Friday Open Thread

Fun math challenges via UW's Computer Science and Engineering department. 

Former School Board President Kay Smith-Blum will have her name on the scholarship wall at JSCEE via a constituent, Eleanor Towes, for Smith-Blum's service to Seattle Schools and students.  It's a great way to honor someone and help a student.

Today I'll chatting with folks about student data privacy and other public education subjects as part of the Seattle Education Meet-up with our host, Dora Taylor.  Noon to 1 pm at Couth Buzzard Books, 8310 Greenwood Avenue North.

Director community meetings tomorrow:Blanford and Martin-Morris.

From the district:
Seattle Public Schools is seeking parents to attend a ten-week course dedicated to supporting their children's education and becoming better advocates for their children and schools.
Classes are held 6-8 p.m., Tuesdays, starting Jan. 21 at North Seattle Community College. Cost is $40. Financial assistance is available for families. Registration closes on Friday, Jan. 17.

Threads coming up: lawsuit against me over this blog thrown out (in two parts)

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said…
Have people started receiving letters from Advanced Learning with the result of the AL testing?

- Waiting
Anonymous said…
Why have we not heard from the math adoption committee?

Anonymous said…
I am also wondering, like "Wondering" why we have not heard from the Math Adoption Committee? They keep pushing the date back. Why?

Anonymous said…
Just received:

Dear West Seattle community,

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Julie Breidenbach as the new principal of Fairmount Park Elementary School, effective immediately.

To meet the needs of our growing enrollment, Fairmount Park Elementary is scheduled to open for the 2014-15 school year. Ms. Breidenbach will be the planning principal this year and remain principal when the school opens to students. She will begin making the necessary decisions needed for a new school, including hiring teaching team leaders. She will also be connecting with families of students slated to attend Fairmount Park next year. [A note about enrollment: current students who are in the new school’s boundary can stay at their current school, but will also be able to change to Fairmount Park if they wish. For more enrollment information, visit our Enrollment website.]

Julie Breidenbach transfers to Fairmount Park from Thurgood Marshall Elementary, where she has been principal since 2009. Fairmount Park will have an option APP program, and Ms. Breidenbach is a strong supporter of APP education. She has extensive experience in merging an APP program with a neighborhood school and is sensitive to the social and emotional needs of all students.

She is looking forward to the opportunity to open a school and work with the entire school community to build a school where children with all types of individual and special needs will feel part of an inclusive and supportive community.

A Fairmount Park school website has been established, and Ms. Breidenbach asks that all parents in West Seattle check the school’s website regularly. Meetings will be scheduled to work with families on getting the school ready to open and information on those meetings will be posted.

Ms. Breidenbach earned a Masters of Education from the University of Washington and a Bachelors of Arts in education from Washington State University. She Holds a Washington State Administrative Certificate.

Please join me in welcoming Julie Breidenbach to Fairmount Park Elementary!

José Banda

CliffM said…
Here's what was sent to Thurgood Marshall:
January 17, 2014

Dear Thurgood Marshall School community,

Today I’m announcing a leadership change at Thurgood Marshall Elementary for the remainder of the school year. Your principal, Julie Breidenbach, has been appointed planning principal for Fairmount Park Elementary, a new elementary in West Seattle that will open for the 2014-15 school year.

Ms. Breidenbach has done an outstanding job as principal of your school for the past five years. I look forward to seeing her share her dedication and passion for excellence with the Fairmount Park community as they work together on their new school.

I am pleased to announce that your assistant principal, Christine Helm, has been appointed interim principal for the remainder of the year. Ms. Helm is ready to step in to continue Thurgood Marshall’s strong focus on reading and academics and to lead efforts in budgeting, planning and staffing. She will work hard to make sure there are no disruptions to this leadership change. Ms. Helm will have the opportunity to interview with the school community for permanent placement as principal.

Prior to joining Thurgood Marshall in July 2013, Ms. Helm served as assistant principal at Whittier Elementary for two years and as principal at Lawton Elementary for one year. She worked as a literacy coach in Seattle for three years and taught for six years in both New York City and Seattle.

