Friday Open Thread

From reader Ram Parent:
On the subject of amazing hard working high school kids:

Members of Ingraham Environmental Club won both the Regional and the State Envirothon, qualifying them for the National Competition! The team will be traveling to Raleigh, North Carolina this summer to compete on a national level.
King-5 News story about adaptive PE at Robert Eagle Staff MS:
A pilot program at Seattle Public Schools has students in special education taking class right alongside general education students. The Adapted Physical Education program is currently offered in six middle schools and high schools across Seattle Public Schools. 

Students in special education are partnered up with students in general education, and the results have been positive on all sides.
Unhappy about the length of the lunch break at your child's school? - here's news from KIRO radio:
But thanks to bill HB 1272, spearheaded by Vancouver, Washington parent Caressa Milgrove, the state is getting ready to run a pilot program that addresses the school lunch conundrum.  While the bill itself did not pass, $126,000 was added to the state budget to fund a two year pilot program where six schools will be incentivized to reconfigure their schedules to provide a longer lunch.

The six schools selected for the pilot will each have complete freedom to arrange the school day however they please. And at the end of two years, the state doesn’t necessarily plan on implementing a longer lunch program.

Schools will be invited to apply for the pilot program this summer and six will be chosen by fall.
From the West Seattle blog, a story about the new president of the Seattle Council PTSA:

Manuela Slye, first Latinx president of the SCPTSA, is a parent of students at Denny IMS and West Seattle High School.
Slye serves as a member of the Superintendent's Equity and Race Advisory Committee.

Superintendent Juneau via Twitter today:
Hey everyone, as of today, I have now officially visited ALL 102@SeaPubSchools! Every. School. In. Our. District. I’ve learned so much from our school leaders and students. TY for being so welcoming and passionate about learning. I am one proud superintendent! 

There are no director community meetings this weekend.

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said…
Two more charter schools closing.

Anonymous said…
From the article:

Two charter schools — one in Kent and another in Tacoma — will shut down at the end of this academic year, bringing the total number of closures to four since the publicly funded but privately run schools first opened in Washington state five years ago.

The board of directors for Green Dot Public Schools voted Thursday to shut down the two schools, which they oversee: Excel Public Charter School in Kent and Destiny Middle School in Tacoma. The Washington State Charter Association, in a news release, attributed the closures to dwindling enrollment.

Anonymous said…
Interesting. I noticed in Juneau's Journal that suspension and expulsion rates have gone done. Is this just that schools are just choosing to not suspend students so that the rate goes down. I have heard from a parent at one school where behavior is a huge problem, that in the last couple of years, no student has been suspended and consequently kids misbehave because they know there are no consequences. Another parent at another school said that the school keeps a separate spreadsheet (not entered in district system) on kids that get sent down to the office, so that it doesn't go on their school record. Are the schools just not changing the data to "appear" that suspensions are going down?

-Changing Statistics
Carol Simmons said…
I attended the Awards celebration at Garfield High School last week. There were so many students recognized for so many achievements. At one point a student dashed across the stage to hug the Assistant Principal. This Assistant Principal will be going to Washington as Washington's new Principal. This is a recommendation more important than any written resume ever could be. Congratulations to the Interview team who selected this new Principal for Washington. On Sat at the Garfield Golden Grads Luncheon, Principal Ted Howard proudly presented data regarding graduation rates. 96% graduated. Next year's goal 100%.
Anonymous said…
SPS’s overall graduation rate for 2017-18 was 82%, so I’m a little skeptical of that 96% figure from Ted Howard. District graduation rates are calculated based on those who enter in 9th grade and graduate in 4 years. Maybe Principal Howard was just looking at the percentage of those who started 12th this year who graduated?

Does anyone know where to get more detailed data on this, including grad rates by school?

Also, how about data on the percentage of students not in track to graduate in four years after each consecutive year of high school?

Anonymous said…
OSPI reports many different metrics on graduation rates - in cohorts from 4-7 years, with dropout rates, demographic breakdown etc.

I'll post here the 4-year graduation rates for the class of 2018 (most recent), for "all students" combined, which I presume is the default interpretation for most people (like myself) when they hear a graduation rate thrown out. Only Cleveland comes close to a 96% rate, and it is a narrow option school.

