Sunday, October 12, 2008

Seattle's Singapore Supplement

On May 30th 2007 the Seattle School Board addopted Everyday Math with a Singapore Supplement. During the 2007-2008 School Year the district struggled to implement Everyday Math at grades k-5 and largely ignored Singapore Math. First Singapore was going to be used as a supplement. Then Singapore was going to be used starting in January 2008. Then it was going to be used in the 2008-2009 School year.

Now there is actually a plan as to how Singapore Math could be used as a supplement.

Here is the .pdf:

The good news is that in this alignment document there are actually topics that are math topics that perhaps could be considered as grade level necessary skills. If the district cared to take the time and make the effort to follow their school board policies in regard to necessary skills as defined in D.44.00 ( it would be appreciated.

It should also be noted that those on the School Board in May of 2007 thought they were voting for more than a $6 Singapore workbook. Michael DeBell has on several occasions spoken as if this was some type of dual adoption. At the May 30th adoption meeting Ms. Santorno said she really did not think that a supplement would be needed.

Ms. Santorno and Mr Benetek both preferred to ignore the fact that k-8 Seattle was modeling themselves after Denver and that in April 2007 Denver Public Schools had released a study showing that Denver Math was in a sad place as continuously enrolled students were declining in math competence when annual percentile scores were examined. The same was occurring in Colorado Springs at the time. This was well known. It was reported in the Rocky Mountain News. Mr Benetek's response was that no one in Denver had directly attributed this failure to the curricular choices so it could have been other factors.

Now that Seattle has declining 4th grade math WASL scores that suffered a worse decline than the State Maath scores for all 4th grade students as well as 4th grade Black students, and Seattles Hispanic Students' scores declined by 5.6% more than the state's Hispanics (for a drop of 10% from Seattle Hispanic pass rate 2007 to spring 2008), can anyone still doubt that curricular choice is the problem?

There are large parallels to the Nation's current economic woes and Seattle's Math Mess. Just as congress with Christopher Dodd and Barney Frank led the assault on financial sanity and the Bush administration failed to provide any substantive leadership, we have Terry Bergeson and Carla Santorno continually erecting road blocks to math improvement (the school board and the superintendent lend support).

To Improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data.
--- W. Edwards Deming (1900-1993)

Why is this statement so hard to understand for the Seattle School district?
The administration and the school board just do not get it.


Anonymous said...

The alignment is just with a supplementary practice book, called Extra Practice. This book has no teaching in it, just some practice exercises, and fairly simple ones, for struggling students. No one can claim to be teaching "Singapore Math" by just using a simple practice book!

I read a post on another blog from a teacher who said she was using Everyday Math and Singapore Math. She said the Singapore Math does not teach concepts, just "stressing computation with very little concrete ways for children to understand why they are doing the computations." This is totally untrue, but if one thought this Extra Practice book was the curriculum, I suppose that could be a conclusion. All it is is worksheets.

They are not teaching "Singapore Math" in any way by just using worksheets from a simple practice book.

dan dempsey said...

Anon at 9:01AM..

said: This book has no teaching in it, just some practice exercises, and fairly simple ones, for struggling students. No one can claim to be teaching "Singapore Math" by just using a simple practice book!
Your point is extremely well made the district is not teaching Singapore Math. The use of problems from a practice book without instruction is hardly Singapore Math.

Another failure brought to you by the Seattle School District and only 15 months after the supposed Singapore Supplement adoption of May 2007.

Seattle teacher said...

Last month at an inservice training for Seatte School district on Math Leadership Training, some teachers asked about Singapore Math. Most didn't even know the books were in their school. Ms. Anna de la Fuente admitted that the use of Singapore is optional and alluded to the fact that it was "adopted" in order to get the school board to approve the adoption of Everyday Math.

Before the Singapore books were bought, the publisher and a Singapore math trainer had tried to deter Ms. Rosalind Wise from buying the Extra Practice book as it was not anything but that. There are no explicit lessons, just worksheets. Ms. Wise was advised to buy the textbooks and workbooks, but went ahead and bought the Extra Practice books despite the warning.

When dishonest administrators run the district, the rest of us suffer.

dan dempsey said...

It is interesting that Seattle's EDM results are very similar to Bethel's but Issaquah has better results looking at the change from Spring 2007 to Spring 2008 results. All three districts adopted EDM for use in 2007 - 2008.

Isaquah has only 7.3% on Free or reduced meals and a non-white non-Asian population of 7.6%

Anonymous said...

Tiger Mountain High School did not meet AYP for the second year in a row due to the graduation requirement cell, however Tiger Mountain is not an Title 1 school so there are no sanctions.

Statewide, only one district with 2,000 or more students met AYP this year. The more students, the more difficult it is to achieve AYP, Niegowski said.

Many of the largest schools have already gone into the “Improvement” stage. Of the 10 largest school districts in the state only Lake Washington and Puyallup are not entering “Improvement.”

Lake Washington, the sixth-largest district in the state, does have four schools that are entering “Improvement” this year. Only one, John Muir Elementary School, is Title 1 and thus faces consequences. The other schools, BEST High School, Kirkland Junior High and Kamiakin Junior High are on “Improvement” status but don’t have any consequences, similar to Tiger Mountain.

In Muir Elementary limited English students did not meet AYP in reading and math, and low income students did not meet AYP in math. Kirkland Junior High did not meet the target in special education for reading and math. BEST did not have enough students taking the WASL, so the school missed on the participation cell and Kamiakin Junior High did not meet AYP for special education students, Hispanic students and low income students for reading and math.

Lake Washington’s Community School is in step 3 of “Improvement” because too few students took the WASL. Parents at the choice school have stated that they don’t approve of standardized testing. However, the Community School does not receive Title 1 funding and does not face any consequences.

Speaking of all school districts, Sharon Manion, director of Assessment for ISD, said, “We’re not failing schools. ... They are doing great things on a daily basis.

We’re not making AYP, but we are not a failing school.”

One of the reasons for improvement could be lower participation in the WASL. I haven't looked at the WASL report card - but Issaquah's strategy could be very similiar to Edmonds. Schools that don't qualify for Title I anyway no longer care whether all students participate in the WASL, because the community only looks at the test scores that the newspaper publishes.

dan dempsey said...

Thanks for the nice link to the Isaaquah Newspaper story.