Ms. Helm earned a master’s degree in education leadership from the Danforth School at the University of Washington and a Masters of Teaching from City College in New York. Her undergraduate work was completed at St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Please join me in thanking Ms. Breidenbach for her years at Thurgood Marshall Elementary and welcoming Ms. Helm to her new role.


José Banda
A-mom said…
Could you tell me what thread has the link for the chart that shows how many buses go to each school?
Barring that, could the person who posted it re-post please?
Anonymous said…
Wow - I don't see how the SPS can justify offering a TEN WEEK course for parents to become student and school advocates when so much advocacy is routinely and cynically ignored.

I hope they make a strong point that the myriad deficiencies in district academic curriculum must be made up at home and outside of school (math adoption improvements anyone?). Because it won't happen via "advocacy". Seems like that point could be made in one class, not 10 weeks.

-OK I admit it, I'm bitter
Anonymous said…
Wish SPS wouldn't make Principal changes mid year. So disruptive.

Anonymous said…
Does anyone have recommendations for high school level language classes that can be taken over the summer? First year French, specifically.

a reader
Anonymous said…
That's bad news for Thurgood Marshall. Real bad news. Julie's one of the good ones.

Po3 said…
Christine Helm, wasn't she the principal at Lawton who quit mid-year? I thought she was working at a school in Ballard?

And I agree, principals should never be start mid-year, unless they are replacing a principal who quit mid-stream. (Irony)
mirmac1 said…
Sorry I couldn't make this one. Did anyone attend the 1/15 Work Session on DeBell Code of Conduct? What a waste of spend director time, all because of the vindictive actions of one bitter ***
Anonymous said…
Hey It is Friday... So what are the elementary Math book finalists that were supposedly going to be announced a week ago... no two days ago.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anyone know how much the ST Math software costs? Highline SD is using St Math and yet few if any in the public know how much districts are paying for this software.

I've heard around $50,000 per elementary school but have no real source for that number.
Ken said…
Regarding ST Math pricing, from

Prices are negotiable, but the cost to schools averages $100 per student for the first year. Subscription fees for subsequent years will be lower.

Anonymous said…
I know you know this Dan, but others may not. When Banda was in Anaheim he was credited for negotiating a partnership providing ST Math for K-5 grades that included access for students at local public libraries.


From the 2nd link:

“Our partnership with the MIND Research Institute has been a significant factor in the steady increase of math achievement in this district,” said Anaheim City School District Superintendent Jose Banda.

-Was There
Anonymous said…
In a meeting w/our elementary principal today, I was informed that all teachers will now be evaluated on their "differentiated learning" approach. According to the principal, all teachers (inc. Spectrum- not sure about APP) are now required to divide the class into groups for math and other subjects, and the groupings are based on a set of "data points" that are not all available to parents. They include MAP, in-class tests and "teacher observation", as well as something about strands.

The way this is playing out in our Spectrum class is that a kid with MAP scores of 97-99, 100% on most homework and scores of 3 or 4 on all tests is in the middle group and not currently "in consideration" for the "accelerated" program. I was told that placement is not based on proficiency, but on growth.

Meanwhile, there's been zero communication from the teacher or from the school that there's a whole new system being implemented in regards to the requirement for strictly delineated differential learning, so parents are completely confused about why high-achieving kids are being held back from the top learning groups.

I know about Common Core, but didn't realize this was an aspect of that (screwed up) system. Is this news to others, or am I the only one?

-Seattle parent
Maje said…
@Seattle Parent- I was aware of it, but only because I spend time in my youngest kid's class and the teacher is always up for chatting about how my kid is doing - what math group they're in and why, how they're doing on the latest unit, etc.

However, my eldest's teacher is not like that at all and all of the info I get on math from that class is from my kid, even though I spend time in that class too. It's only because of the other teacher that I know what's going on with math in the school.
RickB said…
Hi Math Fans,

Sorry - no public reports have been released yet from the district about the math adoption. I can share out a general status so people don't think the process died on the vine.

