Monday, November 29, 2010

Open thread

Seems to be a lot going on for APP lately. What would you like to talk about?

28 comments :

Anonymous said...

My son, a 7th grader at TOPS, has test scores which qualify for APP. He would likely fit easily and well into the curriculum and the cohort.

However, living in Seattle's southend, the prospects are dim. Maybe Sealth IB? Maybe move north?

Any advice?

- Paul

SE Mom said...

Paul, are talking about what to do for high school? I suppose the answer rests in whether the district will change the rules and let kids test into APP for high school or not with the likely split cohort.

We were in a similar spot this year for 9th grade. We did check out Sealth IB and thought the program had some real pluses. However, we ended up choosing private school for 9th grade after considering our public school options.

The cost of moving vs cost of private high school would be a good
analysis to do!

Mercermom said...

Why are his prospects dim if he lives in the south end? My seventh-grader is having a very good APP experience at WMS, and a positive experience at the school overall. (He joined in sixth grade.) While there may be changes that affect GHS, I am pretty confident that when he goes there in less than two years, he will have access to a very good h.s. education (where he will be happy to be less segregated from non-APP kids).

Mercermom said...

Anyone have info on the GHS meeting last night?

Anonymous said...

Thanks, everyone, for your replies.

My 7th grader's experience at TOPS has been great. It is what happens next, in high school, that concerns me.

Unfortunately, scores & enthusiasm notwithstanding, there is no path to Garfield from TOPS. You can only get to Garfield APP through Washington, or through residence in the neighborhood. So the district tells me.

Some of our friends switched from TOPS to WMS expressly for the purpose of gaining access to Garfield APP. We chose not to do that.

May I confess to feeling a hint of anti-southend bias? We cannot get into Garfield. Ingraham, in the far north and already a strong IB program, may be strengthened further by splitting Garfield APP, if that choice is made.

Rainier Beach and Franklin are not known as academic strongholds. STEM at Cleveland may develop into something, but perhaps that has not been accomplished yet.

If Garfield must be split, why not move its strengths to the south?

- Paul

Single Child said...

Paul, we joined APP in 8th grade at WMS. Very happy about making this decision. If you chose to join APP, make sure that your child takes Algebra 1 during the summer: the WMS math department will not assign your child to Geometry class with other APP students, even though your MAP scores are very high since TOPS does not have Honors math. We did Algebra 1 through Robinson Center at UW.

hschinske said...

Paul, it seems to me you have the choice to put your son in APP next year if you choose to do so, and if you choose not, you take the consequences. Yes, it's a problem (understatement of the year) that there are fewer good schools in the south end, but that's not an APP problem. APP qualification has given you more choices, not fewer.

Frankly, getting a kid into TOPS is way more of a golden ticket situation, as it's totally a matter of knowing about it in time to apply and luck in getting in. It's also been a much more predictable path in recent years than APP has been -- kids who got into TOPS for kindergarten were set through middle school, with almost no likelihood of anyone threatening their program or making them move. Not that I have any beef with that at all -- I just wish there were more TOPS-like programs available elsewhere.

Charlie Mas's daughters are at Nova and Sealth -- you might want to talk to him about those programs. My understanding is that the situation at Sealth has changed a lot in the past few years and you shouldn't rely on older anecdotes.

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

Paul: re: Anti-South bias.

RBHS has over 1000 high school age kids living in its assignment area who do not attend RBHS, but go to other public schools scattered all over town. And enrollment at RBHS is down from last year, once again.

If there's an anti-South bias, it's strongest in the South.

pj manley

Anonymous said...

I could not attend last night's meeting at Garfield, can anyone who did comment on the presentations/discussions?
Thanks!

Jessica said...

Some notes on the meeting at Garfield last night re: possible creation of a new APP pathway to Ingraham HS with an Int'l Baccalaureate (IB) diploma.

I'd say there were about 100+ people there, including APP AC and SPS staffmembers. Most parents in the audience had a student in high school or middle school, and most parents identified themselves as from Hamilton.

A Garfield administrator (the principal?) talked about Garfield's current overenrollment, and Bob Vaughan laid out his vision for the advanced IB program at Ingraham.

