Monday, May 2, 2016

May Open Thread

Here we are again. There's a slow moving capacity crunch at Cascadia that will come to fruition next year (and at least one at the H.S. level coming behind it). I was talking with a friend who joked "I could post my senior college philosophy thesis" and if it were labelled as being about capacity in the schools everyone would read it.  There's a lot of truth to that. 

My goals at this point are to daylight as much of the staff's thinking as possible along the way, push to have a decision voted on as soon as possible and forward any interesting ideas we as a community come up with on.


Teacher Appreciation Week



"The teaching profession needs two things in order to thrive—respect and trust. The two go together. You can say nice words and be grateful to teachers, but if you do not trust them as professionals, you are not showing them respect. Trust means giving teachers (appropriate) autonomy in their classrooms, but it also means giving them influence over policy—real influence, not a few token teachers on some committee—and it means giving them control over their own professional growth. We need to stop fixing teachers and create environments in which teachers themselves fix their own profession. We need to trust them to do so."

Lincoln High School Updates:



Math Culture:




Congratulations to Edward who is a 7th grader at Lakeside.  One of my passions is increasing our district's participation in more of these events in Middle School and High School.

Administrativia

Google informs me that you can now use SSL and connect to the blog via https://discussapp.blogspot.com

What's on your minds?


124 comments :

Anonymous said...

Thurgood Marshall administration will be making the first move away from a self-contained model for HCC elementary students next year.

Areas for Potential Academic Integration: HCC, Gen Ed and selected PEACE Academy students (as appropriate) will learn Social Studies together in integrated classrooms during the 2016-17 school year.

From the most recent school newsletter.

I thought board policy guaranteed access to a self-contained program in elementary school. If the program is no longer self-contained, why bother moving children out of their neighborhoods?

Anonymous said...

Given the split communities at TM, integrating SS makes loads of sense. One small step for a stronger school community. Further, the mix of racial and socio-economic backgrounds will benefit all kids. SS is all about the big world beyond any one kid's orbit. Applauding this TM move.

Better together

Anonymous said...

If integrating the classes makes for a stronger school community and provides academic benefits for all students, why do we have self-contained elementary classrooms? Why not integrate the classrooms entirely or keep the kids in their integrated neighborhood classrooms?

Anonymous said...

Anon at 7:07, I will answer with my own family's experience: because SPS will not differentiate for gifted learners. My child is unengaged and gets in trouble because he has to sit and wait for his classmates to catch up. I'm have been begging for some appropriate challenging work for her all year with no effect, I have zero faith that that would change or be done better if SPS did away with self-contained HCC. I was going to try to wait to move my child until after the Cascadia move but we're out of our neighborhood school.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 8:20 I agree with you. I think the self contained program is very important and am disappointed to see what seems like the beginning of the end happening with no opposition.

Anonymous said...

I fail to see how putting the kids together for an academic class will help integrate the students. If one group of students is reading several grades ahead and other kids are reading at or below grade level, their different abilities will be evident very quickly and will be a source of annoyance, resentment and impatience in the class.

Why not integrate them for an arts, music or PE class if you want them to socialize? In those classes, the academic differences will be less obvious and the abilities would probably be mixed between the groups.

Momof2

Anonymous said...

Combining them wouldn't be for socialization. It would be for perspective. As in: different people have different perspectives on every single concept discussed in SS. I support 'at level' divided LA and Math but SS is a place for school kids to come together and from different backgrounds. It's not as though our kids are going to be living in an HCC-only world.

Plus is ameliorates some of the criticisms of HCC.

Better together

Anonymous said...

I don't think SS in elementary amounts to much, but I think that is THE place where the benefits of a diverse student body to create rich discussions and thought provoking exploration would be most likely. Maybe the kids at Thurgood Marshall will receive a slightly less anemic curriculum to go with this, since as is it isn't much time at all.

I send my kids to public school because I want them to learn from all kinds of different people with different family lives and experiences. I feel like this is WAY more successful at JAMS than at Cascadia, and I appreciate that this idea is more than just complaining about elitism and not doing anything except withholding funding and facilities from the "privileged" kids.

public school

Anonymous said...

What, exactly, is the elementary SS curriculum? According to OSPI guidelines, 4th is supposed to be Washington State past and present, and 5th is supposed to be United States up to 1791. If this means the state standards would actually get covered, it would be way more content than my children covered in elementary in any of their AL classes (Spectrum or APP). I'd be asking what is the planned curriculum and how will differentiation be done - will they assign higher level reading and writing in LA that corresponds to the current SS topic?

Anonymous said...

It may ameliorate some of the criticisms of HCC, but my kids at least have read higher level books, done peer writing, and done higher level research in their SS class, as part of the humanities block, than they were doing in their gen ed classes or than their peers who stayed did. It may be that all students should read Paul Revere's Ride in 5th grade, not just HCC students, and X more books than the gen ed class did in the same time frame, but if that is the case, why should they be separated for reading and writing at all? And can the HCC class just do more instead? IME the gen ed classes were not ready for the same level of fiction, and had much more trouble providing appropriate peers for writing and editing work. Probably that would not be true with a 50/50 split, but, well if you pair them back off by ability...?

I guess I just actually believe HCC students are advanced and should have advanced curriculum, and that the gen ed curriculum is NOT a booby prize and is in fact appropriate for most kids. We remained close with our friends from our gen ed class, and they were thrilled with the amount and type of work, and level their kids were doing, and didn't want the kids to have any more "pressure." I am not willing to accept complaints about logistics in art, pe, or that philosophy class sounds fantastic. Make the philosophy class 3 times a week, or every day, instead of "homeroom," and blend it. I agree it is important to create community, and children benefit from diverse perspectives in many settings. So important that you should figure out the logistics to do it, not just take away the advancement from the advanced class. Maybe the SS class at TM is not currently advanced, but I wish the solution to that was to offer accelerated curriculum in this core academic subject rather than choose to blend it. There are a lot of other cool ways to blend and diversify which aren't directly taking something away from one constituency. It could be win-win.

NewJAMSParent

Anonymous said...

Since the ratio of HCC to gen Ed at TM is 3:1, won't the majority rule in the classroom.? The level of discourse, reading and writing in SS will surely remain high, and the integration of the very few gen Ed kids will not lessen the academic experience, but I imagine might enhance everyone's perspective and social and emotional growth. This does not have to be a negative, and though trust is difficult, perhaps the staff and admin at TM know what they are doing.

PW



Benjamin Leis said...

I added a link at the top to the Lincoln High School design docs that are on the district site. Please discuss here in the open thread and if it proves popular I'll open a thread of its own on the subject.

Anonymous said...

From the posted meeting notes, there does not seem to be consensus yet on whether to maintain the existing auditorium size, and use adjacent space for dressing area, scene shop, etc., or to significantly reduce it an incorporate a black box theater, dressing area, and scene shop within the existing footprint of the theater (see meeting #5 notes).

