Tuesday Open Thread

A recap of the Curriculum and Instruction meeting to come.  I perceive this is not quite the done deal it appears to be. 

Got a grad?  A great story asking prominent/interesting people "If I were 22 again..." Written probably for college grads but still worth letting your own graduate read.  I was at a high school graduation party this weekend and told some of the kids to write a letter to themselves and open it when they are 30.  One young lady said she did that in 8th grade for when she graduated from high school.  She said, "I was so...bubbly and optimistic."  C'mon kid, you just graduated from high school. 

Speaking of graduation (and graduation parties if your child is not attending the school-sponsored all night party - highly recommended), here's a great video about driving and texting that was shown in a movie theater.

Great article in The Stranger about Nova High School.  Principal Mark Perry is such a gift to this district and particularly to this school.  To note:

Another example is that the Seattle Times published a list of all the middle and high school discipline disproportionality rates a few months ago. Only one school did not have a disproportional discipline rate—Nova—yet no one from SPS has asked why our focus on redemptive and restorative justice/discipline works and what it takes to make it work.

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said…
Congratulations to all SPS grads but in particular the rowers in our high schools who are headed to Sacramento to participate in the Jr. National Regatta. At least 10 are missing their graduation ceremonies (as are their families) on Friday so they can compete in this regatta with kids from all over the country.

Money said…
There are concerns that SPS will take the extra $$$ needed for MiF out of building and teacher budgets. If that comes to fruition, the Board needs to direct Banda to reduce priorities and initiatives allowing for serious cuts to administration. We just spent how much on 6 figure admins + all their glorious benefits? Cut those jobs now & 50% of the MiF excess cost is covered.

Also, this could sound stupid, but it's so late in the BEX cycle, we don't need a demographer anymore. It's too late.

Let's get back to the very basics -- fund the classrooms before anything else. Heck, I bet we could do without Principals since they don't seem to be able to represents their schools anymore. We have two new layers of District cops. The Executive Directors and now the Principals.
StringCheese said…
My apologies if this got posted on another thread yesterday, but did anyone get a gander at the ridiculous faux "survey" multiple schools were putting out? How, exactly would these questions lead to any knowledge of community sentiment? Another thinly veiled attempt to conduct a study to support a decision that was clearly already made to support enVision. Completely disingenuous.


I know this exact same survey went out to Lafayette parents as well. Anyone else receive this?
Support Needed said…
Slide 1:

As per usual, implementation of teacher systems are set-up, but supports lack. Very disappointed.

Wright's department is a mess.
Support Needed said…
I'm sorry, I meant to say teacher evaluations are being pumped-up, but teachers are not getting supports. These dollars are being spent in the wrong manner.

We have data systems being set-up, but our teachers aren't getting support. We have the city and other entities wanting data. The city should be providing the district with funding for data. Then, we have RTT grants that require data. Has the folks from the Road Map provided funding for this endeavor?

It doesn't make sense.
Anonymous said…
Melissa, what did you perceive was not quite the done deal it appears to be? Hoping the Math adoption ago is not set to continue….

Anonymous said…
math adoption 'saga' not ago (damn autocorrect)!

Po3 said…
Wrapping up another year and in conclusion have to say that nothing the district has done has had a direct impact or improvement on my students education. And I don't see much improvement on the horizon. Two years to address start times is just one example.

It is the teachers and building staff who went that extra mile to engage my students, teach solid math, great science, provide a safe learning and clean learning environment and help them to have a better understanding of the world.

My thanks to all SPS teachers and building staff!

Your jobs are tough.

You are underfunded and unfairly evaluated.

But your work is greatly appreciated.
Anonymous said…
Amen to that Po3. I feel exactly the same way. Kudos to the teachers and staff. My kids have so far had great experiences at the schools they have attended - in spite of, rather than because of, the district management
It all comes down to the teachers.

Anonymous said…
Another day, another school shooting …..

Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
i guess my comment was deleted. sorry if i broke the rules. anyway, i'm concerned about security at my child's elementary school. i don't think it's safe. i wish we could do more to demand that SPS put systems in place (security cameras, etc.) to keep our kids safe.

mag mom
Anonymous said…
Yes, BF Day parents got the survey. I couldn't understand half the jargon-filled questions, and I follow education issues closely. I'm disappointed our principal sent this out (requesting a response in less than 24 hours). Worthless, and probably nefarious.

Bad Data
Upset Mom said…
A camera won't keep your children safe. The district took action after the Sandy Hook incident. Our school only leaves one door open during the school day etc.
Unfortunately, I'm afraid this is the world we live.

I was freaked-out when a Ballard High student shot and killed an individual in Greenwood. My child attends that school. I realized, at some point, my child was probably in close proximity to the shooter.
Anonymous said…
The math survey --- they didn't actually ask if basic mastery was important. Clarity of algorithms taught. They didn't ask if 'wordiness' was important.

