Thursday, September 16, 2010

APP discussion on Seattle Public Schools Community blog

Charlie Mas posted an "APP Thread" over at the Seattle Public Schools Community blog.

Update: There is also a lot of discussion of the future of APP at the high school level at Garfield in the comments for another recent post on that blog, which I have summarized for convenience.


Greg Linden said...

Let me try to summarize some of the highlights about APP from the comments on that post on Garfield.

wsedawg wrote; This is just the "crisis" they'll claim "forces their hand" to kick APP kids out of Garfield, which they already want to do.

ParentOfThree adds: My thoughts exactly as the number of students who "overenrolled" the school is almost the number of students who are incoming APP.

Charlie Mas warns of "how the other two APP splits worked out", writes "the elementary split the program placement was atrocious. The choice of Thurgood Marshall as the south-end school was in direct contradiction of the recommendation made in the APP review. The two programs are not of equitable size (as promised) and the promised curriculum was not implemented. The choice of Lowell as the site for the north-end students is simply bizarre and in plain and direct violation of the District's program placement policy. Why in the world is the north-end program located south of the Ship Canal? Anyone? Anyone?", and then asks, "Do we trust the District to make a good program placement decision?"

Charlie later adds, "Putting 200 APP students at Rainier Beach would be pretty consistent with Dr. Goodloe-Johnson's strategy to improve schools by importing high performing students."

Central Cluster Mom writes: I have no doubt that the district intends to use APP to "solve" their problems again and fill an empty high school that they have been unable to change ... North-end should be in the north-end ... More than likely - it will just be the complete dismantling of the "program" at the high school level.

wseadawg chimes in, "The only problem with moving APP kids to RBHS is this: They won't go. Half will go private, and half will stay local. Keep in mind that much of APP's allure and success has always been its central location."

G adds: I have it in writing from a school board member that the intention for the APP kids at Garfield is that the overcrowding will encourage them to go to their neighborhood schools as more AP classes are offered at every school. The next idea the SB member offered was that eventually Franklin would also become a more attractive school and students would also want to go there.

Meg Diaz then says: If I was placing bets on HS APP locations, I'd bet Franklin and Ingraham. This is not to say that's my hope - I hope APP continues to thrive at Garfield. I think there's inadequate support for APP from the board and my perception is that central administration hates it.

Greg Linden said...

[... continued ...]

The discussion then deteriorates a bit into whether APP even exists at the high school level. Charlie Mas summarizes the history, saying, "High school APP is admittedly a grey area with the community, the District, and the school each claiming, at various times, that there is or is not an authentic program there ... For what it is worth, the District, even when they denied the existence of the program publicly, has ALWAYS claimed to have a 1-12 program on their annual application for the Highly Capable Students Program Grant from the state. They have ALWAYS counted the high school students as part of the program and the state law that allows funding for the program sort of requires that the program extend through high school."

Finally, there's some debate about the impact of splitting Garfield APP. Howard writes, "the probable effects of an APP high school split would be: a) Diminish, slightly, the overcrowding at Garfield b) Increase the overcrowding at Roosevelt and Ballard c) Killing the HS APP program, and probably driving a number of these families out of the district." Rabbit argues that the impact would not be that dire. Gavroche points at the negative consequences of the split at the elementary and middle school level to reinforce Howard's point.

ArchStanton said...

I don't know that the powers-that-be have enough cunning to actually plan to overcrowd GHS in order to make a case for changing HS APP. I'm inclined to think they just mismanage everything. Still, I do think that there are those who are motivated to dismantle APP, but instead of killing APP with a swift stroke, they are happy to bide their time and slowly peck away at it hoping that it will eventually die the death of a thousand small cuts.

Given the decisions made about elementary APP, it would not surprise me one bit if they decide to split HS APP and locate the south half at RBHS (probably keeping the north half at GHS if history is any indicator). I would even allow that, under the right management, APP at RBHS has the potential to be a good thing that might turn enrollment and perceptions of RBHS around.

Of course only a fool would expect the current management to actually do anything to support APP or RBHS if such a move occurred. Since most parents aren't fools, wseadawg's prediction is the one worth betting on.

Mercermom said...

It seems like these would be good issues to raise with the District at the Central Region meeting at Bailey Gatzert on 9/22.

Howard said...

A high school split between Garfield and Rainier Beach would make the Lowell/Thurgood Marshall split look like a roaring success in comparison. More than a third of the south APP cohort live in the Garfield attendance area. I would have to think that virtually all of them would simply choose to go to Garfield. Why wouldn't they?

hschinske said...

Does anyone know whether it's true that you have to get 85th percentile on the fall MAP in order to take the CogAT this year? Or can you still sign your child up for the CogAT regardless of their MAP score? The language on the website is ambiguous: I'm wondering if anyone has asked Advanced Learning about it. I haven't got a kid in that situation myself, so it doesn't make sense for me to hassle them.

Helen Schinske

Mercermom said...

Howard, I can confidently say that my now-7th grader would be adamant about attending Garfield even if APP moved. From a parent's perspective, the only glitch I can see is if the District said, "If you want to take a math (or any other; but math seems most applicable) class commensurate with your APP schedule, we're only offering it where the APP program site is." Even so, I can predict that our child would say that's one class, he'll figure out some non-school way to get the course if needed, and he's going to Garfield with his friends.

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

Does anyone know whether it's true that you have to get 85th percentile on the fall MAP in order to take the CogAT this year?

I asked Susan Enfield about this and the answer was no. If a kid scores above the 85th percentile they'll send a letter to the family encouraging them to apply for advanced learning, but if a kid scores below you can still submit an application requesting testing.

She said the website was confusing, but they plan to fix it.