Thursday, November 4, 2010

APP at Garfield threatened?

Over at the Seattle Public Schools Community Blog, Charlie Mas reviews the slides (PDF) from the new NSAP Transition Plan and writes:
Some things are pretty clear:

The District staff don't really want to do anything about changing the Garfield attendance area. In fact, they don't appear to really want to change any attendance areas. Instead, a lot of the options for Garfield had to do with re-arranging APP.
Ruthie adds:
Several of the vaguely-described potential "options" for fixing the overcrowding problem at Garfield seem to involve APP.

My bet is that the District isn't going to tell us what this latest round of hosing will look like until January. This would be a GREAT time to get someone from the APP-AC to answer some questions on this blog, guys, chief among them being "Who, exactly, is advocating for our kids in this process?"

Sorry to be cranky. I still have PTSD from the elementary split.
And, Lendlees writes:
They are planning once again to move/split/whatever APP without any thought as to where the students will go. (or as Parent said, how many APP students live in the Garfield zone)
Update: Good discussion in the comments.

Update: An anonymous parent claims letters are going out from Robert Vaughan saying that APP at Garfield "likely" will be broken up soon. The parent made the full text of the letter available.

Update: Active discussion on Robert Vaughan's letter in the comments of a post at the Seattle Public Schools Community Blog.

Update: Another post at the Seattle Public Schools Community Blog, "Questions About if APP is Split Off From Garfield".

Update: In another post at the Seattle Public Schools Community Blog, "Possible Outcome for Garfield", Charlie Mas writes:
The District is going to do something about Garfield and what they are going to do is limit APP access to the school. The full weight of reducing the overcrowding at Garfield will fall on APP.

This was their intent from the start and it is the reason that they drew the Garfield attendance area as they did. They want to break up APP because the District improves school test scores by re-arranging the distribution of high performing students.

100 comments:

Mercermom said...

Do families in the Hamilton path feel strongly about continuing to have a place at GHS? If not, or if the feelings are mixed (e.g., some families think the Ingraham program with their APP cohort would be fine), then I can see a very divided group. Either the District proposes a N/S split with the S staying at GHS, thus at least diminishing the impact on the GHS class size overall. Or the District suggests a N/S split with S going to a lower-demand school, like Franklin (or Rainier). Then the large APP group in the GHS attendance area stays, and the remaining smaller part of APP South has to decide whether to stick together as a program or go to their attendance area h.s. Any plan to move South APP from GHS looks like end of h.s. APP to me. Then will APP students be able to find the level of classes they have access to now?

lendlees said...

I feel strongly about the entire cohort staying at GHS. It goes back to the idea of 'critical mass' for a wide offering of AP classes. If APP HS gets diluted to two or more schools, then the AP class choices get smaller.

A lot of Hamilton APP kids have assignments at RHS and BHS which are strong schools, but still don't offer the variety of AP classes and are overcrowded as well...just not to the extent of GHS.

What irks me is that I pointedly asked Kay Smith-Blum at her last community meeting about dispelling the rumor of kicking APP out of GHS, to which she answered that it would never happen.

I'll be asking her again tomorrow at Lowell.

Anonymous said...

My (cynical) hypothesis is that they will propose moving south end APP to RBHS - which is why they included RBHS stats with no commentary in the Powerpoint presentation last night. The rationale will be to provide better access, which is the same rationale provided for housing elementary APP at TM. Let's see how that's working - there are only 12 kids in 1st grade APP at TM this year...

ArchStanton said...

I have always felt that splitting APP at Elementary, Middle, and High School levels is not in and of itself bad thing - provided that it is done thoughtfully and the program is given support by SPS. Unfortunately, history has shown that we have no reason to expect this.

Speaking as an expatriate North elementary APP parent, I would have welcomed "true" north sites for APP. On the face of it, the Hamilton site was attractive based on location alone. I was dismayed to hear rumblings of some difficulties in combining the programs, but I haven't heard much since last spring.

Given the way SPS has used APP, if I were a South parent, I would be concerned about splitting HS APP and VERY concerned about the viability of the program if they discussed moving South APP out of Garfield.

TWELVE? APP first graders? *sigh* I hadn't heard that. Yeah, how's that working for you

CCM said...

The idea of moving APP South to Rainier Beach is not new - I've heard that tossed around since the elementary split.
The issue becomes how they provide the classes needed to the southend APP kids to keep them on track (and Northend at Ingraham - or wherever they decide to ship them). Do they just abandon them to what's currently available? That would be against everything that Bob Vaughan has been espousing for three years re: providing an appropriate track for APP high school students. Yet I would think it would be almost impossible to get the necessary classes up and running in time for a Fall 2011 start.
The question for our family (and the rest of the GHS boundary APP families)is "would we send them". The answer today is "no" - we stay at Garfield unless there is a very compelling reason to leave.
Our kids are currently in middle school so we have no perspective about the current set-up -- so I guess we won't know what we're missing (similar to what we experienced with the middle-school split).

Meg said...

The district suggested taking apart high school APP in 2005. This presentation details the proposal, with APP on pages 25 and 26.

That breaking APP up was sugggested in 2005 does not necessarily mean that the district will try to break up high school APP, but there does appear to be some long-running interest. And a bunch of the preliminary recommendations from 2005 that weren't completed in that closure cycle (examples: move Pathfinder to the Cooper building, close Summit and make the Addams building into a K-8, close AS#1, make Thornton Creek into a K-8, split elementary APP) were either proposed or completed in the 2008-09 closure cycle.

It makes me more than a little nervous.

Anonymous said...

There are some built-in limits to the district's ability to split HS APP. For example, they can't move South End APP to Rainier Beach and leave North End at Garfield, because the Garfield attendance area parents would simply use their geographic assignment to stay at Garfield. Similarly, they can't move North End APP anywhere undesirable without adding to the congestion at Roosevelt and Ballard when parents opt for their residential assignments rather than APP. Of course, if they are hostile enough to APP or pigheaded as to the daya, none of that will matter.

Anonymous said...

Ingraham does not offer any AP classes, so this would force all APP kids into the IB program, which does not begin until 11th grade.

From the course catalog it looks like they could stay with their advanced math track, maybe stay on the advance science track. But it does not look like there is any way to continue on the social studies or LA track they were on for middle school.

BHS is my reference school and honestly given the choice between IHS and BHS, I would choose Ballard as there are far more opportunities for the APP student.

Maureen said...

I would think it would be almost impossible to get the necessary classes up and running in time for a Fall 2011 start.


I would think all it would take is to convince the teachers to move with the cohort. Would they do that if they were told they couldn't teach their AP sections otherwise?

CCM said...

I don't think that the APP program could take the AP teachers from Garfield, as those teachers don't just teach APP students.

I guess if there were sections of AP that were cut due to a lower AP enrollment, there may be teachers that would be willing to go?

Still - just starting up at another school, different administration etc....not sure that I would sign up for that if I were a current teacher at Garfield.

Mercermom said...

Re 12 APP first-graders at TM: I don't have first-hand knowledge regarding why families eligible to participate in first-grade APP and assigned to TM didn't elect to join the program. And the more interesting numbers to me would be (a) how many were eligible and assigned to TM and Lowell; (b) how many chose each school; and (c) how the Lowell walk zone impacts this. But since sometimes people read a fact like that and make assumptions that affect their future decisions, I want to say that we moved from Lowell first grade to TM second grade. Our son had a very good experience last year, and is having a good experience so far this year. We could have stayed in the walk zone, but chose not to. I am aware of kids who have joined at TM this year, and who are also having a positive experience.

Shannon said...

I would like to hear from people who attended the KSB session. I believe that there was some discussion of moving North APP north and KSB mentioned the move being discussed for "after 2011-12." Also, that the Nth APP kids could be moved from Garfield.

Steve said...

I attended the talk with Kay Smith-Blum last Friday at Lowell. She essentially said that the district is looking at "all options" to relieve overcrowding and other problems related to the New Student Assignment Plan (NSAP), including those related to APP. These include things like potentially moving Lowell's APP program to a north-end location, and moving north-end APP students at Garfield to a north-end high school. Again, she said that they're looking at everything, but she couldn't say how actively the district is pursuing these specific options. She did say pretty clearly that if there is going to be a move of Lowell's APP program to another location, it won't likely happen for next year but possibly for the following year (2012-2013 school year). Again, this is all wet cement right now, and this is information from one board member.

There is a process for parents (and anyone else) to propose to the district that programs (like APP) be started at new locations or moved from existing ones. (See this thread on the Seattle Public School community blog for more information). The deadline for submitting proposals is November 24. People familiar with this process tell me that the district rarely implements proposals from outside their staff recommendations, but it does provide APP parents who want to move the Lowell program to a north end school an opportunity to formally say so.

I asked Kay Smith-Blum if it would help build the case for this move if lots of parents submitted proposals for moving Lowell APP, and she said yes. If you are interested in submitting such a proposal, I will have one soon that you can use as a template for your own request (or, you can just submit the same request under your own name). Email me at stevepalbertson (at) gmail.com.

I have no idea if the Lowell APP community wants to move the program to a north end school, and I certainly don't speak for anyone else on this. To me, there are serious questions to ask the district before I'd feel good about such a move (To which school? Will the teachers move with the program? What will happen to the remaining programs at Lowell when the bulk of the students leave? Will Capitol Hill APP kids go to the new school, or will they be asked to go to TM? etc.). However, I'm not very trusting of the district with respect to APP, and I'm wondering if the Lowell APP community should try to get organized now and clearly articulate what we want before the district starts to come out with their own plans which may include Lowell APP. I think it's clear that once the district starts to veer towards a decision, it's hard to change it.

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

So did KSB say what the motivation is for the move north?

I know it makes sense to have the program for north-end kids actually in the north end, but I've never known the district to do something just because it is sensible.

Usually, the district has its hand forced by something. In this case, I would imagine that it would be capacity related.

Anonymous said...

