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Thursday, November 07, 2019

On Washington Middle School; Why That School?

I did not attend last night's Board meeting but it sounded lively.  (I had a ticket to hear Anita Hill speak and to the entire audience's great pleasure, Christine Blasey Ford introduced her. Powerful stuff to hear from both of them.)

I heard from tweets that the discussion around Washington Middle School, HCC and STEMbyTAF was over an hour long.  And Geary's amendment to somehow bypass the SAP to put in that program went down.

And it is very hard on TAF because they do have a good model and yet the district hasn't had a meeting for them with Gen Ed parents? What?


The question for me is, why Washington?  They had a terrible year last year - across the spectrum of students ending with the principal begin found to have verbally abused a black Sped student.  It seems a bit of piling on to then flip their school in a totally different direction.

There are other choices like:

1) Aki Kurose - TAF had their after-school program there years back and Aki has more minority students than WMS.


2) Rainier Beach High School - I think that RBHS is ready to embrace this program and the two could share a wonderful new building. And again, the minority students that TAF seeks to help.


3) Madrona -  That building WAS built for K-8 and it is woefully underenrolled as a K-5 at 251 students.  It's 39% African-American,  36% White, 16% biracial with 49% F/RL.

And do you know what all three have in common? No HCC program in their school.

Why continue on with WMS when there has been no/little outreach to Gen Ed parents, the teachers voted no and the district seems okay with a terrible tension between HCC and TAF.

Why have this happen when you could put this great program in three other schools?


Unless, of course, you wanted to crush the HCC cohort model and be able to say, "See we can have rigor in a blended classroom."

Another thing that you may not know - but I do because of various Facebook pages - is that some parents of color in HCC at WMS are furious that the north end would keep the cohort for HCC but not the only middle school with HCC in the south end.


One student at last night's Board meeting called this point out. That north v south thing has been going on for decades and doesn't serve anyone well for the district to make moves that look like they are allowing the north end to keep something but not the south end.

I know the district is moving towards a blended model for HC. Meaning, all HCC kids go back to their neighborhood schools where they will be served. Very much the TAF model.

Except that I bet that TAF knows the structure to achieve teaching across a spectrum of students.

And I bet TAF has given their teachers PD on teaching across a spectrum of students.

And I bet TAF has allocated resources to support that work.

SPS thinks they can wave a magic wand and do this.  Where's the plan and where's the budgeted dollars? SPS thinks they can basically give some guidelines and let the schools go at it.

The district also seems to forget that if you take these 5,000 kids and send them back to their home schools, there may be a crowding issue in some of them.

As well, there definitely are schools that don't even want to deal with with those students.

It's destined to fail because of lack of planning. I do believe in the cohort model but I would absolutely fine with blended if I thought SPS had done the planning needed and would supply the funds. (And, actually you need smaller class sizes but that's a pipe dream.)

So why does it have to be Washington Middle School for STEMbyTAF?

65 comments:

Anonymous said...

@ Melissa, you have mentioned many times that you know Trish and respect the work of TAF. Your respect for Trish seems to color many of your opinions re: TAF and how it might work for HC students, yet no evidence to support that assumption has been shared. As you just stated:

[You] bet that TAF knows the structure to achieve teaching across a spectrum of students.

[You] bet TAF has given their teachers PD on teaching across a spectrum of students.

And [you] bet TAF has allocated resources to support that work.

Are you close enough to Trish to ask her to share some of that information on your blog? We've seen in the past that she said TAF is not compatible with HCC, and we can see from the performance data on their website that scores are very low, especially compared to HC students. There are legitimate concerns, and touting high graduation rates isn't going to allay them.

If you have an "in," maybe it's worth a story?

I'd also be curious to know how TAF works for SpEd students, students with learning disabilities, etc.

all types

Melissa Westbrook said...

All Types, their record for high school graduation is very high. They don't have a highly capable program but my understanding is that they are aware of students in the program who are and do well. (I'd have to dig deeper on that.)

I will ask her about some of your thoughts. Thanks for asking.

Melissa Westbrook said...

All Types, your questions made me remember another question I have: has the district done an assessment for Cleveland, Louisa Boren and Hazel Wolf on how their STEM programs are going? What is the thinking around the future of STEM in SPS - random choices or a focused program?

Trish Millines Dziko said...

Hi all Types,

I can save Melissa the trouble of asking me to provide proof that STEMbyTAF is a solid model. If you listened to my testimony, you know I'm only focusing on moving forward with the District, board, WMS staff and WMS feeder families. Yes, everything will be public, and I'm sure Melissa will post things on this blog herself.

