Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Open thread

Discuss what you like!

Update: In the comments, lots of discussion of appealing APP admissions, with current parents helping new parents through the process, and of Principal Gregory King leaving Lowell.

126 comments:

Anonymous said...

There was the first school at Hamilton this morning. If you were there what were your thoughts after?

Anonymous said...

Can anyone share insight into how the results from MAP versus the Cogat might normally differ for a K-2 student? My 5 yo K son took the MAP for the first time this winter and his scores were nearly at APP levels (96/98 in reading/math), however his Cogat scores are much lower (69/89 verbal/math; 83 combined). If I had been asked to predict his scores, I would have expected the verbal Cogat to be his strongest area, when in reality the opposite turned out to be true.I'm wondering if this is just the normal variation that comes with testing a young child, or if there could be other factors in play.

I know that the MAP scores don't seem to be inspiring much trust at the moment, and that the Cogat is thought to be a more relevant test. I just wonder if the group/oral format may throw certain kids off? I can definitely see my son still thinking about some aspect of a prior question when the rest of the room had moved on. Notably, he was the last out of the room at each MAP testing session.

I appreciate the resource here.
Alys

Anonymous said...

So if I had two children tested, but only got one letter today, does it mean the other child did not qualify for anything? I would be surprised, if it makes a difference. Do they send a letter if the CogAT is below 87?

Confused

Fremont Mama said...

They send a letter if you don't qualify too...we got one today.

I am frustrated and will probably appeal. My K son's CogAt scores were 99/92/98, but his MAP was only 88 and 75. He told me that he hurried to finish because when the kids were done they were able to play games. My 2nd grade daughter is in APP and I think my son would do well there too. Any advice on who to use for private testing?

Anonymous said...

I have a daughter that just tested in to Lowell but the decision whether or not to actually apply is already causing me to go mad, and I only opened the letter 20 minutes ago.

I would sure love to hear from people what they love and what they don't. My daughter has had the same teacher now in our neighborhood school for two years K-1. Her teacher is an all business, get it done, full throttle teacher. Because of this my daughter has done well and doesn't seem bored. I do worry going forward though. She will get a new teacher next year and of course that means her total experience could change if that teacher is not also great at differentiating. Of note though, my daughter is pokey she is very deliberate in her work so does not do it fast.

Any insight anyone has would be great. Of course we'll do a tour

Anonymous said...

@ Alys My children are in upper grades and I've gone through testing several times. My bright daughter tested in K and got an 83 combined on the CoGAT. Private testing put her in the 99.8%. She just took the CoGAT again and got a 98 overall. Her MAP scores have generally been above 95 but occasionally there has been a much lower score here or there.

My older daughter has taken the test three times over the years and first got 94% overall, then 84% and finally 97%, while getting 99% then 99.9% on private tests. Additionally, she tested much on the Verbal on the CoGAT and than on the MAP and vice versa in Math.

I really don't think children gain and lose intelligence this quickly. There are so many other factors that play a role in the outcome of these test.

Don't be discouraged if you feel these scores don't reflect your child's abilities. Though unfortunately to prove it you may need to pay for private testing.

- been there

Anonymous said...

Alys I have heard of kids who did better with private IQ testing and I might add they seem to put a huge emphasis on the teachers rec on the website.


We have used Honora Hanley before and she was great with our daughter:

http://www.honorahanley.com

FM your IQ test is good for 2 years so if you are happy enough with your local school you could work to reinforce with your child to try harder going forward and test them again next year.

L@L dad

Sadie said...

Anonymous wondering about Lowell - you'll get a list of parents willing to talk to you when you go to the tour. Most people struggle with what you are. I was SICK from open enrollment period until school started. It was tough leaving friends, community, beloved neighborhood school, but now I can't imagine it any other way. Just do it!

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering if anyone out there has experience with a very specific case: We just got the letter that my second grader is APP eligible, HOWEVER, because she was an early entrance student in K (yes, I looked at the AL information before she tested, and this restriction wasn't there, but apparently it's a longstanding policy), if we enrolled her in APP she would have to repeat the grade she's currently in. She has a mid- September birthday. In her current classroom she seems like one of the oldest, not the youngest, even physically and socially. Obviously, she's really against the idea of repeating a grade. Has anyone done this (or fought it?) and had it work well (or badly)? Was it worth it?

Anonymous said...

Has the appeal process changed? Is there more weight given to teacher referral? Trying to decide whether to appeal . . . our 5th grader is consistently 99% in verbal but 89 to 98 in math over the years. Her teacher says we should appeal, but private tests are $$$.

Shannon said...

I attended the Hamilton Tour this morning along with 200+ others. It was a full hall and 11 tour groups of adults and incoming students (mostly 6th graders).

I have never been to Hamilton and my immediate impressions were of a wonderful facility and a maze of classrooms around the great hall. It is a lot of energy for old parents to jog up and down but everything looks NEW and SHINY. The touring kids were very impressed that every classroom we saw had a smartboard in use and seemed excited to see the building.

The staff we met were cheerful and friendly. Everyone took a moment to welcome us and answer questions, so no complaints there and I was pleasantly surprised after so many elementary tours on which teachers snap and complain about the visitors.

The main problem I sensed on the tour is that (at least from the outside) there is not one Hamilton. Much as in any divided society, there are signs of unease.

On my tour a parent from West Woodland told me that "I've heard its fine as long as you're in the APP Program. They get the best teachers but its a bit disorganized and not so good in the general program."

Another sign of unease was when someone in our tour group asked why there wasn't "another tour for the APP kids".

In the plenary, someone asked "Where are you going to put the APP kids next year?" to which the response was "we have predicted enrollment of 950 this fall and we have a 1000 capacity so...." We are all watching the dots... right?

Other signs of capacity issues are that some 6th graders won't be able to take international languages and some classes tend to fill so you won't get in at all in 6th Grade - at least if I heard right.

