Friday, September 27, 2013

Open thread

Rain, rain. And some rain. What else is on your mind, APP parents?

72 comments :

Anonymous said...

Was anyone else a bit disappointed in last night's SNAPP PTA meeting?

* A lengthy discussion about all the things that couldn't be done in the playground as the first agenda item. Was this really the most important item and couldn't a summary of the results rather than the process have been stated.

* No budget - and then a contextless discussion of whether to fund the fifth grade outing which sounds like its only a few weeks away. Normally I'd expect to make a decision like this far enough ahead of time that you wouldn't need to delay sending out notices in the classroom.

* A really odd politically charged discussion over whether the APPAC rep gets to vote on the board.

* The most significant issue over the program's future left until the very end of the night and with not that much time to talk.

- Maybe its just me.

Anonymous said...

Hi there. Our third grader just started at Lincoln this fall so I have been following this blog for a couple weeks. Thank you to the hosts for maintaining it, and to parents for participating - I have learned a lot.

I see a lot of complaints, anxiety and so on in many of these posts. Maybe that's as it should be since our collective commitment is to focus on improving the program for our kids. But I did want to just say that my kid really is happy at Lincoln and its been a great experience so far - a terrific teacher, supportive staff. She is being challenged for sure - its not easy - but for the first time in her formal schooling years, she likes school. And that means a lot.

So... thank you staff and teachers of Lincoln, as well as parents who have worked hard to make this a good program. Keep up the good work.

Happy Friday,
JH

Anonymous said...

I echo what JH says. Our experience at Lincoln has been really good this year, and in past years. It is a "school", and not just a "program" or something in an "interim" space. Kudos to the teachers, the leadership, and the PTA for doing more than just making good out of tough situation.

(And yeah, I think the PTA meeting might have been run a bit tighther. Every year there's a mostly new crew of board members/volunteers, and it takes a few meetings to get things worked out. Thanks to all the volunteers who are working hard on behalf of our kids).

- Good Start

Emilyplays said...

Oh dear....
receive via email this afternoon.
September 27, 2013

Dear Washington Middle School community:

Today I’m announcing a leadership change at Washington Middle School. Your principal, Jon Halfaker, has been selected as the new Executive Director of K-12 Schools for the Northwest Region of the district. In this role, Mr. Halfaker will support principals’ instructional leadership in order to increase student achievement and close opportunity gaps at the 19 schools in the region.

​I know that asking a principal to leave a building once the school year has started can be difficult for staff and families. However, I believe this decision is in the best interest of all of our students.

I am pleased to announce that your current assistant principal, Patricia Guenther, has been appointed interim principal at Washington effective October 1. Ms. Guenther has 30 years of experience with Seattle Public Schools, including nine at Washington. She has also served as an assistant principal at Eckstein and Hamilton middle schools. Ms. Guenther began her career as a middle school teacher of students with special needs. She earned a BA in Exceptional Education K-12 at State University College of New York at Buffalo and a Masters in Educational Administration from Western Washington University.

We will appoint an interim assistant principal to step into Ms. Guenther’s former role.

Mr. Halfaker has stressed that he will be available to support Ms. Guenther and the school through this transition.

In early spring 2014 we will form a principal hiring committee that will include family and staff representatives. Executive Director of K-12 schools for the Central Region, Sarah Pritchett, will coordinate this process. Input from staff and families about the characteristics you would like to see in your next principal will be an important part of the process.

I want to thank Mr. Halfaker for the outstanding leadership he has provided at Washington Middle School. Please join me in welcoming Ms. Guenther to her new role.

Thank you for the high expectations that you set for every student, and for all that you do.

Sincerely,


José Banda
Superintendent

Anonymous said...

I'm sad to see Mr. Halfaker leave, and wish he could have finished out the year. I am happy the district appointed Ms. Guenther as interim.

Anonymous said...

I'll echo JH and Good Start - this is our second year at Lincoln. Lincoln has been such a great fit for our son - I am really pleased with the atmosphere at the school, the friends he's made and the teachers. I am very grateful for the hardworking parents who volunteer to serve on the SNAPP PTA - it's a lot of work and time.

To "Maybe it's just me" - I know the PTA can always use more volunteers. If you see places where things could be improved, please step up and help improve them.

Jane

Anonymous said...

Just saw a comment on sea schools blog with a link to the FACMAC letter sent to Banda about the current boundaries:

https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/799748-school-doc.html

Their recs 6-8 are a serious challenge to the current APP plan. Does the district listen to FACMAC?

Wondering

Julie said...

I was reading the seattle community blog mentioning the FACMAC recommendations and the comments that followed - and there was angry sentiment expressed toward the group. It basically said FACMAC is biased and loaded with APP parents so not worth listening to. I didn't know that APP was such a pariah in the community until reading some of the comments. Are the APP parents the only one who thought the FACMAC made any sense?

-Discouraged

Lori said...

It does get depressing, doesn't it? But, no, a few cranky anonymous comments on a blog does not necessarily represent community opinion! There's a selection bias on any public blog, and I know many reasonable people who won't even bother posting, so the cranky voices sound even louder in their absence.

