Tuesday, May 28, 2013

APP services will be offered at additional sites

On the last open thread, a parent quotes a letter just sent out by Superintendent Jose Banda which says:
We recommend increasing the number of highly capable (APP) elementary and middle school pathways, with guaranteed assignment, to increase access and bring services closer to where students live. If approved, this means APP services will be offered at additional sites – beyond Hamilton and Washington Middle School.
Full letter is here. Please discuss.

Update: Here is the presentation for the May 29 meeting mentioned in the letter.

Update: There is a post, "Preliminary Boundary Presentation", about this over on the Seattle Schools Community Blog that discusses the broader changes.

Update: Melissa Westbrook writes, "AL is being revamped, without input or information." Another parent writes, "The cohorts are likely to be awfully small at some of the locations, and I think the words 'self-contained' will quietly disappear for APP classes. APP will be treated like Spectrum has lately and classes will be filled with school-chosen kids. As a veteran of the last two splits, I don't have hope that the district will make this work, or that they even care to."

Update: Melissa Westbrook live blogs the meeting where the presentation was given. Later, she posted a summary of the meeting.

Update: Charlie Mas also summarizes the meeting where the presentation was given. On APP, he says, "There will be a new delivery model for APP. The District isn't saying what it will be or how it will work ... The determination of a delivery model for APP - including program size - will come after the decision of how many sites to have and how big the programs will be ... They won't even offer the pretense of engagement on it until next year - after they make all of the decisions." On Spectrum, he says, "There will be a new delivery model for Spectrum. It appears to be nothing. For many families this will be nothing new."

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Open thread

School ends in a few weeks. What's on your mind?

Bob Vaughan leaving

The APP AC (which, for those of you who don't know, is a volunteer group that works with Bob Vaughan) writes:
Advanced Learning Manager Dr. Bob Vaughan ... announced that he will be retiring from SPS next month. He has been a tremendous advocate for all advanced learners over the years, and has spent decades working tirelessly on behalf of our students. His role included managing not only APP, but also Spectrum, ALO, IB and AP (Advanced Placement) courses and exams, and identification and testing for all potentially eligible advanced learning students.

The APP-AC would like to thank Dr. Vaughan for all of his efforts and wish him the very best in his retirement.
Since Bob Vaughan presided over the dismantling of Spectrum and the chaotic splits of APP, I suspect others feel his track record is a little more mixed, but I will leave that for discussion. What do you think of Bob Vaughan leaving and what are your hopes for the future?

Monday, May 6, 2013

Major changes for APP coming?

Over at Seattle Schools Community Forum, Charlie Mas has a post, "In Which Michael Tolley Reveals The Plan to Dismantle Advanced Learning".

The post is long with a lot of discussion of the plan. But let me highlight this piece Charlie left in a comment on this blog:
The District staff - Michael Tolley and Shauna Heath - intend to fold Advanced Learning into Multi-Tier Systems of Support (MTSS).
Charlie then describes three tiers of MTSS, tier 1 (which is now called general education), tier 2 (working a year ahead in the classroom), and tier 3 (which would similar to APP).

As far as APP, the difference, Charlie writes, is that:
Instead of being in just two elementary schools, two middle schools, and two high schools, it will be in at least one elementary school in every middles school service area and possibly in two or more in some of them. It will be in every middle school and every comprehensive high school.
It sounds like this plan may fracture APP across many more schools. And, as discussed over on Seattle Schools Community Forum, the APP entry criteria also may change, in particular no longer being CogAT-based, being tested every year, and possibly being harsher.

I don't want to duplicate the discussion over on Seattle Schools Community Forum, so please go over there to read about and discuss the policy in general. But let's open an APP-specific thread here to talk about what to do about this.