Saturday, May 11, 2013

Open thread

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

62 comments :

Anonymous said...

A commenter on the Seattle School Community Forum blog just posted that Whitman MS just announced they aren't continuing to support spectrum. Not sure what that means. Has anyone else heard anything?

Anonymous said...

Pretty darn frustrating that the change is announced after open enrollment. For those that chose Spectrum over APP, and are now told Spectrum is no longer being supported, well, what do they do? Hamilton would probably have a waitlist for APP.

How can a school make this choice, when the district considers it a Spectrum site? It does not bode well for the future of AL. It feels like an experiment, done out of convenience, rather than part of a thoughtful, planned change for delivery of AL services.

Sylvia said...

I was at the meeting at Whitman last night about this change. The change came about because of the change in the Spectrum Program for this year that requires all Spectrum qualified students to receive a seat in a Spectrum Class in their assigned school. There are a little over 100 spectrum students in some of the grades and that would mean that Spectrum would have 4 teachers with 25 students each. This would overload the rest of the teachers. And that would cost more money, because teachers get additional pay when they teach more than a full class of students.


To save the extra money, clusters of advanced learners will be placed in classes with all other students. This would allow kids that haven't been tested for spectrum but are advanced students, to benefit from more challenge and be placed with their peers. This would start next year for 7th and 8th grade LA/SS classes. Each class would be taught using differentiated instruction per the Readers & Writers Workshop program.

The teachers stressed they have all been trained in Readers & Writers Workshop method and have been using it for 10 years and that it is geared to a cluster differentiated teaching model like this.

I can see that it could work well if done right. But it will require care in the placement of kids and could also turn out not so good.

The teachers did say they haven't had training in a consistent way to identify advanced learners.

It would be nice if Whitman could provide a communication about this change to the entire school. Also, if the district could provide some communication to our school about the change. Are they trying this program out at Whitman Middle School with the intention of rolling it out to all the middle schools if it works well? Or is Whitman just doing this because they weren't provided any funding to support the Spectrum program?

Anonymous said...

The Spectrum label really needs to be put out of its misery because it's a nothing program now. We will continue to see a push into APP from the NE. Starting even in kindergarten. (which, incidentally, no longer will need achievement scores for APP entry. this is another quiet change.)

2nd gr and preschool APP mom

Anonymous said...

Enrollment for first grade in Spectrum doesn't require achievement testing - but APP does. It's just that cognitive testing comes first for kindergarten students.

Lynn

Magua said...

It's pretty telling that Whitman noted the class size issue first.

Whitman is not changing the way kids are grouped to improve academics; they are dismantling Spectrum to better manage class sizes. It sucks.

dw said...

To tie in with the other current thread here, this is something Bob Vaughan should be up in arms about. This is HIS department, HIS program, he should be making damn sure that this building doesn't get to dissolve Spectrum based on their own whims of balancing class loads. Spectrum has almost completely died on Bob Vaughan's watch, it's gut-wrenching.

Why don't they just push for 2-seat overloads and make do with 3 classes. Whitman parents, would you rather have 3 classes of 34 kids (for just this year) or the loss of your program?!

Bob, where are you, what are you doing about this??

NESeattleMom said...

Bob is retiring

dw said...

Bob is retiring

Yeah, that's the tie into the other thread.

My point is, at this point he has no reason to worry about losing his job. He should be very public and loud in his support of Advanced Learning programs, and call out whoever is making these really stupid decisions behind the scenes.

He could be ignored, of course, as a lame duck. But lame duck status has its own power, since you're beholden to no one!

Why not come out and publicly shame Chris Cronas for what he's done at Wedgwood? Why not stop this ridiculous mess at Whitman right now while it's still possible? Why not go public with a plan for 6th grade algebra placement that makes sense?

Why not come out and publicly state (with some authority, as the most experienced voice of AL within SPS) that the destruction of Spectrum and the neglect of ALO have had adverse effects on APP: severe growth, scattering/splitting of experienced teachers, watering down in general, potential of more splits and public backlash. Yes, some of this might reflect poorly on his office, but it could also call attention to the fact that they haven't had the resources to take on something like ALO across the city.

This is a one-time opportunity. I doubt Bob is reading this blog, but if anyone here has his ear, maybe you could bend it a little.

suep. said...

Hi everyone,

I have decided to run for School Board Director in District IV (Ballard/Magnolia/Queen Anne) and would value your support.

As some readers of this blog may know, I am the parent of two in SPS and have nine years of direct experience with the school district.

One of the issues I will address in my campaign is the direction and future of advanced learning in SPS. A solid replacement for Bob Vaughan and a genuine commitment to and plan for AL (APP, Spectrum, AP, ALO) need to be established.

Please send me your thoughts and recommendations.

And if anyone would like to help with the campaign or contribute, please contact us at: suepeters4SPS@yahoo.com

Sincerely,

Sue Peters

Anonymous said...

Can anyone provide comments on 8th grade Biology? The book, BSCS: A Human Approach, is described as nontraditional and inquiry-based, based on reviews posted elsewhere. There is less emphasis on vocabulary, etc. Is it the Discovering Algebra equivalent for biology?

