Thursday, March 3, 2011

Open thread

Discuss what you like!

135 comments:

NorthEndParent said...

We toured Lowell last week and I have a question about capacity.

There are 2 ALO K classes, and .5 to 1 ALO class at every other grade level. Is it safe to assume that there will be 2 Ks again next year, and that the 2 K classes will move up to 2 first grades? If these assumptions are true, there will only be half of an ALO class graduating, and 2 new ALO classes added. In the meantime, APP continues to grow, and the school is already seriously over capacity, with no room for portables. This is clearly not sustainable, but it's more urgent than that - where will the kids all go next year?!

lendlees said...

There's a very good chance that the preschool classes will be moved out of the building, thereby freeing up 2 more classrooms.

Also many of the K students will potentially switch to APP so my guess is there will be 1.5 1st grade ALO classrooms.

But, it's always a moving target year to year on how many students elect to come to Lowell, and at what grade levels.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know exactly when appeals results will be mailed?

Anonymous said...

I am not sure but if you appealed you need to request a change to APP at open enrollment even if you don't know the results.

Lori said...

I just looked on the website, and it says appeals were due March 1 and that "Results from appeals decisions will be mailed in mid-March prior to open enrollment period of March 15-31."

Importantly, it looks like Open Enrollment has been extended to April 15, so it seems like most people ought to know the outcome of their appeal in time, given the extended enrollment period this year.

Anonymous said...

lendlees, I'm not sure if K students can move to APP at Lowell, wouldn't they have to go to TM if they are in the Lowell reference area (except for the small walk zone?).
--JF

lendlees said...

JF-
Some of the K students are siblings of APP kids. But you are correct that unless they are walk zone, they will go to TM.

NEMama said...

Does anybody know whether it is possible to enroll a kindergartener in the ALO program at Lowell if you live in NE Seattle? I'm considering this because we will have an older child in APP at Lowell.

Anonymous said...

Are there any APP parents out there who have experience at some of the private gifted programs like Seattle Country Day, Evergreen, or UCDS? I would love to hear about why you may have pulled out of private school and how you'd compare your APP experience.

Fremont Mama said...

NEMama - I am curious about this too. Our daughter will be starting at Lowell (2nd grade) this fall and we also have incoming kindergartner. It sure would be nice to have them at the same school! We are touring Lowell next Tuesday and I plan to ask the question. I will report back with any info I get.

Susanne

Anonymous said...

We are also wondering about K at Lowell. Same situation. It would be great to hear what you find out. My tour guide didn't know much.

Anonymous said...

Speaking as a person who has done the tours at Lowell, I don't know anything about enrollment. Whether or not your child will be allowed into the k class at Lowell has everything to do with the number of neighborhood kids who will take priority over a sibling. Also, very few APP parents have direct experience with the k program at Lowell. While we can comment that we've heard good things, most can't tell you of direct experiences. If you are looking at k at Lowell, you really should attend two tours, one for APP and one for ALO.

Anonymous said...

There was a waitlist this year to get into K at Lowell and I don't believe they admitted anyone off the waitlist. But I think they did admit some out-of-area siblings during open enrollment. You might have to talk to the enrollment office to make sure they recognize your kindergartner as a sibling if the older child is just starting at Lowell.

NW Mom said...

Can any current Lowell APP parents comment on how your kids are doing with the Everyday Math program? We are considering our options for our daughter who will be in 1st grade next year. My concern is that we would be leaving a school that doesn't use EDM for Lowell which does use EDM.

Thanks.

BL said...

Regarding kindergarten enrollment at Lowell:
Last year, all out-of attendance-area siblings (7) were admitted along with some additional kindergarteners from outside the attendance area. (The waitlist did not include any siblings.)
I think there are six families at Lowell with one child in APP and one in ALO/gen ed.

Anonymous said...

Here are a few ideas concerning MAP testing. It seems that many parents (and teachers, I would hazard to guess) are opposed to the MAP testing period occupying the Lowell library during testing periods, and preventing normal access. I'd like to add in these ideas for discussion:

1) set up temporary portables expressly for MAP testing. Extra monetary cost? Sure. I would imagine there is a temporary office space vendor champing at the bit for this contract. But if the district is truly committed to implementing MAP and using it for benchmarking and progress measurement, then they should find ways to do so without costing library access or regular instructional time. Which brings me to suggest:

2) reduce testing to twice-yearly (already discussed); moreover, test outside of regular instructional time. It seems almost illegal to me to use classroom time for (strictly) assessment purposes. Our current principal floated the idea out to test kids during the week before the fall school start and the week after school ends. Yes, it will disrupt family vacation plans and work schedules for older kids. Yes, it may cause headaches in figuring out how to pay for staff to help administer these tests. This is already being addressed in our school ad-hoc with members of our PTA volunteering. Alternatively to a whole-week block of test time, schedule before or after school, or on weekends during the first few and last few weeks. Sacrilege, I know. But pre- and post-school activities are already the norm for many kids.

Eliminating mid-year testing won't help teachers see the quantitative data on how the students are doing, but of course a good teacher would already know measures of academic progress without having to test. Twice-yearly test results would therefore only be really useful for administrators and central office bean-counters, for whom MAP money seems to be spent anyway.

Whether or not MAP testing should be done in the first place (for APP kids or regular ed kids) and the value of test results are, of course, topics for another discussion.

Anonymous said...

Dick Lilly has an opinion piece at Crosscut.com on what SPS priorities should be, versus expectations from a new or interim superintendent.

Anonymous said...

MAP testing when school is not in session? On weekends? Seriously? That's a good way to increase both the costs and the opt-out rate.

Whether or not MAP testing should be done is certainly germane to the discussion - it's a cost vs benefit discussion.

hschinske said...

When I first heard about MAP testing, the way I pictured it being done was on a couple of computers in the back of each classroom -- not en masse in the library. I figured about two or three kids a day would get through the tests (or four to six kids could all do the same subject), and you could get through a class of up to thirty in two or three weeks, without disrupting library use or class time.

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

Just to be clear, Anon at 1:30, when you say "This is already being addressed in our school ad-hoc", are you referring to Lowell?

Anonymous said...

To the parent asking about math: there is an older thread from Nov. 10, 2009, titled "APP Math." It's worth a read.

NW Mom said...

Thanks for pointing me to the math thread! It was informative and depressing.

Stasia said...

Advice -Regarding ALO at Lowell from a current parent. Those of you looking to enroll for ALO at Lowell please take note. My daughter with ALO scores going in to second grade received no advanced learning opportunities when she started. We waited, and watched and by November- nothing... When we approached the principal and her teachers, they were completetly unaware of the PRESENCE of the ALO kids in the second grage. I can't speak for other grades. When we met with the principal, the office had the list of ALO kids faxed over to Lowell from the Advanced Learning office. Only after my husband and I met with the principal in November and reviewed our daughter's scores was a program thrown together to accomodate the kids in need of advanced learning. They have hired a full time sub who takes the ALO kids out of Gen Ed for 2 hours a day- one each for language and math. Some kids initially placed in ALO with the new teacher were then subsequently pulled back out raising the ire of MANY parents. We are pretty happy with the ALO instruction she is getting but it would not have happened if we weren't hovering, so to speak. Just be aware that there is no set curriculum for ALO at any school. It is up to the individual teachers and administrators to handcraft a program as they see fit. The teachers are stretched enough with Gen Ed lesson planning alone. Also, with funding now in jeopardy I would be even more wary that next year's ALO at Lowell may be even less accomodating. I don't mean to sound so scathing. I am overall happy with Lowell. But I think prospective parents deserve to know there are serious issues with communication and organization around ALO right now. Should you decide to go with Lowell ALO be prepared to be very involved and proactive to see that an adequate curriculum is put together.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of ALO... my understanding is that at Thurgood Marshall, all non-APP classes are referred to as "ALO." That doesn't make sense to me -- it's almost as if "ALO" is a euphemism for "non-APP" there. Can someone explain?

