Advanced Learning Work Session

Update 2:  Wyeth Jessee is laying the groundwork for basicallyl race and equity (and, oh by the way, there are a lot of kinds of giftedness, not just academics.  Look, a squirrel.

I should not be surprised that this is happening. They don't want to really talk about this program, the meltdown of Spectrum, etc.

I'll try to stay to the bitter end but I'm really unhappy with this direction.

Update: Well, the gang's all here.  I have never seen so many staff for a Work Session about a program.  The budget?  Sure but there are staff lining the walls.  I also see Phyllis Compano from the SEA.

End of update

I'll be doing a little bit of blogging from the meeting.

A couple of items of note:

- There is to be an "external facilitator" for this portion of the Work Session, Pat Hughes form Trillium Leadership Consulting.  The agenda for this seems different from the PowerPoint so I'm a bit confused.  (Director Harris says the Board asked for a facilitator.)

- Director Peters came with no less than 5 handouts of her own.  The recs from the Advanced Learning Program Task Force from 2012, Advanced Learning Task Force Report and Recs from 2014, the RCW and WAC for Highly Capable and a document labeled, "Myths about Gifted Students" from NAGC (National Organization for Gifted Children.)

- There is also a handout (separate from AL) called 2016-2017 Key Interrelated Activities/Decisions which lists "Key Annual Activities" and "Key 2016-2017 Activities."  One of the "key" ones is Cascadia.


Another Name said…
I am a bit disheartened that a group from TM advocates against the use of private testing. Information provided private testing is enormously helpful. Private testing should be expanded and it would be wonderful if the PTA would help cover costs.
kellie said…
I find it a wee bit silly that Cascadia is one of the six critical activities for 2016. SPS is opening TWO brand new middle schools. I would have thought that getting both Meany and Eaglestaff updated with current data would have been a critical activity.

Cascadia is currently 30 homerooms at Lincoln. The new Cascadia building has 30 homerooms plus significant PCP spaces. With al of the crazy capacity problems all around the district, how did this one item get put at the level of Key Strategic Priority.

Anonymous said…
@kellie--because people are under the wrong impression that students at Cascadia get more than others, so in the name of "equity" they intend to blow it up. The coyotes are circling the prey. Rather than making advanced learning more accessible, they are trying to constrict access and reduce delivery of HCC programs.

Joanna said…
Melissa, thank you for watching this and blogging. I have not watched as closely as I should and am concerned about the types of cohorts for both HC and Spectrum are projected for Washington. I suppose I will find myself writing someone an email. They should stream these work sessions or someone should video tape them. Seattle Schools is a large enough public organization and taxing district that streaming these meetings should definitely happen. I also question that they do not stream or video tape committee meetings.
Cascadia mom said…
We are one of the underrepresented minorities at Cascadia and our child is thriving in the program. What a shame to not support such a crucial program for students that need it.
Anonymous said…
It's a small group of vocal and political parents who are mad that despite efforts to recruit underrepresented minority students, the program is comprised primarily by white students. Why not look at ways to improve access rather than denying needs?

Don't getIt
So Cascadia Mom, two things.

1. I think the district "supports" the program in theory (and by law.) But I think they want to provide it in a different way without fully explaining that out loud.
2. I would love to talk with you about your experience and what you think might encourage other parents to enroll.
Anonymous said…
Yes, we need these important meetings streaming live so there is visibility, as not everyone can get down to JSCEE in time. Who do we contact to get that done?
Anonymous said…
Of course they don't want to talk about it - because deep down some of the staff know they've dropped yet another ball - lip service is sooo much cheaper than actual service after all. In this and many many other areas of SPS.

It would all be so much simpler if SPS had a motto like Doctors "first do no harm". Stop pitting one population against another because doesn't the tagline say something about "every child"? Not only the easy-to-educate ones but EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.

Anonymous said…
Who is easy to educate?

Anonymous said…
Wait what is Wyeth Jesse laying the groundwork for? What is he going to do?

