Sunday, September 23, 2018

Seattle Schools This Week

Editor's note: I will be taking this week off (mostly) for a happy family event.  I'll try to put up a Tuesday Open Thread and a Friday Open Thread.

Monday, September 24th
Last day for referrals for Advanced Learning. 

Superintendent Juneau's next Listening Tour stop at North Seattle Community College, Room CC1456 ('The old cafeteria') from 5:30-7 pm.

Levies 2019 Community meeting at Roosevelt High lunchroom from 6:30-8:00 pm.  

Tuesday, September 25th
Board Work Session: Instructional Materials Adoption, 4:30-6:00 pm, JSCEE. Agenda

Superintendent Juneau's Listening Tour, Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS) from 5:30-8:00 pm.

Levies 2019 Community meeting at Meany Middle School from 6:30-8:00 pm.  

Wednesday, September 26th
Board Work Session: BEX V, 4:30-6:30 pm/ Budget planning, 6:30-7:30 pm  at JSCEE.  I may try to get to this one as Director Mack said at last week's Board meeting that this is likely get fairly specific.

Friday, September 28th
Superintendent Juneau's Listening Tour, Chinese Information Service Center 611 S Lane St, 5:00-6:30 pm.

Saturday, September 29th
Director Community meeting with Director Scott Pinkham, 10-11 am at Broadview Library.

Sunday, September 30th
Last day to complete the Student Data Verification Form on the Source   

The 2018-19 student data verification form is available from Sept. 5, 2018 through Sept. 30, 2018. The student data verification form gives parents and guardians the opportunity to update emergency and medical information for their student.

To fill out your student's data verification form please sign into the Source and click Data Verification Form.

Of interest; Skill Center Media Arts
Seattle Public Schools (SPS) Skills Center and the Seattle Office of Film + Music have partnered together to offer students an exciting opportunity to learn about the inner workings of film production. In the summer offering of the course, students gained valuable experience visiting local movie sets, writing and producing their own films, and gained perspectives into what happens behind the scenes.

As a course, media arts was offered only in the summer, but beginning this school year, students can sign up for classes throughout the year.


2E News said...

Portland Public Schools faces a lawsuit regarding treatment of students who are twice exceptional ("2E" i.e. students who are both highly capable and with a disability).

The lawsuit:

News story on the issue:

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe that SPS doesn't have more lawsuits filed against it.

- Sped not fully/amply funded district-wide
- Violations of Civil Rights Act on district's current HC identification practices
- Violation of current state law on HC identification practices
- Inadequate IA coverage for sped students
- Lack of Sped services at HC sites (especially elementary)
- Violation of ADA and the Civil Rights Act on HCC appeal standards
- Failure to to provide accommodations during CogAT administration

It seems like Seattle parents with standing are too shell-shocked or don't have enough income with the cost of living here to sue?


Doh! said...

That Portland lawsuit basically seems to say that Portland public schools is focusing so hard on capacity and cost saving measures that they forgot students' educational needs.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Amazzed, maybe you could write to me with details of each item. sss.westbrook@gmail.com

B. Storm said...

I'm not a lawyer, but I agree with Amazzzed that there are surely lots of families out there in Seattle with standing to sue. For whatever reason, SPS is not handling this issue well.

- Sped not fully/amply funded district-wide
McCleary failed on this. Sped is still funded based on a percentage that is too low. Washington's Paramount Duty has information on this. Look at what's happened in Texas and that gives you an idea of where we might be headed, legally speaking, with this.

- Violations of Civil Rights Act on district's current HC identification practices
The district says racial equity is important to them and yet they're using outdated, biased identification practices which make race-related identification biases worse rather than better. (I.e. relying on parents for referral instead of universal screening, HC testing outside of the student’s home school, in large sessions on Saturdays, using group-administered cognitive and achievement tests, having hard cut-off scores, relying on appeals to catch mistakes or oversights in the identification process, once a year testing with no leniency for missed deadlines, not providing practice tests to all students, public notice style communication about HCC, multidisciplinary selection committee that doesn't reflect the district population AND does not have subject matter expertise...)

Equal opportunities to participate MUST be offered to children and youth regardless of age, disability, gender, national origin, race, or color. The majority of the rulings against districts nationwide have focused on African-American students, although other areas including disabilities and students of various native origins have also been found.