I received a letter today from the office of advanced learning with information relating to APP at Garfield next year. It says APP 'will likely be part of the solution' when referring to the overcrowding situation. Options the board will consider:
1. For new 9th graders, based on residence, to another school
2. For 9th and upper grade level students, based on residence, to another school
3. For 9th and some 10th graders, based on choice, to a new program at another school
The new program would be accelerated IB at Ingraham. They compare this program to one at Interlake High School in Bellevue. It appears to me that the APP at Garfield as it is now is truly threatened.

Steve said...

Anoymyous, can you post the actual contents of the letter (re-type everything it says)? I would be very interested to read this and make the contents widely known.

It would be also good to send this to Kay Smith-Blum since she said just last Friday that no decisions have been made, all ideas are on the table, etc. These seem pretty specific.

dj said...

Does anyone actually have access to the data that break out south-end APP students by high school attendance area? I am under the impression that the numbers show that the majority of kids are in the Garfield attendance area (or, if not, close to the majority, anyhow), but I don't know what the actual numbers are.

dj said...

Oh, and let me add -- my interest in keeping APP at Garfield is not just based on my APP student. I live in the Garfield attendance area (and will continue to do so no matter how they draw the lines, unless they do something truly funky), and I have three other kids. I am worried that if APP is shipped out, the quality of the course offerings at Garfield will decline overall, leaving those of us south of the shipping canal with dwindling options for high-quality, comprehensive, college-prep high school education for our kids.

Anonymous said...

I am responding to Steve's request to read the letter I received today. It reads as follows:
I am writing to you because your son or daughter is in the Accelerated Progress Program(APP) in 8th or 9th grade, and we have important, time sensitive information to consider. This fall Garfield High School is over capacity, and this has important implications for APP participants. On November 3, the School Board was briefed about the extent of the over-crowding and the likelihood that things will worsen unless changes are made. The Board plans to make a decision to resolve this issue in January. With an enrollment of 1788, there are 156 more students at Garfield than its functional capacity. APP enrollment in grades 9-12 has increased from 375 in 2005, to 455 today, and it could be 544 next fall. There are also large classes in the pipline at elementary and middle schools. Although many factors contribute to Garfield's overcrowding problem, APP will likely be a part of the solution. APP-related solutions that wre presented to the Board include creating additional APP pathway in 2011-2012:
1.For new 9th graders, based on residence, to another school
2. For 9th and upper grade level students, based on residence, to another school
3. For 9th and some 10th graders, based on choice, to a new program at another school
A new APP pathway based on residence(solutions 1&2) means redirecting students who live in one area of the city to a different high school with sufficient space and the availability of appropriately accelerated classes for these students. The pathway could affect only new 9th graders next fall, or it could be applied to upper grade students, as well.
A new program based on choice (solution 3) means establishing an alternative advanced option at a different high school. Offering a new challenging and attractive program would allow APP students to divide themselves by choice and thereby help create a new option for academically highly gifted students while preserving a strong yet manageably-sized program at Garfield. The new program being strongly considered is to off APP students the choice to enroll in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program at Ingraham High School at an accelerated pace.
Five years age, Bellevue School District developed a high school option for their highly gifted students. At the Gifted High School Program (GHSP) at Interlake High School, gifted students take core academic classes together and electives with other students. In 10th grade, they begin the two-year IB Dipolma program that all other students typically begin in 11th grade. Earning the IB Diploma requires completion of six college-leve courses and exams, as well as a 4000 work essay. In 12th grade, GHSP students take two college courses at Interlake as well as electives, and complete an internship with a partnering business or institution.
In 2010, GHSP sent its first seniors off to many selective colleges. Interlake HS is now producing more National Merit Scholars than Garfield. GHSP has sparked a level of rigor at Interlake that has led to a higher standard of academic excellence than a neighboring Bellevue and Newport High Schools, schools recently recognized by Newsweek as among the top high schools in the US. Along the way, GHSP students have woven their way into all aspects of student life at Interlake.
-continued

Anonymous said...

I am responding to Steve's request to read the letter I received today. It reads as follows:
I am writing to you because your son or daughter is in the Accelerated Progress Program(APP) in 8th or 9th grade, and we have important, time sensitive information to consider. This fall Garfield High School is over capacity, and this has important implications for APP participants. On November 3, the School Board was briefed about the extent of the over-crowding and the likelihood that things will worsen unless changes are made. The Board plans to make a decision to resolve this issue in January. With an enrollment of 1788, there are 156 more students at Garfield than its functional capacity. APP enrollment in grades 9-12 has increased from 375 in 2005, to 455 today, and it could be 544 next fall. There are also large classes in the pipline at elementary and middle schools. Although many factors contribute to Garfield's overcrowding problem, APP will likely be a part of the solution. APP-related solutions that wre presented to the Board include creating additional APP pathway in 2011-2012:
1.For new 9th graders, based on residence, to another school
2. For 9th and upper grade level students, based on residence, to another school
3. For 9th and some 10th graders, based on choice, to a new program at another school
A new APP pathway based on residence(solutions 1&2) means redirecting students who live in one area of the city to a different high school with sufficient space and the availability of appropriately accelerated classes for these students. The pathway could affect only new 9th graders next fall, or it could be applied to upper grade students, as well.
A new program based on choice (solution 3) means establishing an alternative advanced option at a different high school. Offering a new challenging and attractive program would allow APP students to divide themselves by choice and thereby help create a new option for academically highly gifted students while preserving a strong yet manageably-sized program at Garfield. The new program being strongly considered is to off APP students the choice to enroll in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program at Ingraham High School at an accelerated pace.
Five years age, Bellevue School District developed a high school option for their highly gifted students. At the Gifted High School Program (GHSP) at Interlake High School, gifted students take core academic classes together and electives with other students. In 10th grade, they begin the two-year IB Dipolma program that all other students typically begin in 11th grade. Earning the IB Diploma requires completion of six college-leve courses and exams, as well as a 4000 work essay. In 12th grade, GHSP students take two college courses at Interlake as well as electives, and complete an internship with a partnering business or institution.
In 2010, GHSP sent its first seniors off to many selective colleges. Interlake HS is now producing more National Merit Scholars than Garfield. GHSP has sparked a level of rigor at Interlake that has led to a higher standard of academic excellence than a neighboring Bellevue and Newport High Schools, schools recently recognized by Newsweek as among the top high schools in the US. Along the way, GHSP students have woven their way into all aspects of student life at Interlake.
-continued

Anonymous said...

Ingraham High School started its IB program seven years ago and now graduates 30 diploma candidates annually. Approximately half of their 11th and 12th grade students are enrolled in one or more IB courses. Their faculty has the training, interest, and expertise to accommodate many more. Additionally, their IB Diploma candidates have a strong record of gaining admission and scholarships to top local and national universities and being leaders in a wide variety of co-curricular activities. Recently, I joined a leadership team from Ingraham and leaders from the APP Advisory Committee on a visit to Interlake. We interviewed their principal, IB coordinator, gifted parent liaison, and a number of seniors in the GHSP. We also visited classrooms and have reviewed their student achievement data. There can be a little doubt that a similar program offered at Ingraham could become an exciting alternative to APP at Garfield.
Offering choice would allow interested students to continue to attend Garfield and also provide an opportunity for students intrigued by the challenge of the IB program to attend Ingraham. The proposal to offer students a choice, however, critically depends on a sufficient number of students interested and willing to make a commitment.
This letter is an invitation to all 8th and 9th grade students and their parents to work with the Advanced Learning Office to explore your interest and input in the development of an IB option for highly gifted high school students similar to Bellevue's GHSP at Interlake. A new program is best developed by those who are excited by the prospect. In the absence of interest, APP pathways to different high schools sites may simply be based on where students live when the School Board make assignment plan changes in January.
To learn more about the possibilites of a new program at Ingraham, please come to an APP community forum to be held from 6:30 to 8:00 pm in the auditorium at the Ingraham High School, 1810 N135 ST, on Wednesday, November 17. We will discuss the option more fully, answer your questions, and work to summarize your interests and concers as we move forward.

The letter is signed by Robert C. Vaughan.

Howard said...

dj, around this time last year, the district web site had a table listing the number of high school APP students by (at that time proposed) attendance area. Unfortunately, I can no longer find it - but I did find this map; the data are 2-3 years old and the numbers don't correspond to current boundaries, but it gives you an idea of how APP students are distributed around the district.

Steve said...

Thanks for posting the letter from Dr. Vaughn. My read of it is a.) we're going to develop an alternative to Garfield's program for APP students in the form of an accelerated IP program at Ingrahm, and b.) if not enough students are attracted to this new program, we're going to move APP students from Garfield to another high school (or schools) anyway based on where they live. The gist is "If there is a program at Ingrahm, there will be some level of choice. If not, we're going to move APP students out of Garfield."

The APP community, from elementary to High School, needs to get organized and come up with its own plan (and support it), or else the district is going to create the alternatives.

ArchStanton said...

What I find notable is that while the district at least tried to give lip service to the notion that the elementary and middle school splits would be equitable (i.e. that they would be the same programs, that one wouldn't be somehow better than the other), they aren't even pretending that the high school programs will be the same or equitable. Half of APP might remain at Garfield and the other half will be transformed into some new APP/IB hybrid. Of course they can accomplish this in 8-10 months (just like they delivered the standardized APP curriculum) - yeah, right.

While a north site for APP or an IB hybrid might be attractive to some, it's a thinly veiled threat: put pressure on north families (yeah, anyone could switch, but northies are the obvious target) to take one for the team - or everyone gets the hammer.

I don't want to discourage anyone from fighting the good fight, but in my experience, that letter (assuming it is real) indicates that APP/IB at Ingraham is a done deal. This is just the post facto community engagement.

Seattle-Ed2010 said...

I was going to post this under the Kay Smith-Blum at Lowell thread, but it now seems more relevant here.

I was also at the KSB meeting and heard some things a little differently from some of the other commenters. I thought KSB asked for a show of hands as to who would be satisfied to accept an assured spot at their choice of local h.s. if Garfield APP was no longer an option.

