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Friday, December 15, 2017

Near and Current High School Parents: Pledge to Act

Parents have some choices for what they can do over the high school boundaries/24 credits/HCC pathways but you must be willing to back it up with action.


HCC parents, my kid will not be taking the state test in the spring. And then do that if HCC is weakened or blown up.  Get a petition going NOW with the names of HCC students, both in neighborhood schools and HCC-supported schools, that won't be taking the test.  (Yes, I know; it's conditional to take the test if you are in HCC.  Well, your program is being slashed and burned with no clear outlook for it; desperate times call for desperate measures.)

Near-and current high school parents, tell the Board and the Superintendent you will be voting no on the Operations levy in Feb. 2019.  Sign your e-mail with a pledge to do so if this process does not become more rational and clear. 
Flex that muscle. 

Here, I'll go first.

I pledge to vote no on the Operations levy in Feb. 2019 if the high school boundaries and HCC pathways work does not include real data for each scenario (with parents' questions answered BEFORE a vote) at real community meetings for each region. 

I also pledge to vote no on BEX V if it includes a downtown high school. 

 In fact, I may run a campaign against it. There is too much need throughout this district for facilities upgrades to spend $200M+ (and that is probably low) for a downtown high school.  Get more middle schools done.

79 comments:

Anonymous said...

Opt out of state testing? And give staff even more reason to label HCC parents as entitled and whatnot? We've been through this before. It was a repeated suggestion of Charlie's. It's a passive aggressive act that will accomplish what, exactly? Plus, there simply aren't enough parents willing to rock the boat in that way. Then there's the threat to leave the district. Do they care? If anything, it makes dealing with the capacity crunch easier. Honestly, groups of staff and parents seem like they'd like nothing more than to say good riddance to the entire HC cohort.

HC reality

Anonymous said...

Great ideas, Melissa. I'm in. I have 2 HCC kiddos.

Mag mom

Anonymous said...

If the district does in fact weaken HC services in high school because the majority group (GE) thinks HC services should be delivered in a way that disregards the needs of the minority group (HC students) in favor of what the majority wants, how is it "privilege" to protest that decision via the simple act of opting out of state tests--tests that often take advantage of the fact that HC students perform well on them to boost school/district test scores?

oy

Anonymous said...

I'm in. Because there is no reason my kids should have to commute 4.5 miles to Ingraham HS when we live less than a mile from Ballard HS.

I've been following these issues for years and I have no idea what is going on anymore. Why are so many important decisions being rushed into with negligible analysis?

Phinney Parent

Frustrated Parent said...

I agree with Melissa about the need for data!

There is an informal survey on the HCC blog about the preferred HCC pathway option, and over half the respondents have expressed a Garfield + Lincoln as the first preference.

Is the accurate? Who knows? But it begs the question of why isn’t the district asking the same specific question.

When Cascadia and Decatur were up for a split last year, there was a detailed survey asking about specific preference given concrete alternatives for the split. When it came to math textbook selection, parents were asked to rank specific concrete alternatives.

The problem with the way the district has asked the question about HS is that instead of asking to rank concrete alternatives, it’s asked about nebulous priorities. Perhaps that was fine early on, but now the district needs to ask parents for a concrete ranking given very specific options with detailed maps so parents know exactly what it means for their family.

Only when Board members have data from a detailed survey that ranks concrete alternatives can they make an informed decision. They wouldn’t have to follow parent’s wishes, but at least they would know what they are.

Be Aware said...

Thanks, Melissa.

The district has destroyed advanced learning for middle school Science and Language arts, and the district is in the midst of destroying Honors Language Arts and Social Studies for 9th graders. The plan is to destroy 9th grade honors and move on to 10th grade.

Used Students said...

Teachers support putting advanced learners into general education classes. It makes their work load easier. Your children, once again will be used to teach classmates. This works, some of the time, but these students have a legal right to have their needs met.

I once favored HCC going to Ballard. Given Ballard's new direction, I favor putting HCC into Lincoln.

The law provides advanced learners an appropriate service. Lincoln's principal should not get to decide what should and should not be.

Be Aware said...

I meant to say: The district has destroyed advanced middle school pathways for Language Arts and Social Studies. Middle school science is a waste. There is nothing to destroy, there.

Anonymous said...

Yep to the above from @be aware and @used. We're seeing it: group projects where one student does a disproportionate amount of the work and is somehow always paired with students who tend to be off task; fewer writing assignments, and less reading - to the point where a high school class is doing less than some middle school classes.

concerned

Robert Cruickshank said...

Voting against a levy would be a hard action for me to take, but I see why you're raising the possibility. Something has to be done to change the way the staff operate.

