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Friday, November 15, 2019

Friday Open Thread

I restored the comment function so go ahead and comment on any post that is open.

From the shooting yesterday at a high school in California via ABC News:
"I should have never had to treat a gunshot wound as a choir teacher," said Holt. "And there's something really wrong and something has to change, 'cause I held a bleeding child today in a room with 40 sobbing children."
The choir teacher had to ask a student for help on one girl who was shot because the girl had been shot twice and the teacher only had one gunshot kit.  She said the student was very calm and helpful. 
"Yet today, our brilliant staff bravely and vigilantly went into action," Kuhlman said. "Placing a priority on their students’ safety, our wonderful Saugus High School team were quick to order students to shelter in place, and your students responded."
Kuhlman wrote to the parents: "Hold your children tight. Love them. Praise them for being responsible in the face of fear."
Are your children ready to be responsible?
 Oh Ohio!  New Ohio Law Lets Students Give Wrong Answers on Tests for Religious Reasons
The relevant section reads "No school district board of education (...) shall prohibit a student from engaging in religious expression in the completion of homework, artwork, or other written or oral assignments. Assignment grades and scores shall be calculated using ordinary academic standards of substance and relevance, including any legitimate pedagogical concerns, and shall not penalize or reward a student based on the religious content of a student's work."

In practice, this means that the extremely broadly-defined "religious expression" can be present in the content of an essay, test or other assignment and the teacher cannot grade down or otherwise correct the student for it.
As in other states that do this dopey kind of thing, good luck with their kids getting into college.

Kudos to KUOW for their lengthy and mostly accurate accounting of the district's Highly Capable program.  I WILL be having a separate post on this.  The Times also has a story but they misrepresent a number of items so I won't be linking to it.

The Washington State Board of Education has a survey out on Washington's new Graduation Pathway options.

Director Scott Pinkham will be having what is probably his last community meeting on Saturday at the Greenwood library from 10-11:30 am.

What's on your mind?

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

@ Science Teacher
All Types said "will have even more high performing students and can likely raise the level of challenge and instruction a little bit with all those new, advanced classmates joining the school...."

You said "We don't really need HCC students there in order to create challenging curriculum. Over the years I've had many HCC students in my classes. Some because they wanted to attend their neighborhood school, some because they liked the music program, and some for various other reasons"

Keep in mind that you also work (I believe) at one of the schools in a neighborhood with a high demographic of kids who district also identify qualify for spectrum and HC.

Your school will be receiving back a large majority of HC kids. This means the teachers, kids and school will benefit, as many teachers may not need to differentiate for as many levels, as compared to a different school receiving back fewer students. In some schools HC qualified and spectrum eligible kids may comprise half the population. The district's program (which also has big flaws) has been focused exclusively on identifying kids via high scores on cognitive test scores, as well as achievement test in determining eligibility. Kids who then qualify are concentrated more in various neighborhoods. As you are aware, we have an opportunity gap and achievement gap between schools and neighborhoods.

That is what I had meant and I think all types may have been getting at as well. They also said "raise the challenge a little bit". Not that your classroom was not rigorous but probably the contrary as compared to other schools.

Think Deeper

Anonymous said...

Glad that the Directors pushed "pause" on Geary's gambit while the real history of HCC comes out, the actual facts, and the actual data. This will not go well for Juneau. More to come, hopefully so that new Directors will realize that they may not want to hitch their horse to her sinking wagon.

More Noise Please.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Just to note, directors have, for years, told me how hard it is to find free space for community meetings. I recall that Director DeBell was fortunate enough to find a coffee shop with a room they allowed him to use but that is not the case everywhere in the city. And, numerous groups are clamoring for spaces.

If a director uses space in a district not their own, that's probably the reason.

Unknown said...

Melissa - I believe that the signature of the above comment is "-Bye bye" and that the line above the signature is name-calling at it's most egregious. I'd encourage you to delete that comment.

Unknown said...

oops - that was my comment just above. Sorry for no signature.

~SPS mom

Anonymous said...

Anyone aware of SPS taking any steps to ensure that the intentional high school undercount that threw all high schools into turmoil this fall does not repeat? All districts use estimated enrollment figures for budget purposes. That's not the problem. The problem is the intentional manipulation of enrollment estimates.

Anyone aware of any newly elected school board members who have stated on the record that they will not let this happen again and will demand process and policy change in staffing and budget?

Concerned Parent

Anonymous said...

