Saturday, October 12, 2013

Newest assignment plan for APP

The plan is here.

In brief, there are more splits now, four at the elementary level, six at the middle school level, and three at the high school level. The biggest change from the last proposal is that the north has standalone APP for grades 1-5 and the south is now split three ways for grades 1-5.

For elementary, the north gets a standalone APP 1-5 at Wilson-Pacific while the south is split three ways for grades 1-5 among Thurgood Marshall and two options, one in West Seattle at Fairmount Park, the other in the south at Wing Luke.

For middle school, the north is split three ways (Wilson-Pacific, Jane Addams, Hamilton) and the south is also split three ways (Washington and two options, Madison and Aki Kurose, in the west and south).

For high school, the north is at Garfield with an option of Ingraham. The south is at Garfield with an option of Rainier Beach.

Please discuss.

Update: An even newer presentation appears to seriously open the possibility of standalone 1-5 and 6-8 unified APP in the north. There is no mention of any change in the south, so it appears the plan is still to split the south three ways at both elementary and middle school.

Update: By request, convenient links to a reference document containing capacity projections for APP and showing where APP students live (starting about halfway into the document), which was in the appendix of a "school board action report".


Lynn said...

I wish we lived in the north end. That's my comment. South end students need to stay together to keep the program strong. Also - APP at Sealth makes more sense than APP at RBHS.

Anonymous said...

Conflicted. We live a block from HIMS and would love to send our daughter there. Our son did pretty well in APP there. But splitting the middle school kids into 3 schools in the north end? I believe like most APP parents that it's the size of the cohort that really makes the program for the students, so that's not good.

Shannon said...

I like APP Lincoln 1-5 very much.

As a family right near the East boundary for Jane Adams (missing out on WP), that sucks. But we could make it work a lot better than elementary at Olympic Hills.

If the cohort was strong 1-5, I would vote for this one.


Shannon said...

Sorry, I meant... Wilson-Pacific elementary

Anonymous said...

How long do you think the district will maintain political support for a large, stand-alone APP north elementary if the kids in the poorest and most diverse parts of Seattle are stuck in programs so small they may no longer even have self-contained classrooms?


WSparent said...

There are MANY parents in WS who choose not to test because they won't even consider the commute. This year, we may see more viable numbers for a cohort over here. Please be open to the possibility

Lynn said...


So your current school is meeting your needs well enough that the commute would not be worth it? Can I ask what you are hoping to get out of a West Seattle APP site? What needs aren't being met now?

Does your child currently ride a bus or walk to school?

Lynn said...

Oops - one more. Can you estimate how many people you know in West Seattle who don't test and who are confident their children would be eligible for APP?

Just wondering because I think I know three children who would likely qualify and haven't tested yet. They attend private schools though and their parents have told me they wouldn't leave for public before middle school.

Anonymous said...

I am very concerned about the proposal to split north-end APP middle school into 3 different schools. I don't think there are enough middle school APP kids to maintain 3 co-horts. The district is assuming that north-end middle school APP will go from 549 kids to 989 kids from 2013 to 2022. That's an 80% growth rate - which is totally out of line with the 20% growth rate the District is assuming overall or the 15% growth rate the District is assuming for north-end elementary APP.

Just as bad is the District's plan to do a Wilson-Pacific roll-up of 6th grade only at John Marshall in 2016. That's 50 APP kids (based on District data that shows APP kids by middle school service area). There will be some Gen Ed W-P kids too - but I don't think there will be that many. I don't see how the District will provide band, orchestra, after school sports and programs for only 50+ kids.


Anonymous said...

My concern is that Jane Addams Middle School will be full in 2-3 years, especially if its proximity to Shoreline means that a lot of parents who sent their kids north pull them back to Seattle Public Schools given a good program. And given Eckstein's population, and the sizes of the 4th and 5th grade cohorts... it seems pretty likely that the 950-seat capacity of Jane Addams will be under pressure from just the Neighborhood School.

Plus, of course, there's all the risks attendant from opening a new Comprehensive Middle School *and* a Middle School APP Program...

If the plan from the get-go was to put half of the APP kids in JA for 3 years (until WPMS opened), then move them to WPMS, I'd be a lot more confident in the District's ability to plan...


Anonymous said...

The magic cohort number I've heard is 250 - a viable cohort should be at least 250 for middle school. It's possible that the NE portion of APP is already around 250, and they are projecting growth in the other cohorts by the time they move out of Hamilton. So, I anticipate a forced move of NE APP (JAMS cohort) out of Hamilton, to relieve some of the overcrowding while not decimating Hamilton, while the remainder are grandfathered until they have an interim site or a new building.

We'll see.

MomAnon said...

Lynn, I'm not a West Seattle parent, but I imagine the decision process is similar to the one I had when I was aware that the APP program was at Lowell (we weren't yet in elementary school): will my child be unhappy enough to justify an extra 90 minutes of sitting on a bus? There are kids like mine who are ok at the neighborhood school, but clearly test in and benefit from the advance academics in an APP program. We would have made the neighborhood school work, but I'm pleased she gets to be with other learners with similar appetites.

I guess it's a question of what students APP is meant to serve. I don't believe this, but to project an extreme view that says APP is just meant for the struggling students, i.e., the misfits who are acting out because they are bored, or outliers who have social needs beyond the simple academic advancing, then yes, a distant commute would be a viable litmus for those who need such a program. But I have to believe that there is room for both types of advanced learners.

I don't have facts for this second thought, but my gut says that parents of girls are more likely to send their girls to an advanced school when it's a more convenient option. Girls are perhaps less likely to act out and be disruptive when they are bored or aren't learning, so parents are less likely to think they need to seek a challenge for those kids. I've read that girls tend to normalize their abilities by third grade, and researchers aren't sure what's going on. Again, I'm uncomfortable with making gender generalization, but I feel like there must be something there. I wonder if you get a more balanced gender ratio when the school is more accessible.

Anonymous said...

I am also concerned (read: spitting mad) about the three way MS split. The group that they propose splintering is the same one that is has had a raw deal in elementary school. New location, new principal, many new teachers... These students aren't getting a stable program and then the district wants them to start over again in MS?? And remember, there is no district-wide APP program or means of collaboration, so these programs will be on their own, the teachers will be on their own, and the parent groups will be fractured. Divide and conquer, right?

