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Monday, May 06, 2019

My Suggestion to the Board on the Science Adoption Testimony

Dear President Harris,


I attended Director Burke's Saturday community meeting. Much of the talk was around the Science adoption (although other issues were discussed like Washington Middle School, standardized testing and Sped). It made me realize that many people have views to share about the adoption.

Because of the high interest and passion around the Science Adoption, I am urging you to consider a Pro/Con speakers list for the Science adoption at the next Board meeting. Perhaps 15 slots per side plus 10-15 slots for people not speaking to the issue.

I know this has been done in the past a limited number of times for issues of high public interest. I would ask you to please consider doing it for this topic.


Sincerely,
Melissa Westbrook
Seattle Schools Community Forum 

I sent this because of the high interest in this topic and that it can be difficult to call in/email at 8 am on a Monday morning (which is when the Board office starts taking names).  I'm not asking them to change that format but rather, to make sure that both sides can give testimony rather than it being a race to dial.

6 comments:

Alyssa said...

You are absolutely right

Watching said...

Very good suggestion!

Marmauset said...

What do the other school districts utilize, especially the ones regarded in the education community for high achievement and closing the achievement gaps? If Amplify is used in other school districts, what does their data show? I find it unbelievable that SPS seems to rely solely on its internal rollout for data and feedback about the Amplify curriculum. Haven't they ever heard of comparison shopping? Is there a Consumer Reports for curriculums?

Stuart J said...

Ed Reports bills itself as a consumer reports for education curriculum, but there are a 'few differences.' CR will solicit feedback from actual customers. Ed Reports does not look at outcomes or effectiveness. This is all so new that any data that's gathered would be too preliminary. It takes several years to pull together something like this critique of common core math's impact on Algebra. Unfortunately by the time we know for sure, it is too late for several years worth of students and they can never make up that time.

https://www.hoover.org/research/californias-common-core-mistake

Ed Reports is funded by various foundations and the individual reviewers are anonymous.

Anonymous said...

I just read on FB that SPS is cancelling the District-wide science fair. Something about not high enough student participation to justify the resources. But I heard from science teachers that the Amplify science program, when followed with "fidelity", does not allow for in-class support of developing science fair projects, thus severely impacting student participation rates.

I also heard from one science teacher at the beginning of the year that MMW suggested eliminating the science fair in favor of an app developement contest. I do not know what happened to this suggestion. To be clear, I think apps would be an interesting component when added to more traditional science fairs, but to completely eliminate hands-on science in favor of even more screen time is slightly alarming to me.

I am so very frustrated at the path I see being chosen for my or any child interested in science at SPS. Yes, I am a scientist and yes I do data analysis on the computer and yes, I also spend a significant portion of my research in the lab. To say that eliminating hands-on science and replacing it with computer sims is not preparing our students for real world science.

-NW

Anonymous said...

Information for SPS Parents

Amplify Science Field-Test/Pilot-Program (2016-2019)

a Partnership apparently funded by Amplify, and SPS, without SPS Board approval,
involving at least 21 SPS Schools (perhaps as many as 69 SPS Schools)

Curriculum Waivers signed by Senior Staff, and the SPS Superintendent (April-September, 2017)

(Schools/SPS Directors)

1. Aki Kurose (Betty Patu)

2. Cascadia (Rick Burke)

3. Catharine Blaine K-8 (Eden Mack)

4. Cedar Park (Scott Pinkham)

5. Decatur (Jill Geary)

6. Denny (Leslie Harris)

7. Eagle Staff (Rick Burke)

8. Genesee (Leslie Harris)

9. Hamilton (Rick Burke)

10. Hazel Wolf K-8 (Scott Pinkham)

11. Jane Addams K-8 (Scott Pinkham)

12. Licton Springs (Rick Burke)

13. Madison (Leslie Harris)

14. McClure (Eden Mack)

15. Meany (Zachary DeWolf)

16. Mercer (Betty Patu)

17. Salmon Bay K-8 (Eden Mack)

18. South Shore K-8 (Betty Patu)

19. Washington (Zachary DeWolf)
(WMS Teachers field-tested newly-adapted Amplify units, August- December, 2016)

20. Whitman (Scott Pinkham)

https://www.seattleschools.org/district/school_board/meet_the_board


Other SPS Schools using Amplify (with no Waivers)

View Ridge (Jill Geary)

An Amplify Contract Bid Statement suggests that there are an additional 48 Schools using Amplify, apparently without Curriculum Waivers.

Quote:

"Seattle Partnership
Since the 2016-2017 school year, we have partnered with Seattle Public Schools to pilot Amplify Science as a K-8 core curriculum built for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

Together with Seattle Public Schools, Amplify has planned and implemented a pilot program across 69 schools in grades K-8, serving over 1400 teachers and 30,000 students.

Key aspects of the implementation included continuous collaboration with Seattle Public School leadership and staff on professional development, educator focus groups, and weekly data distribution across all middle schools at the student level. Amplify and Seattle Public Schools have worked in concert especially during the 17-18 school year by providing 10 days of professional development, training of the trainer, and feedback sessions to build capacity in addition to Seattle Public School leadership providing key insights and feedback on future Amplify product and curriculum redesign planning.

Over the past two years Seattle and Amplify have built a strong alignment across teams and continue to provide customized professional services for schools and broad service support to promote adoption and continuity."

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SPS Parents, please report on this Blog, if your kids are using Amplify in Schools other than the ones listed above.

There is a possibility that there is No Curriculum Waiver for using Amplify in your School.

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Corrective Actions Now