I am confused about the demand by some folks to ignore the distress caused by the UNEA ejection from district property.

As I understand it goes something like this. UNEA is a Native American group. There are Native Americans of some number, who work for the district and agree with the decision to discontinue the relationship with UNEA. So it would be racist for anyone who is not Native American to support UNEA because staff says this is a dispute within a minority community.

The folks I have seen calling for this are not Native American but I am to take their word that they represent voices of Native staff. I am to assume that Native staff has no conflict of interest and has received no pressure from their employer to oppose UNEA.

The principal who advocated for the ouster of UNEA is not Native American as far as I know. The school board member who advocated for UNEA is Native American.

I do not understand the new cultural norms being established here. Is it that anytime 2 people of the same minority group disagree then no one of any other minority group can support either of them without being racist?

Does it make a difference if one of the people works for the organization who targeted the one? Is race always the defining factor of an internal dispute verses any other association, like employment, religion, family, economic, linguistic, sexual orientation, political, disability, geographic, etc?

I believe this has been used to silence support for UNEA, conveniently for the district.

It seems to be emerging as part of the call-out/cancel culture since I have seen people called out for supporting UNEA. It is changing too fast for me to keep up. So I am genuinely wondering what the new rules are.

-tired

Anonymous said...

@Bye bye

Each of the seven directors represents the entire Seattle Schools district. The entire city votes on them in the general election. There are directors nominated from seven different areas in the primary election; this is intended to help ensure that the board will be aware of issues in all areas of the city and will consider the effects of their actions on all areas of the city. But every director is expected to contribute to making policy that is appropriate for the entire city.

Irene

Melissa Westbrook said...

Concerned Parent, I do not recall that question asked, either by questionnaire or at a forum, so I couldn't say what candidates said. I do know Eric Blumhagen was asked about this at a campaign event and he was going to track it if elected. Ask Eden Mack.

Tired, well, I know director-elect Hampson, when asked about this at a meeting, shrugged it off. And she's Native American.

No minority is monolithic and clearly Native Americans are not because, well, they actually have tribes with very different locations, traditions, concerns.

But it's odd that the Superintendent was so abrupt with UNEA after a decade-long partnership. And it's clear no one on the Board wants to really talk about it.

But I understand your point and yes, it's an increasingly strong grip/silencing about what will get talked about in this district.

I will be having a post that is somewhat to this point soon.

Mike said...

@Think Deeper Can you clear up some confusion I have as to which "opportunities" you're referring to? You say there's "an opportunity and achievement gap between schools and neighborhoods". How can there not be a gap? There are too many variables for opportunity and achievement gaps not to exist within a large district and between districts. Are you assuming that, all opportunities being equal, there won't be significant gaps in achievement? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

@Mike - Yes I agree with you. There are many variables that lead to an opportunity and achievement gap between schools in a big district. We have differences between schools which is why this district states a focus on equity and not equality.

Think Deeper

Melissa Westbrook said...

Person who is being cruel to Director Pinkham and absolutely out of line here, go away. As you go, look in the mirror - is this the person you want to be? If it is, you know where Director Pinkham will be tomorrow. Of course, I know you're a coward but just wanted to point that out.

Cease and desist.

Anonymous said...

Mike- I meant to state differences in student outcomes between schools and neighborhoods. The latest research out of Stanford (Reardon) is a good resource to understand driving forces. He has been doing research on the gap for many years.

https://news.stanford.edu/2019/09/23/new-data-tool-shows-school-poverty-leads-racial-achievement-gap/
https://www.gc.cuny.edu/CUNY_GC/media/LISCenter/2019%20Inequality%20by%20the%20Numbers/Instructor%20Readings/Conwell-2.pdf


Think Deeper

Unimpressed said...

I'm noticing that Superintendent Denise Juneau is not a very good superintendent.

Unimpressed said...

MTSS results between 2015-2019, Grades 3-5, Proficiency Rates and Schools of Promise:

Math Proficiency:

AA Males A Schools of Promise: 2015 20% 2018-2019 20% ( NO change)
Students Further From Educational Justice: 2015 35% 2018-2019 31% (Decrease 4%)

ELA Proficiency:

Schools of Promise 2015 22% 2018-2019 30% ( Up 8% --70% failing)
Students Furthest From Educational Justice: 2015 34% 2018-2019 37% (Up 3% --67% failing)

https://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/School%20Board/Friday%20Memos/2019-20/FridayMemo_20191108.pdf


Mike said...

