By request, a new thread to discuss academic, teachers. or social issues specific to middle and high school APP, especially the new Ingraham IB program (which now is an option for APP students in high school instead of going to Garfield) and the relatively new middle school APP program at Hamilton.

## 27 comments:

Greg, thanks for the new thread. Here is the last post from the other thread to pick up the conversation:

Greg, perhaps you could create another thread?

In the meantime, regarding GHS science:

we started speaking with the GHS Science staff about all this 2-3 years ago.

There are 2 changes that are being confused with each other...one is the APP science acceleration to take Biology in 8th grade. The other is the alignment the district is imposing on GHS with the changes in the student assignment plan and the high schools becoming comprehensive neighborhood schools. The district and school board want offerings to be comparable at each HS. The district is mandating that GHS change to the standard Physical Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics progression for general ed students. We hoped that the district would allow the Marine Biology, Ecology, and Genetics courses to still be offered as choices and we supported the GHS science department in this, but the school board wants alignment and these offered as electives.

By APP students taking MB, E, G in 9th grade, it is actually helping to maintain these courses being offered at the school, as APP is providing a cohort of students that will fill some classes and hopefully maintain the teachers. These are wonderful and even life-changing classes for some students, and it would be a loss if they disappear.

Some districts offer Chemistry in 9th grade to their accelerated students, but the GHS science dept. doesn't like this idea for 9th graders. But Bellevue does it, as do other districts, and it will be the curriculum in 9th grade at Ingraham for the APP/IB students.

If APP students were able to take Chemistry in 9th grade, then the AP science courses and MB, E, G would be taken with same grade students in 11th or 12th grade.

Stephanie

Stephanie,

Speaking as an APP parent, I think any push to include more kids (whether they are APP or not) into advanced HS coursework is a win-win for all. The more voices of support, the more harder it is to ignore us and possibly loose some very successful programs. I have no problems if kids are capable and can test into the math or science, they should be allowed a seat. We should support this. This would enhance the rigor in our high schools.

Interesting thread about high school curriculum today over at Save Seattle Schools blog.

Thanks, Anonymous. Here is a live link to that discussion:

http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/2011/04/high-school-curriculum.html

Students who go to Ingraham will take honors Chemistry in 9th grade, followed by their choice of 1 or 2 years of IB Biology, then options the for IB Chemstry or IB Physics. The IB biology will be a good counterbalance to the current very mediocre 8th grade biology experience.

Our experience has been that biology class taught at middle school is not the equivalent of a high school biology class, even though it is supposed to be. So we are glad our child will get solid biology training at Ingraham that the APP pathway at Garfield will not current provide.

I agree with anonymous @4:12 -- the more kids who have access, the more parents and kids who are invested, and the more difficult it is to standardize all motivated/capable high school students into mediocrity.

9th grade APP Chem was one of the factors in why we selected Ingraham for our daughter.

Washington Parent

The Washington State bill to allow students who have completed the International Baccalaureate diploma to have also completed minimum high school graduation requirements has passed the House and Senate. This will be a big deal to Ingraham and Sealth students. No more worries about the stray Occ Ed,PE,or Health credit. I wonder if this will get noticed by 8th grade parents before open enrollment ends? Here is the link.

http://www.washingtonvotes.org/2011-HB-1524

Lowell Parent

I have seen mention that there used to be an option for 6th grade APP students very strong in math to take algebra 1 in 6th grade instead of Math 8.

Could someone explain Math 8 in regards to new material and rigor? Also knowledge specific to Hamilton's math department. Any recommendations to get a group to work for a change in the Math 8 policy for next year?

L

My daughter will be switching to APP in 6th grade (she was at a neighborhood school for K-5). I'm trying to decide whether to have her placed in Math 7 or Math 8 (where her APP co-hort will be).

My daughter is pretty good at math but we'd need to cover 7th grade math over the summer - which is certainly doable.

I'm trying to figure out whether taking 7th grade vs 8th grade math this fall would have implications in high school. Any words of advice would be much appreciated.

I'm a bit confused by the middle school math myself. The course that APP 6th graders take was called 6HH (6th high honors?) and was not all 8th grade math. It was a combination of 7th grade and 8th grade CMP2 books. 5th grade APP students use a combination of 6th grade and 7th grade CMP2 books.

My unqualified advice - if your child likes math and qualifies for Math 8, take it. It will save your child from an additional year of CMP, which is the bane of my child's existence.

In 5th grade APP, they cover fractions, decimals, percents, area/perimeter/surface area, ratio/proportion, probability, and integers.

At Hamilton's open house, they were very clear about not offering Algebra I to 6th graders. It is not an option at this time.

My cynical view of middle school math is that you're just waiting until the kids are developmentally ready for algebra, and meanwhile you're doing catch-up work for the kids who couldn't get arithmetic the first time around, and introducing more complex word problems, bigger/messier numbers, etc. There's a ton of repetition. I don't think most strong math students would be hurt at all by skipping seventh grade math. It wouldn't be a bad idea to get an old-fashioned textbook where you can look up concepts, though, and just keep it handy for reference.

Helen Schinske

We had the exact experience described by Helen Schinske. Our current APP 7th grader moved to APP for 6th grade after attending a neighborhood school K-5. He qualified for Math 8 and did well in 6th & now 7th grade (Algebra), getting 99% on the standardized tests consistently.

