Monday, April 30, 2012

Open thread

A new open thread. How's things, APP parents?

Update: Active discussion in the comments about transportation and (very early) start times at some schools. Let's turn this thread into a discussion about that. I'll open a new open thread for other topics.

70 comments :

Incoming SNAPP Mom said...

My daughter is going to be starting 1st grade at SNAPP in the fall and we couldn't be more excited. Her neighborhood school is very fun, but she is bored in class, and despite being very outgoing and sociable, has had trouble keeping friends, I think because she is so far ahead of the other kids academically, especially in reading. She is worried about not making friends in her new school (Lowell @ Lincoln, or maybe now Wilson APP) but I think it will actually be much easier. Very glad Seattle has such a program for kids her age! I hope there are good activities like her old school too. And I am glad to hear it looks like they will be staying at Lincoln for the next few years.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Incoming SNAPP Mom! I'm one, too, and we are absolutely thrilled that our son is starting 1st grade at SNAPP in the fall! So nice to hear your positive thoughts about this program. I am thankful for APP and for the community of parents and teachers who are growing a great school, despite not having a real home. I am excited for my son to finally find some like-minded friends!

Anonymous said...

HIMS Parent Coffee Hour on May 11
All Hamilton parents are invited to an informal parent coffee hour on May 11 from 8:00-9:00 a.m. in the Hamilton Commons! The PTSA will provide coffee and nibbles. No program, no agenda -- this is just an opportunity to meet other families in an informal setting. So bring your student to school, find a legal parking space and drop in for a few minutes. Have questions? Contact PTSA Board member, Christie Rodgers.

Anonymous said...

Invitation:
APP Advisory Committee Meeting on May 1st, 2012
Come to the APP-AC Meeting tomorrow at Ingraham High School from 6:30-9:00 p.m.

Steve said...

We have a 3rd grader at SNAPP this year, and our daughter will be there for 1st grade next year. Welcome to all the new parents! If you're like me, most of the anxiety about joining the program will dissolve once you start meeting more parents this Spring, and definitely once the first school bell rings next year. SNAPP is just a school, these are just kids, and all the usual things follow (the vast majority of which are good).

Janet said...

We also have a third grader and will have an entering first grader next year. Last year, there were picnics for the incoming third grade class and I hope to organize the same type of events for the first graders. More to come later...

Incoming SNAPP Mom said...

We will be at the SNAPP open house on May 10th! (I'll just call it SNAPP since we don't know what it'll be called schoolwise.)

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to the meeting that supposedly was supposed to happen with Mr. Carter and 6th grade parents at HIMS? Me thinks that those who promised the meeting really don't care.

unhappy HIMS parent

Anonymous said...

To Unhappy HIMS parent:
The parents who tried to set up a meeting with Mr Carter were turned away. Not just once. I know they DO care, since I know many of them personally, but they have a child at HIMS the same way than you do. Try to talk to Mr Carter yourself and you will see.
-Another unhappy HIMS parent

Anonymous said...

Unhappy HIMS parent
Contact the HIMS APP Rep, Elise Hillyer, with your concerns. Also, there is an APP AC meeting tonight at Ingraham.

word said...

Have any of the APP 6th grade parents gotten welcome packets from HIMS yet? We haven't - they supposedly went out last Monday the 24th.

-HIMS incoming

Zella917 said...

We got information from Hamilton about elective choices and a form that needs to be returned, all of which arrived last week. Maybe you should contact the school if you haven't received this.

Anonymous said...

A transportation amendment is posted for introduction that could make bus arrival times earlier for tier one schools (7:10 instead of the current 7:25?). Insanity?

The irony is that the Board requested review of bell times and individual members asked about the possibility of considering later bell times for secondary schools. So what do they propose? Even earlier times.

Lori said...

and L@L would start 10 minutes later next year, with buses arriving at 920AM instead of 910AM and leaving at 355PM instead of 345PM.

(although personally, our bus has been 10-15 minutes late every afternoon this school year, save one day when there was a substitute driver, so we may not even notice the later release time. But the later start time can still be a challenge for working parents.)

Anonymous said...

Lori- Where did you see the information about L@L bus times? I can't find it on the SPS website. (I would like to check my other child's elementary as well). Thanks! Catherine

Lori said...

