Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Tuesday Open Thread

Well, at least I have company (in the personal attacks department.)  I am part of a coalition group for public education - Parent Coalition for Student Privacy - and I wrote them about my issue.  Guess what?  Apparently (and quite suddently),  it is happening to other advocates all over the country.  Almost makes you think is coordinated and paid for.

As transgendered student news (sadly, focused mostly around the issue of use of bathrooms) has been a topic around the country, I realized that there are two very different pediatrics groups that have very similar names but very different viewpoints. 

One is the American Academy of Pediatrics which has been the gold-standard for infant/child care founded in 1930.  The other is the American College of Pediatricians founded in 2002 which has a very conservative viewpoint.  And if you look at what each says about transgendered children, it's quite a clear divide - AAP v ACP.   Don't get confused like I did.

Don't know if you saw it but the California teachers union recently won a huge victory in court in the Vergera case when a California appeals court unanimously reversed a decision from a lower court around tenure, tying test scores to a teacher's evaluation and other measure.   A group of nine students had filed the case saying their civil rights were being violated because of poor teaching.  They vow to take it to the state supreme court. 
The effect of the rules, said LA County Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu,  was to allow ineffective teachers to keep their jobs and subject students — especially poor and minority ones — to inferior schooling that could stunt their futures.

“Plaintiffs failed to show that the statutes themselves make any certain group of students more likely to be taught by ineffective teachers than any other group of students,” Division Two Presiding Justice Roger W. Boren wrote. “The court’s job is merely to determine whether the statutes are constitutional, not if they are ‘a good idea.’”
Parties on both sides viewed the Vergara decision as a bellwether for the nation.
As we are getting closer to the end of the school year, here's some thoughts about talking to your child's teacher(s) about how your student has done.  I had put this up at the Soup for Teachers Facebook page and found differing opinions on whether parents would feel comfortable asking these questions and if teachers felt they could answer them.  What about you?

I'm hearing that at least one high school had a foreign language on its list of available languages when a student took a tour of the school but now that she's enrolled, is being told it has been cut.  Anyone else?

What's on your mind?


Madpark said...

Anybody out there know anything about Franklin High School?
I posted a while ago about looking for a high school for my two daughters who are in the Garfield area but are not AP candidates nor have any interest in jazz. Someone suggested Franklin as an option.


Anonymous said...

Franklin is a great school with pockets of Teachers that are inspiring..The freshman team will work with you in securing ideas for your kids and there are interesting alternative programs from Q TV to art or even Government and law classes that have been cranking out for years and to this day do a great job competing with the best of the privates and often win and they have great LA/SS dept.

They are the little sleeper school

- Quaker

Melissa Westbrook said...

Franklin is a quiet school with a solid principal, great debate team, solid offerings.

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, 2016 US News and World Report school rankings (WA State):

Roosevelt #6
Garfield #7
Ingraham #9


-Seattle parent

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know the verdict on the Choir Teacher? I assume that it is a Judiciary decision and that is what by law? 90 Days to make a final judgement?

- Nosy Parker

Patrick said...

The US News and World Report high rankings are measuring motivated and well-off students and their families, not schools. Eight months in to Roosevelt, I'd only recommend it for students who have years of experience already in drama or jazz and want to continue it, or who want to take Latin.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Patrick, as someone who had two kids go to two different high schools, I'd say you are partially right. There is a focus at Roosevelt just as there is at several other schools. However, my son at Roosevelt didn't do drama or jazz or Latin (which I wish he had done) BUT, as I told parents on school tours, kids tend to find their tribe.

Most high schools have clubs and club sports which are more low-key. Roosevelt has a Harry Potter club, for example.

That said, fit is important for high school.

Patrick said...

It's not just a matter of fit or being new in a big school. I'm very disappointed in the quality of instruction in several core classes. The composition class with only a couple of writing assignments during the year and no feedback even on them, the math teacher who is also a coach and during his sport's season is completely unavailable outside of class and has substitutes at least twice a week in class. At first I thought it was just my kid and her particular issues, but I'm finding the same thing asking around.

