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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Tuesday Open Thread

The 17th anniversary of 9/11; a sad and terrible day for our nation.  Here's some thoughtful words from one conservative I do listen to, Rick Hess:
The horror of September 11 brought with it a period of quietude and reflection. Seventeen years later, I find myself wondering sometimes how it is that the forces of craziness, mudslinging, and oversimplification, on the right and the left, seem to have run roughshod over our better angels. And I can't help but think that those of us in and around the nation's schools shoulder a solemn responsibility in assisting to light a better path. We should recall that every day, but especially amidst the craziness enveloping this somber anniversary.
This Mississippi teenager won the title of Homecoming Queen AND kicked the winning point for her football team.


Great article from the Spokesman Review about McCleary spending and the mess the Legislature has created.
The irony isn’t lost on the state’s school districts, teachers and the public they serve: that the $2 billion windfall created by the landmark McCleary court decision has reaped a whirlwind of contention, a chaotic summer of salary negotiations and an uncertain future for everyone.

“If no changes are made, the ZIP code of students will end up determining the quality of their education. That is just plain wrong and was never the intent of the McCleary case,” Kowalkowski said.

Redinger also suggested the possibility of statewide collective bargaining.

“Benefits negotiations are already moving to that model,” Redinger said. “Local districts could still bargain over some things.”
Superintendent Juneau is journaling her work (complete with what she admits is a corny joke).  She has a community meeting tonight at Seattle Library's Broadview branch from 5-6:30 pm.

Of interest:  
‘Born This Way Presents: Deaf Out Loud’ documentary
When to watch: Wednesday at 8 p.m., on A&E.

Image may contain: 5 people, people smiling

What's on your mind?

93 comments:

Anonymous said...

Washington Middle School is on my mind. It is a DEBACLE of poor management. I believe the principal and the Executive Director ought to be fired. Immediately. Don't we have any standards?

Parent

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

Anonymous she has been here all summer and her supervisor has been here even longer. And I don't think there were accolades in the old district. And I don't really care. The way this has been managed is inexcusable or should be. Just because we're in public education we should tolerate this level of incompetence? Because we are in the south end of the city? Anything goes south of the ship canal? This principal and this education director who has been "supervising" WMS all these years, this is not even close to what we should expect from a public school district. Including the digs at the hc cohort. Whatever your feelings about hc in the District, blaming mismanagement on that is just over the top.

Parent

Maltby said...

My daughter goes to Garfield HS. Signed up for French last year and didn't get in, ended up taking pottery instead. A year later, shows up to school last week to find out there is no first year french. This is lame. I have emailed the Super, Ted Howard, the Ombudsman and Zachary De Wolfe.

Auto-response from the Super, no response from Zachary, Ombudsman responded that she reached out to Mr Howard who then later responded, "As we continue to work with the SSD to find a qualified candidate. We have interviews today. One for Japanese’s and another for French."

Here is what was posted last week....


Welcome back and I hope you all had a good summer. Garfield was trying to hire part-time French and part-time Japanese teacher; we worked with our HR department to find qualified candidates. Thus far we have not found a qualified candidate that we would feel confident to put in front of your sons/daughters. We will not be offering 1st year French or 1st year Japanese next year at Garfield because we were unable to fill the positions after extensive searches. We explored many options with sharing teachers, ESL candidates, and translators just to name a few.

In an attempt to find a qualified language teacher for a hard to fill part-time position, in August we began looking for a 0.8 Spanish teacher so that we could still provide students with a 1st year language class for the 2018-19 academic year. We will be interviewing for this Spanish teacher position this week, and will work with HR to get it filled as soon as possible. Although we realize that Spanish was not the first choice of students who signed up for 1st year Japanese and French, we wanted to offer these 1st year Spanish classes as a great alternative. Thus, the two sections of 1st year French and the two sections of 1st year Japanese have been made into 1st year Spanish classes. These 1st year Spanish classes will be offered periods 1-4 during the same times that 1st year Japanese and 1st year French were to be offered.

We realize that this situation is less than ideal for students excited to take 1st year French and 1st year Japanese. Please know that if you are willing to wait a year, 1st year French and 1st year Japanese will once again be offered in the 2019-20 school year. For students already enrolled in 2nd, 3rd, and AP Japanese and French, there will be no change to your schedule.

Have a good start of the school year!

Anonymous said...

Here is a news flash for SPS HR: You can't really hire part-time language teachers. Someone who is fluent enough in Japanese or French to teach it can make lots of money doing any number of things in business and academia with those skills, with commensurate benefits. The number of people available for only part-time work with no benefits but who have those language skills is vanishingly small.

Also, you need to hire someone who is a US citizen or who has a green card. Many otherwise qualified teachers of world languages can't teach here because of immigration rules and slow-moving certification requirements for people holding foreign teaching credentials.

Teaching world languages should not and cannot be part of the "gig economy." We need to rethink qualifications and hiring for this whole area.

Richard

Anonymous said...

I wish WMS would follow GHS' lead and at least hire a Spanish teacher so that 7th graders could have some language option. How do they think it's going to work out when all these WMS 7th graders come into GHS and need 1st year language courses since they haven't been able to get language at WMS? No planning and zero foresight in these decisions.
Typical

Anonymous said...

Wow. Kind of hard to believe them when they say it will offered the following year, when they also said that last year. Imagine if WMS and GHS were able to collaborate and find someone who could work part-time at each location.

Hello??

Melissa Westbrook said...

So if Washington needs a part-time language teacher and so does Garfield, could they not share one?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Hey Hello??, great minds think alike.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't McClure Middle School, home to some of the wealthiest families in Seattle,
have only ONE language option, Spanish, NO Jazz program, and only two levels of band and orchestra?

