Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Another open thread

The new school year is coming up fast! New APP parents, do you have questions for old APP parents? And, old APP parents, what's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

Does anyone know when teacher assignments will be mailed?

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

Anon @12:38,

No, but I heard that the transportation notices would be sent out today (Fri Aug 20). [sorry for the delete/repost; fixing a typo]

Corina said...

Lowell usually mails teacher assignments the week before school begins.

Anonymous said...

TM families received a letter from the principal, PTA and the school supply list yesterday.

The letter said assignments were not going to be known till the TM open house at the begining of Sept. But the mailing labels had numbers on the top corner which looked like classroom numbers.

Jessica said...

We are new to the district and it looks like my daughter will start APP in 3rd grade at TM. (Tests have gone well, etc.)

Can anyone offer advice about what to expect and how she'll find APP different than regular school on a daily basis? Also, is there much homework in APP 3rd grade?

Zookeeper said...

Its good to be in third grade APP at TM this year. Based on the enrollment data that was published in May, there are only 44-47 third grade students expected to attend this Fall. With two third grade APP classes at TM, thats only 22-24 kids per class. Of course that doesn't account for families new to the district enrolling this summer.

As for the workload, your daughter won't have extra homework just because she is in APP. When my child was in 3rd grade, he spent about 30 minutes a day on his homework. Some nights the writing assignments would take some extra time.

In the classroom, they start with math a year ahead. The district standardized on Everyday Math, and the 3rd grade APP kids start with the 4th grade materials and they move pretty quickly. There is also a lot more writing in class. It seemed like they did a lot of science units as well, but I'm not sure how that compared to the regular 3rd grade program.

And she'll find TM just like any other elementary school with PE, Art, Music, Library, and recess 3x a day.

Anonymous said...

I received my letter today.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious, what is the purpose of this blog? There are a variety of forms of communication with app families going on I'm wondering what purpose this one serves. (my child is at TM app.)

Greg Linden said...

Hi, Anonymous. This blog started around the time of the APP split to discuss that issue. Since then, it has turned into a forum for APP parents to discuss topics that concern them. I am not sure there is any other forum that allows all APP parents to easily talk to each other other than directly e-mailing, so it seems like a fairly useful thing to have around, I think.

Why do you ask? Do you see a problem in having additional forms of communication between APP parents?

Maureen said...

I would like to add to what Greg said: This forum is also useful for those of us who have APP eligible children who are not, or not yet, enrolled in APP to engage in discussions about issues that are relevant to Advanced Learning. We aren't tied in to the other forms of communication.

Anonymous said...

"As for the workload, your daughter won't have extra homework just because she is in APP."

They're not SUPPOSED to, at least not much more. This is something that varies widely depending on which teacher you get (that said, I don't offhand recall any of the 3rd-grade teachers being among the chief offenders). If I had it all to do over again, one of the main things I'd change is how much I protested excessive homework requirements. I think they severely damaged my child's relationship with and respect for school.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more about the problems homework causes for some APP students. My daughter is a good student with great grades, but she is consumed with a distracting amount of homework. In 6th grade it was not unusual to have 2 or 3 hours per night and it was torturous for our whole family. As a community we should push back on this issue and instist on a lighter homework load. I would argue that almost every APP kid (not being excludive here, I just don't know what it is like for other programs) works very hard each school day and they need some rest in the evenings. It is the only reason we have every thought about opting out of APP.

bf said...

Has anyone received letters with transportation information? I thought that they were supposed to be sent out in August.

Anonymous said...

I did not receive bus info either - I spoke to others at the Lowell picnic and they had. I ended up emailing the transportation dept. and got a response in 12 minutes. Ours is pretty much the same as last year.

Anonymous said...

We had a similar experience of too much homework in an upper elementary APP class. It really did affect family life and we felt the extra work was not truly adding to the learning (we were even told to check some of the HW ourselves since the teacher didn't have time to do it all - not ok).