I've watch the posts regarding WMS/HCC/STEMbyTAF and I've watched all the misinformation and dragging of TAF and our STEMbyTAF model by people who have zero clue what they're talking about and have the nerve to post anonymously.

There is no reason for me to engage on this blog with people I don't even know and I have no need to prove TAF to you.

Anonymous said...

Trish. Thanks for your dedication to students and your excellent work. I'm sorry that TAF has been caught in the middle of the school district's issues with HCC (another terrific program). It's a shame that these two invaluable programs have been pitted against each other. To some folks - and I don't think one needs to have a strong imagination to come to this conclusion - the proposed placement of TAF at WMS was deliberate move towards the dismantling of HCC. Unfortunately, the machinations of the district will pit two programs that at WMS, help children who very much would benefit from one or the other (or both). I will continue to follow your work with interest and am appreciative of your efforts on behalf of Seattle's kids.

BLUE SKY

cloudles said...

Trish, that was an unfortunate reaction to a simple request for more information. Many of us not at WMS but with younger kids may be looking at TAF as being in our imminent future, if this becomes a more widespread program.

Mom said...

Wow, was that really posted by the person who might start a new program in our district? I hope not, it sounds like a troll -- I also suggest a commenting section where you can prescreen comments. Thanks, if you keep comment on, for verifying.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I either screen ALL comments or none. It does not solve the issue of people who don't want to state their names. We generally have that issue with teachers and staff and I understand that.

OSPI said...

I'd like for TAF to explain their test scores. Test scores aren't great. So, yes, I don't have a problem with people asking questions.

Anonymous said...

My kids are no longer in HCC, they are in heterogeneous programs, so I don't have a horse in this race, but I care a lot about improving educational outcomes, and life outcomes. While I understand if Trish doesn't want to answer this question, I wonder if TAF feels like it would be more successful if HCC families opted back into their neighborhood schools? (of course those in the WMS area would remain at TAF). A clear signal on which move was more helpful might be useful for families making that choice, many of whom care a lot about educational justice.

-come together

drum said...

Regardless of how people might feel about TAF itself, two questions and/or points still remain central and unanswered:

First, Melissa asks a legit question: why this particular school, and why not another school (southend or elsewhere) that serves larger percentages of low-income families of color? CD has been rapidly gentrifying for decades now. The percentage of black families in CD dropped from around 75% during the 1970s to below 25% now.

Second, again, regardless of how people feel about HCC, it has to be a part of this conversation because WMS is an HCC pathway school. It's not just white privileged parents making noise about it. WMS serves Highly Capable-identified students from southeast Seattle, many students of color. Moreover, the conversation to place TAF at WMS is taking place at the same time as debates about the future of HC/AL services in Seattle schools. Right now, no formal recommendations have been made, about service delivery model, about identification, about anything. Yet decisions that clearly affect and/or intersect with HC/AL services--such as TAF at WMS--are being debated separately. Why is this?
Director Geary's proposal that went down at last night's board meeting directly sought to interfere with and supersede with both the AL task force's work and potentially violate existing Advanced Learning policy (2190) which guarantees self-contained option for HC-identified students (unless they chose to stay in their neighborhood schools). These potential changes at WMS are not happening in some vacuum.

Anonymous said...

@Trish Millines Dziko,

I asked those questions in good faith--and even suggested Melissa get information from you to potentially boost support for this possible partnership--so I have to say I was shocked at the level of disdain shown in your post.

I'm sorry you feel there is "misinformation and dragging of TAF and our STEMbyTAF model by people who have zero clue what they're talking about," but if a lack of knowledge about TAF is the problem, wouldn't answering some questions make sense? The reason people have "zero clue" about the model is because the district is sharing little, the information on your website is not providing the information people seek, and along those same lines, you appear to be averse to sharing information here. It's puzzling why you would not want to help clear up the misinformation you think is being posted here. It's actually surprising to here there's a lot of "misinformation" here, as there seems to be very little information of any sort.

Insulting parents for having "the nerve to post anonymously"? Speaking out on any education-related issue puts you at risk of your child being treated differently, unfavorably. Many parents have experienced that. Heck, many kids have experienced that--they learn to not speak up, that it's easier to just lie low and get by. Maybe you're not familiar with that aspect of SPS for whatever reason.

There is no reason for me to engage on this blog with people I don't even know and I have no need to prove TAF to you.

If you listened to my testimony, you know I'm only focusing on moving forward with the District, board, WMS staff and WMS feeder families.

