Monday, October 29, 2012

Open thread

Looks like we might need a new open thread. Have at it!

66 comments :

Anonymous said...

Have any 1st grade parents received a test date letter yet? I never got the confirmation email that SPS received the application.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe that a confirmation email is standard practice--am I missing something?

Anonymous said...

AL website says letters are mailing on 10/31.

Anonymous said...

How much do teacher recos truly count toward APP admission?

Cat mom

Anonymous said...

We haven't gotten our test date letter yet -- has anyone?

Anonymous said...

I see that in the District Report Card and the individual school reports, Lincoln is still combined with Lowell (under the Lowell name of course).

Mom of a kid at a school which apparently must not be named

Anonymous said...

Are any 7th grade APP parents who got the letter from Dr. Vaughan about the CTY program going to the meeting at Hamilton next Monday? I can't make it but would love a report. We're particularly interested in the math options.

7th grade mom

Anonymous said...

7th grade mom-

Sorry, I can't help with your question, but I wonder if you would answer a question? I have a 6th grader at HIMS, and I am wondering what criteria needs to be met to get the CTY letter? I am curious what information CTY is getting.

Curious at HIMS

Anonymous said...

About the JHU-CTY: you could find every details of the programs online @ http://cty.jhu.edu/

1: has great math programs for every level (between K-12). But the online programs or the summer camps are expensive if you have to pay for it. They do ask for testing into the talented program twice: once for for the early programs (K-6), and again for the regular programs (7-12) and you can enroll to any of their programs only after you qualified (I have heard that APP/ Spectrum students usually do really good on the qualifier tests in any level).

2. Our AL Office is checking our 7&8th grade students' MAP scores and they send out invitation letters to those students districtwide who scored really high (99% or more on the last MAP). In their invitation letter they tell you the next meeting (place and time) where you can meet the CTY people and ask questions. And after that there will be a test option so that your student could enroll (an SAT test with no writing part) and with the test result your student could qualify for their online programs and / or their summer camps. This whole procedure started last year before CTY introduced their first summer camp for 7th and 8th graders here is Seattle this summer. I don't think that the CTY has any of our information (at least that is what I am hoping for).
HIMS mom

hschinske said...

When my kids took the SAT for talent search, they did have to do the writing portion. Has that changed?

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

My 7th grader (at the time) took the Talent Search SAT this spring at HIMS and that didn't have a writing part. But I think you can take regular SAT test also to qualify (but that wouldn't be part of the Talent Search).

Anonymous said...

WE received a letter for our 7th grader on the CTY program. Not sure I understand what this is all about - it seemed like an "opportunity" for kids to take more courses or classwork online? Not sure I understand the benefit of this, my kid would not be interested in doing more work beyond the regular required schoolwork. appreciate yr feedback.
- Hamilton mom

Anonymous said...

re.: CTY
It is an opportunity for talented students to do more homework if they are interested in a subject (or 2) which goes beyond the regular classwork. There are online courses and summer camps available (for a tuition if you are not eligible for an aid). These courses are optional, it is a honor to qualify to be among the CTY students nationwide, and also you could add the finished courses (and earned credit scores) to your college application.
HIMS mom

Anonymous said...

My child is a 6th grade APP student at HIMS. We are new to APP, so I don't know what to expect. The way science is being taught (or not taught) sounds wrong. Lots of videos shown in class and they are being tested on material that the teacher has not taught.

Anyone else hearing this about the class?

-interested HIMS parent

Anonymous said...

-Interested HIMS parent
I experience the same with my 6th grader. I encourage you to contact the teacher first and then the 6th grade counselor if the issue is not solved. The new principal is really listening to our problems IMO but she should be our last resort. And the more parents contacting the administration about the issues, the better.
Another HIMS parent

Shannon said...

About Science:

Another 6th Grade Parent here. I have a detailed example of the problems of our science class from our last unit.

I you would like to get together and draft a letter to the science teacher together, I would like that.

Shannon

Anonymous said...

Is anyone else surprised by the low level of donations to the Hamilton fundraising drive? Both of my kids' elementary schools (they went to different (but public) school) raised much more money. As far as I can tell, the demographics of their elementary schools were pretty similar to Hamilton.

Hamilton mom

Anonymous said...

Fundraising for the music program is separate (FOMAHI), whereas in elementary, the music program was part of the total fundraising goal.