Or, she asked, is keeping the cohort together for that critical mass that allows a richer offering of classes more important? She seemed to stress the importance of advocating for the cohort and NOT being easily bought out with other promises or deals. So in the end, most of us raised our hands to keep the cohort together.

I agree that it would be great if we could show solidarity on this. I thought the elementary school split debate lacked solidarity and made the job of splintering the school that much easier for SPS.

Historically APP/IPP has always been used by the district to fill and boost under-enrolled schools. That's why it was moved to Garfield in the first place, some 20 years ago. Now the school is strong and desirable, the district doesn't need our kids there any more. So they are getting penalized for an entirely avoidable problem the district created.

That's also why the district moved half of elementary APP to Thurgood Marshall and tried to move it to Hawthorne -- two under-enrolled schools.

There are some who insist that "there is no APP at Garfield!" If so, then how can the district kick out something that doesn't exist?

So now we know why the district added a wing to Ingraham when it wasn't even full.

We already knew why the district drew the boundaries around Garfield the way it did. It was clear since the day the NSAP maps came out that Garfield would be overcrowded.

The middle school APP split is not academically equitable, and the elementary school split is not equal in size and growth, so why should we trust the district to get it right at high school?

We can't.

We should oppose this, en masse.

Next Weds will be a busy night in the district -- APP protests at Ingraham and anti-Teach for America protests at the school board meeting. What fun!

Hell no, we won't go!

--s.p.

ParentofTwo said...

My student went from the APP program at Hamilton to Ballard, and it has been fabulous. I expect our younger student to make the same selection. Ballard has - on paper, at least - a higher quantity of AP offerings than Garfield. And with the higher level of overcrowding at GHS, I think it would be easier to get in to a desirable class (AP or otherwise), at BHS.

The worst thing is missing seeing ones friends from 8th grade, on a daily basis. (Friends is a different thing than some parents' description of a "cohort" which I'm interpreting as a perceived learning advantage by keeping certain people together.)

I wish all the neighborhood schools had strong enough programs that the students felt confident selecting them.

Meg said...

I think that APP families choosing their neighborhood school over Garfield is great, and wonderful that it works out.

But it should be a choice to go to your neighborhood high school. The district gets funding for an advanced learning K-12 program - they should, in fact, make sure that they are providing advanced learning program. And frankly, they should make sure all the kinks from the first split have been ironed out before they undertake a second split.

The letter about the Ingraham IB program makes it sound like this is going to happen, and once again, without any real planning.

lendlees said...

The other issue I see is that no discussion of an appropriate, central location has been done. Basically I feel that it's "Garfield has no room, and Ingraham has room"...sound familiar?

Sending north end families to the border of Shoreline is the equivalent of sending south end families to Rainier Beach HS.

If they really built a program that was truly central, then APP students would have a 'choice'. Now they don't.

I'm guessing that many of us who live in the Ballard, Roosevelt attendance area will choose to send our children there rather than trust the district to build something equitable. And, if non-APP parents aren't complaining now, they will when 200-300 kids show up at BHS or RHS.

wseadawg said...

I wonder how much of this is necessary because of Northward drift from the South End. How many Franklin area kids are currently at Garfield? How many Cleveland area kids are currently at Franklin? How many Rainier Beach kids are at Franklin or Cleveland?

Early on, there was talk that the overcrowding was because of the grandfathering of out of area kids under the choice system, not solely APP or any other program. What percentage is that and how long will that last?

I'd like to know the answer to all these questions before we go and make abrupt changes to any programs, because, ultimately, we should be seeking long term stability and predictability. Especially when we consider how negatively the splits have set back the current APP elementary and middle school programs. And don't kid yourselves: They are working and taking root; but it will be awhile before they are close to what they were.

Over it said...

I give up. My 8th grader is appyling to private school. After being kicked out of WMS, enough is enough. His LA/SS teacher is using the same book to teach out of this year that she used for them in 7th grade. The district won't provide materials at Hamilton, I don't expect they will at Ingrahm either. We just have to 'get nothing and like it.' Accelerated, ha.

north seattle mom said...

I think it is hard to escape the fact the real Garfield troubles stem from the fact that QA and Magnolia simply do not have a high school. They don't have a full school. They have NO SCHOOL.

This lack of any proximate high school naturally puts too much pressure on a geographically defined system. Garfield and Ballard are the two closest schools for the QA/Magnolia communities. Therefore, Garfield and Ballard will not have any opportunity to support anything other than neighborhood kids in the long run.

This may be the first capacity issue for Garfield but it is certainly not the last. North end high schools are pretty full now and they will be breaking full in a just a few years (3-4) and then there will once again be talk about where to send QA and Magnolia and the only option will be Garfield as the next Geographically close high school and then APP will likely be over.

If QA high school were to be on the next BEX (impossible bc it was sold) then there would be a way for the entire district to get behind a real solution to keep APP at Garfield but without a high school for this part of town, all special programs will eventually be pushed out of both Ballard and Garfield.

So I think the next best bet for APP is to find a piece of property in the district inventory that could work as a new high school. I hear rumors that there is still quite of bit of unsold Magnolia property. I don't know if any of it could be turned into a high school but if APP wants Garfield, they should focus on solving the real problem that is created in a neighborhood school plan.

lendlees said...

Lincoln would fit the bill, but I doubt the district will bring it back on-line.

amsiegel said...

Funny how different people perceive the cause of the problem differently. I think the problem is the failure of Rainier Beach as a viable high school. If it were a quality school that people were happy to accept an assignment to, the Garfield and Franklin lines could simply be moved north.

Syd said...

I am more than a little upset about this announcement. I refuse to let this board tear down the work of the last decades. I am also upset by the APP advisory committee in not advocating for APP but instead being co-opted by the administration.

north seattle mom said...

Rainier Beach as a quality school would certainly help relieve pressure on Garfield but there is only so far North the lines can go. As the most central high school in the district, there are going to be serious boundary pressures over time from both the north and the south. The only way the APP program can continue to hold almost 1/3 of the building (if the APP growth numbers are to be believed.) is if there is slack in the system both to the north and to the south so that the Garfield neighborhood boundaries can be very small and I just don't see that happening.

Because of the general lack of access QA/Mag has the lowest percentage of students in public high schools. It is a huge drop off from students that are enrolled in public for elementary and middle school. With a guaranteed assignment, those numbers are going to increase. Every increase at QA/Mag will have to eventually put pressure on Garfield. Even with a completely successful program at RB, eventually the pressure from QA/Mag will create more problems. There is only so far south that boundary can go in Ballard.

One thing is really clear in this new plan, only geographically isolated schools are going to have lots of excess space for special programs. Just wait for the second part of APP to be moved to WSHS.

Anonymous said...

North Seattle mom - are you saying QA/Mag kids currently go to Garfield? I don't understand this because under NSAP, those kids are assigned to Ballard. It used to be that many of those kids went to Garfield, but not anymore.

Syd - I agree with you about the APP AC. I don't at all understand their role. I remember people asking Stephanie to define their role many times during the closure/split process two years ago. It seems like they are the mouth piece for the district and their role is to placate the parents, but not to stand up for them. I would like them to release a statement as to what exactly their role is. I think APP parents think it's their role is one thing, and the APP AC thinks it's something entirely different.

Seattle-Ed2010 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Seattle-Ed2010 said...

I just reread Vaughan's letter, and it strikes me that what he and the district are essentially saying is:

'APP will no longer be offered to all high school APP students.

Just some.

A lucky number of kids will be allowed to attend Garfield and continue on the accelerated path they've been on since first grade, but the rest are SOL.'

The whole Ingraham plan may sound potentially appealing in the abstract, but it's another castle in the air from SPS, a promise that won't be kept. We've seen it all before. And sending APP kids to their local high schools will only cause a domino effect of overcrowding throughout the district, most notably at Roosevelt and Ballard, so capacity issues won't be solved at all.

At what point do we send a memo to Olympia advising it to demand its funding back from SPS for APP? After all, while SPS eagerly collects the extra state funding for the program (like the $3,500 per student transportation stipend), at the same time it is dismantling the program into non-existence.

Seriously, it practically amounts to fraud on the part of SPS.

I am sick of our kids being used by SPS.

MSP and MAP boycotts anyone?

-- sue p.

ArchStanton said...

I agree with you about the APP AC. I don't at all understand their role. I remember people asking Stephanie to define their role many times during the closure/split process two years ago.

This is the closest they've come to explaining their role (or lack of):

APP Advisory Committee
Email 118: A re-View from this Chair
June 19, 2009
From: Stephanie Bower, Chair APP Advisory Committee

...While many fought the splits, or it's probably better to say fought to keep the cohorts together, some welcomed the splits and cohousing of APP with more programs and the placement of APP closer to their homes. Exactly what to say and do in response was a fine line to walk for the PTSA's at Lowell and WMS as well as the APP AC, which is an advisory committee, not an advocacy group...


A discussion of that is at: https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=28765366&postID=8045074882878270921
(about 2/3 down)

north seattle mom said...

QA and Mag folks currently go to Ballard. However, this is only so long before Ballard and Roosevelt are beyond full. The North/South line for Roosevelt/Hale and Ballard/Ingraham are already pretty far south and it is going to be hard, if not impossible to push them much further south.

Therefore, when Ballard and Roosevelt are the inevitable next school with a capacity crisis, there will be pressure to move out more of APP so that at least some of QA/Mag folks can go to Garfield and talk pressure off of Ballard.

It is only a matter of time before this happens so I am saying that while the APP community is examining ways to try to stay intact and ways to stay at Garfield, it might be good to keep the next battle in mind. Right now, there is pressure to move APP because neighborhood kids deserve to go to Garfield. Pretty soon there is going to be pressure to move APP because Garfield is the new QA neighborhood school.

The NSAP is going to be here for a while so it would be good to really look at APP in the context of neighborhood schools vs magnet schools.

amsiegel said...

