TAF at Washington Middle School Updates

The district is currently working on Washington Middle School becoming a STEM school via the Technology Access Foundation model (TAF) which currently has one school of this type in the Federal Way SD.  (It is not a charter school nor would the one at WMS be.)

I had been aware that TAF was expressing interest in trying to partner with SPS after being rejected by SPS about a decade ago over creating a STEM high school.  (I had thought it was to be at Cleveland back then but other news outlets say it was to be at Rainier Beach HS.)

I said this from the beginning - I believe in the TAF model and support this effort.  But the district and the Board are NOT being transparency in what they are doing. 

The first public notice I had heard was sitting in the Executive Committee meeting on May 22nd.  Dr. Keisha Scarlett was the point person for staff, explaining it to committee members.   She noted several issues:

- the school would not be an Option School (even though Cleveland is) but a regular attendance school
- HCC is an issue because Board policy 2190 says HCC is to be self-contained and "you would have to change that" because TAF doesn't have separate programs in their school model.

There are two things to be said about that. One, as they did with Spectrum, the district is already dismantling HCC so I'm not sure how truly problematic that would be to have no separate classes at the TAF school.  Two, however, the district will change a board policy in order to create one new school?  I find that troubling that the Superintendent would ask for this.

- Funding would come from SPS via the WSS and any staff that TAF wants would have to be paid for by them.
- The first year would be 6th graders.
- The school would be called "TAF at Seattle Public Schools."  I think it fortunate that WMS was not named for a local dignitary because that would be a problem renaming it.
- There was a June 12th meeting about this idea, "centering on families of color."  And, that the district was "not telling people widely" about this new school.

- I also wrote this, " WMS and "Swirl" program coming for HCC."  I had put a question mark and I realize now that I need to follow up.
- The school would start in 2020-2021.  

Here's the MOU which adds much to the picture that somehow did not get communicated at that meeting.   I note that when I asked about the MOU, I was told on June 6th:

I have asked around….I think you’re a bit early, as there isn’t an MOU yet.

I find that odd considering the MOU was signed May 2nd. 

The first thing you notice - right off the bat - is that they are talking about a 6-12 school.  This was NOT mentioned at the Executive Committee meeting.  President Leslie Harris had signed the MOU and yet she said nothing either.  I don't get it.  

The MOU says nothing is legally binding but is just an agreement to set out a discussion. 

And again, what's weird to me is why it's Washington and not Aki Kurose or Mercer that surely have more students of color than Washington (and those students are the ones that TAF is most interested in reaching).

Aki Kurose is over 88% students of color, Mercer is nearly 80% students of color and Washington is 50% students of color.  I would guess that Mercer's international focus eliminated it but why not Aki?

 If this change does happen at Washington and the program becamse popular, the district would have no legal way to increase the numbers of students of color via enrollment. News stories abound about how the Central Area is becoming gentrified so, if anything, Washington MS might lean more white.

The program will require additional external sources of funding to support the implementation of the STEMbyTAF academic model.

I hope the district knows where to find those other sources of funding because the district is already operating in the hole.   

Identification of capacity challenges, enrollment trends over the next 10 years of selected school and surrounding school impacts.

I believe they mean "impacts to surrounding schools."  Well, let's see.  The district says that they don't need so much high school space (despite overcrowding in some and underenrollment in others) but they are bringing on another high school.  And, I had to smile "10 years of enrollment trends."  Good luck with that, TAF, because that is NOT SPS' strength.

There is also a line about changing the Enrollment plan so that students who do not want this model being provided at their attendance area middle/high school may opt into the one based on their address.  It is very hard to predict how much upheaval this might bring to that region.

It also only states that HCC students need "suitable coursework" but says nothing about changing the HCC model.  

They state they will have "extensive" community engagement before a formal agreement is signed.  Given that they want to complete the implementation plan by September 2019 AND we are now going into a dead zone of summer, how that community engagement is to happen is a mystery.

There's also a timetable and, at this point, TAF is suppose to be supplying financials on funding.  They want to sign an agreement in September 2019.

Big issues:
  • So TAF would need either an exception to HCC policy for this model at WMS or HCC would have to be moved or the policy on HCC would need to be changed.  
  • They picked the lowest diversity middle school in that region for a program that says it wants to support more students of color in STEM.
  • With STEM being the focus of the TAF program and Washington being a poor-quality building, it will be interesting to see how that gets solved.  Oh wait, they Amplify now so not much need for those pesky and costly labs.
  • Money
  • Changing enrollment patterns for high schools


Transparency Please said…
Promises of transparency are meaningless.
Anonymous said…
I have a long enough memory to recall when there was discussion a looooooong time ago about Technology Access Foundation setting up shop within Rainier Beach High School. That made a lot of sense for 3 reasons:
1. RBHS was virtually 100% enrolled with TAF’s target demographic, which is to say students furtherest from educational justice (eg. poor and students of color)
2. RBHS was swimming in extra space as it’s enrollment was less than 600 at the time which meant TAF had lots and lots of opportunity to grow their program in a sustainable way
3. It was geographically close to TAF’s other operations.