Of course, we just had a school board election. One would think those results would eventually be reflected in the management and operation of the district - that at some point the board would realize their work is being undermined, and our schools are being undermined, by these staff shenanigans. Until the staff are shown that their role is that of public servants, rather than one of top-down deciders, these problems will remain and grow worse.

There are many compromise solutions on the table to address the capacity/HCC/gen ed issues raised. But staff don't care about those because they are pushing their own personal agendas rather than reflecting what they are hearing from the community they purport to serve.

Nothing will change or improve until the senior staff at the JSCEE are either cleaned out en masse. This is one key reason we need a new superintendent, but I would suggest the attitudinal changes need to begin now. A new superintendent needs to come in knowing that the board is in charge and that this district will no longer be run by the central office staff - that it will be a district where those staff no longer act in any policy-making capacity and no longer push their own preferred options or ideas.

With aggressive charter school expansion (likely being aided by deliberate policy choices made by certain charter-friendly senior staff, as Carolyn Leith has documented) it is more important than ever that SPS be run democratically and for the benefit of every child. That isn't the case today and it will never be the case until the staff finally internalize that they are not deciders.

Helen said...

Why is there no discussion on what's best for the rest of the kids in the district? It's all about HCC on this blog. What about poor kids who are struggling? What about kids in the middle who want a chance to take higher science in middle school but are blocked by the HCC rules? What about looking at the greater good for society and not just your own interests? What about kindness towards other students who aren't in HCC? There are thousands of other students and parents in this district who have needs, too.

Helen

Anonymous said...

The question is whether the Board can find and hire the type of Superintendent needed to support high standards for both students and staff.

little hope

MLK Gifted said...

Poor kids who are struggling are being looked after and educated by the schools everyday in every classroom. Are you suggesting that that's not happening, Helen?

kellie said...

HCC is getting a disproportionate amount of airtime at the moment because the district has separated out the HCC pathway decision (now) from the High School Boundary decision (soon).

The two issues are completely interwoven and any HCC decision will dictate boundaries. And since the HCC pathway decision is the only item that has been presented to the board ... it is the hot topic for anyone who cares about high school at all.

Anonymous said...

@ Helen, because the issue currently before us is the high school boundaries+HCC pathways decision.

"What about kindness towards other students who aren't in HCC?" How exactly is trying to get reasonable HC services for those who need them unkind to other students, or not for "the greater good for society"? Yes, of course the majority of the district is composed of non-HC student. And you know what? The majority of the district's services are for non-HC students, too.

Middle school science is a separate issue. Worthy of discussion, but the immediate priority.

If there are other needs you're concerned about, by all means, speak up. And if you search the blog, you'll probably find that others HAVE spoken out on in in the past.

oy

Used Children said...

Should advanced learners be repeatedly used to help other children, Helen? Where do you draw the line between helping others and having their own needs met, and for how many years?

Anonymous said...

"NOT the immediate priority," that should have read...

oy

Anonymous said...

@ Helen, I'd like to hear a little more from your perspective, because I suspect there are many others who feel the same. You see all this discussion of HCC, and it feels unbalanced, right? Like these types of HCC issues come up all the time, right?

The thing is, they do! There are routine threats and changes and moves and the like when it comes to HCC, and often these are done with little community engagement or warning. Decreased access to advanced classes in 9th grade at Garfield. Last minute program splits and relocations (many times). Sudden changes to appeals criteria. Caps on access to IBX when there weren't supposed to be. Out-of-the blue votes to eliminate pathways. And so on.

While there are certainly many problems related to the general ed and overall SPS population, can you honestly say that gen ed students have faced the same number of serious threats and proposed changes? Boundary re-draws affect all students, the 24-credit mess effects all, the start times flip impacted all, the extra 20 min impacted all, capacity crunches impact all.

We're all, frequently, in the same boat, and parents (HCC and not) speak out. However, HCC families are also often thrown overboard, into the shark-infested waters. We usually manage to survive (often a bit worse for the wear) and eventually find our way back onto the boat, and for a while, we're one of the crew. Then the next time the storm comes, overboard we go again.

Assuming you're not as familiar with HCC (since you didn't seem to understand why all the current fuss), I'm honestly curious to hear your take on this ongoing series of threats to HC services, and to hear examples of how HCC isn't unique as a frequent target. I also hope you're outline your concerns re: non-HC services in a future thread.

Half Full

Melissa Westbrook said...

"It's a passive aggressive act that will accomplish what, exactly?"

It's not passive aggressive; it's a clear and open signal of dissatisfaction to the district. Schools that don't like HCC just LOVE HCC students' scores. I'm not sure I understand why they get the benefit and then bad-mouth the program.

I said nothing about leaving the district.

"A new superintendent needs to come in knowing that the board is in charge and that this district will no longer be run by the central office staff - that it will be a district where those staff no longer act in any policy-making capacity and no longer push their own preferred options or ideas."

