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Monday, April 01, 2019

Science Adoption Work Session on Tuesday, April 2nd

Update 3:  So,  a new "purpose" has now added to the "reasoning" for the second Work Session on the Board policies on selection/adoption AND on waivers - to approve the revisions of the both policies. Tonight.  

What?! It seems incomprehensible that the Board would just summarily change those policies without real input from parents and teachers.  This was brought up - not truly discussed - at the C&I committee meeting but that meant it would goes on to Intro at a Board meeting - then, two weeks of discussion - and THEN a vote.


Juneau may be, with senior staff backing, trying to flex some muscle.  The Board should say no.

end of update


Update 2: the district's website is back up; here's the agenda for the Work Sessions.  The agenda comes in at 181 pages which is, of course, complete BS. The Science adoption section is from page 1-129, with the Adoption policy from 130-181.  I think the latter Session is worthy, for sure.
I am having a problem deciding whether to go or not because I predict a lot of blather and it get old.

end of update

Update: unfortunately the district's website has been down all day so I cannot provide an agenda.  The Tuesday Work Sessions start at 4:30 with the Science Adoption, followed by discussion of the selection/adoption policy 2015. The Work Sessions end at 7 pm.

end of update

The Board will be having a final Work Session on the Science adoption for curriculum for middle and high school, tomorrow, April 2nd.  (I will be putting up further details but I am having troubling connecting to the district.  I saw on Facebook some students were having issues this weekend as well.)  I do know there are two Sessions: one about the process and one about different possible choices.

I also want to make available a document about the results of 8th grade testing of schools that do and don't use the Amplify curriculum.  It looks like students who didn't use it did better.  It has good detail that makes it an important read.

Again, I will add the agenda and other details of the Work Session as I get them. 

56 comments:

Anonymous said...

Below is a quote from the Amplify marketing materials about the Seattle adoption process from one of our teachers. It is an example of the shift to "discovery science". It's a failed educational philosophy. You see it in the latest testing, and all the international testing. Sure, labs, demonstrations, breaking up lectures with drawings, readings, exercises, question and answer sessions - these are all part of quality traditional teaching. But imagine how you would feel as a student in a classroom as described in this Seattle quote. How would you do on standardized tests? How much science would you learn in a quarter? How would you know when you had learned everything that you were supposed to absorb? How would you study?

“Before, when students were challenged to answer a question or
solve a problem, there was always a big day with the REVEAL. Now we never actually tell them the answer..."

West

Jet City mom said...

Very interesting re science.
Especially considering a school like Broadview Thompson has over 60% FRL students, 20% bilingual & 20% with an IEP.

I have been volunteering at BT twice a week since last fall and I am very impressed with the school and their staff, especially the principal.

Anonymous said...

Director Geary, your recent comments on FB about the Science Curriculum Adoption Process are at odds with the Student Test Data that has been posted above. Amplify Science is not working for low-income students, throughout the City. Your views (stated on FB) that parent and teacher concerns about Amplify is a North-End parent vs South-End parent acceptance thing, is missing the real issue. The real reason parents and teachers are posting on this Blog is that Amplify is not working in SPS Schools, especially for low-income children. Surely you must recognize that this is the reason why parents and teachers are speaking out. Please do not close your mind to considering OSPI Student Test Data. You are Chair of the SPS Curriculum and Instruction Committee. Please do not dismiss State Science Test results, the way you having been dismissing parent and teacher concerns expressed on this Blog.

Concerned Parent

SPS Mom said...

Melissa - you can put Hazel Wolf into the non-Amplify group for 8th grade scores. This year the 6th and 7th graders have been doing amplify (with I'm guessing, but don't know, much supplementation.) The 8th graders haven't been doing Amplify. They have had at least one hands-on exercise/week. Lots of real science going on.

Anonymous said...

Can you clarify what testing data you are using to make this assessment? The new WCAS test aligned to NGSS was assessed for the first time in Spring 2018 and that was only a training test to help the test writers. Is there something I'm missing? Currently that's the only science data on OSPI for 2017-18.
-Assessment Guru

Science Teacher said...

I have to say that I just totally disagree with this comment "“Before, when students were challenged to answer a question or
solve a problem, there was always a big day with the REVEAL. Now we never actually tell them the answer..."

