District News Roundup

- Dr. Nyland announced last week the new principal for Decatur HCC.  (Apparently, this is will happen before the end of the school year.)

I am writing to let you know that Principal Rina Geoghagan has been selected to become the principal of Decatur Elementary School. 

Ms. Geoghagan brings experience and extensive knowledge of the HCC program and the Cascadia community. She was instrumental in the original move of the APP/HCC program from Lowell Elementary to Lincoln High School, has served as the design principal for the new Cascadia site, and has demonstrated strong leadership during the conversations and decisions regarding Cascadia and Decatur.  We are excited that she will be able to bring this expertise and passion to serving the Decatur community.

We are looking at finding an interim principal to support Cascadia during the final months of the current school year.  Executive Director of Schools, Jon Halfaker will be meeting with the Cascadia Building Leadership Team prior to Mid-Winter Break to share updates and next steps.

- Garfield appears to be moving to cap the number of AP classes a student can take in a year. 
"10th Grade AP Info. Night — Wednesday, Feb. 15 Attention 10th graders who are interested in taking multiple AP classes next year! Garfield is hosting a 10th Grade AP Info. Night on Wednesday, Feb. 15 @ 6 PM in the Quincy Jones Performing Arts Center. Parents, families and students are invited to learn about the stress and workload of junior year from AP teachers, counselors, and other students."
Apparently, a "contract" is being sent home to try to deter students from taking more than three AP classes. 

"At Garfield, we are committed to supporting and encouraging each student's academic, emotion and social health. In order to best anticipate and support our students' emotional health, starting with the 2017-18 school year, Garfield is requesting students limit their AP course load to three (3) per year. For students and families who choose to take more than three AP courses, Garfield now requires the below contract."
However, a parent points out:
GHS student 2017 course selection sheet is due on Friday, yet the 2017-18 course catalog has not been posted on the website nor handed out to students. 
- Director Rick Burke will be giving up a Friday evening on the 17th to host another community meeting on the reopening of Lincoln High School.
The agenda will include general information updates about the current and near-term work on assignment boundaries and principal selection, 24 credit graduation requirement, and some Q&A to get started, and then folks will have a chance to circulate through multiple stations and share concerns, ideas, questions that can help us move the school planning process forward.

Get your ideas brewing about the following topics:

- Enrollment & Boundaries
- Academic Programming
- Music and Fine Arts
- Athletics
- Building/Facilities
- Community-Building and Family Engagement
- Community and Higher-Ed Partnerships
- Anything that doesn’t fit in the above…
Please feel free to share this information with other interested families, and I hope to see you at Hamilton, Friday Feb 17th 6:30-8:30 PM" 
I see that Director Burke is holding out hope that he will be able to divide the group into topics but it didn't work last time and I kinda doubt it will work this time.

- The Curriculum&Instruction Committee of the Board meets today.  I looked over the agenda and sent this to the members of the Board:

A few thoughts on the C&I agenda.

1)Ethnic studies resolution discussion from NAACP

I am against this idea.  Why? Because when our district teaches history, they should be teaching the ENTIRE history of our country which includes Native American, blacks, Asians, Hispanics, etc.  The good, the bad and the ugly.  But there should be specific emphasis on the many contributions all of these groups have made to forming the country we have today.

Creating a separate ethnic studies curriculum separates those kinds of treatments and accomplishments.  It will take more time out of the school day and it will cost more money.

Find and use a history curriculum that is fully-fleshed out (like Howard Zinn) and you don't need a separate course.

I would gently suggest you ask the NAACP how they know that all the white students in HCC are "wealthy."  I would suggest they have no way of knowing that information.  You must operate on real data. (Editor's note: this is part of the resolution.)

2) Perusing the HCC part of the agenda, I see several things I don't understand.

- on page 12 of this section, it states, "District provides educational opportunities that take into account each student's needs and capabilities."  "District reviews services for each student periodically to ensure services meet each student's needs and capabilities."

