Thursday, February 9, 2012

Another open thread

What's on your mind, APP parents?

99 comments:

Marco said...

We're looking at APP/Thurgood Marshall for our son for 1st grade.

I've heard from some parents that there is immense pressure on the kids in that program and now I'm not so sure this is a good fit for us.

He is a bright kid, who enjoys learning, but I wouldn't call him an over-achiever. Sometimes, he is happy to just do the bare minimum on a given task.

Any advice/insight on how the early classes at APP play our?

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hi all, has anyone used Dr. Carol Cole for testing their kindergarten student? If so, would you recommend her? Thanks so much!
Alys

Anonymous said...

There's no easy way to ask this. I have an APP-eligible child for whom we are considering the move from a neighborhood school to APP. We have solicited opinions all over the place and in the process heard what I assumed was a rumor: that the quantity of behavioral and social issues which require teacher attention/intervention in the APP program is very high.

I was ready to tour with an open mind, but then read the APP AC minutes from December wherein the L@L staff rep stated that “a large part of her time is spent dealing with behaviors of children with special needs.” Can anyone comment on what that means in your experience? Not specifically with regard to one teacher or school, but generally within the program.

I am acutely aware that highly gifted children may have inherent behavioral and social special needs, but was under the impression that the cohort/acceleration aspects of the APP program met the vast majority of them. Based on the above, this doesn’t seem to be the case. What’s the truth?

If you have a child without behavioral or social special needs, would APP be the best place for them?

If you have a child with behavioral or social special needs, would APP be the best place for them?

Or is APP an equally great option regardless of whether your child has special needs above-and-beyond those which would be met by the cohort?

Anonymous said...

I'm concerned by the "social studies is not currently a part of the curriculum" note in the APP-AC minutes. Social studies is part of the state EALRs, with specific grade by grade guidelines. How can social studies just be dropped?

Anonymous said...

Alys, I HIGHLY recommend Dr. Carol Cole. She easily built a rapport with my daughter, sent a very thorough report and has been a great resource for questions here and there since my daughter was tested.

- New to this

Shannon said...

1) --- Love Carol Cole. I recommend her to everyone I hear looking and have had numerous reports that she was great for them too.

2) --- My son is in the class of the teacher who was quoted in the APP AC minutes. As a parent, I do not notice any impact of kids with special needs on classroom experience even though a teacher may need to tailor her work to meet them. What they are usually referring to as being in higher-incidence in APP are diagnoses of ADD or ADHD and I have not found my child's years in APP to have been troubled or diminished in any way by classroom issues.

There are kids who blurt out ideas and talk. There are kids who wiggle and sit on 'wiggle' cushions but I would never even suggest to someone that they withold their kid from the APP program for these reasons.

That said, I know that some in the 2E community feel that APP is not supportive enough of their kids needs, particularly in terms of homework and supporting slower development of executive skills.

- Parent of a 5th Grader.

Anonymous said...

From my personal experience (4 yrs at Lowell) I can tell you that there are fantastic teachers who can handle the challenges from the APP student population quite well. But, with the growing number of the students in the classrooms (this year we have 30 students) and the different number of the 2E students in the classrooms every year, even the most fantastic teachers are having problems with the time: more and more valuable time has to go to discipline the students instead of teaching. As a parent you wouldn't know this, only if you are in the classroom and see it. Or if you have a comparison between your different students: one migh do more things in the different subject in a year than the other.

Anonymous said...

Marco-

I have volunteered to help with tours at elementary APP for years and every year many people ask a variation of this question. I never know how to answer it. Essentially you are asking "do you send your young children to a school that is a pressure cooker?" Well, if I thought it was a pressure cooker, my kids wouldn't be there.

I will ask you - do you ever hear this from someone whose child is actually in the program? If not, consider the source.

-no I don't torture my children

Anonymous said...

My thoughts as a parent of a second grader in his first year in APP.

Marco -- I haven't found it to be a pressure-filled environment at all for my son. Perhaps it is in later grades, but I haven't seen anything like that this year.

Anonymous --
My son doesn't have any behavioral or social special needs. He was very happy socially at his neighborhood school. We did not move him to APP for first grade for a number of reasons, one of which is the issue you raised.

There are undoubtedly more behavioral and social issues in his APP classes than in his neighborhood school classes. If you're in the classroom for any amount of time, it will become abundantly clear that the teacher spends an inordinate amount of time controlling/motivating/disciplining the same kids who clearly need extra help.

I think the APP cohort helps kids make friends with kids who are more like them (or like to read or do math puzzles, etc.) It doesn't, however, remove the wiggles, or the need to shout out answers or help them learn to respect personal boundaries.

Regardless, my son is happier overall because the subject material is more challenging and he has made good friends this year. I would make the same decision to move him to APP again in a heartbeat.

My impression (and it's only based on my two years of observation of APP so keep that in mind) is that there is a higher percentage of kids with issues in first grade than in the succeeding years, when more kids enter the APP program. I'm glad we waited a year.

Anonymous said...