Anonymous said...

True - but Hamilton is also twice the size of the elementary schools. It surprises me that parental support seems to drop off so much in middle school.

Hamilton mom

Anonymous said...

Ham mom-

In my short experience thus far at Hamilton, there is also a drop-off in teacher quality. My kid has a couple of duds. Don't even get me started on the math fiasco this year.

This things do affect a willingness to donate.

-hope things get better, but not thrilled so far

Anonymous said...

Hamilton mom
This is my 3rd year at HIMS and experienced the same, dropping parental support (in donation and volunteer work also) in all these years (in comparison of the elementary school). But so far this is the lowest level of donation in the beginning of the 4th week of the Fall Fund Drive. I hope we can do better...
Another Ham mom

lendlees said...

I think part of the donation issue is that there doesn't seem to be an obvious need for the money. HIMS has such a large support staff (counselors, AP's, registrar, attendance, secretaries) and fully-funded electives (music, art). In addition, with HOST now charging for after-school classes, parental $$ support doesn't seem necessary.

word said...

Since coming to HIMS I have had to do a lot of remedial math and science education for my child. I expected not to have to do that in the APP program. It is taking up a lot of my time.

That does put a damper on my willingness to contribute.

word said...

Actually, remedial may not be the right term - proactive science and math education would be more appropriate.

Anonymous said...

Is the need for science and math support at home partially a function of what was, or wasn't, learned in the elementary grades? We see it extending beyond math and science, but to history as well. For example, it's hard to compare the political organizations of ancient civilizations to that of the US when you didn't learn about the US government in 5th grade (part of the state standards).

In math, I am finding consistent gaps - lack of quick math fact recall, not knowing basic conversions between units, practice needed in basic factoring and simplifying of fractions before multiplying (related to not knowing math facts cold), reminders needed about organizing and showing work, just to list a few. Are these just common for their age, or are they instructional gaps?

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:40 - it would help if you would choose a name

EDM and CMP definitely left gaps in my kid's knowledge. We had an excellent APP teacher in 3rd grade who worked hard to make sure the kids had their math facts down. She did this one her own, and it is NOT part of the curriculum. I am very glad my child had this benefit. In my opinion, the CMP curriculum is even worse than EDM. It is so repetitious and boring. It's no help that the 6th grade APP teacher won't differentiate.

Science is another matter. It is truly terrible. Testing on material that's not been taught is inexcusable. That he's also boring, is just a shame. Kids tend to love science, but this is a good way to try and kill whatever interest the kids have.

-hope things get better, but not thrilled so far

Anonymous said...

If you think your child isn't getting what you think they need please check the state standards. Teachers aren't allowed much flexibility at all on this. While many can 'teach under the radar' it is far more difficult now with the new evaluation system. Here is the link to the standards

http://www.k12.wa.us/corestandards/

Also, innovation and courage are contagious. Support those teachers who you think are exemplifying what APP should look like and other staff will rally to them or see that maybe they aren't the right fit for the program. Support your local APP Adventurer.

someone said...

The Common Core Standards (adopted by WA) cover math and LA only. There are still WA state science and social studies standards:

http://www.k12.wa.us/SocialStudies/EALRs-GLEs.aspx

http://www.k12.wa.us/Science/default.aspx

For 4th grade, social studies should cover WA state, including geography, economy and government.

For 5th grade, social studies should cover the beginnings of the US up through the American Revolution, Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. "They also learn what the structure and function of the U.S. federal government is and how people participate in civic life."

Anonymous said...

just curious how the donations compare north to south

anyone know the amounts?

someone said...

Students are still being tested on the WA standards through 2013-14 and therefore you still need to cover the 2008 Washington K-8 Learning Standards through then. OSPI has a document showing the transition. If CCSS and WA 2008 standards overlap, you can use the CCSS standards, but you still need to cover the remaining WA 2008 standards.

http://www.k12.wa.us/CoreStandards/pubdocs/Three-YearDomainImplementation.pdf

Anonymous said...

New to this blog and sorry if this is the incorrect place to pose this question. I have a son in private (catholic) school. Long story short, he is very bright (not tested through SPS yet, but private testing put him at 98%) but also has a learning issue. Though i'm not a huge fan of the term 'twice exceptional', is anyone familiar with whether the SPS APP program can accomodate kids who are 'gifted' and have learning differences/issues? His school is not able to accomodate either of these issues in our opinion and we are seeking options. Thanks!

word said...

