Monday, May 31, 2010

APP broken promises

Lifting this from the comments, Charlie Mas writes:
This year was the first year of the split elementary and middle school programs.

The program splits came with risks. The District made specific promises about how they would address some of those risks.

They promised an aligned, written, taught and tested curriculum that would be fully implemented on the first day of school in fall 2009. They did not fulfill that promise.

They promised that the elementary programs would be comparable in size. The program at Lowell is nearly 50% bigger than the program at Thurgood Marshall. They did not fulfill that promise.

They promised that they would take steps to avoid a repeat of the problems experienced at Madrona when APP was co-housed with a general education program population that was academically and demographically different from APP's population. It's unclear if any of those steps were taken or if they were successful.

It is worth noting that co-housing part of elementary APP with general education students at Thurgood Marshall was specifically recommended AGAINST by the APP Review. The District did it anyway. At one time a response to the APP Review was a project of the Strategic Plan. It appears to have been dropped from the Strategic Plan and there has been no response to the APP Review. That's another promise that wasn't kept.

So where's the accountability?

If the district isn't going to apply any accountability, then what is the appropriate response from the community?
APP parents? What do you think?

Update: Charlie adds more in the comments, ending with, "We are a smart, effective, creative group of well-respected people with deep networks throughout the city ... When the APP AC stops acting like a doormat they will realize their power."

Update: Charlie writes again with specific ideas on what actions the APP AC and APP parents could take. Well worth reading.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

APP Advisory Committee asks for feedback

The APP Advisory Committee is asking for feedback on the year. Feel free to put comments on this post about your feedback, but they are asking for your feedback to be sent directly to them by e-mail.

A copy of their message is below (slightly edited for formatting and clarity):
As we get close to the end of this school year and start to think about writing our committee's final report to the district, we would like to hear your thoughts about how things are going.

Please drop us an email and consider the following:
  • Are things different now than they were at the beginning of the year?
  • What's working, what's good?
  • What's not working, what needs addressing?
  • What are your concerns for next year?
  • How can our committee do what we do better?
  • What was most helpful/important to you that the APP AC did this year?
    (e.g. hold monthly meetings, send monthly meeting minutes, send email updates, host middle school transition meeting, send out school announcements like tour dates/etc., forward emails from other groups/gifted ed/legislative info, support 2E meetings, respond to individual email questions, advocate behind the scenes on issues, work with district/building staff, generally keep the community informed?)
All communications will be kept confidential within the committee [and] will inform the issues we write about this year and address for next year. Thanks for your time and support.

Send your email to all or your school rep listed below [and] mention [which schools] your kids attend:

Chair, Stephanie Bower,
Secretary, Ann Owens,
Diversity Rep, Roberto Jourdan,
At-large Rep, Val Morris-Lent,
Communications Rep, Robert Njegovan,
Lowell Parent Rep, Geeta Teredesai,
Lowell Staff Rep, Theresa Roth,
Thurgood Marshall Parent Rep, Rachel Miller,
Thurgood Marshall Staff Rep, Cathy Villanueva,
Washington Parent Rep, Shannon Wheeler,
Washington Staff Rep, Amy Hallet Noji,
Hamilton Parent Rep, Kathy Tanaka,
Hamilton Staff Rep, Marcelyn Shadow,
Garfield Parent Rep, Hildy Ko,
Garfield Staff Rep, Ken Courtney,

Monday, May 17, 2010

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

APP enrollment next year

The district has posted an update to the projected enrollment next year, "Initial Analysis of Open Enrollment Data - Draft".

On APP specifically, Charlie Mas notes:
I'm having trouble reading the numbers for Washington because they appear to report that some APP students are waitlisted. I don't get that.

There are 223 APP students assigned to Thurgood Marshall and 371 assigned to Lowell. That is NOT an equitable split.
Shannon asks if "the waitlisted APP kids at Washington [are] those assigned to Hamilton who hope to go to Washington instead." Later, Lori looks at the Lowell/TM numbers and writes:
They budgeted for 40 kids in 2nd grade APP at Lowell and assigned 75. That's almost twice as many! Grade 3 is somewhat similar (budgeted 58; assigned 83).

Did the district forget about the large cohort of kids born in 2002-2003 who required the creation of multiple new K classes in North Seattle 2 years ago? Since 2nd and 3rd grade are common entry points for APP, it seems that they should have been able to anticipate somewhat larger enrollment to APP for the upcoming year.
Another problem is the first grade APP enrollment. Estimated APP 1st graders at Lowell is 38; at Thurgood Marshall it is just 12.

The numbers may suggest that the newly split APP schools -- Hamilton and Thurgood Marshall -- are having trouble attracting and retaining APP families. Is that the case? Why? Do you know families who moved just to switch APP schools or who left APP rather than attend those schools? What were their reasons? And what could be done to improve the situation?

Open thread

Please discuss whatever you like!

Update: In the comments, Squeagle gives a useful summary of a Thurgood Marshall meeting today with Principal Julie Breidenbach. Worth reading.