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Friday, October 11, 2019

Friday Open Thread

In case you hadn't heard, there will be several traffic issues this weekend in the Puget Sound region so keep that in mind as you are out and about.

The Burke Museum - in its new building - reopens tomorrow.  It will probably be mobbed but I'd like to eventually see it. I'm sure any field trips to it would be exciting for students.


From SPS Communications:
But to really shift the way science is taught to include underserved populations of students, including English language learners, students from different cultures, and students with special needs, Seattle Public Schools (SPS) has the opportunity to engage with a university partner, the University of Washington College of Education. This partnership between the UW and SPS, titled Equitable Elementary Ambitious Science Teaching (E2AST) was granted $3 million from the National Science Foundation to support and train teachers throughout the district to focus their teaching on culturally and linguistic diverse students, which ultimately supports every student in our district.
This is great.  But it does remind me about my latest batch of public disclosure documents around that Amplify adoption.  Looks like Mary Margaret Welch was sought a donor, not the other way around.  I'm not sure how many ways the Board wants to hear about that issue, but apparently she has misled the Board. 

Grrr. Thieves in Highline SD hit several schools and took teachers' purses and wallets. There are photos of the two people so if you recognize them, call the police. Teachers have enough to worry about without having their personal items stolen.
She says several teachers saw the suspects in the school. But the suspects knew teachers’ names and were able to convince people they were parents of students.
I see that Director Geary said this on Facebook:
Great time tonight with aspirational conversations about the future of Seattle Public Schools! I will miss being on the Board but will feel easier knowing Chandra is on the job, ready to hold SPS accountable! 
Does Geary know something that we don't?  I think it fine to have "aspirational" hope that someone gets elected but rather more-than-confident in believing you know who will be elected.

Yes, I did see the KUOW story on cell phones in SPS classrooms but will put up a separate thread on that issue.

What's on your mind?

47 comments:

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the Highline schools require people to check in at the front office. The office could give them a tag of some sort showing they had checked in. Teachers and staff would then know if someone checked in or not.

HP

Melissa Westbrook said...

HP, even in SPS, I find that varies especially if front desk staff are busy. But yeah, it would be good for any visitor to have a tag on.

It may be good that there is no school today. There is a major gas leak at N103rd and Midvale Ave N and a helicopter has been circling for over an hour (not kidding). Authorities have evacuated some people living there and I suspect if RESMS and Cascadia and Licton Springs K-8 were in session, the district might have evacuated them out of concern for their safety.

Anonymous said...

"I hear from educators, and my experience myself as a parent, is that they provide more of a distraction than a benefit," Burke said." No Rick as you know from parents reporting it and the video sent to SPS, that a cell phone recorded the use of the "box of shame" and what did the school board do about the "Box of Shame"?

There have been many inappropriate acts by teachers captured by students using cell phones.

We have never heard of a problem with cell phones, if a student is misusing a device then the teacher should warn the student about inappropriate use. SPS can not ban cell phones.

ByeBye Rick

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Hamilton had a number of issues caused by cell phones last year. I heard even teachers that were on the fence were convinced by last year's drama.

I support the ban.

NW

Anonymous said...

Another front page article today in the WaPo on the difficult issue of equity and achievement even in the most integrated schools:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2019/10/11/this-trail-blazing-suburb-has-tried-years-tackle-race-what-if-trying-isnt-enough/

FNH

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Kids watch porn on their cell phones, including in school. My child was forced by 2 other students in 8th grade to watch porn they had on their phone. Because my child pushed back which made a fuss in class, my child got lunch detention, while the asst principal took 2 weeks to find out if my child had told the truth about the porn.

JAMS mom

Anonymous said...

Anyone who doesn't believe that cellphones are a major distraction to tweens and teens in classroom has obviously never spent any time with them.

Screenager parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

ByeByeRick,

"There have been many inappropriate acts by teachers captured by students using cell phones."

Really? How come none of these have made it to the media? If there were acts that bad, parents would bypass the school/district and go to media.

I think you just wanted to make a snide comment to Director Burke.

And you are mistaken, SPS CAN ban cell phones in the classroom. A kid can bring it to school and have access to it some part of the day but there is no legal requirement for them to have them. I'd like you to explain to us all - in legal terms - why you think that.

"little libtards" - You are a sad, unpleasant person to talk about children in this way. Go far, far away because you are not welcome here.

