Seattle Schools News

The agenda is up for the Curriculum&Instruction Meeting on Monday at JSCEE from 4:30-6:30 pm. At the bottom of the agenda, there is a note explaining that due to the new website, they can't attach links and so the documentation for the agenda items is contained in the agenda link.  Among the topics:

- BAR for Highly Capable Students Annual Plan for 2015-16 (Heath/Martin)
I am interested to see that the Plan states that teachers and other staff can refer students to the program. I thought that had ended and it was by parent application only.

This was on page 4 - District reviews services for each student periodically to ensure services meet each student's needs and capabilities.  Parents, is that what you have seen?

The district says it will be serving 4,502 students (I take that to be just the Highly Capable students.)

- Special Education MOU (Jessee/Clancy/Hanson) (no documentation)
- MTSS (no documentation)
- Community Alignment Initiative Review (no documentation)
- Data Sharing Agreements Review - there's a list of groups that receive "identifiable and proxy" student data.  There are 37 groups, by my count, including the City's DEEL and Lakeside (?).  
Most of the "Consent type" markings for each group are either "Institutional Service-Principal" (I don't know for certain what that means) or "Parent Consent."  The one outlier?  DEEL which is labelled "lead/strategic partner."  The PowerPoint that follows the list seems to indicate that partners obviously have a agreement with the District but it seems odd to have only one on the list and not explain that.  

News on the Teachers' Contract Negotiations

Not to be the bearer of ill tidings but this was noted in the SEA's update:

Special education director Wyeth Jessee finally brought a proposal to the table yesterday about Special Education, and it was a whopper.

Our contract guarantees an allocation of teachers and Special Education instructional assistants (IAs).

Now, the District wants to throw out all of our Special Ed IA staffing ratios, and be allowed to come up with a new system on their own outside of bargaining.
"Why would we just leave staffing up to the District?" said Phyllis Campano, SEA vice president and special education teacher. "They have done nothing to build trust with frontline staff. The District should have come to us much earlier to begin bargaining over this. This is just disrespectful."

Top district administrators have routinely skipped our joint special education task force meetings. They didn't attend our bargaining session in June when we made our proposal regarding Special Education, even though the District itself had selected that date to discuss Special Education.
Perhaps it shouldn't be a surprise that their bargaining proposal, coming months after we started bargaining in May, is actually not to bargain at all. Instead, they want us to hand over decision-making to them.

As I previously reported, the SEA is having their big General Meeting on the contract on August 24th.

Lastly, I have been fairly vocal about my neighborhood and the Sisley slums that front Roosevelt High School.  The buildings are now starting to crumble down and some are using the backyards as dumpsters. 

I complained to City Attorney Pete Holmes' office and received this news from Assistant City Attorney Roger Wynne:

My colleague who has been working most closely on the Sisley properties reports that all three houses on 65th St. opposite Roosevelt High School are being worked on so they can be demolished by the Roosevelt Development Group (RDG). Asbestos cleanup is happening now. RDG has said the houses will be demolished within the month.

That's great news except for a couple of things.

One, RHS does not front NE 65th so I'm not sure which "houses" he is talking about.   If he is talking about the one building and couple of structures right at the corner of 15th NE and NE 66th in front of RHS, that would still be great.  Frankly, taking down ANY of the Sisley buildings would be great.

Two, the Roosevelt Development Group (RDG) has not exactly been the soul of honesty in dealing with our neighborhood so I would take anything they say with a grain of salt.

Lastly, it sure would be nice if this were to happen, that it got done before RHS opens its doors on the first day of school.

But then again, I'm sure the kids would probably mass together to cheer the bulldozers on and maybe even bring out the band.


Anonymous said…
It's progress...

Roosevelt Dad
More Information said…

From the C&I agenda:

Community Alignment Initiative Review will be presented by Toner/Campbell.

Toner is in charge of Early Learning. Exactly, what type of initiative will Toner present? Will the Community Alignment Initiative Review come before the full board?
Anonymous said…
Hey all you people whose kids get special education services. Negotiating special ed IAs out of the contract means no IAs. Make no mistake. The underlying motivation here is to remove the IAs. The district has already mandated a reduction in IAs by trying to eliminate 1-1 IAs in order to pay for central office "program consultants", "supervisors", and expensive outside consulting firms. IAs are the best deal in public ed. One administrator, who provides no direct service to students, costs the same as 3 or 4 IAs.

And, even if your kid isn't in special ed, you will be impacted by a lack of classroom resources. Special ed students will still be in classrooms. They just won't have any support. Sweet. Save money, right?

Sped Reader
Anonymous said…
Melissa noted the Highly Capable Students Annual Plan says "District reviews services for each student periodically to ensure services meet each student's needs and capabilities" and she asked "Parents, is that what you have seen?"


But, the evaluation section of the Highly Capable grant plan requires some new information, so it looks like there might be some changes for the sake of compliance. It remains to be seen, however, to what extent SPS will really try to provide any meaningful analysis of the HC program effectiveness.

