Ballard High principal wins $50,000 for school

Ballard High School principal Phil Brockman has won theThomas B. Foster Award for Excellence, which will bring $50,000 to the school. The award is given each year to a secondary school principal who shows outstanding leadership. Brockman, who has been principal since 2004, was surprised this morning with the award. He is recognized for his efforts in boosting the school’s 10th grade WASL test scores. According to the, from 2005 to 2008 the number of sophomores passing the reading portion jumped from 77% to 88%. Writing improved 28% from 67% to 95%. There was a 12% rise in math, from 53% to 65%. And science scores went from 44% to 53%.

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24 thoughts to “Ballard High principal wins $50,000 for school”

  1. My daughter had Phil Brockman for a principal when he was at McClure Middle School and we were so happy. The staff was energized and the school was a great place to be. We were happy/sad when he got the job at West Seattle High. Happy for him and sad for McClure. Then we were elated that when he landed back at Ballard! Both my daughter and now my son have benefited from his excellent leadership. He is an AWESOME principal, wherever he goes good things happen and this award is proof positive! In fact ALL the principals my kids had in Seattle Public schools have been outstanding!

    Good Job Phil!

  2. Way to go Phil….every penny counts these days so thats great for Ballard HS (Phil and I played some Sunday basketball at the West Seattle gym back when he worked there…he's not too bad for an old guy)

  3. This analysis of improvements in WASL scores from 2000-2005 is quite revealing. Over time, the WASL scores steadily improved, while the nationally-normed ITBS scores for the same students remained flat.

    If the students' math and reading skills had been improving, that skill increase should be reflected in both the WASL and ITBS. Instead, students only got better at taking the WASL. It means we are great at teaching the test, but not at teaching reading and math.

  4. Thanks so much! It is awesome to see principals get the attention that they deserve when they strive to work really hard. These kids are very lucky! Way to go and thanks for your genuine CARE about your job and who you affect every single day one way or another, Phil!

  5. I knew it was just a matter of time…breathing like 'Vader'…you'd show up.
    I hope that you're done crapping on the precious good news in this town, which you seem to relish, such as it is…

  6. And now I notice, that he's being honored for progress that is beyond the length of your 2000-2005 study…are you really that dumb? Asked, and answered, I shall waste no more time on you.

  7. I don't mean to make you so angry, but I don't think it can be helped. It doesn't seem to matter what anyone says on MyBallard. Every day you get steamed and start posting flames. Apparently your insults are tolerated by the admins, in spite of what the comment rules say.

    So that's just how it's going to be, I guess.

  8. ANYway…..back to the actual story..
    I think Phil is an incredibly dedicated principal. I see him at every game and event (poor Mrs. Brockman, I thank her every chance I get) and the kids like him too. I find he has been helpful and attentive every time I've had to email mail him about one of my three high schoolers or any other issues. I just wish that the recognition was for more then just raising test scores because he is so very much more then that! YAY Phil!!

  9. …Apparently not…still, your stats precede the scope of the award.
    Are you resenting this award? This principle? What exactly?
    and I'm sorry for being dumped, and no, I don't understand.

  10. If the research itself is what you don't understand, I'm sure the author of the analysis would be happy to answer your questions if you posted them at over that blog I linked to.

    It wasn't one school; it was across many Washington schools, yet the effect was the same. So perhaps during that five years, schools across the state were merely teaching the test instead of educating kids, but over in Ballard High School they were doing it totally differently. Perhaps everywhere else the WASL was a waste, but Ballard was completely unique. Perhaps everything changed after 2005. That could happen.

    I'm only saying tells an interesting story about the effect of standardized testing on teaching. I'm hardly the only person who has a problem with making students jump these standardized testing hurdles or sufferer the consequences. So yeah, $50k is great, but at what cost? What if the test score gains are at the cost of losing a real education? Or at least getting less of it.

    They're about to dump the WASL, right? Seems like those of us who see a problem aren't just voices in the wilderness.

  11. Sorry, but if you think I like the wasl, at all, you'd be mistaken.
    Especially, since they keep lowering the bar.
    However, if we don't recognize what is going right, and those responsible, there's hardly any reason to believe things in the public education realm will ever improve.
    Thanks for your time.
    And no, I don't dump on 'anyone that says anything on MYBallard', so, take it back…if you'd care to.

  12. “since they keep lowering the bar.”

    We have to lower the bar otherwise the kids will fail! How can we say we are fighting for social justice then?

  13. Okay, he deserves credit for raising the scores and sounds like just the sort of person our schools need. I don't doubt for a second that he works much harder than most people earning twice his pay. He deserves all the praise he's getting.

    That said, I'm more than a little horrified that only 65% of students pass the math test and only 47% the science test. This is why I'm already saving up money to send my child to private school. The WASL isn't exactly a demanding test and if less than 2/3 of our students can pass the math section (and that's at a “good” school) then we are severely screwed as a nation. It's simply not acceptable in a modern global economy. The farther we slip behind, the more jobs will go overseas. At the rate we're going the Chinese and Indians will have the bulk of the high skill jobs and the US will be seen as a source of cheap, poorly educated, low skill labor. Wouldn't surprise me if in 20 years Indians complain about having to deal with American accents when they call tech support and Chinese shoppers complain about poorly made, cheap American junk. Our kids can do better and parents are the ones who set that expectation. If your kid can't pass the WASL it's time to cut back on TV, gaming, sports, etc. until they can. My parents did that when I was in high school and looking back now I'm grateful they did.

  14. Oops – I am sorry – such leaps of faith from congrats Mr Brockman to Indians complaining about American accents in the global economy. I was surprised to such an extent that I din't realize that my fingers were moving.

  15. I think Mr. Brockman is doing his job. It's the parents who are failing to do their job (and yes, I'm a parent so none of that “you don't know how hard it is” excuse). Too many parents have this naive notion that education is the sole responsibility of the school. Also way too many who would rather be best friends with their child instead of being their parent.

  16. there are kids that don't watch tv, play gaming videos, participate in sports and will still not pass the WASL. it is such a compartmentalized test that it can't really gauge correctly an unbiased result. i know, i know, blah, blah, but the test itself is already faulty.

    seaspider, just curious, when and what year did you graduate? you thank you parents for their intervention but what were the times like when you were in school?

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