JAMS Mom, how did they "force" your son in a class with a teacher?

As I said, I'll put up a post about this issue.

Anonymous said...

Headline in Juneau's Journal today is "Fighting for Educational Justice in Seattle". Fighting who? This is the school district talking
- so are they fighting against themselves? Parents? Teachers? Why is it framed as a battle, when really all it is is the school district committing staff and resources and money to solve a problem. And once again she talks about desegregating services and programs which is disingenuous. Segregation implies there is a policy of enforced separation of different groups on the basis of race within the schools system. Seattle schools are not segregated. More Trump tactics from the Sup - frame it as a fight and people have to choose sides.

SPSuspicious Minds

Anonymous said...

Juneau's Journal The article today amongst others she is apparently " fighting", is the school board. She made it sound like the school board members did not support her and the ALTF recommendations. However my understanding is that the ALTF was not allowed to finish their work and Pinkam and Burke objected. Slanted? It's also quite apparent with each post she is not focused on any other kids besides African American males. This is a problem as we are supposed to have a superintendent who cares about all kids. Parents reading this information will be very misinformed.

Reader

Anonymous said...

I was quite dismayed by today's "Juneau's Journal". Could someone please provide a link to the revised Board Policy #2190 that was stalled in committee? I would love to see the draft version.

Thank you very much!

-- LetterCookie

Melissa Westbrook said...

From her journal:
In alignment with Seattle Excellence, staff and our community are taking a hard look at the district structures and practices that are not equitably meeting the needs of students."

She uses these words "fighting" - who? "our community" - who? Seattle? Seattle Schools' parents? It's like she writing for some larger audience.

"Our advanced learning programs show that districtwide, we must do better to serve our students of color furthest away from educational justice."

Okay but there's not just one way to get there.

And this:

"I truly believe that Seattle Public Schools can make educational justice a reality. We have the resources, we have the brain power, we just need the will."

Remember that line - "we have the resources" because I have rarely EVER heard a superintendent say that.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Just to note - in the job description for the person who will oversee (not run the office) for Advanced Learning, it talks about MTSS and frankly, makes it sound like this dismantling of HCC as it is currently now enacted, is a done deal. Hmmmm.

drum said...

Reader is right; the revised policy did NOT come from the task force, but instead, from central office staff. Burke and Pinkham recommended that the task force be allowed to continue and finish their charge. Juneau's public statement yesterday and her "journal" completely obscures what really happened. Also completely untrue: "The policy changes would have dramatically increased advanced learning opportunities for students of color."

Anonymous said...

Ah yes @Reader, I forgot to include the school board in my list of theoretical Enemies of the Sup. The school board are doing the job they were elected to do, overseeing and representing the interests of students, parents, and taxpayers of the district - and she's picking a fight with them in order to burnish her credentials for when she moves on to bigger better things. Well, if she wants a fight, I hope she gets one.

SPSuspicious Minds

Melissa Westbrook said...

Also, if you know your SPS history, this is very much what Dr. Goodloe-Johnson tried to do - come in and strong-arm parents and staff who didn't get on the bandwagon fast enough.

Goodloe-Johnson left because of a scandal (which she was not involved in but her lack of oversight led to it going on as long as it did). But I think the writing was on the wall because she was unable to get parents to side with her.

Anonymous said...

I'm so happy to hear that SPS now has resources! When can we expect to see some of these "resources" in our classroom - one of my kids teacher's needs tissues and chlorox wipes (the 1 box the district provides won't last the whole year). My other kid needs a actual teacher - due to the RIF at the end of last year, and then the abrupt reallocation of staff 2 weeks ago, they are now in a new biology class but they have not yet not even hired a biology teacher for it. Ahah, maybe that is where these "resources" came from - the funds released by RIFing all those teachers based on bogus enrolment projections. She might fool some people with her buzzwords and fighting talk and slick videos, but some of us see what is going on. Now more than ever it's important for the board to provide strong oversight, ask tough questions, and stand up for their community.

SPSuspicious Minds

MLK Gifted said...

The school district doesn't like the way it's administrating advanced learning services to their students (duh). I hate to tell Juneau this, but she's running the show. Why not just have schools change their CSIPs to say they will actually identify all the students at all the schools who are ready for harder school work? And then given them harder school work?

