Thursday, June 6, 2013

Open thread

School is almost over, summer is here, the time is right. What's on your mind?

76 comments :

Anonymous said...

Greg, three new threads at once is a bit too much!

Anonymous said...

Ok, just a little change if that's ok as I my brain is freezing up these final days.

Looking for suggestions to do an easy, less than 8-10 miles RT, 3 day backpacking trip in Wasington. Taking 5 kids ranging between 11 to 15. Like to keep vertical climb less than 1500 feet as these kids and some grown ups are novice backpackers and we want it to be fun so they'll return for more. Planning to do this August.
Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I have some ideas (chain lakes?), but really what you should do is look for the book "best hikes with kids :western Washington," and thumb through it for length and difficulty. It's obviously on the young side for your crew, but has a lot of right sized backpacking trips for you. You'll probably want to get more than two hours outside of Seattle to keep things uncrowded enough to get sites for your whole group (and actually chain lakes tends to be crowded that time of year). Also check out wta.org for current trail conditions and reviews. What I do in August is come up with a couple choices, the go on wta the week before and see which one has the fewest bugs.

-sleeper

Hopefully incoming HIMS said...

Would also recommend a full gear practice hike at Rattlesnake Ledge (crowded but pretty) before the big trip to make sure boots/packs fit well and work ok. Lots of lessons are learned about what is 'essential gear' when they have to haul it up the trail. :)

Anonymous said...

The Lake Ozette Loop Trail is great! Three miles out to the beach, three miles along the beach, and three miles back again. It's fairly flat, but the scenery is amazing with plenty of wild life. They have started requiring reservations and all food must be stored in bear proof containers. The racoons are quite agressive at getting to food and the last time we were out there, my husband saw a beer wandering on the beach. Long drive there, but worth looking into. Both times I've done this trail, I haven't stayed at either campground, but instead camped at one of the random sites along the beach half way in between the two formal campgrounds.

NESeattleMom said...

What kind of beer?:)

Anonymous said...

@ NE Seattle Mom
Ha ha! That would be "Bear" beer. I'm sure my husband might have preferred finding beer over a bear. (That's what happens when I don't edit first!)

Shannon Adams said...

The new email we received about Capacity at Hamilton mentions:

"In addition, any students who are testing into APP during the summer will be placed at Hamilton only if there is space available. All current APP students who live in the Hamilton APP pathway will have a seat at HIMS for the fall. "

But students who move into the HIMS assignment area but are not APP do get a seat?

Hrmm..

Shannon

Anonymous said...

They will probably be offered Washington? But "all current APP students... will have a seat at HIMS in the fall" could be taken as hopeful news?

Anonymous said...

Will that be HIMS@Lincoln, or HIMS@JM?

Anonymous said...

I like Jasper National Park best, but it is about 10 hr drive there (incredibly beautiful drive though). Canadian Tourist Board or the Rangers at Jasper can send you very clear, detailed trail maps, info on lodging, camping areas etc. They divide the hikes into easy, moderate, hard. Be warned that their idea of what is easy is Mounties-level and not what we Amercicans would consider easy. If there is a marked trail, they will call it easy. Just look at how high the elevation you have to traverse to figure out if it's doable for you. Hard is bushwacking, deep wilderness stuff. The nice thing about the Canadian national parks is that they're not as crowded, and the water in streams and lakes are cleaner, you can buy a water filter and not have to pack so much water in. And it's so incredibly beautiful there that sometimes you question your senses. If you want your children to love nature and find solace in it forever, I would go there.
Remember that they are very strict about people removing things. Many of those areas are alpine ecosystems, and very fragile. So no pinecones, plants etc. for souvernirs. They don't even like people removing rocks, because some people go
and dig out giant geodes and unstabilize the whole cliff. Vancouver Island is great too, except that a huge part of it is a rainforest. So you have to be okay with being wet.
Mt. Baker is nice too, trail maps are not as good though. And please don't call for help unless it is really needed. There are horrible stories of yuppies calling SOS when they are not in danger. Search and Rescue is very very costly. Have fun.

CCA

Anonymous said...

The army navy surplus stores have these gizmos that you can hang up a tree branch and take a shower. So you don't have to clean yourselves in the same body of water that you drink from if you are not staying at a campground. Hang your food up away and downwind from where you are sleeping. Dig a trench for toilet facilities away from any water, and don't neglect to fill and cover up the trench before you leave. Bury your organic wastes and carry all the others out. If we take care of our forests and wild areas, we will have them to enjoy longer. The campgrounds in Canada have very clean bathrooms. You pay for showers, but there is lots of hot water. All the camp sites will have wood for campfire provided, they do not want you to gather firewood from the forest.