The most important thing in a math program us that it really teaches math in a progressive, logical sequence and allows for enough practice to support student mastery. That it is easily understood. That it has clear instructions. That it provides coverage of all topics that are required to be taught. Asking if it is easy to implement, if that is important, frankly, I truthfully don't understand that question. What if it is hard to implement but way better in teaching kids? And, what make a text book hard to implement? That is an odd survey question.

Weird survey
"StringCheese - Charlie Mas mentioned B F Day parents receiving a survey as well. If it is the same set of 5 questions, where did they come from - an enVision rep?"

No anonymous comments, please.
Anonymous said…
well, if there was a camera and a gunman walked into the school, at least the office would have a few seconds notice before they started shooting up the place. as it is at my kid's elementary, anyone can walk in the front door and the office staff has no idea. security cameras are a step in the right direction, imho. i really hate this feeling of, "oh well, our kids can't be safe there is nothing we can do" attitude that pervades sps and our country. we are allowing this crazy situation (school shootings) to go on and escalate. we are all culpable.

mag mom
Anonymous said…
I don't think the camera would make it any safer. Even with a dedicated guard staring at nothing but the screen all day, the shooter could just keep the gun in his pocket until he shot up the kids. Frankly I think all the closed doors and excessive checking in has only harmed students, and not made them safer at all. A crazed shooter is not going to stop by the office to sign in for a badge, but having out all these protocol in place we have taught our children that they should be afraid of adults in their community, that mostly grown ups are out to hurt them. And we've taught our community that we don't want them in our schools, because we think they will hurt kids, so instead of making our schools community spaces so that the whole community can feel invested in educating kids, we lock them all out and try to go it alone. It's lose lose, for no increase in safety at all.

Anonymous said…
Upset mom " I'm afraid this is the world we live."

I hate hate hate that I have to fear for my kids (and myself) at school, at the mall, and the movies, everywhere really because apparently (according to Joe the Plumber) " your dead kids don't trump my 2nd amendment rights".
That makes me sick to the stomach. We need to change this world we live in so that 2nd amendment rights are not the be all and end all. Our voices need to be louder than the NRA, the Joe the Plumbers, the right-wingers who think "guvmints gonna take away my guns".
I still can't believe nothing changed after Sandy Hook. I find myself doubting that it ever will- if that doesn't do it, what on earth will.
But there are organizations out there that are getting maybe more traction, Michael bloomberg millions behind Everytown for Gun safety, Moms demand Action etc. I'm heartened by this and I think we need to really get behind these and push for some sanity into and gun laws and a safer future for our kids.

Anonymous said…
The reason the survey came out is because the waiver application requires "community input". Schools were trying to get their waiver applications in by June 10th. The surveys were sent out BEFORE we received the Superintendents e-mail but after much work went into preparing materials for the waiver. More time and dedication wasted on this adoption process. No need to call conspiracy “where did they come from - an enVision rep?” it’s just district created hoops to jump through.

-grumpy teacher
StringCheese said…
grumpy, that doesn't change the fact that the "survey" was specious at best. The questions asked are entirely related to what the MAC stated were enVision's strengths (based on a CCSS heavy evaluation tool). Where were these questions:

How important is it for the curriculum to contain large amounts of text?

How important is not just meeting standards but achieving beyond the standards?

How important is data from similar school districts?

This survey was created to get a specific result. It read like an underground bunker company asking parents, "Do you want your kids to be safe?" Who would say no to that? Geez.

Again, and I can't believe that I have to keep writing this again and again...


Did you get that? Everyone agrees that the MAC did its job and faithfully executed the process given to them by district staff.


If the MAC had been allowed to see benchmarking data... If the district had provided materials to every school community for review and community input gathered... If strict alignment to CCSS had been weighted differently... If staff had kept cost out of the picture as they were supposed to...

Would the MAC have made the same decision? We will never know. But if you question the process, then you must re-examine the outcome, not out of disrespect for the MAC but in an attempt to see the larger picture than what was allowed by the district.

Rant. Over.
Anonymous said…
Love it @StringCheese!

And if nothing else, hopefully everyone now knows the MAC makes "recommendations" only, and it's the board that has the authority and accountability to do the actual adoption.

Anonymous said…
Some survey! And not a single control against bias or for objectivity anywhere. Zip! Zero!

What's the margin of error? Plus or minus 100%?

Another day in SPS, is another day that science, objectivity and empiricism go down the toilet.

Is it too much to ask that someone with actual training or experience conduct surveys in SPS?

Anonymous said…

Yes, this does sound a bit, well, not so smart...

"Also, this could sound stupid, but it's so late in the BEX cycle, we don't need a demographer anymore. It's too late."

- North-end Mom
Eric B said…
We desperately need a demographer. BEX isn't going to be enough, and we need numbers to understand problems before they become fiascoes. Well, some of them probably are already fiascoes, but at least we can maybe keep from making another horrible decision.

A great example is north end high school. Even after Lincoln opens with 1500 or so seats, we'll be 500 HS seats short north of the Ship Canal.

Plus, the next BEX planning cycle will start in 4-5 years.
Anonymous said…
A concrete example of why we need a demographer (there are MANY reasons):

One new high school is supposed to open north of the ship Canal, currently in Lincoln.

