Tuesday Open Thread

Election Day - get those ballots in.  List of King County dropboxes.

Seattle speed bumps are working. From Seattle Bike Blog,

Total speeding on the streets near three elementary schools dropped between 79 – 88 percent after speed humps were installed, and high-end speeding was nearly eradicated according to SDOT.

Teacher who is challenged to spend two days as a high school student learns her own lessons.
  • Students sit all day, and sitting is exhausting. 
  • High school students are sitting passively and listening during approximately 90 percent of their classes.
  • You feel a little bit like a nuisance all day long. 
Seattle Schools' Fast Facts for 2014-2015 is out.
  • total enrollment 51,988 students in 97 schools
  • F/RL is at 37.8%
  • ELL is at 25.9%
  • Sped is at 13.7%
  • Over 1200 preschoolers are in SPS
  • interesting stats on minority groups - Black, Asian and Hispanic/Latino are within 4 points of each other at 16.4%, 15.9% and 12.5% respectively.
  • Budget - $689.4M for the General Fund
Eleven Seattle schools have won 2014 School of Distinction Awards from various state education groups.   The award recognizes schools in the top 5 percent of improvement for their levels in reading and math over the previous five years. From SPS Communications:

Catharine Blaine K-8 School*
Cleveland High School*
Franklin High School
Greenwood Elementary School*
Hamilton International Middle School*
Ingraham High School
Maple Elementary School
McDonald International Elementary School
Mercer International Middle School*  (6th year in a row)
Pathfinder K-8 School
Wing Luke Elementary School*

*denotes schools that have won in previous years

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said…
Can someone explain to me why the SPS is now in the recovery business... clearly there are better established groups, clinics and other agencies equipped to do this.. must these bizarre Interagency schools that no one seems to know what exactly goes on there other than online education is doing in the rehab line of business.

- Pissed of Taxpayer

Anonymous said…
I'm puzzled by the "School of Distinction" awards. In the two schools on the list that I'm familiar with, Hamilton and Greenwood, demographics seem to be driving performance improvements. An increasing percentage of Hamilton's population is from APP, so I'd expect performance to be improving. Likewise, Greenwood is experiencing a dramatic shift in student demographics, as the new student assignment plan is forcing a much larger percentage of neighborhood kids to attend the school.

Are other schools on the list similar to this? The awards don't seem to mean much to me.

Anonymous said…
This was posted on another thread:


Also Bryant had its third lockdown in two weeks...

--NE Parent
SPS has had Interagency for a long time now; they didn't just "get in the business."
Lynn said…
Here's some demographic data on the Schools of Distinction:

09/10 to 13/14 FRL rates
Seattle Public Schools 42% to 40%

Catharine Blaine 17% to 9%
Cleveland 73% to 70%
Franklin 65% to 68%
Greenwood 38% to 22%
Hamilton 35% to 10%
Ingraham 56% to 31%
Maple 63% to 66%
McDonald n/a now 13%
Mercer 75% to 72%
Pathfinder 40% to 26%
Wing Luke 79% to 85%
Anonymous said…
So since you defend or support them have you actually worked, attended, known someone who has or even visited one of these interagency's?

_ pissed off taxpayer
POed, I didn't defend them; I just pointed out that Intergency has existed for a long time.

I'm not answering your question which seems posed in a hostile manner.
mirmac1 said…
For anyone interested, an advance copy of the SPS P223 report. Final will be on the district website.

Anonymous said…
I have known 3 kids who attended an interagency school. One was a high school football player who got a concussion on the field. He missed a month of school, could not catch up & failed some classes. The counselor told the mom that he wasn't high school material, at least not at that school. He gave up. Another was a student with an eating disorder that required inpatient treatment & caused disruption in her high school career. the third was a student who suffered debilitating anxiety after a family tragedy, started to fall behind in school & dropped out. All three of these kids pulled themselves together enough to start attending interagency schools. They eventually moved to running start classes. One has graduated & the others are still attending school.

I think these kids deserve a second chance.

mirmac1 said…
I thought the Times did a good job (for once) with this report on Interagency:

Anonymous said…
PO'd, you seem to think that kids who struggle or make bad choices should just be thrown to the wolves and let the chips fall where they may. Luckily, SPS doesn't feel that way. As seen above, Interagency has been around for a long time, and these schools help lots of kids turn their lives around. I'd go so far as to say it has SAVED lives.

The most impressive turn-around I saw was a young woman who had gotten involved in crime and then got pregnant and dropped out of school. A social worker helped convince her to go to Interagency, which in turn helped her find services she needed. When I met her she had a 4.0 average and a full ride to college.

So, be as PO'd as you like, this is one thing SPS does right.

Anonymous said…
Dennis was a high school student who had never learned to read. From first through eleventh grade, he failed the majority of his classes, yet he was administratively promoted from grade to grade. By the time he was 18, he had a history of suspensions from school and charges against him including possession of a concealed weapon, auto theft, and battery.