Anonymous said...

Non-APP classes at Lowell are also referred to as "ALO," even in K.

Anonymous said...

We have a 2nd grader in APP and a K in the regular program. We live in the North end. We wanted for them to go to the same school and felt that our child in K would get into APP. K teachers at Lowell are very good. We are happy with the experience in K. We are not sure about the quality of non-APP teachers after K. If you have a strong feeling that your younger child will qualify for APP, I would recommend sending your younger child to Lowell for K.

Anonymous said...

has anyone received appeal results yet?

Anonymous said...

does anyone know how many APP siblings are at Thurgood?

Anonymous said...

I have not received appeals results yet, but I emailed Stephen Martin on Friday. Here is his answer, "We are just finishing up the review process for almost 500 appeals this
week. Each file is reviewed individually by three evaluators, so it does
take a while. Decision letters will be mailed early next week."

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I guess Tue or Wed then.

500 appeals! I wonder if they set a pass limit.

bf said...

500! I wonder how many are already in and coming? Lowell is going to be packed next year (it's packed now).

NESeattleMama said...

Don't forget that this includes people who are appealing to enter Spectrum from the general program. Even if most of the appeals are successful, only the APP students are guaranteed slots in APP. Nobody is guaranteed a slot in Spectrum.

Stephanie Bower, APP AC said...

APP advocates have gotten more and more organized in the past 5-6 years, mostly as our advisory committee, and mostly out of necessity because of major proposed changes to the program.
There used to be an advisory group for Spectrum, but the parents involved have let it fall by the wayside. It is hard to organize and sustain. Roger Daniels in the Advanced Learning office is slated to restart that group, but might need a nudge.

I think it would be a GREAT if ALO parents could also organize to advocate for their program, and not just at Lowell and TM, but around the district. If anyone is interested in getting this going, contact Bob Vaughan in advanced learning. If you want my 2 cents about how to get something like this going as a sustained effort, contact me too. But I think it would be smart to start an ALO Advisory Committee.
Stephanie

Anonymous said...

it's APP night Wednesday but we don't know if our appeal is successful yet. Is it worth going? what will be discussed?

Anonymous said...

Anyone got the appeal decision? It should be today or tomorrow I hope. They said it should be sent out on 3/15 or around this date.

Anonymous said...

We just got ours (successful, yay!).

Anonymous said...

Can someone let me know what APP night is and when/where it is? I looked on SPS website and didn't see anything.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Congrats! Just curious was your appeal based on the Cog score and the new score was higher and met the 98% for 2 out of 3? Just curious since our situation is the above situation.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:37a.m., the info night at Thurgood Marshall is Wednesday 3/16, 6-7:30 p.m. (Not sure why we can't include URLs here, but go to the SPS website, then Schools Directory, then click for the T. Marshall website.)

Anon 11:47a.m., my son's original MAP scores qualified (97th & 97th), but his CogAt did not. We retested & he got 99th on the WPPSI. I'm not following your "2 out of 3" question -- my understanding is that all 3 criteria (IQ, math, and reading) had to meet the cutoffs: 98th for IQ and 95th each for math & reading.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
We just got ours (successful, yay!).

Congrats!!! what's your child's percentile? My daughter's low is Processing speed 85th, that got me worried.

Anonymous said...

In the appeal FAQ for Cognitive Abilities it had to be this

"98th (or higher)
percentile in two
areas"

My kid MAP score is above 95 for Fall and Winter.

Anonymous said...

Since CogAt can't be used for appeal as far as I know (only for initial qualification), I think that means that to qualify on initial school-district testing, they had to get 98 on BOTH areas of the CogAt. But for APPEAL, where (as I understand it) they have to take a different IQ test, they have to get 98th on the "Full Scale" score. But maybe there's something I'm not understanding?

Anon12:18pm, my son had a lower Processing Speed score too. I believe as long as the Full Scale score is at least 98th, that's the criterion for IQ.

Anonymous said...

Anon12:18pm, my son had a lower Processing Speed score too. I believe as long as the Full Scale score is at least 98th, that's the criterion for IQ.

Thank you! We just got our results, obviously Processing Speed isn't that important.

Anonymous said...

Here is a good site that explain the WISC-IV score.

http://www.gifteddevelopment.com/PDF_files/NewWISC.pdf

Anonymous said...

We got our appeal results today so the rest of you should be hopefully getting them!

Anonymous said...

Was it the result you were hoping for? Can wait to get home to find out.

Anonymous said...

We also received our appeal results today for our current first-grader, and the appeal was successful! He had MAP scores of 99 in both math and reading, but his CogAT composite had been district-tested at 81 last Fall. When retested privately, his WISC result was 98th percentile full-scale (the four components being 99, 97, 94, and 70). Thought this information might be helpful for others pursuing appeal this year or in future years.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting the score. It looks like they focus on the Full Scale score. Did you also submitted a letter from the teacher?

Anonymous said...

Follow-up to my Anon posting at 2:56 (providing an answer to question at 3:04).

Yes, we submitted a one-page letter from his teacher providing strong support for our application. Our cover letter also pointed out that he is reading at Level O in his current classroom.

Anonymous said...

Was the letter from Enrollment Services or Advance Learning? Did not get a letter from advance Learning today. Anyone got a no?

SE Mom said...

Just a friendly request...it is really hard to follow the comments with the multiple "anonymous" posts.
It is super easy with Google to give yourself a screen name. Makes reading and responding to comments so much easier! There is the option to keep any identifying info completely confidential (including email address).

Anonymous said...

To those asking about low processing scores on WPPSI or WISC: I believe only Full scale is counted for appeals, but could be wrong.

Our son got in on appeal 2 yrs ago, with all scores at 99.9th on WISC and achievement testing, except WISC processing speed (50th percentile). He's done just fine in the program.

Barefoot said...

Hi all --

I'd love some perspectives on how to explain APP to your child.

When I've mentioned it to my son (who's entering 1st grade next year), I've said that it's for kids who are ready for a bit more of a challenge, and that we think he is ready and will enjoy it, that it will be a good match for him. However, that's also how I described Spectrum to him.

In general, with my son, I try to focus on him being a hard worker rather than being inherently smart -- so I'm a little bit stumped on how to explain why this special program exists. I'm hoping to avoid giving him the impression that APP kids are somehow more special than the rest of his friends and his other prospective schoolmates at Thurgood Marshall.

Thanks for any ideas or perspective on this!

Anonymous said...

Barefoot: We used the exact same language when our child transitioned.

We also take the same approach in terms of focusing on working hard vs. "smart"; here's an article that dives deeper into this philosophy:

http://tomweston.net/RaisingSmartKids.pdf

Anonymous said...

For those whose children will move to APP in September, when do you plan on sharing that news with your child? I fear that if I tell our son now that he will be switching schools in the fall, he might start to disengage from his current school and friends.

Anonymous said...

When our son got into Lowell for 1st grade, we did not tell him until a few days before the first 1st grade new family play date in July. I think waiting at least until after the current school year is a good idea. He did not like it when we finally told him but then after the first get together he was fine since he was able to meet new friends. I am still waiting to hear about the appeal for my second child. Only got the regular enrollment notice for both kids today. Hopefully it will come tomorrow. Did anyone else got the regular enrollment notice today too?

lendlees said...