Anonymous said...

The horrific scenes of destruction involving those elementary schools in Oklahoma got me thinking (and worrying) about potential disasters closer to home. Experts say it is just a matter of time before the next really big earthquake hits. So I've been wondering about emergency preparedness and more importantly about the structural safety of our schools (in particular, the really old ones). Lincoln for instance is around 100 years old and is mostly an unreinforced masonry structures that will do really poorly in event the of a quake. I actually went looking for the seismic reports on the SPS website and found the 2009 one for Lincoln - I have attached the link. I was under the impression that at Lincoln some parts of building had had seismic upgrade and turns out it did have some done in 1997; however there are significant deficiencies and a large amount of seismic work recommended in this 2009 report to make the building safe/bring it up to standard. The 'summary of deficiencies' runs over 4 pages; scary! I don't believe any of this has been corrected and that makes me very concerned for our kids who are now assigned permanently to this school for the forseeable future. I hate to think we could be putting kids in harms way by sending them to school in a building that is a potential deathtrap in the event of a quake.
Please take the time to read this report.
I really want to do something about this but i am not sure how to proceed, so I'd appreciate hearing from any other concerned parents, or anyone with knowledge in this field. Here is the link (if it doesn' t work search SPS facilities condition reports... seismic mitigation... http://district.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1583136/File/Departmental%20Content/facilities/Seismic%20Report/lincoln.pdf?sessionid=a72e8ea986fc18ffc797c3bc44391bcc

Disaster aware

Anonymous said...

Many buildings need seismic upgrades. According to the Lowell reports, there is potential for the library to tip over in an earthquake, because the dividing wall does not have a positive connection to the floor above. And that's just one of the needed upgrades.

www.seattleschools.org/modules/cms/pages.phtml?sessionid=&pageid=223515

Anonymous said...

There are many, many schools that will get seismic work done through BEXIV (meaning, there are many, many that need that and other basic safety work). It’s hard to find the most updated list of projects and buildings on the District’s website (imagine?!) and changes can still be made to the list. However, I noticed Lincoln wasn’t on a seismic upgrade list (again, not sure the list I saw was the most recent). We have another child at Bagley and Bagley wasn't on the seismic list, either. Both Lincoln and Bagley are scheduled to be remodeled or replaced, so I wonder if they don’t want to invest in the buildings now. The problem is that Bagley is slated for 2020 and Lincoln for 2019. Sure doesn’t help much now. Disaster Aware, you could start by emailing the Board and related staff asking how the BEXIV, with it's partial focus on building safety, will be utilized for students in that building before 2020.
ugh




Anonymous said...

Lincoln is a historical landmark, therefore any upgrades will be expensive and takes longer. Also, the next earthquake is expected to be from the Seattle Fault which is several decades overdue for one, which means that it would be >10 in magnitude, may be even >11. The last earthquake we had was only around 7+ and that was the San Andreas Fault which is further out along the continental shelf. The Seattle Fault runs right under Seattle, an earthquake there is going to level everything, no upgrade will be enough to keep any building from falling down. Just pray that the kids are outside when it
happens. There are things we can mitigate and there are things we can't, no matter how much money we throw at it. Lincoln will get upgraded so it meets the new codes put in after the last earthquake, which will help for earthquakes 8 or maybe 9 in magnitude, but not for a 10 or 11 earthquake.

CCA

Anonymous said...

CCA - I would be happy to know Lincoln would be getting "upgraded so it meets the new codes put in after the last earthquake" even if that doesn't make it safe in the event of a super-big quake. We should do the best we can to make things safe even if it won't always be enough. What concerns me is that there does not actually appear to be anything in the works as far as seismic upgrades at Lincoln and it needs a lot (have you seen the 2009 report - 4 pages of deficiencies that need correcting: compare with Bryant elementary for example, rebuilt in 2000 so has predictably spotless seismic report). Lincoln is not mentioned in the latest round of BEX funding as far as seismic upgrades yet it will be a full house (600ish APP plus another yet to be announced school community ) for the next 4-5 years until it is rebuilt as a high school. Sounds like we are supposed to just cross our fingers and hope a big one doesn't hit during school hours over this time! Why are no seismic updates planned - is it because of the planned remodel/rebuilt for 2019? Can nothing be done in the meantime to make it safer for the kids and staff in this building. I mean this is a seriously old, 4 story unreinforced masonry building - the worst place to be in a quake.

Disaster Aware

ben said...

Welcome to the world of deferred maintenance. The situation at Lincoln is not atypical for the district. There are multiple school buildings in Seattle that have been slowly receiving seismic upgrades over multiple years and the entire community has always accepted the trade-off a small but not insignificant risk. However, there is not enough money to do everything all at once. I doubt a letter campaign will change the hard realities. Basically, without a new source of significant funding being found, you're really asking that something else be traded off to get this done.

Anonymous said...