CCA

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I did not read your post carefully enough. I have not hiked in Washington for a few years so the areas I liked probably have changed. Lately I've always gone to Canada or the SW. The Olympic peninsular has some great trails though. The Hoe River area is beautiful. The Skagit and Wenatchee areas are also nice, but will be very hot.

CCA

Anonymous said...

Whew, no June surprise! APP will be at HIMS next year after all according to the email from Banda. We should all thank Cindy Watters for her advocacy.
June Surprise

Anonymous said...

Thank you for all your suggestions.. Will check the Ozette coastal trails and chain lakes. Will definitely head for El Norte when we have more time. As for bears, the kids think it will be very cool to see one far, far, far away. I' m a complete wuss and worry wort so will take beer over bear any day.

another NE mom said...

Would anyone change those recommendations based on single mom + daughter doing the hikes? All my youth backcountry hikes around here were with my big, tough, longtime-law-enforcement dad. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Lake Ozette would be perfect. It is fairly heavily traveled, with families and kids, so you won't feel all alone, not steep, but you still feel like you are out in the middle of no where. Besides the long drive, it's wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Um, I don't know; I'm female and I've mostly always hiked with just one other person before kids, except when backpacking for school or work. I've never had any problems, and I've been all over Washington, BC, Alberta, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, NY and all the famous parks in the US. But we mostly go to the wilderness areas and only sometimes spend one night at the campgrounds when we need a hot shower. Often we never see anyone after we leave the main trail. But of course there is no guarantee. I do think that you would be more likely to run across the psychos in town than in the woods. We are not like other countries where neighbors notice things. Everyone is isolated in their own homes with the drawbridges up. I often wonder if my neighbors would even come if they hear me screaming. This is why the police advise you to scream FIRE instead of HELP.
I think, though, you should live your life without worrying too much about the dangers you can't control, you can run up against a drunk driver anytime for example, can't let that stop you from going outside. Just take reasonable precautions and always be alert and aware of your surroundings.
It would be more fruitful to make sure you have a very well fitting backpack and very good hiking boots. Spend some money to get high quality ones. They are the difference between a great time and a miserable one. There is a very good hiking and fishing shop in Jasper where they will help you get the best equipment for you. Each person's body is different. Mountain Equipment Coop in Vancouver is also great. I do not know about REI personally, but I think you can also get help there. Make sure you get a pack that fits into the small of your back properly. You want most of the weigh being born by your hips, and not your back or shoulders. Break in your boots before the hike. Bring extra shoes and socks. It's very important to keep your feet dry. Wear easily removed layers. Make sure your tent has windows that vent, or you will wake up in a puddle because of condensation from your breathing. Get a sturdy tent. Don't keep food in it. Read up on hypothermia and sunstrokes. Never dive into anything unless you know what the bottom is like. Look up the dangerous animals in the area you are going to, so you know what to do if you should meet one. Learn to recognize their paw prints and scat so you do not set up camp where they roam and hunt. NEVER feed the animals, no matter how cute they are.
If it would help your confidence, the community centers have self defense classes; they're also great for exercise. Always register at the Ranger's station so they know if you are late and can look for you. If you decide to stay longer, please let them know. Again, Search and Rescue is very expensive. Do not eat anything that you are not absolutely sure is what you think it is. Many of the most tastety mushrooms have poisonous mimics. If you get stung by nettles, look for catstails if by water, and brackenfern in the forest. Crumble up the leaves with a bit of water and put it on your skin, it will take the sting away.
If you want to start out hiking with others to gain knowledge and confidence, The Mountaineers Club has hikes for all ages and experience. The Seattle Single Parents meet-up group is also great, you'll be able to find people who to do things with, who are not looking for a romantic relationship.
Have lots of fun, you are doing a wonderful thing for your daughter. Life can be very cruel sometimes, disasters come out of the blue without warning. If your daughter can delvelop a love for nature, it will help her tremendously in difficult times, gives her courage and resilience to get through.
The Hoh River and Hurrycane (sp?) Ridge areas are great. They are in the Olympics Penisular.

CCA



Anonymous said...

And please, please, pack your garbage out. Do not leave plastics, bottles or cans in the woods. Not even straws, small animals will eat them and die. And plastics take a very very long time to degrade. Be kind to the earth, it's our only home.