When we were there a few years ago, the two levels of orchestra were taught at the same time.

Sounds like HMS has it pretty darn good.


HMS has music and language equal to or exceeding most high schools!


HCC doesn't mean the kids get extra goodies.

Castor

Snip Snip said...

Man, I hope this isn't how UW, another Seattle public school, goes about trying to hire teachers for their medical school. Ah, well, we looked really hard, but we couldn't find anyone board certified to fill our .4 FTE surgery professorship. No worries, though, next year we'll hire one and our med students can start learning how to perform surgery then!

E. Eagle said...

Eckstein has no HCC and offers seventh graders Spanish 1A, French 1A, and Japanese 1A. Eckstein eighth graders can choose between Spanish 1A, Spanish 1B, French 1A, French 1B, Japanese 1A, Japanese 1B.

And Eckstein offers Guitar, Beginning Orchestra, Junior Orchestra, Intermediate Orchestra, Senior Orchestra, Beginning Band, Junior Concert Band, Intermediate Band, Intermediate Jazz Band, Wind Ensemble, Senior Jazz and Combos.

This debate has nothing to do with HCC.

Anonymous said...

Can we all hear the District's silence about making students at a middle school wait an entire week for instructional time to be initiated, due to their own bungled management?? Has the District issued any statement at all of concern or apology or acknowledgement about this, and reassurance that landing students in classes of upwards of 50 students is not ok? It must be because it is a south end school, where expectations should be low to begin with, right?

Right!

Anonymous said...

E. Eagle is correct. It seems to me that middle school electives vary from school to school depending on community interest and size of the school. McClure is small and therefore classes are more limited - so students sometimes have to rely on outside tutors or courses to get the music and/or language they need. Whatever the reason for this inconsistency, it is definitely not equitable.

Flummoxed

Anonymous said...

Juneau's listening tour should perhaps include a WMS meeting - honeymoon's over.

@right, I don't think it's limited to WMS or the south end. Schools who hand out schedules on the first day generally have a week with students missing or changing classes as it all gets sorted out. Some schools mail schedules a week early to remedy schedule conflicts BEFORE classes start.

And quit with the north/south divisiveness. Yes, the situation at WMS sounds especially horrific this year, but students in north end schools get placed in large classes as well. Sometimes that's the only way to get the schedule to work (42 is the highest I remember). A large class might be better than no class. You should thank the teachers willing to make such an accommodation for students. They have to agree to the load.

reality

Campano's Silence said...

According to the Seattle Times, Seattle Education Association president Phyllis Campano is not answering calls to comment on levy issues.

No surprise.


https://www.seattletimes.com/education-lab/seattle-teachers-to-return-to-classrooms-wondering-if-they-got-a-good-deal/

Anonymous said...

Paramount, ample, uniform. I believe creating uniform desirability for teaching positions is a given, to ensure a uniform education system across the state.

Competition for teaching positions is affected not just by housing cost, but by geographic desirability, and the socio-economics of the students. The state has to pay a bonus for rural and remote undesirable areas. The state has to pay a premium for teachers in low socio-economic districts and schools, if there is to be an equitable distribution of teaching talent.

-NNNCr

Jet City mom said...

There is a parent who was teaching Japanese at West Woodland, and is now runnng classes in her home, if anyone is interested.
It begins sept 25th.
It’s kinda ridiculous they can’t get this sorted before the school year started.

Anonymous said...

Correct reality,

Leave it to HCC parents to feel that special entitlement classes starting at the starting bell on day 1 and exclusive rights to expensive array of language classes and orchestral offerings. Teachers are paid for just a few days prior to school start to prepare. Leave it to them to complain and compare their lot in life to HCC parents somewhere else, possibly a tiny bit more exclusive, rather than comparing their kid’s offerings to their actual southend neighbors and classmates. My kids QA school - didn’t even do “baseline assessments” until November. I was “gobsmacked” by that. I guess it’s only a big deal when it’s HCC.

Gob

Anonymous said...

@Gob, bad day?

1. What are "special entitlement classes"? I don't remember seeing those on the course selection sheet, but you've piqued my curiosity.
2. What do you mean by "exclusive rights" to classes, since language and music classes are not restricted to HCC students--and non-HCC students were apparently enrolled before the classes were canceled?
3. If HCC students are in a district program that is supposed to provide certain classes at an appropriately accelerated level, why does it make sense to compare offerings to students not in that program as opposed to other students in that program? The state requires accelerated learning for HC-identified students, and that should apply to all HC students, not just those at some schools.
4. Is your QA school an elementary? Often assessments happen later at that age range. By the time students get to middle school, you don't need to do those "baseline assessments" because their class level is usually pretty obvious--it's the next level in the sequence.

gobble

Ardu said...

Most schools don't do baseline assessments until well into the fall, Gob, so your experience isn't unusual. The year my student had the teacher who was forced to quit, they still hadn't done baseline assessments by February. It really has nothing to do with HCC or not HCC. The difference in the case of Washington is that they are specifically busing kids long distances to that specific school for HCC services that the school appears unable to provide. Also, the principal sounds like she dislikes or disapproves of the HCC kids, who are over half of her students. Teachers and principals *should* have a professional obligation to value all their students and educate them as best they can given constraints and not scapegoat them for what are ultimately budgetary and school-size and assignment-zone related problems. Students aren't the cause of any of those problems. Students are going where the district tells them to go. And it's sad when the district tells your student to go somewhere where they aren't valued as members of the school community.

