Disqus

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Saturday Open Thread

The Seattle International Film Festival has just gotten underway; lots of good films for kids and teens in their Films4Families.

The district has selected a new head of Advanced Learning (via Kari Hanson, Director of Student Support Services, partial):
I am pleased to announce that Ms. Claudine ‘Deenie’ Berry has been selected as the new supervisor of Highly Capable Services and Advanced Learning Programs. This position is responsible for oversight of the Advanced Learning Department and the processes and services support provided to students with the potential for and who currently perform above standard in our schools.   


The selection process involved multiple rounds of interviews with a panel comprised of representative parents, community partners, Advanced Learning Task Force members, school leadership, teachers and district office staff and directors across Student Support Services. Candidates were asked to demonstrate situational and organizational leadership abilities, strength in engaging with families and perform a decision-making task using growth and performance data.  Ms. Berry consistently received top marks in all rounds of the process. Most impressive was her clear demonstration of the preparedness and mindset necessary to lead future improvements to processes and school services provided by Advanced Learning department.  Ms. Berry’s experience, education, and commitment to the tenets of the district’s Strategic Plan as well as her experience working alongside the Advanced Learning Office and Advanced Learning Task Force this past year, were recognized throughout the process, and presented a profile demonstrating a strong fit for leading this work at this time.  
It appears Ms. Berry is being promoted internally; she was Chief of Supports for MTTS. 

Measles now showing up in the Puget Sound area; both North Creek High School in Bothell and Issaquah High were closed for a day or two while their administrations made sure everyone had proof of immunization.   Issaquah's case is a staff member; at North Creek, it is a student. 

From KUOW:
Staff aren’t usually required to be vaccinated, as students are.

Health department records show that last school year, as many as 114 students at the two schools had not gotten all of their measles shots.
(Editor's note, KIRO's coverage says this: According to their records, they said almost 99 percent of North Creek students have received the MMR vaccine.)
Many students at the schools had documented vaccine exemptions due to personal reasons, rather than medical or religious exemptions. Last Friday, in the midst of the largest measles outbreak in two decades, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill removing personal exemptions for the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine for schoolchildren.

Issaquah High is off-limits to students and staff without documented measles immunity until at least May 31, per health department decree.

Northshore School District said students and staff who lack proof of measles vaccination may not return to North Creek High School until June 3 at the earliest.


Any further confirmed cases at either school would extend the exclusionary period.
Important to note: if you suspect measles in your family, CALL your doctor first - do not just go to the doctor's office or other medical facility.

Community meeting with Director Leslie Harris today from 3-5 pm at the Delridge Library.

What's on your mind?

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

What's on my mind: are you running for school board?

seattle west

Anonymous said...

Outside Counsel, Outside Audit, needed for Science Adoption Process

There is no consistent narrative coming from District Legal about Amplify donations to SPS,
or the ongoing SPS-Amplify Partnership.

This is from the District's Website:

FAQs about Science Adoption Process

"How did SPS obtain Amplify for use as instructional waiver materials?

Amplify provided the program subscriptions (the digital portion) for free to SPS.
SPS used existing resources to provide schools with the workbooks and kits (labs)."


There is only one true statement in the above narrative:
"How did SPS obtain Amplify for use as instructional materials?", is a (very) Frequently Asked Question (FAQ).
Also, a Frequently Inadequately-Answered Question.


MMW and her staff did order Science Kits from Amplify, contrary to the SPS Website statement above.
A SPS Purchase Request Spreadsheet for Amplify Products shows this:

(Purchasing Document # 7300040408, 2/14/18, First Grade Physical Science Unit, 17 copies,
$20,315.00, ($0.00 still to be invoiced)

The District also ordered highly discounted items from Amplify, on the same day, 2/14/18.

(Purchasing Document # 730004048, First Grade Physical Science Unit, 8 copies,
$0.08, ($0.08 still to be invoiced)

(Purchasing Document # 730004048, First Grade Physical Science Unit, 37 copies, 2/14/18,
$0.37, ($0.37 still to be invoiced)

Same Purchase Order, Same Date, Same Item, Different Prices. What is going on here??

