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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Tuesday Open Thread

The passing of Microsoft co-chair, Paul Allen, is sad news.  He gave much to the community in so many directions - music, art, sports, libraries and a whole building is named for him at UW.  I saw him earlier this year when the final beam was being placed in the new Computer Science & Engineering building, this one named for the Gates.  


Hmm, I note that Rainier Beach High School has moved much farther down on the BEX V list (which they said could accomplished between 8-12 projects).  RBHS is now 10.  I'm hoping that this does not mean that staff could say, "Whoops, we can only get 9 projects done."

Fun event coming up this Thursday at the Seattle Art Museum from 5-8 pm - a community event to celebrate their newest show - Peacock in the Desert; the Royal Arts of Jodhpur, India. 

Celebrate the new exhibition, Peacock in the Desert: The Royal Arts of Jodhpur, India with a free public opening featuring live performances, an art market, music, and art making. RSVP requested.
  • Peacock In The Desert Bazaar
    Local artists, makers, and organizations will share their wares.
  • DJ RDX
    Original mixes all night long.
  • Humaira Abid
    Make art with this local artist.
  • Jhimiki & Maatal
    Catch live dance performances.
  • My Favorite Things Tours
    Led by Laila Kazm, Malvika Wadhawan, Humaira Abid, and Noor Asif
What's on your mind?

71 comments:

Robert Cruickshank said...

The BEX levy will not pass if RBHS is not included. There's no way around that very simple fact. I hope the school board knows this.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Oh, I think it will be on the "list." But I also think there's a possibility it will be placed towards the end and "somehow" they don't have the money because of other projects.

I hope I'm wrong but I have never sensed the love for this project from staff. Never ever.

Mike said...

The Allen Library at UW is named after Paul's father.

-SadDay

Anonymous said...

Someone reported elsewhere that at her RHS listening tour even last night she mentioned that the 24 high school graduation credit requirement is "on pause." Can anyone confirm that?

This is not an SPS requirement. It's a statewide requirement that went into effect for the class of 2019. SPS received a 2-yr waiver for planning, so the first graduating class affected is the class of 2021--in other words, those who started high school last year. However, they started high school with still no 24-credit solution in place. Not only no plan in place, but SPS apparently no closer to a solution. So that 2-yr official waiver became a 3-yr delay, impacting actual high school students. Now those students are sophomores, and still there's no plan in place. Effectively, we're into year 4 of the "planning" phase...and now that is "on pause"? I wonder if Juneau paused it, or if she we acknowledging the fact that nobody was actually bothering to worry about it...

Michael Tolley needs to get his act together. He signed the 2-year waiver, so he should have made sure there was a plan in place. For last year's freshmen. And now this year's freshmen and sophomores. How many more years will we go without a plan in place?

If SPS really cares about equity, they'll figure out this 24-credit thing ASAP. Guess who will be most hurt by SPS's failure--FAILURE--to take care of this? Not kids who pass their classes, and/or who can take community college classes to fill in gaps in their schedules. Nope. It'll hurt the kids who fail a class, the kids who have jobs or family responsibilities that prevent them from taking community college classes, the kids who don't have a computer at home for an online class, etc. If SPS thinks this is all no big deal and everyone will be able to get their 24 credits, then no big deal--just END the theoretical planning and say "hey, we don't need to plan, it'll all work out because kids have these options..." But the fact that it's taking 4 (or more) years suggests it's NOT all that easy...which means it's even that much more important that they come up with an acceptable (i.e., one that is feasible and works for the community) plan.

Sometimes I really can't believe we pay these guys.

Core24

Anonymous said...

@core24

It’s not true that current freshmen started highschool with “no plan” to obtain 24 credits: students take 6 courses a year x 4 years of highschool = 24 credits. Voila.

This means that if they fail a course, they need to make that up. Perhaps an online course. Perhaps a zero period course. Perhaps a summer school course. Perhaps credit given by already being fluent in a second language. But please don’t say there was “no plan” to deliver 24 credits to highschool students. There is and always was.

The vast majority of students gradute, graduate on time, and graduate with full credits. However these on-track students are going to be shortchanged very badly very soon as the district moves to a 7 period day (but not a longer day). So kids will get the same classes, only fewer minutes in the class for direct instruction.

Remember this: it is the overwhelming majority of kids who are getting shortchanged in order to defer to a student who failed a course or two. I’d rather the failing student get more resources than compress and/or water-down all courses for all students. It’s a mystery as to how many students would fail to meet 24 credits and thus need rescuing are responsible for upsetting the entire schedule for everybody else. How many kids will be rescued by changing the entire system for the 14,000+ high school students? Like all things in SPS, this too is completely opaque.

Just add a zero period and an 7th after-school period of the most-needed failed courses & kids who need to do credit retrieval will have to avail themselves of that. If it interferes with sports - they’ll have to pick a priority, graduate on time or risk not graduating on time. Their choice, their responsibility.

6 periods

Anonymous said...

I’m not so sure the vast majority of students graduate with 24 credits now. Students at overcrowded schools often can’t get a full schedule in their last two years. This wasn’t a problem when the requirement was 21 credits.

There is no plan to offer zero hour classes at every high school so that’s not a solution. Summer school is not paid for by the state and has usually been offered at just two or three locations and with classes only in English and math. That’s not a solution and the district has no plan to expand access to summer classes.

I agree that switching to a seven period day is not a great idea. It is at least better than trimesters.

Fairmount Parent

Tapped Out said...

The district can not afford the latest teacher contract. They are now asking the state for funds to support Employee Benefits. With the last round of teacher contracts, the state pension responsibility increased $3.5B. These are hidden costs that no one is talking about.
SPS, in addition to an increased levy, is asking the state to lift the levy cap. How much do they via an increased levy cap and levy funding?

http://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/School%20Board/18-19%20agendas/October%2017/I01_20181017_2019%20Legislative%20Agenda.pdf

Property taxes have increased 50% within the past 2 years.

Anonymous said...