I guess I had expected some emphasis on program specificity but I had also hoped for some ra, ra to unite the community, some statement about the unity in difference, what the school stands for and shares. Perhaps I was late, but I didn't feel the love.

We are excited about going to Hamilton, but I will not be surprised if my son's 7th Grade year is spent elsewhere, a forth school for 4 years. Ho hum.

But its a very clean and impressive place to transition

Anonymous said...

Responding to the parent about repeating a grade over. Since APP curriculum is 2 grades ahead, your child will not be doing 2nd grade work again. He/she will start doing 3rd grade work at the beginning of the year and then 4 grade by the end of the school year.

Lori said...

But the issue for the early entrant is that this requirement to repeat a grade would not be asked of a 2nd grader with an August birthday, and that seems inherently unfair. That child would enter APP as a 3rd grader and start 4th grade EDM in the fall.

I have heard about such a situation in the past, at one of the coffee chats 2 years ago at Lowell. Kay Smith Blum was in attendance and might know how it was resolved; perhaps you should contact her to try to find out history and precedence. Sorry I don't know more.

Good luck. I think it's an absurd rule.

Anonymous said...

This seems to be an unwritten rule in APP - no grade skips.

We knew a family that applied for entry from Spectrum, but were denied because the child had already skipped a grade. They decided to homeschool rather than repeat a grade. There was another year that a student disappeared at the beginning of the year and my child said something about them being too young (yeah, unconfirmed hearsay).

There will be some repeated material - the science kits for example. My suggestion - talk with the principal at the respective school and clarify your options.

APP is not 2 years ahead from the get-go. It's more like it works up to two years ahead by 6th grade. 4th graders do part of the 6th grade math curriculum, and half 6th and half 7th in the 5th grade.

Anonymous said...

On my tour a parent from West Woodland told me that "I've heard its fine as long as you're in the APP Program. They get the best teachers but its a bit disorganized and not so good in the general program."

The grass is always greener...refer to previous thread on Hamilton.

Anonymous said...

Shannon, your description is the same I felt when I was at Hamilton this morning. The building is beautiful, looks like a private school and the smart boards in the science and math rooms are fantastic.The music room and the Gym looks great also. Some of the rooms looked really full though, not to mention the staircases in the recess time. But I had the same weird feeling about the APP: it is not welcomed here. I don't know the reason but that is what i felt. If anybody mentioned it, all those looks around us, so lot of people in my group didn't ask any questions because of this. Interesting.

hschinske said...

Advanced Learning has gone back and forth on the repeat-a-grade thing. If I remember correctly some parents fought it and it was off the table for a long time. Then they got it back. I think it's a totally discriminatory policy, and while it's easy for me to say as I had late-summer and not early-fall kids, I would fight it.

Re kindergarten CogAT scores: kids can ALWAYS test lower than their ability, and that's especially likely for a young kid on a multiple-choice test being read aloud to a group. Personally I am great at multiple-choice tests, but I would loathe not being able to go back and fix things.



Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

Fremont Mama,

If it helps I will let you know that in KG my daughter got the same exact scores on the cognitive tests as your son but had both 96's on the MAP reading and math. She only qualified that year in spectrum, not APP. So, even if he had taken his time on the MAP it may not have mattered. She is a summer birthday so we took it again this year and she was all 99's except for one 98. One year made all the difference bringing that 92 up-probably maturity for her.

Shannon said...

I really liked Dr Carol Cole for testing. She is at Eastlake

http://www.everydayhealth.com/doctors/dr-carol_cole_phd-2198238

Anonymous said...

Our son is in the first grade and we just got word that he tested into APP. He is a very bright guy but not a diligent or high achiever type, he always wants to do the minimum amount of work to get by. So we struggle with running the risk of his getting bored at standard grade level or getting frustrated and overwhelmed by the more rigorous APP pace and requirements. Any advice?

Anonymous said...

Alys, my son had a similar situation last year. His MAP scores both qualified, and his CogAt math I think qualified but his verbal did not. Now, if the CogAt scores had been switched (high verbal, lower math), I wouldn't have thought twice about it and he'd probably be in Spectrum or ALO now. But those scores really didn't seem right to me, knowing my son and having observed a lot of his peers. He was the kid who always got comments from grownups about his incredible vocabulary and use of language; it just didn't seem accurate that his verbal percentile was in the mid-80s. So we had him privately tested, and like another poster here, we found that his verbal score that time was 99.8%, and in all areas his scores qualified for APP. That's where he is now, and doing fine.

Obviously you could always wait a year and see how your son does next year. But if you feel strongly about it and it's an option for you, you might consider private testing to get another set of data points.

Anonymous said...

Alys, my 5 yo K daughter had Cogat and MAP scores nearly identical to your son's (though Cogat verbal/math are reversed); private cognitive testing scores were higher (99.8th percentile). The Cogat can be inaccurate for less speedy kids, as you mention, but the fact that it's simply multiple choice is also problematic. Some kids can logically argue the correctness of more than one choice, but are not given points for picking the "wrong" answer. This is in contrast with individual IQ testing where the reasoning behind the child's answer is considered.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous February 2, 2012 9:15 PM, with the son who qualifies for APP but isn't a motivated student: We had the same worries with our son -- he's bright but not the kind of kid who wants to focus on schoolwork or do what the teacher asks, when he could be doing his own thing instead. This was his first year in APP, and he seems to be doing fine there. We still worry about it -- for sure there are a lot of students who ARE motivated and diligent and harder workers. We have struggles sometimes over homework. But for the most part, he seems to do fine in class and his teachers aren't complaining. However, you might find yourself having to do more coaching/coaxing/coercing at home than you would if your child were in a non-APP classroom. (Despite what I was told when we were considering APP enrollment, I believe that APP *does* have more homework than most regular classes.)

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the responses; the context is really helpful.
Alys

Anonymous said...