Seriously, look at the rate of African-American students and 2E students identified for HCC and tell me that you don't think there's an issue with how SPS identifies students. There's a write-up here:

- Violation of current state law on HC identification practices
Here's the law: https://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=28A.300.770

***SPS is still breaking this rule: "Multiple pathways for qualifications must be available and no single criterion may disqualify a student from identification."
There is only one pathway, and it is long and finicky.

***I'm pretty sure OSPI is deficient on disseminating "guidance on referral, screening, assessment, selection, and placement best practices for highly capable programs. The guidance must be regularly updated and aligned with evidence-based practices." (Because if we have this guidance, why is our district still relying on family referrals, group testing, Saturday testing, hard cut-off scores, relying on appeals to catch mistakes or oversights, once a year testing with no leniency for missed deadlines, not providing practice tests to all students, public notice style communication about HCC, and does the multidisciplinary selection committee reflect the district population and have subject matter expertise?)

***screening and assessment must be done in the native language or nonverbally. And the district must clearly state and implement how this will go down. The non-English options are not clearly stated. The appeal criteria are also not clearly stated.

- Inadequate IA coverage for sped students
Basing the number of IAs provided on the need for IAs that existed at the beginning of the previous year (in October) results in a number of IAs that does not match the current student need for IAs. Students who require IA hours actually NEED those in order to be able to make use of the instruction they are receiving.

- Lack of Sped services at HC sites (especially elementary)
Families whose students need ACCESS-level services are forced to choose an HC site *or* a site that provides ACCESS. Many sites that do have sufficient Sped services are blatantly unwilling to provide HC services.

Part 1

B. Storm said...

- Violation of ADA and the Civil Rights Act on HCC appeal standards
The track record in actual court cases on this since at least the 1980s is that African-American, certain other native communities, and disabled students have been most successful in their lawsuits.
Since appeals are held to a higher set cut-off score, and the district relies on appeals to deal with any mistakes or oversights that occur doing identification testing, maybe it would be enough to show that the district was more likely to make mistakes testing a disabled student, an African-American student, etc. and they would therefore have to resort to appealing and would be subject to the higher standard.
There was a young tester with a disability last year and the test proctor just didn't think the student could do the harder questions and so didn't even give them to the student. The family successfully appealed. Was that the only time this has ever happened in SPS?

- Failure to to provide accommodations during CogAT administration
The district does this.
The situation is further complicated, because twice exceptionality is so poorly understood and SPS relies on a deficit model for identifying sped needs. So many families with a student who would require accommodations on the CogAT are likely to not yet have an IEP/504 in place. Many highly capable students don't get their sped needs diagnosed until as late as middle or even high school. And misdiagnoses are rampant. SPS teachers, administrators, psychologists often have insufficient training in the area of dual diagnosis with highly capable plus another condition. Let's be honest, the reliability of SPS staff in correctly identifying highly capable students alone without any other complicating factors, is quite low.

As Linda Kreger Silverman explains, "Diagnosticians, school psychologists, therapists and educators need to be aware of the characteristics of giftedness in order to recognize what is atypical for this population, rather than comparing gifted individuals with the general population."

There's a great book discussing the issue:
Part 2

Anonymous said...

@BStorm- You left out a really big category affecting students of multiple diverse backgrounds which is "lower income kids." Nationally and historically students coming from lower income backgrounds have been routinely missed. We know FRL qualified & kids not much above that threshold but still lower income (including white & Asian) who were not identified until 7th or 8th grade.

Anonymous said...

You're right, but low income doesn't generally give standing to sue. Race, gender, and disability are better avenues.


B. Storm said...

Here's the link for the book discussing misdiagnosis that was cut off above:

WAC 392-170-055 says that in order to receive their highly capable funding ($1.2 million dollars this year), the “District practices for identifying the most highly capable students must prioritize equitable identification of low-income students." But the state law is also clear that identification, accelerated learning and enhanced instruction is not "an individual entitlement for any particular student."

So, that makes it seem like you would have to show that in general they are not prioritizing equitable identification of low-income students rather than on an individual student basis. And I believe they are doing universal testing at title 1 schools and pay for free appeals for low income students. I think it would be hard to show that they're not prioritizing title-1-school students, since they don't universally screen anyone else that I know of. On the other hand there are a lot of low income students who attend schools that are not title 1 schools. Maybe there could be a case for them? Obviously morally there is a case for them, but I mean legally. It seems like a much steeper burden of proof than the other types of potential cases.