Tuesday Open Thread

The Seattle International Film Festival Opens this week.  They have some great programming for families in their Films4Families section and FutureWave section for teens (note: some of this section's programming is for mature teens - check out the films before you send them off). 

Anyone attend a Director community meeting this weekend? 

What's on your mind?


Lori said…
Tonight is the Wilson Pacific meeting, right? It is not on the district's official calendar. I just went to seattleschools.org to confirm the time, and no mention of it.

Anyway, I believe it's 630PM at Wilson-Pacific building's SeaMat Center, 1330 N. 90th Street

Anonymous said…
Thinking about MAP and how schools are using measures of student growth -

NWEA reports growth means for each student, which are calculated from a large data set of student test results. Assuming a standard distribution of results, about 50% of students will meet or exceed growth means and about 50% of students will not meet growth means. So on average, you wouldn't expect more than 50% of students to meet growth means. Within an individual classroom, there is probably even more variability (the distribution of scores may not fit the normal curve).

What is the district expecting of each classroom and teacher? That at least 50% of students will meet growth means? Or are they expecting even more?

I'm curious how the district is using (or misusing) scores. The report of reassigning Spectrum teachers because of low student growth is concerning. When students are already high achieving, they are less likely to show significant growth. The SD can also be higher than the expected growth.

No Surprise said…

TfA recruit Kenneth Maldonado just might follow path or usual TfAer- leave classroom after two years:

Anonymous said…
I also recall reading that high achieving students are expected to show less growth, for many reasons.

The tests also max out at a very low level. Plenty of high achieving second graders max out the reading MAP (I believe the max reliable rit is 245) and so would never show growth. I imagine for late elementary or middle schoolers very nearly most of the high achievers have maxed out the reading, and probably math too, and once a kid is near the top scores really tend to just sort of bob up there. I don't recall what grade level spectrum teachers were reassigned, but I would be very troubled to learn it was later elementary or middle school.

Speaking of tests, has anyone heard of the DMT? It's apparently being given soon to some classrooms, on top of the insane spring onslaught, to pilot it for next year. What is it?

Anonymous said…
For those interested in the Public/Charter school debate, the NYT just ran a top-of-page story. The attached public comments, thoughtfully exploring many sides of the issue (though skewing anti-charter), are especially good.

Anonymous said…
We have entered the second week of testing for my kids. One week of MSP, now MAP. In between almost nothing is happening and staff is prepping for next year. As far as I can tell learning is largely over at our school for the year. Bummer.

Savvy Voter
Anonymous said…
Will Jane Addams Middle School have inclusion classrooms like Eckstein? I heard that they will not & was really surprised.

By inclusion classrooms, I mean a class that has a mix of spec. ed, gen. ed & sometimes advanced learners with a gen ed teacher & spec ed teacher, & an aid or 2 & maybe some volunteer tutors. These classrooms attracted the most gifted of the eckstein gen ed teachers so they were popular with many families.

If Jane Addams does not have these classes, what will happen to the special ed students who are being moved there? Self-contained?

Anonymous said…
Kellie mentioned portables at Nathan Hale but I can't find anything that says how many, where or what for? Nathan Hale's principal pushed back in December on the portable issue so I was surprised to hear Kellie say it was going forward. It is difficult to place portables at Nathan Hale because of Thorton Creek. They had some work arounds during the remodel but no one wants to go back to that chaos.

Would appreciate being able to see a layout of where and how many portables.

Anonymous said…
@ Wondering: The new new new name for inclusion is "access." It is possible that the JAMS confusion is based on the naming of the service you describe. SPS SPED Dept. assured parents that all comprehensive middle schools would offer a full spectrum of SPED services. If access is not being offered at JAMS please share on this blog, talk to the SPS SPED Dept. and let the SPED parent community know too.

Anonymous said…
I do not know how access works.

In Access are there 2 teachers in the classroom full-time, one sped & one gen ed?

That is the model currently used at Eckstein. Two teachers, co-teaching inclusion classes for the whole class period every day for the whole year. That is not a model I have seen in other secondary schools. Will all middle schools have this model next year? Is this model being called access?