Marco -- I have had 2 kids at APP thurgood Marshall since the program was moved there. I don't find there to be any more pressure or homework than their local elementary, particularly if your child starts APP in 1st, 2nd or 3rd grade. Math can be a challenge at first for those starting APP in 4th or 5th grade, as there is some catching up to do. Typical homework for a 2nd or 3rd grader is 30 minutes of reading -- kid's choice of any book-- and 1 short everyday math worksheet. I have never met an elementary APP parent who has commented that APP elementary is high pressure. By contrast, many complain about loads of homework at the middle school and high school level. Advanced Placement courses in any high school are hard work. -- thurgood Marshall parent.

Anonymous said...

Marco - My son always did the bare minimum in K. Now in 1st grade APP he often tries harder because the work is more interesting. But sometimes he still does the bare minimum and that's fine, too. 1st grade is very low pressure.

Behavior issues: The answer to whether there are "more" issues in APP will depend on the school you are coming from. Our neighborhood school had special ed kids and high poverty kids (and some just regular kids!) with way more behavioral issues than I see in APP, at least so far. I do think the younger APP grades have a lot of quirky personalities, but that is not the same as behavioral issues.

protected static said...

My son was one of those problem students in first and second grade. (He's now a well-adjusted, well-socialized 6th-grader at Hamilton.) Let's just say we were on a first-name basis with Julie before the Lowell/TM split.

First and second grade can be tough, partly because the cohort is so small. Many of the kids are there because they didn't fit in in kindergarten - and for boys in particular, that can mean behavioral issues.

That said, having spent lots of time in the classroom during those first few years as part of our son's 504, the kids have far more similarities than differences.

Anonymous said...

Related to APP classroom differences...my children's classes have tended to have more boys than girls. It hasn't been an issue, but it can change the dynamics at times.

OSPI stats (with all of Lowell, not separated by program) show 53.6% boys to 46.4% girls. Pre-split, the numbers were closer to 55% boys and 45% girls.

The district as a whole has more boys (around 51%), but there are disproportionately more in APP.

Marco said...

Thanks a lot for all your replies to my question. Will tour the school on Wednesday :)

Anonymous said...

Toured Lowel @ Lincoln today and was extremely impressed with the teachers and librarian. All seemed vibrant, energized, and engaged. The kids I observed were an ecclectic group, for sure, but all were tuned in to learning and seemed happy, for the most part. The site itself seems very doable, and it seems that they are making the most of it. They have a woman PE teacher! Awesome. Very cozy feel, and they have a reading room that the kids can use instead of recess, in addition to the library. Learned that next year they will most likely have the building to themselves as the language immersion school will vacate the building and no other schools are lined up to use the space. We will be enrolling our child at Lowell @ Lincoln, no question. Thanks to the parent for the great tour.

-Pleasantly surprised

Anonymous said...

Perhaps other parents who toured today at Lowell@Lincoln can share their impressions of the school, the teachers, the classrooms' "tone", the parent community, and the general feeling/impressions they were left with. Thanks.
A parent

SanMom said...

Anonymous @2/9 12:16--

We moved our child from a neighborhood school to Hamilton for middle school APP. We were also warned that the APP group may have a higher percentage of kids with behavioral difficulties.

Our child is now in 8th grade at Hamilton and does agree with that assessment, but is so thankful that the move was made because of the interesting classroom work, and the excellent programs Hamilton has, made possible by fabulous staff and parent volunteers and a group of kids with similar interests.

Anonymous said...

Some of the teacher assignments at Hamilton have changed and we can not say the same about our experience as the above 8th grade parent. It's very teacher dependent. Band and foreign language have been great.

Anonymous said...

I have to join to the previous anon (8 24am), we were among the "unlucky" ones in Hamilton who got all those non APP educated /experienced teachers in 6th and 7th grade. We have had a really hard 2 years and now just want to survive middle school an hope to have a better high school experience.

Anonymous said...

I have a 2e son at L@L. He's not all that disruptive, but I'm sure that it is difficult to be with him in a classroom from time to time. I also think that he is the type of kid who needs APP and would not be able to make it in a regular classroom. I will also say that the kids that have been in his classes for the 4 years we've been in APP have been so great and accepting of him and I would say that one of the places he feels the safest and least anxious is in his class -- and that's incredible. So, I guess even though as parents it's difficult to see 2e kids taking up more than their fair share of teacher resources, I do think that the way that the kids learn to accept each other and work together is a great lesson that will serve them well as they get older. At the old building, my daughter used to help out with the disabled kids and I think that she learned more in that classroom that will serve her for her life than she did in her other classes. Just another way to look at it.

--2e mom

Anonymous said...

Our daughter is in 6th grade APP at Hamilton. Her language arts/social studies teacher is excellent (but I've heard the other LA/SS teacher is not as good). Science teacher seems fairly good; band teacher is very good. The one weak spot has been the math teacher who is mediocre. Jane

Anonymous said...

And a question for the Lowell@Lincoln parents - we're thinking of moving our 1st grader to APP next year (second grade). Is there a before/afterschool program at Lowell@Lincoln? If not, what do working parents do? We both work full-time and our son's current school has an excellent on-site before/afterschool program. Lack of a before/afterschool program is a big negative for us - but we think L@L would be a much better fit for our son so we're trying to figure out how to make it work. Thanks. Jane

Anonymous said...