CCA

Anonymous said...

Grouping Students by Ability Regains Favor in Classroom
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/10/education/grouping-students-by-ability-regains-favor-with-educators.html?hp&_r=0

Thank you Vivian Yee and NY Times

Anonymous said...

According to the article, the teacher gives the same lesson to the entire class, then a slightly different assignment for each group. For example, she encourages the higher level group to write more complex sentences and they peer-teach students in other groups.

This article supports ability grouping within classrooms. The assumption is that there was no prior differentiation. Some SPS staff would like to move to this model from self-contained classes. The belief is that students of all levels can be served with differentiation within the classroom.

Isn't this the premise of ALO? How has that worked for advanced learners?

Anonymous said...

A NYT reader comment from the linked article:

annettealexandria, va..
When we moved from a Pennsylvania elementary school, which grouped for achievement levels in reading, to a Seattle school that did not, my son ended up out in the hall playing on the computer during reading instruction. He had done the second grade reader the year before. But because this second grade teacher was not allowed to let him move beyond grade level to the third grade reading book, he got no instruction at all. Does this make any sense?

Anonymous said...

felderinoNYC..
Grouping is great if there's a group for you. I was reading fluently at 4 years old and at a sixth grade level by the time I was in first grade. I was a bored, isolated group unto myself. And being a girl made it worse.

Anonymous said...

Barbara MehlmanGreat Neck..
Duh. I taught in the Bronx in 1964 and the classes were homogeneously grouped then. The result was very effective teaching, very successful learning, and an outcome with students progressing by the end of the year -- a far cry from today. I teach now in a NYC high school and every student at every level gets short shrift -- low, middle and high -- because a teacher in a class of 30+ just can't address all the gifts and deficits that are the result of such a grouping. The population of my school is primarily African-American, primarily poor, so complaining that poor and blacks end up in the bottom groups is an absurdity. But those at the bottom, if homogeneous grouping were to be adopted, would get the special attention they need, bringing them along at a faster rate and giving them a real chance at academic success. La plus ca change...

Maureen said...

re the annettealexandria comment: are there actually Seattle elementary schools that use a "second grade reader" and/or a "third grade reading book?" From what understand, there has been no elementary LA text adoption for eons and that the schools are all using "just right" individual books and are supposed to be doing Readers Workshop. Are there Seattle schools that have actual reading texs that kids could accelerate through?

Anonymous said...

Just a reminder that today (June 10) is the last day to fill out the advanced learning survey that the District emailed to parents.

Jane

Anonymous said...

Maureen, I haven't heard of "second grade readers" or "third grade reading books" either. Unfortunately, I also haven't seen that "schools are all using 'just right' individual books, either. My son had frequent reading level assessments in second grade and regularly moved up in levels, but from what I can tell there hasn't been a single reading assessment in third or fourth grades. I thought maybe "reading levels" were just done in the early grades, but now that I think about it, my other child was given levels in 5th grade--also in SPS, but another school. Is the "just right" books approach supposed to be district-wide?

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

I don't remember getting an Advanced Learning survey-but sure would like to fill one out-can some one point me in the right direction? thank you!

Anonymous said...

Can anyone give a few quick notes from the last APP AC meeting?

Anonymous said...

Highly Capable and Advanced Learning Families,

As many of you know Dr. Bob Vaughan, Program Manager of Advanced Learning, will be retiring in June. We want to thank Dr. Vaughan for his service to Seattle Public Schools.

The transition of a program manager provides us with an opportunity to gather input about characteristics families believe are needed to lead our Highly Capable Services and Advanced Learning Programs. As a result, we are asking families to take time to respond to a brief survey to identify characteristics that will be embedded in the program manager job description.

This survey should only take about 5-10 minutes of your time. It will be open until 5:00 p.m., Monday, June 10.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2RGCRCR

If you have any questions, contact Shauna Heath at (206) 252-0050.

Thank you.

Curriculum & Instruction
Seattle Public Schools

Anonymous said...

Anyone here getting fed up with 6th grade teachers at HIMS constantly losing their students' assignments and then giving them a grade of "zero". I have spent most of this year chasing this problem down repeatedly, with different teachers. In each and every case the teacher had simply misplaced the assignment. What is going on here? And can we expect things to get worse next year when there are even more students to keep track of.

-Just curious if other parents are spending time on this

Anonymous said...