Yup.

Helen, I believe in serving all kids. Always have and always will. I've volunteered for two years in a low-income, majority minority school.

But yes, ALL kids. I'm not sure I understand this "blocking other kids from higher science classes." Explain that and I will investigate.

I do think that using HCC as some kind of boogie monster for high school is being blown way out of proportion using equity as the reasoning. Again, make the program more equitable, don't blow it up.

Anonymous said...

Block the levy because HCC kids aren't getting special services? The level of entitlement on this blog from HCC parents is extreme and over the top - and then some. I stand with Helen.
-NP

Anonymous said...
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kellie said...

Melissa is one of the most committed public school advocates I have ever met. She is far more committed than I am.

Thank you Mel, for all you do.

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

It's embarrassing to us who have HC students and would like to see more blending to have the constant complaints of unfairness and hardship from parents who are receiving service, however flawed it may be.

It seems a bit myopic in regards to the needs and delivery of service to the rest of the students in SPS.

I'm trying to remember the calls on this blog to boycott tests in protest of SpEd problems, or ELL problems, or violence problems.

Only HCC brings out the boycott threat, yes?

Key West

Statutory Requirements said...


Sadly, the Geary, DeWolf, Patu amendment made clear that the district does not have the capability to meet the statutory requirements are met. Yet, the Geary, DeWolf and Patu put the amendment forth.

"While the District recognizes that it does not have the capability to meet the statutory
requirements for students designated as highly capable in all neighborhood schools starting in 2019-20, it can implement such a model effectively with two additional years of planning. This amendment gives significant advanced notice to families that this change is coming. "

https://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/School%20Board/17-18%20agendas/20171206/A05_20171207_Student_Assignment_Transition_Amendment_2.pdf

Board members must vote to assure they meet their fiduciary and legal requirements are met. Otherwise, the board is putting the district at risk of a lawsuit. What assurances do parents have that the needs of advanced learners are being met in mixed classrooms? None.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I don't think you understand. HCC parents just want our kids to get an education that's appropriate for them. Our kids are regularly shuffled around to solve various capacity problems - my child has been moved twice, both which necessitated building a school community from scratch, from PTAs, to music programs, sports programs, clubs, etc.

Also, the high school boundary changes that would be the worst for the HCC students would have the most severe effect on all other students as well. Have you seen the boundaries that would result if HCC students were sent to 4+ schools? Students within a few blocks of Ballard and Roosevelt would be sent to Lincoln. Actually, I think the boundaries would be even more severe, because 576 of the students in the Lincoln zone are HCC-qualified and most likely would choose to go to Roosevelt or Ballard, rather than stay at a school with a principal opposed to any advanced classes.

If these boundary changes that HCC parents are proposing (pathways at Garfield and Lincoln, with Ingraham IB as an option) would hurt the rest of the students in the district, I would hesitate to bring them up. But the HCC community is actually proposing solutions that would cause significantly less disruption to the rest of the high school students and would allow many more students to attend their closest high school, unless they choose to go to the HCC school. Remember, Lincoln is an old school with no fields of its own and it doesn't seem fair to uproot 1000 kids from newer buildings and fields to put them there.

Momof2

Head Scratcher said...

Not to mention that the district has zero credibility when it says that all the high schools will suddenly, magically, be able to provide a basic education to HC students in 2021 even though they admit that they are not able to do that now or in 2019.

Statutory Requirement said...


I've not seen blended classes evaluated to assure the needs of advanced learners are being met. Yet, the district consistently moves into a blended classroom model. I don't see Larry Nyland pushing for compliance.

The board is responsible for oversight. This includes making sure the needs of all learners are met. This is going to get interesting.

Anonymous said...

Ah, but we have absolutely seen that segregated classrooms are not providing anything for anyone other than ... well, a “social cohort “. The academic aand test scores for highly capable students is not enhanced by segregation. The district has already shown this.

The board is responsible for ending segregation, and that means ending the holy cohort.

4 Equity

Anonymous said...

4 Equity, so you support the change that will negatively impact the most students in the north end? Sending the most students to a school farther away, instead of the school a few blocks away? Placing 1,000 kids in a high school without fields and many other amenities, when other students get to stay at the newer buildings with fields?

It's going to cost more to provide the classes needed for a small number of students at every school, rather than providing it at a couple of locations. It's quite inefficient to spread those classes around - like Calculus BC. The HCC students hurt the worst will be the ones whose parents can't afford to send them to private school or to supplement their education in other ways. Does that matter to you?

Momof2

Anonymous said...

>>>>Schools that don't like HCC just LOVE HCC students' scores.