I was at the Hale meeting. I was at a Board director's coffee chat Saturday. A common theme here in the NE is that neither JAMS nor people residing near Oly Hills want their schools to house half of the north APP population. They can do the math, they are living with the growth and housing development, they know they need those seats for neighborhood kids.

It actually seems like a win:win to leave the neighborhood schools for the neighborhood kids and put the kids who already rely heavily on buses at the schools that are difficult to walk to and will therefore rely heavily on buses.

Let's hope common sense takes hold.

Anonymous said...

HOLY COW! If you want to be depressed, take a gander at the other edu blog under the FACMAC post and read all the comments about APP. Lori, I’d like to think that you are right and I know that folks who comment on Melissa and Charlie’s blog aren’t representative, but I do feel a more broad hate in sEattle.

Anonymous said...

This school year's first APP Advisory Committee meeting will be TODAY:

Tuesday, October 1
Hamilton International School Library
6:30pm-8:30pm
All are welcome! Today's discussion will focus on the District proposal for Growth Boundaries and the changes that affect APP.

Anonymous said...

I don't read it as hate. These arguments have got to be expected. APP as a behemoth program is a hard sell.

Anonymous said...

Oh, it's hate all right, but I think it's mostly trolls. APP is kinda big, but not really behemoth given the population surge and demographics. That's just a loaded word. I think it would shrink if more neighborhood schools did more for advanced learners, but I am not seeing a move in that direction, and instead see teachers tell parents if they want more, try APP, even when the local school could do fine with some tweaks. But those "tweaks" would require smaller classes, specialist time for advanced learners, pathway, things that don't happen in crowded schools. I have to believe the district wants or doesn't mind the growth, because it's unbelievable to me they could expect anything else after taking advanced learning out of most schools.

Most of my neighbors do not care one iota about APP. They have no idea where it is located, that it has ever moved, don't have any prejudice against or longing for it, just want their kids' school not so crowded. Anything that does that is a-okay with them. They can muster sympathy for the idea that splitting another kid's school is hard and should maybe be avoided. So long as it does not make their school more crowded. Those few angry people on the SSS blog are true outliers. They're vocal, and I do think it is nice to have it clear there are opposing views, and what they say is not accepted fact, but still. Outliers.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

I agree with sleeper, especially this: "I think it would shrink if more neighborhood schools did more for advanced learners, but I am not seeing a move in that direction, and instead see teachers tell parents if they want more, try APP, even when the local school could do fine with some tweaks." This is what happened to us. I do think it is becoming more obvious that APP is serving more of a Spectrum population, which might be fueling more "haters". I have pretty young kids and am a 1st year APP parent so I don't have as much historical perspective, this is just what I am hearing as talk of AL testing is going around.

K/2gr mom

Anonymous said...

If you are going to call it hate, then it goes both ways. I've been in this too long and have heard in public and seen certain things written here that don't speak well of APP parents at times too. I do think the teachers and staff who have been maligned can see beyond and realize those opinions are outliers too. The same goes when we stop listening and consider dissenting voices trolls even within our own. There are flamers of course, but far more people are thoughtful even if their opinions are contrary. I value their input and I encourage my children to keep their ears open and their hearts and minds wider.

APP mom

Julie said...

I just read Melissa's thread about APP staying at Lincoln permanently and make WP a middle and high school. I think it has merits and there may be less opposition if APP doesn't take away a new shiny school but instead take what they consider a 'dump'. What do you think? I personally think Lincoln has lot of character...(^___^) though it can definitely use some TLC...

Anonymous said...

Agree with Julie about APP at Lincoln being a better fit with the public. If the NE is given a choice b/w a high school that will serve them at WP and an elem for APP ... well ...

Getting a good reno for Lincoln would be great, but it's not that bad. There are a lot of suggestions on the other APP blog (if you ignore the usual haters) for ways to fix the bus vs playground issue. I liked the loop the buses through the parking lot around an oval play ground, and put the buses on the street in no parking bus zones. Either could claim back some of the lot for play equipment. Likewise, if the building's made a permanent elem. school the district will have to demolish the greenhouse in the off-limits front corner, and that might yield space -- they just won't do it for an interim tenant.

Not sure what schools the people who think it's a dump came from, but there are a lot of real dumps in this district... cafeteria at BF Day? Bathrooms at Bagley (and they don't get remodeled until very late)? Every inch of Lowell? Seven person co-house in Berkeley in 90s had nicer bathrooms than that school. And yet kids are still going there without a single $ of this BEX going to them, so frankly, whining that the Lincoln building's not good enough will just tick off every person whose kid went to any of the other zillion icky buildings, and there are many, many worse ones. Then APP won't get any building to call its own. Accept the building! Any building! Take Lincoln!

(Not that I'm desperate for a building or anything...!)

Anonymous said...

Hmm...this is the second or third time someone has said the BF Day cafeteria is sub-standard. I don't believe it's outside the realm, and we've had kids in 4 school buildings now. BF Day seems to get beaten up on a lot, and while it (like every school) can do with improvement, we're having a great year there this year. And the cafeteria is fine!

- BF Day Fan

Anonymous said...

Re: Standards based grading for APP classes.