Are you suggesting that parents should not "dare" to ask you about your model so they can decide whether or not it's a good fit for their child? That's how it came across.

If you listened to my testimony, you know I'm only focusing on moving forward with the District, board, WMS staff and WMS feeder families.

Are you also suggesting that you only need to answer questions about TAF from parents who have kids at WMS feeder schools? WMS is currently the HCC pathway middle school for the south end, so at this point any HC-eligible student in the area could opt into WMS for HC services. Families of students who anticipate testing into HCC may also be interested. As the district has not indicated an alternate plan for south-end HCC students, and has suggested they would be served via TAF, parents of HC students have a very legitimate interest in knowing how TAF would work for them. I would assume you would happy to answer those questions. Is there perhaps a different forum via which you prefer to share that information, or are you trying to keep information limited until you have an agreement with the district--and parents can just wait until they are "told" how things will be? That doesn't seem like a great starting point for many.

I'm stunned and disappointed by your response. I have heard great things about TAF and hoped to learn more, but there seems to be a curious desire not to be transparent.

all types

Anonymous said...

WHY, WHY would this district WANT to import a failing school program????


Look at the TAF test scores, their results are awful. No child, let alone WMS students, should be subjected to this.

What kind of incompetent district supervisor and board director would want Seattle kids to be forced into this failing program?

Data matters. Evidence-based decision-making matters.

Policy driven by agendas, not actual results, fails our kids, our families, and depletes whatever little public confidence there might be. Juneau installing them against the community’s will (teachers voted against this) will follow her just like Goodloe-Johnson’s massive flops made her fairly unemployable. The failure that will follow should Juneau/ Geary/Hampson get their way will likely precipitate such hostility, not just test scores will plummet, but enrollment will plummet too, resulting in smaller budgets and RIFS. But this kind of failure in a town like Seattle will definitively follow Juneau. No matter how great a CV looks, it can’t withstand this kind of flop, where you take a functioning school that survived the intensely destructive principal she installed only to push a program with failing maths on them.

Ask yourself, do you want TAF at your middle school? If not, then don’t foist it on WMS!!!!


TAF@Saghalie Middle School in Federal Way

2017 test scores

6th Grade
TAF - Federal Way Ave - WA State Ave
ELA 20% 40%
Math 20% 29%
SBAC Math 21% 33% 45%
SBAC reading 30% 44% 54%

7th Grade
TAF - Federal Way Ave - WA State Ave
ELA 33% 49%
Math 23% 33%
SBAC Math 15% 35% 48%
SBAC reading 35% 49% 57%

8th Grade
TAF - Federal Way Ave - WA State Ave
ELA 31% 50%
Math 15% 31%
SBAC Math 24% 33% 46%
SBAC reading 44% 50% 57%
Sci 43% 52% 61%

I call that epic failure. No thanks. Don’t rationalize, don’t justify, don’t explain. It just isn’t cutting it. Bottom line.

Vote NO

Anonymous said...

Okay Bonnie, don't waste your time "crunching numbers" like Blumhagen "would have". Bottom line I am dismayed the way TAF leadership is being treated. Miss Millines-Dziko is a woman of character and integrity, and the reason she refuses to engage with peeps in anonymity is wise.
Now let's get back to reality: In a few weeks we will have:
Director Ranking
Director Rivera Smith
Director Hampson
Director Mack
Director DeWolf
Director Hersey
Director Harris
So no JVA, no Blumhagen, no Leis.

There is a new sheriff in town.

Fed Up

Anonymous said...

To be fair, you can’t ONLY look at test scores, and it’s possible that TAF has been serving the lowest performing students, in which case getting them up to where they are—though that still appears low—may represent some level of improvement and success. However, that would suggest TAF’s primary experience is in working with low scorers, which is obviously a very different population than the HC-eligible population. Since interventions are usually targeted to specific populations, questions about how and how well the TAF model would work for HC students are only natural.

But yes, it seems the district would want a much deeper understanding of TAF outcomes prior to making an evidence-based decision. The information publicly available does not look good on its face. Hopefully there is more to it.

All types

Anonymous said...

I was deleted, even though I completely followed blog rules. Melissa claims it's an "open" blog but it's not.

My comment was something like this:

This blog has been on a campaign against TAF at Washington from the start, insidiously abetted by Melissa, which won't surprise Trish.

It's a result of the me, myself, and mine HC parents, who have not asked how TAF may benefit other students through new opportunities and learning experiences.

Of course, some would be surprised by Trish's response. People who are used to talking in double speak aren't used to truthful, plain, and direct words. No, it's not "disdain." It's an actual advocate for all kids who doesn't have time for b.s.