Totally understand about the financial reality but I firmly believe that the district needs to ensure basic modern building safety standards are met in all our schools -eg, sprinklers (apparently not all schools have them) and seismic upgrades, before they budget for the multi-million dollar lunchroom renovations, fancy auditoriums, play fields etc. Those are luxuries - school buildings that safe according to basic modern standards should be the fundamental and most important area the building budget is allocated.
The Seattle Times has a front page story about the schools in Oklahoma lack of tornado shelter - the one that was most damaged and had fatalities was an older building that had not had tornado upgrades after the 1999 one. Imagine the handwringing here if a big quake destroyed Lincoln for example -people would be asking why didn't the district take those basic measures outlined in the seismic reports to make the school safer. Why are we not making them accountable to do so now, before a tragedy occurs?

Disaster Aware

Anonymous said...

I'm not on facebook but I would really appreciate it if someone could copy/post about this on the SNAPP facebook page. I'm not sure how many Lincoln parents read this but I think it's really important for more parents to be aware that of the issues being raised here - that the building is potentially unsafe in a major earthquake, unreinforced masonary structures such as this are likely to suffer major damage/collapse in a quake, and that the 2009 seismic report (available on SPS website) lists 4 pages of deficiencies that need upgrading to meet current safety standards and none of this has been done. This seems far more important than our lack of playground space, play structures etc

Anonymous said...

Lincoln did get some seismic upgrades, yes? I was under the impression that the district did this for part of Lincoln, and that is the part that is being used by students. And the other 2/3 of the building that has not had improvements are not being used. Do you know if any of the 4 pages of needed improvements are for the area that is in use? They could be a list of things that are needed to bring the unused areas up to code. Lincoln also has two smaller buildings separated from the main building, they could also be part of this list.
Many schools in SPS are in bad shape, especially the ones in the South end. Which to choose? And while Lincoln is an old brick building, it was very well built, I do not remember hearing of any damage to the structure during the last earthquake. So it very likely would fare better in an earthquake than many other SPS schools which were built later with interior materials (many of our elementary schools). There are kids in all of them, which one do we put first?

CCA

Anonymous said...

@CCA
Not saying Lincoln should go ahead of others, it's just the one I got personally caught my attention because my kids go there and I don't want them crushed! But it must be one of the older building (100 years approx). is 4 levels, and is one of the worst kinds of constructions for quake risk. The 1997 upgrades were done in limited areas - not sure how related to areas in current use. The 2009 report listing 4 pages made notes that it had 1997 upgrades but obviously needs more. The report lays out all of the issues by part of building, many are in the parts now used. It also concludes "primary concern in the overall anticipated seismic performance of the building and the masonry partition wall construction" . The recommendations suggested in the report are only in order to meet MINIMUM seismic safety standards (which still fall below compliance with current code standards).
I think it is appalling that the district spends a lot of money on renovations for these fancy lunchrooms/gynmnasiums etc but neglects the minimum safety upgrades needed in earthquake vunerable buildings.

Anonymous said...

I think that instead of demanding that SPS do upgrades with money the district does not have (by the way, where are they planning to build the multi mil lunchrooms and auditoriums etc?, I must have missed that memo), it would be more productive for us to advocate for new sources of funding. We need to write legislators and demand full funding for ed; ask that they bring a bill for state income tax up for a vote again, it might pass if they couple the income tax with a reduction in sales tax; demand that they end the corporate tax subsidies and close all the loop holes that allow huge companies like Boeing or Microsoft to pay almost no taxes. Or we can also advocate for a county or even a city income tax. Seattle (and I think also King County) voted for the state income tax last time, a city or county income tax would pass here. Then the school district would have money to do what is needed and not have to rely on all the levies, which cost a bunch of money to put on the ballot each time, and which may fail if the district actually ask for the real amount that is needed instead of just a fraction of it. People must understand that if they want services, they must pay for them through a steady source of taxes. The government cannot spin gold out of straw!

CCA

Anonymous said...

Does Lincoln have an AED?

Anonymous said...

On the 'save seattle schools' blog are reader posted the link to the "Oregon parents for quake safe schools" website (http://quakesafeschools.blogspot.com/)

There were some useful info and links about earthquake risk and what other Oregon and other states are doing.
Obviously the costs of seismic mitigation exceed what we can expect our school district to accomplish with the limited funds they have (though I believe they should prioritize the use of their funds to place safety first).
In Oregon the state government has committed to fix vulnerable public schools - and the advocacy group has petitioned the "state government to accelerate and expand their commitment to fix the more than 1,000 public school buildings that are considered to be at high risk of collapse in a major Cascadia earthquake."
Other things the Oregon parent advocates have been doing include:

"At annual meeting of Earthquake Engineering Research Institute in Seattle, OPQRS participated in a panel on school earthquake safety advocacy for several hundred engineers and other seismic specialists." (Were any Seattle school representatives involved?)

"Working with local school district, Portland Public Schools, and helped to pass a successful school bond that will bring seismic safety repairs to more than three dozen Portland schools and fully rebuild three unreinforced masonry (URM) high schools." (We need this in Seattle, should be the focus of BEX!)