In my child's class, they either meet standard (shown as a grade of 85%) or exceed standard (shown as a grade of 100%). There's no in between. For a recent project, meeting the 9-10 grade standard 100%, was the only way to get an A (and this is for a 6th grade class). So the above grade level standard is actually the base standard (it is APP, right), but you have to meet it 100%? For a perfectionist child, this is actually demotivating. Only absolute perfection will get an A. I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around the intent of this new system. Thoughts?

Anonymous said...

Anyone have any idea about the content of the test. Just to clarify, I am not a fan kf MAP . But do they start the kids higher for app dtudens? My Lincoln 1st grader received 99n on his test'lart year last is year. Do we find
significantly different scores?

Jen C

Anonymous said...

MAP is a scaled adaptive test, so they should be taking the same test as their classmates, but getting questions based on their level within that test. If you want to know what concepts correlate to a given scale score, you can reference the "Descartes Continuum of Learning." Links from another district here:

NWEA's Descartes: A Continuum of Learning

Anonymous said...

Anybody else sensing the big reveal will be the classic bait & switch, geosplits for APP immediately, just like they did to Washington when they pulled out kids for Hamilton?

Let's see how well that worked: check back a few years later, & both schools are failing, from a capacity standpoint, which means the quality of academic delivery is also severely failing.

Washington is now going to be divided off to Meany, when that building is finally ready to receive kids, & in the meantime, kids are either going to be crammed into untold number of portables or shipped 9 miles down south. And Hamilton's future? APP will cease to be serviced there.

So yes, let's review, how well did that work? Fail.

Similarly, given the capacity crisis in the north, splitting APP between 2 middle schools will result in a SPECTACULAR fail in 3 years. More partitions, "school divorces", and disenfranchisement.

I am so sick of this.

Do I think the public wants to support a single site a APP middle school with some option seats in the north? If the facts were understood about how streaming 2 guaranteed seats into one building, together with other guaranteed space-intensive services ELL and SpEd, creates a nonsustainable school, then yes!

With this very recent and telling history of failures when it comes to middle school, perhaps the entire north will get completely sick of this instability and try to maximize "predictability" for as long as possible, and that means exporting APP students out of over-portabled, completely stressed facilities to a building where they won't get in anybody else's way.

Before anyone thinks that Washington middle school lasted for many years, you're just living in the past. Look at the size of the grade cohorts rolling into middle school for the next 5 years, there is no relief, it's only going to get worse, & the BEX planned facilities won't be able to handle that which is coming. In other words, no portables are going away over the next 6 years, in fact, we will be getting more. And then, high school will tip over in 2 years.

Which only underscores the importance of doing reasonable planning now, not setting something up to fail, & then having to re-scramble all of the pieces on the board to try & fix an error that should never have happened in the first place.

I talk to lots of people about this, people who worship at the altar of Hamilton, & desperately want to get there. I understand, so do I! But that experience is simply not available, and to try & replicate it anywhere else north, just means a repeat of a guaranteed evacuation & instability for all, all, not just APP, all kids in the building, in the community, in the neighborhood, in the feeder pattern.

Maybe I'm the one being dense, maybe that IS the plan, just use some kids as "tools" for other purposes, & then shuffle them along?

Lord knows, this district has an appalling record of treating sped children in this manner, IMHO. Kids, all kids, and families, all families, deserve a shot at some stability. It is not fair, or, to use the District's current 'vogue' catchword of the moment, EQUITABLE, to keep doing this to the same kids over, and over, and over again, for years.

I get it, APP is everybody's favorite poster child of a whipping boy, the blogs are testament to that, if nothing else. It's not a persecution complex, it's just the word count situation. Having said that though, the proposed split, giving the abject lack of space anywhere, is going to cause more problems for more people, non-APP students who otherwise wouldn't have to have these sorts of problems in their universe, so, perhaps the entire community, once familiar with the fact pattern, history, and facilities' prognosises would demand to avoid any shotgun marriage, & respectfully request that APP not be imported into the buildings that are intended to serve their neighborhood due to geographic proximity in the era of NSAP.

Anonymous said...

On a different note, what do people think about allowing the "cherry-picking" of MAP scores? By the time the testing/appeals season is complete, students have a portfolio of usually three different sets of scores and any of them are valid for determining eligibility. In the younger grades, the MAP test is very low power and also scores go up and down for lots of kids. Kids can hit a high score that is not indicative of ability as easily as they can hit a low one.

If they revisit the entry criteria, I hope this is one they revisit, esp. for 1st/2nd graders. I think inflated MAP scores from that low power primary test are much more of a problem than appeals in "lowering the bar" for APP. Once kids reach the 2-5 gr test it is more reliable.

Anonymous said...

Also, this is our first year in APP and I am wondering if there truly are plans or eventual counseling out for kids that seem to be unsuited for the accelerated curriculum?

Anonymous said...

Hamilton has a lot going for it, but the APP program is just a shadow of what it is/was at Washington. In some ways, being at Hamilton is limiting the academics for APP students. While I consider the principal very capable, being part of a school with a curricular focus (international school), presents choices that limit everything from electives to access to appropriate textbooks. Being moved and split will not necessarily improve the situation, but staying together doesn't provide any guarantees either. The teachers would like some stability as well.

