Change at Washington Middle School Moving Along

But it begs the question - what about input from Washington Middle School parents and community?

Here's the email I sent to Tim Robinson who is my contact for SPS Communications.  I did cc the email to the Board in case they hadn't heard about this.
Hi Tim,

I have seen credible emails saying that Washington Middle Schools teachers are to take a vote on Monday about WMS changing to the STEM by TAF model.
I'm somewhat confused because I thought this was just a JSCEE decision.

Are the teachers voting because of something in their teaching contract?

Is STEM by TAF to be a Creative Approach school? Because that method requires a vote of 80% of the current teachers.

But I'm confused because being a Creative Approach school requires, among other things:

Creative Approach Design
  • Initiated as a grass roots effort with participation of staff, family, and community
  • Rationale, research and data provided in support of the design plan
  • Articulated, defensible program/school design
  • Identifies how the plan is intended to raise student achievement overall and close the achievement gap
  • Identifies program evaluation criteria and how long it will take to demonstrate effectiveness of plan, including success benchmarks over time (e.g. student achievement, enrollment, etc.)
To the best of my knowledge, this is not a grassroots effort that included family and community.

  • Broad participation of family and community members in developing the design
  • Collaborate with staff to determine how staff, families and community members will participate in the design of the program and the monitoring of its success
  • Collaborate with staff to identify the leadership and governance structure for the school
Again, no participation by family and community in developing this approach.

Will TAF be allowing parents on the hiring team for a principal?

  • Super-majority of the SEA-represented staff, who work in the building at least 2 days per week, along with the principal assigned to the building, agrees to the plan (Super-majority is defined by at least 80%)
  • Collaborate with families and the community to determine how staff, families and community members will participate in the design of the program and the monitoring of its success
  • Collaborate with families and the community to identify the leadership and governance structure for the school
  • All SEA-represented staff, who work in the building at least 2 days per week, must sign a Creative Approach Plan “Commitment Contract” that is specific to the school and states “any and all staff that agree to the assignment of said Creative Approach School, must adhere to the Creative Approach School plan and philosophy”
  • Democratic process is used by staff in decision-making
  • Voluntary participation by staff; follow displacement procedures outlined in the Collective Bargaining Agreement during the spring staffing prior to implementation of Creative Approach plan and also allow for voluntary opt out at end of first year
  • No forced placement of displaced staff.
Families should be collaborating in the design.

  • Schools required to maintain current status under SPS School Assignment Plan
  • Accountable for teaching district, state, and federal standards
  • Accountable for use of district’s staff evaluation tools
  • Accountable for giving state and federal assessments
  • Plan must be cost-neutral to district or sustainable external funding identified
  • Budgetary freedom in school-identified areas, assuming compliance within all state and federal requirements
  • District commitment that school principal will not change for 3 years, assuming acceptable performance of the principal
  • District commits to a minimum of 3 years for school to demonstrate effectiveness of plan, assuming annual benchmarks are met
  • Develop a Joint District/SEA Recommendation and Oversight committee for the initial recommendation of the Creative Approach School plan and to monitor and evaluate implementation of the approved plan.
  • The Joint District/SEA Recommendation and Oversight committee, consisting of an equal number of SEA and SPS members, with no fewer than 3 members per organization, makes its recommendation for approval of Creative Approach Plan applications, then submits them to the Superintendent and SEA Board for final approval.
  • Creative Approach schools make an annual report to the School Board regarding implementation and benchmark attainment.
Any clarity you could bring to this issue would be helpful.

As well, there is the issue of how the HCC cohort would be served as I know TAF doesn't support separate classes. I know the district's AL Taskforce is working on this but wouldn't that work need to finish in order to know what happens to the HCC cohort?

Thank you,
Melissa Westbrook
Seattle Schools Community Forum blog


Anonymous said…
At curriculum night last night some WMS teachers told parents that this vote is being delayed. (Apparently they hadn't been informed that they were expected to vote next Monday before it was announced to the school board at this Wednesday's work session.) The WMS teachers have asked for more information and more time. Certainly the parent community would like a chance to ask questions and learn more about this proposal as well, but the family engagement session scheduled for this weekend was cancelled (and I think the previous one was cancelled as well). I have heard that there will be a TAF presentation for families on October 19 but haven't seen that officially confirmed.

I have heard great things about TAF and think it could be wonderful. However, I'm concerned that SPS's business-as-usual (including lack of communication &/or lack of transparency) makes parents and staff alike understandably nervous.

I appreciate you asking these questions, Melissa.

WMS Parent
NSP said…
The Board was told that TAF would be adopted as a Creative Approach School and therefore needs 80% of staff to sign on at the vote. If they don't meet that, they'll come back with other options.
NSP, yes, that's in my thread but to be a Creative Approach school, there are at least 3 citations about family engagement/involvement.
Anonymous said…
Underhanded with no engagement trying to sneak it through with the dismantling of the HCC. Maybe even the impetus to dismantle the HCC so that would not be an ISSUE. this is all about Juneau's resume.

Why does it have to be WMS? There aren't more appropriate placements? TAF is worth looking into. TAF at WMS is idiotic.

Reminder Juneau let hurricane Emily storm through that school ALL last year. JUNEAU liked it so much she unleashed her on LS.


I think it should have been Aki Kurose or Mercer.
Anonymous said…
Of course and why wasn't/isn't it. Before the answer should it be at Washington they need to answer should it be at the more appropriate schools. if you're only going to have one halfway school in the south central area Washington is perhaps the best option.

