Thursday, September 5, 2013

Start of school

Let's start a thread to talk about the start of school. Ideally, this would be APP parents helping APP parents with any questions or problems around the start of school.

Please ask questions of other parents in the comments and, parents, please take a look and see if there is anything you can answer.

61 comments:

Second Grade Mama said...

This is my second year as a Lincoln APP parent, and I'm wondering if anything has been done to address the ridiculous parking situation at the end of the school day. Hundreds of parents descend on the neighborhood at the exact same time, but the school won't let us use the parking lot. I'm forced to park illegally most days so that I can get to the gate before the kids come out.

Anyone know if we're still not allowed to park in the North lot for pickup?

Jenn said...

You are not "forced" to park illegally. You just choose to do so. There are many parents every day who manage to find legal parking spaces. You could arrive 5 minutes earlier and park a few blocks further away. I've parked across Wallingford Avenue many times and had zero problem finding a spot. It takes less than five minutes to walk the few blocks over to Lincoln, and it saves me a whole lot of stress.

Anonymous said...

I think the reason we can't park in the parking lot is because the buses need to get in there, and it's dangerous to have a lot of people walking across the traffic lane to get to their cars.

- Steve

Anonymous said...

There shouldn't be hundreds of cars. Many kids are on the bus. Also, you don't need to be AT the gate when the kids come out. Stop stressing yourself out and just plan on showing up 5 minutes late. Kids will talk and hang out. Some kids will stress about that, but you know already if you have one of those. Most won't, and just tell them you want to wait until it's a bit less congested so they are not worried.

Also, can't more people carpool?

Anonymous said...

I don't think this situation is particularly 'ridiculous' or unique to Lincoln compared to any other school- at all schools parents descend on the school to pick up their kids at the 'exact same time'. I guess neighborhood schools have the advantage of having more 'walking distance' families who can come on foot to collect their kids but in my experience parking was just as tight at my neighborhood school. Unless you arrived super-early you had to be prepared to park some distance away - just like at Lincoln.
This is bit annoying if you're running late or it's pouring rain but thats just the way it is.
Can you imagine the traffic snarl up caused by multiple cars entering/exiting the parking lot along with buses coming and going and kids and parents crossing the bus parking/loadinh area to get to the lot. It would probably be worse, not to mention unsafe.

Having said that - I did notice yesterday that there were school buses (not sure where coming from/going to) traveling west on NE 43rd (where lots of people were parking or using to get to other parking streets and this was blocking the street and creating congestion. Maybe these buses would be better directed to alternative streets.

Sniffy

Anonymous said...

There is absolutely no reason to park illegally. Just get there a little earlier or be okay with your child waiting a few minutes. Last year I picked up every afternoon and was really dismayed by the rude behavior of parents at pick up. Parents were parking in the fire zone or attempting to do a drive-by pick up, which is really dangerous. Please be considerate of our students and neighbors and park legally.

Monica said...

You can have your child ride the bus. Or, you can park on Stone Way without problem, usually. Our neighborhood school isn't any better. parking in the north lot would really mess-up the busses, and the "drive by" pick-ups in the fire lane are obnoxious (I've done it on occasion, ooops! :))

Onto another topic, I'm curious to hear people's opinions: This is our 3rd year at Lincoln. It's our second year with a brand new teacher (meaning, no experience teaching). Again, just interested in a discussion. Do folks think kids are better off in APP with a brand new teacher, or are they better off in an "ALO" neighborhood school with a good, experienced teacher?

Anonymous said...

We had brand new teachers for 2 years in a row at our neighborhood school before we switched to Lincoln - so I don't think sticking with your neighborhood school guarantees you more experienced teachers.

And just fyi - having brand new teachers wasn't why we switched schools. The teachers were great - the school just wasn't the right fit for our child.

Jane

monica said...

It was more of a philosophical question. I know we have a crap shoot when it comes to teachers at all schools. I was just curious if people think the APP curriculum trumps an experienced teacher.

Anonymous said...

Good start at GHS for Sophomore year.

I was nervous for our son to have a certain teacher for AP US History, but that teacher is on leave - so that felt like a reprieve. Don't know who he will have now -but feeling like it will be ok. Also, last minute retirement of Pre-Calc teacher allowed them to bring back Ms. Cohen - which is good news as well!

Hope everyone has a great year!

-GHS Parent

Anonymous said...

monica, what APP curriculum???

Anonymous said...

Yeah, what APP curriculum?

Anonymous said...

APP Curriculum?
I guess, the one Ms Heath is always talking about: the "two years accelerated", (since there is nothing else...).
http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/2013/08/my-meeting-with-michael-tolley-and.html

Anonymous said...

