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.

59 comments:

Lori said...

OK, I'd like 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.

I'm struggling with how to balance the benefits of staying put (friends, routine, walkability) with the potential benefits of transferring (daughter's constant complaints of being bored alleviated by more challenging work) but also the downsides (major commute; forcing a shy kid to have to make new friends; still being stuck with EveryDay Math)

So what makes APP the right fit for your family? Thanks in advance.

Anonymous said...

We are considering APP for our Kindergarten student.

Our kid is not getting much out of the academics at school, but is doing well socially, largely seems happy and does not complain of boredom.

I'm mostly inclined to stay out of APP unless I see a real problem in our neighborhood school.

At this point my only concern is with my kid's perfectionism. My kid has unreasonable expectations for what they should be able to do and also has told me that that they really just want to be the "smartest kid in their class".

I find this behavior alarming in such a little kid. My kid had some perfectionist tendencies before starting school, but they have really taken off with Kindergarten.

Would APP exacerbate this problem or help it? I'm interested in hearing from APP parents on this topic.

hschinske said...

I think it's really bad for kids to be the "smartest in their class" all the time. See http://www.abc.net.au/rn/science/mind/s527028.htm, where an Australian expert, Miraca Gross, says "kids who are in full-time self-contained classes have a better attitude towards school than equally gifted kids who are in the mixed-ability classroom. They feel more confident because they’re getting harder work, and they realise they can do the harder work. They have less fear of failure, because they have to do the harder work, and they realise OK, they might get something wrong, but they can bounce back, and it teaches them that they can go on, they can do work that’s harder, failure is a temporary thing. Now ironically, gifted kids who were in the mixed-ability classroom have an inflated idea of their own abilities. They can sometimes be quite conceited, can sometimes be arrogant, certainly their self-esteem is unrealistically high.

David Rutledge: That’s interesting, because that whole question of unrealistically high self-esteem and conceitedness, this is something that people are often afraid will happen in gifted education programs.

Miraca Gross: Exactly. People are afraid that if you put a child from a mixed-ability classroom into an ability group program, that she’ll become conceited. Now, why would that happen, when she’s actually being faced for the first time with people as bright as she is, and work that’s commensurate with her abilities?"

Helen Schinske

Skeptic said...

Did anyone check out the recent comments on the "Every School a Quality School" thread over on Save Seattle Schools? People were expressing their dismay about Writers Workshop and Everyday Math. I have read a lot of posts from parents as disappointed as I am in EM. But what do people think of Writers Workshop for APP kids? I want to like it, but for all the writing that's going on, there just doesn't seem to be much learning about writing going on.

And is anyone else feeling alarmed about elementary science for APP? I thought there was an effort under way to improve the rigor. But I am appalled at what passes for "science" in my first-grader's classroom in particular. When his teacher sent home a packet of "science homework" recently, it included the helpful advice for parents to "point to the sentences . . . and read them together. If your child is able to read alone, encourage him or her to do so."

Does she really think that her class of APP first-graders can't read yet, or could she not even be bothered to change the wording on the form letter? And as for the science assignment itself? "Draw a picture of yourself playing with a ball you like. Have someone help you write what you are doing."

Lori said...

Skeptic, we are doing that exact same science work right now in first grade at Bryant, where there is currently no Spectrum or formal ALO. I recognize that homework! So I'm sorry to say that at least that lesson does not appear to be more advanced than standard 1st grade work.

FWIW, my daughter has refused to draw that picture but she did do some of the other ball-related homework, like use straws to see how far you can blow balls of different sizes across the floor and compare and contrast two different round objects for size, weight, rolling ability, and bounciness. Those things were interesting and somewhat meaningful to her. Drawing a self-portrait holding a ball was not.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, it's a very difficult decision to uproot your child and move them to the APP program. My son moved over at 3rd grade entry, and my daughter when she entered 1st grade. Our experience is at Lowell only, but I can say we are thrilled we made the decision. The principal is great, we've been pleased with the teachers, and yes ... although they are using the EDM curriculum, there's an awareness that it's not the best for APP (or elsewhere?) and additional curriculum is being used. Readers and Writers Workshop are terrific, in my opinion, and both my kids are blossoming. The environment is very "non-entitled", and all kids are treated with respect. As far as making friends, especially, if your child is entering at 1st grade, remember that new kids start at Lowell in all grades each year, so your child would not be isolated.
Bottom line - we made the right decision for our children. I encourage you to go to the tours and talk to other parents! Good luck.

