Friday Open Thread

The last Open Thread of the year.   It will be a challenging year ahead but, if there were any evidence that the world should go on, look into your child's face.  Wishing you all a healthy, safe and yes, Happy New Year.  And, of course, go Huskies!

Great opportunity for girls, 16-17 - Inspiring Girls Expeditions is offering free glaciology and marine programs next summer. The deadline for applications is January 31st.

Three teams of up to nine teenage girls and three instructors will spend 12 days exploring and learning about mountain glaciers or fjords with tidewater glaciers. They’ll conduct scientific field studies with professional glaciologists, oceanographers, artists and mountaineers.

The three Inspiring Girls trips of 2017 will include Girls on Ice Alaska, Girls On Ice Cascades and Girls in Icy Fjords. They are operated through IARC and the UAF College of Natural Science & Mathematics.
I had written before about the book by Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking.  Now she has written a second book on the topic but with the focus on teenagers, Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts. 
What indeed are the right ways to think about class participation? And are we over-evaluating as an educational culture? We overvalue the person who raises their hand all the time. Why is that important? Do we overvalue in quantity, as opposed to quality, of participation? Are there ways to think about class participation differently? Like we [at Quiet Revolution] have been encouraging schools to think in terms of classroom engagement rather than participation. Take a more holistic way of looking at how a child is engaging with this material or with their classmates.
On the heels of the sorrowful news that Debbie Reynolds, mother of the late Carrie Fisher, died within a day of her daughter, comes some thoughtful reading about Carrie FisherOne article has tweets about why Fisher's latter character in Star Wars (General Organa) is more important than her earlier self (Princess Leia.)   The Cut also had a compilation of great Fisher quotes.  Given Fisher was both a feminist and open about her mental health issues, I think both might be good for teenagers to read but be warned there is some foul language. 
2. “Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.” —On people with mental illness who may be afraid to pursue their dreams

3. “I got to be the only girl in an all boy fantasy, and it’s a great role for women. She’s a very proactive character and gets the job done. So if you’re going to get typecast as something, that might as well be it for me.” —On her role as Princess Leia
As a reminder:

From 12/26/16 - 1/31/17, holiday trees, wreathes, and greens can be composted for free. Place on the curb next to your food and yard waste cart on your regular collection day.
  • Trees must be trimmed to 6-feet or shorter
  • Trim branches to less than 4-feet to fit into the collection trucks
  • Bundle each section with string or twine (not plastic or nylon)
  • Remove any metal, lights, ornaments, or other decorative objects 
  • Flocked and plastic trees or wreaths aren't recyclable and will be charged as extra garbage.
 What's on your mind?Image may contain: text


Anonymous said…
Your side lost "BIG LEAGUE" and will continue to lose as Trump appoints stick Constitutionalist to the court thus snuffing out many of the unconstitutional aspirations of the left.

MW you and your feminist supporters continue to pile it on after the whistle claiming the destruction of everything just because we elected an America first platform and this type of rhetoric plays straight into the other side's plan. Trump will make America d great and he will prevail over the Ds . It will take the Ds decades to re-group.

I suppose your side will continue in trying to sabotage the country, but it won't work and will only serve to grow Trumps support.

End PC
Carol Simmons said…
The Jan 4th School Board meeting Agenda is on line.

Gail Morris is scheduled to present the Native American Educational Report.

Reading proficiency (3rd through 8th grades)
All students 66.9%
NA students 37.7%

Math proficiency (3rd through 8th grade)
All students 63.9%
NA students 37.3%

On time graduations (H.S. students graduating in 4 years)
All students 76.9%
NA students 54.5%

Proportionality (Students in Special Education K-12)
All students 13.5 %
NA students 34.1%
Anonymous said…
MW - thanks for continuing to do this hard work year after year on behalf of all our community's students. And thanks for continuing to remind us to ignore trolls.
Anonymous said…
Thanks Carol for the information.