You can keep your child at their local before/after school program. You can get a bus before & after school from& to the local school. It works well for many families.

Anonymous said...

There will be chill care at Lincoln through KidCo. The current director will be leaving with the KidCo that is at Lincoln now because it was established by McDonald but a new person will come in. You should confirm this for yourself just in case something has changed since I got this information,

Emily

Anonymous said...

Re: L@L before and afternoon care:
http://seattlenorthapp.org/for-parents/before-after-school-activities/winter-before-after-school-classes/
plus there is a KidsCo on site with limited space.

Anonymous said...

I think that the APP school should be renamed in honor of Marcy Shadow, perhaps when the school moves to it's new, hopefully long-term location.

Anonymous said...

After being surprised by APP-qualifying scores, we attended the 2/10 tour on the off-chance that we'd be impressed enough with the program and its potential "fit" for our family to move Kid 1 away from our beloved neighborhood school. Our plan was to attend the tour then discuss ALO with our school's principal to enable a fair comparison.

After the tour, we have no reservations about APP. We are concerned about the lack of before/after school care, but we'll find a way to manage. We are forgoing the ALO meeting and taking the plunge to L@L next fall.

We are coming from a school with a fantastic parent community and working pull-out programs for academic acceleration, so have little reason to leave.

The things that impressed us most about L@L, compared to both our home school and our preconceived notions of L@L/APP before the tour:
1. More diversity than our home school.
2. Nearly balanced sex-ratio. It seems like we hear from more parents of boys than girls around here, but girls are WELL represented in the program.
3. The kids in all grades were happily engaged with no one on the sidelines. Many examples of students challenging each other, building on each other's ideas.
4. The teachers who happened to be giving lessons at the time of the tour gave us a taste of the academic environment and it is salivation-worthy: very fast-paced with lots of student engagement.
5. Teachers gave many examples of expanding on the district's standard curriculum, including material broader, deeper and/or even more accelerated than "standard curriculum + 2 years."
6. All of the teachers who were asked about differentiation seemed to have good strategies for identifying outliers among outliers and meeting them where they are. I understand from the blog that this is not universal across the program, though.
7. Hearing teachers and parents use the word gifted to describe the children's needs and NOT in sarcastic, air-quoted mockery was a such a breath of fresh air.
8. The community of families seems as close-knit as the incredibly close one we will be leaving. We are optimistic that we'll find our place.

I'm sure I forgot many things, but "WOW" should sum them up nicely.

suep. said...

To anonymous at February 9, 2012 12:16 PM:

APP has been good for my kids. Schoolmates with special needs have not been an issue (with one or two exceptions). In fact, in some cases, these fellow APP peers have broadened my children's world. That was especially true when we shared the school with the special ed program in Capitol Hill.

Also, it's likely there are kids with special needs in every school and program, not just APP.

My child's kindergarten class in our neighborhood school, for example, had as many as five kids who regularly disrupted the class, a couple of them acting out physically, hurting other kids. The quirks of some of the APP kids are mild by comparison.

@ Anonymous at February 11, 2012 5:10 PM

I like your school-naming idea.
It would be nice to have a permanent location, but that can only happen when APP becomes an actual school instead of merely a "program." The way it currently stands, APP can be moved around too easily. The superintendent can move programs around at will and whim, without needing approval from the school board. Thus, every time there is a capacity management crunch (over-enrollment), our kids are the most likely to get pushed out.

hschinske said...

I have never met an elementary APP parent who has commented that APP elementary is high pressure.

Really? That astonishes me. I think some teachers definitely did pile on the work, and certainly some kids are perfectionists/procrastinators to the degree that it's very, very easy for homework to get way out of control. There really are, or were, kids like my daughter doing three or four hours of homework a night in elementary. The tireder you get, the slower you go, the longer it takes... it was bad. I should have spoken up about it a lot more, a lot sooner. And the level of the work was never a problem for her; she was if anything toward the high end of her class.

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

We've experienced both extremes - both too much HW and too little HW. It really has varied over the years.

This is actually something that seemed to improve with Mr. King. There is more of an effort to do projects in class, rather than at home. This limits the time a child can spend on a project (good for those perfectionists) and also ensures the work is more the child's and less the parents'.

Stella said...

I echo the concerns over homework and have come to believe that it is actually the pressure on the teachers to whip through so much material that puts the squeeze on kids.

As a community I would like to see some real, hard and fast limits put in place to regulate how much homework can be given especially in middle school.

I also agree that after several years of kids in APP there has been nothing I would refer to as pressure.

Anonymous said...

Posted on the SaveSeattleSchools blog:

Important: Lowell Community Meeting this Thurday night.

Do you have questions and concerns about Lowell Elementary’s future?
Please come to a community meeting with Nancy Coogan, executive director of schools for the Seattle Public Schools’ central region, which includes Lowell. She wants to hear and address our concerns about Lowell’s present and its future.

The meeting will be Thursday, Feb. 16, starting at 6:30 p.m. in the Lowell lunchroom.

This is a great opportunity to ask questions and get answers. To all parents, staff and other members of the Lowell community.

signed - pp

Anonymous said...

