The Curriculum and Instruction Committee will be reviewing procedure changes to the HCC program tonight June 13th
The summary is as follows:
The proposed revisions to Highly Capable Services and Advanced Learning Programs Superintendent Procedure 2190SP have been made to promote clarity and align with other relevant procedures. The following points provide a guide to changes:
• On Page 2 of 7: The high school eligibility application requires the submission of a student writing sample. The writing sample was not explicitly addressed in previous version of 2190SP, so we adjusted this language.
• On Page 3 of 7 No substantive changes to eligibility criteria, except that achievement data is required for Advanced Learner identification in all grades K-7.
• The appeals language change on Page 4 of 7 is meant to make transparent the process that the MSC uses to make eligibility decisions on students who have appealed. All data points are considered at that stage in the eligibility process; these include parent rating scales, teacher rating scales, and any/all available cognitive and achievement scores, including those from privately administered testing.
• On the bottom of Page 5 of 7 under Program Design, and under the HCC subheading, the wording specifies that HCC in grades 1-5 is self-contained for ELA, mathematics, and science, and may be offered as self-contained in social studies. This wording was added to give flexibility to the staff at elementary HC sites, and reflects the practices have been and will likely be proposed in the name of equity and a social justice agenda.
• Also on Page 5 of 7: Clarification of Garfield as pathway school and Ingraham as option school for 8th HCC students. Ingraham enrollment based on space availability and not guaranteed, per Student Assignment Procedures 3130SP
A few opinions/points on all of this:
- Proposing changes publicly late Friday for the first time and discussing them the following Monday is terrible public out reach. In the name of process I would delay this until the next meeting to allow more time to understand the implications.
- The High school changes need clarification that the default placement for HC students is Garfield if they do not get a placement at Ingraham otherwise parent's will be forced to unnecessarily gamble if they want that program. This is especially important since it functions as a relief valve for the capacity issues.
- Someone on the board really needs to force a more public discussion of the enrollment caps at Ingraham. Currently, I haven't been able to pinpoint who even sets the numbers or why.
- The social study changes are explicitly limited to grades 1-5 but Middle School is redefined as being "mostly" self-contained which is open to a lot of interpretation.
Melissa Westbrook over at SaveSeattleSchools had this writeup of the meeting:
"So this was QUITE the discussion at the C&I meeting yesterday. Highlights:
- Stephen Martin, the head of AL, had to apologize - yet again - for misinformation from his office to parents. "Sorry for the confusion." I have to say, this seems to happen quite a lot and, at this point, I don't think sorry is enough. There needs to be more vetting of information BEFORE it gets to parents.
- He said some changes to the procedure were "editorial" and then pointed out five other ones.
- He said they would be seeking engagement before August 8th (read on before you comment.)
- For those applying for high school, students will have to write an essay based on a standardized prompt that the AL offices gives them. Apparently this has always been the case but not clearly stated.
- They will use MAP test data for kindergarteners.
- Appeals. Martin said some parents thought if they did private testing and got the scores needed that would be the deciding factor. He said a single score would not be and that it is a committee decision based on several factors.
- "Flexibility" for staff at HCC sites. This is where it got real. Martin said that Thurgood Marshall wanted, as part of their social studies program, have more "socially responsive" teaching. He said they needed "permissive language" so they can go ahead with the program they have planned with input from department of race/equity.
Director Geary - you know this will cause "some stir" within the community and that it needed to go thru the community engagement tool and she didn't see how it could be done by August 8th (which is some kind of deadline for Thurgood Marshall to have the program in place.)
Martin said that it was up to the Board but it was just for one school.
- He also said that there was a clarification that only Garfield was a guaranteed high school pathway for HCC and not Ingraham. (He made it sound like Ingraham was never intended to be and I'd have to go back and check but I thought it had been.)
Director Burke said he was worried about the TM issues because they would be amending a procedure for a practice. He said it is "out of alignment for inclusion" and could "create polarization."
He said the district didn't seem to be serving AL students well OR closing the opportunity gap and having underserved kids at either end wasn't good. He said there were "optics" around this issue.
Then Director Harris quietly laid into Mr. Martin. She said she didn't appreciate getting this info on a late Friday for a Monday meeting. She said she felt blindsided and parents may as well. She said she didn't see how there could be true community engagement in the middle of summer.
She said, "This is not the best we can do." She said that "we have got to do a better job for every child, every day."
(Burke pointed out that Martin had walked each member of the committee thru the changes before the meeting. Harris wasn't a member so she didn't get the walk-thru. She did state that as a Board member, it was important for all of them to understand the changes in any program in the district. She said she heard from parents at her last community meeting and "it was not pleasant."
Michael Tolley mentioned that staff would take the info, work thru changes and it ultimately goes to the Superintendent.
Now that's true and this is the super's procedure but the procedures flow from policies.
Between this discussion and the one around MTSS (see my next comment), I was gobsmacked. Trying to make AL even more hard to understand? Allowing schools to decide how they want to present advanced learning opportunities? Sure, why not? It feels like that is what has been happening all along.
I cannot see the Board going along with all these changes and especially being presented them right before school ends and then coming back to them in early August."
So its a bit hard to read what the staff will do next. In theory procedures unlike policy don't need board approval so they could try to go ahead anyway. If you want to contact the Staff I'd suggest asking for more genuine engagement in this and other changes being proposed.
Update2: It looks like the staff are supposed to come back in August with an amended proposal.