Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What will happen to Hamilton APP?

By multiple requests from parents, a thread to discuss the future of Hamilton APP, which appears to be in danger from overcrowding and loss of qualified teachers, and how parents might be able to make sure Hamilton APP has a good future.

58 comments :

Anonymous said...

So after asking for a 6th grade meeting with Mr. Carter we finally were told that there would probably be one on April 26. That date has come and gone. I have no idea whether they (whoever "they" is, either APP AC or Hamilton PTSA) are still trying to arrange this, but discussion has fallen silent, and I doubt there will be such a meeting. Does anyone know more than this?

6th grade APP parent

Anonymous said...

John Marshall, 2013

More turmoil, same students/families dealing with it

No band instruments, no library

No Mr. Carter (is that enough of a silver lining?)

APP 5th grade parent

Anonymous said...

I would like to repeat one earlier post here because it looks like a nice summary and I would like to add one more thing that is really missing at HIMS (from the whole school): COMMUNICATION between the admin and the parents.

"Anonymous said...
There are so many issues...a general lack of learning in some of the classes (YouTube videos used as instruction, including Bill Nye and some that are plain factually incorrect), age inappopriate material (thematically or sometimes of a sexual nature), a lack of a clearly defined curriculum that allows such freedom in teacher chosen materials, the lack of teacher experience and training with gifted ed, the list goes on.

Then there are the teacher specific complaints that have parents on edge with the possibility of looping (unless, of course, your child is in a class where learning is happening, then looping is good). On top of that are capacity issues and the possibility of APP being forced out of Hamilton like L@L.

The biggest fear at the school right now in the APP community, which teacher will loop next year. Has it been confirmed that looping will happen next year? I thought it was off the table, so this is where a meeting with Mr. Carter would be in order (a meeting that was scheduled, but has somehow vanished into nowhere).

May 16, 2012 9:51 AM"

- Worried 3

Anonymous said...

"No Mr. Carter (is that enough of a silver lining?)"

What does this mean?

Anonymous said...

"No Mr. Carter (is that enough of a silver lining?)"

I think it means that APP parents will be happier in another middle school without him.
My feeling is that it wouldn't be a problem if he doesn't support APP program (because he doesn't want to support a gifted program or for any other reasons) but at least he shouldn't do bad things to it.
One of the examples of this that he shouldn't let substandard regular ed teachers teach in the APP classrooms and say at the same time, that this a great teacher, look at her class's MAP score.
Another example is that he should support the newly hired teachers' professional development so they could teach the district non existent APP curriculum (that they promised with the split 2 years ago!) somehow, even without any help from the admin. And the list could go on and on...
-Worried 3

Anonymous said...

Should the substandard regular ed teacher be removed from teaching in SPS, or would it be okay for that substandard regular ed teacher to be moved to another school? Or down to regular ed at Hamilton?

Anonymous said...

Anon at 7:03

What are you implying by the question? It sure sounds like you're trying to "get" someone or APP as a whole.

Teaching APP does require some specialized knowledge, but a good teacher should be able to teach it with some specialized training. I don't think it's reasonable to expect APP to have a "bad" teacher just to keep them out of another classroom. No kid ahould have a bad teacher.

APP parent

Anonymous said...

Hamilton parents:

It gets better.

Ingraham parent

Anonymous said...

To Anon at 7:03PM:
To receive an answer to your questions please go to see someone at the HR Department of SPSD. I think this is one reason we pay for their salaries.
But back to the main topic, do you think it is fair for the APP students (or for any students really) to provide them with teachers who can not teach them properly (for any reasons)? Is it fair for the APP students (or any students really) to provide them with teachers who don't challenge them so the students are bored out of their mind for a whole year and they receive punishment if they finish the topic/book earlier than they supposed to? Do you think it is fair to do this systematically in a school for years with one program but not with the others with no consequences for the admin?
Because this is exactly what is going on at HIMS. And the icing on the cake: every single year, but only since the APP program is there, the school (Mr Carter) receives an award for its achievement.
- Depressed

Anonymous said...

