Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Goodloe-Johnson at Thurgood Marshall PTSA meeting on April 29

Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson will be at the Thurgood Marshall April PTSA General Meeting tomorrow. From the announcement:
Superintendent of Seattle Schools to address next PTSA General Meeting
Thursday, April 29 6:30–8pm in the cafeteria

Join us for our April PTSA General Meeting and a chance to hear from the Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson, Superintendent, and Robert Vaughan, Director of Advanced Learning, as they speak and answer questions about the school district's plans for our APP and ALO programs. Here is our opportunity to ask the tough questions about their vision for the future success of our school.
If you attend, please comment on this post to let others know your thoughts on the meeting and if there is any new information about the school district's plans for APP.

Update: Ben writes:
Here's what I got out of the meeting:

* Budget crisis? What budget crisis? Besides money isn't everything. Besides, ALO kids will benefit from being in a "less-dense poverty" situation. (So...just by being near "rich" kids, they'll do better?)

* The curriculum? Science instruction is already the same in Lowell and TM. Math instruction is already the same. Teachers are meeting to work on Language Arts stuff.
Other thoughts on the meeting? Was any new information given about the "district's plans for our APP and ALO programs"?

Update: Two more comments ([1] [2]) with details on the meeting. Worth reading.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Kay Smith-Blum at Lowell and TM

Seattle School Board member Kay Smith-Blum met with parents at Lowell on April 5 and Thurgood Marshall on April 6. By request, here is a thread to discuss those meetings.

Lendlees offered a summary of the Lowell meeting in an early thread:
I was there this morning. KSB is a breath of fresh air. She was very forthright and blunt about the issues that are going on and the extent of her influence with the existing board.

She took copious notes about the issues we raised and is planning to bring them to her one on one with the Superintendent this week.

The issues we raised were:
  1. Lowell and TM should not be treated like other schools. We have unique programs that require special staffing not accounted for in the existing WSS formula. (example: you can't have .4 of a teacher)
  2. There is no curriculum for APP yet.
  3. We have very large class sizes (29 in 3rd/5th grade)
  4. We have a large number of split grades.
  5. Everyday Math is a terrible curriculum for APP and cannot be taught in a split class setting.
  6. Why are we getting penalized about lack of stimulus money this year when we didn't benefit from it last year.
  7. Just because Lowell looks 'successful' on the outside doesn't mean there aren't inherent issues that need extra support.
Kay is very much an advocate since her sons went through APP as well.
Can others who were there please comment on and summarize the meetings?

Open thread

Discuss what you like!

Advisory Committee warns of threat to APP

An announcement of a recent APP Advisory Committee meeting on April 6 included this warning:
Seattle Public Schools is facing significant cuts in funding for all its schools ... We hope to discuss the status of proposed changes and how they might impact ... schools where APP is offered, and the program itself.
Stu commented ([1] [2]):
I've gotten more paranoid over this past year but I found the above sentence ... kind of disturbing. It almost implies that they're planning on moving/changing the APP schools . . . and the program.

Unfortunately, I believe the commitment to advanced learning really ends with ALO. This administration wants ALO in every school, possibly some Spectrum programs in each "cluster," but will look to end APP in the near future. Based on everything they've been doing, I don't see how APP fits in their plans. It takes the "smart" kids out of the neighborhood schools, where their scores would help curve things up a bit, and adds to the overall transportation costs. With APP gone, they get to cut transportation, staffing, buildings . . a whole lot of things.

Splitting the program, and ignoring the history of divided buildings, was the first step . . . I'd love to see it last but, on a personal level, don't believe our current 5th grader will ever get to Garfield.
SoundEndScribe later summarized the meeting, including saying this:
It wasn't long ... [until] the question of continued commitment to the APP program in particular was raised ... Bob Vaughn tried to reassure the parents that indeed there was a long-standing (30+yrs) and long-term commitment to advanced learning. He stopped short of saying that there was a long-term commitment to APP in its current form. He didn't say that change was imminent or inevitable but he also didn't say that it wasn't.
It sounds like this AC meeting was not discussing advocating for APP, so let's open a thread on that here. Is there anything parents can do?