Trish Dziko's kid qualified for APP/HCC back in the day but they didn't want to send him, so his local school allowed him to skip a grade. Why doesn't SPS let students skip a grade now? Grade skipping worked for Michelle Obama and Thurgood Marshall and Martin Luther King Jr. and Trish Dziko's kid.

And it's cheap! And it doesn't have any extra transportation costs.

And it would help everyone feel good because then the "smart" kids could be thought of as just "short" since they'd be a year younger than their classmates. And people wouldn't view it aspirationally. It's not like people are really hoping their kids will be short. I mean unless you want them to be jockeys or something.

When the ALTF comes out with its recommendations in a month or two, maybe that'll be one of the options.

Melissa Westbrook said...

MLK Gifted, I believe you can skip a grade. But the numbers that are in HCC would make that unlikely to happen.

And as a vertically-challenged person, I do not recommend it for any child in a class. Being the youngest AND the shortest person in your class would not be good. I know it sounds funny but you try being the size of a 5th grader...for the rest of your life.

Anonymous said...

The worst part is that schools are already supposed to be finding/identifying students who need AL. That’s if they are actually using MTSS.
Based on that practice of doing pre and post assessments, if a teacher sees that a student already knows the material before teaching it, they would need to offer something different.
So what the district is pushing is already supposed to be happening. Ask most AL parents how that’s going.

I really wish the district spent half as much energy on supporting programs that help students of color get ahead. Their first line item to fund every year should be the IB program at Rainier Beach. Instead, the school had to start a GoFundMe page.

Fake Equity

HCC Parent said...


I just looked at the district's job description of the Advanced Learning position. The job description talks a lot about MTSS. To me, this look likes the district will start implementing plans to dismantle HCC and send students back to their neighborhood schools for differentiated learning experiences.

https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/seattleschools/jobs/2590344-0/advanced-learning-program-adv-learning-prog-spec-secondary-special-1-0?fbclid=IwAR1vcyUVexQ-fBtAZjd0fOaYYwf58J_uRV0E1hGhcHn75qnSTQtA-8r0DIs

It would be interesting to know the amount of work the district has done related to MTSS and HCC BEFORE the ALTF issues their recommendation. If past behavior is indicative to present behavior (i.e. Amplify) I'm guessing the district is on it's way towards implementing their version of HCC delivery services.

Anonymous said...

SPSuspicious minds "I'm so happy to hear that SPS now has resources!...... My other kid needs a actual teacher... Ahah, maybe that is where these "resources" came from - the funds released by RIFing all those teachers based on bogus enrolment projections. She might fool some people with her buzzwords and fighting talk and slick videos, but some of us see what is going on."

I am afraid that must be true. I have been following that situation somewhat closely and she also stated "she has resources" on a KUOW interview. This is while those of us with high school kids are seeing them starve our school of basic education funds, and not properly fund each student. It it outrageous.

What she did this year should be shared broadly with the state, and legal, and the board needs to step in. I am truly fearful that my child will not have the classes they need to remain in high school. Running Start is not the right solution for some kids.

Parent

Anonymous said...

"The job description talks a lot about MTSS. To me, this look likes the district will start implementing plans to dismantle HCC and send students back to their neighborhood schools for differentiated learning experiences."

I have no faith that anyone would receive "differentiated learning experiences" at all the neighborhood schools. That takes incredible resources. My best guess is this will mean ALO which we know was nothing when our kids were in Elementary. She is starving the schools of resources to offer classes for the high school students to remain in their high schools. It's not o.k for kids to have the change classes in Oct. Then have a sub for the entire school year because the school had to RIF the actual science teacher based upon district cutting their budget.

Parent

Science Teacher said...

"....t's not o.k for kids to have the change classes in Oct. Then have a sub for the entire school year because the school had to RIF the actual science teacher based upon district cutting their budget...."

Parent-- Yes, it's too bad that SEA continues to allow this to happen. What goes on in the buildings, things like safety issues, curriculum needs, or staffing issues aren't politically "sexy" enough for them to bother with.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone heard of the superintendent stating they are planning to phase out AP classes by 2023? Upon reflection it is the case that "students furthest from educational justice" are not those choosing to enroll in AP courses. This is a disparity is it not? Juneau is obviously also starving the high schools with the highest AP course enrollments with drastic teacher cuts. Not sure about the credibility of the two articles below, but perhaps that is an implicit goal for her?

https://mynorthwest.com/1549127/seattle-students-advanced-placement-debate/
https://mynorthwest.com/1547871/dori-seattle-schools-ap-classes/

June

Anonymous said...