According to Google, DMT is Diagnostic Mathematical Tests.

"Purpose: To assess progress in learning mathematics and identify gaps in knowledge that need to be addressed.
Range: First seven years of school and special needs students
Administration: Time varies with each level – group or individual"

It's widely used in Australia.

It's also a new psychedelic drug.
Anonymous said…
KUOW report on PE in Seattle Schools not meeting state requirements: http://kuow.org/post/seattle-area-kids-don-t-get-enough-pe-who-keeping-track

At our NE elementary, we don't meet the required minutes, PLUS what we do have is non-competitive and kids spend more time watching health videos on the circulatory system or bike safety than actually moving (same videos year after year). is this SPS curriculum or are PE teachers left to do whatever they please? Do any schools actually teach sports anymore, such as basic rules of basketball, kickball, baseball, etc?? our kids seldom go outside for PE, and we even have adjacent sports fields.

Anonymous said…

I can't address the middle school "access" delivery model, because I don't know enough about it, but if you have a question regarding your child's services, contacting Principal Montgomery directly would be the best way to have your questions answered.

I have heard that at least one of the SpEd teachers hired for JAMS is coming from Eckstein.

There is a JAMS Information Night planned for May 28th, from 6:30-8:00 PM (for parents and students) and there will be a series of ice cream socials for students (by grade level) in June. See the JAMS Fusion Page (jams.www.seattleschools.org) and the JAMS PTSA webpage (jamsptsa.org) for more info.

- North-end Mom
Anonymous said…
Actually, I believe JAMS gets a pass at offering middle school ACCESS next year. Maybe because it is in startup mode? Can't believe this would be allowed for multiple years.

In a little-publicized document from April 7, SPS T&L denotes Eckstein as the linked school for NE middle schoolers needing access (inclusion) services. Probably means the NE community will have to push to get this at JAMS anytime soon.

The document can be found here.

As far as delivery model within a school: The staffing ratio for all types of SPED services is part of the teacher bargaining contract. How those resources are used within a school is somewhat up to the school's leadership team. So Eckstein's use of SPED resources may look different than other middle schools. However, SPED resources must be used specifically for SPED services and must fulfill student IEP needs. If your kid, via IEP, is entitled to an Access delivery model and he/she isn't getting it, it's time to move up the chain of SPS management with a complaint.

2E Mom
More PE said…
My kid gets PE every 3rd week for 30 minutes a day. There seems to be very little exercise and a lot of health class as you mention. It drives me crazy! I'm especially crazed since there is no playground.

My other kid is in a different north-end elementary. He gets awesome PE every other day. They are learning lacrosse right now! The PE teacher tries to expose them to non-traditional sports so all kids are on a level playing field. i.e. no soccer since the kids who play outside of school could intimidate those that haven't played.

I calculated the amount of PE offered to my first mentioned child and it is less than 50% of the state's requirement. Many times class is cancelled for MAP testing or all-school assemblies.
I will put up that KUOW piece because it had some very interesting comments in it (and good for reporter, Ann Dornfeld). It's a multi-part series so I may wait for the whole thing.

As well, NPR has had a series on the use of portables, also multi-part.
Joe Wolf said…
As promised, information on SPS Summer 2014 portable placement.

To Support Roll-Out of the New Special Education Delivery Model (& One Classroom at John Rogers for ELL)

- Graham Hill: 1 single
- Laurelhurst: 1 single
- John Rogers: 2 singles. One
supports SpEd; one supports ELL
- Sacajawea: 4 classrooms in two
buildings (two double portables)
Two classrooms support the
relocation of the SpEd Pre-K
program from Pinehurst; two
classrooms support the new SpEd
delivery model

To Support Projected GenEd Enrollment Growth (at Nathan Hale HS, to provide appropriate space for current GenEd enrollment)

- West Seattle ES: 1 single
- McDonald International: 2
- Blaine K-8: 2 classrooms in one
building (1 double portable)
- John Muir: 1 single
- Adams: 1 single
- Broadview Thomson K-8: 1 single
- Loyal Heights: 2 singles
- Viewlands: 1 single
- Nathan Hale HS: 2 classrooms
i building (1 double portable)

HP: Please contact Mike Jenkins of our Capital Projects staff for detail on the Hale portable project. 252-0558.

