Seattle Schools This Week

Update 2: to include items from BEX Oversight Committee meeting on Friday.)

(Updated to include analysis of the Board meeting on Wednesday.)

Monday, Oct. 10th
Curriculum and Instruction Committee meeting from 4:40-6:30 pm in the Board conference room.  Agenda

Of note:
- Equitable Access Quarterly report
- K-5 LA adoption update
- Math adoption and "cycle of inquiry outline update" From the minute of the last meeting there was this: 
Ms. Toner noted outlier schools are doing well in middle school math, and to do a case study to see the success, study those conditions that are in place, and define next steps. She discussed the need to dig deep in to this to see what ingredients are in play- leadership, teacher capacity, and student engagement interactions.
Dr. Kinoshita noted that there are certain populations within other schools that are having success as well, that it is not just at the outlier schools. He noted the need to not to jump to solutions before really knowing what the problem is, and noted the need to be more thoughtful on what gets to the high level of student achievement in math. Dr. Kinoshita noted the need to dig a little deeper, as it may or may not have to do with the curriculum. He would like to be more confident before moving forward. Dr. Kinoshita noted that there is no question that this is an old curriculum, but they still want to see what other factors are out there.
As well the minutes reflect this on MTSS:
Ms. Toner noted last year 20 schools participated in the formative practices institutes, who met quarterly. She noted this year 24 new schools signed up to participate, and 8 are in their 2nd year of participation.
Dir. Harris asked what happened that only 8 schools are continuing from the 20 last year. Ms. Toner noted the growth opportunity in communicating to schools that this is ongoing work, some is budgeting questions, and also helping the schools understand the longevity of the commitment to the work.
Mr. Jessee noted that the schools felt that they were not sure that the funding would continue, so schools moved on as they only have so much time with staff and engaging in this work.
If MTSS is an unfunded mandate by the district, then I don't what they expect the schools to do.  Once again, it sounds like a Sophie's choice for schools. 

I also see, once again, that Director Harris points out that staff continues to give the Board information at the last minute.  It leaves almost no time for reading and pondering the information before Committee members need to give feedback.

Tuesday, Oct. 11th
The final Growth Boundaries Information meeting, this one at Denny Int'l Middle School from 6:30-7:30 pm.

Wednesday, Oct. 12th
School Board meeting, starting at 4:15 pm.  Agenda (I will be reviewing the agenda tonight.)
I am going to write a separate thread on a couple of glaring issues in the agenda but here are some other highlights.

- in honor of Indigenous Peoples' Day, Haida students from South Shore K-8 will provide the student presentation.  As well, the agenda includes a vote on a resolution put forth by Director Pinkham in support of federal recognition of the Duwamish nation.

- presentation of the Internal Audit and Ethics annual report.  The agenda also has an item on the Consent agenda is a correction to the Board policy on Ethics (5251) to:
The current Ethics Policy does not require an annual report from the Ethics Officer. Previously, when the City of Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission served as the District’s Ethics Officer, an annual report was required by the contract between the District and the City. When the District terminated the contract with the City, the annual reporting requirement was eliminated. 

The proposed amendments would ensure that the School Board receives an annual ethics report, regardless of who is serving as the District’s Ethics Officer.
- a vote to accept a $300,000 grant from the Satterberg Foundation in support of the program supporting Aki Kurose, Denny and Mercer.  The grant, the Feeder Elementary Grant, would likely serve the elementary schools that feed into those middle schools.  I'm a little puzzled/underwhelmed by what will be done:
In alignment with the theory of action for the Nesholm Foundation, the Feeder Elementary Grant would focus on: developing teachers’ knowledge, skills and practices in reading and writing instruction; maintaining high professional standards; applying research tested instructional practice; developing school leader skills in leading this instructional transformation. 
Reading further, I see that the each school will share? a "literacy assistant principal" "focused solely on literacy instructional leadership.

I learned something new from reading the grant - the Nesholm Family Foundation's Kids in the Middle funding for Aki Kurose, Denny and Mercer for 15 years.  Quite the commitment.  And those three SPS middle schools have the highest numbers for proficiency in math in the state for middle schools with the largest number of black students tested (for LA, it's a mixed bag with Mercer at the top, Denny in the top five and Aki in the middle.) What is interesting to me is that South Shore, which also has an infusion of cash via LEV, is near the top of that group in math but at the bottom in LA. 

Thursday, Oct 13th
Audit&Finance Committee meeting from 4:30-6:30 pm.  No agenda yet available

Friday, Oct 14th
No school for teacher professional development

BEX Oversight Committee meeting from 8:30-10:30 am., JSCEE, Room 2750.
The agenda includes project status reports from current projects.
As well, there will be a Lincoln High School design presentation update.   