Those numbers are terrible, what a shame and an unbelievable embarrassment for SPS.

Maybe year number two for the new board will yield better results for all. I believe there are a few seats up for election.

Circus Circus
Anonymous said…
Oh and BTW, there's no such thing as the "nuclear codes" There's only a protocol. The code thing is only in movies.

Get trained
Anonymous said…
The Trolls love their Comrade Cheeto.

Anonymous said…
And the WALL.


A Mexican man accused of raping a 13-year-old girl on a Greyhound bus that traveled through Kansas had been deported 10 times and voluntarily removed from the U.S. another nine times since 2003, records obtained by The Associated Press show.

Read more here:
Anonymous said…
So perhaps they should put the guy in jail and keep him there. What about Canadians who commit crimes like this? Should we build a wall with Canada too?

A woman in a hot air balloon realizes she is lost. She lowers her altitude and spots a man fishing from a boat below. She shouts to him, "Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don't know where I am."

The man consults his portable GPS and replies, "You're in a hot air balloon, approximately 30 feet above a ground elevation of 2,346 feet above sea level. You are at 31 degrees, 14.97 minutes north latitude and 100 degrees, 49.09 minutes west longitude.

She rolls her eyes and says, "You must be a Republican!"

"I am," replies the man. "How did you know?"

"Well," answers the balloonist, "everything you tell me is technically correct, but I have no idea what to do with your information, and I'm still lost. Frankly, you're not much help to me."

The man smiles and responds, "You must be a Democrat."

"I am, replies the balloonist. "How did you know?"

"Well," says the man, "You don't know where you are or where you're going. You've risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise that you have no idea how to keep, and now you expect me to solve your problem. You're in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but, somehow, now it's my fault."
Anonymous said…
Sweet. You go kids!

The group of young people suing the federal government for failing to protect their constitutional right to a stable climate is seeking testimony in their landmark case from Rex Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil and President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for secretary of state. (more)

Anonymous said…
There's no such thing as a stable climate. Jeez no wonder the US schools lag so far behind in science. Hey kids I found the source of global warming, it's the sun.

Fluoride saturated
Charlie Mas said…
There's some funny stuff in the December 20 Friday Memo.
I hope to have some time to write about it soon.
Charlie Mas said…
Seriously, Flouride Saturated? You're going to deny the human contribution to global climate change? Really?
Anonymous said…
About the SPS scores for Native American students,
the scores are not unusual.

In the State of Arizona they compare scores for Native Students in both high density schools (those with greater than 25% Native students) and low density schools.

American Indian students in "Low density" schools (less poverty and less isolation) score much higher than those American Indian students in high density schools.

When comparing the SPS scores with those for all students in the state, (SBA 2016 averages for grades 3-8)

As Carol posted above for SPS
Reading All ; Math All ; NA Reading ; NA Math
66.9 ;; 63.9 ;; 37.7 ;; 37.3

State of WA
Reading All ; Math All ; NA Reading ; NA Math
57.7 ;; 51.5 ;; 30.3 ;; 25.0

Thus SPS exceeds state averages as follows
Reading All ; Math All ; NA Reading ; NA Math
+9.2 ;; +12.4 ;; +7.4 ;; +12.3

The scores for Native American students are particularly
low for students on rural reservations.

The education of Native American students does not appear to be a big priority for most governmental units.

It is not unusual for some teaching positions on rural reservations to go unfilled for an entire school year.

-- Dan Dempsey

HCC Parent said…
Page 46 (or 48) of the Friday Report indicates that Madison Middle school incorporated HCC students into general education classes. The document indicates that the staff at Madison has learned a lot,. They admit to NOT meeting the needs of advanced learners.