The leftists won because the public is tired of privileged parents in this district, lead and abetted by this blog.

Actual questions about TAF are welcome. Playing lawyer in order to keep HC at Washington at all costs..?...

Party's Over

Anonymous said...

TAF@WMS is a great idea. TAF gets a true mix of students, not unlike the real world. Average to slightly more accomplished white kids in a very diverse neighborhood. Their project based learning, were it in a segregated school white or black, would be welcomed with open arms. The HCC get actual science, not Amplify. That alone should be a huge draw. The HCC students, in real life, are getting everything they would want, except segregation. Why not give it a try? Test scores follow income. Let’s not pretend they are the measure of anything interesting.

reader

Anonymous said...

Oh no! A black woman who doesn't genuflect to the demands of anonymous blog commenters who know all. Watch out, TMD is the new TCG! She's sure to become the obsession-du-jour on this forum!

Changing Tide

Anonymous said...

Melissa

This thread has a troll going by multiple names who is seeking to disrupt thoughtful dialogue and concerns. I vote to delete the very irrational posts of the person who only has an agenda to pick fights.

No troll



Anonymous said...

@reader I heard WMS is 67% white? Isn't that a coincidence as it is the same percentage of whites in HCC? You are then calling HCC a true mix of diverse students?

The TAF program is designed to benefit and focus upon a target demographic of minority students. It should be in a school that would MOST benefit and desperately wants the program. I am hearing that WMS does not want this program and that's also coming from the staff. Think about the kids.

The HC cohort IS being mainstreamed anyway at multiple middle schools all over including WMS. They have been mixing students in every subject at all HCC middle schools but science.

PJ



Unknown said...

Hi Melissa and All,

Cloudless, Mom, and All Types, enough with the pearl-clutching, spurious bluster. Trish made herself very clear in her School Board testimony. Go watch it on YouTube. Do your homework before you speak up in class.

If you look at her testimony, you'll see why she's not answering you here.

Trish, though, I have to post anonymously. I have been with you on the front lines and hope to be with you in the trenches again, but the haters in my building would retaliate if I posted under my name, so this is how it will have to be.

And I wish you would make the case in response to Melissa's questions above.

But in my perspective, in answer to Melissa's questions: Where else would Black Excellence go in this region besides WMS/GHS?

SP

Melissa Westbrook said...

Fed Up, you are making a lot of assumptions about who will vote together most of the time. Also, it's Rankin, not Rainking.

Party's Over, just not true. I have supported this from the beginning, told Trish that and the Board knows that.

"Actual questions about TAF are welcome."

No, Trish said she would not answering questions here. I will strive to listen to her testimony and put it up. Or, Party's Over, you could do that for us.

Well, if you read my post, SP, I answered that question. I would venture that Franklin, Cleveland and RBHS would take issue with your last statement.

More Options said...

I watched the board meeting.

TAF does not want to be in the middle of a fight. TAF does not want to waste staff time fighting. I don't blame them.

Trish made some points that really resonated with me. The school seeks to bring every student up to 8th grade level so that they are successful in high school. This is a reality. Many middle school students are years behind. If they don't catch-up, they will not be successful in high school. This is a crying shame.

Attempts have been made to engage General Education families. General education families are not showing-up to meetings.


The mistake was made when Juneau decided to pit communities against each other. POC are showing up to board meetings They want to retain the cohort. They fear that, if their child returns to their neighborhood schools, they will be subjected to disproportionate discipline and given medical diagnoses. This is a serious issue. I wish the district would address this issue- at all schools. It would be a terrible life to be condemned to a medical diagnosis because a child has advanced capabilities.

Juneau's goal is to break HCC. Juneau tried to sell TAF by stating the board would agree to a one year plan. That is not true. Juneau has a SIX year plan that would destroy options (HCC) all over the city.

Hersey admitted that his students have a reading range from K-4th grade. He teaches second grade level. That is what happens. Teachers teach to the middle. Families know that general education really does not provide advanced learning.

TAF should be an Option School. Give families choice. Stop pitting families against each other.

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

"It would be a terrible life to be condemned to a medical diagnosis because a child has advanced capabilities."

I don't get what this means.

Try again, reader, without saying demeaning things about children. Not going to have it.

Anonymous said...