My student went to North Beach Elementary school and her math education was superlative. They used Saxon there.

Now she is struggling with the baroque and obtuse CMP math that insists upon using their methodology rather than simple basic methods (the methods we all use in science at the University). This is compounded by a math teacher who - amazingly - has no math skills. So we are trying to be proactive so that she will not fall back from her high level of performance.

Science this year (6th grade at HIMS) is also problematic but less so than the math.

So, no, we are not trying to remedy elementary school deficiencies - we are trying not to lose ground in the HIMS APP program.

Pathetic huh?

Anonymous said...

@word - Your complaints are not new. Hopefully, you are sharing your concerns with both the teacher and administration.

A small number of families have either homeschooled their way around it, or - this year at least, been able to move right into Algebra I in 6th grade.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous with the 2e child: I have a child in the APP program at Lincoln. He is 99th percentile and ADHD and on the Asperger's spectrum. It is by far the best place he could be -- he has a 504 plan, but his teachers have been incredibly accomodating even before we put it in place. His cohort is very accepting (he is by far not the only kid with these issues) and I have no doubt that the elementary school APP program is the place for him. I'm cautiously optimistic about Hamilton -- we'll give it a try.

-APP fan

Anonymous said...

It seems weird to me that Advanced Learning hasn't sent testing dates to parents yet. I know they said mid-November. They have to be getting tons of emails from parents.

West Seattle Parent of 3 said...

Anonymous with the 2E son in Catholic school - I have two of them. Mine are in 9th and 7th grades - and the problem doesn't improve as they get older. I'd be happy to talk to you if you'd like.

NESeattleMom said...

And APP is not mentioned in the new BEX plan.

Anonymous said...

Was Hamilton's impending capacity crisis discussed last night at the APP AC?? Since it is set to implode this coming September, about 10 months away, did they formulate their response, or even an approach to communicate and engage stakeholders?
--curious

Anonymous said...

It would be nice to know of any plans re: Hamilton capacity and possible scenarios prior to open enrollment. I am imagining some scenarios that would influence my choice come open enrollment, but have a gut feeling that any significant changes will be announced after open enrollment (like the move to Lincoln).

also wondering

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if the Cognitive Abilities testing letters have gone out?

Anonymous said...

Unless your school was tested yesterday, they haven't.

Anonymous said...

Ours arrived this past weekend for testing about two weeks from now.

Anonymous said...

We got a notice for Advanced Learning testing for Saturday, 12/8, in today's mail.

BryantMama

Anonymous said...

We didn't get ours for Bryant yet...does it give a time? How early do they start?

Anonymous said...

The notice we got says 1:30 PM on 12/8, and asks you to check in 10 minutes early. You may want to try to contact the Advanced Learning office as well. Not sure if they stagger different grade levels at different times or not. Good luck!

BryantMama

Anonymous said...

We got test date letters for two kids at the same school - one for 12/4 and one for 12/12 - so they are clearly staggering by grade. It mentions they'll have makeup dates later in Dec.

Unfortunately, we'll be out of town all December. Does anyone know how flexible SPS policy is on rescheduling testing? I've sent them email, but haven't heard back yet.

TwoKids

Anonymous said...

From the Operations memo Nov. 16th 2012 from P. McEvoy to J. Banda - essentially, looks like they are counting on splitting us by the time Wilson Pacific is built. My guess is the new school for the Thornton Creek property, and it will be a NE NW split.

APP Program Placement Update:
In a letter to the APP at Lincoln Community dated September 28, 2012, (see attached PDF) Superintendent Banda provided the following update on APP Lincoln program placement:
-APP students will remain at Lincoln for the next five school years, including this year.
- If BEX IV is approved, staff recommended moving the current north end APP elementary students to a new Wilson-Pacific building (tentatively scheduled to open for the 2017-18 school year.)
- Beyond the 2017-18 school year, in addition to Wilson Pacific, we might consider additional locations for APP if enrollment continues to increase or if recommendations to provide additional regional programs are made. That’s why it is important that we build flexibility into our BEX IV plan.
-I have also asked the capital planning staff to review options at the interim site to address concerns with the play area and lunchroom facilities.