Parents who have sufficient means or a strong enough will, will continue to strive to give their kids the best education they can - whether it means moving them to private school, parochial school, charter school, moving to a different school district altogether, Running Start, online courses etc. If this district continues on the path of reducing rigor in the guise of equity, it will eventually find it pretty much serves ONLY those who are furthest from educational justice, those who have the most limited access to alternatives and everyone will be the worse off for it. It is sad and telling that educated affluent newcomers to Seattle (eg Amazon employees etc) who have school age children tend to choose places like Mercer Island to live because of the quality of schools. I never used to be proponent of Charter schools but honestly after watching SPSs appalling stewardship of our education dollars for the past decade, I think it's high time another organization had a go with some of that money.

I'll be the first
SPS refugee

Anonymous said...

I think there is already a dedicated AL/HCC blog. Is that all you people write about here?


Point is?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Point is, bring up any topic; it's an open thread. And, if you look at my other posts, lots of other topics.

This is a hot topic because there is so much district activity around it.

Anonymous said...

Burke and Pinkham are being called racist because they pushed back on this.

HP

Anonymous said...

How many students are there in HCC/AL ?

Point is?

Anonymous said...

Pinkham has expressed some very negative notions regarding white students. Lets not waste time talking about these two short timers.

Rinse repeat

Anonymous said...

Pushed back on what?

Point is?

Anonymous said...

@Point Is

Directors Burke and Pinkham pushed back on some proposed bad policies.
First bad policy: inserting Ethnic Studies into the SPS Math curriculum.
Second bad policy: shutting down a Highly Capable Program for accelerated students at Garfield.

The Superintendent referred Garfield as being "redlined". She also apparently repeated comments made by some disgruntled students that Garfield was a "Slave Ship". These statements are circulating around. Check yourself for their veracity. Take a look at Seattle Times articles and comments on the above issues. The Superintendent and SPS Staff are being held accountable by the public.

What is clear is that the Superintendent and SPS Staff are dismantling services for Special Education Students, as well as Highly Capable Students. This is discrimination based on student abilities. Shutting down a successful educational program in a given school, primarily because of the racial composition of the student body in those classes? This something else. This decision is NOT Educational Justice. The catch-all phrase that the Superintendent and SPS Staff currently use to leverage their administrative agendas on parents, and students.

Read Juneau's Journal. "Fighting for Educational Justice in Seattle Schools." Which currently means shutting down programs, and denying specific educational opportunities for specific groups of students. Decisions which are currently being based on race, student disabilities, student abilities, and geographic location of schools.

SPS EducationalJustice



Anonymous said...

What do you mean by "specific educational opportunities" ?

Point is?

Anonymous said...

= opportunities to be educated at a level appropriate based on the student’s current skills and abilities.

For example, if you’re already two years ahead in math and pick up math concepts quickly, you wouldn’t have to spend the year sitting idly while others worked to try to master grade-level (or lower) material.

Example point

Grouchy Parent said...

1. There are about 48,000 students in public school in Seattle who are not affected by the stuff Juneau is proposing.
2. There are 3,800 kids in SPS who would be affected by the stuff Juneau is talking about.
3. There is zero clarity on how changing the way those 3,800 students are educated would affect anything about the way the other 48,000 students are educated.
4. The district can improve advanced learning at all schools tomorrow by just doing it. They don't need any special program for that. They don't need extra funding. They just need to accept that some students are already above grade level and decide to provide them with a FAPE anyway. Some teachers and schools already do this. Guess how likely kids of color are to be at the schools that feel this way.
5. 17,000 students in Seattle are in private school. Their parents pay money to not have to deal with SPS.
6. So, to review, the 48,000 students aren't winning from this, the 3,800 students aren't winning from this. The 17,000 students ARE winning.
7. :-(

Melissa Westbrook said...

Grouchy, you are wrong. If the district enacts this plan, EVERY single child will be affected.

How? Because all those HCC kids (except true outliers) will return to the attendance area school.

That means shifts in populations at various schools, teachers who need to differentiate every day and very specific to whatever population of HCC students they have in their class. The district would likely need to shift some funding because of the massive amount of PD teachers in - again - almost every single school will need.