So now they are back, and they are skipping over Aki Kurose instead hitting on Washington Middle School. Maybe that was the point all along to foisting #EmilyButlerGinolfi: she was the whirlwind to ream WMS out, so that is is a shadow of its former self. And now that they’ve got themselves a wounded community, they push this on them to finish off HCC. Clearly, that is exactly what’s going on here.

Trisha Dziko is getting played yet she is one smart, committed educators who doesn’t just talk the talk, she walks the walk. So for her to miss this cynical, blatant, ultra-Machiavellian move on the part of the district is puzzling. She should smell the rat and focus more on her strengths. She’s got to know this is going to not go smoothly, and that’s putting it mildly. If she really want to deploy her program values and be true to her mission/vision statement, then she’s got to see the set-up and the writing on the wall and be clear that the right school, where the right fit is, is Aki Kurose. Leave Mercer alone. And let WMS work to repair the #Ginolfi damage so that the teachers and families and students can get back to trust and productivity.

If TAF will inflect test scores of students furthest from educational justice, then maximize its implementation in SPS by placing it in a school with the most kids (both absolute number and percentage of student body number) who fit that need set, and that points to Aki Kurose far and away as the best candidate. Any other choice, especially one of the very few HCC sites, reeks as a not-so-subtle political attack. A one-two punch to WMS to potentiate chaos, change, and churn at a school that already had 4 years of destructive administration.

WMS Puzzle said…
According to OSPI for 2017-18, the % of white students at the south Seattle middle schools is:
Aki Kurose 3.5%
Mercer 13.1%
Denny 20.9%
Washington 38.6%
Madison 62.6%

The percent FRL is:
Aki Kurose 73.4%
Denny 68.8%
Mercer 59.6%
Washington 36.3%
Madison 19.8%

There are more students of color and more FRL students at Aki, Denny and Mercer than there are at Washington.

If the TAF model is expensive, which it sounds like it is, and it is designed to close gaps, which it sounds like it is, and to encourage more students of color to go into the sciences, which it sounds like it is, then it would be foolish to waste the privilege of this educational offering on students who are already testing great and working ahead of grade level.

The only way putting this program at Washington makes financial sense and moral sense is if the district feels confident that there aren't going to be so many HCC students at Washington in the future.

Why were Aki, Denny and Mercer a no-go for TAF? And how does it make sense to put 2 STEM high schools right next to each other (Cleveland and Washington are only 4 miles apart)?
Anonymous said…
WMS Puzzle

When you look at real numbers and not just %, you will see that actual students numbers, based on total enrollment ,for Aki, Washington, and Denny aren't that far off.

Aki has 714 students of color, Washington has 664, and Denny has 658. Mercer has 1017 students of color, so if that is the main requirement then it should be the school chosen.

However, building condition should also be a factor. Why put a totally new program into a building that should have been remodeled years ago? Washington is like Mercer, Whitman, and Eckstein in that it is WAY past the time it should have been remodeled.

Anonymous said…
We received a flyer in the mail telling us about TAF and WMS. We read it and recycled it - didn't tell us much but did take away that it was for students of color. Do you think this was some form of community outreach?
This comment has been removed by the author.
Open Info said…
Washington only had 668 students total as of September 16, 2018.

Gifted Services Status September 16, 2018 according to principal
Not receiving services 252 (196 of whom are FRL)
Receiving advanced learner services 50 (12 of whom are FRL)
Receiving highly capable services 366 (42 of whom are FRL)

Receiving Gifted Services Status by race as of September 16, 2018 (* for <10)
Race/ Ethnicity Not Receiving Gifted Services-AL-HC-Total
Amer. Indian *-*-*-*
Asian 45-*-67-120
Black 121-*-12-141
Hispanic 45-*-14-64
Multiracial 12-*-55-72
Pac. Islander *-*-*-*
White 19-24-218-261
Unlabeled *-*-*-*
Grand Total 252-50-366-668

174 students of color are receiving AL or HC services at Washington.
Anonymous said…
HCC are given a choice. Go to TAF @ WMS and toss out the notion of segregation OR accept a truly mediocre Amplify at your local school, with perhaps a special class a few lessons ahead. Project based learning is clearly differentiable and clearly has the potential to be an amazing opportunity for anyone who is actually gifted. The only question is, will the HCC continue to cling to segregation and exclusion as the primary purpose of education and the only acceptable environment for themselves? Also laughable is the notion that TAF should be placed in schools without any white people just because it is dedicated to providing minorities opportunity. Eg. “Stick to your own.” TAF is an opportunity for everyone. And a perfect fit at WMS. Fixes segregation, offers something great for everyone, fixes a school which is and has been toxic for decades, offers an alternative to Amplify. Best we take advantage of it.