I'd love to hear how its going so far from early primary grade parents. The first day is full of excitement and anticipation, but honestly already by the end of the second day I feel like I'm walking on eggshells around a very tired kid. Difficult to get back to learning classroom rules and routines after the summer. Anyone feel like they're waiting for the emotional floor to drop?

Anonymous said...

Any thoughts on class sizes at HIMS? How is it going for each grade?

-wondering

Anonymous said...

Given the scheduling issues and the number of students, I'd say they did pretty well @HIMS. Thank you parent volunteers (and upper classmen that helped the 6th graders on their first day). My child said there aren't enough lockers for all students. There are also a lot of new teachers, so time will tell...

On the academic side, my child was not too wowed by the first day of LA/SS at HIMS - they did a stream of consciousness creative writing assignment (don't worry about punctuation, spelling, etc, just write). When a student asked what they would be writing this year, the teacher's response was just something like, "all kinds of writing." I don't think that was the response he was after. I'm really hoping this was just a time filling first day assignment and constitutes a small percentage of the type of writing they will be doing.

I was under the impression that Common Core standards were being implemented this year, which list skills such as:

- Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevent evidence.

- Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.

- Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.


Common Core English Language Arts Standards

Anonymous said...

One scheduling problem I've heard of at HIMS - Senior Band, Vocal Jazz and the highest level immersion language classes are apparently all scheduled for the same period. They've worked hard to get to the highest levels, yet now can't schedule their class. What would you give up?

Anonymous said...

We were faced with the same conflicts last year. I think the decision as to whether to give up language or music needs to rest with the child, based on their current loves and future plans. It's a shame it works out this way, though. As parents, we feel the loss!

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous at September 6, 10:55 am -

Maybe you want to wait till you have more than 2 days of reporting from your kid to start complaining about the quality of teaching and quoting the standards you doubt are being appropriately met... you and your kid will have a better year if you can try to take things a bit in stride. My sixth grader had a great experience in LA/SS last year, but to be fair to the teachers, it does take a couple of days before they even have enough SEATS for kids and the kids stop moving in and out of their classes due to scheduling changes. Think positive and give things a chance.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, my 6th grade (now 7th grade) daughter's writing improved significantly over the year in LA/SS at HIMS. As a graduate advisor at the UW I have encountered many students who can write well but have writer's block so severe they cannot write in a timely or effective manner. Getting them to put thoughts...any thoughts...to paper was an insurmountable task. Some have left grad. school as a result. Thus, I think that a stream of consciousness writing assignment is an excellent way to get students writing and to get a preliminary assessment of their writing capabilities. Why wouldn't you think that? First comes writing....then comes editing.

-you can't edit if you haven't written anything

ben said...

Out of curiosity how long does it usually take for the elementary classes to get up to speed?
Ben

Anonymous said...

Longer now than it used to! No snark intended.

Anonymous said...

"No snark" has it right. The split, moves and especially the staff turnover in the past few years has been devastating to the smooth running of the program both at Lincoln and Hamilton.

There is little mentoring when all the staff is new and trying to learn the ropes. The new teachers are hard working and doing their best, but traditions have been lost, as well as experience working with this population.

open ears

Anonymous said...

It's not all do to the splits. Teachers come and go for personal reasons. People keep wanting thIngs to be the same, but forget the logistics of where to put all the kids at Lowell,Wahington, and Garfield. This is happening everywhere all over this city. Splits, moves, seasoned teachers retiring or off on maternity leaves and not returning back to teach at their old schools. Class size has grown with growth. Dr. Vaughn is gone. Principals are around 1-3 years and whoosh, gone. Stability is hard to find in SPS.

An APP curriculum would help, but with common core coming..... Sigh. It's not that gen ed C&I has it any better, which is why with the pathetic "2 year ahead" APP program is so lacking and lite. My tactic would be to push the district to strengthen the gen ed curriculum and alignment as that affects the 50,000 students. Then the "2 year ahead" program will improve.

moving on

Anonymous said...

Ugh, autocorrect kicked in. Sorry, it's due, not "do" in 1st sentence. -moving on

Paige Chernow said...

Hello -
I am new to this blog, so I'm not sure about the protocol for posting a new question.

My daughter is in the 8th grade APP program at Hamilton. We're looking into high school choices and I have a couple questions.

1) Does anyone know if school bus transportation is provided for APP kids going to Ingraham? (Haven't been able to get an answer from the Advanced Learning Office yet...) We live in the Roosevelt neighborhood and it would take close to an hour and 2 public metro buses to get there.