Yes, we are chasing documents also in science and LA/SS.
But what bothering me more is the fact that the 2 6th grade LA/SS teachers in HIMS (in one building and on one floor) can't seem to align their curriculum and / or their homework load. My student is getting newer and newer assignments (yes, the latest deadline is on the last school day and there is one for Wednesday also), while I hear the other class is having their 7th or 8th class party at the same time (and no homework for the last week of school). I am not sure this is true, but that is what most of the 6th graders are talking about apparently.
- Is this fair?

Anonymous said...

We had that problem (losing homework) on numerous occasions with one of the 6th grade LA/SS teachers last year. I never did figure out where the breakdown was happening.

--7th grade mom

Anonymous said...

True, we are in a horrible crunch this evening finishing a suddenly assigned historical essay for LA/SS. Had to cancel all other evening activities. And this close to the end of school how will we chase it down when IT gets lost eh?

-Just curious

Anonymous said...

The same is true for 7th grade LA/SS - curriculum not aligned, one class ending the year further ahead than another. The lack of a more defined LA/SS curriculum/text between sites and classes is an issue. There were several assignments simply lifted off random websites. Several HW crunch nights seemed due to lack of planning or poor estimate of time to complete assignment, and not on the students' part. With 8th grade being different next year, I fear we'll have similar issues.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the lack of planning part. I also think that before students are assigned rather difficult (IMHO) research questions that they must research and write about in 48 hours, they should have a foundation in how to use legitimate web sources to search for information. My kid's class was warned to use only legitimate sources and not to use Wikipedia. This is fine but the students don't appear to know HOW to find references and databases of source material. I do but I didn't expect to have to administer a crash course on that at the last minute. Makes for a thrilling evening of tears and frustration!

-Looking forward to summer

Anonymous said...

Does anyone think it here that on the last week of school students can focus and learn the same way than before? Especially this year after the numerous tests they needed to do in the last couple of weeks?
And also, if teachers do finals, assign new projects, essays on the last couple of days, how can students learn from it (not having enough time to get the evaluation from the teacher)?
Wouldn't it be better (for the teachers AND the students) to leave the last week of school for the missing/make up work and to do extra work for a better grade?
In our LA/SS class there are so many missing grades already, my student can't even predict the final grade...
- Is this fair?

Anonymous said...

If the missing work has been an ongoing issue, have you brought it to the teacher's (and principal's) attention? As far as needing to do research with little help or time, when a student in my child's class asked about finding appropriate resources, they were told they need to take the initiative and figure it out themselves. Nice, huh?

Anonymous said...

Anyone know more about the 8th grade LA/SS changes for next year?

Also, is 8th grade APP science Biology? But it then has to be repeated in HS???

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

High school biology is taken in 8th grade, then biology is repeated as part of the IB program, or taken as AP biology. 8th grade APP LA/SS is supposedly WA State history and US history for next year.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I think that is an extreme cop-out on the part of teachers to require students to "take the initiative and figure it out themselves" for a 48 hour assignment. For example, we work at the UW and we have access to all their research databases. This is both an advantage (many options) and disadvantage (to many options). I think students should be given a list of resources that all students have access to (maybe they have and I am not aware). In the science field we acquire years of experience in reputable sources and these things are always changing. For example, there are now many predatory publishers who spam researchers for free manuscripts. This has alway been an issue (read Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis for a hilarious example) but now with the advent of the web it is an absolute epidemic. Expecting sixth graders to traverse this minefield without guidance is a bit much and an abdication of your teaching responsibility!

-OK rant over

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with last poster.
My research job entails searching medical literature, determining whether it comes from a reputable source; eg high quality peer reviewed journal, whether the evidence presented is strong, and clinically relevant etc. How can a middle schooler be expected to know how to do this without parental support (from a parent who knows) or explicit classroom instruction
Anyone can put anything on the internet. Surely the fundamental thing if you expect kids to research in this way is to provide sound instruction about how to do it, what resources are reliable, what to disregard etc.
Not all kids will have parents who are savvy about this, it is totally unfair to those that don't have parents working in these fields, or with access to specialized resources (pay-for access journals etc) that aren't available to anyone.
Research in the internet age should be a part of the curriculum!

Sniffy

Anonymous said...

We had the same complaint last year, and it was brought to the previous principal's attention, yet I see it hasn't been fully addressed. We found an implicit expectation that research would only be done online, and going to the library for books was just old school...except there was no instruction on how to find reputable, fact-checked, or unbiased sources. Perhaps some of the teachers themselves need the instruction first.

