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Friday, June 28, 2019

Friday Open Thread

Congrats to Aurora Jarvi of Concord International Elementary School and Cecilia Phillips of Hazel Wolf K-8 who were named part of the 2019 AAA School Safety Patrol Hall of Fame.

The district is inviting staff and families to be part of their group in the Pride Parade downtown this Sunday starting at 11 am.  


Listening to student voices - as Superintendent Juneau has put a high priority on this - here's one from Ravi Smith.  He writes in the Seattle Times about his experience in the Clear Sky program.  The district abruptly ended their 10-year partnership with the Urban Native Education Alliance (UNEA) and their Clear Sky program for SPS youth. 

The district has announced a partnership with Amazon and FIRST Washington, an organization providing mentor-based science and technology programs.
The partnership will bring computer science and robotics programs to up to 30 Title I Seattle Public Schools, including John Muir, in the hopes of inspiring the next generation of computer scientists and engineers, particularly for those who are under-represented in STEM fields. 

“This isn’t just a program for kids or schools with really active PTAs or parents that work for technology and engineering companies like Amazon or Microsoft or Boeing,” FIRST Washington President Erin McCallum said. “Every single one of these kids has the ability to do this.”
Director Scott Pinkham will be having a community meeting on Saturday from 10:30-noon at Broadview Library.

Let's go Team USA!  The women play against France today at noon (our time).

What's on your mind?

49 comments:

Anonymous said...

Here's the problem, there are 1000s for students in non title one schools that don't have a robotics offering and those kids can't afford to pay for a robotics coarse outside of SPS.

Is it equity that children at title one schools get robotics and poor students at non tilte one schools don't?

Why does society still lump kids together by the majority? When will the virtue signalling by corporations end?

SPS board needs to craft intelligent and thoughtful polices that are child focused and not title one building focused. In non title one schools the PTA usually funds activity fees for kids who can't afford the cost. Now with PTA funding under scrutiny as not being equity based there is a possibility that schools will not be able to offer scholarships or will have to drop the offerings.

JS

Anonymous said...

For the first time in 40 years Garfield's flagship Marine Science class will not be offered this fall, a casualty of 1) the district's new science alignment which forces all students down a single uniform pathway, and 2) draconian budget cuts which strip out every teensy bit of fat from the master schedule. If I'm interpreting the board documents correctly, hundreds (!) of students currently assigned to Garfield are simply not being funded. How this is legal is beyond me.

About that new science pathway: I volunteered daily this year in the new 9th grade Phys/Chem classroom. I am so relieved my rising junior started here before this new pathway was implemented, and I despair for my rising freshman who wants to stay in Seattle for high school. The new Phys/Chem curriculum is appallingly weak. I suppose middle schoolers won't have learned anything with Amplify anyway so here's to vertical integration.

RIP, science education in SPS.

FNH

Anonymous said...

I have never heard of a parent volunteering in a HIGH SCHOOL CLASS ROOM!

These are young adults that do not need their mommies or dandies in a HIGH SCHOOL CLASS ROOM.

We pay taxes for school districts to properly staff schools.


Stay home

Melissa Westbrook said...

Stay Home, while it isn't common for high school to volunteer, if there's a parent with expertise that can help, most teachers would love it. At that level, most parents don't even interact with their child.

We may pay taxes for the district to properly staff schools but volunteers are always needed.

Anonymous said...

I laughed out loud at the comment "We pay taxes for school districts to properly staff schools."

Right, if only.

FNH

Anonymous said...

FNH,

ALL of the high school materials that were adopted are appallingly weak. They also contain mistakes in the content, to be expected when non-experts in physics and chemistry create curriculum. According to Director Geary, students need to have the "same base" for their science education if we are to achieve educational equity. Teachers can then supplement [or worse, take away] to meet individual needs because somehow it won't create equity issues if they just have the base. She also waived off all the research that shows that technology-driven curricula [and Carbon Time] tend to produce poor outcomes for marginalized students and the research that shows how standardized curricula is harmful for education.