Juneau is proving to be a devisive and dismissive authoritarian. She is Nyland 2.0. Hurricane Emily was a disaster. But she was the type of disaster that didn't bother her. I imagine if you could see into her email it would be pretty clear that WMS TAF was designed to dismantle the HCC there.

The board really needs to exert oversight and take control of this process.


Anonymous said…
Halfway = HCC auto corrected
Watching said…
Re: Washington Middle School

Latest documents state:

1. Washington would CONTINUE as the HC pathway middle school for South and Central Seattle. •

2. Washington will no longer serve students in a “cohort” model. The SATP will need to be updated.

3. SATP updated to indicate that Washington Middle School will NO LONGER serve students in a pathway. “Students entering 6th grade from a K-5 school will generally receive an initial assignment to their attendance area middle school, except: Highly Capable Cohort (HCC): Students enrolled as HCC receive an initial assignment to their HCC pathway middle school based on where they live. If they apply for their attendance area middle school during Open Enrollment through May 31, they will be assigned to that school (unless they apply for and are assigned to a higher ranked choice). “ –page 4

Essentially, the same document states that Washington will and will not serve as an advanced learning pathway.

Families attended Washington because the district promised a program. It would not be right for the district to bait and switch.
Robert said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said…
Didn't Trish Dziko say the HCC model is not compatible with the TAF model? If so, how will that be reconciled at WMS?
Don't creative approach schools require parent buy-in too?
Do WMS families get a vote in this?
What's the difference between WMS becoming a TAF school vs. a charter school?
The 80% sounds like a charter school conversion.
Who initiated this?

SPS Amok
Anonymous said…
Why does everything need to devolve into "how will this affect my HC kid"?

The navel gazing on this blog continues to be a snapshot into a parent group desperate to hold onto an HC service that has simply not delivered good results.

Doesn't fly
Anonymous said…
How can it be a Creative Approach school when it is very clearly not a grassroots effort?
Anonymous said…
Because Juneau is slimy. If she cared about WMS she would have replaced hurricane Emily. She only hears about a resume.

More than 50% of the students at WMS are in the cohort. This is a HCC issue. Geez.

Killer slugs
Contactual Issues said…
TAF should NEVER have the opportunity to purchase Washington Middle School- ever. Charter school law may contain language that charter schools (private schools) have right of first refusal.
Contractual Issues said…
Without parental involvement, this does sound like a trigger that is used for charter schools.
Anonymous said…
This stinks as a massive Trojan horse, being ridden for political purposes. Much like the Berge budget, that deeply shorted Garfield High School - that wasn’t a budget document, that was a political document- this TAF pushed into WMS is an educational thrust, it’s a political thrust. Designed specifically to take down WMS. Why Ms Dziko is allowing herself to be played and her brand to be tarnished, I will never know. Clearly, when Juneau realized she couldn’t just edict her way down on WMS, the staff pushed the idea of the top-down forced adoption under the guise of “creative approach”. More see-through than a house of glass. Teachers have to see they’re being used in this transaction.
Reposting my comment-
6/22/19, 9:16 PM
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 it 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 educator 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.

Anonymous said…
@Doesn't Fly, before you jump to assumptions, I don't have a kid at WMS. But I do have alot of questions about current decision-making in SPS that goes way beyond HCC.
Why put new a program in a school that's incompatible with a longstanding existing program in that school?
Why reward an incompetent principal (Ginolfi) who damaged one school by putting her in charge of another (Licton Springs)?
Why cut teachers when enrollment's growing?
Why adopt an expensive controversial science curriculum that's apparently garbage?
What's happening with nutrition services, and the Source?

Why is the board allowing all this havoc to go on?
Who is running this circus?

SPS Amok
Anonymous said…
@Doesn't Fly, I don't have a kid at WMS either, but I am taxpayer and I do care deeply about educating all types of students in SPS. I share the concerns others have voiced about TAF at WMS. After all, it's not like the district hasn't made its share of extremely poor decisions in the past.

If Trish Dziko has said the HCC model is not compatible with the TAF model, this the #1 thing that needs to be resolved--not because I have an HCC kid there, or a non-HCC kid there, but because it just doesn't make any logical sense. If the models are not compatible, you shouldn't put them both there. HCC is already there. If HCC is staying, TAF shouldn't come. If TAF is coming, HCC should leave. If the former, is there a better spot for TAF? If the latter, would HCC move, or be dismantled?

These are pretty basic questions, and the district has no business moving forward until they have the answers. And if they have the answers--or think they do--they still have no business moving forward until they've been transparent so that parents can make decisions accordingly.

By the way, where's the Racial Equity Analysis on this? The REA Tool requires a lot of engagement of impacted communities, doesn't it? Hmmm.

All types

Anonymous said…
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Anonymous said…
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Anonymous said…
Give it a rest means... You are right. I am wrong.

Aki or Mercer should be given a chance for TAF. This is just resume fodder for Juneau.

Anonymous said…
Ha! You condemn me and then state your opinion as categorical fact.

Par for the course.

Wake up
Anonymous said…
Amen, Wake Up!