ArchStanton said...

It wasn't a difficult decision for us to place our daughter in APP two years ago. I don't know that I would feel the same way today.

Before kindergarten started, it was obvious that a Gen. Ed. classroom wasn't going to meet her needs and we investigated several options and were thrilled about SPS' APP (EDM hadn't been put in place and the schools hadn't been split). We just wished that she could start APP in K. She complained of doing things over and over and learning things she already knew and often resisted going to school in the morning. But, she made it through K and learned to "do school".

We were very excited when 1st grade began at Lowell. Gone was the mild dread of anticipating school in the morning. But, then the split and changes came. Now, I can't say that I would be as excited to enroll in APP, but I believe that we would still enroll because she needs the peer group and whatever "acceleration" she can get. The neighborhood school, as good as it is, just wouldn't cut it.

I think that as kids get older (moving past K-1), the differences can become more of an issue and kids have a harder time fitting in or conceal their differences to fit in (yes, there are exceptions). In APP, it seems to me that the culture around high ability and high achievement is such that even the APP outliers can still feel like they fit in. I think it's because most APP kids know what it's like to not quite fit in - so when a child would rather read science or math textbooks than play at recess, it isn't usually something they are picked on for.

It's no secret that I hate EDM, but I will say that I have been pleased with Readers and Writers Workshop, so far. (Interestingly, The Evergreen School uses EDM - which makes it harder for us to consider them as an option)

As for the bus commute, it largely depends on your distance, but the routes can really vary. Last year, I had a lot to complain about - this year, not so much. One thing to consider: If you add private schools to your options, you may also have a difficult commute, but no bus transportation.

If Lowell would be your school, know that the principal is doing a good job. I believe that he is hampered by SPS policies and the glacial pace of bureaucratic change, but he attends the APP-AC meetings, has two daughters in APP, and listens to parents (and shares many of their concerns).

We have been dissatisfied with APP enough that we have applied to a few private schools for next year. But, open seats past K-1 are few and far between. If we don't get accepted, I still think Lowell is a better choice for us than the neighborhood school.

Skeptic said...

To those thinking about APP vs. their neighborhood school: I have two kids in the program who each started in first grade. I am glad that my kids are not as bored as they would have been back in their old neighborhood school, but that said, they are still not very engaged or excited about school. One of them, in fact, remains bored out of his mind, and I am having one heck of a time trying to get anyone to let him do any work on his level. So I guess I would describe myself as pretty disappointed in the APP experience so far.

I think your child's experience will depend in large part on whether they begin at Lowell or Thurgood Marshall. (Let me just say that my son who was at Lowell pre-split was much happier there than he and his brother are at TM now.)

And of course, it will depend a lot on the teacher your child winds up with. I was naive, I guess, because I just assumed that APP teachers would all be of a higher caliber. I guess it was foolish of me to think that only the best teachers would want to work with these sorts of learners. But it seems to be the same sort of teacher crap shoot parents are stuck with in all sorts of schools. And while my kids have had two pretty good teachers and one amazing teacher so far, one of them also got stuck with one of the worst teachers I have ever seen in action anywhere in my entire life. So given how unhappy my kids were in their old school, I guess they are in a slightly better place, although the gap for us between what life in APP could be and what it actually is feels pretty frustrating.

Anonymous said...

I think your child's experience will depend in large part on whether they begin at Lowell or Thurgood Marshall.

Can you clarify why this is? Is it just a matter of the individual teachers or there are other significant factors that will affect the experience?

Lori said...

I appreciate the honest answers, as well as Helen's insights about being the "smartest kid in the class," which indeed puts a lot of pressure on the child to live up to the label and can worsen perfectionism. Considering APP isn't all about academics for us; we see potential social and emotional benefits from being among intellectual peers all day, just as Helen's post suggests. That said, of course we hope for awesome teachers and a fabulous curriculum too. :-)

I'm sorry to hear some of the frustration from current parents, although I'm not entirely surprised. I knew APP wouldn't be perfect. Thanks again, and I hope the conversation continues.