"Working with Oregon Emergency Management to instigate a school-based event to celebrate the achievements of the state’s Seismic Rehabilitation Grants Program, and to engage the governor and the state’s education leaders." (is there any thing like the seismic rehabilitation grant program in Washington?)

Eric B also mentions that in British Columbia, they spent approx. 2.8 billion dollars to make their ~600 schools in high seismic hazard zones safe (about 300 needed work).

Why does Washington state/Seattle seem to lack any impetus to do the same?
Are grants available for the district to apply to earthquake risk mitigation?
Do we need a petition to the state government to urge them to make Washington Schools Quake Resistant? The state mandates K-12 school attendance; so shouldn't the state have an obligation to ensure children are safe in their public schools?

It's not enough to have school disaster kits or earthquake drills. What is the point of practicing earthquake drills in classrooms that will pancake the day an actual earthquake strikes along one of our dangerous faults.

Disaster Aware

Anonymous said...

"What is the point of practicing earthquake drills in classrooms that will pancake the day an actual earthquake strikes along one of our dangerous faults."

Where does it say that classrooms will pancake? Seriously...this is a bit of a hyperbole, no? The schools and most buildings managed pretty well under the Nisqually. Yes, there were some cracks (not uncommon or a huge deal), but not a lot of significant structural damage. Many older buildings are probably better built and have steel sturctures. In addition, buildings, even 100 year buildings were built to withstand earthquakes. In the US, the danger in an earthquake is not going to be from the building collapsing on you but of things falling and hitting your head (like bricks or ceiling tiles and lights). We should make sure doorways aren't going to be blocked by tipped over bookshelves or that kids and teachers have places to duck and cover until the shaking stops to get out of the building without tripping on things. Kids are much better trained to know what to do in the event. They drill all the time. How many times do you drill at your place of work? Is your house seismically upgraded? That's why after the duck and cover (30 seconds? 1 minute? Earthquakes don't last long), you evacuate. There should be a protocol to check the building before anyone is allowed to enter. Even if the structure slips off the foundation during the event, what is the likelihood that the building is going to collapse in 30 seconds during the actual event? I don't necessarily know the answer but our imagination is running wild here thinking that we're going to be like Oklahoma and tornadoes and earthquakes are not the same thing. Let's all take a breath and not overdramatize. I'm not saying there is no risk or that there aren't seismic upgrades to be had. But, I am fairly confident that our children will be able to withstand an earthquake in any of our buildings. Now, will there be a school to return to? Maybe not if it suffered such damage that it can't be reopened but during an actual event, not so worried.

Mildly concerned

kellie said...

The "lunchroom" money is mis-stated. There is a $4M project at Greenlake Elementary that is being designated as a lunchroom. This is actually an addition to Greenlake. Greenlake does not have any lunchroom currently so this is not a remodel. This is an expansion so that Greenlake will eventually be able to handle more students.

Additionally a big chunk of that money is being used to bring the building up to code as upgrade work is required when an addition is added to an older building.

Anonymous said...

mildly concerned, the nisqually quake was a 6.8, not a severe quake. the epicenter was not so near seattle, it was near olympia. if that is the level of earthquake your home or school is prepared for, it would be smart to increase your preparedness. http://www.fema.gov/earthquake
http://www.seattle.gov/emergency/prepare/

Anonymous said...

On a different subject, we got notice from the principal at Lincoln about a medically fragile population co-housing at Lincoln next year. This medically fragile population is 18-21 years old. I know nothing about what being a part of that group means and if there are any issues being co-housed with elementary students. Anyone have info or concerns, reassurances?

Anonymous said...

Yes, I feel a bit uneasy about that. 18-21 year olds are basically adults. They are beyond high school age. I do not know what sort of issues these young adults have or what sort of program they are attending. This is basically a group of un-vetted adults that will be housed in close-quarters with young kids.
Maybe I am being alarmist and totally off-track but I wonder if they represent any issues for young children (yes, I'll go there - I'm thinking molestation, innapropriate behavior, drugs/weapons on campus) - that kind of thing).
Has anyone heard of an elementary population being cohoused with that age group before?
How will the populations be separated?
Why does the whole thing seem cloaked in secrecy? What is the name of this 'school' or program and who/what needs to they serve exactly? How big is this population.
Lincoln parents should be demanding transparency about these issues. This could be a whole different kettle of fish to cohousing with MacDonald Elem.

WOuld like some answers

Anonymous said...

Sigh, did you both miss the Medically Fragile population part? Your healthy, high energy children pose more danger to these special ed students than vice versa.

Is compassion no longer a virtue?

Anonymous said...

Although there is no universal definition of medically fragile in the education setting, it typically refers to those that have severe, or life threatening health issues, or require assistive technology, or tracheostomy, catheterization and the like. So from what we have been told it sounds like this provides transition services for these teens. Where was thh program previously housed? There are a number of transitional programs in this district, including those for some forms of special education needs, behavioral issues, medically fragile, no conventional educational settings etc. Though it's hard to find the specifics about the sites, or services, or populations on the SPS website. I'm not sure how I would feel about a population of older teens with behavioral special needs sharing the building, but the medically fragile population, if that's what it actually is, seems pretty benign.