To be fair, this is something that used to be taught in elementary school during library time (at Lowell). After the split, library time changed and the lessons were no longer part of the school week. The philosophy was that students would learn library skills on an as-needed basis. How's that working out?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what is happening next year with SPS voting on the math curriculum? Does this mean there is a chance that EveryDay Math/CMP/Discovery Math may be dropped for a new set of curricula, or is it likely that the same curricula will be approved again? How does this work and is there any way to affect the outcome as a parent??
-Hoping for Better

Mary said...

My child has been assigned to a portable next year. It looks very dark and crowded to me. Can anyone point me to the specific building and fire code requirements for portables? Thanks. Mary

Anonymous said...

You know, it would be really great if someone like Sniffy, who has familiarity with the medical/science literature, and also some one else with familiarity with historical records could put together a presentation for the schools on reputable source material.

The only thing my daughter could articulate about reputable web sources (based presumably on her 6th grade experiences this year) were that disreputable sources had ads. Ironic, when in fact legitimate publishers usually have more ads than hinky ones.

Oh well, something to think about for the future.

-OK rant over

suep. said...

@ Hoping for Better,

Right now the district is planning to revisit K-5 math only, with a plan to likely change from EDM (to ?) starting in 2014.

But those of us in the math advocacy community are asking the district to change middle school math as well (K-8) and replace the extremely weak CMP texts too.

Both EDM and CMP are overdue for review (and replacement).

Please sign the petition sponsored by our group, the Seattle Math Coalition. And please join SeaMaCo.

And pass it on!

Improving math in SPS is one of my campaign priorities.

Sue Peters

suepeters4schoolboard.org

Anonymous said...

@ suep. thanks! I'll sign the petition. Is there any info yet on the process for selecting a replacement curriculum? Do you think there will be parent input?
-Hoping for Better

Anonymous said...

Wilson Pacific has a new planning principal. Chris Cronas of Wedgwood.

Anonymous said...

Sarah Pritchett (the principal at McClure Middle School) is the new Executive Director of Schools for the Central Region.

Anonymous said...

Is the planning principal necessarily going to be the new principal? The families I know in advanced learning at Wedgwood this of him as fairly anti-advanced learning, and extremely anti- self contained programs. Seems an odd choice for our program, unless I am missing something?

Anonymous said...

Any word on the planning principal for the new middle school at JA? If APP middle school splits again, I'd anticipate JA as a possible location. In the JA job listing it does state that the planning principal would then become the school's principal.

Anonymous said...

They haven't hired the planning principal for Jane Addams because they actually had a hiring committee and stakeholders and things like that. Chris Cronas was simply appointed and the presumption is that the planning principal becomes the principal.

And the rumor that APP might wind up at Jane Addams is one of the least substantiated rumors ever. There is a long line of people that are entitled to that building long before APP. The middle school needs to share with a K8 for 3-4 more years. They can't share with a K8 and share with APP.

And they won't have any more room in 3-4 years when the K8 leaves as they will need to pull some kids out of Eckstein.

If there is another split the split would be Hamilton / Wilson Pacific.

Anonymous said...

OMG - i can't believe they appointed Chris Cronas as planning principal for Wilson Pacific, the supposed proposed APP site (if that promise ever actually comes to fruition). He is the guy responsible for dismantling what was, by all accounts, a well regarded spectrum program at Wedgwood Elem and replacing it with a so-called cluster group model - that was actually nothing of sort. He did this after open enrollment had closed - so parents enrolled expecting a completely different program to what they ended up getting. He is philosophically anti- advanced learning, anti-self contained model. What does this mean for the future of APP at that site (if it actually has one, other than as lip service to the 'homeless' north APP crowd).
Will APP eventually be cohoused or collocated there at all?
Would it be cohoused with other programs under one principal or just share the location but have separate administration?
Do we expect the planning principal to become the subsequent principal?
I would be very concerned to think that APP could fall under his governance if he became a permanent principal in a cohousing situation. I am hoping where-ever we end up eventually, that Rina G, will continue to be principal (or failing that, the school community would have input into the appointment of a new one.

What does it all mean?

Anonymous said...

I don't think the idea that APP middle might be split in 2014-15 and land at Jane Adams as part of JAMS (or at Eckstein once the JAMS split happens) is an off-based rumor. The district showed in it's recent board presnetaion that it's thinking of splitting APP middle across 3 NE locations. Peeling off part of APP to the NE and leaving part at HIMS as a first step seems entirley possible. If the 2017 data in that same presentation can be applied ot now (not that I've ever been very impressed by their projections), then half of APP middle in the north end comes from NE students. Also, I've never heard that the current JA would co-house for 3-4 years. I thought their new building would be ready before then.
HIMS APP parent

Anonymous said...

