Thursday, April 11, 2013

Open thread

Guess I spoke too soon about it starting to feel like summer in Seattle. As usual, please use this open thread to talk about whatever you like.

73 comments :

Anonymous said...

Were most kids in APP elem already high achievers at their neighborhood schools? I am hearing a meme that APP is for "different" kids unhappy at school but not necessarily the highest achievers for various reasons. I am debating pulling my daughters form back to our neighborhood school. I think I can do this as long as its not overenrolled, which it never has been in the past.

word said...

I have heard from the SPS office that APP presently serves both kinds of kids: those that appear to think in standard ways but are high achievers (my kid falls here) and those that perform exceptionally in certain areas because they "think differently" (Robert Vaughn's words). I think APP might have been conceived originally to serve the needs of these latter kids but both of these types of kids (and the continuum in between) have the potential to score in the APP range on the district tests. The difficult challenge for APP is to satisfy the needs of all of these types of kids - I think they do this poorly at this time. Mine falls into the first category. She was not unhappy in school and was perfectly happy to work below her capabilities and spend the rest of her time daydreaming......I had hoped APP would challenge her but I am still on the fence about whether it really does. She dashes off the APP work fast and spends the rest of the day playing Sims3 (grumble). If the district had a rigorous curriculum to start with then the needs of the high achievers could probably be satisfied by that at neighborhood schools. Both the science and math curricula are so poor that all pools of students are adversely affected.

These are just my observations.

-HIMS mom

NW Kindermom said...

I'm new to the program, but my take from reading the comments on this blog, the tours, and knowing the families who are choosing to attend in the fall is that when the program was at Lowell—a considerable bus ride for most of our kids—either your child was actively unhappy at the neighborhood school or you were hugely disappointed in the education your child was receiving. Now that the program is on this side of the water, it feels less like leaving a school that might have been a poor match for your child, and more like moving toward a program that might challenge a child appropriately.

Anonymous said...

When we went on the Lowell tour years ago, they kept making reference to "quirky" kids and it made me cringe. I thought it might be a backwards move for our child socially. Our child was happy at the neighborhood school, but academically unchallenged. I can't say the kids are any "quirkier" than elsewhere - I still cringe with the blanket characterization - but there is more challenge academically...not as much challenge as we expected, but still more than the neighborhood school. We feel there is still a ceiling on advancement, and less individualized pacing than was allowed or encouraged by old time teachers.

my 2cents

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much. It almost seems at times (in reading this and the other blog) like there are warring factions within APP, with the debates of who needs it ("normal" high achievers who should really just be in SPectrum against quirky or unhappy students who are "different") and it makes me wonder if the program is sustainable as it is.

Lori said...

Anon at 245PM, those debates are generally not occurring within the APP community, at least not from my "real life" experience talking to other parents, being at school events, going to PTA meetings and so on.

Remember, most people posting here do so anonymously, so you really don't know who they are or if they are credible. And for reasons that I truly don't understand, there is a lot of animosity directed at our kids and our program, and the blogs are full of people who feel free to say things about our kids that they'd never say about other kids. You have to take much of what you read on these blogs with a heaping dose of salt. A grain isn't enough. :-)

But seriously, I have been reading this blog for probably 4+ years, and I really do see a change lately. I used to feel more of a sense of community, and more people seemed to use a recognizable moniker. You got to "know" and trust the regular posters.

But I don't see that much anymore. And I've even wondered if someone or some group out there is messing around with us, trying to create false impressions by posting lots of anonymous comments claiming to be APP parents but saying things I never hear APP parents say in real-life. The thread with the 200+ posts about how to game things and get into the program with appeals? That was so bizarre and atypical for this blog. All the talk about scores and "My kid tests at the 99.99999%"? Again, people don't talk about that in real life. At least not the people I know.

For the original person from 250PM, my sense is that there are all sorts of reasons why people leave their neighborhood school for elementary APP. Some do it because the child isn't thriving, academically, socially, and/or emotionally. Others do it because they fear their happy child will underachieve if not better challenged. A happy kid who is the smartest in their class probably needs APP just as much as the unhappy kid who is so angry and frustrated that they refuse to do their homework, even though it's easy for them. And, those "different" unhappy kids tend to turn into "normal" happy kids once in the program.

Anonymous said...

"The talk about scores and "My kid tests at the 99.99999%"? Again, people don't talk about that in real life. At least not the people I know."

Sadly, I hear much more of this "in real life" than I used to. It may be encouraged by reading such comments on this blog, however. It leaches into real life.

Like some of the other posters, I worry we are heading somewhere toxic.

Anonymous said...

