Support Rally for Principal Floe at the John Stanford Center this evening
  • Friends of Martin Floe
  • Support Rally for Principal Floe at the John Stanford Center this evening
Faced with mounting public criticism for its decision to fire Ingraham High School Principal Martin Floe, Seattle Public Schools released data (.pdf) late this afternoon, highlighting the school's static academic performance for the past several years.

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While the district acknowledged that "this was not the only factor in a long, difficult decision to not renew the principal’s contract for the 2011-12 school year, this data does point to a school in need of improvement."

It says that while Ingraham has "positive programs and achievement," it is the second-lowest performing Seattle Public High School in terms of academic growth. "Academic performance at Ingraham is static, and has been for the past several years. Ingraham’s school-wide performance is lower than the district average in all disciplines."

Interim Superintendent Susan Enfield's decision to dismiss Floe without much explanation shocked and angered a lot of parents, students, and teachers Tuesday, many of whom have sent dozens of letters to the Seattle School Board and posted scores of messages on the Friends of Martin Floe Facebook page, citing his record as a "popular and respected" principal.

A group of teachers and parents from Ingraham met with Enfield at 5:30 p.m. today, right after Floe's supporters held a rally outside the district's SODO headquarters. It's not known yet whether Floe will appeal Enfield's decision.

Ingraham started an International Baccalaureate program under Floe and is set to launch its accelerated version for highly talented students this fall. The school also made Newsweek's list of the country's top schools in 2009.

According to the data released by SPS today:

Overall, only 38 percent of the Ingraham student population is proficient in math, 33 percent are proficient in science, 66 percent are proficient in reading and 73 percent are proficient in writing. The district averages respectively are 42 percent in math, 45 percent in science, 79 percent in reading and 86 percent in writing.
According to the school's performance on state standardized tests in 2010 (as reported by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction):
· 5 percent of African American stidents are proficient in math, 13 percent in science, 47 percent in reading and 55 percent in writing.
· 16 percent of Hispanic students are proficient in math, 14 percent in science, 57 percent in writing and 46 percent in reading
· 3 percent of bilingual students are proficient in math, 6 percent in reading and 24 percent in writing. (There is no science data for 2010).

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Enfield, who got off to a good start with SPS parents when she was named interim superintendent earlier this year, was strongly criticized for her decision by many parents, some of whom openly called for her resignation on blog comments and Facebook. In a letter released today (.pdf), Enfield acknowledged the community's concerns and frustration, explaining that "this was a difficult decision, and one made with very careful consideration for what is in the best interest of our students."

She said that her conversations with families, community members and district staff had convinced her that "families want strong leadership, and someone who is committed to building a team of effective instructional leaders at every school. This often means making difficult or unpopular decisions in the short term."

Enfield also plans to appoint an interim principal at the end of the school year and talk to the Ingraham staff and community regarding what they want to see in their next principal.

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