Showing posts from May, 2014

Saturday Open Thread

Thought I would put this up in case readers attend Director Community meetings and would like to let us know what was said. Also, from SPS, how feedback from the Strategic Plan Town Halls is to be used (see link for details): 1. Additional translations of District communications. Many families said they want to receive more translated versions of our communications. 2. Improvements to the District website. Families said the District website can be difficult to navigate. 3. Ensuring robust Strategic Plan metrics and accountability. We heard from family and community members alike that we must be more proactive with respect to disaggregating our data and explicitly naming and addressing the opportunity and achievement gaps. 4. Closing the opportunity gap for our African-American students. Seattle Public Schools has an unacceptable achievement gap. We heard that from our families, who also asked what we are doing to close that gap. 5. More Superintendent communicat

Math Talk in Friday Update

 Update: the Board meeting agenda was finally posted at the end of the day.  There is an amendment to the Math Adoption via President Peaslee and Director Peters.  We move that the School Board amend the motion for adoption of K-5 Mathematics Materials to include a dual adoption of Math in Focus Singapore Math and enVisionMath Realize for the K-5 curriculum, and that the BAR be amended and updated to read as follows:  Then a long list of enactments to the plan. Moreover, we maintain that as a district we have a greater mandate; our greatest obligation is to our students, to provide them with the very best materials to master mathematics, and develop confidence in the subject.  A dual adoption will offer more equitable opportunities to Seattle Schools by fully funding materials and choice for all schools. There is, of course, no "staff analysis" yet as staff pr

Can You Speel? Not Me

All the winning words from the National Spelling Bee since 1925 via Washington Post .  (Surprise the kids this weekend with "Pop quiz!" Then ask them to define the words, just kidding.)  But I say, with no shame, that from about 1995 on, I'd have to guess what most of those words mean. The winner was 13-year-old Arvind Mahankali from New York with knaidel , a type of dumpling eaten especially in Jewish households during Passover.   Among the surprises for winning words on the list: Health narcolepsy (1976), staphylococci (1987), psoriasis (1982), eczema (1965), Food croissant (1970) Strange but True promiscuous (1937),  incisor (1975), gladiolus (1925) My favorites have to be Chihuahua and insouciant.

Troubling Talk

An article in the Seattle Times today troubled me deeply. Tough Talk (from the left) on race and Seattle Schools  described a recent meeting in Columbia City called “Race, Class and Education”. The meeting acknowledged the wide difference in academic performance between affluent White and Asian students and minority students from low-income homes. That fact is troubling in itself. The school district's refusal to address the gap is also troubling, but most troubling were the number of people who think the solution is to discontinue honors classes. You're going to have to read this thing for yourself, but I would like everyone to keep in mind, what Wayne Au apparently has forgotten: that equity and equality are not the same thing. Ending service for students working beyond grade level will not help students working below grade level.

Math Adoption - You Can Influence the Outcome

We are now at the nth hour for the Math Adoption.  I say that because by Monday, Tuesday - it will be too late.  This is the weekend that any waivering directors will make up their minds.  There are three Director Community meetings tomorrow morning.  Their e-mail is - put "math adoption" in the subject line. The phone number to leave a message is 252-0040. By the end of today, the Board agenda will be up and we will see if any directors (so far) are offering amendments to the BAR. I'll let WSDWG say it: Everyone: Push for a dual-adoption! At least 3 board members are publicly in favor of it, and what's Ron English going to do? Sue the Board? Get an injunction? Right. E-mail your school board reps now. Do not wait or let this opportunity go by. Do it. We have a chance to make a historic and significant improvement in our schools and the daily lives of our kids. DO IT! E-mail board members NOW and let them know y

All Charter New Orleans raises an interesting question

The Washington Post reports that the New Orleans school district will be all charter next year. No matter what you think about charter schools, think about this: What is the role of a school district when it does not actually operate any schools? In this situation, the district pretty much becomes a charter school authorizer. The Board could continue in its role as a policy-making body. They can still set curriculum and graduation requirements, but they are freed of their property management work and textbook approvals. This would be a pretty big change for Seattle's Board, who spend more time on property management than anything else and do almost no policy or curriculum work. What about the central administration staff? In an all charter district their role narrows to policy enforcement and quality assurance. They give up their responsibility for HR, facilities, professional development, and finance. They retain some legal work, I presume, as well as some vestigal accou

Education Funny of the Day - No Cursive for You!