2) Does anyone have experience with an APP student chooseing to attend Roosevelt? I would love to hear about their experience because we're trying to choose between Ingraham and Roosevelt. (Roosevelt would be super convenient since it's 2 blocks from our house, and I know it's a good school, but I'm not sure how rigorous the academics are compared to the Ingraham IB program).

I'm sorry if I'm not following the right protocol in posting this here - please let me know if I should be doing it differently :). If anyone wants to contact me directly, my email is paigechernow@gmail.com.

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I'd be interested in knowing what an APP student might have to give up - class offering wise - to attend Roosevelt vs Garfield, or another neighborhood school. For math and science, students should be able to start in the appropriate course based on middle school class taken, but for LA/SS some schools have required courses for all students. Do students run out of classes to take by senior year and do AP offerings vary substantially by school?

Anonymous said...

To Paige C:
Here is the link for this year's shuttle services:
http://ingrahamhs.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1708844/File/General%20Information%20/2013-2014%20General%20Info/Ingraham%20Shuttle%20Schedule%202013-2014.pdf?sessionid=bbe9fc9506dc56c72d4de2a2051e95d0

Anonymous said...

Paige C,
You might look at Garfield too. It's a straight shot on the 48, I'd guess about 25 minutes on a single bus.

Anonymous said...

Ingraham and Garfield are set up so that there are pathway classes for APP students, no repeating of classes taken in middle school. The other area schools like Roosevelt are not APP pathway schools so they don't have all of the same next step classes. At Roosevelt all 9th graders take the same 9th grade LA/World History class. Honors classes can't start until 10th grade. I'd be curious about their science classes as well since it seems that their 9th graders take Physical Science and 10th take Biology, which APP students take in middle school.

We have a current 8th grader at HIMS who plans to take the #48 bus to Garfield next fall. There are a lot of kids who already take that bus to Garfield so we figure our kid will be in good company. Best wishes at your look into your options. I think Ingraham, Garfield, and Roosevelt are all fine choices and you can't really go wrong.

Garfield Bound

Anonymous said...

Paige C,

Our child chose Ingraham because of the demanding coursework in all subject areas, which allows any student utmost flexibility. Besides following APP specific LA and history pathways, APP students all take honors chemistry in 9th grade, IB Biology in 10th grade, and then have a wide selection of further IB sciences to take. They also have strong extra-curriculars and a great drama program. For our child, the Garfield and Roosevelt options had strong music programs going for them, but the addition of a seemingly high quality symphonic orchestra and higher levels of foreign language turned Ingraham into the better choice for our family.

IHS Family

Anonymous said...

Can any elementary parents help with ben's original question? I'm also wondering about it.
2nd grade mom

Anonymous said...

I think my son's classes have always gotten going within a week. They get the classroom rhythms and routines going, and then they are launched. He is now in 5th grade. They got homework on day 4 (Monday of this, the second week). As far as I can tell they were up to speed by Monday. The first few days they worked on building a classroom community, which I value. As he explained the hard work they went to to come up with their values, I can tell it was an enormous learning experience that will reduce the need for top-down discipline.
NEmom

Anonymous said...

I'm also very interested in hearing thoughts on Roosevelt and Ingraham and why families chose one over the other.

HIMS 8th grade mom

Anonymous said...

Ingraham has a better symphonic Orchestra option than Roosevelt and Garfield?

I had not heard that at all. Ingraham's music program is certainly growing, but it is not yet on par with the larger high schools.

-Music Mom

Corina said...

To Ben's question: in my experience (this is our 7th year in the program), it usually takes elementary APP classes 2-3 weeks to fully ramp up.

Perhaps because there are always so many new kids entering from other schools, there is a bit of review to make sure they are all on the same page before they really hit it. Some kids also need some time to (re)integrate socially.

This seems to be less the case after elementary; teachers jump right in.

Anonymous said...

Our middle school kids are taking a lot of written assessments in the first weeks of school. Is this new?

On another topic, and I am not trying to be obtuse, but can someone explain standards based grading and APP? Does working "at standard" mean they are working at grade level standard, or at accelerated, APP standard? If "at standard" means at an APP standard, which is already working above grade level standard, what does it mean to be working "above standard" for APP classes?

-confused by standards based grading

Anonymous said...

We are also struggling with the Ingraham vs. Garfield issue. The way I understand it, while Ingraham has designated APP pathways for language arts and history, as well as higher level foreign language offerings, the flip side is that it looks to be weaker in the math and sciences. I can't tell from the course guide whether the "IB Further Math HL" course is offered at Ingraham or not, and I seem to recall seeing something in the past that students were not even allowed to take the "higher level" test for the math class that precedes Further Math--that they had to take SL. Ingraham also doesn't offer HL courses in Chem or Physics, only SL. The SL science classes don't seem to be very rigorous (e.g., physics if not calculus-based), and unlike AP science courses, don't qualify for college credits. All this creates quite a challenge in determining the best fit for a math/science-loving kid who also is advanced in language arts and foreign language acquisition. Is it really an either/or situation, or is there a way for kids to keep moving forward with appropriate rigor in all levels?

