Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ingraham Accelerated IB program

On request, a new thread to discuss the proposed Ingraham Accelerated IB program that was presented at a meeting last night.

PJ Manley attended and summarized the meeting:
It would be an Accelerated IB program at a high school that already has a well-established IB program. The principal & teachers seem to be good, supportive, and available. It was a very upbeat meeting, and I think Bob V deserves a fair amount of credit for this idea. It's not his own. He readily admits he's copying the Interlake model in Bellevue.

Based on what was presented, I'd choose an accelerated IB program over typical AP classes at a neighborhood school in a heartbeat. It would be the perfect fit for anyone on the fence between APP or IB. I have to believe it will appeal to a lot of people.
An anonymous parent also attended and added:
I am cautiously optimistic that it could become an excellent alternative for some kids.

The IB diploma is a rigorous and coordinated curriculum that has high value with college admissions officers. Gifted students would be in self-contained classrooms in 9th grade -- so the 9th grade academics are potentially more rigorous than at Garfield. It appears than some of the 10th-12 grade classes might also be only highly gifted students. So the gifted group would feel more cohesive. So overall, this curriculum held more appeal to me than a mishmash of AP courses at Garfield.

And the Ingraham teachers are already teaching the curriculum, so it might require less start up time than I had originally thought. The also are proposing to make it possible for gifted kids not currently in APP to test in -- which should both bring in new students and reduce the complaints that kids can't enter a "gifted program" in Seattle after 7th grade.

It was also clear that Bob Vaughan was passionate about its potential, based on the outcomes in Bellevue. And the Ingraham principal and staff who attended the meeting seemed excited about the program and having our kids ... I think its the core of a very good idea.
Update: Meg Diaz points out that the presentation is available (PDF).


CCM said...

Well - this is good news. I spoke to a friend that attended and was also cautiously optimistic that this could be a good option.

The availability to other students to opt-in in 9th grade is also appealing - as I think my big issue with it might be actually keeping the cohort too narrow by teaching in self-contained classes in 9th grade.

Was is attractive enough to siphon off the numbers that are needed to maintain the Garfield choice? When do they make that assessment - and if no - what happens then?

Lori said...

Is there a handout or written description of this new, accelerated IB program that is proposed? As I understand it, the IB program at Ingraham is a 2-year program that kids start as juniors right now.

so if APP students start an accelerated program in 9th grade, are they granted the IB diploma as juniors? Or is the program somehow extended out over the 4 years with more depth and course offerings? I'm confused how you accelerate a program and still have rigorous courses to offer for junior and senior year.


Single Child said...

Lori, there is a link to a PDF file at the Advanced Learning site of SPS that contains the outline of the new accelerated IB program.

Seattle-Ed2010 said...

That's great that Bob Vaughan is "passionate" about this. Wonderful. But what power does he have to make it happen, or happen well? He can only do what the district allows him to do.

He and the district still have work to do to make the elementary and middle school splits equitable and rigorous. They're not there yet, nor are there clear indications they are heading there.

This is another split -- let's not gloss over that.

I have also heard good things about Ingraham and think the IB program is promising.

But who is going to build a fully realized program there for all four grades and make sure all the necessary support, teachers and material are there for an expanded program? Where will the money come from?

The PTA?

The district has a credibility problem, and not just with its broken promises to APP. What's to stop it from luring us all north and then ditching us? Mission accomplished: underenrolled school filled, more space now opened at Garfield.

I know this sounds cynical, but I've been watching this district very closely for the past two years now and I am not convinced that decisions are made based on what's best for SPS kids, nor do I see district leadership held accountable for bad decisions or broken promises.

I would love for the APP/IB idea to work. Done well it could be brilliant.

I just have zero evidence that the district will make it so, and plenty of evidence that it will let things slide as it's done elsewhere.

Think about the "capacity management plan" and all the kids and programs that got booted or split from their schools. Has the district followed up to make sure all those kids are okay and have what they need?

How are NOVA and SBOC doing together in the Meany building? What happened to all the kids of the African American Academy and Cooper Elementary who were evicted from their schools? How are they doing? How are things at Washington and Hamilton? Where are all the Summit kids? Have tensions been resolved at Thurgood Marshall? How's the overcrowding being managed in West Seattle? And what's happening at Cleveland with STEM? Is the program what it was promised to be? (That could be a good case study for us to look at, by the way, but keep in mind that the district invested $800,000 into that experiment. Is it promising a similar infusion for IB/APP at Ingraham?)

Where is the follow-up?

Where's the accountability?


Anonymous said...

My quick assessment is yes, this has the potential to be a strong alternative to Garfield, but the geographic location is going to make it less appealing. In its infancy, it will be a hard sell to those that can choose established programs at Garfield, Ballard and Roosevelt, and it is just so far away for South end families.

I see it a promising alternative to the current pathway, but do not see it as a near term solution to the overcrowding at Garfield.

The lack of an easy Metro route is a significant barrier, as transportation is simply a bus pass.

On the positive side, the principal was very welcoming and seems excited about the accelerated pathway being proposed. He was very open to the idea of offering additional courses based on interest and demand.

