Friday, June 08, 2018

Curriculum and Instruction Board Committee Meeting Round-Up (including Naviance Updates)

 I attended the Curriculum & Instruction meeting on May 15th; Rick Burke was chairing with Zachary DeWolf in attendance and Jill Geary on the phone.

I will make a plea to department heads and directors that I have made in the past; for all documentation there should be a title, who created it, department, date and contact info.  I just don't get why this is so hard to do.
On the topic of Discipline, staff noted that they have made efforts to keep students in school with alternative education while they technically were suspended.  (I believe it was stated that they had brought a tire iron to school.)  Director DeWolf noted the vagueness in some terminology and mentioned issues with the dress code at Garfield (apparently Principal Howard had contacted him).

Erin Bennett noted that the dress code is centered around "disruption to educational process" but that OSPI has nothing about dress codes.  Pat Sander said that each school has site-based decisions on that topic and it appears in the school's handbook.

On the Highly Capable Annual Plan discussion see this thread where I covered that section of this meeting.

Update: the Advance Learning Task Force has been formed as has the Technology Advisory Committee (I'm a member of the Tech Ctm).  I'll have a thread on these two new groups soon.  It was notable that the Tech Ctm got about 120 applications and the Advanced Learning TF had, at the time of the C&I Committee meeting only had 20 (with final applications due by the 24th).

Formula for Success
This was a report from Dr. Brent Jones about SMART Gola #2 on Eliminating Opportunity Gaps.  Dr. Jones has, in the last two meetings I have covered, not had written materials but just delivers his work output in oral form.  I'm not sure why this is but it does make it difficult to verify what the work truly looks like.

He did note that 70 more staff have gone thru equity training courses.  He also mentioned an EOG digital school tool but I'll have to ask about that.  He said there are 41 Racial Equity teams and maybe
10 more will come on-board next year depending on SEA negotiations.  (I noticed in some research on BLTs that parents are also to be considered for membership on Racial Equity teams; this was in the last SEA contract.)

DeWolf asked the question of the year - "We have a policy but what is the district's definition of equity?" 

Jones replied that there is "a diversity of opinions" but there is a common understanding of what they want to do but no definition for equity.   DeWolf said it would be good to choose one.

DeWolf also asked about what happens when teachers on teams leave schools and what consistency there will be if that happens.

Jones also reported that the district has a partnership with the UW College of Education and SEA to work on case studies for these teams.

Burke said he had heard concerns that the school-based work does not always feel authentic but that may be growing pains.

High School Revisioning
Caleb Perkins mentioned several meetings with SEA.  Director Geary said not all principals felt they were getting money from the pot available for planning.  DeWolf said Nova said this as well.  Perkins said that ALE schools didn't get the money because they had received some elsewhere but that all high schools should be getting some.

SPS and SEA have a joint committee to reexamine this issue.   "The committe is tasked with examining schedules that best address the needs of students and educators while blancing financial considerations. In light of the engagement we are doing with educators through the joint commitee, we continue to believe that we should not move forward with an educator survey at this team.  A team of educators from nearly every high school, chosen by SEA to represent teacher voice to the district, is devoting considerable time and effort to building knowledge and expertise on secondary re-visioning.

Nearly? Why not every high school?

Schools can also apply for a matching technology grant from DoTS to purchase technology relating to PD.  Funds will be allocated on a per pupil basis, with each school receiving approximately $63 per student for PD and another $63 for technology.

Instructional Materials Update
Ken Kinoshita said the Instructional Materials committee had met the previous week to kick off the high school science adoption.  Burke said this was a "lively issue" and stated that he wasn't sure this was a transparent process and "I expect it to be."  Kinoshita said they would have "on-going messaging."

He also mentioned that he had a meeting with legal counsel, Ronald Boy, that "the policy is defensible" and that "we are legally covered."

On Electronic Learning
Mr. Kinoshita and John Krull, head of Technology, both presented.  They talked about WSSDA "model policies" and three areas:  library info tech, model procedure on resources and internet safety and digital citizenship and media.

Burke said that the online learning component is "a thorny issue" and where does it fit in?  Krull said there would be a definition about online learning as well as a glossary.

There is new Washington State legislation according to PE Head Lori Dunn, who was giving the required Annual Report.  She said that beginning in the 2018-2019 school year, all school districts must conduct an annual review of the PE programs.

