Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Tuesday Open Thread

The January 9th SpEd PTSA general membership meeting is POSTPONED due to the unavailability of multiple board members having to meet family obligations.  

Stay tuned for a rescheduled meeting date.  Thank you for your understanding!

Editorial from the News Tribune on Governor Inslee's plans for CTE (Career and Technical Education) for students. 

New Mexico is the latest state to turn its back on the PARCC test for Common Core curriculum.   The new governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham, said this (via the Washington Post):
“High-stakes tests like PARCC do our schools a disservice, and we are about empowering our school system. Including those who will be most empowered by a better assessment in the process will help us build something better from the ground up, as opposed to a test mandated from on high.”
The PARCC consortium once had 26 member states, but after numerous defections, only a handful are left.

Grisham’s move was the second hit that PARCC sustained this week: The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled Monday that the state could not use PARCC as a requirement for graduation from high school graduation.
More states are making the decision to develop their own test.   I did not support either the PARCC nor the SBAC but I also don't like the idea of 50 different tests.

Will teachers strike in the nation's second-largest school district - Los Angeles Unified SD?  We'll know by Thursday.

New Facebook group - Save Science in Seattle Schools.

Physical Activity Fair
Sat, March 23, 2019
3:30 PM – 6:30 PM
Eckstein Middle School
A FREE event that provides an opportunity for the community to come together and support the inclusive physical activity engagement of students and families from Seattle Public Schools. Representatives from various community organizations will be present and activity stations will be universal for participation of all abilities. Students can sign up for spring/summer camps and enjoy a couple hours of FUN participation in physical activity.

ALL students and families of Seattle Public Schools. All grade levels. This is a fully inclusive event for students with and without disabilities.  
 Washington State PTA has scholarships available.   Your student must be at a school with a PTA (I don't make the rules but on an upnote, it rules out charter schools).

The application deadline is March 1 each year and scholarships are awarded by April 30.

The district's new CAO,  Dr. Diane DeBacker, started on Monday.

Washington Middle School students  and staff are mourning the death of Jeannette Jones, who had a nearly 50-year career in SPS.   From the Seattle Times:

When she died last month at 72, hundreds took to social media and shared their stories of Mrs. Jones, a proud graduate of Garfield High School, a lover of the color purple and a dedicated educator of Seattle’s Central District preteens.

After Mrs. Jones retired from Seattle Public Schools in 2016, Edwards helped her mother clean out her office at Washington Middle. She snapped a picture of the message Mrs. Jones had written on the whiteboard just outside her door.

It said, “While I’m gone, make good decisions.”

Words to live by.  What's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

I wish groups would not us Facebook.

Leaky data

Melissa Westbrook said...

I think you meant "use." So tell us why not? I don't love Facebook but for quickly organizing groups, you can't beat it.

Robert Cruickshank said...

The FB group is just a starting point. I hope folks will be willing to use it as a springboard for new organizing - email lists, a website, etc. But I got really frustrated hearing from kids and parents about how horrible Amplify is and didn’t see anyone doing anything to stop Amplify. So we had to start somewhere. I will keep this site updated as we develop different organizing tools. Ultimately we all need to demand that our board members shut down Amplify. It’s a pretty simple and obvious thing for them to do, but unfortunately I don’t think they will act without pressure.

Anonymous said...

fb is really hard to troll if you do it with only permitted users. that said it doesn't flow well for advocacy and interaction and takes a ton of time to follow.

anyone know how the mtss for adv learning committee is coming (you might know it as altf3)? kari hanson won't stop without feathering her resume with that dung policy. anything to make it easier to put butts in seats - even if it decimates students education - is imo the de facto overarching policy of the sps.

no caps

McCleary 2 said...

Good questions for Seattle Public School and it's elected officials:

1)Equity is a stated priority of the district. Why is the district pushing to return to a school-funding approach that creates inequity, especially for less wealthy districts?

2) How much of the levy is for basic education; the state's responsibility, How much is for extras?

3) The state will fund special education this year. Won't that help solve district problems?

Robert Cruickshank said...