@6 periods, I agree that the 7 period day, or that strange 7-periods-on-kind-of-alternating-days schedule, is no good. I would much orefer a 6-period day with a zero or seventh period for those who need it, and/or support for summer classes, and/or better online resources, etc.

But I stand by my statement that there’s no plan. There are crossed fingers, and hopes that most make it. Yes, the vast majority graduate now—but only 21 credits were required to do so. Not only does the new requirements require 24 credits—already hard to get due to scheduling issues in some schools—but there will be a little less flexibility in scheduling due to the slightly more proscribed class requirements—which adds further complexity and thus makes scheduling that much harder.

Sure, if you pass 6 classes per year for all for years, everything is roses. But the point of having a plan is to figure out how to ensure that all students have the opportunity to get the classes they need. If we do nothing and rely on wishes and prayers, the graduation rate will surely drop. Is that ok with you? Who will be most impacted by that lack of planning? Not my kids—and probably not yours—but I still think this is hugely important. And yes, it’s a major equity issue.

For equity sake, I think they need to support summer and/or zero period classes so students who fail classes can recover credits. The 7-period alternatives appear to do a disservice to AP and IB students, so they are inequitable in the (likely) other direction. The 7-period proposals also result in too much time lost per class, they are complicated, and they are expensive. The easiest—and likely cheapest—solution is to stick with 6 periods and add those zero and summer options. That requires decisions and a plan.

Core24

GLP said...

I was at Superintendent Juneau's Learning & Listening Tour at Roosevelt last night. The question was what is the plan to address the 24 credit requirement, and more specifically the individual was asking what changes would be made to high school next year to offer more credit opportunities. Superintendent Juneau said the decision on this was on pause until they worked through the budget for next year.

-GLP

Anonymous said...

@ GLP, so... what decisions are they considering? Needing to work through next year's budget first suggests they have an idea of the costs of the various options, yet last I heard there was a lot of legitimate opposition to what the task force recommended. And then there was legitimate opposition to the alternate direction in which the district seemed to be moving without community engagement...

Juneau would do well to explain what option(s) are currently on the table, then allow for more community feedback before making any decisions. There are a lot of smart people in this community, people who have thought more carefully through the various scenarios and how they impact different students. The original task force clearly didn't do that, so we need a new and transparent process.

Core24

Anonymous said...

Easy solution: semester core classes now count as .7 credits instead of .5 credit.

If the state is going to give an unfunded mandate, then they should get the results they deserve-- just inflate the credits because there is no additional money to actually have more classes.

This is not a good solution, but until Olympia starts paying for their pipe dreams, that is what they should get.

Keep Dreamin'

kellie said...

It is important to note that Olympia has been sending extra money for core 24 for a few years now. Other districts have managed to implement this.

I mention every so often that Olympia's practice of AAFTE, where high school students are funded by attendance is the real problem at high school. This means that about 5% of the high school students enrolled on Oct 1 receive zero dollars.

In other districts, this is not great, but manageable. Master schedules are designed to be efficient and most districts have 1 or 2 high schools. Bellevue has 4. Seattle has 19 distinct high schools. When you need to spread that 5% across 19 schools, Seattle genuinely has a different problem than most districts.

As for how Core 24 will be implemented, the Nathan Hale model is the most probable at this point. Nathan Hale gives an extra .5 credit for advisory every year (2 credits) and Nathan Hale also manages to squeeze a few extra credits out of the LA/SS blocking. Other high schools also do LA/SS blocking but they grant the same number of credits as unblocked classes.

Other districts simply used the extra money to go to a 7 period schedule and offer more classes. Seattle has explored multiple options that offer more credits without paying for more teachers (3x5 and 4x2). You are only going to actually offer more opportunities when you have more teachers, which surrounding districts have managed to accomplish.


Anonymous said...

@kellie, isn't it a little more complicated than that though? Adding 2 credits for 4 years of advisory will help some people get to that magical 24 number, but it's not just the number they need--they also need those credits to be in specific subjects.

For example, students will now need 3 years of science instead of just 2. How do we plan to ensure that all kids have access to three years of science, without taking away a 4th year option for those who want it? That would mean more science teachers, and possibly more lab rooms. It seems like we need a plan.

The new requirements also require 2 years of a world language (unless someone's personal pathway plan requires otherwise?). How do we ensure all students can take 2 years, when some high schools already seem to have trouble getting language teachers? Will 3rd and 4th year languages continue to be available? It seems like we need a plan.

Credits for advisory would probably fall under the "general electives" requirements, wouldn't they? All the core academic requirements would still need to be met. Maybe I'm not understanding, but it seems like squeezing a few extra credits out of the LA/SS blocking doesn't really help if students need 4 years of LA and 3 years of SS. Would we start giving 4 years of LA credits for classes taken over 3 years, and then seniors might not get an LA class? Or is it that they are just inflating the credit assignment to some extent, such that someone who wanted to apply to university could take 4 years of LA (and get maybe 5.33 credits), whereas a person who was planning for a vocation or community college could take 3 years of LA and get 4 credits, satisfying the state requirement for 4 "credits"? It's all very complicated (and it seems like we need a plan).

Core24

Anonymous said...

Is 8 periods off the table now? Last I heard, but I have not been following closely, the final recommendation was 8 periods, with a couple of schools opting out for 7 periods. I agree with Core24 & 6periods.

I still think implementing a zero period or after school classes should be an option. Or tailor the schedule to the school's population & needs. The intention to alter the schedules such to negatively impact all students, including at schools with super high grad rates and a one size fits all solution, that is also very costly, makes no sense to me.

Put the money instead toward targeted intervention & a program for the kids at risk.

I did ask a person working with core24 & when applying the equity lens, was told kids at risk of graduating often don't show up for after school or before school classes. That's why the idea is "off the table". So hence the push to alter the schedules of the entire district to accommodate. This answer did leave me satisfied. But others may disagree.

TH


Anonymous said...

P.S Oops meant to state the answer did not leave me satisfied. But others may disagree

TH

Anonymous said...