Despite his academic and behavioral problems, Dennis was never evaluated or identified as a child with a disability in need of special education. After years of struggling in school with an undiagnosed learning disability, an attorney from Legal Aid filed for a due process hearing on Dennis’s behalf under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
A settlement was reached without a hearing.

Lather rise repeat

Lawyers needed
Anonymous said…
My HS daughter and I read that article about the teacher who spends two days as a high school student and while it was interesting and a good eye opener for the teacher, we both thought it was not realistic. She only attended 4 classes each day, instead of 6-7 that most HS kids attend and she stated that she was too exhausted to do anything in the evenings so she clearly wasn't doing the 2-4+ hours of homework the average high schooler has. She should do it again, but for real this time.

-Franklin Parent
Anonymous said…
I know schools love to receive those school of distinction awards, but I agree with the above. It's so often a demographic shift (or a school starting up), which is kind of a gross thing to be celebrating. "Woot! Got rid of the poor kids!" I feel it waters down the award for a place like Maple, which has just figured out how to work better with the population it has.

And re:Interagency, I can't imagine how much worse off those kids would be without it. And it is SPS's job- to educate kids, no matter how damaged they might be.

Anonymous said…
Schools of Distinction Awards should not be given to schools whose FRL has decreased by more than 10 percent. Period. How can the public advocate for this change? As it stands, the award is a complete farce for most of those schools. Hamilton, Pathfinder, Ingraham are noticeably egregious. Not the school's fault. The award's. But schools shouldn't be tooting their horns when administrators know darn well the uptick comes from swapping students, not improving outcomes.

Anonymous said…
We where at the Ingraham open house and several teachers commented on how the demographics at Ingraham are improving.

Wink Wink
mirmac1 said…
Wink Wink,

ARRRGH!! Suppose they missed the "Race and Equity" training downtown keeps touting to the board.
Anonymous said…
Wondering if someone could help me interpret the APP/HCC eligibility guidance. (I've read it online, but I'm still not sure.)

I currently have a gen ed 7th grader. In 5th grade she met APP eligibility requirements, but for a variety of reasons, we elected to not move her to APP. My understanding is that 7th grade is the last year to test for advanced learning, meaning they'd be eligible for APP/HCC in 8th grade (at WMS, in our case) and then move onto high school. But I've since heard that it's possible to test in 8th grade for HCC in high school, either at Garfield or Ingraham. If anyone here can help me shed light on this, I'd appreciate it. I have emailed SPS, but am not expecting to hear back.

- missed
Anonymous said…
Pissed of, pissed off:

You're pissed at the wrong target. Interagency people are doing what most people at the John Stanford Center for Excess generally don't do: they're helping kids that in most cases are unreachable in any other way; kids that aren't in traditional schools, even kids in detention. They helped my daughter. She graduated and was guided into a program at SSCC. Hated high school, loves community college, and she'll be another taxpayer soon enough and will support your aged a$$ when you're no longer able to support it yourself. Money well spent. Let's get Gates to pay his tax and not just hide it behind a foundation and it's all good.

Anonymous said…
Unless things have changed, testing into APP in fall of 8th grade will qualify a student for Ingraham IBX, but not Garfield. If a student is enrolled in APP/HCC in 8th grade, then the default assignment is Garfield.

From the AL website under the enrollment link:

Enrollment for Highly Capable Students Rising to Sixth or Ninth Grades

Currently enrolled fifth- and eighth-grade Highly Capable Cohort (formerly APP) students are automatically assigned to their regional Highly Capable Cohort (formerly APP) middle school site for sixth grade or to Garfield for ninth grade and do not need to submit school choice forms.

There are no automatic or guaranteed assignments to Garfield for students who are not enrolled in the Highly Capable Cohort (formerly APP) at Washington, Hamilton or Jane Addams middle schools.

If you wanted Garfield as a pathway, your child would have needed to test this year and enroll at one of the middle school APP/HCC sites (Washington, Hamilton or Jane Addams) for 8th grade.

Lynn said…
parent is correct regarding APP eligibility and access to Garfield. If you're not happy with that rule, please contact Marty McLaren, Sue Peters and Stephan Blanford. They're discussing the Highly Capable Policy and Procedures next Monday in the Curriculum and Instruction Committee.
cmj said…
I read the article by the teacher who sat in on classes for two days.

I disagree with her about the exhaustion of sitting. She found sitting all day to be exhausting -- I would find standing and walking around the class all day to be exhausting. Good thing that she's a teacher and I work at a computer all day.

She argued that students feel like a bother and exhausted from sitting and listening all day. I don't know how I feel about her analysis. It seemed a bit silly and "hippie"-ish to me. Students spend less time sitting in class at school than most office-workers spend sitting at their desks.

That being said, to be a high school student is to be subject to many strictures and little indignities, to have little control over your day. If I had to ask permission from my boss every time that I wanted to leave my desk and go to the bathroom, I'd be screaming in frustration.

