Monday, June 11, 2012

Open thread

Summer is almost here!  What's on your mind, APP parents?

Update: Charlie Mas started a thread on the School Board's policy on "Highly Capable Student Programs", which has been suspended since 2009.  Very worthwhile topic, please comment on it over there.

Update: Two major topics in the comments, one on MAP test scores being used to determine when APP 5th graders can take Algebra in 6th grade, another on an incident at Hamilton where a teacher videotapes one class misbehaving and then showed it to another class.

82 comments :

Charlie Mas said...

School board C & I Committee is scheduled to discuss changes to the Advanced Learning policy at their June 25 meeting. Interested parties might want to attend.

Purplemama said...

Check it out. The onslaught of "no kids need APP" posts begins once again on the oher blog.

Charlie Mas said...

Here's the part that I love: when they complain about Advanced Learning families having a "superior attitude" and then tell us that we're making bad decisions for our children because they don't agree with them. And they do it with absolutely no sense of irony. Amazing.

"Parents of advanced learners often have superior attitudes that DO trickle down to their kids.

"Why on earth can't advanced learners be accommodated at the local schools? It would make life so much easier for everyone and surely, this could be worked out.

"Separating kids out is not optimal, b/c they miss out on meeting lots of wonderful children in general ed who are plenty smart and could be great friends for life.
"

Charlie Mas said...

What should the District's Advanced Learning policy be?

What should the policy achieve?

Anonymous said...

I just learned the district used the winter MAP score for 6th grade math placement for this fall. Students who scored 250 and above in winter testing ONLY are considered for Algebra 1. No spring testing score or teacher's input is considered. No chance for appealing since the district states there is no opt up to Algebra. I don't think it's right to make the math placement decision solely by winter MAP test.

Anonymous said...

Only MAP scores? And you're learning this after students have taken the test? I know my child would put more effort into a test if placement decisions were hinging on it.

According to 2011 norms (5th grade), a Winter RIT of 254 equates to 99% for a 5th grader. A Winter RIT of 248 equates to 98%. For Spring, 99% is a RIT of 259, 98% is a RIT of 253, and 97% is a RIT of 250.

I'd be interested in the data reviewed to make 250 the cutoff. How many incoming 6th graders hit this cutoff the previous year? It's good to know that Algebra I is actually an option for some students, but using only Winter MAP scores does seem problematic.

Anonymous said...

Hers's a link to another district using NWEA MAP scores for Algebra placement. The cutoff? RIT 250 for Spring, which is 97% for 5th grade.

http://www.minnetonka.k12.mn.us/academics/GTHP/MSS/Pages/HonorsCourses6.aspx

The NWEA charts assume a 10 point growth from Fall to Spring for the 97-99% range, with a 5 point increase between each test.

Anonymous said...

Not only did parents find out AFTER the spring test was taken that only winter scores would count, the 5th grade Lincoln teachers told the kids to do their best work on the spring test because it would be used for 6th grade math placement. The 5th grade APP teachers didn't even know what was going on. Ridiculous.

I am appreciative that the district is finally doing something about the need for higher math, but they need to use a process that is clear to the parents and the kids.

-annoyed

Anonymous said...

When I heard the district was going to officially allow 6th graders to take Algebra, I thought the three years of parent efforts had finally paid off. I guess the battle isn't over...

Very frustrated mom said...

Yes, only winter MAP score. For reasons unknown, my student scored very low in winter testing and was placed for Math 8. Contacted the Math Department yesterday. My student's spring score is over 250 and was told that it meets the qualification for Algebra 1. 250 by spring. Because this is the first year to offer 6th grade Algebra, the district used winter scores by assuming those students who met 250 in winter will score 250+ in spring as well. I was advised to contact the middle school and ask for the availability for the space in 6th grade algebra class so I did. The middle school principle answered my inquiry as follows:

Placement into Algebra is controlled by the central math office, and is based on Winter MAP scores. There is no opt up for Algebra. Students must have met the 250 test by winter testing to be considered for Algebra this fall.

It seems like all doors are closed for my student.

Anonymous said...

Very Frustrated Mom-

Will you please write to Bob Vaughan? I am hoping that if they hear from a lot of parents, this decision might be revisited. It is not right that the kids didn't know prior to taking the winter test that it would have such importance. If the spring score of 250 is what's needed to succeed in Algebra 1, then those kids who scored 250 in spring should get Algebra 1.

