Monday, February 27, 2012

Open thread

A new open thread, have at it!

Update: In the comments, lots of new parents asking about whether they should choose APP and existing parents offering frank details of their experience in and why they chose APP.

176 comments :

Anonymous said...

Anyone know when to expect appeal results?

Anonymous said...

Letters will be mailed by 3/9, according to the AL office.

louie said...

I wanted to hear from families who have had a student move into app at hamilton for 6th grade -- from a neighborhood or private school. We are considering Hamilton for our daughter-- she is a bit more reserved and wondered what the transition is like given that many of the students in have been together for years at lowell. I'm curious about things both socially and academically. thanks!!!

Anonymous said...

Our daughter transitioned to Hamilton for APP in 6th grade this year (she went to a neighborhood elementary school with an ALO program). Her transition has been great. There were about 10 kids from her elementary school who also went to Hamilton (some to APP, some Spectrum/Gen Ed) plus she had friends from her soccer team. And now she's made some new friends. It definitely helped that she already knew some kids before she started at Hamilton. My guess is that about half the APP kids are from Lowell and the other half are from neighborhood elementary schools. Jane

-Annie said...

Does anyone know if the investigation of the principal at Lowell involve the L@L principal in anyway?

Anonymous said...

Read the old thread "Problems with math at Hamilton" and you'll get the other side of the story. The reports will vary widely depending on class placement. There haven't been any significant changes.

http://discussapp.blogspot.com/2011/10/open-thread_24.html

tired of being shoved around said...

As Jane mentioned above, 50% of 6th graders are new to APP this year. APP in middle school has never grown by that much previously. Hamilton cannot take that many kids, and APP will get booted yet again. The only question is if we get one or two years.

There are people posting in the Ingraham thread that APP parents should just be happy with what we have and quit whining. I don't think it's too much to ask that my elementary kid get to say in one school (didn't happen) or that my middle school kids gets to stay in one school (probably won't happen) or that I know where my kid with go for HS (don't know that now). APP parents should get the same consideration as others in the district. The NSAP was supposed to make things predictable. It has not happened for APP in the northend.

Anonymous said...

APP Advisory Committee*
*Email 52: APP High School Night, February 29 TONIGHT*
*February 29, 2012*
**
To help 8th grade APP families make a decision about high school
for next year, the APP Advisory Committee is sponsoring a meeting
for *parents and students* to discuss the 2 APP high school paths.
**
*APP High School Night*
*Wednesday, February 29 TONIGHT*
*6:30-8:00pm*
*Lincoln High School in Wallingford, Library*

Head counselors Ken Courtney from Garfield and Carrie Richard
from Ingraham will provide information and answer questions regarding
their schools and APP. IB Coordinator at Ingraham, Guy Thomas,
will also be available to answer questions.

*This is a unique opportunity to specifically discuss the APP *
*program at both schools.*

See you tonight!

Parent considering L@L said...

As we try to finalize our decision about moving our 1st grade son to APP next year, I have a question about teacher quality at L@L. I've heard that there has been a fair amount of teacher transition in recent years given the APP split and building relocation. Are parents feeling generally satisfied with the new teachers in terms of their readiness to teach APP kids and their broader abilities as educators? At our current neighborhood school the teaching staff is fantastic and there are no teachers that families have to hope “not to get.” Is that the case at L@L as well? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Re Parent Considering L@L:

My son started in 2nd grade APP last year with a teacher who was new to the program and she was fantastic. He had a great year and really learned a lot. This year, he has an equally great teacher for third grade--she had been a long-term sub at the Lowell/Cap Hill campus and he is having another wonderful year with her. I may need to knock on wood, but we have been more than pleased with the two new teachers our child has had, and I hope we will all be equally happy with the teachers he has in future years. Just my 2 cents! Good luck.

NEMama

Anonymous said...

We're considering the transfer to L@L for 1st grade. But, please, can someone tell me what the difference is between Spectrum and ALO? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Re Parent Considering L@L:

Most teachers are very good and if they are not they don't last long in the program. Parents in this program are very active and expects a lot. They also have hired very good/hard working young teachers the last few years.

To answer the other parents question about difference between APP, Spectrum, ALO

APP work up to 2 years ahead, self-contained, no space limit/cap

Spectrum 1 year ahead, most are not self-contained, space limited

ALO not self-contained and no set guideline to working 1 year ahead

Go here for more information:
http://www.seattleschools.org/modules/cms/pages.phtml?sessionid=3a3125d49f71359910fdeea6d238f3f4&pageid=214087&sessionid=&sessionid=3a3125d49f71359910fdeea6d238f3f4

L@L Parent

Anonymous said...

I have a 4th grader at L@L and I can tell you that he has had fantastic teachers the whole way through. 3 of the 4th grade teachers are new this year, and we were nervous, but they have done a fantasic job. They probably have to learn a little about communication with parents, but their enthusiasm and energy and talent more than make up for it. The 5th grade teachers are also very good (I have a daughter who is at Hamilton this year, so I know from experience). You are right, there has been quite a bit of turnover, but I'm amazed by what a great job they do hiring, because they're getting fantastic teachers.

wishingforbetter said...

Just for balance, I have to say we've had a terrible experience this year, but have decided to stick it out.

Alice C-T said...

We have appeals in for both our children. We have to "choose" before we will know the results. If only one of them gets into L@L can we pull them back to our reference school to keep the kids together??

suep. said...

wishingforbetter, does your child happen to be in 2nd grade this year?

wishingforbetter said...

yes.

wishingforbetter said...

I'm hoping this is an unusual year. Otherwise, I'm not sure where to turn.

suep. said...

If your child had a certain teacher who is no longer there, I think that was an aberration. I'm not even sure why that teacher was hired for that position. (Or are we talking about the other second grade class that is onto its second longterm sub?)

On the positive side, I've heard good things about the third grade teachers. If you want to chat more offline, let me know.

Parent Considering L@L said...

I appreciate all the feedback on teachers, however, this last comment is concerning as our son would be entering 2nd grade at L@L in the fall. What is the situation with the 2nd grade teachers? Is there a suboptimal teacher/classroom situation? Appreciate any candid feedback you can share. We went through a tough year at our neighborhood school with our older child (the teacher is no longer in the system) and it’s an experience we would prefer not to repeat. Thank you!

suep. said...

@ Parent Considering L@L

Actually, 2nd grade is in pretty good shape now. I've heard that the teacher who replaced the problematic teacher is good. She's currently a long-term sub but could be brought on full-time next year, I don't know for sure.

The other classroom has a solid teacher returning from maternity leave who is job-sharing for the rest of this year with a new teacher (long-term sub) who seems good. I don't know if the original teacher will return full-time next year or whether the new teacher will take over.

The other two 2nd grade teachers have had no disruptions this year that I know of. One is in her second year at L@L and the other is in her first. I've heard good things about both.

Hope this helps.

wishingforbetter said...

I think the current situation is very unlikely to repeat, and next year second grade will be fine. We just came in thinking this was going to be some kind of miracle school (a rather naive point of view, I admit!), and it isn't. I just don't want families to be crushed, as we were, when they discover there are problems here too.

Anonymous said...

Alice C-T, did you find an answer to your question? Is there a way to link the two sibling applications through Open Enrollment, i.e., request that if one is pulled for ineligibility, the other be pulled too? My guess is that otherwise, if your neighborhood school is typically full like mine, you might end up on a waitlist if you try to get back in after Open Enrollment ends.

I am waiting on an appeal, too, and can only hope that "by Mar 9" means there's a chance we could get letters a day or two before open enrollment ends. Is that wishful thinking?
-Kari

Anonymous said...

wishingforbetter, can you please elaborate on your experience?

Alice C-T said...

Kari, what you suggest may be true. I have anecdotal evidence from a friend who chose to enroll her son in an option school and then had second thoughts during the summer before the start of school. The district told her it was too late and she couldn't switch back. This affects our decision as it may be better to wait and see what happens and enroll our younger child next year when our eldest would be moving on to middle school anyway.

wishingforbetter said...

As I said, I think the specific teacher upheaval situations Suep. described are highly unlikely to repeat next year. Because of that, I don't think it is helpful to go through all the details even though they contributed to my use of the word "terrible". In a more general sense, though, going in we had expected to find teachers with a strong knowledge of highly gifted students, a challenging curriculum, and a peer group for our child. We have definitely found the appropriate peers. That has been great. However, the curriculum has been less challenging and rigorous than expected. There has been less "busy work"- a good thing. However, I didn't expect my child to come home complaining that some of the work is still too easy. I have heard the work gets more challenging as you move through the grades. Finally, the teachers we have had have little to no experience with highly gifted students. That has been another disappointment.

Anonymous said...

Wishing-

Things do get better. I think it says a lot that the 2nd grade situation was handled. Can't say that at all schools.

As for the teachers not knowing about gifted kids - there is currently NO requirement that teachers have any knowledge about gifted kids in Washington state. This is not the fault of Lowell - just wait until you see what goes on at Hamilton. It is something that needs to be corrected at the state level. Teachers in APP should be required to have a gifted certification. Until that happens, there is not guarantee that teachers will know thing one about gifted kids. That said, the principal does try and hire teachers who have gifted knowledge or at least an interest in gifted kids.

L@L parent

Anonymous said...

wishingforbetter - unfortunately what you describe has been our experience for years...

I would argue the gifted ed teacher training is something that can be corrected at the district level - make it part of the job description for APP positions.

Anonymous said...

we had a terrible year. my child was miserable. we had a new teacher and she did not have any experience working with gifted kids and her communication skills were poor. i can't believe we left our wonderful neighborhood school for this. i was expecting so much more. i cant believe that the process that these kids have to go thru to test into this watered down version of APP. there is no enrichment-there just cranking out a bunch of busy work.

Anonymous said...

I think that requiring Gift Certification for all APP teachers would be a major step to help create a consistent prgram across all sites. As a HIMS parent, it would resolve a lot of the staffing problems that are not being addressed.