Ok. Let’s hear about those “high test scores.” This week ED and EA college decisions came out. How did those advanced learners do? I haven’t heard a peep. Lots of noise about mandates and entitlements and believed statutory obligations. But nothing, predictabley, about student accomplishment, and results from all those resources. Let’s hear about their astronomic test scores and where they were admitted this week. Last year, it seemed pretty weak. Not sure how the district could “LOVE” HCC scores... but the only scores that matter are the ones at the end of the road that give you a leg up. HCC was pretty meh from what I could see. Certainly not better than similarly demographiced regulars.

Great idea! Boycott the test that is now all but defunct! Your kids are just too smart to be tested. Right? Truly brilliant. That’s been the excuse for no requalification testing. I got a better idea. Boycott the SAT and the ACT. Knock ‘em dead!

4 Equity

Amendment 2 said...

Why can't we have the district work to assure the needs of advanced learners are met in blended classrooms, 4 Equity?

As an aside, north end schools i.e. Roosevelt are hardly hot beds of segregation.

Amendment 2 said...

The district must look at both segregation and statutory requirements for advanced learners.

Melissa Westbrook said...

This discussion is getting close to being closed; I ask that readers keep it civil and remember we are talking about children.

Anonymous said...

Melissa Westbrook,

You brought up the students (re scores). You accused schools of using students for their test scores.

Is this an open blog or not?

Seriously?

Serious said...

The district has placed HCC in low performing schools. To the outsider, one believes the schools are doing better.

Anonymous said...

Ok then. How many were admitted to MIT or Cal Tech this week? HCC parents, let us know. Any Stanford’s? I heard someone got in last year. What were the test scores? We keep hearing about how high they are. So let’s hear about them. Suddenly it’s all uncivil to talk about actual results. Where are they?

Waiting

Melissa Westbrook said...

This is a moderated blog and I’m the moderator. There are guidelines here as well as my judgment.

I did not accuse schools of using kids for scores. I said the number of high performing students helps keep up a school’s overall score.

Waiting, nothing was said about where anyone goes to college.

This post is about how high school parents can make sure that the process on deciding high school boundaries is fair, open and equitable.

Anonymous said...

YOU have brought up testing, test scores, and test boycotts. The end result of which is a plum college admissions. Let’s hear about those tests and their results.

Still Waiting

Cal Tech said...

There are plenty of SPS students that get admitted into Cal Tech. Do your own research.

Head Scratcher said...

"While the District recognizes that it does not have the capability to meet the statutory requirements for students designated as highly capable in all neighborhood schools starting in 2019-20, it can implement such a model effectively with two additional years of planning."

What in the world are they going to do during those two additional years to bring the high schools up to minimum legal standards? And why not do it now?

Statutory Requirement said...

Instead of pushing students into AP placement classed, the district is in the process of dismantling advanced classes. Advanced classes are being replaced with blended learning classes. As far as I can tell, this began at Garfield. There has not been an evaluation of these classes to assure the needs of advanced learners are being met.

The board is responsible for oversight. Seems inappropriate for directors to make an amendment without assurance the needs of advanced learners are being met.

Anonymous said...

Great to know CT. From where and when? And what’s plenty? So let’s hear about this years EA ED admits from this week. Once again HCC students. Put it out there. Let’s hear about the stellar scores!

Wait4 It

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Melissa Westbrook said...

I did like that last comment but again, I don’t allow name-calling.

What’s interesting is all I did was offer suggestions beyond lobbying the Board. Clearly, staff is not going to engage and the High School Boundaries taskforce could very well see their work tossed aside by staff as so many other groups have before them.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

@ current 8th, it could also be worked directly into the assignment plan rather than via amendment. That might be the safer/clearer bet. There's no reason the assignment plan can't lay out unique assignment procedures specific to a certain sub population in a certain year. If Ashley is on board with this as you say, they should make it clear in the assignment docs up for approval.

Speaking of which, are there narratives that go with the maps? The maps don't make it clear how different groups within each area are treated (e.g., HCC, language immersion), so how will the board know exactly what they are approving?

All types

Statutory Requirement said...

I will now support HC at Lincoln.

I thought large comprehensive schools, with a lot of advanced class offerings, would have the capacity to absorb HC students. I've not seen the district evaluate Garfield's Honors for All. Another comprehensive high plans on following Garfield's steps. I believe the plan will start in 9th grade and then move into 10th grade. Does W. Seattle plan on doing the same?

This string makes me sad. I see anger and hate towards a certain group of students. There are reasons state law protects these students.

Anonymous said...

@ Statuatory Requirements. I am sorry you feel that way. I don't see anger and hate directed at a particular group of students. I see frustration in unequal allocation of resources, concerns about equity (broadly defined), and a desire to get advanced learning and AP resources out to a larger group of students. I see venom directed at schools like Hale that try to serve all students and don't provide as many AP courses as RHS or BHS. I think if SPS had more money or more teachers, SPS would provide those services.