There will be an open house in May @ Lowell. Sometimes that's a good time to tell your child as you can bring them to the school and show them around.

Ailin said...

Do you bring your children to tour Lowell or Thurgood?

Ailin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Barefoot said...

I just got back from a tour at Thurgood Marshall. Julie Breidenbach, the principal, said she does NOT recommend bringing kids to tonight's info night -- she said it will be a Q&A with some of the teachers, will not include a tour, and will mostly be "stressed-out parents" asking frantic questions. Yikes. I'd been planning to bring the whole family so my son could see the school. It turns out there's another open house NEXT week -- March 23rd, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. -- for both current and new families (I don't think it's APP only). There will be "classroom writing celebrations" where new families can join any classroom's celebrations, then a musical presentation in the lunchroom, and then open classrooms for visiting from 7:30 - 8:00. Makes a bit of a late night for our kids, but we'll probably do that.

Anonymous said...

Daughter recently requalified for APP. Designated school would be Hamilton--her older siblings went to WMS. I am wondering about the experiences families have had at Hamilton. In particular, what is quality of instruction in LA, Science, and Math? Is adminsitrtation willing to address instructional issues? Would you reconsider HIMS and choose Blaine or petition for WMS?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have the link to the enrollment form? I can't seem to find it in the new website. All I see is the Registration form.

Anonymous said...

I meant to ask for the School Choice Form. I can't find this form.

Anonymous said...

Go to Schools. Click Enrollment. On the Enrollment page, Under the blue bar that says "Enrolling Your Student," there's a paragraph of text and then it says "Click here for 2011-2012 Open Enrollment:March 15 - April 15." Click -- the form is on that page.

Walkzoner said...

Our child is eligible to enter APP in first grade. We're in the truly walkable part of the Lowell walk zone. But we're uncertain about starting out in a cohort that will be splintered in middle school when the walk zone kids separate to go to Washington. We'd love to have some insight from families who've been in this situation, or are facing this choice now.

For those in the walk zone who chose Lowell, how large is the walk-zone contingent? Do you feel like your child will have enough familiar faces to feel comfortable in middle school? For those in the walk zone who are going to TM, are you busing or driving? How long is the trip? Are you happy with the choice? And for those in the same boat as our family (deciding now), please share your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

I have a son in 2nd grade at Lowell APP and know several parents who live in the Walkzone. Most are taking it a year at a time. Since your kid will only be in 1st grade, it will be 5 years before middle school. A lot can change with APP and if SPS will finally move North end APP to another location. I think you should visit TM and Lowell and see which school will fit your child in the next few years better. Worst case you can always move up North if you want your kid to stay with most kids going to Lowell. Good Luck.

Walkzoner too said...

We also live within the walkzone, went to Lowell before the split, but our child goes to TM. The bus ride is less than 30 minutes in the morning, or about a 12 minute drive to school.

The principal at TM really does stress the benefits of the cohort staying together when transitioning to middle school and uses examples of how tight the the ex-TM kids are in 6th grade at WMS.

It helps that the TM cohort is smaller, with at most two APP sections per grade. You'll get a better chance of knowing all the families in your grade as your child will be classmates with them one time or another.

And since a large percentage of the APP TM kids come from the central area and came from Montlake/McGilvra/Stevens, your kids will hove more opportunities see them outside of school at soccer, baseball or other activities. Its also much easier to arrange playdates.

We are happy with our decision, especially now with Lowell anticipating almost 600 kids this fall.

Walkzoner three said...

We live in the walk zone and walk to Lowell because we like walking to school a few blocks away rather than having our kids waste time on a long bus ride.

Our decision has little to do with the strength of Lowell or Thurgood Marshall, but that we love walking in our neighborhood, and that it is unattractive to go to a school miles away when there is a good one blocks away.

I wonder if there are a lot of parents in north Seattle that makes a similar decision, but, in their case, decide not to go to APP because there is a good school just walking distance away. If so, it is a real shame that the north-end APP school is not located in the north-end, which is what would have made a lot more sense.

On the issue of overcrowding at Lowell, I think we all know the problem is that the district not only made Lowell the north-end school (instead of making Lowell south/central draw and opening a new APP elementary in the high demand north-end), but also increased the number of programs at the school from two to three (APP, special ed, and general ed). Those boneheaded decisions are what caused overcrowding at Lowell.

Mercermom said...

We're also in the Lowell walkzone (and walked every day to Lowell for first grade before the split), but chose to move to TM. The factors that made us choose despite the bus ride were staying with friends for middle school, Julie B, the librarian and music teacher, friends who would be assigned to TM, and older sibling at WMS (so we're already bussing that way). We have been happy with the choice.

Anonymous said...

I guess I'm Walkzoner Four. We are in the same boat of deciding whether to start 1st grade APP at Lowell or TM. We're leaning strongly towards Lowell. Some of our reasons - We like being able to walk to school. We have friends/neighbors in the general education program at Lowell so we hope we can retain some of the aspects of a neighborhood school. Middle school is still a long way off and the district will likely make more changes in the next five years. And I don't think the worst-case scenario of switching cohorts for middle school would be the end of the world. Hopefully our son will have friendships through sports, after-school care, etc. that would ease the transition to a new cohort.

Anonymous said...

>>> Walkzoner three said...
On the issue of overcrowding at Lowell, I think we all know the problem is that the district not only made Lowell the north-end school (instead of making Lowell south/central draw and opening a new APP elementary in the high demand north-end), but also increased the number of programs at the school from two to three (APP, special ed, and general ed). Those boneheaded decisions are what caused overcrowding at Lowell.

There was a piece broadcasted on KUOW this morning about the overcrowding at Garfield High School and what has been done to it (didn’t mention Ingraham IB option for APP students, though). The overcrowding at Lowell is a very serious problem for all Lowell families. Maybe we should discuss the solutions here and present them to Seattle School through APP AC until the issue is finally resolved.
I guess dispersing ALO kids through neighborhood schools would be a practical but controversial solution. Is there a north end site that can accommodate the APP cohort to move in? I saw work for reopening Viewlands Elementary has started. Any opportunity there?

John

hschinske said...

Viewlands would be too far, I think -- it's not easily accessible for a lot of the north-end folks, especially coming from the NE. B.F. Day was one proposed site earlier, but I'm not sure the population would fit now (it only just fit with the old, smaller numbers, IIRC). There were also various proposals involving the Lincoln or John Marshall buildings (man, that would be confusing if APP ended up split between two buildings, both called "Marshall").

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

I'm curious about the effects of the overcrowding at Lowell. Is it class size, lack of classrooms, or something else? Is the total number of students now a lot greater than when the building housed only APP and Special Ed?

Anonymous said...

The affect is not having enough rooms. See this presentation from yesterday's board meeting.

For Lowell this was the comment to deal with over capacity.

"Added wall to divide a classroom into two"

http://www.seattleschools.org/area/board/10-11agendas/031611agenda/capacitymgmtpresentation.pdf

Anonymous said...

>>> Anonymous said...

The affect is not having enough rooms. See this presentation from yesterday's board meeting.

For Lowell this was the comment to deal with over capacity.

"Added wall to divide a classroom into two"

http://www.seattleschools.org/area/board/10-11agendas/031611agenda/capacitymgmtpresentation.pdf


Thanks for the link. Two items from the report worth notice:

1. If we don’t push for something, Lowell could be left continuing overcapacity/overcrowd for the next two years, since the police stated “At full implementation of the New Student Assignment Plan schools should not stay in surge capacity beyond three years”, and the plan now is for Lowell to continue staying in “surge capacity” for next year.