A bunch of HCC mother hens oh so worried about who their kid sits next to. Again... and again... and again. It will be fine. Really it will. And how racist. Dziko is being played. Really? An innovative educator who can provide inclusive advanced learning. Ohhhh, she must have been tricked into it. (Is she just not smart like all types?). HCC still gets its beloved pathway, it’s beloved cohort, it’s “affinity”, and advanced learning. The big, mean principal was vanquished and put to pasture at an all but defunct school. The beyond smart, won’t have to put up with a universally hated, third rate computer program masquerading as science. HCC at WMS will get real science, with experiments and community engagement. The one horrible flaw? Fatal? The other kids will also get something better than Amplify. No, no, we can’t have that. There’s more. The kids in HCC might sit next to a Pok√©mon aficionado. Or worse, have to think independently next someone else also thinking independently. Oh the

Travesty, how is it racist to question if Dziko is being played? (For the record, I don't think so. She's way too bright and experienced for that.)

Also, just to note - it is "its", not "it's" the way you are using it.

You are a little close to getting deleted. Be careful how you talk about children.

But by all means, keep throwing in that red herring of HCC when this post was about whether the new program at WMS is a Creative Approach school and, if it is, how come it isn't following the district guidelines for other Creative Approach schools?
Anonymous said…
Travesty -- all you're doing is revealing your own seething resentment, ignorance and obsession with HC kids & parents. Pretty pathetic. Shades of

Anonymous said…
"The other kids will also get something better than Amplify. " Why just one school? Can all middle schools sign up for this?
Unknown said…
Hi Melissa and All,

Why can't HCC and TAF coexist at WMS? Isn't it a good sized campus with extra land for portables should they need it?

TAF started down the hill from WMS, so that area is every bit as rich in connections for the organization as White Center.

They were located at Totem MS before they moved to Saghalie MS's campus, so they've also been a parallel school. Dziko knows how to run a start up educational venture.

I'd be more concerned about the HCC families colonizing TAF than any harm being done to the gentry's children.

Anonymous said…
@SP, I didn’t get the impression SPS was talking about TAF and HCC “coexisting” at WMS. As you know, the HCC model for middle school is that students in HCC take a couple HCC-specific classes, then the rest are with their GE peers. If Trish Dziko said TAF is incompatible with HCC, I assume she was partly thinking about it from the standpoint of whether they could incorporate HCC students into TAF classes in those non-HCC periods, and determining that it would not work well. I suppose the alternative is they they were two completely separate programs—one TAF only and one HCC only—but the district does not seem to like HCC-only programs, and it would likely be more costly to effectively break the school down into two separate schools. But if for some reason the district did decide to make them two separate schools there, it’s important to recognize that does change the HCC services there.

As to your last extremely racist and classist paragraph (which is completely uncalled for when you’re talking about parents simply wanting to get classes at their child’s academic level and in accordance with how THE DISTRICT decided to provide for such needs), there’s no reason the district couldn’t limit admission to TAF to those within the neighborhood assignment area, with the HCC side only open to those HC-eligible. If more explicit divisions are the goal, that could be the way to do it.

All types

Side note to @ Travesty? I was giving Trish Dziko credit, not implying she was not smart. Not sure where you got that. It was someone else who talked about “getting played.” But frankly, many smart people have gotten played by SPS. Many also have no clue as to Dziko’s race.
Anonymous said…
If it were any school but WMS, there would be cartwheels down the hall, uncork the champagne. Minority leader at a minority school. Apple pie, right? But if it’s at WMS, it’s all frownie face. Thousands of posts. “Dziko is being played. Doesn’t she know this is HCC? She should stay where she belongs. We need our segregation, at least at WMS.!!!#%*!!!” (Evidently MW needs the the racism delineated with a highlighter.) Of course everyone wants real science for their kids, but to be subjected to desegregation to get it? Oh the


PS. The only reason this is a post at all, is because it’s about the beloved cohort.
Seriously said…
Similar to others, Travesty must hate students. They don't care about the constant disruption in student's educational lives.

The district, in their infinite wisdom, will be causing major upheaval within the entire system. Try going to the SE boundary meetings.
Anonymous said…
"Similar to others, Travesty must hate students."

This Trump comment should be deleted. Someone disagrees with you? Describe them in despicable terms.

Try arguing on the merits of the argument next time.

"Why can't HCC and TAF coexist at WMS? Isn't it a good sized campus with extra land for portables should they need it"
TAF has made it clear they do not co-share and their model does not work for program with separate classes as is the HCC model. There's the rub. It's not on the table for them to co-exist.

"Colonizing?" That's an unpleasant word to use.

Science Teacher, well, the thought might be to try STEM by TAF's model at one school and maybe export it to other schools. Problem is, we've already spent the money for Amplify. But you do raise an interesting question - will TAF use Amplify?

Travesty, I did not write this post because of HCC. I wrote it because Seattle Schools may be using their own program description - Creative Approach - for a new program for an entire school without adhering to the CA guidelines. THAT's why I wrote this.

Whoa, I'm missing something - how is that comment a Trump comment?

kellie said…
There is a lot to unpack in this process. This falls under what Charlie called "a culture of lawlessness."

Because of local control, school districts have a tremendous amount of autonomy in how the district delivers services. Because the district has so much autonomy, there is a requirement for "an elected board" to ensure that taxpayer dollars are being overseen.

There is a lot of variation in school board culture, district to district. But all school boards have a small handful of tasks that can ONLY be done by the elected officials. At the top of that list is approving the budget and approving the Student Assignment Plan.

In its simplest form, the Student Assignment Plan details how the taxpayer is able to access the services paid by their tax dollars. As such, changes to assignment can ONLY be made by the school board. Period. There is no way around this.

SPS has been in conversations with TAF for some time now, mostly behind closed doors. The district has been behaving as if this is a done-deal and moving forward at pace, under the vast wiggle room of "service delivery."