The ability have have civilized discourse is lost when reasonable questions are called pearl-clutching and disagreement is called racism. I don’t have a kid in the WMS area and I don’t have any preconceived ideas about TAF - this doesn’t affect my family, and yet I'm following this process because I see it as example of how the district operates and realize that next time, it could be something that affects our school, my kids. TAF will be a new program in a neighborhood assignment school. Students will be assigned to it by virtue of their address - it will not be an option they can choose to participate in. It could be a great success but that is not guaranteed. There are reasonable questions around things like the choice of school, classroom logistics, outcomes in various demographics, the long term plan, and the level of staff/community support for it. That’s without even considering the implications for the existing HCC program at that site. I think reasonable people are just asking for transparency and truthfulness from the district. When this is met with obfuscation and derision it rightly makes people skeptical and suspicious.

SPSuspicious minds

Anonymous said...

MW- I think @reader is making the point that some 'highly capable' kids act up or underperform and this is sometimes misattributed to ADHD, a behavioral disorder, or similar diagnoses. They are labeled as such instead of being identified as highly capable and may not reach their full potential as a result (prison instead of Princeton for example) This is probably more prevalent among kids who are furthest from educational justice whose academic abilities may be underappreciated and who may be disproportionally disiciplined.

SPSuspicious minds

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

But reader, you did not phrase your point that way before. This is better.

We don't sneer at children as you previously did. There are Facebook pages for that so go there.

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

Hi Melissa,

You know that was a rhetorical question, and yeah, I hope CHS, FHS, and, RBHS would assert their school is the best, but how would you answer?

Where is the epicenter of Black Excellence in SPS? Where better for TAF to bring its gifts to our African American youth?

SP

Anonymous said...

I just don't understand why they don't put TAF somewhere where they will be welcomed. Did they even ask the other middle schools if they would be interested? It's obvious that WMS doesn't want them, so why force the issue?

HP

Anonymous said...

The board meeting videos are here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC07MVxpRKdDJmqwWDGYqotA.
Trish's testimony starts around the 45 minute mark of School Board Meeting November 6, 2019 Part 3, and continues well into Part 4.

I haven't been able to watch it all yet, but I like her. She comes across as very knowledgable, devoted, and yes, tired of the SPS BS. Makes sense. I still don't have a good sense of how the model would work for HC students, but hopefully the rest of the testimony will clarify that. Interestingly, she DID mention that TAF and SPS have been working from 2 documents: one the joint operating agreement/MOU thing, and the other a proposal of some sort that shares more details of how this would all work. It would be great if SPS or TAF would share elements of that proposal if addresses the many questions. It sounds like even board members may not be in the loop on that one? Hmm.

From what I've watched thus far, one of my big questions is this:

For whom does the TAF model work best? Is the TAF model a better fit for HC students, typical neighborhood students, or is it the one program that's able to serve all kids well (in which case all schools, across the whole country, should adopt it)?

If TAF is a better fit for neighborhood students, what's the justification for sending SE region HCC students away from their neighborhood schools to TAF instead, taking slots from WMS neighborhood students?

Or even if TAF is as great as everyone says (and I'm not saying it isn't) and if TAF can work well for ALL types of students regardless of ability level (and I'm not saying it can't), again what is the rationale for HCC students to get their own special pathway to TAF at WMS,? Is the district suggesting neighborhood schools can't provide good HC services so a TAF pathway is needed, because TAF can? If that's the case, what does that say about the feasibility of a plan to eliminate HCC pathways?

The Juneau comment about it being a "one-year pilot" was deceptive, and I'm glad Dir. Harris called her on it and pointed out that this is a 10-year agreement they're talking about. I would say, however, that if the district really was considering it a 1-year pilot and was committed to looking at results for all types of students and was willing to leave other options open for students if it wasn't working, that might not have been such a hard sell--for HCC and GE students/families alike. If you knew your HCC 5th grader could try TAF in 6th grade and see if it really did provide sufficient challenge, with the option to either stay in TAF or move to an HCC cohort in 7th, people would probably be excited. But simply declaring that TAF is an HC service, without any explanation or outcomes to justify that claim, is problematic.

all types

Anonymous said...


The TAF presentations are disorganized and lacking information. They are controlled - starting with SPS telling parents that we are "on board" before even knowing anything about the program and ending by telling parents to "check the SPS website for answers to any questions". You had 2 hours of parents’ time and most came away confused. I am still not sure who your target audience is. I am not sure why your OSPI numbers are low. I am not sure what numbers you plan to achieve. Kids already spend a lot of time on their phones, why would parents want them to spend more time with technology in the classroom? I don't know if Melissa still stands by her statement "if students are engaged, then parents are engaged".

TAF leaders/SPS administrators are trying to get parents to buy in. Shunning/controlling/not answering questions and bringing your supporters on to this blog to attack potential consumers doesn't seem like a good strategy.

