ!

At the scale of the individual student, I think the most that the MAP tells us is an overall comparative (nationally-normed) indicator of the student's achievement level and growth rate.

This overall indication of achievement level and growth rate can be extremely helpful. It might be an early flag of a learning disability or academic giftedness, for example. The data can also help us ascertain whether a school-based or private intervention is effective: If the intervention is working, the student's growth will be accelerated compared to what we otherwise expect.

[see comment at 3/30/13, 5:35 PM]

I know a private math tutor whose students show very steep growth on MAP compared to the norms.

It is easy and tempting to over-interpret individual student data. Using a single MAP score to determine access to a competitive program is a statistically invalid over-interpretation of individual student MAP data.

Signed, Joan

Anonymous said...

There were three people at the Northacres/Haller Lake community egg hunt this morning that were asking people to choose their favourite name from a list of possible school names. They vehemently denied being with any charter group but were pretty cagey about asking questions. The man in the group described the new school as " secular, private and proficiency based" They were an odd a clearly not from the neighborhood group. It was interesting to see the various reactions. Anyone know anything about them or this new school that they are proposing?

mirmac1 said...

Happy Easter!

Good news! FIRST Robotics Competition

AND the Times free access ends today! Let's hope some real journalists and media gain in visibility.

Melissa Westbrook said...

SLP, I don't know anything about it but yes, that seems odd to go around asking a question like that and then not answering the obvious question of "what school?" But saying "private" would indicate it IS a private school and not a charter school (otherwise they don't know what they are talking about).

Melissa Westbrook said...

I can't find one word about the Robotics competition at the Times. Has anyone else seen any coverage?

Stunned said...

Haven't seen coverage, but I was there and found the results online here:

I crosschecked the program to figure out which teams were which. Can't guarantee the accuracy of these results but this is what I put together. There isn't a way to figure out which schools these teams are from since that isn't listed in the program, just which city. I indicated which school they were from if I happened to know. Yay Ballard Vikings for making it in the top ten!!!!

1. Newport Robotics- From Bellevue
2. Stealth- From Duvall
3. Skunkworks- From Aviation High School (a highly selective public high school with kids from across the region).
4. Saints- From Bellevue
5. Robo Eagles- From Federal Way.
6. Lion Robotics- From Auburn
7. Viking Robotics- From Seattle, Ballard High School
8. Cedar Park- From Bothell
9. Murphy's Law- From Everett
10. Cyberg Ferrets- From Anacortes

Anonymous said...

Seattle public high schools competing in FIRST this year were Ballard, Ingraham, Roosevelt, Nathan Hale, Cleveland & Franklin (Franklin competed in the Ellensburg Regional & made the quarter finals - yay!)

It is really a terrific program.

One of the biggest limiting factors for teams is getting building access outside of school hours unless a team can raise enough money to buy custodial hours on the weekends or hope their basketball team made the playoffs & will have the building open for practice.

-Roosevelt parent