That may have been the way the Carolina curriculum was written, however as one of the teachers who at one time taught the curriculum to new teachers in the district (back when the district thought these trainings were important), I have NEVER actually taught it that way, nor did I teach others to either.

There was no big day of reveal. Unless there was problems with the data that students collected-which can always happen in a middle school setting-the students will usually tell me the answer as we have groups or whole class discussions. This is just part of the big lie about "traditional science teaching".

Teresa Alsept

Unknown said...

SPS Mom -
My 6th grade daughter is at Hazel Wolf. Her class is doing Amplify with zero supplementation. No hands-on labs. She hates it.

Divamom

Sleep911.com said...

I know no 6th grader at Madison who likes Amplify. My daughter reports that it's boring and the science is a repeat of stuff she already knows. She is only happy when she gets group assignments because she likes the excuse to chat with her friends

Anonymous said...

What is science? What's the purpose of science? Why do we teach science to students?
-Curious

Anonymous said...

Science is about figuring out what we don't know. If students are learning science, shouldn't they be figuring it out? Why would the teacher tell the answer?
-Scientist

Anonymous said...

Per "anonymous'" comment on this blog directed to Director Geary: I hope people who post here do not assume the school board is reading their comments on this blog. The best way to reach the school board is by emailing and showing up to both school board meeetings and individual director meetings. This blog is invaluable, but it's Melissa's blog, not the school board blog. If you want to make a point to the school board, make it directly to them--and copy Superintendent Juneau.

Concerned Parent

Scholarship Mom said...

Wow, thanks for the data. Amplify is a disaster for low income kids.

Anonymous said...

Data! Where is this data from? It means nothing without a source.
-Data from Star Trek

Anonymous said...

@Assessment Guru. What is your point? That OSPI 2017-2018 Test Results for SPS do not matter? The Test Results clearly show that Amplify Science did not close the achievement gap between low-income students and higher-income students. Isn't that why Amplify Science was selected to be piloted? To close the Achievement Gap. That's the important conclusion of the OSPI 2017-2018 test data. Amplify Science failed in this key area. Not that test writers were trying to get their test writing right. Btw, where do you get the information about what OSPI test writers are doing, or thinking?

Concerned Parent

Anonymous said...

My point is that it may not be a valid test - yet. Because the test changed it doesn't give a year-by-year comparison, so it can't really show growth. It can only show starting points for buildings. And, in my experience in assessment, it means that many of the questions haven't been validated, meaning that often the questions are used just for "scoring calibration" and for identifying valid and invalid questions (SAT and ACT also do this, embedded within their assessments). I want to know more because I don't think the test results are clear yet. And, I don't believe a single year of curriculum can possibly close the achievement/opportunity gap. I think that's a straw man argument. While there may be concerns with Amplify, one year isn't enough to know. Similar to ideas here that say that the adoption should take more time. What would happen if schools using Amplify, after teachers became more adjusted to the curriculum showed significant? Or the achievement gap worsened? I'm just not sure a single data point of a new, unvalidated assessment is actually data. Trying to learn more.
-Assessment Guru

SPS Mom said...

DivaMom - I am so very sorry to hear that 6th graders at HW aren’t getting supplemental instruction. Science has always been something HW has done well. That’s very disappointing.

-SPS Mom

Anonymous said...

Yeah, since Christine Benita went to work for MMW at district offices, HW hasn't had the science leadership it should have... Interesting that someone so respected also respects the work of MMW.
-Storytime

suep. said...

@Assessment Guru -- The source of the data in the PowerPoint is the OSPI Washington State Report Card: http://reportcard.ospi.k12.wa.us/summary.aspx?groupLevel=District&schoolId=1&reportLevel=State&yrs=2017-18&year=2017-18

According to OSPI's charts and timetable for assessments, the WCAS officially replaced the MSP science test in 2017-18, so that data is official and part of the public record, and the only benchmark data available.

From: http://www.k12.wa.us/Assessment/StateTesting/default.aspx

Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science
The 5th, 8th, and 11th grade Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science (WCAS) was administered for the first time in spring 2018. These tests fulfill the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requirement that students be tested in science once at each level: elementary, middle, and high school.