Their Latin teacher really is a gem.

SusanH said...

I hear Franklin has the longest waitlist of any high school (probably from students in the Rainier Beach area wanting in). So it might be hard for your girls to get in from outside that area (even though they'd be vacating seats from the overcrowded Garfield). Anyway, I hear Franklin is really, really good at finding a "place" for every 9th grader. Everyone has to find a sport, or a club or activity that first year, and it cements their connection to the school. I think it's a solid school choice. People love Franklin.

GarfieldMom said...

I hear great things about Franklin -- maybe a Franklin parent here or at Soup for Teachers can offer more specific info.

As for Garfield, there are plenty of things other than jazz & AP, so if your girls end up there, I think they will probably be able to find their niche. My kids took a mix of AP, honors, and gen ed classes and found good and not-so-good in all of them (usually related to whether they gelled with the teacher or not).

Anonymous said...

Poor leadership at Stevens keep on serving up new and crappy ways to spoil the student experience. Kelley Archer and Sarah Pritchett strike again! Only this time it's not just the sped kids, it's the whole 5th grade.

What did they serve up this time? A cock-a-mamy story about a paperwork error that will cause the 15+ year tradition of 5th Grade Camp to be cancelled this year-- kids were supposed to go first week in May. Only the real story is that teachers were told that a couple of students with notoriously severe behavior problems who had chalked up 3 strikes and were not supposed to attend camp, must attend camp. When the teachers asked for more support, plans, and skilled staffing to support the students at camp, the administration responded not by supporting them but rather insisting that the teachers to take on personal responsibility and liability for the field trip --basically setting them up to be the bad guy. The union is involved. The kids are in tears and protesting. There has been no apology. No REAL, truthful explanation. Sarah is playing bad cop and coaching her protege Kelley Archer to be as anti-teacher as she was as principal of McClure. What a delightful end to the school year for the Stevens Community.

-Weary FWIW

Robert Cruickshank said...

It's sad, but not surprising, to see corporate education reformers turning to personal attacks against people who disagree with them. Their goal is to try and get critical voices to give up in the face of such attacks, to decide it's not worth it. It isn't going to work, especially when children and their future are on the line.

It's also completely unnecessary. The irony is that most people are fine with some form of testing, maybe even OK with some kind of charter schools. But when the tests are flawed, when their high stakes distort learning and lead to teachers getting fired and schools closing, parents get upset. When parents in a neighborhood say "no, we don't want our neighborhood school closed, we want a massive infusion of cash so we can make it awesome," and the corporate reformers say "screw you, your school must close and you're awful for opposing us," parents get upset. And when corporate education reformers mock and attack those who merely raise concerns, they're showing parents that there's no room for dialogue, no opportunity for people to come together to resolve problems together.

Instead it's their way or the highway. We can't fix the tests, we have to accept their flaws. We can't address the numerous problems with charter schools, we have to take them as they are. And so on. Those corporate reformers make it clear that it's not about helping kids, it's about taking power, imposing their own ideological views without regard to what parents want, often in the face of mass protest (especially from people of color, in cities like Chicago).

It really, truly does not have to be this way. But if corporate reformers insist on attacking people rather than admitting their mistakes and working together in a spirit of consensus, then so be it. Their personal attacks will only further alienate parents, as they have already done.

Anonymous said...

Wow Weary, can you provide more info? Hmmm, how can it be that some students with "notoriously severe behavior problems" were not supposed to attend camp? Sounds like the disability thing all over again. How can elementary students be selectively excluded from camp? If this is the case, then Pritchett made a good call. Amazing, but possible. Schools MUST learn to proactively deal with, and teach behavior. And if they can't take everybody due to an instructional or planning failure, then absolutely right. Take nobody. If a school needs more support, then they should simply pay for that.


