Monday, November 13, 2017

Naviance; I Have Some Questions

Update:  The Board voted to put this off until further inspection of issues.

Here was the portion of my testimony about Naviance:
  1. Why did this pass out of Ops five months ago and yet is just getting here for a vote? Then, it was at Ops in September and yet still is just getting here?
  2. Why is there no list of other vendors to compare to? 
  3. The student privacy info is minimal and lacking. There are NO penalities to Naviance/Hobson if the data is breached and in all cases with student data, there should be penalities.
  4. Documentation was NOT available to the public until yesterday. That is not transparency and it is unacceptable.
One key item is that the district is in control of what different aspects of the platform they wish to use (some things are part included and others cost more). AND this:

Each school or district configures the product in a way they see fit for their students.

Different features are available to to be turned on or off at the sole discretion of the school or district. None are compulsory. 

Also, the documentation talks about "parent data." My understanding is that parents will have access to see what their child is doing but any data on them should be restricted to their name and a possible ID number. Are we going to track which parents are using this?

The costs are NOT clearly delinated. We are paying Hobson for their services but staff did not address the costs for an additional FTE at headquarters AND paying a staffer at each school to be the Naviance whisperer. Where is that money coming from and how much is it?

What's odd is that the BAR mentions a couple of alternatives but not the obvious - the Coalition for Access & Affordability. This a coalition group of colleges and universities - including UW - that work together to making applying for college easier for underresourced students. And it's free to districts to use.

Also, the contract with Naviance should clearly state:

- no third-party vendors have access to any data without parent/district permission and Naviance has refused to tell parents in other districts who third-party vendors are and what data they will see.

- parents should be able to opt their kids out of using Naviance without any kind of repercussions to students

- all data on students who leave/graduate from SPS that is in the hands of Naviance will be destroyed within three months.

end of update

On Wednesday night, the Board is to vote on whether to accept a contract with Hobson's Naviance system of college/career supports for over $600K over three years.

I admit I am a bit late to the party but I have finally looked into this and I have mixed feelings.  As usual, the devil is in the details and there are very few details in the BAR to go on.

Clearly, a 400-1 student-counselor ratio for high school is terrible.  Most of our high school counselors do a lot more scheduling than advising on college/career.  And, most high schools no longer even have a college/career counselor.  (Those that do either have principals that rearranged money or, more likely, the PTSA is funding.).

While that is a sad state of things, it's one that the district decided to go with, just as they have consistently decided to underfund regular maintenance.  And, this BAR for the contract states that they need at least one FTE - at JSCEE - to oversee this implementation and, as well, someone at each high school to run it there.  (I would assume there are costs to both things but that isn't mentioned in the BAR so the $600+K contract is much higher.)

Meaning, the district got itself to this place and their answer is...technology.

What's odd - and thanks to a reader for much of this help - is that the BAR mentions a couple of alternatives but not the one that seems most obvious - the Coalition for Access & Affordability.  This a coalition group of colleges and universities - including UW - that work together to making applying for college easier for underresourced students.  And, did I mention, it's free to districts to use.

So what is my recommendation?

First, I urge you to write to the Board - spsdirectors@seattleschools.org - and include some of my suggestions.  Tell the Board that student data privacy is important and parents' rights to control that data must be respected.

I think the Board should ask for many other alternatives to Naviance.  Or, use Naviance for some things but use the Coalition for Access & Affordability for others.

Also, the contract with Naviance should clearly state:

- no third-party vendors have access to any data without parent/district permission
- that FERPA gets suspended with some uses of Naviance (apparently in using the Common Application) and parents will receive notification when this happens
- parents should be able to opt their kids out of using Naviance without any kind of repercussions to students
- parents be notified that they can have access to their child's account
- maybe have proxy IDs for students so Naviance doesn't have anyone's name or birthdate
- make sure that the system the district uses for student information will indeed matchup with Naviance's platform
- that the district will CLEARLY tell parents what aspects of Naviance are being used and the district will NOT turn on any new ones without early notification to parents
- all data on students who leave/graduate from SPS that is in the hands of Naviance will be destroyed within three months.

The Board should be very clear on what any contract with Naviance will look like.

As usual, it will really boil down to what is in the contract between Naviance and SPS.  What is attached to the BAR is just the RFP.