Tonight the board will be discussing adding an ethnic studies course to the high school course catalog. I can’t tell from the documentation whether it’ll fulfill one of the specific graduation requirements or will be one of a student’s four semester long electives. Anyone know anything?

Fairmount Parent

Eric B said...

The last I heard from someone who knows, 8 periods was off the table, and the plan was to go to 7 periods in the same total school day length. As far as I know, the Hale model is also off the table.

kellie said...

@ Core 24,

Of course, it is always more complicated. However, the extra .5 credit for advisory is so powerfully cost efficient, I would be shocked if it isn't part of the core 24 solution.

With the current 6 period schedule and the requirement that all 6 slots are filled with something, (a TA slot or a full credit class), many students are already getting 24 credits. A TA slot is 50% of the credit of a full class, so students that missed two classes but had two TA slots would have 23 credits and a student who had 4 TA slots would have 22. Those extra 2 credits will push all of those students to the magic 24 credits, with little or no change.

kellie said...

@ EricB,

I could be incorrect here, but I had thought that the for-credit advisory was part of the Hale model.

I also think that 8 periods is off the table. My back of the envelope cost analysis of that was crazy high.

Eric B said...

@ Kellie,

We may be in violent agreement. The plan I saw was for 7 periods of equal length. I can't remember if Hale's advisory was shorter than the other periods or not.

kellie said...

@ TH,

I have heard that argument as well. There is a serious equity challenge here.

If you start from the point of view that the students who are most in need of credit recovery or extra credits, are also the same students who would be most disadvantaged by a heavier course load and/or the point of view that only placing students in a zero period who need credit recovery would make these students more identifiable, the a zero period is a huge equity problem.

If you contrast this with a zero period is the most economical solution, because all solutions that require giving MORE to everyone is going to cost a lot more, then you have a different problem. The different problem is that money that could have been spent on equity is now required to be spent on giving more to students who may or may not need extra credits and thereby enlarging the gaps.

I honestly don't know what a good solution would be. From my limited research, I believe most surrounding districts have adopted the zero period approach.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... Regarding the "identifiable issue" what if the zero period or after school period was an option open to all students? In other words, some students who needed the credit to graduate would have a longer day, but others who might not can leave school a period earlier or start later. I am wondering how other districts address this issue.

TH

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Anonymous said...

Also, agree with Kellie the .5 credit for advisory should of course be part of the solution if it is possible. So interpreting Juneau's recent comment, I am guessing they intended to go ahead with a 7 period day, but the plan may now be changed or delayed due to the budget constraints.
TH

Anonymous said...

The 7-period schedule is very expensive. Offering a zero-period is probably less expensive, as you don't need to offer enough zero periods for the whole school, just a subset. You can avoid the identification issue by making the zero period optional--those who need it for credit recovery can take it, and those who want it for an early start (but who don't need it and thus only "get" 6 periods) can also take it. Since high school students get Metro cards, the different start times aren't really an issue. I agree that advisory credit should be part of the solution, but we need to figure out the rest of the solution.

Doesn't the 7-period schedule also have a lot of problems for AP and IB classes? The task force flat out acknowledged they didn't bother looking at that, and my recollection is that parents pointed out a lot of problems with that approach.

The key thing is that the district needs to re-engage with parents on this issue. Nobody seems to know what's up.

Core24

DeeDee said...

Good article today on the opportunity gap in the New York Times:
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/16/us/charlottesville-riots-black-students-schools.html

Trinity Hughes, who is African American, lives on the south side of Charlottesville, Virginia, said she wanted to take Algebra II but her geometry teacher would not allow it! The teacher declined to comment to the NY Times about an individual student. And school officials say that a student's performance in geometry is not the only factor in a teacher's recommendation for Algebra II. But the district superintendent acknowledges that some minority students may be discouraged from taking higher-level courses that could qualify them for better colleges and said that the district reminds parents to bring these rebuffs to her attention.

Trinity's goal was to go to James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. She earned the number of credits she would need for an "advanced" diploma as opposed to the easier "standard" diploma, which is easier and more common among black students in Charlottesville (only 25% of AA students earn the advanced diploma compared to about 75% of white students).

Last month Trinity found out from a representative from the university that she would need a math class higher than Algebra II to get in. 99% of the students the university accepts have gone beyond Algebra II. She was crushed to find out that despite her advanced diploma she wasn't as "college ready" as a lot of other students were.

Seattle needs to improve the college readiness offerings available to students who don't attend one of our truly college preparatory high schools. We need to retrain principles who think African American students should be forced to take P.E. and not allowed to take foreign language.

When the schools "rebuff" a student's effort to take a hard class, parents should notify the superintendent. (Washington Middle School, we're looking at you!)

Melissa Westbrook said...

DeeDee, I agree; if a student wants to take a harder class and the school says no, the parents should go to the Superintendent after the principal. (And certainly bypass the Executive Director.) This should not be happening.

Eric B said...

Core24, the 7th period is actually very helpful for IB. Students doing the full IB diploma need a Theory of Knowledge class. At Ingraham, this is done in a 7th period before or after school. A 7-period day will bring that into the school day. I don't think it would have any significant impact on AP beyond the loss of instructional minutes because each class period is a little shorter.

If what DeeDee is describing happened in Seattle, it should go to the school board as well as the superintendent. If it wasn't resolved in a couple of weeks, I'd be awfully tempted to go to the press as well.

Anonymous said...

I remember 8 periods had a very negative impact on some AP classes, but not as much for others. Not certain about 7 periods, but am guessing the impact would be less but could still be a negative. There was also some negatives for running start students, but I forget specifics.

@Eric -The Theory of Knowledge class is just one class and is it a year or two full years? What about the rest of the time students are at Ingraham & might also be taking a couple of AP classes? In addition, not all kids at Ingraham pursue IB, as I mentioned it might also negatively affect running start students at Ingraham.

JK

Anonymous said...

P.S Loss of instructional minutes is a negative especially considering students in Seattle are already 3 weeks behind due to the East Coast AP testing schedule. Some schools have students start AP classes the summer prior. Although 7 periods would not be as negative as 8 periods.

