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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Seattle School Board Meeting, January 17, 2018

I had an earlier thread about the increasing length of Board meetings and my suggestions for trimming them down.  Democracy should not be about who can stay awake the longest.  I note tha Director Burke left at about hour three to catch a plane.  Agenda
The meeting opened with the Robert Eagle Staff MS orchestra giving a two-piece concert.  It was quite good and afterwards, they handed the mic to the kids.  Now normally, they ask the students to give their names and their grade but this time it was name and how long they had been playing.  It was quite telling as some kids had been playing five months and some for five years.  (I'll have a separate thread about this issue but I was reminded of the concert as I participated in a very tense discussion over at the Soup for Teachers Facebook page.)

Then there were the Superintendent remarks, most of which I didn't notate but there was one of interest.  It seems the district asked parents about receiving information by text and a large number of parents expressed interest.  Superintendent Nyland said 100% of the ELL parents who responded said yes.

In early Board comments, Director Burke noted what seems to be the new meme for the district - "the north star."  Work that is very important is "the north star."  I counted no fewer than five members of staff using this throughout the evening.

Public Testimony
The majority of speakers were talking about high school boundaries and/or HCC pathways.  There were again some amazing student speakers including Hayden Wagar, a 6th grader at Blaine K-8, Kira Blumhagen, who I believe is a junior at Ballard, and Campbell McVicars, another Blaine student. 
As usual, district watcher Chris Jackins asked some pointed questions.  For example, on the district buying land for use as a warehouse for their buses, he pointed out that the district says they will save $680K a year but that doesn't address lost interest from the money being in BEX IV, there are no costs noted for the building of the warehouse and relocation costs. 

Many people really do not like the idea of long bus rides.  It seems quite clear that most teens get to school under their own power - walking, walking/bus, biking - and parents want it to stay that way.  Parent Michelle Wainstein said, "The past three weeks on this discussion feels like a hot potato being thrown around; please don't throw us under - or on - the bus."

Parent Rishi Mirchandani asked if the Board/staff had fully vetted possible unintended consequences.  His wife, Nicole, also had a good comment about asking what principals had to say about these boundaries.  To the best of my knowledge, I don't know if they have been asked as a group to weigh in.

Another parent, Andrea Toll, spoke movingly about her son with an IEP at Ballard and that the community he is in, especially teachers and counselors, means the world to him and is key for his life balance. 

Another parent, who is also a teacher in SPS, said she had taught HCC students for five years and never had professional development on it.

Parent David Shepard said his group HAD talked to principals and there hasn't been outreach to them.  He said Principal Howard shared lessons with them.  I also note I haven't seen any report from Executive Directors about what their principals think which you might believe would be within their job responsibilities.

Parent Eric Blumhagen weighed in with three issues.  One, that every high school student, if they want it, deserves an opportunity for a full schedule of classes.  Two, it should be flexible so students don't repeat a class to fill a slot.   Three, if the district can't do the first two, they need to rethink their HCC plans.

Parent Lisa Melenyzer pointed out that the HCC resolution was vague and an "invitation to make a plan."  

There was an interesting trio that came to the mic - Principal Jeff Clark from Denny MS, Principal Paula Montgomery and SEA head Phyllis Campano.  Montgomery said something about the superintendent search (I could not understand what she said) and then Clark said there was an imperative to provide HC service but didn't understand why RBHS and Chief Sealth HS were not included on the list since they have IB programs.

Board Comments

There was a defense by Jill Geary of her co-sponsored resolution on HC.  She said the resolution "makes us focus on a plan."  Kind of weird because the work of reforming HCC would need to happen, resolution or not.  She then repeated what she had said at the last Board meeting about how her son was in the first group of students in the IBX program at Ingraham.  And, despite "no plan" he did well.

She keeps saying things like "we will do everything we can during this transition" but really those are empty words that she cannot back up.  Staff isn't making that promise and they are the ones to create the plan and any transition work.

Burke chimed in that he didn't think that the resolution would impact the racial imbalance in HCC.  He said he believed it was "about identification and services earlier in the year."  He's likely right about that except that the resolution is NOT addressing the central problem in HCC which is the racial imbalance.  Because you can certainly return all the HCC students to their neighborhood high school and hope that there will be more rigor to address their needs AND get more students in higher level classes but that's really a hope.

It's not Field of Dreams - build it and they will come.  Students who haven't chosen more rigorous classes are not just going to wake up and sign up.  The district needs to do more than that if their goal is more students taking higher level classes.  Of course, if those students haven't tested in HCC, if they are students of color, that won't get reflected in HCC numbers. 

Action Items (partial)
- acceptance of grant from the John Hay PTA for a new playground.  Hey, the PTA finally got public thanks.  It was noted that the same company that has done the survey of SPS facilities - Meng - is doing one for school playgrounds.  President Harris asked about keeping up playgrounds and head of Facilities, Flip Herndon, said they could do that on BEX V.  I would submit that the district has just as great a responsibility to keep up playgrounds as athletic fields.  You get a whole wallop of inequity from not doing this as PTAs with funding prowess can fundraise to get a new playground and lower-income schools can't. And, it takes something off the district's maintenance backlog.