(and to ArchStanton, we toured Evergreen this year too, and I was surprised to see them use EDM. I asked the 1st grade teacher how she liked it and whether parents complained about it. She seemed surprised by my question! They supplement with other materials, and I suppose with only 15 or so kids in a class, even a poor curriculum can be made more palatable. I was blown away to meet a group of 8th grade girls bragging about how much they love math and what topics they'd already mastered. They seemed to be in good shape despite EDM earlier in life)

ArchStanton said...

That was our optimistic take on it, as well - that with a small class and a teacher willing to adapt curriculum and differentiate, EDM might be tolerable. The teacher we talked to said she loved EDM - go figure.

ArchStanton said...

Can you clarify why this is? Is it just a matter of the individual teachers or there are other significant factors that will affect the experience?

Depends on who you ask.

IMO, T. Marshall has had a bigger challenge in co-housing its different populations than Lowell. Some say things are improving, but I'm not there, so I can't offer much first-hand evidence either way.

See this thread for starters (but don't let it be your only source of info):

http://discussapp.blogspot.com/2009/11/impressions-from-app-advisory-committee.html

dj said...

We moved our daughter after kindergarten. We were perfectly happy with her program, but Lowell had a lot more resources, a peer group that would be much more challenging, and the promise of a cohort that would go K-12.

Of course, there has been a lot of upheaval in the past year. But I will say that she is very happy in the program still (and she is in the Thurgood Marshall part), and while I've heard of others having transition issues relating to the move/merging of student populations/etc., we/she have/has not experienced that.

Skeptic said...

To the anonymous poster who was hoping for a little clarification: Lowell and Thurgood Marshall are going to turn out to be two very different schools, I think. Even if you ignore all of the bullying issues that plagued the first several months of school at TM and left families like mine feeling pretty worried, the fact is that Lowell, in its current version at least, remains a mostly APP school with a much smaller general ed. population. But Thurgood Marshall is roughly fifty-fifty general ed./APP this year. And who knows what it will look like next year?

And in a school where there is a general ed. population where many kids are coping with all sorts of barriers to learning and resources are limited, APP kids and their needs are always going to come last. I completely understand that, but I'd be lying if I didn't admit to a little frustration about it. Sure, there's a computer lab that Lowell didn't have, but the lower-grade APP classes only visit it once every several weeks because it's meant primarily as a resource for the general ed. kids. Sure, the library has more computers in it, but as the librarian herself explained it, those are meant primarily for the general ed. kids. Field trips, at least among the lower grades, are few and far between compared with Lowell because there has apparently been some sort of tension between APP and general-ed. teachers and parents (possibly due to cost, or tensions between programs, or perhaps some other factor I'm not aware of). And how much time do Thurgood Marshall teachers and administrators give over to monitoring the playground and worrying about blending the two communities, time that could be spent in a less fraught environment at a different school doing more teaching-related work?

The great thing about a self-contained APP elementary program was that after coming from other educational settings where many kids and parents were made to feel apologetic for who they were, kids and adults could finally embrace and celebrate gifted education without apology. In a co-housing setting like the one at TM, for a whole host of reasons that I completely understand, gifted education is bound to wind up lower on the list of priorities. And no one would dare think of celebrating it anymore because they would understandably be worried about offending someone.

Mercermom said...

Our child has personally experienced no bullying or other "safety" issues at TM, and the parents of his friends also report no personal experience. We also asked his teacher at the conference if he was aware of any issues involving kids in his class, and he said no. I'm not trying to undermine the concerns of other kids and families; I'm just saying that for us so far, the TM experience has been positive and without any obvious negative consequences from co-housing APP and Gen Ed. It's also hard for me to see how my son is having a lesser APP experience -- he's in a small class with two great teachers who are focused on trying to meet the needs of the APP kids. Our son also talks enthusiastically about his experiences in gym, music, the library. (He's not into art, so that won't get good reviews anywhere.) We do have the same problem that we had at Lowell: we just don't go to school events as often as we did when we were at our neighborhood school (where our son stayed for all six years), probably due to both proximity and the fact that we looked forward to seeing the many neighbors we know.