The WCAS measures the level of proficiency that Washington students have achieved based on the Washington State 2013 K-12 Science Learning Standards, which are the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The standards were adopted in October 2013.


Also see: http://www.k12.wa.us/assessment/StateTesting/pubdocs/AssessmentTimeline.xlsx

@SPS Mom -- If you can verify that Hazel Wolf 8th graders were not using Amplify, the document can be updated. The "Amplify schools" were determined by those that submitted waivers. Hazel Wolf was among the 19 that did. Thanks.

@ Data -- as the PowerPoint states, the source of the data is OSPI.

- Sue Peters

Melissa Westbrook said...

Curious, seriously, "what is science and why do we teach it?" Because ALL of life is math and science. Every movement, every gas, every bit of light - all of it. And, if we keep it up, kids will need science more than ever because of how this planet is slowly falling apart.

(The other things we teach - equally important to our lives.)

Anonymous said...

Discovery based methods may work for college students who are interested in pursuing a subject, but it is hell for lower level students. Our sons suffered through this type of math in high school and the only thing they discovered was that they were not ready for college math.
Applying these confusing techniques to science will hold students behind. Is Rick Burke behind this curriculum? He certainly knew that direct math instruction was better than discovery methods.

S parent

SPS Mom said...

I need to rescind my comment about Hazel Wolf. The current 8th graders are using Amplify, but I do believe it's getting supplemented. Sorry for the misinformation. I'll find out more from my daughter later tonight.

Anonymous said...

"Yeah, since Christine Benita went to work for MMW at district offices, HW hasn't had the science leadership it should have... Interesting that someone so respected also respects the work of MMW. -Storytime"

@Storytime, I wonder if this has anything to do with Christine Benita’s allegiance to Mary Margaret Welch --- "Our 2017 Summer in Kenya"
https://seavuria.org/2017/11/16/our-2017-summer-in-kenya/

Benita went to Kenya with Welch in summer 2017 to teach science.
She was later selected for the 6-8 science curriculum adoption committee.

- Reject Amplify

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, I have heard about MMW's foundation and how she takes teachers to Kenya to work with other teachers and that somehow many of those teachers seem to become rabid followers. Wonder how she decides who goes on these trips.

Anonymous said...

I missing it, or is there nothing in the curriculum review criteria that addresses (1) whether the materials provide sufficient challenge for all students; (2) whether the materials include extensions and differentiation for advanced learners; etc.? There was a token nod to “advanced learners” in the intro to one section, but no mention of highly capable, nor any review questions associated with either.

Science lite

Melissa Westbrook said...

“””All standards for all students” what is being claimed at the Work Session as we speak.

Melissa Westbrook said...

“””All standards for all students” what is being claimed at the Work Session as we speak.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, we are nearly 30 minutes into the Work Session andwe are on slide 5 or 6 and watching a video of a student (to explain the NGSS). Kyle Kinoshita said the Board may not get many questions in but staff would be available for questions.

At this stage, a lot of this seems late for the party and that they didn’t build in time for questions is quite striking.

Anonymous said...

They're doing classic stonewalling. Brilliant strategy, actually, especially because the board won't get they're being stonewalled. Or, the ones who do, won't be assertive enough to call them on it because they're afraid of pissing off staff more than they're afraid of pissing off constituents.

My money is in Amplify being adopted and staff getting every single thing they want. Yet again.

Oversight Now

Melissa Westbrook said...

The lead on the Adoption Ctm just said that “one of my specific task was to manage data. Managed applications, ballots for votes, arranged RFPs.”

If this is true, one person managed a LOT of the process. (He’s my co-chair on ITAC so Brad is a busy guy.)

He also said “all who applied was invited to join and actively pursued people and asked them to join committee. Final roster was approved by Instructional Materials Committee.” (This is choppy as I am typing quickly.)

Now we have the elementary lead reading her statement. I cannot believe what I am seeing.

Also, there seems to be a vendor list for 9-12 but not for K-8. Maybe my packet is missing it.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Now we have a lecture from a teacher about science education in US and kids not being able to access good science education. This is very much a push a la Geary “we have to do something.” Appalling.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Found the vendor list for K-8 but oddly, it’s not in same format as 9-12. Weird.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Teacher says all kids should be “scientists, doctors and engineers.” She also said U.S. Science is bad as compared to rest of world. And that old canard “change is scary” and can be “good or bad.” I’m thinking that lecturing the Board and accusing them of not having courage might not win the day but what do I know.