Here is a link to a multi-part description of the bullying at Lowell last year.

http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/2012/02/lowell-sadly-plot-thickens.html

sss reader

Anonymous said...

Re: Lowell meeting on Thursday
Is this meeting really official, just because it is not on the district calendar and I haven't heard anything about it before?
Is the meeting going be in the lunchroom of the Lowell @ Capitol Hill or the Lowell @ Lincoln building at 6 30pm?
Thanks for sharing it.

ben said...

We're deciding whether to go with Lowell or have our son stay at his current school, Jane Addams. I'm curious if anyone else has direct experience and could compare the two schools. We really like JA. It has a great principal, his current teacher is excellent, there seems to be a good cohort of smart kids and he's doing walk to math. But will that + spectrum not be as challenging as APP? I realize this is the basic dilemma any parent faces but was wondering if someone else had some experiences they could tell me?
Thanks


Ben

Anonymous said...

This letter clearly answered my question about tomorrow's night meeting at Lowell:

"Thursday Night Lowell Meeting: Capitol Hill Only!
Some of you have been wondering about tomorrow (Thursday) night's meeting at Lowell. The meeting is to discuss capacity and programs at the Capitol Hill location only. It does not affect Lowell APP @ Lincoln at all."

LL

Anonymous said...

To Ben:
If you are happy at your school right now and next year seems similar as much you could predict, I wouldn't change this year just because of the planned move of Lowell after next year.
My personal advise would be to anyone, who is happy right now, and the student of yours in a lower grade (first, second) you should wait and see what will happen with the program after next year. Right now it seems so unstable and unpredictable (the building will change, the superintendent will change, who knows what else will change after the survey, etc.).
It is different if you are not happy right now, then it is a harder question. It depends again on the grade and mostly on your student.

LL

Anonymous said...

Help! We are decding between Ingraham IBx and Roosevelt. Any info??

Decisions, decisions

Purplemama said...

Ben & LL-

I woul respectfully disagree with the idea that it is better to wait and see about attending APP. My son entered as a third grader this year and he felt a bit lost in math at first even though he is very strong in math. My older child entered in second, which worked much better.

Anonymous said...

@ Ben (Thurs 5:17 pm) - re: whether to stay at your current school or transfer to Lowell.

We have 2 kids and have made two different decisions. Child #1 stayed at her elementary school through 5th grade and then transferred to APP at Hamilton for 6th grade. This path worked really well for Child # 1 - she was really happy in her elementary school with a good set of friends and her elementary school had before/afterschool care which Lowell did not (and since we both work full-time was critical for us). Her 6th grade transition to APP has been great (we did extra math at home and that worked out well).

Child #2 is at the same elementary school (which we love) but I think we're going to switch him to Lowell@Lincoln next year. He's a little bit quirkier than Child #1 and I think will find more of a peer group at L@L. The math/science also looks more interesting and complex at L@L. Child #1 is also a bit more self-motivated while Child #2 tends to go with the minimum amount of effort (unless he finds the work of interest). We're hoping that a more advanced peer group will help raise his "minimum" level of effort (i.e. now he can keep up with his peers with minimal effort; that won't be the case at L@L). The big thing is that we know we want him in APP for 6th grade and unlike our oldest, we think that transition will be more difficult for him in 6th grade than it would be in 2nd grade. And there's now before/afterschool care at L@L (though I can only hope that is also the case when the program moves to a new school).

Jane

Anonymous said...

To "Decisions, decision,"

Our son completed the IB program at Ingraham and was very well prepared for his freshman year at an Ivy League college ont he East Coast. The IB program is very rigorous - our son worked very hard - but the staff and administration are great,a nd really care about supporting the kids. Our neighborhood HS is Roosevelt too - we have many friends there who like it.

- a parent

Anonymous said...

Sounds like L@L wants to implement project-based curriculum next year. This is good information for new families.

Note from Rina

Dear Families,

The Lowell @ Lincoln Building Leadership Team would like to gather feedback from parents on a variety of curriculum and communication related topics including project-based learning, homework, events and technology. The primary function of the Building Leadership Team is to promote and facilitate the collaborative decision-making process which affects academic achievement and to identify how to support the needs of students and staff in the building. Your input will be considered as we develop guidelines and curriculum to best meet our learner's needs.

As you may know the district does not provide curriculum specific to APP learners, so the staff is working to create a model moving forward. Incorporating teacher experience and gifted training, we are exploring extensive project-based learning starting with the 2012-2013 school year. Project Based Learning is an instructional approach built upon authentic learning activities that engage student interest and motivation. These activities are designed to answer a question or solve a problem and generally reflect the types of learning and work people do in the everyday world outside the classroom.

The survey is 12 questions, so it should only take a few minutes to complete.

***I took out the link since it is only for current students***

You know your children's learning needs and interests, so your feedback on this survey is valuable. Please complete one survey per child by February, 27th. Thank you for your time and commitment to Lowell @ Lincoln.

Your Building Leadership Team,

Rina Geoghagan, Principal

Nathan Wheeler, 4th Grade Teacher

Emily Betts, 3rd Grade Teacher

Gary Bass, 1st Grade Teacher

Nancy Sears, Librarian

Jean Bryant, Parent


~L@L parent

Anonymous said...