Anonymous said...

Can anybody chime in on their experience at Hamilton APP this year? I have heard mixed things and want to know what people think especially about LA and Science.

Shannon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shannon said...

What I meant to say is that Dr Vaughn's presentation at last nights' board meeting explained the lack of threat to the Advanced LEarning budget.

Advanced learning is going to be trotted out as proof that there are quality schools in the SE. ALO's anyone?

Since APP is not a carrot that can be dangled to the masses upset by poor local schools, I hope that it is safe out of the glow of those Spectrum and ALO rainbows.

Anonymous said...

We've been pretty happy with Hamilton over all -- science is the same teacher who taught 8th grade APP science at Washington for years, with the same issues (vagueness, inattention to mischief in class -- students have epic stories about this one! -- unclear instructions, etc.). The block classes seem to be 3/4 social studies to 1/4 LA, but no problem with the quality of what they're learning. They've got to do a reading class anyway, which sort of makes up for it. The main headache has been scheduling.

Stu said...

Since APP is not a carrot that can be dangled to the masses upset by poor local schools, I hope that it is safe out of the glow of those Spectrum and ALO rainbows.


Perhaps I've just become increasingly jaded over the years, especially since the big APP split, but I honestly believe that the district is working on ALO in all schools, and increasing Spectrum space, so that it can phase out the all-city draw of APP. If they can prove that the in-school ALO model can satisfy the advanced learning needs of every child, why would they bother to have APP? If they have Spectrum programs in every area of the city, they can point to that, and the easier transportation issues, as the "cohort" approach that many crave.

There is nothing about APP that fits with the SAP, the Transportation Guidelines, the "Quality for All" claims . . . nothing.

My bet is that, within two years, there will be "APP" at at least two more schools and then, a couple years later, it'll be APP in name only . . . it'll be the ALO model at every school. Transportation costs go down, family donations to local schools increase, and most importantly, the local schools get to keep the top students, which will raise test scores. The bump is scores will be used to prove the school-based ALO model is successful.

stu

Anonymous said...

As Stu says, it appears Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson's goal is to phase out APP, spread the students among other schools, and then pat herself on the back with the resulting boost in average test scores.

Rather than dealing with poor educational opportunities in our schools the way she should, by helping teachers and administrators improve the performance of our schools, Maria Goodloe-Johnson seeks to shuffle students around in a cynical effort to manipulate the metrics.

Concealing failures and manipulating data may yield a short-term boost for Maria's political career, but it does nothing to provide Seattle children with the education they deserve.

Stu said...

spread the students among other schools

You can see this in the STEM plan, as well. Regardless of whether you think the STEM program is a good one, personally I think it's a great idea that's being implemented badly at a time when we have no money, by placing it at Cleveland, the district isn't really serving the struggling Cleveland student population.

The ultimate result of STEM, if it actually happens and/or isn't shut down after a year or two, is that it'll draw a different population to Cleveland and test scores for the school will go up. That's the problem with the way the district uses data; they don't say "these students are doing better," they say "look how good the school is doing." Put TT Minor into Lowell; put APP into Thurgood Marshall; bring APP to Hamilton; bring STEM to Cleveland . . . Hey, look at those test scores!

stu

Shannon said...

I wonder if it would be a good idea to speak with the new Board Members about APP. I received an email from one of them saying that they think APP should be in all 5 regions. I am going to reply that this is a good concept but would dilute the program numbers to a point that it would be uneconomical to have the enrichment and it would be socially limiting for the kids.

Who speaks with Board Members about the vision for APP?

Anonymous said...

dj and Mercermom, I'm so glad to hear good reports from TM. All I had heard was based on the APP-AC meeting last year, and it's good to hear that things are going well for your kids.

My daughter (although she misses some of her now-TM friends from last year) is thriving at Lowell, and the transition with having general ed there has been better than I had expected.

I feel like she's getting the rigor and the focus she needs (although no school is perfect!) and it is very helpful to hear that both APP elementaries post-split have "survived".

Anonymous said...