Science Teacher said...

Thanks for the updates Melissa. Yes, the whole "Change is scary" is something MMW and her followers have been saying for years now. Personally I think it's kind of funny as I change how and what I teach all the time. In the 24 years I've been teaching, no year has been exactly the same as the year before.

Teresa

Anonymous said...

"Change is scary" is also part of every reform mantra and is also a not-so-subtle way to bash veteran teachers who actually aren't going to buy into the next shiny toy because someone tells them to.

Trying to sell this curriculum by putting it into the "oh, look how poorly" the US is doing also classic reform ed-speak.

Don't they know how old those sales pitches are by now?

Weak

Anonymous said...

As old and as untrue these sales pitches are, people use them because they work. Nothing like a good scare tactic to convince someone to jump off a cliff.

-So scared
(PhD in science and 100% American public school educated)

Melissa Westbrook said...

And for the win - MMW explaining the “anonymous” payment of Amplify subscription fee of $100K. I’ll write up the whole thing but she ended with - no kidding - “no collusion.”

You cannot make this stuff up.

Anonymous said...

Although Kinoshita couched the need to revise the procedure to Adopt Instructional Materials as an equity issue (e.g. Since Time Immemorial, Ethnic Studies) the coupling of this demand with the Science Work Session and urgent deadline (tonight!) suggest it might be CYA for the Science Adoption.

The current Adoption policy doesn't specifically address purchasing from non-commercial university partners or teacher modified materials from non-commercial university partners. Although SPS unofficially adopted Carbon TIME (a partnership between SPS, Michigan State U, etc) many years ago, the Adoption policy needs to be revised for the Science Adoption process to be in compliance prior to the official adoption of Carbon TIME and any other teacher modified materials.

The Adoption policy edits are eye opening as they specify different adoption processes for commercial vs. non-commercial materials including that there only needs to be one stage of review for non-commercial vs. multiple review stages for commercial:

p.158 of Agenda: "Depending on the type of instructional materials being considered for adoption, there may be multiple stages in the Adoption Timeline. For an adoption of core instructional materials from noncommercial sources, there may only be one stage of review: selection criteria review and engagement. A pilot could also be conducted as a second stage. For an adoption of core instructional materials from commercial sources, there may be multiple stages of review to narrow the selection from multiple options to one in addition to a stage to pilot the instructional materials."

nn

Anonymous said...

Adoption of core materials from non commercial services should arguably receive MORE review, not less, since a commercial product would have already undergone extensive review by others (including other districts).

It seems very unprofessional to not fully review all core curricula. The source of the core curriculum isn’t what’s important—it’s the content that matters.

Also, this “one stage of review” for “core materials from non commercial sources” is total BS. The “review” is a review of the selection criteria,” not the actual curriculum.

If the Board passes this, they are abdicating their responsibility.

C’mon, Board

Anonymous said...

The board should be embarrassed by the fact that they haven't adopted new science materials in 24 years for elementary classroom, and more than 10 for each middle school and high school. It's appalling in a STEM-driven community like Seattle. Seems like the board isn't doing their job.
-Embarrassing

Melissa Westbrook said...

Embarrassing, those stats were mentioned but there was also mention that there had been attempt(s)? to adopt. I'd have to go back and review because I don't remember that happening. (Not saying it didn't, but it must have been further back in history.)

Anonymous said...

Focusing on a gradual rollout and curriculum modifications, not the choice itself, is how to constructively direct all the concerns I see voiced here. Too often SPS belabors a choice so much and so long that once a choice is made they rush things so as to lock it in. A gradual rollout would allow the curriculum to be supplemented as needed and for software and training to be streamlined for later adoptions. Worried about needing more hands on content or more advanced curricula or more social justice stuff or whatever? Work with teachers to modify and supplement the content. This isn't like a textbook adoption- everything can be tweaked and changed for the district as a whole.

I don't buy the argument that somehow SPS is choosing the wrong curriculum because of ideology or corruption or whatever else- several curricula were extensively field tested and community input was taken and new curricula is needed. Any choice made is going to be flawed and will need to be modified. Doing nothing is a really bad move given how stale and broken the current curriculum is, and second guessing the choices that have been made is just pointlessly destructive at this point in the process.