Really wish I could have gone. Thank you.

Anonymous said…
Been saying this all along and now it's clear: SPS wants to kill off advanced learning and say they'll offer it through computerized "personalized learning" in neighborhood school classrooms. This will be justified by "equity" concerns. I hope HCC/AL parents are ready because if Wyeth Jessee and Larry Nyland and Michael Tolley get their way, there will no advanced learning left in SPS. At all.

Non-HCC Parent
Anonymous said…
Look at the option elem school on Queen Anne....

Plug Emin!
Another Name said…
I agree that these meetings should be recorded. It seems there is a group of teachers and a small group of vocal parents pushing this issue. How many people are in advanced learning???
Lynn said…
I really appreciate Sue Peters not allowing staff to bias the directors's decisions by providing incomplete information.
Anonymous said…
"because people are under the wrong impression that students at Cascadia get more than others, so in the name of "equity" they intend to blow it up. The coyotes are circling the prey. Rather than making advanced learning more accessible, they are trying to constrict access and reduce delivery of HCC programs."

WTH - who are these coyotes? Really!? People want better testing and identification, more diversity in the cohort, and more access to advanced learning in neighborhood schools. Hardly blowing it up.

Charlie Mas said…
No TNT, you are very likely correct. But what people want and what their efforts cause are two different things.

People want better testing, but the test is not to blame for the results. The test has been scrupulously checked and cleared of bias. If you have a specific complaint about the test, then state it.

People want better identification, but they can't describe what that better identification would be. Can you? For my part, I suggest that Spectrum/ALO drop all eligibility requirements and allow people to self-select for the service. Then apply exit criteria.

People want more diversity in the cohort but cannot say how to create that. The district only identifies the students; it doesn't create them. There are some real issues around poverty and the impact of poverty on children's development, but no one seems to want to talk about economic differences when all they can see is racial differences.

As for access to advanced learning in neighborhood schools, it sounds lovely in theory, but in practice it isn't reliable. Schools claim to offer advanced learning, but they don't really.
Anonymous said…
Mr. Jesse is the consummate doublespeak mouthpiece for the district. If Jesse does for AL what he did for SPED, then AL is finished.

Over the past two years Jesse has attended numerous SPED settlement conferences where he belittles parents concerns and blames students. His dialog is more like he and the district are victims rather than in public service for disabled children.

"We supply IAs for these kiddos, we are over generous","OSPI is usually wrong" , "Parents get hysterical and therefore can see the facts".

Don't you think it's time to fightback.

Wouldn't it be great to see a director show-up at any meeting with a mountain of documentation like Citizen complaints, Administrative hearing decisions, OCR filings or statistics on SPED students?

AL domed

Anonymous said…
I completely agree with Charlie. I think self selecting service for spectrum and applying exit criteria is a great suggestion. "There are some real issues around poverty and the impact of poverty on children's development, but no one seems to want to talk about economic differences when all they can see is racial differences." Yup.
Does not provide a justification to not provide an appropriate education for kids who need it. I have also sensed resentment toward HCC kids from district staff, add Jon Halfaker to your list non-HCC parent.
Lynn said…
I would like to see Jill Geary take a more active role in the oversight of special education services. There is plenty of support for the need for a more hands-on approach in this area.
Anonymous said…
What was the outcome of the AL work session. Did they "make sense of the data" or figure out their "next steps" as planned? Did they accomplish anything, or was it just an effort by staff to lay the groundwork for their unspoken agenda?

Sad Face
Anonymous said…
Of course they didn't accomplish anything - I seriously doubt that was the goal of Staff (though few would openly admit it). The amount of time spent talking about this stuff is in direct reverse proportion to what classrooms need. Its always a game and the winner is never the kids/classroom. They'll pretend it is. But it won't be now or tomorrow or 3 years from now.

Charlie Mas said…
Again and again we see that, when it comes to Advanced Learning, the District is only interested in who is in the classroom and has no interest in what happens in the classroom.