But how can anyone justify BC Calc for 10 people when we don't have enough basic classes (for example Physics) for everyone else? We're on a boat with limited food. We can't all have caviar.

SPS Parent

Statutory Requirement said...

The Hamilton community needs to advocate for HC at Lincoln.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Note to new readers: pick a name or moniker. We do not accept anonymous comments. They are deleted.

"I don't see anger and hate directed at a particular group of students. I see frustration in unequal allocation of resources, concerns about equity (broadly defined), and a desire to get advanced learning and AP resources out to a larger group of students. I see venom directed at schools like Hale that try to serve all students and don't provide as many AP courses as RHS or BHS. I think if SPS had more money or more teachers, SPS would provide those services."

C'mon. Of course there is anger in this thread towards HCC.

What "unequal allocation of resources?" Please don't make statements without example.

Of course the equity issue in HCC is an issue but oddly, staff and people who don't like HCC can only say get rid of it. There are many ways to address the inequity but that's not what we hear. I find that odd.

I don't see "venom" at Hale; I hear statement of fact. Now does that mean the principal doesn't want rigor? No, but as someone who had a child there, staff at the school very much don't like AP which leaves kids who would like those classes in the lurch.

It's interesting that the view that Hale serves all kids but other schools don't hasn't been challenged. Inclusion doesn't always mean equity. (As well, Hale doesn't do all inclusion well; they have no cut sports but if your child is not wanted, they will never play.)

And again, AP classes are open to ALL students at all comprehensives. It's true.

SPS does have the money but they choose not to spend it for these efforts. They spend it on MTSS.

Lastly, you don't seem to understand - the state requires schools to provide rigor to those at the top. Like it's a law or something. It's not caviar. Providing those classes to those students is not the reason they don't have Physics but if you can explain how you know that I know my readers would be interested.



Anonymous said...

The state doesn’t use the terminology “the top.” That’s your construction and editorializing. The fact that you continue to view and advocate for a hierarchical view of education demolishes any claim this blog has in supporting equitable advances and initiatives in SPS.

QED

Anonymous said...

(revised version of earlier comment)

@ ‘Wait4It’/‘Waiting’/’Still Waiting’/’4 Equity’/’For Progress’/’FWIW’ and whatever else you’re calling yourself-- Chill. You sound hysterical. No one’s talking about boycotting SAT/ACT tests. The district doesn’t even care about those.

I think Melissa means the Smarter Balanced Tests, the standardized tests the district and OSPI use to measure students and schools. If the district didn’t care about HCC students’ test scores and participation in its yearly standardized tests, why does it put anti opt-out threats and SBA requirements in its advanced learning eligibility qualifications?

You apparently are ignorant of the district's history of putting APP/HCC programs in struggling schools to boost test scores & enrollment. After the district split APP from Lowell and Washington to Thurgood Marshall and Hamilton, both new locations suddenly earned 'School of Distinction Awards' for their ‘improvement.’ The (previous) principal at T. Marshall refused to accept the award, knowing it didn’t reflect a meaningful improvement in the school. The (previous) principal at Hamilton however was willing to embrace the artificial accolade. I think that’s the district attitude that some have referred to in this thread --HCC kids used repeatedly to fix capacity problems or artificially impact school improvement plans. Parents are tired of their kids being used this way.

Why are you so spitefully obsessed with one program and one group of kids? Quite frankly, it’s weird.

If you are going to take a self-righteous stance about ‘segregation’ why aren't you having fits about all the ‘segregated’ programs and schools throughout the district? Or the fact that the whole district is segregated? Or the whole city? What about language immersion, STEM programs, CTE programs, etc? Are all races and genders equally represented in all of those programs? What about IB and AP classes? Do away with them too? Principals are already getting rid of Honors. Does that help the education of all students? No evidence of that. But it makes the principals and people like you feel better cause they can pretend they’re leveling the playing field (rather than actually preparing more kids to be able to succeed in honors and AP classes, which would be true equity).

The district has singled out HCC pathways in the student assignment plan. Right now these pathways are up in the air and being changed with no clear rationale behind the proposed changes. The last minute amendments by certain board directors were irresponsible and agenda driven, with no regard for their greater consequences. Not surprisingly, parents would like some answers about what this means and where their kids are going to high school.

Another TiredParent

Melissa Westbrook said...

The state doesn’t use the terminology “the top.” That’s your construction and editorializing. The fact that you continue to view and advocate for a hierarchical view of education demolishes any claim this blog has in supporting equitable advances and initiatives in SPS."

I paraphrased and I think we all know what it means. The fact is - and I know you hate it - that these students are required to receive services.

I believe in the cohort. I have seen the difference it makes.

BUT, I also believe in mixing kids as much as possible (and it is indeed possible).