Delete me2
Alsept Teresa said…
Yes. I wish every middle school had an alternative to Amplify
Anonymous said…
As should be obvious with the hiring of Deenie Berry, HCC is not likely to continue to be offered in its current form at any school by 2020-2021. You don't hire an MTSS expert to run AL unless you're making a massive migration to MTSS for all AL services. TAF will replace HCC at WMS, not coexist with it. I can't believe anyone thinks anything different.

Tea Leaves
Another Name said…
I can't ignore the Aki Kurose's 73.4 percent FRL to Washington's 36.3% FRL population.

The percent FRL is:
Aki Kurose 73.4%
Denny 68.8%
Mercer 59.6%
Washington 36.3%
Madison 19.8%

Aki would benefit from TAF.
SCPTSA said…
I'm happy that TFA will be investing in Seattle Public Schools. Let's remember this when the board and SCPTSA try and dismantle PTA supported programs.
Anonymous said…
TAF is being placed at WMS because the lingering population of HCC identified kids there will more readily insure its success than if it were placed in a more challenging academic environment. This is in keeping with the SPS general plan of "identify HCC kids, USE them to our own ends, do NOT serve them". This has been going on since the 70's.

Delete me2
Anonymous said…
@ Delete me2, Sure, "project based learning is clearly differentiable and clearly has the potential to be an amazing opportunity for anyone who is actually gifted." However, potential and reality are often (usually?) two different things in SPS. Just because something CAN be differentiated does not mean it will. Are we talking about individual projects, or group projects? If the latter, will students be put with similarly gifted peers to help spur on their learning and make it the amazing opportunity you assume it will be, or will they be sprinkled around to help fuel the learning of other students? There are a lot of questions still--and the answers have a huge bearing on whether or not this change is likely to work for HC students. "Project based learning" can mean a whole lot of things--and the model matters.

details, details
Anonymous said…

42% are proficient (AKA score a 3, not the typical HC 4) in ELA, and only 30% in math.
60% feel engaged in the classroom, and only 71% feel challenged in the classroom.
9% complete algebra by 9th grade

PBL or not, how are those sorts of numbers supposed to translate into challenge for HC students? Unless they are all doing all their learning independently (i.e., teachers provide lessons for those at or below grade level, and the others self-teach), I would guess that closer to 0% of HC students would feel challenged or engaged in the classroom. And if they ARE doing all their learning independently, why not let all HC students do that wherever they are? Just sit in a corner and learn on your own if you want, with no teachers and administrators throwing up barriers, and no other parents yelling that it's not fair?

I still don't see how this is likely to work. I'm not saying it can't--I'm just saying we've not been provided any evidence that it will, or even a suggestion of how it might. The "but it's TAF" and "Trish is great" lines don't really cut it. What's the actual program like? How, specifically, will it serve the wide range of abilities? Not to mention, what sort of resources ($, supplies, class size, teacher:student ratios, teacher training, curricula, etc.) will SPS devote to it, what's the plan for high school, etc.

There are far too many questions to just assume it'll all be

Here's a link to the TAF Academy in Federal Way.


DeleteMe2, I'm always amused when people accuse me of dog whistling and then... there's this:

"The only question is, will the HCC continue to cling to segregation and exclusion as the primary purpose of education and the only acceptable environment for themselves? Also laughable is the notion that TAF should be placed in schools without any white people just because it is dedicated to providing minorities opportunity. Eg. “Stick to your own.” TAF is an opportunity for everyone. And a perfect fit at WMS. Fixes segregation, offers something great for everyone, fixes a school which is and has been toxic for decades, offers an alternative to Amplify. Best we take advantage of it."

Segregation is a fairly loaded word but I think you know that.

NO one said TAF should be in a school without white people. That's just silly and none of the middle schools in that region have such numbers. But TAF is geared to support kids of color in STEM. That is their mission.

"TAF is a nonprofit leader in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education. We use STEM as a tool for realizing social change and educational equality in communities of color and those with low income. Our targeted approach leverages in-school and out-of-school learning to address longstanding historical inequities for students of color, yet cultivates leadership and citizenship in ALL students toward equity."