Decisions,
My son loves APP at Ingraham. We lost sleep over the decision, but we made the right choice. My son tried to explain it to me by saying it's the first time he has really had to think...not just memorize. The climate feels so warm. It's almost weird!

Your real worry should be that I heard they are limiting the number of APP seats for next year at Ingraham..

Ingraham customer.

Anonymous said...

Hi parents,
I hope another private testing question is welcome. I have my K son's appt next week (he narrowly missed APP with his CogAT score so he needs the IQ test). He is perfectionistic and very concerned with doing the "right" thing/not messing up and gets self conscious very easily. Frankly speaking I am close to chickening out of the testing for fear of causing him undue anxiety, and just waiting to repeat the CogAT next year. Can anyone speak to whether the test was stressful for their young child of similar temperament? Thanks!
--tc

Anonymous said...

I'd wait. Why stress, he's little. It will come.

-In Due Time

Anonymous said...

I would wait also. We started Lowell with my son in 3rd grade and my daughter in 5th grade and it worked out perfectly for both of them. They were ready to move, leave the community school and spend more time on the bus. And if you wait a year you will miss another move / split next year, that is an additional bonus this year I feel.

Lori said...

tc, we did private testing when my daughter was about that same age, and it went fine. She too is a perfectionist and has test anxiety. She was in tears during the group testing at school, but in that setting, no one could "help" her.

However, private testing is completely different. The psychologist had the skills and desire to help my daughter work through her anxiety prior to getting started. She created a "safe" environment where my child could relax and do her best.

You don't have to make it sound like high stakes to your child either. We just said that she was going to play some games and answer some questions and the information would help her teacher know how to teach her better. We acted it like it was no big deal, just something everyone does at some point.

And, honestly, meeting that psychologist and hearing her thoughts about our child's anxiety has helped us gain some tools that have been important to help us manage these issues at home. Perfectionism and related issues can be a huge roadblock to success for gifted kids, and although we haven't conquered it yet, I am grateful we identified it early and got professional help.

Best of luck to you and your son.

Anonymous said...

CogAT scores are valid for 2-3 years (see AL website). Even if you choose not to enroll for next year, any qualifying scores could be used for next year's testing cycle.

Anonymous said...

TC - I just had my 6 year old son tested last week. Similar to what Lori said, the psychologist did a good job of putting my son at ease and establishing a rapport before starting the test. This was unintentional on my part but my son brought one of his favorite books with him which ended up providing a nice ice-breaker as he showed the psychologist all of his favorite pages in the book. My son said the assessment wasn't as fun as playing at home but was more fun than schoolwork. I'm sure everyone handles it differently but the pyschologist tested my son for about an hour; brought him out to the waiting room for a 10 minute break (I brough a snack with me) and then it was about 20 - 30 more minutes. Jane

LHFive said...

If you think you would move him to APP I would do the private testing. In my opinion, the earlier he gets the qualifying scores the better. Takes the pressure off everyone for subsequent years testing cycles. Hopefully you are at an ALO school so he would keep his APP status even if you didn't move him. The doctors who administer these tests have seen it all and are used to kids with lots of anxiety. If your son is very close to a 98 on the COGAT it is likely he will get the necessary number with private testing. I have never heard of someone getting a lower score with private testing. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

These responses are very helpful. Thanks, all.
--tc

Fremont Mama said...

We just found out that our 2nd grade daughter's teacher will only be coming back part time after maternity leave. She will work 2 days one week, three days the next week, etc. and they just hired another teacher to job share with her.

I think I remember another class/grade had this set up at Lowell last year. Does anyone have any experience with this? I am wondering how it works having two different teachers in the classroom. I could understand it better if they taught separate subjects, but this will not be the case.

Thanks,
Susanne

Anonymous said...

My son currently has two teachers in 3rd grade. I think it has worked well. Good communication is definitely essential. My son appreciates the different teaching styles. In this case, they do split up the subjects but my son goes to a different teacher in 3rd grade for Math anyway. Regardless of the subject though, I always included the other in all my communications and it's apparent to us that they keep the other apprised fairly well.

NESeattleMom said...

My son had two teachers for his APP second grade last year at Lowell, and has two teachers this year for 3rd grade APP at Lowell at Lincoln. In both cases it has been seamless coverage of the curriculum and a wonderful experience for my son. The teachers have been skilled and dedicated. One of his 2nd grade teachers is now at Thurgood Marshall, and the other left SPS. Last year they did day by day splits. With one 2 days and the other 3 days. This year they do 3 half days plus one full day. Both splits worked. In both cases they each specialized either in math or in writing. Not sure who did science, but it has all worked very well. When they had a family survey last year we definitely supported the split possibility for teachers because we felt it offers teachers choices, and shows children that they can combine family and work successfully. It is a model for a work-life balance.

NESeattleMom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Can anyone who has kids at Lowell at Lincoln speak to the issues regarding lack of play space and the muddy front area that currently can't be used? I know the parents did a ton of work to get that play structure up last summer and wondered if there are plans to wood chip more of the area so it can be used in the wetter months. How do they handle recess with so little space? Do they ever open the gym for recess? Is there anywhere for kids to toss a football or shoot some hoops?