Tolley finally admits that self contained Spectrum classes are non-existent. I guess the district is working to dismantle advanced learning in middle school.
Anonymous said…
More on American Indian Students' SBA 2016 scores
Percent of students passing
average of grades 3-8

SPS scores
Reading 37.7; Math 37.3
Tacoma scores
Reading 40.6 ; Math 22.2
Marysville scores
Reading 23.8 ; Math 18.6

At the Mount Adams School District on the
Yakima Reservation
Pass Rates by grade for Reading & Math

3 - 23.8 ; 23.8
4 - 19.0 ; 21.4
5 - 11.1 ; 6.6
6 - 8.0 ; <5
7 - 10.8 ; 5.4
8 - <5 ; <5

The state will not report pass rates below 5%
thus at 3 places above you see <5

-- Dan Dempsey
Anonymous said…
From the Friday Memo:

Under pros of HCC at Whitman (vs RESMS) they state, Community is aware that the HCC has consistently been given the newest buildings, which appears to be favoring students who are identified as advanced learners.

That's almost laughable. Lowell?? Lincoln??? JAMS? WMS? IHS? Decatur/Thornton Creek? HIMS was the exception.

The discussion of HCC at Madison involves a detailed rec to have an HCC pathway (not optional) from 1-12 in West Seattle: Fairmount Park -> Madison -> WS (instead of GHS) or Chief Sealth (instead of IB at IHS)

Charlie Mas said…
Here's a list of the buildings where HCC has been sited:
Madrona - before it was renovated
Washington - old, rundown portable farm
Garfield - renovated along with eight of ten high schools without any preferential treatment
Lowell - when the district was thinking of closing it because it was in such horrible condition
Hamilton - HCC added to the building, against the community's will after the building was designed without HCC
Ingraham - one of only two comprehensive high schools that haven't seen total renovations under BEX
Thurgood Marshall - not in particularly good shape or bad shape, HCC added against the community's will and in contradiction to consultant's recommendation
Lincoln - a dumpy old high school with no playground and a cafeteria in the basement
Fairmount Park - a newly re-opened school building that had been closed, not a new building
Cascadia - the one and only time a building was made for HCC, after how many years at Lowell and then Lincoln while almost every other elementary in the district got a renovation, and what's happening? A significant share of the kids won't be assigned there. Instead, they will go to...
Decatur - an old, unrenovated building abandoned by Thornton Creek that no one else wants

The only way that anyone could believe that HCC gets new buildings - let alone "consistently" - would be if they had no access to data and someone told them that lie anyone
Anonymous said…
The list of pros and cons was put together by district staff, at the direction of a school board member. The document is labeled: "DRAFT - Prepared by Enrollment Planning and Advanced Learning with Input from School Operations."

I'm not sure what is more disturbing, the mistaken belief that HCC has somehow gotten better facilities over the years (and that the document went to the board uncorrected), or the belief that groups of students are somehow less deserving of updated facilities because they've been identified HCC. HIMS, though recently renovated when APP/HCC was split and placed there, was one of the lowest performing middle schools in the north end. What has been consistent over the years is the placement of HCC in otherwise low performing schools.

Anonymous said…
@Charlie--thank you for the reminder of HCC site history. Why would the board allow such lies to be floated and accepted as urban legend truth? Why would the board allow middle schools to continue on a path that teachers acknowledge do not serve advanced learners?

Anonymous said…
With the resistance to self-contained evidenced in SPS, parents, teachers, principals, office and other support staff, JSCEE staff, board members, tax paying non-parents and others, I continue to be surprised , well not really, at the level of agitating done by HCC parents and their surrogates to maintain the program as it is currently configured.

We saw the writing on the wall and stayed well clear of the cohort. We work(ed) with the neighborhood schools, selfishly at first, but later in a more enlightened state encompassing the needs of the greater SPS community, and it's been optimal, to my eyes.

I'd encourage parents to reconsider abandoning their neighborhood schools. If the culture is anti-gifted, then help turn it into a more welcoming place for them. But remember to include all students because accepting differences helps ALL kids.

A school that provides rigor for all as well as meaningful contact between all is going to make a better prepared student for college and life.

