Friday, January 11, 2019

Friday Open Thread

Please check my update on the Science curriculum adoption; it includes how to give input.

The District is laying off Director of Logistics head for Transportation, Kathy Katterhagen.  This from the Seattle Times.
The decision stemmed from a budget cut, SPS spokesman Tim Robinson said in an email. There are more layoffs planned in the next fiscal year, he added. Last school year, Katterhagen’s salary was $155,000, according to the state education department.
On the issues of the final closure of the Viaduct today:
A major bus-storage base is tucked away in South Seattle next to highways that will be clogged with spillover traffic.
Oh look, it's the Gates Foundation (again) trying to make their vast public education spending relevant. From Ed Week:
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation plans to invest in professional development providers who will train teachers on “high quality” curricula, the philanthropy announced this afternoon

The investment, at around $10 million, is a tiny portion of the approximately $1.7 billion the philanthropy expects to put into K-12 education by 2022. Nevertheless, it’s likely to attract attention for inching closer to the perennially touchy issue of what students learn every day at school.
This from a guy whose own kids never had any outside group trying to tell their schools what and how to teach. 

The grants are not available in WA state.  One interesting tidbit, though, is this (as we struggle over science curriculum in SPS):
The funding announcement also comes as a number of recent reports conclude that teacher training suffers by focusing on general teaching strategies rather than on how to use a specific curriculum.
"Traditional male masculinity" harmful to today's boys?  From U.S. News & World Report:
The American Psychological Association has zeroed in on the ideology of masculinity, suggesting that parents and psychologists should think twice before instilling elements of "traditional masculinity" in men and boys.
Traditional masculinity ideology – which the APA says includes elements of "anti-femininity, achievement, eschewal of the appearance of weakness, and adventure, risk, and violence" – can be psychologically harmful to men and boys, the association noted in its 36-page "APA Guidelines for the Psychological Practice with Boys and Men" that's highlighted in the latest issue of its Monitor on Psychology magazine.
A great list of children's books with characters with disability challenges from the blog, Nicole's Learning Lab.

What's on your mind?


Book Doctor said...

In schools parents hear a lot about growth mindset for students but rarely for teachers. This article at OSPI about growth mindset for teachers was fun for that reason:


seattle citizen said...

This information might have already been posted elsewhere (I looked but did not see it) but SPS is soliciting feedback on its draft Strategic Plan.

Here is their webpage with the information about it:

draft strategic plan and feedback form

Anonymous said...

Draft strategic plan now online.
Topping the list: Racial equity and bringing students up to standard, especially AA male students.
Not a peep on AL
Hella North Seattle families about to blow a gasket.
Honeymoon's over for Juneau.

Long live Juneau!

Popcorn Eater

Anonymous said...

Hey, Popcorn Eater, not a peep about students with disabilities either. Same old story for SPS.


Anonymous said...

Wow. Yeah, that draft strategic plan is pretty much all about racial equity (but still undefined, of course). Absolutely zero about providing high quality education and improving outcomes for anyone else. Nothing about special ed, highly capable, low income, average GE learners, etc. At least the old strategic plan thew a bone to everyone else and mentioned learning for all--this new plan seems like they could care less about whether most students learn, as long as the right students learn to close the gaps.

Not pretty, but at least they're being honest that they really don't care.


Anonymous said...

It's not very bright, though, is it? That they couldn't come up with a framework where, from the evidence base, they could show that is is totally logical to include students with disabilities in a SP that is supposedly about equity, and tie that in to the outcomes for other vulnerable groups? This is not inspiring confidence. This is dismal.


Anonymous said...

I was really hoping this superintendent might say something about the kids in the middle. You know, not the hcc kids, not the 5% of our district who are African American males, but the overwhelming majority of students in this district. What can they expect? What does the district actually offer most students? Principal churn, slashed budgets, more watered down curricula, and a more explicit message that they don't matter? Great.


Anonymous said...