I don't think that the state needs to be the once to mandate this certification, I think this is something SPS could do on its own.

IN fact, the HIMS web site, for over two years now states the following,

"APP is program is a comprehensive, cohesive, rigorous course of study consisting of APP Science, APP Language Arts and Social Studies, and Mathematics taught by instructors who have experience and endorsement in teaching gifted students."

I believe there is one HIMS APP teacher with the gifted endorsement.

Anonymous said...

For those expressing frustration with the APP program, I hope you will consider sharing constructive feedback with the school and district administration, if you haven't already.

After what has been a beyond disappointing year for us - 6th grade - we still don't have any assurances that next year will be any different for incoming 6th graders, let alone what next year holds for 7th grade.

Anonymous said...

I would also to suggest to parents that as you are answering surveys about how you would like to see APP in the future, you read these comments. There is talk of splitting north elementary and/or middle schools into NE and NW. Lots of parents think "wouldn't it be great to be closer to home?" Think about how this program looks after a split. Lots of teachers leave, and there are new administrators. Don't believe the district will watch to make sure things go smoothly. We are still waiting for the written curriculum promised as part of the split several years ago.

-no more splits

Jon said...

Adding to the other experiences, we have been in APP for a few years and found APP is better than our alternatives, but that's about it. It is a better option for us than our very good neighborhood school, better than the private schools in Seattle, better than moving (to, for example, Bellevue's PRISM program). But APP is not great, just better than our alternatives.

What I like about APP is the peer group, the parents and kids. In that sense, it is mostly like an alternative program, like TOPS or STEM.

Things I dislike most are the constant instability and splitting of the program (in what, frankly, appears to be a blatant attempt to use APP test scores and funds/volunteers to mask problems in struggling schools) and that some of the teachers are not trained for or interested in gifted education.

We, like many others, have had a couple downright miserable teachers, often cast-offs from other schools that move around the district like hot potatoes, but we have also had several teachers that were brilliant and inspiring.

We, like many others, have had supplement a fair amount, especially in math, though that would be a problem at any of our other options (private schools, our neighborhood school, moving) too.

If you come to APP, you definitely should not expect it to be perfect. But, it is pretty good and, at least in our case, better than any of our other options.

I am hoping that, over the next few years, the APP program stops being forced to move schools and split across schools, the district switches to Singapore Math for APP (and other schools), the district favors and supports teachers for APP who are trained in gifted education, and a very strong Spectrum or similar program becomes available for children who nearly qualify for APP (ideally, placed in the same school as APP). Those four changes would be a huge win if we can make them happen.

Anonymous said...

I would be interested in thoughts on the recent L@L surveys. They were concerning on some fronts because as someone mentioned, there seems to be a real possibility of further splits for north end APP.

That people prioritized being close to home over some other factors doesn't bode well.

If what holds the program together is the cohort, then what becomes of it if it's split even further with even less support and coordination between sites?

If someone can explain Project Based Learning and what it means for classroom configuation, etc, I'd like to know more. Does TM use PBL and L@L is following suit, or is L@L forging its own path?

considering private said...

Jon, why is a private gifted school in Seattle not an option? After hearing so many negatives about APP from friends and blogs like this, we are considering private for K next year and possibly beyond. Do you feel these schools do not provide a quality gifted education?

Anonymous said...

What is with the push for ipads? The L@L library needs books and more books.

Anonymous said...

I would be furious is ANY of my PTA money went to fundlibrary books at L@L. This district moved us away from a full library and wouldn't allow us to take books. It is SOLELY their responsibility to fund our library.

I am very angry about this because the district has really screwed with the APP program and then expects us to pay for it. Enough!!!!!

-frustrated

Anonymous said...

It is a better option for us than...the private schools in Seattle

"Private" includes parochial schools and independent schools that don't identify as gifted (which is pretty much everything but Lakeside and SCDS).

An obvious barrier is the cost of tuition, but even good private schools may not be able to offer the appropriate level of challenge for some students (and you will find some are very resistant to grade skips). There are families at L@L that have come from private schools, as well as families that have moved on to SCDS and Lakeside.

-not Jon

Anonymous said...

How is it that some Lowell library books were taken to TM? Now I'm thinking I misread the survey. I thought the district was paying for some books and the PTA was wanting to add a budget item to further enhance the limited funds from the district.

confused

Anonymous said...

Speaking of project based learning -

From the New York Times:

Hard-Working Teachers, Sabotaged When Student Test Scores Slip

By MICHAEL WINERIP
Published: March 4, 2012

At a high performing school, teachers have gotten low ratings because their students proficiency went from 97% in 4th grade to 89% in 5th grade.

Apparently they do more "project based learning" in 5th grade compared to 4th grade. "Using the new curriculum, children work in groups to solve real-life problems."

In the NYT comments:

The fact of the matter is that most kids at this school come from well educated families. They would score highly on standardized tests anyway. This cannot be attributed solely to the progressive methods the school advocates. I would much rather my child be taught in a small group, using traditional methods, where they can reach their full academic potential, rather than indulge in strange projects that lead to nowhere. I am doubtful they can instill "critical thinking" skills, when you end up having large gaps in basic knowledge (especially math!)

Excellent teacher choosing to not teach the curriculum. Students take test aligned with curriculum and do not do as well as expected...

You can debate the validity of value-added scores...but the coments around PBL have me concerned.

Jon said...

"Not Jon" got it right, private schools work well for some, others come from the private schools to APP. It depends on your particular needs. As "Not Jon" said, SCDS and Lakeside probably are the two top private options in Seattle for people considering APP.

In our case, SCDS is not sufficiently advanced (not two grade levels ahead), Lakeside does not offer AP classes (though students do take AP tests on their own there), and we prefer the less wealthy and more nerdy culture and peer group of APP, so, mostly for those reasons, we would not pick SCDS or Lakeside over APP. But, SCDS and Lakeside are good schools and work well for many of our friends.

Anonymous said...

Our daughter apparently tested well, so we took the tour or L@L, but are having a hard time deciding to move her there for 2nd grade. What I could see of the emphasis on reading and writing impressed me, but I can’t say it looked tremendously different from what we have at our neighborhood school, where our daughter is happy and doing very well. Everyone seems to love the new art and PE teachers at L@L, but the 3 week rotation and irregularities with the schedules for art, PE and music give me pause. I’m trying to find out what is so great about the curriculum at L@L that parents find this weird schedule and the lack of outdoor playground acceptable. To me, these are real failures. The instability with regards to location is another (milder) concern.

Of course, parents have good reasons for sending their children to Lowell. What have you found that is better at Lowell than it was at your neighborhood school? Is the +2 years in academics the clincher for most people?

Anonymous said...

@12:59 - we have two kids eligible for APP and made two different decisions. Child # 1 qualified for APP but we left her at her neighborhood elementary school because she was really happy there, had a good set of friends, and she was being challenged academically. Our philosophy was "if she's happy, let's not mess with it." We transferred her to APP in 6th grade and the transition has gone well.

Child # 2 is at the same neighborhood school, which we still love, but is much less happy. We are planning on moving him to Lowell@Lincoln. He's more easily bored and although he has friends, he just hasn't found a comfortable niche the way Child #1 did. We are hoping he will find more like-minded peers at L@L. In going on the tour, the math and science looked more interesting and in-depth than the math and science at our neighborhood school as well (but it's hard to tell based on a 45 minute tour).

Jane

Anonymous said...

The biggest plus is having 24 to 28 kids like your kid in the class and around 500 kids in the school. What I see is that kids are pushing each other rather than your kid adapting to the norm at your neighborhood school since he/she does not want to stand out and get picked on or feel out of place.

L@L parent

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 1:19 PM, thank you for making that positve comment about the benefits of a peer group. My kindergartner will be making the move to L@L next year and I am seeing a light at the end of the tunnel for her. If she was happy and making friends and acedemic progress at her current school we would keep her there even if she tested into APP.

wishingforbetter said...

Even after our disappointments this year, we are keeping our child at L@L because of the peer group. Our child fits in better at L@L. This child is much happier socially. However, our younger child, who also just tested in, will be staying at our neighborhood school, at least for now. Our second child is happy/ doing well at the current school. The second child has a very different personality and set of needs than the first child. For the second child, the negatives of L@L outweigh the positives. For our first child the positives of L@L outweigh the negatives.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate how generous you all are with your insights. I have a K boy who will likely qualify on appeal and I'm debating sending him to L@L for next year vs. trying1st grade at our neighborhood school. What I'm wondering is, from parent's whose children fare better with the APP peer group, how clear was it in K that your child needed this? My son is doing *OK* in K; he has casual and playground friends and is happy to go to school and it seems that kids like him, but we always get this nagging feeling that he's not totally connecting with boys his age. Not much common ground on playdates. He talks a lot. He communicates verbally while his friends might communicate more physically. He talks about stuff no one seems to care about, or at a level of detail they don't care about. He cares a lot about rules; they don't. I can't say he's learning much in K, but he is happy to walk to school with neighbors and feels good about himself most days. His teacher has made him a leader in the classroom; don't know if that would happen again next year.

So is this what is looks like when a kid could benefit from the APP peers, or does it usually hit you in the face so that you'd never miss it?

Thanks,
tc

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the helpful replies. The peer group is an excellent reason to put your child in a school like L@L, and if our daughter were having difficulties in that arena, it would be a much bigger factor in our decision. As it is, she's quite happy at her current school.

Now I'm wondering if the social group is the deciding factor for most people who transfer, or if the academics are the bigger pull. Has anyone found the actual academics to be far and away better at the APP schools?

12:59

Anonymous said...

Jane (and others who have insight),

When you kept your daughter at her neighborhood school b/c she was happy there, did that school offer Spectrum or ALO? Did that factor in? Our daughter is at an ALO school, and I think if we keep her there, her needs will prob. be met.

thanks!
spouse of 12:59

Anonymous said...

tc

It sounds like your son will be more happy at L@L. He will be able to talk to other kids with the same interest and have deeper relationships rather than just casual. He will also get into other things other kids are interested in. My son did not want to read Harry Potter until he saw other kids in 1st grade were reading and talking about it.