Only 4 Elementary Schools, and 3 K-8 Schools were given Waivers by MMW.
Why does the District need First Grade Physical Science Units for dozens and dozens of classrooms?

Why were First Grade Science Kits (units) placed is these schools without Waivers?
Why was the Board never informed of the widespread use of Amplify in SPS Elementary Schools?


These conflicting statements need to be examined by an Outside Auditor, as well as Outside Counsel.

The SPS Audit and Finance Committee should take immediate action to make sure that this review takes place.
(Accountability and Transparency)

How can the Board proceed with an Amplify Curriculum Adoption and 9-Year Contract under these circumstances?

Outside Audit Needed

Ed said...

SOME LAWFUL COUNSEL besides Juneau and a paralegal. Charlie? Culture of lawlessness quote [here]....

Dick Schreck said...

Outside Audit Needed, are you confusing kits and units? At the May 15 meeting they were explained as two different things.

Anonymous said...

So much confusion about:
*What specifically did Amplify give to SPS...what is the estimated value of that gift?
*What specifically did an anonymous donor give to SPS...what is the estimated value of that gift?
*What specifically did SPS buy from Amplify at regular price?
*What specifically did SPS buy from Amplify at discounted price?
*How many SPS schools/classrooms/students used Amplify?

There should be specific dates associated with each of the above items.

MMW and/or the Adoption Committee should be able to provide documentation to answer these questions.

Clarity Needed

Anonymous said...

(1) Were any members of the Science Adoption Committee, or members of the Instructional Materials Committee (IMC), interacting with Amplify, in any capacity, during the Adoption Process?

This is a question for the Chief Academic Officer, Diane DeBacker, to answer in public.

(2) Minutes for the last IMC Meeting, which supposedly approved the Science Adoption Committee's recommendations, have still not been posted on the SPS District Website.

This is a problem that the SPS Board and the CAO should fix right away.

(3) The SPS Board should also consider the importance of appointing a new Instructional Materials Committee, to certify the current Science Adoption Committee's work and recommendations.

Make sure that the new Instructional Materials Committee (IMC) does not contain any District Staff members, or community members, who are directly associated with the development of commercial, or in-house, curriculum products.

A RCW-compliant IMC is needed to proceed with any Curriculum Materials Adoption.
Especially under current circumstances.

RCW Watcher

Dick Schreck said...

RCW Watcher, I found the minutes of the March 28 IMC meeting on the SPS District website, where the IMC certified the adoption committee process. This was just before the April 2nd presentation to the board.

Crooked Much? said...

@Dick,

The only minutes from 2019 available on the district website now are just for high school and are from March 13:
https://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/Science/Adoption9-12/cmte_meetings/03.13.19%20HS%20AC%20Meeting%20Notes.pdf

The last minutes available for K-5/6-8 are from last year. Since this is coming up for a board vote soon, it seems like now would be a great time to post those. Don't you think?

Dick Schreck said...

Crooked Much? here is where I found the Instructional Materials Committee Minutes from 3/28/19 ( https://www.seattleschools.org/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=86032712)

Audit Needed said...

The inconsistencies found on invoices are concerning. It s possible that the district is sloppy, which wouldn't be ok- either.

Anonymous said...

I teach HCC sections and am a gifted specialist according to the district. When this interview was happening for the AL head how did they get teachers on the hiring team? Perhaps I missed an email to apply. I also note that at least in this summary that knowing what AL and Giftedness is did not seem to be a main item in the interview.

Mr. Theo Moriarty

Anonymous said...

Dick Schreck--Thank you for your service on the committee.

I am curious, did the committee ever review materials outside of the NGSS alignment lens? My understanding is that the standardized testing requirement no longer exists for graduation in Washington. If so, I am concerned that the materials were reviewed in the context of a NGSS-alignment policy that no longer exists. If NGSS alignment is unnecessary, would the committee have given the same recommendation?