We should be advocating for unity, in the north and south (Why are they splitting the south elementary into so many pieces?? ), for consistency in curriculum, and for a long-term solution for the program. Not one that is meant to be implemented within 11 months.

I know the district is in a facilities crisis, but I refuse to believe that the solution needs to be on the backs of our children. They knew in 2011 when they moved us to Lincoln that we couldn't stay; why are they slapping poorly thought -out, band-aid solutions on us now?

Anonymous said...

Where do they plan to put current NE APP 5th graders next year if they are "in" JAMS?

new idea said...

Why not roll all JAMS/ Eckstein/ Whitman/ Wilson-Pacific APP into JAMS next year? This would help the program get off the ground running, with a larger cohort. Would Hamilton APP kids miss out if 2/3 were at JAMS? No dreaded 6th grade roll up for W-P kids.

If numbers grow as predicted, consider splitting 1/2 the JAMS cohort to Wilson- Pacific when it reaches critical capacity of > 250. Roll up 6-7-8 together in 2018 or 2019. Many will want to stay at W-P if they have attended W-P for elementary APP.

Jessica said...

This is ridiculous - Thurgood Marshall works very well, thank you very much. Why not leave it alone? These changes are giving us whiplash.

Julie said...

Good point, Jessica.

Sea of Schools said...

This is a repost from the Seattle Schools Community Forum...

The annex at Lincoln will not and has not been accepted with the school board or the enrollment department, so we should move beyond advocating for it. Is it possible to hit three birds with one stone under the current plan? If we moved all APP North 6-7-8 to John Marshall next year, they could all have a comprehensive middle school experience until Wil-Pac M.S. opens in 2017, at which time a decision can be made if APP will fill all the space. The JA K-8 can be kept at JAMS until Fall 2016 when next year's class will be in 8th Grade ensuring equal access to upper grade level peers, blending the current 6-8 of JA K-8 with the roll up JAMS until then.

This seems to meet everyone's objections and would impact all populations in similar way with an ability to serve each based on given need.

APP, however does not belong at HIMS at this point, and I have a current APP 6th Grader there (among another child in the NE. The International focus, especially for the immersion students has been sidelined in order to provide the necessary seats for APP. This also began to happen before my child was moved from Lowell, in their Gen Ed program. Having so many focuses at one school does not work from any point of view

LN said...

Hey, Yea! Sea of Schools! I just posted the same idea on the other blog. I am SO happy to see you suggest that since you have a child that would be yanked from HIMS. I can not say the same for me. I know two other families at HIMS that are OK with leaving HIMS if the entire co-hort goes.

This helps so many people. Yes, some get hurt, but the benefits outweigh the disadvantages.

Anonymous said...

I understand that this post may not be popular with some folks, but I feel it's important to mention it.

Please don't underestimate the number of parents who DO NOT want their current 6th or 7th grade APP student yanked out of HIMS, and please try to understand their position. I know that this has been stated before, but it's important to realize that these are the kids (and the families) who have borne the brunt - several times already - of the District's failure to plan.

They were in 1st and 2nd grade when the Lowell/TM split occurred, and were going into 4th and 5th grade when they were moved to Lincoln in July. The 6th graders are the same kids (and families) who went through a lot of uncertainty last year at this time, and didn't even get final confirmation that they would attend HIMS until last June.

They consider themselves HIMS students, not just APP students, and have a number of friends and interests that are outside of APP.

Also keep in mind that WP will not come online until these current 6th and 7th graders are out of middle school. So while they get the hassle of starting up a new building (wait - they already had to do that at Lincoln just a little over 2 years ago), they don't ever - and won't ever - consider themselves to be WP students.

For the 6th graders, they will spend 4 of 5 important, formative years in "temporary space" that does not have the facilities appropriate to their school level (playground at Lincoln, sports fields at Marshall, etc.). No other group of kids has been asked to do this, and you can bet that any parent facing the same situation would argue against it. To borrow the District's mantra, it's not equitable to move these kids to temporary space yet again.

Not so fast, please

Anonymous said...

We are a 7 grade family at HIMS. We started APP at Lowell in 3rd grade then was moved from Lowell to Lincoln in 5th grade and now enjoying the hospitality for HIMS for the second year with our younger student. Since we have an older student I can say that it took us, APP parents, 5 years to establish a plain and simple APP at HIMS (which is close to the APP at WMS but not the same).
If we have to move out of HIMS next year, I would be willing to do that only if we, as the North end APP cohort can stay together somewhere in one school (6th, 7th and 8th grade). I think this would be the price, at least for our family, for another move because we believe in the strength of the cohort and in this case it is likely that most of the APP teachers would move with their students also and it could give us a hope to finally get a principal who supports gifted education.
- Dreaming

Anonymous said...

We are part of the 6th grade APP group described (from one Lowell in 1st to now) and have not been extremely happy with the direction the administration seems to be taking HIMS APP, randomly assigning new teachers who in some cases don't want to be teaching gifted education. We live in walking distance from HIMS but if a move means a better program with dedicated faculty could be developed, we are for it, with some reservations. By the way, HIMS doesn't have playfields, we have a blacktop smaller than John Marshall. It's terrible that it comes down to this type of pull out, but could it mean an on par with Washington APP program coming into existence...


Anonymous said...

We have a 5th grader at Lincoln and are in he HIMS area. While we have been looking forward to finally having a, "nice" school/facility, it is not worth having the cohort split. Aside from being separated from most of his friends, we just don't trust that this isn't the first step to watering down APP. We spent a year at our neighborhood school with an ALO program and saw clearly that there was little focus or effort for advanced learners. I don't care if my child is 2 years ahead in math or science, but I do want him in classrooms where he is being challenged and has to work hard to do well rather than just space out. We have been very happy with SNAPP up until now but are now starting to looking at private school options for next year.

Anonymous said...

Jane Addams K8 has a petition against the plan to move to John Marshall, one of the concerns listed is air quality due to the I-5 location. Is this not a concern to others as well?

I will second concerns about the program at HIMS, but there are no assurances it will be better elsewhere. None.

Anonymous said...

I am definitely concerned about air quality at John Marshall. It would be a possible deal-breaker for me. I'm surprised more people aren't speaking out about this. (NOT surprised to hear of a JA K-8 petition, based on air quality and the complete injustice of the proposal as it impacts that program.)


Anonymous said...

Rolling up APP ANYWHERE is a non-starter.