I have a hard time taking seriously this issue of equity when kids across the district don't have access to the same quality of playgrounds.

- Naviance software purchase.  

Harris said she had received a lot of feedback on this issue.  Caleb Perkins, head of College/Career Readiness, said that it "has a lot of support and equitable access."  She said that she had received an email from a high school counselor - "a rabid data person" - who highly recommended using it.  But Harris also noted the issue of what happens to data if the company is sold as sometimes the data is sold as an asset.  She said it "would not be happening with this contract."

Well, that's great but the district DID have a contract with another software company who DID get sold and the data WAS sold and the district had to fight to get it back. 

Mack pressed hard on making sure it was clear that parents could opt their students out of using it and that data not be shared with third parties (or at least parents know who they are).  Pinkham also thought that it might be better for an opt-in because then we ask parents. It was noted with language difficulties that it is harder to opt-in than opt-out for those parents.  Mack continued that parents need to know about the software and what options they have as well as correcting any information that is wrong about their student.

Patu asked if it were a new contract.  (It is.)  Harris asked about community engagement, "when and who pays?"

- Contract for Sped student
I noted this contract in another thread because of the leap in the contract amount from about $94K to $391K.  Turns out that OSPI funds some of the costs and, according to Budget's JoLynn Berge, if they do agree, it's anything above $30K.

Introduction Items (partial) 

Resolution on HC high school pathways
There was some confusion over whether this item had passed thru from the Curriculum and Instruction committee as "for approval" or "for consideration." DeWolf said for approval.

Ashley Davies of Enrollment said that each year a larger number of HCC students are staying at schools "and with those numbers, services come."  Really?  Has there been an uptick of higher-level classes at any high school that has seen more HCC students from that region?  News to me.

DeWolf said "I'm really excited about this" and then turned to the crowd and asked if staff were.  (I was watching from home so it was not possible to see if anyone jumped up.)  He noted the "experience of Native boarding schools."

He stated:
- "How do I tell or justify that we are paying a large amount of money for an inequitable program?"  He didn't mention that the service (it's not a program according to the district) was a state mandate and therefore, it has to exist in some fashion nor did he offer solutions for making it more equitable. 

This resolution, for all the Sturm und Drang, is not really going to change much in terms of this program and certainly not the racial inequity in the program for the majority of students.

He also talked about "labels" and "inclusive educational environments."

Then he came to the Times' article about the lack of progress for closing the opportunity gap in SPS over the decades (I'll have a separate thread on that one).  He said he was frustrated that he had not received a single email from a parent about it.  Not one parent saying, "What are you going to do about that?"

Then, referencing the HCC parents who had either emailed him about HCC or gave testimony (it wasn't clear which) he said he was "grateful for enthusiastic parents" but that if they read the paper and did nothing, "but you email us about a program for 90% white students?"

Oh my.

Why would he single out one group of parents to decry over their lack of action?  I mean, he did say he didn't receive a single email on the topic so shouldn't he be wondering out loud why other non-HCC parents aren't interested enough to even send their Board director an email? 

This is a very sticky wicket and probably the biggest issue - why aren't parents rising up - en masse - to loudly complain about the opportunity gap? 

Again, I cannot fault parents for supporting their child and their child's school.  I wish more parents would look at the bigger picture of this district but with so much coming at you as parents - boundaries, bell times, high school schedules, curriculum changes - it's not easy to be as involved.

But it's a big issue and one that is getting louder all the time.  It would be great if PTAs took the lead on this and showed parents at every school that it does matter.

Director Pinkham asked about space and Communications Carri Campbell talked about equal access.  Pinkham pushed back on  her methodology and she agreed. He said, "If there aren't enough students for orchestra classes, can they go somewhere else?"  Wyeth Jesse, head of Student Services, agreed that there was not consistency in classes at schools.

Mack pointed out the fundamental believe that Advanced Learning should be available for every student at every school. (And that's exactly what ALOs were supposed to do but did not and were not available in every school.)  She also asked about what if students are advanced in one area.

I'll interject here that there was a complaint that the thread about the changes in science curriculum were around HC students.  But, per Mack's statement, there are students who excel in one subject and having good advanced classes in math, science, social studies and LA allows single subject excellers to have access to what they are good at/want to pursue. 

Then it got a bit sticky as Jesse had to follow up on the lack of consistency which, in part, is about "site-based management" e.g. principals.  He spoke of "different curricular choices."

Again, if you don't have principals on-board with these changes, how do you know they will follow thru?

Mack pressed him about Calculus B/C and the need for a critical mass for those classes. Jesse said that some colleges have shifted what they accept and not just AP.

Well, that has always been true but much of what they accept is VERY dependent on what school it is.  Colleges and universities know Lakeside and Bush but what happens from SPS high school to SPS high school is quite another thing.