I understand that the Queen Anne community has been mistreated by the District, but the decade-long campaign to bully the district into pretending that QA residents have to be assigned to Garfield (or perhaps Ballard) is ridiculous. It has already resulted in one disasterous lawsuit that has resegregated this district and set back the cause of civil rights nationally. Now, you are trying to use the NSAP as an excuse to push out the two communities that have
made Garfield into a successful, diverse, urban school: the APP students and the racially and economically diverse communities of central Seattle. If APP needs to move out of Garfield to make room for people who actually live in the community that is one thing, but to move APP in anticipation of needing the space for a bunch of entitled
folks from a different part of town who want to take advantage of the hard work of other communities is ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Forget about the APP Advisory Committee being a voice for the program. If there is a consensus that the program is under threat, form your own committee and begin advocating and agitating now. Maybe you all have formed a new advocacy group, but if not get on it. This is on a very fast track and there is precious little time. I believe that this weekend three board members are holding community meetings. It would be useful to have an APP presence there. Be prepared to defend the program and point out the failures of the middle school and elementary school splits. Don't focus on music, it is more important to note the academic failures. Such as advanced middle school math being gone.As someone has already pointed out, this new APP configuration of the high school, is being proposed without sufficient time to plan let alone implement. Unless the group stands up and makes demands -real demands, the program is done. Get mad.

Seattle-Ed2010 said...

Arch Stanton said (quoting the APP AC): "the APP AC, which is an advisory committee, not an advocacy group..."

Well that's the problem right there. Why isn't it an advocacy group? We need someone to go to bat for our kids in a serious way. Seattle's alternative schools have a coalition of parents that seriously advocates for their schools. Maybe we need to form something similar for APP (and Spectrum).

I went to the WAETAG (Washington Association of Educators of the Talented and Gifted) conference last month and learned that a number of other school districts and cities have parent-run advocacy organizations for highly capable/gifted education. Seems odd that we don't have one in Seattle.

-- sue p.

wearyinWS said...

Garfield is no dream commute from West Seattle. According to Metro, it will be an hour long, 2 bus ride with a short walk to get my child to Garfield. If half of the APP students are pulled out of Garfield to the north, there will not be enough critical mass to keep Garfield as an attractive option to WS students. APP HS students will become more evenly dispersed throughout the district. Which, if carried out with clear thought and planning could be great. However SPS will not create that success. They will tear it apart and then hope that the dedicated parents, students and teachers will remake those long built successes for them. All the while congratulating themselves on how great the numbers look across the district. Our school system is truly being run as a corporation, at the expense of the children of Seattle. Is there any instance of organized action on the part of the community affecting district policy/decisions regarding APP? What would it take?

none1111 said...

SueP said: Why isn't it an advocacy group?

Totally agree.

The one thing that the APP-AC has going for it is that it's a district-recognized organization. However, the current group (at least the leaders) seem to be so averse to conflict that they have become ineffectual.

and a number of other school districts and cities have parent-run advocacy organizations for highly capable/gifted education. Seems odd that we don't have one in Seattle.

Go for it! I think there is enough dissatisfaction with the existing APP-AC's lack of advocacy in recent years that there would be a lot of interest. Would you (or is there anyone else with some organizational skills and a penchant for action) be willing to take this on? Or at least get it started?

What is the interest level?

Stephanie Bower, APP AC said...

Hi all,
I am finally jumping in to this blog on behalf of the APP Advisory Committee to provide information.

The parents on APP Task Force, and its evolution into the APP Advisory Committee have always been APP advocates, not just advisors. The distriction between advocacy and advisory was brought up in the APP Audit (which had other problems
as well), but in reality, we do both.

We are extremely busy advising and advocating for APP.
We will start one-on-one meetings with school board members this evening and more are scheduled into next week. This is where we really learn where things are going and where we can potentially influence the direction.
I and others on the APP AC are getting many email from parents. Many have questions which we answer, some are dismayed by the Ingraham proposal, some are willing to have an open ear, and some already like the idea.
We have also been contacted by Garfield High School students who have started an APP Student Union. We will meet with them next week and continue to provide a place for them at the table as things go forward.
Dr. Vaughan has made himself available to answer questions and has been open to suggestions. Geeta and I have visited Interlake and talked with the principal and IB staff there.
I am also working to set up a visit to Interlake for members of the APP AC and maybe others as well.

Our first choice will be to maintain all of APP at Garfield. We will ask the school board
what variables are they willing to change to allow this to happen. I have two children at Garfield and know first-hand what changes there will mean.

But for many reasons, we as a committee and a community need to at least consider all the options and their implications, and with this proposal, that includes the possibility of a gifted high school program at Ingraham. For years, there have been parents who have hoped there might some day be a gifted high school, and this may be it.
Key will be if the district would allow choice of Ingraham or Garfield for APP families,
as this could help to maintain the reknowned music program at Garfield, among other things.
Second is to grandfather in the current GHS students so they can stay at Garfield. Uprooting them would be disasterous on many levels. Starting with a new 9th and maybe 10th grade class would be important.

Interlake started its program with a group of 60 9th graders, and four years later graduated them to go on to MIT, ivy league schools, etc. It is a thriving program in every way.
Should SPS do that here? Maybe. Maybe it would look different. Now is when we ask question and start to provide input and feedback on this.

I have not heard any plans to remove APP from Garfield and send them to Rainier Beach.
I have not heard any plans to get rid of the APP high school path, it has actually become more unique with the curricular changes implemented this year.
Indeed,I am rather suprised that MGJ is supporting the creation of a gifted high school program and that for now, the proposal is for APP families to be able to choose between the 2 sites.
It would be much easier and more predictable for the district to insist on a geographic split, but so far, the option of choice is still on the table.
Should changing the APP student path be part of the district's proposal to deal with over-enrollment at Garfield?
I wish it were not, and maybe we can still keep APP together at Garfield. But Garfield itself likely won't welcome APP becoming a larger and larger percentage of their population in the next few years. So then what?

Not every APP student is well-served by Garfield, which is why the numbers go down after 8th grade. Another option will probably be welcomed by some in our community. But choice will be key.
Stephanie Bower
APP Advisory Committee, Co-Chair

Syd said...

I have a few questions.
These kids already have the choice to go to Ingram IB program. What makes it more attractive now?
Why has the APP AC not reached out to parents of all APP students? How can we make that easier?
The APP program is what has made GHS what it is. What steps can be taken to insure that school is still strong when the cohort is split?
I don't believe the middle school split has been successful, and many promises were broken (equitable library resources, maintaining math rigor, etc... at the middle school level; overcrowding at Lowell and an almost unsustainably small program at TM). What will be different here?

hschinske said...

I agree with Syd. Ingraham is not "another option" -- it already was there, and some APP families (not many as far as I know) chose it. It's never been full that I recall, so no one was getting locked out of that choice. Yeah, there's supposed to be some special new accelerated IB program -- but is it really going to happen, or is that going to be in the same box with the defined elementary APP curriculum and Singapore Math?

Helen Schinske

Stephanie Bower, APP AC said...

Syd,
students do not have a choice to attend IB at Ingraham, that was changed with the student assignment plan. Ingraham is a neighborhood high school. I advocated for IB programs to be all city draws instead, and it's possible the school board will be looking at that now.

The APP AC has over 1300 people on our email list, and we regularly invite people to join, including letters in the first week packet at each of the five schools. So we reach a lot of the community and hear from them too. We are open to ideas as to how to do that better.

APP has certainly contributed to making GHS what it is, and what I am hearing is that folks on all sides want that to be maintained.

Some will feel the middle school split was not successful, but we actually get emails to the contrary and hear from people at various events that they are fairly happy. There are some problems to be addressed though, and we and others are working on that (such as the music rooms at Hamilton.) Math is still being looked at.

Lowell overcrowding is an issue, and I'm not sure what will be proposed to deal with that. Our committee has talked about it a lot. Anyone have practical ideas they are willing to share?
Stephanie

Greg Linden said...

Stephanie, would you be interested in doing a Q&A here on this blog? Some parents asked for that in the past. I could start another thread for that if you might be interested?

hschinske said...

If a school's not full, you can still apply to it, no? I just read today that something like 40% of Ingraham's current 9th-grade class is from outside the attendance area (used to be 70%). Can't all be siblings.

Helen Schinske

Stephanie Bower, APP AC said...

Hi Greg,
yes, I'd be willing to do a q and a to provide accurate information. We have thought about doing that ourselves in some way, but have not had the time to figure out how.

Helen, your brain is better for data than mine! I have appreciated your posts in the past.
Starting this year, there are 10% of the seats set aside for students out of the area. Siblings could make up a pretty big percentage, as the school board and Super say they want to maintain sibling attendance, it is what parents want. But the board will probably be looking at the lottery seats, maybe adjusting the percentage at schools that are at or over capacity as part of revisions to the assignment plan.
Stephanie

Steve said...

Stephanie, looking back through the stuff posted by the APP Advisory Committee, I feel it's mostly minutes of meetings (what happened), reposts of information from the District (meetings that will take place), and general information that you want the community to have (Dr. Vaughn's letter, for example). Only in your most recent posts have I had a sense of what you're actually doing as a committee (talking to Board members, visiting the East Side IB program, etc.).

What I don't see in all this is the advocacy part. Maybe that's not the role of the committee, but I don't see anyone surveying the APP parent community to find out what we want to happen with the program. Other than inviting us to meetings, I don't see the AC taking a hard position on something and asking for feedback from the APP community, and then pushing it with the board and district.

Harnessing what power we have and using it to get what our kids need (and were promised) is an advocacy role. If we wait for the district to present plans and options and then respond, I fear it's too late. We won't get what we want, and given the history, our kids won't get what they need.

I don't have any ready solutions for this, and I'm not sure how to organize the APP community into something cohesive and powerful, but when I see letters like the one Dr. Vaughn sent this week, I don't know that the APP community has any power within the District.

I hope the APP AC does some thinking, takes a stand on what the District is proposing (or creates better ideas), and asks the community for support. I don't want to be informed about "opportunities to give my input to the District" unless I can join with everyone else and make my voice stronger.

Steve said...

And I meant to add, with all respect, that I appreciate the hard work of all the members of the committee, who are volunteers and busy parents just like I am. Wanted to make sure how much I appreciate your effort.