Anonymous said...

Is it just me, or does anyone else wonder about whether the split grade classes announcement will be the strategy for ALO in all schools? And the final death of Spectrum?
I don't really know how split levels classes work; which of the two grade level curriculums are they following? Is this just paranoia or is the district getting ready for the final nail in the coffin..

Benjamin Leis said...

I added a heading with the Math Counts results to the post. A sixth grader from Lakeside just won the national contest. My long standing question is how we can drive up our district or at least the HCC student's participation in events like this (or AMC8/10/12) or ARML etc?

Maureen said...

Note that an Ingraham student placed first in the U.S. in the North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad. Second place was also from Seattle (Lakeside).

Results from the Invitational Round of the Invitational Round of the 2016 NACLO: The top four US students include Laurestine Bradford (Invitational Round winner) of Seattle, Washington, James Wedgwood of Seattle, Washington, Erik Metz of Ellicott City, Maryland, and
Shuheng "Nelson" Niu of Cupertino, California. The next four US students are Margarita
Misirpashayeva of West Windsor, New Jersey, Wyatt Reeves of Fort Worth, Texas, Jack
LaFleur of Washington, DC, and Nilai Sarda of Atlanta, Georgia.


Congratulations Lola!

Anonymous said...

For anybody wondering what the harm could be of a too big school, Islandwood just refused to take next year's 5th grade class because it's too big.

Pro-split

Anonymous said...

Personally, I think there is a lot more to that story than the 5th grade teachers are choosing to tell families.
-Cascadia 4th

Anonymous said...

I'd be very curious to know if you know more. What else do you think is driving this? I have had an older child go to Islandwood with Lincoln, and at that time our teachers were very supportive of and excited by the idea of Islandwood. I am choosing to take them at their word until I learn new facts.

Pro-split

Anonymous said...

Given the huge issues and outcry at Stevens Elem, is it anything similar?

What are the "few reasons" there is no reservation (as it says in the email)?

@4th

Anonymous said...

I thought Stevens was about an inability to deal with some particular kids(and it definitely didn't happen this far in advance). I'm not aware that this year's 4th grade class is unusual behaviorally.

NewJAMSParent

Anonymous said...

Just wonder if it's teacher liability issues...

Anonymous said...

There are a substantial number of other camps in the area. Choose a different camp. This far in advance it is possible. (If administrators say that won't work then there is more to the story.) My non-HCC kid went through this situation - change of venue after many years in same place. They had just as much fun at the new site as the old one.



Anonymous said...

I am a teacher (not at Cascadia)and I would never do an overnight field trip with students. It is possible not all the teachers are on board. There are a few behavior issues in 4th grade (what school doesn't have a few) and if I had to be in charge of those students those 3 days would not be enjoyable.
-End Overnights

Anonymous said...

The district as a whole has grown and I suspect that the many schools that use island wood as a 5th grade capstone have seen growth of a class or two. They are just taking a page from the SPS playbook and using cascadia as a capacity management tool and using us to open up space for the growth in other schools. Cutting cascadia is like a two for one, they get back twice the space and only have fallout from one school community!

I understand operationally how a decision like this is necessary but it still feels like a punishment, for something that is not the schools fault.

55

Anonymous said...

From the IslandWood SOP. If there are a few reasons, perhaps diversity is one of them.

We believe every student, regardless of socio-economic background, should have access to high quality
education. For that reason, we strive to ensure that 50% of the students we serve come from high needs
populations (at least 1 of 4 students at the school are eligible for the federal Free and Reduced Lunch
service).


The School Overnight Program provides a unique opportunity for students to engage beyond the borders
of segregated systems in the larger world. These boundaries can exist due to something as macro as historic
housing red-lining or as micro as self-contained classrooms within schools. Here, we structure authentic
engagement in emotionally and physically safe spaces. Every student stays in the same type of comfortable
lodge, eats the same high-quality food made to accommodate religious and dietary needs, and uses the
same gear to stay warm and dry. Students are encouraged to work together to identify and solve small
systems issues, thereby gaining the foundational skills to work through larger system needs later.
We are able to help students see past the engrained social biases and engage directly with their and
others’ humanity.

Anonymous said...

Then I wonder why private schools also go there; an expensive one is there with 4th graders this week. Is that a different program altogether?

Anonymous said...

Bryant 5th graders also go in the fall, and it is similar to Cascadia in terms of SES. It only says 50% high needs, and Cascadia is probably easiest to cut. I wish they would explain the full extent of the reasons. Could we go in the winter? The IslandWood website encourages schools to consider the less popular winter weeks.

Also 4th

Anonymous said...

I feel like I'm in the minority but I've never really loved the idea of fifth grade camping trips. The weather was always marginal during the current slots which are not at the end of the year so don't really function well as a capstone event. The classes have to be split so its not a cohort wide celebration. Its kind of expensive and takes away days from regular school. And its always a liability risk as other field trips across the district have shown.

I think re-examining what the school wants to do as a capstone event could be a real opportunity.

Anonymous said...

If the camping trips is a capstone event, it needs to include the whole grade. If teachers aren't comfortable chaperoning for whatever reason, then it's a no go. The reasons aren't important. I don't need to hear it was the behavior of so and so that cancelled the trip via parent -teacher grapevine. That's unnecessary and man, talk about opening things up for a lawsuit..... that kind of talk will get it.

just a thought






Anonymous said...

The behavior thing is pure speculation. These 5th grade teachers don't even know the 4th graders,and have been going in this same basic configuration for years. Occam's razor almost certainly applies.
We are a large, rich school, easy for Islandwood to cut to maintain their FRL goals. The school just needs to find another camp with some open dates. I hope they do soon. I wouldn't mind if the teacher pairs even went to different camps this year while they figured out where we can all fit going forward- but these kids deserve their outdoor education overnight as much as anybody else. It's standard sps 5th grade science, not like an ice cream social.

NJP

Anonymous said...

Hi HCC families- Can someone please explain to a new HCC family a potential subject sequence from middle school through high school? My child is in HCC 6th grade at HIMS. Her science & math (have been told) are accelerated two years, 8th grade material. However, she is doing some algebra in her 8th grade class. LA/SS classes go deeper/have higher expectations, accelerated competencies, but follow grade level curriculum I believe.

What science & math classes do HCC kids usually take in high school 9th-12 within IB/IBX or AP pathways? What about English/SS?
Thanks,
-questions

Anonymous said...

HCC middle school science covers Physical Science in 7th and Biology in 8th. They can technically get high school credit for the biology taken in 8th, but most don't. The advantage is being able to take Chemistry in 9th, then another science class that requires basic biology, such as Marine Biology. For AP and IB pathways, you should look at a school's course guide to see what is available - it differs somewhat from school to school.