Melissa, I am wondering where the information that shows HMH has a higher score is? All the district published documents show it with a lower score. Have they fudged the records? I certainly would not put it past them to do so. After all, their FAQs on the K-5 adoption say this:

Is there a relationship between the waivers use of Amplify and the fact that Amplify became a candidate for adoption?
No, they are completely separate processes. Beginning in 2017, Amplify was requested in the Instructional Waiver process by several SPS schools to be used as an alternative to the current instructional materials adopted in 2001-2002. At this time, SPS Science had not yet been informed of the decision to proceed with an official science instructional materials adoption process for grades K-12 at all SPS schools. Amplify, like all other curriculum publishers, received the announcement from the SPS Purchasing Department of the Requests for Proposals (RFP). Amplify, along with 10 other publishers at grades K-5 and 9 other publishers at grades 6-8 submitted materials to be considered in the adoption process.

Did the SPS Science Program Manager have any relationship with Amplify prior to the start of the science curriculum adoption process that would constitute a conflict of interest?
The SPS Science Manager does not have, and has not had, any relationship with Amplify. Further, the Science Program Manager does not select which curriculum publishers submit materials for review by the Adoption Committee; potential candidates must go through the SPS Purchasing Dept. The Science Program Manager is not an actual member of the Adoption Committee and does not evaluate materials submitted for review, nor does the Science Program Manager vote on whether to advance an adoption candidate to the next round of consideration by the School Board.

(see https://www.seattleschools.org/academics/curriculum/alignment_and_adoption/curriculum_adoption/2019_k-8_science/k-5_science for more stretches of the truth/outright lies).

This whole thing stinks. The HS materials are a joke. They will not produce college-ready students. What happens when a kid learns with the PEER curriculum, thinks that it represents actual physics, then takes physics in college? A failed class, for sure, and a waste of time/effort/money. Giving kids a false sense of science and artificially inflating the idea that they can "do science" does nothing positive for students. It will not plug the leaky pipeline, will not increase the number of STEM graduates, and could very well leave kids feeling inadequate when they fail these college courses. Not to mention the economic impact of weak math skills, which these curricula to not help to strengthen b/c there is no HS level math to be found. I cannot, for the life of me, understand why anyone would think these HS programs are a good education. They are not. Full stop.

Worried for the Future

Anonymous said...

Real-world story of how SPS science is not preparing college-ready students. My high schooler is interested in studying science in university. SPS science sequence does not meet minimum requirements for her to enter into the university's science faculty (one full year of chemistry and physics at 11th grade level.)

Truly unconscionable. I realize not everyone is going to college, but kids should get an education that gives them that option and doesn't force them to scramble for community college and/or online courses to meet minimum admission requirements in the sciences.

Disgusted.

concerned parent

Anonymous said...

I do have the expertise (a science PhD and teaching experience at the UW, back in the day), and ample free time so when volunteers were sought, I volunteered. Others did so as well. Many (like myself) prefer helping in upper schools where young adults benefit from expert mentors rather than from just another adult in the room.

Worried for the Future writes exactly how I see it, first-hand. To be clear, I am not criticizing the teachers who in our experience have been excellent. I'm criticizing this new pathway that mandates all students follow a basic, bare-bones curriculum for three full years in high school, for the express purpose of passing the state test in 11th grade. This approach presumes that core scientific principles are not conveyed in classes such as Marine Science, which could not be further from the truth. Students now have but one chance to take a science course that sparks their interest, in their senior year.

It's fine to provide a pathway for students needing a basic option for requirements, but how wretched to force all students onto it.

FNH

NESeattleMom said...

Thanks, FNH, for volunteering. I am also sad that Marine Science is ending at GHS. Glad my rising junior was able to take it in 9th grade, and same for my GHS grad. Like Stever said in his closing letter to the PTA, he is sorry that the only science class with field studies is ending.

Anonymous said...

When you keep unofficially propping up a classroom or school using volunteer resources you setup the class or school for failures in the future. Sometimes you need to let a failing system totally collapse to bring attention to the problem.

But the problem for SPS is not money because SPS has $1.497 BILLION so what is the real problem. It's simple...JSCEE. Having a flagship head quarters you can't afford is so 1990 and a complete waste of tax dollars! All those wasted dollars need to be spent on our local school staff and supplies and buildings.

ShutHer down

Melissa Westbrook said...

ShutHerDown, that argument is a tired one.