What is the percentage of special ed students in our district? I bet there is more than 5%. I Yeah, isn't it so interesting how some groups get completely ignored due to whatever "discourse" is currently a hot topic. Not that AA males are not important. They are absolutely important and they are getting alot of attention in current discourse everywhere it seems. It's just that there are other groups of kids where equity is also an issue, yet no dialogue. Not a peep. Very unjust. I also heard (from an administrator) the laser focus & exclusion of focus other groups is very intentional. It preceded this administration.


Melissa Westbrook said...

I will put up a separate post on the draft Strategic Plan as there is a lot to unpack.

Please note that the district is paying a consulting firm for this work; I'm not really impressed at this point.

S Lee said...

It's cruel to ignore low SES and SPED. I hope she accomplishes the listed priorities, but it's heartbreaking not to see a few other things prioritized as well. And the furthest from educational justice phrasing is kind of creepy. Am I reading that wrong or does that mean the district's goal is for Asian students to do less well in school to help close gaps?

Anonymous said...

And yet there is really nothing to unpack. Even for the populations they want to prioritize there is no there there. Send that consulting company packing, they are part of the problem (invisibility of special education students) not part of the solution. But then think of all who signed off including Juneau on letting this whatever it is see the light of day.


LWA said...

They're paying a consultant? Is that Michael Tolley's new job?

Carol Simmons said...

Dear Seattle Citizen,
Welcome back. Thank you for your post.
Is the District trying to become more transparent with regard to the requested input into the Secret Strategic Plan Committee Goals with regard to selection and meetings and membership?
If so, it is a beginning in addressing the transparency of the committee meetings and the inclusion of additional members on the steering committee. Questions remain unanswered regarding who selected the Consulting company and why and how representative it is. Also, there is no mention of the inclusion of the Disproportionality Task Forces recommendations nor the timeline, implementation methods and evaluation. The community needs to know and understand who formed the steering committee and who selected the committee members. All of these questions have been asked many times by community members with no response from the District. The Committee is not representative of many groups such as UNEA and others. Why won't the District answer these questions?

Ann S. said...


"Earlier this week, someone made off with the wheelchair ramp leading up to a portable classroom at Adams Elementary School. It happened in the middle of the night, and followed a similar theft at North Beach Elementary — one of their ramps was stolen over the holidays."

Melissa Westbrook said...

Stealing wheelchair ramps from a school? How low can you go?

Seattle Citizen said...

It says "measurable goals" but I don't see any numbers. I always thought a SMART goal had some sort of number attached....Maybe they'll drop those in later?

M.M. said...

Equity in Identifying Highly Capable Students

We are looking for reasons TO identify students, not reasons to deny services.
Because while financially advantaged students can access opportunities outside of school to develop their talent, financially disadvantaged students rely on public education programs to develop their talent.

Anonymous said...

The draft strategic plan looks like a first draft - as if someone forgot to upload additional pages. It makes sense for educational justice to be a priority for the district. But to make it the only thing in the strategic plan is not equitable. SPS needs to show us a complete draft that includes the rest of the plan for every child in SPS, even as we can surely all agree it's good for educational justice to be the first thing listed.

Newton Seale

Anonymous said...

I recall seeing statistics elsewhere in SPS materials that indicate that something like 70-80% of African American students enrolled in the district also qualify for free/reduced lunch. I do not deny that we have a history of racial prejudice/discrimination that needs to be reckoned with, but it seems disingenuous for the district to continue to fail to disaggregate race and SES in this context. Especially as the FRL designation also serves as a more nuanced way of identifying those "Asian" subgroups in the district that also need additional support.


Van said...

The best way to demolish identity safety for African-American male students is for the primary goal of the entire district to be trying to keep them from flunking out. Talk about stereotype threat!

Anonymous said...

@LakeCityMom The FRL designation also serves as a more nuanced way of identifying many kids that need additional support, including not only Asian, but also white kids who also may come from multi-generational disadvantaged backgrounds. Ex Multiple generations of teen parents, homelessness, multi-generational drug abuse issues etc.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Some of you may have missed this article that I posted elsewhere:
A wonky article but one about an issue with real effects - how do we count the number of low-income students? From U.S. News & World Report:


Anonymous said...

@MW Thank you that article is very illuminating about the challenges of how to identify and count low income students.