Maltby said...

Do Board members not respond to emails, not even an auto-respond?

I sent Zachary DeWolfe and Sherry Harris an email about the Garfield french issue and have heard nothing in response.

Anonymous said...

Ardu, I’ll simply reiterate Castors obvious sentiment from above:
“HCC doesn’t mean kids get extra goodies.”

Extra goodies include multiple and varied electives including multiple foreign language beyond anything the state requires, multiple and varied music offerings (while others get nothing). Have you people ever heard of equity? These things are not needs. The district isn’t obligated to provide them. The fact that HCC students enroll in some sort of outside sport, likely a pricey one, isn’t an entitlement to bennies at the school which come at the expense of everyone else in the building. Let me guess, we’ll next trot out the good old “equal is not equitable” meme, where HCC is always entitled to a whole lot more “equal” because it’s equitable. Other people aren’t buying it.

And gobble, thanks for your concern about my well being. I’m having a great day. Funny that the slightest observation, especially on equity, widely shared, believed by staff, results in “bad day” assumptions.

Gob

Anonymous said...

Gob, I do not understand all the exaggeration. Everybody should be concerned about the lack of access to basic languages at WMS (uh, Spanish?). How is that clamoring for "multiple and varied"? And most schools have music offerings from intro to senior (band/orchestra). How is that clamoring for "multiple and varied"? Maybe you are just trolling - trying for gross caricatures in order to get everybody distracted, so as to diminish criticism bout the obvious: bad and inept leadership and administration.

Seriously GFYS

Anonymous said...

@Gob -Every other middle school in Seattle Public offers more than 1 year of foreign language & most also offer multiple languages.
And what about those Black & brown students who were enrolled in music & foreign language classes at WMS!!!?
I guess if you live near Eckstein or Eaglestaff or actually any other middle you will have better opportunities.
Instead of figuring out how to increase participation this principal just cut it all. How is that equity? I applaud the WMS parents and others who will be advocating for what should be basic education in middle school.
I went to school on the East coast and all students took multiple years of foreign language, as well as music AND art, AND PE & health!!! I think maybe you are assuming lower standards for basic education.
KL

Melissa Westbrook said...

Gob, we've already established that non-HCC middle schools also have those offerings so there goes that argument.

It's also unfair to make big statements and then someone asks you clarifying questions and you ignore them.

You clearly believe something big and expansive is happening for HCC and yet you offer opinion, not proof.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Malby, to the best of my knowledge DeWolf doesn't answer emails (he barely has had any community meetings as well). The name you miss is Leslie Harris (you might have been thinking of former director Sherry Carr). Director Harris generally does answer emails but she's the board president so she gets a lot of them.

Anonymous said...

@Gob, electives, by their nature, need to be multiple and varied—otherwise they are simply assigned, not elected.

HCC students don’t get “extra” electives. In a 6-period day, students typically take 4 core classes (LA, SS, math, and science), then PE/health and an elective like art, music, or a foreign language. Some HCC students, and some non-HCC students may request PE waivers based on outside sports (which can be rec level, don’t need to be select) or school-based sports (such as school team or after school club). Students granted such waivers can take two electives instead of one, or may be granted a late start or early release (which can help if they have jobs or family childcare duties). HCC students do not get extra electives, no matter how many times you say it.

Oh, and you’re right—equal is not equitable. That’s why we have another word for it. In fact, equitable usually means providing something different to one group, like free lunch to students who need it; special ed to students with disabilities; transportation to students forced to travel long distances, etc. I’m not sure what your point was exactly, but it’s true that equal is not always equitable.

Gobble

Melissa Westbrook said...

I will note that it was made fairly clear to the Superintendent at her community meeting last night that the district needs to explain its definition of "equity" so that everyone is on the same page.

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

Who is responsible for hiring the new WMS principal?

There wasn't a turnaround at her old school. The opposite occurred.

In fact, the school, George Washington High, maintained it's "D" rating during her post, '14/15 and'15/16, and experienced a huge increase in absences perhaps due to the violence and racial tension detailed in the attached articles.

While the number of suspensions at the school decreased by more than half, the number of students with more than 10 days unexcused absences increased, incredibly, from 10 the year before she started to 426 her first year and 336 her second year.

From the Chalkbeat article "Hispanics flee as fights, racial tension rile George Washington High School" published June 2015:

“The students basically took over the school,” Campos said. “There’s fights almost every day. You don’t know if somebody is going to come up and hit you for no reason.”

"Students, staff and community groups in and around the school are demanding change, arguing George Washington has spun out of control this year."

“The Latino students are feeling very much oppressed,” said Monica Medina, an IUPUI professor who works in George Washington training future teachers. “We’ve created a school that in many ways represents a prison … similar to a criminal experience because of the punitive environment.”

But Superintendent Lewis Ferebee and other district officials don’t believe the situation is as bad as some say.

“Has there been fights? Probably so,” Ferebee said. “It happens at every high school. We’ve got a first-year principal and she’s building her network. It remains on our radar as one of the schools that is under state intervention and we have high expectations for student achievement.”

"Groups including the Indianapolis NAACP, Concerned Clergy of Indianapolis, Indiana University School of Education, IUPUI and Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center say they have called on IPS administrators to help fix what they see as increasing problems at George Washington.

They want to see an action plan for improvement next year.