Possible high school math sequences were discussed earlier. The 8th grade math, taken in 6th, covers some Algebra 1 topics. "High school" level Algebra 1 is taken in 7th grade, then Geometry in 8th.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if this latest analysis by staff will be used to support moving the HCC cohort to neighborhood schools.

- At Level 4 for ELA, both the HCC and Spectrum group NOT IN COHORT scored significantly lower scores than those with their cohort

- No significant difference for those grouped with or w/o cohort (none +5%) for Level 4 Math

Thoughts?

- NEM

http://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/School%20Board/Friday%20Memos/2015-16/May%206/20160506_FridayMemo_2015-SBA-Results.pdf

Anonymous said...

Sorry, first bullet point supposed to say "significantly higher"

- NEM

Anonymous said...

To clarify, a higher % of those identified, but not in the cohort scored at Level 4 for ELA.

- NEM

Anonymous said...

A few comments on the SBAC data:

- Why is the data not broken out by grade level?
- How are opt outs taken into account?
- How can they calculate growth percentiles when it's the first year of the test?

Anonymous said...

Yes, I am sure they will try to use it for that, which is maddening because it. is. a. grade. level. test.

The kids not in cohort are studying those exact concepts right now, whereas the HCC kids supposedly studied them two years ago. Or not at all, if that was a content year they skipped coming into the program. That they mostly still scored 4's is just a testament to the fact that they are mostly good at taking tests, even silly ones, and that there is some spiralling in curricula.

I have long wished they would do a program evaluation, but as with so many things SPS, be careful what you wish for.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

What are the chances they look at the data and think: "Wow, maybe the current HCC LA curriculum is not serving students, perhaps we should look into this further."

Anonymous said...

Sleeper,

We'll be new to HCC next year, so just to confirm...are you saying HCC kids study +2 years, but take on-grade-level assessments?

I assumed they would take the grade level of the material they're learning. Now even more incentive to opt out. I wonder how many of the HCC w/Cohort highest performers opt out, so that is the reason for the score difference?

I planned to opt out my child due to the ceiling offering no meaningful form of assessment, but now that I suspect how they look at the data.....

-NEM

Anonymous said...

Important read: more from the Friday Memo focusing on AL and equity.

http://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/School%20Board/Friday%20Memos/2015-16/May%206/20160506_FridayMemo_CAI-Oversight-Q&A.pdf

- NEM

Anonymous said...

NEM, yes, 3rd graders take the 3rd grade ELA SBAC after working on 5th grade standards all year. 5th graders take the 5th grade SBAC after working on 7th grade standards.

Gosh, I wish, 6:02. I really do.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

It gets worse...clearly dissolution is on someone's agenda:

"3. Director Blanford requested access to the study from Whitworth referenced by
Director Patu. The study was actually performed by the University of Virginia team headed by Dr.Carolyn Callahan in 2007. It is attached. Key recommendations are in direct conflict with those of the 2014 Advanced Learning Task Force, most notably doing away with the self contained model in grades K-8."

Sourced from Oversight Q&A pg. 3 referenced above.

- NEM

Anonymous said...

If it helps, we have been involved with the program for nearly a decade now, and there has always, always been someone on the board who would like to dissolve APP.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

The Q/A in the Friday memo around HCC curriculum is confusing - it says there is "consensus about aligning HC curriculum with scope and sequence and/or learning standards at higher grade levels, each site has autonomy in the decision making progress." Teaching and Learning recently aligned HCC LA/SS to grade level standards. Are they suggesting this is being done at some schools, but not others, and it is up to the school??

Anonymous said...

As another data point, the @school digger site ranks APP@Lincoln as the second highest elementary in Washington State for the school year 2014-2015. West Woodland is the next highest ranked SPS elementary, followed by Wedgwood, John Hay, and Bryant. For middle schools, WMS is ranked #14. Catherine Blane is the next highest ranked SPS middle school, followed by Eckstein (#31), Hamilton, and Whitman.

http://www.schooldigger.com/go/WA/schoolrank.aspx

Anonymous said...

Looking at the data provided in the Friday memo, it looks like for Asians, Hispanics, Mixed, and White, about 15% of those who tested for AL qualified last year. However, only about 6% of Black students tested qualified.

In the prior year, it was around 20% for Asian, White and Mixed, 11% for Hispanic, and 5% black.




Anonymous said...

The memo says: "Director Blanford requested access to the study from Whitworth referenced by Director Patu. The study was actually performed by the University of Virginia team headed by Dr. Carolyn Callahan in 2007. It is attached. Key recommendations are in direct conflict with those of the 2014 Advanced Learning Task Force, most notably doing away with the self-contained model in grades K-8."

I didn't see it attached. Has anyone found it, or a link? Is the district pulling out select research to support program elimination?

Lynn said...

I think you'd have to ask Advanced Learning for a copy. If they won't provide one, try the public records office.

As I recall, the report suggested that the program be co-housed with another and that the district should avoid placing APP in a building with students with vastly different achievement levels and/or demographics. There was no recommendation to end self-contained classrooms.

Because Blanford is threatening the program, I think having a copy posted here on the blog where everyone can access it would be a good idea.

Anonymous said...

Evaluation Report
Accelerated Progress Program
University of Virginia (2007)

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/ABPub/2007/12/03/2004051224.pdf

Lynn said...

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I don't see that Blanford is threatening the program. Maybe the program's status quo but not the program itself. Is there evidence to the contrary? Full disclosure: As a parent less than satisfied with the current program, I'm not against mixing up the status quo.

Central

Anonymous said...

It's useful to revisit the 2007 report and realize how little has changed. For example, on pg. 17 they state students who were "APP eligible but not attending Lowell or Washington [the only APP sites at the time] had significantly higher reading WASL scores than the APP group who attended Lowell and Washington. There was no significant difference between groups on the math scale scores."...not too different from the SBAC scores reported in the recent Friday Memo. It goes on to stress the need for a curricular framework should additional self contained sites be created, especially given the issue of "highly-variable teachers."

Anonymous said...

"They can technically get high school credit for the biology taken in 8th, but most don't." Is this the only HCC 8th grade course that is eligible for high school credit? Why would most students not receive HS credit? Is this due to students not pursuing credit (ex feel 8th grade course is not a HS level equivalent) or SPS not awarding credit for 8th grade bio?
Thanks,
-questions.

Benjamin Leis said...

[So I'm going risk being a bit more controversial than I usually do.]

I've occasionally heard over time the claim that from those who saw the old MAP data or at least pieces of it in past years, that scores were also not cleanly in the top percentiles for Lowell/Lincoln. So perhaps this is evidence that there was more to it than just talk.

I also don't find the argument that kids are taught at +2 grade level standards always true in reality but regardless the ELA standards in particular are cumulative and build year by year. There's much less of the argument you see in math that you get rusty at geometry while working on algebra because you're doing something very different that year. Reading analysis and writing skills should apply fairly well to grade level tests even if being taught an accelerated curriculum.