-hoping for a good outcome

Anonymous said...

Oh...so if I understand correctly, the actual qualification is a Spring score of 250, but the assumption is a student already scoring 250 on Winter would still qualify. So 250 on Winter MAP qualifies, but the actual cutoff determined by the Math Dept. is 250 in Spring? Now the school (HIMS?) is saying only 250 in Winter qualifies?

Not okay.

A 250 in Spring (97%) equates to 245 in Winter, so really not okay.

Anonymous said...

Hi. My 4th grader just scored 250 on spring MAP math test, does this guarantee he will be in Algebra in 6th grade? His scores seem to go up every test but not always. Just wondering if you hit that magic number once, you don't need to worry about it again.

Anonymous said...

Can we get clarification on the actual policy from the Math Department? If the determined cutoff is a Spring MAP of 250, then how can they deny Algebra I placement for those meeting the cutoff with Spring scores? Hopefully this is just a communication issue...

I wouldn't take the principal's statement as the last word.

Very frustrated mom said...

I did write to Dan Gallagher (Math & Science Program Manager), Anna Box (Math Instructional Coach), and Robert Vaughan. I personally talked with Dan over the phone. He confirmed the cut off score is 250 by spring. But the math department doesn't give the offical permission to middle schools to consider spring scores. Middle schools can't do anything without the official authorization from the math department. Who else needs to be involved to clear this mess? Any advice? Dan told me that he would bring this issue up in a meeting next week and discuss.

suep. said...

Adding to the mess of this, I have heard that winter MAP scores tend to dip down because the kids have just come back from holiday break and take a while to get back up to speed -- similar to the post-summer academic slump.

So there are multiple reasons why winter MAP scores would be potentially weaker than spring scores.

Also, it makes no sense not to use a more current "data point" (to use the jargon).

Why can't a student's classwork and teacher recommendation be used for math class assignment?

Also, anyone know if MSP math scores are taken into consideration?

Again, MAP is being misused in so many ways by this district. It is costly and excessive and steals a lot of learning and library time. The district should can the MAP. In the meantime, everyone has the option to opt out.

suep. said...

Also, a conspiracy theorist might glean from this that the district is intentionally choosing to use a test that produced potentially weaker scores so that fewer kids will qualify for more advanced math.

We have seen in the past that the district has not been that supportive of offering advanced math to the kids who need it, especially at APP middle schools post-split.

Where is Bob Vaughan in all this? What is he advocating for?

protected static said...

I was just going to post what suep said, that we've been told by our son's IEP team that Winter scores are always lower than Spring or Fall, sometimes to the tune of double-digit differences.

As for AL policy - I'd like to see at least a mention made that AL teachers should have AL training...

Anonymous said...

At the APP AC meeting last week the Hamilton parent rep stated that Hamilton will offer Algebra 1 for 6th graders but only for 27. She couldn't explain why is there any limit at Hamilton for this program and how they came up with this number. According to the parents at the meeting if there has to be a number (again why can't everyone take it if qualified) that should be around 50!!!
Hamilton parent

Anonymous said...

How can the district make up a role about math placement AFTER the testing they only consider happened?
And how Hamilton can make up its own rule about this?
This is just not fair for the students.

Anonymous said...

Dr Vaughan was not at the APP AC meeting last week and since then he is not responding to any e-mails.
Hamilton parent

Elise said...

To be clear, I never said that they were offering Algebra 1 to 'only' 27 students. I said that I was told that 27 students qualified for next year.

The reason I 'couldn't explain why is there any limit at Hamilton for this program" is because there isn't one. According to whatever test scores they decided on, 27 kids qualified. If more kids qualified, more kids would be in it. You misunderstood me.

Also, Dr Vaughan was not at the meeting for personal reasons.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps using Spring scores would increase the numbers?

Dan told me that he would bring this issue up in a meeting next week and discuss.

Will you follow up next week? I'd rather not send a barrage of letters until we have more info.

Anonymous said...

Elise: What does it mean "qualified" for Algebra 1 at Hamilton? Did they look at the winter MAP scores or the spring MAP scores when they stated that 27 students qualified? Did they look at teachers recommendations also?
Parent

Anonymous said...