When the district bought that old postal building and refurbished it, we were told it would consolidate all the services in one place (and it did and I think there is value to that) AND that it would save money. It not only did not save money, those bonds used to buy it have cost this district dearly.

However, every district has a headquarters. Especially every large district. If you believe all the JSCEE workers should go someplace else, then where?

Anonymous said...

I was very impressed with the IB science curriculum. Unfortunately, middle schoolers coming from Amplify may be unprepared for it in High School but it represents a science pathway not distilled by corporate interests. I found the Biology text book (gasp a book!) to be very similar to what I would use in my college science classes. Also, the material was very up to date - cutting edge even. I am sorry to hear about the Garfield class as High School marine biology class was a huge inspiration for me to continue in science in college.

BadScience

Anonymous said...

Oh right, how silly of me.


ShutHer ,down

Anonymous said...

The problem with Marine Bio at Garfield, or Hawaii Bio at Ballard, is that it simply isn’t accessible to everyone. Couldn’t all kids, or nearly all kids, benefit from a field science? Were IAs ever sent on these field expeditions to support students with disabilities? (These students have been denied field trips and camps and even any science at all for their whole lives, and could arguably benefit the most from any exposure off campus science trips and activities.) Were these programs ever made useful to English Language Learners? No and no. These are prime examples of labs, or project based learning which could be designed for universal access. But instead, we hear how the poor gifted kids just don’t get challenged without this offering and isn’t that a shame. Actually, this type of field experience would have benefited those “furthest from social justice” the most, AND also provided great interest to those students with highly developed science skills at the same time. Win/win. But because these offerings are highly limited in terms of who can and does participate, they serve to polarize schools rather than unite them. Until parents and advocates are willing to support all students in opportunities, we should expect exclusive offerings to be counted as luxurious and to be axed at every turn.

AllOr None

Anonymous said...

What a terrible loss. This class at Garfield is also why I pursued science in college and career many years ago. I wonder how many future scientists we will lose with the removal of this class and the boring and lacking new pathway. Something about the nature of the marine science class seemed to especially spark interest in girls who at the time faced even more obstacles in going into STEM careers, so this additionally feels like a blow to feminism in science.

PhD in Seattle

Anonymous said...

Still waiting for sports to get the axe as luxurious opportunities not accessible to all. (Ping me when that happens.)

I'd love to hear what efforts were made to address the equity issues prior to canceling the Marine Bio class. Does anyone know?

Ruthie

Anonymous said...

FNH is, again, correct. I am currently working on doctoral research that focuses on secondary science curricula that *actually* prepares students for college STEM courses. I can absolutely say, from first-hand experience in the classroom AND my research, that the adopted curriculum will not even come close to preparing students for college science courses. At best-- best-- they may be prepared for a remedial chemistry or physics class, which many colleges are adding because students are increasingly unprepared for non-remedial courses. Taking just one remedial course significantly lowers the chances of a student graduating, so this is a serious issue. Failing to adequately prepare students to succeed in an introductory science course is just that-- a failure. As Concerned Parent said, even if all children aren't going to college, they deserve to be educated well enough that they have the ability to succeed in postsecondary education if they choose to pursue it.

It is unbelievably offensive that MMW's idea of "equity" is to lower the bar enough that any middle schooler could pass the HS classes. That is shameful. It is shameful that anyone supports this type of equity. When she claims that Africna-American males are being kept out of physics and chemistry because of the math requirements and the response is to get rid of that requirement and subsequently dumb down the math to about a 6th-grade level, that is shameful. It ignores the actual problem-- weak math skills. Ignoring that problem sets up students to make less money over their lifetime [strong math skills are linked in many studies to higher earnings], which only reinforces the cycle of oppression marginalized students face. Shameful. Her line that we need curricula that will get kids excited about science and interested in pursuing it is equally stupid. What is the point of getting them excited and deciding to major in a STEM field only to fail and attrite because they are completely unprepared?

A real solution would have been to develop supports for students so they are able to succeed in high-level classes,d to improve their math skills, and to have enough faith in ALL students to believe that they are capable of meeting high standards, not having so little faith you just lower the bar for all. Honestly, everyone involved in this debacle needs to be fired.