I believe in listening to experts on how to bring more equity to the program (and it is indeed possible). I spent two days last spring at an equity in gifted ed conference, listening. I listened to the expert that former director Sue Peters brought it. It's all possible.

The crux of the matter is that there are two camps: those that believe kids should not be in separate classes for any reason and those that do. But why that means demonizing kids and parents is beyond me.

Those that want total inclusion think that otherwise it's elitist. That's an opinion. But you are welcome to that.

One stance does not a blog make but if that suits your shrill narrative, knock yourself out.

Anonymous said...

Some people seem to think that ending the HCC cohort will somehow achieve equity.

This is the same district that destroyed Middle College, a social justice program rooted in equity. The same district that has consistently neglected RBHS. The same district that wanted to end dual language instruction.

The problem isn't the existence of HCC. It's the district staff. They want to end all specialized services for students. That makes it easier to turn to "personalized learning" - i.e. replacing teachers with iPads.

I'm agnostic about the existence of HCC, but the district staff's war against it is revealing. They make no promises to meet the needs of HCC kids, now or in the future. That means they won't make any promises to meet the needs of any other child in SPS either.

The only solution here is mass firings at the JSCEE. People resist this simple fact for reasons I don't understand. But until that happens, inequities will grow worse, the needs of kids will continue to go unmet, and parents will continue to turn to private options. As if that were the plan all along.

Delridge Dad

Anonymous said...

What's up with all of these deletes?

I read this blog yesterday and there were credible posts that followed the blog guidelines and offered different points of view. Most of those have been deleted.
And, no, they weren't from one person since the writing was completely different.

The many deletes help keep up a narrative that is not fully reflective of the stakeholders.

Hopefully, the district and board are aware of what is happening here. Your blog has become unreliable and censored.

Watch to see if this gets deleted, too.

Favorability Bias

Anonymous said...

If you want to attack this blog in comments I believe you are wasting your time. What you can do is report each of MW's SB supported candidates for failing to disclose MW work here as in kind contributions. In fact you could make the case that MW is a lobbyist. Remember it's just not during the election that MW supports her friend's or AKA union sympathizers, it continues each and everyday.

This is MW's blog so she can do what she want's, but there are consequences for her actions and those of current board members who use this blog as a propaganda platform.

I've noticed that MW other blog contributors are nowhere to be found. Why is that?

MJ

Go High said...

There is a way to educate HC students WITH total inclusion. It is called grade skipping. It used to be the state of the art way serve HC students.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a "precocious student" and skipped ninth grade in high school. This intervention worked so well for him that he skipped 11th grade as well and started Morehouse College at the age of 15.

Thurgood Marshall also skipped grades twice.

Thurgood Marshall's dad was a railroad porter and his mom a teacher. His grandfather had been a slave. He did not grow up in privilege. Martin Luther King Jr. also did not grow up privileged. Giftedness ≠ Privilege

I am not suggesting that grade skipping should be how the district educates HC kids today. Marshall graduated high school in 1925 and MLK Jr. graduated high school in 1944. What was state of the art in gifted ed in the 1920s and 1940s is no longer necessarily state of the art.

But I think it's easier for Seattleites who are squeamish about gifted ed to see that the gifted ed Marshall and MLK received was not "getting something special." By skipping two grades they actually received less from their schools than their peers. Gifted ed is a necessary intervention for some students, but it doesn't necessarily involve the students receiving something "special" or deluxe or fancy or better than other students. It can very easily involve them getting less (maybe even two years less!!!).

So, if the district insists on not meeting the needs of high school HC students via a pathway (leading to appropriate coursework), they will need to switch to a grade skipping model. They actually already have. That's how Running Start is being used. Accelerated students finish high school after 10th or 11th grade and then go to college. The school board and the district should be honest about this and call it what it is.

Anonymous said...

No one said that giftedness=privilege. What has been stated is that the HCC identification process often does not even identify giftedness, causing privilege to be mistaken for giftedness.

Attending a gifted conference doesn't change a thing when the same narrative continues. Most people do not subscribe to the binary choices that were offered as a summary. HC advocates seek a variety of needed services, delivered to those who have been equitably identified.

Nuanced Thinking

Anonymous said...

The cultural appropriation of Martin Luther King’s and Thurgood Marshall’s stories to anecdotally bolster the case for HC in Seattle is so obviously manipulative that it beggars belief. The two giants of desegregation being used to justify its continuances is tasteless and an obvious move from the conservative playbook.

Again this blog is being abused. When these kinds of arguments are allowed stand and those expressing a progressive perspective are censored, the vaunted calls for district transparency run hollow.

MJ is correct about school board directors who use this as a personal bulletin board and to coerce opinion. Perhaps an ethics investigation of said public officials is warranted.


Stet

Go High said...