Again and again we see that, when it comes to who is in the classroom, the District only views demographics through a race lens and no other.

Let me summarize slides 4-10: The District is committed to equitable access. Okay. Given the sincerity of this commitment, can we not safely conclude that access to advanced learning is equitable? If it is not equitable, then the problem isn’t a problem for the Board to address. The Board works at the policy level, and at the policy level, the emphasis on equitable access is clear. That’s where all of these quotes came from – policies. If there is a problem with equitable access, the problem is with the staff, who set the identification criteria and procedures.

Slides 11-16: Multi-tiered System of Support (MTSS). MTSS has absolutely nothing to do with advanced learning. The policy that addresses MTSS, 2163, makes no reference to MTSS being used to identify a need for advanced learning nor as a process for delivering advanced learning. Policy 2163 specifically authorizes the Superintendent “to identify students who are at risk of academic or behavioral problems and thereby in need of scientific research-based interventions.” It does not authorize the Superintendent to do anything about advanced learning or use MTSS for advanced learning.

The Superintendent procedure for 2163 is also very clear that MTSS is “to identify students who are at risk of not making expected academic and behavioral gains.” The procedure says that the process “may be used for the identification of students with a specific learning disability”. The procedure calls for Tier II intervention supports only for “Students falling below district developed benchmark scores”. From the procedure: “Interventions are defined as a changed in instruction to a student in the area of learning or behavioral difficulty to improve performance and accelerate progress to end-of-year benchmarks.”

The procedure also says that “The student’s parents will be included in the development and review of the intervention supports and provided results of the repeated assessments.” Is that happening in the schools that claim to be using MTSS to deliver advanced learning?

So let’s not have any delusions or misunderstandings. In Seattle Public Schools, MTSS is NOT a tool for delivering advanced learning. Everything shown on these slides that suggests otherwise is false and without any basis in Seattle Public Schools policy or procedure.

Charlie Mas said…

Slide 18: Spectrum is listed on this slide along with ALO and HC, but while both ALO and HC are described, Spectrum is not. What is Spectrum and how is it different from ALO?

Slide 21: Accessibility and Support for Families and Students. The District wants to congratulate itself for having referral forms in multiple languages. Here’s a question: Why is there such a complicated referral form at all? Why is the referral form anything more than “I nominate my child for testing for HC eligibility”?

Slide 22-26. These slides disaggregate the demographics of the District and advanced learners by race. Not by any other factor, only by race. This creates the illusion that race is a factor in eligibility or influences eligibility. There is no similar set of pie charts for economic differences or disability differences. No meaningful conclusion can be taken from this data.

Slide 28 is unclear. It appears to show that, in 2015, there were 716 Asian students in grades 3-8, a little over 20% of them, who were AL eligible while only 545, a little over 15% of them, scored better than the 87th percentile in both the math and ELA SBAC tests. This suggests that a lot of the AL eligible students didn’t perform well enough on the tests to re-qualify if they had to. Is that what this chart means?

Slide 30: Considerations for Next Steps. This slide looks to address some problem other than the central problem in advanced learning: the fact that much of advanced learning doesn’t actually exist. Instead, they are concerned about addressing issues around eligibility procedures, and structure and definition. Well, when it comes to the structure and definition of HC services, there isn’t much trouble, but advanced learning, outside of HCC, is desperately in need of structure and definition as it has none.

I don't know who called for this work session or what they wanted to discuss, but I don't see any attention paid to the central issues in Advanced Learning, and that central issue is NOT equitable access.
Charlie is quite right on all counts.

I will do a write-up of the session but frankly, it was yet another epic fail as a Work Session. The room was full of hot air on AL and I think the directors all saw that.

NOTHING got accomplished. Absolutely nothing.
Marc said…
The presentation and data analysis prepared by Advanced Learning for the meeting were very poor. If someone asked me to make an executive decision based on that type of analysis, I would refuse. This has been going on now for years.

Before making any significant changes to the status quo, the board needs to consider again engaging a third party to conduct a review.

