Friday Memo from October 7

The October 7 Friday Memo is now available and makes for interesting reading.

Whatever anyone else took away from the October 5 Work Session on Advanced Learning, here's what Dr. Nyland took away from it:
Board discussions highlighted issues such as:
  • Desire to clarify the services received in Highly Capable; Advanced Learning and Spectrum
  • Starting our program reviews with Highly Capable
  • Considering added testing that would better identify students of color; creativity and twice exceptional.
  • Making this a District SMART goal for 2017-18
Dr. Nyland notes that Eliminating Opportunity Gaps has been a Board goal for three years. In fact, it has been a Board goal for fifteen years. That's one of the problems with having no institutional memory: you don't know how long you've been kicking the can down the road.

Mr. Tolley's part of the memo has a self-contradictory answer to a question about site-based decision making.
He wrote:
We are moving gradually from site-based to a more consistent, accountable system of schools. Under prior administrations, principals were seen as CEOs of their schools which resulted in principals and schools being in direct competition with each other for enrollment and limited resources. Since that time, federal standards, testing, and certification requirements that did not exist at that time have been added. As a system, the School District is moving towards greater consistency in Comprehensive School Improvement Plans (CSIPs), Multi-tiered Systems of Supports (MTSS), Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), Formative Assessments, Early Release/Late Starts, and High School Scheduling. 
A foundational element of the collective bargaining agreement between Seattle Public Schools (SPS) and the Seattle Education Association (SEA) is site-based decision making. Buildings, through the site-based decision making process, have direct input on school budget development, scheduling, and professional development.
So we're moving towards more standardized systems, but the principals have license to do whatever they want, so we're not really moving towards more standardized systems at all.

There is a lot of blather about Executive Directors of Schools, but nothing that offers any reason for confidence. Mr. Tolley describes the role of the EDS as "to support building principals as instructional leaders while at the same time clarifying their role as leaders of central office." So no mention of any actual supervisory role or enforcement role.

The District knows that people are using Math in Focus because they are ordering new consumable workbooks. That's their evidence. They did not, of course, interview any (ick) teachers or visit any (ewww) classrooms.


Carol Simmons said…
Thank you Charlie,

Have you ever requested a personal meeting with Superintendent Nyland? How I wish that you,(obviously on a conference call), Melissa, Chris Jackins, Sarah Sense Wilson, Jesse Hagopian and Dr. Larry Matsuda would all meet in person with Dr. Nyland and Board President Betty Patu. When the Opportunity/Disproportionality Gap was addressed by the District in 1975,the first Disproportionality Task Force was formed and Recommendations were made in 1978 to eliminate the Disproportionality Gap. These Recommendations were passed by the School Board and never implemented in the schools. They are still relevant. Does the Board or Superintendent even know what they were or where they are? Are there any plans to restore the District Data Profile Document? A group of highly respected School District observers such as yourselves who are sincerely interested in the District Disproportionality issues, as well as other issues would be so very important to the success of achieving the Goals of the District. One can dream.
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