Anonymous said...

@reader "How long have you all moaned about Amplify? Nows your chance to escape it."
Actually, reader, no it's not. TAF plans to use the same curriculum as SPS, including Amplify. And Discovering math. So there's no escaping Amplify. Wonder how crappy SPS science & math curriculum will impact TAFs success.

Reject Amplify

Anonymous said...

Juneau is deceptive for sure. All three of the politicians Geary, DeWolf and Juneau lie. Asians are white get over it. The district cant find enough black students to be identified so we need to get rid of the whole program. Universal screening doesn't work, why?

Meanwhile TAF has several public engagement sessions for general ads students that are poorly attended. It turns out the indifference to the program is because white privilege has closed the door on them. The only HCC meeting that was scheduled was traumatizing to TAF staff. Imagine how all those families feel to realize that they are not going to receive best practices -- and instead of receiving high school level coursework in middle school they are going to be locked into a program which it's stated goal is to get kids ready for high school by 9th grade.

The two programs are diametrically opposed. And the three political amigos are just using this wedge issue to further their goal to lower the ceiling for everyone. Bingo no more equity gap.

Sun poisoning

Meany Option? said...

Director Mack is the chair of the Operations Committee. She is a brilliant policy wonk. Mack suggested placing HCC in Meany. Geary, quite aggressively, tried to shoot down Mack's thoughts. I wanted to hear more from Mack.

Juneau does not want a win-win. She wants to destroy. The district's Honors For All report indicates the district does not have the capacity to assure Honor designated classes are truly honor level classes.

Juneau does not break down Asian and multiracial populations. She also claims that highly capable represents the top 2 percent, but SPS has 9% of the population in HCC. This is because 9% of Seattle's students are in the top 2 percent.

Anonymous said...

@ reader, let me see if I understand.

Your comment that Melissa interpreted as sneering seemed to suggest that HCC students are "average to slightly more accomplished white kids," disregarding the fact that they, and 2e students as well, had to score WAY above average, in both cognitive ability and achievement, to be identified as HC in the first place.

When you say students "coulda been gifted except for performance," you suggest that performance is the key marker of giftedness. One measure of performance is meeting HC cut-off scores. HC and 2e students have met those performance markers. Another marker of performance would be scoring above grade level on state tests. Most HC students do that as well.

Yours is reminiscent of the typical argument that HC students really aren't so smart or gifted anyway. Are you suggesting that they need to cure cancer or something in order to prove they are indeed HC? Or are you suggesting all students have similar academic abilities?

It often seems that the bar changes depending on who is being discussed. White students are not really HC because their test scores are somehow illegitimate, but students of color should be identified as gifted regardless of how they perform on those same tests, because the tests are biased against them. So are the eligibility tests important at all, for anyone? If not, what are the criteria that should be used instead?

all types

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

"Juneau is deceptive for sure."

Juneau has made herself crystal clear. Read the editorial. Upfront and straightforward as can be.

She said Seattle says it's all progressive but, in practice, fights tooth and nail to maintain segregation.

Tru Dat

Melissa Westbrook said...

Reader you are done here and can go find somewhere else to speak. Your tone is rude and I don't like it.

"Where is the epicenter of Black Excellence in SPS? Where better for TAF to bring its gifts to our African American youth?"

Well, your question seems to lean to "put TAF in the school most geared for black students and make sure it's a good one." You suggested Washington and Garfield.

It's an interesting question - what schools do the best serving black students? Is it South Shore K-8 with their extra $1M a year? Is it Garfield (notwithstanding Juneau's belief that black students there call it "a slave ship")?

My impression is that Franklin is doing a good job.

Circling back, I would put TAF 1) where it would serve the most black and brown kids, 2)where the community understands the program and is excited for it and 3) where the district will do its fair share to support the program today and in years to come.

Anonymous said...

Juneau also said she was for all kids. Then she immediately pitted families against each other. That's deceptive.

Trish said she only wants WMS. I find that not very accommodating. Why don't you just start a charter school. Oh because you really need the staff. And how did that staff vote go? I heard it was like 4% of staff said yes.

The the deal was really dead on arrival Geary gave it some life enough to offer a wedge issue by her amendment. Juneau knew that was completely against procedure and illegal.... But hey they got Hersey to take the vote and make a stand... For an illegal process. Hopefully going forward he will understand his role better. Definitely understand why he would fight for it but it has to be organically possible. TAF and HCC are dimetrically opposed. One is to teach high school classes the other is to get you prepared for high school.