My best guess here is that someone, (either on the board or in legal) realized that board approval is required to implement this change, because of impacts to the student assignment plan. And now the district is scrambling to get-this-done.

Using the creative approach is a pretty clever end-run to the process. There are clearly no elements of what was intended with creative approach. That said, if WMS teachers approved "creative approach" that circumvents a lot of public process, that frankly has just been overlooked.

Typically the SAP is approved in January. However, this is an election year, so I suspect that staff wants to get-this-done before there is a new board. Hence, the quick time line.
kellie said…

In a world where so many people claim to have the equity answer, Trish Dziko and TAF are the real deal. They have delivered real results not press releases. I think this is a great opportunity for SPS and I truly wish SPS had just followed the public process.

Once again, capacity management has trumped delivering a quality education. TAF is clearly quality.

That said, the placement at Washington was a not a result of a thoughtful assessment of student's needs. The proposed placement at Washington is because there is a lot of empty space at Washington.

As part of the adoption of the 2013 Growth Boundaries, SPS was "supposed to" revisit the middle school boundaries in 2016, before Meany and RESMS were opened, in 2017. SPS just decided that was too-much-trouble and skipped that part of the plan.

Because of this complete and total failure to review the middle school feeder patterns BEFORE opening two middle schools, we have serious capacity problems at middle school, where Mercer is bursting at the seems and Washington is practically empty. Likewise with Whitman and Hamilton/RESMS

The implementation of TAF should have been part of a comprehensive middle school feeder pattern process. IMHO, Aki is the best fit for TAF but ... Washington is a geographically isolated school, that will never fill from the attendance area.

IMHO, rather than do the long overdue boundary process, SPS is hoping that TAF at WMS will balance capacity in SE Seattle.

kellie said…
As to why all capacity management conversations quickly devolve in HCC conversations, this is because HCC is capacity management fodder.

Need to close schools, just split HCC. Need to open schools, just place HCC there. By and large, the HCC families are so desperate for the minimal services of a cohort, that they are willing to be moved around at random and organize the volunteer hours to start a new school.

To be clear, Sped programs are also capacity management fodder, but the numbers are small enough, it escapes notice regularly and most Sped parents just do not have the bandwidth to do all the extra work of opening schools.

The AL conversation is so emotionaly heated at the moment, that just mentioning HCC completely changes the conversation in a shouting match. And the shouting match manages to distract most people from the "culture of lawlessness" that got us here in the first place.

The bottom line. TAF is a good thing. The failure to engage the minimum of a public process is a bad thing. The shouting match is just a distraction.

Anonymous said…
“Most Sped parents just don’t have bandwidth to do all the extra work of opening schools.”

Wow. So it’s those really smart HCC parents who are doing all that extra work and opening all those schools? And leave it to the resident know it all to judge other people’s bandwidth, along with knowing about all best practices on all things educational. Where exactly was this vast expertise acquired?

kellie said…
@ Inquiring,

You can interpret my comment that way. I was talking about the point of view of district administration. District administration has repeatedly and regularly commented about HCC volunteer hours as part of opening schools.
Alsept Teresa said…
“.. But you do raise an interesting question - will TAF use Amplify?”. If all other middle schools are ordered to do so- with our union backing up the district , then they should also be forced to teach it with fidelity
Alsept Teresa said…
So my question is if the union allows this to go through as a creative approach then they should allow other schools to break the rules - right?
Teresa, it would certainly open the door.
Anonymous said…
Geez, it seems like a few people just lurk here waiting to tear into HCC at any opportunity. Even the most innocent remarks are taken out of context, misconstrued, or twisted to make nasty insinuations and false accusations against families who enroll their students in a program that purports to 'provide classes at their child’s academic level and in accordance with how THE DISTRICT decided to identify and provide for such needs' (paraphrasing an earlier poster). There's a hell of a lot of projection going on from these commenters but very little understanding of the real motivations of families who avail themselves of this option. I swear you guys are more obsessed with HCC than any families with HCC students are lol.

Longtime lurker

Watching. said…
Melissa outlined the procedure to become a Creative Approach School. The procedure requires community involvement.

If the district fails to involve the community, we are essentially looking at a relatively few individual i.e teachers at WMS turning part of a public school over to a private entity. This can not happen.

The vote must be stopped. SEA plays a role in stopping the vote.

Watching, it would be interesting to know SEA's take. I find it hard to get information from them but someone else could ask.
kellie said…
Being a "creative approach" school would circumvent the requirement to use district curriculum, including Amplify.

It is a very tidy work-around to a whole bunch of technical and logistical challenges to placing TAF and WMS. Despite the simple fact that, in no way, does this process even resemble the process intended for a creative approach school.

There is a good reason to do public process. When you actually involve the community and let people ask questions, you have an opportunity to solve problems and create buy in.

Anonymous said…
People keep talking about how great TAF is. It sounds cool, and I believe people that Trish may be wonderful, smart, and dedicated, but the results I've seen don't look all that impressive. The percentages of students meeting state standards are pretty low:

They also seem to suffer from the same outcomes disparities as SPS (e.g., by race, income, ELL, SpEd)

What am I missing? What makes it so great? Is it great for non-academic reasons instead?

Inquiring, I think Kellie meant that Sped parents have their hands full trying to get services for their child. She did not mean to say they are not intelligent.

Here's an idea - add to the conversation.

Also, see this statement from Unknown:
"I'd be more concerned about the HCC families colonizing TAF than any harm being done to the gentry's children."

I said this:
"Colonizing?" That's an unpleasant word to use."