Class of 2018, 4-year rate, All Students

Ballard - 90.3%
Chief Sealth - 87%
Cleveland - 95.8%
Franklin - 81%
Garfield - 85.3%
Ingraham - 87%
Nathan Hale - 88.7%
Rainier Beach - 88.7%
Roosevelt - 91.5%
West Seattle - 90.1%

Anonymous said…
The SAT’s new ‘adversity index’ is another step down the path of identity politics
George Will
The earnest improvers at the College Board, which administers the SAT, should ponder Abraham Maslow’s law of the instrument. In 1966, Maslow, a psychologist, said essentially this: If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. The College Board wants to solve a complex social problem that it and its test are unsuited to solve.

The College Board has embraced a dubious idea that might have the beneficial effect of prompting college admissions officers to think of better ideas for broadening their pool of applicants. The idea is to add to the scores of some test-takers an “environmental context” bonus. Strangely, board president David Coleman told the Wall Street Journal’s Daniel Henninger that this is not, as the media has named it, an “adversity index.” But it is: It purports to measure 15 factors (e.g., poverty or food-stamp eligibility, crime rates, disorderly schools, broken families, families with education deficits, etc.) where these test-takers are situated. Coleman more convincingly says to the New York Times: “This is about finding young people who do a great deal with what they’ve been given.”

Perhaps the board’s evident discomfort with the label “adversity score” is because its more benign-sounding “environmental context” gives a social-science patina to the obverse of a category (and political accusation) currently in vogue, that of “privilege.” By whatever name, however, the SAT’s new metric is another step down the path of identity politics, assigning applicants to groups and categories, and another step away from evaluating individuals individually. But if the adversity metric becomes a substitute for schools emphasizing race, this will be an improvement on explicit racial categories that become implicit quotas.

The SAT was created partly to solve the problem of inequitable standards in college admissions. They too often rewarded nonacademic attributes (e.g., “legacies” — the children of alumni). And they facilitated the intergenerational transmission of inherited privileges. Most importantly, they were used to disfavor certain groups, particularly Jews.

By making an objective — meaning standardized — test one component of schools’ assessments of applicants, it advanced the American ideal of a meritocracy open to all talents. However, it has always been the schools’ prerogative to decide the importance of the SAT component relative to others. And as “diversity” (understood in various ways) becomes an increasing preoccupation of schools, the SAT becomes decreasingly important.

Any adversity index derived from this or that social “context,” however refined, will be an extremely crude instrument for measuring — guessing, actually — the academic prospects of individuals in those contexts. It might, however, be a good gauge of character. Physicists speak of the “escape velocity” of particles circling in an orbit. Perhaps the adversity index can indicate individuals who, by their resilience, have achieved velocity out of challenging social environments.


Anonymous said…
But the SAT is a flimsy tool for shaping the world of social inertia. Articulate, confident parents from the professions will transmit cultural advantages to their children — advantages that, as the SAT will record them, are apt to dwarf “adversity” bonuses. As Andrew Ferguson, author of the grimly hilarious “Crazy U: One Dad’s Crash Course in Getting His Kid Into College,” says, America’s least diverse classes are SAT-prep classes.

The Chicago Tribune warns, plausibly, that the “secret-sauce” of the SAT’s adversity score — schools will know it, applicants will not — will “breed more public mistrust” of colleges’ admissions processes. But calling, as the Tribune does, for more “transparency” implies that the more admissions’ criteria are made public, the better. However, private deliberations and criteria about applicants protect the applicants’ privacy interests. Furthermore, asserting a public interest in maximum transparency encourages government supervision of — and the inevitable shrinking of — schools’ discretion in shaping their student bodies and ensuring that some cohorts are not largely excluded.

Unquestionably, such discretion often is employed in unsavory ways to serve academia’s fluctuating diversity obsessions, some of which contravene common understandings of equity and perhaps civil rights laws and norms. Soon a Boston court will render a decision, probably destined for Supreme Court review, in the case concerning Harvard’s “holistic” metrics, beyond “objective” ones (secondary school transcripts, standardized tests), for — it is alleged — the purpose of restricting the admission of Asian Americans. They, like the Jews whose academic proficiency was a “problem” eight decades ago, often come from family cultures that stress academic attainments.

Caution, however, is in order. Further breaking higher education to the saddle of the state is an imprudent (and, which is much the same thing, unconservative) objective.

In San Francisco public schools, their very complex lottery for assignment to school gives preference choice to those whose addresses are in poor census blocks because the presumption is those kids in those family circumstances face adversity. Soooo, resourced families have been purchasing condos in the tenderloin: it’s a win-win for them. It may be the only place where they can actually afford to buy a home, and they get first choice at the very best school, and then they can move out because then their next kid gets sibling preference assignment.