All of north-end APP middle school students need to move en masse, keeping them together for the three years while WP is being built. Whether this is at John Marshall or JAMS (along side a roll-up neighborhood MS), it doesn't matter.

What is important here is that by moving the group as a whole, the teachers, principal, etc...will have time to solidify a program before splitting it up.

As someone has mentioned before, when HIMS split from WMS it was done as a whole with teachers moving along with the students. A roll-up APP will NOT have any experienced teachers, no institutional memory, no 'apprenticeship' model of learning to work with APP kids.

HIMS will fill up quickly with neighborhood students and APP will then have the critical mass to offer electives and higher level math classes.

In addition, APP students should only be sited at locations that can accommodate portables for the ebb/flow of # of students.


apparent said...

Reopening John Marshall Middle School . . .

"I would rather there be a solution that could keep APP MS together at one site." An SPS schools blog poster

"The SPS staff-calculated capacity for John Marshall:
- Housing a middle school program: 952
- Housing a K-8 program: 850
Happy to share other data info from Capital Planning." Joe Wolf,
K-12 Planning Coordinator, SPS,

There is indeed one obvious solution that will *permanently* keep all of north Seattle MS APP together at one site, not just on an interim basis. It stares us all in the face, yet only now do we return its gaze.

John Marshall was originally built as a middle school and it should be used now to keep all of the north Seattle MS APP together without needlessly splitting this cohort any further. Establishing JM from the outset as its own comprehensive middle school including all of north Seattle APP together with Pinehurst or some other right-sized option program ensures full music, sport, etc., so there will be little attrition or loss of critical academic mass. Like Wilson-Pacific Elementary, John Marshall Middle School is ideally located for families both northeast and northwest.

In the long term, a reopened John Marshall Middle School is large enough to include all of the north Seattle MS APP cohort, even accepting the wildly inflated and unsupported number increase projected by SPS (which the board should treat with more than a grain of salt). The revised decision is now being made to maintain the north Seattle ES APP cohort intact at Wilson-Pacific, seemingly meeting with popular approval as evidenced by these threads. SPS will win corresponding popular support for keeping MS APP intact at a revived John Marshall Middle School and thus relieving MS capacity pressure elsewhere throughout all north Seattle neighborhoods.

While moving all of north Seattle MS APP to the reopened John Marshall Middle School makes perfect sense as a permanent solution, by keeping the entire cohort and ideally teaching staff intact it would also make sense even as an interim solution in the event that any later move should ever occur. For example, to Wilson-Pacific MS, although SPS staff are not pointing in that direction, nor does there seem to be a continued unified chorus on these threads identifying an intact MS WP cohort as a realistic likelihood since the revised ES WP choice was announced. Yet starting John Marshall Middle School as a (brand?) new (in fact reopened!) comprehensive middle school including the intact APP cohort does not foreclose any such continuing deliberations; rather at a very minimum it buys the district as many years of time as it needs to do this right.

Once the necessary decision to reopen John Marshall Middle School now as a comprehensive middle school including APP is made, many if not most of the neighborhood capacity issues raised in these threads will be significantly relieved or sometimes eliminated; and like ES APP the MS APP program will flourish into the future without needless splitting.

So let's talk openly here about *reopening* John Marshall Middle School as a comprehensive middle school, because we are running out of time and no alternative to splitting north Seattle MS APP remains under discussion.

apparent said...

On reopening John Marshall Middle School as a fully comprehensive middle school now . . .

Requesting indulgence for this following post on a very important topic, for speed and efficiency let me try to refute now the most likely objections to *reopening* John Marshall Middle School as its own fully comprehensive middle school asap including the north Seattle APP community intact.

1. "Needed as Interim Site"?
This has been claimed in the past, but the claim is mathematically incoherent. Every student must be seated somewhere and by definition putting every enrolled MS APP student together with some other program into the reopened John Marshall Middle School will release an exactly equal number of seats elsewhere in the system in whatever school building that can then be used for "interim" use as north seattle school construction projects continue without interruption. Moreover, we should always search for long-term rather than interim capacity solutions: this would remove a major source of neighborhood instability; and if necessary, SPS can find new buildings like the old MOHAI museum, the University Heights School Building which they recently sold for $1.00 (like the nearby Ravenna School building also sold), rent buildings, or use eminent domain as needed for interim use.

2. "Won't Solve Capacity Crunch Elsewhere"?
This has been claimed in the current discussion of alternatives to the draft Intermediate Capacity Plan. This claim too is mathematically incoherent. After reopening John Marshall Middle School, vacated APP seats at Hamilton MS, for example, can obviously be filled by other programs or else adjusting neigborhood boundaries. As one obvious example, keep Laurelhurst Elementary feeding into Hamilton as it does now instead of shifting it to Eckstein under the current proposal, others can easily be devised by the plenty smart SPS planners and engaged community already working on this together.

3. "Proximity to Freeway"?
This has been claimed in the past, and by a couple of posters just above, but it is an unprincipled argument unless its environmentalist advocates also advocate shutting down TOPS K-8 and John Stanford International School, both of which stand closer to I-5 and go unchallenged. Also, there are evidently no health effects either way in switching from its present "interim" use to a reopened middle school since there will be equivalent numbers of children in the building anyway. A counter argument in the environmentalist literature condemns the abandonment of historic school buildings including John Marshall Middle School in favor of constant new construction with major environmental damage. It is also easy to visualize the necessary filtering systems, a solid freeway barrier, and a dense stand of tall columnar trees as obvious measures, maybe with some federal financing?

4. "APP Family Approval"?
This claim is unsupported by the voices on these threads, and indeed was specfically posed to APP families in the PTA survey taken when previously threatened with splitting: a clear majority (no time to check percentage right now) favored the John Marshall Middle School building over elementary splitting. The same middle school sentiment to keep the cohort intact appears on these threads.

5. "Equity"?
This claim may be raised, although the decision to keep north Seattle APP ES together at Wilson-Pacific is being made while south Seattle would be split with two additional options. Since enrollment is guaranteed to all qualified students, and a separate task force is now looking at outreach, there is no reason why reopening John Marshall Middle School cannot enhance advanced learning equity in north Seattle.

Apart from those above, is there any stronger objection to reopening John Marshall Middle School including north Seattle MS APP intact?

Anonymous said...

If NE APP is placed at JAMS in 2014, how many students would be there? Would they still change classes and have different teachers for different subjects like most kids do in middle school? How would teachers have full time jobs if there is only a small cohort there?

