Monday, June 30, 2014
After 1180 posts and 139,312 total page views I am putting my blog on hold. At some point I will probably start again as I'm already feeling the tension when I read my RSS feeds. One goal I didn't make was to reach 100 members falling short by eight. That tension adds to the possibility of starting again in the future. So, keep me in your feed and watch for a return, probably about legislative time when there will be much to think about.
One last thing is to share my tattoo. I've had this for a number of years thanks to a birthday present from my son. It captures how I see myself and what I will always be, Papa Bear! I am proud to wear it and look forward to having an opportunity next year to support the journey in a small way. Thanks to Rob and the Board for believing that I still have something to add.
Friday, June 27, 2014
Yesterday I attended a PBIS conference with a district team and then an E3 Summer evening where I joined others in being recognized for our work on sustainability. In my case it was supporting people like Nancy and teachers in developing our curriculum, Connie Jo and others who pioneered the building efforts, and Lori, Kevin, and Dawn who got us on the map locally, in the state, and in the nation. We learned that at the district level we actually outscored the district winner for the Green School award, but could not be recognized because we don't have a high enough free and reduced lunch count. Looks like next year will be the year.
Finally today was one of more tearful good byes, ceremonial disposal of my office chair, and a final gathering at Lori's house for more thanks and good byes.
Sunday, June 22, 2014
Though this final week has three evening meetings, I will be winding down with probably fewer posts as I approach the 30th. I have decided to mothball Seeking Shared Learning with the possibility to once again post in the future. I'm going to now spend some time learning about LinkedIn and look for some work to fill some of my days. Know anyone looking for a leadership journey?
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
It continued on Monday at an open house where many came to share their appreciation and engage with others that have shared our experiences. It was a rewarding evening for me as I was showered with thanks and gifts that included an unbelievable trip to Washington DC with tickets to Monday Night Football where the Hawks take on the Redskins. I was also blessed to have previous board members and mentors from my past attend to congratulate me and share stories.
This was followed on Tuesday with a gift from the Board and then today at the Chamber of Commerce meeting. I think with school ending today and only one more evening meeting before the 30th these events are behind me. I can now begin fading into the background as the days count down.
In reflecting, I must admit that each of these events will be memorable for me and I give thanks to the many that attended and to those that planned the events. Each was at the same time a humbling and rewarding experience. I think I did OK and know that more pictures were taken of me this week than in the previous 44 years here. So much to be thankful for and so many to thank.
Monday, June 16, 2014
The reason for the request as identified in the letter to be mailed later this week is below. I was notified because of the requirement to notify public school districts of the request and to provide for a comment period prior to submitting the official request.
Thanks to Superintendent Dorn and staff for this waiver request. Though it doesn't remove the onerous requirements of NCLB, if successful, it puts off for a year the need to mail a letter that does not accurately describe the current reality of our schools. If the federal department does not grant this request, I can only assume that they want to once again punish us for not conforming to their one size fits all reform model.
Sunday, June 15, 2014
The Washington Supreme Court on Thursday ordered lawmakers to explain why they haven’t followed its orders to fix the way Washington pays for public education.
Thursday, June 12, 2014
So many things went through my mind as I experienced graduation this evening from the stage for the last time. Above all the feelings was one of gratitude and pride. Gratitude that I had the opportunity to have a small influence on these young people's experience in our schools and pride in their accomplishments individually and collectively. I thank them and their families for this achievement in their lives and wish them success in their new learning and career experiences.
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
“Plaintiffs claim that the Challenged Statutes result in grossly ineffective teachers obtaining and retaining permanent employment, and that these teachers are disproportionately situated in schools serving predominantly low-income and minority students. Plaintiffs’ equal protection claims assert that the Challenged Statutes violate their fundamental rights to equality of education by adversely affecting the quality of the education they are afforded by the state.”
You can go anywhere in the education blog world and find articles and commentary. In this New York Times piece we read about reactions from both sides and get a sense of the court's decision in the words below.
“Substantial evidence presented makes it clear to this court that the challenged statutes disproportionately affect poor and/or minority students,” Judge Rolf M. Treu of Los Angeles Superior Court wrote in the ruling. “The evidence is compelling. Indeed, it shocks the conscience.”
In this piece from Andy Smarick at FLYPAPER he shares 10 things to keep in mind as this case proceeds through the court system.