Meaning, in that context, that's an unpleasant word. Not that I didn't know its meaning and usage today.

I cannot tell you how truly frustrating it is when people do not read for content, who skim and then complain that people here are being unfair and yes, racist.

Say that AFTER you have actually read and not cherry-picked to suit your view of this blog.
Re. Gentry said…
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Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Hey Kids, it's okay to talk about politics but not on this thread. Please try again on the Friday Open Thread - this thread is about WMS.
kellie said…
I clearly presumed way too much background information in my comments about "capacity management ballast." So here goes.

The conversations that brought us our current attendance area assignment plan, were held in parallel with conversations about school closures and the racial tie breaker lawsuit that went all the way to the Supreme Court.

The plan was to move away from the 100% choice system and draw school boundaries. Everyone was very clear that the boundaries would not be very accurate. Seattle was swiftly changing and if the plan did work, enrollment would increase. The "intention" was that boundaries would be reviewed district-wide every five years. Three years into the NSAP, it was clear that major boundary shifts were needed. However, the board treated the 5 year intention like a "promise" and pushed out the review a year so that new boundaries would be implemented in 2013, thereby keeping the promise.

This intention so well known that it "went without saying" and was never included in the NSAP documentation. It was also never included in the 2013 Boundary Plan, which include boundary review instruction, but not a timeline. This was a major oversight.

As time moved forward, most of the staff and all of the board members involved in this process moved on. School districts in general detest boundary changes. They are very public and always contentious.

So fast forward today. It is has been 7 years since any boundary review, despite obvious and glaring capacity challenges. So what can a school district do, if they boundaries review adverse - program placement.

kellie said…
"Program Placement" has been the preferred capacity management tool, because program placement can usually be done by staff without any public or board oversight. Which brings us to the current situation at WMS.

Using program placement as capacity management is a technical abuse of the program placement process. What happened with the closure of Middle College in West Seattle is a perfect example of this abuse of power. A "school" was closed without any board oversight, because staff was able to claim this school was a "program." As such, there was nothing either the public or the board could do.

The distinction between "program placement" and "capacity management" is not black and white. There is a lot of "grey area." That said, Staff has been using the "program placement as capacity management process" for so long, they forget that there are some places that are truly distinct. The placement of TAF is a distinct case that requires board oversight.

Hence my comments about capacity management ballast. If you need to make small capacity changes, SPS moves sped programs on a whim. If you need to make big changes, SPS moves HCC. And viola ... you have avoided the need for a boundary review and a public conversation.

To be very clear, this is a hideous plan. It puts a huge undue burden sped families, that can be moved at any moment without any visibility.

And this is why so many conversations devolve into an AL conversation and an HCC screaming match. As long as AL is the capacity tool of choice, all conversations about capacity, become AL conversations and vice versa.

Anonymous said…
No it isn’t. Are you a mind reader, in addition to being a genius of capacity, and an education service delivery maven? What special psychological expertise do you have to both judge the “bandwidth “ of others and to devine their motivation? Sped programs and kids get placed willy nilly now and since they were started. At literally any moment. Not 100s of comments unless it’s at somewhere important like an HCC school or another wealthy HCCish school like Laurelhurst or McGilvera.Then there’s a flood of nonstop comments. SEL a problem, or camp canceled for the best and brightest at Laurelhurst or McGilvra? A million comments. The best and brightest threatened by TAF or any disruption in an exclusive service delivery model? Mabel, phone the neighbors! The sky is falling. It seems pretty clear that the source of the comments has nothing to do with capacity. HCC has happily been placed anywhere for as long as anyone can remember. It has everything to do with the service delivery model. Eg. Segregation or bust. This TAF thing is a Faustian bargain. HCC gets a great program and to keep the cohort, the district and others get desegregation which it has wanted for a very long time. And a positive media impact for all.


PS. The board oversight avoidance is completely overblown. A nothing burger. Call TAF a service, wave your hands. Boom done. No need to consult the board at all. That’s basically what Amplify already did.
Inquiring, I find your tone unnecessary;check it or your comment will be deleted.

For the record, I agree that Sped program placement has always been an issue.

There on many issue about TAF at WMS so to say it's just about HCC is wrong. But you are welcome to focus on that. If TAF at WMS comes to pass, HCC will NOT be separate. I can almost guarantee that.

HCC has happily been placed anywhere for as long as anyone can remember."

Totally wrong. Kellie has said it and so have I; the late Superintendent John Stanford saw the issues when HCC was at Madrona, He took it out and said HCC should not be co-housed with a Gen Ed program. They moved HCC to Thurgood Marshall and they have had problems.

Again, wrong on Amplify. The Board votes on curriculum.
174/223 said…
According to the principal, last year 174 students of color at WMS were receiving AL services and 223 students of color at WMS were not receiving AL services. That is not segregation.
kellie said…
@ Inquiring,

You are of course free to interpret my comments any way you choose. I have clarified that my comment about bandwidth referred to the aggregate numbers involved in the program placement process and not to any individual.

And, of course, I am not a mind reader. My comments are related to this thread about the teacher vote to make WMS a creative approach school. My best guess is that the rush on the vote is driven by the timeline to approve the Student Assignment Plan before the new board is elected. My guess is based on the fact that the information was included in a presentation on the Student Assignment Plan and the board vote is currently scheduled for the last meeting of the current board.

This is my best guess and I could be wrong. Do you have any insight on why there is this sudden rush-rush for the teachers to vote on the adoption the creative approach model without any public meetings?? Some on this thread have postulated a charter take-over.