~parent

Anonymous said...

the inexperienced APP teachers, 3-week rotation with art, gym and music, small play space, lack of diversity and family support is what turned me off at L@L

Anonymous said...

"the inexperienced APP teachers, 3-week rotation with art, gym and music, small play space, lack of diversity and family support is what turned me off at L@L"

These are very close to our concerns, and the reasons I'm looking for people who find the curriculum so good that it trumps these problems. What I seem to be finding is that the acceleration is just fine, but what parents really like is that their kids fit in better at L@L. That is pushing the needle towards staying put for me.

12:59

Anonymous said...

APP seems to exist for social grouping purposes, academics a secondary bonus, maybe, the way the program is currently constructed. Perhaps schools should just be divided up into percentiles, and all children will be more happy. The 85th - 95th percentiles will find more common ground with each other, etc. This thread is not presenting a great argument for the broad spread of abilities found in APP in Seattle. How can so many kids who test or appeal into the program be happy at their ALO/neighborhood school and wonder if APP is right for their child? Look across the lake to Bellevue where the cutoff is much higher and the program much smaller, and the academics can be geared to the truly profoundly gifted, which is what APP should be. I don't think APP L@L would be the biggest elementary school in north Seattle (which I believe it is if you count Bryant as a 1-5, not K-5) if the admission requirements were more stringent and geared toward a population who really needed the academics and peer group without question.

Elise said...

Attn: 8th grade APP families.

Garfield High School will be conducting an additional tour of the school tomorrow,

TUESDAY, MARCH 6
8:30am-9:30am

No rsvp necessary, students and parents can check in when they arrive
in the Garfield Commons (large space in the center of the school.)
Enter through the main front doors facing North at the top of the stairs.
Go early to find street parking.

Families will have the opportunity to talk with ASB students and also
visit the famed Garfield Orchestra class. They will be escorted around
the school and will also have the opportunity to watch students as they change
classes.

Thanks to Garfield's Principal Ted Howard and coordinator Kelley Butler
for arranging this additional opportunity.

For 8th grade APP families: If you do nothing, your automatic assignment is to
Garfield HS. If you elect the option of the APP/IB program at Ingraham, you must
enroll your student through enrollment services by this FRIDAY, MARCH 9.

We highly recommend you deliver your enrollment papers in person, and allow time
to stand in lines!

Anonymous said...

tc and others deciding:
Everyone has different reasons for transferring into APP at the elementary level, just as everyone has different reasons for not transferring into APP, and they are all valid reasons and I respect everyone's choices. Only the family really can decide what is best for a child based on their own criteria, including family logistics and sibling reasons!

I agonized over where to put my K kid, but in the end we chose Lowell APP, and we're grateful we did! Here were some of our reasons:
-Although he was 'happy' where he was, he really wasn't joyful and did not have a best friend. He wasn't truly connecting to the kids around him. We sensed he was never going to make that childhood best friend, and for us, a huge part of the richness of childhood are those deep, soulful friendships.
-We were wary about his lack of challenge. We didn't want him always to be the 'smartest kid in the class', with him realizing this label. We wanted him to not understand some things during his lessons, so that he would have to work at things. We wanted him to learn to love learning. So, he needed to actually be doing some learning. I hasten to add we are anti-homework in early primary grades -- we don't want it piled on!
-We saw a path ahead in his K school that would have meant he would be resistant to taking intellectual risks by the time he was in 4th grade. Google 'underachievement' and 'gifted', you'll see this is a problem for gifted kids. We hoped to avert this by putting him in APP.
-We read studies that have shown gifted kids in non-gifted programs end up with more arrogance when compared to gifted kids in gifted programs.
-We saw our son dumb himself down, and that frightened us. He was a fluent reader at age 5, but, in Kindergarten, he refused to read. In contrast, but being with his peers in the first grade, he became a veracious reader as he sensed that reading was not just okay, but, deeply loved by his peers.
-We experienced teachers in our old school who looked askance at us asking for him to be supported. In APP, he simply is supported at where he is at intellectually and we never have to ask them to scrounge up some reading-level appropriate yet age-appropriate books for his classroom.
-He is very sensitive, and this is not atypical for gifted kids, so by moving him to APP, he is with peers who can relate to his need for fairness.

To sum up, we moved because we wanted the peer group from him to cease to be isolated, we didn't want him to stand out the way he was standing out in K so that he wouldn't fall into the trap of self-labeling, we wanted him to actually get use to making mistakes and taking risks, and we wanted him not to be bored during the day, because it would inevitably lead to him acting out during class (not during first grade necessarily, but perhaps by 3rd), and we wanted teachers who understood a young child can have a need for incredible depth, just because that is who he is, not because parents somehow managed to push him to this! Thus, it wasn't just the peer group, or the curriculum, it was the totality of intellectual stimulation that we saw as necessary for his happiness, growth and development.

And, in terms of teachers, the District as a whole is growing by thousands of students, so there will be many new hires, and I would expect that to mean inexperienced teachers in every building, not just L@L.

By the way, my child is very active, and the recess space has not be a problem.

It is a hard decision to make, so I wish you good luck. Your child will succeed whatever you decide is best.
-a parent

Anonymous said...

@ 12:59

Truly, it's very subjective. I kept wanting a lightning bolt to strike, or a feeling of "Of COURSE this is what we should do!" to happen, and it really didn't.

Our son is in 3rd grade now and is in his second year of APP. First of all, he is almost always the youngest kid in his class. He has a late August birthday. As one friend pointed out, he's theoretically been doing "1 year ahead" since he started K.

He had a fantastic K teacher at our neighborhood school and we were advised to have him tested the following fall. This was pre-MAP. He had a good first grade teacher, but was less engaged with school. Homework packets weren't engaging for him and he'd whip through them (sometimes quite sloppily, just to be done) and tell us he was bored.

Towards the end of the year, he started roughhousing a bit and distracting some of the other kids in class. I spoke with his teacher, who said that he did well on tests, but so did many of the other kids in class. It's a pretty high-performing neighborhood school overall, and we loved the community.

He has never had any trouble making friends. He loves sports more than academics, actually, at this point. I was worried that all of the kids in APP were going to be spouting the Pythagorean theorem at recess but luckily there are plenty of sports nuts like him to play with.

In short, we were really torn. But ultimately, it didn't seem fair to NOT give the increased academic rigor a try. We did not want our son to go through elementary school being bored. At the time, we talked up the big playfield that was available at the Capitol Hill location as well.

Even with the program site changes and flux, even with the reduced playground space at L@L (and HUGE kudos to the dedicated parents and staff who have done so much to optimize the space we do have available at L@L), it has been the right choice for us. He is engaged, he is happy, he has old and new friends from both schools, and he loves going to school. He fit in at both places so if the APP peer group helps push him academically, that's great.

As an earlier poster pointed out--it's a different decision for each family, and for each child within that family as well. No school is perfect, and those thinking APP will be perfect should do a reset. But we don't hear that he's bored, and we have been pleased with the teachers, educational opportunities and depth of learning. For our son, APP has been a good decision.

Nor'easter

Anonymous said...

@Anon 12:59 - our daughter (child #1) who we chose to have stay at her neighborhood school rather than switch to Lowell was at a school with a very good ALO program for language arts. Her classroom teachers also did a very good job pushing her writing/reading/project skills. The only downside was we had to to 2 years worth of math in the spring of 5th grade and summer before 6th grade so she was ready for the transition to APP in middle school.

We are planning on switching our second child to Lowell@Lincoln in part because he would benefit from more advanced math which we are hoping he will get there. And our other reason (which I forgot to mention earlier) is that change is much more difficult for our second child. We think it will be easier for him to transition to APP in second grade when there are lots of new kids entering the program than in 6th grade (and our daughter's transition in 6th grade went very well - but she handles change better than her brother).

Jane

Mom of 3 in APP said...

We moved child #1 to APP after first grade because she was trying too hard to downplay her academic skills to fit in. She deliberately would miss words on spelling tests and write very little during in-class assignments because that was what her peers were doing and she was trying to be like them. I was excited to see on the first day of 2nd grade that the teacher wrote instructions for the students on the board because it was fair to assume that all of the kids read well. The new peer group made a huge difference for her. However, at various points in time, we were disappointed with the lack of academic challenge of APP for her.

We moved child #2 to APP after second grade from private school mostly for financial reasons. It has been a good switch for him, but sometimes he is unhappy with the playground or with classroom dynamics. However, I feel like the kids he hangs out with now have more in common with him than did his peers at his old school.

Child #3 will be starting 1st grade in APP in the fall. He actually has a best friend in kindergarten, but I think that APP will better meet his academic needs. At his school, differentiation of the curriculum is limited at best. He'll whip through a book at a 6th grade level at home, but certainly isn't reading anything equivalent at school even in the highest reading group. I'm worried about how he'll do in a larger class, but other than that, I think that APP will be excellent for him.

Anonymous said...

Overall, we have been happy with the new teachers (in elementary) and feel they are rising to the challenge.

Our frustrations mainly have to do with the curriculum. They use EDM, CMP, and Readers and Writers Workshop - for which I have no positive things to say and do not feel are appropriate for a GATE program, let alone for the rest of SPS.

Some teachers have worked to supplement the basic curriculum, but it varies by teacher and there isn't a programatic way to challenge students working beyond the basic math curriculum.

Social studies is not getting as much time as it used to and it doesn't appear there's an effort to follow state standards. Many teachers had developed social studies units on civil rights, colonial times, Seattle history, etc., that have disappeared with the influx of new teachers (or district standardization??).

In our opinion the curriculum is not what it used to be - it has become flatter somehow and less challenging. It's still more accelerated compared to the average neighborhood school, but not the level of challenge you'd expect for a program geared for 95% and above.

Anonymous said...

Thanks very much for the thoughtful replies. Very helpful! Good luck, all!

12:59

Anonymous said...