Lori - I agree with you. In my (albeit, only 2 years) as an APP parent I have never had/heard a conversation about our kids test scores/percentiles/reading levels etc etc. It just does not seem to be the done thing.
I actually noticed more discussion about scores at our neighborhood school prior.
So I really wonder who exactly is doing all this comparing/debating whether certain kids merit entry.
I also have noticed a lot of people talk about how they're thinking their kid out and going back to neighborhood schools- yet I haven't really heard about this actually happening much.
You raise an interesting point about the possibility of trolls!

Sniffy (not a troll!)

Anonymous said...

Sorry if this is a duplicate post - tried to post earlier and it disappeared into the ether, I think.

I'd appreciate hearing people's experience of the converse situation: staying at their local school or Spectrum program although their child is APP qualified. Our child would fit well into APP academically, but we have chosen to stay in our local school with Spectrum because we really love the school and he's finally getting his footing socially (moving him would be a big upheaval). How do you make it work for a child who really is quite far advanced at least in one subject (ie. Math)? We're looking at walk to math, but that hasn't been a perfect solution since the math classes weren't aligned this current year, so it made our son's daily schedule quite complicated. Also, walk to math will no longer be an option once he hits 4th or 5th grade as they only teach up to 6th grade. Poor kid is only in Kindergarten, but he was very excited to be able to do "harder" math that didn't bore him to tears. We've had to accept the tradeoff though - his day is really chopped up now. On the whole it feels like the right decision, but if it's like this every year, I'm not loving this solution.

How about psychologically? I'm concerned about the pressure to always be at the top of the class when one is far advanced beyond ones classmates, and what that will mean for the transition to APP at middle school, when that will most likely not be the case any longer once they are amongst a cohort of similarly advanced kids. Has anybody experienced this issue and either regretted not moving to APP sooner, or the opposite? How did you find balance for your high achiever?

I've heard that about half the kids at WMS APP are new to APP (same at HIMS?) so presumably many other families have grappled with this decision. Again, our primary goal is to try to make our local school/Spectrum work, before seriously considering a move. Please share your words of wisdom for those of us just starting the journey.

-New to Spectrum/APP

Anonymous said...

Umm, I don't think all the talks over scores are from trolls. Years ago when I had no idea what a cognitive test means vs. an achievement test vs. an IQ test, I went to several gifted discussion forums such as the Davidson's and it was all about scores, more scores and meaning. And appeals and more scores again.

Far more annoying is the whiny gimmes and let's dump on teachers even when they get an award. Yeah it's cushioned with stuff like research say cumulative effect from breathing freeway air may harm.... or requesting an IEP so APP students can get special bus. Bring out the masks. But the mean stuff on our teachers, well that takes the cake if you want to talk about trolls. Yeah, parents who write such crap must be Caesar's wife and perfect all the friggin time. It's bloody embarrassing to be associated with this chicken s**t stuff.

poisoned

Mercermom said...

Our older child switched to APP for middle school at WMS. The transition was very smooth academically. Socially, there was a little "we are the Lowell gang" stuff, and he really wanted to be with his friends in Spectrum. But his experience at Stevens seemed to prepare him fine.

Anonymous said...

Well - It's been 4 years since the "Lowell Gang" has started 6th grade at WMS. For the last 4 years, all the APP kids at WMS have been from the south end, with most coming from Washington reference area neighborhoods. Many kids from TM and kids new to APP at WMS tend to know each other from their neighborhood school, soccer teams, etc. So there is much more pre-existing social overlap among APP kids starting WMS now. By contrast, Under the old assignment system APP kids from Ballard wouldn't be likely to know an APP kid new to the program from Stevens and my guess is there was more of "Lowell" social group than there is now with kids coming mostly from nearby neighborhoods. Stevens is a good example -- some 6th graders from Stevens started APP this year and others started at TM, but they all socialize together. Perhaps a kid coming new to APP from west seattle would know fewer kids entering the program
-- middle school parent

RosieReader said...

Ingraham has a 65 person waitlist, and an incoming IBX class of 90. (Current IBX enrollees are 49 and 48 in 9th and 10th grade respectively.) Curious whether the wait list folks are also APP?

And BTW, welcome to Ingraham everyone.

Maureen said...

New... above was asking about keeping APP identified kids at their current school. (This is one of those cases where posters talk more about their kids online than they would ever consider doing with strangers in real life!)

We kept both of our APP identified kids at their K-8 through graduation. The older was a pretty conventional learner (very bright, but not noticeably out of the box) and did very well, I think, because he had (1)enough academic peers (APP qualified and not) and (2) veteran teachers who knew what they were doing to make sure he pushed himself to do his best work and kept learning.