Both Harris and Mack pointed out that the resolution does nothing for the segregation in our school.  Herndon said the answer was excellent schools everywhere.  (Yes, but then does segregation matter or not? I'm confused.)

Harris stated that she had great respect for staff but that the district does not always execute plans "with fidelity."  She said for West Seattle HS, in her region, that she had faith in Principal Brian Vance and the idea of students staying in their region and "getting people off the bridge."  

But she said "we don't fully fund IB.  When I make a promise to my community, I want to know - for sure - we can execute."  She mentioned "brainpower, money and tools."

Boundaries Discussion (Hour Six)

Mack asked on the amendment, why there was no SE pathway for dual language?  Davies said that the majority of the students in the dual language program were in the Lincoln area.

Geary asked about populations coming into Lincoln, pulling dual language into Lincoln and would that push more to Ballard and then, north Ballard back up to Ingraham?  Davies said, "Not really."  Harris talked about getting buy-in from staff on a SE dual pathway.  Michael Tolley agreed that there is work to be done.


Analysis
I had thought that the HC pathways resolution was a done deal but now, I'm not so sure.  That it looks as flimsy as the sheet of paper it's written on, I think that has given some directors pause. 

At this point, I think smart directors want to make a REAL difference in changing the look of who is in HCC and expansion of higher-level classes in high school for all students.

As for the boundaries, it will be as it always is - some will be happy and others will not be.  But, it's interesting how kids adapt.  Maybe that's youth but it's a good thing.  Lastly, kids get their vibes from parents so if you think it's the end of the world, so will they.  A word from an old parent.












 



59 comments:

Anonymous said...

My favorite line was spoken by the McVickers girl from Blaine:

"I know you don't consider me highly capable but I do..."

Label Maker

Anonymous said...

RE what Ashley Davies of Enrollment said about how each year there a larger number of HCC students are staying at schools "and with those numbers, services come." Not true at Roosevelt, which is sometimes held up as a school that does serve HCC identified students well/has enough AP classes. Science is a problem for students who come from HCC in middle school and when I emailed the then principal Vance and the head of the science department last year, they said there is not plan to increase honors or AP science offerings. That said, our student is otherwise being well served at rhs (great comp sci and engineering), didn't want to do IB, and was daunted by the commute to Garfield. We've had a good experience not choosing GHS or IHS for high school, but I think HCC pathway high schools should continue. If the high schools with higher numbers of HCC identified students aren't increasing their advanced offerings, then why would schools with small groups of HCC students develop increased AP and honors offerings?
G

Anonymous said...

Correction, Kira Blumhagen is a freshman at Garfield.

Irene

Melissa Westbrook said...

Thanks, Irene. She seems so mature to me, I thought her older.

Lisa Reibin Evans said...

Just a quick correction, John Hay Elementary has "Partners' Board" and Foundation. We ceased to be part of the PTA organization at least a decade ago. While much of the structure, such as canvassing & voting for Board members, open monthly meetings, efforts to support Hay, etc. are similar/mimic the typical PTA structure, Partners' allows us more flexibility (we're still a 501-3c) as to how we raise, direct and spend fundraising dollars.

Anonymous said...

"Mack pressed him about Calculus B/C and the need for a critical mass for those classes. Jesse said that some colleges have shifted what they accept and not just AP."

What is that supposed to mean? It's not about getting college credit for AP Calc BC--it's about having access to the "next" math class if you've already completed AP Calc AB (and possibly AP Stats). Wyeth Jessee's answer makes no sense.

As for why people might not be contacting DeWolf asking what he plans to do about the opportunity gap, has it occurred to him that maybe people don't think he has any good ideas to solve this problem? Or that he hasn't done anything to earn the public's trust and confidence on such critical and politically challenging issues? Based on his actions thus far, I'd just as soon he stay out of it.

Melissa, it's heartening to think that maybe the Directors are indeed considering the HCC pathways resolution a little more closely finally. There are undoubtedly things they can do to impact (a) the availability of advanced classes at all schools, and (b) increase underrepresented group participation in HCC, but things require strategies OTHER than dismantling HCC pathways. Dismantling the pathways won't solve either of these issues.

If they want to solve the first, they simply need to require that schools that are deficient in advanced offering OFFER MORE ADVANCED CLASSES! It's easy, and it just takes a bit of extra funding. They seem to believe that if you offer advanced classes people will take them, so...OFFER THEM NOW! It would likely be cheaper than all the mitigation costs associated with disbanding the pathways.

If they want to solve the second, they need to focus their efforts much earlier than high school. They need to do better at finding HC students when they are young, so they will be prepared to participate in advanced classes in middle and high school. There are many things they can do, but the impact will take time. If they are so worried about optics, they can split up their reporting and provide separate numbers that show the success of any new efforts directed toward early identification. They could even project what that might mean for high school numbers in x years. The key is that they need to provide intensive supports in early grades if they want to ultimately reduce the racial disparities in HC identification.

broken record

Anonymous said...