One reader said that his daughter was at Holy Names Academy and they use it.  So I gave them a call and boy, are they nice.

Turns out they have been using it, happily, for 14 years.  However, they ONLY use it as method to help for college applications.  Each student gets a school e-mail and then, in early 10th grade, they all bring their laptops to school and everyone registers at once.  It helps the school send letters of recommendation (except for a few schools that still want a hard-copy letter mailed), transcripts and all school reports.

They also can see stats from all the colleges where students apply and create a scattergraph to track applications.   However,

 "We don't use the career option piece."

Basically, Holy Names uses it to streamline college applications and not much else.

So one key to all of this is that the district is in control of what different aspects of the platform they wish to use (some things are part included and others cost more). AND this:

Each school or district configures the product in a way they see fit for their students.

Different features are available to to be turned on or off at the sole discretion of the school or district. None are compulsory.

Parents can have an account and see their their child's activity.

Also to note, Naviance "retains data at the discretion of clients."  So even if your student graduates, Naviance will have that data until the district tells them to destroy it.

I note that Naviance did NOT sign the SIIA pledge on privacy until they were practically shamed into it.  Not good.

Here's a Q&A with one Colorado school district parent about privacy issues. Not inspiring.
Basically, Naviance only asks for about four personal items from your child.  However, the district is likely to give much, much more in order to get more analytics from using Naviance.  And that's where it gets very personal.
As the Missouri Education Watchdog says,

"What to do when a vendor wants to know everything about your child but won't tell you what they are doing with the data?"

For example:
You will remember we wrote about Naviance who gathers personal information about school children, including personality surveys, hobbies, likes and dislikes,  employment history, and family information and financial, income information via grant applications, scholarship applications, college applications.  We also explained that during the Naviance process, there are many third party vendors who access the data.  In fact, students were asked to waive their FERPA rights while using the Common App through Naviance.  You can read about it here.
We asked Naviance if we could see a list of their third party vendor contracts, what data they get, how they share it. Here is what Naviance said,“We are legally bound by confidentiality agreements with our third party providers and may not release these contracts.”   – Hobsons  VP of Policy and Advocacy  (see full letter here
* 2017 Update*  Thanks to a new Colorado law, vendors who collect pii student data must provide names of subcontractors and a copy of the data sharing contract.  Hobsons Naviance still has NOT provided contracts, or cited data elements that are shared, but has provided a list of subcontractors.  Please see their March 2017 letter and subcontractor list here.
Hmmm.  So much for transparency and advocacy.  As for asking the school district, they didn’t know either, and actually gave us the contact information to ask Naviance ourselves (who pointed us back to the school district.) Rinse, Repeat.
About Naviance

I always get suspicious when companies - even "non-profits" - say different things about themselves.

To wit:

Naviance by Hobson is a college and career readiness platform that helps connect academic achievement to post-secondary goals.

But then there is also:

Naviance is a college and career readiness solution that helps districts and schools align student strengths and interests to postsecondary goals, improving student outcomes and connecting learning to life.

I'm wondering which is the real goal - to help students or help districts?

They have a number of "partners" including Common Application, Pearson, Sallie Mae, the School Superintendents Association and the American Association of Community Colleges.

As well, they are aligned with - I'm not kidding - The Data Cookbook's PAR Framework.

The PAR framework is a learner analytics-as-a-service provider.  We are (sic) non-profit, multi-institutional data-sharing cooperative , compromised of two and four year public, proprietary, traditional and progressive institutions.

Basically, it's a lot of institutions contributing what might be called "big data" in order to learn more about students and outcomes.  How this all happens is a little vague.  Again, not good.


Vote NO said...

High schools are scrambling to figure-out the 24 credit requirement. There is NO solid plan. We don't need another district project until high schools are equipped to adequately deal with the state's 24 credit requirement. Seattle doesn't need to staff another person in the John Stanford Center. $600K for the program + $100K administrative fee x3 years= $900K.

Anonymous said...