The main question is then: who qualifies to be in an Algebra 1 class in 6th grade in any school at the SPS next year. If the district says spring MAP scores count with the teachers recommendation then why the different schools say only the winter MAP scores count.
Who will decide and when?
This should be the first step to clarify the situation.

Anonymous said...

The district had already made a decision to use only winter Map math test score of 250 for 6th grade Algebra 1. No teacher input or other factors such as grades, MSP test results, or each student's performance was considered. The issue here is how to overturn the already made decision by the district and give qualified students an equal opportunity to be able to access Algebra at 6th grade.

Anonymous said...

It is really unclear to me who made what decision. According to previous posts, the Math Department is saying the guideline is a Spring MAP of 250. Certainly this decision was made with input from Advanced Learning. When you say the "district" decided on a Winter MAP of 250, who in the district? Was it a school based decision (teachers and principal)? Just the principal? Advanced Learning?

I was under the impression it applied district wide.

-very confused

NancyC said...

I posted a letter to the SNAPP Facebook page that Dr. Vaughan sent to me, very promptly I may add, saying they would use either last spring OR last fall OR this past winter to determine algebra 1. In the letter which I think you should be able to find on the Facebook page, he states a clear rationale for their decision. I did follow up asking about capacity, and Dan Gallagher replied that space and resource limitations were an additional factor in placement and that all decisions were done at the middle school. It's hard to see how they could give you clear qualifying criteria and then deny placement, but I guess I'll cross that bridge if I get to that point.

Anonymous said...

Something to consider when deciding placement for your child (this comes from another district's FAQS on math placement):

Analysis of MAP scores has shown a remarkable correlation between 3rd and 4th grade scores and continued success through high school math courses. Students with high math scores but lower reading scores can perform at an acceptable level in 6th grade Pre-Algebra and 7th Grade Algebra, but then begin to struggle as they progress to higher level math courses at the high school. These students often end up dropping out of honors courses. Students with lower reading scores who wait to start Pre-Algebra in 7th or 8th grade are more successful in high school math, and are able to excel in honors and AP courses.

http://nfld.k12.mn.us/nms/files/2012/04/FAQs-about-6th-Grade-Math-Placement-2012.pdf

Even if your child makes the cutoff, how do you know it's the right placement?

Elise said...

Parent,
What I mean by 'qualified' is whatever cutoff the district decided is the qualification for being placed in Algebra 1 in 6th grade. I do not know what that is, and it seems if you read this thread, there are varying ideas of what this means. My notes from that meeting say 'MAP score of 250', but not whether that was Winter or Spring, or what. So I really don't know.

Anonymous said...

Elise,

It makes sense you didn't write down if the Alg 1 class required winter or spring scores. When the district says that it researched and found that those who earned 250 or more in the spring prior to taking Alg 1 did well in the class, who would think they'd make the cutoff winter?

-crazy

Anonymous said...

Why can't we have a clear description of the qualification needed for the math placement somewhere at the SPS website if it is a district decision?
There wouldn't be any more confusion, writing letters, listening gossips, spread misinformation, etc...

Or this is exactly the district's goal: to cause confusion in schools, among teachers, students, parents?

Anonymous said...

It boggles my mind that the District is trying to limit the number of kids who can take algebra. They have to find spots in some math class for all of these kids. Why not have the guiding principle be to have kids learning at as high a level as possible (and is appropriate for the kid). The exact same issue applies to Spectrum in my mind. Why articially cap enrollment in Spectrum? Let all kids who qualify in - and if there are extra spots, let additional kids opt in. The goal should be to have all kids working at their highest potential - not to artificially cap the number of kids who are able to work to their highest potential.

Mike

Anonymous said...

As skeptical as I am of MAP, the cutoff score seems reasonable (Spring 250), based on my own children's scores, past and present, and whether or not I'd consider them ready for Algebra. This goes for one taking it as a 7th grader as well.

I'm wondering how people make the decision about whether or not acceleration is best, even if they have the scores. Are there any assurances that an appropriate level class will be available for 8th grade (Algebra II)?

I'll be glad when we get more clarity on guidelines and placement. It's frustrating to not have the info, but I'm trying to be glad that finally, finally, Hamilton will sanction Algebra I enrollment for qualified 6th graders.