Anonymous said...

NE Mom,

At Hamilton, APP teachers often teach non-APP classes as well. Most of the teachers don't seem to have particular training in working with gifted kids--they are just regular middle school teachers.


Anonymous said...

My child has felt most appropriately challenged in 7th grade Physical Science and 8th grade Biology - both new teachers, and both teaching a single subject x5. They have been the best classes according to my child (not including band and foreign language, which are of course not APP, but have been great). I hate to think what will happen if/when APP is split to JAMS. The boundary discussions look like NE APP 7th and 8th graders won't be grandfathered at HIMS for next year, but sent to JAMS. If only we could clone teachers...oh, and have a written APP curriculum with appropriate texts.

Anonymous said...

I think we should continue advocating for north APP to be at a single middle school - and to use part of Lincoln as some sort of annex to Hamilton while we wait for new capacity to come on-line.

I am also very nervous about proposals to co-locate APP at either Hamilton or JAMS with attendance area kids. The District keeps doing this and APP keeps getting booted out when there's not enough room for both. We really need some stability and a permanent location for APP (both elementary and middle school).


Anonymous said...

Hi HIMSmom, Thanks for your info. I wonder if there will be very many other kids there besides NE APP 6th graders next year, and how many kids there would be total and from NE APP 6th graders. Is it enough for a middle school?

Anonymous said...

Pasted from Save Seattle Schools news: "There is a new staff proposal to "implement full grade assignment in year one." (see slide 24 and 25).

Basically, it is assigning JAMS and JAMS/Eckstein APP, grades 6, 7, and 8, to JAMS, in the JA building, beginning next fall. The APP kids living in the Eckstein SA would have the choice of going to Eckstein as GenEd or going to APP at JAMS.

JA K-8 is relocated to John Marshall, so no co-location with JAMS for the K-8.

Wilson Pacific would start up (grades 6, 7, and 8) in John Marshall 2016-17."

apparent said...


In your lead to this vital thread, to keep it current with its title, is there any chance that in addition to the revised *Draft Growth Boundaries Plan*, you could also link to the *Draft Intermediate Capacity Plan*, and to yesterday's October 17 latest staff *Board Work Session* presentations and slides?

It is really important for parents to read all three of these sources together in order to understand fully the north Seattle APP MS split that SPS staff now propose to implement in 2014-15, without waiting for the pending reports of the two task forces currently addressing identification and delivery of advanced learning.

Thanks for all your hard work giving APP families a place to talk about the program and its future.

Anonymous said...

As a WS parent of a Thurgood Marshall child, I agree that the AP proogram there should be left as is. The commute is long but 100% worth it for my child; he loves school and I am overjoyed that he is on track to attend established AP programs at Washington and then Garfield.

My older child was in Spectrum at Lafayette, and continued to Denny as there was no Spectrum option at the other WS middle school at the time. The boundaries were changed during middle school, preventing admission to the IB program at Sealth. Of course it was far too late to test into AP at that time so we are currently at WSHS. I want Kid #2 to be able to take advantage of what SPS can offer its brightest kids, and there is currently no such option in WS (and I doubt there will be by the time he gets to 6th grade in 2 years).

Another WS Parent

Greg Linden said...

Hi, Apparent. I added a link to the newest Oct 17 slides (which appear to ask the board to say whether north APP should be split or not, no mention I can see of any reconsideration of the split in the south).

I didn't see any discussion of APP in the Draft Intermediate Capacity Plan. Am I looking at the wrong document or is there something in there that should be highlighted to APP parents? Please let me know, in all likelihood I'm just missing it.

apparent said...


thanks for posting the most recent October 17 Board Work Session slides.

Yes, I checked and linked again from the "Intermediate Capacity Plan" thread lead on the Seattle Schools blog page to Superintendent Banda's "School Board Briefing/Proposed Action Report" dated October 16, 2013, which includes several explicit references to APP and others hidden in the imminent assignment of "interim" locations. Superintendent Banda's proposed action report has 2 attachments which also explicitly and implicitly affect APP. Your link looks very different and carries on the front cover the dates of Community Meetings which ended a week earlier on October 4, 6 and 11.

Thanks again!

Greg Linden said...

Ah, I think I see it, you mean this document, "Appendix B: Reference Documents", which has capacity projections for APP, among other things? It's referenced by the school board action report (here) which does not appear to have anything about APP in it but might also be worth pointing to. So, you want me to put that reference document up at the top level so its easier to find, right? I'll go do that now.

Anonymous said...

According to the new Oct 17 presentation, they are considering united, stand-alone for north-end elementary (600 kids) and middle-school (550 kids) APP, but apparently still planning to divide the south end (about 300 at each level) into three sites (less than 100 students each).

Equity? What about mere viability? It's embarrassing. If they aren't going to give the south-end stand-alone schools too, then they should at the very least leave them alone.

Julie said...

I wasn't at the school board presentation meeting, but from what other have written about it, Sharon Peaslea voiced strong opposition to stand alone APP elementary and there was a general agreement that Secondary APP definitely shouldn't be stand alone.

First, was anyone there at the meeting and can confirm this?

Second, how much influence do these people have? Do anyone know anything about what they are thinking?

Anonymous said...

Version 3 of the plan is supposed to be introduced to the Board on Nov. 3 (so it should be posted on Friday, Nov. 1, as part of the Board agenda).

Anonymous said...

And that should read Nov. 6, not Nov. 3

Anonymous said...

Sharon Peaslee clearly stated that APP at Lincoln is a model that needs to be gotten rid of soon after a "plan" for advanced learning is made. All others (including Director Carr who wasn't there) support a 1-5 stand alone at Wil-Pac ES. Kay Smith-Blum made the comment that by expanding Thurgood Marshall's boundaries they are trying to push out APP kids, she said all of elementary schools in the areas have the capacity to take the current autism/SPED/general ed programs and expressed a wish to create an APP stand alone at Thurgood Marshall to match the north proposal. She also suggested allowing Meany to be used for APP instead of or as an option (replacing Aki Kurose) to Washington. All directors seemed opposed to the idea of three middle school sites, but two, at Whitman and Eckstein were suggested as the best course of action to put services where students live.


apparent said...


curiouser and curiouser . . . . The latest "School Board Briefing/Proposed Action Report" from Superintendent Banda to the board is dated October 16, makes several explicit and implicit references to APP, has two attachments, and is linked from the Seattle Schools Blog thread intro on the Intermediate Capacity Report (which would direct readers to it).