I am one of those unusual people who tends to view the world like an economist, and I see the "sunk cost fallacy" virtually everywhere I look. A committee member who has devoted and enormous amount of time to a mission will necessarily want their time valued and their conclusion upheld. However, if the conclusion is the result of a premises that no longer exist (e.g, a testing environment has changed), the conclusion is not helpful.

Anyway, if you could let me know whether a matrix was ever included that did NOT include NGSSalignment, and the results of that matrix, it would be helpful to my own analysis.

WSParent

Anonymous said...

Interesting news from local Democratic endorsements yesterday:

Both Eric Blumhagen and Lisa Rivera Smith are doing very well, having gotten the 46th Dems endorsement and the King County Young Dems endorsement. I have also heard that they both got the recommendation from the 36th Dems e-board.

Chandra Hampson and Rebeca Muniz both got the 46th Dems endorsement.

Night Owl

Anonymous said...

Minutes of the IMC Committee last Fall

Minutes of Instructional Materials Committee, October 16, 2018
Present:
Marian Royal, Instructional Materials Committee, Chair
Andrea Young, Instructional Materials Committee member
Kyle Kinoshita, Chief of Curriculum, Assessments, and Instruction
Liz Ebersole, Parent Representative
Pamela Ivezic, Parent Representative
MaryMargaret Welch, Science Program Manager
Jay (Jeremy) Waltmunson, representing Michele Anciaux Aoki/Spanish adoption coordinator
Present by video link:
Erin Taylor, Parent Representative
• Review amended Spanish adoption timeline and adoption committee membership
The committee recapped that the amended Spanish adoption timeline and committee membership was sent out via email the week before. Kyle moved (via email) to approve both, Andrea seconded, 4 votes were counted, and the motion passed.
The instructional materials committee advised Jay (and Michele) to notify applicants that they are now members of the adoption committee and let us know when the first meeting is scheduled.
The RFI is due October 23rd, and the RFP goes out after that.
Jay said he and Michele are reaching out to as many Spanish teachers in the district as they can, for conversation and listening sessions.
• Review High School Science adoption committee membership
Mary Margaret Welch informed the instructional materials committee that she was successful in recruiting 3 students to the high school science adoption committee, and they are all ethnic minorities.
A motion was made by Liz to accept the family and community adoption committee members as presented with the caveat that they would try to recruit more candidates. Pam seconded, and all present voted yes. The motion passed.
The committee then discussed the teacher and staff member candidates for the high school science adoption committee and Liz moved to accept the candidates with the caveats:
1. 1 of 3 Ballard HS candidates would have to drop out (by consensus among those candidates)
2. More members may be added at a later date
Pam seconded and all members present voted yes. The motion passed.
Liz then made a motion to accept the student member candidates, Pam Seconded, and all present voted yes. The motion passed.
• K-8 adoption update
The RFI process is in motion, and there are 11 elementary candidates and 10 middle school candidates. The K-8 adoption committee is scheduled to meet Saturday, October 17, and the high school adoption committee is schedules to meet Saturday, October 24.
The materials will go on display by the end of October.

Submitted by Andrea C. Young, IMC Member


Metting Minutes

Melissa Westbrook said...

Weird that people on the IMC were also on the science adoption committee. I wonder how often that happens.

Dick Schreck said...

WSParent, you can see for yourself in the Science Adoption Work Session Documents from the April 2nd special board meeting. See the review criteria that the Adoption Committee selected and used. My opinion is that Adoption Committees selection was specifically to select curriculum that align with NGSS. NGSS is the Washington State Learning Standards for science. The recent change in the state test requirements does not change that. Why would we want curriculum that wasn't aligned? In my opinion, NGSS aligned curriculum is needed.

Anonymous said...

Theo,

The job has been posted for more than 30 days. Starting in March every year, you should be looking at the job opportunities weekly to stay apprised.

Dick Schreck said...

Melissa Westbrook, please, who was a member of the IMC and also an Adoption Committee Member? I could not find them.

Anonymous said...