Anonymous said...

yeah, Melissa, but it's embarrassing for Seattle that the board hasn't acted on this. And you should be embarrassed that no matter how you feel about individuals involved in the process, that you have been trying to derail it. It doesn't serve the students or teachers that way, and it's honesty against the law, since NGSS was adopted by the state legislature. Without aligned materials, of course SPS test scores will go down on the new WCAS. You and the board should be embarrassed - you for your anti-science advocacy, and the board for their inaction.
-Embarrassing

Melissa Westbrook said...

Anonymous, I'm going to reprint your worthy comment but next time, give yourself a name or you will be deleted.

"Focusing on a gradual rollout and curriculum modifications, not the choice itself, is how to constructively direct all the concerns I see voiced here. Too often SPS belabors a choice so much and so long that once a choice is made they rush things so as to lock it in. A gradual rollout would allow the curriculum to be supplemented as needed and for software and training to be streamlined for later adoptions. Worried about needing more hands on content or more advanced curricula or more social justice stuff or whatever? Work with teachers to modify and supplement the content. This isn't like a textbook adoption- everything can be tweaked and changed for the district as a whole.

I don't buy the argument that somehow SPS is choosing the wrong curriculum because of ideology or corruption or whatever else- several curricula were extensively field tested and community input was taken and new curricula is needed. Any choice made is going to be flawed and will need to be modified. Doing nothing is a really bad move given how stale and broken the current curriculum is, and second guessing the choices that have been made is just pointlessly destructive at this point in the process."

Embarrassing, asking questions is "derailing it?" Allowing input at the blog from named teachers and parents is "derailing it?" You have some interesting ideas about the democratic process.

It is not against the law to speak out or give input on public entity decisions. Let me know where that law is.

And "anti-science?" Me. I was married to a scientist and many of our friends our scientists. One sib is a nuclear engineer and one is the medical profession. I am not anti-science.

I have to wonder if you are one of the sour-faced teachers sitting before the Board yesterday. I'll have a write -up of the meeting but it surely was not the right way to try to get the Board to listen.

Anonymous said...

Science curricula should not be chosen based on emotions such as embarrassment or half truths such as "several curricula were extensively tested" (I believe only Amplify received a 2-year near 100% waiver approval).

Science curricula should be chosen based on facts:
What do the test scores show?
How do all of the students and teachers like the new curriculum? Surveys are needed, not testimonials.
What are the strengths AND weaknesses of the new curriculum?

There seem to be a distinct lack of facts in this new adoption process - thrown out in favor of a handful of testimonials and a few buzz words.

We should all be suspicious of any efforts to distract us from the facts.

-NW

Anonymous said...

Would love a new open thread on the budget materials submitted for tonight's session. Such a fiasco! I want to see Kellie's take on enrollment projections.

Per the "Legislative Update" section of these budget materials, the Senate budget provides "No levy increase." The "Update" makes it look like SPS would only get $2.7 million more under the Senate budget. The Senate budget includes SB 5313, lifting the levy lid to $3,500 per kid from $2,500 per kid! I think that means $1,000 more per student, or more than $50 million. How could they be unaware of SB 5313? It is all over Twitter!

Under the House budget, SPS claims the increase in the levy lid from $2,500 to $3,000 equals only $13 million in additional revenue. How does that pencil out? If you have over 50,000 students and $500 more per kid, doesn't that equal over $25 million in additional revenue?

Does no one in SPS look at any news? Or proofread? Bueller, Bueller, anyone????

WS Parent

kellie said...

In many ways, this is Juneau's first true leadership test, and it is not going very well. I hope to be proven wrong about this but ...

It is beyond crystal clear that the Alignment Committee vastly overstepped their charter (as often happens in a committee) and migrated from "alignment" to "adoption". Everyone remember that last year they were going to push this same exact decision through via the non-existent building budgets.

Only when push came to pretty serious shove, did anyone admit that the board is in charge of curriculum adoptions and the board were legally required to approve the money as well as legally required to follow all of steps outlined by the State of Washington regarding curriculum adoption. It sounds like one year later, nothing has changed. And staff is doing another attempt to avoid the entire public process and public oversight.