My younger one might fall into the nonconventional learner category I suppose. She spent a chunk of K-1 sitting under tables crying because she found the other 25 kids frustrating and hated the noise (she was the type to complain about tags in her clothes.). Since she didn't learn like her brother, it didn't occur to me to test her for APP until a veteran teacher told me how smart she was in 2nd grade (bad mom!). We didn't move her to APP because (1)we REALLY valued the community and (2)I knew that her real challenge in life wouldn't be academic, but would be social and I wanted her to know that she was capable of (1)working with all sorts of people and (2)finding ways of pushing her limits whatever is going on in the classroom. She probably hasn't progressed as quickly academically (in math at least) as she could have at Lowell/HIMS, but she had some fantastic opportunities (particularly in science and in, her love, writing) that she would not have had in APP. I fully expect that by the time she graduates High School, she will have reached her full academic potential and, importantly to us, will have confidence that she can work with a variety of peers and can advocate for herself if teachers aren't offering what she needs. She did have at least five kids in her K-8 cohort who were qualified for APP and that probably helped, but she (unlike her brother) is not particularly peer oriented (one way or the other) so the teacher impact was probably more important for her. (Though, she has done a lot of her learning outside of school).

I think we all know our own kids best. Moving to APP can offer real academic and social salvation for some kids. I don't think it hurt my kids to leave them at TOPS. On net, I think they had a better experience there than they would have at Lowell/HIMS. There was also an element of big fish in a small pond that worked well for them both in K-8. I hope that was helpful to someone.

Anonymous said...

RosieReader, every other 8th Grade APP family we've talked to who applied has been accepted. So I doubt it. There was a lot of angst amongst some 8th Grade HIMS APP students towards Garfield this year and many, including my own made the decision early on. I suspect she was afraid of losing the cohort and not having a group of friends in her main classes to rely on.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone who chose Ingraham APP/IBx post some reasons for their family and student making the decision. My family and my son are still signed up for Garfield but are now seriously considering Ingraham?

Anonymous said...

Hey Anon @ 8:54 pm, in just about every thread there is someone like you asking about Ingraham vs. Garfield. In fact just scroll back and there is a thread about this very topic. Go read it. If you are serious, you would have done so already or better yet take your teen to visit both schools. Otherwise, it starts to sound tinny and suspect.

Anonymous said...

I have read the threads, as has my son. But haven't seen any responses from somebody who has or is making the choice. We are just curious about the particular reasons behind such a large decision. I apologize if my post wasn't clear enough. Another question, is if we have a good chance at a transfer even after open enrollment.

Anon at 8:54pm

Anonymous said...

Anon at 8:54pm,

Here are just a few of our reasons for choosing APP/IBx at Ingraham.

-Amazing support for the program from all faculty and administration (this is a big one, coming from previous experiences with Spectrum at Lawton and HIMS)
-A new symphonic audition-only full orchestra which promises to finally support the needs of high level middle school musicians.
-An actual 9th Grade APP specific curriculum in three core classes of LA, SS, and Science
-A continuation of some (about 2-3 each year) cohort classes through the IB years and Senior year, allowing for challenging academics and exposure to new peers.
-A really cool (from my daughter's words) senior year plan with internships and college seminars plus time to actually plan for college unlike an intense all AP senior year at Garfield.
-Didn't feel like asking questions was a bad idea, this seemed to get a less than welcome feeling at the Garfield events we attended (basically how we thought we were elitist and looked down on everyone else... Give me a break!)
-An acknowledgement for the first time in the entire district that APP students along with SPED and other groups actually have special learning needs and may need specialized instruction in a somewhat self-contained setting that puts them into the real world.

Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

Just a question, we are a current Spectrum family at HIMS and our child tested into APP/IBx at Ingraham for 9th Grade next year. However we are shown as on the waitlist for Ingraham APP. This is not shown on the waitlist page. Does anyone know why this is?

Anonymous said...

The 1st kids affected by changes to spectrum @ Lawton are only in 6th grade now, not heading off to HS unless you are grade skipping along with curriculum compacting. And the elitist attitude at Garfield won't be there at Ingraham? Why because everything is better? Maybe it's more because you are dissing a school to make a point, but not with enough details to support your point. Nor does it help to garner affection when more and more posters here are talking about moving kids from other programs out of a school when it's full. Hardly a considerate and friendly approach.

Anonymous said...

