Friday Open Thread

Friday, foggy Friday - be careful.  There has already been a major accident on I-5 South.

October enrollment numbers released.

We now have the adjusted October 1 enrollment data.
Enrollment grew by 1,146 students over last year, for a total enrollment of 51,010(181 lower than projected).

Changes since last year:

- 913 more K-5 students than last year, including:
   -1035 more students in grades 1-5
   -122 fewer kindergarten students - 

- 313 more middle school students
- 80 fewer high school students

This is all they have on the report but I'll see if there is more data available.

Community meeting with Director Patu at Cafe Vita tomorrow from 10 am from noon.

The Times is reporting that a Hale student, returning from a 3-day suspension, assaulted Principal Jill Hudson in the cafeteria on Thursday morning.  The student was arrested and cannot come back to Hale.  Ms. Hudson was not injured.

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said…
There is an open house at Raisbeck Aviation High School tomorrow, from 11-2. We'll be touring with our APP HIMS 8th grader. Very interested to hear what they have to offer. We'd love to see other Seattle families there.

Still Deciding
Lynn said…
I can't make it - but would love to hear what you think of their English and History classes.
Anonymous said…
It's nice that SPS seems to be getting a heap better at projecting enrollment than it was doing a decade ago (which has resulted in the no space debacle that is Buildings and Boundaries). Props for a step in the right direction.

Anonymous said…
In the Atlantic, Wendy Kopp expounds on why she is right and Diane Ravitch is wrong.

Anonymous said…
And one last one: The Seattle Times is launching a new approach to education in Education Lab. It touts community input and solutions-focused reporting.

It is funded by a big grant from Gates Foundation, which the paper is upfront about.

On The Stranger blog Goldy immediately ripped the effort, given Gates' strong backing of Corporate School Reform. But commenters to his article said he was wrong to dismiss the additional coverage.

I am undecided about what I think on the Times efforts. In general, I think they can and should do a lot better in their education reporting so I am glad they are putting more resources to it. I guess time will tell whether their stories reflect a wide range of viewpoints and stories.

Anonymous said…
I clicked through on enrollment expecting to see a breakdown of these numbers. Wow, useless, and that was what SPS gave to board? Where are the kids?

Obviously if they're down 122 K's, it's not 2 kids less than last year at every school. Some schools might be down 5, others up 6, from last year.

Ditto the "up 1035" in grades K-5: where are they? Those thousand kids are NOT spread evenly at each school. What schools are up 30 kids from last year? Are there areas where schools next to each other are all up 20+ kids? That's important b/c if all schools in an area are growing, that's something that you can't manage with boundary changes.

District-wide aggregate numbers like this are completely useless for localized planning or for understanding what's going on in the district. You can't say "122 = down 5 K classes from last year" - b/c no particular school is down a whole class, but some might toggle just below the number where they lose a teacher.

But that up 1000+ elem kids overall is pretty scary. I sit smaller 5th grade classes graduating out, and the coming up classes are just bigger, so total elem. kids keeps growing. Or is it people entering SPS in grade 2/3/etc?
EdVote, don't know if I should delete your last comment because I did a whole thread on it...yesterday.

Kids, I know you don't have time to read everything but could you at least glance at the headlines?

I gave notice of the Times "Ed Lab" but it's not going to get that much more from me. I'm too busy for the Gates party line via the Times.
kellie said…
IMHO, I suspect that the 122 fewer than projected K students has more to do with the high cost of pay for K than any assumption that either the projections are too high or growth is slowing.

It would be interesting to see the full breakout with any notations on increases at first grade.
Lynn said…

I think you're right about kindergarten enrollment. $3,100 isn't a great deal when you get a large class and no aide.
Anonymous said…
Shoreline's Kindergarten population is higher than usual, especially in the schools just over 145th. Could there be a correlation?

Anonymous said…
From the Harvard Crimson: Additional perspective on Teach for America.

Anonymous said…
Oct 24th Superintendent's letter to Pinehurst:

- North-end Mom
Lynn said…
I found thjs comment on last week's APP meeting to be very depressing.

Dr. Steve Martin, interim head of advanced learning, was there. He said his office only has 4 staff and is primarily focused on identifying kids who are eligible for advanced learning programs. His office doesn’t have the resources to provide support to the advanced learning programs themselves (e.g. providing professional development for teachers working with gifted kids; maintaining consistency in the curriculum and workload expectations between different advanced learning programs).

We put so much thought into how the program can be improved and what is the best direction for the future - only to hear that no one who could actually make a change is thinking about either of those things.
Lynn, that's always been the case. Bob Vaughn said that all the time - all he did was handle testing. It is very depressing.
dan dempsey said…
OMG!!! WA schools don't suck...

OSPI press release on 10/24/2013

Washington 8th Graders Perform Well Internationally in Math and Science
Results are based on 2011 NAEP and linked to 2011 TIMSS scores

8th grade Math scores for WA linked from NAEP results to 2011 TIMSS shows WA beating Finland in Math.

Check it out...

The strong Asian countries are still way on top but WA surpasses most of the rest of the nations.

WA ranked as state #18 in Math and #21 in science.
Anonymous said…
Pinehurst: so is Banda totally passing the buck? What exactly is his recommendation?

Sorry, I couldn't quite follow his "if the south wing of Lincoln..." comment. Isn't the south wing occupancy HIS decision? So then why doesn't he decide? He is either going to close them or move them. Is it his decision, or, the Board's? He is being deliberately vague. I thought it was his. Which again makes me wonder what really is going on.

If Cascade is going to move to QA, why can't they move to Old Van Asselt and Pinehurst to QA? Since the south wing will now be the ONLY space in the north (Marshall will be occupied by ESTEM K8), is this move really going to work out? As I understand it, even if they get moved to the south wing, they would still be dissolved and join the school already there. Is that what they want? I remember they were interested in the QA location, at least some of them went and checked it out and reported back, via their website about that site.