Who can really blame them. Doesn't everything think that their boss should just leave them alone and let them go about doing the excellent work that would be doing anyway?????

But even if anyone was inclined to follow such a ridiculous management policy, that entire notion is illegal. Public schools have some very serious, but very well known, management challenges.

The entire structure of the public school system is that you have an "elected board" whose entire purpose is to ensure that the public is included in governance and that publicly elected officials, are are REQUIRED to approve a very limited number of items, that have direct impact on the quality of the services paid for by tax dollars - the budget, curriculum and assignment plans, etc.

The structure of board oversight was designed to be at least slightly is not completely adversarial. Organizations naturally devolve into group think and the entire structure of an ELECTED, not appointed, board is to challenge that group think.

It seems like the simple fact that this is Juneau's first Superintendent job, may mean that she is missing that point. Again, I hope to be proven wrong, but it sounds like once again, there was a work session designed to gaslight the board and convince the board that is somehow not required to do the job that they were elected to do. Seriously?? Again??

Yes, the work of public schools system is incredibly hard. There are lot of hoops to jump through. That said, this work is just too important to play games like this. Once curriculum is adopted, it becomes institutionalized for at least a decade. That is the reason why oversight is required. Even if it just takes way too long.

Staff's failure to respect the legal and public process is not a reason for the the board to hurry. And it certainly is not a reason for the board to willingly hand over authority that they are required to exercise.




kellie said...

Thank you Mel for reporting on this meeting. This science adoption is going to impact every single student for a decade. I really appreciate you taking the time to share.


kellie said...

Thank you WS Parent, I will try to look at the enrollment data this afternoon.

suep. said...

@Embarrassing, you might want to do some fact-checking before making accusations.

The fact is, the current board and the one I belonged to made curriculum adoptions a priority. We made a point of budgeting for them, made them a line item on the budget, and fought to hold onto the allocations when some tried to bargain curriculum dollars away.

It was staff and district leadership -- not the board -- that did not seem to consider curriculum adoptions a priority. But the board majority did and have multiple adoptions on their watches to show for it. During the four years I was a board member (2013-17) and since, SPS has adopted materials for: K-5 math, middle school math, middle school social studies, K-5 ELA, we also passed a resolution in support of Ethnic Studies and spoke often of the need to invest further in Since Time Immemorial.

By the way, the specific schedule for curriculum adoptions is determined by staff, not the board.

Yes, the fact that science is now finally being addressed is good news. But that doesn’t mean the board should approve something, anything, rather than materials that are genuinely sound, engaging and effective. And they should not approve something whose selection is under a cloud of questions.

In this latest episode involving Amplify Science, staff effectively did an end run round the Board, in violation of policies 2015 and 2020, by orchestrating a mass use of waivers -- in 19 schools -- all for the same product. This was a de facto curriculum adoption. The fact that it was funded by an anonymous donor raises a red flag and is in potential violation of policy and law.

The board can't do its job if its oversight is circumvented by staff.

-- Sue Peters

Anonymous said...

YES, I’m shouting. I’m that stunned.

LAST NIGHT AT A LINCOLN MEETING, THE COUNSELOR ANNOUNCED THAT THE DISTRICT ALREADY ADOPTED THE MASSIVE SCIENCE OVERHAUL THAT SPLIT APART CHEMISTRY AND PHYSICS AND MANGLED THEM SEMI-TOGETHER AND PUSHED THEM EARLIER BUT YET WITHOUT PROPER MATH FOUNDATIONS AND THAT THIS WAS DONE 2 YEARS AGO.

He was speaking to 8th graders. He told them if they are in Biology now, the course they took previously, even though it was called “Physical Sciences” was actually their cockamamie chemA/physicsA goulash. Yup, and that was in Amplify. So it was already done more than 2 years ago!

So let’s be clear. The science department has gone rogue and did a curriculum adoption without a committee or process and did an entire course reengineering without oversight and without board approval.

Oh yeah, and by the way, they completely drained science education during their coup.


We have some strong board members, I hope to god they show courage and do right by children and education and the enlightenment . And I really hope they don’t give any weight to the inevitable mindless, groundless BS name calling that the Seatttle times will likely fling on them. They need clear minds, good hearts, political courage, and thick skins.