On exercise in schools: read an article about a school in North Carolina where students were able to pedal stationary bikes while reading. Apparently it improved their reading proficiency dramatically.
Anonymous said…
Preschool passed, and of the two 1b passed

I love my Stranger, but the reason preschool passed is because they endorsed it. They didn't really understand how messed up the implementation of this is (no focusing of resources on at-risk youth - instead, spreading the wealth to stable families whose kids do fine AND to a lots of educats at City Hall).

Oh well. Lots of truly good intentions on the part of our wonderfully generous civic-minded fellow citizens who are predominantly childless. Their generosity is what I'll focus on, not what a mess this will be.

-election over
Anonymous said…
Thanks Lynn and Parent for the APP/HCC high school eligibility info. As someone who lives in SE Seattle, the idea of commuting to Ingraham sounds pretty unappealing. I'm going to take Lynn's advice and write to the board.

- missed
Anonymous said…

IMHO, IB is a good match for HCC. Check out RBHS and does Sealth have it too?

Anonymous said…
I am under the impression that the APP/HCC assignment process needs to be changed anyway, simply because the middle school APP cohort is now so large, especially the 6th grade, that assigning them all to Garfield would effectively close Garfield as an attendance area school. Of course, they may be ignoring this along with all other HS capacity issues.

Would they automatically assign south-end students testing into APP in 8th grade to Ingraham? I guess I would expect them to be assigned to the new IB program at Rainier beach (although I know that IB and IBX are not the same).

Mom of 4
Anonymous said…
Wink wink, I have been at countless meetings at Ingraham in the past five years where the changing demographic profile has been discussed. I have never, ever heard an educator or an administrator say it was "improving." Changing, certainly. But never "improving."

I know my older daughter loved that, as a Caucasian, she was in the minority for her first couple of years at Ingraham. She had never been in such an ethnically diverse school. I heard many of her classmates make similar comments. They observed that the increase of Caucasians over recent years hurt that diversity, and it bothered them. I have also heard long-time parents comment at football games how sad they are at the decreasing diversity among the cheerleaders.

Yes, it's easier for the PTO to raise money now that we have a smaller FRL population, but beyond that, I don't hear anyone saying that this new Ingraham is "improved." Merely different.

Rosemary D.
Anonymous said…
I have had the same experience as Rosemary with respect to the changing demographics at Ingraham. They have certainly been noted, but I've never sensed that the change was seen as an "improvement" by the staff (except perhaps as an aside to note there are more resources now).

Lynn said…
Mom of 4,

Any student who tests into HCC in the eighth grade is automatically assigned to their attendance area school. They can enroll in IBX at Ingraham during open enrollment if they prefer that. They do not have guaranteed access to another school with IB unless it's their attendance area school.

I would want to be sure there was a group of academic peers for my child before I enrolled them anywhere. (I don't think IB classes in 11th and 12th grade make a high school a good fit for a highly capable kid.) You'd want to look at the classes available for the first two years too.
TechyMom said…
You might also look at Cleveland STEM if your kid likes STEM, and NOVA which is self-paced and a good fit for some gifted kids.
Anonymous said…
Accorring to national survey Seattle is far from bad.

Seattle Public Schools has an annual budget of $680,031,000, spending an average of $14,246 per student.

Seattle Public Schools has 2,645 teachers, yielding 19 students per teacher.

On average, the teacher salary for the district is $73,009.

Seattle Public Schools 739th in America for Best Districts!

Anonymous said…
I would steer clear of Ingraham.

My 2cents
Unknown said…
Huh, well we LOVE Ingraham. I had a kid go through Roosevelt (great school for some kids) and close friends at GHS and other schools (great for some as well). Absolutely agree that no school is perfect for every kid (thank goodness for Nova and for the small amount of choice that is left to us.)

I've been posting on this blog for a long time (ten years?) under my own name. So, in my opinion, 2cents' name is perfectly apt.

Jamie said…
If 2 cents would explain their reasoning that would be much more helpful. It's funny, four years ago when my kid was in 8th grade was when they moved the cutoff for Ballard HS to 85th, and so many people were livid that Ingraham was now their assignment high school. Now I have friends whose kids are in school with mine whose younger siblings are choosing to go to Ingraham. I am glad it's become an attractive choice for some families instead of a place to avoid.
Anonymous said…
Non è una buona scuola a meno che i vostri studenti bianchi

My 2cents
David said…
I'm looking at the "Seattle Public Schools Fast Facts & Figures" the District just sent out. Am I wrong that they must be spending less than half their budget on teachers?

It says that there are 3,122 teachers and a budget of $689M. Even if they were paying $100k per teacher, and they are not, that would be less than half the budget going to teachers.

The District usually claims that 70% of budget goes to teachers, which is already too low, but this makes it look like maybe only 45% of budget goes to teachers. What's going on?

This seems to be confirmed by the FTE count, which is 6,436. So, only 3,122 of 6,436 full time employees are teachers, or only 49%.

How could this be correct? Is it really true that less than half of the budget should be going for teachers and less than half of the full time employees should be teachers? Shouldn't most of the budget be for teachers?
Lynn said…
Here's the 2014-14 Budget

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