Not sure if this link will show up, but it's a proposal to the School Board for tomorrow night. And, I'm assuming that we'll still be on the third tier next year, but I suppose that could change too!

http://www.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1583136/File/Departmental%20Content/school%20board/11-12%20agendas/050212agenda/20120502_RevisedTransServStds.pdf

Another incoming SNAPP mom said...

Another incoming SNAPP mom here (daughter will be in 1st in the fall). I had not heard about the 5/10 open house until this thread, but am excited to meet others who will attend. Question for current SNAPP parents: is there a way to communicate the Open House message to all incoming families? It would be great for as many of us as possible to meet and make connections before Summer. Playdates before fall could certainly ease the transition. Thanks!

lendlees said...

Incoming SNAPP families should have received a letter from the office that has the open house date/time in it. We post information on our website (seattlenorthapp.org) so that's a good place to check.

Anonymous said...

Here are the proposed bus times. Everything is up in the air so please do not assume L@L will remain Tier III.

I can see both L@L and HIM on Tier I.

And it really is 4 Tier system since Tier III has two different times.

AM PM (arrival/departure)
First Tier -
HS/MS/K8/Options
7:10 2:05
Second Tier-
HS/MS/K8/Options
8:05 3:00
Second Tier - Elementary 8:25 3:00
Third Tier -
HS/MS/K8/Options 9:00 3:55
Third Tier - Elementary 9:20 3:55

Anonymous said...

I'm assuming that Hamilton is a tier one school which means their start time will go from 7:50 am to 7:10 am. This is insane. It means my daughter will be waiting for her bus at 6:20 in the morning!!

All you middle school parents (and elementary school parents whose kids will be in middle school sooner than you think) need to email the board ASAP. They are considering this proposal at their meeting tonight. Jane

Steve said...

I think I heard at the start of this year that Lowell @ Lincoln APP (can't wait until we have our own less-confusing name!) starts at 9:25 because start time had to stagger with McDonald Elementary. In other words, they couldn't deliver all the kids at the same time. McDonald's first bell is 8:45. I agree with some of the other comments that our start time next year could be very different from this year. No guarantees.

Anonymous said...

Greg can you start a separate thread on the changes to bell and bus times? WE need to deal with this NOW! THNX.

The bulk of MS/HS are Tier 1 and current proposal is for buses to move start times 25 - 30 mins earlier - ie buses to ARRIVE 7:10 AM, with school starting 7:20 or 7:25 AM. Currently buses arrive approx 7:35 for a 7:50 start time (bell time). Also this proposal extends allowed ride time to 60 mins for MS/HS transport. I know this blog is heavy on elementary school parents, but yr kid will be in MS soon enough - do you want to try to get yr 6th grader up at 6 AM for a 6:30 am bus? And school will be out at 2 instead of 2:30. If you think this kind of schedule will impact yr family, you need to let the Bd know how you feel - NOW! Its being discussed tonight for passage in 2 weeks. We have 2 weeks to let the Bd know how we feel about this.

Greg Linden said...

Anon @ 11:23 PM, the moderator here, I could do a new thread on start times, but it's an issue that impacts everyone, not just APP, and I'm not sure how much APP specific discussion there is around it.

There are a bunch of threads on it over at Seattle Schools Discussion Blog, most recently, "Transportation Update from School Board Mtg". I do try to avoid posting things that are already covered there, both because I assume people already read that blog and because I think it makes it hard to follow the discussion if it is happening in both places.

If you still want a thread here, please let me know, especially if there's some aspect of the start times that are specific to APP that we could discuss in more depth here instead of over there. Otherwise, I'll probably not do another thread here and let the discussion take place over on the Seattle Schools Discussion Blog instead.

Bringing some news said...

May 2, 2012

Dear Lowell APP Community,

It is with joy and sadness that I announce my retirement from teaching. It has been a wonderful experience for me these last eight years, working with amazing students and their families, and I am truly grateful. I recall that, as a first-year teacher decades ago, I told my junior high students in French classes I hoped that if we were to bump into each other one day many years hence, we would recall with joy our time together, that we each would realize we had been inspired by our association with one other. (If we remembered how to conjugate ĂȘtre, all the better!)

