Thursday, January 28, 2010

Open thread

What's on your mind, APP parents?

Update: There appear to be two main topics in the comments. The first is MAP test scores, when we will see them, and what they mean. The second is new parents wanting to know if people are getting their APP eligibility results and asking for advice on appealing.

Monday, January 25, 2010

APP class size

Going back to the original list of topics APP parents wanted to discuss, I would like to open a thread on class sizes in APP.

Class sizes at some APP schools appear to be quite high. For example, one parent noted:
My son is at Lowell, 3rd grade. There are 29 children in his class which is a big group for one teacher at that level.
More generally, please comment with your experience and thoughts on whether class sizes in APP are unusually large, whether class sizes are a serious issue for attracting potential APP students, the impact you see of class size on learning in the classrooms, and what might be able to be done to improve the situation both immediately and for next year.

Update: Six months later, it sounds like the APP class size problem is expected to be even more severe in our next school year. In the APP Advisory Committee notes from June 1, 2010, the committee wrote:
Classroom sizes are expected to increase and teachers still have to work with new APP students who often have gaps that need to be addressed. With larger classes and a wider range of student abilities and academic backgrounds, it is very hard for teachers to meet all individual student needs. Families can help by volunteering in the classroom and by working with their own students to address specific issues/gaps.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Open thread

Discuss whatever you like!

Update: Some good discussion already in the comments, including one parent who is considering APP who wants "to hear from current families in the APP program about what tipped the scales for them to move their child from a neighborhood school into APP." Please chime in.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Only 2-3 weeks for APP eligibility appeals?

A parent alerted me of an issue for new children wanting to enter APP of very tight deadlines for APP eligibility appeals.

According to the "Appeal Process for 2009 - 2010 Testing Cycle", the "test scores and eligibility results will be mailed on or around January 29, 2010". But, according to that same page, if you want to re-test and appeal the eligibility decision, you must do that by "mid- to late- February."

This means parents have an extremely short window, only 2-3 weeks, to have a child re-tested and prepare their appeal. This window is so short that most places that can do that kind of testing (Woodcock-Johnson and WISC-IV) in Seattle may have no appointments available in the time parents have before the February appeal deadline.

The advice going around seems to be that, if you were not invited to the second round of district testing, then you can be sure you will get a negative result in the eligibility letter when it arrives. If you might want to appeal, do not wait for the letter to arrive, but book your appointment for private testing now.

Apparently, a similar situation happened in past years. This very tight APP appeal deadline seems inherently unfair if a mistake in testing has been made, likely to exclude otherwise eligible children, and particularly likely to exclude children of parents with limited resources and time. Please discuss it further here in this thread.

Update: A good discussion in the comments, not only on APP eligibility appeals, but also on other topics that might be helpful to people considering elementary APP next year.

Update: One parent, going through the APP eligibility process this year, writes:
We are still waiting on our letter! It just occurred to me that appeals are due 2/24, and as of Friday 2/5, we still don't have information. If we want to appeal and get a letter from our current teacher, we will have to get that from her ASAP because of mid-winter break coming up. This process is ridiculous!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Another open thread

Happy New Year! Discuss whatever you like!

A couple recent events that might be particularly good to talk about are reactions to last night's APP AC meeting (which covered "Governor's proposed budget cuts and impact on Advanced Learning, MAP testing, APP curriculum") from anyone who attended and Cliff Mass' recent rant on math education in Seattle Public Schools ("The Seattle Public Schools, has poor discovery math books at all levels; the Seattle School Board voted in the Discovering Math series last spring (4-3 vote), even though the State Board of Education found it 'unsound.' ... If your child is in this district you have a real problem").

Update: People have been sharing links to resources that might be useful to APP parents in the comments.