I thought key points included:

- Garfield PTSA wants to cap enrollment at approx 1600 students, and also wants to cap APP enrollment at Garfield at 25% of the total.
- A few speakers seconded the point that Garfield is not "an APP school" but is mainly a neighborhood school, and that APP parents shouldn't view APP as the school's top priority.
- Bob Vaughan said APP enrollment is growing (such as very full enrollment at HIMS) and will continue to grow - that Garfield would not be able to absorb all or most APP students in the future.
- One speaker said she felt that this was the latest in a series of attacks on APP. Vaughan responded by saying there was no SPS plot to destroy the program, but that in his view, Garfield's enrollment crisis had provided an opportunity to create an exciting new program in the APP pathway. (He compared this to Rahm Emanuel's famous statement about using a crisis as an opportunity.)
- Vaughan said the IB is being considered as an APP pathway because Bellevue introduced a very successful IB program for gifted students at Interlake HS. (Bellevue was apparently inspired to create a separate gifted program by Seattle's APP). Vaughan outlined the Interlake program and said a similar plan would be introduced at Ingraham, with most APP students earning the IB diploma in 10th and 11th grades, with internships, college-level courses and other opportunities focused in 12th grade.
- Vaughan said his PowerPoint presentation is available on the SPS website for more details.

I left before anyone asked about transportation details, which wld obv be an important issue. Maybe another person at the mtg can fill that in?

Jessica said...

A few more details:

If there is a second APP hs pathway created at Ingraham, the biggest remaining question seems to be whether every APP student will have an automatic "ticket to Garfield" that they could exchange for a "ticket to Ingraham." (As I think Stephanie, the APP AC president described it). Or whether there would be a north-south split in students.

My opinion only (and we live in the Garfield assignment area, so this would not affect me): The IB program sounded impressive, and certainly Interlake has made a success of it if college acceptances are a guide.

There are obv many big issues to consider, including funding, teachers, transportation, automatic assignment, etc. But Bob Vaughan sounded inspired and excited about this program. And IF the district can put it together smoothly in the short term, I could see families viewing it over time as a net long-term plus for APP.

Jessica said...

Lastly, Bob Vaughan talked about the Gov Gregoire's proposed budget cut to X-out funding for gifted education statewide. This is apparently $7 million and Seattle receives the largest grant, $400,000 as the largest school district.

Vaughan said this grant money is used entirely for staff in his office who identify and test children for APP. (He said the money is not used for transportation and is unrelated to the $3500/student bus money from the state.)

He said X-ing out the grant would be devastating for his office and would severely limit its ability to bring kids into the program.

Anonymous said...

I went last night as well, and second all Jessica says.

In addition, Bob Vaughan will be conducting a survey around Dec 9th of all APP families to measure the level of interest in the Accelerated IB Program he's proposing for Ingraham, so please respond and weigh in with your thoughts.

This is targeted at North End families, obviously, and being from West Seattle, it's not really an option for my kids. But honestly, I wish it were, because I think an Accelerated IB Program would rock!

IB at Sealth has been a huge success, and having recently watched the film Race to Nowhere, which is all about the Advanced Placement craze and how it's over-stressing the lives of many AP High School students, and causing a host of related problems, I personally think AP is a bit dated & overrated. Many colleges are scaling it back or eliminating it altogether, because it isn't actually preparing enough kids for college. They get the credits, but not the depth of the subject matter. It's a real problem.

Okay, so that's my sales pitch to encourage folks to be open minded about Accelerated IB. It's basically APP/IB instead of the traditional APP/AP model at Garfield. Still an accelerated program for Highly Capable kids, but in a different, cohesive program.

I know that if I were in school today, I'd be all over the program, because IB is the stuff I was into way back when. Global politics, global history, foreign languages...All so exotic during the Cold War school years. And probably why I love the Bourne Trilogy today.

But here's what I think is really, really important for everyone to think about, so please pay attention: No matter who thinks this represents North End APP folks being thrown under the bus, the new program option allows we in the APP community the possible opportunity to fashion our own remedy to the overcrowding problem at Garfield, instead of getting ripped apart at the seams, once again. Garfield is growing, whether APP numbers grow or not, because of larger groups of neighborhood middle school kids coming through the system. APP looks to have a large incoming group of 9th graders next year, so SPS is making plans whether all of APP shows up or not. The numbers could be dead wrong, but SPS is charging ahead regardless. So this is our chance as a community to grab the reins and build something for ourselves, before the district and Board drop the meat cleaver on us again! Think we can stop it this time? I don't know how.

And the APP/IB proposal is voluntary, not mandatory. Some board members want to mandate a split, but Bob's hope is that if we can get 50 or so students (or more) to voluntarily opt for APP/IB at Ingram, we'll hold or decrease APP numbers at Garfield, keeping the Garfield program basically in tact.


I know this tough for anyone to swallow, and I don't trust the district to not come back in a year and try tossing more of us out, but given the choice between getting split up, versus voluntarily joining a new Accelerated program option, I'll take the latter.

I know people will perceive any idea of kids destined for Garfield being asked to turn away as a huge loss and breach of faith and trust, and I would agree with that sentiment. It sucks. We didn't cause the problem, and we shouldn't be on the chopping block. But the feedback I've heard from meetings with Board members is that we are. So we've got to get off that block on our own, or we'll probably get it again, and it will be much worse.

pj manley

Anonymous said...