“When we believe the school community has fallen significantly short of the goal, we naturally take notice and demand collective attention be directed to rectify shortcomings,” according to a joint statement from those groups. “Unfortunately for many of us, this is such a time.”

https://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/in/2015/06/02/hispanics-flee-as-fights-racial-tension-rile-george-washington-high-school/

https://fox59.com/2014/10/06/parents-students-protest-violence-at-indianapolis-high-school-during-fall-break/

https://fox59.com/2014/08/29/fight-breaks-out-in-high-school-class-caught-on-camera/

https://compass.doe.in.gov/dashboard/apr.aspx?type=school&id=5644 (scroll to pg. 100, 2017 Annual Performance Report, George Washington High School, Indianapolis Public Schools)


Data

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

The new WMS principal may want to read the schools's CSIP--the new one, that her name is on. Here's an excerpt:

How do we support students identified as highly capable?
Highly Capable students are our largest program group. We support them through rigorous course offerings with high school classes in World Language, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Algebra, Geometry, and Advanced Algebra. HC students are tracked in language arts and social studies. In addition we offer rich HOST and music programs.

oopsie

Melissa Westbrook said...

No, no and no.

We do not out people here. Cease and desist.

We do not go into people's personal lives (except if they directly affect district operations). Cease and desist.

Do not use this blog for your own gossipy and petty means.

Keep the discussion to facts, outcomes and effectiveness.

Anonymous said...

Note Also: https://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/in/2015/07/20/a-third-of-george-washington-high-schools-teachers-wont-return/


Apparently the problems at WMS sound fairly similar to chaos Butler left behind at her previous school:

"Butler said she was working around the clock — including scheduling multiple interviews on weekends — to get all the positions filled by the first day of school just two weeks from today.The same problem happened last year, after Butler was hired late in the summer. Students and parents complained of substitutes filling in for months until teachers were hired."
A Parent

Anonymous said...

And then there's this article from Indiana's African-american newspaper about the new WMS principal while she helmed George Washington High School.

Stunning.

While a person is never guilty by accusation alone, were these allegations in the article below, that mirror the previous articles I posted, investigated by the SPS hiring committee?

From the Indianapolis Recorder newspaper, Jan. 2015:

"Bluntly speaking, in my view, Washington High is out of control, dysfunctional; led by a rookie principal incapable of running a lemonade stand much less a school of some 500 students. The school’s leadership is so bad IPS headquarters had to assign additional administrators to help the principal regain control. And this strategy reportedly hasn’t worked.

Washington began the year with numerous teacher vacancies; many remain.

School enrollment has fallen since August. The educational environment is so toxic, the Class of 2015’s valedictorian transferred out.

And in violation of federal law, Special Ed teachers still teach regular classes.

Community stakeholders who’ve worked with Washington High the past few years were so alarmed at the deteriorating conditions they demanded a meeting with Dr. Ferebee. But neither he nor his top academic aide Dr. Wanda Legrand would meet with them. Instead, they delegated the meeting to a lesser administrator who’s only been at IPS eight months.

During the meeting, I’m told IPS admitted the school was out of control; even saying there’s no coherent system wide standard of discipline in place.

The school’s administrative controls have collapsed. Students don’t know if their grades and credits have been properly documented. Written class schedules are incomplete or non-existent."

http://www.indianapolisrecorder.com/opinion/article_61c555c8-a7d7-11e4-ac39-d31c221ea357.html


Data

Anonymous said...

The seeming disaster at WMS and the shocking news about the principal's experience in Indianapolis doesn't surprise me after watching a different principal hiring process. The interview process is so different than any typical private sector management type job and so restrictive. It seems the focus is so strongly on equity and gap closing that we're looking for checklists of school demographics and accepting superficial answers instead of probing deeper. Our current pool may not have been great, but this nonsense hurts everyone in the school and does nothing to actually improve outcomes or increase equity.

NE Parent

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

no caps, I'm the moderator and I say you are out of line.

Anonymous said...

It is true, the principal's wife posted on this blog using her own google account identity, not just signing her own name. It was a goading, snarky and combative comment. I was incredulous and captured the screen, astonished at what I was seeing. Others apparently did the same before she removed it. To have read it helps to understand no caps's now deleted comments.

FNH

Anonymous said...

I read it here as well, and assumed—or hoped?—it must have been a troll posing as the spouse, because surely the spouse of a principal new to the district wouldn’t post something so obnoxious. I don’t know if it was real or not—but if it was, it’s not a good sign.

DisAPPointed

Anonymous said...

Sarahthetree9/12/18, 11:29 AM
Good afternoon Washington families!!

This is fun. While we're on the subject of policies, do note that "It is the policy and practice of this blog to delete unsigned anonymous comments." However! This very clear opening disclaimer is followed by an even more detailed account as to how one might indeed remark anonymously, which I see that many on this post string have chosen to do.

Are you proud?

My name is Sarah Butler Ginolfi and I am the wife of your new principal. My position is the one that led us to this city. I'm a young, lesbian priest in an institution that old men have dominated for centuries. We eat comments like these for breakfast, so keep 'em coming!

My wife doesn't need my on the defense as she's quite able to handle that on her own. My comment will very well be deleted or run through the mud just as my wife's name has since there's a very clear bias in these assertions. Especially the anonymous ones.

I supposed I'm bias too, though. After all, I did marry a firecracker who lives with a passion far greater than the likes of most people.

Nonetheless.
I own it.
With my name.

With love and prayers,
The Rev. Sarah Butler Ginolfi

-NOT biased

Anonymous said...

I didn't see the post, but it should be fairly easy to discover if the post was actually written by her wife. Both are new to Seattle and are public figures. Her wife, Sarah, is a senior associate priest at St Thomas Episcopal Church in Medina.
You can read her bio here.
http://www.stthomasmedina.org/who-we-are/our-staff/

-Caphill Parent

Anonymous said...