2. On April 6, School Board’s work session plans to “discuss metrics, criteria for opening, repurposing, and closing schools, and the framework for the annual capacity management report”. This could be a good chance for APP AC to present our concerns/suggestions for Lowell school’s “surge capacity” problem.

John

Disappointed said...

Yes, it would be great if the APP AC would advocate on behalf of APP parents on issues related to Lowell capacity or even APP in general.

Unfortunately, the APP AC claims their job is to communicate what the district wants to parents, not what APP parents need or want to the district, so any expectation that the APP AC will help on this issue or any other is doomed to disappointment.

Your best bet is to appeal directly to the board. Or, perhaps, to organize a group independent and outside of the APP AC to advocate on behalf of APP parents.

Anonymous said...

>>> Disappointed said...
Yes, it would be great if the APP AC would advocate on behalf of APP parents on issues related to Lowell capacity or even APP in general.

Unfortunately, the APP AC claims their job is to communicate what the district wants to parents, not what APP parents need or want to the district, so any expectation that the APP AC will help on this issue or any other is doomed to disappointment.

Your best bet is to appeal directly to the board. Or, perhaps, to organize a group independent and outside of the APP AC to advocate on behalf of APP parents.


Thanks for the info! This is different from my understanding for APP AC ‘s role. I’m going to email Stephanie Bower and see if she can address this for us.

The number of APP students has increased steadily in recent years. Short of rebuilding Lowell, the limited school capacity dictates either APP or ALO program has to move out. I believe the least disruptive way for current students at Lowell is to stop enrolling new ALO students. This way, current ALO students can continue stay at Lowell until they move up to middle school. Without new ALO students coming in, Lowell would see net reduction of about ½ a class of students in the next six years (assuming +1/2 APP class & -1ALO class). This would allow Lowell gradually returning to capacity and (maybe) gaining some breathing room.

John

Barefoot said...

APP parents, do you have any misgivings about how racially homogenous the classes are?

Touring at TM, I was pretty disheartened to see the difference between general-ed. classes and APP classes. This is the biggest sticking point for me in trying to decide whether to enroll my son in APP. Do I want to consign him to possibly 12 years of having classmates who are not very different from him? What message do the kids get from seeing that their schoolmates of color are in different classes from them? It doesn't sound like the classroom curricula focus much on social-justice issues either (I realize this depends on the teacher to some degree). While I want my son to have the intellectually-stimulating environment, I also want him to learn in school about the world that he lives in -- and I fear that one lesson of APP has to do with race, class, and privilege. I'd be grateful for the thoughts and perspectives of current APP parents on this.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe it is true that APP is racially homogeneous. Last time I looked at the data, APP was as racially diverse as the city of Seattle.

As for the situation at Thurgood Marshall, the APP split forcibly split the APP program and placed part of it into a failing school specifically with the intent of making the average test scores appear higher (but without improving the situation for the struggling students at that school). The new principal of Thurgood Marshall was even given an award by Goodloe-Johnson for improving average test scores at the school, even though test scores for the general ed population went down, even though this was solely the result of shuffling students around, of moving a program with high test scores into a struggling school. All this only happened a couple years ago and, yes, the situation there is not pretty.

Anonymous said...

Re the comment about TM's test scores rising. I had to laugh when I went to the Hamilton open house and the principal was talking about how the school had won an award because its test scores had improved so much - but did not mention that the reason for the improvement was the move of half the APP kids to Hamilton from Washington. Jane

Anonymous said...

Anyone was able to go to the Lowell tour yesterday and share some impressions of the tour?

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

ANonymous at 9:31:

Can you please elaborate on what you mean by "the situtation there [at TM] is not pretty"?

Anonymous said...

anonymous 9:31
Thurgood Marshall received three awards from OSPI not from the Sup.
The principal declined all three awards. Everyone at that school recognizes why their test scores went up and are not trying to fool anyone.

Anonymous said...

re: racial diversity at TM
well, i'm sure it depends on the diversity of your neighborhood school, but at least TM has lots of students of color -- which is different that most north end and some central schools (and certainly lowell). yes, it's disheartening that there aren't more black, latino and other students of color in APP, but that isn't the TM principal's fault. she has the student population she is assigned, and from the tour and presentation they seemed very focused on helping this population achieve, particularly in reading. TM has a food bank at the school that they use to feed students over the weekend that otherwise wouldn't be able to eat for two days. i think this provides an opportunity for TM APP students to get a reality check and work to make a difference in the school and the neighborhood -- but that likely will take the work of parents, not just the teachers teaching about social justice in class.

Anonymous said...

Barefoot --

I guess I'm confused as to what you want your son to see/experience. I think we would all love it if APP classes were diverse and our children learned that excellence is not defined by race or economic factors. But the reality of Seattle (and much of the world) is that it is not. Based on the tours at Lowell and TM, my guess is that the diversity percentage of APP is equal to Seattle overall only due to the higher percentage of Asians in the classes.

The reality of SPS is that there are lots of children of color that live in extreme poverty and this affects their ability to excel. Yes, they can overcome, but it is not the norm.

It also means that people with more advantages need to dig in in a tangible way and try to help rectify the situation. It seems like TM is a great place for your son to not only learn that lesson but also make a difference.

NW Mom said...

We went on the Lowell tour yesterday with intentions of staying at our beloved neighborhood school, but it will be hard to stay since we were so impressed with the teachers and Principal. WOW! Yes, I fear for my child's life in that building, but everyone there must feel that way. It doesn't seem safe at all if there is an earthquake or fire - more scared about a fire, but WOW! We were impressed. It will be hard not to move to Lowell. It is heart wrenching to leave the neighborhood, though. I'd love to hear how that has worked for people.

To the person who commented on the lack of diversity in APP, I commented during the tour yesterday that APP at Lowell is MUCH more diverse than our neighborhood school. So, keep in mind what the other poster said that APP is as diverse as SPS. We don't live in a very diverse part of the country.

BeenThere said...

The SPS student population is more than 50% non-white, but APP is overwhelmingly white. That may reflect SEATTLE, but it doesn't reflect the kids in Seattle SCHOOLS. APP is NOT proportionally representative of the SCHOOL population. It might seem easy to say that it's because kids of color, especially black, latino and Native kids are not as high-performing due to economic issues, it's not that simple, and that's the elephant in the living room.

As a former SE Seattle parent, I've seen with my own eyes teachers promote a white or Asian bright kid to his/her parents as APP material while telling black parents that a bright, bored but acting out kid is LD. I know for sure that not all teachers and principals in S. Seattle promote APP but I've been told that in some northend schools ALL kids get flyers sent home about the program. And some low-income parents are told testing into APP costs money they don't have. As well, there are many parents who don't even bother because of the stories of racism in APP. The commotion a couple of years ago was nothing new. I know parents whose kids were APP years ago and even in IPP, prior to APP, and they tell the same stories about how kids of color get treated. For many it's just not worth it. They send their kids to Zion, the Cathlic schools and Seattle Girls School, etc. Sometimes they're able to get the school they're in to work with them if public is the only option. It's actually easier when all the parents aren't from Lake Woebegon.

Barefoot, your child will be able to mingle with the general population at TM at lunch and recess and after-school programs. If he's been raised to not fear those different than himself, and he's assertive, he migh even befriend some of the kids. But be aware that the two-schools-in-one is a problem all the way through 12th grade in APP and it has generated hard feelings for years and years. Maybe your interest in social justice can get the ball rolling in doing something about it.