The Board is also being asked to vote on a contract with Community Cares https://seattlecommunitycare.com/ for special education instructional assistants, to the tune of about $500,000. The "clinical director" of this organization has a B.A. and some training in "behavior de-escalation" but I would rather see SPS contract with a SPED organization that offers applied behavioral approaches and not just behavior management. Typical SPS.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Vote No, they say this will help with the 24-credit requirement.

bulldoggy said...

re: 24-credits. What they say in the BAR is that SPS counselor caseload is 400 to 1, and that the ASCA recommends 250 to 1. The 24-credit task force's actual recommendation is to reduce the counselors' caseloads to the recommended ratio. Buying Naviance will not address the recommendation at all; it's related, but kind of a red herring.

The reality is that in the Naviance proposal there is not only the requirement to have one permanent, dedicated, full-time resource (1.0 FTE staff) downtown dedicated to Naviance support, but to have at least one or more staff in each building who have been trained as "solutions experts" to "ensure end user adoption". This last part sounds a little ominous, but in any case, they are very likely to be counselors. So there may or may not be efficiencies to be gained from a package like Naviance, but there's also going to be a good deal of overhead as well. It's unclear what, if any, actual benefit in the way of student-to-counselor time might materialize.

SP said...

The Career Option stuff is indeed the scariest part of Naviance and their associated partner companies.

As a tool to help guide (push) students to their life path starting at age 12 or 13, this is tracking at it's worst. Kids who are well supported and well prepared will take advantage of a tool like this in order to keep or increase their edge in applying to top schools, while other kids will be nudged toward "more appropriate" paths. Most of what I've found online is tales of how Naviance helps higher SES families (mostly in private schools) in their "race to the top", not how it helps borderline students or traditionally underserved populations.

Not all kids are in a good place when they're in 8th grade. I've seen my share of kids that struggled in middle school and even much of high school, but managed to turn it around eventually. Tools like Naviance will only exacerbate the entrenched attitudes that make it hard to change course. Remember, when a student is nudged toward a path, they are unquestionably also being nudged away from other paths.

Related: the amount of psychological profiling data that the company will get on thousands of individual students through this module is dangerous from the get-go. Students don't understand how that kind of data can be used against them as much as it can be used to help them. This is separate from all the issues of data security, which is crap these days. NO ONE can truly protect personal data online. One word: Equifax. If SPS encourages students to actively engage with Naviance, especially the surveys/career options, then we are allowing a third party for-profit corporation to build psychological profiles of our children. At the very, very least, there MUST be a way for students/families to opt out of this, just as you can opt out of those types of questions when you sign up for the SAT/ACT.

The problem is, if the Board authorizes Naviance, they lose control (in a practical sense) of what modules will be enabled in the future. It's completely up to the "client" (district) to enable or disable any of the various modules, and they can do so at will.

Anonymous said...

Loved Naviance. My son used it at his high school for college applications, similar to Holy Names. He felt so much more supported than his friends at public schools. Scatter graphs were really helpful in looking at feasibility of different colleges. I think there should be extra college assistance and programs for kids who are under-resourced, but there are many kids that fall between under-resourced and greatly-resourced. I think Naviance would be so helpful for them. There is really no one to help your average kid or parent trying to figure there way through the college maze. Greatly resourced parents buy help. Under resourced parents qualify for help. And the middle get nothing.
Loved it

Anonymous said...

Ooops! From above- their way through the college maze, not "there" way!
Loved it

Vote NO said...

"The reality is that in the Naviance proposal there is not only the requirement to have one permanent, dedicated, full-time resource (1.0 FTE staff) downtown dedicated to Naviance support, but to have at least one or more staff in each building who have been trained as "solutions experts" to "ensure end user adoption". This last part sounds a little ominous, but in any case, they are very likely to be counselors."

Thanks bulldoggie. I can't imagine a counselor- with 400 students- has the bandwidth to take on another project. Some may find this tool helpful, but others may not.

Have counselors and principals responded to this proposal? Or, are we looking at sales people selling a product to the district.

FWIW Holy Names spends ALOT of time with college bound students. College support is one of their strong points.

Anonymous said...

Naviance can be useful when used as an additional point of contact between students and their counselors (which sounds like the way Holy Names uses it).

But that's not how SPS is planning on using it.

There just isn't anything that's going to take the place of an actual human providing actual guidance to students. Buying it (and paying for the FTE downtown) when there aren't enough counselors in the schools is an absurd waste of money.