The new head of advanced learning is replacing someone who has a doctorate, training, education and background in gifted education. In contrast this new person chosen internally has none of the above! They would have easily gotten someone with the appropriate education and background had they advertised broadly.

Shameful.

Anonymous said...

Oh it's not that I wanted the gig. I don't have the background but I'm wondering what the process was for getting teachers on that hiring committee or be able to submit questions. This seems more about knowing district process for MTSS without an emphasis on knowing the content of the position. Maybe they did and it would be great to see those questions and answers.

Mr. Theo Moriarty

Anonymous said...

Dick Schreck--I would prefer a high quality curriculum to an aligned curriculum. If no high stakes test is involved, I am agnostic if a curriculum aligns to NGSS. In fact, a curriculum overly focused on alignment may neglect its focus on quality to its detriment.

As a parent, I have been thoroughly unimpressed with Common Core standards, and the developmentally inappropriate demands they make on the younger grades. Reading now starts with 5 year olds in kindergarten. Finland manages to have high test scores even though they start teaching reading when kids reach age 7. There is no evidence that the emphasis on academic learning among pre-schoolers and kindergarten students has caused sustained academic improvement in upper grades. In fact, I think the loss of imaginative play is a travesty, and that on that basis Common Core has harmed children. I would rather children NOT have curriculum aligned to Common Core in lower grades.

I recall during the math curriculum evaluation, Math in Focus was originally thrown out by the committee because it purportedly was not aligned to Common Core. In my opinion, however, Math in Focus is a very high quality curriculum, and at our school math is very well taught. Both of my daughters score above grade level in math, and it is their favorite subject. Does it align with Common Core? I don't know, and I do not care.

We are in a cycle of large budget deficits in SPS. Based on that reality, price is a fundamentally important criterion. My question is: What is (1) the highest quality science curriculum that (2) has a reasonable price and (3) will help the opportunity gap? To me, those are the only important criteria. If those were not the criteria used by the committee, I won't trust the curriculum they recommended.

WSParent





Dick Schreck said...

WSParent.. There is a very high stakes test involved, and that is: did my child learn quality science in SPS? That's what counts for every parent. NGSS prescribes what that quality should be. No one wants their child to be a Guiney Pig for new curricula that doesn't work, and therfor all the effort into finding what works. The Committee Members volunteered to recommend the best that has NGSS quality. There was the option to not recommend any of the submissions from suppliers if they found them all lacking. As always, I believe a well trained teacher along with parent support is the key to student performance.

I know nothing really about Common Core, but google tells me that Math In Focus is aligned with CC. https://achievethecore.org/aligned/math-in-focus-the-search-for-an-aligned-math-program/

The best thing about standards is that they define quality using researched expert experience so that when implemented across districts and state, it helps schools and districts raise their level. NGSS also encourages a different way science is learned in the classroom. There are some good video explainations and testimonies on Utube.

Dick Schreck said...

WSParent.. with regard to your last three points; I believe the committees addressed points 1 and 3 specifically, but were not in a position to consider point 2. That is up to the school board.

suep. said...

@Dick Schreck, here you go:

Many aspects of the Instructional Materials Committee are questionable:

1. Foremost is the fact that the IMC was never approved by the Board – as mandated by state law (RCW 28A.320.230) -- and is therefore an illegitimate entity whose recommendations are not valid. Legally, the Board should not accept the recommendations of this committee.
RCW 28A.320.230 Instructional materials—Instructional materials committee.
Every board of directors, unless otherwise specifically provided by law, shall: (...)(c) Establish an instructional materials committee to be appointed, with the approval of the school board, by the school district's chief administrative officer. This committee shall consist of representative members of the district's professional staff, including representation from the district's curriculum development committees (...)The committee may include parents at the school board's discretion: PROVIDED, That parent members shall make up less than one-half of the total membership of the committee...

2. Various members of the IMC, which is meant to oversee the adoption committees and the integrity of the process, also participated in or supervised the adoption committees: Christine Benita, MaryMargaret Welch, Kyle Kinoshita, Brad Shigenaka. This amounts to committee members overseeing themselves, which effectively amounts to no oversight. Instead, it allows a small group of people to control the process and the outcome.