It looks like she and I posted at the same time and are posted crossed in the ether. In any case, I hope people with concerns will reach out to her and her parish directly and not through this blog.
-Caphill Parent

Anonymous said...

No. Contacting said person or their place of employment is out of line. Stay out of the private lives of others. Please keep the focus on WMS staff and students.

Anonymous said...

This is remarkable. SPS hired a principal with a terrible track record, put her into a middle school that needs an effective leader who can build consensus, and when parents point out the same problems this principal created in Indianapolis are occurring here in Seattle, her wife comes onto this blog to do combat with concerned parents.

Everything about this is a disaster. This is no way to run a school. It will be a test of Denise Juneau's leadership to see how this is handled.

Leschi parent

Anonymous said...

melissa, i really think we need another wms thread. there are too many concerns to turn our backs on here including:

-district staff's attack on hcc - this did not happen in a bubble
-admins getting rid of self contained classes as laid out in the sup's policy
-disparity of services north and south of the ship canal- including world languages and language immersion
-al office's role in overseeing program integrity
-online courses for middle school students instead of classrooms
-disparaging emails about half your student body
-eliminating classes to broaden opportunity
-claiming that resources should only be used for "gifted" kids when other students are at grade level
-8 days and many schedules are not finalized
-principal promising to send out detail rational for wholesale changes that were never sent
-utter lack of transparency
-vetting process that leads to an admin with such well documented and troubled past

one person should not be able to unilaterally cause this much disruption. she therefor has the support downtown and with the ED. let's see if that holds true to the board and juneau. if not then the staff and the ED should be held accountable too.

no caps

Anonymous said...

Funny how there was no uproar when similar things happened last year at Meany. There were multiple schedule changes including a vast overhaul of all new schedules for everyone three weeks into the school year, class sizes in the 40s for those three weeks (and beyond for some classes). There was a French class with no teacher for a couple months. Japanese 2 had 10 kids in the class, which contributed to other electives classes in the 40s. The behaviors were so out of control with no consequences that a science teacher quit in Oct; cue subs for weeks. The Spanish teacher left for several months and the AP and subs had to cover. The Algebra 2 teacher was involved in a physical fight with a student in Jan or Feb, which again left students with subs for the rest of the year. A few teachers left mid-year. By the end of the year at least 75% of staff left. All because of lack of support from admin, disorganization, no consequences for ludicrous student behaviors (fights, screaming curses at teachers, disruption, defiance, etc.).

Survivor

Anonymous said...

@ survivor - Whoa, I had no idea. That should have caused an uproar. A physical fight with a student?

-sorry!

Anonymous said...

@ Survivor, your description of what happened at Meany is appalling and I am sorry to hear that. Everything about Meany however was new - new school, new staff, new students, principal etc. What is happening at WMS is a bit different since we are talking about a new principal - not a new everything.
-Caphill Parent

Anonymous said...


my reaction: ouch. too bad, i had no idea.

no caps

Anonymous said...

@Survivor,

I'm sorry to hear about your experience.

What part do you think restorative justice and the drive to to decrease suspensions plays in the situation at Meany?

I've read national articles where these two factors have led to out of control classrooms and both students and teachers afraid for their physical safety.

TA

Melissa Westbrook said...

I am aware of the many,many issues at Washington Middle School. I had not seen the comment in question but it would seem - if you Google their names - that the comment did come from the principal's wife. They are newlyweds so I can somewhat understand the fierceness of her protest. (The tone is something else.)

There is a meeting coming up and as well, I am seeing some answers to questions put to the principal on different topics. I'm investigating some of her claims.

What I would advise is for everyone to take a deep breath. I am certain that the Board has heard a cheerful earful. The Board is having an Executive Committee meeting today and I may attend and try to get the ear of the Superintendent. As well, the Board, with the Superintendent, is having a retreat on Saturday. Go early and let them know your thoughts (the retreat itself already has an agenda and the public can listen but not speak). It's at JSCEE from 9 am to 12:30 pm.

I'll start a separate thread soon.

Anonymous said...

I just think there ought to be some decorum that SPS requires of building leaders. And to build bridges. Isn't this what we ought to expect SPS to expect of its building leaders? Just the basics, thanks.

The situation is obviously not going to be work out at WMS, it's already gone too far and now you have the entitled words of the spouse telling everybody to stick it where the sun doesn't shine. Like this is going to the trenches.

In a normal District, with standards and leadership, these people would be gone by the lunchtime? A poster said this did not happen in a vacuum. I think the vacuum is professionanlism. There is a professionalism vacuum in Seattle Public Schools. Let's see if the new Supt thinks so, too. I think everybody else is just used to it. That's why none of this is going to blow back on Sarah Prichett, either. It never dones.

FWIW

Anonymous said...

I am skeptical that the comment was actually authored by the WMS principal's spouse. The information in the comment is all easily located online. It could have been authored by any troll looking to pour gas onto this situation, undermine the principal, and reinforce divisions within the WMS community.

Deep breath, people.

Ruthie

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Ms Butler Ginolfi requested and received permission from the district to change the Algebra II class at WMS to an online class this year. Some of the 8th grade parents had a meeting with Ms. Butler Ginolfi. The result is the Algebra II class will be ok this year, however we don't know what will happen next school year.

WMS placed these kids in Algebra 1 as 6th graders with the promise there would be a math pathway for them. Like the 8th graders, these kids chose a school and math pathway with the expectation they would beable to take three years of rigorous, in-person math classes in the appropriate sequence.

Concerned


Anonymous said...