Stephanie Bower, APP AC said...

Hi Steve,
thank you for your thanks! Believe me, it helps to keep us going.

This is a tough one to demonstrate. It helps to attend APP AC meetings and listen to discussion. While the minutes from Ann and her predecessors are excellent, they do not capture everything by any means. There is a lot that is said that doesn't go into the minutes, there is a lot that is done that doesn't make it into the meetings.
It is hard to convey what we do and how hard we really work. We are a huge committee of 16 parents and school staff, we have worked hard to develop connections everywhere. The school board members respond to my emails and agree to meet with us one-on-one because they know us to be pretty reasonable people who are willing to look at the big picture, while advocating for APP. Same with Bob Vaughan, the school principals, and others. We have working relationships with all these folks. We remain respectful toward everyone and seek to build bridges and connections, not rant or scream our demands. I don't believe that works. But we have rallied parents when needed, encouraged parents to write emails and show up at meetings and talk to others. And we are doing the same. We work very hard to keep people well-informed so they can do their own advocacy too.

Remember that the district originally proposed Lowell to be closed, then to go to Hawthorne. How was it accomplished that Lowell remains open, a robust APP community is there, and south end APP is a TM with a great principal and staff who were at Lowell?
Advocacy and involvement from parents via lots of emails.

Do these buildings look exactly like what we would have liked to see? We would have liked more support, would like it now, but all the schools are hurting (we need to convince voters to fund education!)
Much of what our program/schools lack is due to lack of funding.

Our advocacy is subtle, and part of that has to do with the politics around the APP program. You will hear some of it discussed in our meetings, if you are on the committee and get the countless emails every day, you see it a lot.
You may not hear how certain changes came about, but we have influenced many things for the better in our program and in our schools.
There are people who want us to get mad and "fight" for what we want. We do get mad, but we lobby...
Stephanie

Anonymous said...

This obvious point has already been mentioned, but for many (us included) the difficult location of Ingraham would be a deal-breaker. Would have to be a well-established, super-high-achieving program to draw kids w/a 45+min commute each way. ANd forgive my ignorance, but how would this new program proposal serve families way south of the ship canal? Is the plan (or one of them, I guess) to offer the Ingraham option to N.end families, yet allow S end families to remain at Garfield for established AP path? Doesnt seem right or equitable. HS is big stakes - we're talking college acceptance path here - and I doubt the motivated APP parents would risk that time on building a program's reputation, esp when it's a difficult commute and the social aspect is diluted by many MS friends defecting to private or local assignment HS (my understanding is if you live in the N End, you likely have a pretty good option for HS: Ballard or Roosevelt, rt?)

Anonymous said...

I am dismayed to see yet another attack on APP by the Seattle School District. In the 15 years I have been involved with this program, almost every year the district has had some plan or another to break-up the program and split up the cohort. In EVERY case, the overwhelming request of parents was to keep the group together. This was successful for years, but finally failed at the Elementary and Middle School levels with the recent splits. In both of those cases, the academic program and educational opportunities for students in APP has been adversely impacted. I expect more of the same with this attempt to split up the High School group.

The school district gets some statistical benefits from splitting these kids up, so I fear their motives have nothing to do with benefits for the kids. The cuts made in APP math and music program are simple examples of the damage done so far, but the smaller we make the APP group the more restricted the opportunities at any age.

I am convinced this is yet another attempt to dismantle APP, this time using the excuse of overcrowding that worked in the recent past. Please do not underestimate the cunning and guile of the Seattle School District. The interests of career educators are NOT the same as the interests of the students, and in many cases there is not even much overlap between them.

I would love to see efforts to keep Garfield APP together, or even re-assemble Lowell and WMS. Significant promises were made in the middle school split that have not been kept and I have no expectation that the district will keep any promises they make here.

Stephanie Bower, APP AC said...

Anonymous at 4:11pm:

we need to see what is said at the meetings next week before we have a sense of what exactly is being offered at Ingraham. But I know the idea of choice between the two sites is in part to preserve a strong cohort in and path to Garfield, which includes the top music programs in the country.

Bellevue successfully created a robust IB/AP gifted high school program starting with a 9th grade class of 60 five years ago.
Their first graduating class has students going to top colleges around the country.

The idea for the program at Ingraham is to offer choice, as not every APP student is well-served at Garfield. the two sites would be different, one IB based, the other AP based.
Again, we'll have to see what is presented. It may be difficult to convince the school board to allow choice instead of a more predictable geographic assignment. South end families would probably go to Garfield, which is certainly a very good option.
Stephanie

Seattle-Ed2010 said...

Hi Stephanie,

Sue here. With all due respect, whatever approach the APP AC has used in the past to advise or advocate for APP kids may have staved off some bad developments for a while, but in the last two years our kids have been targeted twice, their schools split into four pieces, and now the last remaining intact cohort is being seriously threatened as well.

So it would seem that the APP AC's approach is not working anymore. We need a new tact.

Have you ever considered that maybe the APP AC's stated unwillingness to fight has made it that much easier for the district to splinter our program?

As you know, I am always willing to fight for what I believe in.

And I believe the district should stop treating our kids like pawns on a chessboard.

-- Sue p.

Stephanie Bower, APP AC said...

HI Sue.
I agree with much of what you write.
But we do fight, we just don't kick and scream, as that simply turns people off and they refuse to listen.
We talk and wrangle with decision-makers, provide data, arguments, plead our cases, work one-on-one to influence decisions.

The tide was so strong with the splits two years ago, it was a tsunami that none of us could have stopped. It had been building for a long time. We had some influence over it, but there was no stopping it. And if we had screamed and kicked or fought in that very visible way, we would have lost any opportunity to participate in the process of change, would not have been included on Design Teams and the school board wouldn't be willing to meet with and listen to us now. We have to maintain mutual respect to be heard.

You might consider running for school board, but even then, you'd be one voice in the decision-making. They are very strong-willed and opinionated about APP.

I agree, our kids should not be treated like pawns on a chess board, and I actually used those very words with a school board member last night.
Stephanie

Seattle Parent said...

Stephanie - you have referred several times to the "vision" the Board and/or Sup/District have for APP. Can you please define that as specifically as possible for us (from what you've heard/experienced)? This is what is very confusing to me: what exactly ARE they trying to accomplish by constantly messing with the APP program as is? THere have been speculations that they're trying to eliminate APP as a separate program; spread the kids around to raise test scores and increase parent participation (PTA $) at under-attended schools; establish an APP program at each school; etc. Understanding from yr perspective what they're apparently trying to accomplish might help us gain some perspective on how to mitigate what we consider the damage being done to the program, as the District holds all the power and doesnt seem willing to consider APP parents/kids perspective.

I will add, as others have, that I do very much appreciate all the volunteer hours you and all the APP AC (parents and teachers) put in on our behalf. Though we may feel frustration at how APP AC handles certain issues, without you we would have no representation at all with the District. Thank You!

hschinske said...

But we do fight, we just don't kick and scream, as that simply turns people off and they refuse to listen.

Dealing with angry people is a necessary social skill for those who work with the public. Anyone who simply refuses to listen is not doing their job. These are our kids, and our tax money pays for the district's budget. If they waste our money, if they lie to us, if they fail to educate our kids, we will call them on it.

If you call for every interaction to be in a particular civilized tone, you're also restricting what people can say and silencing what people most desperately want to say. There IS no totally civilized, nicey-nice way to say something like "You told us a lie." There are more and less dignified ways to say it, but no amount of dignity in the accuser is going to sweeten the pill for the accused.

Helen Schinske

north seattle mom said...

amsiegel,

I should probably note that I don't live on QA/Mag. I only even wind up in that part out town once or twice a year for soccer games. I live in Lake City.

That said, I find it hard to comprehend your comment. that the
"decade-long campaign to bully the district into pretending that QA residents have to be assigned to Garfield (or perhaps Ballard) is ridiculous."

Where else are they supposed to go? Here is the high school map
http://www.seattleschools.org/area/boundarymapa/pdfs/HS_skeleton_Approved.pdf

Garfield and Ballard are the only two geographically contiguous schools. There isn't a third school that they could somehow be connected to under the NSAP rules for geographically contiguous reference areas.

I agree that their lawsuit was "disasterous" in so many ways. All they really wanted was for the district to reopen QA/Mag and instead we go this stupid new plan.

However, I think it is short-sighted on the part of the APP community to not consider QA/Mag as part of the community that lives geographically close to Garfield. You say that

"If APP needs to move out of Garfield to make room for people who actually live in the community that is one thing, but to move APP in anticipation of needing the space for a bunch of entitled
folks from a different part of town who want to take advantage of the hard work of other communities is ridiculous."

But the simple fact is that without a QA/Mag school, these families are going to need to go somewhere and that somewhere is either Garfield or Ballard and there is no where else.

I think the biggest issue for APP at Garfield is the extra 200 high school students that were "unexpected." It is incredibly likely that over the next few years that folks that are now guaranteed Garfield, Ballard and Roosevelt are going to take those assignments.

Under the old plan, many families wouldn't risk the late assignment process and went private. But with the guarantee there is no reason for them to do this.

This year is year one and they are looking to move part of APP out as the opening shot. However, Year two will also be overcrowded from increased enrollment from the north and they will try to move even more of APP out.

I would like APP to stay at Garfield in one cohort but the only way, I think this is possible will be if there is excess high school capacity to the north so that the north boundary for Garfield is stable.

hschinske said...

A commenter on myballard.com wrote today:

For what it's worth, yes the city is considering asking SPS to use property vacated after the Mercer Corridor Project (a teardrop-shaped piece of land currently on Broad St) for a new school. We're talking about at least a decade out though.

Gossip-level info, but interesting.

Helen Schinske

uxolo said...

Comparing Bellevue's IB HS to the potential of what could be in Seattle is silly. Many more youth live in Bellevue with greater numbers having higher achievement levels in their student population (than the population in Seattle). Isn't this why people with children move to Bellevue? Seattle admin simply doesn't value acceleration and certainly doesn't want acceleration available to all of its students.