There clearly needs to be more information before families will consider this option. Kudos to the students - they tended to have the most thoughtful and relevent questions. The principal is open to giving prospective students a chance to shadow current students and find out more about the IB program.

If there needs to be a minimum cohort to start the program, the information needs to be extended to those outside of APP as well. I am guessing that there would be several current 8th graders, not in APP, that would be interested in an accelerated pathway for high school. Testing would be offered in January, giving them the opportunity to start the program next year.

hschinske said...

Gifted students would be in self-contained classrooms in 9th grade -- so the 9th grade academics are potentially more rigorous than at Garfield. It appears than some of the 10th-12 grade classes might also be only highly gifted students.

This part could be a really hard sell -- do we REALLY want to set up a true school-within-a-school situation? after all those years of taunts about the bare appearance of one at Garfield? I think opt-in should be plenty. After all, others who want to access IB are going to have to take pre-IB courses anyway -- does the school really need three levels of courses? Sounds like a recipe for infighting to me, not to mention unreasonably difficult to schedule.

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

I am a bit confused here about how GHS can continue as the auto assignment for some APP but not all. All things considered when a "self-contained" program - a real program not simply a cohort is available- how does this square policy wise as well as legally. To add to the confusion how can testing be allowed for only the Ingraham option. Actually, I think that something other than GHS is not a bad thing, but it sure looks complicated in many ways. Was this discussed?


hschinske said...

I will say that I like the general idea of IB, and have always thought the district should support it more. It's boggled my mind that it hasn't been a bigger deal hitherto. That said, when I toured Ingraham a couple of years ago, there was *so* much talk about it being "tons of work but worth it in the end," and I kept wondering whether anyone actually ENJOYED it. Finally one parent spoke up and said in a bemused fashion that his daughter had found the work far *easier* to complete because it was so much more interesting than her previous classes. I could have kissed him.

I'm not sure it would be a good fit for my son, who seems more on the math/techy side and isn't a keen or fluent writer. If I knew the IB classes would be likely to improve that situation, rather than just require a bunch of writing and make him figure it out, that would be different -- he's had several good teachers who've pushed him in that area and I'd love for him to have more.

The Academy of Information Technology at Ingraham might be a decent fit for him, though I worry that it would be boxing him in too much at an early age, and depending on the schedule requirements, perhaps keeping him out of some advanced classes elsewhere (I seem to recall the academies being pretty siloed in structure, it being difficult to impossible to take classes outside the strictures that they imposed on one's schedule, but maybe that's changed).

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

I was there last night, and I also felt very much encouraged. Since any APP kid who wants to go the Garfield is allowed to go, and the Ingraham APP pathway is only voluntary for kids/parents who chose to take, I don’t see there’s any reason not to implement it. I like what I have read about Interlake program. The success of Interlake program is so impressive, and I really hope there are enough supports so our own version in Seattle can take off.

John Z.

hschinske said...

Since any APP kid who wants to go to Garfield is allowed to go

I didn't take it that way -- CURRENT Garfield students are grandfathered in, but that implies that the next lot may still be split. I've been going on the assumption that my kid at Hamilton is likely to be shut out of Garfield (in fact I told him that was a possibility the other day, though I said there had been so many changes of direction that it wasn't by any means certain yet).

Helen Schinske

lendlees said...

I just sent a note to Dr. Vaughan mentioning a couple of points to think about with this program:

1) Offer it at Sealth also to make it a real offering (and increase 'equity and access'...haven't we heard that before). But, having it closer for south-end families makes a lot of sense.

2) If students can test into this APP program what will prevent them from wanting to test into Garfield? It should be equitable. (Yep, I used that word a lot!)

3) Get an MOU from the district to make sure this program is funded and supported...contractually.

4) Offer a few more hard science/math core classes so kids who are a little less humanity-inclined (mine included and sounds like Helen's as well) would be more interested. The principal is more than willing to offer them if there is demand, but having them in place makes it more 'real.'

another mom said...

"3) Get an MOU from the district to make sure this program is funded and supported...contractually."

Lendlease this is a brilliant suggestion. Insuring that this new program is properly developed with the funding to go with it gives it a good shot at being a success.

timeslid said...

Garfield will not be the same once the cohort is split. I have seen first hand the effects that the middle school split had, and it really wasn't an overal positive outcome regardless of the grandstanding speeches I have heard to the contrary. Friends were ripped apart, classes became more insular and the us vs. them attitude seems more apparent.

Bolstering Ingram's I.B. program could have merit as what if what has been said over and over again would be taken into account, "if it is done right.....". What I would like to add is that if the program at Sealth were to be similarly "accelerated" it would give the idea more legitimacy. It could also siphon A.P.P. students from Garfield as well, thus reducing over crowding.

If the district is going to destroy our flagship school at least give all of those affected some choice. Heck, economies of scale might even apply if there were to be two accelerated I.B. programs.

Howard said...

The principal is more than willing to offer them if there is demand

The $64 question, of course, is what constitutes sufficient demand, and will the cohort at Ingraham - smaller than Garfield's, under even the most optimistic assumptions - be larger enough to supply it?