Is there any way to see a student's actual CogAT booklet? We got a seriously anomylous result for one section.

Anonymous said...

RE: Impressions of HIMS.

You all are spot on about APP@HIMS; it is not wanted. However, I blame the district, not the school. First under the NSAP they housed four programs under one roof (Gen ed, Spectrum, APP, Foreign Language) as well as a fairly robust spec ed program. It's just too many competing interests.

Gen Ed population thinks APP has the best teachers. The APP teaching staff has been covered more than once on this thread - and no changes have taken place. Dr. Vaughen tosses this issue back to the parents.

The principal does not support the program. I don't blame him, I think he believes in the classroom differentiation philosophy.

He never should have been placed at the school. Again, the district is at fault. I actually think he is a good principal, just in the wrong school.

And with APP in the school scores for both the school and individual teachers (MAPS) are increasing so it appears that great work is being done!

With all that said, my student is having a great experience. I also love the building. Compared to the regular middle school experience my other child had where all you had to do is show up to earn an A, HIMS APP provides a far more challenging academic experience. But, my older student went onto high school and is doing very well.

So, whatever your middle school experience may be, just remember it is not what defines your childs future. Many days I find myself mired in my students social/emotional turmoil not the academics. (However I think I am going to join the MAP Opt Outers going forward.)

Anonymous said...

Appeals question: Are non-borderline decisions made based on scores alone? Do we *need* to include supplemental information if private test results demonstrate clear eligibility? Daughter's private test results are not borderline, so I'd prefer to just submit scores in the interest of time rather than spending a week assembling a portfolio and soliciting teacher recs. Do any of you veterans have experience with this?

If it makes a difference, we're appealing just the COGAT result. Her MAPs were both 98%.

- New to this

Anonymous said...

If you have the scores you have the scores. But if you think the teacher may be able to add to the original rec then I would add that. But we appealed with just the scores (reading was too low) and got in.

Anonymous said...

My impression is also that if your scores are clear, you don't need anything else. When we appealed, it seemed like the AL office actually prefers not to have a judgment call to make, and the scores alone make for an unambiguous yes/no. We didn't submit any recommendation letters, and had no problem having the appeal approved.

Anonymous said...

If you are appealing - make an appointment today! The private testers availability fills up quickly!

protected static said...

Re: assessments - check out Julie Osterling (currently director of the UW CARE Clinic, I believe). I don't know if she still personally does evaluations, but she was a fantastic resource for us.

Anonymous said...

I know one APP 1st grader this year who is repeating 1st grade due to the age issue. Since APP 1st grade is doing 2nd grade math, there is no repetition there. And repetition isn't really an issue with readers/writers workshop. Not sure about the science and social studies.

Anonymous said...

The one-on-one testing is more reliable than the group testing. But I certainly know people who did private testing and saw no change in the scores. So I would say you should do private testing if your gut feeling is that the original score is just plain wrong and must be due to your child not paying attention.

Steve said...

I can't make heads or tails of this from the Advanced Learning site (or enrollment): if your child qualifies for Spectrum, and there is a Spectrum program in your current neighborhood elementary program, is that your only opportunity for Spectrum? Or, can you apply to join another Spectrum program out of your neighborhood?

I know everything in Advanced Learning is in flux (esp. Spectrum), but it would help to understand this better. Frustrating that the information isn't clearly presented on the SPS web site (or at least, I haven't been able to find it).

Anonymous said...

To the parent asking what I do or do not like about APP:

I am glad that my child is now challenged at least some of the time and is no longer the one who finishes every task in 45 seconds and then gets bored waiting for the other kids to finish (which always happened even in the small group of advanced learners in the K class).

I miss being part of a neighborhood school. A lot. Much more than I thought I would.

I wish there were more differentiation by ability even within APP (especially in math).

I wish there were more of a chance for my child to pursue individual passions and projects. Maybe I would feel this at my neighborhood school, too.

On balance, I'm glad we chose APP because my first point above outweighs the others. But I know lots of families that chose not to enroll in APP and are happy with that decision. So much of it depends on your child and your current school. Take the tour, talk to other families and then follow your gut.

SE Elementary Parent said...

Steve - my understanding is you can apply to any Spectrum program, and will be admitted if space is available (exactly like your local program - no guaranteed spot for Spectrum) but you will only get transportation if you attend the local Spectrum program (designated by middle school, I think?)

My local Spectrum isn't self contained, or even walk-to. It doesn't matter that there is a different delivery method with Spectrum. That's part of the frustration with the program, I think, the lack of consistency.

Anonymous said...

If the Spring MAP scores aren't qualifying, but Fall or Winter scores are, couldn't these be used for appeals? For example, a qualifying score in reading from the Spring, and then a qualifying score in math for the Winter?

A score is a score, yes?

Anonymous said...

Did anybody else get a weird letter? We got 99 verbal, 96 quant, 99 v-q composite on the cogat; 99 reading map, a blank next to the words "Woodcock-Johnson," and under the math achievement column just the Woodcock-Johnson 99. No winter math MAP line, though I know he got a 99 on it from the Source. The letter says he qualifies for Spectrum, but those are APP scores, right? Or does that 96 disqualify? I thought you only needed 2 98+s in the CogAT section?

-confused from above

Opinionated mother said...

Confused--

It sounds like a clerical error. My little guy had a 95 verbal CogAT, but everything else was a 99 (including the verbal/quant combo) and he was assigned to APP.

hschinske said...

There have been kids held back within APP and there have been kids grade-skipped within APP. (No one will ever tell you about the grade skips voluntarily, but they've happened -- I can show you old Lowell directories with a kid listed in one grade one year and two years up the next.) Don't accept a one-size-fits-all solution. Your kid is an individual case.

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

@ Opinionated Mother- thanks so much- your answer gave me the kick I needed to show it to his teacher, who agreed it's just some kind of clerical error and the scores are qualifying. Now on to navigate the bureaucratic morass that is SPS to get it sorted out.