(**FACMAC recently recommended changing that to a bigger HS at Wilson Pacific and putting a giant middle school at Lincoln and a giant elem. or TWO elem's at Hamilton, but no one at JSCEE would address one point of the FACMAC memo... go figure!).

(And as I understand it, the reason FACMAC made that rec is that they ran their own numbers with multiple algor'ms b/c district DIDN'T HAVE A DEMOGRAPHER running any predictions for two years, and was using very old predictions... FACMAC's numbers apparently showed much higher enrollment every year since the cmtee was created, and they were right, so they kept using their own generated data)

So ... a demographer can figure out how many HS age kids are going to feed into Ballard, Roosevelt, and the proposed Lincoln HS at Lincoln - it's not a simple roll-up of 8th graders into 9th grade - if it was, you'd redraw boundaries every single year based on the past year's enrollment.

But b/c we don't want to change HS boundaries very often, someone has to predict high school age students (not just high school age residents of the area - but how many of them will be in SPS?) - for several years looking forward.

So in 2015 or 2016, a demographer is going to have to figure out how many kids will live in every little piece of the north end of Seattle, how many of them will be in SPS (not merely how many will proceed from 8th to 9th - b/c we actually draw MORE kids into 9th than were enrolled in 8th in some sections of the city) - FOR 2020 or 2022 or whenever down the line. If you draw the new boundaries too small, you have an empty building with incomplete offerings and the other schools are still too crowded. They don't want to have to adjust HS boundaries every year.

All of that work requires looking at a lot of past numbers - but also knowing what numbers to disregard or discount, or how far back to go.

For instance, the district got in tons of trouble over Elem predictions -- thinking things were still shrinking and deciding to close schools - when the trend had changed and enrollment was growing - b/c they were taking too many years of past data into account. They had too many declining years still pulling their overall average into merely less decrease rather than showing the rapid change into increased enrollment that using fewer previous years of enrollment would have shown. So using multiple ways to predict, and seeing how different models affect school enrollment, is very useful as a check/balance.

The district has to be able to predict where the worst crowding situations will be to take action ahead of time - bad predictions lead to some schools not having enough space or teachers b/c students were undercounted (see: 40plus student biology sections, classes without teachers, etc at HS last fall), and some schools having too much space (ha, as if!) b/c students were over counted. We can't force busing to correct this, we can't shift boundaries every year, and we can't close the door at a school to students in the area - so really good predictions are really important.

Signed, math counts (the original lower case version)
Anonymous said…
It's back! I encourage all students to give it a try - it's a thrill to see your poem up and about in public.


Poetry on Buses

One of King County's most beloved public art programs, is back!
Live in King County, WA and have an original, short poem about home? We'd love to read it! Submit your poem for a chance to share your words-on the bus, online, and in the community.
Most people find themselves away from home at one time or another. "Writing Home" evokes images of distance and travel, hearth and immigration. But even if you've never been off the block, you can always write about what home means to you.
365 poems will be selected, by a diverse panel of professional poets, for display online. Come November 2014, this site will become a poetry portal that offers a new locally-sourced poem every day for a year. Seriously! Select poems will also be featured on a series of RapidRide buses and stations between November 2014 and November 2015.
Poems will be displayed in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Russian and Somali. These languages of focus are based on King County's Language Tiers.
All eligible poems received by June 30, 2014 will be reviewed.

I was told the district DID hire a demographer and so was perplexed by this notation.
Anonymous said…
WSDWG said: "And if nothing else, hopefully everyone now knows the MAC makes "recommendations" only, and it's the board that has the authority and accountability to do the actual adoption."

Ahhh. I bet you one cup of coffee (at any coffee place of your choice in Seattle) that Director Blanford, at least, will at least one more time, accuse the board of having usurped/overruled/overridden (pick your verb) the "authority" of the MAC in adopting MiF instead of Envision. He will NOT be able to drop the narrative. To the extent that his true feelings were not totally clear last Wednesday, they certainly were after the board retreat. He won't be able to drop the narrative. Lucky for you -- I like plain small coffees -- so I will be a cheap date.

Anonymous said…
To Jan re Blandford's narrative:

Read Jon Scalzi's REDSHIRTS? Be very careful! No planetary trips for you, or you'll be stuck in the narrative!

You made my evening much better by reminding me of a funny book. We could all use the escape, I'm sure, after this last week.

Signed: math counts
Anonymous said…
I'm curious what Washington state thinks of the tenure decisions in California:

One problem that I notice is that two of the members of the advisory board of "Students Matter" are venture capitalists. I worry about that.

Yes, that California ruling could have far-reaching effects. I suspect this may go to the Supreme Court.
Anonymous said…
A little late, but this is for all the teachers as they wrap up another school year:

Anonymous said…
@money, thanks. I see your point AND you made me laugh.

Chris S.

Popular posts from this blog

Tuesday Open Thread

Seattle Public Schools and Their Principals

Weirdness in Seattle Public Schools Abounds and Astounds