Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Video of first two meetings posted

The first two public meetings were held Oct. 30, 2008 to obtain public input. Representatives from the national search firm Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates conducted the meetings. Both meetings were videotaped and can be viewed online via streaming video using these links:

Morning Public Meeting at ESC 10/30/08:

Evening Public Meeting at SHS 10/30/08:


  1. After attending the public input session for the superintendent search, I was surprised by the feeling that the Bellevue School District is too aggressive in expecting kids to take Advanced Placement (AP) classes. My understanding has always been that students are encouraged to take AP
    classes in the subject areas that they feel most confident with --
    perhaps better articulated as their areas of passion. We are lucky to have many options for advanced study in both core academic subjects (math, science, history, English), as well as many advanced electives (photography, art history, music theory etc. ) I would hate to see the Bellevue School District move away from encouraging kids to strive to
    reach higher levels of study. I hope a new superintendent supports this vision. I believe the combination of high academic expectations and strong support for teachers and students will continue to prepare our kids for success in their lives beyond high school, whether at college or in the work force.

  2. I agree with Susann. I heard several people at the meeting say that they had moved to Bellevue because of the schools and I would like to see a new superintendent continue to develop our schools so that we maintain this attractiveness and leadership. I think what makes this district attractive is that we have high expectations that all our kids will be ready for college, not just privileged kids. We have also invested in our teachers so they can improve their teaching quality through ongoing training and support for National Board Certification and that we have provided innovative programs to support struggling students. I would like to see the new superintendent share this vision. I would like someone who can move us forward rather than rest on our laurels or relax our standards.

  3. I believe that the concern is regarding AP classes being the ONLY classes offered in many instances.

  4. I think the concern at that meeting was that the BSD has perhaps let this goal of AP classes and tests dominate and take over as an expression of higher levels of learning to the exclusion of other ways of learning. Teaching for test taking in any format changes the culture of learning. High expectation for achievement in only one venue (i.e. AP) allows little growth or options for those who learn differently and is affecting programs like the IB. I don't think anyone wants to move away from encouraging students to strive for higher levels of study. We want options of learning and expression so that all students may achieve success. I have heard that often there are not good options to the AP class for those who have the ability to learn but not necessary keep up with the high workload and output of the AP. I also find myself questioning whether we should always be so focused on providing college level courses in high school. Some of the best memories of high school for me were being able to explore and take classes that were not conventional academic subjects. Students need to be able to explore themselves as human beings where the stakes and costs are not so high. I really hope a teacher from the district adds perspective to this dialogue. I hope that the new Superintendent is familiar with Universal Learning Design and will influence the district in this direction without relaxing setting high goals and expectations. For those who want to learn about Universal Learning Design check out this research based approach to learning http://www.cast.org/about/index.html and http://www.cast.org/research/udl/index.html

  5. Now I am going to try to replace my school board hat with my parent hat, and tell you about my high schooler's experience regarding AP and non-AP. Due to some health complications, she didn't take any AP courses in 10th grade, but loved and was very challanged by the core history course. This year she is taking AP history, and the work, content depth and satisfaction are all greater, as she expected.
    And, our district's ability to hold onto 7 periods in the schoolday is what allows our students to pursue interests that might be less academic. My child has loved her electives, and they have never been as demanding as her core curriculum courses, but they have allowed her to explore areas of personal interest.

  6. We need a new leader who can understand that information technolog & computers should be introduced at the right time and right proportion. I have a degree in engineering, masters in business from a top school and over 12 year experience in information technology. I am also a college teacher.

    I have had previous contact with many BSD leaders and I believe that at times they had good intentions. However, some giant software in the Redmond area and other major server and PC hardware reseller may not miss opportunities to sell and bring revenues from the BSD information technology department.

    I have personally observed children at the Elementary School level at the BSD focusing too much on laptop time and computer operations and believe me, that is not going to be the factor making your children a scientist. I am afraid that the BSD information technology and instructional leaders were sold on the idea of computers for small children without performing a proper study or assessment. I do not want to see my five year old playing with computer Office tools. Instead, I want to see him developing skills in communication, language and social activities which are the background children need to learn while small. Computers I have at home and they can eventually learn how to operate one. It is OK to introduce children to computers in labs or later at high school level, but the way BSD has been doing is wrong and dangerous.