-confused

Opinionated mother said...

Confused--

I have heard of mistakes happening before. Just call them. It should be easy to fix. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

To qualify for APP:

98% in 2 out of 3 CogAT scores

95% in math and reading on achievement tests (MAP, ITBS, Woodcock Johnson)

hschinske said...

It used to be that the composite CogAT counted for nothing, and they wanted 98th+ on quantitative and verbal, period. One of my daughters qualified for Spectrum but not APP with something like 99thV/95thQ on the CogAT and 99th percentile on math and reading achievement tests (Woodcock-Johnson).

Helen Schinske

LHFive said...

My son scored 91 on the spring MAP for math and 99 for the Winter math MAP and he was accepted into APP. In the letter both his spring and winter MAP scores were listed so I am assuming that means as long as they have a qualifying score from spring, fall, or winter on the MAP that score should work.

Anonymous said...

My child ended up with a v91/Q96, v-Q 95, spring MAPs of 99/98 (old norms) in Reading and Math, Winter MAPS of 97 and 98 in Reading and Math - all of these were reported in the letter - not qualified for APP but eligible for Spectrum (is this worth an appeal or is my child just not there at this point?).

~Not Sure~

Old hat said...

Not sure--

Those are spectrum scores. You need 2 98s on the Cogat.

Anonymous said...

Not sure:

If I were you, I would consider private testing. My youngest had scores just below the cutoff and we had him privately tested. He is doing great in APP; there is no doubt he belongs there. Data shows that one on one testing is superior and more reliable.

On another topic, we also were at the Hamilton tour last week. I loved the principal-he was funny, smart and engaging. I found the parents, teachers and principal to be welcoming. In terms of it being awkward with all of those populations, I don't find it surprising that people are a little awkward around the segregation of children based on IQ. It is a little awkward. I hope APP stays at Hamilton next year.

Anonymous said...

Re: Hamilton
The APP will stay at HIMS next year. The principal couldn't tell anything about its future after next year, but it was clear that his hope is that APP will go somewhere else.
I don't agree with your word segregation at HIMS:
First, there is no real segregation at HIMS since students are together in the different language, art, music, PE, even in math class if they are in the same level.
Second, the high IQ is not enough in middle school if there is no work behind you can not get into the APP or even into the spectrum class.
Last, the APP students as any other students in the district have a right to get an education which is appropriate for them (and it is rarely happening here).

Anonymous said...

Our daughter's MAPs were 99s across the board. CogAT v97, q92, v-q 96, assigned to Spectrum. We are shelling out the $$ to appeal.

Ruthie

Anonymous said...

@5:24

Perhaps the word identification would have been better than segregation. Segregation was an unfortunate word choice-it also did not convey my intended meaning very well.

Like you, I also think my children have a right to a good education, though I believe that they are getting it in APP. No one is getting much right now, unfortunately. The state/counties/cities have no money.

Not sure what you meant by it was clear that the principal doesn't want APP there. It wasn't clear to me last week at the tour. I got the impression that he likes his school and his students.

Anonymous said...

@Not Sure

Our first grade son had very similar scores (both the cognitive abilities and the MAP). We are going to have him privately tested - and if his cognitive scores are 98% or higher, will appeal. Our oldest child is already in APP. To us, their reading, math and overall cognitive skills seem comparable and we feel sure our son is qualified for APP. However, he is more easily distracted and took the test at school with one of his close friends (an added distraction) - so we think he'll perform better with 1:1 testing.

If you're thinking of appealing, I would call ASAP to find someone to administer the test. I called around Friday morning and several evaluators were already fully booked.

Jane

Anonymous said...

Jane again. Re: Hamilton - our oldest is in 6th grade APP at Hamilton and loves it. After talking to her friends at other Seattle middle schools, she thinks that there's mixing and it's less cliquish at Hamilton because Hamilton draws kids from all of N. Seattle rather than just 3 elementary schools. Our daughter has friends in APP, spectrum and Gen. Ed. She plays afterschool sports, is in band, and had some friends from her elementary school who also go to HMS plus she's made friends on her bus route so maybe all of those things help. Jane

Anonymous said...

I've talked to many APP teachers who liked the old "summer birthdays repeat" policy, simply for social and academic maturity. You can tell who the "babies" are in a class full of APP kids, especially at the younger grades, no matter how smart they are!

My daughter is a late August kid who finished 2nd at her old school and entered 2nd the next year at Lowell. She is a GHS junior now and has thanked us for this decision on numerous occasions!

She thanks us for being able to spend one more year in a self contained environment at Lowell. The content is different and richer and deeper. It feels NOTHING like repeating a grade. She had that much more maturity when it came to the girl-drama that pervades middle school, and more organizational skills when it came to juggling multiple honors and AP classes in high school. Not to mention a little more wisdom when peers are making stupid choices.

Each kid is different, but we are very glad we went along with the policy.

SidneyD

Anonymous said...

My child's MAP scores were APP level but the CogAT scores were low. I'm actually thinking of getting private testing not for an appeal, but to explore whether there might be some test/social anxiety or other factors that are complicating processing of the questions in the group. So here's my question: do these private testers ever see kids with CogATs in the 70's-80's? Are we going to get laughed out of the office? I've heard people say that not everyone that gets private testing ends up with APP scores, but I've never talked to anyone like that in real life :)

Anonymous said...

So here's my question: do these private testers ever see kids with CogATs in the 70's-80's? Are we going to get laughed out of the office?

No. Not at all. (You don't have to tell them the CogAT scores, anyway.) The biggest discrepancy I've ever heard of was 37th percentile on the verbal CogAT and 99th on private testing. One of my kids had 54th percentile results on the CogAT in kindergarten and 99th the next year (yes, on the CogAT again). I don't know why anyone would be surprised that a child could score *lower* than their potential -- just having to go to the bathroom will do it.

