Friday, May 13, 2011

Loss of some AP classes at Garfield

In an e-mail newsletter, the APP AC wrote:
At Garfield, budget cuts are being translated to cuts in AP courses and other classes, including the cancellation of AP Calculus BC, reductions in sections of AP Chemistry, and AP Spanish.
APP students at Garfield are disproportionately heavy users of these classes -- I suppose you could go as far as to say that the APP curriculum at Garfield in large part is the available AP classes -- so this seems like a fairly big deal for students in APP at Garfield and APP parents considering Garfield High School for their children.

Thoughts? Ways to deal with this?


amsiegel said...

Why would you cut those classes? All sorts of little school districts and tiny private schools offer those courses; shouldn't we be able to count on a district of this size in a city of this sophistication to do the same? When I arrived at my snooty college 22 years ago, the math curriculum that those destined to be math majors took was dependent on arriving at college having mastered all the material in APP BC Calculus. (With rare exceptions, the jumping off course was available only to frosh who had scored a 5 on the BC exam.) Why would you want to close off those opportunities to Seattle public high school graduates?

Anonymous said...

Students are being directed towards Running Start. Each high school has a Running Start line item in its budget based on estimated number of students who will utilize the funds. Cancelling AP classes will mean that more students will use Running Start funding.

I think asking how will Garfield account for the increased need in Running Start funding is a start in determining if it really makes fiscal sense to pay for the students to take the classes through Running Start or through the school.

I would think that it probably is cheaper to pay a teacher to teach the classes than pay the college. They are probably stealing from Peter to pay for Paul and will come up short in the end.

hschinske said...

Upper-level math going away, just as at Hamilton. Same song, different verse, little bit louder, little bit worse.

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

FYI to parents considering Running Start. You are responsible for college fees and text books, that can run up to $300 per class. Also SPS does not pay for classes taken in the summer quarter. Same credit applied, you just have to pay for everything.

Anonymous said...

Add in the other Hamiliton cuts: 2 years of foreign language instead of 3.

This is not a good plan to retain students in SPS.

Anonymous said...

"Add in the other Hamiliton cuts: 2 years of foreign language instead of 3."

How can they cut foreign language and be a foreign language immerison school? Is that being addressed?

Anonymous said...

I have no idea how the funding sources are different for Running Start and teachers in the building. Does anyone else?
Garfield Parent

Anonymous said...

Hey everyone- I'm a Garfield Junior finishing up my Ap Calculus AB course. I was signed up for BC Calculus before it was cut. The most devastating part is that the counselors are telling us that basically to be considered for top colleges in the country, we need to have a high level math and science class senior year but Garfield won't offer us these necessary classes. 80 or so Seniors won't have a math class next year and 100 won't have a science class. They are directing us to running start which, an inside source has told me, is looked down upon by and not recognized as "legitamate education" by top colleges. And at the same time the school is spending money to fund secret spanish classes for top athletes... Something is wrong when you deny your top students (who happen to be considered the top public school students in the state) an edge for admission to Harvard, Yale, Stanford, etc. and simultaneously throw away money illegally helping ONE student who has consistently failed to score a 900 on his SAT and pass a spanish class. I acknowledge that budget cuts are hard on everyone but something needs to change. It starts at the top.

Greg Linden said...

In another newsletter, the APP AC adds:

AP Calculus BC ... is to be cancelled next year due to budget cuts at Garfield.

Students have been given the following options:
--take the Calculus Series in Running Start (community college). The recommendation is to take Calculus 1, 2, and 3.
--take math at another institute of higher education (the UW, online at Stanford, Johns Hopkins...)
--take AP Statistics (there are not enough open spots to accommodate the 65 students)
--take other advanced electives such as *AP Macroeconomics*, *AP Computer Science* (can be difficult to get into this course)

It is also likely there will be reductions in sections (classes of up to 32 students) for *AP Chemistry* and *Honors Physics*.

The *Spanish 4* class is being eliminated. Although there are enough requests to fill 3-4 sections of *AP Spanish*, only one
section is being offered--only one section has been offered historically.

Other courses that have been cancelled are *Business Computer Applications*,
*World History 4*, *Probability and Statistics*
offered every other year, had low enrollment), and *Lifetime Sports*.

Greg Linden said...

The full newsletter is available at the APP AC group at:

E-mail 88 is the one from which I was quoting.

Anonymous said...

I have a dumb question: those kids have to be in a class, don't they? Will Garfield really save money by cutting sections when there are plenty of students to fill it?

Anonymous said...