I apologize about not making myself clear, our younger child was at Lawton, (now at APP@Lincoln), and our older child was at the successful Lawton Spectrum program before moving to HIMS and now to Ingraham. Our family has been witness to the changes at Lawton and how Spectrum families were not truly listened to when the changes took place. It's hard to be affectionate at this point. I was just attempting to be helpful, and the truth is Garfield is overcrowded as many schools are, and when there is such an attractive option to families as Ingraham IBx, why not promote it? I don't mean to dislike Garfield but Ingraham just seemed like a better fit and a poster asked for opinions. As another response, the elitist debacle has been brought up at Ingraham, but the idea of self contained cohorts had already started with the IB program and the admin body is quick to defend the program and it's values, more than district or any other school has done.

Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

Any ideas as to why the Ingraham APP waitlist is not shown on the district website when we know there is one?
Just askin.

Anonymous said...

How self contained is IB anyway? It's a program that kids can choose some of the classes and not do the IB program and test. I didn't get the "elitist" feel from that. What about Roosevelt and kids in AP classes and taking pre cal class? Are there some looks at those kids for taking those classes? Is that elitist or just HS social strata at work? What I read is a push for an APP HS pathway that some of you may feel is not there at Garfield. So in the past, it was ok for APP students at Garfield, but not now. Somehow it's much better to have self contained classrooms for HS APP because ......? I'm not persuaded thus far that such self containment is necessary. Certainly not at the cost of dissing another school. I also see kids who aren't in APP capable of taking on pre-cal or calculus in 10th/11th grade or to write and think with just as much depth, beauty, complexity as our APP kids. I can see self contained classrooms in elementary schools from purely logistic reasons, but as kids come up in grades, not so much. In the end, colleges aren't asking for IQ tests, but achievements, and qualities of character like tenacity, grit, kindness, flexibility and the ability to deal with challenges. I'm not sure a self contained model from 1st grade to 12th is well rounded. It's not healthy to assume everybody is against you because of elitism. How much of that is a barrier you put up for your child? Listen to the frequent language used here by the adults and it's not pretty. I have a lot of respect for these kids and faith in their ability to get along with each other wthout the APP label far better than we do.

And FWIW, the Lawton thing happened because it was the first time Lawton had a large enough cohort to make a self contained classroom. Before then, there weren't enough kids, so it was mixed classroom of varying abilites. (It wasn't right anymore than what happened to many spectrum/ALO programs in many elementary schools now.)

Anonymous said...

I don't think Hope this Helps was dissing Garfield, simply stating that it may not be the best path for APP students. The frequently mentioned "golden ticket" to Garfield is so critizied because APP students get access to a great high school to take the same classes as somebody who wasn't in APP. We are a family who was not in APP in middle school, and would have looked at Garfield but couldn't because we had no APP label or neighborhood address. Basically APP students were getting special access to something not open to those who were not in APP middle school. Ingraham's APP program can be tested into and is therefore open to anyone with that merit ability. Math testing has nothing to do with APP, but it seems that at Ingraham, the partial self-containment of APP only and all of the other classes with IB students a year older and academically driven can help the learning environment in a class room over a melting pot Roosevelt LA or Garfield, per their course catalog.

New to APP at Ingraham

Anonymous said...

If you believe that, then how is that different from any more academically driven classes/program in other HS like Roosevelt, Chief Sealth, Ballard, Cleveland, or Garfield. Why not have kids who can do the work and want to do the work be in those classes, be they APP or not? That's why I like math as an example. In elementary school, it was far harder to differentiate math as a subject. As you get into upper MS and in HS, that isn't a problem unless you don't have enough seats in more advanced math (or science classes) Garfield didn't limit AP classes to just APP students. And that's the problem being stated on this blog. It's not Garfield that is the golden ticket, it's APP.

As to not allowing APP kids unless they're already in APP by 8th grade, that's a Garfield capacity problem dealt with by adding another APP site offering and persuading students, and more importantly on this blog anyway- their parents to go there (until space becomes an issue). APP admittance guideline has changed and that's another story in itself. But the comments on this blog hasn't been about that. How many newly tested incoming 9th grade APP students are there next fall (compared to the number of rising APP 8th grader in the program)? Is it significant? I look for trends and verify when I can. I also think admin folks, teachers, older studens, and other parents who don't comment read what we say and I want to offer a different viewpoint on this matter.

Maureen said...

Re "elitism" of IBx at Ingraham. Personally, I don't think it will develop as long as IBx does not consistently have smaller class sizes than Pre IB and Gen Ed. Also, it would really be nice if students who are qualified to take Chemistry as 9th graders (say they had Bio at a private middle school) could take APP Chemistry with the IBx kids. I'll concede cohort based IBx 9th grade LA and Social Studies. Whatever. (In my kid's experience) Pre IB Honors LA and SS are great. But it's silly to make a kid retake HS Bio and/or take SPS lame 9th grade science just because they didn't enroll in IBx. From my perspective (parent of a regular pre IB IHS student) a little bit of flexibility could easily ward off charges of "elitism."