I've heard people say that not everyone that gets private testing ends up with APP scores, but I've never talked to anyone like that in real life :)

Well, one of mine didn't. Plenty of people have one kid in Spectrum and one in APP, or one in regular and one in APP.

Anonymous said...

I agree that every kid is different - our summer birthday kids would not have agreed to repeating a grade. I also wonder if the level of challenge has changed in the years since your child was at Lowell.

The more I think about that old policy, the more absurd it seems. Why would the program cutoff be different than the district's? Someone's always going to be the youngest.

suep. said...

On my tour a parent from West Woodland told me that "I've heard its fine as long as you're in the APP Program. They get the best teachers but its a bit disorganized and not so good in the general program."

Absolutely false. There are some really good teachers in the non-APP classes and a couple of poor (arguably damaging) teachers in the APP program (as earlier threads about Hamilton from a few months ago showed).

As for the students themselves, from what I have seen, the kids at HIMS mix well.

suep. said...

On another subject, is everyone here following the MAP "recalibration" debacle?

I don't see how the erratic MAP test can be used reliably for anything at this point, including as an indicator or gatekeeper for access to the advanced learning test.

Anonymous said...

I have an incoming 6th grader at Hamilton for next year, and I am very concerned about what I am hearing about a couple of the teachers and the lack of concern shown by the principal. I have spoken to many APP parents at Hamilton now and I am VERY concerned about math - no new material was introduced until mid December - and social studies. I was told to avoid one of the social studies teachers at all costs. I won't name names here, but I think if you aren't concerned about a couple of teachers at Hamilton, you need to talk to more people.

I know many parents expressed their concern on the survey, and I am interested to see what the district does about it.

Anonymous said...

I second, or third or fourth, the comments concerning APP at Hamilton. Hopefully many parents made their concerns known on the survey and some needed changes will be made for next year.

Also, social studies is linked to LA with the same teacher, except for one class that was split for 5/6 period.

Anonymous said...

FYI: word from the AL office is that appeals results won't be shared until March. No actual date given, so, considering how the district usually works, I'll expect news in the first part of April.

Anonymous said...

So if open enrollment ends March 9 but appeal results aren't available until April, how are you supposed to enroll your child into APP (if the appeal is successful)?

Jane

Anonymous said...

Fill out your enrollment as if your appeal would be successful. Info is on the SPS site.

Johanna said...

Hi,

Where can I find a list of qualified private evaluators for APP appeals? I am actually not going to appeal my daughter's results, as she is happy at her school. However, I would like to get a sense for whether we should continue to have her tested in the future. Her Cogat scores were 96, oh so close to the cutoff.

Thanks, and apologies if this has been asked before and I missed it.

Anonymous said...

@Johanna - the letter with your child's results included a list of qualified private evaluators (with a note that other evaluators can also be used but you need to include a copy of their license). Seattle Country Day also includes a list of evaluators on their website. Jane

LHFive said...

Anyone know if it is ok to bring a student on the Lowell tour? My son will be in 4th next year, and would like to see the school before deciding whether to stay at his current school or move to APP.
Also, he is currently doing 4th grade math. (one year ahead). At what level should he be if he were to start at Lowell in 4th in the fall? Will we need to cover all of 5th grade over the summer, half of fifth grade?
Thanks for any info!

Dorothy Neville said...

Lowell Principal Gregory King announced his resignation at a morning staff meeting. Brian Rosenthal, education reporter for the Seattle Times has the full story and should be publishing it soon.

Shannon said...

Dorothy,
Did he give any reasons or say where he would be going next? I am sure that was a shock to many at the school. Thanks for posting.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lowell Elementary families,

I am writing today to inform you that I will be leaving my role as principal at Lowell Elementary to take the position as principal at Bryant, a pre-kindergarten through eighth grade school in Tacoma, Washington. I will remain at Lowell until the Seattle Public Schools announces my successor.

This has been a difficult decision for me, as I have enjoyed working with the Lowell families for the past three years. We have amazing teachers, instructional assistants, support staff, students and families here at Lowell. I will miss seeing your students as they come through the door, ready to learn, every day.

I know our dedicated staff at Lowell will continue their good work through the end of the school year.

Thank you for your continued support of Lowell and for your dedication to your students’ education. I wish you all the best.
Sincerely,

Gregory King

Anonymous said...

Will this affect Lowell at Lincoln in any way?

Emily

Anonymous said...

Mr. King was (is) a huge supporter of the APP program so I am sure him being gone will effect Lowell at Lincoln is some way. The extent of this? We will see...

Anonymous said...

Here is the story about Mr. King in the seattletimes.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2017457916_lowell09m.html

Interesting line from the story "...The move comes as a special investigator is finishing a report about the school, district spokeswoman Lesley Rogers confirmed...."

Anonymous said...

Anon at 2:04

Are you freakin' kidding me? King has been more destructive to the program over the last two years than anyone would have imagined!

Far more destructive than the splits was the loss of our many dedicated teachers to an openly hostile work environment, and the dumbing down and standardization of their rich passionate curricula.

open ears

Anonymous said...

Open Ears-

I couldn't agree more. I only wish this were done sooner so that we wouldn't have lost so many good elementary APP teachers at Lowell.

I hope something similar happens at Hamilton.

hope for change

Anonymous said...

Complaints about the curriculum should be directed to the head of Advanced Learning. It's not limited to Lowell, and it's partially a function of the district imposed standardization. Tell me, what is the APP curriculum??

Anonymous said...

To Open Ears and Hope for Change:
So far I liked this blog because everybody could tell their own opinion in a nice and cultural way. So i am really sad that this is not happening any more. I was not "freakin kidding" you or anyone else. What I wrote down, that was my opinion about Mr King. And I think every one of us, APP parents are entitled to have their own opinion and write it down in a blog so we could openly discuss the differences. I liked Mr King a lot but not because we lost a few of our dedicated teachers but my feeling was that he did everything for the students' progress because that was his priority. I don't feel that any more in Lincoln.