Sniffy

Anonymous said...

If I'm not mistaken, there has been a Special Education program co-located at Lincoln for the last two years whose students look to be older teens. They are co-located on the first floor in the south wing of the school, run completely independently of APP, and have I haven't heard a peep of any problems with our two programs utilizing the buildings. If people here aren't mentioning that they've seen these older students at Lincoln, then I would say that they've done a pretty good job of being completely independent of our students. I would venture to say that it has been a good situation for both programs.

Instead of making assumptions, I would suggest that people talk with Rina to find out more about what program will be housed here and if it will be different than who has already been at Lincoln. Of course there are reasons to have questions/concerns if older teens are being co-located with an elementary school. But I guess I don't see the lack of transpacency here since this is being announced in May. The district does a very poor job of planning most things, so I'm surprised anything is being announced now. There is time to ask questions and make plans for both populations.

More specifics from Rina would be helpful.

Anonymous said...

Any info on how Lincoln chose a new math program, which is different than TM's? Is APP curriculum becoming more and more site based?

Anonymous said...

Re: Lincoln math. From what I heard, Thurgood Marshall needed a math curriculum that would work for both the APP population and meet the needs of the general ed population (which I believe includes a number of kids for whom English is a second language).

I know at Lincoln, the teachers piloted several different math curriculums (including the one used at T-M) this year in order to inform their decision about what would be the best curriculum for Lincoln. My impression is that Rina and the teachers had a pretty thoughtful approach which informed their decision.

Jane

Anonymous said...

Re: co-housing populations at Lincoln. This is my family's first year at Lincoln. I didn't even realize that there was another school co-located at Lincoln until a couple weeks ago - so obviously it hasn't had any impact on my kid or our family. I'm not concerned about co-housing with the medically fragile population. I am curious if that's the same group that's been at Lincoln this year - or if it's been some other group.

Jane

Anonymous said...

The math curriculum at TM is not an "APP curriculum." TM sought and received a waiver from the district to adopt a curriculum that would better serve all of its students in a school with diverse needs. The driving force behind the curriculum change was the need to serve its general education population, which has a high-FRL and high-ELL population. The curriculum ultimately selected was determine to serve both populations well. Lincoln is the only school in the district with the luxury of being able to focus on one narrow population when selecting curriculum. The reason many schools are opting for math waivers is because the district's current math curriculum isn't serving many different populations in the district. Instead if worrying about ensuring uniformity in curriculum across APP programs, I wish people on this blog were more focused on ensuring we get good, consistent curriculum across all schools in the district. Kids don't move from lincoln to TM but they do move from north-end elementaries to lincoln, so you should be more interested in curricular consistency among schools that have overlapping populations.

The problem with everyday math and discovery math is a district-wide problem, not an APP problem. Listening to Lincoln families in this blog makes me conclude that the insularity of Lincoln's all-APP school has alot of downsides and results in a myopic view of the district.
- TM's math program is not just "APP math"

Anonymous said...

You're right that math is a district wide problem, and yes, we need "good, consistent curriculum across all schools in the district." How does allowing individual schools to pick their own materials ensure consistency? It doesn't. If there can't even be uniformity in a program that is split among two sites, then what does that mean for the program as it splits again? The district needs to improve the curriculum in a more consistent manner. The school-by-school hodge podge of choices is not moving the district closer to better curriculum for everyone. If a school/PTA can buy different books, where is the incentive for the District to make wholesale improvements?

Anonymous said...

For those of you new to the APP program, the district promised an APP curriculum as part of the 2009 closures. It has never materialized. There is no such thing as "APP math" because there is no curriculum.

-long-timer

Anonymous said...

Long timer -- I too am a long timer and I was there in that Lowell gym when the district promised an APP curriculum years ago. But right now APP = 2 years ahead, nothing more. If math curriculum is a problem district-wide, it should be fixed for all schools, not just Lincoln. Also, there are benefits to having the same math curriculum across programs. At TM, teachers collaborate across programs, for example. Lincoln parents on this blog often post as if they are in an APP bubble, which they are. The string about the medically fragile community at Lincoln strikes me as typical APP-centric commentary. It's embarrassing to be an APP reading comments like that.
- TM's math program is not just "APP math.

Anonymous said...

Just because 2 or 3 people ask questions about the proposed cohoused community does not mean the APP community at Lincoln is in some kind of bubble. That is like 2-3 parents out of around 500 expressing some concern, and not even concern necessarily, just asking for more information. Wouldn't you expect that number of people (or more) at any school to be asking questions about a group that was going to be co-housed in their building, especially with such age disparity?
And this is an APP blog, so of course it is APP-centric, and weighted toward issues that concern/affect APP families. Perhaps it does disproportionally cover concerns around Lincoln because this is a much less stable situation than at the other sites.
Of course we should have the long-promised APP curriculum (including math), and we should have a district-wide overhaul of the current math curriculum. But the currently we have neither of those things, nor will we in the forseable future. Since other schools have successfully gone ahead and adopted math curricula that better serve the specific needs of their communities, I say kudos to Lincoln for doing the same.
None of this is the fault of APP-centric families in an APP bubble - it is the fault of Seattle Public Schools and the Advanced Learning Dept.