6. Like just about every groundbreaking decision, this one includes dramatic language to make its point (and likely help sustain the decision on appeal). “Evidence has been elicited in this trial of the specific effect of grossly ineffective teachers on students. The evidence is compelling. Indeed, it shocks the conscience.”
This case will be important to follow as it will open the door for similar suits in other states. The provisions that were struck down by the court such as teacher tenure and last in first out (LIFO) are protections against what unions see as unfair personnel decisions made by building and district leaders and undoing them will not result in fixing the problems in schools.
“We believe the judge fell victim to the anti-union, anti-teacher rhetoric and one of American’s finest corporate law firms that set out to scapegoat teachers for the real problems that exist in public education,” said Joshua Pechthalt, the president of the California Federation of Teachers. “There are real problems in our schools, but this decision in no way helps us move the ball forward.”
Supporters of the lawsuit disagree and seem ready to help those in other states with a similar belief.
Observers on both sides expect the case to generate dozens more like it in cities and states around the country. David Welch, a Silicon Valley technology magnate who financed the organization that is largely responsible for bringing the Vergara case to court — Students Matter — has indicated that his group is open to funding other similar legal fights, particularly in states with powerful teachers’ unions where legislatures have defeated attempts to change teacher tenure laws.
The second event was an announcement by the Gates Foundation that they are recommending a two-year delay in linking Common Core test scores to teacher evaluation. I'm wondering how their change in policy that ed to our state's waiver loss aligns with this new belief and whether Secretary Duncan is open to being influenced. I'll share some thoughts in my next post.
Monday, June 9, 2014
|Caralena, Melanie, Sean, Jordan, Colin, Skylar|
Sunday, June 8, 2014
Others worry about the one-size-fits-all measure, when colleges have different missions. Moreover, certain criteria reveal more about the ideology of those rating the schools than the quality of the schools themselves. For example, those ranking a school based on its graduates' earnings value high salaries over professions such as teaching, social work, or other important, but not lucrative, jobs.
Williams College president Adam Falk decried the rating plan as "oversimplified to the point that it actually misleads."
Wendy Lecker, author of the post, believes enough is enough and challenges college presidents and all of us to fight back.
It is high time for university presidents, good government groups and others to join public school advocates in demanding that the democratic purpose of our public schools be restored, lest no one remain when the profit-seekers come for them.
The article makes me reflect on my beliefs. I don't believe that I am in complete agreement with Lecker, but with each new federal initiative or mandate I get closer, especially with comments like the one below.
“It’s like rating a blender. This is not so hard to get your mind around.”
This is what Jamienne Studley, a deputy under secretary at the Education Department, told a group of college presidents who were meeting to talk about President’s Obama’s plan to rate colleges with the apparent aim of driving out of business schools that don’t meet the administration’s definition of success.
Thursday, June 5, 2014
Over time, our focus has been on the giver of the feedback supporting them through training, role playing, and feedback. We now know that we need to spend as much time supporting the receiver to be receptive to the feedback even when it feels wrong and misguided. We know from experience how difficult it can be to receive feedback that makes us question our knowledge and skill so leverage in this process rests with supporting the receiver in maintaining a positive mental model through the process. As we shared in a draft to support their individual and team reflection:
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Also yesterday I read in a Valerie Strauss Answer Sheet post that Oklahoma Governor Fallin has this week to decide if she will support the bill recently passed by both legislative houses to repeal the Common Core. It will not be an easy decision as she is in a difficult situation.
Fallin is in a complicated position in regards to the Common Core. She is the chair of the National Governors Association, one of the organizations behind the development of the Core. Last December, amid growing concerns among conservatives that the Core constituted a federal takeover of local education, Fallin issued an executive ordersupporting the Common Core standards, which in Oklahoma were being called the Oklahoma State Standards, and saying that there would be no federal intrusion.
Though popular with legislators the decision is not one that others in the state view as a positive step including the teacher quoted in the article. As with us, it would be difficult to once again be forced to respond to yet another set of standards. I'll continue to follow this process as I am interested in seeing if moving away from the Common Core Standards will jeopardize Oklahoma's waiver.
We have a quality leadership team and I take pride in having had some small influence on their capacity to create, implement, and sustain the adaptive changes necessary to meet the accountability measures imposed by federal and state mandates. More importantly, they have the capacity to continue our "Future Ready" initiative to ensure that all Tahoma graduates are prepared for success in post high school learning and work. We are positioned for continuing success as Rob transitions seamlessly into the superintendency. I am excited with the combination of commitment to what we do well and adaptive thinking that he is bringing to the work and to following our progress over time.