I’m open to whatever organizing methods work best. But so far there hasn’t really been a lot of organizing around stopping Amplify Science. And it needs to be stopped. So if anyone wants to help, feel free to contact me - whether via FB or email, which is my last name at gmail. The goal here should be to mobilize parents to make the school board revoke the waivers and stop the use of Amplify Science and then set up a new policy against fully-online teaching. Online stuff can be a supplement but can never replace interaction with a teacher and/or hands on activity.

Anonymous said...


While you are well informed on urban issues and dedicated to intelligent solutions, you are misguided and uninformed on the use of Amplify. It does not dispense with a teacher. It simply puts the supporting curriculum materials online. The interactive materials are good, creative and student centered and help the students be more, not less, in charge of their own learning. It is well documented that in the many districts where Amplify has been piloted that students are positive about Amplify and that it offers opportunities to expand complex science offerings to a more diverse range of learners. Students, with the support of engaged teachers, will continue to design, test, experiment and share their scientific learning with each other while using Amplify. This is a step in the right direction and there is nothing to fear. Save your energy for pedestrian causes.

Institutional memory

Where's Waldo! said...

OSPI is proposing $150M for special education. Yes, a mere $150M.

Let's take a look at other numbers.


Allocations for MSOC for career and technical education are specified in the budget. For the 2016-17 school year, the MSOC allocation per student is $1,286.99 per skill center student, and $1,447.40 per career and technical education student. The teachers took these dollars.

$1B McCleary...….Teachers received raises between 10%-20% throughout the state

2019: The state will support expanded health care for teachers The cost $900M

What is wrong with this picture?

Anonymous said...

Hey institutional memory, I don't know if you're some salesman for Amplify, but what you're saying is totally false. My own kid just today told me yet again how all they do in science class is sit and watch videos and do work on a computer. They haven't once done hands-on science experiments all year. They're not learning anything. My kid loved science before, now my kids hates it and blames Amplify. Other parents have told me the same thing. The teachers are unhappy too. We are FED UP with this and we want the district to get rid of this damn thing so our kids can actually learn science.

Fed Up

Maje said...

I just asked my 6th grader and she echoed what Fed Up said. Lots of time watching stuff on the computer or doing worksheets. She can recall two hands-on experiments, but one was just watching the teacher.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to Melissa's blog and everyone who wrote the board about their concerns over the science adoption process, because, as of today, the list of materials under consideration are finally posted with log in and password for electronic access.


K-8: Amplify, HMH - Science Dimensions, TCI Bring Science Alive


9-12: Biology, "Carbon Time"; Chemistry, "Stemscopes"; Physics, "PEER"


Melissa Westbrook said...

McCleary 2, you're in luck; I asked some of your questions at tonight's levies meeting at John Rogers. I'll have a separate thread on the topic.

IM, look, it's clear you are some kind of insider. But your sneering,dismissive tone is not welcome here. I have warned you once before and this is the last time. If you can't be civil, you don't need to post here and I will delete any other comment.

Also, I had to laugh at this:
"This is a step in the right direction and there is nothing to fear."

Are you Donald Trump? Because this sounds a lot like him.

Where's Waldo, got something to say? Just say it. I am really getting tired of comments - from all sides - that are unclear and disingenuous.

NN, thanks for that update.

Rufus X said...

I'm so sad to hear of Mrs. Jones passing - What a wonderful woman. I've tried several times to type an appropriate remembrance, but kept falling short - this person's words would be far too simple to encompass the enormous effect she had on her family, WMS, and the CD. Suffice it to say she was an outstanding educator/administrator/citizen, is revered by thousands of parents & former students, and she will be missed.

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

mrs. jones, sadly missed is so true.

thanks girlz, too true.

no caps

Anonymous said...

This has nothing to do with Trump, nothing! it's all local politics and speaking of politics I asked one of my son's teachers (she bashes the president in class daily) if she knew the difference between a conservative and a liberal and her answer was, a conservative is a Republican and liberal is a Democrat.