You know as a parent when you have a poorly behaving teenager and you call them on it and you tell them “no” and then they turn around and scream at you and say you’re micromanaging and that you don’t understand and that you’re the problem? But as a parent, you recognize that for what it is and keep parenting? Yeah. Board members have to take care of education and make sure the kids in the system are actually learning. So as District Staff do these MASSIVE end runs around them, the Board MUST stop them in their tracks. Of course, having a Superintendent calling the staff on the carpet when they’ve completely lost their minds would also be nice, but that’s never going to happen, the last 10 years have proven that . Nyland, Banda, they just took our money and did nothing in return for it. Juneau is doing the same. It all comes down to the Board. The Board has to put their foot down, especially on the classic staff maneuver of running down the clock and then saying you have to pass this. NO!!! It’s more important to get it right then to just get it done.

Thank goodness Eden Mack is on it, she is taking the heat but not succumbing to staff bulls*t. Rock on, Mack! Rick & Leslie better get behind her and keep protecting actual education before our overall enrollment slips even worse.


Sci-for-all

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Donor paid Amplify Education, Inc. to allow SPS to implement Amplify Science in SPS Schools??! Without Board approval? Is this what was reported at the Board Meeting on Science Curriculum Adoption?? Did MMW coordinate this?

Keep throwing Truth on this SPS Dumpster-Fire!

Stunned

Melissa Westbrook said...

Sci-for-All, I sent your accounting to the Board.

Stunned, yes, the district accepted Amplify curriculum based on an anonymous donor who paid Amplify for the subscriptions for the schools involved. It is unclear to me if MMW actually knows who that was.

And yes, the continuing party line from staff is that there was no favortism given to Amplify. Even as Amplify gave both MMW and Kyle Kinoshita awards. Hmmm.

I will have a fuller thread on this soon.

Anonymous said...

Melissa,

With all due respect: Using family members for street cred, whether it is about unions or science, doesn't mean a hill of beans.

I'm in agreement with you on the Amplify debate, but your habit of invoking random relatives to prove your merit on issues is straw man territory.

Your own experience would be relevant. Cousin Bobby's?

Notatall

Melissa Westbrook said...

Notatall, I brought up my late husband because I know that department at UW. And Berkeley. And, I know that science in the U.S. is highly thought of and I'd like to see the evidence that it isn't. If it were so poor, why do so many countries want a branch of an Ivy league school? Why do so many foreign students clamor to get into higher ed science departments.

And I have no idea of what your cryptic last sentence means so do be clearer.

Anonymous said...

Sci-for-all --

I spoke to some of the science teachers at the Lincoln Open House in January. They told me that the problem is that for kids who took the old course, Physical Science, in 7th grade (mainly HCC students), many of the topics that were covered are now covered in Phys B/Chem B, which those same students are supposed to take in 9th grade (after taking Biology in 8th grade). My understanding is that those students did not cover some of the topics that are now covered in Phys A/Chem A.

I followed up by emailing the Lincoln counselor and asking how the school would accommodate these students so they don't have to cover material in 9th grade that they already learned in 7th grade. At first, he didn't seem to know what I was talking about, but then he talked to the science teachers and acknowledged the issue. He (and the teachers) told me they were aware of the issue and would be working on it. I suggested that students who had taken the old Physical Science class in 7th grade should be grouped together in 9th grade so their curriculum could be adjusted to make sure it wasn't repetitive. Indeed, my kid who falls into this group has autism and the issue that triggers the most problems for him is boredom and repetition in school.

The Lincoln counselor did not seem to like my suggestion, but promised they were working on it. That's the last I knew or heard about how this issue will be handled at Lincoln. Since Lincoln is an HCC pathway school, and since this particular problem appears to impact kids in HCC who just took the classes they were told to take in middle school, it seemed to me that Lincoln should be able to address the issue for these kids. Your description sounds like there has been some back tracking since my email exchange with them. In the meantime, my kid has decided to go to a different high school.

Science Mess

Melissa Westbrook said...


Sci-for-All, I read your piece too quickly. The alignment of the courses was approved so that is a done deal. (I thought you were speaking of curriculum.) That alignment is not universally approved by teachers and drove one of the finest science teachers in SPS out.