Students like MLK and Thurgood Marshall didn't skip two grades in school for cultural reasons, otherwise you'd see all the students in a cultural group doing it. And you don't see that. Unless you count being HC as a culture, which might be interesting, but not a topic for this blog. The 60+ black HC students in Seattle didn't get accelerated for cultural reasons. They were accelerated for academic reasons.

If district staff and/or our school board want to meet HC students' needs in high school by graduating them from high school after 10th or 11th grade and sending them to college (via Running Start or otherwise) at the age of 15 or 16 (like MLK and Thurgood Marshall), the district and the board should communicate this to parents.

Gifted ed has come a long way since Thurgood Marshall graduated in 1925 and MLK in 1944.

Melissa Westbrook said...

The blog has guidelines.

Don't sign a name/moniker; deleted.

Call anyone a name; deleted.

Personally insult me; deleted.

The first two have been part of the blog for years. The last one? When the threats began (which I deleted but keep in a file).

Statutory Requirement said...

Who was the speaker, Melissa?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Look whoever you are, you are not running me in circles with this nonsense. I don't even know what "speaker" you are speaking of.

Give it a rest.

Anonymous said...

"those at the top" are in more need than others in the district?

The SpEd kids are all getting served to the letter of the law?
Not what I've heard.

Where are the SpEd kids in music and clubs? Cheer leading?

Are the homeless kids all getting there legally prescribed service?

How about the ELL students? They are all getting good service?

Why does the welfare of "the top" kids demand a test boycott? What is so horrible for the HCC students?

My kid doesn't have a perfect school, perfect teachers, perfect curriculum or the ideal academic environment for him to reach his full potential and get into the college he wants.

He gets an average amount of attention and plenty of help at home and supplementation, just like most every kid I know.

His classes are overcrowded, have broken furniture, classroom disruption issues, you know, public school.

Am I going to threaten to opt out of testing to try and get more for my kid and others like him?

No, I'm going to donate as much time and money as I can to his school and help support the district and leave it stronger than it was when we started.

S

Anonymous said...

@all types Thank you for your reply which was "@ current 8th, "it could also be worked directly into the assignment plan rather than via amendment. That might be the safer/clearer bet. There's no reason the assignment plan can't lay out unique assignment procedures specific to a certain sub population in a certain year. If Ashley is on board with this as you say, they should make it clear in the assignment docs up for approval."

@momof2 and Statuatory Requirments-I am reposting as my comment may have gotten deleted by accident.

Please for those considering advocating for any other option other than the 4 pathway idea (ex Lincoln, Ingraham, neighborhood school), please considering advocating the board to grandfather current Hc 8th graders who will be 10th graders in 2019.

There will be MANY HC kids who will be in their neighborhood schools of BHS & RHS in 2018 who would get reassigned to Lincoln or Hale etc in 2019 as 10th graders which are schools that cannot provide appropriate curriculum. For example, Ashley Davies made clear Lincoln will open as a 9/10 and if the Lincoln plan was approved it would have 9th grade HC. The current plan would only grandfather HC kids who will be in pathway schools of Garfield or Ingraham in 2019. I know many kids who cannot consider Garfield due to travel and Ingraham would be a capped lottery as well not appropriate for some kids. There will be many HC kids continuing to enroll in BHS & RHS in 2018. They are at risk if moved to schools that cannot serve them when boundaries change.

Current HC 8th

Anonymous said...

@ S, I'll be brief.

Nobody wants "more" or "better." Just an equal opportunity to learn. For HCC students, this often means access to more advanced offerings than would otherwise be available.

Other minority populations like SpEd, ELL and homeless kids are probably also often shortchanged by SPS. That's the district's MO. That does not mean efforts to shortchange HC services should be ignored. Nor does it mean HCC parents should be the ones solving the other issues. Issues are best addressed, and taken more seriously, when those speaking out have familiarity with the ins and the outs of the problems, can speak to specific solutions, etc. HCC parents DO speak out on many of those issues, but often we can only do so in general terms. And if you think HC students don't donate a ton of time and money to their HCC and Gen Ed schools, you're mistaken.

Few people are saying HCC is "so horrible" now. Like many SPS services it's not great (nowhere near "ideal"), but there's a looming threat of it getting worse. My own kids would probably say it's horrible--and for them it was--but overall I don't think it's THAT bad. But it's moving steadily in that direction. HCC was already so unchallenging for one of my kids that it caused physical pain, and the other was at risk of dropping out of school. As a parent, that sounds pretty bad, but I acknowledge that maybe my kids are more atypical than some. That said, I can see very clearly that quality HC services are indeed essential for HC students' well-being. Not to "maximize their success" and get them into the college of their dreams, but to allow them to feel ok about themselves, graduate from high school, develop a social network, and you know, be kids/teens who grow into well-adjusted adults.

real needs

Grouchy Parent said...