The new building for the Jane Addams K8 will be ready in 2017 or 2016 at the earliest. The original schedule was 2017 and then they accelerated it to 2016.

The K8 and the Jane Addams middle school will be sharing space until the building is ready, because there isn't anywhere else for them to go. The presentation that showed a NE/NW split had Wilson Pacific in the NE half of the split. In all of the scenarios that had splits, there was never a NE split that did not include WP, this was because WP would be the NE site.

Zella917 said...

Would Cronas be the principal for the middle school at Wilson Pacific, or the elementary school? Aren't there still slated to be two schools on that site? I'm disappointed either way after what I've heard about his track record at Wedgewood.

Anonymous said...

The following is taken from Washington Middle School's website:

**Physical Science and Biology are required APP Science classes. For non-APP students concurrent assignment to Algebra or Geometry is necessary for participation in these classes.

Can non-APP students access APP level middle school science classes at WMS?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, why not? Answer to science ?

Anonymous said...

If that's true re: non-APP students accessing APP science classes at WMS, it would seem to be another example of the inconsistency between APP middle schools--and inequitable access to advanced learning. How can non-APP kids at one school be allowed to take something that non-APP kids at the other APP middle school cannot?

Similarly, why does being advanced in math allow you to qualify for an APP science class, but being advanced in language arts doesn't qualify you for the APP LA/SS class? I thought there were no "single subject" APP qualification criteria--that it is all or nothing???

I can understand occasional flexibility on a case-by-case basis, but it sure feels like there needs to be more consistency between programs--especially if there are more splits in the near future.

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

"Wilson Pacific has a new planning principal. Chris Cronas of Wedgwood."

There's no way they chose that Spectrum-Killer by accident. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Anonymous said...

Please don't think splitting APP middle school is a given! Don't accept it as inevitable. It doesn't have to happen.

The Wilson Pacific middle school is not a good location for a neighborhood school (think about 12, 13, 14 yr olds in the 1 1/2 mile walk zone ... walking home around and across Aurora ... crime aside, 85th and 90th are two of the most dangerous intersection on the north end for pedestrians being hit by turning vehicles, according to WSDOT.).

It is much, much safer to have a school where the vast majority of the students receive busing located at Wilson Pacific.

APP busing is reimbursed by the state, and is thus MUCH CHEAPER for SPS than saying "we'll just bus the local neighborhood kids so they don't have to walk across Aurora" - that, the district would have to pay for.

So: problem #1: who to put in Wilson Pacific Middle school (unsafe walk zone, few kids actually living in the immediate area b/c of North Seattle Comm. college, businesses, etc), and problem #2: APP won't fit in Hamilton after next year, won't fit in Eckstein, Whitman's so crowded they had to drop Spectrum LA/SS in 7th/8th grade, and JAMS will fill immediately w/Eckstein kids and can't take 300 or more APP kids for more than a year or two, tops, before it becomes Just Like Hamilton.

Solution: all APP in the Wilson Pacific building, so no one has to walk there, and no kids are displaced from their locale neighborhood middle school by a divided up APP cohort shoved down their throats.

If you think this make sense, EMAIL THE BOARD AND MICHAEL TOLLEY. PLEASE. Do not wait for fall community engagement - by then the program to be placed at Wilson pacific middle school will be decided, and the only "engagement" will be around the edges of the lines.

-- sign me Undivided and On the Bus

Anonymous said...

even if W-P was in an incredibly walk-able, safe neighborhood, the district will make things worse for all north end students if they keep co-housing programs with guaranteed seats while total enrollment surges. BEX won't provide enough north end seats to fix the problems we have today - and further dividing APP to "provide" APP kids services closer to home would be a total disaster for neighborhood schools, which are already insanely overcrowded.

Further division of APP would be a problem for everyone, esp. in the north end.

I'm on FACMAC, but this is my own conclusion. Also: I don't have a kid in north end APP, or in the north end.

-Meg

Anonymous said...

Banda seems like a competent manager and a decent guy. But, and it's a big one... The appointment of Chris Chronos (dismantler of Spectrum and mis-quoter of research on gifted ed) to be planning principal of WP, where APP will be housed, combined with the sudden retirement of Bob Vaughn, makes me VERY nervous that he agrees with Joshua Star on this approach (from Jack's linked article)

" He consolidated middle schools tracked by performance, saying that the distinction led to racially- and socioeconomically-divided classrooms...He also sparred with the school board and some parents, who claimed the approach undermined high-performing students."