We're seriously considering the program, but worry that there just won't be enough opportunity for physical activity, especially with long bus rides both ways.

Has this been a big issue or more of a minor inconvenience this year?

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Yes they did open up the gym for recess since kids can't play in front. Also heard that they might move the climbing structure to another location for next school year.

L@L parent

Purple mama said...

My third grade son at L@L complains a lot about recess. He says that there is not enough play equipment and that there is not enough play space. He says the gym is too crowded and is not open at every recess because PE classes are sometimes using it. Sometimes they play soccer, football, or other games in the emergency evacuation area but there really isn't enough room to play.

Anonymous said...

This topic has come up in a number of comments so I'd like to get additional perspective. For incoming families with younger children (currently K or 1st) does it make sense to wait a year until the building situation is resolved? OR, do the benefits of entering the APP program earlier outweigh the challenges presented by a building move?

Lincolnmom said...

My oldest child (second grade) also complains of recess being crowded. He has had one significant playground accident related to the crowding/ play area set up. My child is not particularly active, yet I can tell that he is not getting enough exercise at school.

Personally, I would not move my young child unless they are unhappy in their current situation. I do not plan to move my current K child until the new location is established.

Anonymous said...

Will the overcrowding be at all alleviated by the absence of the Macdonald population?

Jane

Anonymous said...

When we were on the Lowell @ Lincoln tour this week, the gym teacher said she'd just ordered a bunch of playground/gym equipment. Won't help with the space problem - but will help with the lack of equipment problem.

I would think that not having McDonald at the school next year would help with the lack of space.

Anonymous said...

Having McDonald move out will NOT help with the lack of space. The playground will still be the same size once McDonald leaves.

That said, would the playground size prevent me from sending my kid to Lincoln? No. What happens in the classroom is so good that that would top everything else. Recess is 30-45 minutes a day. They are in class much more than that. The faculty at the school does their best to make do with what they have. My kid is older, but it hasn't been an issue for us. He is still able to figure out ways to play and get some energy out.

Current Lincoln Parent

Purple mama said...

My current k kid is going to l@l next year. The benefits of having #3 with his APP peers (and in the same school as his older sib) makes it worthwhile for us.

Anonymous said...

Any truth to the rumor that the enrollment office is putting a cap on next year's APP enrollment at Ingraham for incoming 9th graders?

Hamilton Parent of an 8th grader.

Anonymous said...

Why wait if you intend to put your kid in APP one day since the district can change any program/school anytime. Have seen that kids joining in later grades have a harder time making friends so my advice is to join APP as early as possible.

APP Parent

Anonymous said...

Having McDonald move out of Lincoln at the end of the school year WILL make a difference in the amount of play space our kids have access to. Currently APP has to share the play structure/courtyard area with McDonald. There are too many students in the building for APP and McDonald to share that space at the same time right now. So McDonald has their own time in the courtyard/play structure and we have our own time there. Next year APP will be able to have access to the whole area whenever we want since we'll be the only school in the building. This year our time has been limited because both schools have to coordinate use around each school's lunches and recesses. More access next year, for sure.

This year, the PE teacher has opened the gym for the intermediate students during lunch. This is her lunch/prep time but she's welcomed the students to use this space. I've been in there at this time and she puts out loads of balls, jump ropes, etc. Kids can play there or just hang out. This is in addition to being able to use that play structure/playcourt.

My son doesn't complain about lack of play space. He has space to run around with friends, play soccer in the soccer area, play 4 square, and just generally be a busy boy. He's an active kid and I worried about the change in play space from Lowell Capitol Hill to Lincoln. But it hasn't been a problem for him. I would say that the L@L staff and parents have made pretty good lemonade out of the lemons that the district has given us.

Do I look forward to a day when APP is in a permanent location with a more substantial play area? Yes. But we're having a great year at Lowell at Lincoln, no complaints.

Happy at Lincoln

Anonymous said...

APP is expected to grow quite a bit next year and new APP kids will replace the McDonald kids who are leaving. If the enrollment projections hold out, I doubt the playground will feel any bigger. Maybe the staff will have more abilities to control which kids are where because they will all be APP kids, but there will still be lots of kids.

Current Lincoln

Anonymous said...

I'm back with another appeal question for you all! Does anyone know what score they look at on the WPPSI for the appeals? We have a general abilities index that qualifies (99%)but a full scale IQ that does not (97%), with the latter score brought down by my son's lower processing speed. Also, do both the the Verbal and Performance subtest scores need to be 98% or over? His Performance score is only 94%. Verbal is 99.8%

Our private tester said to definitely go forward with the appeal (we'll get her written report tomorrow), but I don't have a teacher recommendation to bolster the iffy scores. She would have happily supplied one, but I didn't ask for one thinking that the scores would need to speak for themselves. If it's just the general abilities index that they need, it looks like we're OK?

Anonymous said...

To HIMS parent of an 8th grader--

that is true. I spoke with someone in the enrollment office who verified it today. They will disclose the number of seats by open enrollment time. It will be a lottery.


Any idea how many HIMS kids want to go on to Ingraham? What's the word on the street?
Also HIMS

Anonymous said...