For those with APP kids who have taken the basic language arts classes at Roosevelt or Garfield (where the honors work is an option on the side), what was this experience like? Did your kids feel like the level of in-class instruction discussion/analysis was at a high enough level? Or did it feel like sitting in on a Gen Ed class, with a bit of extra work on the side? Re: foreign languages, if an immersion student places at Year 4 language for high school, do any schools offer options to keep them moving forward? And overall, are some of the schools particularly good at working with students to allow flexible or alternative schedules, if they "top out" based on what's available on campus?

Thanks for any insights or suggestions,

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

For the mathematics offering, our student had the same problem. They are taking AP Calculus freshman year (now), and will take IB Mathematics HL for 10th and 11th grade, and then concurrently in 11th and 12th, they will take IB Further Math HL.

IHS Family

Anonymous said...

@ IHS Family, So does Ingraham actually offer Further Math HL? It's not in the course catalog, so I assumed it wasn't available...

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

Last year, first grade, it took about 2 weeks to get everybody assesses, settled, and then they had first round of the MAP. So 3 weeks. This year, second grade,things are already going, though the math is still pretty heavy review. I'd imagine your class will be settled next week if they are not already.

Anonymous said...

Teachers, if you are reading this, please consider the additional time artwork takes when tacked on to a writing assignment. When making it pretty is part of the grade, there is less time to work on crafting a well written piece. If we are teaching students to use words, then words should speak for themselves, without the need for the fluff and stuff. Please keep the focus of Language Arts on the use of language.

6-8parent

Anonymous said...

This is a thoughtful comment -- I'd say it's worth directing it right to your LA teacher.

Another parent

Laura said...

Tomorrow will be the Board work session on growth boundaries. Will this be the day we all find out about the upcoming APP splits? If anybody attends, please post any information you find out. Thanks, Laura

Anonymous said...

And I suggest we have a separate thread about the boundary presentations. They should post the agenda and materials today, and this will definitely include plans for APP middle school.

- Outraged in Anticipation

Anonymous said...

The kids are writing. Artwork is another form of expression and can be just as creative, powerful, and meaningful as the written words. Perhaps the teacher is trying to find different ways for students to express themselves. Good comprehensive gifted program uses many different techniques to exhibit and draw out student's individuality and creativity.

old dog

Lori said...

Well, I won't be shocked if the boundary presentation does *not* include plans for APP. Here's why:

During the BEXIV planning in 2012, the district forgot to consider APP in the plans. There was a thread on this blog about it: http://discussapp.blogspot.com/2012/03/bex-iv-and-app.html

The district was supposed to hire a new manager of Advanced Learning, who was then supposed to pull together 2 different task forces: 1 to look at the delivery model and 1 to look at eligibility criteria. And all of that work was supposed to be done in time for these boundary considerations.

None of that has happened. So, either APP will be left out of the equation in the short-term *or* they will make decisions about how to administer AL based on nothing more than capacity demands, not what is best for student learning.

I have no expectations about what will be in this presentation. There might be a plan for us. Then again, there might not be.

But at least we have time to digest the information before the community meetings start.

Anonymous said...

Is 8th grade WMS following the same LA/SS as HIMS this year - US History? If a HIMS APP student chooses Garfield will they be prepared with similar coursework and be able to start in the same Social Studies class as a WMS APP student? Who is dictating the curriculum at this point?

apparent said...

Last week, our 1st grader eagerly reported that their teacher told them the class would be reaching 3rd grade work in math and (as recounted) reading this year. I had previously heard the same from another parent, but this came from the teacher through the mouths of babes . . .

Anonymous said...

I have not heard anything about the first grade curriculum but I had wondered if this was the case. It seems different from a couple of years ago when my other kid was a first grader - they started with 2nd grade math/reading expectations and I understood the transition to 2 grades ahead would come in later grades. I do not think it is appropriate to leap from K to 3rd grade material. These kids are fast learners but they have not been exposed to the 1st/2nd grade level concepts in K - how can they possibly dive into a 3rd grade curriculum without covering the fundamentals first.
I sure would like to know for sure if and why the expectations for 1st graders have changed.
I do not want my 'good at math' 1st grader to start thinking they are bad at math because the material is innappropriate.
Ist grader mom

Anonymous said...