Anonymous said...

Lord here we go again with self containment...now at high school. These kids passed one test on one day in their life. Maybe .1 % of these kids needs some sort of exclusionary education. Come on people. Your kid is not that one. Integration is a good thing. Maybe these people should go to a country like Finland, where everyone is Finnish and there is a pure race......mix it up people.

-Ted

Anonymous said...

If they can do the work they should be in.

-Ted

Anonymous said...

Wow, I really did not mean to spur such an intense discussion by I believe Maureen is correct, if they did the pre-course work in middle school, they should be given the challenging course suited to them. The self-contained classes, are in my opinion, only acceptable because they allow the class to work on the skills of a group of students who took similar courses the previous year or proved, by testing that they could do well in the classes. Frankly this problem has little to do with APP, and more with the lack of course alignment across the district. Had my second child remained in Spectrum, in a few years they could not go to Garfield for high school, even though the honors/AP pathway that APP students follow would be suitable to a spectrum student with the background at middle school. I also hate standardized testing as much as the next, but the problem with "if they can do the work, they should be in the class" model is the fact that some who say they can, can't or struggle (including in APP, and have not had adqueate prep course work or an achievement test to see if they have mastered the concepts. That is what I feel is wrong with the "one class fits all" LA classes at Roosevelt and to some extent, Garfield.

Hope this Helps

Anonymous said...

*but I believe

Hope this helps

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, Ted suggests self-contained APP equates segregation, and I’ve heard other comments that keeping APP kids in Spectrum or GenEd, or allowing for integration in APP provides an opportunity to expose APP children to non-APP kids and to learn to work with children of differing abilities.

While I actually have no problem with integrated classes, as long as children are nominated by teachers who feel they can do the work (not by getting a score on a test), I also know in my own life how valuable it’s been to attend a highly competitive college, attend graduate school with other focused and driven students, and work for the best company in my field with talented individuals who I learn from daily. We make these kinds of decisions for ourselves throughout our lives, so why the squeamishness when it comes to our children?

I would suggest that there are many ways to seek that diversity that is sorely missing from APP, as hopefully school is just one facet of our children’s lives. It just takes some extra work and thoughtfulness about our children’s relationships and life experiences. But I wouldn’t deny a child who is otherwise frustrated and bored in school, the opportunity to have a positive academic experience and learn to love Learning.

-Leaning toward APP

Anonymous said...

My point is that yes people of similar abilities do best when surrounded by others with similat abilites. But it is not necessary to be ONLY surrounded by similar people.

Also, my guess is that when you applied for top notch college or best company in your field, that you did not submit the score you received in kindergarten on one test that you took.

People evolve and learn from other people of differing abilites. Let's not create segregated communities for children beginning at the age of 5 or 6. Let others in and others out.

Having worked at a best in field company, I never saw people segregate based upon test scores or success from years ago. I saw people work together who had similar interest and abilites and who had recent successes (say a few years).

I am for APP and advanced learning but not as it is today.

-Ted

Anonymous said...

I don't quite follow the logic in the school vs work comparison. People are grouped by ability in the workplace in that you need a degree, related experience, etc. in order to even qualify for your job. And when you applied for college, you most likely submitted SAT scores, along with grades, that were used to sort and qualify students.

Students enter the APP program at all grade levels, not just 1st grade. Next year's entering 6th grade class, for both Washington and Hamilton, which will be 10-12 (?) classes of APP students, started as 3 classes of APP students in 1st grade at Lowell. They took multiple tests - there are four scores required for qualification - 2 for the CogAT and 2 for the MAP/achievement test.

Anonymous said...

Once you hit middle school, APP students are NOT segregated. In MS, you take three APP classes (LA, SS and science), and in the remaining classes you will likely be with a mix of Spectrum and gen ed kids, as well as kids from other grades. I don't see what the big deal is.

If APP is working well--providing education two years beyond grade level as intended--then shouldn't these kids theoretically continue to need somewhat different courses than those who have been on alternate tracks? Not all classes, but some? For classes with prerequisites and a logical sequence of classes that build up to it, are people suggesting that the prereqs shouldn't apply to non-APP kids who think they "can do the work"? I agree those who come, say, from a private school that offered more advanced prep classes should be placed at the appropriate level--and in our experience the schools DO that regardless of levels. Or do people suggest that things "reset" once you hit high school, so that those who have been on a Gen Ed or spectrum track but are willing to work hard should be equally qualified for the most advanced class options, they ae open to all? If this is the case, aren't the APP kids then "overqualified" and they essentially wasted a couple years on unnecessary prep? If they can't continue in the same trajectory throughout school, doesn't it imply some backsliding?