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of the excitement about Algebra 1 is not only that their kids can be challenged by math, but they also may avoid the Hamilton HH 6th grade math teacher that many of us have been hearing about. The current 6th grade experience sounds like it has not been positive for many and taking Algebra 1 might be a good way to avoid a negative math experience.

I hope the various teachers issues for APP at Hamilton are being looked at now.

-ennui

Anonymous said...

Do we know who will be teaching what classes? Will the 6th graders be scheduled with 7th graders taking the class, or is it going to be a separate class just for 6th graders?

Anonymous said...

The rumor is 6th grade Algebra 1 kids will NOT have their own class. They will be distributed between 7th grade APP Alg 1 and 8th grade spectrum Alg 1.

Don't know if this is true, but it's what I have heard.

-ennui

Anonymous said...

That makes sense from a scheduling standpoint. There hasn't been any word of next year's teacher assignments and from what I've heard a well liked 6th grade LA teacher is leaving.

Anonymous said...

If one of the district's objectives is making every school a quality school and serving student needs in their neighborhood school, isn't this policy one step in that direction? Will this option be available to all qualified students at all middle schools?

The referenced FAQS do make me wonder if the policy should have some minimum reading MAP, or some other second component, as part of the requirements (along with a chance to appeal). There's something about limiting it to one data point that concerns me.

What is the typical math pathway (through high school) for those taking Algebra I in 6th grade?

APP newbie said...

(To change topics slightly...) My 1st-grader's overall math percentile on the MAP fell from 99th (the last two MAP tests) to 93rd this time (Spring 2012). Is this anything to worry about? Is there anything I should do or discuss with the teacher? I realize the MAP is highly flawed, but I still wonder if the drop should be of concern to us.

Anonymous said...

To APP Newbie - as long as your first grader is doing well on class work and homework, I wouldn't worry about it. I was just looking at my 6th grader's MAP scores which generally in the 97-99 percentile - except for one that was in the 92nd percentile. This is out of a total of 8 MAP tests. I'm chalking that one score in the 92nd percentile to an off day - maybe she didn't get enough sleep the night before, maybe she made a couple careless mistakes.... Who knows.

Matt

hschinske said...

I'll repost an old comment on my perception of the reliability of middle school MAP scores:

My son's middle school MAP reading scores show things like this: starting out at a 96th percentile level, next time up 4 points to be at 98th percentile, next time down 6 points to be at 91st percentile level, next time up 10 points to be at 99th percentile level, next time down 16 points to be at 71st percentile level, and next time up 12 points to be at 95th percentile level.

Math is even weirder. From the first score at 91st, the second went up 15 to 98th, third up 9 to 99th, fourth down 12 to 95th, fifth same score again, 93rd, sixth up 7 to 96th.

Anyone really think these scores show "progress" in any meaningful sense? It's a dang game of Snakes and Ladders here.

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

"What is the typical math pathway (through high school) for those taking Algebra I in 6th grade?"
7th gr-Geometry
8th gr- Algebra 2
9th gr-Precalculus
10th gr-AP Calculus AB
11th gr-AP Calculus BC
12th gr-AP Statistics

Anonymous said...

Related to 6th grade...

Is anyone getting reports about the teacher videotaping a class that was goofing off and then showing it to other classes? Was it just meant to be funny? It seems humiliating. What's your kid's take on it?

Anonymous said...

Yep, I heard about that. Doesn't seem to be a good idea to me, but very little I hear from Hamilton surprises me anymore. There seems to be a clear lack of professionalism in the building.

Ham Mom

Anonymous said...

Was the goofing off video shown in a LA/SS class?

I agree with the diffuse lack of professionalism. But my daughter has enjoyed the year and she has very few complaints. Actually I think her only complaint is the lack of math instruction.

I suspect that "ennui" has it right that parents are motivated by the Algerbra 1 cut off to avoid the APP math teacher.

Summer's comin'

Anonymous said...

I think the video was shown in a math class.

Anonymous said...

"I think the video was shown in a math class."

That would not surprise me. My students 6th grade math teacher was always comparing their behavior and performance with the other APP section.

Anonymous said...