The kids are being told they "have to" enter the running start program. There are no additional math classes available to them and they do not have enough math credits to graduate. It is too late to transfer to a school that does offer those classes (RHS and BHS), and those schools don't have room for these students anyway. I can't help but feel this is a planned dismantling of the APP program at the high school level - a plan that is especially heartless to next year's 11th and 12th graders.
So basically - they are kicking these kids out of HS.


Jon said...

Wow, the district found the solution to deal with overcrowding at Garfield, make Garfield less desirable and get kids who want to take AP classes to go elsewhere. Brilliant!

And, look, without brainy kids getting those annoyingly high scores on standardized tests and widening the curve, the district can lower the achievement gap too! Awesome!

Lori said...

anon wrote, "They are directing us to running start which, an inside source has told me, is looked down upon by and not recognized as "legitamate education" by top colleges."

I was going to ask about this as well. My child is young so I don't know much about Running Start, but parents of older children in nearby districts have basically said the same thing to me: RS is intended for kids who plan to attend community college but not for those hoping to go to top tier universities, that the credits won't count at UW.

Is this true? What do parents of older kids (or high schoolers reading this) think/know about Running Start?

Single Child said...

I guess there is even more reason now NOT to take any credits for Math classes such as Algebra and Geometry earned in middle school. Otherwise, kids will be kicked out of HS too early and/or denied access to the high-level math classes since they will have too many math credits for graduation.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that the first responsibility of a school is to provide appropriate math, English, science, social studies, and perhaps foreign language classes to all students. Even if a school is on a crazy austerity budget, isn't it their responsibility to cut all the sports teams, bands, clubs, spirit days, electives, field trips, counseling programs, etc. before denying 60 or 80 students a math class?

--Wildly confused

Maureen said...

It is too late to transfer to a school that does offer those classes (RHS and BHS), and those schools don't have room for these students anyway.

Is this true? Aren't APP kids guaranteed a seat at their neighborhood High School under the New Student Assignment Plan? (Maybe that only applies to freshmen and sophomores since NSAP was phased in two years ago.) Though, re Calculus, I think only RHS is offering B/C, so you would have to live in that attendance area.

Single Child said...

To transfer to another school at senior year just for one math class? Crazy...Moreover, RHS is offering only one section of AP Calculus BC, not enough for 60 kids...At this point online option seems to be the best.

Anonymous said...

Here are some facts about Running Start.

Yes, the UW accepts the credits. In fact, Running Start is one of the things they look for in an applicant. From the UW Freshman Review web site:

"Taking advantage of college-preparatory courses during high school, such as Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), Running Start, or college in the high school; or academic subjects beyond the minimum required for college entrance.

The UW also still has the duel credit policies. From the UW FAQs:

"I heard that the UW-Seattle no longer has transfer agreements with Washington community colleges. Is this true?
No. The University has long-standing agreements with Washington community colleges but not one that guarantees admission. The University continues to honor the 1994 proportionality agreement, which stipulates that 30% of all newly enrolled undergraduates at the UW annually will come from Washington State community colleges. Among community college transfers, the highest priority in admission is given to those with academic associate degrees and to those with 90 transferable credits taken in preparation for a professional academic major."

So in fact, attending a community college could actually increase your odds of gaining acceptance into the UW if you are able to earn 90 transferable credits before applying. What this means is that any SPS student can begin accumulating these credits as a Junior. If they opt to go full time to Running Start, they could potentially have the 90 credits by graduation. This is a great opportunity for the right student.

I found the Yale web site to be most thoughtful on the subject of what classes should students take and recommend reading it:

"When the admissions committee looks at your transcript, it will not focus on whether you have taken any specific course. It will be far more interested to see that you have challenged yourself with difficult coursework, and have done well."

After reading this I do not believe that top universities will turn their noses up at a Running Start class. And while I believe that Garfield should offer students the opportunity to take the AP classes that are being cut, I do not think that saying Running Start classes are not as good on your transcript is a valid argument for offering the classes.

I put this forth to help quell the fear that somehow Running Start classes are subpar to AP classes. I have a Running Start student, duel enrollment, and it has been a fantastic experience so far.

Anonymous said...

To Poster @ 3:26 PM or anyone with answers,

Does the school district pay for the Running Start classes? Also if not, is there some kind of scholarship available? How does it work for my child to do this during the school day (thinking transportation issue)?


Mercermom said...

I'm also very curious how taking one Running Start class works in conjunction with the student's regular schedule at Garfield (and after school activities). As the APP program supposedly continues through 12th grade and provides an appropriate education for the students in it, will the District facilitate making the class work, or are kids just left on their own? I could see if it was a couple of kids who were seeking math at a level higher than their APP cohort; but when you have 60 kids and the class is the expected next math offering for them in this sequence, it makes no sense to say they can pay for it through an outside source, figure out how to make it work via another educational institution, etc.