If this was purely a program/building discussion focused on root cause analysis and improvement all the above would be potentially interesting.

That said, if you're in the camp that doesn't believe in standardized testing the trend of looking at this data for the entire cohort doesn't bode well.

Possible results:
1. Increased pressure to not opt-out (if your child is expected to test well by the staff).
2. Increase test-prep. 3rd grade @ Cascadia for us consisted of 3-5 weeks of focused practice on Amplify/SBAC worksheets that we found to be not useful. I could easily see more of this practice in the spring if administrators fear their program will be affected without "perfect" results.
3. Pressure/incentives to counsel out kids who don't test well.

And on the other side even if you believe the data is pointing to a gap in the curriculum/teaching. Its just more likely to be used as an argument against self contained models when framed this way.

Anonymous said...

Ben, I tried the 3rd grade SBAC sample test last year, and actually found it very jargony and 3rd grade specific. Way more than the MAP, though i take your point that it has been this way for a while. It is true that my oldest's test scores were better when she was in gen ed, and I was tutoring her outside of class in every subject. She was learning nothing in school, but sure looked like it on the tests. We decided to accept a slightly less perfect academic setting than me one on one tutoring to preserve our family sanity. I hate to think that decision making process(that so many people go through in just that way) is being used to support the idea that gen ed is fine for all advanced kids. Only if their parents are willing to spend hours supplementing.

Njp

Anonymous said...

So neglect the program (but use it as a capacity management tool), dismiss parent concerns about poor LA/SS curriculum, then use poor performance on ELA tests to justify eliminating a self contained model? Sigh.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Ben. Analysis of this generalized data may lead us to believe:
1) The SBAC questions don't map to what the HCC cohort is learning at the time, so let's dedicate more time to test prep to avoid scrutiny and/or fill in gaps in learning.
2) The LA/SS curriculum and/or teachers is not serving the population well.
3) The contained cohort isn't gaining advantages, and may be missing critical learning opportunities by skipping segments of curriculum that may serve as an important foundation for future learning.
4) There are some amazing parent tutors in Seattle....

I don't think the data should be ignored, and could be one reference point, but it's not enough to draw useful conclusions. I would like to see more information by grade, location, etc.. Everyone already knows the LA curriculum needs help and there is a team working on improving this area. I would love to see HCC specific curriculum, too, but understand there is no budget.

Which district is getting it right?

-more analysis

Anonymous said...

Regarding the ELA Scores, the report states that the "difference, in any case, is cause for concern and suggestive of need to re-examine curriculum".

If Director Blanford or other board members use the report to support dissolution of the self-contained model, it's going to be legally difficult for them to justify why so many of the other items in an 85 page report were not also followed:

Increased rigor, aligned curriculum, scope and sequence, highly specialized staff training, differentiation for the variety of abilities and learning styles, development of gifted best practices, etc.

If the program is no longer self-contained, the report seems to imply services would need to be defined by the district instead of the building level:
"In gifted programs where principals hold the supervisory responsibility for those teaching the gifted or where the program is directed at the school level, program success is nearly totally reliant on the principals’ knowledge, competence and commitment."

Thanks, Sleeper, for providing perspective on the challenges the program has faced over the years.

- NEM





Anonymous said...

"It is true that my oldest's test scores were better when she was in gen ed, and I was tutoring her outside of class in every subject. She was learning nothing in school, but sure looked like it on the tests. We decided to accept a slightly less perfect academic setting than me one on one tutoring to preserve our family sanity. I hate to think that decision making process(that so many people go through in just that way) is being used to support the idea that gen ed is fine for all advanced kids. Only if their parents are willing to spend hours supplementing."

DItto what njp said.

Anonymous said...

We supplement, and our child is in HCC.

Lynn said...

I wonder why the questions about equity don't address every group for which we have disaggregated data? Here is some data:

For each group, I'll provide the percentage of the group that was identified as highly capable last year - first statewide and then in Seattle:

All students 4.7% - 6.8%
Male 4.7% - 7.1%
Female 4.7% - 6.5%

American Indian/Alaskan Native 1.5% - 1.8%
Asian 9.7% - 5.6%
Black/African American 1.9% - .7%
Hispanic/Latino 1.8% - 1.8%
White 5.5% - 10.8%
Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander 2.1% - .4%
Two or More Races 4.9% - 7.6%

FRL 2.2% - 1.0%
Special Education .8% - 2.5%
504 Plans 6.6% - 12.2%

Anonymous said...

I stopped doing it when we moved them to HCC(and am certainly not amazing), but when they were in gen ed, we did "First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind," as well as sentence diagramming.

This was years ago, so there may be better stuff out there now. I went to the well trained mind forums to find ideas: http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/

It worked well, and the child I moved latest in their school career definitely has the best grasp of general grammar because of it. Probably I should get it out again, but in our house parent tutoring really wrecks the parent-child relationship.

NJP

Anonymous said...

I too tutored my kids in math before they moved to Cascadia. The school they were at did minimal advanced math. Now I don't supplement at all. We liked our neighborhood school but I was tired of being my kids' math teacher.
-Me too

Benjamin Leis said...

I've fixed the recent comment widget (well replaced it). I'm not actually sure why the previous javascript broke but it looks like the source was yanked.

Anonymous said...

I taught my child before HCC because no one else seemed to be willing to do it in his classrooms. We used Singapore math and Plaid workbooks for LA. I really wanted the public schools to educate my child. I pay taxes and I believe in education for all our citizens. HCC does a fair job, perhaps with less individual attention, and minus the grammar and religion. It wasn't happening at all in the gen Ed classroom.

The problem started when we went to the pediatrician and got the milestones for school readiness pamphlet from the state DOH. I began in earnest with counting to 10, and letter and number recognition, holding a pencil, pouring milk, focusing attention on tasks for 5 minutes, sorting and categorizing, and memorizing our phone number and address, then you could see his excitement to learn more. Apparently most kids in kindergarten didn't get the health department pamphlet at their check-ups. It put us ahead, and the gen Ed teacher was not prepared to teach him anything. HCC meant I didn't have to be his academic teacher. I went back to work.

It sounds like many have similar stories.

West

Benjamin Leis said...

Restoring back a deleted comment: (I have no idea what happened to it)

"So, for the "amazing parent tutors" out there, what/how do people supplement language arts? Math seems pretty straightforward, but I'm at a bit of a loss for how to work on the language arts stuff they're NOT getting in HCC."

Anonymous said...

For LA supplementation, I'm encouraging my middle schooler to work through an old grammar text by Warriner (unfortunately, I think it may be out of print). It has exercises that can be done in bite sized chunks and covers basic grammar usage and mechanics, along with sentence and paragraph structure.

Anonymous said...

For those that are interested: Warriner's English Grammar and Composition, ISBN 0-15-311905-5

SusanH said...