Shannon-

I would forward your information, with the name of the board member, to Stephanie Bower of the APP AC. I think she is the only parent representative of APP that has regular contact with the board and I am sure she will talk to the board member about what they sent to you. We want to nip that one in the bud as they say.

agibean said...

We are already in APP and our daughter is a 5th grader. We know nothing about Washington Middle School and at last night's Open House spent much of the time just trying to figure out where we were.

The principal certainly seems on top of things-admitted what he did not know and promoted what he thought worked well. But it's a huge school and we left without a sense of what it's really like. Can someone who's got kids there help me out a little?

FWIW, I don't expect we'll need the highest level of math that they can't offer because of the split, nor the performance level music program. Just the regular old everyday APP program. Thanks in advance.

Anonymous said...

We have had a good experience at WMS so far - our child is in 6th grade this year. Yes - the school is huge, but the kids seemed to have enjoyed the larger environment and the fact that they had many friends going in, it made it a pretty seamless transition. The kids miss their friends at Hamilton, but on the whole, the 6th grade APP class seems happy.
The discipline at the school can be strict - and I have talked to some parents that are bothered by it. We are not - I'll take strict discipline over chaos any day. The administration runs a tight ship.
Academically, we like the bloc teacher - she holds them to a very high standard and accepts no excuses. The science seems a little weak - but fun. It should improve next year with Physical Science in 7th grade. The math is right where it should be for our kid - and moves pretty quickly. We do have a few kids that are either being home schooled or supplemented at home in math because their parents know they need more. Its a public school -and in my opinion, you have to expect that you will have to do that if your child is truly an outlier even in APP.
Come to the tours- it should give you another view of the school. I have to admit though - I still get lost when I go to the school - its just a confusing maze.
Is TM doing a 5th grade transition meeting? That was very helpful last year - it gave an opportunity for current WMS students to talk to upcoming 5th graders about Washington. Check with you 5th grade event chair.

Ben said...

We jumped at the chance to have our son tested for APP. His kindergarten experience was awful. He was bored and lost. He started at Lowell last year and loved it. We loved it. Everyone loved everything.

Then came the split.

I am not happy with things at Marshall. I don't believe the principal is fighting for APP or APP kids. (I didn't say fighting "only" for APP kids.) I believe the APP kids are regarded as out-of-town guests at the school.

Last year, Lowell felt like one school. Marshall doesn't.

I have no idea whether this has anything to do with the split, or whether the same could be said for Lowell this year, but I'm not impressed with the rigor in my son's classes.

And to Anonymous at 11:25, Jan. 20: Being in APP might be your kid's only shot at NOT always being the smartest in the class. All kids must learn to work hard. All kids must learn to face challenges and bounce back.

Anonymous said...

Both of my kids are in APP at Lowell. With our first child, we agonized about the decision to send him. We came from an excellent neighborhood school, and our son wasn't unhappy, but he also wasn't being challenged. We talked to parents who had kept their APP-eligible kids at our neighborhood school, and talked to parents at Lowell. We consulted the school psychologist, who talked to us about the high rates of depression among highly gifted adolescents who don't have a peer group and told us that our son had special needs. Bottom line, we chose Lowell and though we mourned the loss of our neighborhood school it was the best decision we could have made. The first few weeks he commented that he didn't get to read when he finished his work (he was a little bummed)-- it turns out that he was reading A LOT at his old school, waiting for the other kids to finish an assignment. Now he had to keep working! Our daughter was "dumming down" her work in kindergarten (pretending not to know how to write) to be like her peers, so we were happy to move her to Lowell too. Honestly, it is not perfect there but there is a great community, we are very happy, our kids are thriving, and we no longer worry about our kids being challenged or socially isolated.

Anonymous said...

Has there been a lot of talk about pulling kids out of APP at the Elementary level? I am asking because I am assuming there are more dissatisfied parents and am concerned about the size of the cohort.

Lori said...

Thanks, anon@1:36PM. Your post really spoke to me as we are having the same issues with boredom and social isolation, yet on many levels, my child is still reasonably happy, and we love our neighborhood school. Lots for us to think about. Thanks again.

Shannon said...