"Ashley Davies of Enrollment said that each year a larger number of HCC students are staying at schools "and with those numbers, services come." Really? Has there been an uptick of higher-level classes at any high school that has seen more HCC students from that region?"

i do believe that they have added rigor at rhs/ghs just not as many sections though on the master schedule. fhs and hale are perhaps the worst suited for decimating hs hcc cohort.

5 years teaching hcc and zero pd. nice.

90% white- no it is not. unless you call asians white. does no one else find that offensive especially since half of all asians are on frl and a distinct element of cultural diversity. all negated by ignorant statements like that. where did he get that stupid line anyway? is he sain asain's aren't minority enough for him. some kind of ethnic elitism at play? and he said it repeatedly as his primary talking point. so not a mistake.

no caps

Anonymous said...

rhs/bhs sorry


no caps

Melissa Westbrook said...

Thanks, Lisa. I should have read the BAR more closely. I note that I have been hearing increased chatter about how to not be part of PTA but to create a school-based PTO.

No Caps, I think DeWolf was given that number and didn't check it. We have enough problems without directors sending out wrong information.

Anonymous said...


yeah and he believed 90% white?!?! where is he coming from -- couldn't he see that was wrong. and did these erroneous numbers formulate his resolution.

as for the 70 percent white number which is more inline with the city we live in. the obvious lack of independent programs that deal with highly capable students is perhaps the primary reason that number is higher than sps' number.

that said, this proposal will do very little, if anything for outreach, its stated reason for being proposed. and will certainly mean that ghs will not be able to maintain it's ability to provide hcc services. fhs and nhhs certainly won't be ready and will not have a cohort. not to mention all those seats at rhs and bhs will need to be opened for hcc. a hot mess.

no caps

juicygoofy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

"I am pretty sure that the students who said that they had been playing 5 months were fibbing. They were almost all 8th grade HCC students who attended Hamilton's excellent music program last year."

Isn't there a blog rule against putting down students? I think accusing students of lying in order to protect some adults' egos would fall into this category.

Class Act

Carol Simmons said...

Director DeWolf's remarks regarding not receiving emails that referenced the Seattle Times article were extremely sad to me. Yes, we should have written to the Board and Superintendent once again, although we have written continuously from 1980 to the present about the Disproportionality Gap in Seattle Public Schools. This Gap is not only reflected in the identification for student placement in HCC but painfully representative in academic achievement, discipline sanctions, out of school exclusions, curriculum offerings, placement in special programs, closure of special programs, etc. etc.

We have not only written but served on Task Force's and Committees from 1980 to the present that have made recommendations to eliminate the Disproportionality Gap. Changing the title from Disproportionality to Opportunity to EOG? is not enough. We need to implement the Disproportionality Task Force's Recommendations now.

Another NW said...

Those students from REMS who played and said they’d been playing for 5 months - were referring to their current instrument, upright bass. The Senior orchestra at REMS didn’t have any bass players so some students volunteered to switch from cello to bass to complete the orchestra. Thanks for attacking students for no reason - they had no idea they were going to have to talk and they are 13. And yes, they all would have preferred to stay at their MS for 8th grade as would most any student. And probably not sit on a school bus in traffic from 3-4 and then 5-6:30pm to play for 5 min at a board mtg.
Didn't appreciate Dir Geary's comments that "see they are fine" - there is a lot of anxiety & complicated issues coming out with the move. The classes are jam-packed (40 kids in Math) and haven't been impressed with what my child is learning in almost any class. The 6th grade seems great, maybe the school is just putting it's focus there. Maybe should have done a roll-up if wanted to go that route...hard not to feel like 8th graders are just there for #'s/$.

juicygoofy said...

Sorry all. Didn't mean to attack or accuse anybody. Thank you for clarifying the situation Another NW!

Doctor Hu said...

"If there is a transition time of two years before this is fully actualized, why are Chief Sealth and Rainier Beach, both accredited IB schools and both serving a vast majority of students of color, not included on the pathway list now? There is an obvious racial injustice in leaving these two schools off the list ready to be guaranteed pathways now. They are accredited by IB international, the staff has worked incredibly hard to have robust offerings there, not including them would be unacceptable to us." SPS School Board Meeting, January 17, 2018, Part 1 @ 1 hr, 59 minutes.

Jeff Clark, Principal of Denny International Middle School, speaking for the Principals Association of Seattle Public Schools regarding planned localized high school HC pathways, based on feedback from the entire principals' corps, which was also represented by its president, Principal Paula Montgomery.

Amen.

Anonymous said...

IB is not a highly capable program any more than AP is and those schools do not offer 9th and 10th grade courses for HC students. They don’t currently attract HC students. How would labeling them as HC pathways change that?

Use Data

Doctor Hu said...

How did labeling Ingraham as a HC pathway change that?

Anonymous said...