 From an article in Linkara, about different experiences with learning and teachers. The American school system is not here to educate us or to encourage us to learn; it’s here to keep us in line and silent. It’s here to keep us from deviating and being our own people and forming our own ideas. Don’t let it win. There are plenty of amazing teachers who go the extra mile, in public or private schools, but it’s very sad and pretty mentally dangerous when teachers like those mentioned above not only refuse to do so but tamp down creativity in various ways. It sucks :/

Now THAT'S What the Court Should Do about McCleary

Kudos to Peter Callaghan at the News Tribune for his column on what the Supreme Court should do to nudge the Legislature along to enact McCleary .  (If you read the column, you'll see I'm being sarcastic about "nudge.")  Out the gate: “Do we look stupid? We may have faults individually and collectively, but we’re not stupid. We ruled unanimously in January 2012 that the state is in violation of the rights of its children to an amply funded education. We pointed out the words — again — in the state constitution that say education is the state’s ‘paramount duty.’ No more whining: Rather than listen to you complain about this court’s order, let us remind you how accommodating we’ve been. We let you decide how to define basic education. We let you determine how much all that costs. We let you create the funding formulas and the timelines. And we gave you six years to do it! Get it done: “What follows is what we call a ‘court order.’ That means it isn’

Last Three Days for GET

Washington State's GET program (Guaranteed Education Tuition) is in its three final days for this round of enrollment.  Now, thru the end of May, they will be waiving the $50 enrollment fee . June 30th is the last date to add to your account if you are already enrolled.

Friday Open Thread

Tomorrow sees three Director Community Meetings - if you want something to change in the math adoption, you might want to drop in on one.  Patu - 10 am - noon, Cafe Vitta McLaren - 10 am - noon, SW Branch Public Library Peters - 11 am - 12:30 pm - Queen Anne library, first hour for students (according to SPS website) I was unable to attend the DPD meeting for Wilson-Pacific last night but I hear it was, well, "crazy."  Many upset neighbors and they couldn't get to a vote on the district's desire for several zoning waivers so there will be a third meeting .  Stay tuned.  Word of the week for parents to consider talking to their children - son or daughter - about - misogyny.   From the Stranger Slog: Men should care enough about the women in our lives—our mothers, sisters, aunts, and nieces; our female friends, partners, coworkers, and neighbors—to recognize that misogyny is dangerous.  This issue of speaking of women as sluts, whores, bitches and bru

Washington State Democrats' Platform on Education has Changed (in a big way)

I have been made aware that the Washington State Democratic platform for 2014 - at least in the education section - has seen some major changes.  The last platform's education area is quite different from 2012's platform.  There is no mention of ELL students, class size, full inclusion of all students, counselors/nurses/librarians, career training, music and fine arts, foreign language, civics, parent engagement, or a stable funding source for public schools. In fact, the Education section is one of the shorter sections in the platform. Omitted is past opposition to: public funding for charters and vouchers commercial exploitation of students linking military recruitment to educational funding organized prayer in schools No Child Left Behind  basing teacher pay solely on student test scores all "so-called reforms that are not based upon sound and objective information, that are disguised attempts to blame teachers for the problems in public education