I moved my son to Lowell in Third Grade this year. It was a wrench socially but we are very happy and have absolutely no doubts he is in the right place. He loves having a class of geeky friends. We laugh at all the similarities in the issues parents face (kids think its very cool to be reading a big fat book. No longer boasting about being so smart. Finding many kids who like to explore science and theories about the world. Making working at a higher level normal. No longer just coasting in class) and my son is very happy and engaged.

It was also interesting to see that exposure to higher level curriculum is showing in his MAP scores. In the fall, coming from a regular program, he was at the 93rd percentile in MAP scores for MATH. He has increased to the 98th percentile by Winter with exposure to many new concepts. What's more - he is pleased with himself and excited about the work, the open ended projects and the geeky humor of his peers.

We may complain about APP and the District but for me, the alternative to APP is private school and not Bryant - our new Home Base.

Anonymous said...

Could I hear more about the social aspects of Lowell? Our son is currently in first grade and talks often of being bored. He did secondary testing after the CogAT and has had high MAP scores and his teacher has said that she wouldn't be surprised if he qualified for APP. We'll see if that pans out but I am looking forward to the tours and open house.

The thing is, in addition to being pretty verbal and liking math, he is very social and is a complete sports nut--if there is a ball around, he's playing. Last year his K teacher said he'd see him at recess playing football with fifth graders which really surprised me. I don't think I would've tried to talk to a 5th grader when I was in kindergarten!

Lest anyone think I am on a "my kid is perfect" kick, I am not. He is still pretty easily distracted, can be a bit of a smart aleck, is a bit too competitive (especially with sports) and, as one of the youngest kids in his class (he has a late August birthday) he can still get emotional at times. But he is equally a social/active boy as much as a thoughtful one.

As a book lover myself I am glad to see that those students who would rather read at recess feel quite happy doing so. At the same time, I am curious if there are other kids who are into soccer and kickball and football, too? If it were ALL reading and no running around with balls (I make him sound like a border collie, don't I?) I don't know that he'd be completely happy. Any experiences to share on this front? Thanks in advance!

Mercermom said...

We thought APP might be a good fit for our older child; but we also loved our neighborhood school, where he had a strong group of friends. We supplemented his math all along. Toward the end of elementary, when we raised Lowell as an option, he was adamant that he wasn't moving. Since he is a bit shy, we felt a move could easily result in a miserable kid. He joined APP at WMS this year in 6th grade. Socially he'd rather be with his friends, who are mostly in Spectrum. Academically he has had a seemless transition. The disciplinary hallway culture was a bit of a shock for him at first; but I think WMS does a good job of setting a tone that ensure the large number of kids are acting appropriately. I suspect WMS ends up feeling smaller during the school day, as kids mostly travel within their APP program. E.g., my son has pretty much the same 30 APP kids in his 5 academic classes. Music has been a good way to connect with non-APP kids.

We switched our younger son to Lowell after kindergarten. He was not pleased, as he had been looking forward to the neighborhood school and knew many kids there. Our hope to avoid supplementing math was a factor. He had a great year at Lowell. He has also had a very good year at TM so far. Maybe he wasn't at Lowell long enough to develop a firm attachment to a particular Lowell culture. I've made similar comments before, but it's hard for me to see effects of a perceived lack of commitment to APP at TM. I don't understand what would have been happening at the united Lowell that would have impacted my second-grader's APP experience, since his day would have been spent in a classroom with the same dedicated APP teachers, and he would have gone to library with the same terrific librarian, off to music with a good music teacher, etc.

Shannon said...

The kids at Lowell don't sit around reading at lunch (at least not in my experience). My son (age 8) tells me that he plays groups tag. There are 10 kids who play a big game of tag chasing the other team's leader. The game is just like tag but they've got some other rules about trying to protect the leaders and seconds.

They have plenty of balls. Earlier in the year he was into basketball. They kick against the wall. There are plenty of opportunities to run and play (many kids are on teams for soccer / basketball and such with classmates) and my kids class has 3 recesses in which they go outside (unless its raining hard).

I asked him to tell you what he thinks and he said:
"Oh no no no. You CAN sit around and read or you can play soccer and stuff in the field, there is a four square court, there is the playscape, there is tag. There is this HUGE outside play area. So tell her that they CAN sit and read books or you can run out and play. Most kids run around and play."

lendlees said...