One caveat is the hope that the new program would also draw interest from qualified kids not in APP, but currently at, or on their way to Roosevelt, Ballard, Hale & Ingraham, who might join up too. So when I say, "50 or so," I don't necessarily mean 50 APP kids from next year's 9th grade class, but probably half that number.

pj manley

SE Mom said...

Well, one way to make the Ingraham accelerated IB program more appealing would be to let kids test in for 9th grade. Why would non-app kids thinking of Roosevelt Ballard be interested in the new IB track if they could not participate academically?

The new APP high school proposal would actually be a cohesive program rather than a bunch of random AP classes - another reason why kids should be able to test into that for high school. Of course the possible cuts to APP funding for testing could present a road block.

hschinske said...

Vaughan outlined the Interlake program and said a similar plan would be introduced at Ingraham, with most APP students earning the IB diploma in 10th and 11th grades, with internships, college-level courses and other opportunities focused in 12th grade.

This is the same model as Vaughan's plan of having students take AP courses earlier and earlier, which I've previously expressed reservations about. I also really don't think it would be a good idea to have a completely separate path for APP students -- I saw too much siloing of programs already going on at Ingraham, and I don't think there should be two IB tracks, but rather one set of students who get early access to the *same* IB classes. I also think that non-APP-qualified students should be allowed to take accelerated classes if they wish and can show appropriate evidence of readiness, especially in math.

I think IB would have been a good match for my abilities in high school, but if presented with an opportunity like the one Vaughan is proposing, I suspect my choice would have been to spread the IB classes over three years rather than two, so that my acceleration would actually do me some good in terms of providing breathing room, rather than just making everything higher-stakes and more stressful.

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

Helen: I believe Bob misspoke when he said "earn a diploma in 10th grade." There's a certificate or pre-IB course to complete, but it's not the IB degree kids now get in 12th grade, and could get in 11th in the accelerated program.

I may be wrong, but I've been to every meeting, and Monday night was the first time I heard Bob say that.

SE Mom: Opening up the classes, and allowing non-APP 9th graders to test in is part of the discussion, prompted in part by parents who share your concerns. Sorry I didn't make that clear. Bob understands exactly what you're saying, and is looking at just that group of kids you're talking about. There was much discussion about this at the meeting too. Most APP folks want more kids in the classes and program with their kids, because there's strength in numbers and because we all want every kid to experience a great program like APP if they can. Some wish the program were smaller & more tightly controlled, but I think that would be the kiss of death, politically.

The thrust of this initiative is to get a program in place to serve and meet the needs of APP kids at the HS level. I believe any non-APP kids who wanted in could get in, so long as they are suited for the acceleration. I know it's all part of the conversation, and something Bob is considering, but the first threshold to cross is whether there will be enough buy-in from the APP community to create the new program. It can't happen without that.

pj manley

Maureen said...

Can anyone clarify for me whether they plan to add IB courses at Ingraham, or are they only going to allow the APP kids to access the current 11th and 12th grade classes earlier? One of the issues I have had with IB at IHS is that they only seem to offer two years worth of IB classes. Have they laid out explicitly what the early access kids could do in 11th and 12th grades? (I know that the Bellevue program has a fabulous internship program for 12th grade, but think it offers more than two years of IB courses.)

Any mention at the meeting of how new kids could test in? Some possibilitie: The PSAT is cheap; many of those kids would take the private school entrance test anyway; and, my personal favorite, just accept any kid who has tested into APP in the past as long as they can get a note from their teacher saying they can do the work.

hschinske said...

pj, I was assuming Bob Vaughan meant that APP students could *start* working toward the diploma by 10th grade rather than by 11th (those who want to do the whole diploma program in the first place, which isn't a given). I meant that I personally would have wanted to spread the two years of IB courses over 10th, 11th, and 12th grade, if possible, rather than doing the whole thing in two years. But I don't know if that's going to be an allowable option.

Helen Schinske

hschinske said...

(double-post from Hamilton thread)

The HIMS registrar states that Hamilton is in compliance with state law and everyone else is low: apparently http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=28A.210.365 is the new requirement, which states that "By 2010, all students in grades one through eight should have at least one hundred fifty minutes of quality physical education every week."

So if you're trying to do it in one semester, that's 300 minutes per week, or 5 hours. That's tough to manage if there are any days you aren't available for after-school classes.

Helen Schinske

Jessica said...

I haven't found Bob Vaughan's slide presentation yet on the SPS website, but here is Bellvue's Interlake HS web explanation of the IB program.

https://myportal.bsd405.org/personal/obyrnem/interlakeIB/default.aspx

lendlees said...