So much of what was good about SPS has already been dismantled. Is meaningful advanced learning next? Maybe I'm paranoid, but Chronos? yikes.

--looking at private middle schools

Anonymous said...

oops, that was intended for the SSS thread on Banda. Too many tabs open.

--looking at private middle schools

Anonymous said...

Please leave TM and WMS for APP. We don't need W-P. our kids traverse far worse than what's on 90th. It's too far for our kids.

Anonymous said...

when I said W-P should be used for APP, I meant for north end APP.
-Meg

apparent said...

"OMG - . . . Wilson Pacific, the supposed proposed APP site (if that promise ever actually comes to fruition)."

What "promise"? No such SPS promise was ever made. In early spreadsheet drafts of the BEX IV building proposals, Wilson-Pacific was indeed indicated as an "APP" location, but it was *never* shown as "the" APP location, either for north Seattle middle school students or for north Seattle elementary school students. And surprise, surprise, that deliberately opaque SPS choice of language now turns out to dovetail perfectly with the recently unveiled decentralization proposal ("delivery model") that suggests multiple locations for these APP "services"!

Even this vague early mention of APP at Wilson-Pacific ultimately conspicuously disappeared leaving no trace in the final BEX IV spreadsheet. Nevertheless, the fleeting draft mention of APP perhaps lulled many readers into an imagining that either elementary or middle school APP would move to Wilson-Pacific without a split. And now the appointment of Chris Cronas as Wilson-Pacific planning principal strongly suggests that APP would actually be spectrumed there . . . with district approval Principal Cronas has already successfully dismantled the successful self-contained advanced learning program at Wedgewood Elementary.

Surely these are strong indications that this recently announced staff proposal of splitting north end APP into multiple sites – and maybe even abandoning self-contained classrooms? – was already in the works when the BEX IV spreadsheets were being prepared.

Anonymous said...

With both of my children now promoted from APP at TM and APP at WMS, I can fairly and accurately state a few conclusions from the last splits. First, the program survived and remains strong. But, Second, the program is not as strong as it once was. While my son had a great experience this year in 5th grade, the work and content was nowhere near what my daughter experienced in 5th grade three years ago. As a result, my son will be doing extra reading and writing this summer. That's not a knock against his teacher, but an endorsement of experience as a massive difference-maker in the classroom. I would say that APP is still a terrific program but is taking years to regain what it once was, and which was diluted in the split. And that's the lesson people need to learn and accept from the splits: They weaken and dilute the program, temporarily, and its going to take 2 to 4 years to make up the lost ground. Experience matters, and even the best new teachers will take some years to get where the experienced, older teachers had the program at before the splits.

Going forward, I believe this community must remain rationale, but not over-protective. Splits may or may not be necessary or inevitable, but must be driven by enrollment, and not by the idea of locating it closer to home. "Access" and "increased diversity" strongly drove the last splits, and the "if we build it, they will come" theory never materialized. APP grew because enrollment grew and because Spectrum shrank. Access & Diversification were minimal factors. Everyone who qualifies gets in, and gets bused. Hence, improved "access" was largely mythical.

The program could probably sustain another split, but not multiple splits at one time, as experience has shown that it takes years to grow and replicate a healthy APP program, and planning versus reacting to a crisis - Think IB option at Ingraham in '11 vs. splitting HIMS and WMS cohorts in '08 - serves everyone involved and impacted, APP and non-APP alike.

The numbers have to support at least two classes at each level in elementary, and at least 200-250 kids in grades 6-8. Anything less is a huge step backwards.

While all of APP in one building would be ideal, I don't think it's realistic, as the continued growth will inevitably push out neighborhood kids who will want to go to the perceived "good" or "best" middle school in their area. And don't kid yourselves: APP pushing out other kids is red meat for it's detractors. So, stay of ahead of them.

Despite my feelings that APP still hasn't fully recovered from the last splits, and the teaching corps is not as great as it once was, to keep things in perspective, I consider the crappy math curricula my kids have had over the past three years to have set back all children district-wide further than the dilution of talent and experience in the APP teaching corps. Great teachers will come and go, but what they teach is of equal or greater importance.

So let's all work toward solutions that are more Ingraham IB-like, and less '08 split-like; Branch Out=Yes. Cleave & Toss=No.

Stay Thirsty My Friends.