Marc is right - have a REAL outsider look at the program. This has never happened and the Board needs to see what other districts do and how they do it. There were a couple of references to other districts but not in a truly helpful manner.

I wish I had the time to do a good check of successful AL programs, both locally and nationwide, but I don't. But this is info the Board needs.
Anonymous said…
What's not included in the slides (but maybe was clarified in the actual presentation?) makes for a misleading presentation.

- Not all appeals include private testing. We don't know if the appeals were based on additional achievement testing, additional ability testing, both, or some other documentation. How many appealed through private testing and how many through district testing?

- The demographic breakdown is for how many students appealed. For successful appeals, was the breakdown similar?

- The appeals are for all of AL, not just HCC. How many successful appeals were for HCC and is it a significant number compared to the total number of newly eligible students?

- Eligibility is based on BOTH 1) achievement and 2) ability (CogAT). The "Advanced Learning Achievement" slide is doubly confusing as it compares %eligible for both HC and Spectrum (based on both SBAC and CogAT) vs %meeting Spectrum achievement levels (SBAC only). If you were just looking at Spectrum eligibility, or just HC eligibility, won't there always be a difference in those meeting both CogAT and achievement cutoffs vs those just meeting achievement cutoffs? The 2015-16 eligibility is based on 2015 SBA, so they are not comparing performance on different test administrations (as some have interpreted the graph).

What was the point of this presentation, again?

-nothing new
Anonymous said…
Correction - The 2015-16 eligibility would be based on the 2014 SBA, so there is a comparison across years, but they are still comparing eligibility (achievement AND ability) vs achievement testing only.

Anonymous said…
The "Advanced Learning Achievement" slide is doubly confusing as it compares %eligible for both HC and Spectrum (based on both SBAC and CogAT) vs %meeting Spectrum achievement levels (SBAC only).

And of course none of the eligible students in the graph actually became eligible using SBAC scores, since it's data from the first time SBAC was given using kids who were already enrolled in AL.

Anonymous said…
Note to Marc and Melissa: From the Powerpoint, it does not look as though AL asked for a decision of any sort except the following: (The boldface is mine.)

Considerations for Next Steps
The Advanced Learning Department could further
investigate one of the options below using data, research,
and modeling:
1) Eligibility procedures
2) Structure and definition of Highly Capable Services
3) Structure and definition of Advanced Learning

From the presentation itself it seems clear that the one option AL wants to be chosen is 1) Eligibility. There was close to zero Powerpoint content about the other two items.

Further, AL is nowhere in the Board-Staff strategic initiatives for the year, (and senior staff seem uninterested in it) but inequity/achievement gap is at the top of the strategic priority list.

Given all these facts, if time and resources are spent on anything other than further refining of entrance to the program in the next year or two, I'll be shocked. In terms of program delivery it will be same old, same old. Then either the board or top district staff will change, and AL will be pushed down the priority list again.

It is interesting that the Thurgood Marshall committee took it upon themselves to look into the eligibility issue and having read the report I give the group props. There won't be consensus on this blog or within SPS on its conclusion, but it is more thought and research than has come out of the AL administrative offices or other SPS offices. Will it get visibility within SPS management? Who knows. But if an internal group, having produced a thoughtful report, can't get traction, I'd call the hope of spending money and time on an outside audit to be a wild goose chase.

The other incredibly pressing issue of where to place HCC students didn't make this presentation, either. Because a separate SPS department oversees those decisions, it meant there was no visibility about the problem to the Board on the one day they were somewhat focused on the topic of AL. Really disappointing as the shuffle of kids between buildings, with HCC being a huge puzzle piece, will impact students within and not within the HCC program this spring.

Again, I need to do a write-up but several directors want AL to be elevated to a SMART goal. So yes, I think something is going to happen (if that happens) but when is a good question.
Anonymous said…
Melissa: SPS staff gets away pointing to CSIPs as evidence that all schools have ALOs that address accelerated needs - the biggest pile of BS I've heard in awhile from downtown and everyone just nods. Go read them to see how deep the BS is stacked.