Then as now, growing together and honoring one another are as important as learning about exciting, thought-provoking curriculum. I leave teaching, hoping that the same growth and blessings have been a reality with my precious students and their families and with my colleagues and administrators as well.

Please accept my profound gratitude for your contributions to our vibrant Lowell community and to me. I will miss you and wish you all the very best.

Aloha nui loa,
Theresa Roth

Anonymous said...

I think it would be helpful to have a separate thread on the proposed school start times. I think a higher % of APP families are affected by changes in bus transportation since the program draws from the entire city. I am very concerned about the proposed 7:10 am start time for middle and high school kids.

Jane

Anonymous said...

Another disparate impact to APP -- the bus ride time is being switched from a guaranteed 25 minute ride to a guaranteed hour-long ride. APP kids have among the longest rides in the district already, and many of our kids already have rides exceeding the 25 min guarantee. Thurgood Marshall is a tier 3 school for example. A 3:55 bus departure time plus the new 1 hour bus ride means APP elementary kids getting home at 5:00 pm next year - if the bus is on time. This affects the whole district in myriad ways, but since more of our kids are bussed, and for greater distances, it has a huge impact on APP.
- parent for sane transportation policy

NESeattleMom said...

I wonder about Ingraham APP IBX program bell times for next year. Is that Tier I or Tier II. They have zero hour before school classes--jazz and chamber music.

Laura said...

I may be wrong, but I think the APP kids, as well as those from option schools, currently have a 60 minute bus ride guarantee. The 25 minute guarantee is for attendance area schools.

Laura M

Anonymous said...

A little late coming into the discussion but the welcome letter sent to new Lowell students had L@L starting at 9:25. Despite the absence of McDonald, we're remaining a Tier 3 school apparently.

Steve said...

I called the Transportation office today, and was told that "bell times" (essentially, school start times) have not yet been set for next year and won't be until the 3rd week of May when the superintendent does this. Lowell @ Lincoln may start at 9:25, but based on what I heard today, it's not final yet.

Anonymous said...

The bell times and final Tier assignments have not yet been set - or rather, they are in the process of changing based on this Transportation Dept proposal which was introduced to the Bd last nt. There are 2 weeks for public comment and then the Bd will vote on whether to approve (and it WILL pass unless there is massive dissent - so I urge you to write the Bd now at Schoolboard@seattleschools.org, and cc Enfield as well). If you havent yet had the experience of receiving a letter a week before school starts changing yr expected bell time, as well as bus pickup/dropoff time, then you havent been w/SPS very long. And even if you feel comfortable with the proposed new bell and bus route times for yr elementary child, be aware that they can shift yr school into a diff Tier as the summer progresses. Also try to project a bit, yr child will be in MS/HS for 7 yrs - do you want to try and get them on a 6:10 - 6:30 AM bus, and have them home from 2:30 ? I urge everyone to share this info with fellow SPS parents and to write the Bd NOW with their concerns - this STINKS and thats why they are trying to sneak it through w/o any public engagement whatsoever. Yes this will affect APP kids disparately given they ride more busses and longer busrides; but its going to affect everyone because once again, they are letting Transp drive bell times. This is in pursuit of $1M savings that was not realized in the last round of bell time shenanigans!
- Angry WMS mom

word said...

At Angry's suggestion I emailed the district and the superintendent and included a very small selection (of the total available) of original peer reviewed studies indicating that later school start times are correlated with better performance, less sleep deprivation and also fewer motor vehicle crashes.

It will be interesting to see if the district really cares about the health, well-being and education of the students in the district. I suspect not.....

suep. said...

Re: sad news

Yes, indeed. The unexpected retirement of Ms. Roth is a huge loss to the Lowell APP community. She is a great teacher who understands gifted kids, teaches with respect for her students and insight, and prepares them well for middle school and life, really.

The loss of Ms. Roth and Ms. Shadow in one year is a major blow to APP. With the absence of an official gifted ed credential or requirement for APP and Spectrum instructors, the years of experience that these veteran teachers have working with such kids and developing an appropriate curriculum for them is often the most valuable qualification we have in our advanced learning staff.