To answer the question posted by Anonymous on May 11th at 10:11 am (a name would be easier!):

I have an 8th grader. It was explained to me by another parent that most HCC students choose NOT to receive high school credit for those middle school classes because it would hurt their GPA in the end. In high schools, they all sign up for honors classes, which receive a higher weight on your GPA (maybe 5 points instead of 4 for an "A"? I'm still unclear). So if you want those middle school classes on your high school record, they can actually lower your final GPA versus getting As and Bs in honors classes. This affects Physical Science, Biology, Algebra 1, Geometry and (if you took it) Algebra 2.

Someone else correct me if I'm wrong! This is a murky area for me.

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that GPA is not weighted. Get a "B" in an AP class, and it's averaged into the GPA as a 3.0. Only when reporting class rank does the weighting come into play. And that's where the pressure starts - in order to rank at the top, it becomes a game of how many honors and AP classes you can take before senior year, while trying to maintain a 4.0. Honors classes are weighted as 4.5, while AP and IB are weighted as 5.0. It is kind of a disincentive to take the hardest IB and AP classes.

Another issue, as I remember a high school counselor mentioning, is that you don't want to have too many credits come senior year because you may not get scheduling priority for classes.

(as above, please correct if this is wrong)

If your child is intent on graduating HS early, then seeking credit for MS classes may be something to discuss with the school counselor.

-another MS parent

SusanH said...

Oooh, thanks "another MS parent"! That's new information for me, and very helpful!

Do you know when exactly the decision on whether to take the credit or not has to be made? I thought we had to decide now-ish, and it's confusing to know what to do.

My current understanding of my child: he's not going to be one of the super-achievers vying for Valedictorian, nor will be want to finish HS early. However! This is all several years away; who knows how he will mold and change in HS.

Anonymous said...

More info should be in the K12 Counseling Services Manual (the SPS website link to the counseling services manual required a sign-in?). I'd check with the school counselor about deadlines, as I remember it was a now or never type of deadline, where you had to decide before your child was even in high school (as opposed to deciding once in high school, should there later be a need have those credits).

Another NW said...

Garfield website has some info on how seeking credit for your MS classes will affect your class ranking. http://garfieldhs.seattleschools.org/academics
If you scroll down to the District policies section - there's a letter, a form and an example of how taking the credits will influence your ranking.
http://garfieldhs.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_7283/File/Academics/Weighted%20Ranking.pdf

Anonymous said...

We are new to WA state. Can someone explain if (HCC student) opting out of the SBAC
in middle school has an effect on WA graduation requirements. I had read something about SBAC being required for HS class of 2019 forward. What exactly does this mean? Is SBAC required to graduate for grade level courses taken 9-12? Does my 6th grade HCC middle school student taking 8th grade math take a 6th or 8th grade SBAC? If someone understands the requirements please share, thanks. Also, the plan is to take some AP or IB courses in high school. I also read something about alternative tests taken in high school being used to substitute for high school SBAC, but I am not clear. Want to be clear that opting out in middle school does not hurt high school graduation requirements.
- Maggie

Benjamin Leis said...

The SBAC tests required for graduation are the 11th grade ones. You can opt out of any others without consequence. Testing is not required to stay in the HCC program. Generally you will always take the test for your actual grade regardless of what curriculum you are studying. Google ospi graduation requirements for more details.

Benjamin Leis said...

For the moment I am considering this a strange mistake but there was language text in the superintendent's Friday note about Lowell being part of the HCC pathway.

Lynn said...

The 24 credit graduation task force is recommending a change in 2017-18 to a five period per day trimester schedule for all high schools. In this schedule, most core courses are two trimesters long and AP courses are three trimesters long. The change would be made to allow students who fail a class an opportunity to retake it and graduate in four years. Students who takes multiple AP or IB classes would lose the flexibility to take an elective all year long. Pre-AP math and world language classes would likely only be taken for two trimesters per year.

Opinions? How many IB or AP classes has your student taken in a year?

Anonymous said...

Is this the final recommendation of the task force? Or just one of many suggestions being put forth? I don't see any kind of pro/con discussion or survey results posted on the task force web page.

Lynn said...

I believe it's the final recommendation. This note was in the most recent Friday Memo:

24 Credit Task Force is recommending high schools schedules (for 17-18) that include three trimesters of five period days. This would allow students to earn up to 30 credits. Currently students have the opportunity to earn only 24 credits – which is now the state
requirement. Which also mean a potential drop in graduation rates even as we do better at preparing students for the future. This task force recommendation has a cost of $2-$5M – which is not a surprise – but also a great concern as we head into the 17-18 year with SO FAR no relief for McCleary or the Levy Cliff.

Maureen said...

In this schedule, most core courses are two trimesters long and AP courses are three trimesters long.

This is such complete idiocy.

Basically, it's their way of making sure that no kid who might ever possibly fail a class could ever even consider taking an AP or IB class. And also that only complete grinds who don't care at all about electives would ever take a full load of AP or IB. And also that it's ok for those grinds to spend more time in those grind classes than they have to AND that it's ok for "normal" students to spend LESS time in core classes than they used to.

If they weren't so focused on funding downtown administrators, they could fund meaningful summer school and credit retrieval for kids who needed help earning their full credits (and IB, and smaller class sizes, and real Option schools, and, what the heck, PreK.)

We are finished with SPS this year. I am really sorry for all of you. (This outweighs the late start time by far.)

Does anyone want to try and convince me otherwise?

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Lynn. $2-5M? What about summer school? Online credit recovery? Zero period classes? Where is the evidence to suggest this is the best option? How do teachers feel about redesigning classes for two trimesters? Could the same math content be covered in only 120 days, as opposed to 180? JAMS tried block scheduling their first year and ended up transitioning to a traditional schedule for this year.

Lynn said...

I think the cost is related to teachers having a longer planning period - so we'll need more of them.

Maureen - I agree. This will suck the joy out of school for students who enjoy both challenging academic classes and the arts. This is a ridiculously bad idea.

The board has scheduled a work session on the 24 credit graduation requirement on June 8th.

Anonymous said...

Time to start writing board members...

Anonymous said...

If AP/IB classes were to stick to a 2-trimester schedule, students who want a rigorous HS schedule should still be able to take world language and/or music for all 4 years, even if music were a year-round (3-trimester) class. Core24 includes 20 required credits and 4 electives. SPS's proposed 30-credit system essentially adds 6 more "elective" slots. However, since the core24 requirements are fairly minimal in some areas, many kids will want to use up some of those electives for an 4th year of math, science, and social studies/history, so that's 3 more credits down. A 3rd year of world language is also often recommended for college entrance, so that brings the total to 4 credits of "electives" used just to get a nice rigorous HS schedule. That leaves 6 credits for music, so if it's a year-round (1.5 credit/yr) class, you can just squeeze in 4 years. (Assuming, of course, you can get the classes you want, which may be another story.)