-signed, just 'fyi'

Anonymous said...

Thank you @fyi

Interesting, but not altogether surprising. Watch for claims of entitlement, though, if we assume the new building is for APP and AEII gets the old. They've always had waiting lists, so why not more capacity for them? All we have ever been asking for is a home, and we were fine with funky old 1919 Lowell CapHill. It was nothing fancy, but we were together.

open ears

apparent said...

John Marshall. 760 seats.

Anonymous said...

John Marshall. Right next to the freeway.

apparent said...

John Marshall. Further from the freeway than TOPS and John Stanford International School.

Anonymous said...

Is anyone familiar with the "People To People Ambassador Programs"?
My kid (fifth grader) was invited to participate at the beginning of the year, but we didn't pursue this "opportunity" due to the cost.
CTY is also pretty expensive.
Does the district get a cut for each SPS student that enrolls?

Anonymous said...

We are surprised at how often videos are shown in one of our child's classes (middle school). How much video watching do you consider too much?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous -

Are you talking about 6th APP grade science at HIMS?

The 6th grade science class has been completely worthless. Lots and lots of lame video off of you tube. I have no idea why it's allowed. My kid likes the teachers lectures even less than the terrible videos. Why is this class allowed to be so bad?

-want good science

Anonymous said...

No, I wasn't referencing 6th grade science...so maybe the issue extends beyond a particular class.

Anonymous said...

6th grade science @HIMS involved a good amount of video watching last year as well (different teacher). Perhaps this is an issue that should be discussed with school leadership.

Anonymous said...

I talked to "school leadership" and was told to work it out with the teacher. Very disappointing. That tells me that she approves of this. I talked to parents of older kids who had this teacher last year, and was told it's status quo. Without the principal's push, I don't see much hope for change.

-want good science

Anonymous said...

When I've had concerns, I'm told to address them with the teacher first, then talk with administration if you can't get any resolution.

Anonymous said...

It is the principal’s responsibility to address concerns raised by parents simply to maintain confidentially so no student is retaliated against as a result of a parents concern.

Anonymous said...

- HIMS 6th grade science:
I think it is only part of the problem that the students watch youtube videos in class (and that the teacher doesn't "teach"). I feel that the bigger problem is the curriculum and the provided book. And it is the same in 7th and 8th grade (so don't think it will get any better).
- bad news about science

Anonymous said...

I agree that the bigger problem is the curriculum/books, especially in 6th grade. For 7th grade science this year, the new teacher has done an amazing job of supplementing the text. There has also been a writing component to the units (teacher created?)- which is more essay writing practice than is currently happening in LA. We're actually pretty happy with science this year. Kudos to the new teacher.

Anonymous said...

We are frustrated with 8th gr APP Science at HIMS this yr. The teacher's methods are baffling to say the least. My son goes with the flow so he hasnt complained much but the teacher seems really odd, incompetent, and quick to use what seems to be uneeded disciplinary actions. Very strange. Science in general has been disappointing at HIMS, sad because it is (or could be) the favortite subject of many kids. Would like to hear feedback from other 8th gr parents about their science experence this year, are we alone in our concerns? Not sure but i think there's only one APP Science teacher who has been there for many years.
-Hamilton mom

Greg Linden said...

Looks like here is a lot of interest in talking about science at Hamilton. I started a new thread for it, broadening it to talking about science in APP in general, "Science in APP". Please keep this going over there, I suspect many would be interested in hearing more about what is going on at Hamilton and whether it is typical of how science is taught in APP.

Anonymous said...

You are not alone in your concerns. I do hope parents are forwarding their concerns to school leadership, especially for classes that have had issues for years. They need to see concerns are not limited to a small number of whiny parents.

There have been a few issues addressed this year because parents expressed concern and the principal took action. An example is changing the homeroom policy so students can use the time for homework rather than forced reading time (some teachers allowed HW last year, while others enforced the reading requirement). It may seem like a small thing, but compared to last year it's not. The principal also responded to parent concerns around the original number of early release days planned for this year.

Anonymous said...

You should first and foremost communicate your concerns with the teacher.

-Protocol

Anonymous said...

Hey, perspective APP parent here, just tried to look at the program sites for APP on the Seattle Public Schools site and the link is broken. Are they revising the site list?