JK

Anonymous said...

Much of the East Coast starts around Labor Day too and has a 7 period day in a not longer time period than our day here (aside from our Wednesday early dismissals). This is also how they can offer more access to languages AND arts AND PE than we do here. Equity needs to bring up, not take down. Otherwise privileged people will still get what they need or think they need after school and the less advantaged will still not.

https://www.scarsdaleschools.k12.ny.us/domain/791

NE Parent

Anonymous said...

@NE Parent- And I will re-state the AP testing schedule aligns better with MANY East coast schools. If you do not believe me, ask your local Seattle high school principal. They will explain how the current schedule, based upon the "East coast testing schedule", has our kids testing 3 weeks prior to the end of the school year. We also have different holiday & break schedule than many districts on the East Coast.

I also don't recall "early release days" or "mid winter break" but maybe that has changed. Also where I grew up on LI the school day is longer. I had an 8 period day, but it was longer.

Also any other comparison of SPS, to a wealthy NY suburb like Scarsdale is also a mute point, as Seattle will never have the same resources via taxes. Have you compared for example the per pupil funding in districts on LI? It is double or triple. The small districts in wealthy suburbs of NY with their small class sizes etc are completely different.

JK

Anonymous said...

Yes, I seem to recall part of the issue with AP classes had to do with instructional minutes, testing dates not aligning with our school year, etc.

But if I’m remembering correctly, there were also other concerns re: AP and IB classes. For example, with the reduced instructional minutes and our late school year, the district might try to “front load” AP classes to work around the early test dates (i.e., double block some AP classes in the fall and then take electives in the spring), but this approach really limits how many AP classes you can take.

I don’t remember all the details, but there was a great conversation here (right after the task force report came out) re: the potential negative impacts on advanced students.

Core24

kellie said...

For the institutional memory questions.

The Core 24 task force rather foolishly recommended a 3x5 schedule with the caveat that they had not thoroughly explored this option. Fortunately, there were so many obvious flaws with this option, that this plan managed to die a fairly quick death. Here is the link to the task force summary.

http://www.seattleschools.org/families_communities/committees/graduation_requirement

The 3x5 plan was followed by the 4x2 plan. In the 4x2 plan, there would be a rotating AB block schedule with 4 longer classes each day. At one meeting I had attended, there was a plan that Garfield would test that schedule for the 2018 school year but that plan was clearly abandoned.

Frankly I found that the cost inefficiencies of jumping from a 12 slots schedule to a 15 slot schedule, would have made it clear that jumping to a 16 slots schedule was just silly but ...

So it sounds like the finances of a 16 slot schedule have finally become clearly untenable and the lead candidate is now a sensible 14 slot schedule. But within a 7 period day, there are still dozens of variation on how that can be rolled out.

There is a huge difference between an optional zero period and a full 7 period day that have dramatic implication on transportation, IDEA and the teacher's contract.


Anonymous said...

Before this district defines the solution -- first, can they please, for once, DEFINE the problem? The scope and size of the problem?

The issue: 24 credits now needed to graduate. The problem? Kids who don't amass 24 credits in 'time' to graduate HS.

Ok. BUT, critical to remember that high school does supply 24 credits (4 years x 6 courses in the 6 period day = 24 credits).

So, the problem is what if a kid fails a course(s). How many kids fail a HS course? Obviously very few at BHS. What is the statistic for SPS? Is that an evenly distributed problem in all high schools equally? No? Then a *systems-wide* possible 'sledge-hammer' solution carries the worst costs and most unnecessary disruptions to, what, the 3,000 students who annually graduate and do not need this solution's 'benefit' which is aimed at, what... 300 students? Could we get a 'heat map' of those 300 students? That will tell us where to weight our investment in the futures of these struggling children.

It is CRITICAL to get a defined scope/size/distribution of the problem.

Only then can we have an honest conversation about the solutions that fit the problem. Is the goal to help those partially-failed kids get a leg up? Or, just 'social promotion' them out of high school? Do we care about educating them, or, just want to make the balance sheet look good? I hope we actually care about their literacy and numeracy and ability to thrive, but, that is not what I have seen from this district or Tolley. It is never about quality, about doing the right thing right: it only has ever been about 'ticking the box' and moving on.

Sure, the easy solution, the least disruptive "solution" (that also happens to be totally bogus), is take a 6 period day, and simply divide the SAME day into 7, not 6 pieces. Then, kids get 4 years x 7 periods = 28 possible credits! Go ahead and fail, make it up at some point, no hurry, no worry! BUT that is B.S. Seven period day within the same envelope is literally NOT adding to the fundamental reading, writing and math learning of any kid, you are just nudging them out of the classes early to go to some BS elective, more than likely homeroom/advisory or whatever non-learning you label it as and dole out credit. So, kids, all kids, get LESS instructional minutes, but more credit. Less education, more wasting time. It galls to no end that is no doubt what this idiotic district will do. Garfield already got a jump on this and pushed in a 'mentoring' advisory at the expense of actual instructional minutes in the real classes or math, ELA, sci, etc.

If they want a cheap/no-cost easy-to-scale solution that will just 'tick the box', why not just add zero-period and after-school period of TAships? Everyone can take their 6 period real day, and catch make-up credit that will be zero-work with a TA period as needed? Or, how about an optional zero-period 'mentoring', kids can hang out and do their homework or meet with teachers to get extra help.

Kids can always do an extra semester and graduate, just not on time, or, they can do CTE in the summer, or, be encouraged in middle school to get a language credit (sorry WMS) or, or, or... there are a lot of ways to make up for a failed HS course and hit 24 credits. And, better yet, how about place a good number of interventionist specialists who will support freshmen and sophomores at the first sign of a bad grade(s) to prevent them from failing in the first place? Blanket high schools with large populations of at-risk kids with teachers to support them, with lower student-to-teacher ratios, tilt the WSS formula HARD to give them more to make them hands-on adults to nurture them?



6 periods

Anonymous said...