DisAPPointed

Anonymous said...

Where are people suggesting that any kid can be placed in an advanced class without meeting the prerequisite and showing competency? The only people talking about this and interpreting it this way are frustrated APP posters here. Lots of red herring and fear mongering.



Anonymous said...

@ Ted- I understand and in part agree with the frustration with testing from such an early age. However I think the issue is more about the kids who don't get netted by this system not those who do. As the poster above said there are actually multiple tests and a nomination process, plus this can occur at any point in Primary and i believe Middle school. I wonder if you're not actually fully familiar with the program because it's really not about one make or break test in K.
I've met some APP qualified kids who will do just fine in an integrated Spectrum class but it's really not your place to decide that a child who is two years or more beyond their grade level should languish in a class where they are not learning anything. Thank goodness there are options.
-Leaning toward APP

Anonymous said...

I have 2 children in APP. Read Hope this helps comments. Then maybe my response will become make more sense to you.

It seems like many people on tis blog need each nuance broken down into its minutae. Think people think.

-Ted

Anonymous said...

I believe that Ted's point is that there are kids who will test into APP in K or 1st but do not really show the need or the achievement to retain that label all the way through 8th grade, with the advantages that come with it. I see his point and Ive been guilty of noticing it myself. However, I think it's unhealthy to focus on this as long as it remains a small minority of APP students -- and really, there is no reason any of we parents should be looking to evaluate individual kids and whether they deserve the label. It's not healthy. Undeserving kids on the whole do not seem to merit discussion as a systemic problem, according to anyone other than Ted.

If I am honest I see a real problem with the MAP screening. Everyone at my school now thinks their kid is "gifted". Of course, most of them won't test into APP, but it causes problems and competitive stress. Our bigger problems, though, are with not missing advanced kids in schools where not everyone is "gifted", and getting them the services that they need. If MAP is the price for reaching these kids at the expense of churn at the NE schools, it's OK.

suep. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
suep. said...

@ New to APP at Ingraham -- Please take a look at the history of IPP/APP at Garfield. It's not a matter of "special access." Garfield was simply where the district chose to locate the only IPP/APP pathway for high schoolers who had come up through the accelerated program.

At the time IPP/APP kids were assigned to Garfield, it was an under-enrolled school and not considered a plum assignment.

The school has evolved over the years. But it is not the fault of APP students or families that the district assigned these kids there.

And opening another pathway to these kids at another under-enrolled school, Ingraham, was an inspired way to relieve crowding at the now popular Garfield location and help develop Ingraham.

@ Those who think that APP kids are only ever tested once in the course of their 12+ years in SPS, you don't appear to know the program very well. These kids have to maintain a certain pace and rigor in the accelerated program, and take many tests along the way.

Anonymous said...

Suep-

Your last statement is not accurate. Once you are in you are in.

-Me know

suep. said...

Speaking of tests, does anyone else in the APP middle school community find the seven tests scheduled for 8th grade APP students in the remaining eight weeks of school redundant and excessive?

MAP reading, MAP math.
MSP math, MSP reading, MSP science.
EOC geometry, EOC biology.

Time to send those opt-out notes to the school!

Anonymous said...

Me know-

Too bad you don't know. I know personally several families who were told that APP was moving too quickly for their child.

You are technically correct that there is no further testing after you are in, but that doesn't mean that kids are in for life if the program doesn't work for them. Not only have parents been persuaded that APP isn't a good fit for their child, other families have made this decision for themselves.

-sheesh

suep. said...

@ Me know -- Your statement doesn't even address mine.

The implication that APP kids are never tested once they are in the program, or that the CoGAT is the only measure of their abilities, is inaccurate.

If you are saying that APP kids never leave the program or counseled out by teachers or withdrawn by parents because it's not the right fit or they are floundering, then you are incorrect.

I know too.

Anonymous said...

I would suggest not opting out of EOC Geometry and Biology - they are graduation requirements for high school. If you don't take them now, you'll have to take them later.

Anonymous said...

Of course you wouldn't want to opt out of the EOCs, but everything else?

Anonymous said...

Lincoln question: any good guesses about how the school divide a projected first grade class headcount of 62? Will they be able to add a first grade teacher or will SPS insist on some other creative solution?

One More Year said...

Suep, or any other knowing indvidual, my question as a 7th Grade middle school APP parent is what the Garfield APP pathway actually is? You say it's not special access, but your justification was from before the NSAP. Besides Science (1-2 Years) and History (1 Year), there is no APP pathway at Garfield that is different from a Spectrum or Gen Ed student. Before our family joined APP in middle school, it was hard to see the point of APP (for gifted learners) if they had no classes or acceleration over other students who had not come up with the pathway and not tested (LA,and Science to some extent). In other words, if APP students are the same seats as Gen Ed students, they should have equal access to the school. This logic seems to only apply to Garfield, as the other five schools have gifted core classrooms. This topic has been brought up before, but with high school changes envitably on the way because of overcrowding, this issue should be discussed.