Perhaps this is where some Hamilton parents would do well to listen to Kate Martin. I'll admit I don't think I could do it myself, but Kate tossed out "Seattle nice" and showed really chutzpah confronting her son's school for knowingly keeping a nonperforming teacher in place year after year. As I recall the story, the teacher resigned in short order. I don't know if the Hamilton teacher in question is as bad as that, but if so is stronger action by parents warranted to get the attention of the principal and/or teacher?

--parent of future Hamilton students

Anonymous said...

Ingraham parent - unfortunately, that's no consolation when your child is ready to give up on school altogether before then.

There's a children's fiction book called "The Girl Who Could Fly" about a secret school for kids with exceptional abilities (acronym I.N.S.A.N.E.). The secret is that the school's purpose is to remove their special talents. That book is my child's comparison to what this past year has felt like.

Parents have expressed/documented concerns with the principal, the Ex. Director, and the head of AL, yet...

-crying uncle

Anonymous said...

--parent of future Hamilton students
"nonperforming teacher" - How can you prove this? The APP students MAP scores are higher even if they don't learn anything new for a year than any other reg ed or spectrum class. The admin doesn't care if the students are repeating the books they learnt 2 or 1 year ago.
- hate MAP

Anonymous said...

Has anyone gotten the state education ombudsman office involved? http://www.governor.wa.gov/oeo/

I have a friend who involved them with a problem teacher situation earlier this year and they were very helpful with information, perspective, encouragement, and contacting the principal directly (which seemed to add some pressure). In that case, the situation was resolved when the teacher resigned.

Try it. Can't hurt...

--parent of future Hamilton students

Anonymous said...

--parent of future Hamilton students
Thanks for the advice. But in this case there are more teachers involved, not just one and there is no assurance for the future that we will receive more educated and / or more experienced teachers. For example I have never heard about a hiring committee in my 2 years here (I only hope there is one), so I am not sure what happens if they hire a new teacher. Is it for all the program or just for the APP program. If it is for the APP program, is there anyone on the committee (even maybe from the AL Office?) to check the teacher's education, background, motivation, experience, etc. And what happens if this member of the committee vetoes the admin's decision. The whole procedure is kept secret. And our only advocate, Ms Shadow is gone. And only gossips are here: Mr Carter wanted to hire a TFA earlier this year. Again, for which program, which position?
-Questions

Anonymous said...

As far as I can tell, we get little to no help from APP AC or Hamilton PTSA on this. I thought they had said they would arrange a 6th grade parent meeting with Mr. Carter. How hard can it be for them to communicate to us what has happened with this meeting?

Almost had it

Anonymous said...

Why not use Charlie's excellent suggestion and boycott MAP testing at Hamilton? That might get the school/district's attention about curriculum and competent teaching.

Anonymous said...

In order to boycott the MAP testing at Hamilton we would need the whole community to be on the same page. Unfortunately we are not there, there is no community, no page, no common goals other than to survive middle school somehow.
- Reality check

Anonymous said...

A MAP boycott is divisive, passive-aggressive and doesn't directly address the issues. I'm actually surprised students haven't revolted on their own and purposely blown the 2nd test (to make the teachers look bad). Anyway, aren't the awards based on MSP testing, not MAP testing?

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't call a boycott passive-agressive. It is pretty direct. Certainly no more passive-agressive than this anonymous posting about "bad" teachers. Many posters are suggesting that the testing (MAP or MSP) is being used to support competent teaching of incompetent teachers. I think a boycott directly addresses the issue. Could be a small boycott. Just the kids in the classrooms where they are not learning anything. What is there to lose?

Anonymous said...

I would have a hard time telling my child to boycott the MAP test for the reasons stated. What is that really teaching the kids? An eye for eye? As it is, some of them have been singled out in class because their parents had the gall to express concerns with the teacher. Boycotting the test because you object to testing is one thing, but boycotting the test to be punitive? It just feels wrong.

suep. said...

If you don't feel comfortable with a boycott then simply opt your kids out. We all have the right to opt our kids out of these tests. The kids themselves are realizing that they are over tested and some are asking to be freed from this treadmill.

In Snohomish, as many as 500 kids opted out of the MSP this year. There is a growing national movement against excessive standardized testing.

This year in SPS, some middle school kids are being administered three separate tests for math alone -- MSP, MAP and EOC.

It's excessive, unnecessary, abusive, really, and a huge waste of learning time and resources.