@6 Periods. Yes completely agree, why not spend the money on targeted intervention for those who need it? Identify kids most at risk and tailor to their needs. Seems so simple yet....
TH

Eric B said...

JK, TOK is a two semester class, usually taken the spring semester of one year followed by the fall semester of the next year. Every class (AP/IB/everything else) will feel the impact of fewer instructional minutes, and the costs are not insubstantial.

I don't think 7 periods is so bad for Running Start students, since each class is still at a predictable time each day. The 8-period block schedule would have been terrible for them.

To "fix" the problem with AP/IB testing schedules, we would need to:
Eliminate mid-winter break (probably not a big deal for most parents)
Start school a week or two before Labor Day (a huge deal for many parents)

I don't think electives are BS. I think they are a critical part of the high school experience.

Anonymous said...

@Eric B

"To "fix" the problem with AP/IB testing schedules, we would need to:
Eliminate mid-winter break (probably not a big deal for most parents)
Start school a week or two before Labor Day (a huge deal for many parents)"

Yes that would be a fix, but it means adding 3 weeks to the school year and paying teachers appropriately. With fewer instructional minutes on top of this existing problem, it is not good. I would rather my child have solid and the required educational time necessary for their "core" subjects (in which they also take a test) than add another elective. That is basically what it boils down to with this a new 7 period day. Very bad solution for the overwhelming majority of kids. Does not even seem like a great solution for the kids who are failing classes either. They are in need of meaningful credit and intervention.
JK

Stuart J said...

Has anyone ever researched how Bellevue and other districts are able to pay for seven periods? Where does the money come from? Their class length is 50 minuts. School starts at 8 and ends at 3 pm.

Looking at Ballard for example, class length is 50 mins, and the school day is from 8 45 to 3:35. So, the difference is 10 minutes more in Bellevue. Lunch varies, for many days in Bellevue it is 35 mins, for Ballard it is 30 mins.

https://bsd405.org/bhs/2018/08/new-school-bell-schedule/

https://ballardhs.seattleschools.org/about/bell_schedules

Rainier Beach though has 30 min lunches, has 10 more mins in the school day, and is able to have a 7 period day.

https://rainierbeachhs.seattleschools.org/about/bell_schedules

Cleveland makes their 4 x 2 work by having 30 min lunches, 6 hrs 55 min days, and lists advisory as opposite lunches.

https://clevelandhs.seattleschools.org/about/bell_schedule


I've heard that Rainier Beach gets some extra dollars to pull off 7 periods. But maybe the cost also is for IB training, tests, membership etc.

I am hoping someone can readily access this data because I think it is the key to understanding what's feasible for not only Seattle, but other districts too.

Eric B said...

JK, If you made the school year a week or two longer in the fall and eliminated mid-winter break, school would get out earlier in June to compensate.

Anonymous said...

@Eric B With all the talk about "increasing advanced learning opportunities" at all high schools" it sure seems like they put their high school students at a disadvantage to do well.

All high school students, but especially those who are ALREADY challenged by taking AP courses! Sure the kids who are already strong students will continue to do well in AP courses, but those who want to challenge themselves find another yet another challenge created by their own school district!

It boggles my mind why the school district does not align high school schedules to best accommodate their students and high school level courses.

JK

Anonymous said...

@Eric B, what did you mean by the following?

“ I don't think 7 periods is so bad for Running Start students, since each class is still at a predictable time each day. The 8-period block schedule would have been terrible for them.”

Are you assuming the 7-period day would actually mean 7 slightly shorter classes per day? My recollection is that the 7-period option was not actually 7 periods per day, but something like 4 long periods one day, then the remaining 3 (plus advisory) the next day, with some strange hybrid to deal with the early release on Wednesdays. The version I saw looked like it was equally disastrous for Running Start. I have not seen anything to suggest the district is actually considering a seven period DAY (not counting advisory). If you have any links that suggest otherwise, please share!

Core24

Ballard Resident said...

There was a very strange large bus in Ballard High School's parking lot this am. The bus appeared to be spray painted very dark colors and the windows were spray painted, too. Due to the paint on the windows, one did not have the capacity to look into the windows.

Are these the party busses people have been talking about? If so, what do we know about these busses? It appears people hire these busses for events that involve a lot of drinking. If so, I imagine that there are plenty of people vomiting on these busses.


Do we know if these busses are safe from a health and public safety perspective?

I personally would not want my child riding this odd looking bus.


Eric B said...

Core24, My understanding of the 7-period schedule was that it would be 7 slightly shorter periods per day, and not a block schedule. If it was a block schedule, that would play hell with RS students. Unfortunately, I don't have links. I'm not sure if any actual public info exists.

I am hoping that the early release Wednesday gets killed in the next round of contract negotiations, but that may be too much to ask.

Anonymous said...

When I first heard that high school students would have 7 classes, that sounded like a great thing. Could my child get access to an extra foreign language, arts elective, computer science or something that they are unable to take because they only get 6 spots in the day? I have heard since that with the addition of the extra class that it's more likely kids will lose the chance to waive PE and health, or to classes that are more easily added to a building without requiring a special teacher or lab space/computer lab, for instance. Just because there is more room in a schedule for options, doesn't mean that a school can or will be able to take on the classes that students would want. Can anyone offer thoughts on this? As others have said, shortening AP class times hurts kids taking them. Shortening class period for kids who struggle is also harmful. Especially if what the kids are gaining by that extra class are filler classes they didn't want to take to begin with. I am supportive of a 0 period for kids who need credit recovery, or for putting funds into offering online courses like the Red Comet classes recommended by out counseling office. That option seems much more cost effective than all high school students and teachers adjusting.

RF

Anonymous said...


Here's a link to some of the early discussion on the 24-credit report and options. Obviously the 3x5 schedule the task force recommended seems to be off the table, but there's some other good discussion here.
http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/2016/05/is-district-moving-quickly-on-24-credit.html

Did anyone save a copy of the 24-credit task force's report? The district seems to have removed it from the task force web page. As I recall, the report also reviewed some of the other options, like the 7- and 8-period options being discussed here.