It will be no surprise to those that know me that my last message was about leadership. It was about passion, beliefs, collaboration, collective capacity, transparency, humility, learning, and our purpose for being our YOUNG PEOPLE. I chose to use the quotes on the slide below to end my short presentation, just before I got emotional and embarrassed..
The day ended, however, on an upside as it was the annual Board meeting to honor retirees and those with 20, 25, 30, and 35 years in the district. Board President Mary Jane, made it easy for me by allowing me to sit while the kind words were said. It was fun to honor the other eighteen retirees and multiple Years of Service Award recipients.
Sunday, June 1, 2014
Last week Ken Riggs, high school music teacher, shared information with us on how well the high school choirs did this year with a focus on a recent Chamber Choir performance. Below, are his words and a link to the performance. I watched videos of four of their songs, well worth the time. Can't wait until the day our young people share their talent on a performance center stage at the new Tahoma High School.
Thursday, May 29, 2014
Also, thank you to the many community organizations that awarded thousands of dollars in scholarships to thankful recipients and their proud parents. Collectively, Tahoma seniors earned greater than $1.8 million in scholarships.
Oh, in case you are wondering, this is a BIG LAST for me as it is the door to the end of the school year and my last as a member of this exceptional team of educators that supported these young people's journey.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
At last night's meeting. the School Board took action to accept the schematic design for the new high school. This completes the first phase of the design process that provides us with a footprint of how the building and fields will be positioned on the site and location of rooms in the building. The next phase of the design process will look more closely at what will go into the rooms, equipment, materials, colors, and systems. This will be followed by actual construction scheduled to begin early next year.
We need to thank DLR Architiects, OAC Services, and SKANSKA Construction for their efforts in bringing this vision to reality for us. We also need to acknowledge King County and the City of Maple Valley for collaborating with us on the purchase of county property, the partnership on the use of city property, and pushing through the many bureaucratic hurdles that must be overcome on a project of this size.
For more detail on the design and room location please click on the link below.
Monday, May 26, 2014
There have been many more states changing their minds about the assessments than the commitment to the standards themselves as other options have become available in this difficult political environment with push back on both right and left. The vision of many being able to make state-to-state comparisons is also diminished by these changes. It will be interesting to follow this changing landscape and how it may influence state commitments to the standards.
Sunday, May 25, 2014
If the governor signs there will then be two states with others seriously considering the same action. Just how blue will this map get and what will it mean to the federal education department's drive for common standards and common assessments?
I found the following statement from a co-sponsor of the bill interesting.
But instead, said Shannon, with Common Core "the federal government has disregarded parental rights, over-regulated teachers, and over-tested our kids. Parents, local governments and teachers are better equipped to meet the needs of their students than the federal government. Parents and teachers are the best leaders for quality education in Oklahoma communities — not bureaucrats in Washington, D.C."
It appears that their legislature is also moving forward on repealing the Next Generation Science Standards.
Sykes, meanwhile, said he and Breechen also succeeded in amending another bill to repeal Next Generation Science Standards, which "heavily promote global warming alarmism and do not prepare students for work in STEM fields.
Thursday, May 22, 2014
(2) submit a “complete plan for fully implementing its program of basic education for each school year between now and the 2017-18 school year” – including “a phase in schedule for fully funding each of the components of basic education” identified in ESHB 2261 and SHB 2776.
January 2014 Order at p.8 (underline added).
That was an Order.
Not a suggestion.
As the following pages explain, however, the State’s 2014 filing did not comply with that Order.
Instead, the State did what it had been ordered to not do. It offered promises about trying to submit a plan and take significant action next year – along with excuses for why the State’s ongoing violation of kids’ constitutional rights and court orders should be excused this year. Plaintiffs18 respectfully submit that this Court should not condone the State’s violation of court orders or constitutional rights. Plaintiffs accordingly request that this Court take immediate, concrete action to compel compliance with the court orders and constitutional rights that the State continues to violate in this case.
In the brief NEWS is basically asking the Court if court orders really matter.
This Court must decide whether court orders really matter. The defendant in this case understood the January 2014 Order’s complete phase-in-plan requirement. But it did not comply. Just like it did not comply with the similar mandate in this Court’s December 2012 Order. A defendant’s violating court orders is perfectly fine if court orders don’t really matter in our State. But plaintiffs respectfully submit that court orders do matter, and that all defendants – even the government – must obey court orders.