If AP or IB classes were to be year-long, however, it's a whole other game. There would be a lot more trade-offs than under the current schedule, that's for sure. You couldn't take a schedule comparable to one you can take now, with 4 yrs of all the core classes, including a lot of AP classes, and 4yrs of music and/or language. And while there's a little flexibility built into the core24 requirements (e.g., ability to substitute a few personal pathway requirements), some of that flexibility really only benefits students taking lower level classes (e.g., your Career and Technical Ed class may also satisfy your 3rd math requirement--but that's not likely to be a high level math class).

I hope they are planning to take student and parent input on this, and provide enough details during the consideration phase so that students could see how it might work or not. It would be great to have several current high school seniors who had challenging course loads see if they could replicate that schedule under the new requirements and the proposed trimester schedule.

DoingTheMath

Lynn said...

Here's a link to the 24-Credit Task Force Recommendations Report.

Anonymous said...

How would that pencil out?

Let's taka a possible IB schedule under the current 6 period day:
1) IB Math SL
2) IB Biology HL (Yr 1)
3) IB Lang & Lit HL (Yr 1)
4) IB History HL (Yr 1)
5) IB Spanish SL
6) Band

To translate to a 3x5 schedule matrix, and assuming the year long IB courses are compressed into 2 trimesters:

1 1 *
2 2 *
3 - 3
- 4 4
5 5 *

The (-) and (*) are times you would have for squeezing in an elective. (*) denotes classes that need to be taken in the 1st and 2nd trimester, because they have an IB exam in May. Biology HL needs to be taken in the first 2 trimesters as well, since the first year is actually Biology SL, and some students will be taking the exam in May. After adding a year long elective (seems like a scheduling nightmare) there are two periods remaining for 3rd trimester, which could be used for TOK or?

I see several issues with the 3x5 schedule:
1) If the elective is an AP class, such as Computer Science (which is a pre-req for IB Computer Science), it could not be scheduled, as the class would need to meet 1st and 2nd quarter in prep for the May exam.
2) Fewer sections of each IB SL and AP class would be offered as they need to be frontloaded to 1st and 2nd trimesters for May exam prep.
3) IB and AP teachers may not be able to have full schedules each trimester because of the lack of flexibility in scheduling IB and AP classes.
4) Students would be prepping for IB and AP exams on their own time, without teacher direction.
5) Classes would be trying to cover a crushing load of material in an even shorter amount of time.

Conclusion: Keep the 6 period school day!

Anonymous said...

Has anyone on a waitlist for Advanced learning gotten a call? Seems like waitlists aren't moving this year, and May 31st is quickly approaching.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting a link to the Task Force report. Some comments on the risks/rewards discussion:

Fewer classes per day means less HW: Not true for IB and AP classes! More material will need to be covered in a shorter period of time, meaning even more HW and more stress!

[3x5 schedule] seems to offer the most course taking opportunities and options: Not true for AP and IB classes! A 3x5 schedule may limit how many advanced classes a student can take compared to a 6 period day.

Possible concerns of fit with IB: Yes!

Anonymous said...

Now for a 2nd year IB schedule, first as a 6 period day:
1) AP Calc AB
2) IB Biology HL (Yr 2)
3) IB Lang & Lit HL (Yr 2)
4) IB History HL (Yr 2)
5) IB Spanish 5
6) IB SL elective (as part of diploma)

Translated to a 3x5 schedule:
1 1 *
2 2 *
3 3 *
4 4 *
5 5 *

All classes have a May exam, requiring them to meet 1st and 2nd trimesters (IB Spanish 5 is taken by some students as one of their SL exams for the diploma so needs to be offered in the 1st and 2nd trimester). There is no room for an elective, but an IB elective is needed to meet the diploma requirements. What does a student do? End their world language? They've already given up band or orchestra. Even if they chose band over another year of world language, when would they take it? And what are they supposed to do for the third trimester?

Lynn said...

The result is the same for AP classes. The third trimester began March 24th this year. AP classes would have to be held either trimesters one and two or for the full year. This leaves students with no electives or five electives in the third trimester.

In an effort to increase graduation rates, no consideration was given to the effect on students who prefer a rigorous schedule.

Anonymous said...

Funny that they think fewer classes per day means less homework. How exactly do they think reshuffling the schedule reduces the amount of homework to be done over the course of a year? If you had all the same classes covering all the same material, the total homework load should be similar, no? And if you have a particularly challenging course, the homework will now be condensed into a shorter window.

However, I'm wondering: WILL we actually have the same classes covering the same amount of material under the new system? Isn't the point that there will be more credits available, so it's easier to get your 24? Do the new 30 credits represent 30 credits worth of work, or is it comparable to the current 24 credits in terms of actual workload? If it's more, that should mean MORE homework. If it's not more, doesn't this mean the graduation requirements are actually lower now, since students now only need to absorb the material and pass classes for 24 of 30 (80%) credits worth of high school material, whereas before they needed 21 out of 24 credits (87.5%)?

DoingTheMath

Lynn said...

Currently every year long class at Garfield is scheduled for 180 instructional hours (before adjusting for 1/2 days, assemblies, teacher work days). In a trimester system, non-AP/IB classes would be scheduled for 120 70 minute periods. The result is that kids taking classes like Algebra I, Biology and 9th grade English would have 140 instructional hours per class. Is that an improvement? Will this increase the number of students who graduate? These classes cover skills and information that a student must master to pass the SBAC.

If an AP class is two trimesters long, the student also loses 40 instructional hours. Will that leave enough time to cover the material? How does a six week break between the end of the class and the exam affect results? If the class is three trimesters long, the class gains 30 instructional hours. Is there a benefit to this if half of those occur after the exam and this limits the student's access to electives?

These recommendations aren't good for anyone. They are not free either. If the money is available, increase the number of counselors at every school, hire a teacher to run a classroom for online learning during the school day (for credit retrieval and new classes) and pay for summer school for kids who fail classes. Oh - and advisories are a waste of time. Building relationships happens with elective teachers, coaches and activity sponsors.

Anonymous said...

Would a change from the 6 period day be in conflict with the current teacher contract and need to be negotiated, or would it just be imposed on schools? I am not convinced a 3x5 schedule would be beneficial (the potential downsides are too great), but don't know how probable it is that it will be implemented. Do parents need to start writing letters of concern, or will teachers nix the idea before it takes hold?

As far as whether or not classes would be similar, how could they be? A math class may try to cover one topic or concept a day, spaced out over 150+ days. Are they going to cover 1.5 topics a day to make up for fewer days of class? They are more likely to trim away content. You can only do so much per day.

I am sincerely hoping the district chooses to focus their energy on recommendations that won't turn the entire system into chaos - for example, increasing opportunities for HS credit from MS classes (why not offer 0.5 credits for WA State History), offering zero period or in school credit retrieval, increasing summer school opportunities, adjusting district policies to allow a waiver of 2 credits, etc.

Anonymous said...