Perhaps the whole thing does need to collapse in order to be rebuilt, as Shut Her Down suggests, but that will harm a lot of students in the process. I guess a whole lot of students are going to be harmed by what is happening anyway, so might as well just burn it to the ground. What a sad state of affairs for the largest school district in the state.

Worried for the Future

Anonymous said...

So, keep the class and plan for an IA so kids who need support can go on field trips. Support any ELL kid who takes the class however you can. Don't throw the baby out with the bath water, for crissakes. Do we just shove a minimum amount of knowledge into a kid's head and toss them out into the world, dusting off our hands, saying, "Well, we didn't inspire anyone, so yay! Everyone got an equally crappy education!"

SPS wants to be a factory that takes different kids in at age 5 and shoves them all into the same sized box so that they all come out the same at the end. Efficient and fair, yes, but not good for kids. And the privileged kids (aka, anyone who recognizes their kid is getting a very sub optimal education and has the cash or the ability to to get their kids financial aid) don't suffer, because they go Running Start or

go private

Melissa Westbrook said...

All or None, you would shut down an entire class because of a field trip? I can honestly say if parents did say, "We want any ELL/Sped students in the class to go", I'd bet the district would shrug. And, just to note, nearly all of these trips have scholarships. I think parents support all kids being in the class and going on the field trips but much of that is in the hands of the district.

And, to note, the BioTech at Ballard is a program, not a class. It was stated recently by, I believe, Rick Burke, that it seems unfair to have a great program that is only at one school. I've said that for years and year and, originally, the enrollment plan for high school was to have some set-aside seats so students COULD access them. Never happen.

I'm with Ruthie; why is this okay for sports?

Anonymous said...

Does that mean the film program at Ballard is on the chopping block as well?

These special programs were set up back when students and families had school choice throughout the district (preference in your quadrant) - the schools were allowed to develop their own strengths. Then MGJ began the distillation into grey paste - all schools must be identical in case students move from one school to another (SPS public reasoning) - this was instituted when choice was cut back and students were re-routed to their neighborhood schools. At the time, when we were choosing a school it constituted a dizzying array of choices for parents to wade through to find the best fit for their student. But what I see now is that the choice model really allowed teachers to shine and trailblaze exciting specialties. Our school was an autism magnet school which included students in mentoring other students. It was definitely enriching.

It's all dead now. Glad we got through when we did.

FormerSPSParent

Anonymous said...

Yes, we benefited from the Ballard Biotech program for one son and the arts program at The Center School for the other.

What is the school district doing now? It sounds like they want to water everything down so no one feels offended by any special program.

These specialized areas attract families who might otherwise go private. If something is good, why not expand it to other schools?

Instead, they decide to make everything the same and less. So sad.

S parent

Anonymous said...

Um. No. It’s not on the district to provide a plethora of options that routinely deny access to the same batch of kids. It’s on you the demanding parent who demand special classes an advantages for yourselves, knowing full well that the district will never make that available to everyone. Um no. Parents never, ever, in a million years, offer up funds, like pta funds, to provide IAs to support field trips, field study, etc. The special ed ptsa has posts all the time about denial of field trip access. It’s a big issue that OCR has repeatedly had to deal with. Sorry you are ignorant. There was one just this week. No bus for disabled kid, no school for them. Class goes on trip, disabled kids stay home. This happens all the time. And no, all those nice parents do nothing. Um no. Marine Bio in Hawaii was indeed an offering at BHS. So sorry you never heard of that. No IAs, no scholarships, not accessible. It is simply unacceptable to have classes not available to all students. And if the district can not make them accessible, then it must cancel them.

Also, the predictable comparison to athletics gets pretty ridiculous. First, leave it to the gifted parents to complain about athletics when ever somebody gets an accolade, but to also trot athletics out as a comparison when there’s a a complaint about their privilege. The fact is, sports are extracurricular and simply don’t matter as much the school’s core offerings. Secondly, plenty of people do care about the problem of exclusivity in varsity athletics. Hale has nearly done away with them. Some sports like basketball can only support limited numbers of players. When they hired the near pro basketball coach, and when he shipped in his own varsity athletic team of students, yes it was a big deal. People indeed did complain, because despite a winning record, students weren’t well served by the exclusion.

AllOr None

Science Teacher said...