My child's 2nd hand story: The teacher told the class she was going to record them (because they were goofing off) and then send the video to their parents. They didn't think she would actually record them, but she did, and then she showed the video to other classes.

When the bullying in middle school comes from and is sanctioned by the teacher, what kind of lessons are you teaching? Why is unprofessional behavior like this allowed to continue?

Anonymous said...

"Why is unprofessional behavior like this allowed to continue?"
The answer to this is simple: because it is Hamilton. I don't think there is any kind of quality control for the teachers, let alone any professional expectations coming from the admin.
Please tell me that I am wrong...

Anonymous said...

I don't think you're wrong. Sorry.

Another Hamilton parent

Anonymous said...

You need permission to film or photograph a student. If one student in the video checked "no photo" on the waiver the teacher will be in hot water.

I would get the full story and pass along to the education director so they can view the vidoe and make sure all students paperwork was in order.

Anonymous said...

Even if their paperwork was in order...why would filming for this purpose be ok?

Anonymous said...

It's not OK - but if a teacher filmed a student who did not give consent there could be a formal complaint lodged against the teacher.

Tippy Topple said...

Per my son who is the class who had the video shown to them...

Ms. T announced to the kid's being video taped that this was being used as a negative example of behavior and it may be shown to their parents.Some of the kids hammed it up by saying "Hi Dad".

My son's class was shown the video with an oral instruction that this is not the way to behave in class. He states that obviously he recognized some of the students and has since then heard some of the students being teased in the hallways about the video.

I would strongly encourage you to ask your child about this video and see which class he or she may have been in and respond appropriately, especially if your child is now being teased as a result.

Hoping my kids are not hellions said...

I think that it's interesting that everyone is jumping on the teacher. If your kid is so poorly behaved that they continued to behave badly in spite of being told that they were being videotaped, why would you not want to have a serious talk with your kid??

Anonymous said...

If my kid was behaving poorly, then yes, I would want to know about it (and there would be consequences at home). But I would want to find out because the teacher contacted me - not because I heard about it second-hand via a video tape.

To me, it's a sign that the teacher needs some assistance or training in how to manage a class. I haven't heard of the other 6th grade teachers having problems managing their classes. And video taping a class and then showing it to the other periods doesn't seem particularly effective to me either.

Mary

Tippy Topple said...

Nobody said I wouldn't want to have a talk with my kid (and I have after receiving phone calls home from said teacher). That is the way the disciplinary system should work in my opinion. If you have a problem with my child address it with me as the parent not with his peers or other kids who don't even know him to attempt to solve the problem. Call me, have me come to school, send him to the principal, whatever it is so that you address it with and for my child but don't address my child's behavior with his peers.

Anonymous said...

Hellion or not, when is public shaming as a disciplinary method ok?

Why, after so many complaints, this year and last, do these type of situations keep cropping up? The teacher is the adult in this situation. Her means of handling the situation was not appropriate.

Charlie Mas said...

Regardless of the cutoff score on the MAP test to qualify for Algebra in the 6th grade (by the way, what MAP score is required for 7th graders, 8th graders, or 9th graders to take algebra?), it is wrong to use MAP test scores in this way.

Is no one else bothered by that? This is a totally inappropriate use of the assessment.

Anonymous said...

Just to put some of the comments re the Math class video taping in context: my kid was in the "bad" class being taped. She admits the class was being rowdy and that the teacher warned they would be taped. My daughter claims it was no big deal, the kids in the class dont feel "shamed", she actually thought is was kind of funny, and didnt think anyone would be embarassed or teased as a result. I agree this teacher has been consistently unprofessional, no other teacher that I know of would pull something like this. The teachers at Hamilton quality is uneven, but this particular behaviour is not what I would call typical. The bigger issue is that she's apparently an awful teacher - Math is hard enough as it is, so why waste time with stunts like this - she needs to focus on TEACHING, thats what class time should focus on even though her teaching has been rather unproductive. I will be emailing the principal about this so he is aware. He won't know or be able to take action unless he is told. Other parents who are concerned should consider doing so as well. Sigh......

Anonymous said...

Charlie-

I agree 100%. I was researching how the NWEA says one should use the data from the MAP test and found that the writers of the MAP test specifically say that it should never be used as the only means of assessing whether one should be admitted to a class or program.