If I were a prospective accelerated IB parent, my biggest questions would revolve around the post-IB senior year. What classes will actually be available to my kid, particularly in math? It's easy to make promises now, since these classes won't have to be funded and implemented for another 2-3 years. My fear is that when the rubber meets the road in 2013 or 2014, too many kids that want to remain on campus will be directed towards Running Start instead.

Anonymous said...

Living in the south end, Ingraham is not an option I would consider. If it were offered at Sealth, it would be more appealing. I'm not sure it would be possible to add it at Sealth though because they are already close to capacity, and are looking at being overcapcity within the next several years. Maybe once they get all the West Seattle feeder patterns worked out, Sealth will indeed be another opportunity for APP students. It's possible that West Seattle families may resentful of APP students getting special acceleration if it is not offered to their students. Does anyone know how families already at Ingraham feel about this new program?

hschinske said...

When I was on the tour at Ingraham, some years ago, there was at least one ninth-grader in the Integrated 3 section, which they were then teaching using Unified Math (the series favored by Gary Pounder -- he actually rescued copies from the Dumpster). Martin Floe also made a point of saying "We don't do fuzzy math here." So I didn't feel that math would be the hard part about sending an APP-qualified student there, at all.

I think they may not be using Unified Math any longer, however. Whether they've lost flexibility in other areas, I can't say.

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how families already at Ingraham feel about this new program?

One Ingraham mom did ask question about the possible impact to existing IB students at Ingraham. She’s concerning about resources get spreading thin.

On the other hand, I did feel the school principal and IB director were sincerely welcoming to the possibility of influx of APP students. If the program is successful like Interlake, not only gifted students would be benefiting from it, more IB students and better test scores could also significantly improve the school ranking.

John Z.

Anonymous said...

I didn't take it that way -- CURRENT Garfield students are grandfathered in, but that implies that the next lot may still be split. I've been going on the assumption that my kid at Hamilton is likely to be shut out of Garfield (in fact I told him that was a possibility the other day, though I said there had been so many changes of direction that it wasn't by any means certain yet).

In last night's meeting, the Ingraham APP/IB program was presented as a voluntary pathway only. Of course, things could change.

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind that, as it is now, this would be a new pathway, not a pathway to force kids into. The purported district concern is that if APP numbers keep growing at Garfield, drastic changes will have to occur. We all know what that looks like.

If an alternative APP pathway diverts enough kids to keep APP at Garfield the same size as it is now, reducing set- asides and a few other minor changes can get the overcrowding under control.

That's what Bob V is aiming for. He wants APP at Garfield to stay as is, while creating another attractive option. All things being equal, another APP Pathway could be a good thing. The concerns are legitimate, but the idea here is to avoid any APP kids from being shut out of Garfield

If, on the other hand, everybody at Hamilton & Washington slated to go to Garfield wants to stay on that path, and we don't lose the typical #'s of students to private schools or wherever, this problem will only get worse, exacerbating the problem and inviting worse outcomes.

I'd like to get a poll together of APP families and see who might be intrigued by this idea.

Remember, during the splits, there were families who wanted them. It might have only been 10% or thereabouts, but the splits had their supporters.

If we currently have a similar percentage who'd want to attend APP IB at Ingraham, the overcrowding problem will be hugely mitigated and will shrink the target on APP at Garfield's back.


Single Child said...

It looks like the IB program would let kids to have 2 foreign languages; my kid would love that. And more levels for French (Garfield right now has only 3 levels which will be only 2 years for many kids including mine coming with 2 years of MS French). It is a definite plus. Also, If the district provides some kind of transportation to the school, it will be another (major) plus. We will definitely consider the program.

Anonymous said...

has the APP AC conducted a survey of 8th and 9th grade families to find out who is seriously looking at Ingraham? are there plans for a survey? just asking, not trying to say to a group of volunteers that it's their job to do so

Anonymous said...

Transportation will be limited to a bus pass (no yellow bus service), according to information given at Wed's meeting.

Anonymous said...

As someone else mentioned, the "equity of access" issue comes up with the proposed accelerated IB program at Ingraham. If non-APP 8th graders have access to the program at Ingraham (following district testing), shouldn't they also have access to the program at Garfield?

Screening of nominees

Students nominated for consideration as highly capable students may be screened for eligibility according to district procedures. Such procedures shall be applied equitably and systematically to all nominated students. Equity of access shall be assured for all nominated students. Screening procedures may eliminate students for whom there exists clear, current evidence that the student will not qualify for eligibility under WAC 392-170-055.

dw said...

Transportation will be limited to a bus pass (no yellow bus service), according to information given at Wed's meeting.

At last night's meeting at Garfield, Tom Bishop suggested that there might be Yellow Bus (shuttles) runs to Ingraham for APP/IB. He talked about potentially 4 runs around the north end with limited (clustered) stops.

I don't think this is a done deal at all, but it's being discussed. We'll have some idea how serious the administration is about this program if it is in fact implemented.