To Hope for Change: I don't understand what you said: you hope that similar change will happen in Hamilton. Did you mean that we should loose the APP teachers there also? I hope not.
Or did you mean to loose the principal the same way: one day we should receive his resignation. For the last one we can only achieve something like this if we work together. The parents, the teachers and the district. So far it is not happening so there is no change yet. Only hope.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:29

I hope you aren't implying that only you get to state your opinion and that others need to be silent. I was also stating my opinion (don't let the door hit you on the way out, Mr King), which is just as valuable as yours. Disagreeing with your opinion is not the same as saying you can't speak here. At minimum, there has been a giant black cloud over Mr King's head for over a year and something needed to give.

Of course I wasn't saying that I hope all the Hamilton teachers quit. From what I understand (my kid will be there next year), the teacher quality is not the same as what we lost at Lowell. I am hoping for a principal who won't have APP 6th graders repeating math until mid December and a social studies teacher who teaches appropriate material to 11 year olds. Not so much to ask.

hope for change

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:04

Of course you can post your "opinion", but what about the facts?

Why is he under investigation?

Where are the climate surveys?

It's not "a few teachers".

Where are Tamra Hauge, Althea Chow, Bob Schilperoort, Erika Dorje, Alison Fenzl, Karen McNally, Joyce McDonald, Kristin Anderson et al? That is a huge staff turnover.

They all managed to take advantage of other opportunities...

open ears

suep. said...

Hang on, let's just get the facts straight on this:

It's not "a few teachers".
That is true.

But, re:

Where are Tamra Hauge, Althea Chow, Bob Schilperoort, Erika Dorje, Alison Fenzl, Karen McNally, Joyce McDonald, Kristin Anderson et al? That is a huge staff turnover.

Chow went to Thurgood Marshall APP, which is closer to her home and family than Lowell @ Lincoln in Wallingford. If the program had not moved north, she was expected to stay.

Dorje left Lowell for Jane Addams back in 2009 after the school was split, before King even got there.

Anderson was commuting from Edmonds and has small children.

The rest though, yes, left either because they were harassed or felt the climate at Lowell was too hostile to tolerate.

Lowell lost some fine teachers as a result of the school's bullying leadership.

Two splits and two principals later, look at what the district has done to what was once a fine, thriving school.

Anonymous said...

To Open Ears:
Thank you for your nicer tone. But I still don't agree with you: "your facts" are still your opinion only, like mine was earlier. The reason: the investigation against Mr King is still ongoing, we don't have its result yet (or maybe you already know it?).

"Why is he under investigation?" If you know the exact reason please let us know.

"Where are the climate surveys?" I have no idea, but since you know everything could you please share it with us?

It's not "a few teachers".
Some of the teachers would have left anyway like Ms Fenzl. The others decided to seek other opportunities maybe because of Mr. King. But isn't that a "usual" thing if a new principal comes to a school or a new boss to a workplace? People come and go with a different leadership. It is happening everywhere around us, you could see it if you have open eyes also not just open ears.
Naturally, if the investigation shows that "your facts" were right I have to reevaluate my opinion about Mr. King. And I am sure I am not the only one.

Anonymous said...

i was going to take a look at lowell and move my spectrum kid to be in app but not now.
-staying put

Anonymous said...

Anon at 7:16

Why would you base your decision on things that happened in a different building under a different principal who has now resigned? Look at Lowell at Lincoln before you judge the current program based on past events.

Anonymous said...

Teachers did not leave en masse when Mr. Kimball retired and Ms. Breidenbach came in. No, what happened there was NOT normal attrition.

Anonymous said...

IMHO the news article about mr King is rather negative and confusing, missing the basic facts, it is not even clear what was Mr King accused of doing or not doing.
And I am missing this point also: "Innocent until proven guilty"

Anonymous said...

Maybe I am making a decision too hastily but principal churn always worries me. L@L has co-principals listed so I was anticipating some type of change in leadership there. Would it be safe to assume that the L@L principal is secure or as secure as a principal can be....help me understand better the L@L situation.

-staying put

Anonymous said...

At the beginning of the year, Lowell the school had two Co-Principals, Gregory King and Marella Francios, and one Assistant Principal, Rina Goehagen. Ms. Francios was a mystery. She was never in the building, her "office" was a conference room, and nobody knew her. Gregory would work in both buildings, and Rina was full time at Lincoln. After a few months (?), SPS announced that Rina was promoted to Principal and Ms. Francios was not going to work at Lowell. Since Rina's promotion, Gregory King has had nothing to do with Lowell at Lincoln (a.k.a. Seattle North APP).

SNAPP PTA was formed over the summer. An extraordinarily reliable source told me that SNAPP PTA had encouraged SPS administration to promote Rina to Principal. Simply, a building with over 425 students needs a full-time Principal.

I don't know if on a staffing level (hiring, evaluating, firing, etc), Gregory was still involved with APP. But on a day-to-day, running of the school, disciplining students, communicating with parents, etc., he was not.

Additionally, APP principals usually attend the APP Advisory Council meetings. I believe that after Rina was named Principal, he stopped going to these.

Personally, I don't think Gregory King leaving Lowell affects Seattle North APP at all. They are currently two separate schools that share a librarian, a few resource specialists, special needs providers (OT, PT, Speech) and a part-time school psychologist.

NESeattleMom said...

Regarding the APP teachers, my APP 8th grader has had a really great experience at Hamilton. She has close friends outside of the APP program who are in music with her. Music is thriving at Hamilton. By the way, tonight is Jazz night taking place at Lincoln at 7 pm. Regarding math, science, block (language arts and social studies), she has really enjoyed all of her teachers, despite their apparent faults and differences. Some of the teachers who she didn't fully appreciate at the beginning of the year she really appreciated by the end. I think part of the teacher analysis is very subjective, both for the student and for the parent.