I do have a major problem with them using the test for this. I guess this is what we should expect in the age of testing - what could a teacher possible know that a single, multiple choice computer test doesn't?

-ennui

Anonymous said...

Charlie and ennui,

Especially when that single data point is a test that is so poorly administered. My kid totally blew off the math map test. She said when she went back to complete it, she wasn't given scratch paper and didn't ask because she was sick of taking it. So, she just guessed on the remaining questions. Her attitude towards the test is partly my fault; I downplayed its importance (turns out, wrongly so).

--oh well

Anonymous said...

How does the MAP cutoff compare with the days when a written test was administered for 6th grade math placement? How was it done previously? With teacher recommendation? I recall some grumbling about the written test as well.

If the goal is to place students in a way that they will be successful long term, and not prematurely place students in an accelerated class, what is the best measure (or measures)?

Anonymous said...

So if they place 6th grade Alg I students with 7th and 8th grade Alg I students; they will need to place them all with the 8th geometry students the following year. Then they will need Alg II in place at both WMS and HIMS (or wherever NE APP is housed.) the following year.

Is this the plan?

Remember that a cohort of students ended up with NO math in 8th grade several years ago.

Anonymous said...

How is WMS handling Algebra I for 6th graders?

Anonymous said...

There is no plan yet for the 8th graders who can take Alg 1 in 6th grade. Dr Vaughan said, since this is the first step (to introduce Alg 1 in 6th grade in all middle school), that question comes next, but since we have time, it is going to be OK. (I personally would like to know what is going to be in 8th grade before I sign my student up).
The cohort you are talking about was much smaller, less than 10 students 3 years ago. This year there are more students who qualified to take Alg 1. If it is true, in Hamilton only 27. Again, this number could be even bigger if they count the Spring MAP scores and not the winter ones.

Anonymous said...

(To change topics slightly...) My 1st-grader's overall math percentile on the MAP fell from 99th (the last two MAP tests) to 93rd this time (Spring 2012). Is this anything to worry about?

I haven't found MAP to be useful at all. My older kid's scores seem to bounce around randomly and have little bearing on how much the kid has learned in a year.

I would think that there might be some anomalies from being on the high end of the test, but my younger kid, who is not in APP, has had even wilder swings, dropping 50 percentage points between this winter and spring.

I'm pretty sure the kid didn't get substantially more ignorant. The kid is as stubborn as all get out though, so there might have been a deliberate attempt to throw the test.

I pity the teachers who get evaluated based on this garbage.

suep. said...

Exactly right. What's more, SPS is in fact misusing the MAP® test to evaluate teachers -- MAP® was not designed for that purpose, even the vendor, Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), has said so.

(See MAP test manufacturer warns: MAP test should NOT be used to evaluate teachers. — So why is Seattle Public Schools doing just that?)

(And: 15 Reasons Why the Seattle School District Should Shelve the MAP® Test—ASAP)

The school board is voting on the contract with NWEA at this Weds' school board meeting. If you think the MAP® is an unnecessary, unreliable and costly misuse of student and teacher time and resources, and would rather the money be spent elsewhere, write the school board and tell them not to renew the contract with NWEA. Tell them to cancel the MAP®.

michael.debell@seattleschools.org, betty.patu@seattleschools.org, martha.mclaren@seattleschools.org,
sharon.peaslee@seattleschools.org,
harium.martin-morris@seattleschools.org,
ksblum@seattleschools.org,
sherry.carr@seattleschools.org

And remember how Seattle ended up with the test in the first place: Then-Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson was on the board of directors of MAP® test vendor NWEA at the time MAP® was selected, in a no-bid contract. Goodloe-Johnson failed to disclose this conflict of interest to the board, even though such disclosure is required. She was finally cited for this breach of ethics by the WA State auditor and forced to step down from the NWEA board.

Anonymous said...

From June 13:

Dan told me that he would bring this issue up in a meeting next week and discuss.

Does anyone know what this meeting is, when it will take place or who will be there?

Anonymous said...

Dr. V advised me that "MAP testing is very important and is a valid, reliable achievement test of reading and math that our district uses, in part, to determine eligibility for APP and Spectrum, as well as the effectiveness of our programs for advanced learners."

However, I don't believe it captures each student's true ability in a single testing. I strongly disagree with their decision to use only winter MAP score to evaluate students' math ability and am very disappointed in their rush decision which would affect students' years of education ahead.