When will Avanced Learning mail out letters regarding appeal status? Will they do it all at once, on a certain date, or, as they decide, on a case- by-case basis? In the past, to hand in an enrollment form specifying APP, you had to have your letter of approval from Advanced Learning to even register. Now how is that going to work? If you 'attempt' to register for APP, even though you don't have your appeal approved just yet, and it turns out your child is not approved, will the Enrollment Office then kick your child out of their existing school into the NSAP attendance area school? Nothing is on the website other than 'turn in your form as if you are registering'
-parent

Anonymous said...

They will mail out the appeal decision at the same time. You should fillout the enrollment form as if your child got into APP. If your child did not get in, they they will fullfill your second choice. They will not kick you out of your current school. As for the appeal, I would submit a letter from the teacher if you are on close.

L@L parent

Anonymous said...

i think its a shame that there isn't adequate space for the kids to play. I toured Lincoln and I knew that tiny play area was not going to be enough room for my child to run jump and play. I'm hoping that the App program will eventually get a real home. does anybody know when that is going to happen and where?

protected static said...

We're considering Ingraham, but not holding our breath seeing as we've got two years to go. Plenty of time for SPS to screw that up...

suep. said...

RE: APP seats at Ingraham H.S.

I asked Bob Vaughan and the APP AC about whether there is or will be a cap on APP seats at Ingraham.

Here's his response (dated 2/24/12):

Dear families interested in the new APP/IB program at Ingraham HS,

Unlike Garfield HS (which is the designated APP pathway high school where every rising APP 8th grader is automatically assigned), the Ingraham APP/IB program is described in our New Student Assignment Plan (NSAP) Transition Plan For 2012-2013 ( approved by School Board 1/25/12) as an option for which students need to apply. Applicable NSAP tiebreakers for 2012-13 are (1) Sibling and ( 2) Lottery.

Currently, full implementation for APP at Ingraham for 9th grade for next year is two full classrooms of APP students. This means there is room for 64 APP students. There are currently two groups of 9th grade students in this program (2011-12). We are initially planning for two groups of 9th graders again for next year (2012-13). As with all schools, the enrollment department will be monitoring applications during Open Enrollment to see if an adjustment to three groups is warranted.

If the program continues to grow in popularity, and particularly as larger middle school cohorts move up, it may be appropriate to consider additional program capacity at Ingraham. This will need to be addressed in planning for subsequent years. When originally conceived, the APP/IB option for Ingraham envisioned as many as 60 students per grade level over four years.

As to why there might ever be any limit on enrollment in this program, remember that capacity needs to be available for nearby resident students. Also, as the designated high school for our International Schools program, Ingraham is the guaranteed pathway school for rising language immersion students coming from John Stanford and MacDonald International Schools through Hamilton International Middle School. Space needs to be planned for these students, as well.

There are now two excellent opportunities for academically highly gifted cohorts of APP-eligible students at the high school level. I look forward to working with you to assure there is sufficient capacity and continuing program improvement for APP students in the months and years to come.

Sincerely,

Bob Vaughan

Robert C. Vaughan, Ph.D.
Manager, Advanced Learning
Seattle Public Schools
206-252-0130

Anonymous said...

My daughter has her heart set on Ingraham. This cap on Ingraham APP is not what I want to hear right now.
Washington mom

Anonymous said...

We have one more year before the decision, but I really like this:
"There are now two excellent opportunities for academically highly gifted cohorts of APP-eligible students at the high school level."

suep. said...

@Anon @February 25, 2012 1:04 AM

I have asked Bob Vaughan to clarify whether he is indeed saying there is going to be a cap, or whether Ingraham will add another class if they get more than 64 APP applicants.

I'll post his response here when I get it.

Anonymous said...

This Ingraham situation is is troubling. If they can cap enrollment at Ingraham, why not Garfield? Isn't capacity an issue at Garfield as well: "As to why there might ever be any limit on enrollment in this program, remember that capacity needs to be available for nearby resident students."

As long as they co-house APP, neighborhood kids will get priority. Might they be considering making APP a lottery program throughout the district...?

L@L parents might want to especially take note. North capacity is so limited, and the north elementary program is going to be over 500 next year.

Concerned

Anonymous said...

Capping APP at Ingraham when the school has about 950 students doesn't make sense. They have plenty of room for at least 300 more. Is this to protect Garfield from a huge sucking sound? Given the momentum at Ingraham, and the uneven support for APP at Garfield, I wonder if there is more to the story.
Washington mom

Anonymous said...

This may be dense, but here goes: my K student is newly APP eligible and our current school is an ALO school. We've decided to spend 1st grade at our current school and see how it goes. I am writing here to confirm that if we do this, we still have the option of moving to APP for 2nd grade. I know we "retain eligibility", but just looking for confirmation that yes, that means you can enroll in APP for any future elementary grade.

Anonymous said...

Washington mom - could you elaborate on the uneven support at Garfield for APP?

Anonymous said...

I'm confused about the uneven support at Garfield as well. I currently have an APP student at Garfield and I don't hear a "sucking sound" at all...WMS mom - do you have a current student at Garfield that has had an experience that would clarify your comment?

-Curious too.

Thanks said...