Your currently posted link is to a document of exactly the same name and appearance dated October 11, which is indeed silent on APP and may be an earlier draft though it is not marked as such. Without closer scrutiny, these two documents could certainly be confused. But notable differences between these two documents include in Section VII of the October 16 action request ("Background") a detailed columnar chart referencing an MS APP (North) split beginning 2014, in Section VIII of the October 16 action request a differently composed "Statement of Issue," and two attachments to the October 16 board action report rather than three to the earlier draft.

Evidently a moving target, it seems that SPS staff are still trying to come up with their plan for APP.

Thanks again for making all this accessible to readers.

Greg Linden said...

Hmm, I'm getting pretty confused at this point. If one of the links in the top level post is incorrect, can you copy and paste the link and then the correct one into a comment? I don't understand which one is wrong.

The current "School Board Action report" link is

and goes to a document dated Oct 11. That's the same link in the post at

and the district page here

Even though both of those say "October 16 Board Action Report", the link goes to

which is dated Oct 11.

But, if I still have it wrong, please post the link that is wrong and the correct link, thanks.

Lynn said...

Presentation from the October 17 Growth Boundaries Work Session.

Greg Linden said...

Lynn, that's the second link in this post, isn't it? The one labeled "newer presentation" in the first update?

Jessica said...

Thanks for posting the latest SPS planning documents. Re: The sudden move to split South APP into 3 sites, the District presents absolutely no information, data or recommendations about this concept.

Unlike other decisions the board faces (e.g. reopening TT Minor or addressing North APP's site issues) the South APP plans seem to have been hatched out of nowhere and the district doesn't see any need to explain them.

What problem is the district trying to solve with South APP? Assuming that this is someone's bright idea to quickly shift enrollment from one site to the another, and to expand local access, which is the stated #2 objective of this redistricting exercise, where is the reasoning to show why this sudden dilution of APP students and resources in the South is the best approach for students? And if creating more sites is the goal, then why is the District moving toward one site in the North?

I'm very concerned that these moves in South APP will get lost in the shuffle. The District should be required to prove they are necessary with some intellectual consistency and a commitment of resources to back them up.

Lynn said...


I believe there are several things going on.

1. West Seattle families who are not in APP now and won't travel over the bridge want more rigor for their students. That problem could be solved by providing guaranteed Spectrum access and requiring Spectrum teachers to differentiate instruction for more advanced students.

2. Families who will be assigned to Meany are not willing to bus to Van Asselt as they roll up. Washington Middle School is overcrowded and the district is hoping to peel off some West Seattle APP students so Meany families can stay at Washington until the school reopens. It's interesting to me that Meany families don't seem to complain about the idea of a roll-up. They must be really happy to get their own school. That's likely to reduce the Washington Middle School Cohort in the future. Should the district just move APP to Meany when it opens?

3. Someone looked at this plan, realized nothing was happening in the south east and decided this was inequitable. How many south east families would actually choose that optional program over TM and Washington?

Lynn said...

Sorry Greg - I missed that.

Jessica said...

Lynn, thanks for your insights. I do see the potential for an optional West Seattle APP site, as laid out in the district's previous plan, because it seems like there would be enough students and the current bus rides from W Seattle are very long. Your idea about improving Spectrum also seems to make sense.

It's the sudden appearance of a third South APP site that I don't understand. APP has been challenged to create consistency in administration, teachers and curriculum with only 2 sites (north and south) each for elementary and middle school. And now we are going to jump to 3 sites just in the South? Hard to believe the district and APP can pull that off.

dw said...

Jessica said: Lynn, thanks for your insights. I do see the potential for an optional West Seattle APP site, as laid out in the district's previous plan, because it seems like there would be enough students and the current bus rides from W Seattle are very long. Your idea about improving Spectrum also seems to make sense.

I would think long and hard about advocating for an "optional APP" in West Seattle, for two reasons:

1) There really aren't enough kids there to make a WS APP. Even if it took 25% of the existing TM/WMS programs (which would adversely affect those programs), it wouldn't be enough. APP is, as much as anything else, about the cohort. They drive full classrooms in elementary, they drive class offerings and sections in middle school, and they drive each other day-to-day.

That's not to say it isn't worthwhile to provide some kind of additional advanced learning program in WS, but make no mistake it would not be APP.

2) There is a committee meeting right now, over the next few months, to look at potentially completely rewriting the identification process and criteria. It's quite likely that the ridiculous growth rates APP has seen over the past 5+ years will reverse drastically. If more splits happen before the new identification process is completely flushed out, then a pullback in numbers could literally dissolve the program into "differentiation and clustering", which as most of us know, doesn't work at all for these kids.

It's also important to know that there are factions within SPS administration that would like to see this happen. Bear that in mind when you see recommendations like the third south APP site.

Lynn's point about improving Spectrum is the best scenario for everyone. The vast majority of advanced learners could have their needs met in their own local regions, IF those programs were supported by the district. That's what many of us have been pushing for, but again, there are factions in SPS that want to dissolve Spectrum as well, and have been fairly successful in recent years. There is little hope for a cohesive APP program when Spectrum is being whittled down.

Anonymous said...

I am a West Seattle APP Parent. I am opposed to the proposed idea of an optional WS APP pathway. Not because it isn’t an interesting idea, but because there is no evidence to support that it is a good idea. I may have missed something in the recent and previous presentations, but:

1. First, I have not seen data/facts that show there is a viable cohort (250 is the number the district and board stated previously). Has a survey of WS parents (both current APP and non-APP families) been done to confirm that there are enough qualifying/interested kids to make a viable cohort? I’ve only seen anecdotal comments on the blog stating that there are “many families choose not to test or choose not to go” – what are the actual numbers?

2. Second, the district has not outlined how APP “services” (using the new term) would be delivered in these optional pathways. Standalone classrooms for APP by grade? Combined gen ed/app kids and teachers differentiate instruction? Kids walk to other grade levels for certain classes (e.g, 1st graders go to 3rd grade for math…)? If I were to consider a WS APP option, I would want to understand how it will work then decide if I would want to choose it for my kids

3. Third, related questions - how would resources be allocated to ensure the APP program has appropriate materials? How would curriculum be decided? (e.g., would elementary kids go back to using the district approved math?) How will teachers be allocated? What about other resources like library books, etc?