Anonymous said...

I agree with Quaker on Franklin. A teacher friend compares it to Maple Elementary, doing good solid work, but with little fanfare.
A friend whose daughter attended Roosevelt for 2 years & never found her niche transferred to Hale and is now in seventh heaven. She says it is "less cliquish", though her brother graduated from Roosevelt a few years ago and says he doesn't know what she is talking about. Another friend has had 2 kids go through Ingraham - 2nd one graduating this year - and both she & her kids have been perfectly happy there. 1 was in IB, other is not, each one has been happy, done well. Lots of good options for HS.


Anonymous said...

I don't doubt that there could be elementary students with "notoriously severe behavior problems". My daughter had a classmate in 2nd grade that fit that description. He was sent to her school after being kicked out of another Seattle elementary. In a class with an amazing teacher, she couldn't really help him. She did manage to not suspend him from her class, although he got suspended as a result of his behavior in the lunchroom, the playground, the library, the principal's office and the bus. He was a smart kid, but defied everyone and lashed out constantly, including hitting and pinching all the other kids regularly. The teacher took the class on wonderful field trips, but could never take him, because it wouldn't be safe. This is a teacher who gave every kid affirmations weekly, but who also had her class trained to keep working quietly even when she was out of the room. It broke her heart to not be able to help this boy.
This is also a boy who owned and played R-rated video games at home as a second grader and whose parent complained that the school was just picking on her son. It was a no-win situation. The principal did something to ensure that he didn't come back the next year and all the parents and staff breathed a sigh of relief, even those of us who genuinely wished that he would get the help he obviously needed.

Anonymous said...

Momof2, a second grader is not a piece of garbage to be thrown in a can and shuttled off to the nearest landfill. Why do you think another school would be better for him? This is public school we're talking about, and parents and kids have diverse backgrounds and values. Sounds like you're looking for private school. Fact is, Stevens has all the resources it needs to deal with the absolute most severe behavioral challenges, but has repeatedly decided to steal those resources for other purposes. So no. They don't get to now cry about missing camp. And, the district has paid dearly for that bungle. Furthermore, "suspension" is no longer a tool in an elementary school's toolbox. It never was an intervention that worked, so the fact that the student you describe was suspended so often probably created the problems, and we all have to deal with this when this kid grows up. It's called the school to prison pipeline.


Anonymous said...

Out of school suspension is not recommended in most cases. In school suspension most certainly is.

Students who cause unsafe conditions for others, even if caused by their disability, most certainly can be removed from the classroom. They may also be removed from school.

Cases of out of control kids in a classroom having the right to remain in a classroom are nowhere near as clearcut as Reader wants them to be. Further, Stevens administration's failure to work through special education problems is no reason for the full cohort of 5th graders to suffer. If Gen Ed parents want this resolved they may need to go over Archer and Pritchett's heads. Lack of administrative leadership does not equal students getting a raw deal.

Been there

Anonymous said...

The entire 5th grade parent group now knows that the paperwork error cited as the reason for the camp cancellation is a bald face lie.

Of course the rumors are swirling but the gist is based in the fact that Dr. Stump's well-intentioned plan to use a progressive disciplinary plan (with an unfortunate name for those in our black community) "three strikes and your out", to deal with bullying and ensure that camp is attended only by kids who are well behaved and respectful of the opportunity, has not been supported by the School District.

So rather than being vague about this as you have been, I will tell you what I've heard and I will keep this very focused on the camp issue as this is a much bigger problem for our whole school.
1. Students that have been creating problems have already earned their three strikes which should have excluded them from attending camp.
2. Parents of these students have claimed that their kids are being targeted because of racial bias.
3. The School District has bent over to these claims and not allowed you to enforce your progressive discipline plan to exclude the bullies.
4. The two teachers, who are the only teachers supervising this camp excursion and have dealt with these super disrespectful kids in their classes
asked for additional staff backup to help manage this situation but were refused any.
5. These teachers who are only getting a token additional compensation to lead this trip, were asked to take on increased personal liability for the trip because these kids were going to be allowed to go. They wisely refused to take on the liability.
6. The school threatened to discipline these teachers for refusing to go on the field trip.
7. The teachers union has become involved. All teachers have signed a letter saying that if these two teachers get disciplined for this, they will go on strike.