Ingraham IBX (not IB) was designated as an HC pathway and offered some self-contained HC classes in 9th grade (the pre-IBX year.) There are many HC students who live closer to Ingraham than to Garfield which allows the school to offer a wider variety of IB and non-IB rigorous classes than is possible at either Rainier Beach or Chief Sealth.

Use Data

REMS said...

Another NW, if it makes you feel any better, 7th grade at REMS sounds exactly how you describe 8th. I still can't get over the disparity between the SPS middle schools. It's unacceptable. And, this has nothing to do with HCC. Some of the best classes at HIMS were open to all...I.E. language, music, other electives. Several kids that came to REMS from schools other than HIMS are not at the same level in language, math or music. Again, please don't attack me, none of those are HCC classes so I'm not talking about HCC issues. This is an issue with the rigor and quality of electives between middle schools.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Thanks REMS for that last comment.

For all this, "all you talk about is HCC," it seems some want to make all the issues about HCC in order to stir the pot.

Rigor available for all who want it.

Another NW said...

@REMS - agreed! Sorry to hear it's not going well for 7th either, definitely doesn't make me feel better, makes me feel worse that even more kids are affected by lack of consistency across schools. Most families only experience their own school so it's hard to see the extreme differences that exist. Every MS should be offering great classes/electives for *all* students. Someone should look into why Whitman has one of the lowest percentage of students in its attendance area that actually go there. And the data shows they aren't all going private either. We absolutely would have went there if they had better language/orchestra (again nothing to do with HC).

Cap hill said...

It is hard to observe any of this and not conclude that this is not totally optics-driven. The two directors pushing hardest for the elimination of HCC pathways are the individuals that most believe are planning on running for other offices. What better way to burnish your credentials in identity politics driven seattle than to attack and eliminate "white privilege"? Of course, it isn't really white privilege (it looks more like Asian privilege if you do a disproportionality analysis). But it feels like a victory for equity and social justice. Yeah!

If you eliminate the pathways, are you more or less likely to decrease standardized testing scores and achievement for those students? Surely staff has that in the back of their mind - one way to narrow the persnickety "achievement gap" is to create some kind of limit on the upper end.

The optics are great for the white liberals, staff and teachers, but they do a fundamental disservice to the kids who are on the wrong side of the gap. If you refer to the district scorecard (https://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/REA/SPS_DistrictScorecard_16-17.pdf) , you'll see that the gap is actually increasing! Unfortunately, the optics based approach is cheap, easy and within control - and makes a certain set of folks feel better. Sort of like a social justice donut.

The hard work is disaggregating those kids and attacking root causes. Are kids underachieving because they are african american? Of course not - there are lots of african american kids doing well in SPS. Correlation is not causation. The proximate causes of underachievement include poverty, homelessness, drug and alcohol abuse, and lack of parental involvement/familial dysfunction.

Of course, addressing that is hard work and requires a fundamentally different approach. It requires capabilities that the district has not developed - like using predictive models to identify what students are likely to underachieve. It requires the use of data to assess which teachers are not effective. Leadership. Missing.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing racist or unfair about HCC.

Any student can apply and any student who meets the criteria has the option to join.

It's sad that the Blaine girl feels she's being labelled as not highly capable, but did she apply?

What she was saying was that she wanted HCC to stay away from Ballard, how rude is that?

HCC students should be allowed to go to Ballard.

Girl Friday

Melissa Westbrook said...

Cap hill, I agree with your analysis and I wish anyone on the Board who wants to run for higher office a lot of luck. Because the Board has never been a stepping stone to run from. And Geary certainly didn't get far with her desire for stepping into a vacant legislative seat (and she never once explained this to parents and voters, like we wouldn't notice).

Anonymous said...

@no caps "Ashley Davies of Enrollment said that each year a larger number of HCC students are staying at schools "and with those numbers, services come." Really? Has there been an uptick of higher-level classes at any high school that has seen more HCC students from that region?"

i do believe that they have added rigor at rhs/ghs just not as many sections though on the master schedule. fhs and hale are perhaps the worst suited for decimating hs hcc cohort. "

The principal at BHS said they actually offered more AP classes and sections when they had less overall students. Go figure.
NWP

Anonymous said...

I don't have any problem with privilege as long as SPS doesn't supply it.

For example, those ES orchestra kids have had private lessons(anyone who knows music can tell), that's their family decision.

However, Ms. Dustin is not offering those kids anymore than other kids get from the district. In reality, some of the poorer schools have the best music educators, not that hey aren't all very good.

The advantage the HCC does give the kids is the grouping of kids with family privilege, because family privilege translates into better CoGAT and achievement scores, at least that's what science says.

So SPS is facilitating the continuance of privilege and that's where I find the HCC problematic.

moniker clone

Grouchy Parent said...

Well, Ballard's CSIP says they offer Highly Capable students the following:

We at BHS, offer a wide variety of advanced placement classes for students from AP Chemistry to AP Photography. Furthermore, students can take challenging University of Washington classes at Ballard through a program we offer, called UW in the High School.