Anonymous said…
@TT--totally agree, but when your neighborhood school actively shows HC kids the door encouraging them to go to Cascadia sooner than later, and promises extended learning with accelerated learning but after three years only delivers "deeper" at grade level eventually catches a clue and moves.

Lynn said…
The district provides highly capable services only in the self contained classrooms. Anything else is available at the whim of individual teachers. Once students age out of the self-contained program and into high school, school staff are encouraged and supported in their plans to ensure highly capable students aren't provided with either enhanced or accelerated instruction. That's why parents of highly capable children work to ensure the current program survives. They realize the alternative is nothing. Lucky you that your neighborhood school happens to provide something more. For your child's sake, I hope that continues to be the case.

I spent some time this week with good friends whose children attend an affordable private school with small class sizes that allow teachers to reliably provide differentiated instruction. They don't have to hear these constant complaints that educating their children provides them with an inequitable advantage. I don't think they're even aware this is a discussion among public school parents.
Anonymous said…
Insomniac and Wow-The comments about Pro of HCC at Whitman may perhaps have been put together by a PTSA person at Whitman and a couple of parents. They have been actively floating around ideas to the district and at community meetings with board members for HCC to be housed at Whitman and not Eagle Staff. They have been advocating, but not as far as I know to the HCC community. It may be what they submitted to the district. If it happens I sure hope they engage the Whitman and HCC community. The con list was very long.
Anonymous said…
Looks like the 12/20 Friday Memo's HCC to Whitman recommendation is written by someone from Whitman and who isn't involved in HCC.

Look at the listed "pros". All of the pros listed are benefits to Whitman and the last bullet is a gripe about HCC not really a pro or benefit of any kind. The cons are all negatives for HCC and makes it look like whoever wrote this isn't really involved in HCC or familiar with it because they think HCC gets all great buildings when Charlie shows the opposite is true. So why is the person(s) who recommended trying to steer the ship of where HCC kids lands and who at the district is giving them air time to be in a place to recommend program placement?

Does anyone who is reading here know the intent and who is behind this recommendation?

-- Sporadic Reader
ML said…
There is no way we could have kept our child at our viciously anti-HCC neighborhood school. Her teachers wouldn't even assess her reading level!!! They always stopped at, "meets year-end goal" and never actually figured out what level she was at. If you NEVER assess a child's reading level, there is no way to provide reading materials at an appropriate level for the child. AND the school was constantly punishing my child for being bored and being different than other kids. They punished my child for being who she is. We can't afford private school, so it was HCC or homeschool. They had lost us one way or another.

If the neighborhood school had not ignored, abused and punished my child for being who she is, we might have worked harder with them. But our neighborhood school made it very clear, year after year, that they were UNWILLING to educate my HC child. Even though "it is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing
within its borders."

Advanced learning at the neighborhood schools needs some serious work. At some schools it is nonexistent.
Anonymous said…
@TT, since those of us who did join the cohort are apparently oblivious (whereas you "saw the writing on the wall and stayed well clear of the cohort"), and you're so "enlightened" as to how to serve highly gifted kids at neighborhood schools, maybe you could share a bit of your wisdom with the rest of us. I don't mean continue to scold us about the need to think about all kids--and FYI, many of us with kids in HCC also have other kids who aren't in HCC, not to mention the fact that even our non-HCC kids were in neighborhood schools at some point--but I mean real examples of what you did, what changed, how it's working, etc. It's wonderful that it apparently worked for you, but to just assume that whatever was successful for you at your school will work elsewhere is naive. Plus, who's to say that the changes you were apparently able to bring forth at your school, and that apparently work for your kid, are the types of changes that work for most HC students? You'll need to provide a lot more detail if you truly want to help anyone succeed with your type of approach. It's nice in theory, but most have found reality to be quite different.

Anonymous said…
Since you are being so confrontational, sarcastic and downright mean about it, I'll just let my comment stand on its own. It's my experience and my opinion and I'll just leave it at that.