It's true that teachers are being credited with these test scores, and schools like HIMS are being awarded recognition for the strong test scores of advanced learning kids, whether the school had anything to do with it or not. Some mediocre teachers are being allowed to take cover behind these scores.

Carter's attempt to hire a TFAer this year is not a rumor. It's documented. And yes, he is a former Teach for America recruit himself. (Hopefully he knows for next year that he cannot replace Ms. Shadow with someone who has only 5 weeks of training and zero student teaching experience.)

Meanwhile, at Wednesday's school board meeting, it was announced that Mr. Carter was sent to Hong Kong to speak about international education. DeBell praised him.

Yes, we should all opt our kids out of the MAP, and even the MSP, if that's what it takes for this school and this district to see our kids as something more than data points that make others feel good about themselves.

Btw, is it true that HIMS's orchestra teacher has been RIFed? Someone's reporting this at the SSS Blog.

Anonymous said...

"Meanwhile, at Wednesday's school board meeting, it was announced that Mr. Carter was sent to Hong Kong to speak about international education. DeBell praised him."
No way, are you kidding? Mr Carter will speak about international education? In Hong Kong? This has to be a joke.
Hong Kong has already many internationally recognized and acknowledged schools with really high reputation in the whole wide world.
Re: Hamilton does have Spanish and Japanese classes and immersion programs (and bilingual students also) but it would be hard to say that the quality of the classes are comparable to the international classes in Hong Kong.

Anonymous said...

IMO Mr. Carter should go and learn from the school leaders in Hong Kong. Otherwise his trip will be only a huge waste of our tax payers' money.

Anonymous said...

Mr Carter attended a conference in Hong Kong on international education. I dont know that he "spoke" at this conference in the sense of a lecture - I do believe it was more of a learning trip. DeBell was there as well. The goal is for HIMS to be certified as an international school (not sure thats the exact terminology, but it requires several programs and standards to be put into place at HIMS and then they earn this particular designation. Its not a bad thing for HIMS, though it may have more of an effect on the immersion programs than the Gen Ed or APP/Spectrum programs.

I do want to take issue with some of the comments here about Carter - he may not be the most dynamic principal, and he may not be super gung-ho about the APP program, but I dont think he is actively "against" the advanced learning programs. I have attended PTA meetings and I believe he truly cares about all the students. FWIW, given the recent goings-on w/Lowell principles - IMO this would never occur with Mr Carter. He totally plays by the book. Yes we have some crappy teachers in HIMS APP, but there are some crappy teachers and some great teachers in all the many programs in Hamilton. My experience is limited, but I'd guess thats the case in all the SPS schools, maybe especially Middle School. I'm under the impression that with seniority rules, etc, principals really do have to move these teachers around and it takes A LOT to move them out of the bldg. FWIW, I think APP 6th gr parents are generally happy with all the teachers except Math (Thurik) and one LA/SS teacher (Chacon) - and they have both been at Hamilton waayyy before Carter was principal. frankly a lot of the kids do like Ms Chacon. She makes some mis-steps but she tries and takes chances -- she is not going rote by the book. That can backfire. Mr Carter hired the other 6th gr APP LA/SS directly (McClurg) and she's excellent, as is the science teacher, band, and language teachers. (Sadly yes the execellnt Orchestra teacher is being RIF'd , but Mr Carter is working to retain her if at all possible) SO yes its a mixed bag (speaking only of one grade here) but I'm laying all this out because I think current 5th gr parents are reading this and getting nervous - but the "incidents" that people keep citing happened early in the yr and I dont think its been a terrible, constant pattern of problems. overall my kid had a great yr (w/the exception of math) and HIMS does a good job trying to bring the kids together and reward compassion, good values, community service, and discourage "clique-y" behaviour or any hint of bullying. The counselors and after-school programs are terrific. Keep yr ears openm advocate for yr kid when necessary, and yes go in and have that meeting w/yr teacher and then Mr Carter if it becomes necessary - you may find him quite responsive to yr concerns. I would like to hear from HIMS 7th and 8th gr parents what they think, after 2 -3 yrs at Hamilton. And would love to hear from some WMS parents too.
- 6th gr parent

Anonymous said...