Coincidently that's also exactly what they offer advanced learners. Presumably they offer this to all students?

And according to the CSIP the funding for the highly capable services at Ballard High School comes from the $10,299,241 they get for "Basic Education."

So, it's right there in the CSIP. The services that follow the HC students wherever they are is nothing. Or?

Doctor Hu said...

"Ingraham IBX (not IB) was designated as an HC pathway and offered some self-contained HC classes in 9th grade (the pre-IBX year.) There are many HC students who live closer to Ingraham than to Garfield which allows the school to offer a wider variety of IB and non-IB rigorous classes than is possible at either Rainier Beach or Chief Sealth."

Use Data, so again why not designate Rainier Beach and Chief Sealth as HC options offering IBX and IB classes in the south end just like Ingraham is a HC option in the north end? Why should a HC student from the RB or CS attendance areas have to travel the entire length of the district north to Ingraham to earn their IB diploma? You do realize that the school board is considering making every comprehensive high school in Seattle its own HC pathway, don't you? Before taking that step, as the Seattle school principals ask, why wouldn't you begin by supporting those existing RB and CS IB programs -- specifically by designating those south end schools as optional HC pathways just like Ingraham north of the ship canal? Is your only concern then that fewer HC students live closer to RB and CS than Garfield so this would not allow those schools to offer as wide a variety of IB and non IB rigorous classes than is possible at Ingraham?

Anonymous said...

Dr Hu, didn't the principal from at least one of those schools say they were opposed to becoming an HCC pathway?

Unclear

kellie said...

Regarding all the comments about services following high school students as they pick non-pathways schools. I can back up the comments from both the Ballard and Roosevelt families that this is not true.

Once again, while there is tremendous upset over self-contained HCC, there is no self-contained aspect at high school. High is quite simply the master schedule and there are rules about how the master schedule is built with graduation requirements getting the first slots on the schedule. Advanced classes and classes over and above graduation requirements are schedule as space is available.

As such, the simplest way to increase rigor at high school is to have more advanced options in middle school. Year ago, there was a plan to add Physical Science to all middle schools and do science placement alongside math placement. Initiatives like that would change the way the high school schedule is shaped and cause more advanced classes.

There are more HC students at Ballard and Roosevelt but this has not translated into more classes. It would take some analysis to know if the reason is capacity related, budget related or master schedule related. Most likely the counseling offices might have answers. But the students are not driving the services. That is a myth.




Anonymous said...

Ingraham IBX was created as a means of relieving overcrowding at Garfield. By shifting some HC students out of Garfield, GHS was able to remain the default pathway while also controlling overcrowding RHS and BHS. Capacity, capacity, capacity. They were buying time and it worked for a while. Then they imposed capacity limits, moved students away from the IBX pathway option, and generally made families question the longevity of the program and its ability to serve HC students.

JMP

Doctor Hu said...


Unclear, you ask didn't the principal from at least one of those schools -- Rainier Beach and Chief Sealth -- say they were opposed to becoming an HCC pathway? Not that I heard. You may be thinking of the Franklin principal who did convey that message which resulted in Franklin being dropped from the 2019-20 proposed new HC pathways list. Jeff Clark, the principal of Denny International Middle School giving public testimony for the Principals Association of Seattle Public Schools regarding the proposal for localized high school HC pathways, stated that the call for Rainier Beach and Chief Sealth to become optional HC IB pathways now like Ingraham is "based on feedback from the entire principals' corps" -- which I take to include the principals of those two high schools.

Doctor Hu said...

"There will be issues with HCC at Ingraham next year, as 3/4 are now doing regular IB which is what the school is recommending. Currently Ingraham offers honors chem & honors physics for 9th and 10th, then students begin IB in 11th. In this new plan the honors science options go away leaving no option for science acceleration for 9th and 10th. I have heard rumor that Ingraham science are currently not very strong either, as compared to alternatives of BHS, Garfield." Issues, HCC blog, January 24, 2018 at 8:15 PM

So at this point, what exactly is the distinction between HC IB at Ingraham versus HC IB at Rainier Beach and Chief Sealth? Why is Ingraham IB an optional north end HC pathway, yet Rainier Beach and Chief Sealth are not optional south end HC pathways?

Anonymous said...

Sealth is full. RBHS doesn't have math or science classes for HC students for the time they are not in the IB program, which is only two years.

Additionally I am not sure RBHS wants an HC pathway there. Most schools seem not to. They don't get more money, just extra classes they have to offer on the master schedule.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

@ Doctor Hu- The issue will be that any HCC students who do regular IB (as 2/3 are currently doing) will have to repeat courses they took in middle in the new science pathway, as far as I can discern. Unless they begin IBX in 10th in its entirety, I don't think a student can take an individual IB class in 10th.