Anonymous said...

This thread at the Save Seattle Schools blog gives some background to the Greg King situation.

http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/2011/06/whats-going-on-at-lowell.html

Former Lowell mom

Anonymous said...

Staying put, You shouldn't make your decision based on some things you read on an internet blog where people don't post with real names. Geez....

Anonymous said...

To Staying Put: Although I agree with the previous poster I have to assure you that you are getting more facts and opinions in this blog than you would ever get on any school tour (even though with no names)...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the feedback on L@L. Taking all with a grain of salt but it is great info to gather. Any other insights re L@L APP?

-Staying Put (maybe/maybe not)

Anonymous said...

For the people who are wondering about the early admissions kindergarteneres and grade repeating, here is the school district policy, which is linked to from the advanced learning part of the website under "early entrance to kindergarten." http://district.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1583136/File/Departmental%20Content/advanced%20learning/APPYoungerStudentGuidelines.pdf?sessionid=72d8240ef19ca141cd13b18a331703e4

Both my kids are September birthdays and we opted not to pursue kindergarten early so that we could test them into APP.

KC in Wallingford

Anonymous said...

Do you recall if the age retention policy was publicly available prior to 2010/2011?

Anonymous said...

According to the guidelines, a grade-skipped student could enter APP in middle school without having to repeat a grade.

Not early entry said...

Hi,

My son is a 9-year-old third grader with a September birthday. At least one of his classmates at L@L this year is exactly a year younger than him. My 7th grade daughter also had classmates at Lowell with fall birthdays who had skipped ahead. So, if the policy exists, it's not enforced consistently.

Anonymous said...

The latest about Mr. King:
Tacoma withdraws offer to Lowell principal under investigation
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/education/2017470406_lowell10m.html

Anonymous said...

How enforceable is an administrative "guideline" vs a "policy"? Isn't there a legal difference?

Perhaps they can strongly discourage APP entry for early-entry and grade-skipped kids, but maybe they can't legally prohibit it.

Anonymous said...

And...Mr. King is staying: http://today.seattletimes.com/2012/02/after-losing-tacoma-job-offer-lowell-principal-to-stay/

truth seeker said...

I happen to believe that Mr.King's impact on Lowell and APP could be described as criminal. I know some people are supporters and there have been excuses made for the loss of many seasoned staff, but it is safe to assume that he is being investigated because someone believes he has broken rules if not laws. Naturally he is innocent until proven guilty, and I wish him no ill-will, but he should be held accountable if it is found that he mistreated people.

Anonymous said...

Did King have a negative impact at L@L?

-North ender

Anonymous said...

Greg King is not the principal at Lowell@Lincoln. Rina Geoghagan is. Greg is the principal at the Capitol Hill campus, which is not APP. It's confusing because technically (from a budget line item perspective) Lowell is one school - although there are two different faculties/staffs, two buildings, two student bodies, etc. He has had little to no influence on the daily operations at L@L, to the best of my knowledge.

Anonymous said...

What is the chain of command? On the district's list of schools, Mr. K is listed as principal of Lowell, which is technically both locations. Ms. G is listed as Lowell APP. It's kind of unclear isn't it?

Anonymous said...

It does not matter what the web site list or not list. SPS made Rina the principle of L@L last November and she has done a great job leading our school.

-L@L APP Parent

barolo said...

I have two kids who i tested for the first time and both qualify for APP- one is entering 6th grade and the other 4th grade. Our schools would be Lowell @ lincoln and HIMS.
My question is-- for those who had children entering APP in the later years (in particular middle school)- i'm assuming there is quite a bit of catch up for math- my 6th grader is in spectrum and is completing 6th grade math right now-- but she will still be behind. Should she get some catch up tutoring in the summer if we make the switch to HIMS? If you know of any good tutors familiar with our situation, please let me know- cheers.

CCM said...

Most of the kids that join APP in 6th grade are placed in Spectrum math.

At WMS this year we had quite a few kids join APP in 8th grade, and many of them took Algebra 1 at UW over the summer so they could join the cohort for Geometry in 8th grade.

I think either option is fine - staying in Spectrum math or doing summer stretch to test into APP math. It really hasn't affected the social dynamics for the new kids joining the cohort as far as I have seen.

I believe that you can also request a one-year acceleration as a parent (although current APP kids can't do that since they are already in the highest math offered - which you will find a long history of annoyance from current APP families on that issue).

Other "math" program gurus - feel free to correct me - but that is how I understand it....

Anonymous said...

Most of the kids that join APP in 6th grade are placed in Spectrum math.


This is not true! APP studens entering APP @ 6th grader are placed in APP classes. You may however, need to sign the parent math waiver to ensure the APP Math placement.

My student did just fine going from 6th grade CMP to 8th grade CMP, as CMP tends to repeat topics over and over. If you are confortable with your childs math abilities, by all means they should go into APP math at 6th grade.

But the auto-placement into Spectrum should not be happening and if it is, I would let the Advanced Learning office know!

Anonymous said...

At math night, a parent was asking about accelerating their child in math and was told something to the effect that completing 7th grade math (which would be 6th grade Spectrum?) then skipping to Algebra might be better than skipping from 6th grade math to 8th grade math, meaning alot is covered in 7th grade math.

Not knowing where your child is in math, you might consider having them take Spectrum math for 6th grade and then accelerating to APP math for 7th grade. Just a thought.

I would advise contacting Ms. Shapiro at Hamilton with your questions about math.

CCM said...

I never said that there was an "auto-placement" into Spectrum math. The placement was based on testing that happened in 5th grade. I said MOST of the incoming APP kids (not from Lowell) were placed in Spectrum math based on their testing.

My knowledge is from what happened to this year's 8th grade class -- when all 5th graders took a specific math test for 6th grade placement.

