Friday, September 27, 2013

Change in state law

By request, let's open up a discussion on the changes to state law for highly capable students. Specifically, the Superintendent of Public Instruction wrote:
For highly capable students, access to accelerated learning and enhanced instruction is access to a basic education.

Districts will have a plan for identifying and serving highly capable students Grades K–12 ... Districts must have clearly-defined written nomination, screening, assessment, and selection system procedures in place that use multiple objective criteria for identification of students who are among the most highly capable.

Districts must make a variety of appropriate program services available to students who participate in the district's HCP. Districts must provide a continuum of services to the students from K–12. Districts must review services for each student to ensure that the services are appropriate.
Please discuss. Among other things, as the parent who requested this thread noted, the district's current highly capable grant application does not appear to have a plan for identifying students grades 9-12, but let's please also talk about broader questions and issues around the change.

10 comments :

Anonymous said...

So it says "Districts must review services for each student to ensure that the services are appropriate."

Does this suggest they'll need to do IEPs for highly capable kids who may be working beyond the typical APP "curriculum"? Say your kid is 3yrs advanced in math, but your school doesn't offer that--will they now need to find a way to accommodate that?

I don't know how the new language differs from the old, so am not sure how to interpret. It sure sounds, however, like each kid is supposed to have his/her individual needs met, no? On the other hand, I imagine enforcement of this language will likely be nonexistent.

HIMSmom

Lori said...

Implementing this change in law is a topic of discussion on Friday October 18th at the WAETAG (Washington Association of Educators of the Talented and Gifted) conference. More details at www.waetag.org.

I love that the name of the Friday session is "Oh, They'll Be Fine": Addressing the Legitimate Needs of Highly Capable Children. Isn't that the meme that goes round and round about our kids? That they don't need to be taught new things because they'll just be fine anyway?

Charlotte Akin is doing several of the presentations, and she's excellent. I've heard her speak at prior conferences, providing evidence about "who" these kids are and why we need to serve them. They will also talk about identification issues, the new legislation, and best practices for gifted ed (curriculum and programs).

We need to make sure that district staff attend. Not only those in Teaching and Learning, but also principals who are currently slated to be opening new APP programs (W. Seattle, WP, JAMS) or cohousing in the near future (Oly Hills).



Anonymous said...

HIMSmom,

The AL department fulfills this requirement by reviewing MAP scores.

"The NWEA data is reviewed for all students, but for Highly Capable, the Supervisor of Advanced Learning is responsible in order to monitor growth in all populations. Even though APP students are two years accelerated, they are still expected to make at least one year of growth every school year when compared with their nationally normed academic peers."

Lynn

Anonymous said...

The district will be amending that incorrect grant application to report that this will be a transition year to develop a plan to meet the new requirements.

I am particularly interested in discussing how (and where) services will be provided to high school students. Eighth grade students can currently test in the fall and enroll in IBX at Ingraham. When that program is full, where will those newly identified students be served? How will students who enter the district between the 9th and 12th grades be identified and what services will be provided to them?

Will the new law allow the district to continue to offer access to Garfield only to students identified by the seventh grade?

I'm interested in hearing anyone's opinions of what the district should do.

Lynn

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Lynn. But I'm not sure I understand what "one year of growth" looks like on MAP tests. If such students are at the 99th percentile to start with, what happens the following year? I was under the impression that the test itself wasn't specific to each and every grade level. In other words, a kid may take the same version of the test in 7th and 8th grades, so if they score in the 99th percentile in 7th grade how can the district tell if they have learned a single thing the following year?

Plus, we all know the AL department doesn't really do any evaluation of the effectiveness of AL programs. And really, is "services for each student" the same as "services for each group of students"?

Accustomed to being disappointed,
HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

"The NWEA data is reviewed for all students, but for Highly Capable, the Supervisor of Advanced Learning is responsible in order to monitor growth in all populations. Even though APP students are two years accelerated, they are still expected to make at least one year of growth every school year when compared with their nationally normed academic peers."

This is somewhat meaningless because: 1) The MAP test has a ceiling for reading (245) which is reached by some 4th-5th graders and 2) MAP is not correlated to the SPS curriculum.

OSPI has a document listing criteria for "Excellent" programs for highly capable. They have a loooong way to go to get close to excellent. It's worth a read.

OSPI Highly Capable Criteria for Excellent Programs

Anonymous said...

HIMSmom,

I agree with you - just sharing what Shauna Heath told me.

Lynn

Anonymous said...

I listened to an online presentation on the changes in the law over the weekend. It's going to be very interesting to see how the district interprets the new rules. A variety of services must be offered to highly capable students. Students must have an opportunity to be identified through the 12th grade. I expect either Garfield's neighborhood boundaries will shrink next year - or new APP high school pathways will be created - either as an option or as a replacement for guaranteed seats at Garfield.

Lori said...

Oct 7 Anon, can you share who put on the conference call? Was it for educators and school officials or parents?

The potential mandate that SPS will have to develop a mechanism to test and identify students for highly capable at the high school level could be a very big deal, depending how the middle school transition plan is resolved.

Right now, several 5th grade parents I've spoken to are concerned that leaving for private middle school or opting into the neighborhood school to avoid the 6th grade roll-up at Marshall would actually shut the door to advanced high school offerings come 2017. Personally, given how things seem to change on a year to year basis, I don't actually plan to make a decision based on the assumption that the rules in effect today will still be in effect in 2017. But if indeed the district is going to have to let students test at all ages, then it sure makes it easier to make a short-term decision about middle school and not feel like a decision you make today must stand firm for the next 7 years.

Lynn said...

Lorie,

The Webinar was put on by the OSPI for Highly Capable program managers.
In the discussion at the end, the message was that while you do not need a plan for each student, you should identify your most highly capable students, then create a program (or programs) that willl meet their needs.
I agree that it's not a good idea to make decisions based on what the district will do several years down the road.