Sunday, March 25, 2012

Open thread

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

Hamilton, TFA, etc. from SPSLeaks

email dated 9/25/11

"All is well at Hamilton, but we are packed to the gills."

Anonymous said...

Was SPS trying to hire a TFA candidate for an APP opening at Hamilton?

How would putting TFA into Hamilton help further TFAs mission of working in under-served settings with at-risk youth? According to TFA, which part of Hamilton's service area would be under-served: Wallingford, Freemont, Phiney Ridge, Laurelhurst?

suep. said...

Yes, apparently HIMS tried to hire a TFA, Inc. trainee for this year. I don't know for what class, grade or program. Apparently she had a humanities background.

Just five weeks of training and no student-teaching experience, that's the TFA recipe.

Anonymous said...

Is the reason HIMS would try to hire a TFA teacher is to get a teacher for less money?
NE Seattle mom

suep. said...

Ironically, NE Seattle mom, TFA trainees cost the district more money.

Although they do not have the one-year-long traditional MA degree and the teacher training that brings nor the year of in-class student teaching experience, they are allowed to compete for the same jobs as fully credentialed teachers and are paid the same starting salary as any fully qualified teacher plus the district is required to pay TFA, Inc. an annual $4,000 per recruit fee.

(Here's the SPS-TFA, Inc. contract which stipulates that.)

So in effect, when an SPS principal hires a TFA recruit, SPS is choosing to pay more for less qualifications.

Yes, it's baffling.

Why HIMS leadership and hiring team would select a TFAer over a fully credentialed teacher is up for speculation. They tend to be young, fresh out of college, perhaps more impressionable. Supporters like to say they are energetic and have good intentions, but so too are fully trained teachers. Detractors worry that they are more compliant than veteran teachers, so principals may prefer this trait.

Plus they are only required to teach for two years, so this can lead to turnover and churn. (Only about 34 percent of TFAers stay in the teaching profession beyond the third year.)

I don't see how a TFAer would be a sound choice for APP or any of the programs at HIMS. Already there are issues with HIMS teachers who lack knowledge and aptitude in the realm of gifted ed. and this has proven to be very problematic.

The school lost an incredibly knowledgeable and valuable gifted ed teacher this year, with the sad passing of Marcy Shadow; a TFAer would certainly not be able to fill those shoes.

In fact, what the school desperately needs right now is more qualified and proven teachers -- not less.

It would be nice if the principals and district would check in with us parents about whether we want less qualified people teaching our kids or not, wouldn't it? (I wrote about that here: The Letter the Seattle School District did not send to local parents about Teach for America (but should have))

Bruce Taylor said...

The trail of e-mails shows that Principal Carter sent a letter to the school board regarding TFA. Can you locate/post a link to that letter?

"To Whom It Concerns,

Attached is a letter with the purpose of perhaps providing another perspective regarding TFA and TFA Corp Members. As a proud principal in our school district who has watched and listened to the contention involved with this process I felt compelled to offer my perspective for what it is worth. I am both a principal and a parent in our public school systems.


Chris Carter
Hamilton International Middle School"

suep. said...

This is that link.

Anonymous said...

Re.: Hamilton
This is more than depressing. This actually means there is no HOPE for any changes for the better at HIMS. Neither this year, nor next year. If they start to hire TFAs instead of fully qualified teachers, the already questionable quality of the teaching (and consequently learning) is not going to improve.
And from these letters it is clear to me that the reason is not only CC.
- Depressed

NESeattleMom said...

Isn't the goal of TFA to work with low-perfoming students in high poverty schools?
NE Seattle mom

Anonymous said...

Can we please have a thread for concerns over the amount of homework given to APP students?

Of particuarly concern is the load given in 8th grade at WMS, not just this year, but every year.

Administration turns a blind eye and kids are truely suffering.

signed, Auntie Homework

Anonymous said...

I wonder if one of you could help us on this. My daughter has had the same MAP math score since the spring of ’10.

Her lowest strand scores have been in algebra which I assume is because she hasn’t had been exposed to it. Our primary concern is that for she has shown no growth in math. Is that to be expected because she had an outlying score originally? Or should we have involved her more with outside lessons. How is 240 compared to a 5th grade class and what math placement should we anticipate for next year? Is she borderline student for Algebra?