Why isn't Bob Vaughan promoting the IB program at Chief Sealth? Why isn't the success at Sealth our example? Why did the APP AC have to take a field trip to Bellevue?

Any APP supporter of destroying Garfield's mix of kids would only come from someone who (a) has kids already there and is not threatened by future change or (b) lives close enough to Roosevelt or Ballard or Hale and already have plans to send their kids to those schools. The GHS neighborhood is NOT looking to get rid of the APP kids. The school climate is healthy and not as divided as it once was.

Seattle-Ed2010 said...

Stephanie Bower, APP AC said...
But we do fight, we just don't kick and scream, as that simply turns people off and they refuse to listen.
We talk and wrangle with decision-makers, provide data, arguments, plead our cases, work one-on-one to influence decisions
.

Who said anything about kicking and screaming? How about organizing, informing the APP community and public, and maybe even the media, of all that's going on? And simply saying a firm "No," to bad district ideas that will harm our kids and promises we know the district won't keep.

How many hits do our kids have to take from this district in the name of "Capacity Management"?

The tide was so strong with the splits two years ago, it was a tsunami that none of us could have stopped. It had been building for a long time. We had some influence over it, but there was no stopping it. And if we had screamed and kicked or fought in that very visible way, we would have lost any opportunity to participate in the process of change, would not have been included on Design Teams and the school board wouldn't be willing to meet with and listen to us now. We have to maintain mutual respect to be heard.

I don't know, Stephanie. That's one theory. But what if that's what the district wanted you to believe? If there's one thing this district hates, it's negative publicity. So I think there were other options. Instead we were all advised to 'keep our heads down' and not make a fuss. Look where that got us.

Also, regardless of what you thought the inevitability of the splits was, why didn't you give the rest of us the chance to decide for ourselves whether it was a done deal and not worth fighting? The defeatist tone of that post Thanksgiving meeting at Lowell in 2008 still rings bitterly in my ears.

What if we had all united a serious opposition to the splits; what if we had pushed back as was our right to do? You can't know what the outcome would have been. It couldn't have been much worse, despite what you have said. They split us into five pieces and are now shooting for six.

By the way, don't you think that the Seattle School District is skating on thin ice by collecting funding from the state for gifted education at the same time it is dismantling it?

Lastly, could the APP AC please e-mail all 1,300+ members of the APP community that letter from Bob Vaughan? Because the future of APP at Garfield concerns more than just the 8th and 9th grade families. It concerns all of us.

Thanks.

Sue
Seattle Education 2010

Anonymous said...

Is it really any coincidence that these two meetings are at the same time? APP parents need a strong presence at this school board meeting. Bring signs. Take all three suggestions off the table. It is time that everyone stood up and said ENOUGH!
Seattle School Board meeting Weds. Nov. 17 at 6 p.m. and testify before the board about your concerns. Sign up to speak by calling Pamela Oakes at (206) 252-0040 (206) 252-0040 on Monday morning Nov. 15. Each speaker will have only three minutes to address the board and superintendent, so prepared notes or speech is a good idea
APP community meeting at Ingraham High School auditorium (1810 N.135 Street) on Weds. Nov. 17, 6:30- 8 p.m., learn more about the IB proposal and share concerns/frustrations with Dr. Bob Vaughan.

Anonymous said...

The district created this problem. The Garfield footprint runs almost all the way to Franklin High School. They expanded it after it was clear that Garfield would be overenrolled. It begs the question why?

Phyllis said...

Letter I sent last night. At a very minimum I suggest that the APP community demand that the option that includes moving kids currently at Garfield be taken off the table this week.

Dear Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson,

I am writing to you with an urgent request. I know the district is struggling
with a number of issues brought on by the new reassignment plan. Late last week
APP parents received a letter from Dr. Vaughn discussing a number of options
under consideration for APP. One of those options mentioned is the possibility
of moving APP kids who are currently at Garfield to other sites next year. It
is urgent that this option be immediately taken off the table and I am asking
that you assist in making that happen.

The current 9th graders have changed schools 5 and for some 6 times since
they started school. There is much literature and research done on the effects
of kids moving so much and all of it agrees that there is high incidence of
long-term emotional problems that includes inability to commit to long
term relationships as adults, fear of loss, lack of attachment, etc.
Literature/research also states that the very worst time to move kids is
during high school. Middle school kids who were affected by the split last
year spent the year in various stages of on-going grief, anxiety, anger, lack
of attachment to the school, and more, besides having lost friends
and opportunities. One teacher who worked at Hamilton last year reported to me
that these feelings pervaded many of the essays written. I was appointed to be
on the District's Design Team for the transition to Hamilton and interviewed
kids, before and during the school year to see what issues they were having and
I can attest that there were significant impacts to the students.

Moving these kids again would be extremely stressful and frankly I
believe emotionally damaging. Even the idea that this option is being
considered is already creating serious distress amongst the students at a time
in their life when they are trying to adjust to adolescence and increased
responsibilities and academic demands as well as find their place in high
school.

When the news hit last week about this possible option there was alot of
anxiety and anger from the high schoolers, just as the 9th graders are trying
to
settle into their life in high school, and remember explicitly being told by
school district administation that they would spend their high school years
at Garfield. In fact, it is stated in the District's reassignment policy.


I know that you are working diligently and have many challenges to focus on in
the District. As a
professional I know that you will put the welfare of children as a high
priority. These kids need to know now that their lives are stable and this
option is off the table. I realize this option may have gotten on the list by
school district staff who were just creating a set of brainstormed ideas, but
you have to realize that this group of kids have already been tramatized last
year and just the thought of this as a possibility is already causing a stir.

I am requesting that you work with your staff to immediately take off the
table
any option that moves APP kids currently at Garfield and then communicate that
it is off the table to the APP community. There is a meeting on Wednesday
night for APP parents and that would be a great place to communicate this. If
there is any way I can help move this along please let me know. I feel so
strongly about this, that I will do whatever it takes to help make certain this
happens quickly.

Please let me know what steps you are taking.

Anonymous said...

I think that those who are advocating solely for the unique entitlements of the APP program shold read Savage Inequalities by Jonathan Kozol. The bottom line is that middle school math and, now, middle school science affects the APP program in high school. Fortunately, our child had access to AP math in high school and other AP classes while not a member of the cohort. As a non-APP valedectorian, our child went on to a fine college (imagine that--without a cohort!)

Anonymous said...

In the above comment I think there is a misunderstanding about the discussion of "cohort."

APP is just one cohort, and the district is made up of a variety of different cohorts. In all my years as an APP parent I have never heard anyone claim that being outside the APP cohort led to a lack of success for any non-APP student.

Instead what is so widely misunderstood is how important the APP cohort is to APP students, who usually don't attend with a geographic clump of students or even other groups (cohorts) of students that move from one school together to another.

And, it may be really hard to understand what it is like to have an unusual kid. I consider my child to be a freak. I don't say that in jest, I mean it for real.

Not to say that all APP kids are freaks, but some are and it actually is necessary to have a cohort when you are a freak, and I use the term affectionately.

So, please don't be snarky about use of the word cohort. Glad your kid thrived as a member of a different cohort, but that doesn't minimize the importance of the district allowing an APP cohort.

Dorothy Neville said...

I took the snarky comment not to mean that the student had a fine cohort, but that succeeded in spite of being a freak without a cohort. But perhaps I am reading too much into an anonymous comment.

Here's the deal. Yes, there is a cohort for freaks via the APP path. However, there are plenty of freaks not in APP who are being denied that sort of protective environment. Witness how RHS and NHHS actively eliminate paths within the building where freaks could congregate. They do this by not having separate honors classes, by not having separate AP classes and when they do provide AP, because they gotta increase that figure for the school report cards and national rankings, they make them required courses for all. So there are highly capable students not in the APP cohort who *are* having barriers to getting their academic and social needs met.

There are plenty of APP identified freaks not at GHS, there are plenty of similar freaks who did Spectrum or were never identified. If Vaughan, in his position as Highly Capable Director, were doing his job, if he understood and valued cohort, he would fight the practices at other high schools that deny their freaks their cohort.

No, three years ago, when RHS unveiled their AP Human Geography for all (because allowing some kids to choose AP Euro was tracking and discriminatory) Vaughan was all over it, publicly supporting it. At the same time, when he should have been working on the APP curriculum issues as brought forth in the audit, he unveiled his new APP middle school science plans. Just like the rest of the central staff, instead of fixing existing issues, he devoted all his time and energy to new initiatives. A new initiative, to push AP level pressure and workload onto middle school kids -- the antithesis of the APP philosophy. Why?

Why not actively support advanced learning in all high schools? Someone either here on on SaveSeattleSchools did the research into all the HS catalogs and noted that it might not be that big a change to grow AP and Honors courses at many of the other high schools to be comparable to GHS. Why not do that as a strategy to make other schools more attractive to advanced learners to avoid a forced breakup of APP to GHS path? Well, I posit that SOME in the APP community (perhaps Vaughan himself) have seen doing that work as a threat to the sanctity of the APP path to GHS, because it would support the notion that one could eliminate or reduce that pathway and kids would still be served academically.

Why did Vaughan continue with this new initiative for middle school AP path for APP kids instead of working on general curriculum issues that were needed due to the split? Here's one thought. Could it have been a strategy to try to protect the GHS pathway? See, these kids really and truly did have something in their education that is unique, so yes, they all must get to continue at GHS and no, there's no reason to allow new or returning freaks access at 9th grade because finally they can point to something unique that they missed in middle school. See, when it was simply math at your own level (which other kids could get) science, LA & SS deeper but not replacing HS courses, it really is not supportable to deny access to the program/cohort for 9th graders. Perhaps, Vaughan was thinking, if he could truly show something advanced, he could maintain the status quo.

But he didn't see the writing on the wall, the increase in APP size, the decrease in functional capacity of the new GHS, the NSAP with the hole in QA where a HS should be and empty seats only in the least accessible high schools. So now he's suggesting voluntary accelerated IB. Too little too late to be effective.