We did not move our son to APP for social reasons. Socially he was actually better off at the neighborhood school. We moved our son because he was bored, bored, bored in class and acting up a lot. And like a previous poster said, I didn't want him to always be the smartest kid and never have to work for anything.

Again, it depends on both your child's temperament and the offerings at your neighborhood school. My son was always asking for more, more, more, and his neighborhood school didn't have a good way of delivering that.

APP has been a much better match for our son. At least some of the time now he is challenged and working hard and pushing himself. APP is not perfect, but for us it has been a huge improvement.

Anonymous said...

It seems like most posting are Lowell parents, are there Thurgood Marshall parents out there who can share about their experiences there of late? I have a boy who will be in 3rd grade next year. He is happy where he is but we think TM might be a better fit academically. Do you like it? How are the teachers and community?

Thanks,

Newbie

Anonymous said...

The February meeting minutes from the APP-AC minutes mention the purchase of iPads for faculty at L@L. The survey that just went out asked about prioritizing budget items, technology like iPads included, so is it already a done deal?

Anonymous said...

My favorite from the February minutes is this from HIMS:
"The meeting that was discussed in the Fall to be held between 6th grade APP families and Principal Chris Carter is still being worked on by Geeta. This is a meeting to address questions related to APP curriculum in math and LASS at HIMS."
Mr. Carter is trying so hard to help the APP families: couldn't find an hour for a meeting since October, 2011. With this speed he doesn't have to worry about the 6th graders any more this year. But this has a down side for the incoming 6th graders: they (we) will have to face similar problems next year.

Anonymous said...

Is the APP-AC an advisory committee or action committee? Answer that question and then decide if you should take action yourselves rather than count on someone else to be pushing for the meeting.

Anonymous said...

Re: Hamilton
That seems very realistic: if the APP AC and Geeta and Elise (whose work I really appreciate and I am very thankful for) couldn't arrange a meeting for the 6th grader parents with Mr Carter since last October than one (or a few) parent could achieve that. This year. Or the next?

Not a 6th grader

Anonymous said...

Mr Carter is telling people that APP is only there temporarily. Why would he work with the APP community? He thinks APP is only in his building until the district moves them again, so what's the point? Until the district clarifies things (ha), north APP will be treated as interlopers.

-tired of the turmoil

Anonymous said...

The problem is that while APP is housed at HIMS, Principal Carter makes all staffing and program decisions regarding APP. Staffing issues are a problem; which then leads to program implementation problems. Dr. Vaughen cannot do anything, nor can the APP ACC committee.

If it is any consolation; Chris Carter received some of the lowest staff rating last year - and there are not enough APP teachers who could have "tanked" his scores.

So there is widespread dissatisfaction with his leadership.

Anonymous said...

Newbie --
We moved our son to TM this year for second grade and it has been a very positive experience for us. The principal is very strong and teacher morale seems good from my perspective (there hasn't been nearly as much teacher turnover at TM as at Lowell, for which we are grateful). It is a much better fit for our son academically (and we came from a strong neighborhood school.) It is certainly not perfect, but it's been very good.
TM Mom

Anonymous said...

Utterly depressing thread...

Anonymous said...

Like "Newbie" - I would like more information on Thurgood Marshall. I have a 2nd grader who would move next year. She is very happy where she is and so it's hard to justify moving a very happy child. Any advice is appreciated.
Thanks!

suep. said...

Yep, organize your own meeting, folks, or you could be waiting a long time.

tired of the turmoil -- I hear you.
But when did Carter say this and to whom?
Mr Carter is telling people that APP is only there temporarily.

Anonymous said...

suep-

I am a parent of a 5th grader at Lincoln. I have been told by two current 6th grade APP parents that he said this at least two different times (the 6th grade parents I spoke with were not talking to him at the same time). Just looking at the size of the building I don't see how all the kids are going to fit. I think another Lowell situation is coming.

-tired of the turmoil

suep. said...

Thanks for the info.

Well, I know a number of us had suspected as much, but if he's saying it outright, that makes it seem more likely. I've heard HIMS is getting 40 more kids next year, which is whole classroom-full plus.

Maybe we should all start thinking about what we should lobby for:

Demand our middle schoolmkids not be uprooted again (they've only been at Hamilton for 3 years)?

Demand they move our kids to Lincoln (or somewhere else big enough) to make a K-8 APP and never touch us again?

Or--what else?

I have heard that the district realizes it needs to open another middle school in the north end. I wonder if some or all of middle school APP is part of that plan?

What would everyone want for north-end MS APP? (Maybe this needs to be a new thread, Greg?)

Anonymous said...

Should we anticipate some announcement the day after school lets out for summer?

I'm at the point that I don't care where it is or what the configuration is, I just want a program that has principal support and competent, supportive teachers.

Anonymous said...

It's the year after next that I am really concerned about for Hamilton. I am hearing 5 5th grades next year at Lincoln. The 6th grade doubled this year for APP. Does Hamilton have room for 10 classrooms of just APP 6th graders? Obviously, this number doesn't count Spectrum or Gen Ed 6th graders.

-tired

Overthinking it said...

Hi, I'm a parent of a 6th-grader at Eckstein. He is flourishing there in almost every way: he enjoys school, is motivated, loves most of his teachers, has friends, and still seems excited about learning. On the other hand, he makes straight A's easily and rarely misses a question on a test.

This year he qualified for APP. We're not inclined to move him but we're doing due diligence and checking things out. Went on the evening tour at Hamilton and, though it's a nice building, it was hard to get a sense of the school. Only one APP teacher was there (6th grade LASS) to answer questions. I didn't have a great impression of Principal Carter but it's hard to know just from a short speech.

My question--is there any reason to move my son to the Hamilton-Garfield track? I'm worried about the social disruption of moving him at this age, and don't want to mess with what isn't broken. But I also wonder what he might be missing by NOT going to APP. He's involved in jazz and both Roosevelt and Garfield are super choices for that, but is Garfield far superior academically? Can APP-qualified kids thrive at Roosevelt?

Anonymous said...

Personally, the only reasons I would move a middle school child would be due to a family relocation or if the child was having a really horrible experience. Much of middle school is about socialization. Your student will thrive at Roosevelt, plenty of opportunties for rigor and he will move along with friends.

Anonymous said...

How many 5th graders are enrolled at LoL?

Anonymous said...

Right now there are 3 large 5th grades at Lincoln. Next year it's supposed to be 5 5th grades.

-tired

Anonymous said...

So it is safe to assume that there will be 100 APP incoming 6th graders for 2012/13? Can HIMS handle that number of 6th grade APP students?

After that it's pretty certain the northend APP K-8 will need to be moved and isn't that what they are working on? Best case, in my opinion would be a dedicated K-8 site, but can't see a building large enough.

So could another split be coming? And if that is the scenerio, then there would be no reason to move the HIMS APP out; what they would do then is leave 1/2 the program at HIMS and open another 6-8 APP school. (which of course leaves Carter with all those APP students, so his telling parents we are leaving, is at best wishful thinking at this point.)

Seems like a mess no matter how you look at it.

Anonymous said...

If there are 3 large 5th grade classes at L@L, then it seems say to say there will be more than 100 incoming 6th graders at HMS. Don't forget that you will probably see a sizeable number of kids who went to their neighborhood elementary school transferring to APP for 6th grade.

Anonymous said...

No - there won't be 100 6th graders. If we guess based on last year, the 6th grade APP population doubled at Hamilton.

We are looking at almost 200 in 6th grade APP. Maybe be conservative and think 180 or so.

-tired

Anonymous said...

This post by Anon @ 2:46...

...How can so many kids who test or appeal into the program be happy at their ALO/neighborhood school and wonder if APP is right for their child? Look across the lake to Bellevue where the cutoff is much higher and the program much smaller, and the academics can be geared to the truly profoundly gifted, which is what APP should be. I don't think APP L@L would be the biggest elementary school in north Seattle (which I believe it is if you count Bryant as a 1-5, not K-5) if the admission requirements were more stringent and geared toward a population who really needed the academics and peer group without question...

...echoes an idea I've heard before, which is that there are kids that test into APP that don't *really need* the specialized service that APP provides. Or perhaps, their presence is watering down the specialized services such that they are no longer special enough for the profoundly gifted. Is this a sentiment that is pervasive at L@L? Just because I questioned whether my son needs to move to APP doesn't mean that the cutoff for the program is too low, does it?

Steve said...

In my experience, the comment by Anon @ 2:46 (about entry standards for APP) does not represent a widely held view at Lowell @ Lincoln.

Marco said...

Is there any reason, why the Advanced Learning office has to take until open enrollment closes, before sending out the appeal decision?

The only reason I can see is that the appeal outcome isn't based on merit, but on enrollment numbers.

Anonymous said...

Are there really so few TM families on this thread? Well, I guess these days all the drama is up north. We've been at TM since the split. It was a rough start, but these days I'm wondering if we got a better bargain than the north end. I give all credit to our principal.
The school has really come together. That said... My son, who may or may not be an outlier, breezes through the academics. That's disappointing. Socially he's very happy — lots of like-minded friends (which wasn't the case before APP). The geographic spread of the student body makes for a bit less robust after-hours involvement than at neighborhood schools I've seen, but we have lots of parent volunteers. Teachers are generally well supported.
- Go Bullpups

Anonymous said...

Will there be a Hamilton APP @ Lincoln next year? Hey, if you can do it for elementary, why not for middle school?

hschinske said...

Look across the lake to Bellevue where the cutoff is much higher and the program much smaller, and the academics can be geared to the truly profoundly gifted, which is what APP should be.

My understanding is that the PRISM program requires essentially a perfect score on the CogAT, using a grade-level test. That doesn't truly select for even highly gifted, let alone profoundly gifted. It's an almost-random subset of those who test in the moderately gifted range on the CogAT. So smaller, sure, but not necessarily higher level for that reason.

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

Marco,
According to the AL office, appeals are being sent out by 3/9, which is the same day open enrollment closes. Appeal materials were due on Feb 24, which gives 2 weeks to assess the 500 appeals that were submitted. Net - I doubt the appeal result mailing date is due to enrollment projections.
-Nancy

Anonymous said...

