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.

25 comments :

Steve said...

Is it copacetic to attend this event if I don't have a child at that school (but *am* interested in hearing the discussion about APP)? I don't want to crash another school's PTSA meeting if they don't want people from outside the school there....

Anonymous said...

Yes. Welcome. It's a public school. I speak as a TM APP parent.

Anonymous said...

Though (same Anonymous here) I speak for myself, not for the PTSA.
I don't know whether it's a public meeting per se—but the discussion about APP is an open discussion, and if you're interested, this is the place to be. However, I'd be mighty surprised if we got anything of substance out of our superintendent tomorrow night.

Steve said...

Thanks. I'll do my best to be there. For anyone following this blog who can't make it but would like to ask a question of the superintendent and Dr. Vaughn, please post it and I'll do my best.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Steve,

Questions:

1. Where's our promised curriculum?

2. How is she going to support the student who lost funding (mostly ALO) of $200,000 b/c of the influx of APP students?

3. How will test scores be reported? by building or by program?

TechyMom said...

Thanks, Steve.

From her perspective, what is working and what needs improvement in the ALO programs at Lowell and TM? In APP? In the effort to build whole schools from multiple programs? What can parents do to help?

Lori said...

I would ask, "Has the program split achieved the desired outcome?" (ie, increased access to APP for students from South Seattle - wasn't that what they said the purpose was?).

Ben said...

I hope to be there tonight. I will be shocked if these (good) questions receive any answers beyond canned responses.

Anonymous said...

Where in the school will the meeting be held?

ArchStanton said...

Can she demonstrate a commitment to APP (or at least state support for APP) beyond a general statement in support of Advanced Learning?

(WV = "shizesa" I'm sure you can make something out of that...)

Anonymous said...

I would also like to know how she is planning on supporting the TT Minor kids still at Lowell. We are potentially losing much of the educational support for ALO at Lowell next year. I know there is a bigger group of kids in need at TM, but we shouldn't forget the TT Minor kids.

I am also interested to hear her say that APP is around for the long haul. I know her words have been shown to be meaningless, but you take what you can get.

Anonymous said...

what is the issue with ALO at Lowell?

Anonymous said...

There's a survey about the MGJ at

http://www.cppsofseattle.org/

It's pretty clear-cut.

Anonymous said...

Meeting is probably in the cafeteria. Follow the crowds.

Ben said...

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.

bf said...

Did anyone who attended the meeting get a sense of her commitment to APP? Did she say anything about the future of the program?

pjmanley said...

Bob Vaughan's comments were optimistic and inspiring, as always. His heart and mind are in the right place.

MGJ tried to connect and explain the funding issues, but didn't give an adequate explanation of why she increased the threshold for FRL, for example, and tried to sell the crowd that money is money, regardless of the source or how its deployed, so what's the problem? Typical.

Many parents were concerned about the loss of Title 1 status and benefits that accompany that status from other funding sources. Neither MGJ or Julie B really accounted for that loss of status with an adequate explanation, though Julie B explained several areas, such as a "Readers Workshop" where money would be spent to improve the school under the "School Improvement Plan." I trust Julie, but the ground l will be shakier going forward due to the loss of Title 1 status.

I was not clear on the actual source of the funding that was replaced and how reliable it will be going forward. The forthcoming Performance Management initiative will consume resources and with a new Teacher's Contract on the Horizon, I have no idea how much money, or how big of an impact or draw that plan will be on that funding.

Thus, questions remain surrounding the impact the loss of Title 1 status will have on the students.

TM is also in year 2 of AYP under NCLB and according to Julie B, in the couple of areas its failing AYP, the challenges are so tough, it probably won't come out of AYP. A parent asked, asked, and asked again what will happen if it doesn't come out of AYP, and MGJ never answered it, instead telling everyone to be optimistic. That particular point was frustrating and patronizing. They don't appear to have a plan B for that scenario, which is a hallmark of SPS leadership in general. It's not enough to "think positive" when reality bites, and "we'll cross that bridge when we come to it" is not much of a plan.

Other than that, like most APP meetings, I just smile and hide my offense while prejudice and double standards fill the room. I suppose it's nice to be thought of as affluent, successful and secure, regardless of reality. Image is everything.

Steve said...

I went, and agree with most of what pjmanley wrote.

I actually didn't like a few of the things Dr. Vaughn said (and I usually find him to be a pretty good guy). During the discussion of the loss of Title I funds for TM, he said he thought Title I funds hadn't made that much impact in the past anyway (at least one parent begged to differ). He also suggested that having the APP program (and presumably, it's curriculum, teachers, resources, parents, kids?) would improve things for the school (the same parent said she hadn't noticed any changes in her child's class this year due to the presence of APP).

Vaughn also (in my opinion) didn't fully answer the question he was asked about the APP curriculum ("Where is it?"). He said that curriculum changes have been happening in science and math, and that teachers from TM and Lowell get together monthly to work on this. Not very specific, however, and I don't know that this adds up to the promised "APP curriculum." One parent suggested that if progress *is* being made, he should tell the world about it. Bob seemed a bit flustered at this, although the obvious way to tell APP parents anything is through existing means at TM/Lowell and on the Advanced Learning web site. (Maybe some of this is happening at the schools).