As far as MAP testing, aren't K-2 students given an additional achievement test to qualify for APP? Or has that changed?

Students do get quietly counseled out of APP at times. My bigger concern is that the program is based primarily on acceleration, so choosing to leave the program could be like repeating a grade. Is it better to leave the program and repeat material already covered, or muddle along scraping by with barely passing grades? Not a great choice. If students are struggling, are they given supports or options? I'd like to see a plan in place for those that are struggling - something that could help them decide the best plan of action (staying or leaving) - rather than just assume they "don't belong."

Anonymous said...

Last year, K students took a true achievement test. First and second graders, it is MAP only for the achievement portion.

Anonymous said...

Anybody else wondering about the value and utility of the Ruler approach? Seems pretty verbose, and very formalized, with the expectation that children can articulate their emotions and have the impulse control to step back when they are frustrated, angry, or upset. The 2 variables are energy and mood, but for the life of me, I couldn't correlate the color scheme with it. But, that's just me.

For children who are on the spectrum, not sure this is a tool that will prove useful for them or the community. Much rather would have had "the circle of friends" approach, where a teacher or staff person has a regularly scheduled "buddy lunch" with a group of kids three times a week for a while, thereby supporting friendships and truly building a sense of belonging, brick by brick, friend by friend, that will nurture these children as they move through Lincoln. Recent social research shows that the only effective way to curb bullying is to have an adult empathetically present for the bully, that is another benefit of these friendship circles and buddy lunches.

The Lincoln STAR system, has that been displaced, abandoned? I always found it to be a readily accessible tool to work with the children when I was volunteering. It was easy to remind kids in the building or on the playground to be a Lincoln Star, to be inclusive and to try their hardest.

For what it's worth, I found that to be a great touchstone for all the kids and all the classes. Now, with each class having an individual charter, my ability to reach them in the language that their most familiar with is going to be somewhat stymied. Still, I think it's a fantastic idea to have each classroom develop their own charter, to build those bonds of common expectations and to generate a mutually and communally agreed to buy-in with expectations of intra-classroom decorum.

Having said that, I still want more emphasis on social and emotional development, and still hope staff will do buddy recesses and lunches with supported friendship circles. Talking about it won't cut it, it needs to really happen in order for it to have an effect.

Even with a low number of IEP's, it is abundantly clear that Lincoln is a rich site of neurodiversity. One parent of a child with an IEP said that she thinks it's obvious more kids need them, but parents are weary of "the stigma" (??) and are loathe to pursue the supports their students need to be successful because they fear it will have a deleterious effect should they wish to pursue private school sometime down the line.

Anyway, just wondering if others have impressions to share.

Wondering

Anonymous said...

Don't know about "Ruler," but there used to be the "Lowell Way."

We care for and support all of the Lowell School Family...we speak up against unfair or hurtful behavior towards others, and get adult help when needed...we use extra effort to include all students in activities at our school.

Anonymous said...

This is from the Lake Washington school district:
The district will no longer test kindergarten students. It will serve advanced students in regular first grade classrooms. Cognitive measures of ability are not well developed for students in kindergarten. It is difficult to determine which students are “highly capable” students and which students are simply more knowledgeable about subjects measured by the test. This change brings Lake Washington in line with many other districts in the area that also begin their gifted education program in second grade.

I would argue that using flukey MAP scores from kindergarten to qualify 1st graders for APP entry in 2nd grade is not good practice at all.

Anonymous said...

Re counseling out students: Some of those kids may very well have IEPs or things that the parent/non-professional observer doesn't know or understand.

Or perhaps the student who won't do work at school or doesn't get started ... CAN do it, but chooses not to for an emotional reason.

Should they be out? Isn't APP the best place for them to be educated in that case - the place where they are most likely to rise to their abilities, and where the teachers are most likely to find a way to get them to go past whatever is standing between their abilities and their success? Or, because to a few people they don't seem to be keeping up, they should go back to the dubious benefits of of differentiation -- yeah, that's where they'll get a lot of help with whatever's holding them back.

I will err on side of compassion - I've seen kids, one or sometimes two in every class for years now, who resist working their hardest at APP. But wow, I think they'd be in a lot worse situation in a school where resisting math or quitting after a few sentences was okay, or where the expectations were lower.

I for one will continue to assume that other people's kids are not really my business. They don't hold back my kid's learning. APP is not yet out of lifejackets that I have to deny someone who qualified a seat in the boat.

By the way, I see a lot of flak aimed at JSIS and McDonald on blogs for easing all the SpEd kids out of language immersion by not serving them. I don't think pushing out the different APP kids - and I know that question about counseling out was NOT advocating pushing out the neuro-different or the quirky who the poster thinks can keep up, but merely the ones who through a few interactions the poster assumes can't... well, the poster doesn't know anything really about them.

It is the teacher's and parents' job to reach those kids, just like at any other school. Not ours to judge their fitness.

Education is not a finite resource.

Lynn said...

Interesting note about the Lake Washington School District. The law will require them to identify and provide services to kindergarten students beginning next fall. They can provide those services in general education classrooms - but they have to identify them. I wonder when the statement quoted above was originally made?