This was posted on the SaveSeattleSchools blog for middle school parents, but it would also be a good event for 4th-5th grade APP parents that use the middle school math materials. (Linh-Co, one of the coordinators, taught at North Beach using Saxon)

-------

Come join us for a parent-focused public meeting about what you can do to promote success for your middle school student.

When: Saturday, March 17th 1:30-4:00 PM
Where: Ballard Public Library Meeting Room

Topics to be covered include:
- State standards for grades 6-8. What your student should be learning.
- MSP & MAP. Understanding the state and district assessments
- Instructional materials. What you need to seek out in your textbook.
- Supplementing at home. How much, what topics, resources?
- Benchmark assessments. Check how your kids are doing at their level.

Questions?
Contact Rick or Linh-Co at rickbmail@yahoo.com or (206) 783-7644
Hope to see you there.

Marco said...

Thanks, Nancy. But they had our appeal since beginning of Feb. If the review is based on merit, they don't have to wait till the deadline to process.

Anonymous said...

Marco,

I agree with Nancy. I don't think this is some big conspiracy. If you have the appeal numbers, you're in so move forward with your school selection. If you don't have the numbers, you won't get in so move forward with plan B.

Carrie.

Anonymous said...

Appeal letters were mailed Monday and we received ours today.

Marco said...

Thanks Anon et al. Checked mail and there it was today: +1 for TM 1st grade ;)

Anonymous said...

About teachers not having special qualifications to teach gifted children...

I went to a very famous public school for gifted kids. Lots of Nobel prize winners coming out that school, Ivy League, Westinghouse, etc. Who were these amazing teachers? They came from the city pool of public school teachers in the usual way. They weren't required to be any more trained than teachers in zoned schools. And there were some real duds and nut-cases at my school, usually teachers new that year. But most were very good to exceptional.

What happens in real life is that the teachers who are not up to the job do not stick around. Keeping up with smart kids is much harder than following a standard curriculum. The kids challenge you constantly. It sounds like there have been a couple of bad apples at L@L, but they are rotating out as needed. I toured L@L last week and with one exception the teachers all seemed very confident and happy, and had the rapt attention of the students. And the one exception might have just been having a few bad minutes (I won't name names :).

Anonymous said...

"About teachers not having special qualifications to teach gifted children..."

I agree with the points you make, with a few notes. 1)The HIMS web site says the teachers have the endorsements. They don't, it should be removed, it hasn't.
2)There are at least two examples at HIMS where a teacher, who was NOT performing up to par was transferred to APP. Thankfully one teacher retired, in October or November of last year. The second teacher, is now a "high performing" teacher because of the outstanding MAP scores.

If the endorsement was required neither would have been assigned to APP classrooms, only teachers who believe in the program would be teaching in the program, which I believe is another issue at HIMS.
Also, the true performance of the teacher with the MAP scores would have been daylighteed and this teacher could have received some mentoring. That won't happen now.

Gifted school grad said...

"There are at least two examples at HIMS where a teacher, who was NOT performing up to par was transferred to APP. Thankfully one teacher retired, in October or November of last year. The second teacher, is now a 'high performing' teacher because of the outstanding MAP scores."

This sort of thing went on at my school too. They couldn't choose what teachers got put there, and the underperforming teachers (if not fired) have to go somewhere. But things usually wound up the way they should for those teachers, and overall I had an social and academic experience I wouldn't trade for anything. No school is perfect, there are crummy teachers even at private schools where you pay for the privilege.

Anonymous said...

They're not asking for perfection - just basic competence and respect for students.

Anonymous said...

Last minute L@L considerations...

We are still trying to decide whether or not to transfer our daughter to L@L next year (2nd grade), or put it off a year, since her neighborhood school offers some things that Lowell does not, esp. in the arts, and b/c she's happy there. I do have a question about gender ratios at L@L -- have heard that it's currently about 75% boys? Is this accurate? And if so, is there anyone here w/a girl at L@L that has an opinion about this? Whether it's good/bad/not of any consequence? I imagine the gender ratio would not matter much until middle school, but still, I wonder if plays a part in classroom dynamics.

Thanks so much!

Andy

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 6:01pm is right-- APP students and parents deserve, at a minimum, teachers who are competent enough to teach at the grade level expected. For APP students in middle school, this is 2 years above grade level--so it may mean high school level skills. While a teacher with fairly low level math or language skills might be able to get by teaching APP elementary students, older kids can start to surpass them in competency and ability in the higher grades. This makes for trouble, as gifted middle school students quickly clue in to the fact that their teacher may not be up to snuff...

Anonymous said...

The ratio is probably closer to 55% boys to 45% girls. It varies, but they do strive for as much balance as possible when making classroom assignments.

Anonymous said...

I think the biggest problem in Hamilton with the teachers with no interest and background in gifted education is not the just fact that they can not teach the students in the right way (quality and quantity) but the real harm they could cause with not properly challenging the students. These gifted students will loose their interests and could hate a subject forever that they loved before.

Anonymous said...

We got our appeal results today... we're in! Having not visited either program, can someone please give me the rundown on L@L and TM and which is preferred?

Alice C-T said...

Both our appeals were accepted. We plan to stay at our reference ALO school one more year since our eldest was early entrance and we'd rather move her to 5th grade with her peers than drop back to 4th at L@L. From earlier comments and looking at the policy online it seems it may be possible to move her to APP as a 6th grader the following year??

Our current 1st grader can wait another year to enter L@L -- he's already walking to math and taking classes from EPGY.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:27

Your best bet would be to educate yourself about how the program works by looking at the Advanced Learning page. You don't get to choose between the schools.

APP parent

Anonymous said...

Just curious--has anyone ever heard of an APP appeal being denied, even if the child had test scores (combination of private and school district)that clearly met qualifying standards? Happened to us and looking for advice on how to proceed...

Very confused at this moment

Marco said...

Sorry, but it says on
http://www.seattleschools.org/modules/cms/pages.phtml?pageid=230102

"Appeals decisions are final; there are no appeals of appeals."

WMSAlum said...

Mistakes are made and it sounds like in your case a mistake was made. If you are sure all of the scores met the requirements and approved tests were administered then your appeal should have been approved. Call and email the AL office. Last year someone was in the same boat and the AL office just made a mistake and the denial of the appeal was reversed. Don't give up!

Anonymous said...

We are going to be switching our son to Lincoln@Lowell in the Fall. He will be starting in second grade. We haven't told him yet about the switch (or even that we were considering it). I'd appreciate any advice people have on when to tell our son about the move. We're thinking in May as we've heard there's an ice cream social where you can meet other L@L families. Any words of wisdom would be much appreciated.

Thanks. Mary

Anonymous said...

To Mary

Here's how we approached it with our daughter who switched at 2nd grade. She knew something of learning styles, and that different people have different strengths. We told her that she would be changing to a school that was set up for her kind of learner and that she'd be with other kids who learned in a similar way, so she wouldn't be as bored. Also reminded her that she's a pretty nice kid,and would make new friends that shared more of her interests, without having to give up old friends. Didn't say anything about "gifted". Just that Lowell would be the school that fit, like the right size shoe.

Sidney D

Anonymous said...

where on the website does it say you don't get to choose bw schools? or at least request the school you want?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous "APP Parent" at 8:53 said: Your best bet would be to educate yourself about how the program works by looking at the Advanced Learning page. You don't get to choose between the schools.

APP parent

Well, I educated myself, and in fact, you are wrong. The website says "APP students may apply for available seats at either site but preference is given to those within the region." So it works just like open enrollment for non-APP-- you can still list a preference. I know that it is on a space-available basis, but the question still stands--what should I choose as my first preference, and why?

Anonymous said...

Responding to the people who asked about TM:

Our child is in his first year there. He is learning a lot and enjoying school. We have been impressed by the principal, the strong teachers and the way they all work together. The parent community is active and friendly (although I miss seeing the other parents on a daily basis like I did at our neighborhood school.)

One big caveat - we were not happy with our neighborhood school. The academics there did not work for our son. TM has been a big improvement. But if you are happy with your neighborhood school, then there is not necessarily a reason to move. Maybe you would like TM better, but maybe you wouldn't.

Another TM Mom

Anonymous said...

Regarding the question about choosing between APP schools - If you live North, put TM as your first choice and then don't get it, have you lost your guaranteed spot at L@L? (Or vice versa if you live South and put L@L.) You will want to check that carefully before you try it. And you won't get transportation if you go to the school that is not your default school.

Anonymous said...

Lowell or TM?
I think if you answer these questions you will find the right fit for your student:
-where do you live?
-where do your kid have more friends?
-do you want to go to a school where there will be a move next year or do you prefer staying in one school for elementary?
-do you want your kid going to a high school building for a year (with small outside play area and huge stairs) and who knows where (what kind of building) after or would you like an elementary school with an appropiate building for years?
-would you like the school with a new an unexperienced principal or someone who has done this job for years?
-would you like a school which has only APP students for a year or would you prefer a school with different programs for year?
-would you like a school which seems stabil inside and out or do you prefer a school with many uncertainities???
- where do you want to go after? WMS or somewhere else because Hamilton most likely won't be there any more by the time you finish the elementary?

I think the list still could go on but these questions and their answers would be my priority in the decision.

Leann said...

Andy,

If your daughter is happy, I'd wait to move her until you notice she is really unable to be challenged at her neighborhood school. We are most likely sending our kid back to our neighborhood school next year and hoping she won't be too far ahead. We never should have moved her since she was really happy at her school.

Don't get me wrong, she's happy at L@L, too, since she's that kind of kid. But, we all REALLY miss the community/neighborhood. We don't live in NE Seattle so it's been tough to feel connected at L@L. It's possible with APP at Lincoln more kids from NW Seattle will go next year, but we might not take the chance. I know, we only have one day to decide!