A SMART goal this year equals staff scurrying next year and maybe some change in something the year after. That's before all the politics surrounding HCC come into play.

Another year or three more of the same in HCC from my perch. More if the AL staff quits over coming up with a plan. The general education portion of SPS does not support the HCC part so the AL staff is set up to fail no matter what action they tiptoe into taking. HCC is possibly more messed up than SPED in SPS and that certainly is an achievement. Now that we have one administrator - Wyeth - overseeing both programs the results for kids given past history means there's nowhere to go but down.

Anonymous said…
I'm sorry I don't believe the board will do anything meaningful. Supposedly this is the most cohesive think board in the last 15 years yet nothing seems to be progressing. The administration continues to steamroll over the board or were we fooled in the last election?

Ed voter
Anonymous said…
So was this just a general discussion with no changes (eligibility related or other) planned for this year? Or is there a next step planned that might affect the program in the near term?
Anonymous said…
" Anonymous Lynn said...

I would like to see Jill Geary take a more active role in the oversight of special education services. There is plenty of support for the need for a more hands-on approach in this area."

I think we will be holding our collective breath a very long time before Gerry does anything remarkable. Please Jill prove me wrong!

Anonymous said…
Seriously. Jill Geary is proving to be quite a disappointment. She talked a big game on the campaign trail of holding SPS staff accountable. So far...nothing.

Disappointed Dad
Charlie Mas said…
There are a number of points that need to be clearly stated.

A. The Board, through policy, has made it abundantly clear that they demand equitable access to programs and services. If there is any flaw in the equity in access to Highly Capable services or Advanced Learning, all of the blame for that inequity is on the Superintendent and the staff. For them to complain to the Board about it is madness.

B. The Board, in response to the complaints from the community, are asking the Superintendent and the Staff to make two changes in HC and AL:

1. Establish and maintain actual programs and services that actually provide appropriate advanced learning opportunities to students on a reliable basis.

2. Provide equitable access to those programs and services.

C. Intelligence is dynamic. Foster it and it will grow. Starve it and it will diminish. The under-representation of FRL students in HC and AL is a natural result of this dynamism. Poverty has consequences for child development. The racial demographics of the program are a result of the correlation between race and affluence throughout the nation, not the result of bias within Seattle or Seattle public schools.

D. Whether a student's readiness is a result of native talent or good preparation by the student's family doesn't matter. Even if the readiness were the result of a bite from a radioactive spider, if the student is ready to succeed with the advanced curriculum, then the student should be in the program. Likewise it doesn't matter if a student's lack of readiness were due to a lack of native talent or a lack of preparation by the student's family (or any other means), if the student isn't ready to succeed with the curriculum, then the student shouldn't be in the program.

E. Seattle Public Schools assesses for academic giftedness because the HC program is for students who are academically gifted. The district does not assess for other types of giftedness because the district does not have a program for other types of giftedness.

Charlie Mas said…

F. Equity advocates say that a student should have equitable access to programs and services regardless of their zip code - unless, of course, we're talking about advanced learning. In that case access should be determined by zip code. This position is without principle or logic. Similarly, equity advocates say that poverty has consequences for child development, except when it comes to advanced learning. They unreasonably expect FRL students to be proportionately represented in HC and AL.

G. Eligibility for Highly Capable services, Highly Capable Cohort, Spectrum, and Advanced Learning is not a prize. It is a pedagogical accommodation to meet students' academic needs. It is not something "more" or "better" any more than Bilingual education or Special Education is something "more" or "better". Moreover, the state has determined that it is a required element of basic education for the students who need it. The misguided perspective that advanced learning eligibility is a prize leads people to mistaken conclusions.

H. The District strongly supports Standards, academic expectations, and a well-defined, written, taught, tested, and enforced curriculum for every student in the District - except for advanced learners. The lack of a curriculum for advanced learning represents a tragic failure by the District which needs to be corrected without further delay.