As Jessica stated earlier, TM works. I believe that syphoning kids off to “optional” pathways will dilute resources, weaken the program and undo all the hard work that has been done to make TM work so well. Same goes for Washington.

The district did successfully create an optional APP pathway at HS (Ingraham), as I recall that worked because of the planning – and a level of community engagement – to ensure that it was viable and implemented successfully. Right now I don’t even understand the problem that the district is trying to solve by splitting the south end into 3 pathways.

I would be happy to be told that I’m wrong and that a strategy exists...

Anonymous said...

If Spectrum/ALO/rigor is strengthened, so that kids with a need for accelerated curriculum but happy with friends at their neighborhood school can stay, what is the earliest you see this taking shape? How soon can it have an affect on APP? What year can one begin to leave their kids in their neighborhood school and be served?

--Can't wait

Lynn said...

Can't wait,

First you'd have to get someone in Curriculum and Instruction to recognize and acknowledge that this is true. Maybe something will come out of the next advanced learning task force's efforts.

Anonymous said...

APP AC Email 11: Community Meeting for all Seattle APP Families, Thursday, October 24

The APP Advisory Committee will sponsor a meeting on

Thursday, October 24

at Washington Middle School (in the cafeteria)

6:30-8:30 pm

The District's most recent proposal regarding Growth Boundary changes ( may impact all APP students in Seattle Public Schools within the next few years. For this reason, the APP Advisory Committee is sponsoring an all-APP community meeting.

This meeting will be an opportunity for the APP community to come together and learn more about the proposal, hear from each other, ask questions and express concerns. The APP AC will collect all feedback and comments from the meeting and pass them along to the District before the deadline.

We encourage a representative from every APP family to attend--elementary, middle, and high school. We need to hear from everyone!

Email your school rep below with any questions you'd like addressed. If you cannot attend, please email the APP AC with your feedback about the plan.

See you on the 24th!

Christine said...

Agree with 'Can't wait' and some others. I wish this thread would be split to ES/MS/HS.

I want:
- Self-contained (full classroom, maybe mixed-age, roll up, not stand-alone) APP program for Elementary level in West Seattle
- if numbers are too small open as self-contained Spectrum/APP program
- with access for families in all neighborhoods (= guaranteed seats)
- and let the Advanced Learning Office create and monitor consistency in
administration, teacher development and curriculum for all APP sites. Check.

It's called 'optional' pathway - no one has to leave TM if they don't want to, but please don't speak up for WS families that are strongly impacted, if you are not. This is not only about big enough cohorts and resources.

Please let the parents that want their young children play with friends in the neighborhood while it's still light outside have an option to do so and let them go to a program that suits their needs as fast learners.

Advanced Learning is very under served in West Seattle and the ONE Spectrum classroom by grade is only accessible for the WS North end.

2 hours on a bus per day for a 6 year old is unacceptable. And 1.5 hours in the family car sitting in traffic on a bridge isn't much better.

Signed, Momma Bear

Metoo said...

I agree with Mama Bear. Quality of life outside of school hours is hugely impacted by the commute in and out of WS.

Anonymous said...

- and let the Advanced Learning Office create and monitor consistency in
administration, teacher development and curriculum for all APP sites. Check.

That, perhaps, is the one thing you can't count on, yet isn't it the key to having a meaningful program?

Lynn said...


Has Shauna Hearh confirmed that the program she's planning for West Seattle will include the qualities you listed? I really do empathize with you on the travel time and the disruption to family life involved in attending school outside of West Seattle.

I have a couple comments on your ideas. As the APP cohort increases in size as they progress through the grades, those Spectrum students used to fill empty seats would have to be removed from the program and returned to their neighborhood schools. Do you think many parents would volunteer for that?

Has the advanced learning department made a new commitment to create and monitor consistency in administration, teacher development and curriculum? Really - they don't do any of this now. The quality of a program depends entirely on the commitment of the principal to providing appropriate services, a large enough group of parents who are willing to provide the resources the district does not, and a group of children that is large enough to provide opportunities for finding good friends.

I know this isn't very helpful to you. I just really don't think you will find this program meets your needs. I would love to be proved wrong - to see something from the advanced learning office about what they are planning. Unfortunately, they will ask the board to authorize the creation of new program sites before the service delivery task force even begins to meet.

Anonymous said...

We're with Momma Bear on WS APP. We also want elementary APP in West Seattle for our kids. Frankly, I'm done with consistently loud voices trying to always push against the idea of a WS APP program because it's not right for *their* child. Please respect that other parents should decide what's best for our own children! This program should not be about the kids that will stay at TM, this program needs to be about the kids that will need and want APP in West Seattle. And it is not just about kids currently enrolled at TM that would switch--this is VERY much also about kids who are APP elligible in WS but not enrolled. their highly capable siblings that are soon coming of age, and all the future elementary APP kids that could be served in WS. There are folks who seem to be determined to argue against APP in WS, or feel the need to try to herd my kids into an APP monopoly at TM. Hopefully they can either try to understand and support that I know what's best for my kids, or just please respectfully step out of my way.

-Got this

Me too said...

It is hard to keep the lofty goals of a 250 cohort when your 7-year old is stuck on a bus for 2 hours on traffic, arriving at school an hour late,

Christine said...


Why would Spectrum students would have to be removed? If the program growth that successfully, we get a bigger cohort, maybe even a full APP and a full Spectrum site in West Seattle. Great!

And, yes, we would need a great principal to make our wish come true, but I would rather believe in we can make this then seeing my kid suffer from a long commute.

And please proof me wrong if you can, but I have a very strong feeling we have a lot of families over here now and even more in the years to come that would greatly benefit from a strong Advanced Learning Program in West Seattle.

It's for the kids. Small kids. And I would also like to argue a smaller cohort (self-contained/mixed-age) close to home is great for Elementary students.

I don't see the point why it would need 250 kids. Where does this number come from? I understand it's great for teachers to collaborate, but they could still do that with an APP teacher each grade.

My son was in a mixed-age classroom at TM last year and did not really mentioned anyone else then his classmates all year. Does he need 50 APP 5th graders around to do well? For MS and HS I really get this argument, but for Elementary, I don't. Small is usually better for that age.

Lynn said...