@Think Deeper Thank you for responding with clarifying links. I've joined your conversation too late to get it's gist. Thus I didn't understand what you intended in writing, "I meant to state differences in student outcomes between schools and neighborhoods".

May I note as an aside it seems many on this blog assume that schools alone are responsible for gaps in educational opportunity. Your link to Reardon's work at Stanford's Educational Opportunities Project strongly indicates schools can have an effect but poverty, both economic and social in communities and families, is the larger source of gaps in educational opportunity.

Yawn said...

Rankin's campaign promise. Where is break HCC?

Students need to know that they are valued and cared about in our schools, and that their identities and differences are assets rather than barriers to success in the classroom.
Educators need the resources and support from the district and building leaders to effectively engage and teach our diverse student body.
Families need to know that they are welcome participants in their student’s education, and in their communities.
Stakeholders in Seattle Public Schools need transparency and consistency in budget and policy matters.

Anonymous said...

Emails from Eagle Staff principal have been shared on Facebook to "prove" that UNEA is a target of discrimination. But what they prove instead is that UNEA expected to have free access to a Seattle Public Schools building without serving SPS students or complying with district requirements. They might do great work but if it isn't for SPS students, why should they get space for free from the district. No wonder no one is speaking up. What is there to say besides community-based organizations don't get free building use.

"We have asked at each of the meetings we were able to schedule this year (August 2018 and
February 2019) for names of students being served by the Clear Sky/UNEA program. We have
not been given names.
Our visual scan of Tuesday and Thursday night activities show very low numbers of schoolaged students (if any at all) and almost no Eagle Staff students are served.
There has been no effort or attempt to communicate about aligning or reinforcing outcomes
for students.
There have been frequent negative and accusatory communications from the head of UNEA
to the community at large, including very public misinformation about administrative
decisions at Eagle Staff, stating that they have been “evicted,” marginalized, treated with
disrespect.
Because we have one common space at Eagle Staff that functions as both a lunchroom and an
auditorium space, it is not possible to host two large gatherings at one time. This year we
have dramatically increased our community engagement opportunities, and have used our
commons nearly every week for grade-level exhibition nights, music, athletic, and academic
celebrations, advocacy events, and other gatherings."

tired too

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'm sorry but UNEA can show that they have tried to talk to the district about issues.

And again, like SO many issues in this district, it is not the fault of UNEA - it's the district for not planning/negotiating with groups.

It almost seems like the district likes pitting groups against each other rather than see where there are issues/disputes and getting out ahead of them.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Readers, you'll see that I deleted a number of comments yesterday before I shut off commenting for the night (per my new policy). That's because I do not like the unpleasant tone from some. There is no reason to do that and if you do, your comment will be struck.

We want to have discussions, not fights. If you have nothing valid to contribute to the fight, say nothing.

Anonymous said...

@ Mike "Your link to Reardon's work at Stanford's Educational Opportunities Project strongly indicates schools can have an effect but poverty, both economic and social in communities and families, is the larger source of gaps in educational opportunity."

Mike I will jump in here as I believe this district is enacting a plan to provide a one size fits all education model. They have been doing away with true rigorous honors classes, differentiation such as walk to math in elementary, and now will be greatly reducing the HC cohort. Students were able to take 2-3 years advanced math in middle, this has not been limited to 1 year at many schools.

In this regard those who come to school with various skills and abilities will not be able to access multiple levels of academics, music , foreign language or anything else. In this way the superintendent will be able to show on paper she has "narrowed the opportunity gap".

This super is under enormous pressure because Seattle has a higher achievement gap than many other places. It is likely due to the highly educated and affluent population that are able to provide their kids with many resources.

Observer

Anonymous said...

In between the time UNEA was at Wilson-Pacific and Robert Eagle Staff, they ran their program out of Nathan Hale HS. Hale never seemed to have any issues with them and I am sure they would be welcomed back. It is understandable though, that UNEA would want to be near Licton Springs given that the area is sacred to Native Americans. My cousin who is Native American and attended Licton Spring K-8, participated in the UNEA activities at Robert Eagle Staff so there were students of that building in the program.

HP

Melissa Westbrook said...

UNEA is back and up and running via NCCC which is directly north of RESMS. Thanks to the hard work of its leaders who believe in this program.

Anonymous said...

Do you mean North Seattle College which is northeast of REMS? If yes, that's awesome! Still within walking distance to Licton Springs.

HP

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, North Seattle Community College. I think its location was why UNEA sought space there.