Sunday, June 11, 2017


Its the end of the year and I thought would open a  space to reflect on personal accomplishments for the year. This could be a formal award or as personal breakthrough. What interesting things have happened in your building?

Monday, June 5, 2017

June '17 Open Thread

Its finally the last month of the school year.

There's a thread on the Honors For All presentation over @   Once again this highlights the difficult in objectively evaluating a program or curriculum.

Personally, after three years this will be the last two weeks I run the 4th/5th grade math club. Although I look forward to volunteering at the Middle School level (Talk to me if you want to join a Math club at JAMS)  I'm finding the end to be bittersweet.

Invent Washington Contest and Teacher Training

"Prodigy Northwest launched “Invent Washington” in 2013 with its first state competition held in Spokane, Washington at St George’s School on June 2nd, its second state competition held at Gonzaga University on May 17, 2014, its third competition on May 30, 2015, its fourth state competition on May 14, 2016 and it fifth competition on May 13, 2017. A total of over 240 dynamic inventions created by students in grades one through eight were on display for each of those competitions. The 2018 Paul G. Allen Invention Convention state competition has been scheduled for Saturday, March 24th, 2018."


School budgets are being set right now and it really helps to have accurate enrollment counts. If you know you're not going to attend next year please contact the office/registrar and let them know.

Article:  This comes from a fairly conservation political viewpoint and I don't agree with everything here but this quote at the end stuck out at me:

"The accelerated-math community is abandoning public schools and turning to private enrichment camps, creating, as a recent report in The Atlantic described it, “a new pedagogical ecosystem—almost entirely extracurricular—that has developed online and in the country’s rich coastal cities and tech meccas.”"

What's on your minds?

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Northwest Gifted Child Associate Legislative Alert

I apologize in advance for the length of this message but the issue calls for a deep explanation. It is imperative that the community of people supporting highly capable education Insist that legislators include appropriate funding for highly capable programs in the current budget being negotiated. While we do not want to be alarmist, it is possible that any funding done this year will serve as the floor for funding for the next several decades. This deserves your immediate attention and action. What follows is support information you will need to make an effective appeal to your legislator, and other key legislators if you are willing to take the extra effort.
A child's educational program must be appropriately ambitious and every child should have the chance to meet challenging objectives. That is one of the main purposes of the Highly Capable Program.
The Legislature has not yet begun serious negotiations on the next budget. However, the McCleary Work Group is supposed to be meeting at least weekly to prepare the education portion of the budget. They have before them all the research conducted when they were the Education Funding Task Force plus the 3 budget proposals this year, and they are reportedly at a stalemate. There are persistent rumors that the budget will not be ready until late June!
The proposed 2017-2018 funding levels for highly capable programs in all three budgets won't even allow districts to continue the services they offer today. 
Neither the Governor's, the House, nor Senate budget proposals address the persistent and pervasive underfunding of gifted education, and all will do harm to our state's gifted learners. 
Both House and Senate proposals continue to limit services to 2.314% of our state's enrollment, or about 25,530 students. The Governor's proposal raises the percentage slightly but not significantly. 
But - in 2015-2016, districts identified and served 63,551 gifted students. All of these students deserve their appropriate, fully funded basic education. They have been waiting since 2009.
The cost for educating most of the 38,000 students above the state limit is paid for from local levy funds. Local levy funds are not to be used for basic education, and HCP IS BASIC EDUCATION.
At a minimum, the state needs to allocate an amount that covers the actual costs of providing services to our 63,500 plus identified gifted learners. To provide for improvements in the program that are essential to address issues of equity will require more. Providing the professional development necessary to build teacher capacity in the identification and service of gifted students costs money. Making changes to our referral and identification processes also has a cost.
What you need to do today!!
Please contact your Legislators today and ask them to contact the members of 1) the McCleary group and 2) the budget negotiators (listed below). Tell them that the Legislature needs to fund the recommendations of the 2010 Highly Capable Program Technical Work Group. The recommendations immediately below include all the issues outlined in the above paragraph.
*Fund 5% of enrollment
*Fund 6.5 hours per week in grades K-6
*Fund 3.1 hours per week in grades 7-12
If you have contacted your Legislators before on this topic, please do so again. If you have not yet done so, please do so now while your input can still have an effect.
Unsure of your message? May we suggest:
Districts serve 63,551 highly capable students. The state funds only ~25,530. It is the state's responsibility to fully fund gifted education as part of basic education. Adopt and fund the Recommendations of the Highly Capable Program Technical Work Group of 2010. The current funding allocation of 2.314% of a school district's population is a FATAL FLAW that assures a lack of equity in highly capable education for the unforeseen future. Do not embed this FATAL FLAW into current budget language, thus dooming under-represented populations who desperately need to be identified and served. Districts serve 63,551 highly capable students. The state funds only ~25,530. It is the state's responsibility to fully fund gifted education as part of basic education. Adopt and fund the Recommendations of the Highly Capable Program Technical Work Group of 2010. The current funding allocation of 2.314% of a school district's population is a FATAL FLAW that assures a lack of equity in highly capable education for the unforeseen future. Do not embed this FATAL FLAW into current budget language, thus dooming under-represented populations to a lack of services. These are students who desperately need to be identified and served.
* Fund 5% of enrollment
* Fund 6.5 hours per week in grades K-6
* Fund 3.1 hours per week in grades 7-12"
Please contact the members of the McCleary Work Group and the budget negotiators and urge them to implement these recommendations.
You can find and email your Legislator using the District finder at, or you can use the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000. Hot Line operators will write down your message and transmit it to your Legislator(s) so plan out in advance what you want to say, write it down, and then read it to the operator to be sure it says exactly what you want it to say.
Most Legislators are currently at home in their districts. Some have district offices. If they do, for House members, they will be listed at and for Senators Both sites are in (mostly) alphabetical order; scroll down to yours to see if there is a district office. Try to make an appointment to meet with your legislator(s) as soon as possible.
Thank you for taking action to gain full, ample, and equitable funding for highly capable services. 63,551+ gifted students in Washington are counting on you!
        🗣                🗣                🗣                🗣       
Key Legislators your Legislators need to contact are listed below. If you are feeling especially energetic and motivated, after you contact your Legislators, you can contact the key legislators directly yourself. Email addresses are
McCleary Work Group
Rep. Pat Sullivan
Rep. Kristine Lytton
Rep. Paul Harris
Rep. David Taylor
Sen. Ann Rivers
Sen. Christine Rolfes 
Sen. Andy Billig
Sen. John Braun
Budget Negotiators
Rep. Timm Ormsby, Chair, House Appropriations Committee
Rep. June Robinson, Vice Chair, House Appropriations Committee
Rep. Bruce Chandler, Ranking, House Appropriations Committee
Rep. Frank Chopp, Speaker of the House 
Rep. Pat Sullivan, Majority Leader
Rep. Dan Kristianson, House Republican Caucus leader
Sen. John Braun, Chair, Senate Ways and Means Committee
Sen. Dino Rossi,  Vice Chair Senate Ways and Means Committee
Sen. Kevin Ranker, Ranking, Senate Ways and Means Committee
Sen. Christine Rolfes, Assistant Ranking, Senate Ways and Means Committee
Sen.  Mark Schoesler, Senate Republican Caucus leader
Sen. Sharon Nelson, Senate Democratic Caucus leader