Saturday, Oct. 15th
Director community meetings
Director Blanford - Douglass-Truth library, 10 am to 11:30 am
Director Patu - Raconteur, 10 am- 11:30 am
Director Peters - Queen Anne library, 11:00 am- 1:00 pm
Director Pinkham -Broadview library from 1:00-2:30 pm


Charlie Mas said…
20 schools did the first year of a three-year training piece on MTSS, but only 8 of those schools signed up for the second year.

We are currently in the fifth year of a three-year plan to implement MTSS with only six years to go, but schools balking at completing the training could make the project run over.
Anonymous said…
So, they secretly get rid of Spectrum, don't have consistency at ALO schools, are not truly using MYSS now proven by the fact that schools are not signing on to do MTSS training. Now the district wants to maliciously chip away at the highly capable program because it doesn't represent the diversity of the district and people who don't qualify feel bad they're left out (despite it's an underfunded program that's treated like crap by the district and some parents and teachers.) SPS is a disaster.

Chasing tails
Charlie Mas said…
MTSS Implementation is a standing topic of discussion at every C & I meeting. Yet, somehow, the staff has managed to evade providing any sort of timeline, evade answering any questions about obstacles to implementation, and evade any accountability. To hear them talk about it, MTSS implementation is moving right along, totally on schedule, lots of progress every day. In truth, they are bumping their heads against the same obstacles that prevent every implementation they attempt in the schools:

1. The JSCEE staff are totally disconnected from the schools. They have no idea what is happening in them and their mandates are routinely ignored. This goes for the Executive Directors of Schools as well, even though it is their job to know what is happening in the schools and to supervise the principals.

2.The JSCEE has absolutely no ability to enforce any of their mandates. They have no authority in the schools and no means of policing school activity.

3. The JSCEE staff don't want to go to the schools, and they sure as heck don't want to go into any classrooms where they might come into contact with (ick) teachers or, god forbid, (ewwww) students. They prefer to email principals, who are happy to lie to them and tell them whatever will make them go away. "Sure, we're implementing MTSS. Sure, we're following all of the procedures. Sure, we're following all of the IEPs. Sure, we're providing ELL services and advanced learning. You bet. No need for you to come down here and check. You can take my word for it. Our families love it."
First Hand said…
As an example of why MTS is a joke, consider how grammar is taught in K-5. Does the district have any books? Do they have any official materials? None that I've ever seen. Instead the teachers are expected to generate their own by finding materials online, by photocopying workbooks, by writing their own, etc. That's not ideal, but now let's assume that the teacher needs to create multiple versions of the materials for different ability levels so they can differentiate according to MTS. For comparison if one teacher is responsible for a Spectrum class and one responsible for a general education class, its half as much work for the already over worked teacher. But then the geniuses with the PhDs that work for the administration got rid of that system.

Charlie Mas said…
"Dir. Harris asked what happened that only 8 schools are continuing from the 20 last year. Ms. Toner noted the growth opportunity in communicating to schools that this is ongoing work, some is budgeting questions, and also helping the schools understand the longevity of the commitment to the work."

I now have new favorite euphemism. Instead of saying "failure", we can now say "growth opportunity".

When asked for clarification, Mr. Tolley said that they only identified one year of funding for the three year program and did not identify funding for years two and three. So, absent funding, the schools dropped the program. "Ms. Toner noted that perhaps they could put together a 2-3 year plan so the schools could continue the work with the understanding of the commitment of work and funding." Ya think?

"He [Mr. Tolley] noted that there is a district-wide role out of common practices and implementations and will be an expectation in the system that the district is building toward." We are in year five of MTSS and Mr. Tolley is just now talking about a roll out of common practices as something the district is "building toward"? Pathetic.
Anonymous said…
I now have new favorite euphemism. Instead of saying "failure", we can now say "growth opportunity".

Yeah, I had a good chuckle at that one, too. Then I screamed.

Anonymous said…
Mr. Jessee noted that the schools felt that they were not sure that the funding would continue, so schools moved on as they only have so much time with staff and engaging in this work.

wow. Just. Wow. There's a "growth opportunity" for you - make sure you have ongoing funding before you start something and if you do have the funding, hey, why not, like you know, let the participants know about it?


Anonymous said…
King5 on plans for a QA high school:

Anonymous said…
Get 'r done! Fast! We need relief...maybe a Global Health or International/Saving the World focus with funding from that wealthy neighborhood foundation down the street!

Chaising Tails

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