Follow Ups

Still waiting for information on the Math Summative Assessment .  The questions I posed on this mystery assessment were not that hard so I'm puzzled as to why it is taking so long to answer them. As you may recall, the Superintendent recently promoted/created positions within SPS.  I had wondered (as did a few of you) what the salaries for these positions are: Barbara Robbins, Director of Project Management, $136,612 Guillermo Echeverria, Director of Continuous Improvement, $133,325 Cari Campbell, Director School and Community Partnerships, (will not start this position until end of May), $112,154 Eric McCurdy, Executive Director Athletics, $139,628. I will gently say that I believe those to be fairly healthy salaries for public jobs. Also, there is a FAQ being worked up for the Math Adoption .  That's great but given that the vote is a week from today, a little tardy.  Hopefully, they will be available by Friday so that parents who want to go talk to Board members w

Seattle Schools Math Adoption: Apples to Apples?

A reader who is deeply concerned about the math adoption conducted a public records request to SPS for e-mail about the math adoption.  She got about 237 pages of e-mails.  I have not yet read all of them but the ones I have read do concern me about both the process and the outcomes. We all realize that, in our jobs, when we are asked to help formulate decisions on what direction to go or products to use for a job, we need to do a couple of things.  One, making sure we cast the net far enough so that we are doing a thorough job, both for quality of product and cost of product.  Two, that there's a fair comparison - the "apples to apples" comparison - both to allow the end user/buyer to accurately compare items and to do due diligence for each product/company we are considering. (As we saw from the recent Board meeting with the Network Wireless upgrade, when the district changes the rules, repeatedly, during the RFP period (no matter the explanation), companies fe

Advanced Learning Taskforce Update

There is a joint meeting of the Advanced Learning Taskforces tomorrow, Thursday the 29th from 4-8 pm in the JSCEE auditorium.  They will be discussing their recommendations with an eye to presenting a combined recommendation plan to the Superintendent and Board in the future.  The public is invited to attend but no questions or feedback will be happening as this is purely a meeting for the committees.  There's a very interesting report of "recommendations" that is a compilation of various members of the Taskforce at the Advanced Learning Taskforce page .  However, this is NOT official.  (What is interesting is apparently the first eight-and-a-half pages are from two students at Ingraham.) It makes for tough reading as it is a large volume of very specific ideas.   You find yourself trying to figure out, "if this, then that? or "what would happen with X,Y,Z." I think it great that these people have put forth a plethora of ideas because it helps t

This and That

The Times is reporting that the City will be installing speed cameras at five more school zones this summer.  They are Roxhill Elementary (WS), Dearborn Park Elementary (Beacon Hill), Bailey-Gatzert Elementary (Central) and Eckstein Middle (NE).  They will be used starting Sep. 2nd.  For the first 30 days, you'll get a warning and then the ticket is $189.  They will be used one hour in the morning and one hour in the afternoon most of the time. The Times is also reporting that the Bellingham School district is installing a panic button in every school office in their district using a grant from OSPI.   (As I previously reported, SPS also received money from this grant but I am unsure what it will be used for in our district.) The UW's Computer Science and Engineering Department recently honored 57 teachers in our region for being "Inspirational" teachers.  They include Assegid Derseh from Chief Sealth International High School and John Boucher from Ingraha

Next Time, Ask Teachers What Will Work

Daily posts from a retired public school teacher who is just looking at the data . credit: Fred Klonsky

2012 Public Education Finances, Census of Governments

A new report has just come out called Public Education Finances: 2013 (2012 Census of Governments).   I'm just digging in but it makes for great comparisons to other states (and what it all might mean).  For example for Public Elementary-Secondary School System Revenue Source by State , we see Washington in the upper middle with California on top and South Dakota at the bottom.   For Public Elementary-Secondary School SystemCurrent Spending by Major Function (instruction, support services, others), Washington is again in the upper middle (and, to the naked eye, the amounts look nearly the same).  You look at New York state and you see most of their dollars going to instruction. And once again, for our friends at the Washington Policy Center (and others), Washington state does not even fund to the national average of $10,608.  The report has it at $9,637 for Washington with the high being Alaska and District of Columbia at $17,468 and the low being Idaho at $6,659.  Seattle