Joe Wolf said…
I think it's very interesting that none of the media narrative on portables being unpleasant/unhealthy/dangerous has said a peep about SPS. One would think we would be their biggest, juiciest target.

Unless, of course there's nothing to find.

The biggest issue with portables, IMHO is adding classroom capacity w/o expanding core space. The next biggest is probably how they can fragment the "connectivity" of a campus. Aesthetics, third.

But SPS' portables are built to very high structural/systems/interior finish standards. One might be surprised.
mirmac1 said…
JAMS is slated for three self-contained programs: SM2, SM3 and SM4.

Note that IDEA requires students be provided a continuum of placements to meet the needs in their IEPs, including being educated to the maximum extent appropriate alongside their nondisabled peers.

If anyone in the NE thinks ten slots at Eckstein is sufficient to serve the middle-school age students there, then you have another think comin'

Yet another example of SPS intentionally breaking federal law. If your child is impacted, don't complain up the SPS food chain (Tolley?). File a complaint with OSPI. Visit www.k12.wa.us and select Special Education - Dispute Resolution.
mirmac1 said…
With all due respect, Joe, there is a very legitimate and statutory issue with isolating special education classrooms in portables.
Joe Wolf said…
Mirmac: Absolutely, I learned that very early on when managing SpEd space planning issues at San Diego Unified.

The portables listed for SpEd support in my list above will often contain GenEd classes moved from the main building, so that the new SpEd classes can be placed in the main building. That is the case at:

- Graham Hill
- Laurelhurst
- John Rogers

At Sacajawea, SpEd leadership made the decision to consolidate some SpEd aupport in the new portable cluster. The Pre-K portables will have integrated bathrooms. a kitchenette and an outdoor play area. The new SM4 class at Sac is going in the main building. (I should have been more clear about this in my earlier post.)

Also: The existing single portable at Sanislo is being re-habbed for that school's new SpEd class, as Sanislo's open-plan layout doesn't support four-walls-and-a-door classrooms.

If you hear of or observe conditions that are inappropriate, please let me know.
Anonymous said…
Another stupid test being added to the line-up is the Dibel. This was introduced to Lafayette by Shauna Heath during her extremely short stint there, and apparently it's a keeper to add to testing line-up into perpetuity.

For anyone unfamiliar with the Dibel, it's a test of how many words a kid can read out loud in given time frame. Basically speed reading with no focus on intonation, meaning, etc.

My 4th grade kid is in the 99% in reading and reads at a high school level but tanked his first Diblel, not knowing the (absurd) goal. Once I let him know that it's a test of how fast you can possibly speak, he nailed it.

What a brilliant and worthwhile test...oy

Oh, and btw, the MAP schedule at Lafayette this year includes 3-hour testing windows for 5th graders (and maybe younger grades). Sitting for a 3 hour test at age 10? Lame.

-so annoyed
mirmac1 said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
mirmac1 said…
Thanks Joe. I will remember that.

Your point about Sanislo leads me to note how inappropriate it is for SPS to add new programs to underenrolled Option or alternative schools. Not only are these buildings not the school a disabled student would attend if not disabled (they are, by definition, "choice" schools for everyone else), but they are often multi-grade classrooms with curricular focii that are very likely not part of these students' IEPs.

These decisions are likely not made by the SpEd department, but by others who find it convenient to break federal law and fill capacity gaps.
Anonymous said…
I'm at the Wilson pacific meeting. They are trying to numb us with parking space minutia. Classic SPS.

I do get the sense this meeting is more to apologize to the neighborhood for daring to use school district land to educate students than to engage parents about the capacity issues they are exacerbating.


Linh-Co said…
I heard the Board is considering a dual adoption of enVision and Math In Focus at yesterday's C&I meeting. Could someone recap the meeting if you attended? Staff is not pleased.