Maureen said...

In all my years as an APP parent I have never heard anyone claim that being outside the APP cohort led to a lack of success for any non-APP student.

I agree with everything Dorothy says, so now you have heard it from two people (and note that that was here on the APP Discussion Blog).

hschinske said...

But there's a huge difference between "being outside the APP cohort [leading] to a lack of success for any non-APP student" and "being outside the APP cohort meaning that the advanced learning opportunities open to you are even more subject to being undermined than if you were in APP." It's not an INHERENT lack of cohort that Dorothy's describing in the Roosevelt examples. She's exposing the Advanced Learning Office hypocrisy in claiming to value cohort for APP (partly because they can provide that without really doing anything else), while systematically pursuing policies that bust up other cohorts.

Personally, I see the emphasis on creating more and more AP and IB courses as being somewhat misguided. I've never been happy that AP courses were the primary means of providing rigor at Garfield. The only advantage to them is that you can't just stick the name in the catalog and pretend that it's an advanced course, the way you can with "honors" -- there are some outside checks and balances.

I will say, however, that I'm perfectly certain there are some students out there who ought to have been in APP and who might well have done better in school if they had been -- especially students of color. But they might not count as "non-APP" in that sense.

Helen Schinske

Dorothy Neville said...

"It's not an INHERENT lack of cohort that Dorothy's describing in the Roosevelt examples. She's exposing the Advanced Learning Office hypocrisy in claiming to value cohort for APP (partly because they can provide that without really doing anything else), while systematically pursuing policies that bust up other cohorts."

Thanks, Helen. In case anyone was confused, this is exactly what I meant.

I agree that it is too bad that rigor comes simply from AP courses, but it's better than nothing. What matters is the self-selecting of more challenge for a higher concentration of kids in the class who are motivated and less likely to misbehave and disrupt. On the other hand, mixing the kids up will spread out the misbehaving kids and the motivated, with the hope/goal that the motivated attitudes will prevail.

Even GHS has had this philosophy with their 9th grade LA Honors for all situation. While the APP AC has worked for YEARS to fix this at GHS, the trend in other high schools has been to go further in that direction. IF Vaughan valued highly capable kids having access to their cohort, he would have worked against this policy.

So when parents of motivated, advanced kids in other HS are denied a chance to be in classes designed for that cohort so that they can at least find each other, it makes it hard to be completely sympathetic to the APP cries for cohort. It also makes it more likely that more and more students will flock to APP, killing it with popularity. I predicted that with the trend of RHS removing opportunities for its gifted cohort, having HIMS a more convenient APP option for the North End, a higher percent of app eligible kids would join or remain in the program for the Garfield seat. I predicted that would cause the dismantling of APP at GHS because of the size of the group. I did not realize that the remodel made the capacity at GHS smaller. And, that was before they made the attendance area so huge, so the issue has come sooner rather than later.

See the data. 50 kids joined in 6th grade, that's the largest such increase of the years listed. And 22 kids joined just for 8th grade? I'd love to know how these jumps relate to the split. (and of course overall enrollment going up is a factor.)

Anonymous said...

There is a way to insure that the cohort stays small enough to fit in whatever school it is housed in, by controlling the thresholds for entry into APP.

The only reason the APP cohort is "growing" is that the entry requirements have been substantially lowered in recent years. The more students that enter the program in the bottom measures, the less likely those at the top of the measures will continue to be served well.

Whether people inside of, or outside of APP like it or not, there are only a few children who are 1-in-1000 bucket when given an IQ test, and those children are different then even children who are 1-in-100 bucket.

Right now the 1-in-1000 children are in APP alongside children who are in the 5-in-100 range.

Change the range, change the size of the cohort, and yes this is what the cohort is all about.

Motivated and high achieving children are not necessarily freaks, and can easily fall into ranges in the 30-in-100 range.

APP was designed to serve freaks, at the far extreme of the IQ scale and it is currently serving a much wider swath of children, which may not be a bad thing, but is worth noting.

No one is beating down the door to join the Special Ed cohort, where children fall into the same buckets at the other end of the bell curve, but trying to join APP when there isn't a qualifying IQ is the same thing.

hschinske said...

Right now the 1-in-1000 children are in APP alongside children who are in the 5-in-100 range.

The cognitive threshold (about 98th percentile) has not been lowered in many, many years (I think it was indeed higher in the early days of IPP). Nor have the cognitive tests used become any more or less accurate (the CogAT has always been extremely hit-or-miss; the WISC and SB have always been reasonably good at establishing who's above the 98th percentile and fairly rubbish at distinguishing much higher).

Sure, they've yanked around the achievement thresholds, and used the WASL in indefensible ways, but you've still gotta have the cognitive scores, no way around that. I think the difference is that more students are testing, partly due to the evisceration of Spectrum and regular programs.

Changing the cutoff of an unreliable test is just going to make it even more arbitrary and capricious -- it will lessen the number of those who qualify, but in no way guarantee their quality. That's why Bellevue's Prism program is not really any better suited to highly gifted students than APP is, despite a 144 cutoff (which basically means "get a perfect score, near as you can, or forget it").

Helen Schinske

tadd said...

For those focusing on capacity issues, this is an issue that school districts have had to deal with for years. The District is fully capable of handling increased capacity, by construction of portables, opening of adjacent buildings, staggered schedules, and adjusting enrollment boundary lines, if that's what they wanted.
But if what they really desire is to split up APP at the high school level, like they suggested in 2005, or at the elementary and middle school level last year, they simply can hide under the guise of "overcapacity " to force a quick split of the program. There is absolutely no capacity reason that the entire APP population couldn't stay at Garfield, if that is what the district wanted. But they don't.

The difference now with the proposal to split Garfield APP (vs. the splits at WMS and Lowell,) is that there are no school closure issues that the District can use as cover, and there would be a much more onerous impact on students who need the rigor of a sufficient number of AP courses at Garfield and have been planning on playing music with Clarence Acox their whole life. It is also much clearer this time that APP kids suffering disruptions at the elementary and middle school level are being totally stepped on by the District. Those APP students are finding their voice and aren't going to stand for being pawns anymore. The APP AC is also better prepared this time and may be able to educate enough boardmembers to implement some immediate fixes to give everybody some breathing room, so the board doesn't allow District staff to do something so stupid and irreversable as forcing APP students out of Garfield.

I attended the meeting at Garfield last night and felt inspired by the comments coming from the discussion groups. Clear, well-reasoned points and now the students are coming forth and saying "Don't mess with our lives!".

We should listen to those students as they discuss their hopes and dreams and preparation for adulthood, including their well thought out plans of attending Garfield, a rigorous program set in a diversified high school in the Central District. These kids took the tests, played by the District rules, and decided to go to Garfield for a real world experience in a diverse setting. These kids also endured a split at the elementary and middle school levels being told that they would get to attend Garfield High School; now they are being told this may not happen because once again they are pawns in a district scheme to dismantle their successful program, with an agenda that has nothing to do with helping those students get a better education or treating them fairly.

APP has long been wrongly viewed as parents pushing their kids when those parents are simply trying to maintain predictability of a successful program and in so doing support the public schools. Now that we hear the middle and high school APP students speak out, we finally get it--- it is the kids who are now pushing themselves for their own educational goals and they have figured out for themselves that the District is working against their interests.

From last night's discussion, it became clear that fixes like staggered scheduling and temporary classrooms will give everybody some breathing room before the district misfires by making a horrendous long term decision like splitting up APP at Garfield. It also became clear that the two mandatory reassignment proposals must be taken off the table because those undeniably would disrupt students' lives.

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

The District should listen to what wasn’t said in last night’s meeting as much as what was said. The development of successful IB alternatives, at Ingraham and Sealth, that could peel off APP Students and Private School Students who choose the IB program, had very little objection. Allowing testing of students at the high school level for advanced programs (right now only elementary and middle school students can test) also is a method for developing the critical mass of high achieving students at different high schools to make these advanced programs succeed throughout the City.

A year and a half ago, after the Lowell and last minute split of Washington, I wrote the school board saying that Garfield High School was a district and city asset that the District should avoid splitting at all costs. I said that the integrity of APP at the high school level was "a line in the sand" for parents and no parent at any high school would stand for their kids to be pulled out of their high school. Last night, I heard parents and students agree that a split of APP at the high school level would be the ultimate transgression of the Seattle School District. I hope that those writing the well-reasoned arguments here let their School Board member know in firm, respectful emails and letters, that there are options this time around to relieve the overcrowding at Garfield, without dismantling the successful synergy that APP students and parents bring to a Central District school. That synergy serves all populations. APP parents work with many programs serving all Garfield students, including Read Write, First Time College Students, Drama, Sports and Music.

The School District shouldn't disrupt a successful program working to better an inner city school that still needs work. Our work at Garfield is not done. It's no time to cherry pick APP students against their will and scatter them north. The students know that they are getting used this time around.

tadd said...

When I said that the APP AC committee was better prepared now, I did not mean to say they were unprepared for the WMS and Lowell splits. Rather, those last minute moves by the School District putting WMS on the chopping block, after starting off with closing Lowell and then splitting Lowell, caught all of us on our heels, including every member of the APP community. Now everybody knows the District's game and their latest move to disrupt the integrity of Garfield is much more obvious.

Choice of IB or APP-yes, mandatory split-no!

Seattle-Ed2010 said...

It looks like tomorrow night's school board public testimony is going to be dominated by the contentious topic of bringing (uncredentialed, yet costly) Teach for America, Inc. recruits to Seattle. (More info on that here: "Controversial 'Teach for America' Back on the Agenda for Seattle Schools")

We can certainly still show up tomorrow night and protest the proposed APP eviction from Garfield one way or another, with signs or just with sheer numbers of us.

And/or, anyone interested in gearing up for a strong showing at the next school board meeting on Dec. 8 to protest?

It's possible that may be too late, so in the meantime, we can write letters to the board, contact the media, etc. whatever it takes.