Could you ask what form each of those takes?  Because parents at my blog do not see this happening or even know what it should look like.  Is that the report card?

- the district also states that they use the CEDARS gifted values four primary structures including;
General education - would that mean MTSS or ALOs or what?

On page 14, the form is for CEDARS values #35 and sadly, the district does none of these (partial): mentorship (grade 12 but I'm unsure what form that takes), partnership with industry (doesn't that happen at all at Cleveland STEM?), supplemental academic competitions, supplemental summer enrichment or acceleration and supplemental before or after school services and programs.

page 18 says that there are surveys made at both levels (elementary and secondary) of administrators, parents, students, teachers - is the district doing separate ones for HCC students or is the district saying their climate surveys cover all students?  It would seem you might need a different kind of survey for groups like ELL, Sped and HCC students. 

- page 23 says there are 150 kindergarteners in HCC.  When did that happen because the district says the program is grades 1-12.  I know this chart isn't the number tested because it's a lower number than the number the district states elsewhere that are tested.

- On the Student Data Portal Field Test - I have strong reservations here.

1) we are now going to systematically track student behavior in the overall student database.  Very troubling.  Who will get to see that data under current weak FERPA regulations?  You need to find a vendor who has a stellar reputation because this is the kind of data that cannot be allowed out to just anyone.

Page 34 in the packet says " participating schools will form a site-based team who meet regularly to review student data and use it to determine need and align support."  Again, you must be very careful who has access to this data and how it is secured. NO site-based team should ever allow their data to be seen by anyone who has not gone thru district channels.  

On the new Assessment policy, you might want to include the issue of opting-out.  It is going to continue to happen, you know about this issue and the policy should include it.

I also note on page 25 of this section that the authors think "moderate" is "How much do stakeholders care about the problem/opportunity to be address and the decision to be made?" is off.  I would say it's "very high."

It also states that this "selected tool" will allow schools to "analyze data and create reports."  I can only say that if the schools need an on-line tool to do this, we are all in trouble.

- The agenda for the Board meeting on Wednesday night is also available and I wrote to the Board about some issues there as well:

1) I believe that any new Board policy - no matter what its topic - should have a real vote of the Board. There are two new policies that are on the Consent agenda.  I find that very troubling.

2) I applaud the district's stance on being a safe place for all students.  One reader is saying the ICE is coming to district schools starting tomorrow.  I would suggest a high alert to schools with high numbers of minority students with the Superintendent's protocol.

3) On the Capacity Management BAR:

- At Garfield High School no Capital solutions are available to provide the eight (8) additional classrooms needed to support projected enrollment growth. Non-Capital solutions are needed to support Garfield’s enrollment for the next two school years (2017-18 and 2018-19).

This is quite the dilemma. Where, in the General Fund, are there extra funds for the Garfield capacity issues? And why hasn't this been brought up in Capacity discussions? I do not believe I heard this mentioned before.

It states that the Bridges program needs to move to Ingraham - at a very high cost for just two years, $640,000 - before it moves back to Lincoln. Given that Lincoln space will be at a premium and Ingraham has space to grow, why not leave the program at Ingraham?

I know that the program used to be at the Marshall building with all the infrastructure including a toddler playground. Has all that been torn out/refurbished at Marshall?

on the roof replacement BAR, I see some things that I hope you will consider addressing to staff and ask for proof that it happens:

At Ballard High School the BTA IV Capital Levy included the replacement of the entire single-ply roof assembly. During the investigation it was learned that the Gymnasium steep slope standing seam metal roof was in poor condition as it is inappropriately fastened and needs to be removed and correctly attached to prevent water intrusion. In addition, the sheet metal wall panel cladding system has no weather resistant barrier as required by code and must be removed, substrate repaired and then reattached to prevent further water intrusion into the building. Project budget adjustment increase request totals $4,660,000 and includes additional construction costs, construction contingency costs, design fees and permit fees.