I do think I heard recently that it was changing to MAP scores for placement instead of the math test?
Not sure about that.

Also noted that parents can request a 1-year acceleration.

Lori said...

Barolo, you didn't say what decision you've made for your younger child, but just FYI: Third graders are doing the 4th and 5th grade EDM books this year, and as I understand it, will start with the CMP 6th grade program next year (ie, as 4th graders).

So if you are moving your current 3rd grader to APP next year, keep that in mind. Many families move at this grade, and I don't know what they do, if anything, to catch up in math, but you are potentially looking at skipping two full years of EDM.

Anonymous said...

@Barolo - our child transitioned from 5th grade at a neighborhood elementary school to APP at Hamilton for 6th grade. She was able to cover most of the 6th grade math while still in 5th grade and then over the summer, we bought a 7th grade math book and had her complete that before starting at Hamilton. She then went into 8th grade (or APP Honors) math at Hamilton. She's doing really well in math and the transition has been fine. We did have to request a 1 year acceleration to get her placed into the APP math. Another of her APP friends who transferred into APP in 6th grade went into 7th grade math instead so I think either option can work.

Personally, I hate the CMP math books - so for us, this means we only have one year of CMP (I used JUMP math for the 7th grade math that we did during the summer).

Jane

Anonymous said...

Also - for the current 6th graders, math placement was based on 5th grade teacher recommendation - there was no placement test. This was a change from prior years. Jane

Anonymous said...

Re: Math placement in Hamilton
I heard this from a math teacher on the tour last week: for incoming 6th graders the math placement based on the teacher's recommendation and on the previous test scores (MAP, MSP) and on a parent request if available. In the first couple weeks of the school though they asses the students in Hamilton and according to that result they can (and will) move the students to a different program. It happens every year for a couple of students in every direction (gen ed, spectrum or APP).

hschinske said...

My daughter transferred to Lowell in fourth grade. The math acceleration at that stage was no problem at all -- we were worried about it ahead of time, but actually she could have handled more. She had done some math through EPGY, but the main benefit of that was the non-fuzzy math grounding and the fact that she was learning *something* new, not getting her to any precise level. And while she's quite good at math, it's never been a particular passion for her.

Helen Schinske

Barolo said...

Wow- so if I move my 3rd grader to Lowell for 4th grade he might be. Behind by 2 years? How is that going to work...

For those who wrote about requesting an acceleration in math despite teacher rec and placement, how did your student do IF there was no summer catch up or isthat pretty much required if you want your chid to be in app math?
I can't imagine spending the summer doing math all summer but perhaps we'll have to do it.

I've read in the posts about various programs at the UW, jump, eypg... Is the uw program thru Robison center? oyvay !!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Your child won't be behind in math by 2 years when going into APP at 4th grade. The books are those of two years ahead, but the math, well...the books kind of inch along in 4th and 5th grade.

Just make sure your child's arithmetic is solid - add, subtract, multiply, and divide (with long division) and they know their math facts.

You might notice some gaps here and there and you just fill in as the year goes on.

Anonymous said...

When our daughter transferred to APP in 6th grade we had her work through a 7th grade math book so she'd be prepared. It worked out to about 20 pages of math a week - or 30 minutes a day, 4 - 5 times a week. It was definitely manageable and not that big of a deal.

barolo said...

anonymous 8:18am--- what 7th grade text did you use? was it a book recommendation by one of the teachers?

Anonymous said...

A book recommendation for pre-algebra:

McDougal Littell Pre-Algebra by Larson, Boswell, Kanold and Stiff

It has clearly worked examples and a good mix of problems. You can buy it for a reasonable price (used) online. It also works well as a supplement for 4th and 5th grade APP.

Anonymous said...

@Barolo

We used the JUMP at Home Math book that covered 7th grade. I first heard about these text books in the NY Times. You can buy them on Amazon. What I like about the books is that they break the math down into tiny steps and build incrementally.

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/04/18/a-better-way-to-teach-math/

Jane (aka anonymous from Fri 8:18 am)

Anonymous said...

I have a first grade son who tested into APP. He has an August birthday and we did not hold him back in kindergarten (rather started him “on-time” per the SPS age guidelines). I would appreciate any insights other parents can share regarding their experiences with APP children with late summer birthdays. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

My kid at L@L has a late summer birthday - youngest kid in her class. She's doing just fine in APP.

Anonymous said...

At the Lowell open house - years ago - parents were encouraged to consider holding their late summer birthday kids back. We're glad we didn't. You know your kids best.

Lori said...

My child also has a late summer birthday and went to school on time, despite suggestions from various principals on the school tours that summer birthday kids should be held back.

She is doing just fine in APP, and we are very happy with our decision to move her. I would not even consider a summer birthday a factor if you think APP is a good choice otherwise.

protected static said...

Re: late birthdays and holding kids back a year - I suspect it varies quite a bit by gender, with boys benefiting more from it than girls.

We've often wondered if our son's kindergarten experience would have been different if we'd started a year later. We're leaning towards 'yes, and probably positively' but of course, hindsight, 20/20, and so on and so forth.

Anonymous said...

We have a son whose birthday is 11 days prior to the 8/30 cut-off. Based on input from his preschool teachers and administration, we started him in kindergarten just weeks after his fifth birthday. Some kids (mostly boys) turned 6 just a few weeks later. For us, it ended up working out just fine. He has always been very social and made friends easily. He told us he was bored in first grade so we ended up testing into APP for 2nd grade. It wasn't an easy decision as we loved our neighborhood school but we decided it was in his best interests to try APP. He is being challenged more academically, quickly made new friends and buses to our old neighborhood school for after-school care (where our younger child attends) so sees many old friends there. He also plays soccer and baseball with a mix of old and new friends so it really has been the best of both worlds for him and us. I think each child is different, but so far (fingers crossed) so good!