1. Admin chose to force teachers to take on additional liability for this trip rather than stepping up to the plate and giving them more staff support. (Seriously? You asked them to put up with the same kids who have been telling them to go F___ themselves, alone, with no additional support? Think about it.)
2. When the teachers refused, you chose to cancel the trip rather than give them more support.
3. You lied to us in the first place and you asked us to discuss that lie with our children. It's been an interesting conversation at our house, I can tell you that much. How do you explain that your principal and assistant principal has lied? We try the truth here.
4. After a day of criticism from parents, a playground march by children and a direct meeting with kid representatives, you have not issued a retraction of your initial letter and an apology to the 5th grade parent community, the children and to your staff who you've thrown under the bus.

It seems to me there is one obvious solution here. The camp date should be retained and you and Dr. Stump should be the additional staff chaperones assigned to monitor the bullies.

This issue is not going to go away. And it's going to be a much broader discussion between Stevens parents and the School District.

Please do the right thing for our kids. Come clean about what is going on and take responsibility to fix it. Reinstate the camp trip for our kids. (By the way, I just received the Stevens Speak which says an email response about the camp was sent to 5th grade families yesterday. I did not receive it.)

There is a big teaching opportunity here. "I am your principal and I made a big mistake to tell you a lie. Here's why I did it . . . I'm sorry. Here's what I'm going to do to make it better."

-copy and paste

Melissa Westbrook said...

I have been meaning to put up the lengthy saga of the last couple of years of Stevens and non-compliance with Special Ed requirements. I had been hoping things would be getting better. But this is what happens when you have weak leadership at a school.

I would agree that it worth finding out why this student "must" go on the trip so as to figure out a plan so that everyone can go. This kind of tradition builds community for kids as they "graduate" to be able to take such a trip. Could a parent or relative of the child be asked to come along?

Anonymous said...

Nope, that would be categorized as racial bias too. Ironically, the kids at issue have bullied, verbally assaulted, and on more than one occasion got physical with kids of every color and ability. So, their bullying, harassment, and disrespect shows no bias.

While I agree that racial bias exists in this school and across this country, the bias toward these students attending camp is bias against being told to F off, having 10 year old girls being told to "suck my d*ck b@tch" or "nice @ss" or "I'd hit that", refusal to do school work, follow direction, accept support, or generally give a you know what. I could go on but you get the idea.

- copy and paste

Anonymous said...

The ignorance here is appalling. Students who are excluded follow a predictable pattern: racial minorities, students with disabilities. Right. Some kids drop F-bombs and are disrespectful. Some are extremely disrespectful. (Uh. So what?) Once again - this is not private school. And btw - neither out of school nor in-school suspension is recommended. Under federal law - in school suspension is actually the same as out of school suspension under IDEA and must follow the rules of manifestation hearings (read: huge hassle, with districts winding up having to figure out appropriate non-suspension alternatives after 10 days, or whenever a behavior is found to be a manifestation of a disability). In the case of Stevens - there really is no school next. It is the end of the road - unless they plan on sending the kid to a residential facility. (read: fat chance!)