Just one question: would it be possible to send Mr Carter to a conference somewhere closer than Hong Kong on gifted education after having the APP in his school for 3 years? I think the numbers are talking: 1/3 of the school population is APP (and the immersion program can only be the same or less...).
APP mom

Anonymous said...

6th grader parent
You seem to know a lot more about what is going on at HIMS than me so maybe you can tell me the reason why couldn't we (the 6th grader parents) have a meeting with Mr Carter since last October?
-Another 6th gr parent

Anonymous said...

Clearly, we have had different experiences. 5th grade parents should be concerned. I send my kids to school to learn. The school's primary function is to teach. The problems are not limited to this year. Enough with the excuses.

Anonymous said...

I wish I could homeschool my kids for the second year in a row. But I can't, since with that move we would loose our APP "seats". Instead I do "damage control" at home in the afternoons when we have time.
-7th gr parent

Anonymous said...

There aren't enough hours in our day to do damage control.

Anonymous said...

It begs the question, how many would stick with APP at Hamilton if they could retest for the program as an 8th grader?

Anonymous said...

Answer to ANother 6th gr parent: I only know what I hear and see through my kid, her friends and their parents, and by volunteering and attending PTA meetings. Mr Carter speaks at the monthly PTA mtgs and thats when I heard some of the details on his trip. As far as the meeting that cant get scheduled: I really dont understand what this is about. I had a couple issues early on in the yr and met w/CC and I didnt have trouble scheduling the meeting. I'm not sure what you are referring to: are you thinking that ALL the 6th gr parents (like 300 parents) or all 6th gr APP parents (approx 130 parents), as a group, should have a meeting set up with CC to discuss their dissatisfaction with the Math and the one LA/SS teacher? Or are there other issues I dont know about? I have never heard of something like that happening in a school unless its a super serious issue, and I am certainly no expert on protocol for these things, but I'd imagine if all 6th gr parents have significant issues that they want to discuss en masse w/the principal, if its that serious they should prob bring it to the PTA 1st (?? just suggesting, again i dont really know the proper protocol). There is a 6th gr parent rep on the PTA Bd - I think her name is Grace - that might be a gd place to start. If its strictly an APP issue, there is a HIMS APP-AC liaison. I dont know how effective it would be for CC to have a meeting with over 100 parents....but I guess my point is I dont know and havent heard about any of these reps or a large group of parents repeatedly asking CC for a meeting to discuss significant issues and being denied. Im not saying it didnt happen - but Im pretty plugged in and I didnt hear anything about that. I do like the idea of Mr C attending a conference on gifted ed, and id that were supported by the district I'm sure he'd be interested - he seems pretty excited about anything that can help w/professional dev. To be clear, I agree we have 2 sub-par teachers in the 6th gr APP, but overall my kid had a great year and learned a lot. I can only refer to my own experience.
-6th grade parent

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a lot of drama. What's the "damage" in 7th grade that needs to be addressed on a daily basis? Really?

Anonymous said...

There is neither drama nor serious learning in 5 subjects out of the 6 in my student's 7 th grade classroom. It is just the usual boredom that my student hates. And the reason why I need damage control is because my student loved the different subjects before. So it is not only that they are not teaching properly, but they caused harm.
-7th gr parent

Anonymous said...

I've never requested a meeting with Principal Carter so I can't speak to that issue - but I have emailed him 4 or 5 times about various issues during the school year and found that he was generally quite responsive. Apart from Thurik, my child has had a good year at Hamilton (but she had Malia McClurg - I have heard the experience with Chacon has not been as positive).

Another APP 6th grade parent

NESeattleMom said...

My 8th grade daughter has had a fantastic three years at Hamilton. She, luckily, had all great teachers. She was just saying that to me this week. Even those who she did not like at first, she said were great teachers that taught her a lot. My experience with Mr. Carter is that he is doing a good job of being fair and even with all the groups that are co-housed at Hamilton.It is not an easy job to be fair to APP, Immersion, General Ed, Music families. Yes, our fantastic orchestra teacher, Ms. Armaly, was given a RIF notice due to seniority. She is absolutely fantastic. You should come to the Orchestra and Choir concert on Thurs. June 7 at 7 pm in the Lincoln auditorium, and you will be so impressed. She will have five groups performing: choir and four levels of orchestra. It is unbelievable what high levels of music she helps the students achieve. We hope she can be rehired/retained. The Hamilton band and Hamilton orchestra both just won the top awards among last weekend's attendees at a festival in Idaho. Go Hawks!