Anonymous said...

That change in LWSD was for the 2012-13 school year.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Phone fail.

Jen C

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 10:48 PM--Thank you so much for offering this perspective on "counseling out." As the parent of a child with an IEP in APP, I bristle when other parents repeat their children's comments that "some kids" in their classes really shouldn't be in the program. With all due respect, you and your kids might not be the best judges of the needs of and issues facing other students in their classes. It might really help the students who do have difficulties if you could point this out to your kids when they mention it.

-opalesce

Kindermom said...

Wow, I totally didn't read the comment from anon@October 5, 9:36pm as making a hidden jab at kids with IEPs. I think it's actually a really valid question for any new parent to consider. I've just uprooted my child from their neighborhood school, and he/she is struggling at the new school. What supports are there for him/her, us as a family?

I asked about this when I toured last spring, and I get any answers. I was told that they couldn't think of anyone leaving the school except in cases of moving away. But I just can't imagine that when you pull kids from a bunch of different schools based on one or two tests, it's possible that the change in schools is not going to fit every kid. The path back isn't as obvious as when that child is in an in-building pullout program. Note that I'm not talking about this with any child in mind; but having attending a similar program when I was in school and remembering some kids who struggled and were unhappy, I do wonder about it in an abstract way.

Maybe it's just me, I felt the same way.

To all of the anons, please use a nickname! This blog isn't as strict as the seattle schools blog, but it would be nice for you to do so.

Kindermom said...

I asked about this when I toured last spring, and I didn't get any answers.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I didn't mean to be snippy and short--it's been a long day of dealing with ed. issues for my 2E kid. I was jumping to conclusions because when the issue has come up before the discussion has gone in the direction of what to do with kids who "really don't need the program". It's true that there's no real process outlined for departing APP, except for the assurance that you can go back to your neighborhood school. I've never seen anyone address the issue of essentially repeating a grade.

-opalesce

Anonymous said...

This issue is being discussed not just by some parents, but by some teachers as well. It underscores the need for some type of gifted ed training for both teachers and counselors.

We had a teacher suggest medication for our otherwise well behaved child. First, not a teacher's place, and second, my child complained about learning very little in class that year. The frustration level was pretty high. The reasons for students not performing or behaving as expected are many. It doesn't necessarily mean they aren't capable.

another anon

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Kindermom. Your reading was much closer to my intention. My comment was NOT meant as a dig at any child, including my own.

Oct 5/9:36
Original anon

Anonymous said...

Thanks to everyone who recognizes that not all APP kids are going to fit seamlessly into their APP class cohort. Our neuro-atypical child gave up an APP seat rather than deal with the lack of understanding from some APP teachers & parents ("If they are accelerated, they shouldn't need help with social skills", and "There's obviously no discipline at home"). It was really reaching a point of being severely damaging to dc's self esteem, despite being able to succeed academically. And to malign and accuse us as parents of not disciplining our child is the most unhelpful, unprofessional thing I have ever encountered in school. Honestly, no one can possibly know how hard we have worked to understand our child's unique needs and respond appropriately. We just gave up in the face of that negativity.

It's sad that there is no support for 2E students who are challenging to teach. It seems obvious that academic & intellectual advancement do not guarantee typical social development. Support should be available for all areas. We are just figuring out what it will mean to jump back into a curriculum that our child has already learned. At least there will be easy A's...

better off gen ed

Lynn said...

better off general ed,

Did you talk to Roger Daniels in the AL office about this? I am curious about what he'd have to say about this. Even if you didn't talk to him before moving your child, do you have the time and energy to do it now?

Anonymous said...

re: better off in general ed,

I'm so sorry that you had this experience, but we had a completely different experience. Our family received quite a bit of support for our 2e kid -- support for our 504 plan, lots of communication and support from teachers and administration for work on his social skills. Just wanted to post my 2 cents, so that parents of 2e kids aren't necessarily scared away from APP. For our kid, it's been the best possible program.

Former Lincoln Mom

Anonymous said...

The support we got came from special ed, because of the legal requirements. Admin got very proactive once the legalities came into play, once we started showing up at IEP meetings with counsel. Certain changes were made, that brought dc back from the brink of despair into a functional state for the rest of the school year.
But this year is a transitional year, and all that gain was not going to follow us to the next level. We just didn't want to start the same struggle all over again, and frankly dc has no more emotional capital left to invest in making the system behave.
AL does not have the teeth necessary to make teachers properly accommodate at every level. And its really more than accommodation that is needed, it's an understanding of intellectually advanced kids who have special needs. A lot of people still can't put the two together.
This was not Lincoln, fwiw.

still better off

Anonymous said...

I'm the orig anon poster who replied about counseling out. Sorry if I misinterpreted - but I have a kid everyone's trying to figure out, so I'm a little sensitive to the "why are you here" look.

I was initially terrified of this - until I realized that the teachers my child has/had were rising to the challenge b/c they recognized there was a lot more going on inside than coming out, and they knew their job was to help it come out. So we've had a positive experience, once we got over (my) "can't do this!" fear and the teachers delved a bit deeper into my child.