Friday, June 2, 2017

6/3 Board Retreat

I was sent an email from Dir. Peters about tomorrow's Board of Directors Retreat.

Board Special Meeting
School Board Retreat
June 3, 2017 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Auditorium, John Stanford Center
2445 3 rd Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98134


  • 10:00 am WELCOME
  • 10:00-10:30 am TEAM BUILDING / ICE BREAKERS
  • 12:00-12:30 pm BREAK & LUNCH
  • 2:00-3:00 pm EQUITY IN HIGHLY CAPABLE PROGRAMS (Austina De Bonte)
  • 3:00 pm ADJOURN

Both of the talks look interesting especially if you're interested in equity.

Copy of Austina De Bonte's previous talk

Thursday, June 1, 2017

6th Grade Math Placement

Yesterday math placement letters went out from JAMS.  All the details are still a bit unclear ut

  • It appears that The 5th grade teachers uniformly declined to recommend anyone for Algebra on philosophical grounds.
  • The letters were sent prior to this year's math SBAC being administered.
  • The placement test will be administered Wednesday, June 14th from 4:00-5:00pm or Tuesday, June 27th from 8:00-9:00am at JAMS.

So I assume those wishing to opt up will have to take the placement test at the school during one of the two exams. There seems to have been a process breakdown here between the schools.  This is one of those situations where communicating more openly would be useful.  In particular, the 5th grade teachers could have handled this much more transparently and either communicated directly to JAMS their discomfort   prior to this point allowing a less reactive solution or to the parents to explain what was going to happen.

8th Grade Math Standards:

"In Grade 8, instructional time should focus on three critical areas: (1) formulating and reasoning about expressions and equations, including modeling an association in bivariate data with a linear equation, and solving linear equations and systems of linear equations; (2) grasping the concept of a function and using functions to describe quantitative relationships; (3) analyzing two- and three-dimensional space and figures using distance, angle, similarity, and congruence, and understanding and applying the Pythagorean Theorem."

Home Assessment

The AoPS algebra readiness test is fairly solid and could be used to identify gaps:  I

Hopefully there will be some more clarifying email from the MS side and this will be done more cleanly next year..

Feel free to add on anything more you learn for JAMS or for the placement process at the other middle school sites.

[Disclaimer: next year I will be on the JAMS BLT]