3. RCW 28A.320.230 allows parents to be members on the IMC, at the Board’s discretion. Because the committee roster was never brought to the Board for approval, the Board was prevented from exercising any kind of discretion, input or oversight of the committee.

4. Two of the three parents who are listed on the IMC are also SPS employees (Pamela Ivezic and Liz Ebersole), but misleadingly not identified as such. CAre we supposed to believe that senior C&I staff could not find any other parents to include in the IMC? Better still, the Board should have a say in the selection of community members. Erin Taylor appears to be the only parent representative who is not an SPS employee. Ebersole is the librarian at McClure Middle School, another school using Amplify. Also, both parent/SPS employees work in the C&I realm of the district, under two members who oversaw the adoption process, Chief of Curriculum, Assessments, and Instruction Kyle Kinoshita and Prek-12 Science Program Manager MaryMargaret Welch. How likely is it that SPS employees will question or oppose recommendations being pushed by their superiors or bosses?

5. That means, yet again, genuine, potentially objective (possibly dissenting) community representation and input was stifled from this process. (We see this pattern throughout the alignment and adoption process: Community input on the instructional materials was restricted to zero to 12 people, all community feedback via email tossed out; week after week MM Welch monopolizes the public speaking spots at Board meetings and work sessions with the same adoption committee members and other recruits, even putting herself on the list two weeks in a row, giving the Board a skewed and incomplete view of community opinions and concerns about science materials, Amplify in particular. Truly, the 'loudest voices' in this process have been those of MaryMargaret Welch and the adoption committee members.)

6. Both the principals selected to serve on the IMC were also participating in the Amplify pilot (de facto adoption) using waivers (Gerrit Kischner at Genessee Hill, and Bethany Sjoberg at Hamilton Middle School). Coincidence? Again, they had already bought into Amplify and committed time, students and money to it (some of it PTSA money for HIMS). How likely is it that they would question or oppose the recommendations of the adoption committees, as guided by Welch, for AmplifyScience?

(continued)

suep. said...

And here is the law and policy:

Board Policy 2015 Selection & Adoption of Instructional Materials
https://seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/School%20Board/Policies/Series%202000/2015.pdf

The Instructional Materials Committee: The Instructional Materials Committee (IMC) is established in conformance with state law (RCW 28A.320.230). The IMC shall consist of the following standing positions: the Director of Curriculum & Instructional Supports, the Manager of Library Services, and an Instructional Materials Specialist.

In addition, the Director of Curriculum & Instructional Supports shall appoint two principals (one elementary and one secondary) and two parents (one elementary and one secondary) to staggered two-year terms. The School Board shall be informed of the committee members each fall. Within the structure of the established adoption schedule, the purpose of the IMC is to:
•Approve the timeline of each specific adoption;
•Approve the membership of the Adoption Committee;
•Approve the selection criteria to be used by the Adoption Committee and ensure that the criteria are aligned with the principles outlined in this policy;
•Certify to the School Board that the final recommendation of the Adoption Committee was reached by following the process outlined in this policy and in any related Superintendent Procedures; and
•Ensure that a Professional Development cycle is developed.The Instructional Materials Office shall be the repository of all materials being evaluated during a specific adoption and made available to the public.


The IMC must be approved by the Board – not merely mentioned to the Board after the fact -- per state law RCW 28A.320.230 Instructional materials—Instructional materials committee.

suep. said...