You make a good point as the difference between IB at Rainier Beach and Sealth and Ingraham IB would no longer be much of a difference, except for the amount of HCC students enrolled. However, keep in mind that there are more HCC students I believe in the north end so they initially chose Ingraham due to location and IBX.

IBX is still an option at Ingraham, but more and more HCC are choosing IB over IBX. Last year was 2/3 but school expects more as time goes on. As HCC is only about 26% at Ingraham, there are very few IBX students left, especially in the younger grades. The organization and executive functioning skills lagging behind academic development, I think have been an issue for many. In addition, Ingraham strongly supports all students doing regular IB, but previously had an honors track for all who wanted it for 9th and 10th. Now it seems that is going away in science with the new progression & it leaves HCC students who decide not to do IBX left to repeat science in 10th.

JG

Anonymous said...

@Dr Hu, maybe it's because Sealth is full (so they can't add a guaranteed pathway), and RBHS has plenty of room already (so they don't NEED an optional pathway--any HC who want to go there can already choose it)?

Unclear

Anonymous said...

@Dr Hu,

What do you predict would be the result if the district designated RBHS and CSHS as HC pathways? Do you think more students would choose either of those schools or the schools would offer more rigorous classes in the 9th and 10th grade?

Use Data

Anonymous said...

@Doctor Hu -Also, I can also tell you that Ingraham markets their IB program and school hard to middle school private school families. It is a smaller school than the other north end schools as well as Garfield. They do student shadow tours (like private schools) and even have a an entire separate night set aside as an open house for private school families. They rely on parent funding for IB so they need parents who will support the program.

I think HCC were initially funneled there to manage capacity and lured that there would be a program for them modeled after the Interlake high school program. Demographics show that it is mostly north end kids who attend and for whom Garfield is too far. Many chose over neighborhood school of BHS, due to it being labeled a pathway and many parents just follow the crowd sending their kids where their friends are going.

As long as peers attend from middle, Ingraham will be a draw. But I do think these curriculum pathway changes will eventually impact Ingraham if they can no longer provide acceleration in the way of honors classes (which can be open to all) the first two years.

JG

Anonymous said...

Just to point out, there are plenty of students who DO have the executive functioning skills to handle IBX. I hope they maintain that option so kids don't have to repeat classes.

HF

Karen said...

Wouldn't it serve SPS well to put HCC at RBHS? Maybe do something crazy like move it from Garfield. Hasn't putting HCC in under enrolled schools made those schools desirable thus creating the over capacity issue? It would be a double-edged sword since we all know the holier-than-thou 'equity' group would scream it was all white kids in the HCC classes. However, that might be worth dealing with if it fixes capacity issues at Garfield and RBHS.

PS - It's clear the last few comments responding to Dr. Hu are all the same person. If you want to pretend more people have the same thoughts as you, change your writing style or at least wait a few more minutes between posts. :)

kellie said...

"Why is Ingraham IB an optional north end HC pathway, yet Rainier Beach and Chief Sealth are not optional south end HC pathways?"

Once again, the answer is capacity.

Ingraham is an optional north end pathway, because the school has space and all of the neighboring schools are bursting at the seams. There are only about a 1,000 students for whom Ingraham is the closest school and the school needs to import extra students. Additionally with the 500 seat expansion coming, the need to draw in more students will increase.

Sealth is full, very popular with a consistent waitlist and profoundly capacity constrained, because of the co-location with Denny. Just like Ballard High School, there are far more students who live closest to Sealth, than Sealth can serve. If you add a pathway to Sealth, you will need to shrink the boundaries and that will not be a very pleasant process.

Beach has more than enough students who live nearby to fill the school and Beach has been doing a remarkable job of outreach in the community and the enrollment is consistently growing. While Beach could in theory handle an HC pathway, I would want to hear from the community about whether or not they wanted to add that level of complexity to all the things they are already doing.

IB had been at Ingraham for almost 10 years before the IBX was added. IBX has been in place for 4 or 5 years at Ingraham and they are still working out the complexities of IB and IBX.


Anonymous said...

Hale also does this:
They do student shadow tours (like private schools) and even have a an entire separate night set aside as an open house for private school families.

I know because I went to it for my private school kids before they chose a high school. One kid continued private while the other chose Hale.

Hale has also been popular with Salmon Bay kids too and with families who feel RHS is too big for their kid.

HP

Anonymous said...

Ms Armaly left. Now the HIMS orchestra classes are pretty bad. We are thinking of pulling out daughter out at the semester break. It's sad a program could go downhill so quickly.

FOMAHI blues

Anonymous said...

@ Karen, you are mistaken. I was one of those posting to Dr. Hu, but I wasn't the others. Not trying to pretend more people think like me--and I wasn't even pushing a particular message anyway, so I'm not sure why I'd bother with that in the first place. Just because people have somewhat similar perspectives and/or writing styles doesn't mean we're the same people.

As to whether of not RBHS wants HCC, I think that's a crucial factor in whether it becomes and HCC pathway. Putting HCC students in schools where they aren't wanted isn't fair to anyone--and those equity concerns/optics you mentioned are HUGE...