I think there are many parents, teachers and principals who have been at Washington over the years who would not agree with your opinion of it being toxic. By that measure, I guess so is Garfield.
kellie said…
I agree with many of the commenters that Aki is the natural landing place for TAF. This would signal a strong investment in SE Seattle and would greatly benefit both Aki and Rainier Beach, where many Aki students continue.

That said, the placement at Washington was clearly made for capacity reasons. SPS is long overdue for a complete boundary redraw. However, most districts just hate doing comprehensive boundary reviews because the process daylights lots of underlying challenges.

Washington Middle Schools boundaries are simply too small for the school. When Meany was re-opened, part of the plan had been to redirect feeder schools from Washington to Meany and then from Mercer to Washington in order to rebalance the capacity, SPS decided to not move the feeder schools from Mercer to Washington because of community feedback.

Now, Mercer is the most over-crowded middle school in the district and Washington is the most under-capacity. But rather than deal with this imbalance, SPS will use program placement to try to fill Washington.

Now the great irony here ... SPS has been continuously trying to move away from the choice system and all the complexities therein. But this decision to place TAF at Washington Middle school will require an expansion of the choice system. In order to fill Washington, there will need to be transportation offered to Mercer attendance area families, at a minimum.

Because even with TAF at Washington, the boundaries for the middle school are just too small. If 100% of the attendance area families opted in as well as all the HCC qualified families, the school will still be under enrolled.

The bottom line is that nobody involved has really thought about all the complexities of this process. TAF is a great addition to South Seattle AND the boundaries and feeder patterns are going to need to be adjusted to make this work.

Reassignments Coming? said…
My question is: who are the district/TAF doing outreach TO?

The students attending WMS now are clearly not all the same students who will attend a 6-12 at TMS@WMS. There are probably less than 300 or so students going to Washington who actually live in the zone for the school. So they have presumably done outreach to 4th grade families at Bailey Gatzert, TM, and John Muir?

But most of the HC students at Washington don't live in the Washington zone. They come from the Meany, Washington, Mercer, and Aki Kurose zones and only go to Washington for middle school, but to West Seattle or Garfield for HS. Weird to send them to WMS just for 3 years of a 7 year program, so unlikely.

So, if the district decides not to send HCC students to Washington, the Meany zone will need to shrink by about 1/3. The district would presumably reassign either Leschi or Lowell or both (currently assigned to Meany) to Washington. Or the district will reassign Beacon Hill or Kimball or Hawthorne (currently assigned to Mercer) to Washington to help make up for the shortage of middle school students assigned to Washington.

So, has the district or TAF done any outreach to 4th graders at Leschi, Lowell, Beacon Hill, Kimball, or Hawthorne? Someone is going to have to fill an assignment zone, non-option 6-12 at WMS. But who?
Anonymous said…
I think the most pressing issue here isn’t HCC (though it’s one of the issues), it’s the creeping privatization of our schools and loss of community control.

TAF may well be a great program. But it’s also a nonprofit managing a school. That alone should be cause for concern and careful treading. The concern should be heightened given that this is being sprung on the community as a done deal.

I don’t see what is equitable about the folks at the JSCEE making unilateral decisions about programs at a school like WMS. That’s true generally but especially given the horrible experiences there last year, many of which involved racism and targeting of black kids. If SPS and TAF want to put a program at WMS then they need to propose it to the community and let the community decide.

Instead what I suspect will happen is the same thing that happened with Amplify: turn this into a battle against “privileged white parents” and make it about getting rid of HCC, with all the issues about privatization and loss of community control swept under the rug as folks see another opportunity to score points against a hated enemy.

I wonder if this will be the moment where people who fought long and hard against charter schools and privatization suddenly drop those concerns, as they did with Amplify. I think that’s exactly how it will go down. And before long we will see the usual suspects start saying that public schools are good but charter schools and corporate education reform are now better. Orwell would understand immediately.

Anonymous said…
>>>will students be put with similarly gifted peers to help spur on their learning and make it the amazing opportunity you assume it will be,

My assumption? I don’t know if TAF uses group projects or individualized projects. The idea that TAF will use PBL project “groups” to maintain status quo segregation is something I would assume would NOT happen. Look, it is a huge asset to work in diverse groups, including heterogeneous ability groups; we do this in the work world all the time. The beauty of projects is students get out of them what they put into them. And they are way more student directed than other pedagogical styles. Nothing needs to hold your kid back, including the proficiency of anyone else, or rather the assumed deficiencies in anyone else. I assume TAF@ WMS will be a neighborhood and HCC draw. It make sense to keep the TAF foray in SPS pretty small. In any case, we can all agree that it would be way better than Amplification!