-Real Support

Anonymous said...

How much would it cost to put the right number of counselors in each school? I know our counselors are over subscribed and they can't properly serve all the students on their list. If we need 20 more counselors to achieve the results of this tool, perhaps that is the consideration worth discussing.

Fiscal Realities

SP said...

@Loved It

I really don't want this to sound overly critical because your experience was your own, but I think you're missing my point (and kind of reinforcing it). If your kids went to private school they are indeed well-resourced, and they were already very likely to go to a good college regardless of whether or not they used Naviance. Right? This is true whether or not you got scholarships, etc., because it's not all about monetary wealth. The fact that you've taken enough interest and care to apply to private school, be accepted, pay attention to issues like this on a school blog, etc., means that you work hard to provide great opportunities for your kids. I couldn't afford to send my kids to private school, but with 2 very active and involved parents, they are relatively privileged and have a lot of advantages.

The other thing to remember is that private schools generally have much lower student-to-counselor ratios, and are therefore able to provide much better and more personalized help for their students regardless of whether or not they use tools like this. In general though, these tools help those who already have a leg up on struggling or underserved families.

This is just one aspect to tools like this, but I'm frustrated that the district constantly thinks they're going to fix the opportunity gap by buying more technology. This is not going to help close that gap, it's expensive, and it will distract from better solutions like actually hiring more counselors to bring down the student ratios, which is what the task force and ASCA recommended.

Anonymous said...

I believe almost every private high school in Seattle uses Naviance. Seattle Waldorf High School does.


SP said...

Also, you said your son used it for college applications, but I'm curious if his school also used the Career Options and other surveys that "help guide" (steer) students in certain life directions.

Thus far I haven't heard a lot of support for those tools, even from private school parents that have appreciated some of what the overall package provides.

If what we really want is a tool that helps with all the nitty-gritty of preparing for college applications, why on earth are we not looking at Coalition, which provides those tools, is 100% free, opt-in, doesn't require the district to send student data to various commercial companies, it's managed by (135+) colleges themselves, and is already required for applying to UW?? It would be easy enough (and free!) to try, and if it didn't work out for some reason, we could revisit Naviance or other tools.

Melissa Westbrook said...

As I stated, Holy Names does not use the career options. It seems to be more a one-stop method for kids to apply to college and for the school to track that. I don't think the district is truly going to use Naviance for that.

Anonymous said...

@SP. I agree that the ideal solution is to have counselors at high schools work with students/families. That would be choice number 1. I still think Naviance was really helpful in terms of tracking and making sure that everything got in.

It's been awhile, but I think one could fill out career stuff if you wanted to on Naviance, but I don't know anyone who did that. The purpose of Naviance seemed to be more for college than career guidance. My son wasn't into filling out any more forms than he needed to fill in.

The reason I bring up the folks between under-resourced and greatly-resourced is because of my son's friends at the time in public schools. They were basically on their own and didn't even know what the possibilities were. Naviance groups schools so you can find similar types of schools at your academic level. There are lots of scholarships out there. Sometimes it is cheaper or the same price to go to a small, liberal arts college than to go to the UW. I saw kids who ended up at schools that were a bad fit for them (academically and financially)just because the parents didn't know about various options and couldn't afford to pay someone to help them.

I feel for students/parents who don't have the time or energy to do all that college research on their own. I think Naviance could be helpful, but a live person would also be great.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bruce Taylor said...

I am the parent of the Holy Names student the Melissa mentions.

I think Melissa's suggestions are 100 percent spot-on with one exception: I would hope some sort of carve-out in the contract would allow that GPA-SAT data to be retained, perhaps without any residual student info. Naviance has an enormously useful feature that my daughter used heavily: It displays a scatter plot for each university, displaying GPA on one axis and SAT score on the other. It shows (with X's and O's, not with names) which students from her school were / weren't accepted to any given university. It would be a shame if that functionality is lost.

My son received minimal help from the counselors at Roosevelt. They work hard, but they are hopelessly overburdened. So parents in my son's graduating class held a series of fundraisers for the senior prom, where parents could pay to hear a presentation from a professional college counselor. These professional counselors offer services -- often costing thousands of dollars -- that help families navigate the college process. They help kids figure out what they're interested in studying, and which colleges they should apply to, based on school size, town size, physical environment, political environment, party atmosphere, Greek life, etc. (The pro counselors also help with test prep and essay writing.)