And this highlights once again the huge attrition of experienced APP teachers from Lowell these past two years, which has been alarming, and again raises questions about leadership at the school(s).

Anonymous said...

I am shocked by this news from L@L. Only 1 (one!) teacher left from the old, experienced teachers. Question, how long can she stay after this?
Thank you Ms G (and Mr K) and Ms. C. I hope you will feel your decision's effect in the future community support to L@L.

Anonymous said...

The 9:25 bell time for tier 3 schools was based on the original (February 2012) transportation plan. It will change if the proposals on the table are approved. The current proposals call for later bell times for tier 3 schools -- and much longer bus rides. The district won't confirm Lowell at Lincoln and thurgood Marshall are tier 3 for next year, but it's a good assumption. The biggest impact with these changes is the long bus rides. Something to consider: why make 2 schools with the longest rides tier 3 -- think how late west Seattle kids at thurgood Marshall will get home under the new plan.
-- parent for sane transportation policy

lendlees said...

Ms. Roth will be sorely missed for her demeanor and caring attitude, but lest anyone think it's gloom and doom over at L@L, my child has had an amazing year with the 5th grade team: Ravenscroft & Sakaue. Those two teachers have ensured that our children are better students AND better people too. They are more than well-prepared for middle school--academically and socially.

Also, a 5th grade TM teacher is retiring this year too...

Anonymous said...

Gloom and doom at L@L:
Next year there will be 2 more 5th grade classes and 2 new teachers there. Let's hope they will have gifted education background, they don't need professional development / help at all and they will be able to prepare our 5h graders for middle school the same way than Mrs Roth did for years.
- It is only a hope

Anonymous said...

To Lendlees:
You know, I think the sadness around Mrs Roth's retirement is a "little" more this year after the numerous teachers left last year. Only 1 "old timer" teacher left and who knows how long will she stay?
- I didn't sign up for this program

Anonymous said...

who is the last "old timer" left? My kids are older and we have lost track of who is left of the old Lowell.....

- parent of older APP kids

Anonymous said...

Wondering who the 5th grade teacher leaving Thurgood? Who is left there? We also haven't kept up as our student is older.

Anonymous said...

I think Al Dunlap is still there, though he was, to put it mildly, not a good fit for my kid.

Anonymous said...

The last "old timer" at L@L is Mrs. Jacobsen in 4th grade. Who, according to Ms. G's description in the last Coffee Chat, will receive a mentoring job next year. I don't know what this means: mentoring position. Also, I am not sure Mrs. J. would like that.
- Questions

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Roth is 69. She deserves some quality time with her son and isn't she a grandma? Sakaue and Ravenscroft are a great team, I hope my child has an opportunity to have them next year. I have heard glowing reviews.

Anonymous said...

To Anon 3:58pm
You have a 50% chance for that.
Good luck

Anonymous said...

To Anon 3 58pm:
Mrs. Roth would have deserved one thing at least after her long teaching career: to decide when and how to retire. This didn't happen.

Anonymous said...

Agree with the post above.

Mrs. Roth should have been able to retire on her own terms.

She is an incredible person and teacher.

Wishing her all the best.

Anonymous said...

Lendlees - Regarding your reference to a thurgood marshall 5th grade teacher retiring this year, are you referring specifically to an APP teacher since this is an APP blog, or are you referring to the general education 5th grade teacher who is nearing retirement age? No 5th grade teacher retirements have been announced at Thurgood. The only announcement has been a 4th grade gen Ed teacher leaving on maternity leave.
- curious

lendlees said...

Curious-

The human resources report at the last board meeting shows Al Dunlap retiring as of 6/25.

Anonymous said...

IMHO a teacher's age shouldn't be the subject of a discussion on any public blog site, especially if it is not even the right number.
Do I feel that age discrimination is here at the SPSD?

Anonymous said...

Re gloom and doom at L@L: while it is a huge loss that Theresa Roth is retiring, she IS 69 and, as another poster noted, deserves to leave on her own terms. She's given so much to the APP community that she should be celebrated and sent off with joy for her contributions, not mourned as we did with Marcy Shadow's death. It's a loss, yes, but all good things must come to an end.