What is Banda up to? Prelude to a closure, and he wants the Board to be the Heavy? I wish I could better understand his leadership style. Not just on this, but many things, actually.

-yeah or nay
Anonymous said…
The South wing is also being considered for a Hamilton annex so APP can avoid being split. Wonder if Banda knows about that.

Anonymous said…
Wow, thanks for the heads up on the Pinehurst to QA proposal. I found it here:

Sounds like a perfect solution, and I think QA would welcome them with open arms. I wish they had reached out to the QA community so we could have advocated for them in the survey that closed yesterday.


Anonymous said…
I have been wondering about curriculum. Specifically district-wide curriculum for the Gen Ed program. It's been pointed out many times that there is no real APP/Spectrum curriculum beyond "one year ahead" and "two years ahead". But my question is one/two years ahead of WHAT? Are there certain things that every kid in the Gen Ed program across the district in, say, third grade, is supposed to learn? Obviously there are state standards, but how do those translate into the curriculum across classrooms, and schools in our school district? I noticed a great deal of top down control over curriculum in private school that I have not seen in SPS. What I mean is that the principal of a well run private school KNEW what was being covered in each classroom and there would have been no way a teacher could have skipped a key concept much less a whole subject without being disciplined and ultimately removed from the classroom if things were not immediately turned around. My experience so far in SPS is everything is very teacher dependent. There are great teachers who take the state standards seriously and even some of these are saying this year that they don't really know as much as they should about how the new common core standards affect what they should be teaching this year as opposed to what they taught last year. Then there are the teachers who don't even seem to know what they are supposed to teach. We had one who had no idea what she was supposed to be covering for the two grades she was teaching. I have heard stories about teachers at Ballard HS who know that students who had "Mr. X" for math at Whitman won't know enough Math to do Algebra in 9th grade. So how does this happen? How can so much depend on the whims and strengths/weaknesses of particular teachers? Should there not be a set of things every teacher should teach and if they don't they get fired? I am particularly interested in hearing from those who have kids in both AL programs and Gen Ed in SPS. What is it about the Gen Ed program curriculum that the AL curriculum lacks? Is our program really more stable and consistent because stable and consistent are not the adjectives I would use to describe what I see overall (although I am happy enough right now but I don't take it for granted having heard and experienced what I have).

Gen Ed Mom
Anonymous said…
Jane Addams Comprehensive Middle School (JAMS) is starting up officially this September!

A principal is hired, a design team is formed. Let's hear more about that. Implementing a brand new comprehensive middle school in our part of town is long overdue. It ought to be started off the right way, with intentional decisions undertaken to nurture the students who will populate the school. That takes faculty, fantastic teachers who people know by reputation. JAMS is a new school, so it should get an open hire. Let's make sure our principal gets to choose her staff, instead of being told this is who you get.

Let's advertise early, before other great teachers are scooped up by other school districts or other schools.

Let's have a community meeting, and let's talk about how we want the school populated: two feeder k5s (John Rogers and Olympic Hills)? That doesn't make it a community school.

Olympic View was going to be in, it would be natural to have Maple Leaf feed to JAMS. Those students are mapped to Nathan Hale, so it seems strange to send them west, over the I5 for middle school.

Shouldn't our community get together NOW to discuss who will be drawn in? This is crucial to get it going will neighbourhood buy-in. Shouldn't we show the District we are watching closely and don't want them to bungle this start-up?? Shouldn't we meet now? Maybe at the Lake City Libary? The Board is going to introduce this November 6th, and once it's introduced, it rarely changes.

This is a JAMS-centric conversation, there is a new JAMS blog, let's take the conversation over there?

-potential JAMS parent

" But my question is one/two years ahead of WHAT?"

Ahead of the current grade level they are in.
Anonymous said…
But my question is one/two years ahead of WHAT?

Meaning, if it's one/two years ahead, what is the grade level curriculum? It's somewhat nebulous when you look at Language Arts and Social Studies. What texts are students using? Is there any consistency? Math and science are a little more defined - you have adopted texts and science kits - but even then, the rigor varies widely from class to class.

I want more consistency, yet when I look at the district wide adoptions - Readers and Writers Workshop, EDM, CMP, Discovering Algebra, etc., it makes one cringe at the thought of uniformly bad adoptions for all subjects.

We now have Common Core Standards for English Language Arts, that also apply to science and history, yet standards are not curriculum. What books are being used for World History, US History, etc? Do they even have textbooks? My child's 6th grade class has yet to read from a history book this year.

How can so much depend on the whims and strengths/weaknesses of particular teachers? Should there not be a set of things every teacher should teach...? You'd think.

"What texts are students using? Is there any consistency?"

The same texts as the Gen Ed students.

Consistency? Considering Spectrum is done differently from school to school, probably not overall. I know that Whittier's Spectrum teachers used to work together but I have no idea what happens now.

Common Core will probably - for better or worse - bring more alignment. More on that soon.
Anonymous said…
No, we are asking is there consistency for Gen Ed from school to school. There seems to be some assumption on your part that there is Melissa. But I'm really not sure about that.

Gen Ed Mom
Anonymous said…
Insider, quick, call on your APP hot line to Banda and tell him to declare Lincoln annex off limit.


Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
Melissa, even for math where specific texts have been adopted, all schools don't use the same text. We've had our children at multiple schools and we've seen a significant variation in content, coverage, and materials both among schools and among classrooms within schools. I'm not asking for each teacher to be on the same page each day with scripted lessons, but I would expect topics xyz to covered at all schools for a given grade (WA State and Common Cores Standards, to start). I don't think we even have that.


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