Of course the district could have done any number of things, years ago, but didn't.

Well, are 17,000 kids "winning?" I'd say probably not but I would assume their parents are happier. I actually spoke with a parent who is pretty far up the food chain at UW. Two very smart parents who had enough and pulled their kids out. She said they were not entirely happy at the private school but at least they felt heard and could see visible change in how their children's issues were addressed.

The new SPS cares about power words and slogans and a lot of window-dressing.

Caring how parents feel? Not really.

Fact Check said...

https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/end-gifted-programs-and-expand-running-start-instead/

I am of mixed racial heritage and experienced that the other (mostly white) kids in the “gifted” programs developed a superiority complex that they were better than the “regular program” kids, who were mostly black and Latino.

Fact check. Most of the "regular program" kids are not black or Latino. 12% of "regular program" students in SPS are Latino and 14% are Black.

https://www.seattleschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=23394317

Juneau's Journal said...


Juneau claims that her plan to dismantle HCC will increase the amount of students of color. Really? How?

Juneau also states the district has resources to do the work which is good to know because Rainier Beach is looking for PTA dollars to fund their IB program.

:I truly believe that Seattle Public Schools can make educational justice a reality. We have the resources, we have the brain power, we just need the will. As we are implementing Seattle Excellence, we are also looking to districts.".

Who cares if the usual 3 bullies are calling names? What else is new? Individuals have begun standing up to the 3 bullies and/or ignoring them.

TAF said...

TAF is being brought in to break WMS's HCC program. At some point, they need to explain their dismal test results to community members. The numbers can be found on OSPI's web page.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
TAF Results said...

https://washingtonstatereportcard.ospi.k12.wa.us/ReportCard/ViewSchoolOrDistrict/106056

Technology Access Foundation Academy at Saghalie 2018-2019

30.8% Met Math Standards
45.2% Met ELA Standards
32.4% Met Science Standards

Anonymous said...

CapHill parent, that article is totally false news, Trump style!
All students at Cascadia are already highly capable. It is a requirement to be a part of the school. So the claim that only 2 out of 48 African American students at the school were identified as HC is completely wrong.

It just shows the continual propagation of lies and misinformation that is spread about advanced learning to try and bring it down.
I also hear how there is resource hoarding, better teachers, better education. That is also all false. Those schools get the least amount of funding, same teachers as everyone else and no extras. They just get a math book that is 2 years ahead and a small acceleration for ELA. But lies are needed to foster hate, which is something our President loves to do in order to rally support.

Fake news

Anonymous said...

@Cap Hill parent

Yes, the same points are still being argued but that 2 year old riseupforstudents.org article is full of factual errors.

Even the opening statement is incorrect. The author states that "The problem is so bad that last year at Cascadia Elementary School in North Seattle, all 529 white students had tested into the “highly capable cohort” -- the school’s advanced learning program. The school had just 49 Black students to begin with. Only two of them were part of the cohort."
The author is either not aware that Cascadia is an standalone HCC elementary school or is misrepresenting that facts. Every student in Cascadia has tested into HCC regardless of their ethnicity. If they did not meet the eligibility criteria for HCC they would not be enrolled at Cascadia.

It quotes Brian Terry who is part of a committee working to get rid of HCC who says "that by fifth grade the majority of white students in Seattle’s “Highly Capable Cohort” program (also known as HCC) got there by paying for one of these tests."
Firstly, how would Brian Terry possibly know the proportion of students who got in on the basis of parent-organized private testing? DId someone in SPS give him that information? Secondly, it's implausible to say that hardly any students are identified as HCC eligible based on the districts own in-house testing. If that was the case, I think SPS should be investigating reasons for the discrepancy between district administered and private tests, and change district testing methods, or the rules around private testing if need be. Of course SPS must have this data and could clear this up. But I think it suits them to have people putting sort of misinformation this out there. Perhaps an FOIA could be in order to get the actual figures?

Just like our current president - these people make things up to fit their narrative, they present these alternative facts and if you repeat them often enough people believe it.

Thanks for pointing it out though - shows what we are up against and the sole commenter's response with worth reading.

Alt facts






Melissa Westbrook said...

Please do not quote from blog posts that are not factually true. Also, do not provide a link to that particular blog; the moderator is a bully and I'm not having that here.