@Concerned - do you know the rationale for requesting the switch to online Algebra II?

-Curious

Anonymous said...

@Concerned, the district is required, by law, to provide a continuum of HC services to students through all grades, once started. Accelerating them to Algebra 1 in 6th grade but not providing Algebra 2 in 8th seems to break that continuum. Same goes for student who took Alg 1 as 6th graders last year, and any who are being allowed to take it this year. The school and district need a long-term plan that will put/keep them in compliance.

DisAPP

Anonymous said...

@Survivor, are you saying there was no uproar at the school, either, or just on the blog? If on the blog, probably because people not at the school didn’t hear much about it—and if the problems are spread throughout the year, it makes it that much harder for an outsider to put the pieces together, too. I’m sure you can understand that—or do you really think people here don’t care? Your summary of the situation certainly painted a picture, but it’s one most easily absorbed in hindsight. How are things now?

I’m also curious about the level of uproar—or not—by parents at the school last year. Was there concern, outrage, etc., and to whom was it expressed? What were the responses? This could be a great example to share with the Board and Supt Juneau re: how things can spiral out of control, how things get addressed (or not), and what sort of additional policies, practices, and oversight might be needed as they consider the apparent mess at WMS. Maybe by looking at both schools the Board and JSCEE admin can better understand the problems they create and/or allow via their actions, and maybe once Supt Juneau clearly sees this she can take steps to clean things up. One can hope.

DisAPPointed

Anonymous said...


thanks fwiw it couldn't have been said better. i would echo that it is not happening without approval either, and perhaps even with direction from sarah prichett, wyeth jesse and michael tolley.

so if you can't get board approval to eliminate hs pathways you can make them irrelevant by getting rid of ms hcc. viola. no more need for advanced ap class schedule.

this is a real %^&* storm.

no caps

Anonymous said...

DisAPP,

No. The closest would be from the WMS principal's first letter to the school where she said:

"When you view your child’s schedule next week, keep in mind that we are not only a public school, but also a small, public school. Washington lost over 500 students in the last year and a half, which was almost half of its general fund or baseline budget. Additionally, almost 20% of our budget comes from additional Levy and LAP funding, which is exclusively for serving our students living in poverty and not meeting grade-level standards. That is funding that has not always gone towards that purpose, but in making this year’s revised schedule, it was. Given our advanced learning programs, we are a middle school that not only needs to offer intervention courses for more than a third of our population that is not meeting grade-level standards, but we also have offered upper-level high school courses atypical for middle school including Algebra 2, Chemistry, and Biology, all without receiving additional funding for students identified as ‘gifted’. In middle schools, it is typical for all students to take a rotation of PE/health, music, visual art, and computer/technology. Choice at the middle school level is often limited to whether or not a student opts to be in band, choir, or the general music course. This is in part because middle school is all about breadth and exposure, while high school begins to be more about depth."

concerned

Melissa Westbrook said...

So, before the Executive ctm meeting, I reminded President Harris of this issue. She said the Board is quite aware of the issue and "it is being addressed." Naturally, the Board does not have any ability to direct any personnel save the Superintendent. But I believe they will be asking strong questions about what is happening at Washington..

Additionally, it seems the principal renamed some courses from HCC to Honors. It was pointed out that if Honors at Washington means HCC that is confusing because Honors in high school does not mean HCC. Her reply was that HCC is part of Sped (it's not) and that it would be a FERPA violation to label the classes as such. That's not true (or thousands of schools are erroneously labeling classes). I asked some privacy advocates throughout the nation and here's what they said:

"I wonder how this principal explains the classifications of students at selective charters or magnet schools or how she explains how identifying special needs students is not a breach of FERPA. I don’t know her but she may be attempting to weaken your gifted program with this ploy."

"The FERPA argument is silly. A class designation does not personally identify a student. If we took the principal's argument seriously, it would mean that every high school is violating FERPA if it has a "calculus" class, thereby disclosing that a set of students are learning about calculus and others are not.

under NCLB/ESSA, the feds don't care that a kid who already exceeded standards can exceed them even more, which means that no one else down the pike has an incentive to support it either."

"I agree that this doesn’t violate FERPA unless the district publicly published a list of all the students in the class and even then probably not since it might be seen as directory info and and not stigmatizing; for the same reason, lists of kids on the honor roll displayed publicly are not considered violations of FERPA."

Not sure if the principal is misinformed or is trying to push the envelope but labeling a class as part of AL is not in violation of FERPA.





Anonymous said...

@Concerned, I'm not saying that's what IS happening, but what is supposed to be happening. I was also referencing state law, in case that's a potential argument that can be used to ensure adequate services. I'm not really sure what your "no" response was referring to.

DisAPPointed

Anonymous said...

It is important to remember that, under OSPI rules, coursework is not valid as hicap (HC) coursework unless it is also accelerated. It does not matter if a course is labeled honors or not. Although hicap students are not a protected class, state law makes very clear that their academic needs must be met appropriately.

In order to comply with OSPI rules, a hicap student must have access to accelerated and appropriately leveled coursework. Otherwise, she is not receiving the basic education to which the student is entitled under both state law and the state constitution. It is as simple as that.

If hicap students are placed in courses with age peers, even if it is an honors class, it does not count as hicap coursework without acceleration, and it is not compliant with OSPI, state law, or the state constitution.

-Simone

Anonymous said...


thanks mw. ask yourself people why is the new principal able to do this? because tolley is telling her to through sarah prichett.

ferpa? what? so she is going to go against sup's policy because of her understanding of sped law.

this is war. they are truly trying to supersede the boards will. will the board deal with it? more importantly, where is stephen martin in all of this? tied up in a closet is the only thing i would say as to why he hasn't resigned or put out a statement.

i will say this goes back to those board stealing rubes that really worked hand in hand with tolley. devin bruckner and her merry fellows.

no caps

Anonymous said...