Here's my advice for a person who's in that spot now (from someone who's still in it, actually).

First: this is the first year APP's been big enough, with enough IEP kids, to have Jo Cross-Whiter (I believe the kids know her as "Miss Jo") at school a lot - maybe full time? - so she seems like a great starting point if there seems to be something more than lack of exposure to the academic demands at the APP level. Don't be afraid to reach out and start a conversation with her. It's okay. Clearly there's enough need in the school for us to have a full time counselor, and like I said, there's always a couple atypical kids in every class.

Second, over the years I've known a few kids have returned to attendance area schools, usually after one year in APP. I can't think of any who were in APP 2 or more years and then went back, although some have moved to private, more about stability than anything else, I think. I don't think it was an issue of the work or keeping up as much as wanting to be back at their local school.

I'm sorry to hear about the person who was suggested medication by a teacher. I am left wondering if that teacher is still with the program, and if the parent reported that - I hope so b/c it seems beyond absurd and wrong for a teacher to actually suggest that. Suggesting consulting with a resource specialist such as Ms. Cross-Whiter or having an OTPT analysis or something seems reasonable and concrete and supportive, but suggesting medication seems way out of line.

And re the discipline comment: I wonder -- and I'm not attacking the poster, b/c I would be really upset by that too -- but I wonder if what the person who made that comment to the poster really meant was structure or schedule or something? If the person was otherwise fairly decent teacher, could it just have been a bad mouth/brain connection on the teacher's part that just came out of their mouth as "discipline"? B/c that is so out of line, I have a hard time imagining any of the teacher's I've met saying that. (Well, one, maybe, but not really) I can see a teacher assuming that a wired up kid is maybe not sleeping enough, and suggesting a different schedule, and and that all going very, very badly both when coming out of the person's mouth and going into the listener's ear (guilty many times of both sides of that problem).

I'm not defending either the medication comment or the discipline comment from teachers - but they do seem way different from the experiences I've had, and at our very first conference with one child, the teacher could not say yes when I asked if this was the right place for my child...so I have been at the listening end of some really challenging teacher discussions, but they never went that badly off the deep end.

So for the poster who was concerned about "counseling out" - hang in there. Talk w/teachers. Make the kid feel good about catching up. My kid decided to try much harder after making friends (wanted to keep up with them & be like them). So that's maybe the best thing to do right now to help your child adjust to first year - help them be comfortable in the new school w/kids, and then they'll work harder.

-- Good luck

Anonymous said...

I'm the orig anon poster who replied about counseling out. Sorry if I misinterpreted - but I have a kid everyone's trying to figure out, so I'm a little sensitive to the "why are you here" look.

I was initially terrified of this - until I realized that the teachers my child has/had were rising to the challenge b/c they recognized there was a lot more going on inside than coming out, and they knew their job was to help it come out. So we've had a positive experience, once we got over (my) "can't do this!" fear and the teachers delved a bit deeper into my child.

Here's my advice for a person who's in that spot now (from someone who's still in it, actually).

First: this is the first year APP's been big enough, with enough IEP kids, to have Jo Cross-Whiter (I believe the kids know her as "Miss Jo") at school a lot - maybe full time? - so she seems like a great starting point if there seems to be something more than lack of exposure to the academic demands at the APP level. Don't be afraid to reach out and start a conversation with her. It's okay. Clearly there's enough need in the school for us to have a full time counselor, and like I said, there's always a couple atypical kids in every class.

Second, over the years I've known a few kids have returned to attendance area schools, usually after one year in APP. I can't think of any who were in APP 2 or more years and then went back, although some have moved to private, more about stability than anything else, I think. I don't think it was an issue of the work or keeping up as much as wanting to be back at their local school.

I'm sorry to hear about the person who was suggested medication by a teacher. I am left wondering if that teacher is still with the program, and if the parent reported that - I hope so b/c it seems beyond absurd and wrong for a teacher to actually suggest that. Suggesting consulting with a resource specialist such as Ms. Cross-Whiter or having an OTPT analysis or something seems reasonable and concrete and supportive, but suggesting medication seems way out of line.

And re the discipline comment: I wonder -- and I'm not attacking the poster, b/c I would be really upset by that too -- but I wonder if what the person who made that comment to the poster really meant was structure or schedule or something? If the person was otherwise fairly decent teacher, could it just have been a bad mouth/brain connection on the teacher's part that just came out of their mouth as "discipline"? B/c that is so out of line, I have a hard time imagining any of the teacher's I've met saying that. (Well, one, maybe, but not really) I can see a teacher assuming that a wired up kid is maybe not sleeping enough, and suggesting a different schedule, and and that all going very, very badly both when coming out of the person's mouth and going into the listener's ear (guilty many times of both sides of that problem).

I'm not defending either the medication comment or the discipline comment from teachers - but they do seem way different from the experiences I've had, and at our very first conference with one child, the teacher could not say yes when I asked if this was the right place for my child...so I have been at the listening end of some really challenging teacher discussions, but they never went that badly off the deep end.

So for the poster who was concerned about "counseling out" - hang in there. Talk w/teachers. Make the kid feel good about catching up. My kid decided to try much harder after making friends (wanted to keep up with them & be like them). So that's maybe the best thing to do right now to help your child adjust to first year - help them be comfortable in the new school w/kids, and then they'll work harder.