"It’s a big issue that OCR has repeatedly had to deal with. Sorry you are ignorant. There was one just this week. No bus for disabled kid, no school for them. Class goes on trip, disabled kids stay home. This happens all the time..."

I've taken students on field trips for years and all students go. If they need an IA, then an IA goes with them. Which schools is this happening at?

Teresa

Anonymous said...

Moving past the "lol own the 'demanding parents'/'gifted parents'" refrain ...

Marine Science/Oceanography are still listed as a course offering for 2019-2020 at both GHS and BHS. The course description lists field study, but doesn't list an optional capstone-type trip like the HI trip of years past (which I don't believe happened at GHS this year anyway). Maybe that one optional trip is what has actually been axed? For the record, Marine Science is not and never has been an HCC course, anyone can enroll. At BHS it's in the Maritime pathway. Just a plain old class at GHS.

I am aware that exclusion from field trips is an issue and I would be curious to know, *from someone currently connected to the schools*, whether there has been any effort to make field work/field study accessible at the high school level. I suspect a lot of parents could get behind that idea.

Just about any high school curriculum will raise issues of exclusion. I don't believe it's SPS' vision - to the extent one can discern a vision - to mandate high schools limit themselves to identical, very narrow course offerings with no variation between schools. (That would be news to the folks at Cleveland STEM and Ingraham IB.) As I've said before, if this *is* the vision, I wish someone would own up to it. Because I'd like to understand how a vision like that would square with preparing SPS students to compete in college admissions.

Ruthie

Anonymous said...

Just because ptsa funds have received a lot of bad raps recently... our school sends our access kids on field trips. IAs are provided. The pta covers the cost of the field trip and provides pocket money when appropriate. Last field trip I went on had an access kid and his IA in our group. It was a fantastic group.


NW

Anonymous said...

Well, that’s very nice of you Science Teacher. Do you take field trips to Hawaii for field study? Could all your students swing that? Does your school have many kids in wheelchairs unable to ride regular buses? They never go on field trips, unless of course, their parents take the day off work and they drive them. Eckstein is an inaccessible building with a single loading dock backdoor entrance, perhaps these students simply aren’t there to begin with . But I seriously doubt that this issue (buses, IAs, etc) is in play here. Perhaps these types of limited classes that benefit a sliver of their school's population, and always the same sliver, are likely on the chopping block for that reason. Redistribution of resources, which a 3 science class requirement mandates, means other courses can’t be offered. Core 24 is likely the main culprit in narrowing curriculum. Wasn’t that the point of it? Standardization. Hey, we voted that in. Our very own SCPTSA was a huge proponent of getting that dog of an idea through. Or perhaps it’s simply that field trips themselves are no longer very feasible. Once again, that’s on demanding, litigious parents who want bed checks all night long, and require 24/7 on duty staff. A science class based on offsite field study is going to have huge hurdles to cross.

Allnone

Jet City mom said...

I don’t remember what procedure there is for students in self contained classrooms to go on field trips, but Blaine also had a Hawaii trip, and students can go if they have someone to assist them.


Re: Garfield Marine Science, it is the whole course which has been put on the shelf, not just a field trip which required in my daughters time, a lottery draw to attend.


Jet City mom said...

To correct myself, the Hawaii trip had limited space not the eastern wa trip for Marine biology.
I drove on the eastern wa trip.
Very memorable, and a watershed experience.



http://garfieldptsa.org/a-letter-to-families-from-marine-science-teacher-mr-stever

Anonymous said...

"It’s not on the district to provide a plethora of options that routinely deny access to the same batch of kids. It’s on you the demanding parent who demand special classes an advantages for yourselves, knowing full well that the district will never make that available to everyone. "

The above idea has become a meme for many in the district. And it is patently false but highly TRUMPeted. Did the parents at our school demand that we be an autism magnet school? Didn't the African American Academy provide an array of specialized programs along with a striking new building. That school was making positive academic progress for their students when MGJ summarily shut it down. Was that done at the clamor of entitled white parents? These "special privileged" programs are the sweat and work of talented innovative dedicated teachers. No sinister group of entitled parents "demanded" that Ballard HS develop an award winning film program. The district is effectively squeezing all innovation out of the teaching staff in order to de-professionalize and them and ruin their morale.