Anonymous @ 11:25

No worries on the social aspect of APP--there are many kids who play soccer, basketball, some complex form of dodgeball, etc...There are lots of talented athletes in addition to ones who'd rather read at recess. And occasionally the principal is outside throwing the ball as well!

I have a very non-talented athlete and even he likes to run around at recess--reading is done in the classroom. They also purposely limit the time the kids can spend in the library as being outside (when it's not raining) is just as important.

QAmom said...

For us, one of the most compelling reasons to move our (very social) child fr the nabe school to Lowell was looking ahead to Middle School -- this being prior to the new SAP -- we felt it gave us additional choices for that crucial time. WE are "North" so we'd be going either to the local MS or stay w/APP @ Hamilton. OUr child will be in 5th gr in the Fall -- would really appreciate any feedback (fr personal experience or what you've heard) re HIMS in general, and/or the APP/HIMS in particular. I realize they're in the temp bldg at this pt. THNX!

dj said...

Anonymous, when we went to the Lowell tour or whatever it was when our daughter was in kindergarten, we were put off by the speeches given by the administrators and so forth. TO be blunt, they talked about the Lowell kids as if they were weird (in a social-misfit kind of way). Our kid is social and not particularly eccentric. I didn't cotton to the idea of sending her into an environment where it seemed she would be expected to be a misfit.

Turned out, Lowell was nothing like that either from what I saw or what my kid reported. Or, at least, the kids weren't any weirder than they had been at her "regular" elementary school. It's true that I did see the occasional kid sitting around reading while all of the other kids were running around but . . . the poitn is, all of the other kids were running around.

dj said...

To add, I realize that my post made it sound as if I thought misfit kids were problematic. They are not. It's just -- particularly given the weird parents she has -- my kid has turned out to be shockingly mainstream.

Charlie Mas said...

I heard a rumor today about an effort in the pipeline to use the Singapore math materials in lieu of the Every Day Math materials at Lowell.

Does anyone know anything about this?

Is there a parent group that is considering group home-schooling in math?

ArchStanton said...

I know firsthand of one Lowell parent that submitted a request to homeschool math, but it was denied.

I and others have certainly grumbled about forming a co-op homeschool arrangement, but haven't taken any real steps toward it.

I suspect that some teachers are supplementing with Singapore Math, but can't say for sure, because my child's is not.

I believe that the principal is trying to work with some APP parents to improve the "math situation", but can't offer much more than that.

Maureen said...

What does it mean to be denied permission to homeschool? How can they stop you?

TechyMom said...

At last week's PTA meeting, Mr King said that had visited Schmitz Park, where they are using Singapore on waiver. He said he was impressed with the Math skill of the students. He didn't make any promises.

ArchStanton said...

What does it mean to be denied permission to homeschool? How can they stop you?

I confess I do not know all of the details, but my understanding is that what they were denied was the ability to exempt their child from EDM instruction and provide their own math instruction - and the reasoning (at least in part) was due to there being a waitlist for APP at Lowell.

Also, they were informed that middle-schoolers who received permission to homeschool in a single subject were not supposed to be on campus when they did not have a class and that technically, this could be applied to elementary school students, as well.

Certainly no one can prevent them from withdrawing from APP and fully homeschooling, neither can they be stopped from teaching another curriculum in addition to EDM.

Anonymous said...

I have an 8th grader at WMS (in Spectrum, but in APP-level math) that homeschools for science (WMS doesn't have Spectrum science). He has to leave campus after 5th period. We are using WAVA (Washington Virtual Academy) taking Advanced Physical Science, and are very happy with it. It took a couple of months to get it through the school and district legal department, but I'm glad we perservered. He gets full credit and it's free. My son says it's way more challenging.

We would have homeschooled math as well, he's currently taking Geometry, but the science was even worse than the math! We did homeschool math through EPGY in 5th grade, but just did it every day at home outside of school. Due to the way elementary school is set up with a single teacher all day I'm not sure how you'd homeschool for just a single subject.

Ben said...

There's an APP waitlist at Lowell?