It comes down to what's most important in early elementary - social things, being a normal kid, sense of community OR great academics (relatively speaking). If anyone can weigh in on that, I'd appreciate it! Also, if anyone can weigh in on how the transition to APP in 6th grade from a neighborhood school has gone for them, I'd appreciate that, too.

Lots of people we've met have said they are so happy to be in APP since their kid was miserable at their neighborhood school. Usually, it's social reasons. We only moved for the academics, and given the benefit of hindsight, it was a mistake.

Don't get me wrong, the kids we've met are really nice and the teachers we've experienced are incredible. We just didn't know how much we'd miss the 'hood.

Anonymous said...

"So it works just like open enrollment for non-APP-- you can still list a preference. I know that it is on a space-available basis, but the question still stands--what should I choose as my first preference, and why?"

The district may make it sound like open enrollment, but it isn't. If you don't live in the north, you will never get into APP North. There is no space now, and they certainly wouldn't let kids in knowing Lincoln is temporary. I understand that TM is also growing, and I don't know if they would let a north kid in there or not. You will also never get into either Washington or Hamilton if you don't live in their area. The district make make it sound like open enrollment, but if you look at the numbers, it isn't.

APP Parent

Anonymous said...

Don't think certainty at any Seattle school is a sure thing. As for counting number of friends as a reason, you can always consider making new friends at a new school as a gain while keeping the old ones. As long as we are under SSD system, we don't count on sure things. Instead we adapt, we shuffle, we struggle, we game, and we keep up as best as we can so we can get our kids through the system relatively learned and intact. We've chosen different schools for each of our kids based on their learning needs (lots of juggling). What we've found even if our decisons were not all on mark, the kids seemed to adjust and get on. Maybe as a family we're easy to please or just have learned to adapt and be more resilient to all the changes. We find while choosing a school and program matter a great deal, what you do with the kids (not just academically and socially), but the attitude you help them develop will play a bigger part in their character development and success.

less angst, better sleep

Anonymous said...

As APP North looks for a home, does anyone know if the school district has set aside a contingency for the move in the BEX IV Capital Levy scheduled to be voted on in February, 2013? If not, won't APP have to wait until BEX V in 2014 (at the earliest) for the money to be appropriated, with additional time needed to actually do any school renovations to create a home for APP North? I'm having trouble reconciling the district's current goal of having APP North out of Lincoln at the end of next year, and apparent lack of budgeting required to enable the move.

Signed,
Curious and Confused

Anonymous said...

That is a great question: is there anybody here among the bloggers who is NOT in the geographically assigned APP school (Lowell versus TM, or Hamilton versus WMS)?

Anonymous said...

I would lean against sending your child to the APP elementary school that is not your assigned regional school (i.e. you live in North Seattle but choose Thurgood Marshall) for the reason that 6 years from now when your child is in 6th grade, he/she will likely be going to a different middle school than all of his friends from elementary school. Also both T-M and L@L seem to have good teachers, good parents and good kids. Yes, there's currently more uncertaintly at L@L - but there will probably be uncertainty over the next 5 - 10 years with both north and south APP. The points about not getting transportation plus not having school friends that live somewhere near you are also good ones.

Jane

Anonymous said...

Leann,
I really appreciate your comments! Thank you. I was wishing someone would post about moving their child out of L@L. I feel a little crazy for hesitating to send her there, since it seems like the obvious thing to do, but we are hesitating. Your post made me feel less crazy ;) (and yes, only one more day to decide ....)

We would only move our daughter to L@L for academic reasons, and I'm not convinced that's necessary right now. I think we'd miss our local school. There are quite a few APP/Spectrum-qualified kids staying at our ALO school next year, so I don't think she'll be w/out academic peers.

Good luck!

Andy

Anonymous said...

With the uncertainties of the future L@L program placement and configuration, I don't envy those having to make a decision between APP and the neighborhood school. Unless your child is truly unhappy at the neighborhood school, I would consider the pros and cons of waiting a year.

With the move to L@L, we've lost our library and playground, and 4th and 5th grade do not have music class (instrumental music is once a week for 4th and 5th graders choosing to participate). There used to be a three week rotation of art, music and PE. On the plus side, all those steps have given my child a lot more exercise.

You should also consider the bus schedule. Being a third tier school, the bus doesn't drop off until around 4:20...and we're one of the earlier stops. It makes for a long day and makes it difficult to do afterschool activities.

Anonymous said...

How does one find out that "there are quite a few APP/Spectrum-qualified kids staying at our ALO school next year." Is that info you got from the principal/a teacher/administrator, or on the playground, or? I've found it an awkward topic, at least among kindergarten parents.
And Do ALO schools use AL designations when they make classroom assignments for the upcoming year--i.e., group APP kids together? Does it vary by school?

Anonymous said...

The nice things is you will have choices. If APP doesn't work, then you have still have your local neighborhood school to fall back to especially if the schools are already strong academically. Really, that is more than some kids have especially when some option school geozones are so tightly drawn or are stuck in local neighborhood schools without real AL opportunities.

grateful

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 1:17

It is awkward, but I've talked to friends/other parents -- and a few of us have gathered to discuss the APP option (pros/cons) -- that's the only reason I know who's staying or leaving. (we're in 1st grade, btw). I also know the percentage of kids in the school who are APP/Spectrum qualified as of this year (per the principal)-- I have a feeling that might grow next year.

I'm not sure how the classes will be assigned in terms of AL -- hopefully the kids will be clustered.

Hope this helps.

Andy

Anonymous said...

How does one find out that "there are quite a few APP/Spectrum-qualified kids staying at our ALO school next year."

Just from talking to other parents. We saw a lot of other families at the Cogat test or at APP school tours, so between that and the grapevine we had a pretty good sense of who was considering Advanced Learning.

At our neighborhood school about half the kids who qualify for APP go into APP and half stay at the neighborhood school. For some kids the neighborhood ALO program works just fine and for others it doesn't. Just depends on the kid.

Anonymous said...

You all were helpful when we decided to appeal, so here I am to share the results even though they're not what we'd hoped. Could be helpful to someone else. MAP scores: 97/98. Private IQ test, WPPSI, administered within HOURS (truly, double-digit hours) of my child's birthday. FSIQ reported by psychologist for two age norms (either side of the birthday). First norm (hours away) gave us FSIQ 99% (99.7 verbal, 94 performance, 99 GAI, 68 processing speed). The second norm (months away)...FSIQ 95%. Appeal denied. What a difference a day makes, apparently. Obviously, I didn't think of that in advance.

Difficult to swallow but final is final. My child doesn't do well on group tests and my hopes for a future qualifying CoGAT are low.

A.

Anonymous said...

To A:

If you think APP would be the best fit for your child, then I would really encourage you to have your child tested again next year. It is not uncommon for kids to not test in one year but to make it the following year. Our first child didn't qualify in kindergarten but did in first grade. And I know of another kid who didn't qualify in 5th grade but did in 6th grade. Your child seems very close to qualifying.

Jane

Anonymous said...

Knowing what types of questions are on the CogAT helped put my child more at ease.

Here is a good overview (I think Seattle just does the verbal and quantitative portions):

http://www.issaquah.wednet.edu/academics/assessment/CogAT.aspx

Anonymous said...

To A:
" My child doesn't do well on group tests and my hopes for a future qualifying CoGAT are low."

Talented kids don't loose their talent in a year. Look at the bright side: you don't have to move with Lowell in a year again and you could stay in your school and community for another year with your child's friends and teachers. Stability and consistency is not a bad thing for a young child. Just please don't show your disappointment to her/him.

If you practice tests until the next testing period maybe your child will have a better time on the test. Just don't give up if you, as a parent feel that APP would be a better place for her/him.
Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Also, A, if next year's Cogat result isn't representative again, I am not aware of any reason that you couldn't repeat private testing with either the wppsi or the wisc; maybe others can confirm.

Anonymous said...

Anon @6:47

If your child needs to be prepped for the COGAT in order to receive a qualifying score, you may want to consider the idea that APP may not be an appropriate placement for him or her.

Anonymous said...

my child is at L@L and she is simply miserable.
even though she did very well with her school work. she missed her friends at her old school and all the school events. she did not like being at a highschool with no playground, Losing all the great teachers that she hoped to get in the upper grades, and not knowing when they were moving to a permanant school. she wants so badly to go back to her neighborhood school where it is more stable and be around her friends...we will be leaving. It's funny I had expected more from this App program then cranking out a bunch of EDM papers, etc...we will be leaving

Anonymous said...

anon @ 9:48 -

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

anon @ 10:28

What grade is your kid in? I am surprise to hear this and have not personally heard anyone else that is this unhappy to go back.

L@L Parent

Anonymous said...

Noticed a recent spate of "not happy at L@L" due to social reasons, missing old school chums, etc. Lacking specific details, it's hard to comment or get a real sense of how best to help. I know for us, that was one of the concerns about missing the old 'hood and community, but over time, the kids made the transition. It takes a bit more work. Anyone who's considering the move to APP should realize that APP has no permanent home and will be in a constant state of fllux (teachers, program, location), It's not a neighborhood school and will not have the daily after school hangout vibe for parents and kids a local school 5 mins down the road has. When we took the tours we sensed that, and our guide was pretty forthright about it too.

Despite it all, we found this to be a strong community willing to pull together on short notice, to rolll up our sleeves, work hard, and make things happen for the kids and school (think last summer with the sudden shift to Lincoln). We've learned to roll with the punches and how to advocate as a group. That's something to behold!

Changes will happen. The kids are going to move on from ES, to HIMS or WMS or wherever there's room at the next inn. APP is far from being a perfect program, and yet it thrives because of the community, the kids, teachers, and parents behind it. Whatever decisions people make, it always feel a bit blind and you want to make the right decision. So there's stress. On the postives though, you do have choices and you can always go back to your old school if that works better. Stick with APP, you and your kids will learn to deal with changes. Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

If we had somewhere else to send our child we would probably leave as well. It’s not something you talk to other parents about. It would be awkward. The academics aren’t as strong as we’d hoped.