From the Instructional Materials Committee Minutes
(which can be found here: https://www.seattleschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=85927926)

MEMBERS (present) AS OF May 10, 2018
Pamela Ivezic, Parent Representative [SPS EMPLOYEE]
Bethany Sjoberg, Assistant Principal, Hamilton International Middle School [SPS PRINCIPAL @ SCHOOL USING AMPLIFY AND CARBONTIME]
Gerrit Kischner, Principal, Genesee Hill Elementary [SPS PRINCIPAL @ SCHOOL USING AMPLIFY]
Brad Shigenaka, Science Curriculum Specialist [ALSO SCIENCE ADOPTION COMMITTEE MEMBER, SPS EMPLOYEE]
MaryMargaret Welch, Science Program Manager [ADOPTION COMMITTEE SUPERVISOR, SPS EMPLOYEE]
Christine Benita, Science Curriculum Specialist [ADOPTION COMMITTEE MEMBER, SPS EMPLOYEE]
Elizabeth (Liz) Ebersole, Parent Representative (Elementary) [SPS EMPLOYEE, LIBRARIAN AT MCCLURE MS, USING AMPLIFY]
Erin Taylor, Parent Representative (Elementary & Middle School) [PARENT]
Marian Royal, Instructional Materiels Committee, Chair [Library Services & Instructional Services Manager, SPS]
Andrea Young, Instructional Materials Committee [INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS SPECIALIST, SPS EMPLOYEE]
Kyle Kinoshita, Chief of Curriculum, Assessments, and Instruction [SPS EMPLOYEE, SENIOR STAFF]
Minutes:

MEMBERS (present) AS OF MARCH 2019
Minutes of Instructional Materials Committee, March, 2019
Present:
Marian Royal, Instructional Materials Committee, Chair [SPS MAIN? LIBRARIAN]
Andrea Young, Instructional Materials Committee member [INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS SPECIALIST, SPS EMPLOYEE]
Kyle Kinoshita, Chief of Curriculum, Assessments, and Instruction [SPS SENIOR STAFF]
Pamela Ivezic, Parent Representative [SPS EMPLOYEE. K-12 Instructional Services Music Coach
206-252-0142; paivezic@seattleschools.org]
Bethany Sjoberg [SPS PRINCIPAL, HIMS. https://ambitiousscienceteaching.org/teachers/sjoberg/]
Liz Ebersole [SPS EMPLOYEE. MCCLURE MS “LIBRARIAN AND TECHNOLOGY LEADER.” http://lizebersole.org/]
Gerrit Kischner [SPS PRINCIPAL, GEN HILL]
MaryMargaret Welch, Science Program Manager
Present via Skype:
Erin Taylor, Parent Representative

Agenda:
• Certify K-5 Science Adoption process
• Certify 6-8 Science Adoption process
• Certify 9-12 Science Adoption process

Dick Schreck said...

suep..Thanks for your comments. Let me address them each.

1. I believe this question of board approval of the IMC was addressed by SPS legal at the April 2 special meeting. If I remember the legal interpretation was that IMC approval was implicit mostly because of the wording in 2015. But he (SPS legal rep) stated that it was his interpretation and could be interpreted differently. So I don't think your first point is cut and dried.

2. None of these people were on the adoption committees list. Their role was facilitating of evaluation and collection of information for the committees. They did not have a voice or vote.

3. I have no information here.

4. Your opinion

5. I did not see stifling. What I saw is efforts to promote both sides of the issue. It is probably natural of adoption committee members who had a good look at the process and recommendations to speak out in favor. Opposing views seemed based less on experience with the material and more based on innuendo and opinion. There were established rules for testimony. Would it have been better for the board to put its finger on the scale for one side? This blog is the focal point for much of the opposition to adoption in my opinion. Comments by the board lead me to believe that they have heard opposing views without limit.

The community input was not restricted in any way that I saw. At the open house I visited there was hardly anyone there, so little input was collected for that reason. Few people cared enough to get out and go to an open house.

6. The IMC certifies the process, they don't weigh in on the selection. Why would one on the IMC deny the recommendation of the Adoption Committee against something that you have already tried and liked?

Science Teacher said...

Dick

"2. None of these people were on the adoption committees list. Their role was facilitating of evaluation and collection of information for the committees. They did not have a voice or vote."

Instead of" collection of information" you should have said that some of them "collected the evidence on how the piloted curriculum performed in the classroom ". At Eckstein it was Brad who came in to observe. I don't know who observed the other schools. I would say that was a pretty important role. Maybe more important than a vote.

Teresa

Anonymous said...

Dick Schreck--I am sure you didn't mean to, but man did you make me feel old!