That's right, HC are "atypical," which is why the state provides additional funding to districts to help provide for their basic education. According to SPS, they provide "significantly accelerated curriculum."

HCC provides significantly accelerated curriculum in reading, math, science and social studies based on student need. Services include student progression through pathways to specific school sites with adequate cohorts of Highly Capable students. This model provides students peer learning and social/emotional opportunities, teachers with suitable experience and/or professional development on the academic and social/emotional needs, appropriate curriculum, appropriately differentiated instruction, deeper learning opportunities and accelerated pacing.

sheesh

Anonymous said...



Simone,

I 'think' our paperwork with the state reflects depth and breadth and not accelerated as the last LA/SS curriculum was put together to insure newcomers to HCC would not skip years of material. Worked well before that but now that is what we have. I have been told that WMS is still using the HCC curriculum. What I am uncertain of is who is in those classes and are they still able to go through the curriculum at the same rate. Also, is there any truth to online Algebra II course work? I would greatly appreciate it if someone could shed some light on these two issues.

APP dad

Anonymous said...

Whoops, DisAPPointed, that No was meant in response to the question from Curious about if we knew what the principal's rationale was for switching to online Algebra 2.

Concerned

Anonymous said...

sheesh,

the district gets extra funds that cover identification and transportation. that is it. but the cohort model is the least expensive way to provide services with a district of seattle's size. the hcc saves time for every other program through lowering the amount lesson differentiation that would be necessary without it. imagine adding 2-4 grade level ability to every classroom. yikes right?

no caps

Anonymous said...

It is going to be a *monumental* task for the WMS principal to rebuild trust with the parent community. What a horribly botched opportunity - so many parents who could have been allies, and right at the outset of a new school year. Leadership is difficult, no doubt. But even a little bit of advance research into the existing dynamics within WMS, and SPS as a whole, should surely have clued her in that simply acting, without trying to engage parents, is never the right approach. I mean - an hour spent reading the archives of this blog, if nothing more, or even the Seattle Times coverage.

I miss Jon Halfaker.

Ruthie

Anonymous said...

@App Dad

I think you are right. I have not read the actual paperwork on file, and that is something I will try to do this week, as I suspect there are major disconnects between the paperwork as filed and what is happening in the schools.

Most HCC students are already accelerated in language arts and mathematics when they start middle school. In 6th grade, no HCC students start accelerated in science or social studies because the curriculum accelerates only from that point forward. HCC students are thus intended to start 9th grade prepared for more advanced coursework in all four core academic areas.

Calling something "honors" does not in and of itself make it an acceptable course within those sequences for hicap students. Naming things "honors" is a bit of a fad lately meant to smokescreen the dilution of hicap-appropriate course sequences. I'm extremely concerned that Washington MS may be trying to jump on that same fad, so it's incredibly important for parents to take a close look at the details and ask extremely pointed questions: courses are appropriate only if they fit into a hicap sequence and provide either depth/breadth or acceleration, or ideally both. If they do not, they are not appropriate for a hicap sequence and need to be revised to be in compliance.

Anonymous said...

(That's me, Simone, sorry I forgot to sign.)

-Simone

Anonymous said...

"In a normal District, with standards and leadership, these people would be gone by the lunchtime? A poster said this did not happen in a vacuum. I think the vacuum is professionanlism. There is a professionalism vacuum in Seattle Public Schools. Let's see if the new Supt thinks so, too. I think everybody else is just used to it. That's why none of this is going to blow back on Sarah Prichett, either."



THIS. Absolutely. Nailed. It.

And now the FERPA drivel?

If the new WMS principal and Pritchett still have their jobs after this fiasco, consider it fair warning of the direction this district is heading and make future plans accordingly.

Data

Anonymous said...

It gets worse. WMS gen ed kids are now only allowed to take one elective each semster this year because they have to take two ELA classes each semester. We were told by the principal it's because the WMS gen ed kids didn't "meet standard.# I guess these kids aren't worthy of two electives. This is total BS.

Mad parent

Anonymous said...

Yes that's right, 2 ELA classes every day required for gen ed at WMS this year, with no advance warning. Just sprung on us when school started.

Mad parent

Anonymous said...

Gaaaaaaaah. Make more of the electives humanities focused. Drama. Debate. Playwriting. Journalism. Do not force these kids into another core class. They don't help, and they disengage kids from school.

NE teach

Anonymous said...


sounds like typical tfor bs. absolutely no nuance. and no more choice. oh but they all have pe, like that is therapy.

no caps

Anonymous said...

What about the 29% of WMS gen ed students who HAVE met grade-level standards (as per the figure cited in the principal's letter). Do they also have to take twice the ELA, simply based on the fact that they are GE? Is everything going to be taught to the level of the lowest student?

If taking 1 ELA class doesn't seem to be doing the trick, what makes the principal think that taking a double dose will help? Maybe the ELA classes themselves are "broken" and they need to figure out how to make them more effective for their population instead. On the off chance that the classes are great and they just need more of the same to see an impact, how much of that unlikely-but-theoretically-possible benefit would be offset by the sheer lack of joy--and sense of punishment--that are likely to come from such a mind-numbing schedule? And you know, kids--across the country--don't do that well in math, either. Maybe everyone needs twice as much math, whether our approach to math is working or not. And twice as much science. We also have an obesity epidemic, so maybe double PE while we're at it. Golly, there are just so many things to double up on...