Why "must" this student go on a field trip (camp)? Do we really still need to ask this sort of question? I guess we do. Because well, All Means All. If you can't figure out a way to build community with the whole community - then you can't go on field trips. Period. End of discussion. No it's not easy to address behavior. I never said it was. But Stevens is well resourced. It has special ed programs for the most severe students, including those with emotional and behavioral disabilities and these programs are extremely well funded. In fact, it doesn't get better than this. So there really isn't anywhere to "kick the can" to next. How about ask the PTA for extra support funding if the generous special ed funding still is inadequate? Where are all these parents when funding the needs is so apparent? Instead of complaining about the big bad district not paying for your unicorns - how about step up and pay for it yourself? Kudos to Pritchett for recognizing discrimination when she sees it. I whole heartedly agree that this type of activity is a great community builder. But, staff does have to step up and agree to it. And that means - agreeing to ALL the hard work to serve ALL the students. You can't just say - "oh yeah sure, I'll take kids to camp so long as it's only my teacher's pets (my same race)." If including everyone is too hard - then by all means - cancel it, or figure out a way to get it done. (as in, seek out other resources yourselves). And, I've been on the other end of this. If you can't figure out a way to include my kid on the field trip - then you aren't going on the field trip - I make darn sure of that. Clearly, these parents have done that too. Kudos to their advocacy.

Copy and Paste - I could go on too - but you get the idea. All means all.


Anonymous said...

The VP at Stevens has made many poor decisions in her brief tenure and she doesn't seem to be able to see the politics of her own actions. 3 strikes - really?

But more importantly, none of her actions are educational good practices. I don't know when exactly she stopped being an educator and started thinking of herself as a prison warden. To think that somebody has power over our vulnerable young students who can't consult the deep and broad evidence base for effectively addressing behaviors of concern, does it get worse than this in Seattle Public Schools? What is going on at Stevens that there is no expectation of the administration to use known to work interventions to bring about changes in behavior. Why are our students there worth so little, that the administration of SPS lets this go on?

Mourning for Stevens special need students

Anonymous said...

Anyone know why Geoff Miller has left Seattle Schools? (He was the labor relations/negotiator who worked during the strike.)


Anonymous said...

One other point copy and paste, asking parents of students with disabilities to chaperone on each and every field trip in order for their child to participate in the activity, is more than a bothersome perspective of "racial bias.". It is flat out illegal under IDEA. Students with disabilities are entitled to access to all extracurricular activities of a school with whatever support they need to fully participate. The district has even sent out memos to this effect to principals. One would hope that the same principle would hold for all students.

So no Melissa, fobbing the education off on selective parents, over and over, isn't the acceptable solution. School's gotta do the work.


Anonymous said...

Reader, I never said or implied that that very difficult child was "garbage". This is a 2nd-grader who had been expelled from another SPS school and sent to our school. As I said, the teacher was amazing and did all she could to help him be able to function in school and learn. It was difficult, given that the parent kept insisting that their son did nothing wrong, although there were many people throughout the school who were victims of his acting out.
Because the teacher knew that he would not be safe outside the school grounds, she could not take him on any field trips.

Actually, I'm shocked at the callousness with which you regard the other students at Stevens. When elementary students are sexually harassing female students, using R-rated language openly in class, bullying and harassing other students, that is not a safe environment for the other students and should not be tolerated.


Anonymous said...

Momof2, we all get it - how could anybody realistically expect educated adults and teachers no less to get ahead of the behavior of second grader. Oh those parents who are so blind. Oh the saintly teacher who "did all she could to help him be able to function in school and learn."

Clearly you and others at Stevens have made this child a scapegoat. Did you know that for the 2nd year running OSPI has found that Stevens has not met even the basis minimum expectations for serving students with special needs? You should be blaming Stevens, not the child.

Another Mom

Anonymous said...

The answer, Momof2, is education (the reason we have school) not exclusion. If a second grade student isn't safe on a field trip, you support him with an instructional assistant - you don't treat him like garbage and leave him behind where he isn't even getting a regular school day. That is ridiculous, but all too common. All schools have IAs. . And, if none are available, you hire one. How is it even possible that a 7 year old was expelled? How do even know this type of private information?

I'm actually not callous. How ironic that when everyone is excluded from an enrichment activity, even once - there's cries of injustice and callousness. But when selected groups are repeatedly excluded - nobody cares. Ever. In fact, it's expected. 3 strikes, you're out. Why not just have 1 strike?