Barefoot said...

I live in the Rainier Valley. APP may look diverse compared to north-end classrooms, but not compared to the south end, nor to the rest of Thurgood Marshall school. (I'm certainly not blaming the principal -- and it sounds like she tries to identify general-ed students whom she thinks would do well in APP and help them get tested, which is great, but that's just one school.)

Certainly, there are a lot of deep, systemic issues including poverty at work. I think that there's also an issue of access to the APP -- that families likely to access it are those who are used to navigating bureaucratic systems, who have confidence that the system will work for them, and who have the resources to advocate for their kids. And it can't help that the testing info that goes home for parents is, apparently, available only in English. (!) I guess I'm not confident that APP is equally accessible to all families whose kids might benefit from it (and some of the anecdotes I heard from the TM principal bear that out).

So I'm uncomfortable taking advantage of this system. And I think that a kid in a mostly-white "gifted" class next door to a mostly-brown "general" class will be likely to draw some conclusions. I hope we can work with our kids to explore why things are the way they are, and what we can do to change the status quo. I can't help thinking about what Thurgood Marshall himself might have to say about the way things are.

Barefoot said...

Thanks for the perspective, BeenThere -- hadn't seen that yet when I posted the above. (From what I've observed of my son this year in school, he'll have no problem making friends across the programs in after-school activities.)

I see that there's a "Diversity Representative" on the APP Advisory Committee. Could anyone clue me in about what that rep does? (And yeah, I'll contact him directly too.)

Anonymous said...

I heard from a teacher friend at Ingraham that they already have close to two cohorts of students that have signed up for the APP IB option. Does anyone know if they will place a cap on the numbers?

Hamilton Parent

CCM said...

Last I heard there were 40-42 students signed up for 9th grade at Ingraham and zero signed up for 10th grade.
Those numbers are based on heresay from current 8th grade parents that have been looking at both options, so I'm not sure how accurate they are as of right now.
I had also heard that they would cap at around 55? -- but are happy that enough signed up for two sections (over 35).
Good news for Garfield also as it will alleviate some overcrowding along with the changed boundaries.

Anonymous said...

BeenThere, with your wild and unjustified accusations, it is hard to see your comment as anything other than an attempt to fan the flames of racial division to attack the APP program. I wonder what your motivation is.

APP has an all-city draw and a similar ethnic profile as the children who live in the city of Seattle. End of story.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 7:53 am,

What data are you using to make definitive statements about the ethnic makeup of the APP program?

Are you making an observation based on what you see or are you using real data?

I personally would find it more helpful if folks could find hard numbers to substantiate anecdotal observations. How can a parent make accurate statements about APP demographics based on what is seen in one school?

Anonymous said...

Here is some older data:

http://www.seattleschools.org/area/advlearning/documents/appparentsurv050305.pdf
http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/static/race_LatestReleased_DPDS_006615.jpg

As you can see, the ethnic profile of the all-city draw APP program is nearly the same as the city of Seattle, with the roughly same percentage of Caucasian, Native American, and Asian, somewhat higher representation of multiracial, and somewhat lower representation of African American.

Reality check said...

As a TM APP parent, I understand the concern that some have about APP's diversity and how there's a divide between APP and regular-ed classrooms in the school.

At the same time, some parents moan about the lost romantic ideal of an all-APP Lowell.

You can't have it both ways. This is public school; it is a mix of children in different home and life situations. Children have a wide range of incomes, and families who have more help families who have less through the food bank and other donations.

The students in TM APP do learn about social justice through school lessons and assignments and speakers at the school (like three judges who came recently).

The school's principal emphasizes the importance of a good education for all children in her school and there's a school-wide program to emphasize reading for everyone. And as the principal said the other night at an APP info meeting, children play most often w/friends in their classroom -- but they are on the same playground and at the same lunch table.

This is not a perfect world, but neither is the broader society we live in. APP is an excellent program and we're lucky to have it. People can make their own decisions about why they should or shouldn't send their children to APP -- but don't blame this program for reflecting much larger issues in society.

Barefoot said...

"but don't blame this program for reflecting much larger issues in society."

Why not? I don't see any harm in holding the program accountable, rather than being complacent. If the APP could take steps to be more accessible to families of kids who are right for the program, shouldn't it take those steps? The barrier to entry is supposed to be test scores -- but it appears that the true barrier is test scores and the ability to navigate the system. That seems inequitable to me, and it's very fixable. Wouldn't everyone benefit?

Anonymous said...

I'm curious as to why there aren't more black students in APP, but not sure that the reasons given so far have any basis in fact. We received a letter from the district that based on his MAP scores, we should consider APP for our son. My child is multi-racial, so it seems like the district is trying to notify parents and inform them.

Barefoot- Are there students of color from your child's diverse school in Rainier Valley also considering APP? If not, do you know why? That seems like it would be helpful information.

BeenThere said...

Sorry, I forgot my secret tape recorder the times I spoke to black parents who told me about their kids' experiences in APP or IPP 10, 15 and 20 years ago. I wasn't wearing it on my lapel the time I was told that "X" was testing for APP after she came into second grade reading and doing math a couple of grades ahead, while a black kid in her class who ALSO came in working well above level was told that s/he was deficient because s/he had little experience with the kind of group learning the class did.

The links Anonymous @7:53 posted didn't come up for me, but this link, from THIS year did: http://www.seattleschools.org/area/siso/disprof/2010/DP10demog.pdf,

It shows that the white student population in SPS is about 40%. That's 30% LOWER than Seattle overall. Blacks are about 20% in SPS, more than DOUBLE the Seattle population. So Anon @7:53 is not correct-APP does NOT reflect the SCHOOL DISTRICT's demographics. If you look at the end of this document, you'll see that the majority of APP students are white, and that minority groups, which are the MAJORITY is SPS, are underrepresented in APP, and that black representation is nearly non-existant. THAT is what people see in the classrooms. So no wild unjusttified accusation here, 7:53.

The fact is that APP is overwhelmingly white, with a good-sized Asian population thrown in. Everyone else is minimally represented and there are a number of reasons that happens. But because of that, not all kids of color feel welcome there and it's been that way for a long, long time. Just read "I'm Down", a book by a white kid who found herself brought up in the black part of Seattle and in IPP-where she couldn't help but notice IPP was...overwhelmingly white. Decades ago.

Anonymous said...

Barefoot -
You mention that navigating the APP system is a barrier, but I'm not sure what you mean. MAP testing should help identify students for both parents and teachers if they haven't noticed a child's abilities, ttesting is free for SPS students, parents need to send in 1 form to move their child, and bus transportation is provided. I agree that for recent immigrants, there may be a language barrier....but I would imagine that is a very small percentage and in most cases after kindergarten, their child can read the form. Can you add more specificity to your claim and what you think should change within the current budget?

Anonymous said...

BeenThere, alternative programs like APP attract parents who otherwise would opt-out of public school. The reason your ethnicity data conflicts with the data for Seattle as a whole is that only 70% of Seattle's children attend public school while most US cities are at 90%.

The right target is the ethnic diversity of the city as a whole. If you would only be satisfied if all of our programs reflected the current student body, which is not representational of Seattle, you doom Seattle Public Schools to never serve all the children of Seattle.

So, I have to ask again, what is your motivation? What do you want, APP to shut down along with all the other programs and schools that are successful but have an ethnic mix that draws from the broader Seattle population?

