Monday, February 22, 2010

No response to the APP Review?

Over on the Seattle Public Schools community blog, Charlie Mas writes:
There has been no response [from the District] to the APP Review [PDF], done about two years ago.

When will we see a response? When will we even see any news about the efforts to make a response?

An aligned, written, taught and tested APP curriculum was supposed to have been implemented concurrent with the splits in the program. The legitimacy of the splits was predicated on the implementation of this curriculum, but there is none.

Where is the APP curriculum? When will it be implemented? How will it be enforced? Who will enforce it?

Update: In the comments, Charlie Mas adds that because "the curriculum, which was promised and promised and promised, has yet to appear" that "it is time for APP families to advise the District that their children will not be participating in the WASL this year - nor any year until the APP curriculum has been implemented." That seems sure to generate a lively discussion. What do APP parents think of that?


Greg Linden said...

Let me also mention that there is an earlier thread on this topic, "Missed commitments: APP curriculum and APP review response".

Anonymous said...

The last APP Advisory Committee Meeting (Feb 4) had "APP Curriculum" as the primary topic. Minutes have not been published yet, so I'm wondering if anyone in this blog community attended and can comment on the discussion?

Charlie Mas said...

I think it's wonderful that the APP Curriculum was discussed at the APP Advisory Committee meeting on February 4, 2010. Gee, that's only about five months after the curriculum (still absent) was supposed to have been fully implemented.

The APP Review made only one solid recommendation on the structure of the program. The reviewers insisted, in the strongest possible language, that the program not be split before a written curriculum had been implemented. The legitimacy of the program splits was predicated on the implementation of this curriculum. The District went forward with the program split in the fall despite the fact that the curriculum was nowhere to be seen.

The curriculum, which was promised and promised and promised, has yet to appear.

It is time for APP families to advise the District that their children will not be participating in the WASL this year - nor any year until the APP curriculum has been implemented.

It is not only legal with hold your child out of the WASL, it is very commonly done. All it takes is a letter to the principal advising him or her of your decision. You write:

"I am exercising my right to exempt my child from the state testing."

If you like, you can add that you're doing it to protest the District's failure to provide a curriculum for your child or keep its commitments to students and families.

Holding your child out of the WASL will have no negative impact or consequence for your child, your child's teacher, your child's school, the other children in your child's school, or your child's principal. It will not result in any sanctions or consequences for the school.

The APP community should do this.

The APP community needs to do this.

Anonymous said...

Charlie is correct - it's incredibly simple to opt-out (both my app and general ed children have opted out this year and will continue to opt out). In both cases, I sent email to the principal and they confirmed the request via email. They're also opted out of MAP for this year. Easy.

Stu said...

We have opted out of all state testing this year and sent a note explaining it was because of the way APP has been treated and the missed commitments.

We truly believe that district has no intentions of keeping APP alive after a few more years. There has been no action taken that strengthens the program, regardless of the "access" and "location" arguments. In fact, every single decision has diluted the program and the funding. It's been an amazing example of divide and conquer; class sizes in the two elementary schools are dramatically different and the "North" kids still don't have a "North" location. The private/parent funding that has helped keep the programs going over the years has been split and, eventually, the district will go to the all-ALO model. ( If nothing else, keeping the top percentage of students in their area schools will help the test scores which, as we all know, is what matters most to this administration.)

APP has been an incredibly successful program over the years and is a great example of what a home-grown program can look like. Of course, since MGJ hates anything "alternative," they'll pick away at it 'til it's no longer effective/important.

At a time of incredible debt and a new assignment plan, this administration decides to spend a million dollars on a STEM school, modeled after an unsuccessful program, that does absolutely nothing to address the performance issues at the existing school. Once again, "building" test scores are more important than "student" test scores.

We will continue to send our son through APP, if it continues, only because there's no way we can afford private school. While we have completely lost faith in this board and superintendent, we do believe there are good teachers in this town; we will continue to supplement his education with private music and math and science programs that actually teach science. We will continue after-school language because the district has made the language immersion school assignment schools instead of optional schools, meaning our son can't go. And every once in a while, we'll buy a lottery ticket in hopes we hit a mini-jackpot and can leave the Seattle Public Schools behind.


PS - A note to Harium: Just one basic, simple question . . . what are YOU doing to get the staff to meet ANY of the commitments that they've missed? At one point do you say enough is enough?

Anonymous said...

I understand the logic behind boycotting the WASL based on the unfulfilled commitments to the program, although I will say that the opportunities that our child has had based on their high WASL scores (Robinson Center summer program starting after 5th grade) have been appreciated. It might be possible to get alternative testing to take advantage of those classes though - perhaps the John Hopkins test - although again, my kid qualified for that opportunity based on their WASL score....

On another note - what has been the effect on the funding at each of the APP locations? I don't believe too much changed this year as funding was supplemented with Title I at both elementary locations and the elementary PTA's at both locations planned their 2009-2010 budgets based on past history at Lowell.

As each school moves into planning budgets for next year - have the priorities of each PTA completely changed as a result of the population of the schools?

We haven't noticed any serious negative effect at WMS. The music program certainly seems to be very strong and my child is really enjoying the experience. I have heard more kids are in the beginning/intermediate levels for music this year vs. a top-heavy senior band/orchestra. I think that's ok though - as long as the #'s stay high enough to continue to offer all the choices.

Anonymous said...

What about changes in science/SS middle school APP curricuum? I do not consider them negative...