Core24

Anonymous said...

I just looked at Bellevue SD bell schedule. They have a zero period PLUS tutorial period end of day. In between they have 7 periods. On Wednesdays they have only 4 periods (plus zero & tutorial) and early release.

I noticed this schedule is at Newport a school that also offers lots of AP courses, as well as at Interlake that offers their IB program. But that may not mean 7 courses, I have no idea. Perhaps some courses take up two periods. If their schedule is working well, wondering why do we not emulate? Perhaps cost?
PL

Anonymous said...

I also noticed the zero period and tutorial period at BSD make a total school day of 7:00-3:30. Otherwise 7 periods is 8AM-3:00PM. So it seems they allocated a budget to add the zero and tutorial periods and a longer school day for those who need it.
PL

Anonymous said...

@Eric B

Nothing but respect for you and your thoughtful, on-point, well-informed opinions. Always reasoned and reasonable. Thank you for engaging and shedding light as you often do.

Electives per se are not BS - that was not what was expressed... diminishing the core courses (math, sci, ELA, history, PE) to ADD another period that will be filled with a 'filler' is what I call BS on. Electives are important and valuable, whether it is theater, computer science, art, engineering, music, etc. But, advisory is a huge sinkhole of a waste and not a true elective. Not an elective at all. It is the very definition of BS. Ask any kid (some schools have taken to banning doing homework during advisory). So anything that steals instructional minutes from kids and their teachers to me is BS.

A seven period day is not a solution unless the day gets longer by another 50 mins to accommodate a real period. That is too expensive, they are not going to do that. They won't even offer a 0 period to allow kids to make up courses. The reality is fail a course, the consequence is that you are by definition behind, so that will involve an outlay of time to repeat to mitigate.

So, a 6 period day winnowed down to speed dating 7... is... not okay, ESPECIALLY because they just want that 7th to be advisory - which teaches nobody anything.

AND, it is NOT going to be just a straight schedule of 5 days of 7 periods -- naturally, they want to screw that up too by having 2 block days so kids in running start will be messed with.

AND, it is NOT going to allow kids to take MORE actual subjects. I spoke with Ted Howard personally and asked if child could take all the sci AP courses offered, like 2 a year, because the math has already been completed. He said no. He said first he has to get seniors their courses, then, he has to get it to juniors, then, he has to make sure all students graduation requirements have been met, so no, a kid thirsting for education is not what is a priority (even though he just extolled how more periods would allow kids to take more courses).

Again, with 24 credits, WHAT IS THE PROBLEM? Why take a sledge hammer to every students schedule and education? Is that what is necessary? If so, prove it: lay out the scope of problem, numbers of students affected, % of each HS affected, geographic distribution of clients at risk. WIthout data, SPS has no credibility to get the public confidence their solution (whatever it will be, provided that it is disruptive) as a sound and optimal solution benefiting all.

They have to prove that existing alternative solutions for credit retrieval and tools to support kids graduating on-time can't be ramped up to meet the defined need (again, define the need). Kids can do on line courses, CTE, summer school, zero period, get middle school credit for world language, get credit for being fluent in a 2nd language, and work with intervention counsellors prospectively who identify their failing grades and render meaningful support. Diluting rigor and playing pretend by forcing all to take advisory so that each kid gets enough credit to graduate is cynical and will have consequences. People vote with their feet. And, this may just turn the ed levy into a referendum and give citizens a chance to vote 'no confidence' at the district. You can only yank people's chains so long. Don't mess with high school. AP, IB, world language, music, are but some of the reasons why SPS must not mess with the schedule.

6 periods

Stuart J said...

I found a page in the wayback machine, archive.org, that has a link to the PDF. Unfortunately the pdf report is not archived. But at least there's some context

http://web.archive.org/web/20170102140249/https://www.seattleschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=16300

got there from here
http://web.archive.org/web/20170130065633/http://www.seattleschools.org:80/families_communities/committees


Some other days might have the link. Here's the overall archive of seattleschools.org

http://web.archive.org/web/*/www.seattleschools.org


Anonymous said...

And what has been done with the money they already received to implement 24 credits the past 4 years? Lots of task force meetings that went nowhere? Why could BSD and other districts implement it more quickly and make it work well? Take a look at the BSD district websites, they are very focused on academics and college prep, AP & IB. In fact they mention statistics and that students who are enticed to take AP courses are also much more likely to graduate HS. Also, so much for "bringing advanced learning opportunities to all high schools". Yes and BTW we are also shortening the minutes to put you even further behind and will make it even more challenging for you to do well on the AP tests.

When I looked at our neighboring districts schedules and how they are able to offer a longer day and zero and tutorial periods, I am outraged. How can they profess to truly want "equity" when they are disadvantaging all of our students? They are especially disadvantaging our students most at risk by shortchanging their education. Honestly I think parents should write the board and Juneau in droves about this issue before it is "taken off of pause" and implemented as a sledgehammer.
PL

Melissa Westbrook said...

Thanks, Stuart.

kellie said...

It is important to note that high school funding and schedules are dramatically different from K-8. K-8 is essentially funded on a homeroom model and there is a pretty direct and straightforward relationship with enrollment and staffing and assignment.

High school is based on a master schedule and the master schedule is everything. But more importantly, the master schedule is absolutely meaningless without the connection to the funding for teachers.

Teachers are funded at approximately one teacher for every 29 students. (minus the approximate 5% hit for AAFTE). The teacher contract is then for 150 students. This means that about every 29 students will create FIVE slots on the master schedule with the intention that there are about 28-34 students in each slot.

When you add classes like Band, where there isn't a teacher contract limit, you suddenly have a lot more space in the schedule, because that one teacher will instruct up to 300 students. Band is an incredibly cost effective way to get more out of the master schedule.

When you add more slots, but do not add any more teachers, the slots are irrelevant and all you have added is empty space in the schedule.