The drumbeat that all the disadvantaged students woes can be squarely placed in the laps of HC parents is reflective of the hatred that some of the teachers and administrators have developed for parents and students in the district. I believe that teachers and administrators who vilify students and parents in the district in this manner need to be removed immediately. And we need to implement course offerings to enable students to distinguish between truth and reality and propaganda. Propaganda like this is developed to shift blame and make up for the shocking failings of the individuals that promulgate it.

Garfield HS - I notice upon a recent visit - is allowing a percentage of their students to learn science via 5th grade level artwork. The teaching and administrative staff have a lot to answer for. Is it really true that the HC parents have sucked the resources there up into a black hole maw? An FTE is an FTE and existent teachers and principal are failing the students there. But the propaganda spewed forth by the likes of Allnone deflect the "blame" to groups of parents in the district to save face. We all see it happening. You aren't fooling anyone.

FormerSPSParent

Anonymous said...

I've definitely gotten the feeling that Ted Howard and Jesse Hagopian have replaced great teaching with activism. I guess that is because great teaching is harder.

Bulldog

Anonymous said...

Former IA here. I have gone on many field trips with students, including overnight trips, at 3 different schools. Your information is not entirely correct, All or None. Perhaps this is true at some schools, but certainly not all or even most. I am sorry you are ignorant on the topic.

IA

Anonymous said...

@ Allnone, no. "Redistribution of resources, which a 3 science class requirement mandates, means other courses can’t be offered. Core 24 is likely the main culprit in narrowing curriculum. Wasn’t that the point of it? Standardization."

No, the point of the 24-credit changes re: science was to ensure that high school students got three years of science (incl. 2 w/ labs) instead of only 2 classes. It did't say what they had to be, and there's no reason the science offerings needed to be changed. In fact, with students being required to take MORE science, there easily could have been an INCREASE in the range of science offerings. That SPS chose to rework the science curriculum to require a specific 3-year sequence of science classes--including one that has been made way to easy for many students--is on SPS, not the state requirements. But apparently SPS didn't think some students (and/or teachers?) could handle rigorous science coursework, so instead of demanding more of our students and teachers, they decided to just keep lowering the bar. If they really cared about equity they would have been working over these, what, 4 years?, to make sure middle schools students were well-prepared to take legitimate HS level science classes. But no. Instead we see

typical SPSP

Melissa Westbrook said...

"It’s on you the demanding parent who demand special classes an advantages for yourselves, knowing full well that the district will never make that available to everyone. Um no. Parents never, ever, in a million years, offer up funds, like pta funds, to provide IAs to support field trips, field study, etc."

Classes are available to all kids; please tell me one kid who didn't get to enroll in BioTech or Marine Science because of a disability.

No, the district has to make sure all kids are covered. BioTech started from a district plan, not a parent plan. As well, most PTAs DO offer scholarships. I'm not even sure the district would allow an IA for a field trip to be funded but if you can show us how it's done, please do, All or None.

Thank you to Teresa the teacher and IA because apparently it does happen for disabled kids to go on field trips.

Bulldog, I think Jesse Hagopian is a great teacher. That he has energy to offer to activism to improve public education is a good thing.

Anonymous said...

"Classes are available to all kids; please tell me one kid who didn't get to enroll in BioTech or Marine Science because of a disability."

Melissa, students with disabilities are REGULARLY redirected away from these classes. It's just part of a script that we experience in Seattle Public Schools, sometimes overt discouragement and sometimes more between the lines, but always getting to the low expectations of students with disabilities.

Been there

Anonymous said...

I don't know the latest but also heard a music recording program is being cut from Garfield, and foreign languages classes from Roosevelt as well. Multiple high schools were to many staff cuts (10-15 FTE) due to an under enrollment projection K-12 forecast by the district back in Feb. In April it showed many more students enrolled but they are ignoring that data and in their words "being very conservative". The lower FRL high schools, enrolled over overcapacity, were to take big hits for the district so that the higher FRL schools losing students would not have to take cuts. Therefore, I suspect some positions will be added again in Fall?

craziness

Anonymous said...

