Thursday, September 27, 2012

Friday, September 21, 2012

Open thread

A lot of new topics on this blog lately. What else is on your mind?

Update: This thread appears to have mostly turned into a discussion of the APP AC. Let's go ahead and make it about that. I'll open a new open thread for other topics.

Boycott MSP/HSPE?

By request, a threat to discuss an APP boycott of MSP/HSPE tests (those scores are important in the state's measures of the performance of Seattle Public Schools, so an organized boycott would get attention). This topic has come up a number of times, but there has never been an organized effort to get a significant percentage of APP students to opt out of those tests. Should there be?

Too many early release days?

By request, a new thread to discuss the very high number of early release days at some schools this year (Hamilton apparently has 20).

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Monday, September 17, 2012


A draft of the BEX IV plan came out recently, and it sounds like parents are getting concerned.

One parent wrote:
it shows APP@Lincoln through 2016-17. The modernized Lincoln high school is shown as opening 2019-20 (a current 5th grader would be a HS senior). The interim site for Lincoln HS would be the John Marshall building, beginning in 2017-2018 (a current 5th grader would be a HS sophomore). Beginning in 2014-15, John Marshall is scheduled to be an interim site for the new middle school at Wilson Pacific (a current 5th grader would be in 7th grade). John Marshall is shown as an interim site beginning in the 2013-14 school year, but with no indication of who would be there. Will APP@HIMS be split, and/or moved to John Marshall for next year, when JM becomes an interim site? Is the interim site for APP@Lincoln just for elementary?
Another quoted a SNAPP (the north-end PTA) e-mail saying:
If approved, the BEX IV levy will provide capital funding for 6 years (2014-2019) to help with building remodeling, replacement, and new facility projects district-wide.

We are very troubled by the lack of a clearly defined plan for APP@Lincoln and the uncertain future of north-end elementary APP. We are therefore asking families to attend the first BEX IV community meeting, this Thursday, September 20th from 6:30-8PM at Whitman Middle School (9201 15th Ave NW).

We have 3 major concerns at this time:
1: APP@ Lincoln has no clearly designated building assignment in this latest iteration of BEX IV projects. Because the district considers APP@Lincoln to be a program, not a school, they can "slice and dice" us as they see fit to meet capacity needs rather than to meet advanced learners' needs.
2: As a program, our placement is decided by the Teaching and Learning department, which is currently lacking a director and interim director due to recent personnel changes within the district. Without decision-makers who understand the academic, social, and emotional needs of highly capable learners, our school remains an easy target for displacement and disbandment.
3: The district is not utilizing student roll-up data (ie, projecting which middle schools current elementary students will attend based on current elementary assignment patterns rather than home addresses) to assess needs for middle-school capacity. As a result, the district is not building sufficient middle-school seats in our region.
BEX IV will determine capacity for the next several years. Certainly looks like it doesn't do much to address the poor temporary location of APP elementary in the north-end at Lincoln nor the severe overcrowding at Hamilton. And I'm not sure if the BEX IV plan has much in it to address likely overcrowding at Thurgood Marshall, Washington, and Garfield either.

Update: Charlie Mas just put up a post, "BEX IV Re-order", that has some thoughts on BEX IV.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Open thread

How are things going, APP parents? These first weeks of school are always hectic. What's on your mind?

Keeping north and south together

By request, and based on a lot of discussion in the last thread, let's talk about what parents can do to keep the north and south APP working together.

The core issue is that, with all the splits, we are getting close to having separate APP programs in Seattle for the north and for the south. The south/central APP would do Thurgood Marshall -> Washington -> Garfield. The north currently can do Lincoln -> Hamilton -> Ingraham (though capacity is an issue there, many come to Washington or Garfield at at the transitions, and north APP will probably have to move out of at least two of those schools -- and may even split NE and NW for elementary -- in the near future). We are heading down a path where parents and students in the north APP could never see students in the south APP and visa-versa. They almost would be separate programs in everything but name. Is that a good thing?

Other issues mentioned include the math curriculum differences (especially the different textbooks used at Thurgood Marshall this year compare to the older ones at Lincoln, but also the lack of algebra for 6th graders at Hamilton and the lack of AP classes at Ingraham). Lack of cooperation between the north and south PTAs has come up multiple times. And inequity in PTA funds (which tend to be much greater in the north) has been mentioned in previous threads.

The first question might be, what do parents want? Should APP be the north and south separate? Should it even be each school on its own? Do you want APP to be a city-wide program, region-specific program, or school-specific program?

The second question might be, what can APP parents do? Are there things we, as parents, can ask our PTAs to do? Can we work for specific things that might help? To take one example, parents could work for funding for teacher training city-wide across all schools, for math training or instruction on gifted education, that gets teachers in the north and south working together and sharing knowledge? In general, what can we do that might help?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

First day of school

How was your first day of school?

What are you happy about? What problems are you hitting? And what questions do you have for other APP parents? Please discuss!