-- Good luck

Anonymous said...

APP is very different in middle school. There are a lot of teachers there who are not aware of or interested in 2e needs, or APP at all, for that matter. Your student will not have APP teachers all day. Probably none of the teachers you have met would say those things, but then I am guessing you don't have a 2e student at middle school.
The comments made were exactly what you said. Out of line. Not misunderstood efforts to help. We've been helping our dc try to manage the disability long enough to know the difference.
APP elementary has always been a good experience for us. Middle school is a whole different world.

Better off

Anonymous said...

As for the district suggesting medication for students- This has happened to us in elementary school. Suggested first by the teacher then the principal then the teacher the next year. When we switched to APP the behavior started to get better and and the social support led to recognizing and managing impulses. Suggesting drug therapy as a form of classroom management should be banned. There has not been enough research on the long term effects of this short term solution.

Anonymous said...

From our experience and what I have heard from other parents, it is extremely common to have an APP child encounter a general education teacher that suggests use of drugs to dull the child, especially in the early elementary grades. We ourselves had that happen more than once.

Some teachers just don't want to deal with the effort required for differentiation, so boredom and acting out becomes a problem for students who are not sufficiently challenged, which some teachers then deal with not by making students not bored, but by suggesting use of prescription drugs. We have had this happen both in private schools and public schools.

PM said...

Regarding ADHD: If my kid had ADHD, was behaving badly at school and suffering because of it, and the problem could be corrected by the appropriate use of medication, I would want to know. I feel like parents sometimes have blinders on about their kids. I have a friend who resisted giving medication to her son, finally realized that it needed to happen, and now the kid's life is so much better. He has friends, isn't struggling in school, and has a hard time believing that he showed so many inappropriate behaviors in the past. If multiple teachers have suggested that your child needs medication, I would suggest that you take the kid to get evaluated. Maybe your kid is fine, but maybe not. It may have nothing to do with being bored.

Anonymous said...

And a reminder: I have a 2E kid, and not every kid who is unsuited to APP is unsuited because they are 2E. There are academic or temperament issues that having nothing to do with being 2E.

WSparent said...

I really do hope for an APP k-5 in West Seattle. The bus ride has been over 90 minutes long twice this week

Anonymous said...

WSparent,
Can I ask what you think the program would look like? If we assume there isn't a huge influx of new students, there would have to be either multi-grade (more than two years) classrooms - or they will not be able to be self-contained. Which would you prefer?

Anonymous said...

Actually, there's a third WS option - rotating by subject, certainly at 4th and 5th, if not below. For math it can be done at lower grades too. That's being fielded in more and more schools, not just APP.

So a math specialist could teach a gen ed math and an APP/advanced math, which would require the unicorn of differentiation, but make it easier b/c the kids would be partially divided into differentiation already and the person teaching only has to differentiate in one subject, not in every area.

Some subjects could be not-differentiated... There's a lot of way to implement it.

Please note also, WSParent, that just putting APP 4th graders in w/gen ed 5th graders in a mixed class often does NOT work out - sometimes it does, but it can also be VERY frustrating if the 5th graders see 4th graders "getting" concept like long division with decimals or factoring with more ease and cruising past them. It can exacerbate problems for any struggling older kids, and the dynamic of having younger ones either "help" the older ones or "get it" can be very defeating.

So while it might seem counter-intuitive, grouping APP 4th and 5th together, even when they are working fairly far apart in content, can actually be more positive for the students than grouping them in w/older gen ed. And since there's no real ceiling on APP achievement, some of the younger group will be working at the older AP level.

Signed - build w/care

WSparent said...

I guess I am optimistic that more students will emerge from the woodwork to have a viable program on West Seattle. I envision a program where WS kids have that 2 hours back

Anonymous said...

Can anyone explain why the clique in the SNAPP PTA have thrown their support to Dale-Estey in the school board race? It seems extremely counter-intuitive.

Puzzled

Anonymous said...

With the big money behind her, it makes me suspicious. What is in it for the donors?
NEMom

Anonymous said...

Because SNAPP saw the last election as a defeat, when the board power shifted from the DeBell/Carr/Sundquist bloc to Smith-Blum/Peaslee/McClaren (sorry for the names I left out). Dale-Estey and Peters align pretty neatly with the two factions, respectively.

Anonymous said...

Puzzled:
You can always vote for Sue Peters, no matter who is supporting her opponent.
Just saying

Anonymous said...

There was a personal/school issue between the former PTA leader and Sue Peters.

This was two years ago and it is why some of the PTA is for Etsy. I believe some of this is an anti-Peters vote. The issue the PTA leadership and Peters disagreed on had to do with the former Lowell principals (Mr King and Ms G) and how they dealt with a student/IA issue.

-in the know

Anonymous said...

I'm disturbed by the thought of a parent doing a public records request on a fellow parent. I understand emails to school addresses become part of public record, and I am careful in the content of emails, yet...

Anonymous said...