As to this comment Call TAF a service, wave your hands. Boom done. No need to consult the board at all. I concur with this assessment and IMHO, that was "the plan." I strongly suspect that the plan ran into a technical roadblock of some sort and now requires board approval. Hence the rush.
kellie said…
@ Inquiring,

As to Amplify, that is a direct parallel to this situation.

Staff called Amplify a curriculum alignment, not an adoption. An alignment does not require board approval, so Amplify marched forward for years on curriculum waivers without any board oversight. Only when staff wanted funding to pay for Amplify did the process suddenly become an adoption, with a required board vote.

This happens all the time and it is mostly an innocent beuracratic process.
Anonymous said…
I don’t get why we’re assuming that TAF is a great program that will eliminate achievement gaps for African American male students. Test scores at TAF and WMS for these students are low. Ironically, WMS’s science scores are higher than TAF’s.

Madison Parent
Madison Parent, I think part of the picture is that TAF hiring many teachers of color. Their goal is to get more kids of color into STEM. They are good at family engagement. All things that contribute to a great school program.
Anonymous said…
I don't get the response here. Madison Parent is talking about low test scores an MW says something about teachers of color and parent involvement.

What about the low test scores at TAF?

Anonymous said…
While my student is now a freshman, I was never contacted in any way by SPS to gauge sentiment toward TAF being installed at my neighborhood school, WMS. Frankly I don't want it at all and hope the effort dies off. No I do not have an HCC kid.

Appearing on the Capitol Hill blog today, an article about our missing SPS Board director DeWolf:

Anonymous said…

I don't get this on many levels. First there are no roots to this grass root community. And how can there be it is all Superintendent Juneau weeds after hurricane Emily salted the earth. Second when has a group like TAF came in under the creative use plan? This sounds like a bastardization of a meaningful policy. Why would any do something so underhanded and not be above board and try to act ABOVE THE BOARD. Well because they don't have the votes. That is truly what this about. Finally, disbanding the HCS for the entire south and central Seattle should warrant some consideration and conversations for that group as many fit into that furthest from educational justice and racial equity lens group. TAF doesn't understand this. What is their stated philosophy on HC education? Do they have one? With no recommendations from the leaning anti-hcc ALTF especially on MTSS and differentiation what is how does the District tell the state that the commonly ride lined areas of Seattle now have zero of the services in 6-7-8 grades that those not in those areas have. They have to provide services and the Board should recognize that. HC pathway pinned to TAF is not best practices. (Nor is MTSS though).

Oh will this be an attendance area school? That is a big push. Is it comprehensive? Will there be a resource room for SpEd and how does the program serve all learners? And do they plan on continuing with music, World languages... Etc.

Welcome to Juneau's deli specializing in manure sandwiches - 50,000 served daily.

[0] Days without a travesty perpetrated on red lined Seattle by SPS.


Anonymous said…

Great to see DeWolf taking such a vocal stand and discussing this complicated issue with his community. Especially those he served so well during the hurricane Emily period.

When asked about his absence from meetings etc. “What this comes down to is who I serve: the students and the families in my district.” So he serves through his absence and by that metric he is serving them well. Just like he did when WMS was ravished by hurricane Emily.

Anonymous said…
Board Policy 2190 says that, among other things, "a self-contained cohort option is available in grades 1-8. " This is via HCC Pathways, and WMS is that HCC pathway for students in the south/central area.

How would TAF @ WMS comply with Board Policy 2190?

Additionally, 2190 also says the HCC pathways will include appropriate curriculum, appropriately differentiated instruction, deeper learning opportunities, and accelerated pacing.

Where is the review that shows that TAF would meet these criteria?

Where is the Racial Equity Analysis re: the possible impacts of TAF @WMS? [It should also be noted that the REA Tool requires a lot of engagement of impacted communities. That includes families at the school, whether GE or HCC.]

To note, most families with an HCC student at WMS opted into WMS explicitly for the HCC services as spelled out by SPS. TAF and HCC are not interchangeable--and according the the TAF Co-Founder/ED, they aren't even compatible. So how exactly is this supposed to work?

It is 100% reasonable for teachers, parents/guardians, administrators, board members, community members, and even students to have a lot of questions about how this would be implemented.

all types
Pink Elephant said…

Other than having a small amount of teachers vote on whether to bring-in TfA- or not...what is the plan? The board hasn't voted on ALTF recommendations.

Will WMS be considered a HCC pathway? Disbanding an entire south and central HC pathway is a serious issue.

DeWolf will attending community meetings with Harris and Burke until December. There are reasons why DeWolf's schools seem to be in a state of chaos.

Truly Advanced? said…

30% of TAF's students met math standards.

What I meant by talking about TAF having teachers of color and strong parent engagement is that a school is not its scores. I'll look into the scores but my understanding is that most of their 8th graders do graduate high school and go onto college.

FNH, thanks for that link. Pretty funny comments from DeWolf. I'll have to post a reply.
Anonymous said…
"30% of TAF's students met math standards." This sounds like the opposite type of program appropriate for HCC services. TAF should be an opt in lottery for all students in the area. It sounds like it is geared towards students of color specifically and that is who this program needs to recruit. HCC students are a different group with different needs.

It would be clearly inequitable to the kids if the district were only eliminating the cohort at Washington Middle School by imposing this program. My best guess is that this is part of a plan to eliminate it at all middle schools. Because many/most middle schools are also eliminating HCC for most classes except science. They won't engage the parents in change because they compose a minority of all students in Seattle Public Schools. A minority nobody else advocates for, some near hate, and have become a scapegoat for district inequity issues.