Jessica-
The presentation is about 1/2 way down the Advanced Learning page on SPS web site (http://www.seattleschools.org/area/advlearning/index.dxml)

Also Tom Bishop mentioned that they were looking into shuttles for Ingraham like they currently offer for STEM. Shuttles would hypothetically start at a school like Blaine and then stop at BF Day and then Bagley before heading up the Ingraham. Going home would be via ORCA card/aka Metro.

Anonymous said...

hschinske said...
Paul, it seems to me you have the choice to put your son in APP next year if you choose to do so

This is just one of the good things I have learned here on this blog. I had been so sure that 7th grade was the last entry point...

SE Mom said...
Well, one way to make the Ingraham accelerated IB program more appealing would be to let kids test in for 9th grade

This seems like a great idea to me! And perhaps not just because it would benefit my kid. I am not sure I quite grasp why transferring into APP for 8th grade is permitted, but not at the 9th grade. 'Join the cohort before it enters high school" might be the argument, I suppose. But since changing schools at 9th grade is such standard practice, I have difficulty understanding the absolute prohibition. Any one have any insight into this?

I have a call into the Advanced Learning office to find out if, especially with all the changes being contemplated, 9th grade APP admission might be allowed. Are there others here who might wish to join me in a modest statement urging a policy change like this?

I have taken to heart the several recommendations of Sealth IB posted above. Calling there today to find out when we could visit, along with similar calls to Franklin, Cleveland, Roosevelt and Ballard, I quickly found myself talking with the principal,. He was gracious and helpful.

pj manley points out:
If there's an anti-South bias, it's strongest in the South.

I can only plead guilty to this. My intentions were always otherwise, but I should be judged by my actions. I spent months when my kid was in pre-school volunteering at Whitworth, joining in neighborhood meetings to try to build a cadre of us to go to school there. We (and I) failed.

It is hard to imagine a strong and early migration of capable students back to the southend high schools. Perhaps this will build over time. If all of our schools were equally good, though perhaps with different emphases, things would be so much simpler!

dw said...

NEWS ALERT!

According to Charlie Mas, on this post: 1:36 pm post

Here's the bomb on slide 24: there will be an APP pathway from Hamilton to Ingraham if other solutions cannot address the overcrowding at Garfield.

This may have been implied previously, but this is the first I've seen where it's spelled out in black and white as THE result if the APP/IB plan doesn't pan out.

Not sure if this merits a post of its own, since this seems to be the main topic of conversation right now anyway, but I think this needs to get pushed in front of as many eyeballs as possible.

Single Child said...

Paul, presently APP kids take Biology and pre-AP World History classes in 8th grade. In 9th grade they continue with Chemistry (or Genetics) and AP World History. If your son joins the APP cohort in 9th grade he will not be able to take those classes with his APP classmates, but will be at least one year behind (he will have to take Biology and pre-AP WH with general ed kids). And since he is coming from TOPS (i.e. no Honors math), he will be placed in lower level math classes. Then, what is the advantage of joining APP in 9th grade?

SE Mom said...

Additional info about TOPS middle school curriculum: The science program is farily advanced and the kids get three full years of science. Many TOPS kids skip general science as 9th graders and start with Biology.

TOPS also offers the opportunity to take both Algebra and Geometry in 8th grade, so no problem there when advancing to higher level math at high school. My kid is in that situation now in 9th grade and doing well in Honors Algebra II.

Don't know about Ingraham IB, but at Sealth, 9th graders taking Algebra II can start with chemistry and then progress to IB Biology.

Maureen said...

hschinske said...
Paul, it seems to me you have the choice to put your son in APP next year if you choose to do so


This just pisses me off. I know Paul's kid. He is amazing. And he is an integral part of his class at TOPS. I can't speak to whether he is sufficiently challenged, but he is valued in the classroom and on the Ultimate field. We would miss him. I think he would miss us.

He will enter High School with enough math and science to be tutoring APP kids through junior year (it is happening now.) He could master anything Garfield could throw at him in terms of LA or Social Studies AND he is a mean fiddler.

Washington and Hamilton do not have the monopoly on advanced curriculum. Requiring a kid to leave his friends and a challenging academic program in order to buy themselves access to an appropriate public High School education just sucks.

hschinske said...

Requiring a kid to leave his friends and a challenging academic program in order to buy themselves access to an appropriate public High School education just sucks.

He's not required to do so. I just said he's got that option, and that's more choice than he would otherwise have. Garfield isn't the only choice in the world academically either.

Incidentally, another option some may be interested in trying for is the merit-based Caroline D. Bradley scholarship for private high school: http://www.educationaladvancement.org/pages/programspages/cdbscholarship.html.

Helen Schinske