All the program score totals from committee members and community input were tabulated and presented to the Adoption Committee on Wednesday. The question about choosing 3 or 4 finalist programs came up and was put to the Instructional Materials Committee and school board Directors for clarification. Charlie reported on this in the thread about the C&I Committee meeting earlier this week.

District staff and MAC members are all very conscious about staying within policy on this, since math is such a hot topic. As a result, the dotting of i's and crossing of t's is taking a little bit longer than planned. We haven't been told any exact date when the finalist results will get posted to the district website, but I expect it any time.

Sorry I can't be more specific yet. Hang in there.
Lisa said…
@a reader: I don't know specifically about language classes, but our HS counselor recommended BYU's online offerings when our son needed to do summer work. They are very convenient and the grades transfer very easily to SPS; they are also relatively inexpensive. Unfortunately they are not super-challenging; in some cases they were a downright cakewalk. So I'd worry about my kid's skills in French II (my son took courses that don't continue on, such as American History and Health). Maybe if you also invest in a private tutor this could work -- your child would probably learn the most from the tutoring sessions but gain course credit through the BYU written work.

We also used Aventa K-12 for our son to take an AP class because BYU doesn't offer them. The course is much more challenging than the BYU offerings, but not as hard or interesting as in-person AP classes. There have also been some frustrating software glitches. The cost is much higher but you do have access to a teacher and I've been pleased with ours. He's not done with the course so no info yet on how the grade transfer goes.
Lynn said…

Is this what you need?
Anonymous said…
BYU Geometry is awful. We tried having my kid take it over the summer and even with help from a Sylvan instructor, they couldn't figure it out. It was like one person wrote the book, one person did the online lectures and different person did the tests. There was no correlation between the three. We ended up switching to Brightmont Academy because it is one on one and you get high school credit for the class. I know Brightmont offers Spanish but I am not sure about French. Plus, it is a bit pricey.

I have heard the BYU's other online offerings are better.

A-mom said…
Thanks Lynn!
Anonymous said…
Questions about APP. Are we going to see it become a special needs program or a select program or a combo as it is now? Was reading about NYC schools LAB school. 3000 applicants for 138 spots. Is that where we want to go? Like Aviation High in Highline. Test in programs like at Ballard, is that the way to go? IB at every school?
Is this what the Task Force will consider, the next one that is? Is differentiation working?
For example, even with kids working at different grade levels of math in middle school, from one to three grades ahead, there are still large variations in ability in any one group. Are there, say kids getting more in depth work when they show quicker uptake of skills?
It seems, despite many arguments to the contrary, that AL policy and tecniques permeate the entire district and affect all students, and if we are truly going to help every one of them reach as far as they can we need comprehensive look at al programs and how they interrelate.

Random Thought
Lynn said…
The transcripts from the first charter school public forums are available at the bottom of this page.
Old APP said…
Random Thought, at this point, I'd say it looks like the district is going to take APP and use it to replace the defunct Spectrum. APP will become Spectrum in the next year or two.

Later, the district will discover that it is no longer meeting the requirements for gifted education. It likely will then start something new targeting the much smaller group of students working more than two years ahead that APP used to serve. That probably will no longer be called APP, but will be something closer to what APP used to be until recently.

So, Spectrum will be gone, APP will become Spectrum, and some new thing will be created to be what APP used to be. All over the next few years.
Anonymous said…
Yep. And meanwhile, those students caught in the flux?
Anonymous said…
I agree, old APP, and I wish we weren't so resigned to it, because my son could really use what APP was.

Anonymous said…
More on the late start for middle and high schoolers issue:


A modest (25 min) delay in school start time was associated with significant improvements in sleep duration, daytime sleepiness, mood, and caffeine use. These findings have important implications for public policy and add to research suggesting the health benefits of modifying school schedules to more closely align with adolescents’ circadian rhythms and sleep needs.

Anonymous said…
More on the late start for middle and high schoolers issue:


A modest (25 min) delay in school start time was associated with significant improvements in sleep duration, daytime sleepiness, mood, and caffeine use. These findings have important implications for public policy and add to research suggesting the health benefits of modifying school schedules to more closely align with adolescents’ circadian rhythms and sleep needs.


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