Sniffy

Anonymous said...

To "TM's math program is not just "APP math"

I agree that the problems with everyday math and CDM are a district-wide problem. I'm a little surprised though by your leap from someone else's question about the Lincoln math curriculum to your statement that Lincoln parents are in an APP bubble.

Is your belief that Lincoln shouldn't change math curriculums until the entire district changes curriculums? In which case, I assume you are equally upset that Thurgood Marshall already changed math curriculums? Or are you upset that Lincoln isn't changing to the math curriculum that Thurgood Marshall is using?

I am genuinely interested in why you seem to be upset about Lincoln changing math curriculums - when it doesn't seem to bother you that TM, Mercer and many other schools have already changed math curriculums. Or maybe you are equally upset about those schools changing math curriculum as well (your criticism though seems to be specific to Lincoln).

Jane

Anonymous said...

Jane - I have no problem with Lincoln choosing a different curriculum from TM. I just pointed out that TM's curriculum was not selected as an "APP math" curriculum, but as a school-wide curriculum. I do find the posts from Lincoln parents on this blog tiresome. Lincoln and Hamilton are 2 of 6 APP schools, yet over the last several years they have dominated discussions of APP on this blog, at the APP AC, on the ALPTF when it existed, and on FACMAC. Reading this blog you would think Lincoln and Hamilton are the only 2 schools with APP programs, or at least the only 2 with issues of curriculum, capacity, etc. (not true). Lincoln parents put up a big fuss when TM gave up EDM - claiming it should have the same math as TM. I had to laugh when it picked a different math curriculum than TM. Why did Lincoln make such a fuss about uniformity last year?
-- TM math....

Anonymous said...

@TM math
Lincoln 'kicked up a fuss' about wanting to change the curriculum like TM did in part because of the perception that almost anything would be better than EDM and in part because, in the absence of the promised APP curriculum, the unilateral change in curriculum at the TM site introduced inequity between the sites of what was once a single program. Lincoln folks would probably have been pretty happy to have what TM was having at that time but clearly there was no interest on the part of the Advanced Learning Dept or the principals involved in consultation/collaboration etc to come up with a math curriculum that would have served the TM general ed population as well as BOTH elementary APP locations. Why is it so funny to you that Lincoln has now assessed, piloted, and decided on a curriculum that happens to be different from TM now? It doesn't mean folks would not have been happy with the same curriculum TM has if that had ever been proposed/introduced back in the day- but since it wasn't and since there was time to explore the options they have come up with one an that may be an even better fit.
Maybe the Lincoln and Hamilton parents are just entitled complainers as you seem to imply, or maybe it's because these 2 schools have the most uncertainty, instability, and churn of all them. Anyone can post with issues relating to any APP site on this forum, maybe the other sites just don't have so many issues and provoke so much anxiety among families as these 2 do.

Anonymous said...

...and this is why some decisions should be program based, and not site-based.

Anonymous said...

TM Math-

To add to questions being posed to you: what is stopping anyone from TM, WMS, or either of the high schools from posting here? I don't believe there is any sort of fee or rule preventing their appearance.

This is the same complaint I see on the Save Seattle School blog about APP families posting "too much." People can't not post and then complain that they are not represented.

Both the APP blog and the Seattle Schools blog only have comments by those who choose to post there.

-long-timer

Anonymous said...

I agree that it's embarrassing to read the posts from Lincoln parents on this thread. It is as if we have no idea about what's going on at any other school in the district, APP or otherwise. Take a deep breath, people, and get a grip.

We have the APP-only elementary school that we as a group demanded and now we're getting a math curriculum determined to be the best for APP students. And yet we still come off at poor, poor martyrs to the cause when there are many other schools in the district in much worse shape facilities and curriculum-wise.

Wish I could move south

Anonymous said...

Agree with you TM. There's a bubble, especially on this blog. Little less so on SSS. That's the thing about blogs. They gonna attract more like minded folks. You expressed an opinion that goes against the grain and Ouch! But good on you for saying your piece. I get what you are saying. My kids are looking forward to HS for more social/academic opportunities/variety. I am beginning to realize this cohort thing can be a bit of a double edge sword for me as well.

51bites

Anonymous said...

I don't understand this bizarre belief that I associate solely with Seattle (I am a native of Seattle btw). We can't comment on something because others have it worse....?!?? Can someone explain to me how not saying anything improves things for anyone? I know the district would love it if everyone, in any school, would just shut up.

Dare you complain about lunch food? Don't you care about the starving in China, you self-centered pig? You'd like safety improvements to your building? What about those children in Africa who don't have a school building at all, you self-centered pig? Want a decent math curriculum for your child? What about those other kids who still have the terrible curriculum you are trying to leave behind, you self-centered pig?

So, those of you who believe in this line of thinking, how does keeping silent improve things for kids elsewhere in the city?