Equity Lens
Anonymous said…
@Melissa, While having teachers of color, strong parent engagement, and 8th graders who do graduate high school and go onto college are all great things--especially for a school/program that serves historically undeserved/underachieving students--
and while those things can certainly contribute to a great school or program, they do not guarantee it.

Giving TAF the benefit of the doubt, perhaps their test scores are reflective of a student population that enters with such extreme academic deficits, that, even after (hypothetically) making better-than-expected advances in student learning, most students are still testing below grade level. Relative to where students start, they might be doing great. However, even if this hypothetical truly is what's going on, I'm sure you can see why parents of HC students might not be convinced it's a good fit for their own advanced students.

I understand you know and respect the TAF ED, and that makes me a little less skeptical of TAF. (Yes, this is me being less skeptical. I know, I know...) However, concerns related to the academic appropriateness of TAF for HC students are legitimate, and it makes sense for this to be part of the conversation, too. It's not just about the district potentially breaking their own bureaucratic rules, but it's also about the fundamental appropriateness of instruction.

all types
Equity Lens, I am wondering if WMS will be the prototype for some kind of "Honors for All" middle school with no separate classes for HCC. And when it "works", they export it to all the middle schools.

Well, All Types, as we have all learned, there are NO guarantees in public education but I see your point.

Anonymous said…
Please no more well-meaning suggestions that TAF go to Mercer. Mercer is a very functional school with strong teachers, leadership, and students.

Actual Mercer Parent
Mercer, I'll just say that a few years ago, that was also a description for Washington Middle School.

But I think Aki Kurose would be the better choice.
Anonymous said…
Truly Advanced,

22% of the black students “met standards for math” at WMS. Meaning 78% failed. Did you you worry about that when you signed up for WMS? Reportedly, half of them are enrolled in HCC. That would mean that these HCC students are definitely not Truly Advanced and that HCC isn’t really working as measured by objective tests. 28% of students with disabilities met standard in math. Unbelievably, black students have worse academic outcomes at WMS than students with disabilities. Clearly the segregated educational arrangement at the school isn’t working for these students. These students are the sole focus of the strategic plan and clearly a big change is necessary. As to a nefarious TAF uber-alles plan, given that the district just spent a lot of social capital, not to mention $10m ramming Amplify down everyone’s throat, that won’t be the case. At least until everyone forgets about the $10M or it disappears like a pumpkin 10 years from now.

Anonymous said…
I've also been a WMS parent in the past 4 years, so I agree with you. But my point is, Mercer may not want or need this program. In fact, Aki may not want or need it either. Every kid and parent I know at Aki absolutely loves it. I guess that's the point of these changes being supposedly "required" to be initiated by the school community rather than forced by the district. Cheers!

Actual Mercer Parent
"Clearly the segregated educational arrangement at the school isn’t working for these students."

Correlation is not causation and I suspect the General Ed classes are more diverse than you might think.

Mercer Parent, I concur. No community wants to feel taken over. The district is, once again, shooting itself in the foot.
TEP said…
How is TAF going to hire more teachers of color than SPS does? Are they going to be exempted from the CBA? Don't teacher hires come from a pool of candidates?
Anonymous said…

What are you talking about? 22% of the black students“ met standards for math” at WMS. Meaning 78% failed. Did you you worry about that when you signed up for WMS?

I'm not going to double-check your numbers here, but if 78% of black students at WMS failed to score at or above standard (which, by the way, does not mean they "failed" overall), what does that have to do with signing up for HCC? If there is a large enough cohort of HCC students, there should be enough students for the school to offer appropriately advanced math classes for any students (HCC or non-HCC) who need them, while also offering grade-level math classes and providing more remedial support for those who are working below standard. I'm really not sure what you're trying to get at, but it sounds like you're conflating a few things.

Reportedly, half of them are enrolled in HCC. That would mean that these HCC students are definitely not Truly Advanced and that HCC isn’t really working as measured by objective tests.

You might check the most recent WMS school report card. It says 98% of "gifted" students (not my word, that's how it is listed on the report card) met or exceeded standard on the state math tests. 98% did so in ELA, too. These compare to district averages for "gifted" students of 96% for each category. In other words, "gifted" students are doing fine when it comes to meeting standard. This is not surprising given the eligibility criteria, and it doesn't mean they are necessarily doing well or learning much--but it certainly does not say that they aren't "truly advanced," since you can't tell that from state grade-level testing.

Yes, outcomes for many subgroups of students at WMS are very poor. You are right about that. You make a big leap, however, when you say that this is evidence that "Clearly the segregated educational arrangement at the school isn’t working for these students." Is this the only school in which outcomes demonstrate disparities by race, income, ELL, SpEd, FRL status? No. The outcomes disparities are not due to the fact that HCC is on site. In fact, HCC students are on site because they ALREADY DEMONSTRATED outcomes that disparate from their grade-level peers. That's the whole point of HCC--to provide appropriate services to students are academically and intellectually gifted.

Yes, given that "these students"--by which I think you mean African American male students, although the available data in the report card are for all black students and all genders--are indeed the sole (or I would say primary, since they do talk about other students "furthest from educational justice") focus of the strategic plan, you're correct that a big change is necessary. However, this calls for changes district-wide, not just at schools that happen to have HCC services. The problems exist all across the district, because HCC isn't the problem. The root causes of the disparate outcomes we're seeing in SPS have nothing to do with HCC or HC or AL students.

all types
Anonymous said…
"How is TAF going to hire more teachers of color than SPS does? Are they going to be exempted from the CBA? Don't teacher hires come from a pool of candidates?"