I. The District's expectation that every teacher develop their own parallel curriculum for advanced learners is unreasonable and misguided. It guarantees that almost no students will be served and that none will be served reliably.

J. MTSS was never designed as a delivery model for advanced learning. MTSS in Seattle Public Schools has no mission to deliver advanced learning. None of the District policy or procedure about MTSS makes any reference to advanced learning. SPS policies and procedures make it clear that MTSS is strictly about addressing the academic and behavioral needs of students working below grade level. MTSS is not a reliable delivery model for advanced learning because it is the wrong tool for the job and because the District is incapable of implementing MTSS.
Charlie Mas said…
Access to HC and AL is inequitable. The District can take positive steps to improve the equity.

There are a number of unnecessary barriers to participation in HC and AL that should be removed. The nomination process is unnecessarily complicated and should be simplified.

It cannot be neglected that school staff in low income communities, many of whom speak disparagingly of the programs, create barriers to entry to the programs for students in their schools. That needs to stop. School staff should be required to advise families of the opportunity and should be making many more nominations themselves.

Students should be allowed to self-select for participation in Spectrum and ALO. No testing required, no eligibility requirement other than the willingness to attempt the curriculum.

The District needs to deliver a written, taught, and tested curriculum for HC - AS PROMISED - and for AL as well. Service is highly inequitable as it varies from teacher to teacher and school to school because there is no set of academic expectations and no shared lesson plans.

The District needs to do more to provide ALL teachers with professional development around the identification and instruction of advanced learners.
Anonymous said…
Thank you, Charlie. The NE ALO school we left has begun walk to math with deeper instruction at grade level and refers to this as an extension opportunity. I believe they are taking their time because they want to do this right and they are having to create their own curriculum. I believe they intend to stretch students with acceleration by learned concept, not just grade skipping. I think the teachers are doing their best, and their reluctance is coming from a good place.

If there is an expectation from the principal, district, and families that these neighborhood schools provide advanced learning, we all need to get real and give our teachers the tools they need to succeed, including: training, curriculum, goals, expectations and time. They severely lack time.

Regarding equity in AL: I am not speaking for myself, but my good friends and a few family members who are very poor, some of them African American, really really on their community for their happiness and sense of being grounded and safe. We had a difficult time switching schools and going to Cascadia, but it works for us. My friends and family would NEVER make that choice. They have tried living in Sand Point and around the University, but left for areas in South Seattle because they feel happier living around more diversity. Culture is huge for them, so creating closer, smaller, easier to access programs forvthat community with people from their tribe so they don't feel alone and so they can help each other by talking together about their experience and share carpooling and childcare. Creating an AL feeder program that is culturally comfortable for this population may work. Expecting them to move their kids out of a school they love will always go against what they would feel is okay. Home life is turbulent, school is often the one calm and predictable place. My family and friends would do anything to keep school a calm, predictable and nurturing place for their kids. To be honest, the HCC program is anything but predictable with the district moving it around every two to three years and blatantly trying to choke resources to the program.

Then there's the cool factor. That is societal. I'm surprised nobody is talking about the cool factor.

kellie said…
E. Seattle Public Schools assesses for academic giftedness because the HC program is for students who are academically gifted. The district does not assess for other types of giftedness because the district does not have a program for other types of giftedness.

This is the key point. The current program is for academic giftedness. There are other types of giftedness. You make programs for other types of giftedness by making a program for that type of giftedness, not by dismantling the academic giftedness program.

Overall enrollment growth in SPS has been pretty close to projections. However, there has been some really big gaps in the "where." Enrollment in South Seattle has been stable and the growth has been mostly in NE Seattle, the N portion of West Seattle and QA/M. This means that while there is a capacity crunch overall, there are some pockets of capacity in South Seattle, where pilot programs for other types of giftedness could be created.

IMHO, the real problem is always the same. MONEY. It takes money to solve problems. It takes money to solve problems related to poverty.