A lot of the conversation was about TM losing Title I funds, and as pjmanley wrote, the talk around this was pretty murky. TM lost Title I funds because of the demographic change after APP came in (and the raising of the FRL percentage). These funds are being replaced next year (2010-2011) with a $278,248 "School Improvement Allocation". When pressed, Dr. Goodloe-Johnson admitted that there was no guarantee that this money would return to TM (or AS #1, the other recipient) in subsequent years. So, the change in Title I money (which I think is pretty consistent) is not being replaced by anything similarly consistent. The Superintendent did talk about shifting money from other buckets to accomplish the same thing, etc., but there was no discussion of how this moving of money impacts other schools (who don't get it) and where it's all going to come from. I think her lackadaisical nature about the money was pretty shocking.

I wanted to ask if test scores would be reported by building or program at Lowell and TM (especially), but didn't get a chance. I would say that if the scores for these two schools are in any way involved in compensation considerations for anyone in the district, they *can't* be considered on a building basis.

This was the first meeting I've attended with the superintendent. Maybe she was having a bad day or something, but I was surprised by the lack of connection she had with the people in the room (at least me!), and what I felt was the dismissive tone she had when responding to some of the questions. I was kind of shocked that a school superintendent could project such an image. Weird.

Maureen said...

A parent asked, asked, and asked again what will happen if it doesn't come out of AYP

My understanding is that there are no real repercussions for a school that does not make AYP unless that school is eligible for Title 1. So merging APP into TM has not only made the school ineligible for Title 1, it has also made it impossible for TM students to receive free tutoring or transportation to a different school.

A cynic might be forgiven for thinking that the entire reason for reducing the number of Title 1 schools (by increasing the FRL threshhold and splitting APP) is to reduce spending on tutoring and transportaion.

ArchStanton said...

One parent suggested that if progress *is* being made, he should tell the world about it. Bob seemed a bit flustered at this, although the obvious way to tell APP parents anything is through existing means at TM/Lowell and on the Advanced Learning web site. (Maybe some of this is happening at the schools).

I would expect them to toot their own horn if they had something to toot about. I'm pretty sure it isn't happening (the tooting, that is) - or if it is happening, it's being communicated so poorly as to essentially be not happening.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

Thanks for asking my questions (curriculum, money, test scores) since I had to work last night.

And at the last meeting I went to with the superintendent, MGJ's tone was the same: dismissive. In fact, I seem to remember she basically ran out before the ending so that parents couldn't talk to her one-on-one.

Zookeeper said...

The $278,248 is a grant that the school had to apply for. If JulieB and the teaching staff did not come up with this readers improvement plan and applied for the grant, TM would have had $0 in the “School Improvement Allocation”

Based on what I read on the SavesSeattleSchools blog, I think the money to fund these grants are from the Title funds the district kept when they changed the FRL from 40% to 55%. Title money at TM was used to work on reading and math and provide afternoon school snacks and only could be used with Title kids. This $278k grant will focus only on improving reading and should benefit all the kids at TM. At the meeting JulieB mentioned that every classroom will get $8000 to purchase leveled books for their classroom library, pay for a reading coach and teacher professional development time, and a before school reading program for the kids that need the extra help.

I think BobV’s issue with the Title funding is that its trying to do a little of everything with the same amount of resources making it less effective. But with this grant focusing all the extra resources towards reading, TM should see a huge improvement in the reading scores next year.

Stu said...

Zookeeper wrote: But with this grant focusing all the extra resources towards reading, TM should see a huge improvement in the reading scores next year.

For ONE year! Title 1 money is there for the needy community . . . it shouldn't be a slush fund for the Superintendent's desires and it shouldn't be held back 'cause someone might want to use it somewhere else. By changing the percentages, and shifting the money around, TM might get the same amount of money THIS year but will have to re-apply every year for something they deserve. It's a ridiculous way to allocate funds and it's taking attention away from the ARBITRARY decision that MGJ made to reduce the funding in the first place. TM should not have to beg for funds they've received in the past and deserve in the future.

stu

Maureen said...

The Draft Initial Analysis of Open Enrollment Data is posted.

Lowell is up to 528 (expected to show) from 464 (projected when the budget was done.) TMarshall is down to 409 from 421.

Lori said...

I have no context for interpreting these data, but I find it curious that they budgeted for 40 kids in 2nd grade APP at Lowell and assigned 75. That's almost twice as many! Grade 3 is somewhat similar (budgeted 58; assigned 83).

Did the district forget about the large cohort of kids born in 2002-2003 who required the creation of multiple new K classes in North Seattle 2 years ago? Since 2nd and 3rd grade are common entry points for APP, it seems that they should have been able to anticipate somewhat larger enrollment to APP for the upcoming year.

If anyone attends the coffee chat on Friday, please let us know what is said about class sizes and structure next year. Thanks.