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that creating a more diverse APP population has been one of the goals of the SPS advanced learning office. Of course we can debate whether the changes they have made to APP have made progress towards that goal or not.

That said, I am a TM parent. I agree with Reality Check, but would add that we should not blame the TM staff, teachers and parents - who have been working tirelessly to build a community at the school. While the road ahead is still long, tremendous progress has been made in two short years. Comments like "it's not pretty" (anonymous at 9:31) are irresponsible and a disservice to the people who are dedicated to school.

For those considering TM APP, I say: come and be part of the solution.

hschinske said...

I found the business of finding out what the Advanced Learning programs were all about, navigating the information about test scores, deadlines, appeals, etc. quite confusing (and posts on this blog almost every day tell similar stories). I am white, well educated, relatively well off, and have more leisure to deal with these things than most people. I've also lived in Seattle most of my life.

Any situation that is as byzantine as SPS is going to disproportionately keep out anyone with less power, less background knowledge, less chutzpah, less free time, whatever. That translates into socioeconomic and racial discrimination pretty easily. The test questions don't even HAVE to be discriminatory (though a few may be) and the teachers and principals don't even HAVE to be racist (though a few may be) for such a result to occur. It's all built into the system. Making it easier on everyone would serve everyone and be a win all around.

I've often thought it would take just a few little nudges to get APP to the tipping point where it wouldn't be so off-putting to kids of color -- once you were pretty sure of not being the only black kid in your class, even if there were only three of you or whatever, it would be much easier to say yes. If a bunch of parents of color were to get together and stage an influx, all agreeing to send their kids at the same time, maybe it would work better, dunno.

I'm another parent who found APP more diverse than my neighborhood school, by the way -- and was delighted to find a lot of unexpected diversity in terms of national origins (I think my son's first-grade class had some twelve different nationalities represented among the parents, though I forget the exact figure). But that's not enough.

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

as the parent of an african american student, I frequently feel conflicted about the decision we made to send her to APP.
I'd love to see a "safe" forum for discussing diversity (or lack of) in SPS APP.

Anonymous said...

Can someone explain how it is acceptable for APP at Ingraham to have 2 sections with 40-42 kids (20 -21 per class) when every other desirable school in the city is bursting at the seams from overenrollment? APP gets to choose to have such small class sizes at Ingraham while Garfield will still have to take the remaining 137 APP kids in the cohort? Wouldn't it seem more acceptable for APP at Ingraham to have 60 kids for 2 sections, just like every class at Garfield? Surely there must be 20 more APP 8th graders who should go to Ingraham...why is it a complete choice? Every system at Garfield is straining under the weight of overcrowding, and the method to relieve it is completely left up to choice? 20 more kids, please!

Anonymous said...

40 kids opted to take a chance on a new program and help relieve some of the overcrowding at Garfield, which may lead more kids choosing it next year - and you're complaining??

Log said...

>>> 40 kids opted to take a chance on a new program and help relieve some of the overcrowding at Garfield, which may lead more kids choosing it next year - and you're complaining??

Agree! I like the Ingraham pathway offered as a optional chioce, not a forceful split as in elementery/middle school APPs (Remember most of us had fought against it!). I'm glad to hear there are enough families signing up for the Ingraham APP program to take off! I believe 40 are also the starting student numbers for the successful Interlake program we now try to emulate.

hschinske said...

I think, as I have thought from the beginning, that the APP students should be taking IB classes alongside other students in the IB program. Why on earth should we cause a whole bunch of scheduling problems in order to separate the students, when they're taking the same level of class? If the self-contained classes are going to be that small, it will just be another way in which this was an utterly wrongheaded decision.

Mix 'em up. Problem solved.

Helen Schinske

Log said...

IB courses are offered to regular 11th & 12th graders. APP students are going to take them in their 10th grade WITH other IHS students. So, it's only in the 1st year (9th grade) that APP students are grouped in a cohort. That's a very reasonable transition period for them to get ready to take on IB program one year early, and one of the reasons this IB pathway is attracted to me.

SE Mom said...

Anon at 3:06 pm on the 19th:

What would be a "safe" forum for discussing APP diversity? What would you change about this blog to make that work for you?

hschinske said...

APP students are going to take them in their 10th grade WITH other IHS students.

If that's true, that's news and very, very welcome news. They were going to have separate regular and accelerated IB classes, the same way Interlake does. One year of smaller 9th-grade classes is something that can be gotten over, I think.

Helen Schinske

ArchStanton said...

@Barefoot:

APP parents, do you have any misgivings about how racially homogeneous the classes are?

Our family had some concerns about the lack of diversity in the program, but we also had concerns about the ability of our neighborhood school to address our child's academic needs as well as her social needs - realizing that her social needs include both intellect and diversity. On that account, we felt that we were in a better position to supplement diversity while attending APP than we were to supplement gifted learning while remaining in our neighborhood school. Ultimately, you have to decide what is more important to you and what will work best for your child and your family.

If I may be hyperbolic for a moment; do you want to sacrifice your son's intellectual needs out of a sense of social justice? What lesson would he learn from that? Or could you meet his needs via the APP program and demonstrate your priorities by advocating to improve access for underrepresented groups. Which path would impart your values? Which path would be easier or more comfortable?

Do I want to consign him to possibly 12 years of having classmates who are not very different from him?

It doesn't really answer your question, but this conjures up the dilemma that black families face: whether to make their child a racial minority in the gifted program or an intellectual minority in a more diverse classroom. Either way, it's possible for the child to not fit in. I suppose if your son is especially sensitive to issues of diversity and social justice, he might feel a little out of place in APP (which is more an acknowledgment of the racial makeup of APP than to suggest that APP families are unconcerned with social justice). Let me also add that skin color is an obvious marker, but you may find that APP is more diverse in other areas than you assume.

Is your apprehension is more about the values you wish to teach or your own discomfort with your perceptions of the class/status/wealth of APP families. I don't mean to sound accusatory - We've had those feelings and found it helpful to be clear with ourselves as we tried to sort it out. Again, in the end, it need to work for your son AND your family.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Arch Stanton for your analysis. We belong to one of those "minorities" that tend to do poorly on academic charts. We made the decision to take advantage of the advanced learning program for our child. It isn't easy to leave familiar surroundings and faces, but we balance out the diversity question with our home and social life. Our child has grown in confidence and made new friends while keeping old ones. We look at APP as a choice for academic opportunity, but it can be one of personal growth and experience- a step beyond the familiar.

There is a wonderful discussion in the NYT sport's section about balancing out opportunity vs. what you give up. It is about Grant Hill and Jalen Rose and their choices as young men and where they are today.

http://thequad.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/16/grant-hills-response-to-jalen-rose/

Check it out!

ArchStanton said...

I confess that I don't follow sports very closely, so I don't have all the context for that story. But, I did get the gist of it. Thanks.

It really has a lot to do with one's perspective and experiences. APP seems less diverse that most South Seattle public schools, but seems surprisingly diverse in comparison to Seattle's private gifted schools. I currently have one foot in each extreme end of the socio-economic spectrum (in a manner of speaking) and I am continually struck by the contrasts - not to mention the chasm that separates the two. I keep finding myself uncomfortable with my class/wealth/status simultaneously with my lack of class/wealth/status.

Still, I have to navigate those circumstances to make the best choices for my child and family.

Anonymous said...

Does anybody know how to get to the Advanced Learning page on the new site? I cannot find it anywhere.

Anonymous said...

here is the link to Advance Learning. The new site still takes you to the old site.

http://www.seattleschools.org/area/advlearning/index.xml

Anonymous said...