Thanks Directors Peaslee, McLaren, Peters, and Patu for taking the initiative.
Anonymous said…
Joe Wolf:

Thanks for posting info about the portables.

Question ... how often are older portables looked at to see if they are still suitable? My daughter attends Whitman MS and and has two classes in a row in the same portable. During the winter, the class chose daily:

1) Turn the heater on and suffer the smell that it put out.

2) Freeze with no heater.

3) Turn the heater on and open the window so the classroom wasn't so smelly.

Do you know how old the portables are?


N by NW
Anonymous said…
At our NW school (around 470 students) the kids have a weekly rotation between Art, PE and Music.

PE ... for 40 minutes per day every 3rd week.

Part of the problem is school size ... per contract elementary school specialists are only supposed to teach 8 classes per day. If a school is only assigned 2 specialists, that's only 16 classes. Once your school is over 16 classes, the district allocates additional staff ... but not full-time of course.

So, if a building is following the contract, any school with more than 16 classrooms is going to be short-changed PE time. :(

Anonymous said…
Whoops ... PE comment above by N by NW.

N by NW
Greg Linden said…
Melissa, thought you might like this recent article and might want to do a top-level post on it: "Boosting school funding 20 percent erased the graduation gap between rich and poor students"

From the article: "A new working paper ... from Northwestern University and the University of California-Berkeley ... examining the effects of court orders that attempt to equalize funding for poor and wealthy school districts ... the gains from a 20 percent boost in funding at all levels of education were enough to entirely erase the gap between poor students and students from wealthier families ... High school graduation rates increased 23 percentage points for poor students ... poor students' family incomes were on average about 50 percent higher than they would have been ... students from wealthier families were unaffected."
Joe Wolf said…
Mirmac: I do know the decision to place the new SpEd class at Sanislo was made by SpEd leadership. They did consult with me and my team on these decisions. To be clear, the exchanges went like this:

SpEd leadership: "We would like to place a (SpEd class type __) at (school "x"). Is there space at the school, or the ability to add space by placing portables?" (The next step of moving current main building functions into the portables and SpEd classes into the main building was presumed by me unless SpEd said otherwise.)

JW's reply (for Sanislo): "The school has an open-plan layout; creating enclosed classrooms in the main building is not possible prior to the start of school 2014-15. There is a single portable that is vacant. It needs work to be an appropriate classroom space, but that work we can accomplish before start of school 2014."

After that exchange, SpEd leadership directed us to make the portable ready for the new SpEd class.

FWIW, the Sanislo principal has been totally supportive of the new class from my interactions with him.
Anonymous said…
Does anybody know why there is a new Sm4i (ACCESS) program at Emerson, one of the lowest performing schools in the District? Why not at some of the higher performing schools in that region, such as Kimball? We are not seeing much challenge to the status quo here under the Banda administration.

Anonymous said…
Wondering where they are going to put that portable at Hale when there is major work being done on Thorton Creek and the closing of 35th for about a year. Parking lots are already full because they are shared between the high school, the community center and the park area (playground, baseball fields, tennis courts and community garden). Not sure where they can put a portable that will be far enough away from Thorton Creek yet close enough for kids to get to and from between classes.

Joe Wolf said…
HP (posting this for the third time; can someone please make sure s(he) sees this comment):

Re: Location of Summer 2014 Portable Placement at Nathan Hale HS

Please contact Mike Jenkins of our Capital Projects team (252-0558) for information on the location of the portable.
Anonymous said…
I have no idea where they are placing the portable for Hale. Ironically, I think the portable going in at Hale was one of the portables used during Hale's construction (and placed at Eckstein afterwards).

Someone at SPS has to be aware of the work being done at Hale on Thornton Creek. I heard at last night's meeting about the Meadowbrook/Thornton Creek project, that apparently SPS is charging SPU a hefty amount ($200,000?) for access/easements through SPS property during the project. This project, BTW is being done, in part, to help mitigate flooding on the Hale campus.

- meadowbrook resident
Flooding at Hale? But we were told - during their rebuild - that building on top of what is basically a swamp was okay. No problems.