Unclear

Doctor Hu said...

Unclear, agreed about the importance of inclusion. But the SPS school principals' association used VERY strong language to the school board. They didn't just say they'd be disappointed if those two schools aren't designated as optional south end HC pathways, they said this:

"If there is a transition time of two years before this is fully actualized, why are Chief Sealth and Rainier Beach, both accredited IB schools and both serving a vast majority of students of color, not included on the pathway list now? There is an obvious racial injustice in leaving these two schools off the list ready to be guaranteed pathways now. They are accredited by IB international, the staff has worked incredibly hard to have robust offerings there, not including them would be *unacceptable* to us."

Melissa Westbrook said...

And this, my friends, is why John Stanford said highly capable should not share space with a school.

Now the issue of high school is quite different as there aren't separate classes as there are in K-8. And, the DISTRICT situated HCC at Garfield and then at Ingraham, both for the cohort issue and to save money (this was stated way back when).

Putting HCC students in schools where they aren't wanted isn't fair to anyone..."

Well, that's just silly because there ARE HCC kids at every high school. I think you meant identified HCC kids. Because everyone is fine as long as they don't feel like anyone is telling them that they are identified.

Doctor Hu said...

"What do you predict would be the result if the district designated RBHS and CSHS as HC pathways? Do you think more students would choose either of those schools or the schools would offer more rigorous classes in the 9th and 10th grade?"

Use Data, I'm not qualified to make predictions, but I do think that signaling matters. HC students would not be forced into those optional south end HC IB pathways, nor are they are forced to choose the Ingraham IB option over the current Garfield pathway. And more importantly, it looks like the school principals at Rainier Beach and Chief Sealth might have their own ideas about how to offer inclusive optional HC pathways.

Anonymous said...

Doctor Hu,

Can you please add a link to the Principal's Assn statement? I'd like to reference it in a support letter to the Board.

N

Anonymous said...

Rainier Beach is an option that is available to any student in the district right now. Because not a single HC student chose to attend RBHS this year, it seems unlikely that simply giving the school an HC label would attract students.

Use Data

Doctor Hu said...

N, it was in the public testimony before the Seattle school board meeting:

"If there is a transition time of two years before this is fully actualized, why are Chief Sealth and Rainier Beach, both accredited IB schools and both serving a vast majority of students of color, not included on the pathway list now? There is an obvious racial injustice in leaving these two schools off the list ready to be guaranteed pathways now. They are accredited by IB international, the staff has worked incredibly hard to have robust offerings there, not including them would be unacceptable to us."

Seattle Public Media Stream of the meeting:
http://www.seattleschools.org/cms/one.aspx?pageId=15690
Jeff Clark, Principal of Denny International Middle School, speaking for the Principals Association of Seattle Public Schools regarding planned localized high school HC pathways, based on feedback from the entire principals' corps, which was also represented by its president, Principal Paula Montgomery, SPS School Board Meeting, January 17, 2018, Part 1 @ 1 hr, 59 minutes.

Anonymous said...

I watched that, and I don't think it was based on feedback from all the principals. He just wanted to say this. The president was there talking about the superintendent search, and then she gave him some time. I don't think we can take that to represent the RBHS or CSIHS principals' views.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

To be honest that whole thing was weird. Why not have the president say this, if indeed the principals' association wants this said? She very specifically did not, and stepped aside. But then why not have him sign up for a different slot? Is it something as simple as he couldn't get a slot and just asked to use some of her time? Do some of the principals feel this way but not all? If CSIHS or RBHS want the pathway there, why not send a representative from those schools? I think they do not, also, so that's another weird part.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

It's also not about who wants a pathway, but where a pathway can fit. For ex, Lincoln doesn't want it but will likely get it anyway. It's a balance between feasibility and logistics more than anything--it's all about

capacity.

Anonymous said...

The best way to attract more students to RBHS is to improve the building. It is the only high school that has not received a make over. Upgrading the facilities make schools more attractive to students. Add in the strong academics and I think you'll have a winner.

HP

Melissa Westbrook said...

HP, I agree. Back in the late '80s, many parents did NOT want to send their kids to Ballard and a drive-by murder at the school only reinforced that. Fast forward to a new building, new energy and voila! Started to fill up fast.

I smiled as one person at Soup for Teachers was saying to move RBHS out of its area (too dangerous) and get a different building. To which I said, with what money? As well, there are three other schools within a mile or so; should they move as well?

NNE Mom said...

The schools with the buildings in the crummiest shape have the lowest attendance percentage. I was surprised, but it's easy to see in the who-goes-where stats.

Anonymous said...

@NNE—isn’t Eckstein in crummy shape but bursting at the seams? I know a lot of people jump ship for HCC or private because of the building conditions and lack of AL science at Eckstein, but it’s still very full.

Tip Top

Anonymous said...

I think crummy buildings affect high school popularity more than middle or elementary schools.

HP