Could you please start a new open thread once a week so it's easier to see what's new?

Greg Linden said...

It's not a bad idea to do new open threads frequently. The problem that we have hit in the past is that creating new threads when the old threads are still very active splits conversations apart. People get confused about whether to post their question in the old threads, where everyone else was talking about the same thing, or to go the new thread, which is where all the new stuff is. And it readers end up having a harder time following conversations.

I usually create new open threads when the old open threads are mostly quiet and after a new topic-specific post has been up at the very top of the page for a while. Does that work well? Or would you prefer lots more open threads even if it might have this problem I mentioned of splitting and confusing conversations?

Anonymous said...

@Anon Feb. 25 9:22 pm - our daughter tested into APP in elementary school; however, we kept her at her ALO school. She retained her APP eligibility and we were able to transfer her to APP in 6th grade. Jane

Zella917 said...

I'd like a new open thread once a week as well; I think people can figure out how to move the discussion to the latest thread and then we won't have to scroll so far down to see new comments.
Thanks!
Zella Ozretich

Anonymous said...

I have a question about highschool. APP students are automatically assigned to Garfield, with the option of applying to the IBx if scores meet the requirements.

But, what if an APP student wants their neighborhood highschool, like Roosevelt or Ballard? Are the moved to the back of the line?

Anonymous said...

If Ingraham caps APP enrollment, will North end families then start choosing Roosevelt and Ballard in greater numbers?

With the new assignment plan, if it's their neighborhood school, they should be guaranteed enrollment if they apply during open enrollment.

hschinske said...

You're still a neighborhood student no matter what, as far as I know. I don't see how they could suddenly tell you your address didn't matter.

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

I am not so sure; have any APP 8th grade parents received the letter from the district with their fall 2012 assignment at Garfield?

If so, what does it say in terms of opting to the neighborhood assigned high school.

Anonymous said...

Based on the comments, it sounds like most Hamilton families are going to choose Ingraham and if they don't get that option they will send their kids to Roosevelt or Ballard?

Do they feel like they aren't welcome at Garfield anymore? I can't imagine making a neighborhood choice when the neighborhood schools don't offer the same AP options as Garfield nor have the cohort of kids that the community has consistently said is required in order to make the high school program successful...

I'm not necessarily worried about Garfield, as the majority of WMS kids are most likely going there (I haven't heard of a mass exodus) - just curious as to why people are thinking that if North kids can't go to Ingraham they will not go to Garfield...

There are many North end kids at Garfield this year (9th graders) that are extremely happy. Don't know why that wouldn't continue.

-SLL

Anonymous said...

I have always thought that as the years passed and the APP split really took hold, the kids who have gone to middle school at Hamilton (and now northend APP elementary also), would find commuting to the central district for high school a less popular option. Prior to the split, travelling to WMS was a daily ritual, making Garfield a comfortable choice. Now GHS feels like a long way from the northend, the kids have not been together for middle school, and the attraction has lessened. I would blame the APP split and the intended migration, and not Garfield, especially now that Ingraham is going to have a cap. The powers that be have wanted APP to be dispersed to all high schools, I think, and in just two short years, that seems to be happening, at least for Ballard and Roosevelt.

Anonymous said...

One of Garfield's draws, besides the academics, is the jazz program. Both Roosevelt and Ballard have strong programs, with both bands going to Essentially Ellington this year.

Greg Linden said...

Interesting letter from Bob Vaughan (via suep). Looks like it will generate a lot of discussion. I created a new thread, "Low limit on APP students at Ingraham", for it.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous 2/22 2:15, with the questions about the WPPSI & appeals: my recollection from our appeal last year was that the important thing was the Full Scale score, not the component scores. (My son's full-scale qualified, though I think his Performance score was under 98.) I thought GAI and Full-Scale were the terms for the composite scores of two different tests (one for WISC, one for WPPSI)? The Advanced Learning Appeals page on the SPS website says that they look at "Full scale and GAI."

barefoot said...

Just wondering, has anyone considered making this a discussion forum (a web-based discussion board) rather than a blog? Or some hybrid? The blog format works great for news items, but it's really awkward for any kind of discussion and replies. It would be great to have a forum / discussion board, divided into different APP-relevant topics. (There could be topics for each specific APP site, an enrollment/appeals topic, and others for cross-site topics like: diversity in APP, helping your child with the homework load, perfectionist kids, SPS news, etc.)

Greg Linden said...

Barefoot, that's a fine idea. It's easy to create one of those using Google Groups or similar services. If you or anyone else wants to do that, it would provide another outlet for discussion among APP parents.

That's the main reason this blog exists, an attempt to provide a unfettered public forum for APP parents to discuss the APP program in Seattle's public schools. There seemed to be a need back when this blog was created and again when it was revived.

Creating other forums and other blogs is perfectly reasonable and a fine idea. Please go for it if you have the interest and motivation.

barefoot said...

I think I will! I'm picturing more of a website forum that users visit (rather than an email group), because there are different threads that get re-visited frequently and would be useful for newcomers to be able to find easily. I'll look into it and post here with more details.

While I'm happy and able to set this up, I don't have time to do the ongoing moderating. If anyone else is interested in helping out, please let me know.