If the ELA classes aren't effective, make them better! Why aren't kids meeting standards? Is the curriculum effective? Are the teachers effective? Are there sufficient materials? Are there technology problems? Are parents engaged and/or able to help? What have schools with similar populations been able to do to increase the percentage of students meeting standards? Are there evidence-based approaches they can try instead? Can they shorten core classes by a few minutes each and add in a short extra period that can be used for extra ELA instruction/support? Can they get parent volunteers to help provide before-or after- school ELA tutoring? Have they engaged with GE parents of kids who aren't meeting standards to see what THEY think should be done?

DisAPPointed

Anonymous said...

I also have to wonder where the Asst Principal, Devin Murphy, is in all this. Hasn't he been there a couple years now? I believe he was at Hamilton before that, so he has experience with a less dysfunctional HCC middle school site. I think he was an HCC teacher at Hamilton, so he should have some experience with HCC parents, and be familiar with the needs of these students. Or maybe he was one of those "no tracking!" advocates at HIMS?

DisAPPointed

Anonymous said...

Or Ask. The teachers. I'm sure none of the teachers are on board with this "twice as much LA" nonsense. They'll tell you. I can tell you, seeing those numbers. I've taught in places like that. The kids have chaotic home lives. The things that would help- washing machine at school. More frequent snacks, provided by the school. Clothes they can borrow/take. More art. SPORTS. Rides home from those sports. All supplies provided. Two LA classes does not help. Taking away Spanish from the ones who want Spanish does not help. Shoe closet. SOCK closet, that's a big one. If they show an interest, go to the ends of the earth to help them get there. That is how you help. Not come in with your "equity" ed reformer shield to deflect concern about your changes, taking art and beauty out of these kids' lives. That definitely never helps.

NE Teach

Anonymous said...

@ Simone "If hicap students are placed in courses with age peers, even if it is an honors class, it does not count as hicap coursework without acceleration, and it is not compliant with OSPI, state law, or the state constitution."

Well what about high school? HC kids are taking classes labeled honors that also have non honors students (combined classes) that are not accelerated. In most high schools for an honors option they are offering extra assignments or a more difficult grading schedule for kids taking a class as honors.

HS parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

NE Teach, I floated the question - how are WMS teachers taking this? Because whether you think this is the direction the school should go, this is a lot of fast change. If the kids didn't know the schedule, did the teachers?

HS parent, the answer to that is that HC doesn't exist in high school, it's just the cohort of kids.

"I miss Jon Halfaker."

Well, he's an ED now. Wonder what he thinks.

Anonymous said...

Melissa - WMS teachers I have talked to have expressed that they are ready for parents to get litigious. For what that is worth.

Reader

Anonymous said...

(WMS teachers' comments to me were in relation to class size and general disorganization and randomization)

Reader

NESeattleMom said...

I wonder if WMS has had an exodus of teachers. The orchestra position was refuced (from what I have heard), and that experienced teacher went to BHS. They have a temporary sub for orchestra (from what I’ve heard), and will need to do a careful long term hire, but may be difficult part time, like languages, unless it could somehow be split between two schools. It is really important to have many levels of music, for beginners using SPS instruments and more experienced levels who will be ready for the challenging high school experience. WMS had a very strong music program.

NESeattleMom said...

“reduced”

Melissa Westbrook said...

Could a WMS parent let me know when/where/what time the meeting for families is next week?

Anonymous said...

Yes, Washington has had a huge exodus of teachers. Many left two years ago mainly due to the nightmare that was Follmer. Those who stayed are surely regretting it as the new principal may be even worse than Follmer which no one thought was even possible.
-Former WMS

Anonymous said...

@Melissa, I don’t think you are correct that “HC doesn't exist in high school, it's just the cohort of kids.”

HCC as a specific service doesn’t exist (with the possible exception of HCC-only classes at Ingraham, if still offered), but HC students, and the requirement to prove HC-appropriate services, still exist. Further, the requirement to provide appropriate HC services exists whether students attend an HCC pathway school or not—so whether they are there as part of an official cohort or not. Even if they are there via te pathway, classes are not cohorted.

I think HS parent’s question should be answered differently, nor in line with what Simone was getting at. Regardless of the fancy names some high schools like to slap on courses to make them sound like they are advanced, the actual law says that they are supposed to provide “access to accelerated learning and enhanced instruction” which, for HC students, constitutes “access to a basic education.” Simply calling a class “honors” does not fulfill that if it isn’t actually advanced. Ironically, Garfield’s attempt to get around the legal problem associated with eliminating honors LA and SS for 9th grade HC students was further bungled by naming the new classes “Honors for All,” which is a dead giveaway that they aren’t accelerated as required, since acceleration implies that something is accelerated in relation to something else. Maybe if you had a really high performing school you could say that everyone was ready for the honors version and honors version was accelerated over what would typically be offered in GE, but it would be hard to make that case at Garfield. Someone should make them prove these classes—that are supposedly appropriate for all—are truly accelerated and truly provide the enhanced instruction required for HC students.

All types

Anonymous said...

Additional information on the HCC/APP blog about WMS and a letter from the principal about scheduling, plans etc..
http://discussapp.blogspot.com/

-Caphill Parent

Anonymous said...

From the discussapp blog, an issue that is getting totally marginalized but that affects everything: "WTF - classes of 35 or 36 students? Middle schools were staffed at a 1:29 ratio this year. It’s not OK to overload HCC classes to benefit general education students."

Hoping that this will be the focus of tomorrow's meeting at WMS.

WTF2