This is some magical thinking that I don't understand. Maybe it's that we are supposed to be so grateful for the little we have that we aren't supposed to say anything.

I would like to see education for every child, all over the district improved. I don't understand how not saying anything about my child's education, which is what I know best, hurts anyone. I would hope that yet another school dropping the horrible EDM and CMP would send a strong message to the district.

-sheesh

Anonymous said...

Dear Hamilton International Middle School community,

To meet the needs of our growing enrollment, Seattle Public Schools is considering boundary changes for the 2014-15 school year. We will not change any boundaries or assignments for the upcoming 2013-14 school year.

In anticipation of these changes, we are having conversations about our current schools and programs with our stakeholders. On Wednesday, district staff will present several options to the School Board for early consideration, including for Hamilton International Middle School. 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.

Again, these are all preliminary conversations. We will host five community meetings this fall to consider boundary changes and get feedback from families, staff and community members. There will be plenty of time for review and community reaction. You can view the district’s initial presentation to the board here. This initial review of program placement will be presented from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 29 at the John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence. This will be a committee discussion. There is no public testimony at this meeting and no votes will be taken.

Our goal at Seattle Public Schools is to ensure equity, access and opportunities for all students. We are planning for the future of our district, and any changes moving forward starting in the 2014-15 school year will help meet this goal. We also want to maximize walkability and minimize disruptions by aligning new boundaries with current attendance area boundaries, when feasible. The School Board will ultimately vote on the school assignment boundary changes on November 20, 2013.

If you would like to give feedback on these early recommendations, please send an email to growthboundaries@seattleschools.org

We look forward to working with each of our school communities to make sure any changes are rolled out smoothly and to ensure we have a thoughtful, strategic and equitable plan for schools, programs and services.

Sincerely,

José Banda
Superintendent
Seattle Public Schools

Anonymous said...

Amusingly, the link to the presentation in the email I got (sent to the APP @ Lincoln community) doesn't work. Does anyone have a link that does?

- June Surprise

Anonymous said...

Of course you can voice your concerns out loud, but be prepared for the boomerang. People did with some suspicions about the older student population. Personally, I would suggest taking the concerns about juvies and molesters to the principal, not at this blog. Why? Because you still have to be aware of what you put out even anonymously. Can't be thin skin about it if some folks find it unkind and a bit NYMBYish. In truth, most of us chose to be anonymous here and what "facts" or opinions offered should be looked at with a jaundiced eye. And differing POVs only help to bust the bubble, insularity perception offered by some Posters. So have at it.

51bites

Greg Linden said...

Thanks, Anonymous. That is worth a full thread for itself. I just put one up, "APP services will be offered at additional sites".

Anonymous said...

Sheesh. -
I don't think the issue is that you can't ever complain if someone has it worse. I think the issue is that it is very easy to get the impression, based on comments on this blog, that Lincoln APP only thinks of itself and demands better for itself without regard for any other program, school, population, etc. The comments are rarely thoughtful with respect to a broader perspective. It comes off as very me, me, me, me. Yes, we should complain. But we should also strive for solutions that would are broader and less self-serving. I get the very real impression that Lincoln would throw the rest of the district, APP and not APP, under the bus if it meant something better for LIncoln. I don't believe that's the opinion of most Lincoln parents, but it seems to be true of the most vocal.

Anonymous said...

Sheesh,

A lot of your post seems to be setting up straw men to be knocked down, so perhaps you're not really interested in the other point of view-- but, just in case, here's mine!

As a parent with one child in APP and one in general ed (yes, there are a few of us), I am perpetually amazed by the different culture and tenor of the parent groups in the two programs. The attitude of many APP parents strikes me as very entitled and, yes, in somewhat of a bubble. Despite the fact that APP is a world of real plenty compared to schools outside its gates, many in APP really speak as if they are the victims.

Granted, SSD's notoriously poor planning, screwed up priorities, ridiculous mandates, etc. present all of us with much to struggle for on behalf of our kids. It's a bit wearying, however, when APP parents seem unwilling to admit what a privileged realm it exists in within our District and instead go overboard complaining about the raw deal APP gets.

I would invite these parents to step out into the much more racially and economically diverse (ouch-- I said it!) general ed world, where it is obvious almost right away that most parents have far less to contribute in terms of time and money. There are lots of good things happening in those schools too though and, thankfully, very few people complaining that they are being victimized by the District.

In brief: it's a matter of being tone deaf.

-- There you have it

Anonymous said...

As someone whose son went from an extremely diverse, 50% FRL school to Lowell/Lincoln, I can appreciate that some people think that the Lincoln APP world is much more privileged and less diverse. However, many families at Lincoln come from some neighborhood schools and/or private schools that are much more privileged than the APP program and they experience the APP program as a "step down" in financial backing and parent involvement. It's good to remember that our perception about this is relative.
Mom of 2

Anonymous said...