RE: APP 1st Grade Math
We got an email in the first week from the 1st grade teacher stating the new "My Math" curriculum will start at the third grade level, and parents should plan to do additional practice at home if a kid isn't there yet for things like telling time and basic addition and subtraction....

Anonymous said...

The acceleration to be 2 grades ahead was announced late last year in my first grader's class as they were piloting the various math. The point being that APP is supposed to be two levels ahead. Interestingly, I don't think APP should be a flat or linear growth (all grades must be two years ahead) but non-linear such that it's possible kids could be more than 2 grades ahead as they continue to progress in school. Wouldn't that make more sense?

kp

Anonymous said...

At least you got the clear expectation up front. We still supplement with number concepts in the primary grades at home so they get rational, irrational, integers, real, imaginary, fibunnaci number, primes and divisibility, square roots, exponents, etc.

Math is Fun is a great website for this. Start with numbers section and just follow it through. Covers fun stuff like golden ratio, hexadecimals too!

Anonymous said...

Has anyone been able to access the growth boundary info on the Seattle Schools website? I received an email letting me know it's available - but it looks like there's a problem with the school district webpage.

Jane

Anonymous said...

We have not had any communication about the curriculum, and this is a big surprise to me. I guess because we had an older kid at school I assumed it would be the same. Was anything mentioned on the school tours etc. What grade level work did the 1st graders do last year? Was it 2nd grade or 3rd grade curriculum? I am concerned this years first graders might be guinea pigs

Anonymous said...

I am actually freaking out that my kid (who is very able but has not been challenged so far) is going from very basic kindergartner math (i.e counting to 20, adding up to 10 type of stuff, coloring in the number of things- with no differentiation even though could have been capable of more) to doing 3rd grade curriculum. My understanding of APP has always been that by the end of 5th grade they would be working at 2 grade level ahead. Not that it started 2 grade level ahead - it seems to me to be highly unrealistic when you are coming from kindergarten. I would like to know what 1st and 2nd grade math concepts they have missed in the leap to 3rd grade if we are expected to fill in the gaps. And this has not been conveyed to our class.

Anonymous said...

Once again, who is making these curriculum decisions? It's a moving target.

Anonymous said...

Last year the first graders did second and third grade level work in math. It was a different curriculum then, so it would be different. They just adopted the Glencoe stuff this year- be happy to have missed the last gasp of Everyday Math!

I am actually happy about this decision. Just one year ahead is not a lot, and to my mind does not justify the disruption of us moving schools. 2 years is enough different- I wish it were easier to go up further, but at least 2 years is a little challenging.

I've had kids to through first and second grade math curriculum, and it's fine to skip. It is adding and subtracting. And knowing money, I think. Not a lot, and the teachers should be reviewing some, to help fill in some gaps. If they are having trouble with math fact fluency, there is a program online- xtramath.com, that both of my kids have used and liked.

Anonymous said...

@10.30 - are you at TM or Lincoln?
This year Lincoln has adopted My Math, by McGraw Hill, not Glencoe math.
I was quite satisfied with the old approach of starting 1 grade level ahead and ramping up from there.
I'm not sure how they learn the basics of time/money/long addition/subtraction etc unless they move a lot slower with the 3rd grade curriculum to bring everyone up to speed. I don't know about other folks but I prefer not to spend a lot of time doing math outside of school (i.e to cover any of the basics that have been skipped). It would be interesting to see what the feedback is. I wonder if there would be pushback from parents if a large onus is put on them to teach the kids the missing 2 years of math so they are able to do the 3rd grade curriculum? Personally I would rather start slower and have the majority of the kids be successful with the math covered at school (and maybe a small proportion needing extra math at home if want to move faster) vs the majority needing extra math at home in order to succeed at school.

Anonymous said...

Lincoln- pardon, my older has Glencoe, but you are right, in the younger grades it is called My Math. Same publisher.

I don't want to spend a lot of time doing math out of school either. For us that is not what this means. it means the kid being challenged at school instead of me at home making up a curriculum. 1 year ahead was too basic, and I think with this new approach a smaller number of kids will be doing math outside school in order to be taught appropriately- just the few who need a little bit of fact catch up or something. I guess we will see after this pilot year which approach is best for the most kids. I hope they keep an eye on it.

Anonymous said...

My first grader's classy @ Lincoln is transitioning into 3rd grade math this week. So far they have covered place values / base ten, and number comparison (> = <). The only issue at all for my kid is the writing they did on the last assignmnt. He is a crappy printer and a bad speller - this is what he finds frustrating. The math is a non-issue.

Jen C