Exam RIT Percentile Grade
2011-2012 Winter 240 94 5th
2010-2011 Spring 241 98 4th
2010-2011 Winter 242 99 4th
2010-2011 Fall 231 98 4th
2009-2010 Spring 240 99 3rd

fuzzy math

Greg Linden said...

Auntie Homework, that's a good idea, a thread on homework, I'll try to do that soon. At the moment, there's a few other topics holding people's attention -- Greg King, admissions to APP and new parents starting next year, what will happen to Lowell@Lincoln long term -- but I'll try to add a new thread on homework once everything else quiets down.

Anonymous said...

To Fuzzy Math:
The best way to adress any MAP related questions is to go to this meeting:

-Good luck

Purple mama said...

When my 7th grade daughter was in 5th grade, the teachers taught to the test just in time for the spring MAP so that the kids showed growth. Maybe you'll be surprised this spring.

Anonymous said...

To Fuzzy Math - when my daughter was in 5th grade, she had a similar math RIT score (243 on the winter of 5th grade math test). My daughter is good at math but I am sure that there are APP kids with higher scores. So based on a sample size of 1, I'd say your daughter has a typical math score for an APP kid.

Since you are asking about math placement, I'm assuming your daughter is moving from a neighborhood elementary school to APP for 6th grade (if she was at T/M or L@L presumably you would already know her placement). For what it's worth, our daughter switched from a neighborhood ALO school in 5th grade to APP in 6th. Her initial placement based on her 5th grade teacher recommendation was to go into 7th grade (Spectrum) math. We requested that she be bumped up to 8th grade APP math (I think this is called 6HH math). We then had our daughter cover the 6th and 7th grade math curriculum at home during spring of 5th grade and the summer before 6th grade. This worked well for us, and our daughter did well in 6th grade APP math (which apparently is the equivalent of 8th grade math).

Also, our daughter's RIT score went up to 259 in spring of 5th grade. My guess is that it went up because we had her studying the 6th grade curriculum. But who knows. I would worry less about the MAP scores and more about the content that she seems to be learning. If you are going to have her learn math at home, I would avoid the CMP text books like the plague.


hschinske said...

Keep in mind there are a couple of levels of MAP. I am not sure which one they use at the fifth-grade level (ideally they'd be using the 6+ one by then for APP kids, but somehow I doubt it). By middle school they're using the same one as at high school, so it can in theory actually assess high-school-level achievement (except that, whoops, there isn't a lot of high-level stuff on the test, so once again you run into ceiling problems).

My son's first MAP test was in the fall of sixth grade, and he got only a 237 in math, but by spring of that year he was at a 261.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Helen was he in 6th grade APP math then?

-Fuzzy Math

Anonymous said...

About homework in Schmitz (8th grade at Washington) kids have landed in the hospital this year from trying to keep up with the work load.

It is very sad and even though parents have spoken up, each of them has gotten the message that they are the only family struggling.

Clearly it is a political issue, obviously not as big as others being discussed here, but actually probably even more important to southenders.


Bruce Taylor said...

@suep, the link includes a chain of e-mails, including Chris Carter's message in which he states he's sending a letter to the board. However, it does not include his letter to the board. Any idea how I can get hold of that?

suep. said...

SPSLeaks might know. I'll ask.

Anonymous said...

Good recap of the SNAPP meeting last night.

L@L parent

suep. said...

@Bruce -- Here it is:

Apparently CC is a TFA alum himself.

suep. said...

Live link here.

Elise said...

Hey everyone, spread the word. The APP AC meeting has been changed to Monday to accommodate the BEX IV meeting at Eckstein on Tuesday. It will still be at Lowell@Lincoln at 6:30. We are specifically covering capacity and the future of APP. Please come! Everyone is welcome.

Anonymous said...

For another perspective, while my child's 8th grade homework level is demanding, he is able to do it by being organized, even with a busy schedule of extra-curricular activities. He plans out his work for Mr. Schmitz's class, and he has never had to stay up excessively late, nor has he suffered any health effects. I'm not trying to diminish any other families' concerns; I just want to share that from our perspective the work seems interesting and appropriately challenging, and the workload not wildly excessive.

Anonymous said...

For a different perspective on the homework load, our child has not suffered any ill effects from Mr. Schmitz's expectations. He is very organized about it, planning out in advance when he will do what aspects, how he'll coordinate with other class demands. We've found the work to be interesting and appropriately challenging, and his overall workload leaves plenty of time for extra-curricular and social/recreational activities.