Anonymous said...

Go Hawks:
These are fantastic news about the music program at HIMS, congratulations for everyone who is involved. Fantastic news, except the RIF-d teacher, because I heard that everyone loves her. Hopefully she can stay somehow otherwise she will be greatly missed.
But how about all those students who are not into music? Because they like other forms of art, like language art, other languages, painting, or mathematics or even computer science for example, etc? Wouldn't they deserve the same support from great teachers, admins at HIMS?
- Academics first

NESeattleMom said...

Yes, academics too! My APP daughter enjoys her math, science and LA/SS block too. I am not in the loop on the immersion program--they are not on this blog--I don't know much about the international arts except for Mr. Barileau. He has been teaching marimba and now has started teaching vocal jazz. I think that international arts is thriving. Every quarter they study a different culture. At the end of the quarter they perform for the school in an assembly. Visual arts displays their related work. Yes, administration should support learning. I wonder how much control administration has over the specific teachers they have in the building.

louie said...

from these posts, it appears that in APP at HIMS, there is possibly 1 math and 1 LA/SS teacher in 6th grade who people think are weaker teachers. i'm assuming that the principal is also aware of this-- so, for the most part if a kid has thurik, will the student be placed with mcclurg for LA and vice versa with Chacon... just to help even things out? Or are there lots of students who have Chacon and THurik... that would be a bit difficult for anyone it seems based on the posts,, i have an incoming 6th grader to app and i'm very nervous now and wonder if i should have just stuck to Eckstein, our neighborhood school.... yikes

Anonymous said...

My student had Thurik and Chacon in 6th grade last year. At that time Thurik was the only one APP math teacher in 6th grade. And Chacon had almost all the APP students since McClurg just started with one block class only. This could have been changed this year. And might change next year...

Anonymous said...

To clarify, as of this yr at least all 6th gr APP Math was taught by Thurik. I believe that is the plan for next yr as well - if they have more kids they will prob just increase all the class sizes a bit for Math. 6th gr APP LA/SS had 2 teachers this yr: McClurg and Chacon. A bit harder to manage those schedules because its a block, although some kids had a split block w/Chacon and McClurg because of scheduling for music or language. It all changes when you hit MS because you have 6 periods. Mr Carter is hiring another LA/SS teacher but I dont know for which grade. Re Ms Thurik - its not that she's terribly strict or difficult or whatever - she's actually a pretty pleasant person - its that her methods dont seem to actually "teach" the kids math - she splits them into 2 groups and has the kdis each check each otehrs work. She doesnt explain the concepts well and my daughter spends at least an hour every nt calling and texting her friends to get the math done. I can imagine a less chatty kid would have a tough time, unless they have a parent who really understands math (not my best subject). Re Ms Chacon - someone said on this blog and I'd have to agree -- parents complained about a few issues early on but a lot of the kids do seem to like her and there is definite alignment among the curriculum so the Chacon and McClurg kids are often working on the same things. Again yr kid will have 5 or maybe even 6 teachers in MS, so if s/he gets 1 or even 2 weak teachers, its not the end of the world.
-Hamilton parent

Anonymous said...

Hamilton parent, no one said it's the end of the world. However, I'll bet that if it were your kid who had a less than competent teacher for LA and SS and a very uninspiring teacher for math you'd be unhappy along with the rest of us. I don't understand why those of you who have had a softer landing into 6th grade at HIMS can't seem to find any sympathy for those of us who have struggled all year to keep our kids engaged and encouraged.

Have-not

Anonymous said...

so if s/he gets 1 or even 2 weak teachers, its not the end of the world.

This type of comment continues to astound me. Would you say that to struggling students? Every child, no matter what program, no matter what school, needs competent teachers. In general, being nice should be a basic expectation, not justification for retaining a less than competent teacher.

Anonymous said...

From random anonymi above: I wish I could homeschool my kids for the second year in a row. But I can't, since with that move we would loose our APP "seats"
and: It begs the question, how many would stick with APP at Hamilton if they could retest for the program as an 8th grader?