There was a lot of analysis of alignment to Common Core standards during the math adoption. Jump Math was highly thought of, but thrown out by the committee for lack of alignment. Math in Focus was dinged by the committee because it went faster on some standards than Common Core! This was discussed by Cliff Mass:

https://cliffmass.blogspot.com/2014/05/is-mediocre-math-good-enough-for.html

As far as NGSS encouraging a "different way" of science being learned in classrooms, call me skeptical. I was personally subjected to New Math in the 1970s. Can't say all that time spent learning the difference between numerals and numbers in 2nd grade helped at all. But, at the time, it was considered to be the greatest thing since sliced bread. Ditto for Discovery Math, ditto for Whole Language. This sounds like the education fad de jour. Sorry, I am too old to believe that this new pedagogy is going to radically transform how much science kids learn.

Finally, I am absolutely stunned that the committee was not to evaluate cost. For every $1 million in curriculum costs, you can pay for nearly 10 science teachers. I would put the money in the teachers.

WSParent

Science Teacher said...

WS Parent

As someone who has never "taught to the test", I do in fact teach to the Next Gen science standards. I actually think they are good standards and not at all like Common Core. This is why our department has worked to align all our curriculum to the standards. (Something that is not as difficult as some have been told.)

Without common standards, then it would just be me teaching what I like. Any new curriculum the district buys, should be aligned to the standards. However, the idea that only Amplify curriculum met those standards is just too silly for me to take seriously

Teresa

Dick Schreck said...

WSParent.. You are as young as you think! Keep thinking.

Anonymous said...

@WSParent, I was not on that math adoption committee but I attended all of the adoption committee meetings. Math in Focus was not "thrown out" but was examined carefully. There WAS another set of materials that WAS thrown out, because the company that provided it had contacted people within the district after submitting the materials, which was a violation of the terms of the submission process. Which makes me view the current goings-on around the science materials with complete astonishment. Another interesting item: the adoption committee was not allowed to know the cost of any of the materials under consideration until after making its recommendation. It turned out that Math in Focus was enormously more expensive than the one the committee recommended, but they didn't know that when they made their choice.

Many of the materials submitted, including those marked "Common Core Aligned!", were not aligned. A bigger problem with Jump Math was that it was designed to be used in classrooms where all students were at the same point in their math learning, partly because it relied heavily on group activities. It was not easily adaptable for classrooms in which some students were far behind or far ahead. The teacher guides provided advice on how to prevent students who already knew some of the material from telling other students what they knew - one recommendation was to move those students into a class where they would be "in the middle" - which seemed like it could be problematic in some schools. At least I haven't seen any move within the district to mandate walk-to-math at all schools. Jump Math did seem like it would be very engaging and developmentally appropriate.

My own opinion is that there is no such thing as "the best curriculum". Different things will work better for different students. If the district picks only one math curriculum or only one science curriculum then it will always be a compromise and some students will get it easily and some won't. Of course if the materials are bad enough then the only students who will get it will be those who have already learned it somewhere else.

Irene

Anonymous said...

@Irene

I have been coming to your point of view over the course of this past year too.

Looking into curriculum adoptions nationally, I recently learned that the state of California approves curricula at the state level, and it uses its own version of the standards. Instead of NGSS, they use CA NGSS, and these standards are more flexible and more equity-conscious. Stock NGSS was not developed with any kind of equity lens. Amplify, TCI, HMH, and many others are all considered CA NGSS aligned already.

The state of California approves multiple curricula for each subject area, and then districts can select from among them or even use multiple curricula. Because it's at the state level, volume pricing is also better. Curriculum review is both cheaper and more regular/up to date this way, because it can be done on an ongoing basis for the entire state. Imagine a district having four to six different approved curricula ready to adopt at any time you are ready to make a new adoption. There is also valuable state-wide data on how effective curricula are across all demographic break-downs.

Washington should move to something like this system. Right now, each district repeats the work and likely mistakes done in every other district, and that is not time- or cost-effective, and it limits data availability.

Diane