Joe Wolf said…
Response to N by NW re: Age of Portables

Aside from the units installed in the past five years, I haven't been able to locate a report or file (paper, cyber, etc.) with this information. (And yes, I too am annoyed. :))

Please know that our research and record-keeping is much better now. I'll keep looking.
Anonymous said…
According to the SPU literature on the project, "In recent years, frequent flooding has affected a number of nearby homes, Nathan Hale High School and the Meadowbrook Community Center, and has occasionally closed 35th Ave NE. Restoring the floodplain surrounding Thornton Creek will increase the area where flood waters can safely be held during storms."

- meadowbrook resident
Anonymous said…
I just received the enrollment data for next year by school and grade. Obviously things can change between now and the start of school, but I have current assignments. Happy to share if anyone wants it. Just give me an email address.

Anonymous said…
PDR - post a link?

Anonymous said…

I don't have a link. They just sent me an excel file.

Lynn said…

Could you send me a copy at SPS.Lynn @ gmail.com?
Anonymous said…
How many have enrolled for each grade at the new JAMS?

in NE
Anonymous said…

I would love a copy too.


N by NW
Anonymous said…
For some reason, JAMS is not listed on the spreadsheet SPS provided. I'll follow up with them on that.

Anonymous said…
The SPS public disclosure contact says she thinks that what is listed as #N/A at the bottom of the report I have is JAMS. Those numbers are:

6 336
7 206
8 176

Total of 718. I can't be sure that she's right about this being JAMS, though.

I've sent copies of the spreadsheet to those who've asked for it. Let me know if you requested it but didn't receive it.

robyn said…
PDR - I can confirm from JAMS e-mails that the data you present is in fact JAMS. Official communication says:

6th Grade: 340
7th Grade: 203
8th Grade: 176

I'd LOVE a copy of your spreadsheet. seattlemeyer at msn dot com - I think you have my e-mail from another string.


Robyn said…
Just checked my e-mail PDR. Thanks, and disregard the above request!

Someone needs to explain this to the Board as well as the ramifications on the WilPac project.

I tried repeatedly. They aren't hearing why staff can be pretty close on 1 year projections, but wildly off on 5 year projections.
Lori said…
Robyn, have you or anyone else looked into historical attrition to Shoreline for middle school? Someone mentioned that here recently, I think, and it was brought up at a JAMS event I attended a while back too. That is, the families who used to leave at middle school for Shoreline either due to the old assignment plan or Eckstein's overcrowding will likely return to/stay in SPS versus going to Shoreline. No idea if FACMAC or others have looked at those numbers. I'd expect the greatest impact to be on JAMS, but maybe WilPac too?!
Anonymous said…

I would love a copy of that report as well. seattlegrowthboundaries@gmail.com

Thank you very much,

Other HIMS mom
Anonymous said…
Mr. Wolf,

Thank you. For engaging, for being "out" here and conversing and attempting to shed light on concerns and questions. Any chance you can convince others @ Stanford Center to do the same? The nuances and polarization and tin ears orchestrated @ "community input" don't inspire or educate.....

Hopefully you do not suffer blowback for engaging. If I ever meet you, next round's on me.

Anonymous said…
Mr. Wolf,

Thank you. For engaging, for being "out" here and conversing and attempting to shed light on concerns and questions. Any chance you can convince others @ Stanford Center to do the same? The nuances and polarization and tin ears orchestrated @ "community input" don't inspire or educate.....

Hopefully you do not suffer blowback for engaging. If I ever meet you, next round's on me.

Anonymous said…

Can you please send a copy of the enrollment data spreadsheet to dansu1 at yahoo dot com?

Anonymous said…

I'd also appreciate a copy of the enrollment data spreadsheet sent to spsnews at mail dot com

Thank you.

Tired Mama
SPSLeaks said…

I'm happy to post on SPSLeaks, if you like.

Joe Wolf said…
Leslie - thank you for the kind words.

I feel it's part of my job to clarify and inform when I can. Melissa's blog provides a great platform for reaching people who are engaged and who care.

I will take you up on that! Have a great weekend.

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