Frankly, if your child tests in, they test in. I wouldn’t begrudge a parent that familiarized their child with the test. It doesn’t seem any different than taking a sample SAT test. In Bellevue, tutors advertise test-prep for PRISM entrance. Kid you not.

You can debate the issue amongst yourselves, but it’s funny that the testing is such an issue. For all the rigmarole to get in, the program isn’t as challenging as one might expect. My child is not some kid genius, but goes between sorta liking it and begging to homeschool (socially, things are just fine).

Anonymous said...

One last comment on the the last day to turn in your form to opt into APP. I will be blunt: it is a paradise. Plain and simple. Incredibly bright kids engaged and eager to learn, kids who really get into subject matter and who hold deep conversations in classrooms and with each other. Kids who are still just kids, though, and love to play and have fun. Nobody is a freak because they love the study of middle eastern extinct languages. Or coins from 11th century Italy.

Is APP perfect? No. Not even close. We get the same bad texts and program as every other SPS school. But, it is in the context of a great community.

The parent community is great too. Before we moved, we were fearful of pushy parents who would be self-involved and hyper-competitive. We have found the opposite. Lovely parents who are relaxed and bemused by their kids' abilities.

The program is the ugly step-child in Seattle. We are easy to kick, and so we get kicked, but, at the end of the day, it comes down to the classroom, and kids who get to spread their wings and fly, not hide the fact that they love to read or make up algebra problems in their head for fun. Everyone belongs, no matter what your strengths and weaknesses are.

It could be so much more, but, as it is, it is great.

I only know of two families who left Lowell APP in the last 3 or 4 years (not to say their isn't more). Years ago, there was a child in grade 1 who was miserable leaving his old school, a private Catholic one, and so his family left to go back to that. He apparently cried all the time, and so the family decided to go back to his old school. I also know of one family who stayed at Lowell when APP moved north.

It is a very difficult decision. If you came and on the tours, and, were not impressed by what you saw, then, it may not be for you. As I said, it is not perfect. Every parent has different priorities and values. I saw our child blossom at Lowell APP. He literally skipped out of the class his first day and said to me how he loved this school. The difference was that immediate for our child.
Some people don't want to move because of a sibling. I can understand that, the logistics are difficult, but, many people have 2 kids in two different schools. If one child qualified for performance choir, and the other was slotted into prep choir, would you not allow the great singer to go to her spot because it would not be difficult? Or what about rec soccer vs. league soccer team? In the end, our family does not want to hold back one child so that our children appear equal. We want both our kids to pursue their passions and strengths with joy, knowing that they have their parents backing them up.

Good luck! Your child will do great whatever you decide.

Anonymous said...

Where is the cultural diversity in the App program?

Anonymous said...

** It would be REALLY helpful if people could sign their posts with a name, (it can be made up) as it is nearly impossible to keep track of who is making which comments.***
Wow, thanks Anonymous, 8:14 a.m. I needed to hear that! I am hoping a few more APP families will be willing to describe the ways this program has been positive for their kids. Lots of negativity here, which isn't necessarily bad but it is always good to hear from both sides.
My kid will be in 4th at Lincoln @ Lowell next year. Socially he is fine. Our school has Walk to Math so he is getting math one year advanced. However, he could handle more and his school isn't prepared to deal with kids who can work more than one year ahead. Also, his math class has 3rd graders who are doing math one year ahead and 4th graders who are doing regular math. He is frustrated because basically you have a class of kids who pick up things quickly and want to go fast mixed with kids who need to spend more time on concepts and go slower. I am hoping this is not as big of an issue in APP.
My son was in a split 2/3 last year and the entire class did 3rd grade science, which was great last year for my kid. This year he is in a straight 3 and the teacher is doing the same 3rd grade science my kid got last year. Of course he is bored out of his mind. I get that, logistically, it would be difficult for the teacher to teach two different science lessons but still. Eight kids didn't get any 2nd grade science and instead got 2 years of 3rd grade science.
Anyways, my son doesn't hate school but there is no enthusiasm about it either. I feel like we owe it to him to give APP a shot. Yes, it will be hard, logistically. I have three kids and will have three different schools. It is really nice being three blocks away from our neighborhood school. Playdates are easy and close. So many tradeoffs....
My sense is that if your kid is thriving socially, likes school, and doesn't complain about being bored, moving them might not make sense. However, if any one of those doesn't ring true, APP might be the answer.
I know it will not be perfect, that is one of the great things about this forum. I feel like I know exactly what we are getting into. However, it could make a huge difference in my son's attitude about school.
I must say, one of the biggest turn offs to APP is elitist parents with attitudes like that of Anon, March 8, 9:48 p.m. who said if your kid needs to be prepped for the COGAT APP may not be the right school. Please tell me most APP parents don't have that attitude??

-WMS Alum.

Anonymous said...

To Sidney D from March 8 -

just wanted to say I found your comment about how to talk to your kid about the move to APP very helpful. Thank you!

Mary

Anonymous said...

WMS alum-

I am not the person who wrote the comment about the COGAT, but I understand the perspective. Since the district started using the MAP test for admission in the last two years, there has been more growth in APP than in previous years. Is the use of MAP and the growth related? Who knows. The growth may be solely related to the district dismantling Spectrum and the silliness of the whole ALO "certification." This growth is coming, though, with a persistent sense that the program is being watered down. It also seems like the teaching is starting to move more slowly. We have been in the program for five years now, and I have really started to notice this in the last two years. I am very happy with our teachers, and don't think this is a reflection on them at all. They have to teach the kids who are in their class.

Lincoln Parent

Zombie said...

Anon @ 9:55 AM, APP actually has very similar racial diversity to the children of Seattle.

The City of Seattle says the city is 70% white, 8% black, 14% asian, 1% native american, 2% latino, and 5% two or more races.

APP says it is 69% white, 17% asian, 4% latino, 3% black, and 6% multiracial. That is almost the same.

It is actually Seattle Public Schools that does not reflect the racial mix of Seattle. Maybe the question should be why Seattle Public Schools does not have the same racial diversity as the children of Seattle? Why is APP equally likely to attract students regardless of their race but other programs in Seattle Public Schools are not?

Anonymous said...

the kid goes to a school that offers spectrum but the kid qualifies for APP and we are weighing our choices for the next four hours.

is the project based learning model happening soon? if so, when? we liked the work they do at thornton creek but the lottery was not in our favor for K.

is lowell ultra competitive? do you wish it was K-8? are your kids friends spread all over the place?

thanks for any quick comments.

Anonymous said...

I understand your perspective, Lincoln Parent. However, your take is different from that of the poster who made the comment. The perspective of: if you have to expose your kid to some of the types of questions they will see on the test, then they are not smart enough for the program, is ridiculous!
I will make the argument that exposing them to the types of questions they will see is not going to make much of a difference at all in the scores, but it may reduce some of the anxiety the kid feels about the test, and what is wrong with that??

_WMS Alum

Anonymous said...

WMS-

What I meant was, again I don't know who posted that Cogat comment, maybe they were reacting to the program being watered down. One could argue that "prepping" a kid for a test, affects how they score. Maybe they score higher than they "should" because of the prepping. This is exactly why many colleges are starting to ignore the SAT tests.

Maybe this isn't what they meant at all, but it is a concern I have. The program is definitely changing.

Lincoln Parent

NESeattleMom said...

Lowell APP is not ultra-competitive. My daughter 8th grade at HIMS APP went to Lowell for 5 years. My son 3rd grade at L@L is in his second year in Lowell APP. I have found Lowell to be a wonderful place for both my kids. The kids enjoy working together in groups, They celebrate each other's contribution in writing celebrations, poetry celebrations, musical sharing. There is no problem with the kids or with the teachers from my perspective. I don't find an elitist feeling amongst parents. A lot of us know that testing is an imperfect system and that many families choose not to go the APP way, thought they may be just as "smart". It is a matter of choices. The community we had at the old Lowell is hard to build at the temporary digs, but the learning experience my son is having is nothing to complain about.

NESeattleMom said...

Most of my son's friends (L@L) live in NE Seattle, where we live. Most of my daughter's friends (HIMS APP) live somewhere north of the ship canal. Lowell APP kids make friends on their school bus. I don't wish Lowell was K-8, but that might be OK depending on if there would be enough of a cohort to make a good music program for middle school students. I don't think APP north Seattle is quite big enough to provide all the choices that a bigger middle school provides re: sports, music, other electives.
The project based learning idea has not been decided yet for L@L. I think they collected a survey last month.

NESeattleMom said...

Of course APP would never include Kindergarten, since they do the testing during the kindergarten year.

Anonymous said...

My daughter is really enjoying the middle school experience - so I would not want a k-8 school. She really liked her elementary school - but by the end of 5th grade, she was really ready to be with a broader mix of kids. She also loves band and afterschool sports like soccer and basketball. I would worry about having enough kids to support music and a variety of sports teams at a k-8 school. Jane

Anonymous said...

I think the program is changing because of the evisceration of Spectrum. I know several kids going to APP now who would have been happy to stay in Spectrum at their neighborhood school before, didn't NEED a whole specialized school, personality wise, but needed a little bit more than the general education curriculum. Given the choice between nothing and a little too much, the parents pick a little too much. With more kids who are maybe just as bright but less intense, it makes sense that the school would slow down a little.

But the test is as biased and flawed as any standardized test. It's just an entrance exam for a school, not a final statement on a child's potential or identity. I absolutely do not begrudge parents for one second for doing whatever if they think the school is a good fit for their child. I would have appealed without a second thought if we had needed to.

-Call me Ishmael

Anonymous said...

Can anyone tell me what the APP program does, if anything, to welcome incoming 1st graders and help them and their families transition to the APP group?

Anonymous said...

There will be monthly get together in the summer for 1st grade. For other grades, there will also be summer get together but not as much as 1st grade.

L@L parent

Anonymous said...

Latest news:

An area-wide power outage affected up to 14 schools Friday afternoon, as well as the John Stanford Center. Schools remain open and transportation will run on normal afternoon routes. The city estimates it will take 2-3 hours to restore power. However, at this time power is being restored to some schools, but we are still may experience intermittent power outages.