Naviance is a software tool that helps with the selection and application process. Naviance helps the student identify potential schools, and when the student narrows her list, Naviance tracks application deadlines and status, helps coordinate and submit letters of recommendation, test scores and transcripts, and helps find and applying for scholarships.

I hope this tool (or one like it) is made available to public school kids -- not just kids whose parents pay for private counselors or prom fundraisers or private school tuition.

HNA has deliberately built a culture where the kids view college as an expectation. The school effectively leverages Naviance to take an overwhelming process and reduce it to chunks that a 16- and 17-year-olds can digest. Last year 100 percent of the graduating seniors at HNA advanced to college. The resources are different from a public school for sure, but one third of the girls at HNA receive financial assistance.

I am not one of these ed reformers who thinks human teachers should be replaced by Kahn Academy videos. I hope that eventually the McCleary decision creates funding for more counselors. They are vital. But I suspect (don't know, but suspect -- I am no expert on school finance) that the cost of Naviance is small relative to the cost of adequately funding counselors. In other words, please don't make perfect the enemy of good.

I understand the resistance toward putting another chair at JSCEE, where the prevailing sentiment is "do a tiny bit of fake engagement and then wait until the last minute and ram through whatever we want." I understand the desire to move personnel spending out to the schools. And if Naviance is purchased, it will create substantial expense in time and talent at the individual school level. Heck, maybe there are better ways to spend money. I'm under-informed about SpEd issues, addressing the achievement gap, the battle over the academic focus and boundaries for Lincoln, HCC pathways, the way elementary and middle schools are staffed through open enrollment, etc. But I think this tool (or one like it) could help a lot of students with the potential to go (or not go) to college.

Melissa Westbrook said...

So Bruce, I'd have to go thru the agreement with a fine-tooth comb because the district can turn on or off different parts. Still other parts cost more money. I think the college process part is included in the overall package.

But it's not just one more FTE. It's paying (someone) at each school to be the expert. And, I suspect more to follow.

There are other, cheaper tool that the district could try before committing to this expense. But they're not.

You also leave out the issue of student data which is huge.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I did learn from the head of DoTs that parents will be able to opt out.

Anonymous said...

Our PTSA thought about funding Naviance for our SPS high school, and specifically didn't go ahead with the funding because of the FTE needed onsite at the school to administer it. The regular counselors are too busy with class schedules etc...and the career/college coordinator was not completely focused on ensuring all kids go onto 4 year universities - which is the main benefit of the software. So, now suddenly there will miraculously be a person at each school solely focused on this? Not likely.

Money would be much better spent adding another counselor at each high school to lessen the burden.

HS Mom

Anonymous said...

I can understand the concerns here about Naviance. Other public school districts use it. Bellevue uses it for college and career guidance, Interestingly, Bellevue SD gets some financial help from the Belllevue School Foundation (non profit which raises $ to benefit BSD) for Naviance.


The Foundation tax and charity info.

Bellevue SD site:



Anonymous said...

At the risk of sounding like a party pooper, is Naviance really the best use of funds? I understand that Holy Names has 100% of their graduates going on to 4 year colleges, but I don't think that is the best path for 100% of most public high schools. I encourage my students to look into community college, job training, etc. Also, while it seems nice to be able to look at colleges and their profiles, they are other ways to do it. -TeacherMom

Anonymous said...

Why don't they just put an extra counselor at each school? And more, with the $600000 of software costs?
Chris S.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Chris, it is interesting that no one brings up that point. I suspect it would cost more for 10 college and career counselors.

I don't actually have a problem with this idea but I believe there should be ironclad structures around the data, what this software is used for (not tracking kids and their interests and hobbies and trying to funnel them into a career) and I see zero reason that there could not be a proxy ID.

Anonymous said...