So, who put in the original gym roof at Ballard and "inappropriately fastened it" and who didn't put in a weather-resistant barrier "as required by code"?  I would assume any warranty on the work is long gone but whoever the vendor was, the district should not hire them for any future work.  That kind of sloppy work that later costs this district money should not be rewarded with future work.  Considering this is the highest cost item in this BAR, you should make sure Capital calls this out. I will be requesting this information from public disclosure and letting the public know the name of this company. 

How come  you can put the Safe Place BAR up for intro/action at this meeting but not Board resolution on fully-funding schools and avoiding the levy cliff?  Both things are VERY time-sensitive.

About City pre-K, you are seriously going to allow them space at Cedar Park?  A school that has very little space to begin with to serve K-5 students coming in?  With what bathrooms? C'mon.  What will the optics look like?


Anonymous said…
Is one of Garfield's "non-capital" solutions to force more students into Running Start by limiting AP options? Or just outright make GHS unwelcoming for HCC?

I'd ask Mr. Howard; you can't ask the district because they direct all questions about Garfield back to him.
Anonymous said…
"I would gently suggest you ask the NAACP how they know that all the white students in HCC are "wealthy." I would suggest they have no way of knowing that information. You must operate on real data. (Editor's note: this is part of the resolution.) "

Agree. I personally know FRL white kids in HCC. That being said there is also a pretty big range between FRL and "wealthy". We are very far from wealthy (under six figure income living in a super expensive city) have an HCC kid. I also know other parents of HCC white,and Asian families who rent, do not make six figures and yet do not qualify for FRL.
-Stop generalizing
Sandy said…
How can Garfield be the pathway school for HCC students in a huge urban district and be so hostile to HCC students? How can you limit students who are ready for AP classes from taking AP classes? I took 5 AP tests my senior year of high school and was able to skip almost an entire year of university coursework as a result. Financially it saved a huge amount of money. But more importantly, it allowed me to not have to repeat coursework in college that I'd already passed in high school (in two cases, the college courses used the exact same textbook). And it allowed me to choose from many more majors in college than would have been feasible options without all those AP credits (you can't just up and switch into a lot of those science majors without all the prerequisites filled). The AP classes actually changed the course of my life.
Anonymous said…
"Perusing the HCC part of the agenda, I see several things I don't understand.

- on page 12 of this section, it states, "District provides educational opportunities that take into account each student's needs and capabilities." "District reviews services for each student periodically to ensure services meet each student's needs and capabilities."

Could you ask what form each of those takes? Because parents at my blog do not see this happening or even know what it should look like. Is that the report card?"

This is language straight from the state HC law. The district knows it must comply with the law yet isn't do so, as Melissa states. They are saying they are, which isn't going to fly for much longer.

This is Exhibit A of what I have been talking about and referring to on the other thread. The HC law is catching up to the district after several years of them getting some leeway since the law was fairly new. The gig is up. Especially now that the public is becoming fully informed.

Jet City mom said…
Sorry to stick this here, but parents are asking why the principal at Loyal Heights suddenly retired?
not mc troll said…

wow fwiw, we aren't talking about pigs with wings. it flies if dr. x says it does. dr. x says it does, so sorry. you want further proof see sped.

"This is Exhibit A of what I have been talking about and referring to on the other thread." this is 'exhibit a' of how you can perseverate on a topic. trust me there will not be any thing to come of this.

i read through that document (you did too, right?) and could only think of you and your head exploding as everything you say they aren't doing is checked off as being done. no the ospi police aren't going be dropping through tm's sky roofs to shut the program down. this year. next year... you get the picture.

and thanks for getting off the racism kick. that was big of you.