Anonymous said...

If a student is already in Spectrum, do their spring MAP scores need to be 95% to take the Cogat in the fall, or are they still admitted to Cogat testing at 85%? Does anyone know?

Anonymous said...

suep, thank you. I wrote them and expressed my opposition for the renewal of MAP testing. Misuse of MAP scores to measure students' abilities has to be stopped.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the videotaping, we reported this today to Ms. Shapiro in person. She wasn't aware of but did speak with Ms. Thurik who claimed it was done as a spoof. She claimed that the kids involved knew it was a joke and it was shown to the other classes as a spoof. Our son, in one of the classes that was shown the video, certainly did not remember her saying it was a spoof at the time.

This is still an inappropriate teaching strategy, use of classroom time and resources for all of the children, and demonstrates horrible judgement.

We have rescinded our permission for our child to be photographed by the school.

I have also filed an ethics complaint with the state at the following site.

http://www.seattleschools.org/modules/cms/pages.phtml?sessionid=732e69fa5e2d67f1b42130aa8d76c852&pageid=217956&sessionid=732e69fa5e2d67f1b42130aa8d76c852

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:49

Thank you for going to this effort and for updating those of us who read the blog. I hope it serves to make the school better for your child and future students. As an incoming Hamilton parent, I have been hearing story after story of inappropriate teaching, materials and decisions all this year. If the principal is unwilling or unable to deal with these problems, someone else needs to deal with it. I can't believe this stuff has been allowed to go on all year.

I hope something comes of this.

-concerned

Anonymous said...

The Ethics policy is about district employees not using their position for financial gain, or not having some conflict of interest. Wouldn't the action fall under a general complaint of employee misconduct? Policy 4220:

Citizens are asked to work through the chain of administrative organization when bringing a complaint forward...in all instances, the Superintendent, or Superintendents's designee, is the final step in this complaint process.

Ethics Policy:

http://www.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1583136/File/Policies/Board/series5000/5251.pdf?sessionid=732e69fa5e2d67f1b42130aa8d76c852

Anonymous said...

Good grief. Sometimes bad judgement is just bad judgement. Can't we just call it that, and call for building leadership to not condone this sort of action? Must we file ethics complaints?

tired Hamilton APP parent

Anonymous said...

So far, following the "chain of administrative organization" doesn't seem to have had any effect. It's the end of another year, and a teacher is showing bad judgment yet again. Filing an ethics complaint is unlikely to have any effect because the actions don't fall under the ethics policy. Complaints seem to be explained away - "it was a spoof" or "it was a copy mistake" - so what's a parent to do?

Anonymous said...

Tired APP parent - do you have any suggestions to help remove an abusive teacher from the classroom - doesn't seem like anything has worked so far.

Anonymous said...

Call the district Ombudsman and file a formal complaint with the district, before the school year is over.

suep. said...

I don't have much faith in the ombudsman as the answer, here. In a recent reply to me about an issue of concern at my child's school, he said:

"...I do not get involved with employee issues. Human Resources, Education Directors and the Superintendent handle such matters. Thank you for your inquiry."

@ Good grief -- If this were a one-time offense by this teacher I might agree with you, but she has engaged in a pattern of questionable behavior towards various kids all year (and last), and is also a very weak instructor to boot. Not sure what she is bringing to the table at HIMS other than grief.

Janis said...

The most effective thing parents can do is keep a log of issues/problems with teachers and report them to Mr Carter via email. It will be difficult for him to ignore repeated concerns about a few specific teachers if they are continually brought to his attention and are in writing. On the other hand, if we just continue to wring our hands and complain to other parents, nothing will change. I think Carter is at least vaguely aware of the problem teachers, but as we all know it is not easy to replace or even suggest changes in behavior to long-standing teachers - the problem teachers at Hamilton have all been there way before Carter arrived, and they are not limited to the APP program. there is strength in numbers - Hamilton parents, including departing 8th grade parents, how about a note to Carter letting him know about the teachers who really need "professional development"? I know a small core of 6th and 7th gr parents who have spoken to Carter about these teachers/issues - now the rest of you need to speak up. We DO have power as parents and it is our responsibility to advocate for our kids.
- Janis