Anon...

There will surely be more than 40 students in the IB APP program for 9th grade. The first cutoff date was for those that wanted early admission and willing to give up their seat at Garfield. I hear they have over 45 and there are still several weeks left on open enrollment. Parents are still deciding...

Stephanie Bower, APP AC said...

Regarding enrollment in APP/IB at Ingraham, the current count is 44 students signed up, and they have until September to sign up if they choose. This is an amazingly promising number given issues of music, the fact that current 89th graders have already been to multiple schools with the split. This will be a popular option for some APP high school students, and will likely fill in coming years.
We argued/lobbied hard with the Superintendent and the individual School Board members for the Ingraham program to be a choice not a forced assignment.
It is great that it will help the overcrowding a little at Garfield.

The current plan from the Advanced Learning office and Ingraham is to have some classes only with other APP/IB students, and some classes blended with other students at IHS...this will occur all four years, not just the 9th grade.
To see the course progression, go to http://www.seattleschools.org/area/advlearning/documents/APP_IB_course_progression.pdf

where self-contained APP/IB classes are highlighted in gray.
Stephanie

Stephanie Bower, APP AC said...

Diversity in APP, or the lack of it:
The Advanced Learning office sends out letters to underrepresented students who do well on MAP tests, encouraging them to apply for advanced learning testing. The office follows up with these students. Also, information is sent out in multiple languages (I have seen the letters), not just in in English.
There are multiple, complex reasons why APP is not more diverse...
also, numbers tend to not count all the biracial students.
Some Principals discourage their kids of color from leaving their neighborhood schools to go to APP or Spectrum. AL office staff try to address this by going out to buildings.
Also consider that many kids of color who do qualify, end up going to private schools such as Lakeside, often on scholarship from what I've heard--hard to turn that offer down...so private schools get better diversity numbers while APP is drained of their students of color. This has happened for years and makes it really challenging to build a critical mass of students of color that would then attract more students of color.
I was told that at a recent middle school jazz band competition, Lakeside won, and its band was more diverse that either Hamilton or Washington's bands.
Testing defines the program...if the threshold or process is changed to accommodate a broader range of students, know that the nature of the program from what it is now will change.
There should be an emphasis on building challenging programs very early on. The district has advanced learning office staff specifically designated to create new advanced learning programs (ALO's and Spectrum) in south end schools for this purpose, also for equity north/south.
We do talk about these things at APP AC meetings...I encourage and welcome anyone interested to come to a monthly meeting, also to contact the diversity rep, Roberto Jourdan. Our committee is pretty diverse as well...my mother is Chilean and I have one son who is 2e, also an underrepresented group (I'm starting a parent support group in April for parents of 2e kids in Spectrum and APP), we have parents of bi-racial and african-american kids, asian, my co-chair is east Indian as is the TM rep, etc. We are also concerned with diversity issues.
Stephanie

Stephanie Bower, APP AC said...

I see the entire link didn't post.

To see the course progression for all 4 years for both APP/IB at Ingraham and Garfield, go to

http://www.seattleschools.org/area/advlearning/documents/APP_IB_course_progression.pdf

And that should be 8th graders, not 89th graders! Sorry...typing fast...

Stephanie Bower, APP AC said...

Argh...looks like links don't post...go to the Advanced learning homepage, then to new APP/IB option at Ingraham, then click on the link to the 4 year course progression pdf.
S.

Greg Linden said...

Sorry about that, Stephanie. Blogger doesn't automatically make URLs live. Here, let me make a direct link to the PDF you mentioned:

http://www.seattleschools.org/area/advlearning/documents/APP_IB_course_progression.pdf

hschinske said...

Okay, so math and languages are by whatever level you're at when you come in, which is pretty much what we expected anyway. But in social studies and science only second-year classes are mixed, while *no* literature classes are mixed. What on earth is the point of that? Who wants it this way, and why?

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

I know two families that have signed up for Ingraham that are not going to attend. One is staying at Garfield to keep sibs together, the other, going private. The family going private said there was a very heavy sales job and she felt pressured into choosing APP/IB for her son. Ultimately, the community at the private school closer to home won out. I imagine there will continue to be some attrition as the dust settles, though it may be balanced out by other families choosing to attend APP/IB.

Stephanie Bower, APP AC said...

There will likely be some changes in who goes where by the time Fall rolls around, and yes, private schools are always an option. There was a hard sell, no doubt, as this is a new program...lots had to be figured out very quickly, and there had to be some evidence the new option would be well-received in order to avoid the forced geographic N/S split. Like it or not, it was on the table. We had to do some hard selling for the optional path when we met with school board members.

From what we've heard from parents of younger kids through emails, they are VERY excited about the APP/IB program in the next few years for their kids.

As far as who wants the self-contained APP/IB classes, lots of parents do (see survey results), and APP parents have been asking for something like this at the high school level for many years. I personally never thought I'd see it in this district.

The parents on the design team really pressed the issue of self-contained or blended. To strike a balance, the staff at Ingraham and the AL office determined a course progression that involves some self-contained APP classes (which they felt was necessary to deliver curriculum to prep students for IB in one year instead of the normal two years) and many blended classes as well.
Stephanie

hschinske said...

Rats, Blogger just ate my comment. Stephanie, did you mean the survey at http://www.seattleschools.org/area/advlearning/documents/APP_IB_Survey_Summary.pdf? Because I didn't see anything on there indicating that parents were especially asking for self-contained classes or even aware of them as a possibility. It simply asked the participants to rank features of a high school experience in importance from one to seven, one of which was "Classes with non-APP students," which got ranked last, and "Classes designed for gifted students," which ranked second to "Rigorous curriculum."

At the APP-at-Ingraham meeting I attended on the night before the survey came out, most people hadn't heard that self-contained IB classes were even on the table. There were gasps around the room when I brought the issue up. I don't recall a single person saying they sounded like a good idea. I suspect most folks who filled out the survey had no idea that their rankings were supposed to indicate their support or otherwise for self-contained IB. Especially not the ranking of "classes with non-APP students" -- something has to get put last on this kind of survey, and people had other things on their minds as higher priorities, that's about all you can say with certainty.

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

At the APP/IB info night that I attended, I remember a current SPS student expressing concerns about the silo effect of a self-contained cohort. It was based on conversations he had with a Bellevue student at InterLake.

With Garfield, the cohort is at a single school (making it possible to offer some of the advanced classes), but in classes that aren't just APP students.

lendlees said...

Helen-

From what I've heard is that some members of the design committee completely disregarded the survey results and relied on anecdotal data to push for self-contained classrooms for the APP/IB program.

So, you are correct in your interpretation of the survey results, they just weren't used to make some important decisions.

dw said...

Helen,

As a parent of a soon-to-be high schooler considering Ingraham, I overwhelmingly approve of the proposed blend of self-contained and mixed classes. One of the sad aspects of most SPS high schools, Garfield included, is the lack of "APP-level" rigor in 9th grade. The Ingraham plan attempts to solve that, at least from an academic standpoint. The other part is that the APP kids will be doing 2 years worth of IB prep in one year. Presumably they've already had a chunk of that in middle school, but their classes in 9th will be very different from anything else in the district.

The only worry I have is that the staff and/or IHS community might see it in a negative light and unnecessary friction might occur.

For APP 10th/11th in actual IB classes, it's a much more subtle and complex question, because the classes, by and large should be at least similar. But a couple things to consider:

1) Age differences. Yes, it's just one year, and many kids can deal with that at this age. But all things equal, I'd prefer to have my 10th grader taking classes with mostly other 10th graders. There is a difference.