MW, I’m not sure what you mean by dog whistle, or who has been accused of being one. Segregation and tracking are the scourge of our current educational system. The district is clearly offering TAF as a fair trade for giving up that practice. If you haven’t learned of the toxicity at WMS, it’s because your focus and supporters are in the gifted track which until recently was blessed with every advantage at WMS. True, a similar situation exists at Garfield, but the environment is entirely less toxic, though the Times has reported on its existence in the past.

Delete Me2
Alsept Teresa said…
Well said Boxer.
Melissa - Can you help me to understand why you don’t think TAF is a charter school. They sound like a charter and someone earlier said they are going to need more resources than a traditional middle school.
As Kellie, says (in a longer version) - here we go again. Is the district rolling out an initiative without enough notification and authentic community engagement? What is the rationale to involve some potential students but not others?

Boxer, good points all.

DeleteMe2, I think you know that segregation is a loaded term so now you are just being disingenuous.

"The district is clearly offering TAF as a fair trade for giving up that practice."

That is not at all clear and how you can say that is confusing. On the district side, there is almost nothing clear about the TAF initiative.

HCC is not my focus, never has been. And, in fact, when the blog changes its orientation, that will not be one of my foci. Sorry to disappoint you.

Sorry Teresa, I missed your comment.

TAF isn't a charter because, well, it's not. It's not going thru the application procedure with WA Charter Commission. It's doing what it did in Federal Way and setting up a partnership. Is this kind of unusual? Sure but I'd rather this than a charter school. I do note that although South Shore has received $1M extra a year now for a decade+, I don't see that they do that much better. I think having a specific focus like STEM will serve the district better.

As I noted in the post, the MOU says the program WILL cost more and BOTH sides have to find the money for that. As I also said, that should mean the district looks to an external resource as I can't imagine where the money could come from.

Of course, they are asking to spend about $90M more in the budget when they claim they have a $40M hole so it can be confusing.
Anonymous said…
Segregation in schools is an important issue in educational policy since the country has essentially returned to levels of segregation from fifty years ago.

If you want to whitewash the issue by calling it "loaded," then keep plugging your ears.

When you unplug your ears, segregation will still be a major educational topic and concern.

Outside theBubble
Segregation is keeping kids out of a school. What we are talking about is tracking. I believe using the word "segregation" for HCC is inflammatory. But that's a choice you make but you may confuse the casual reader.

Of course,SCHOOL segregation is a major topic in the U.S. and you know where it's probably the worst? Charter schools (and they actually embrace it).
Anonymous said…
I had heard that JAMS and Eaglestaff & perhaps other schools with HCC populations are planning to or have already eliminated the HCC cohort model at their schools for LA & SS. Since math is also independent of HCC in middle, but still has multiple levels offered to all kids, there is only a cohort for science now as far as I am aware. Someone please correct me if I hear wrong.
Therefore, eliminating an HCC cohort at Washington as well does not surprise me at all.

A Parent
Anonymous said…
@ Delete Me2, I'm not so sure what you wrote is true.

Look, it is a huge asset to work in diverse groups, including heterogeneous ability groups; we do this in the work world all the time. The beauty of projects is students get out of them what they put into them. And they are way more student directed than other pedagogical styles. Nothing needs to hold your kid back, including the proficiency of anyone else, or rather the assumed deficiencies in anyone else.

Maybe for typical students, but I have not been able to find any evidence of positive academic outcomes for students identifies as academically/intellectually gifted from this sort of approach. [Most studies the eliminate "tracking" and show overall improvements for lower performing students without harming "everyone else" don't bother to look at the much smaller population of HC-type students specifically. Here's a simplified version of how it might go: A school's average score is 2. Eighty percent of kids are average, scoring a 2. Ten percent are above average (score=3), and the remaining 10% are below average (score=1). You do some intervention (e.g., removed tracking), and after a few years of this those who were scoring 1 now score 2. Those who were scoring 3 may also now be scoring 2, but it's declared a success, because the average is still 2. "Look, we raised the performance of the lower group without hurting 'everyone else.']