@S,

The district and the board agree that most of Seattle's neighborhood high schools are UNABLE to meet the minimum legal requirements for providing a basic education to HC students. Like, it would be illegal of them to require HC students to attend their neighborhood high schools right now. (If the district gets sued, we all have to pay for it). That's why there's a pathway to Garfield. And they admit that they can't fix this by 2019 or even 2020. They think they may be able to meet the minimum legal requirements for educating HC students at neighborhood high schools by 2021. They haven't said what they're planning to do to make that happen, but their inability to communicate what they stand for on the HC issue, where they're going with it, or provide any data at all about whether their current Honors for All experiment is harmful or beneficial to any of the guinea pigs they're testing it on (and I'm including ALL the students in that--we don't know if it's helping/harming/or neutral for any of them). So, go Seattle Public Schools, yeah!!!

Anonymous said...


All of you are wrong, there is no legal requirement to teach HCC curriculum in a special setting to anyone. Students are free to attend classes at a higher grade level and that meets any need.

Now stop with all the BS.

Truth

Anonymous said...

@ Truth, parents never said it MUST be in a special setting, and you'll notice that settings have changed over the years. But here we have the district saying they can't do it in all settings because they lack critical mass and ability to provide the necessary services in all settings. So I guess the district IS in fact saying it must be in special settings--so that must be the truth.

Whose BS?

Anonymous said...

Oh, and if you want to talk about BS, how about your claim that students are free to take classes at higher grade levels. Can my 9th grader opt out of Honores for All 9t grade LA and Asocial Stidies and skip to 10th grade honors or AP classes instead? Nope.

Whose BS?

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

There are Sped kids in Cheerleading. I know of one who had Down's Syndrome, one who was autistic and one who had learning disabilities of some sort, not sure. That's on one squad.

If the kids can do the stunts, they can make the team.

HP

Charlie Mas said...

S wrote:
"those at the top" are in more need than others in the district?
No. And no one ever said that they were. They have different needs which should be addressed (as the law requires).

The SpEd kids are all getting served to the letter of the law?
Not what I've heard.

Not what I have heard either. What's your point? Are you suggesting that the needs of all other students should go ignored until the SpEd kids are served as the law requires?

Where are the SpEd kids in music and clubs? Cheer leading?
How is that relevant to the question of meeting the legal requirements for other students? Does this relate back to your suggestion that all other students should go unserved until students with disabilities are served to the letter of the law?

Are the homeless kids all getting there legally prescribed service?
Probably not, but, again, how is that relevant?

How about the ELL students? They are all getting good service?
Probably not, but, again, how is that relevant?

Why does the welfare of "the top" kids demand a test boycott? What is so horrible for the HCC students?
The test boycott is a tool available to families to coerce compliance from the District. I don't know if you've noticed, but the HCC families have yet to implement a test boycott. What is so horrible for them? I'm not sure if you've read anything that has been written, but the District is threatening to refuse to meet their academic needs. You know, as the District has done for students with disabilities, English Language Learners, and homeless kids.

My kid doesn't have a perfect school, perfect teachers, perfect curriculum or the ideal academic environment for him to reach his full potential and get into the college he wants.
That puts you in the same boat with the rest of us. People are not asking for perfection; they are asking for the legal minimum.

He gets an average amount of attention and plenty of help at home and supplementation, just like most every kid I know.
Same for every kid I know.

His classes are overcrowded, have broken furniture, classroom disruption issues, you know, public school.
Yeah, the same public school conditions for HCC kids.

Am I going to threaten to opt out of testing to try and get more for my kid and others like him?

No, I'm going to donate as much time and money as I can to his school and help support the district and leave it stronger than it was when we started.

And no one is denying you the freedom to follow that course. Good luck with that. It is, of course, the path that HCC families have taken for over twenty years.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember a time when public comment spots were prioritized based on agenda items or topic? Slots were assigned in a way that allowed several topics to be discussed, rather than 20 people talking on the same subject and preventing other voices from being heard. When I see the same people with the same talking points over and over, then see the waitlist of individuals wanting to speak on other pressing topics, it makes one wonder if there's a need to reconsider the current procedures.

wondering

Melissa Westbrook said...

"All of you are wrong, there is no legal requirement to teach HCC curriculum in a special setting to anyone. Students are free to attend classes at a higher grade level and that meets any need."

1) There is no HCC curriculum.
2) A classroom is not a "special setting"
3) I'll check but I don't believe that a high school student, at any lower grade, can take any higher level class they want.

I will be ending this thread here because of the increasingly angry tone. Again, coming from people against HCC. Hmmm.

Wondering, that's a good point. I'll double-check on what that's about with speakers at the Board meeting. Perhaps not enough people are signing up for topics on the agenda and the office is just listing people as they sign up.