I was letting people, who may have only heard the laments of the cohorted crowd here on the blog, know that there are families with highly gifted children who have had excellent results working with neighborhood schools. Families of highly gifted students who have helped educate and in turn been educated about teaching the gifted in a heterogeneous environment. If it didn't work for you, I don't feel any compulsion to challenge your experience or harass you, in fact I applaud you for doing what you felt was best.

Please give others the same respect.

Anonymous said…
@TT--good for you for preserving your child's sanity and childhood. We hope to do the same.

HC wholechild
Sheryl said…
This school district is so large and varied from neighborhood to neighborhood. When my first kid started kindergarten at SPS, I didn't tour multiple schools. I just sent my kid to the neighborhood school. The way my parents had done. The way almost everyone I know did. We all just assumed our neighborhood schools would educate our kids.

But what we've realized (I and many of the district parents I now know) is that it's hit or miss with the neighborhood schools. The needs of many children are very well looked after at many schools by many teachers. But it is far from a universal given. It's hit or miss on a school by school basis or a teacher by teacher basis or a kid by kid basis. And when it works out, it's wonderful. But when it doesn't work out, it can have tragic consequences for children and their families.

How is it hit or miss? Depending on the kid for one thing. Many neighborhood schools won't even admit kids with known special ed needs, like, at all. Or they have a small number of special ed slots you have to "win."

Children who need advanced learning services may or may not be identified and their advanced learning needs may or may not be met. Many families agree that Spectrum used to be pretty good for most of these kids. Families who were able to get their kids into Wittier and View Ridge and and Wedgwood and Hazel Wolf were pretty happy with how the schools met their kids' AL needs. But not all families were able to get their kids into those schools, or the few others that could be relied on to provide Spectrum services. Some families weren't in the geographic zone for those schools and didn't have older siblings to get them in on tie-breakers. Some of the schools are overenrolled.

Then the district got rid of dedicated Spectrum classrooms and curriculum and now there are a lot of kids whose needs aren't being met.

Some kids are having their needs met at their neighborhood schools. Kids at a wide variety of levels. Schools are not really meeting the needs of quite a few other kids, but their families are filling in the gap with tutoring for weak areas or more advanced material at home.

The MTSS system (Multi-Tiered System of Supports) is an abysmal failure for children who need more accelerated work than "benchmark" (kids who need one or two or more years' worth of acceleration) and children who are behind but not two full years behind. Many of SPS's neighborhood schools are routinely and actively failing children in those categories. In addition to that any kid who belongs to two different groups has a good chance of being overlooked by the system: ELL kids who are also gifted, gifted kids who also have a learning disability ("2E"), etc. Also overlooked by the system are Native American kids who were promised space for Licton Springs at the new Eaglestaff Middle School but now maybe there's not space for them? Also overlooked are all the kids at Thurgood Marshall and Garfield among other places whose test scores were lower than SPS wanted, so to help raise these kids' test score SPS did NOT improve the educations they were receiving, oh no, SPS decided (against advice) to co-locate a program for gifted kids at their facilities to bring up the schools' test scores without helping the kids with the lower scores at all.

A lot of neighborhood schools are failing a lot of kids. And apparently there's nothing the people of Seattle can do. Principles are allowed to do whatever they want, even if it means not meeting the educational needs lots of groups of kids. And they don't even have to tell anyone what they're doing. People have to fill out public records requests to find out ridiculously basic things about SPS.

Here's hoping the board will help us and our kids!

Anonymous said…
So let us investigate the effectiveness of "Differentiated Instruction".

Differentiated Instruction

Please read the criticism in the last paragraph at the above link.

Differentiated instruction is essentially an unproven product being sold to students and families. To view this unproven technique as an adequate substitution for HCC is absurd but that is apparently an SPS policy: replace HCC with Differentiation.