The state counts 50 min classes as instructional "hours." Those 180 days of class may really be 180x(50/60) or 150 hours of actual contact time. For 120 days of 70 min classes, the actual contact time is 140 hours. But wait, in the 3x5 schedule are classes really 70 min? 70x5 = 350 min. That doesn't allow for passing time (or the suggested advisory!) so wouldn't classes would be more like 60 min long in the 3x5 schedule (with advisory)??

Lynn said...

We have six classes now in a six hour day. With five passing periods (at five minutes long) that leaves 56 minutes per class. A five period day with four passing periods means 68 minutes per class. Adding a 30 minute advisory period twice a week means 62 minutes per class on those days.

A full year class in the current schedule includes 168 instructional hours. A two trimester class would have 131 hours and a three trimester class would have 197 hours.

Those kids taking Algebra, biology and 9th grade English would still be losing 37 hours per class. That's offset by the opportunity to retake the classes they fail. Doesn't seem like a good trade to me.

Anonymous said...

Eugene School District was referenced as someplace with the 3x5 schedule. Wondering how they scheduled AP/IB classes within those constraints, I looked for bell schedules for high schools with IB. Churchill High School is one location for the IB program, and their bell schedule includes a zero period...hmmm, a 3x5 schedule with a zero period? That sounds like a 6 period day.

http://www.chs.lane.edu/bell-schedules/

Anonymous said...

Count me in with those concerned with 3x5 set up. The report does say 140 hours per credit, (vs 150 hours per credit in the "no change" scenario) and that each trimester would be .5 credits. While the difference in instructional hours isn't huge, the number of instructional days per credit is significantly less. This means timelines are squeezed and MORE homework per day per class, not less as they suggest. College prep requirements are more robust than district graduation requirements; to accommodate a college prep schedule in this system the 4-year pathway must be planned out before freshman year and scheduling is very tight.

HC issues are more complicated. AP & IB students are placed at a disadvantage to their peers in other districts.
If an AP class is 3 terms, it is 210 hours, 60 hours longer than it needs to be. This limits the amount of electives, and limits the amount of AP classes that can be taken.
If an AP class is 2 terms, it is 140 hours. Instructional hours are only 10 less, but instruction is cut by 60 DAYS.
IB has 5 core classes. If an IB class is 3 terms, it fills the schedule leaving no room at all for TOK or electives.
If an IB class is 2 terms, just like above, instructional days per class are cut by a significant amount. Seattle students would end up doing more independent work than is already required in the program.

Critical problems with 3x5:
>6-9 month gaps between core classes
>Increases homework, as more material needs to be covered per day and timelines are squeezed. Does not decrease homework as suggested.
>College prep schedule fills all available slots; 4-year pathway must be planned out before freshman year and makes scheduling very tight
>Leaves very little wiggle room for a student in a year-long music program
>Puts IB and AP students at a disadvantage compared to their peers in other districts.
>The district has not gone so far as to admit this yet, but they are relying heavily on IB as a capacity management tool. If this goes away as an option, neighborhood schools will be significantly over capacity.
>Concerns about teachers (advisory) taking on counselors' responsibilities.

No 3x5

Maureen said...

Re actual schools that do IB with a 3x5 schedule: I was at a meeting last night where a Seattle IB Coordinator said he had called an administrator at an Oregon IB school with a 3x5 schedule (I don't remember if it was in Eugene) and she told him, in no uncertain terms:"DON"T DO IT!!"

Anonymous said...

Yes, I think Eugene is one of the only places doing that. Here is an archived FAQ about their transition. There is very little about how they managed their AP and IB programs. http://www-old.4j.lane.edu/secondaryeducation/highschoolschedulefaq

I spoke to an IB English teacher today in another district and she agreed it would place additional burdens on students. And the scheduling nightmare!

I also think there is some faulty logic supporting their recommendations. They use data from the survey to support the 3x5 plan "Families overwhelmingly support an increased number of credit-earning opportunities." However, I suspect those same families would NOT support 3x5, and we were not asked to comment on 3x5 in the survey. Further, they sent an early draft of the recommendations to HS principals, members of the task force and the HS steering committee (so, in essence, they are polling themselves plus some principals). Of those, 14 people have responded with feedback, less than 50% of which has been favorable. I'm guessing most of the favorable responses came from the people who came up with the plan. I hope they put more weight on the feedback that comes from principals and teachers.

And this is very, very concerning:
"Implementation Leadership: One learning through the recommendation process was that the current district leadership
structure potentially lacks a point person to oversee the transition to these new requirements and
support high school principals directly with implementation and change."

Here's one last quote from the Task Force report:
"While the Task Force had the opportunity to weigh the merits of the 3x5 schedule against other
schedule options (see below for extensive comparison), the group could not examine fully the
feasibility of implementation of the 3x5 across the district. As such, the Task Force recommends
continuing with a deeper investigation into the ramifications of the 3x5 schedule."

I hope this means nothing is set in stone.


No 3x5

Anonymous said...

Any ideas on who best to contact with our concerns/questions re: the task force report? What's the next step in this process?

Anonymous said...

I don't know if this is the right next step, but these are the people I"ll be letting know about my concerns with the recommendations:

Michael Tolley (Asst Superintendent of Teaching & Learning, first draft of the report went to him)
The school board (especially my local director)
Anna Box (Math Program Manager) & Janine Madaffari (Advanced Learning) are both on the steering committee and relevant to our program
Myrna Muto--Of the central office people who are on the task force, she seems to have the most expertise on the issue (she's the Counselor for College and Career Readiness)
Superintendent Nyland

No 3x5

Anonymous said...

I just checked the course catalog for New Buffalo Sr. High School, one of those Michigan schools that are apparently proof of how great the 3X5 model works. AP classes are a year long, so 1.5 credits. But guess what? They offer hardly any AP classes: AP Lang, AP Lit, AP Econ, AP Spanish. That's it. They also only require 1 credit of art instead of 2, and don't have a CTE requirement.

Just because it works for them, doesn't mean it will work for us.

DoingTheMath

Anonymous said...

Given the short school day in SPS, I have concerns with both 1) the 3x5 schedule and 2) the imposed advisory period.

Anonymous said...

In the last collective bargaining, didn't they agree on a longer day (+30 min?) starting in 2017?

Anonymous said...

The teachers did not agree to a longer work day, but to a 20-min increase of the student instructional day, starting 2017-18, "to support core content." See Appendix N (p. 136) of the contract:

https://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/Human%20Resources/CBA/Parapro%20CBA%202015-2018.pdf

The certificated staff work day is to remain at 7.5 hr. Will the school day then start at 8:25 instead of 8:45? One year at 8:45, then ?

Anonymous said...

Oh, SPS. The only constant is change.

Lynn said...

Don't forget every school will have a weekly one hour late start or early dismissal too! That's going to make the transportation puzzle really interesting.

Anonymous said...