On the contrary, the evidence I've seen suggests that grouping them with similar peers is important to both their academic and social success. Now, there may be evidence suggesting that exposure to diversity is good for other reasons (and important for real-world life), but I don't think that should be the primary driver of education in SPS. If it were, we'd need to ensure that all our kids have the right mix of all types of students. You can't really argue that academic outcomes are the most important ones for typical students, but that diversity-exposure is the key point of school for HC students.

details, details
Anonymous said…
Very crafty, or perhaps not,
“Segregation is keeping kids out of schools”

No, segregation is separating them, here’s the definition of segregate:
“set apart from the rest or from each other; isolate or divide.“

That’s what we’re talking about. Isolation. Right Details, segregation in its many forms may benefit some privileged students in the short run. But it always has a devastating impact on those at the bottom of the social pile: black students, students with disabilities, English language learners, immigrants, poor students, etc. In the long run, we all benefit from inclusion and desegregation. If you can admit that inclusion is an advantage for the real world then you should embrace it. The primary of education is to create productive citizens, not ace some Anglo normed test, which is what I believe is the “evidence” Details is talking about. So typical of HCC parents to ignore the deep impacts of segregation and isolation that their program leaves behind. Even in Details most draconian scenario, the “bottom” of the test score heap is improved by desegregation. If so, that is right in line with accomplishing the primary goal for the district as described in their own Strategic Plan - relief for those furthest from educational justice. That’s the goal in SPS in case you’ve forgotten. It isn’t comforting the comforted. Since the district is willing to put significant bucks behind this desegregated learning environment that has a great track record and inspiring leader, you might consider embracing it. HCC as a rarified educational model has loved itself to death. It’s plain to see isn’t it? PBL is always a challenging concept for those who believe themselves gifted. They need to get out and do gifted work every single day instead of resting on their laurels with highly prescribed “lessons”. Again, in the real world, that is the skill set we need from everyone. I actually think you can do advanced work no matter who you’re sitting next to.

Delete Me2
Anonymous said…
Delete Me2: We segregate kids by performance all the time in school (and in life). The school play only takes the best actors and actresses. The baseball team cuts the kids that aren't as good as the others. The best players in the band get to do the solos. Do really believe the school band performance would be better if every kid did a solo? Life doesn't work that way. Why shouldn't we do the same thing with academics?

Boxer: Do you really think that charters exist to take away our "community control" of schools? Every parent I know that supports charters is looking to increase their control of their kids' education because they view SPS leadership as out of control. I think you've got it completely backwards.

Fed Up
Anonymous said…
Well Fed Up, if you want a private school where you get the “cohort” you want, you pay for it. Over here in public school, it isn’t going to be designed to maximize you or anyone else. Life does work that way.

Delete Me2

btw. RBHS couldn’t even afford a baseball team until a few years ago. So no worries of getting cut there. Your privilege is shining through.
Anonymous said…
That's because RBHS is and has been less than a third of the size of the high schools where most SPS students go to high school. No other school would be able to afford a baseball team with 650-700 students. It's more remarkable that a school that size can now than that it could not a few years ago.

I have not found PBL to be a particularly effective pedagogy for any of my kids. It just masks the lack of direct instruction they are getting on academic concepts, and whoever the best students are (not usually my students) do the work. So I wouldn't my kid going yo TAF, gifted or not, nevermind that we already overrepresented STEM in our school. What are those people supposed to do? This really sounds like an option school.

Anonymous said…
@ Delete Me2, you really demonstrate no understanding of academically gifted students and their needs. Education, for these students, is not about "acing" some "Anglo normed tests"--it's about not feeling socially isolated, not dropping out, not going to school with stomach pains every day because you hate school so much, not being bullied for knowing too much, not being targeted by teachers for sometimes asking questions that expose you know more than they do on a topic, etc. It's about having a chance to learn--in class--and not be ostracized for it. It's about reducing the very real risk of underachievement, acknowledging that no, they just might not "be fine in the end" without addressing their unique needs now. The scholarly research suggests these students have unique needs--not to outscore others, but you know, to succeed in life.

Yes, I admitted that inclusion has a real value in the world. However, inclusion can mean many things. "Inclusion" for a gifted student may mean having the opportunity to be with other similar students, instead of being excluded by same-grade peers in a regular classroom. The sense of isolation that many gifted students have in regular classrooms is commonly reported, and clearly does not represent inclusion. Inclusion should allow students to be accepted, to stretch, to understand their contribution, and to learn to relate to other students. For some HC students, a general eduction will not do that--because they are excluded, isolated, misunderstood. I'm not making this up, you know.

We adults do this in the real world, too. We know and interact with many different people, yet when it comes to our close friendships we usually pick people with whom we have things in common: similar intellectual pursuits, hobbies, religions, etc. The difference is that, as adults, we already have our sense of self and self-worth, AND we have the means to select our friends, associates, etc. ourselves. We have a lot of opportunities to explore and meet individuals we like and can relate to. Kids, however, often don't have the same benefits. School may be their social world. If the kids in your class make fun of you, and the teacher ignores you, then what? I'm not sure that teaches the "inclusion" lessons you think it should.

details, details
Anonymous said…
@DeleteMe2, I'm assuming you're with Equity in HCC/Thurgood Marshall, so you need to be aware there's a huge blind spot between your stated beliefs and your actions.