Ed News Roundup

It's been a busy weekend and day for education news (as always). First, SPS Communications put out a press release about the continued growth in Seattle Schools.  As I reported last week, the district projects to be about 60,000 students by 2020.  School by school projections here . Seattle Public Schools has released its annual spring enrollment projections for the 2014-15 school year. An estimated 52,400 students are expected to attend school in the district this fall – an increase of 1,300 students over the year ending in June. This continues the five-year trend of enrollment growth that began in 2009, after a decade of declining enrollment. During the last five years, enrollment grew by more than 5,000 students – from 46,000 in 2009 to 51,000 this year. Next year’s expected enrollment growth of 1,300 students means the district will be serving 6,400 more students next year than in 2009.   Remember ConnectEdu , the company that SPS used to try to help middle/high school

Tuesday Open Thread

From SPS Communications: Officials of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) announced the names of two Seattle Public Schools students included in the second group of winners in the annual National Merit Scholarship Program. The National Merit $2,500 Scholarship winners are: • Anthony L. Bencivengo from Nathan Hale High School, whose probable career field is playwriting; and •  Tara I. Martin-Chen from Garfield High School, who listed her likely career field as international relations. Several SPS high school theater groups have been nominated for theater awards from the 5th Avenue Theatre to be given out on June 9th at Benaroya Hall.  Congratulations to Ballard High, Ingraham High, Franklin High and Nathan Hale High.   What's on your mind?

Seattle Schools This Week

Wednesday, May 28th   -  Exit Conference for Financial and Single Federal Audit from 4-5 pm Given that the Auditor has already released this audit, I don't expect much new information to be revealed.  - Work Session: Strategic Plan Scorecard & Targets from 5-6 pm No presentation available.   Saturday, May 31st Community Meetings with Board Directors Director Patu - 10 am - noon at Cafe Vita Director McLaren - 10 am - noon at SW Branch Library Director Peters - 11 am- 12:30 pm at Queen Anne Library (Director Peters said at the Board meeting that the first hour was for student questions.  I'm not sure how that will work out, given that I suspect many parents might want to talk to her about the math adoption.)

You CAN Check into Your Child's Grades This Weekend

I missed this earlier so you can check into The Source, etc. From SPS: Due to new upgrade issues discovered this week, the PowerSchool Upgrade that was planned for Memorial Day Weekend has been cancelled. PowerSchool, PowerTeacher and the Source are all available on their regular schedules. Thank you. Department of Technology Services

Common Core Continues to Be on the Run

No matter how many tweets that DFER or ReadyWashington or any other group that supports Common Core send out saying that it's here to stay, the evidence is mounting that it may survive but not in exactly the way its end game was pictured. Update on CC across the country: Indiana has already bowed out of Common Core but only to replace it with their "own" standards which appear to be a cut-and-paste of CC.  Minnesota adopted the LA standards but kept their own math standards saying they are "more rigorous" than CC.  The Oklahoma state legislature, both houses , approved a bill to exit their state from Common Core standards.  It is going to their governor's desk soon.  Rep. T.W. Shannon had this to say: The federal government sold Common Core with the promise of increased standards, but instead gave us an inflexible curriculum that does not equip our children for college,” said Shannon. “The federal government has disregarded parental rights, over-r

Have we seen this movie before? Did it star Shirley Jones and Robert Preston?