This is why the proposals for 3x5 (15 slots) and 2x4 (8 slots) eventually were doomed to fail. You can slice the cake a million different ways, but the slicing does not change the total amount of cake. The only thing that changes the cake is more cake. Without adding teachers, those extra slots don't really add much.

Anonymous said...

@kellie,

Well, I suppose they could always eliminate all "unnecessary" electives like a 4th year of math or science or social studies, anything more than 2nd year world language, etc., and then force everyone into band. Or two years of band, making that the required 2 years of art. That would squeeze more out of the master schedule, right? Unfortunately it would also squeeze a lot of people out of SPS.

Actually, now that I think about it, isn't that a bit similar to what they're doing at WMS? I meant it as an absurd solution, but maybe it's not so far-fetched...

Core24

kellie said...

The only thing that truly changes the high school schedule is more teachers. When you change the ratio to 28:1, then all of a sudden you have 2-3 more teachers at most of the high schools and that translates into more slots WITH teachers.

This is why so little is really known about Core 24 and what the district will ultimately roll out. Even if SPS rolls out a uniform 7 period day at all the comprehensive high schools, it will be almost impossible to know what that will actually mean for students, without the corresponding funding allocation.

If funding remains the same, then what happens with a seven period day is that the vast majority of students will still have six classes and an empty slot for "study hall" or a TA slot or be required to leave campus for that slot. A few students will be able to get a 7th class but ... that is likely to simply be a class that had an empty slot.

The fundamentals of how classes are allocated are still the same.
* Graduation requirements - the specific core course required to graduate, not the electives.
* Remediation requirements - the classes required to get you to the core classes.

Those classes are put on the master schedule first and they are assigned to students first. Classes over and above graduation requirements get put on the master schedule based on the space in the master schedule. For example, the math department has to first schedule everything required to get students to three years of math, up to Algebra 2. After that is scheduled, they will schedule the classes for students who are past Algebra 2, but need more years. Advanced math is scheduled with the space left over, with the remaining faculty.

More teachers will equal more space. Same number of teacher ... then no real change. Fourth year of math is still highly variable school to school and you need to hope that the space on your schedule works with the master schedule. There is no requirement that any high school gives you that 4th year of math and there is always MORE demand for 4th year math, than supply.

Because of one last ugly wrinkle in how SPS funds high schools. High school teaching faculty are funded in .2 increments. That's right. The funding goes to the high schools, not as a whole teacher but as .2. So downtown has the lovely ability to give .2 funding to pay for ONE slot on the schedule and they can dial up and down in .2 increments.

That makes hiring and retaining excellent faculty at high school very challenging. I was shocked by the high school RIFS this year. I honestly can not believe that there was one penny in cost savings by high school RIFS. To make a change at high school after the years starts if very labor intensive and more importantly, it is very labor intensive to then recruit and replace these faculty.

Bottom line: The AAFTE funding model out of Olympia is very bad for Seattle high school. It is nearly impossible to have the right number of staff in place for a static number in October, when your funding is then variable all year long. This means that high school teachers are treated more like widgets, than faculty.



kellie said...

@ Core 24,

It's always possible ... but my experience is that our high schools do an absolutely phenomenal job, despite this unreliable supply chain and some aggressive finance decisions from downtown. I'm regularly impressed by the flexibility of long term faculty.

Staffing at high school is very tricky. I have seen many times when a science teacher will add one section of a math class, to make the master schedule work. This is clearly a lot more work for the teacher and yet so many of our teaching staff do this regularly.

Master Schedules are very efficient by their natures and the vast majority of students do get well served, particularly students who are taking primarily grade level classes. Schools like Garfield, which have large numbers of students at both above and below grade level, the the schedules get really tricky.

Anonymous said...

Well 6 periods, you are pretty naive. Nearly every kid getting special ed services gets stuck with some sort of special ed period. Great that they get “credit” for it, but no it won’t count for much on the 24 credit total with distribution. Are there similar ELL classes? Pretty sure that there are. Then there’s the problem of those who fail, or move in whose credits don’t align. Since you asked, here’s the “defined need”: around 25% of the students are only able to fulfill 5 credits per year with a 6 period schedule which doesn’t meet the core24 graduation requirements. These students should get an equitable shot at meaningful electives just like your kid! There it is. The equity lens. They need 7 periods. Yep. The high school teachers will need to have 7 periods which means bigger caseloads. The hours are the same though.

Equity Lens

Anonymous said...

"The hours are the same though."

And "Equity Lens" Therein lies the problem and also how for example Bellevue SD is different from Seattle. Except for Wednesdays which have 4 periods plus zero & afterschool, Bellevue is offering 7 periods 8-3:00PM. Before 8:00AM they have a zero period from 7-7:50AM. After 3:00PM they have a tutorial period 3-3:30PM.

PL

Anonymous said...

Bellevue teachers have 5 classes and 2 prep periods. So what Bellevue did was hire more teachers. Kellie is right.

Keep Dreamin'

Anonymous said...

I would also very much doubt that the teachers would agree to a contract that would increase their caseload when most districts still have 150:1 caseloads.

Keep Dreamin'

Anonymous said...

@ Equity Lens, so you're saying teachers should just suck it up and increase their caseloads by 20% for no extra pay? Maybe if they stop grading tests and homework...

How is that equitable, when SPS staff don't have to do that?

unclear

Anonymous said...

@ Equity Lens

My kids are in SpEd.

Next insult/question?

The fact remains, short-changing education is NOT adding education, it’s playing a game of rearranging deck chairs. @ Kellie is right (as always): the only way to add more credits is to add more teaching. If each student is suppose to get more cake, you don’t achieve that by slicing their existing cake portion in half and then counting two pieces on their plate and saying they just got double!

Fighting for real education, fighting against the plan to smaller the existing 6 periods into 7 by adding homeroom IS fighting for equity.

6 periods

Stuart J said...

Speaking of rearranging the deck chairs, or cutting the cake into smaller pieces and claiming there's more of it .... Renton school district is deploying trimesters this school year. Early parent reports are ... kids had to choose senior year between band and world language. As the posts above point out music classes don't have the class size limits. But at one of the Renton schools, so many students exited for Running Start that there's been a major impact on music enrollment.