Great question TEP. I think I will ask the union about that-----IF I can get them to actually respond to my emails. LOL
Anonymous said…
Juneau is actually playing chess. Hate Amplify? Here's TAF, the kind of learning you've been demanding.

Here's the catch: A highly accomplished Black woman founded the program and isn't into segregation.

If TAF were being offered exclusively to HC at WMS, this blog crowd would be passing around the champagne.

I also love how Melissa is walking the tightrope between wanting to play up to Trish but also be loyal to her blog crowd.

Solution: Start a thread that she's knows will bash TAF, but add some sugar on follow up comments.

Win Win
Win, Win, that's quite the scenario.

I'm always surprised at the idea that anyone can know what a single group of people does or does not think, especially in public education. But if that fits your worldview, then spin that web.

I'm not walking a tightrope. I'm trying to be fair. I'm trying to explain how STEM by TAF is different.

But, if you have read my work, you know I am a stickler for following what the district/Board says is the established procedure. And when I see things moving fast and far from said procedure, I have to wonder. And I point it out.
Anonymous said…
@Win Win, how exactly is TAF the type of learning HCC folks have been “demanding”?

Is it accelerated? Given that it’s designed for students who are generally struggling to meet standard, I doubt it. The description of their project-based learning indeed refers to standards.

Is it designed for the unique learning style of gifted students?

Are teachers trained to work effectively with HC students?

What makes you think that HCC parents want TAF? Especially when TAF doesn’t seem to want HC students?

I’m not seeing any evidence to support your assertions.

All types
Anonymous said…
"Here's the catch: A highly accomplished Black woman founded the program and isn't into segregation."

Oh yes she is. Segregated (especially if you want to add slow-simmering like Emily Butler did) means only one thing. Some races go one way and the others the other way. Her programs are known to be disproportionately black, right. Isn't that segregation? According to Kari Hanson it is. Having a preponderance of one race is evidence of "segregation."

These over paid suits are conflating the issues. Because it is easy to call them out on it the district tries to say it is academic segregation occasionally. They don't always. The Director should.

Juneau has now switched to redlining. Perhaps she is realizing that all this race baiting is affecting her political trajectory and is factually inaccurate.... But someone is forgetting about the interment camps and Japanese american's suffering who were also redlined. But they don't count here in SPS. Ask DeWolf. Nor-do the jewish house owners who were similarly red lined out of valuable housing areas not part of the lens thing.

C'mon people please put your snowflake sense on. Juneau? YOU should do a bit of ethnic studies on this matter. Maybe she has a staff member who can get her up to speed on that. Our have tea with Brian Terry and Devin Bruckner as they discuss the District's grant to them. I am sure they say something about it was on their district funded website. Not possible. Because brown don't count in SPS. Otherwise-oppressed don't matter. If you aren't a cis-identified white male you have tasted oppression between sometime and all the time. That is a fact. Not saying all lives matter here. I am saying consideration needs to be made to the language we use to develop the programs and services for our students.

Red lined means only one thing= I want to win this argument.
Segregation only means one thing= I want to win this argument.
99% white means one thing= I want to win this argument.
Doesn't believe in segregation means one thing= I want to win this argument.
Racial injustice means many things but you need to include more than just black into the conversation.

Internment Sucks
Anonymous said…
... to prove you aren't just trying to win the policy argument.

Me above
Anonymous said…
@I.S. "Oh yes she is."

Accusing Trish Dziko of being a segregationist for opening a school is a location that has a majority minority population due our society's longstanding racism history is like accusing Harriet Tubman of racism for only rescuing black slaves.

Maybe reading about the founding of this country on the blood of Native Americans and enslaved Black people will help you get some perspective and information.

Fifteenth Amendment
Anonymous said…
@Internment sucks- Yes Japanese were interned as well as much smaller populations of Southern Italians and others deemed enemies of the state during WWII. The Japanese had it worse than others and many more were interred.

And like Jews, and Asians, Southern Italians and Sicilians were also redlined in Seattle and elsewhere. Likely many Latino and Hispanic groups as well. However my understanding is that African American neighborhoods were considered the most risky to the mortgage companies, so there is a difference in degree here. But Jews, S Italians and Asians could not get a mortgage in some areas north of ship canal.

This is also why in some areas of the country, with larger populations of various minorities, even today we have ethnic neighborhoods. Some (like Italian-Americans) also still cling more tightly than others to their ethnic heritage after multiple generations because of how they were treated as "other" historically. Without any real depth of knowledge of the diversity of US past historically, as well as lack of diverse ethnic minorities in places like Seattle, it is hard for some people to grasp.

Internment Sucks, you said:

"Her programs are known to be disproportionately black, right. Isn't that segregation?"

Her programs are not assigned by the districts they sit in so it's by choice. I really need to get to tht post I've been meaning to write about how charter segregation - and charters are far more segregated than traditional public schools - is okay with some because it comes from "choice."

But yes, Dziko, from the TAF start with after-school programs in predominantly minority schools, sought to bring more kids of color into STEM.

"Not saying all lives matter here."

Really? I really like this analogy of "Of course all houses matter but if one is on fire, yes, that's the one we go to put out the fire." That's why we say "Black Lives Matter."

So this is a great discussion about race but please allow me to put up a post. I don't like to take over on thread with another discussion.

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