New Definitions

Today at the Management Oversight work session for Teaching and Learning we learned of some new definitions, or, more precisely, the re-definition of some terms.

Early Education now refers to Pre-K through grade 5. Cashel Toner will be responsible for all of that. Previously, early education referred only to Birth to Kindergarten. Now it includes all of elementary education as well.

The definition of Academic Assurances has been narrowed. It now refers only to the academic opportunity that the district is required by law to provide students. It had previously meant the baseline minimum that each Seattle School would offer or which every student would have access to. Under the old definition it included access to advanced learning, access to AP or IB classes for high school, access to music and arts instruction. No more. It is now only what the law requires.

Curriculum now refers only to the set of knowledge and skills that students are expected to acquire as defined by the Common Core State Standards. This is what we used to call "content". Curriculum has been through a number of re-definitions, far too many to count. The last one was that curriculum was an umbrella term that included content, instructional materials, pedagogy, and assessment. So this word has certainly had its wings clipped.

Please update your lexicons.

We also learned a new word: Crosswalks. Unfortunately the definition of crosswalks was provided by Ms Heath and she is unintelligible. So I can't tell you what it means. Likewise I have no grasp of the District's use of the words Framework, Accountability, Internal Controls, Equitable Access, 21st century skills, or complete. None of these words means what they normally mean when they are spoken by a District official.


Maureen said…
I REALLY hope that you are exaggerating!

Early Education goes through 5th grade? Academic Assurances are only nationally legislated requirements?

I've just started re-reading 1984.

I'm thinking a review of Newspeak will be useful.
mirmac1 said…

Don't forget scaffolding, embedded, foundational and supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
Maureen, he's not kidding. I was there when this question was asked and my jaw dropped.
Parent driven crazy by sps said…
I feel like I must be trapped in the novel 1984 or an episode of punked every time I deal with central administration. I'm relatively new with a son in 2nd grade, started reading this blog the year before kindergarten. Sincere apologies, I thought everyone seemed a bit dramatic - surely it's not that bad... Then I started a new PTA for a new school and began to experience the newspeak, doublespeak, after the fact rationales, conflicting explanations, broken promises, and the down right absurdity of it all. Dealing with SPS is not for the faint of heart, but we must continue to keep calling out the bullsh*t. Thanks for doing that and spending so much time reporting these things. It's a huge pierce in their veil of secrecy and empire building.
mirmac1 said…
Parent driven crazy...

That's okay. I've found medication works wonders.

I can attest that, when we heard Early Education went to 5th, we looked at each other like, uh, I must be going deaf, she didn't just say 5th.

All I can say is, let Mr Banda know that you expect more from him than the usual edu-speak. He still seems to speak normal English at these meetings. Unfortunately, he has appointed these A4E/LEV/OSC darlings as his lieutenants. Nobody forced his hand there (unless we're talking epic wimpishness).

At the very end of this oversight session of horrors, Mr Banda finally spoke up in a way that even I could understand. Unfortunately, he did not say "Fie, fie upon him!" I don't think he realizes his appointments essentially drown out any original, bonafide thought he might have brought on his own, essentially killing the hopes of those who wanted an experienced educator running our schools, versus a Broad/Gates tool.
Oy said…
I don't see Toner as an A4E, LEV type at all, but I do think her appointment speaks to the level of churn experienced in our district. Toner was a brand new principal four years ago. Not sure how many years she taught.

Anonymous said…
"The common core standards are decidedly not a curriculum, say the NGA and CCSSO. "They are a clear set of shared goals and expectations for what knowledge and skills will help our students succeed. Local teachers, principals, superintendents and others will decide how the standards are to be met. Teachers will continue to devise lesson plans and tailor instruction to the individual needs of the students in their classrooms," states the common core initiative website (2010).
Furthermore, although standards in science and social science are being considered, the common core standards currently address only English language arts and mathematics. Effectively integrating all content areas into instruction is essential for students to receive a comprehensive education."


mirmac1 said…

If the Our Schools Coalition announces Toner's appointment, before staff acknowledges it to the boarad....hmmmm
That was an odd moment as well, Mirmac.

What happened is that Director Smith-Blum asked about the new Early Learning Director and Mr. Tolley, without saying the name of the person, answered the question without saying the name.

Strange because both the district and the Our Schools have a blurb on Cashel Toner on their websites. What's the issue?

President Smith-Blum then asked if it had been okay to mention this person (as if she was not sure it had been publicly released).

I have no idea why Mr. Tolley did that.

As well, another oddity was again, Smith-Blum asking about the qualifications of our new Special Ed director (because the other directors have their years of background in education noted in the org chart), he said he didn't know.

It just seems odd that these are two new people on his radar, that he probably helped hire and yet he seems to not know much about them.

(One funny thing is that the press release for the new Special Ed director says she has 30 years in education. Her photo looks like she's in her late '20s or '30s. If she's 50, I want to know her beauty secret.)
Oy said…
Toner has a strong background in Montessouri education. I'm having a hard time believing she would support ed. reform initiatives such as excessive testing, not allowing children to develop at their own pace etc.

I hear and agree with your concerns regarding Our Schools Coallition and board.
mirmac1 said…
Here is Williams' resume

Outside of consulting and principal, I don't see alot of experience overseeing a program with over 200 FTEs.
mirmac1 said…
For help with definitions, take a look at pg 28 of the Strategic Plan worksession handouts.

I overhead something that is concerning, and would explain the change in course (illustrated by the change in bullet point one of the first page) from having students achieve to the full potential, to having them achieve at "high levels". So, what I heard is, the thinking is one of offering up the "opportunity" to learn, but not focusing or guaranteeing any particular outcome.

Now that would make it easy to say you've met your goals, don't have any!

I thought the "21st Century Skills" on pg 28 were kind of amusing. How the heck did those 20th Century folks get anything done, huh!
Anonymous said…
Charlie, I mean this as a real, not snarky, question........

Are "crosswalks" maybe an updated word for "scaffolding"? Wondering........

mirmac1 said…
Savvy Voter,

My guess is that a "crosswalk" would allow someone to translate the Danielson Framework to the CCSS. Why someone would want to, that anyone's guess. Either way, sounds like navel-gazing.
Charlie Mas said…
Ah, SavvyVoter, thank you for reminding me of "scaffolding".

I think that "crosswalks" has something to do with the work of building rubrics for "walkthroughs" to confirm that theoretical practice ideas and strategies are being implemented in classrooms.
Unknown said…
I don't see Toner as an A4E, LEV type at all, but I do think her appointment speaks to the level of churn experienced in our district. Toner was a brand new principal four years ago. Not sure how many years she taught.

Glyn Willmoth
Anonymous said…

Yes, Cashel Toner is young. But she's the best administrator I've experienced in over 25 years teaching.

The job description is overly burdened and designed for certain failure. Cashel Toner is designed for doing quality work and being successful at an amazingly high percentage of it.

Ladies and gentlemen, place your bets. Are you betting on the immovable object or the irresistible force?

One thing is certain. Whatever Cashel Toner IS able to address, it will be done with the child's wellbeing as the focus and it will be done well.

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