Fairmount isn't going to have a Spectrum program - that was not included in any of the staff recommendations. If you use Spectrum students to fill the empty seats in an APP program, as more APP students enroll, the Spectrum students will have to move out.

I wouldn't want my kids on a bus for two hours either - so I think it would be fabulous if there was a great APP program in West Seattle. I just think you are supporting this without any idea what it will look like. I hope you try to get on the next advanced learning task force so you can have a hand in defining the service delivery method.

Lynn said...

Oops. I was not actually talking to myself - obviously to Christine.

Christine said...

Lynn, I obviously still have a lot to learn, but maybe I can use your expertise to see what still can be done in my quest to get this done sooner then later.

I also regret being late, but I tried to propose my input to the school board rep earlier in the year, but was told, it's not time for it just yet, and thought this is what the APP community meeting must be about.

I try to make sense of all this information about big enough cohort, strong leadership, lack of resources. I crunched numbers, read up and asked both of our local Spectrum principal for their input.

I just got a great reply from Christy Collins (Arbor Heights principal) asking her about how Spectrum at Arbor Heights is doing and learnt about her struggle to build up the self-contained classrooms for Spectrum as parents won't go there if it's not self-contained (chicken-egg). When I asked her if she would be interested in seeing an APP program at AH, this was her reply:
Hi Christine,
I would like both, APP and Spectrum, here. As a transforming eSTEM school we could have STEM education, AOL and APP. I have always been concerned our students must travel to Thurgood Marshall for APP. If you are a primary age child, that is too far!
All the best!
If SPS would consider Arbor Heights instead of Fairmount Park as an optional APP location, we could cross of small cohort, supportive leadership and some resources of our list. AH will be in a central interim location in West Seattle for some years and will get a new building after that. We would even would even get a lab.

Also, Principal Collins is an exceptional principal. If someone can make this work for West Seattle families, it's her.

I hope it won't be too late to do this in 2014/15. If it really is, I would be very disappointed but try again.

Sorry, still MommaBear at work.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can
change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." --
Margaret Mead

Anonymous said...

The suggested minimum cohort size minimizes the possibility of split grade classes in elementary; allows for more teacher collaboration, full time dedicated APP teachers, more flexible scheduling, a large enough group to offer 3 years of math to those starting Algebra 1 in 6th grade; and a host of other things that keep the program strong. The number wasn't just pulled out of the air. It was based on teacher and principal experience.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Lynn’s comment that people posting here seem to be supporting the idea of WS APP without knowing what how it will be delivered and resourced.

The only fact available – to my knowledge – is that the district has not shared one bit of information about how the program will or can be delivered.

How can any of us – current TM or not – make an informed decision or even have an informed discussion about it?

Instead of disagreeing on a blog and asking each other to get out of the way, shouldn’t we be joining together and asking the district to share more of their thinking?

For those who want more background on rationale for recommended cohort size, perhaps reading the APP Advisory Committee guidelines (sent to the district yesterday) would be a good place to start. It seemed very thoughtful and based on a lot of history and experience with the program. There is also an APP AC meeting at Washington tomorrow night at 6:30 to discuss the boundary changes.

Anonymous said...

Hi Christine, Isn't Arbor Heights scheduled to move to Boren for the next two consecutive school years(sharing facility with STEM) until their new buildling opens in 2016? Would there be capacity at Boren for your idea?

Lynn said...

While additional pathways are being discussed, do you think you could also make a case for improved, more direct transportation? Would replacing the large buses with more small buses help? As highly capable services are mandated by law, maybe more effort should be made to make them accessible.

Anonymous said...

The district is not required to provide transportation but they choose to provide transportation as a means of making the program accessible (even if rides seem unreasonably long). Students in rural districts may have rides just as long, time wise. I am in no way trying to minimize the concerns around long bus rides, but it's good to keep it in perspective.

apparent said...

Version 2 of the draft Growth Boundaries Plan Contains Entirely Incompatible Discussions of “APP” and Interim “Capacity Management”!

The draft Growth Boundaries Plan timeline began with the first draft or original draft “Version 1 (September 17);” the current second draft proposal “Version 2 (October 16),” which has been introduced before the work session as a board action item; and the pending third draft “Version 3 (November 6),” which “Will reflect tonight’s [October 17] direction from the Board” [Board Work Session], and which “Will be introduced at November 6 Board Meeting for action on November 20” (Slide 4).

Under the caption “Big Issues” the staff presentation in the current Version 2 of the draft Growth Boundaries Plan reports: “Several major issues remain or have emerged,” including among others the “Accelerated Progress Program (APP),” as well as “Capacity Management/Phase-In.” Version 2 states that “Board direction is needed on these issues” to revise attendance area boundaries in line with enrollment and capacity, including equitable access to services and programs as a key component in those boundary revisions (Slide 3).

In advance of the pending task force recommendations on both identification and delivery of advanced learning, in its big issue “APP” section Version 2 poses to the board the following 4 questions (Slides 16-17):
1. “How many elementary/middle school sites should there be?”
2. “Should we begin to build capacity and create closer to home options for students?”
3. “Should schools with APP continue to serve a combination of APP and attendance area students, or be free-standing all-APP schools?”
4. “How can we plan without knowing what recommendations will come from Task Forces?”

Yet despite not knowing what recommendations will ultimately come from the two advanced learning task forces, in its big issue “Capacity Management” section Version 2 immediately contradicts itself by asking the board to choose now among 3 stated APP (North) delivery options which include:
“1 all-APP school for elementary APP, 1 all APP-school for middle school,”
or two other stated delivery options both involving further geographic splits and cohousing with attendance area neighborhood schools.

The 3 APP (North) delivery options described in Version 2 are (Slide 20):
A. “1 all-APP school for elementary APP, 1 all APP-school for middle school”
B. “1 or more all-APP schools for elementary APP, 2-3 schools for middle school with attendance area students”
C. “Multiple elementary schools, 2-3 APP middle schools with attendance area students”

Note that Version 2 fails to acknowledge the obvious delivery option number 4:
D. cohouse APP (North) intact with another program (e.g. in a reopened 952-seat fully comprehensive John Marshall Middle School), instead of in a neighborhood school which guarantees a seat to every attendance area student.

Version 2 describes the status of the present delivery model: “All schools serve a combination of APP and attendance area students except APP at Lincoln” (Slide 16). In setting out for the board 3 competing future delivery options, Version 2 asserts the absence of any academic quality implications between these options: “Research shows that there are not significant differences between stand-alone and self-contained models” (Slide 20).