Sun poisoning

Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight - TAF is kinda like a charter school except SPS will provide the building and the staff and the students (and the funding?) for it.

trying to understand

Anonymous said...

Bingo. And Trish gets paid to do it. That's why Mack said cart before the horse. We have no idea what this will look like let's not change anything until we do. She also offered the compromise of placing HCC at Meany. DeWolf pretending he understands things in his district said no way meany would ever take HCC kids. correct me if I'm wrong but isn't the district's plan to send HC kids to Meany. Including this super 1% group and not just me but every damn school in the district. So yeah get used to HCC kids.

Simple factors you can't have it both ways. Simple factors you can't teach high school level courses at the same time that you're teaching kids to get prepared for high school.

Sun poisoning

Anonymous said...

MW: "Party's Over, just not true. I have supported this from the beginning, told Trish that and the Board knows that."

MW: "Circling back, I would put TAF 1) where it would serve the most black and brown kids..."

so, it sounds like you support TAF at Washington except when you don't.

Party's Over

Melissa Westbrook said...

Party's Over, it's a pity you don't read. I gave other options but let's go thru the numbers:

BLACK ASIAN WHITE BI-RACIAL NA PACIFIC ISL HISPANIC
AKI KUROSE 34% 32% 8% .5% 17%

RBHS 45% 26% 2% 9% 2% 14%

MADRONA 38% 3% 35.9% 15% 7%

WMS 22% 17% 38% 10% 9.6%

Let's add those numbers for black/brown kids (leaving out for now Asians and bi-racial children.

WMS and Madrona tie at 31.6%. Aki Kurose has 51%. RBHS has 59%.

And who has the largest number of white students? WMS

Yeah, that's why I think these other buildings would be a better choice for STEMbyTAF.

Deceptive Superintendent said...

Juneau isdeceptive. She knew full well that the Advanced Learning Task force has not made a recommendation. Yet, she has no problem spewing this nonsense:

"So, we are trying a new approach. For 17 months, an Advanced Learning Taskforce has been meeting to explore possible solutions to increase diverse representation. Three weeks ago, initial policy recommendations were presented to the School Board. Since then, there’s been confusion about the implications and misinformation about the recommended changes."

https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/seattle-schools-can-undo-legacies-of-racism-by-boosting-all-advanced-learners/?fbclid=IwAR1jrF4wTGkwpFDY2FYh-kIJ4V71BAYIvmjHzkKNQtzNjkCokE9xeVwsa6c

Thanks to the person that testified regarding this issue.

Anonymous said...

My reading comprehension is just fine, MW.

My quote from this morning: "This blog has been on a campaign against TAF at Washington from the start, insidiously abetted by Melissa..."

Your direct response to my comment:
"Party's Over, just not true. I have supported this from the beginning, told Trish that and the Board knows that."

Why all the concern on this blog to have TAF at a school with more "black and brown" students?

Just because it was set up in high FRL schools prior does not mean the model is only intended for students living in poverty.

That is ludicrous! It's quote obvious that the concern is about protecting the service model for HCC at Washington. This faux concern to "give" TAF to a school with more students of color is a transparent guise to keep HCC at Washington as is.

Just be honest. No one is fooled, people.

Party's Over

Anonymous said...

Correction: QUITE obvious

Party's Over

Melissa Westbrook said...

Why all the concern? Because that's the model that Trish and her team have set up. That's why, years ago, they had after-school STEM...at Aki Kurose.

You can believe whatever you want but if the district wants to help the most kids - the kids who furthest from accessing high-quality STEM instruction - they wouldn't be putting it at WMS.

And who said anything about F/RL? Not me.

As for HCC, it will be gone soon. If you watched the last couple of Board meetings with public testimony, several kids/parents of color asked why the only HCC middle school program in the central/southeast was going to have its model changed, not the schools in the north end?

It's a good question.

True said...

Interesting to see people advocate for the loss of advanced learning in south Seattle.

Anonymous said...

I watched the board meeting. I feel very sorry for Trish & the TAF staff. I feel like SPS staff used them to to take the brunt of parent pushback over HCC.

Whether HCC should end or not, TAF seems like a great program and a wonderful opportunity for any middle school in Seattle. I could see it being a great basis for future IB students at one of our IB High Schools.

Staff could have asked TAF to start at a different middle school, or they could have waited until decisions about HCC have been made, or they could start TAF as an option school like they did Cleveland.

PBL is a good way to engage different kinds of learners in one classroom. And no Amplify science or discovery math. Yay.