But it is absolutely free to make a powerpoint that criticizes the status quo without creating any meaningful change.

But in the long run, this is not really free. HCC at Lincoln has the lowest per student operating cost of any school. That savings is then available elsewhere in the budget. It would be pretty easy to just make a budget that says this is how much less than average we spend at HCC @ Lincoln/Cascadia and use that as a budget for some pilot program.

Anonymous said…
I never heard what the outcome of the meeting was? What did the board say to the presenters? What's next? Are they changing any policy? Is something happening in closed door meetings and this presentation was a front?

I'm not opposed to change, I just want to know what direction the wind is blowing and get a sense of some timelines.

Tax Me
Anonymous said…
"Regarding equity in AL: I am not speaking for myself, but my good friends and a few family members who are very poor, some of them African American, really really on their community for their happiness and sense of being grounded and safe. We had a difficult time switching schools and going to Cascadia, but it works for us. My friends and family would NEVER make that choice."
WTH-- I agree. I have a niece had kids in her teens (kids F & R lunch eligible) who switched her bright kids to a school in her community as she felt the more affluent school's parents had nothing in common with her. Although her father was 1/2 native (died when she was a baby), making her 1/3, she looks and identifies as white. She mentioned the community at the school can better relate to her struggles and she feels they do not look at her as (her quote) "white trash".
Anonymous said…
I have never found the community at Cascadia to be anything other than welcoming. One thing that sets the community apart at Cascadia is that there are a lot of out-of-the-box people, people who are self-employed, artists, people of accomplishment in diverse fields, people who have unusual hobbies or jobs. While there is no question the students come overwhelmingly from better-off white families, it is by no means homogeneous, and there are still 2E kids, a wide range of income levels, and people of all backgrounds attending and working there.

I think a lot of families who are faced with the decision whether or not to switch to the self-contained HCC programs also ask themselves the question whether my child will thrive socially in that environment, whether the community there feels welcoming or something that we will feel part of. That is a question anyone asks when faced with a choice of schools. Cascadia does involve serious downsides: the school is huge, which isn't the right fit for some kids; some grades have 7 or 8 classrooms, so kids may lose touch with kids they made friends with previously year to year; it can be hard for parents to find a community there because the student body lives all over the city; the school can be far away for most people, and almost all kids have to take the bus to school; etc. But kids who need HC services NEED them, and kids who floundered at geozone schools often do much better at Cascadia, and that is why people send their kids there. If you could send your kid to a geozone school where he or she could thrive, wouldn't you do that instead?

Simon M.
Anonymous said…
"Although her father was 1/2 native (died when she was a baby), making her 1/3, she looks and identifies as white." Uh...making her 1/4. sorry for typo.
Anonymous said…
I was told that Geary's husband is a republican real estate developer and she is really a secret charter school supporter. Don't except her to rock the boat, she has higher political aspirations.

Anonymous said…
@Simon--I wasn't trying to say the community at Cascadia isn't welcoming, I want to be sure I don't come across that way. I just think there are different strokes for different folks and when someone is facing instability or insecurity at home, or believes their student will learn better when he/she is happiest and they are happiest with peers of similar racial and SES even more than with academic peers...and the best way to create a bridge for those advanced learners is to bring services to their comfort zone.

Anonymous said…

Seriously? In a city run by and for the far left, you're insinuating that the SPS mess is attributable to Republican boogeymen?

Anonymous said…
I never wrote that Geary is responsible for anything. Just poising the question if what I was told at the Roanoke community meeting was possibly true. The person told me Geary said her husband was a Republican and worked in development, but she was a Democrat. When you look back at her campaign and it's contributors, it's my opinion based on what I saw that she is looking beyond SPS. OSPI perhaps? She will remain very neutral meaning she will not show up at buildings screaming into a megaphone! I guess will see what she is made of over the next 3 years.