The math is a little off here. That amount of money is really only going to get you 5 full time counselors. Those people get benefits too. That won’t be enough to make a dent in the need. And you really actually need counselors who have contacts with colleges, not just people who can fill out paperwork. Not sure what sort of “privacy “ is needed, but for the tool to be useful, ALL ACT, SAT, and GPA (unweighted) goes in, as well as where students apply. There are no names, there is no psychological data. There are no ads. Students compare their standings against everyone else in their school. That doesn’t work if the information isn’t in it. They see what the colleges see. At the district levels we can track how students at various schools fare in their college acceptance rates. How does Nathan Hale rate vs Chief Sealth? Are colleges viewing them the same?

Anything else in Naviance, not useful. Ask any private school. No we don’t need career advice. Tracking. Not useful. Also the tool is not useful before 11th grade.


Elementary Momma said...

OMG, but if the students compare their standings against everyone else in their school, it might, in the words of our elementary school principal, "make them feel like they're different from each other." WHY oh why are our schools bending over backward to fight against advanced learning and above-grade-level material and walk to math at the elementary school level in a wrong-headed attempt to dupe students into believing they're all exactly the same as each other while at the SAME TIME the district wants to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to show students in high school exactly how they're different from each other?

All students are unique. They all have strengths and weaknesses and potential. Admitting that should be the first step.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Naviance is part of a coalition group that calls itself "data miners." They indeed do ask for a lot of data but what readers are missing is that this is NOT just about applying for college. Not if you read what the BAR said that staff wants to do.

It's about tracking kids and their patterns of likes/dislikes, etc. to help/track them into career paths. That's where the data comes in.

SP said...

Yes, labor is expensive, you couldn't get another counselor in each high school for the base price of this contract. But there are a bunch of costs beyond the $620k, some of which have been mentioned, here's my list:

- $620k payment to Naviance
- AT LEAST one full time, dedicated staff downtown to manage Naviance. So likely a tech-knowledgeable person, which means >$100k/year including benefits, so we're up to about $1million so far.
- 1 point person in each building that will need to both: be trained, and train others, on how to effectively use the tools. It's difficult to estimate this cost, but it will be ongoing, because staff changes over time, and because software gets updated and these kinds of companies like to keep billing for training sessions.
- About 1 full year of requirements design, specifications, building software APIs to access SPS's student data, testing of all the above, and rollout (see the BAR for the schedule and details). This involves countless staff hours, many different people, many meetings, most of which will be executives and tech staff, both of which are very expensive.

This last item is not getting any attention, it might very well be the biggest (hidden) cost of all, AND every hour spent by staff working on this is an hour NOT spent working on other stuff.

By the time ALL the costs for a system like this are added up, it would probably fund several counselors. I'm not saying that a system like this is of no value, but having more real counselors should be a higher priority if we really want effective help for students. Especially students who need a bit more assistance with their post-high school planning. Tools like Naviance are mostly designed for students and families who are already on a college path; let's consider the best ways to help those who are not, for whatever reasons.

SP said...

reader said: Anything else in Naviance, not useful. Ask any private school. No we don’t need career advice. Tracking. Not useful. Also the tool is not useful before 11th grade

This is a great point. Unfortunately, our district's plans DO include the "career advice" and "tracking". And the intent is to start in 8th grade.

Look carefully at the BAR attachment on page 67. Note the lines describing AchieveWorks and CareerKey. Those are the personality profiling tools. The district clearly plans to use them because they're paying over $100,000 for these tools!

This is a really important point for people who think the SPS plan is a good idea just because "my private school used Naviance and we liked it". Please understand that SPS plan looks nothing like the way private schools around here use this tool.

Anonymous said...

One last quick point for now. Melissa mentioned the group of "data miners", but I'd like to elaborate just a bit.

The PAR Framework isn't just associated with Hobsons (Naviance's parent), Hobsons OWNS PAR Framework! see: Hobsons Acquires PAR Framework. Hobsons, in turn, is owned by an international conglomerate DMGT. Hobsons bought PAR for an undisclosed sum in January of 2016. Also of note, PAR was yet another business venture originally funded by the Gates Foundation in 2011.

Read here: Hobsons Acquires PAR Framework to Improve Student Retention and Educational Outcomes to understand how all the data they gather from various channels is combined and leveraged. If you read between the lines, part of what they're doing is steering kids away from colleges if they are at a higher risk of not completing their degree, which counts against colleges' "retention rates".