One thing I found disturbing was the continued talk about HCC must end because it is segregation. I don't see them upset about any other segregation in the district only that one. Also board members & Juneau assuring parents that differentiation is a good solution to meet the needs of all students then also saying that no principals want HCC students in their schools and that SPS should only offer a basic floor of education. Staff knows, or should know, the history of differentiation in SPS classrooms from schools pushing HCC students out, to administrators patrolling the hallways to make sure that every student was doing the exact same math page with EDM.

I am curious if TAF doesn't have to use Amplify, they why do other schools have to use it?

-HS Parent1



Anonymous said...

MW: The kids "furthest from accessing high-quality STEM instruction" are FRL populations! FRL students are disproportionately students of color.

Your plan to put TAF with a school with high numbers of Black & Brown students WILL also have a high FRL population.

So that is inherent in the discussion.

Party's Over

Anonymous said...

@HS Parent1, not so fast on this one: "And no Amplify science or discovery math. Yay."

Trish Dziko said in her board meeting testimony that TAF would use the district's curriculum.

all types

Anonymous said...

Btw, Melissa, ask Trish (the founder of TAF) if her program is exclusively for underserved children.

If so, why in the world would she be actively working with the district to put TAF at Washington?

Party's Over

Anonymous said...

Well, all types, it will also come with an entire hands-on supplementation.

Again, the same voices who are so fast to criticize TAF are the posters who repeatedly try to keep the ineffective HC model in place at all costs.

Dull Moment

Anonymous said...

Actual questions about TAF are welcome. Playing lawyer in order to keep HC at Washington at all costs..?...

Only in the SPS world are questions about things like models and outcomes seen as "playing lawyer." Those aren't trick questions designed to trip people up, nor are they unreasonable or irrelevant.

Are critical thinking skills now considered un-PC?

data seeker

Melissa Westbrook said...

"Staff could have asked TAF to start at a different middle school, or they could have waited until decisions about HCC have been made, or they could start TAF as an option school like they did Cleveland."

No kidding, right?

You're wrong about the curriculum; TAF has to use district curriculum. But maybe they will apply for and get a waiver.

Also to note, TAF will not be a charter school. They are not making money on this, in fact, if you read the BAR, they are putting in something like $350,000. That's real investment. And, the teachers are in SEA, etc.

Yes, Juneau and Geary seeming to want to lower the floor to some baseline education standard is weird.

Anonymous said...

Uh, models and outcomes questions ARE the welcome questions, data seeker.

Talking about lawsuits, which have come up in this discussion, is playing lawyer.

Happy to clarify that for you.

Party's Over

Anonymous said...

Juneau is attempting to restore educational justice to a segregated district.

She is trying to give a fair playing field to the students for whom she's responsible.

You might disagree with her. However, it's not okay to trash her.

Enough

Melissa Westbrook said...

Party's Over, I don't like coy answers; what are you talking about?

First of all, you will never unsegregate the district (if by that you mean the make-up of each school).

And she should give a fair playing field to all students but especially those who need more support.

Anonymous said...



"basic floor of educational opportunity"

That is what Geary said should be offered to students by SPS.

Those words are very familiar to special ed parents. They are used all the time to deny services to our students. It refers to a supreme court case decided in 1982 where a family sued a school district for refusing to provide sign-language services to their deaf first grader because her standardized test scores were 70th percentile. The court stated that IDEA only guaranteed 'some' educational benefit which she was getting without the interpreter. Later the 10th district court further defined this as "merely more than de minimus", 'a trivial amount', or a 'basic floor of educational opportunity'.


In 2017 the Supreme Court unanimously rejected that standard.They said that "a student offered an educational program providing ‘merely more than de minimis’ progress from year to year can hardly be said to have been offered an education at all". The new standard is to have a goal of one grade level of growth per year" or if that is unreasonable given the child's cirmcustances, at least the growth must be appropriately ambitious and offering the chance to meet challenging objectives. Which is significantly more demanding than 'a basic floor' or 'merely de minimis'

Geary absolutely knows this. Juneau knows this. This is a deliberate method of denying services and claiming legal justification for doing so. Even though that legal standard was overturned 2 years ago, which they also know.

Whenever you hear 'basic floor of opportunity' you can just remember 6-year-old Amy Rowley sitting through class with no sign language interpreter. That is how it is used on special ed families. And considering that gen ed doesn't have IDEA to protect them, those words would strike fear in me.

And remember that the new standard is 'must be appropriately ambitious and offering the chance to meet challenging objectives' otherwise it's not even an education at all according to the supreme court.

-sped parent

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

Look, there's the SPS Community page at Facebook if you want to gloat or be unpleasant. Go forth there.