I'm Hispanic with children in the highly capable program, and I spoke to one of your white prominent members about the need for HCC. I wasn't rude in any way, but this person completely shut down. She was so upset about my message that she wouldn't even look at me while I was speaking.

My takeaway from that encounter and the overriding tone of the group is that they only want racial diversity if that person completely agrees with their position.

So while you promote the value of diverse groups of students working together (I completely agree), the adults in the room need to model listening to and understanding different perspectives.

I'm not an optic hand puppet for someone else's message.

Independent Thinker

Anonymous said…
@ Delete Me2,

Also, the idea that isolated, ostracized gifted students who are out-of-sync with their age-based GE peers experience a "comfortable" school experience, such that serving them appropriately would be "comforting the comforted," similarly shows your lack of understanding on this issue.

details, details

Anonymous said…
Non disabled black students compared to all disabled students are not by any measurable way disfranchised in SPS. Could you imagine what could happen if the districts top priority was to close the gap for disabled students? Data Data Data

--March on

Anonymous said…
Remember Ebonics?, I think we are not far from some group elevating such total nonsense back into the public school debate. Oh wait they did, it's called "equity".

The problem with the "equity" crowd is there is no data supporting the proponents idea in schools. There are plenty of groups out there willing to take money for "equity" training. I heard they also have magic beans!

Just give kids strong curriculum that focuses on reading, writing and arthritic and leave the social engineering out, that's what works.

kellie said…
Delete me has a point about increasing segregation in the US. A major oversight in the Brown vs Board of Education decision was that de-segregation efforts were on a district by district basis. Which led to "white flight" as folks simply moved districts and more homogenous districts were created.

But Delete me's notion that somehow cohorting students and privilege are synonyms is just silly. And the notion that public dollars are not spent on cohorting is just not factually correct.

The segregation issue (at the national level) has been greatly intensified by charter schools and vouchers. Many people want their public dollars to be spent in order to provide a more cohorted experience that is provided by charters and private schools. Charters and private schools definitely work on a model of greater efficiency via less extremes in diversity.

The net-net of this is that public schools have a much greater burden in desegregation efforts when the public school population does not truly resemble local demographics, as folks leave for other options.

Seattle Public Schools serve slightly more than 70% of Seattle's school age children. That number is likely to decrease as charters multiply. IMHO, the effects of declining participation in public schools has the greatest impact on re-segregation.

Anonymous said…
If the ultimate goal is to provide AL services in neighborhood schools (no more HC pathways), won't disparities between schools only increase? And won't SPS also lose a capacity management tool (what HCC seems to have been these last few years)?

Remember the backlash when the proposal was to place HCC at Eckstein, even though a majority of the to-be-moved HC students lived in the Eckstein draw area? If HC pathway schools are offering less and less in the way of academic advancement, it seems more families will remain at their neighborhood school (or leave SPS), which makes the cohort model less and less viable. Students at schools such as HIMS and Eckstein (and Ballard and Roosevelt...) may have an academic cohort, nonetheless, while outliers at lower performing schools could potentially have fewer AL opportunities (you need a critical mass of students working at an advanced math level to offer an accelerated math pathway, for example). Is this really the plan?

Anonymous said…
Public schools need to serve the children at their assigned neighborhood schools. If the racial make-up is mostly black then so be it, the same if the student population is white or Asian or Latino. The fact is people buy homes in areas that they can afford and feel comfortable even if they don't speak to the neighbors.

Stop social engineering and LETS GET BACK TO LEARNING...where did I hear that before? @ BURKE 2015

Schools can't fix societies problems or be the parents.

Anonymous said…
I agree with kellie--"the effects of declining participation in public schools has the greatest impact on re-segregation." I also believe that as SPS moves toward providing fewer and fewer services for HC students, declining participation is likely. A family with high achieving or highly capable students would be much better off buying or renting a home in a neighboring district. If SPS is content to focus on those at or below grade level, that is increasingly who the district will draw.

I'm not sure I agree with all of you but
1) generations of redlining are just as much a reason for segregation,
2) I don't think it's wrong or bad to focus on students who struggle. But the district has a responsibility to serve ALL kids and no one gets to say "those kids will always be okay." Every child enrolled has a right to an education especially one mandated by federal and state law.
Anonymous said…
We are seriously looking at Blanchet high school or Kings school for high school. Public schools are out of control with activism resulting in mediocre academics. The stories I hear from kids being coerced to conform via HIB is outrageous. I really can't believe parents are ok with what's going on.