-- Dan Dempsey

HCC Parent said…
Great point Insomniac. I don't know who wrote the document. The document does highlight prejudices toward advanced learners. N
Anonymous said…
Some of the criticism of differentiation, as referenced in the Wikipedia link, is based on a skepticism or criticism of the "learning styles" belief - believing that each student has a different learning style (auditory, visual, kinesthetic, etc.) that should guide instruction. The learning style theory, unproven and debunked, continues to be embraced by numerous educators.

As explained in the Wired article by Jarrett: "...although each of us is unique, usually the most effective way for us to learn is based not on our individual preferences but on the nature of the material we’re being taught..."

More here:

Learning Styles Debunked: There is No Evidence Supporting Auditory and Visual Learning, Psychologists Say, from Association of Psychological Science

Anonymous said…
@TT, I find it interesting that highlighting your own words makes me look "mean." My intent was simply to point out that if you're going to present yourself as better than us and a model to be emulated, at least provide sufficient detail to convince us and sufficient detail to help us act, if that was your true intent. Without that, your post sounded more like a long Trump tweet: I'm doing an amazing job at this and the rest of you aren't. My approach is hugely successful, believe me! I could provide a lot of detail, but I won't, because my approach is best, just believe me.

Anonymous said…
We were informed by our classroom teacher just a couple of months into the school year that there would be no differentiation because the class size was too large. There is a wide range of learners in the classroom, from those that are below grade level to those that are HCC qualified.

SPS can't have it both ways. Cutting teachers - which leads to large class sizes - and then also saying there will be differentiation to meet all student needs.

Anonymous said…
What school is that, StepJ?

Anonymous said…
StepJ wrote =>

"We were informed by our classroom teacher just a couple of months into the school year that there would be no differentiation because the class size was too large. There is a wide range of learners in the classroom, from those that are below grade level to those that are HCC qualified."

Range of Learners is too large
Class size is too large

The concept of "meeting all students' needs" always smacked of an illusory aspirational goal ... not something grounded in reality.

There will be differentiation to meet all students' needs,
is a typical proclamation from "The Political-Educational Complex".

There is a huge lack of evidence in support of this proclamation pushing differentiation but that is OK as so much of "Educational Thought" is founded in belief in fairy-tales rather than ... the following thought from W. Edwards Deming.

"To improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data."

-- Dan Dempsey
TT, I think you may have overreacted to a real question. What school is your child at and what are they doing to support HCC kids (that seemingly is not happening at other schools?)
Charlie Mas said…
TT wrote:
"Since you are being so confrontational, sarcastic and downright mean about it, I'll just let my comment stand on its own. It's my experience and my opinion and I'll just leave it at that."

The problem, TT, is that your comment does not, in fact, stand on its own. On its own, without any supporting detail, it falls. That's why people asked for more information.

By the way, a request for more information is not an attack. Not on your experience and certainly not on you personally. Please engage us in an adult conversation in which you provide sufficient details to support your claims.

As for "the writing on the wall" the self-contained HCC cohort is intact and there are no current plans to dismantle it. Your child will likely get through both elementary and middle school before there is any significant change to HCC. Especially since the program structure was recently confirmed.
Anonymous said…
How can the district eliminate spectrum without family engagement, board knowledge or an adequate replacement? I don't understand.

Really baffled
Baffled, they can because they are allowed to do so by the Superintendent and the various boards.

Again, there has never been any champion for students in Advanced Learning in senior management or on the Board. I knew there are a few Board members who care but because it is such a highly-charged subject, they can rarely speak out.

That Spectrum has been allowed to be dissolved is wrong. That this BS over what each principal does as "site-based management" continues is wrong. That parents in the program and prospective parents in the program can read one thing at the district website and yet the truth is different at every school and not consistent with what is at that website is BS.

Wednesday night the Board will, once again, accept the CSIP for each school as done and a living documentation of what is happening at each school. Also BS.