Anonymous said…
kellie @ 8:11
You stated that HCC at Lincoln has the lowest per student operating cost of any school. But did you consider that Cascadia has the smallest percentages of kids that require special education or ELL services among the elementary schools?

-Data Insider
Anonymous said…
It actually has a higher percentage of kids needing special education services than the first to elementaries I checked- Bryant and Loyal Heights.

Fact check
Anonymous said…
I'm not going to mention names, but it sure seems like many board members are simply going thru the motions.

Maybe they just needed a year to get going. Fingers cross.

Misrepresenting Lohman said…
E. Seattle Public Schools assesses for academic giftedness because the HC program is for students who are academically gifted. The district does not assess for other types of giftedness because the district does not have a program for other types of giftedness.

As kellie said as well, this is the key point.

FWIW and the HCC equity report continue to cite Lohman to claim HCC identification is "statistically invalid". But in the FIRST point of the POLICY section of the Lohman paper cited by the "Equity Committee", Lohman writes this:

Suggestions for Policy
How can educators implement a policy consistent with the principles outlined here?
1. What are the purposes of the TAG program? Is the emphasis on T (Talent) or
G (Gifted)? Is the goal to identify and serve those students who demonstrate unusually
high levels of academic ability and accomplishment? If so, then traditional procedures of
identifying and serving academically "gifted" students can be used. Poor and minority
students will be included in this group, although not at a level that approaches their
representation in the population. Attempts to achieve greater minority representation by
using nonverbal tests and other measures that are not good measures of scholastic
aptitude will indeed include more ELL students in the program. Unfortunately, these will
not in general be the most academically promising students. On the other hand, if the
goal is to identify the most academically talented students in underrepresented
populations regardless of current levels of academic attainment, then procedures like
those outlined in this paper will be more successful.
Anonymous said…
Thank you, @ Misrepresenting Lohman. I posted that same quote elsewhere, in response to FWIW's incessant drumbeat of local norms, local norms, local norms. Local norms ONLY make sense if you have appropriate services to offer to those less-qualified (but still talented and potentially academically gifted) students. If all you have is a program based on acceleration, it would actually INEQUITABLE to place these underrepresented students in such a program, which is designed to be appropriate for more academically advanced students. You either need a parallel program that focuses more on talent development to help bring these students up to HCC level, or you need to provide intensive supplemental services to them in conjunction with HCC. Since we don't have the resources and/or political will for either, the use of local norms is not the answer to our problems.

Anonymous said…
Simon- Ditto what WTH said. My niece is also more comfortable within a community/economic culture of people to whom she can relate.
Anonymous said…
Fact Check @ 11:51
There are many levels of special education services. Most kids IEPs are supported by communications and motor services and the costs of those services are not counted in the school's bottom line. For those kids that need at least SM1 level support, there are additional teachers and IAs that count against the buildings overall costs.

Therefore I should have been more specific that Cascadia has the lowest percentage of kids that require at minimum SM1 special education services.

Based on the 16-17 budget allocations per the elementary schools, Loyal Heights was allocated 2.6 Special Education teachers and 6 FTE IA's. Based on staffing costs, thats an extra $1400 per student at the school. Cascadia had 1.2 special education teachers and 1 IA allocated for their 788 students which only added an additional $217 per student. That difference is a reason why Cascadia has the lowest cost per student among the elementary schools.

-Data Insider
Well, I will address different kinds of giftedness that were discussed at the AL work session. Apparently, there may be other kinds of giftedness considered like artistic.

It's a worthy idea except that it's totally out of left field and the real issue is two-fold; the program is a mess and it doesn't serve enough children of color.
Anonymous said…
I don't understand the attack on Jill based on her husband...not only seems irrelevant, but a tad "man rules the roost" for me. 1) SPS board is a non-partisan position. 2) I care what she thinks, not her husband...I didn't elect him. 3) I know many Democrats who are charter school supporters, so I don't see charters as a Republican platform, and 4) she appears to be busting her buns getting out to many, many meetings. Props to her for putting in the effort to be a thoughtful and representative leader.

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