 Geary asked about collecting data on disabling conditions like ADHD, behavior issues and autism.  Dunn said that was part of it.  She also noted that many schools are not giving the 100 minutes mandated and collecting information would help them see what is and isn't happening.

Program Evaluation and Assessment
Eric Anderson, the head of the Department, talked about best practices in districtwide program evaluation policies and practices.  He said the vast majority of districts across the country do not engage in the systematic review of their programs aside from what is required thru local, state, and federal funding.

He mentioned two types of reports: research briefs and formal reports.

From his documentation:
A key finding is that nearly all district conduct implementation studies rather than a full-blown impact analyses.  Whatever the degree of sophistication and formality of these reports, a common thread is that there is a set branding for the Research & Evaluation departments, and that the template generally follows this structure: abstract/overview, program description, major evaluation questions and results, and summary/recommendations.  The careful framing of recommendations is key to these reports.

There were a number of districts around the nation cited; I'll have to go check what their reviews look like.

Director Burke said he thought it should be a SMART goal. 

Civics for All

From the Friday Memo on this topic:

In order to improve equal access to tier 1 Social Studies instruction in the Civics strands of the WA state standard, the Curriculum and instruction department has focused on the following strtegies since the last update in December 2017:

1) communication to school leaders and Social Studies teachers encouraging students to participate in civic-minded activities; 
2) professional development and supports for secondary Social STudies teachers focused on the content area of civics,
3) vetted supplementary instruction resources to suport civics education and 
4) foundational work for the implementation of Senate Bill 1896. This requires WA state school district to provide a mandatory stand-alone civics course for all high school students beginning with or before the 2020-2021 school year.  SPS thinks it will take until then for them. 

There apparently has also been PD for middle school teachers.  

I did have to smile at one point.  Kathleen Vasquez, staff lead on this issue, said that there was no distribution list of all of the social studies teachers in the district.  Really?  It's 2018. 

It is unclear to me exactly how widespread the Mock Elections campaign was.  It was noted that funded was not made to pay school coordinators for this effort.  There was also this:

"Did not purchase Political Spectrum banners for 6-12, estimated cost $7,200.  Budget funds not allocated for this purchase.  Further consideration given to the political banners has resulted in a decision not to purchase the banners as the language is polarizing and divisive."

I'll have to ask what was on these banners.  It was also stated that some teachers are skittish about messaging around elections.  Director DeWolf pointed out that elections are not all that civics is about and shouldn't be.

Native American Education
There is talk to adopt the Time Immemorial curriculum as part of core studies.  Good idea. Ditto on ethnic studies.  Again, make all of this part of ALL curriculum.


Staff said that many school staff are interested in this and they have done initial training. 

DeWolf mentioned hearing about Road Trip Nation, another college/career platform.

Geary asked about the Naviance opt-out form.  Interestingly there were two different versions which I pointed out.   The main difference was the parent signature.  One states:

By opting out of Naviance, your student will be opting out of this curriculum and will be given an alternative activity to meet the high school and beyond requirement (please note that the alternative activity will be limited to the minimum requirements by the state and will utilize the state high school and beyond paper-based worksheets). 

Meaning, your student probably won't get much help if they don't use Naviance.

This opt out request is valid for one school year and must be submitted on an annual basis.

Caleb Perkins said that counselors would like more data on students but they know they cannot do this without Board approval. 

Director Burke said that "it is our responsibility for data we own and steward."  (To note: students under 13 can't legally do use Naviance on their own.) 

Perkins seemed to be pushing a narrative that SPS is being more picky than most districts.  Well, good for them and who cares what Naviance thinks?

Also to note, there are parent pages for Naviance so you can track your student's activity (all of it? unclear). 

I asked some questions today about Naviance:

Me: 8th graders are not required to participate, correct?

No one is required to participate, however the district will be using Naviance to deliver the High School and Beyond Plan lessons for 8th through 12th grades. A High School and Beyond Plan is a graduation requirement. The state requires the students begin this in the 8th grade and update annually.

Me: At one of the Board committee meetings, I was sure you said that there was a week in September when parents could opt out but I don't see that on the website. Did I get that wrong? And, if not, what is the week?