Please forgive me, but I'm old, and old people like to natter on about the past. It's just what we do. We like to imagine that our experience has value. We see things and we think "Hey, I've seen this before!" That's bad enough, but then we feel compelled to tell you about it. Back in 2000 Seattle Public Schools was on fire with a revolutionary idea. It was a change in perspective that would reform public education. We were going to become a Standards-Based Learning System. Once implemented, Standards would fix all our woes. It would get all struggling students to learn at grade level. It would support advanced learners without those politically disturbing self-contained programs. It would integrate our students with disabilities and our English Language Learners. Once we became a Standards-based Learning System we would enter a new education paradise. The District headquarters spoke of little else. They did pilot projects with big announcements and then mad

To Note about Asperger's Syndrome and Violent Behavior

Asperger's Syndrome is a higher-functioning form of Autism.  In 2012 it was reclassified in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) under the umbrella term "autism spectrum disorder.  Some have called it "autism lite" but the change may signal issues in how children receive services for this condition.  Autistic author and activist Temple Grandin expressed a similar fear.  “It is my opinion that social communication disorder is part of the social impairment continuum of the autism spectrum.  I fear that many Aspies will be switched into this diagnosis when school districts get short on funding," she wrote on her website . Most of us know people with Asperger's (whether we know they for certain that is diagnostically true) because we have all met people who seem socially awkward, unable to make those connections - intuitive to most of us - that make relationships and who have difficulty with focus and follow-thru. Many adults ar

Important Reading on Teaching and Outcomes

The first comes from an interview in the American Psychological Association with psychologist Daniel Willingham, PhD who has a new book coming out called, "Raising Readers in the Age of Distraction." The interview, though, was about education and teachers and what works.  I do not think that anything he says will come as ANY surprise to teachers. I find it all basic, reasonable and, as he says, common sense.  The truth is that most teachers in my experience really have a lot of common sense. There are ideas that are peddled to them that are wrong, but most teachers are pretty skeptical of them. They're in the classroom every day, so they have a sense of what works and what doesn't work with kids. On evidence-based techniques for the classroom: One reason is that what works in the lab doesn't always work in the classroom. In the laboratory, we're typically looking at one or two variables at a time, whereas in the classroom, there are lots of variab

Saturday News

KING-5 did a report on our growing district.   (And, if you hadn't heard, Seattle is apparently the fastest growing big city in the country.  It is the 21st biggest city in the country.)  KING reported that the district expects to have 60,000 students by 2020 .  That's just five-and-a-half years away.  In a very sad story from The Charlotte Observer, a charter school in Charlotte, NC, is closing immediately for financial reasons and now the 300+ students have to find somewhere else to finish the school year. What makes this story doubly sad is that state officials knew this charter was off-track financially almost from the start of the school year.   North Carolina charter supporters pushed to get their charter cap lifted and this was one of the first of 23 schools opened that year.  The state Office of Charter Schools sent staff to inspect the school in March. The team reported concerns with the instruction and the support for students with disabilities, said Directo

Science Fairs: Yay or Nay?


Friday Open Thread

Naturally, in Seattle, the first "summer" holiday and it's raining.  At the Columbus College of Art and Design, two anonymous students create art for all to enjoy. Something to show the artist in your home. New names to look for in, say 2019, in SPS classrooms: And once again, Game of Thrones rules. There were 1135 Aryas, 241 Khaleesis and 67 Daeneryses born in 2013.   As well, for girls there is Vanellope, Pistol, Prim, Rarity (from My Little Pony?), Charlemagne and Rebelle.   (Editor's note; because "Rebel" is just too tough for a girl's name? I assume she'll be a feminist rebel.) Brand new boy's names included Rydder, Jceion, Hatch, Tuf, Lloyal, Xzaiden, Charger, Kyndle, Power, Warrior, Kaptain, Subaru, and Vice.  (That second one - Jceion - I believe is a new way to spell Jason.) The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction is awarding nearly $7 million this week to 80 school districts to help them install emergenc