I’ll second that students with disabilities are routinely denied access to classes, especially science classes, and biotech in particular. Really? One IA going on a field trip once, means there’s no problem anywhere. Really? Do you even read the paper? The Times has chronicled for a whole year that kids with disabilities are shunted into self contained classrooms at among the highest rates in the nation right here in Seattle. When students are forced into self contained classrooms they aren’t in Marine bio. They don’t go to Hawaii. Or Easyern WA. When they do get out, they’re nearly always forced into modified or special ed versions of everything. These suck. These can be M classes, Inclusion classes. Those are never anything fancy like Marine science. That happened to my kid with Bio, which had the worst imaginable teacher who was unable to help my kid with even a simple lab. Ditto for LA. My kid wasted years in worthless self contained LA, before I finally put the boot on it. You’re forced to choose between getting having special ed support and having any meaningful classes. That’s how it really is. And, since administrators don’t give a hoot, the special ed degrades every year. You find IAs hanging out, socializing whenever you go into my kids school. Sure. Maybe you can sue and make them truly include your kid. But it takes years. And those are years you don’t have.

Sped Parent

PS. It is impossible that this fact has any implications for the class cancellation though.

Anonymous said...

I heard from a student who ended up leaving center school in 11th that the school cuts its art funding and focus. I am wondering if we are moving toward more standardization between schools.

I do agree with the person who stated above " These special programs were set up back when students and families had school choice throughout the district (preference in your quadrant) - the schools were allowed to develop their own strengths."

It seems kind of weird that neighborhood schools should offer anything different from each other, when choice is really not occurring in practice now due to no space at popular high schools. In reality the district IMO should have a lottery system for schools with ANY special programs including IB, STEM, etc.

But now we also have Amazon that will be partnering with First WA to put robotics programs only in schools that meet the Title I percentage threshold.I am happy for the kids in those schools. However, many if not the majority of FRL kids are actually spread across other district schools that may not meet that % threshold. Is it equitable to kids at those other schools that also can't raise the money to have a club?

JK

Anonymous said...

@Sped Parent " You’re forced to choose between getting having special ed support and having any meaningful classes. That’s how it really is." That really stinks to hear, I am sorry.

Just to be aware there are public schools that are so very different. Do you know that on the East Coast even all the so called "regular" classes I attended had IA's growing up? My brother was in special ed and had at least two IA's in his classroom which was self contained until he was mainstreamed later. My mother was a special ed IA. Class sizes were 17-24 in regular classes, and were an average of 13-15 for any self contained special ed classes. But the caveat...property and school taxes were the highest in the country. Very hard for regular middle class and lower income families to live. I would not be able to afford to live there today with my own family.

Karen

Science Teacher said...

Allnone- whoever you are- You don't seem to know very much about Eckstein because it IS NOT wheelchair inaccessible. There are several entrances where those in wheelchairs can come in AND there is an there is an elevator. This past year we did not have any students in wheelchairs, however we did have several students with limited mobility who used walkers.

No- I have not taken students to Hawaii, however I have taken ALL my students on trips to Alki for the past five years, and I'm the lead teacher when we take ALL the 8th graders to Orkila for three days. That is all students as in all general ed AND special ed students. Last year the only students who didn't go where those who choose not to. Some students parents wanted to come on the tip, however we also took several special ed teachers and IA's.

I would say that the main reason there aren't more field trips is because it's A LOT of work and most people with families of their own just don't have the time.

Teresa

Anonymous said...

Dear Teresa

"No- I have not taken students to Hawaii, however I have taken ALL my students on trips to Alki for the past five years, and I'm the lead teacher when we take ALL the 8th graders to Orkila for three days." Yikes, I guess that's ok, I'll just accept Alki while my classmates get Hawaii.

Uh ... hello? Let's look at the big picture: why are trips being organized in the name of Seattle Public Schools if they can not be inclusive?

Wantstoknow

Anonymous said...