The SAT adversity score does not give the specific individual applicant adversity points for, for example, having medical fragility, or alcoholic parents. Lincoln high school counselor has boasted that they won’t offer certain AP courses because it’s going to count against their Lincoln lynxes there wasn’t an AP course offered and the lynx didn’t take it. The design team has game the system for their graduates! How nice. Except... nothing replaces preparation and rigor. You simply can’t fake excellence when you need to get out into the big world and compete against others for graduate fellowships or plum jobs.

Do you think China is assigning its university spots to its population on any other criteria other than demonstrated excellence?

"Lincoln high school counselor has boasted that they won’t offer certain AP courses because it’s going to count against their Lincoln lynxes there wasn’t an AP course offered and the lynx didn’t take it."

Where did you hear this?
Anonymous said…
Speaking of discipline/suspension, is there any consistent policy on vaping in schools? At both the middle school and high school my kids attend, there have been continued issues with vaping in the building. Restrooms have been shut down, alarms set off, etc. all at the disruption of daily student life. Yet still, my high schooler witnesses vaping IN CLASS, in restrooms and directly outside of the building and has yet to hear of a student with a consequence.

Has vaping just become a nuisance like gum chewing?

Robert said…

The Highly Capable Services Advisory Committee (HCS-AC) and HiCap Seattle would like to warmly invite all community members committed to the education of highly capable and twice exceptional students in Seattle to join us for our re-launch meeting this Wednesday (June 12, 2019, 7:00 p.m. in the Cascadia Elementary School library). We would like your input at this kick-off event to engage and unify the hicap/2e community on advocacy for hicap/2e students with schools, district staff, and board members on behalf of hicap/2e students, and lay plans for outreach and advocacy in the 2019-202 school year.

The HCS-AC was founded two decades ago as an independent parent group focused on advocacy for hicap students. Under Colleen Stump, we were transformed into being partners with the district and an official advisory group. In 2016, the chair of the district's Advanced Learning department was invited to participate as a co-president, but the district withdrew from this role in 2018. As a part of our re-launch, we will be merging our equity work, district liaisoning, community building, and hicap/2e advocacy with as a single organization.

Please join us:
Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at 7 p.m.
Cascadia Elementary School library
1700 N 90th St, Seattle, WA 98103

You may recall last fall that we shared a summary from the community survey on HC/AL. A high percentage of respondents with children in the HCC program shared similar concerns coalescing around these issues:
· Need for equitable identification practices and evidence-based practices in service delivery
· Low confidence in SPS plan for HC/AL curriculum
· Low confidence in SPS plan for operational aspects of HC/AL services delivery
· Poor response/communication from the district

We look forward to seeing you Wednesday, June 12, 2019 - 7:00 p.m., at Cascadia Elementary School, to contribute in a reboot to unify and advocate effectively on behalf of all Highly Capable Services students!

Best regards,

Anonymous said…
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican condemned gender theory on Monday as part of a “confused concept of freedom”, saying in a new document that the idea of gender being determined by personal feeling rather than biology was an attempt to “annihilate nature”.

Anonymous said…
"Twice-Exceptional Students Group Meeting"

The description of the meeting makes it seem more like an HCC meeting, How does this group plan on addressing the special educational e part? I can tell you for experience that only once the learning differences are fully addressed can you then work on the HCC part.

I have a feeling based on past comments and the description that this meeting seems like just an attempt to use the shield of special education to deflect the critics of HCC. If so then it's very disturbing that a group with a very small 2e population would attempt to take advantage of special educational students in an attempt to get a better deal for HCC.

It's also note worthy to see that comments have been disabled for the post by the blogger. Why? Are you afraid to have a real discussion on my concerns?

SPED Parent
Robert said…
Thank you Melissa for posting about the Wednesday meeting. However, the meeting scope is the entire Seattle HC community not only 2e. And is different from the 2e support group that Stephanie Bower started and was the prior longterm president of the HCS-AC. It is a joint meeting of the HCS-AC (Highly Capable Services Advisory Council) which has been around for several years (and has a 1,500+ member list) and HiCap Seattle which formed last year.
SPED Parent, it is an HCC meeting; I was confused when I saw the notice elsewhere.

You can believe whatever you want about HCC and Sped students. You can believe this group is “trying to get a better deal for HCC.” I think that an unworthy comment. Of course, I have a 2E child so that’s just me (although he was not in HCC).

I had no comments only because it was a notice of a meeting; I frequently put up notices without a comment section.