Public Education in the News

First up, from The Columbian (via Associated Press) which is reporting that the lead attorney for the McCleary case , Thomas Ahearne, told the Washington State Supreme Court that they should hold the Legislature in contempt for not complying with their orders. “We’re asking the court to at least hold the Legislature in contempt, to prohibit any more unfunded or underfunded mandates on our schools, and to impose even more serious sanctions if the Legislature does not reconvene and obey the court’s orders by Dec. 31 of this year,” Ahearne wrote. In his written response to the Legislature’s report to the Supreme Court, Ahearne said lawmakers do not seem to understand that the Supreme Court was issuing an order, not making a suggestion.  “The State did what it had been ordered to not do. It offered promises about trying to submit a plan and take significant action next year — along with excuses for why the State’s ongoing violation of kids’ constitutional rights and court

Guest Post by Ballard High Student on Dress Codes

Tian Qing Yen, a senior at Ballard High School, submitted an op-ed,  "My Clothing Does Not Define Me" to this blog: In the past few weeks, the Ballard administration has sent more girls home because of the way they dress than ever before. During class elections, the administration went around to all the students and explained that in order to avoid harassment students must pay attention to the way they dress. This commentary by the administration, along with the recent and seemingly arbitrary enforcement of an undefined dress code, angered many students at Ballard, boys and girls alike. In response, Ballard students decided to organize a protest to raise awareness about the inappropriate way in which our administration was discussing issues of dress code.   Word got out about plans for the protest, and our principal sent out an email to all parents in order to bring attention to the importance of maintaining a dress code during the approach of

State Releases Audit of Seattle Schools' Federal Programs

State Auditor Troy Keller released his office's report on SPS's " financial statements and compliance with federal laws and regulations." It's a lengthy report but that is because it contains page after page of district financial reports.  It makes for interesting reading if you have the time.   Page 49 has the investments that the City puts into SPS. There were no major issues with financial statements or internal controls over major programs.  The programs reviewed were: Child Nutrition - School Breakfast program Child Nutrition - National School Lunch program Title I, Part A Cluster - Title I grants to local educational agencies High school graduation initiative ARRA School Improvement Grants Head Start

Map of Testing Across the Country

Testing Landscape via Education Week

Portable Usage in Oregon and Washington State

Earthfix and Investigate West had an excellent series , with data and graphics, on the use of school portables in Oregon and Washington State. InvestigateWest sent a survey to the 20 largest school districts in Oregon and Washington about its portable classroom use, policies and perspective. The survey asked each district how many portable classrooms it has and what percent of its total classrooms are portables. The survey also asked how many portable classrooms were newer than five years, how many were older than 20 years, and how many had been retrofitted with new heating, ventilation and air conditioning units, as well as a full inventory of all portable units. All districts responded but with varying levels of detail. Numbers are estimates in some cases. Part One: The Price of a Quick Fix - environmental and health costs Part Two: The System Part Three: Rethinking Classrooms Graphics Data There's also a link to this report - Washington Sustainable Schoo

Math Adoption: Food for Thought

The Tampa Bay Times published this article in March 2014 about math textbooks not aligning to Common Core standards. As with much of Common Core, the issue is - what's the rush?  Meaning, many of these textbooks do not fully (or even by half) align with CCSS because they had to rush into production in order to get them out for consideration.  A lot of this "alignment" is WILL have to happen at the school/district level. To understand, there is no "CC seal of approval" - any publisher can say their books are aligned and unless a researcher or school district official thoroughly checks, there's no one to check publishers' claims. Now, there's concern that a darker unreality is on the cover of textbooks in order to sell the books to adults: seals that say the texts are aligned to the new Common Core standards. According to a study by a University of Southern California researcher, textbooks marketed as being in step with the Common Core and

Math Adoption Threatens Math Waiver Schools Experiencing Success

A letter from the Schmitz Park PTA was sent this week to the Board, the Superintendent and other district officials: Dear Seattle Public School Board Directors and District Staff, On behalf of the Schmitz Park PTA, we write this letter in opposition to the Math Adoption Committee’s recommendation to implement the enVision Math Program as the new math curriculum for all elementary schools in September 2014. Schmitz Park is in an advanced, and deliberate, position as one of six schools across the district currently using a Singapore Math-based curriculum to teach math and a transition to enVision will be a step backwards for our students. As part of our opposition to the recommendation, the Schmitz Park PTA states that:

Wilson-Pacific; DPD Comments due Today

The City of Seattle Department of Planning and Development deadline for receiving comments is today, May 21st on the Wilson-Pacific project about zoning requests from SPS.  Consider writing to them about any issue of concern: traffic impacts, loss of open space, and/or height. Here's a link to comment via e-mail, include the project #3015479, the address 1330 N. 90th and your mailing address. The DPD's advisory committee will be meeting on May 28th to consider these requests for code departures.  You are allowed to testify at this meeting. The meeting is at Wilson-Pacific at 6:30 p.m.

What's going on at Highland Park?

Highland Park is an elementary school at the south end of West Seattle. The attendance area, between Roxhill's and Concord's, is bordered by Highway 509 on the east, by White Center on the south, and by Delridge on the west. The school report says that the school population is 78% FRL, 27% ELL, and 14% SpEd. Only 33% of the third graders passed the state reading proficiency test last year. You know what they say about the prospects of students who aren't reading at grade level by the end of third grade. Student academic growth, as measured by year-over-year test scores for the same students, is below average. While test scores are rising all across the district, the test scores at Highland Park are falling. Highland Park is one of the few Segment 1 schools in the District's School Segmentation scheme. It is one of the two or three lowest performing schools in the district if not the lowest performer. Among the lowest in scores and the lowest of those for growth. Highl

Tuesday Open Thread

  From SPS: The Source will be unavailable on Friday, May 23rd from 5:00pm - Tuesday, May 27th 6:00am for maintenance. This planned outage is required to upgrade PowerSchool to a newer version and improve performance and reliability. We apologize for any inconvenience. What field are incoming UW freshmen picking when they pick Engineering?  Number one (hugely) is Computer Science.   What's on your mind?

Spectrum is Dead

A reader sent in this letter - from View Ridge's principal, Terri Skjei - and frankly, it's all I need to believe that Spectrum is dead. But the letter also makes me wonder about this slow death. What is the point? A few thoughts on the contents: 1) quite calm and thoughtful, almost the epitome of "we want your input" except that there really is no need to give any. The fix is in. 2) The principal is either misleading families or has been mislead herself because in the third paragraph she states, "With the support of Shauna Health (sic), the Ex Director of Curriculum and Instruction, and direction of task forces specifically working on recommendations for Advanced Learning..." No, none of those task forces worked on "AL" - they all worked on APP and only APP. In fact the charge of the last two did not include Spectrum or ALOs. The district should disabuse any principal of this thought so that they do NOT pass it along to parents. It's

Seattle Schools Leadership Update

I'll print this in its entirety.  From Superintendent Banda: Today we are announcing several leadership changes that will improve our ability to support our schools and students. Our Strategic Plan outlines a series of goals we must achieve over the next five years to improve academic success for our students. To meet the objectives outlined in the Every Student. Every Classroom. Every Day. strategic plan, we will need to accomplish several complex projects and develop a way to support and guide this work. We recently made two key hires that will help us strengthen our ability to provide better service to schools, students and families. Barbara Robbins will now serve as the Director of Project Management and Guillermo “Bill” Echeverria has been hired as Director of Continuous Improvement. These are new positions for Seattle Public Schools and they bring a much-needed skill set to the work we are doing. Together, they will help us improve the coordination, sequencing, and exec

Words Have Meaning (Redux)

On this blog you cannot (partial): - swear (beyond the occasional BS because we seem to have some readers with delicate sensibilities) - name call - leave racist, sexist, homophobic or likewise undeserved or irrational personal comments - make statements that you cannot back up unless you state it as an OPINION and/or use the words "it is alleged" or "it is my belief" when making comments about someone especially SPS staff It's allowed to comment on someone's job performance.  In public jobs, it's part of what comes with the job.  (And before anyone jumps down my throat, of course, I myself have erred here and there.) Example of what NOT to say:  Staff X is stupid and dumb. Example of how you could say it: I have found that Staff X's job performance is not competent or of low quality.  Make your point about the work/outcomes, not the person.   One person made a point recently about getting sued for statements you make here and that

What's the Math Summative Assessment?