Thanks Teresa, what the district considers accessible and what others who actually need to use the features consider accessible, isn’t actually the same thing. I personally know a mobility disabled student whose family rejected Eckstein because the only bus accessible entrance was in the back. Some people really don’t want their kid relegated to particular entrances. Escape procedures were also not very safe. I know that other safety protocols at other schools involve putting a sign in a window during fire drills and leaving the kid in a wheelchair behind. I have participated in that drill personally. It’s only a drill, but how horrible for those kids to know that these “accessible” buildings aren’t anything you’d want for your kid. It’s really great that you take all those kids to Alki and especially Orkila. Not everyone does. And often IAs aren’t paid anything for the heavy lift of staffing camp. Can we really count on people who are actually working as volunteers and not professionals when we design our classes? The district isn’t unreasonable if it says no to that. In high school, teachers are far less likely to take all kids overnight. Also difficult is the onerous amount of parental scrutiny and paperwork now required of chaperones. That means marginalized populations are less likely to have that opportunity or access. There has been tons of media attention, not to mention litigation, on out of town field trips gone awry. Coincidentally these problems have happened at both Garfield and Ballard, and they’re pretty big. Still, the reason for narrowing curriculum is the mandate of 3 science courses, all focused on passing NGSS standards. The sad thing is that after the science course realignment and reduction, the legislature has all but tossed out NGSS testing as a graduation requirement.


AllNone

Science Teacher said...


Wantstoknow

IF you really wanted to know and not just make snarky comments, then you might try reading through all the comments first before jumping to the wrong conclusion.

No one at my school goes to Hawaii, believe that is a high school. I cannot talk about what other schools do or what other staff do. I can ONLY affect those trips that have my name on them and for those ALL students who want to go- can.

Teresa

Science Teacher said...

AllNone

I would be the first to say that is way past time for Eckstein to be remodeled with newer features. The building is older than I am and has never been remodeled. However, from the look of it, and due to the political climate, that is not going to happen anytime soon. In fact they are finishing the retro-fit this summer and painting classrooms. The first time this has been done in over 30 years.

When we go to Orkila the IA's are paid extra so they aren't volunteering their time (our principal, who is great, finds the money someplace.), well, no more than any of the parents, teachers' and staff who go.

I agree that the paperwork for field trips has greatly increased due to things that happened on trips at Garfield and Ballard. It pisses me off because it's made more hoops for me to jump through to plan the trips. I also use to take my students on a walking trip to the Wedgewood Eratic which is about four blocks away-however when I had to start having permission slips for that, I stopped taking them. That makes me sad because its local geology right in their neighborhood and many students had never seen it before.

I have to disagree about field trips because I think they can be great. What could be more fun than going to West Seattle and standing on beach on top of the Seattle Fault? (Many students have never even been to West Seattle before we go). Or spending three days with your whole 8th grade class in community building activities? These are the kinds of things that students will remember later.

I also have to say, as someone who thinks science is important, I'm very happy with students having to take three science classes in high school. The fact that the test is no longer required should not matter any more that it does for math or LA. I do not agree that the district needed to do away with classes like the Marine Biology. In fact I think all schools should have more elective science classes, not less.
Teresa

Melissa Westbrook said...

AllNone, well, good news because some candidates for school board are interested in seeing that more Special Ed issues are addressed.

Anonymous said...

The ranking of capital projects that does not prioritize the health, safety, and accessibility of students and staff is perplexing. In the long run, neglect of old buildings ends up costing the district more in financial resources, in addition to placing lives at risk.

foolish

Anonymous said...

Still, the reason for narrowing curriculum is the mandate of 3 science courses, all focused on passing NGSS standards. The sad thing is that after the science course realignment and reduction, the legislature has all but tossed out NGSS testing as a graduation requirement.

Teaching to the test--as opposed to teaching science in a logical, rigorous way that allowed for students to somewhat tailor their science pathways to their actual interests and abilities--was always a bad idea. Too bad SPS decided to do it anyway, and too bad they are sticking with the unfortunate plan even though the test is now irrelevant. It's a reduction in rigor, pure and simple.

typical SPS

Melissa Westbrook said...

Foolish, you are right and I have said that thought for years.

However, to keep in mind, the district does not keep up on basic maintenance and hasn't for decades. That contributes to the decline of buildings.

Anonymous said...

At Hale, whenever my kid went on a field trip and we were asked to pay, there was always an ask for a donation to cover kids whose families couldn't pay. I always paid double the amount to cover my kid and another kid. I know many families that did this. I don't believe any kid was denied on the basis on not being able to pay for a field trip. Larger field trips for clubs, athletic camps, or music groups, usually had fund raisers that helped cover everyone's expenses.

HP

Science Teacher said...

Melissa

I just want to say Thank You for your latest post.

Teresa