They go on to make the following request of the Court.
Plaintiffs’ respectfully submit that the school children of our State need this Court to create that urgency by following through and firmly enforcing its rulings in this case. Strike one was bad. Strike two was worse. But strike three is completely unacceptable if court orders or constitutional rights matter in this State. Plaintiffs submit that at the very least, this Court should accordingly:
Hold the legislature in contempt of court at least until the State fully complies with the Court Orders in this case.
Enjoin the State from digging the unconstitutional underfunding hole deeper by imposing any more unfunded or underfunded mandates on its schools.149
Declare that if the State does not fully comply with this Court’s January 2014 Order by December 31, 2014, this Court will in January 2015 issue strong judicial enforcement orders (such as those by other courts noted above) in order to compel the State to comply with this Court’s Orders and with Washington childrens’ positive constitutional right to an amply funded education.
Strong language and a challenge to the Court. Now we wait to see how the Court will respond. The response will have a significant impact on the 2015 legislative session and long term status of public education in our state.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Q: What’s common to good schools — whether publicly or privately funded?
A: The truth is most schools are pretty good. Very few are truly great. But among those you see again and again that they create a culture among the adults that is collaborative, transparent and empowering. Kids pass through. Adults are the keepers of the culture. The way that you make lasting change is by valuing and supporting the adults, the educators. We may give lip service to this, but we lack sufficient examples of how to do it well. The reality is, we’re still more likely to be persuaded by the illusory hardness of the quantitative proof — test scores — even though there is an overwhelming consensus that reading and math scores are not enough.
Monday, May 19, 2014
An event that we sponsor is the E3 Summer Evening Experience where we honor individuals and organizations in the following categories; Informal Educator, Tribal Leader, Diversity in Action, Government, and Student Leader. The information for the evening is below. Please consider attending and supporting our work, tickets are $30 for an evening of celebration, networking, learning, and food and beverages. If you are interested in sponsoring the event please let me know.
Sunday, May 18, 2014
As the day gets closer I find myself becoming more comfortable and accepting of my decision. With the leadership in our system supporting the Board and Rob, our learning journey will continue. The bond passage has presented us with unprecedented opportunities for adaptive changes to create learning experiences for young people and adults that meet the external demands placed on the system and those embedded in our Future Ready initiative. I am proud of who we are and what we have created and know that over time Tahoma will be an even better place for young people and adults to share learning experiences.
Thursday, May 15, 2014
The results of last month's We the People competition in Washington D.C. were released this week and we have much to be proud of and thankful for. Though our team didn't reach their goal of finishing in the top 10, they won the Western Regional Award as the top finisher in the west for only the second time in our We the People history. With release of the national scores we now know that we finished 11th, one point away from the coveted 10th place and 25 points better than the 12th place team. Sad, but also affirming as this shows that our team can consistently compete with the best in the nation.
You may be wondering why the focus on finishing in the top 10 instead of being number one. After two days of competition, the top 10 teams are then invited to compete on Sunday where the championship and other places are determined. You can't win without making the top 10 cut and competing in the last round.
Way to go Tahoma! I'm so very proud of you and continue to be in awe of the commitment and expertise that our unbelievable coach, Gretchen Wulfing brings to this year-round program and to our kids. We are very fortunate to have this competent and caring individual providing leadership for this program. I'm sure she is already thinking about what needs to be done for next year's top 10 finish.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
The letter also quotes this statement from the education policy adviser to Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead: "[A]bsolutely no change to the Wyoming accountability model may be undertaken in order to satisfy the feds in exchange for a (sic) NCLB waiver."
We know from experience that if you push back with the wrong button you get slapped with a waiver loss. It will be interesting to see how it plays out in Wyoming. in a previous post I shared how Indiana's waiver is also in trouble. If both states were to join us that would be thousands more letters to parents about "failing schools" that might be enough to force action at the federal level to limit the department's reach and finally reauthorize ESEA the driver behind NCLB.
Monday, May 12, 2014
I would be remiss if I didn't also share my appreciation and respect for teachers on comprehensive who are giving of their time to provide evidence and the increased feedback conversations that accompany multiple classroom observations. Thank you for your commitment and support of our learning as we find ways to make this required process part of our collaborative culture.