Anonymous said...

@One more year-

Math is generally two years ahead of others, also. Music classes and languages are based on prerequisites or placement as well and tend to somewhat self-sort toward APP/spectrum kids, most notably Latin.

The issue that parents need to speak up about is a change proposed by GHS LA dept. for some unspecified future time to do away with LA9H. I don't understand the logic here at all. Seems like way more work for those teachers to have every level in one class. We don't do it with math, so why LA? Please speak up about this plan.

sidneyd

Anonymous said...

On the topic of math, with HIMS moving to no grade level only math classes completely next year (started with APP 6th Graders in APP 7th Grade Algebra 1), besides scheduling what is the logic behind this. Same at Garfield, with Freshman and Seniors in the same math class, with different groups feeling bogged down by the slowness to grasp the concept of the others. It seems that mixed grade math is deemed acceptable while mixed grade LA is not? Maybe instead of wasting all this time on testing, focus could be put in a stronger pre-algebra curriculum so APP could start there in 6th, spectrum eligible would start at Math 7, then move to pre algebra,and Algebra 1. Without extra outside classes or tutoring (albeit the MAP scores), most students (including APP) would not be ready for Algebra 1 in 6th grade. If there was a stronger curriculum, maybe we wouldn't have this problem.

6th Grade APP Algebra 1 Parent

Anonymous said...

What I don't quite understand is what gets covered when 6HH is eliminated. Isn't 6HH a combination of 7th and 8th grade CMP books? Will 6th grade APP students now do 8th grade level math, but skip some of the 7th grade CMP books, or does 7th grade Spectrum level math cover the same CMP books/topics as 6HH?

confused

Anonymous said...

Re: the question of 62 first graders at Lincoln. I don't have any insight into how the school plans on dealing with this - but I know when APP was at Lowell, it was pretty common to have mixed grade classrooms (which I assume was how they handled this sort of challenge).

Jane

Anonymous said...

Jane -
I'm guessing the APP @ Lincoln PTA will just pay for another teacher, per this year's experience.

K said...

Hi! I'm new to this board, coming back to Sea after many years away. I've been poking around the board to learn all I can about APP. When we get to Sea next summer my kid will be entering 4th grade. My question: if you could live in Sea, Bellevue, Shoreline and the only thing driving where you live is deciding btw APP in Sea, Prism in Bellevue, and HiCap in Shoreline (or frankly any other district with ok commute to the U), where would you pick and why? My kid is super ahead in math, bright verbally, and socializes well. Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

To K:
If I could pick I would go to Bellevue with no question whatsoever. They have an amazing gifted (and regular) program all the way (K-12).
Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Jane and Anon@2:46PM for addressing my Lincoln 1st grade question. It sounds like it will depend on resources from the district.

Anonymous said...

No, it doesn't depend on district resources. It is based on the WSS - weighted staffing standards that apply to all schools. Staffing is determined based on the numbers according to WSS. Each principal then decides how to allocate classroom teachers (with some class size limitations). If a split such as a 1-2 split is needed, the principal decides what class to split I-2 sits are common in APP and splits are common in many schools especially with the NSAP where numbers cannot be controlled in nice class-sized packages.
-- SPS parent

Anonymous said...

If there's a split, like gr 1/2, is it random which kids go up/down or is it based by ability?

K said...

Thanks! Anyone else have an opinion about which district you'd pick?

Anonymous said...

Anon-

In the past splits have been done partly by age. Younger 2nd graders will be placed with older 1st graders, etc.

The reality is that there are lots of new kids entering in the lower grades so the principal isn't able to place by ability.

-long timer

Anonymous said...

I think you have to test in if you are a 1st grader to be in the 1/2 split.

High Flyer

Anonymous said...

High Flyer - that is not correct that you "test in" to get into a split. Each principal works with teachers to decide which kids get assigned to which classes, making assignments for many reasons -- seeking balance in terms of gender, age, student personalities, etc. one factor can be age -- very young 1st graders or very old 2nd graders may be less likely to be placed in a 1/2 split, but that is not always the case.
-- SPS parent

Anonymous said...