What? Weekly late start/early dismissal? Where is that change listed?

Lynn said...

The relevant section of the contract says this:

5. K-12 Collaboration Time. Beginning in 2017-18, the District will schedule one sixty (60) minute late arrival or early dismissal per week for the purpose of providing professional collaborative time, common planning time, and technological proficiency. Late arrival or early dismissal will be determined by SPS with input from SEA Executive Board. Common planning time, collaboration time, and tech time will be determined using interest-based bargaining, as described by the school day MOU and Article IX, Section P.
a. Schools may designate no more than one early release/late arrival per month for common planning. All remaining early release/late arrival days are designated and reserved as collaboration days as set forth in this Agreement in Article IX, Section P.

24 Credit Reopener: Upon thirty (30) day notice by the District, to be given no later than April 30, 2016, the District and the SEA agree to meet for the purpose of negotiating the 2017-18 school year implementation of the 24 credit requirement set forth by the Washington State Board of Education as described in WAC 180.51.068.

Anonymous said...

Biology EOC for 8th graders? My child was just told they will not be taking the Biology EOC this year since they will take the Next Generation Science Standards test in high school. Does anyone know if this is a site based decision or district based decision? Do 8th graders have the option of taking the Biology EOC? The OSPI transition document shows the 5th/8th grade MSP and Bio EOC continuing through school year 2016-2017.

http://www.k12.wa.us/Science/NGSS/NGSS-AssessmentDescriptionTimeline.pdf

Lynn said...

That doesn't sound right. If you look at the very bottom of this page (http://www.seattleschools.org/students/assessments), you'll see the district assessment schedule for 8th grade students.

Eighth

District Assessments

Amplify Beacon
Required: November 16 - January 12, February 1 - March 18
Optional: October 5 - October 30
MAP (Measure of Academic Progress)
Optional at this grade level for schools NOT using Beacon or other interims

State-Required Assessments

Smarter Balanced
Required: Language Arts and Math, March 14 - June
MSP (Measurements of Student Progress)
Required for Science: Online in 2016 - April 18 - June 3
Other - EOC (End-Of-Course) EXAM For students taking Biology
May 27 - 29 or June 2 - 4

Anonymous said...

Hard to say if that's right or not. State testing requirements on the OSPI website only go through class of 2019 (http://www.k12.wa.us/assessment/StateTesting/default.aspx), but a current 8th grader is class of 2020. Will the NGSS test be required for class of 2020 and beyond? OSPI's tentative timeline has NGSS fully implemented as of 2017/18, so that may be the plan. But if they are just hoping so yet don't know for sure, shouldn't they give the EOC this year in case?

anotherNW said...

My 8th grader is taking it June 2 (just got moved up 2 weeks earlier - yay!) It's also listed on the High School Graduation Requirements worksheet we got for her high school for the class of 2020.

Anonymous said...

anotherNW - Is your child at HIMS? JAMS is not having 8th graders take the Biology EOC.

anotherNW said...

Yes, at HIMS.

Anonymous said...

Okay, that's odd. Why would one school continue with Biology EOC testing and one not? Anyone know what's up?

Anonymous said...

Word from my child is that Biology EOC testing is happening after all.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 7:54pm - what school is that? Has there been any official announcement?

Anonymous said...

JAMS - They were told in class yesterday.

Benjamin Leis said...

If anyone concerned about the H.S. schedule changes would like to do a write-up please contact me. I'm planning to do a small piece for the Cascadia newsletter to spread the word a bit.
Thanks

Anonymous said...

3x5 schedule talking points:

The district is considering changing all high schools to a 5 period, 3 trimester schedule (3x5) as a means of helping students meet the new 24-credit graduation requirement in WA State. Instead of a classes meeting 180 days a year for 6 periods a day, classes would meet 120 days a year for 5 periods a day. In theory, students would have the ability to take more classes per year and thereby increase their opportunities to meet the 24-credit graduation requirement. In reality, the 3x5 schedule poses many challenges, and may limit the class options for students.

How would a 3x5 schedule work?

A class that would normally meet 180 days is compressed into 120 days over the course of two trimesters. A traditional 6 period schedule allows for (6) 50-55 minute classes per day; a 3x5 schedule might have (5) 60-65 min classes per day. A typical course would last two out of the three trimesters, though not necessarily consecutive trimesters.

How does a 3x5 schedule increase credit opportunities for students?

If students filled their schedules each year, they could potentially earn 30 credits over 4 years, or 7.5 credits per year, compared to the current schedule that allows for 24 credits over 4 years, or 6 credits per year.

What challenges would a 3x5 schedule pose?

> Course content would likely be reduced. A3x5 schedule attempts to cover the same content with 33% fewer classes per year. While classes are slightly longer (60-65 min. in a 3x5 schedule vs. the 50-55 min. in a typical 6 period day), it would be a challenge to cover the same material in 120 days compared to the current 180 days. It would be especially challenging for math and science classes that are paced for covering a topic a day.

> Course continuity would be compromised. A class might meet first and third trimester, with a gap in the second trimester, and no guarantee of the same teacher each trimester. There could be an 8-9 month gap year over year if a course was covered in first and second trimester, then in second and third trimester of the following year.

> Students may not be able to schedule the minimum 6 credits per year, or meet IB diploma requirements, due to the scheduling restrictions. AP and IB classes, with national and international exams on fixed schedules in May of each year, would need to meet in the first and second trimesters of the school year. Students would not only have fewer days of class to cover a significant amount of material, but they would need to self study for the May exams. There would be limited opportunities for year-long electives such as music, or even a needed 6th credit, as the schedule would be full in the first and second trimesters.

How do other districts manage a 3x5 schedule with the demands of AP and IB classes?

Very few districts with a 3x5 schedule offer the same number of AP and IB courses as Seattle area schools. Some districts schedule an optional zero period (lengthen the school day), or offer AP and IB study sessions outside of the 5 period day.

Anonymous said...

> The district is already changing start times next year as a means of boosting student performance. The district can implement other changes such as increasing summer school opportunities, offering more flexibility to gain high school credit from middle school classes, and changing district policy to allow for a state permitted waiver of 2 credits (under unusual circumstances, as defined by the district) - options which don't require a district wide schedule change.

Anonymous said...

Yes. It might make more sense to add an optional 7th period for those who need it. Yes, there would be costs associated with that--but there are costs associated with the proposed 3x5 plan as well.

Another drawback to the 3x5 plan: the idea that it will reduce students' workload is silly. While students will only have 5 classes per day instead of 6, the classes will be compressed into a much smaller period--120 days instead of 180. This means covering 50% more material each day, even though classes will only be about 10 or 15 minutes longer. Daily homework requirements will likely increase, unless the district views these classes as "lite" versions of the current courses. Thinking about it another way, the proposal allows for 30 classes instead of 24. Unless the classes are scaled back versions, why wouldn't that involve more work?