There are district guidelines about what constitutes a reasonable amount of homework for each grade (generally 10 min per grade) that should apply to kids regardless of the program.

The challenge of APP should be about the kind of work, not the quantity of work. Yet...

It really does depend on the teacher. The lack of consistency is frustrating to say the least. We really don't want our children burning out before they even reach high school.

Me said...

Ah, the homework thing again. Just to bring some balance to the discussion, we have multiple kids in APP, and have never found the amount of homework to be a problem. At least not at Lowell. Even while others in our same classroom with the same teacher were complaining about it.

Yes, there are projects that come up which can take quite a bit of time, including some oversight by mom or dad, but in general we found the level of homework has been roughly what we expected at each grade level.

This is not to say that any particular families are "wrong" to voice their opinions. But from what I've seen it's more of an issue with the approach some kids take with their homework. Perfectionism is extremely common among APP kids, and it's sometimes hard for kids to understand that daily work doesn't always have to be a masterpiece. And kids are not equal in ability distribution as well, i.e. one kid might write like a maniac, but have difficulties pounding through their math homework, or vice versa.

I know there are those who disagree, but my opinion is that especially for APP kids, working through these issues while they are young is actually a good thing that will help them in middle school, high school, and in life after school.

Anonymous said...

Yes, there are projects that come up which can take quite a bit of time, including some oversight by mom or dad, but in general we found the level of homework has been roughly what we expected at each grade level.

And we did not find that. Homework varied WILDLY from teacher to teacher. The same child, with the same level of procrastination/perfectionism issues, had very different experiences with different teachers. A few of those experiences, we now see in hindsight, were extremely damaging.

working through these issues while they are young is actually a good thing that will help them in middle school, high school, and in life after school.

Yes, if that meant WORKING THROUGH these issues, with appropriate guidance from teachers who were aware of what was going on and clued in about emotional issues to watch for. Some teachers, thank goodness, DO do that. Not all.

One middle-school teacher simply could not see the problem when I told him my daughter had worked at least five times as long as she was supposed to on an assignment. She had "worked hard" and turned in an excellent piece of work. The fact that she *did not know how* to do it in an ordinary length of time (even though the subject matter was at or below her level), and badly needed to learn how, went right over his head. I ought to be proud of how hard she was working. Silly me, to be more concerned about depression, sleep deprivation, and burn-out.

Anonymous said...

"Me Too," feel lucky that you haven't had this problem, and thanks to "Anonymous" who responded to your post.

Homework, both volume and lack of definition, is a wide-spread problem for many kids in the program.

To have other parents give an eye-roll response, while some of us have kids who end up with health problems as a result of the way homework is assigned and handled by some APP teachers, is just plain wrong.

Don't you think if it were as simple as just working through the issue of Perfectionism, most of us would have had the problem solved long ago?

I hope someone can add here what the right approach might be to send this homework concern to the district and/or APP administration.

Central Cluster Mom said...

Unfortunately - I don't think there will ever by a blanket approach to homework adopted in the APP program. Too many variables, too many schools at this point, too many different teachers.

We are like "Me Said" - our kids haven't had many issues with it - but I do know many families that have.

One of those families approaches their teachers at the beginning of every year so they understand what that teacher's expectation is -- then they can start the conversation about past experiences etc. It's not a perfect answer - and its not going to work with all teachers.

Last year for WMS math - the teacher told the kids not to work longer than 45 minutes on the math homework. Most of the time our kids finished in that timeframe - but sometimes they didn't so they would just put a note saying "45 minutes".

I wish all teachers would be that reasonable -- although projects are a different deal - they have to be completed.

Maybe bring it up to Bob Vaughan (again and again - as I know its been discussed ad nausea-um to no avail).

On another quick note -- Garfield is rumored to have over 600 freshman this year (surprise - the boundaries were drawn too large even with the demographers "hard work")-- not enough teachers, kids working in the commons areas etc. Not a good sign for high school APP considering that removing APP from that school would pretty much right-size it. We all knew it was coming right?