Anonymous said...

Danny Westgate picked up the story today, time to email the usual suspects and ask for some answers as to why classes, that would be fully enrolled, are being cut while running a class with 3 athletes is OK?

Anonymous said...

Answering an earlier question:

Seniors do not have to be in a class. They can be assigned late arrival or early release. The state used to fund for five classes per year per student so when a school such as GHS offers six periods a day, they are making up the money from elsewhere (classroom funds, other students taking four classes, etc).

Usually the BC calculus class is fewer than fifteen students who are driven enough and smart enough to teach themselves. They should be given a period of "Independent Study". The textbooks are in the bookroom, the AP question bank is available for them to download off the net.

Syd said...

When you say usually, what do you mean? There are two sections of BC calculus this year, and there were supposed to be 2 sections of 30 students each next year.

Anonymous said...

I note that Dr. Susan Enfield is appearing at the CPPS annual meeting (6:30-8:30 on Tues, May 24, at Lincoln H.S. libary), where the topic is parent engagement and the opportunity to make a difference in the schools. Perhaps this would be a forum to ask questions about how parents can effectively advocate for the District providing appropriate course offerings for all students.

hschinske said...

In a comment to the 12/9/2010 open thread, I said One thing I didn't think of saying is that part of what's going to drive my decision is whether anything at Garfield will end up gutted (which naturally no one would admit anyway). If it's a choice between an untried program and a gutted program, I can easily see just bailing and going to Ballard, which would add over an hour to my kid's day and save a ton of stress.

CCM then asked Why would you think the Garfield program would be gutted? and I responded:

I don't necessarily think that it's *likely* to be gutted. I just assume it may be as part of my cynicism about the whole split, and because I'm so sick of being manipulated and pushed around. They're going to have to sell me on this one.

Helen Schinske

CCM said...

Ugh Helen -- no need to remind.


Jon said...

Maybe a strategy to deal with overcrowding at Garfield? Make Garfield less desirable?

Silly, of course, and self defeating, but also an easier path than expanding Garfield, copying Garfield's programs at other schools, or making other schools more desirable?

Anonymous said...

Meeting 5:00 PM at Garfield with Mr. Howard on Thursday to discuss class cuts.

Garfield Parent

Syd said...

Went to the meeting with Mr. Howard. It basically all turns on the way the district budgets. They have assigned 1868 students to Garfield, and have budgeted that 1611 will show up. Everyone knows that more will show up, but they can't plan to add back classes until the fall when the kids actually do show up. 1868 kids is 73 more students than they have this year. Garfield has been told there will be no cap on enrollment. Capacity was set at 1651 according to a BLRB architect doc shared during the meeting.

However, because it appears the science alignment will not happen next year, the school does not have to convert other classes to Physical Science. Garfield will be bringing back their traditional science classes, including AP Chem.

As well, the district has agreed to another .4 FTE for math, and that means probably the AP Calculus BC class will be back on the master schedule. In addition, the PTA is hoping to pick up some of the slack to the tune of $30,000 for teaching staff. They are also funding a literacy program for kids reading and writing below grade level with $40,000.

Single Child said...

Thanks, Syd for the info: does it mean that all the GHS 9th graders will be taking Biology and not Physical Science??

Syd said...

I am not positive, but it sounded like 9th graders would not be required to take P Sci, and that they would take Biology.

Maureen said...

Aren't almost all of the 9th graders already registered for PSci? Will they have to wait to change to Bio until September (nightmare)? (Of course this doesn't directly apply to APP kids, but it will require counselor time and will trickle down to the APP kids. It seems like there should be a way to get the changes done before school starts.)

Single Child said...

Recently there was a link on the GHS website about registering for the Physical Science exam for incoming 9th graders but this link is now gone. Does that mean that there is no more need to take this exam in order to be placed in Biology?

Maureen said...

Single Child: Yes, at the 5/18 Board meeting Cathy Thompson said that they are not going forward with the HS Science alignment so no one is required to take 9th grade Physical Science next year. Here's her Presentation, see slide 8.

Anonymous said...

if the district is assigning over 1800 kids to Garfield, why can't they add classes back in NOW, and at least create some kind of placeholder for a possible 100 more kids? It seems like they're refusing to plan for reality in a way that hurts the education of every kid in that school.

Syd said...

Bingo! Everyone knows this is true: most of the kids assigned to Garfield show up, and more continue to show up throughout the year (if you move to the GHS zone, you are in!). Mr. Howard was very clear that all parents should advocate with the district to plan for this. Otherwise many many children will not have the 5 periods the state funds, never mind all six periods. Is is difficult to add in classes and staff in October when the numbers are finalized.