Really? R-rated language is obnoxious, antisocial, unpleasant.... but unsafe? I think not. Get over your bias.


Anonymous said...

I am assuming that Mr. Miller (a long time labor relations person with lots of public entity experience and a law degree) didn't have an interest in working under someone with no HR experience or training at all and started making plans to leave when Brent Jones was moved out in favor of Clover Codd. SPS has had at least 10, probably closer to 15 people in that position over the years. When the head of HR is a revolving door, it is really hard to retain HR professionals who have content area expertise.

That being said, the head of communications also left. So it may be yet another mass exodus of SPS senior staff.


Anonymous said...

I don't know why an IA or other teacher couldn't go to 5th grade camp to assist with supervision. An experience like that can be very motivating to children that have a hard time in school.

It sounds like staff needs some help on setting up effective behavior plans and maybe some extra adult support in the classroom. Is there anyone who connects with this child? This is too young to be giving up on kids.


Lynn said...

Those fifth grade students at Stevens are not in the school to prison pipeline, they're in the cradle to prison pipeline. There is nothing we can do in our schools to disrupt that. As reader suggested, a residential facility is the next intervention to try - and in my opinion it would be the most likely to be successful.

Expecting your second grader not to be physically attacked at school and your ten year old not to be subjected to vile, threatening language is not evidence of elitism. Children have a right to be safe at school. (Is no one at Stevens familiar with Title IX?) If these behaviors were occurring in my child's classroom, I'd be enraged.

Melissa Westbrook said...

"Right. Some kids drop F-bombs and are disrespectful. Some are extremely disrespectful. (Uh. So what?) Once again - this is not private school."

"Really? R-rated language is obnoxious, antisocial, unpleasant.... but unsafe? I think not. Get over your bias."

Wait, what? So only private school kids and parents are allowed the expectation that foul, demeaning and yes, threatening language not be used at school? No, every school should reject that behavior and it has nothing to do with bias. It's a rule - we don't name-call or intimidate others with our language,whether it's cursing or not. That is unacceptable.

We're talking K-5 here, not a high school locker room. I was raised in a family that did not swear much at all and I was quite surprised when I got to middle school to learn some of these words. I think we should protect kids from this kind of language that can be confusing and/or not productive to learning.

"How about ask the PTA for extra support funding if the generous special ed funding still is inadequate? Where are all these parents when funding the needs is so apparent? Instead of complaining about the big bad district not paying for your unicorns - how about step up and pay for it yourself?"

What are you saying here? The PTA should pay for chaperones?

Reader, my suggestion was a suggestion. I didn't know that a suggestion that might solve the problem would get such a heated response.

Charlie Mas said...

Not taking sides here, but how does anyone know, with confidence, that the students who were supposed to be excluded from the field trip were students with disabilities - or are folks just assuming that any child with this sort of challenging behavior has an IEP?

Also, let's take a moment and consider who are the bad actors here.

It was not the teachers who excluded children from the field trip. That decision was made by the school's administration and their "three strikes" policy.

The parents of the excluded students claimed racial bias - not bias against students with disabilities.

When the students were restored to the class trip, the teachers requested additional support for the students. That seems reasonable to me. Students who need support should have it. That's a big part of how we support students with IEPs in class. As reader wrote: "All schools have IAs. . And, if none are available, you hire". The school administration, however, denied that support. What's up with that? Why would the school administration deny the support?

Then the school administration put pressure on the teachers, cancelled the trip, and published a lie about why the trip was cancelled. The teachers didn't do any of that. That's all action from the administration.

As I review the record here it seems to me that the teachers have acted responsibly and sought needed support for students while the school administration has acted horribly first by trying to exclude the students, then by refusing the needed support, then by pressuring the teachers, then by lying to the community, and finally by cancelling the trip.