I do not care for your tone so if you do want to discuss the issue, you’ll need to check that.
Anonymous said…
2E means twice-exceptional, right? So a "regular" SpEd students would be therefore be Exceptional. But that term isn't used for non-HC or non-Spectrum SpEd students.

Why is that they only are called Exceptional when they are are also gifted?

Seems like when a child has a more fluid intelligence, aka a higher IQ, they become "gifted" and "Exceptional".

Maybe we should call all students exceptional and gifted, or none of them.

I don’t know JJ; I didn’t make up the nomenclature. You might take that up with the district, state, etc.
Anonymous said…
@ Melissa,
Thanks for the info. I am pleasantly surprised you reported on the new SCPTSA leadership as I have been a silent witness of your disliking of the group.
@ Changing statistics
"I heard" and "another parent" is not a really effective way to advocate for our kids. I might be wrong but my guess is you have not brought this to the proper channels
to seek answers to your very valid and concerning question" Are the schools just not changing the data to "appear" that suspensions are going down?

Anonymous said…

"Children with exceptionalities" and "exceptional learners" are definitely routinely used terms to refer to students with disabilities.

Sped students who are not HC are students with one or more exceptionalities, and if they are also HC they have another (kind) of learning/neuro-difference too. Sometimes 2E refers to students with two or more exceptionalities who are not HC, although this is less common among pedagogues who invented these terms, who generally mean a combination of sped/HC. We have to use the terminology the pedagogues and scientists are using, even when a given term has a specific meaning that doesn't fit with the literal or common meaning, otherwise there is no basis for communication.

Another spedmom
Anonymous said…
HCC is a highly controversial label. Some think it's a racist term because of the make-up of the program. Some think it's used to segregate whites from blacks. I'm pointing out that minus Asperger's there is little hope of most 2e students to accelerate in any advanced program or class because SPS isn't using any methods that helps these students perform at level regardless of the setting. Now this is at least the 3rd time you have thrown your child's 2e status in my face. I know all about your child's status along with Geary's child's status. You two are not the only people with 2e children, really how illustrious of you to think so.

There is no possible way that this meeting you referenced could even begin to help non Asperger's 2e students. You really are very limited on your knowledge of special ed and all the short comings of SPS for the families that seek just a basic education ,even for their 2e students.

Your children are many years removed from SPS so don't lecture us current SPS parents on anything. Ok possibly out of respect for those of us fighting everyday please stop sticking your nose in and miss reporting on matters that don't concern you.

Do you think you could do that?

SPED parent
AWOL, I was in PTA the entire time my kids were in school. I served in nearly every position possible with the exception of treasurer. I do not dislike PTSA. But I don’t like some of the stuff the national/state are doing and, noting the severe drop in membership in the last several years, wonder what is happening with SCPTSA. There are probably several reasons but I haven’t all of them.

Someone else was commenting on the suspensions, not me.

SPED parent, to you it’s controversial. It’s been around for decades (in one name or another).

Again, I do not like your tone. I am not “throwing” my son’s 2E status but making the point that I have experience with that.

You seem very sure of all your know, good for you. Perhaps other folks want to learn more and so I advertise the meeting.

I never said I am a Sped expert; that was Jill Geary.

I’m not lecturing you; I’m reporting.

If you do not like this blog, no problem. There are other blogs/Facebook pages you can read.
Anonymous said…
@JJ, Melissa is merely reporting on an upcoming meeting. She's not responsible for its content. Please chill. Do all readers know about her 2e kid? Probabably not. I found it an interesting fact that surely informs her perspective.

@Just Wondering, It's not clear what the purpose is of people like you coming to this blog just to attack the author of the blog. Why are you here? Any ideas?

Geez Louise
Anonymous said…
just wondering - i for one have gained immeasurably from mw and cm (earlier) insights and concerns. cm warned that the district was going to try to mtss app. well have you heard about any of what kari hanson is getting through the altf. just that. and it will never work. and she doesn't care. you are eager for her to move on as this blog has been an invaluable check on sps.

no caps
Robert said…
This Wednesday's meeting is about HC (and 2e) advocacy which has been the HCS-AC's role for years. We will not be focusing on 2e this meeting (though we have had meetings on 2e in the past). We are now glad to relaunch including regularly meetings for next year. And to combine our efforts with HiCap Seattle the advocacy group for all HiCap Seattle learners (public and private).

My ideal heading would read: HCS-AC Re-launch Meeting this Wednesday June 12, 2019

Thank you for all your insightful work.

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