I then asked her to explain the two, she couldn't give me a coherent answer. I said, I think a conservative or Republican is one who wants to conserve a tradition and a Democrat or liberal wants to change our traditions liberally to pacify the masses.

It's funny that when it comes to education the roles seem reversed, the liberals want a 1950s style teacher focused experience and the republicans want to progress (in their minds) teaching methodologies using technologies. It seems to me that our current educational system can't keep up with technology and so certain people feel threatened by it. By the way, this happens all the time in business.

It's really a shame that so many first year collage students can't write nor spell and most can't read cursive, but they sure can navigate technologies. How did this happen?

I think the failures are due to a focus on first person narrative compositions in grade school and to me seems like at a minimum that's educational malpractice which unfortunately will require Herculean efforts by students to overcome.

I would guess the fix is somewhere in the middle, like using technology as a tool not a replacement. Demonizing technology in schools won't help anyone.


Anonymous said...

Regarding online learning and equity, this happened to come across my screen and I thought it was very relevant and I found with my own child:
"I would also like to see conversations between administrators, teachers, parents, students and other third parties who work with students concerning changes to accommodations that will allow for this new world of digital education. Things like getting a hard copy of tests while doing the online version, having blank paper and pen or pencil to organize thoughts, hard copies of textbooks for kids who struggle to comprehend online books, more extended time if a student cannot keyboard quickly and accurately, etc. We have to look at the way education is being conducted now and consider how it impacts students with ADHD and other learning differences"


As an aside, I did my undergraduate work pre-powerpoint and my graduate work post-powerpoint. Without a doubt I feel I learned more in lectures pre-powerpoint as the pace of lectures was more conducive to taking notes and handwritten note taking was expected. WIth powerpoint lectures not so much. Research has backed up this idea too that the physical act of handwriting notes improves retention. So as we push more and more towards digital learning I think we need to look at what we may be giving up-more active learning, rather than passive learning. https://www.cultofpedagogy.com/note-taking/

NW Parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

NoCaps, unless it's particularly relevant, cease and desist with the character assassination.

"she bashes the president in class daily"

You know this how? Your child? Kids do have a habit of exaggerating how much any given thing does or does not happen in class. Also, what is "bashing?" If it's pointing out the obvious - the national debt has soared under his administration - fine, but if it's "he's the worst president ever", then not. If it's really true, you should be complaining to the principal; it's not acceptable.

"It seems to me that our current educational system can't keep up with technology and so certain people feel threatened by it."

Explain that statement. Do you mean the costs of technology or learning to use it or using it more?

"Demonizing technology in schools won't help anyone."

I have not hear a single word here about demonizing technology. Don't exaggerate; what is being discussed is a technology-based curriculum,Amplify. I'm on the Information Technology Advisory Committee - I'm certainly not against the use of technology but I'm also not going to just cede my rights to speak up about its use.

NW Parent, the NFL has found that if players take notes by hand, they learn the plays better than watching a screen. Hmmm.

Anonymous said...

Who said students can't take notes while watching computers? Also not teaching cursive writing means students must take notes in block letter writing, very inefficient and tedious.

Don't students take notes summering text book chapters while studying? I did and it helped. A video can be stopped, started, slowed down, fast forward, transposed with OCR ect.


Anonymous said...

JS there aren’t many textbooks in the schools these days and where they do exist, teachers have one class set. There’s no opportunity to take a textbook home to study.

Fairmount Parent

Sleep911.com said...

I'm really glad that that science materials got posted! My middle schooler really does not like Amplify. The community input form states that the dates for input have already past. Is my only hope of sharing our preferred curriculum writing the school board?

Anonymous said...

According to SPS, the science materials will be on view from Jan. 15 - Feb 28, so there should still be time to provide input.


Anonymous said...

Thumbs down to "Carbon Time Biology" at our house. Our 8th grader was bored beyond belief by that online and worksheet curriculum and hated science that year for the first time ever. Like Amplify there were next to no labs. The one lab they did get to do consisted of learning how to use pipettes. That's it. A simple skill they'd already learned in 5th grade. Why does SPS insist on dumbing down science?

- RealScience ASAP