“Higher education is struggling to make sense of its abundance of data – to help either individual students or the institution as a whole. This acquisition allows us to respond to our customers’ requests that we combine the best of PAR analytics and the best of Hobsons’ products to make an integrated impact on student outcomes,”

These connections are not benign.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, the 7:06 post was me, SP.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Melissa Westbrook said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

@ Been there - thank you for your thoughtful, accurate and thorough comment.

Melissa Westbrook said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Melissa Westbrook said...

I just realized that someone highjacked this thread about Naviance. I'm deleting everything - including my own remarks - because of that. Stick to the topic or go talk on the Open Threads.

Whitesail said...

Private school parent here. This Naviance contract is yet another example of SPS putting lipstick on a pig and wasting $$. Yes our private (Seattle college prep HS - all graduates enroll in 4 year colleges/universities) encouraged all families/students to establish a Naviance account in Junior year, ahead of college application season. But, it was mainly an organizational tool and took a backseat to the one on one college counseling and other resources available to students and families. The only aspect of Naviance we and our student found useful was the scattergraphs that clearly helped to determine safety, match, reach (and not a chance in h*ll) universities for which to apply. Our student, after much research NOT affiliated with the school counseling team) ended up applying to 8 safety and match universities and was accepted at all. The university we selected had absolutely nothing to do with Naviance or even the schools extraordinarily well resourced counseling office. We as a family ultimately selected it based on financial fit, social environment and reputation in our students desired major. As a parent, I took control of the intimidating application process and did NOT rely on the schools counseling team - which was 2 college/career counselors and support staff for every 85 or so students.
As a taxpayer who is a product of K-12 public schools, I believe the spending on Naviance is absolutely a waste of $$. It will NOT take the place of involved, motivated, educated students/parents/families who together can make the best decision for their students future. Technology will NEVER replace one on one personal relationships. I know extremely (economically) poor families whose students are headed to Ivy league schools and extremely well off families whose students are drug dealers. SPS, STOP the spending on shiny gadgets and invest in PEOPLE and personal relationships!

Melissa Westbrook said...

White sail, I wish you’d write the Board and tell them your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Hi! Leanne Hust here at Ingraham HS! We need a database to send transcripts! We need Naviance!!!! We spend countless hours uploading 1,000 of transcripts and school reports to OTHER databases like The Coalition! By the way, the Coalition is awful. Please don't nix Naviance! Please someone call or email me. I used Naviance for 10 years at Garfield (funded by parents) before the district told me to stop AND the district has not replaced it for SEVEN years!!! Please stop debating and help us help our students and you the parents
!!!! Leanne Hust

Anonymous said...


Unknown said...

Transparency. As a School Counselor for the past 18 years, I used Naviance for about 7 years while I was a Counselor at Garfield ( 2000-2007). The Counselors researched and reviewed multiple platforms like Naivance. We visited MULTIPLE private and public schools in our area that already had Naviance! We loved it and the schools loved Naviance too! Then, we asked the Garfield parents to pay for Naviance and they did! At some point, in 2007, the district told Garfield to stop using Naviance because the Seattle Public Schools was purchasing Naviance for the entire school district. Well folks, it is 2017 and we have NO database. For the past 10 years I have sent 10,000's of transcripts and school reports by snail mail or have entered them in multiple databases! And sometimes a dozen times just for ONE STUDENT! I have advertised and signed students up for College Visits by PAPER (also with the help and more help of parent volunteers)! I have communicated and invited students to apply for scholarships by PAPER! I have done graduation credit checks by PAPER for all of my 450+ students. My students complete their HS and Beyond plans on PAPER! We need to wake up folks and join everyone else in the world who conducts these sorts of actions ONLINE! It is truly embarrassing when a college wants me to send a transcript electronically and Seattle Public Schools has no platform to do this! I have personally sat on multiple committees to choose a new database for Seattle Public Schools and the team gave MULTIPLE recommendations. I am so upset that the school district is delaying Naviance OR anything like it once again! How many committees do I need to be on? How many emails do I need to send the Superintendent or the SCHOOL Board? How many administrators do I need to meet with again, again and again, just to find that they quit and can't pass on my pleas? I hope the parents in my community and on this blog can advocate for Naviance. It is LONG overdue. Excuse me, while I go and upload another transcript....