You can access the accelerated IB program at IHS by testing in in 8th grade. (See the very bottom of this page. Where it says: *8th Grade Applicants for the APP/IB Program at Ingraham follow the same process. However, non-SPS applicants must perform at the 98th percentile or higher on the cognitive test to be scheduled for reading and math achievement tests. SPS applicants must perform at the 95th percentile or higher on the MAP to be scheduled for the cognitive test. Deadline to apply is October 6, 2011

So, as long as you can count on your kid to retest at APP levels, and you're ok with IBx (instead of Garfield), then you can pull your kid out of HIMS.

IBX Watcher

Anonymous said...

Those two weak teachers account for half my child's day, including homeroom. And now they're rumoring that they're going to loop with their classes into seventh grade. Really? Is this true? We supplement with plenty of math, and my child is passionate about it anyway, so I'm not too worried about lasting damage from Thurik-- but two years in a row with Chacon two hours a day is too much to ask of us.

--Burned Out

Anonymous said...

-Burned out
I know this will sound really bad after reading this blog but my student (and looking backward me also) wishes to have Ms Chacon looping last year...
- a 7th grade parent

Anonymous said...

To HAVE-NOT: In fact my kid DID have both THurik and Chacon this yr, so I am speaking from experience. OK, when I say "its not the end of the world", I am admittedly speaking from the pt of view of our family - in spite of having 2 weak teachers, she had a great yr because there is so much more to MS. In fact compared to WMS, I hear they had much more HW so Im glad we didnt have onerous HW time. Of course I believe, hope, and wish that all kids coud have only amazing teachers - is that realistic, esp in SPS? I'm making the pt that its not like Elementary, where if you get a bad teacher you have her/him ALL DAY. This thread caught my attention because it seemed like parents were upset as a group about some kind of perceived lack of gd teachers in the APP program at HIMS, and that perhaps that is Mr Carter's fault and that he is not addressing the problems. I disagree because at least in 6th gr, the science, music, language, arts, and ok half of the LA/SS teachers (1 out of 2:) IMO are great. I am saying that if you feel early on in the yr that yr unhappy with a teacher, then yes go to carter and try to work it out, try to get yr kid transferred or else, in the case o f Math, unless you are willing to move yr kid down to SPectrum Math, they will be stuck with Thurik. I'm sorry, its not great, but I truly dont think thats the end of the world! What I think is worse is the horrible curriculum - if the bks were decent we could muddle through. As it is having an ineffective teacher and a crappy curriculum makes MAth difficult and just plain not fun for the kids, even those who like Math. The word is that most likely, none of these teachers will loop because its really hard to adjust the schedule to allow for only kids who had Chacon to continue to have Chacon, eg. But I guess my main message is everyone who is/has been super unhappy with Thurik and/or Chacon, or any other teacher, should DEFINITELY email or meet with CC and let him know. What gd is it spouting off on this blog if we dont take action and daylight these problems? I did meet with Carter to let him know how I felt - but at that time (early in teh yr) I was one of maybe 5 parents who complained. unless everyone else takes similar action we will continue to be stuck with these teachers and they wont see the need for any prof dev, or any changes.
-parent

Anonymous said...

7th grade has been much better overall.

I think Principal Carter is a good administrator in the wrong school.

I also think there are too many programs in the school. That is the result of MGJ and her failed attempt to run the district.

My student loves HIMS and I know that despite the bumps in the road the APP pathway is much better than reg MS in terms of preparing students for highschool.

Anonymous said...

Do any other HIMS parents feel their student gets too much video time in the classroom, and/or teachers showing too many videos that dont truly educate or relate to class content? Once in a while is OK, but some teachers abuse this. Guess what, there's actually a policy at HIMS about that. I am speaking to Mr Carter about this so if you have any concerns about specific teachers, let me know and I'll pass on the info. Thanks,

- Hamilton parent

Anonymous said...

Yes, and the selection of videos is sometimes questionable, but I also think it's tied to a lack of textbooks and a clearly defined curriculum. I would also say that as much as I appreciate a teacher's passion for a cause, it is possible to overdue it in the classroom, to the detriment of learning.

Anonymous said...