TheMostInterestingManInTheWorld

Anonymous said...

@apparent. I love it, you've coined a new term "spectrumed" to refer to what the district could potentially do to APP (or what Chris Cronas could do to it as principal at its potential WP site).

I used the term 'promise' loosely in my earlier post. I always got the feeling the idea of WP as an APP location was put out there to placate families who were uneasy and increasingly disgruntled about the splits, the move to Lincoln, having no permanent home or plan or even school designation etc. Unfortunately, I think a lot of people may be under the impression that SPS ever sticks to its word and may not have noticed the surreptitious removal of any mention of APP at WP.
BTW, i read on the SSS blog that Lincoln still does not have an OPSI school identification number, therefore is still considered part of Lowell (a full 2 years later) - thereby denying Lowell elementary the funding it it qualifies for due to the high FRL population at that that location for the past 2 years and the year to come. Apparently it is a very quick and simple thing to obtain this new OPSI ID, but must be done by the superintendent or his representative. It is disgraceful that this not been done. But, I've given up expecting any better from SPS these days.

What does it all mean?

Anonymous said...

The information on the BEX website notes APP North elementary will be placed at Wilson Pacific. There's no mention of the population that will be served by WP middle school.

http://bex.seattleschools.org/bex-iv/wilson-pacific

Lynn

dw said...

@MostInteresting
First, the program survived and remains strong. But, Second, the program is not as strong as it once was.
...
I would say that APP is still a terrific program but is taking years to regain what it once was, and which was diluted in the split. And that's the lesson people need to learn and accept from the splits: They weaken and dilute the program, temporarily, and its going to take 2 to 4 years to make up the lost ground.


You're on the right track, but your conclusion isn't quite there. It's not going to take 2-4 years to make up the lost ground. That lost ground will NEVER be made up, and it will only get worse and worse with more splits.

There is dilution in infrastructure, leadership and teachers that can in theory be made up over time (though one could easily argue that with new leaders catastrophes await, like SNAPP, where the principal has continued her attack on experienced teachers and anything that resembles non-standard teaching). But the expansion/dilution of the student base cannot be fixed.

The comparison of what your daughter experienced vs. what your son experienced is indicative of both the splits (loss of experienced teachers and administrators), and expansion/dilution of the student body. When you double the program size by essentially adding in tons of Spectrum kids, the cohort changes drastically. Even the same great teacher will not be able to move along at the same pace, with the same breadth and depth as previously.

I've spoken with several teachers that have confirmed this, but they're all gone now. The new teachers may be great people, and they may have the potential to be great APP teachers over time, but they cannot speak to the dilution of their student base because they simply do not have that knowledge because they weren't in the system 5-10 years ago.

The district has been killing APP for years. The splits are just the nail in the coffin.

There needs to be a unified, very loud voice from APP parents if there's even a shred of hope of derailing the upcoming splits. The fix, of course, is shoring up Spectrum around the city, which will decrease the population pressures on APP. That means people like Chris Cronas need to be kept far away from any kind of advanced learning programs.

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

I find it curious that a lot of people think that Spectrum kids come to APP. Spectrum is only one year ahead and APP is two years ahead. Doesn't that two year need trump the one year need. Look at math for instance. The APP may just need a more advanced curriculum not just one year ahead but two.

-Just curious

Anonymous said...

I was literally just thinking along "curious" lines-how is it possible that so many kids that are supposedly Spectrum kids getting into APP all of a sudden? The threshhold has not been changed in the last two-three years when all this growth has happened. Either lots of APP-eligible kids were choosing Spectrum in the past, more APP eligible kids are coming along, or somebody's gaming the system.

I've seen this many times in the last few years, but I haven't seen proof that it's really Spectrum kids without a home moving up to APP in droves. Can someone explain what's really going on?

Anonymous said...

Just Curious, etc. - Historically, some families whose kids have tested into APP have chosen to keep the kids in Spectrum, either because they were satisfied with their Spectrum program, or didn't want the kids to have to bus to APP, or for some other reason.

I believe the implication is that with Spectrum disintegrating, these families are now sending their (APP-qualified) kids to APP, resulting in increased APP enrollment. I don't hear that somehow kids who are not APP-qualified are entering the program. The requirements have not changed.

Ruthie

Anonymous said...

Ruther, that makes sense-really, the ONLY answer-but THAT MANY new APP in the last few years? Are there THAT MANY leaving Spectrum? In other words, was/should be Spectrum larger by far than APP? That would explain a lot.

(the "etc." from above)