no caps

Jet City mom said…
One way to find out who is wealthy is to offer scholarspis for all those AP tests.
That was a significant amount of money for us, but we didnt qualify for FRL, so the cost was not subsidized.
It was required for a grade, so not being able to afford the test affected how many AP classes my daughter took.
Cheapskate said…
@Jet City mom,
AP tests cost $93 apiece. Expensive if you're not going to college. But if you are going to go to college, AP exams are VASTLY cheaper than paying to take those courses in college. Because it allows students to not have to retake courses and allows them to earn college credit for vastly discounted prices, they can actually be a great way to save money and time.
Jet City mom said…
I understand that using an AP course as a waiver for course credit makes financial sense, but it does not make educational sense to me.
My kids were taking challenging classes because that was appropriate, but they wanted to get the most out of college, and not follow a path that allowed for testing out of a course.
If the rigor was equsl in a class that was not AP, she would have taken that.
If you really want to save money, do Running Start, have the district pay for two yrs of college.
Anonymous said…
The SPS site says that a test is not required for IB or AP access. A test is required for eighth graders to access IBX. Also, an eighth grader may not test into HCC at Garfield. Anybody have experience that contradicts this info?

High Gear

Jet City mom said…
The AP tests are to recieve credit for the class not to be able to take it.
The policy was generally that if the student wants to attempt it, they should be permitted to.
AP, is not the sane as HCC.
My daughter graduated in 2008, and the school had gone from an AP testing was optional, to being required.
I suspect it was related to the district placing more importance on national magazines with high school rating systems that were based on how many students took AP tests ( but not on what scores they recieved).
Anonymous said…
@High Gear, IBX at IHS was created to alleviate overcrowding at Garfield, the default APP/HCC pathway. The idea was to model the program after Bellevue's Interlake and draw some willing students out of Garfield. Garfield is only a HCC pathway for those in HCC as 8th graders. Attending the neighborhood high school requires 8th grade HCC students to fill out an option sheet, as does enrolling at IHS. IBX provides (provided??) an option on a space available basis for those testing into HCC as an 8th grader, private schooled or public schooled.

The testing is about HCC designation and assignment to a cohorted school with access to IB or AP. A student would need to test as a 7th grader, at the latest, and enroll in HCC as an 8th grader in order to attend Garfield (unless they are already in the Garfield attendance area). Once enrolled at Ingraham or Garfield, students can take IB or AP classes, respectively, as can any other student with the needed pre-reqs. 9th and 10th graders can take AP Calculus, for example. IBX, which allows a student to accelerate the IB diploma a year, is no longer the default pathway for HCC students and may not be an option after this year's 8th grade class. IB classes generally aren't available until 11th grade (or 10th for IBX).

a reader
Anonymous said…
@ Melissa and FWIW, re: HC evaluation:

According to communications from the AL office last summer, the district uses the following to assess whether HC services are meeting student needs:

- school climate surveys of parents and students (e.g., items such as "“I work hard at school “ and “Teachers at my school know how to meet the specific learning needs of my child”)
- HCC retention rate
- student progress reports
- SBAC ELA and math scores

These types of data analysis would be behind-the-scenes, so it's not surprising that parents don't know what's happening. They submit the findings to OSPI, but it would be great if they made them more readily available to the public. (NOTE: I will post the entirety of the evaluation results they provided me over on the HCC blog, for anyone interested in more detail.)

Re: the CEDARS gifted values, isn't the district required to serve HC-identified students with appropriate services even if they don't participate in HCC? Currently they have the CEDARS 32 (Gen Ed classroom-based services) checked only for K, but isn't the standard SPS line that they can serve HC students in gen ed classrooms via differentiation, pull-outs, clustering, etc.? The way the application/plan reads, the ONLY service for HCC students in grades 1-8 is self-contained...which means a LOT of HC-identified students are being denied services. Is this a mistake on the form, or an admission that appropriate differentiation doesn't often happen in practice?

Re: surveys, NO, the district is not doing separate ones for HCC students, even though I agree they are missing out on a lot of potentially valuable data on ELL, Sped and HCC students--as well as HC-eligible students who are not participating, HC-identified high school students, etc. Unfortunately, you'll probably be even more disappointed (as I was) to learn that they base all their HC data analyses on Cascadia ONLY, because it's apparently not possible for them to tease out HC-specific data from mixed schools. I pointed out that since it's the district's only stand-alone HCC site and since it includes elementary students only and it's only one school, it is FAR from representative of HC services districtwide, but apparently OSPI didn't complain so they have no intention of doing anything more meaningful.