I'll have to say about all this in an upcoming thread but people should really, really pressure the Board.
Anonymous said…
I went to a number of neighborhood boundary meetings and recent community meetings held by board members in north seattle. Common themes that stuck with me:

--HCC parents with 2e students worried about both losing the cohort and the strain put on the cohort (and subsequent stress on their children) due to the influx of spectrum students moving to Cascadia after the disappearance of advanced curriculum at their schools.

--sadness from families who were happy at their neighborhood school until Spectrum was removed and they claim they don't want to be in a self-contained HCC school but see no other option.

--teachers working with kids having high anxiety because they are in over their head or the school environment is too hectic.

Their needs to be better options and more options for all learners, and a place to go besides HCC for gifted students.

Fix AL
ML said…
There are plenty of places for gifted students to go besides HCC. Sadly, aside from a very small number of private schools, most of them are not in Seattle. According to the National Assoc. for Gifted Children, the whole state is a backwater on this issue.

Particularly alarming from the report are these two:
Does the state require general education teachers to receive training on gifted students after initial teacher certification is attained?
Does the state require professionals working in specialized gifted ed programs to have a gifted ed endorsement or certification?

We cannot improve equity in the district and reduce achievement gaps by intentionally and systemically stagnating and holding back advanced learners. The public schools must teach all children, regardless of how advanced they are or how fast they learn.

28% of Seattle kids are going to private school. So, if the district is attempting to reduce an achievement gap by lowering the achievement of advanced learners, they are doomed to fail. The 28% of children who come from families rich enough to send their children to private school get to learn at a comfortable pace and level. The children who are adversely affected are the advanced learners with poor and middle income families who can't afford private school. What kind of a cultural war is that? It's a fake narrowing of the achievement gap. If you want to improve an achievement gap, the ONLY morally responsible way to do that is by helping the children scoring on the low end of the gap achieve more. And there is NO reason why Seattle Public Schools cannot simultaneously improve learning outcomes for underachieving groups AND provide a reasonable and satisfying education to advanced learners.

Seattle Public Schools needs to educate ALL the children who attend the schools, not just focus on one group or another. Our school district should be pouring its heart and soul into finding the best solutions for ALL children. They are ALL valuable. Not just any one subset. All children should advance and progress every year.
These last two comments are good insights but there is one overriding error in thinking (I believe).

Not all kids who go to private school are gifted. Some proportion of them are and, as well, there are very few private schools that say they served gifted kids. I think most of them can and do because of the rigor, the smaller class sizes and the ability to pick and choose who stays and who goes.

Anonymous said…
I think you can get different results in differentiation from different teachers. Most staff in the two elementaries we attended were averse to parents working for more challenge for their kids. It's just kind of the Seattle Public Schools mindset. We kept our HCC kid in neighborhood schools, mostly because the curriculum in HCC isn't any better, just accelerated, and there were mixed reports of the quality of the courses, and HIMS was going to get split after one year, so we just stayed put. But in 5th grade differentiation meant handing a couple of kids a photocopy of a pre-algebra text with no instruction. My kid brought it home and I did the instructing. She sailed through Algebra in 6th, but McClure dropped the bomb midway through the year that there would be no Geometry offered the next year. They left everyone hanging until 2 weeks before school and then offered a time for the kids to work on an online Geometry course during a school period, with no teacher. I have heard that all of those kids had to retake Geometry the next year. That was such a waste of time and money. And it shows how much they care about kids at the upper end..."uh, sorry kids, your fault you opted for Algebra in 6th or 7th, and you get something worthless as a result." We had already enrolled our kid in AOPS in a more challenging intro to algebra class, and she learned a ton more than she had in SPS algebra, and how to manage when your "gift" is not enough and you have to work your rear end off. Both our HCC kid and our other child are now in private, diverse, not gifted focused schools and are getting so much more than at SPS. Just the smaller class size and availability of honors and APP provide the needed differentiation.