Here are a couple parts of the SPS plan that seem to be new:

Academic Goals for HCP students will be established in September and reviewed in December and April. Data will be analyzed in June to evaluate the effectiveness of the HCP.

It will be interesting to see how they go about this. I’m crossing my fingers that kids will get individually tailored plans, but I doubt it. I suspect they’ll go with something easy—and not particularly meaningful—instead, like percent of kids receiving a good grade on their progress reports. While high percentages of poor grades would surely signal a problem with the HCP, high percentages of good grades don’t tell you much about its effectiveness. Most of those kids are likely to do well regardless, especially if the classes aren't particularly challenging.

Also, the OSPI template says the evaluation should provide data on the academic achievement of highly capable students and how well the HCP addressed the needs and capabilities of highly capable students. Evaluation methods and activities identified in the SPS plan include these:
* Classroom-based assessments
* District and State assessments
* AP tests and IB tests (secondary only)
* Surveys (administrator, parent, student and teacher)

I have no idea how they plan to use classroom-based assessments, as these seem to vary widely across classrooms. District and state assessments could provide some useful data, but only if they’re doing a lot of analysis to compare participants to non-participants, to look at student-level growth trends, long-term outcomes, etc.

And surveys? I wonder if they’re planning something new, or will just try to pull out the HC subgroup from existing surveys... I don’t remember questions that would say much about the program’s effectiveness from past surveys, but perhaps they'll add some new items? Given the high rate of participation in HC services, some real efforts directed toward evaluation would be a good thing.

Anonymous said…
The AL dept has scads of data they could use.

Let's hope they release it. To compare HC students who join the cohort vs. those that stay in assigned schools. MAP, MSP, last year's Amplify, high school grades and AP scores, HC entrance exam scores.

Surveys of parents may be entertaining, but the empirical data would tell a most useful story.
Lynn said…
Here's a question I asked Shauna Heath about last year's highly capable annual plan and her answer:

Q: The application indicates that MAP scores are used to evaluate how well the district is meeting the academic needs of highly capable students. Can you tell me who makes this evaluation and what are the benchmarks used to determine whether those needs are met?

A: The NWEA data is reviewed for all students, but for Highly Capable, the Supervisor of Advanced Learning is responsible in order to monitor growth in all populations. Even though APP students are two years accelerated, they are still expected to make at least one year of growth every school year when compared with their nationally normed academic peers.
Anonymous said…
I'm not sure the empirical data are all that straightforward. The evaluation of HC services is a bit more complicated that just looking at test data for those in the program vs. those not. For example:

- Scores at the high ends of standardized, grade-level assessments like the MAP are often less reliable, so it's harder to compare.
- HC students often hit the ceiling on standardized, grade-level assessments, so it's hard to know how their true scores would compare. If a student gets a perfect score on the MSP, for example, you can't tell how far ahead they really are.
- The comparison groups are tricky. Students who are eligible for HC but elect to stay at their home school likely do so partly because the parent thinks the child's needs can be met in-place. Maybe they are lucky and have rare teachers who properly differentiate. Maybe they have a tutor who works well with the child to provide enrichment. Maybe they are partly home schooled, or the parent provides more advanced instruction at home. Or maybe the kid is just completely passionate about learning and driven to do so independently, so it really doesn't matter where they are. Regardless, it's a mistake to assume that kids who do elect to move into HC services should do any better than kids who qualify but don't move. It's even possible that kids who don't move to HC services are more likely to have their needs met. I agree, however, that it WOULD be good to compare them, but you'd have to think of it as multiple HC service types--the HCC program as one type, but other tailored services as well (e.g., differentiated instruction at neighborhood school, home-based supplementation, etc.) A survey that collected this type of program/service/supplementation data from parents of HC students as well as HC-eligible-but-not-enrolled parents might be helpful in understanding this. It would also help understand why parents opt to stay at the neighborhood school, and what such schools could do to support more families in staying.
- I'm not sure what high school grades would really say. Did you have thoughts on how to use them? If HC students have higher GPAs is that evidence of program effectiveness? Or that the classes are too easy--and thus the program ineffective? I do like the idea of looking at AP scores, though. It would seem that HC-identified students, if their needs are being met via high quality programming, should have higher average scores than non-HC-identified students on AP tests. If they don't, it probably means the AP classes aren't rigorous enough.

@ Lynn, can you shed any light on what is really meant by that response that "Even though APP students are two years accelerated, they are still expected to make at least one year of growth every school year when compared with their nationally normed academic peers"? If a student is scoring at the top of the MAP, how can they show a year's worth of growth? Students scoring above the 99th percentile can often learn nothing in a whole year and still score in the 99th percentile. For very high RIT scores, I think negative growth is more common. So what exactly did the AL dept think they were going to see? And do you happen to know if they ever bothered to do that analysis as they said they would on their application?

Joe Wolf said…
Melissa - you might already have this, but for whomever finds it useful: A Google Maps project that geotags all the Sisley properties in Roosevelt/Ravenna. (I don't know if the blue vs. red "thumbtacks" signifies anything.)

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