Here's something to keep in mind: Supt. Goodloe-Johnson is making a mess of our district, dismantling or weakening many strong programs and schools -- and not just APP, although she is going after our kids for the third time (as I wrote here: "Seattle School District reveals plan to evict its gifted kids from their high school – targeting this population for the third time in two years.")

But she will likely ditch Seattle in a couple of years for her next well-paid job somewhere and not look back.

The rest of us, though, will still be here, living with the mess and damage she's made.

Our school board members will also still be here, as members of our community and our elected local representatives. They will need to answer to the community for their votes and support of this superintendent's destructive agenda, which right now includes avoidably overcrowding, and a plan to seriously weaken, what is arguably the strongest public high school in the district.

Does the Seattle School Board truly want to be on record supporting that?

Four school board members are up for re-election next year: Maier, Sundquist, Carr and Martin-Morris.

Their votes for or against evicting APP from Garfield and messing with the district's strongest high school should be watched very closely and remembered next election season.

Three of them voted for the elementary and middle schools splits already.

Food for thought.

-- sue p.

Anonymous said...

So, I am just wondering. What is the APP community suggest doing to help protect other high schools and their cohorts at these meetings? I mean, I totally don't think current GHS students should be sent to another school - that is wrong, wrong wrong. But... if you leave APP intact at Garfield, you necessitate the changing of at least 4 other high schools boundary lines. Meaning kids who expect to go to high school at say, Ballard, Roosevelt or Franklin, no longer can. Instead they are going to be split off from their classmates who they have been with, many since kindergarten, and cast to the winds as well.

This is an ugly situation, and I would like to see all parents work together some way to force the district to just stop all this this year, for all our sakes.

Signed - Frustrated and Fed up

Anonymous said...

And I am not slamming APP parents above - I truly think we all need to work together to stop this - for everyone!

hschinske said...

But... if you leave APP intact at Garfield, you necessitate the changing of at least 4 other high schools boundary lines.

Which is exactly why the boundary lines around Garfield should not have been drawn so big -- the district forced this issue, knowing full well it would cause exactly this problem. I think they did it specifically so that parents would fight each other over the results and not all protest the same way.

But surely we can all agree on not wanting to be jerked around, and wanting sensible plans to be made well ahead of time, based on reliable data. That's quite independent of whether the APP program (as one example) actually is too big to fit comfortably into Garfield any longer. Whether it is or it isn't, putting everyone into panic mode with artificial overcrowding was dead wrong.

Helen Schinske

Howard said...

If the objective is truly to bring Garfield enrollment back close to the building's functional capacity, there is no APP-only solution short of moving APP to Ingraham and/or Rainier Beach while not allowing APP students to return to their attendance area high school. Once you allow APP students the same option as anyone else in the district - to return to their attendance area school - moving APP out of Garfield by force simply shifts the overcrowding problems to Ballard and Roosevelt, where close to 40% of the APP students live. At which point the district will be forced to redraw boundaries.

There's no getting around the fact that the district has promised a seat at Garfield to more kids than the building was designed to handle, and therefore all of those kids are equally deserving of a seat. At this point, I concur with what appears to be the prevailing sentiment from last night's meeting; no one - APP or non-APP - should be thrown under the bus. Given the hash the district has made of the NSAP, the most equitable short-term solution is:

a) Go ahead and attempt to make IB (at Ingraham and/or Sealth) more attractive to rising APP 9th graders as an additional option. I don't think it will draw large numbers, but it can't hurt. (Though one might argue that the Advanced Learning office's plate is full enough already)

b) Temporarily reduce choice seat availability at Garfield

c) Make do with what's left, whether it be partially split sessions, use of the community center, or some combination of the two.

Of course given overcrowding and the district FUD campaign, APP enrollment at Garfield may decline on its own over the next few years - in which case you can expect, again, more pressure on Ballard and Roosevelt enrollment.

Stephanie Bower, APP AC said...

HI all,
I now see my posts here in this thread, but I have not placed them here and have not been responding specifically to this thread, I have been responding to the Q and A thread.
So I have missed some of the comments until now.
Stephanie

Stephanie Bower, APP AC said...

The date for the meeting tonight was scheduled because of conflicts with every other night this week for APP families.
District meeting at GHS on Monday,
TM ptsa on Tuesday,
Garfield ptsa on Thursday,
also curriculum night at WMS.

The thought was it was better to have the meeting sooner rather than later, and not to have it during a holiday week when many people travel.
No conspiracy.
Stephanie

Stephanie Bower, APP AC said...

Dealing with angry people is a necessary social skill for those who work with the public. Anyone who simply refuses to listen is not doing their job. These are our kids, and our tax money pays for the district's budget. If they waste our money, if they lie to us, if they fail to educate our kids, we will call them on it.

If you call for every interaction to be in a particular civilized tone, you're also restricting what people can say and silencing what people most desperately want to say. There IS no totally civilized, nicey-nice way to say something like "You told us a lie." There are more and less dignified ways to say it, but no amount of dignity in the accuser is going to sweeten the pill for the accused.

Helen Schinske
------
Helen, everyone on the APP AC is a volunteer, and most are APP parents. We are not responsible for the splits. No one was able to prevent that change, even the angriest and most articulate of Lowell parents. Everyone needs to stop blaming everyone else for that change, including the APP AC.

Anyone can be angry and express that anger, and they do. That approach, I feel, is not productive and does not work. In the past, this approach has created more problems for APP. Also, there are lots of things the APP AC addresses, not just the big issues some people get angry about, and we could not do all the other work unless we maintained a respectful tone...you can't advocate for anything if they don't listen.

I AM A PARENT of 2 kids in APP, one who is 2e. A parent, like most everyone on this blog. I'm a Texan who lived in New York City for 14 years, even in Bed Stuy Brooklyn when it looked very different from today. I have been a college teacher for nearly 20 years, including 10 years at Parsons in New York with students from all over the world. I started a recycling center in Williamsburg Brooklyn in protest because the city would not provide recycling in our neighborhood. I have a fighting spirit, I can take on conflict better than most. I also believe in group process, because I think the outcome is better when many voices contribute.

It is not my JOB to be the object of people's misplaced anger toward the district. People can certainly find a way to express their sentiments without verbally abusing other parents.
Stephanie

hschinske said...

Dealing with angry people is a necessary social skill for those who work with the public. Anyone who simply refuses to listen is not doing their job. These are our kids, and our tax money pays for the district's budget. If they waste our money, if they lie to us, if they fail to educate our kids, we will call them on it.

I stand by this statement, which, like the rest of that post, is meant to apply to the school district, not to APP AC.

Anyone can be angry and express that anger, and they do. That approach, I feel, is not productive and does not work.

I disagree. I think anger can be quite productive if harnessed and used honorably, and I think many people on these threads have done so -- with, on the whole, remarkable restraint and civility, considering the level of disagreement expressed. Moreover, I think that a large percentage of posts have not in fact expressed any direct anger at all, but only an intense probing for the truth -- unsettling, perhaps, but only to be expected in this crowd.

Helen Schinske

Meg said...

Howard - I'm with you. I don't want to see anyone, particularly the kids currently at Garfield, thrown under the bus.

I'm several years off of this affecting my kids, since they're both still in elementary school. I continue to think, particularly after looking at the district's attendance area data, that the boundaries for Garfield were drawn too big.

This may be a different topic. I don't know. I think it's very much related. Looking at attendance data for high schools, I noticed that only 17% of HS kids enrolled in SPS and living in the RBHS area are attending RBHS. The NSAP brought a one point uptick - 18% of RBHS-area 9th graders are at the school. It's the lowest capture rate in the district, and the lowest uptick under the NSAP.

I do not know enough about RBHS to comment on the school as a whole. But it's clear that families are voting with their feet - there are about 1,000 high school kids (who are enrolled in SPS) in the RBHS area attending high school elsewhere. That puts a gigantic kink in the neighborhood assignment plan, and is a much, much bigger problem than HS APP growing by 80 kids in 5 years. In an area-based assignment plan, kids deserve to get served - and served well - at their local. Clearly Rainier Beach families don't think their kids will be served there.

wseadawg said...

Excellent Post Howard. You too Meg. Awe Heck, I love all you bloggers.

Considering all the options, I think Howard has nailed down the best short term solution, but Meg has really found the smoking gun at RBHS. Those percentages have to change. Whatever the district is doing is not enough. Whatever the community is doing is not enough. Whatever the city is doing, is not enough. RBHS area families deserve a great High School that serves them well.

The question is what can we, as a community of activists and bloggers do to help them get what they need and deserve? Does it sound self-serving to focus on RB? So what! I don't care. What I care about is getting all families in that area to feel good about sending their kids to their local school again. How will the NSAP ever work if we don't have great schools available in every neighborhood?

Forget about the SE Initiative. If the district can't deliver at RBHS what RBHS's community wants and needs, and will choose to send the kids to be a part of, then the entire 5 year Strategic Plan is a failure and the concept of Excellence for All is bankrupt.

Anonymous said...

The problems at Rainier Beach are many, some of them are quite well publicized, and that they have been allowed to get as bad as they have is an indicator of how little the district is able to monitor and improve schools. I am surprised that as many kids go there as do. Unless the district takes a lot of action (which is so unlikely it almost feels like lying to call it a possibility) it will be years before anyone nearby has any confidence in Rainier Beach as a viable educational choice. If it were my local reference school, I would probably be interested in any alternative.

tadd said...

I noticed that posts have fallen off in the last two days and for good reason. Apparently Bob Vaughn and the district have agreed not to displace current Garfield APP students to lower enrollment. It remains unclear whether the district will maintain it's promise to Wasington and Hamilton students that they would get to rejoin each other at Garfield after the program was split apart at the Middle School level. If he school district keeps this promise, it will go along way to restoring the trust and support of parents. In any event I believe we can thank the.efforts of those here and elsewhere who have lobbied the board and especially Stephanie and the APP AC for educating school board members in direct meetings.

Seattle-Ed2010 said...

Perhaps, but that still leaves all the other APP kids who aren't yet at Garfield in limbo.

--sp.