Sunday, May 11, 2014
I’m writing because the other day you announced that my state, alone among the 50, had run afoul of your desired standardized-testing regimen. So we’re going to be subjected to all the penalties and punishments of that 2001 law.
I remember 2001. Those were the days of you’re either with us or against us. So it’s fitting that your edict means that unless 100 percent of our students pass math and reading tests this year, all our schools will be dubbed “failing.” You’re either above average or you’re failures!
With all respect, doesn’t that seem a tad stupid? A few years ago, you yourself pronounced this top-down, testing-fueled mania to be simple-minded and broken.
“By mandating and prescribing one-size-fits-all solutions, No Child Left Behind took away the ability of local and state educators to tailor solutions to the unique needs of their students,” you told Congress, adding that the law is “fundamentally flawed.”
Chicago Post-Tribune article we find that Indiana may be the next state to lose a waiver as they have been asked by Duncan for updates on their teacher evaluation system and are also potentially in trouble for dumping Common Core standards and national tests. If they were to also lose a waiver it would mean many more "failing school" letters this fall that will contribute to the push back against the federal education department's encroachment into public education and mandate for standards and testing. Duncan may want to consider Westneat's words below. As he flexes the federal muscle it may appear like accountability to many, but for others it may be the flame fanning the fire that consumes the department's one size fits all reform model.
I’ll close by saying I think you’re messing with the wrong state. You should try to change this “fundamentally flawed” law, rather than impose it on us out of pique. A prediction: We like to do our own thing out here anyway, and your action will only fuel more boycotts of these tests, as well as suspicion of the entire education-reform industry.
Signed, NCLB Dad in Seattle
Thursday, May 8, 2014
The recommended changes can be seen in the picture below. The proposal is to change the name of Collaborative Worker to Collaborative Teammate to focus on the school experience and to add Conscientious Worker to capture the attributes that we want in our schools and that employers are also seeking. In addition, we added an outcome, Responsible Decision Maker, to reflect the need for a focus on making sound decisions related to media, technology, money, and health.
The work on Outcomes and Indicators has been and will continue to be an ongoing process engaging diverse groups of people. The goal is to bring the revised Outcomes to the Board for approval before the end of this school year. Last night we brought the Outcomes below for feedback and will now use that information to identify any additional changes that may be necessary. The work on the Indicators will take place next year and involve multiple prototypes across the grades beginning at the high school level. This will look at taking the revised Indicator language and working with students, parents, and teachers to identify the language in grade level bands that clarify the expectations of each Outcome. Today, the majority of the revised language comes from what we have learned and what has been captured in the work of other organizations. The result from the prototyping will be Indicators with Tahoma language.
I'll share an additional slide used last night to capture parts of our current reality and our responsibility to take this big opportunity we now have to create and implement structures and strategies to ensure success for all students in post high school learning and work. It was for me a rewarding and energizing evening demonstrating our commitment to supporting success for ALL. Look forward to comments from others that might have attended.
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
I feel good about the day, but find myself going back to a comment on a blog post last week from Jonathan where he shared his hope for the district bargaining team during these negotiations.
My sincere hope is that the district bargaining committee will recognize our efforts and put forth a contract offer that recognizes and respects our hard work and dedication to the Tahoma way.
As we work to complete this process it is my hope that our language, behavior, and response to issues conveys our appreciation for the work that our teachers do.
THANK YOU TEACHERS!
Monday, May 5, 2014
Sunday, May 4, 2014
WSSDA in pushing our legislators in Washington D.C. to replace this broken legislation with a model that supports learning and growth and one that can support achievement gains for all students.
Though not the norm for me, I will share the entire letter as Strauss did in her article.
Thursday, May 1, 2014
“No Child Left Behind is broken and we need to fix it now,” said Duncan during testimony before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.
“This law has created dozens of ways for schools to fail and very few ways to help them succeed. We should get out of the business of labeling schools as failures and create a new law that is fair and flexible, and focused on the schools and students most at risk,” Duncan continued.
Three years later the law is still in place and has led to the Secretary having the power to cancel our state's waiver from a law that he called broken. This WSSDA effort makes complete sense to me and I welcome the opportunity to share it with our School Board. This is an effort that I support, can get behind, and I thank WSSDA for taking the initiative to start this process. The law has been in place for twelve years and should have been revised many years ago. The time is now before other states suffer a similar fate for pushing back against a one size fits all model to school reform.