The District will extend Open Enrollment through 12:30 p.m. on Monday, March 12.

Anonymous said...

We have two children in APP. One who wanted to go (was desperately unhappy at the neighborhood school) and one who was very resistant (loved the neighborhood school). Two plus years later, they are both very happy where they are now: L@L. We love the program, the teachers, the school, and the community. In APP, there is a wide range of ability and the teaching is not geared solely to the top, because the majority of the students are not at the top. The people who post that it should be more restrictive are in the vast minority of APP, because it would necessarily kick most of us out or would have restricted access in the first place. I suspect that the majority of families in APP are satisfied with this public school program and are not reading this blog and posting. The people we know and meet in APP seem very happy to be there.

Anonymous said...

Have the results of the Advanced Learning Survey been shared? If so, where can they be accessed?

-Wondering

Anonymous said...

I appreciate hearing both the good and the bad.

Anonymous said...

What is going on in Hamilton lately?

From the Seattle Schools Community Forum:
"The 6th graders at Hamilton are all being taken to the Hunger Games movie as a field trip. This is all being done with the full support of the principal. It includes 6th graders in all programs at the school.

I don't understand how this fits into the curriculum."

And from my 7th grade student: in homeroom the teacher wanted to show us the Kony 2012 PR youtube video 2 days ago but instead he said it is a homework. With no discussion before/after.

Does Mr Carter make these decisions???? Based on what???

Anonymous said...

There is another fact from the Seattle Schools Community Forum:
Open enrollment ended (not yet because of the power outage earlier today in the South end but almost!) and still no public report about the alleged misconduct by Mr K and/ or Ms G at Lowell last year.

Concerned

Heading to L@L said...

After anguishing over the decision, we’ve submitted the forms and our son will be entering L@L as a 2nd grader in the fall. I would deeply appreciate thoughts from families who have left an adored neighborhood school, have siblings at separate schools, and are happy with their decision and making it work. We understand there will be challenges but it would be great to hear some positive stories!

Also, if anyone can share insights on the before school Spanish program (do kids enjoy it?) and after school martial arts, chess club and other activities I would be grateful. It’s time to start planning for next year!

Anonymous said...

" This growth is coming, though, with a persistent sense that the program is being watered down. It also seems like the teaching is starting to move more slowly. We have been in the program for five years now, and I have really started to notice this in the last two years."

It is a paradox - APP is huge and getting huger, with an admitted broad spectrum of learners and some dissatisfaction from those in the program about "watering down" the curriculum and the pace moving slower to accommodate these changes, and yet, everyone NEEDS this special, stand alone program because their kids are outliers, socially and academically, in their neighborhood schools. At what point is this growth going to end? With 200 6th graders at Hamilton and another healthy 6th grade cohort at Washington, these kids will be able to fill up a traditional 1600 seat high school all on their own in a couple years. Is this really the top 1-2 percent?

Anonymous said...

A lot of the growth in APP is due to the decline of Spectrum. If Spectrum was a good option, people wouldn't push to get into APP.

As for the percentage that are in the top 2%, don't forget it is top 2% according to national measures and, as a major city with a top US university, Seattle attracts a lot more than 2% who meet that measure. Do you see? In a city where most people score higher on intelligence tests than the national average, more of their children will score higher than the national average on intelligence tests. Make sense?

Anonymous said...

Ah, so a real Lake Wobegon. Gotcha.

Anonymous said...

No, that's not it, and it's really not that complicated. Cities with major universities tend to attract smart, educated people. It's not that everyone thinks they are above average, it is that they actually test above average, because major urban areas and major universities tend to attract the best and brightest. Understand now?

Anonymous said...

Is this really the top 1-2%? Gee, I don't know, should we have everybody check with you about whether they are up to snuff?
-Yuck

Anonymous said...

But above average and highly/profoundly gifted are two very different things. This program was intended to serve the extreme high end at its inception many years ago, and even happily fit in Lowell and Washington until just 2 years ago (MAP testing, perhaps the culprit?). An stable APP cohort of about 100 - 120 would enter Garfield every year, for years. Something has drastically changed in the testing, obviously, not just a change in Spectrum. I don't understand the complete defensiveness and resistance to reflect on how much the program has changed in the last two years with the split, MAP testing and the huge growth. People in the program have used words like watered down to describe the changes - why be so defensive? If there are 8 comprehensive high schools in SPS (not counting RBHS because it has less than 300 students), how could one of those 8 schools potentially fill with just APP in a couple of years? 1 out of 8 students in Seattle Public Schools (more, actually, because every school does not have 1600 students) is highly or profoundly gifted and needs a special program? And these are just the kids that elect to attend APP at Hamilton or Washington. What if SPS allowed testing after 7th grade - the number of highly/profoundly gifted high school kids would be even greater than a tradition 1600 seat high school could even hold! Our kids may be smarter on average than the national norm, but just because our kids do better than kids in Louisiana, do ALL of them need a special program? No need to be defensive - I think it is a legitimate question and the answers might solve some of the crazy capacity issues facing APP.

Anonymous said...

The answer probably is that children that qualified for APP but would have picked Spectrum are choosing APP now that Spectrum is gone.

Anonymous said...

I think you and Call me Ishmael have it right. Probably more "normal" kids--legitimately qualified per testing, that's an important point, but not as intense--are choosing APP. But there's no way to keep such kids out by intelligence test screening, if that is indeed what you would propose to do. They qualify for the program. Bllame Cogat, MAP, or private appeals. I've heard all three, ironically.
APP in ALO

Anonymous said...

APP became appealing to my family as a result of the split. We never considered Lowell, we loved our neighborhood school that at the time had a good Spectrum program. It was APP@HIMS that prompted us to test again for APP. I think there are many families that our doing the same thing, which is why there has been so much growth in the northend APP sites. I think the elimination of Spectrum is causing another spike.

I don't think the district ever considered how many families would move APP qualified students out of neighborhood schools to L@L or HIMS. Nor do I think the district understands how much the changes in Spectrum is increasing enrollment.

Anonymous said...

To answer some questions about L@L:
-there has traditionally been a festive ‘open house’ for the kids with their families to come and meet teachers, see the classrooms, the gym, the art room, music studio, etc., and there are sign-up sheets for incoming families by grade with summer playdates.
-PCP for 2012-2013 is confirmed as three full teachers who will teach Art, PE, Music (this is separate from instrumental music the 4th and 5th graders can opt into). While it is subject to change (you never know, someone could move, etc), the teachers will be the same as we currently have, all are beloved.
-Yes, L@L has students who are geographically slotted for TM. Some are former Lowell ‘walk zone’ students who decided to stay with their friends rather than ‘switch schools’ when the program recently split off from Lowell (They got a bus this year, but next year, who knows). However, I know of one student in the lower grades who is new to APP whose family chose L@L instead of TM. Perhaps there are some north end families at TM too. Think about what happens at middle school : most families want their child to move with their friends to the next school, if you are not in that ‘geo track’, you are not guaranteed.
-on Seattle Public Schools’ Advanced Learning departments web page, on the very, very bottom, you will find a link to the Advanced Learning Task Force material and meeting schedule. All meetings are open to the public. The survey results from their survey are tabulated, they should be posted very shortly.
-to find out how many advanced learners are at your school (eg., students who tested into APP but did not choose to opt in), please look at the advanced learning page, it is there for the first time ever. Look at the ALO participation page. For example, John Rogers has no APP qualified children in their programs (again, they may have those types of students, but perhaps the parents did not elect to test their children). Alki has 3. Graham Hill has 1. Of the Spectrum elementary schools, Viewridge has 27. Of the ALO schools, West Woodland has the most, it has 20. http://www.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1583136/File/Departmental%20Content/advanced%20learning/tf_2012ALOParticipation.pdf
-project based learning was polled by L@L, the results have not been disclosed, but administrations sees this as a way to enrich and bring true depth to these learners, so I am betting it is a go.
It is funny that the deadline to enroll got pushed ahead. For the families who were the fence, that power outage gave them this weekend to ponder their choices and turn in their forms-so, I guess it is not quite over for them yet!
-a L@L parent

Corina said...

To the parents asking about Thurgood Marshall:

Our two children started at TM this year and are very happy. The peer group, principal, music program, librarian, and many of the teachers are excellent. The kids have rediscovered their love of reading and writing (son), and math and science (daughter), and are excited to go to school every day.

TM differs from L@L and perhaps your neighborhood school in that APP shares the school with an autism program and a diverse, high-poverty neighborhood program.

I think the best way to decide if TM is the best match for your kid is to go on a school tour (contact the PTA if there are no more scheduled). In the classroom, spot the kid(s) who remind you of your own. Are they engaged, active, learning? Are there other students in the room with whom s/he would "click"?

Best of luck,
Corina

Betsy said...

L@L parent 4:41 - That's a great link! Is there another with explanations of what, for example, 1h & 1e are? Is this everyone Spectrum and APP qualified or just APP?

Must be a typo on either North Beach or Montlake's numbers since they are identical.

Really neat chart - I wish I could see some legends/explanations.

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Corina,

Can you fill me in about how the diverse groups of kids are interacting? I remember at the time of the split there was a lot of concern that they would not get along, and indeed, remember posts on this blog from APP parents saying the mix was a very bad fit. I see so few posts on this blog from TM parents I was wondering how it's going 2 years down the line.

Anonymous said...

Betsy

On average, for 2011-2012:

- 73% of APP qualified 1-5 graders attend APP.

-For middle school, that jumps to 88%.


Reading the chart:
"1 e" means first grade, eligible

"2 n" means second grade, not enrolled

"5h" means fifth grade, APP-qualified

"Th" means Total of all grades at that school, who are APP-qualified

So, from these 2 charts, the ALO and the Spectrum, you can see the composition of your school in terms of their population of advanced learners by grade. Caveat: some parents simply don't request testing for their children, so, it may not reflect the total picture of a school's advanced learners, of course.

-L@L parent