Something else though: AP classes in a normal high school are a full year of credit, earning 1.0 credits. In the trimester system, most of the APs are a full year, but three tris is listed as 1.5 credits. So, add 12 minutes per day, but cover the same amount of material, and you get 1.5 credits. This sounds like a shell game, not real academic improvement. No wonder the students exit for Running Start. I would bet the demographics of who can get to Running Start are not as broad as the demographics of students as a whole. This is an equity of access issue, and should feed into analysis of what's right to do.

Anonymous said...

Well 6 periods, you are pretty naive. Nearly every kid getting special ed services gets stuck with some sort of special ed period. Great that they get “credit” for it, but no it won’t count for much on the 24 credit total with distribution. Are there similar ELL classes? Pretty sure that there are. Then there’s the problem of those who fail, or move in whose credits don’t align. Since you asked, here’s the “defined need”: around 25% of the students are only able to fulfill 5 credits per year with a 6 period schedule which doesn’t meet the core24 graduation requirements. These students should get an equitable shot at meaningful electives just like your kid! There it is. The equity lens. They need 7 periods. Yep. The high school teachers will need to have 7 periods which means bigger caseloads. The hours are the same though.

Equity Lens

Anonymous said...

“The hours are the same though”

Well if the hours are the same, then I guess it’s no big deal if they increase the caseload. Maybe we should have teachers work at a ratio of 2000:1. We could pack all the kids at Garfield and Roosevelt into their gyms and have one teacher lead a school wide lesson. It might be a little more work but the hours are the same though.

Keep Dreamin/Living Nightmare

Anonymous said...

Teachers and Parents unite and fight this plan. There is no reason our neighbors in Bellevue can hire more teachers and actually add minutes to the day yet we cannot. Our kids are being given the unequitable short end of the stick. If they truly want "equity" giving kids less instructional time per class is not the answer. Fix the budget to reflect priorities which are teachers, students & time spent in the classroom. The basics of education.
PL

kellie said...

There is no "plan" to fight.

Once again, in the absence of data and transparency, we are left with rumor and innuendo. There is no "public" plan. Just "we're working on it."

When there is a "plan," it will be important to know that there are two parts to any Core 24 plan. And once again, parents are required to have way too much "inside baseball" knowledge to make sense of the potential-future-possible-plan.

Part 1 - the Structure of the day.
Six slots is just not enough space in the day for the majority of students to get 24 credits. At a bare minimum you really need a zero period or seven period day.

Part 2 - The teachers!!
Since high school faculty are allocated by RATIO (aka 29:1 or 30:1), a reasonable person would presume that funding was the same as class size. It is not. Class sizes do not get any smaller at high school when you change the ratio.

To really make MORE opportunities, you need more teachers. To have more teachers, you need to lower the ratio to 28:1 or 27:1 or even possibly as low as 24:1.

I don't have the raw data to make an exact calculation but every drop in the ratio means more teacher and more opportunities at high school, regardless of the adopted number of slots. When the district changed from 30:1 to 29:1, there was a huge change at high school and the robustness of the master schedules.





Melissa Westbrook said...

I see my comment didn't come thru but here's what I think (based on a ding! that went off in my head from Kellie's remarks).

I need to write a thread about the shadow administration at JSCEE which I think is the primary driver of ALL change and that Nyland allowed to continue, unfettered.

If Juneau wants to be her own superintendent, she needs to make some changes in the team. Soon.

Anonymous said...

PL,

The parents, in the guise of PTSA, had plenty of parental voiced advocates for Core24. Ramona Hattendorf went to bat for it at the state level despite its widely known flaws. It was all in the name of raising standards and creating “high bars.” Ridding the colleges of the woes remedial classes. Now we’re reaping the benefits.

Equity Lens

Anonymous said...

@ Equity Lens, even if "nearly every kid getting special ed services gets stuck with some sort of special ed period," why do you say "it won’t count for much on the 24 credit total with distribution"?

I assume you're talking about a SpEd support class of some type--in other words, during a 6-period day they might take 5 core classes, plus = 1 support class that you think won't contribute to that 24-credit requirement. The thing is, it would. The new requirements are pretty set for 17 of the credits, but the remaining 7 are more flexible. This includes 4 electives (the support classes could be counted as such), as well as 2 world language classes and 1 art class that can also be flexible based on a student's Personal Pathway. Additionally, the district is required to provide at least one dual equivalency class--a CTE math or CTE science class that counts as both CTE and math/science toward the graduation requirements, providing a little additional flexibility. I think those course equivalency classes are at some high schools, as well as at some skill centers, etc. They may also be available online. So if you take a CTE math or CTE science class, your core 16 are set and you have 8 free classes--4 of which could be SpEd support, 4 of which could be electives.

You also keep repeating your belief that teachers just need to suck it up and have 7 periods, which means bigger caseloads. You also keep saying the hours are the same though. How exactly do you think that math works out? If a teacher teaches 6 out of 7 classes instead of 5 of 6, their prep period is shorter--which means their in-school work day is longer. They also have more students who want to meet with them during the school day, so their prep period and before/after school periods are also longer. Plus, they have more homework to grade, more IEPs to read and follow, more grades to enter into the Source, etc. Additionally, since students and classes don't come in neat little packages, it's also likely that the extra period a teacher would need to pick up would be a completely different one than anything else they were teaching--which would mean designing and prepping for and developing lectures and projects for a completely separate class. That's a ton of extra work. So how again do you get to this idea that it's no extra time for teachers. It clearly is, and more time should mean more money. Which I don't think we have, do we?

Core24

Stuart J said...

My understanding is that in Bellevue, teachers teach five periods out of seven. We're back to the question asked above: where does the money go, and how can some districts afford seven period days?

The Personal Pathway Requirement is explained here, for anyone who's interested:
https://www.sbe.wa.gov/our-work/graduation-requirements
This also provides some history of Core 24, changes in testing, and other interrelated topics.