Re: the 150 kindergarteners noted on p. 23, I believe that's the number receiving HC services, not "in HCC." In other words, that's the kids represented by the checkmark in that CEDARS 32 box.

Overall, the district's evaluation of HC services seems to be woefully inadequate given the size of the program. However, since there doesn't seem to be any political will to improve things, and since OSPI keeps saying all is good, I don't foresee that changing anytime soon. It's a shame.

Anonymous said…
Thank you, HIMSmom.

Cap hill said…
"How can Garfield be the pathway school for HCC students in a huge urban district and be so hostile to HCC students?"

Here is my experience:
1. At the school level, there is a core group of teachers who are way out on the spectrum in terms of left wing ideology and are actively hostile.
2. School administration - I think Ted Howard is a fairly savvy reader of tea leaves and realizes he can get fired for not making enough progress on closing the gap, or discipline discrepancies, but no way he is getting fired for not having a great HCC program. He has adjusted accordingly, as we saw in last summer's times piece.
3. District supervision: I like Sarah Pritchett as a person, but she lacks the ability desire to fix things she knows are wrong. I had a phone call for her to complain about the way the school rolled out the honors for all debacle (in the summer, in the paper, no discussion and no notice) and she was just trying to make me go away.
4. At the board level, the district rep for Garfield is Blanford and he is actively hostile to HCC, and in my view, not overly competent anyway.
5. The voters (us) - as long as we keep electing people like Blanford, we will continue to get poor results further down the chain.

We as HCC parents should be getting together and finding a school board candidate who will run against Blanford and be a strong voice for common sense.

Anonymous said…
Thanks for the clarification.
One more question:
If an HCC eighth grader puts Ingraham first on their choice form, and gets into Ingraham, can they change their mind and go to Garfield?

High Gear
Anonymous said…
Maybe a few years ago, @High Gear, but not now. Open enrollment used to extend to Oct. 1 and allowed some students to switch schools in the fall. It ends earlier now, before the end of the school year (May 31?). I think a student could even lose their spot in their neighborhood school if they chose Ingraham, then later decided they'd rather stay at their neighborhood school. Best to check the current assignment rules and call enrollment (though you might get three different answers from enrollment). If you put Ingraham as your first choice, then don't get the placement, the default placement should be Garfield. Last year was odd - some HCC students were waitlisted at Ingraham, but not given a default assignment to Garfield. It was ironed out in the end, but only after several parents contacted enrollment/AL/IHS.
Anonymous said…
At Cap hill wrote:
"5. The voters (us) - as long as we keep electing people like Blanford, we will continue to get poor results further down the chain.

We as HCC parents should be getting together and finding a school board candidate who will run against Blanford and be a strong voice for common sense."

I disagree completely. School board directors represent their neighborhoods, GHS is in his area, and I think he represents his community well. As a Capitol Hill SPS parent, I support his efforts and position. - Capitolhill Parent
Anonymous said…
Blanford has an almost perfect record supporting the staff on all their recommendations with his votes. That puts him at opposition to most or all of the rest of the board. And this cuts across multiple issues. If you believe the central staff is doing the right thing then you should support him. If you like the current majority of directors then you shouldn't.

Anonymous said…
"School board directors represent their neighborhoods, GHS is in his area, and I think he represents his community well." - Capitolhill Parent

I attended a regularly held community meeting years back and said something like, "I don't live in your district, but I have concerns about xyz." The then school board member said something to the effect of, "I represent all students." While we elect Board members we hope will represent our area, they ultimately represent the interests of all students and must make decisions that impact outcomes for the entire district.

Let's remember Blanford ran against Lacrese Green, the candidate who wrote a disparaging letter to Cheryl Chow. Blanford essentially ran unopposed.


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