We did not go over any math outside of school (though we did consider the k12 WAVA course), and we do keep a McDougal Littell "Mathematics: Structure and Method" textbook and "Algebra To Go" on hand to learn how to do problems that aren't gone over well in class.

Go for the 6HH (Math8) for your incoming APP 6th grader. CMP is a repetitive cirruculum, you will see your student covering topics from 4th grade as well as new topics, mostly Algebra and a little Geometry.

And no, HIMS is not allowing any 6th grader to take Algebra I.

I forgot to say that math placement (apart from the hard ceiling at pre-algebra for 6th-graders and so forth, which stinks) goes by placement test score and teacher recommendation -- it's not just a question of what you sign up for. That said, as far as I know, students who qualify for APP generally get placed in 6HH anyway, unless there's a really good reason to place them lower (there are usually a few more lopsided high-verbal kids who are glad to go down a level in math when hitting middle school).

Helen Schinske

Thank you all for your comments about 6HH math.(Math 8). They are very helpful! Anon from April 11 12:08 pm.

"it's not just a question of what you sign up for."

Last year they had the "parent contract that allowed you to opt up one math level, is that gone this year?

I have similar questions about middle school math placement. My son will start APP in 6th grade at Hamilton, coming from a neighborhood ALO school. Math is his strongest subject and he can pick up new concepts fairly quickly.

We received our recommended placement letter yesterday, and it recommended Math 7, or Math 6 Honors. I believe there is an option to opt up through a Placement Contract. (I assume that when placement is determined, they do not look to see if the child will be new to APP but rather if they have been in the program already.)

I'm curious as to what others have observed regarding similarly situated 6th graders. Are students who do not come from an elementary APP background generally successful in Math 8? Do you know of examples where the child like this opted up into Math 8 and it didn't work out?

If we do chose to opt up from Math 7 to Math 8, how likely is it that our request will be honored?

If he starts in Math 7 and is doing really well, is there an option for him to move up in 7th or 8th grade, or is he locked into the pathway that he starts in 6th grade?

FWIW, my son would like to be in Math 8 with the APP cohort.

Thanks in advance!

We opted our student up one year using the parent contract and yes it must be honored. It has been fine this year. Have your student also take the fall MAPS, which should demonstrate high math ability in case your placement is called into question after the year starts.

FYI-HIMS tells parents that there is no APP Math track (as a result of the Math Pathway).

In addition, the SPS website states that only a small percentage of students enter Math 8 as 6th graders, (APP students).

You will not see an APP Math pathway on the SPS website, which corresponds to what HIMS tells parents. The APP MS Math Pathway has been reduced to a footnote, which is concerning!

If you are confident in your student’s ability, opt up and keep the cohort strong!

Last year they had the "parent contract that allowed you to opt up one math level, is that gone this year?It's not gone, but there's a ceiling on it: you can't opt up past two years ahead of grade level.

Helen Schinske

Anon at 5:54 pm: We joined APP in 8th grade coming from regular school with no (official) math acceleration. In order to be placed in Geometry with the majority of APP kids, we took Algebra 1 over the summer at the Robinson Center at UW. Having excellent math test scores was not enough: the school wanted to have an official proof that we took Algebra 1.

We opted our student up one year using the parent contract and yes it must be honored. It has been fine this year. Have your student also take the fall MAPS, which should demonstrate high math ability in case your students placement is called into question after the year starts.

FYI-HIMS tells parents that there is no APP Math track (as a result of the Math Pathways). In addition, the SPS website states that only a small percentage of students enter Math 8 as 6th graders, (APP students). You will not see the APP Math pathway on the SPS website, which corresponds to what HIMS tells parents. The APP MS Math Pathway has been reduced to a footnote, which is concerning!

If you are confident in your student’s ability, opt up and keep the cohort strong!

Lowell Parent,

Regarding the new state law that allows the IB diploma to meet all graduation requirements...

Do you know if it will apply to this year's seniors?

I wonder how it will impact enrollment in PE, Health, Occ Ed, etc.

HIMS Guy

I know that students in reg ed program from our middle school were able to use the math contract to start high school with junior level/Algebra II classes. They had taken Algebra I and Geometry and so the contract was honored.

I wonder if it is somewhat harder to use the contract in early middle school because the class content is harder to identify.

They had taken Algebra I and Geometry and so the contract was honored.That's not what the contract is supposed to be for at all. The contract is SPECIFICALLY for those cases where the evidence ISN'T there and you're opting the kid up anyway. "By 'opting up,' a family is choosing a course not recommended by the data, nor by the recommendation of your child's teacher."

Helen Schinske

Helen,

Last Spring, the district never even asked the math teachers for their recommendation! The district sent out the math class recommendations based on what they thought the student was taking in 8th grade. Crazy, huh? The letter sent to families was pretty darn patronizing.

I sure hope that has been corrected and the current year math teacher is being included in the recommendations.

I understand Course REgistration for Hamilton MS will be mailed out shortly. I'm a bit mystified by this process, I dont remember having the opportunity to select classes until HS. My daughter is currently 5th gr APP at Lowell. I understand there are issues w/certain classes getting filled up/capacity; selecting the proper Math class (Math is not her forte, however she placed in 8th gr/APP level Math, per a notice sent home); PE waivers; music and language options (she wants to take instrumental music and Japanese); etc. We dont want to overwhelm her with copious amounts of HW, rather focusing on keeping her excited and motivated about school. Any advice re the classes and the registration process is appreciated!

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