One of the problems with HCC is the cutoff. Kids at the 97th and 96th and 86th percentile are also not getting what they need by way of challenge, and have no options.

Anonymous said…
But doesn't the cutoff have to be somewhere? No matter the cutoff, there will be students just missing the cutoff. I'd argue the issue isn't the cutoff, but the lack of solid core academics. Of what value is the differentiation pixie dust if the core academics are weak to begin with? LA skills need to taught, not "caught" as Readers and Writers Workshop promises. Discovering Algebra? Discovering Geometry? The adoption was in 2009. When can we rid SPS of those texts? Why does SPS still use CMP for middle school?
Charlie Mas said…
McClure Middle School not only refuses to support advanced learning, they are aggressively opposed to it. They say as much in their CSIP.

This is a school where 25% of the students are Spectrum-eligible.

"We also use our learning from the DuFours and Michael Mattos (Solution Tree conference/research-based strategies) that a “guaranteed, aligned curriculum" is also a high leverage school commitment for all of our students. Therefore, at McClure, all core disciplines are fully aligned by grade level – common curriculum calendar, grading practices (i.e. reading logs, etc.), and assessments (formative and summative)."

"As of 2015-16, all of our Language Arts classrooms are fully blended with General Education and Advanced Learning-identified students."

"All Social Studies and Science courses at McClure are fully inclusive – General Education, Special Education, ELL, Spectrum-identified students."

"We have no 'honors' math courses; students are placed in math courses based completely on the previous year’s math course mastery (i.e. students taking 6th grade math will move into 7th grade math). McClure does not 'skip' students in math but focuses on genuine mastery of grade level standards."

"We assess our progress in eliminating the achievement gap/opportunity gap between students of different ethnicities and students who receive various services in our building (Special Education, General Education, ELL services, Advanced Learning opportunities, etc.)"

Take a moment with that last one. What does it mean for the school to work to eliminate the achievement gap between general education and advanced learning students given that the advanced learning students are identified as having higher achievement? Does it mean that they are going to get all of the students to work at the top 10% of achievement nationally? or does it mean that they will cap the achievement of the advanced learners? Read the CSIP. There is no mention of an effort to get all students in the top 10% nationally, but there is mention of capping progress in Math classes.
Anonymous said…

"McClure Middle School not only refuses to support advanced learning, they are aggressively opposed to it."

Hyperbole much?

Anonymous said…
Can someone provide a link to a report showing HCC enrollment by school? I have searched the SPS website for this but can't find it. However, I know someone on this blog provided a link at one time in the past year- I just can't seem to find it. Thanks much!

--hcc curious
Spider Man said…
The 2015-16 enrollment report data:

There's some info on AL and HCC in there.
Anonymous said…
Lots of interesting tables on the enrollment page. From the high school data it looks like students from Ballard, Hale, and Roosevelt are choosing Ingraham over Garfield by more than a 2:1 ratio (it's unclear how many are HCC).
Lynn said…
Here's some more enrollment data from last January:
Charlie Mas said…
Condor asked: "Hyperbole much?"

Answer: no.

Read the CSIP. McClure, as a matter of site-based policy and different from every other middle school in the District and in opposition to stated District practice, refuses to offer Algebra or allow students to take math one year ahead. That qualifies as aggressive opposition to advanced learning. No hyperbole necessary.
Anonymous said…
Thanks to all who provided links to enrollment data. I don't know why I can never find what I want on the SPS website!

--HCC curious
Thanks for sharing, nice post! Post really provice useful information!

An Thái Sơn với website chuyên sản phẩm máy đưa võng hay máy đưa võng tự động tốt cho bé là địa chỉ bán máy đưa võng giá rẻ tại TP.HCM và giúp bạn tìm máy đưa võng loại nào tốt hiện nay.

Popular posts from this blog

Tuesday Open Thread

Weirdness in Seattle Public Schools Abounds and Astounds

Anaylsis of Seattle School Board Decision to Bring "Student Outcome Focused Governance"