I have to second Mom of 2,
I think it is time for many of the posters to stop vilifying APP parents and get down to the business of curriculum improvement. We have attended both Gen Ed and APP. We chose Gen Ed elementary school because the math program at our school (via waiver) was far superior to the APP district math. I have seen diverse and committed parents and teachers in both realms. In APP middle school (HIMS) we are finding the APP curricula lacking in rigor. This is mostly the fault of poorly chosen district curriculum - especially in math and science. It doesn't matter if your kid is working two grade levels above age level when the entire curriculum is weak. And the Gen Ed population suffers from similarly low expectations. We found the APP students who had attended APP elementary school to be less well prepared in math than our gen ed kid. That's pathetic - don't you think? So the APP parents are perfectly justified in demanding accountability from the district.

Yet when HIMS APP parents lobby for some of the changes that other schools in the district are successfully implementing (such as waivers to teach rigorous curricula) - they are called entitled. I would be interested to hear if WMS APP parents have similar concerns as their program is more established. Are WMS parents as disappointed as many of the HIMS parents I have encountered?

-Ready for curriculum changes

ScrawnyKayaker said...

CCA...I want some of whatever you've been smoking! There has NEVER been a recorded earthquake >10 on the Richter scale. A quake greater the 11 would be at least 200 times more powerful than the Mag. 9.0 off Japan in 2011. A quick search on this suggests that it's physically impossible to have quakes over 10 due to the limiting strength of rocks. Can you cite any legitimate geologists who have published these "expected" predictions you're stating, or is this just all straight out of your can?

No doubt a local quake is something we should worry about, but a good old Mag. 7 right under the city would be bad enough without resorting to kookery.

ScrawnyKayaker said...

Also, you can't say we are overdue by "several decades." It's been 300 years since the last Big One. We could have a megaquake tomorrow, or not for a thousand years. The probabilities on any given day in that range don't change rapidly.

That said, I have been meaning to upgrade my earthquake kits...

Anonymous said...

Scrawny Kayaker.
My undergrad degree is in Geological Sciences, and grad degree in Earth Sciences. What I stated is what I was told by professors whose specialties are in Earthquakes and Volcanos. I did not google or quickly search anything. I said decades overdue because I do not know exactly when the last quake on the Seattle Fault was, I am not a Seismologist, just that it is long overdue for one. Each fault has a different interval for its frequency of earthquakes, for example, if a fault usually quakes every one hundred years, then any span of time LONGER than one hundred years means that much time overdue. The longer the fault is overdue for a quake, the more pressure is built up inside the earth requiring release, so the estimated power of the next quake there is revised upwards when more time has passed.
Now I suppose it is possible that your "quick search" which I am assuming is from the web denizens, could be giving you more accurate info than what I was taught by people who have worked and done research in the field, and taught and published papers in scientific journals on the subject. They could all be wrong and Wikipedia is right. And it is also possible that all members of our House of Representatives will wake up tomorrow and agree to everything President Obama suggests, and all will hold hands and sing Kumbaya together. Anything is possible, right?

CCA

Anonymous said...

Scrawny and CCA, that was funny. I want you guys on myth busters. Anyway here is the USGS link that my daughter went to after watching one of those über quake movie as she had questions I couldn't answer:

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/learn/topics/megaquakes.php

armchair science

Anonymous said...

Our child's class had MAP testing on the same day as the EOC. Ugh. Is that an unavoidable consequence of high student numbers and limited computers?

Anonymous said...

Can we really call it a "june surprise" when it was known that Hamilton would be overcapacity with the incoming class for this September and that school can't take portables? The 4 neighbourhood schools that feed it can be redirected elsewhere-- this is their school; and besides, Eckstein and Whitman are both full and both have more than a dozen portables each. And, salmon bay is full too-- so there is no relief anywhere. Holding onto the 5th grade APP class is not good, fair, or appropriate, but, Lincoln is the only building with space. (it's not like West Woodland has any room to keep their 5th graders for an extra year).

But, unlike BF Day, our 5th graders already get and have gotten plenty of chance to socially mix it up as there are already more than 100 of them, and, they'll ballon to probably 150 for next year.

The kids for whom my heart truly breaks are the 5th grade SM4 children who can't get into Hamilton. The special education children were already told they have to go elsewhere, to middle schools that don't have an existing program for their highly specialized needs. Those parents are frantic. It is so sad. Those parents were told not to worry, that it would be built, that teachers would be hired... But it is worrisome for them as they work counting on going to the Hamilton program with its excellent teacher who has built up a really strong program for these special learners.

So, maybe the APP six grade will get into Hamilton this September, maybe it won't, but to me, this isn't a surprise. We need to assess the near-term and long-term capacity realistically, and recognize that we all, meaning everybody in the district, whether you're at the Jane ADdam's campus in the next couple of years or at the Boren building in West Seattle or in the shambles that is Arbour Heights, we all have to make due with the facilities component of the district but advocate for the educational content and experience regardless of the building.
-it sucks but...

In the north, the district is out of middle school seats. And, it is only going to get worse until Jane Addams is truly available as a comprehensive and Wilson Pacific is built. So, it's years away, so the priority for Lincoln APP should have been to build a consensus around strategy of these next few years. We should focus otow hat is possible and preferable given the limited options, and demand, like each community, the rigor and curriculum delivery and