I remain so, so grateful to SPS for tearing elementary APP in two.

Anonymous said...

So if Mr King is considering supplementing with a different math program at Lowell, wouldn't they need to implement it at TM too, to ensure the 'curriculum' (in absence of an APP curriculum, that is) is consistent?

hschinske said...

"the reasoning (at least in part) was due to there being a waitlist for APP at Lowell."

HUH? As in, if you don't like our math, move out, someone else will be happy to have your seat? I am sorry, that is NOT a reason. Plenty of other schools with ample waitlists have allowed homeschooling in one subject.

Anyway, waitlists are supposed to be dissolved in October :-)

Helen Schinske

Steve said...

Um..ArchStanton, could you say more about the "waitlist for APP at Lowell" comment? When did you hear this, and from whom? We have a child who will be signing up for grade 2 at Lowell next year...

Anonymous said...

Before the split, the policy was that your APP eligible child was guaranteed a spot with transportation as long as you enrolled on time during open enrollment. As far as I know, this is still true, as long as you apply to your assigned location.

Last year's waitlist could have been a combination of families applying after open enrollment and those applying for Lowell even though TM was their assigned school. My daughter was placed on the waitlist because SPS enrollment did not process our on-time application and it was not completely worked out until a week or so before classes started. Luckily we had saved the date stamped copy that had been submitted in person to enrollment.

Anonymous said...

I am the parent that submitted the request to single-subject homeschool my children in math.

We have been supplementing the math instruction at home ever since EDM was adopted in 2007. Our younger child wanted to work beyond what was being taught in class with EDM and our older child was very frustrated with CMP2, plus EDM had left some gaps in both of their math skills. My kids didn’t want to keep doing math twice, once at school and once at home, and neither did I. We thought single-subject homeschooling could be an alternative that would keep us from having to leave the school altogether.

Frankly, we weren’t surprised when our request was denied. The irony is that the reason given was that there was a waitlist for APP - my child was part of that very waitlist because SPS enrollment did not process her on-time enrollment properly.

As others mentioned, the principal recognizes that the math program could be strengthened and is working with parents on making improvements. The District would need to approve a waiver, however, and the PTA would most likely need to provide the funds for the additional materials. I believe this is how it works for North Beach (using Saxon math) and Schmitz Park (using Singapore math).

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if the need to supplement EDM has been raised at TM, or if the Advanced Learning staff is at all involved? Per Anonymous at 10:38 AM, I would think that supplementing with another math program should not be Lowell-specific, to maintain consistency. Or am I missing something?

Maureen said...

I believe that Thornton Creek requested a math waiver this year and was denied.

ArchStanton said...

Steve, I don't know much about the waitlist or how it works, but I believe that if you test in and get the paperwork in on time (and it doesn't get lost) then you are more or less guaranteed to get in. I think the waitlist has more to do with kids who apply after the deadline or are in the T. Marshall area and would like to get into Lowell. But don't take my word for any of this - it's all rumor, hearsay, and second-hand knowledge.

Stu said...

According to the rules, if you test in to APP and get your forms in on time, you're guaranteed a spot. The infamous "wait list" from last year was for those assigned to TM, or vice versa, who wanted to go to Lowell. They were wait-listed until the enrollment numbers were set but were still guaranteed their spot at TM.

stu

hschinske said...

Has anyone seen middle school MAP results yet?

Helen Schinske

ArchStanton said...

Since we're talking about math in this thread; this just in from Principal King's Thursday Note:

It has been great to see so many parents for our "Coffee with Gregory" events. One of the topics has been the math curriculum and ways to expand it for students who need to stretch more, and to shore up the basics, like multiplication tables before moving on to higher concepts. I am looking into on buying a set of highly rated supplemental math materials so teachers can explore their uses.

hschinske said...

Why would they need to *buy* anything? Last I heard, they had Singapore stuff (still in the boxes) and masses of old math books, Prentice-Hall or something.

Helen Schinske

ArchStanton said...

Who knows? Perhaps it went to T. Marshall or they've simply gotten rid of it over the past few years since EDM was adopted. Mr. King did pass on some Singapore math materials with concerned parents at a previous coffee chat, but I didn't see cases of unused materials lying around.