Finally, on another topic, reader asked "Really? R-rated language is obnoxious, antisocial, unpleasant.... but unsafe? I think not. Get over your bias.". Please consider, reader, that the list included "sexually harassing female students" and "bullying and harassing other students", so, yes, unsafe. Please acknowledge that. Also, who are the precious unicorns in this scenario? How do you reckon it's the ordinary, well-behaved students who are not asking for any accommodations or making any demands? Neither the other kids nor their families, so far as I can tell, made the decision to exclude some children from the trip. That decision was made by the school administration. The families at Stevens do not deserve your wrath or derision.

Anonymous said...

I've been a chaperone at 5th grade camp and if the kid has oppositional defiant disorder, I would not take him. Too dangerous for him and for others. If you can't control behavior at school, I would seriously doubt anyone's ability to keep him safe at camp, where the kids are all extra stimulated and even the mildest mannered kid gets a little wild.

Really troubled kids are not just kids being kids, they many have actual mental illnesses that impact everyone around them. If the description above is accurate, other kids and the teachers in the class could have PTSD, maybe with a lower case "t" but nonetheless.

If a kid was being bullied for his race, no one would say that it was "obnoxious, but not unsafe". It would not be tolerated. Why should this kid's behavior be tolerated? Being bullied, and the target of sexually aggressive language is absolutely harmful, and the kids in that class should be protected.

My kid had a very explosive kid in her class for 3 years, who flew into a rage an average of 2x a day, requiring teacher or other staff attention for 30 minutes at a time. He was mostly angry at himself, which was super sad, but occasionally at others. But he never threatened others or used the kind of language mentioned above, and everyone (students, parents, teachers) accepted and worked with him. That was time-consuming and robbed the class of much instructional time, but was not unsafe. The behavior described above is harmful to other students, and they should not be subjected to that on a daily basis.


Anonymous said...

I agree with other people who have posted here that words do hurt, and can have lasting stress-inducing consequences. Even when some guy swears at me at an intersection or someone passes aggressively while honking, the stress stays with me for awhile. And I am a good driver with no anxiety issues. If someone said those awful things to me when I was in 5th grade, I am sure the words would have a strong negative effect.

Anonymous said...

Look Charlie. Yes I assume the student has an IEP. Here's the way it works. Students with behavioral issues are referred to SIT teams for intervention in general ed. If those interventions fail to correct the behavioral problems, the student is referred to special ed. Behavior is grounds for qualification to special education. If they are "notorious behavior problems" that are soooo over the top - then either the students are not getting the interventions they need - or they are in special education, where they can not necessarily correct the behavior (it's a disability). So - if all the facts here are correct - then yes. The student is in special education. That would be my assumption. Because, I assume the school is operating as it is supposed to operate. If it is not, then who knows? If the student has a disability - then he is entitled to the same extracurricular activities that others get - with aides and supports to make camp and all extracurricular accessible. That's simply the law. If the student is not in special education - but has uncontrollable behavior. Then the school should be providing that intervention to keep the student out of special ed. If they can not, they should be getting the child qualified for special ed. This is really simple folks. And this works everywhere else.

Right Charlie. Administration failed. Sort of. No, the district isn't going to give you extra support, because they ALREADY have support. But these types of field trips are tricky, because they are beyond the scope of all teacher contracts. Teachers and staff must agree to them as an "extra". However - teachers can not selectively choose who to serve - just because the field trip is an extra. So, if the teachers and staff can not be convince to serve all the students on an extracurricular activity - then the activity must be cancelled. This evidently is news to Stevens, but there really isn't an alternative. The district (and the school) need to come up with a way to address all the "extras" that they put on teacher's plates. But the answer can not be discrimination. Clearly it is. If Sarah Pritchett felt this was discriminatory - I believe her. Because it must have been pretty blatant discrimination for her to take note.

I encourage bloggers to consider how the kid who is left behind, time after time, feels too. That can't be a good feeling, and it doesn't develop the pro-social behaviors that we need from everybody.