Also, don't assume that new teachers equals a drop in quality. Teaching is a gift and while it surely must be honed, there are many people with that gift. Theresa Roth was a new teacher once, as was Marcy Shadow, and I have a feeling that they were pretty special, even in their green years.

We've had a phenomenal year with Kate R. and Dan S. and I know many L@L families who are similarly very happy with their teachers.

-sky is not falling (everywhere)

Anonymous said...

@sky is not falling
I think the concern is that Mrs.Roth did not retire on her own terms. And that is very unfortunate.

Zella917 said...

Do we know that she didn't retire on her own terms? I was really hoping that was not the case.

Anonymous said...

Zella:
Do you know if the teachers retired, left last year on their terms?
You could assume the same here since the management is the same.
- Sad

Zella917 said...

I'm sad too.

suep. said...

@ -sky is not falling (everywhere)

"but all good things must come to an end."

What does that mean? And by whose decree?

The prospect of new teachers eventually developing into great veteran teachers is not in question here.

The loss of so many seasoned APP teachers from Lowell in the past year is.

(I also agree that people should stop posting the alleged age of teachers here.)

Anonymous said...

Whole lotta innuendo and assumptions goin on here ("Mrs. Roth would have deserved one thing at least after her long teaching career: to decide when and how to retire. This didn't happen.")

Do you actually know for a fact that Roth is being forced out?

Anonymous said...

^ Yes.

Anonymous said...

the fact of the matter is that the current administration including the current principal at L@L support a classroom setting where children do not have there own desks in a single room. This used to be called an "enclosed classroom". They favor children change classes to "get ready" for middle school.
The survey was deceptive. They created a survey that would support their aim to change the format of the school. many parents did not understand that "their definition" of enclosed classes meant that their were no non APP students in the class. They created a survey to support their aim of a multi class school.
It was never discussed in the open if these children are developmentally ready for such a step.
These so called reformers want to change the school and will not have open discussions. They remove anyone who objects or documents by force of security.
Any teachers that want their own classrooms are not welcomed by the current administration and are forced out.
This is plane and simple what has happened not to mention the coverups the staff changes.
The school board has limited input and access by parents and the media and it is happening at our school as well.
the older kids will become less attached to their teacher and the "elementary school experience" will be altered. It is already too much pressure and the multi class model has not been proven to be better than the single teacher with enrichment model.

The administration is overbearing in its pursuit of reform for no good reason. There is a lack of experience and wisdom in the administration at this time. Someone who is really qualified needs to be the principal not someone who happened to fall into the job.
You can never give back the childhood of kids that were forced to grow up too fast.

Anonymous said...

the fact of the matter is that the current administration including the current principal at L@L support a classroom setting where children do not have there own desks in a single room. This used to be called an "enclosed classroom". They favor children change classes to "get ready" for middle school.
The survey was deceptive. They created a survey that would support their aim to change the format of the school. many parents did not understand that "their definition" of enclosed classes meant that their were no non APP students in the class. They created a survey to support their aim of a multi class school.
It was never discussed in the open if these children are developmentally ready for such a step.
These so called reformers want to change the school and will not have open discussions. They remove anyone who objects or documents by force of security.
Any teachers that want their own classrooms are not welcomed by the current administration and are forced out.
This is plane and simple what has happened not to mention the coverups the staff changes.
The school board has limited input and access by parents and the media and it is happening at our school as well.
the older kids will become less attached to their teacher and the "elementary school experience" will be altered. It is already too much pressure and the multi class model has not been proven to be better than the single teacher with enrichment model.

The administration is overbearing in its pursuit of reform for no good reason. There is a lack of experience and wisdom in the administration at this time. Someone who is really qualified needs to be the principal not someone who happened to fall into the job.
You can never give back the childhood of kids that were forced to grow up too fast.

Anonymous said...

Is this ^ related to the "Project Based Learning" people have been posting about? Which grades would this impact (only 5th graders, or all of 1-5)?

Outsider

Anonymous said...

There are ups and downs to the switching of classes (4th-5th grades).