This slimy behavior fits the pattern of this particular person and the rest of group who follow her. The same scorched earth policy led to them publicly trying to vote down the BEX levy. It makes me sad to see people falling for the same tactics yet again this year with the VNESS initiative.

Like the School - Ignore the Parents


Anonymous said...

Well as an undecided, I'm leaning toward Peters right now. If Estey's supporters, both the big $ and the personal issue ones, are clouding Estey's ability to act independently as a board rep, that makes me nervous. I want an independent thinker, acting on the best interest of ALL children in this district, and at the end of the day, a healthy, governing board. This district needs less personality turmoil, more grown up behaviors, given the many issues in front of us.

tired of this

karen said...

The worst part of the "clique" is how they aren't even listening to the (few) brave, new parents speaking up to say they don't like the tone of the Facebook page. This small, but very vocal, minority is alienating the majority of parents at the school. The vocal few are really feeding the stereotypes of "typical" APP parents. It makes me sick to be linked to the school. It makes me want to lobby for a split. My other beef is the survey recently sent out about what parents want the PTA to advocate for when it comes to APP. There were only 2 choices and no room for comments. With neither option allowing for comments on leaving APP elementary where it is and building a middle and high school at Wilson Pacific, it seemed like the results were pre-determined. I want a recall of our PTA! HA!!

Anonymous said...

Agree. that was one screwy "survey". Going through the motion of community engagement I guess. Sigh. Don't they realize people aren't all sheep and the district which is a master at this, knows what's up.

Lynn said...

Did you know an Advanced Learning Task Force began it's work yesterday?

Teaching and Learning Friday Memo


Who is on this task force? When do they meet and are those meetings open to the public? When will minutes of yesterday's meeting be publicly available?

Anonymous said...

3 way split of middle school APP...will the cohorts really be large enough? And still no specific APP curriculum.

Anonymous said...

If their projections are right, I'm not too concerned about the size of the middle school cohort. ~100 APP kids per grade at each middle school isn't bad at all.

Satisfied

Anonymous said...

Yes but I think the middle school projections are way off. The district is projecting middle school APP is going to grow by 80% even though they project the rest if the district and elementary school APP will grow by 20%. I think splitting middle school APP into 3 cohorts is a terrible idea.

Jane

Anonymous said...

I'm truly ashamed of the so-called leadership in the SNAP PTA. They are a closed off group of petty individuals who crowd out any voices that differ from their own. Yes, I agree this is all a personal attack on a long standing APP parent who has advocated for advanced learners as well as other school communities. While some may not always agree with Sue Peters, she is a class act and has maintained her integrity despite some vile attacks. For Jean Bryant to engage in a witch hunt through a public records request is unconscionable and a black eye on our community. And by association I now put Suzanne Estey in the same dirty tricks category. I'm done with our PAT. They don't represent me.

Sue, you have my vote and support. I will spread the word within Lincoln. Thank you remaining true to your convictions and enduring the blows.

--Long Time APP Parent

Anonymous said...

I'm truly ashamed of the so-called leadership in the SNAP PTA. They are a closed off group of petty individuals who crowd out any voices that differ from their own. Yes, I agree this is all a personal attack on a long standing APP parent who has advocated for advanced learners as well as other school communities. While some may not always agree with Sue Peters, she is a class act and has maintained her integrity despite some vile attacks. For Jean Bryant to engage in a witch hunt through a public records request is unconscionable and a black eye on our community. And by association I now put Suzanne Estey in the same dirty tricks category. I'm done with our PAT. They don't represent me.

Sue, you have my vote and support. I will spread the word within Lincoln. Thank you remaining true to your convictions and enduring the blows.

--Long Time APP Parent

Unknown said...

GREG and/or Moderator--I'm new to posting on the blogs, and I get that people can get passionate and occasionally say things the wrong way.

However, can you share with us any guidelines for comments on this site? I find the posts calling the PTA "Slimy" and "petty individuals" specifically naming people to be particularly troubling.

in response to Puzzleds question--

I'm a brand new parent to SPS and APP.

This post on the other blog is specifically about the candidates, following a debate last week. My thoughts about why Dale Estey is a better candidate are in there, as are many other thoughts:

http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/2013/10/live-blogging-from-school-board-debate.html

There do seem to be a fair number of strong and vocal personalities in APP. I certainly don't know and can't speak to any of the history of relationships or personalities within the school.

But I can speak to my own personal assessment and I found Dale Estey to be incredibly well qualified, approachable and collaborative and on the right side of the issues.

Cheers,
Eden

Greg Linden said...

From the moderator:

Right, so, that's annoying, but borderline.

As the moderator, I don't want people using anonymity for name calling here, and posts that do so may risk deletion.

I also look out for severe issues around privacy as well. Naming children or parents, especially anonymously, and then slandering them isn't a great thing.

As I'm sure many of you know, public figures generally are not provided the same privacy as private individuals. People running for political office, like Sue Peters, generally have to expect to be named and discussed. People who are presidents of organizations also are fairly public, especially in a discussion about that organization.

Generally, I only delete posts that are particularly bad. I don't like moderating or want to spend a lot of time on it.

Parents please, especially when commenting anonymously, try to be careful about saying things that might be perceived as name calling or otherwise inappropriate.