There will be a multi-week opt-out window at the start of school. There will be ample notice to SPS families of this window and we should make sure they know about it now so they know they have time.

Yes, parents should know now and yet the information is not there.  

Me: Could you verify the current data ask from Naviance - it's an ID number and grade? And, if the student wants more access to info, they will need to provide gender, race/ethnicity, what else?

The current student data fields are: first_name, last_name, proxy_id, school_id and grade_level. There's no option for students to provide more information in order to get further access to information in the application. 
Me: Will each student be using an SPS ID number or a Naviance generated number?

Students will be identified via their PowerSchool proxy id, not their SPS ID number.

I followed up with this:

"I'm confused about the answer to question 4 as this is what is on the Naviance page at the district website:

For students to utilize the college application support tools in Naviance, some student demographic and academic records need to be shared. This may include gender, ethnicity, and transcripts. Students will also have the opportunity to add information about themselves when developing their high school and beyond plan and using other college and career exploratory resources within the Naviance tool.

So using Naviance, they need to give more info in order to use the Common App but not any other part of Naviance tools?

Is that data for the Common App only given to Common App or does Naviance then have it as well?"

To note, you do not need Naviance to use the Common Application.


Anonymous said...

In the end, 77 applied for the Advanced Learning Task Force.


Anonymous said...

MW -

What is the status on the science curriculum realignment.

You reported on a contentious meeting about it a few months ago where Rick Burke pushed back hard.

Now it looks like they're kicking off a curricular materials adoption; was the realignment pushed a year to wait for the adoption cycle or...?


Anonymous said...

The comment attributed to Ken Kinoshita that the high school science curriculum realignment policy "is defensible" seems quite ominous to me. For as long as I can remember both general public and expert (but non-SPS) curriculum input has been ignored in favor of sweet deals with publishers and canned curricula that de-professionalize teaching. It appears to me that the SPS is not interested in evaluating the quality of the the curricula (I looked at the Next-Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and the curriculum appears terrible) or the feedback from students (bored by it) in favor of legal protection for adoption of the district's preferred instructional media adoption. They are going to do it - no matter what families, teachers or the board says. And they will hire lawyers to cover themselves in this determination.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Northwesterner, I think they are quietly going on. I know one fine teacher at Ballard has left; it was the last straw. But I'll ask.

ScienceFacultyUW, I agree with your assessment. I was a bit surprised at that statement by Kinoshita.

Anonymous said...

Now that we’re back on Naviance, after more reading and talking with others I think I'm going to opt my kids out, but Melissa, do you understand the purpose of 2 separate opt-out periods?

If families can opt out in September, why does the window end in June for opting out via the Source? Having a June end date to opt out via the Source makes it seem like student accounts will be set up and information will be sent out to Naviance starting in early July, but that doesn’t make sense if families can opt out in September. The Source opt-out should be open all summer until the paper forms come out in the fall. Am I missing something obvious?

- North central

HCC Parent said...

Thanks to President Harris. She voted NO on an issue related to advanced learning because the district has failed to provide a report to the board regarding Honors For All.

It should also be noted that Nyland conveniently refers to HCC advisory committee in a way to ensure his agenda.

z said...

North Central said: "If families can opt out in September, why does the window end in June for opting out via the Source?

This is a great question, and a good catch. Does anyone have a good contact person downtown? As Melissa says, it's going to be a ghost town at district headquarters soon, and there's an odd deadline coming up on this in only 12 days.

Melissa Westbrook said...

North Central, I think the two periods for opting out are a bow to the Board who wanted to give parents enough of a chance to consider it, given how new this all is.

Why families can't do this all summer is because Naviance wants/needs to know how many students they are likely to be serving before fall.

That's the way I heard it at the C&I meeting.

z said...

because Naviance wants/needs to know how many students they are likely to be serving before fall.

Thanks for passing this along, but I don't buy it.

They're not going to know how many students they'll be serving until September if there is an opt-out period in September.

If they want a rough idea, then just count the number of kids in grades 8-12 and subtract some small percentage of opt-outs, like 3% or 5%. Or keep track of the opt-outs over the summer and adjust week by week. None of these is going to be able to predict perfectly, but having a fake "deadline" that's not a deadline doesn't help them predict anything and causes unnecessary confusion to SPS families.

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