Some upsides: 1) there is a guarantee that a certain amount of time will be spent on the subjects for which they switch classes (math time doesn't run over into science, for example), 2) science kits require district training, so new teachers that don't yet have training can specialize in other subjects while another teacher does science, 3) teachers can specialize in an area of strength, 4) there is a better chance that kids will cover the same skills across the grade level, and 5) it does help get them ready for middle school with the movement between classes and the keeping track of assignments from different teachers.

Some downsides: 1) with so many students, you feel your child's teacher doesn't know your student as well, 2) it takes extra time out of the day to switch classes, 3) the teacher's workload increases for the subject, so there may be 60-90 papers to grade, rather than just 30, meaning less feedback, 4) some kids still need the stability of a single classroom, and 5) some teachers are simply good at doing it all and don't want to be limited in what they teach.

There should be room for both styles, and it's concerning to hear teachers may be encouraged to leave for not adopting one model over another. Is the same happening at TM?

I went to a grade school that used the same model starting in 4th grade. I liked it, so perhaps my view is a bit biased. I would look forward to classes with certain teachers and liked the variety. It made school more interesting somehow.

Anonymous said...

The point is they used a misleading language in a survey get results they wanted to justify changes they had no intention of discussing openly

Anonymous said...

Is the survey you're referencing the one that asked about program configuration, John Marshall (...misleading summary of data), and all of that? It's hard to understand the issue because I really don't know what survey you're talking about. Was it emailed to parents recently?

Anonymous said...

TM APP classes now switch classrooms in 3rd, 4th and 5th grade. One teacher teaches two subjects; the other teaches 2 subjects. They teach more kids over the course of the day (almost 60), but have to do less prep and seem better prepared as a result. This is new to 3rd grade. It worked well in 4th & 5th, so was replicated. In 3rd grade this year, it has been a nice way for a new APP teacher to get up to speed and really master teaching fewer subjects. It only involves one move -- after lunch, when they are transitioning anyway. It requires 2 teachers who communicate well with one another & parents. It's nothing to fear. I see more science under this model since science always seemed to get dropped on field trip days, short days, etc.
-- Hope that helps

Anonymous said...

There have been several job share situations with 2 teachers working 1/2 time to teach one class. It seemed to work just fine. Isn't that similar to switching classrooms for part of the day?

Anonymous said...

Where is your evidence? It's really easy to post anonymously and say whatever you want. Do you have factual evidence? Why aren't other grades specializing if this is the case? I smell a rat. Have you spoken to the principal? What did she say? Who are the reformers you are referring to? Sounds like lies to me.

Are you accusing TM of the same?

- susie q

Anonymous said...

It is really hard to follow the conversation here. Could you please give yourself a nickname when you post and refer to one when you answer?
Job share is NOT the same than project based learning. I think there is a misunderstanding here.
- LL

Anonymous said...

Project based learning...job shares...switching between classrooms...are these different but overlapping discussions? Teachers are focusing more on project based learning. New teachers are specializing in subjects - math, science, writing, etc. Some teachers are job sharing. Bottom line, are the kids covering the same general material in each grade?

signed, confused

Anonymous said...

Parents were given a survey to see if they favored enclosed classrooms. This term was not defined in the survey.
Some interpret this as students remaining in the same room with the same teacher all day with enrichment.
Others interpret this as meaning only APP students will be at the school. In other words should the APP program be housed with another program.
The survey was flawed. No conclusions can be made as to the opinions of parents without a discussion. Mutiple choice surveys with vaguely worded questions can not be the basis for policy decisions.
No where in the survey was there any question asking if parents favored a multi class format.
This is an example of the way decisions are being handled

lendlees said...

Anonymous @ 11:41 AM (please come up with a name)

Here is the wording of the question about class type. Also, this survey was different than the PTA survey in that it was from the Building Leadership Team. The PTA survey strictly asked about self-contained vs. mixed-ability classrooms. So, it seems to me that you were either unaware of the BLT survey or are choosing to ignore that this survey was used for building-based decisions, like classroom teaching:

What instruction model do you feel best suits your child?

One teacher for all subjects (20%)

Two teachers specializing by
subject (example: one teacher
for math and science and one
teacher for social studies and writing) (34.2%)

"Walk to" method where children go
to various classrooms within their
own grade based on their abilities and learning styles
(28.0%)

Have no preference
(17.8%)