I had no idea yet another test was happening in SPS but apparently it is true.  It's a two-day test called the Math Summative Assessment. The window for testing started May 12th and is to finish May 23rd. From SPS (partial to first and second grade teachers): Seattle Public Schools will administer a summative mathematics assessment this spring to all first and second graders.  The purpose of this assessment is to measure the annual progress of primary grade students toward (sic) meeting Common Core State Standards.   These new summative assessments were developed by a team of SPS teachers and members of the mathematics department with support from an independent testing consultants.  The components of the assessment were field tested in the spring of 2013 and winter of 2014. Were you notified?  Because the parent who told me said her child's teacher mentioned it in a weekly update otherwise she would not have known. I kind of doubt parents were told because, well, t

Stats on People Who Push Making Money Off Public Schools

From Diane Ravitch:  The trade journal Alpha recently reported that the hedge fund industry’s top 25 earners collected $21.15 billion, a whopping 50 percent over their total the year before. A hedge fund manager in 2013 needed to take in $300 million just to make the top 25. Ten years ago, in 2004, an aspiring hedge fund kingpin only had to grab $30 million to enter the industry’s top 25 elite. But the real enormity of America’s annual hedge fund jackpots only comes into focus when we contrast these windfalls with the rewards that go to ordinary Americans. Kindergarten teachers, for instance. The 157,800 teachers of America’s little people , the Bureau of Labor Statistics tells us, together make  about $8.34 billion a year .   Hedge fund America’s top four earners alone last year grabbed $10.4 billion. From Moyers & Company's Sam Pizzigati: Hedge fund billionaires are indeed investing  colossal millions  in charters, educational entities — often tied clos

More Ed Reform, Same Pattern - Direction, Down

A fairly amazing week in national ed reform news.  Common Core. - the Chicago Teachers Union issued a resolution against Common Core that was brilliant. - in NY state, a former Regent spoke out against Common Core, mostly because of the work that had gone into developing NY State standards (only to see them tossed aside).   - from the right, came Peggy Noonan (formerly President Reagan's speechwriter) with a piece in the Wall Street Journal .  It's a good piece that didn't come from Tea Party people but true conservatives.  That law exists because the people who pushed for it fell in love with an abstract notion and gave not a thought to what the law would actually do and how it would work. - yet another prominent, non-Tea Party conservative, George Will , broke down CC in under two minutes.   From Diane Ravitch: Pearson , the British publisher, plans to launch a new PR offensive to push back against the anti-testing and anti-Common Core groundswell. Pea

School Road Safety Public Input Workshops

From the City of Seattle: Simply THE most important road safety meetings you can attend this year @ SeattleDOT School Road Safety. Why? Starting in 2015, the School Road Safety Plan will prioritize millions in safety improvements every year around our schools. ** Tuesday, May 20 at 6 PM to 7:30 PM SW Southwest Branch Seattle Public Library, 901 0 35th Ave SW ** Tuesday, May 27 at 6 PM to 7:30 PM Northeast Branch Seattle Public Library, 6801 35th Ave NE ** Thursday, May 29 at 6 PM to 7:30 PM Garfield Community Center, 2323 E Cherry St The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) invites you to a design workshop where we’ll examine how to improve traffic safety near Seattle schools. The workshops will include a presentation and discussion on road design treatments and a “walk about” intended to provide examples of traffic barriers and potential opportunities. These workshops are part of an effort to improve safety near schools through a combination of street im