To answer these 4 stated questions and to choose among the 3 stated delivery options, the staff request “Board Direction” (Slide 20): “There are numerous inter-related issues. Clear direction from the Board is essential so staff can develop appropriate recommendations for the November 6 and November 20 Board meetings.”

apparent said...

Draft Plan Version 2's Needless Proposed 3-Way Split of APP (North) MS for “Capacity Management” would Preempt the Advanced Learning Task Force Recommendations!

Yet without waiting for any appointed advanced learning task force recommendations, in its Capacity Management section Version 2 now requests the board to immediately implement its recommended APP (North) delivery Option B: “1 or more all-APP schools for elementary APP, 2-3 schools for middle school with attendance area students.”
November 20 approval of the Growth Boundaries Plan including the forced APP (North) MS split described in Version 2 would thus preempt further consideration of delivery Option A: “1 all-APP school for elementary APP, 1 all APP-school for middle school.”
And in that event any later elementary school split of the proposed stand-alone APP @ Wilson-Pacific Elementary would result in delivery Option C: “Multiple elementary schools, 2-3 APP middle schools with attendance area students.”

Version 2 of the Growth Boundaries Plan was introduced on October 16 and was discussed in the board work session the next day. In Version 2, Superintendent Banda now asks the Board to approve delivery Option B by chopping APP (North) MS into three parts, beginning in 2014, with the second chop following in 2016. Like APP, Version 2 labels as a new “Big Issue” section the earlier draft Intermediate Capacity Plan, renaming it “Capacity Management” (Slides 21-22 & 24-25) . The impending split of APP (North) MS into delivery Option B lies hidden in this small print, devil-in-the-details section, and its accompanying chart.

Buried in this “Capacity Management” draft intermediate plan staff recommendation to adopt delivery Option B, Version 2 now recommends splitting off:
3/7 of the APP (North) MS cohort (NE APP MS Pathway to Jane Addams drawing 296/695 AA ES students from Eckstein & Jane Addams) beginning 2014-15, without waiting for the pending advanced learning task force recommendations on identification and delivery (Slides 21-22 & 24-25).

After a two year delay, Version 2 then recommends continued implementation of delivery Option B by splitting off another:
2/7 of the APP (North) MS cohort (NW APP MS Pathway to John Marshall then Wilson-Pacific drawing 198/695 AA ES students from Wilson-Pacific & Whitman) beginning 2016-17 (Slides 21-22 & 24-25).

After these two successive 3/7 + 2/7 splits recommended for 2014 and 2016, Version 2 would have implemented delivery Option B and so recommends leaving in Hamilton the remaining:
2/7 of the APP (North) MS cohort (N APP MS Pathway to Hamilton drawing 201/695 AA ES students from Hamilton & McClure) (Slides 21-22 & 24-25).

Note that only one of the 3 recommended delivery Option B APP (North) MS pathways as proposed in Version 2 would meet the stated minimum cohort size of 250 for a viable self-contained APP program location.

apparent said...

But why Should there be ANY Interim or Permanent Split of APP (North) MS, when this Entire Cohort Can Easily Fit Intact Into a REOPENED Fully Comprehensive 952-seat John Marshall Middle School, Together with Some Option Program (e.g. Pinehurst)?

Version 2 gives an APP enrollment overview for highly capable services (Slide 18), showing “projected” (?) 2013-14 MS numbers of 896 middle schoolers including:
549 at Hamilton APP (North) MS + 347 at Washington APP (South) MS;
and also showing “projected” 2013-14 ES numbers of 911 elementary students including:
594 at Lincoln APP (North) ES + 317 at Thurgood Marshall APP (South) ES.

In another table on the following page, Version 2 also gives the numbers of APP (North) ES elementary students living in each of the proposed revised MS attendance areas (as well as the numbers of APP (North) students (MS? ES?) living nearest each of 6 north Seattle middle schools (Slide 19). Divided into the 3 recommended delivery Option B APP (North) MS pathways in Version 2, those numbers total a cohort of 695 students (plus new MS enrollees?) who would be split beginning in 2014:
3/7: Proposed NE APP Wilson-Pacific MS Pathway – 296 ES APP students (Eckstein 263 + Jane Addams 66);
2/7: Proposed NW APP Jane Addams MS Pathway – 198 ES APP students (Wilson-Pacific 64 + Whitman 134);
2/7: Proposed N APP Hamilton MS Pathway – 201 ES APP students (Hamilton 98 + McClure 93).

Note again that only one of the 3 recommended delivery Option B APP (North) MS pathways as proposed in Version 2 would meet the stated minimum cohort size of 250 for a viable self-contained APP program location.

Even accepting other inconsistently inflated MS enrollment growth projections thrown out to justify this needless split, a reopened John Marshall Middle School is more than big enough to hold APP (North) MS and some other program (e.g., Pinehurst K-8?). The Seattle School Board should therefore REOPEN 952-seat John Marshall as a fully comprehensive middle school including APP (North) MS intact in 2014.

Consequently, the board should also return to the earlier proposal to cohouse Jane Addams K-8 with Jane Addams MS on their own interim site using portables during construction as Version 1 previously recommended (i.e. Jane Addams K-8 should not be assigned to John Marshall from 2014-16 for "interim" use instead of APP (North) MS).

Anonymous said...

Greg, can we have a new thread on the latest boundary proposal please?
"North APP elementary (now at Lincoln) will stay at Lincoln until Wilson-Pacific Elementary opens in 2017. North APP elementary will be located at Wilson-Pacific Elementary as a free-standing APP school beginning in 2017.
Two sites (co-located with attendance area students) have been designated for north APP middle school: Eckstein and Whitman. APP at Eckstein will begin this coming fall. When APP at both Eckstein and Whitman are in place, enrollment data will be reviewed to determine if Hamilton would continue as an APP site. Depending on the number of students to be served, Hamilton APP may be phased out in the future.
Eckstein and Whitman were chosen as APP sites because by far the largest numbers of APP students live closest to those schools. Note that Eckstein, currently very overcrowded, has its current enrollment reduced significantly with the opening of Jane Addams Middle School. These changes will also provide some relief to over-enrollment at Hamilton."

Greg Linden said...

I started a new thread for discussion of the Nov 6 version of the plan, "Even newer assignment plan".