2) It's not something many parents want to talk about, but without question there WILL be a difference in the nature of those classes. Simply because of the different nature of the kids, their educational backgrounds and their natural tendencies and abilities. Sure, there have always been a few APP-qualified kids that take IB at Ingraham, but the majority are not. Rather, they are more likely to be highly motivated students, who have chosen to push themselves in high school. Neither group is better or worse, but they are different.

I'm not sure how I would have designed these 2 years, but I think I would have opted for the self-contained model as well, at least for now, to see how it plays out. It's a much, much easier change to blend the classes in the future than to separate them if thing aren't working well.

I'm sure the bottom line is that we're going to mimic Interlake's model because we can. It exists, it works, they're helping us, and the timeline was insane on building out this program. Lastly, I have a hard time believing that Interlake's model is terribly wrong, or they would have made some changes over the past 6 or so years.

hschinske said...

When will I learn to copy my comment before hitting enter? It just got eaten *again*. If it's sitting in the spam folder and eventually posts, I suppose this one will look like a repeat.

I wasn't talking about the 9th-grade (or 12th-grade) classes. I can see the rationale for those being self-contained, though I might have preferred otherwise. (The option I'd really have liked to see, though it's probably not practical to schedule, is to be able to do IB over three years instead of two, to reduce the stress.) But a two-tiered IB system seems to me to play into all the worst stereotypes of APP. I think it makes us look really, really bad.

I'm not so happy about the way things are set up at Interlake, either, especially considering the glowing puff piece saying how well "de-tracking" had worked there, completely ignoring that they'd imported a gifted program that was promptly siloed off from the rest of the school: see http://www.learningfirst.org/visionaries/SharonCollins.

Now, they did do what sounds like some fabulous remedial and motivational work (which is not what I would call "de-tracking," either, incidentally), which all sounds great: I have nothing against that kind of thing. But to say scores have been going up despite more students taking tests, while ignoring the fact that they'd started a new gifted program -- well, ugh. That really kind of smells.

Sure, there have always been a few APP-qualified kids that take IB at Ingraham, but the majority are not.

You have no way of knowing that. In any case, even in most selective schools, most students won't be "APP-qualified." They're still your competition.

Helen Schinske

7th grade parent said...

Rather, they are more likely to be highly motivated students, who have chosen to push themselves in high school. Neither group is better or worse, but they are different.

So interesting, I would rather have my APP qualified kid in class with highly motivated students, who have chosen to push themselves than with perhaps less motivated (?) students who did well on a test when they were five or ten. High School seems like a good time to open up the world to the APP cohort as long as the courses offered are rigorous. Why wait until college?

none1111 said...

You have no way of knowing that.

Unless you think the staff have lied about it, I stand by my statement. I would have thought you'd been attending the meetings and asking questions like this (especially since it sounds like you might have interest in the program), but maybe not.

I share your concern (as I said) about the possible political/community issues. Much of how that plays out will depend on the attitude of senior staff in the building, and we can only keep our fingers crossed. 9th grade certainly has to be self-contained as planned, regardless, so anyone who is bothered by stand alone classes is going to have that in their head anyway.

7th grade parent: I wouldn't be terribly opposed to blending during the 2 IB years, but I don't think it's a no-brainer either. I think people are underestimating the age/grade difference. That's supposed to be a big part of why we have APP, to avoid the need to grade-jump. Some kids handle that okay, but many do not.

And as for the different personalities, learning styles and abilities, I think it's a mixed bag, and I didn't (intend to) present that as a Bad Thing necessarily, but something to consider. All in all, I think the district is doing the right thing to begin with because there are already so many unknowns. Only a few short weeks ago, no one knew if enough families would even apply for this program to make it work!

7th grade parent said...

I think people are underestimating the age/grade difference

none, I'm also an 11th grade parent, do you have older kids?

Half of the classes my older kid has taken have been with a majority of older kids. No big deal (in fact better than being with the kids his age.) The only issue I see is with classes that travel (like GHS marine bio or RHS Bridge), that seems a little problematic to me. Unless you mean the older kids are slower because they were not in APP, that is a different issue. (Like having an 11th grader taking algebra because it took them that long to get there.)

Re staff 'lying' about APP status of students, I don't think they have any way of knowing. On the Seattle Schools blog, 'Dorothy' reported that the principal of RHS thought there were two, TWO!, APP qualified kids at Roosevelt. Dorothy knew of about a dozen, including her own kid.

hschinske said...

I agree that staff don't usually know which kids tested into APP (especially if they went private for middle school), but the larger issue is that most kids aren't tested at all, and we know a lot of kids get underestimated on the CogAT, especially in the early years. There are also many kids who are in the top few percent in some domains but not others, and we know that most students in IB classes at Ingraham now are taking such classes only in their areas of interest or strength, not doing the full program. In contrast, APP students will presumably be taking the full program willy-nilly, regardless of their specific strengths or interests. Add in the age difference, and I think you get a huge potential overlap.

Helen Schinske

hschinske said...

I looked up Dorothy's comment about how the RHS principal had no clue how many APP kids there were at Roosevelt. I hope she won't mind my quoting it: http://preview.tinyurl.com/4x2n2t6

I always found this irritating as well, how poorly tracked this data is. I think there should be some data on where are all the kids who have ever qualified for APP and/or Spectrum. I asked Brian Vance about the APP kids and he was clueless. Said he knew of two, but those were just two freshmen who had enrolled at RHS after attending WMS. I listed quite a few for him that I knew had qualified or been in the program at some point. He said he would get back to me, but never did. My gut feeling is that there were somewhere between 50 and 100 students at RHS who had at some point qualified for APP.

This is the sort of data that is needed for many reasons. As Charlie is pointing out, to daylight the dearth of support for advanced learners in some parts of the city. I think it is also needed to better make sense of HS test data and to better advocate for honors and AP classes to meet their needs.


Helen Schinske

Stephanie Bower, APP AC said...

The issue of numbers of APP students at other high schools came up during the Ingraham design team process. Principal Floe said that APP students had enrolled at Ingraham and in IB, but they lose their APP status once they do this. So it is challenging for the staff in the schools to know who is/was APP and who isn't/wasn't.

About self-contained APP/IB, Helen, I think I was actually the person at the front of the room talking about self-contained at that meeting...up to that point, I had been unaware that some classes would be self-contained, so I was surprised to hear this from other parents!

Lendlees on April 1, what you heard about the design team and decision-making about self-contained, etc. is incorrect. Parents on the design team, including myself, expressed some concerns about having self-contained APP classes at Ingraham. It was the staff who pointed to the parent survey results which stated "classes designed for gifted students" ranked second out of the seven in priorities, which they interpreted as a desire for specialized instruction, not just jumping ahead a year. Also, IHS staff felt it was important to have some self-contained APP/IB classes because they would need to condense the normal 2 years of IB prep curriculum into only one year for APP students.

I've heard APP parents ask for a true gifted high school program for a decade--all things considered, this is not a bad way to go. The Principal, IB staff, and the AL office genuinely support this model and want to make it work, feel there are already many diverse populations with unique needs in the building, that APP/IB will fit in well and the current model will meet the unique needs of the APP kids. The Ingraham staff have spent many, many hours crafting what they hope will be a really good program. The similar program in Bellevue seems to work well and has raised the bar at Interlake. If there are problems, then things will likely be adjusted down the road. We asked for the staff and parent "design team" to continue to be involved through the first graduating class.
Stephanie