Anybody who feels that their student's teacher is showing too many videos, or too many videos with content that is not relevant to the coursework, can let me know the name of the teacher and I will include as a concern. You dont need to include yr name, just the name of the teacher and a brief note. In this thread there have been many concerns about specific HIMS teachers: granted its the end of the yr but I am just fed up with certain things going on at HIMS that are easy enough to bring to Mr Carter's attention, which is the only way we can hope to improve the situation. My meeting is already set for next week. Thnx for yr feedback,
- Hamilton Parent

Anonymous said...

My 7th grader explains that they watch movies, online videos, courses sometimes but it is mostly relevant in some way to their main subject. There were only a few exceptions so far was for example when they watched the movie "Kony 2012" in their homeroom or when there was a sub who was not a teacher. So I don't feel that for us this is a huge issue at the moment. But I would like to know which grade has this issue.
-7th grader

Anonymous said...

- Hamilton Parent
How was your meeting with Mr. Carter? Did you get the answers from him you were waiting for?
-Another HIMS parent

Anonymous said...

I will be attending a formal BLT meeting w/Mr Carter and other HIMS admin on Tuesday to discuss classrm POLICIES: video-watching in class (content and quantity) and Homeroom (what happens in Hmrm) are the 2 main policies I will be discussing, including defining the policies and enforcing. If you are a HIMS parent, then you know that some HmRm teachers do/dont allow eating, talking, leaving to meet with other students for study purposes, and doing HW. If you are not a HIMS parent you may be surprised to hear that currently, kids are not supposed to do Homework in Homerm, but rather to sit quietly and read (but not read anything you need to for HW). Its a ridiculous waste of time, IMO, and it totally varies among the different HR teachers. Those are my 2 biggest concerns re policy, but if you have other thoughts plz feel free to list them here by Tues AM and I'll bring them up if possible, esp if it seems like something several parents are concerned about. I know some parents are also concerned about communication: some teachers are very gd with email or their Fusion Page, others completely ignore it.
-rf

Anonymous said...

A discussion about homeroom sounds like it could be useful. I understand that the school is trying to carve out some time for sustained silent reading which for perhaps all APP students is not a need but surely is for others. I have not asked for details, but my daughter has mentioned getting a pass during homeroom used to go ask another teacher a question about work. Because kids on the bus can't go before or after school, homeroom is the only time for outside communication. I know that this has been very important to her. It also fosters responsibility. I support giving the students the choice of reading or working on homework, but I understand the school's emphasis on reading. I think that the kids can live with that, especially if the administration supports flexibility for occasional homework needs.

compromiser

Anonymous said...

gI suppose I should be grateful - my child does get HW done during homeroom and I hadn't heard it was not allowed in other homerooms. What idiocy. Which teachers don't allow homework during homeroom? Sometimes I have the feeling the teachers are doing there darndest to make sure a child doesn't succeed.

I would report that the same is happening in some APP elementary classrooms - a sustained [forced] silent reading time where all you can do is read (while the teacher sits at the computer). I don't know about your kids, but mine doesn't need to be forced to read. If the reading was content based for science, social studies, or LA, then perhaps I'd be more supportive of it as a set aside reading time during the school day. But sustained silent reading in middle school??

Anonymous said...

This is an example of forcing a curriculum on students (Readers and Writers Workshop) without making accommodations for different student needs. I was speaking to a parent at an elementary school whose teacher uses the sustained silent reading time for conferencing with students. This made more sense, and made me feel like our teacher was blindly following some district directive by having the forced reading time.

There is also an obsession with reading logs and the kids are penalized if they haven't filled them out - they don't get choice time and have to sit and do what else? Read. In earlier years of APP, reading wasn't a chore to be catalogued.

As far as homeroom, can't it just be silent work time? Why should the teachers be dictating how students use their homeroom time? Isn't middle school about learning how to budget time and use it wisely, like getting HW done during homeroom?

Anonymous said...

Can someone in the know give us an update as to who's saying what about moving APP kids from Hamilton after next year? Thanks!

Ham mom

Anonymous said...

Perhaps it's speculation based on sheer numbers (and past experience). APP is a program, without any guarantee of staying at Hamilton. I'd like to know how they're going to get through next year, let alone the year after.