Running start will be another good choice for 11th and 12th grade. Kings look like a better location because it's not located is a bad traffic area.

Kate Hammer
Anonymous said…
I don't think it will be charters that drive mass flight from SPS, though I do think people here are too quick to dismiss the implications of imposing a nonprofit-run program like TAF on a neighborhood school without bottom-up leadership from the community.

Instead you'll see a mix of people going private as well as trying to get kids into other nearby districts. Shoreline is full but for how long? That's long been an escape valve. Northshore, Bellevue, Mercer Island, maybe even Renton might all decide to supplement their enrollment numbers by opening their doors to Seattle kids.

Advocates of drop-ceiling equity seem convinced that giving everyone the same low-quality education is how we achieve racial justice and end segregation. By ignoring the quality of instruction, the drop-ceiling equity crowd is going to destroy everything they profess to believe in.

Anonymous said…
@Melissa -Yes, there were indeed generations of housing discrimination of blacks & I would argue that this continues in some form currently. We are never far from our past which is why it is so important to learn as much as we can about history from multiple voices.

There were also other groups such as Asians, Jews and Southern Italians that also fell below the hierarchy of N European wealthier whites and were discriminated in housing as well.

However, also in some cases communities have also self segregated for cultural, linguistic and other reasons so this is can be complex.

Current ideas about race were also quite different years ago. One example, Jews which we think of as a religion, were also defined as non-white. To be considered “White” in the era prior to WWII did not have the same criteria that defines “White” in the 21st century. It was a nativistic identification that was contrived to create a hierarchy placing N. Europeans at the top, also above others considered white today.

Advocates of drop-ceiling equity seem convinced that giving everyone the same low-quality education is how we achieve racial justice and end segregation. By ignoring the quality of instruction, the drop-ceiling equity crowd is going to destroy everything they profess to believe in."

Whoa! Who said the quality would be "low?" I don't think that will be the case BUT teachers need supports to make sure that they are not teaching only at the level of those who struggle. If teachers don't have PD in differentiation and smaller class sizes, then you will see a lowering - not of standards - but of level of the student.
Anonymous said…
MW has trashed the South Shore funding model and Charter Schools for years.

Does Trish give you some very needed street cred because she's the real deal?

She plays you like...

A fiddle
Anonymous said…
Kellie, you don’t know much if you think cohorting students by “ability” isn’t really cohorting them by economic privilege and advantage, which is highly correlated to race. And it is equally ignorant not to recognize that a “high cohort”, which theoretically might be ok, necessarily results in a marginalized cohort which has been repeatedly shown to have devastating impacts everywhere. This is also a national issue, not just a weird Seattle-nice peculiarity or weird equity focus. NYC is grappling with this exact issue at its numerous test-in schools. Stuyvesant accepted 7 black students this year, similar to the other gifted magnates. 7. The enormous segregation created by this process has the mayor Bill de Blasio calling for dismantling the testing system. NYC with its legislated mandate for this gifted segregation model, is now the most segregated city educationally in the country. Google it. The other real myth is that segregation benefits gifted students. Our gifted program, as well as others nationally, aren’t producing students who outperform those with similar profiles who remain uncohorted. So, the only argument left for retaining segregation is the real doozy, cohort for social reasons. Eg. Don’t sit with anybody different because it makes you uncomfortable. Sorry. That is not an entitlement for anyone. Sure, all students deserve bullying free environments. But nothing creates bullying like the artificial Have-HaveNot schools. It’s also absurd to think that “out of synch” or “not fitting in” is something only applicable to gifted students or some sort of measurable feature attached to an entitlement. It isn’t. If a student has a clinically significant social need impacting their education, then they will qualify for an IEP. Only in that case is there a mandate for special social considerations.


ps. Independent Thinker, I know nothing about any group at TM and you are wrong in your assumptions. People opposing segregation aren’t all the same 1 person you met before.

Anonymous said…
And seriously? Equating TAF to teaching Ebonics? That’ says plenty about racism in this crowd. 2cents, clearly we need a lot more than the 3Rs, like a little critical thinking for starters. Just why is everyone so afraid of equity? Is your thing really so great now?

Delete Me2
A fiddle, I happen to be colleague friends with Dziko and have been for years. She's not like that.

DeleteMe2, you remind me that I must put up the district's definition of equity. Then we can all get on the same page on what they mean. How we get there is another thing.

But this HCC and PTA fundraising as the be all and end all to the problems in this district is nothing but a red herring.

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