K,
Have you visited this area? I think the best way would be to visit and see which city is most suited for your family. The people who settle in Bellevue and Shoreline are different than those who choose Seattle. Seattle is much more liberal than Bellevue is, and has more cultural and artistic resources and venues. Education is important but it is only one part of your life, and you seem like someone who would have the time and resources to help your child succeed in school no matter which district they are in. I would spend at least a couple of weeks in the area, see which city is most suited for your needs and values. If you are going to be teaching at the UW, you might want to ask those who you most like to be friends with where they live, and why they chose that neighborhood.

CCA

Anonymous said...

K:
Another way to decide which school district you would like to move into is to check online the different schools, their achievement, rankings in WA State, placement on different (math, chess, music) competitions. There are a lot of info out there, but I think it is worthwhile to take your time before the decision. And I would also suggest to look around because nothing could replace the personal impressions...
HIMS mom

Anonymous said...

I would avoid SPS.

-10 years in

Meg said...

K: Mercer Island or Bellevue, if the decision is based on district stability. If you decide on Seattle, make sure you are well inside the assignment area of the schools you desire (say, Garfield). I adore Seattle, despite my love of sunshine (and its frequent lack of it).

My feelings about SPS are much more... ambivalent. Don't get me wrong - there are many schools doing wonderful things. But there are no guarantees that district administration won't capriciously remove what's wonderful, or that rising enrollment won't force removal of those great things due to a lack of space.

Anonymous said...

@ SPS Parent,

Are you sure? I was under the impression that in order to be with the year ahead you had to test in or do exceptionally well on MAP in order to try and keep simalarly able minded kids together.

-High Flyer

Anonymous said...

Maybe for the newly incoming students, the principal will look at spring MAP scores from their old school.

Anonymous said...

High Flyer -- yes, I am sure. All APP 1st graders by definition do exceptionally well on the MAP (putting appeals aside), so all would "test high". There is no placement test for 1st graders going into K-1 splits. Moreover, principals do not tend to share the why's of their placement decisions. Often, the names of all the kids entering a school aren't even known until the last minute, and those last kids just get placed where there is room. In some schools such as McGilvra this year, all classes in certain grades are splits so there isn't a choice. Before MAP existed at Lowell, there was also no test to determine a split. Splits have pros & cons. Often principals assign experienced, strong teachers to splits so they can even be more attractive in some ways.
-- SPS Parent

Anonymous said...

Split classes should still be providing two separate grades of instruction. In other words, a 1/2 split shouldn't be about providing Grade 1.5 materials to upper end first graders and lower end 2nd graders, but rather 1st grade materials to most 1st graders and 2nd grade to most 2nd graders. Granted a split allows for a bit of additional differentiation for those younger kids who are ready for greater challenges or those older kids who need a bit of review--so there is some blurring of the lines--but you certainly don't need to strive for "like minds" in order to make it work.

Depending on numbers, it may even be easier to have greater differences in abilities in some cases... I was in a split class in elementary school, in which there were only 6-8 kids from the older grade in with the younger. In our case they intentionally selected the most capable older kids to be in with the younger grade, as they figured we would be best able to work independently or as a small group when needed. Maybe it was a fluke, but it worked pretty well.

So I wouldn't worry too much. I think schools take a lot of factors into consideration when building split classes, and from what I've seen they generally know how to make them work. It's important, however, that the older kids--and their parents--don't view their inclusion in a split class as some sort of "demotion" or evidence they aren't as capable as their grade level peers...

HIMSmom

hschinske said...

I was told (quite some years ago now) that the reason for split classes having older kids from the lower grade and younger kids from the upper grade is that their developmental needs would be more similar, as their ages would not vary much more than those in a one-year classroom. This is in terms of average attention span, degree of wiggliness, fine motor skills, etc., not academic skills. It also meant that children were not likely to be assigned to split classes for two years in a row.

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

Re splits at APP: I was told years ago that the second graders in 1/2 splits at APP were usually all going to be kids who were new to APP, not returning 1st graders, b/c that way they didn't feel as orphaned by being put in a split. Might possibly also give them the chance for a little extra help if they missed certain math concepts at their neighborhood schools. They are taught math separately. And, by the way, the two experienced first grade teachers - one of whom would probably have the split - are fabulous. And there are more new 2d graders tahn would be in the split, so don't assume your new 2d grader will be. Most won't. And for the poster who said "they'll just pay for another teacher" - nope. It was done this year as a 1 time only thing b/c a teacher would have been removed in late October/early November, and the rejiggering of classrooms would have involved something like 10 rooms of kids, which was absurd and incredibly detrimental to learning. But this year APP at Lincoln seems to have voted against paying for the Asst Principal next year after the district decided that a 550 kid school doesn't need one. Voted for spending our money on our own math curriculum rather than on another salary (we can see that the district would expect PTA to fund everything next, including the water and electricity and custodian, if they could.). -- happy my kids have to work now; happy to have two small fish