Anonymous said...

All kids with disruptive behavior are assumed to have IEPs if the school is doing "right"?

Uh, no Reader. Not at all. There are a whole lot of assumptions on your part here that are a step too far in special education advocacy. Further, even if the child has an IEP, which no one on this blog should know, issues of threats to the safety of others can and do, even within the special education universe, result in limiting interaction with general education students.

Pro-social behavior does not equal a pass for unsafe student actions.


Anonymous said...

Wow, Reader. In your world, no one would ever do anything. No sports (if all kids can't participate, no one does); no highly capable programs ("my kid is just as gifted as yours -- look how well he picks his nose"); no special education (oh wait, that seems ok with you even though some kids get "more" than others).

Read "Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut to see the type of world Reader wants us to live in.


Beth Bakeman said...

Center School, billed as an arts-focused choice school, is dropping its Fine Arts program. Incoming freshman are not being notified of this. I feel really badly for incoming freshman who chose the school for this reason. They will be sadly disappointed in the fall.

Anonymous said...

The majority of issues are not related to students with IEPs.

Either way, the failure in this situation, as well as, the numerous OSPI citizens complaints are all symptoms of poor leadership.

Students deserve better.

-copy and paste

Melissa Westbrook said...

Beth, this is the second time I read about something that was "offered" during Open Enrollment, now being dropped. Not good.

Charlie Mas said...

reader, you wrote: "However - teachers can not selectively choose who to serve - just because the field trip is an extra. So, if the teachers and staff can not be convince to serve all the students on an extracurricular activity - then the activity must be cancelled."

Again you are putting this on the teachers. You wrote that the teachers can't exclude, yet, as I read the history presented here, it was not the teachers but the administration who wanted to exclude the children. You wrote that if they cannot serve ALL the students then the activity must be cancelled, and it was the teachers who followed that rule and took steps to cancel the activity. It is the teachers who are fighting for accommodations and support so the "three strikes" children can participate.

The teachers aren't saying "If these kids are in, we are out." The teachers are saying "If these kids don't get the support they need, we are out."

Why are you still trying to put this on the teachers instead of the administration?

Anonymous said...

Well Charlie, it's both. Let's talk about what we know. Teachers in SPS have ALWAYS thought they could exclude students with disabilities from field trips (and probably others too). Just because. (Not saying these kids have disabilities, just noting a history of the practice of exclusion.) We know that because of the regular happening of this phenomenon, the district even had to send a memo reminding principals: you can't say no on field trips, students with disabilities get to go and WITHOUT parent chaperones. Imagine that. The district actually admitting that it has something a responsibility it isn't meeting. We know that Stevens is VERY well resourced, with district funds. There's no reason the district should have to foot this bill. At. All. We know, in general, the district that the district is very selective in who gets served, and who gets served well in all types of education. Minorities and students with disabilities are absolute last here. We know Stevens has misused its special ed resources and has had forced the district to literally write very large checks to each and every family to provide compensatory education to students because of the TEACHERS and administration. (The teachers didn't complain when they got special ed resources to help them with other things did they?) We know that teachers shirk teaching students with disabilities and students of color routinely. We know that a "3 strikes and your out" is idiotic, and discriminatory. We know Stevens does it anyway.

In every school - (trust me, I know about this) there are students who don't want to go to camp. Who are afraid, or whatever. The teacher's role is to coax those students into the group, and make sure there's participation from all the kids, especially those who never get the opportunity. The teacher's role is NOT to selectively weed them OUT. My best guess (based on evidence and experience as a parent and a professional) is that these teachers never really wanted to teach these kids, and were shocked that they'd be expected to take them overnight. They were probably surprised that the parents would resist. The cry for more resources - is almost assuredly an attempt to pawn off the students who they never really truly accepted in the first place. So yes it's on the teachers. And yes it's on the administration. Maybe cancelling the overnight is the right thing for this divided community. Maybe the administration is actually right for a change.