Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Another open thread

The board is voting on the boundary plan soon (on Nov 20). What else is on your mind?

48 comments :

Anonymous said...

Nothing else.

The APP boundary mess is all I think about. I don't worry about my 7th Grader's math class which has 35? kids in it or the fact he can never find his compass, which is something utterly essential to Geometry 1. I don't worry about these PE Waivers (which my kid has somehow failed to submit) or the fact that I am getting 6 hours sleep because I go to bed too late doing ADULT things like watching The Voice on DVR and then have to get up at 6.30am and drive my Middle Schooler to school (due to distant and super early school bus schedule). Neither do I worry that my non-APP kid has been assigned to a different middle schools with each iteration of the plan. I am not worrying about my falling levels of Vitamin D or speaking with my kid about troubling themes in the literary fiction they are reading. It did not phase me when I found my 6 year old was playing TF2 (although I did stop him) and we have eaten a LOT of takeout recently.

Does this keep me up at night?

Nope.

Its just Boundaryplanitis all the way.

And I am not feeling sad or worried. I am upset that once again its APP's fault for being in the way of real school kids getting their real eduction.

Shannon

Anonymous said...

Well written Shannon. Sounds like you might have to give up the TV watching. The Voice, really? Things are tough all over and I find whining about things and playing the victim doesn't help or get much sympathy. Ya, we APP parents have obstacles, but get some perspective,please, and try to think about what other families go through. Finally, think about the slings and arrow SpEd parents feel hurled at them for displacing other students and using disproportionate resources. I find the poor me attitude on this blog gets a little over-ripe at times and ignores the very salient fact that we are getting an actual education for our kids that will serve them fairly well in the future. It could be a lot worse.

Anonymous said...

My son is new to APP this year. I am trying to figure out how families discuss APP-related issues together -- especially given the upcoming splintering and turmoil. Looking at Anon at 7:41's post, I'm thinking that this is not a particularly friendly space to share ideas and feelings.

Too bad. I'm looking for community.

Erin

Anonymous said...

Shannon, I hear you. I would only add two things:
1. I don't have time to worry about a school wide petition either at HIMS that my student signed without my previous knowledge. Even though we are talking about issues about the school and all these planned boundary changes at home but I don't feel he is updated enough to make an informative decision and join to one group of students.
2. At the end of the day with all these boundary changes, there WILL BE PAIN. But I think this pain would be more tolerable for everyone if we have a leadership who shows the direction we are going to and explain the rational of the changes (based on real and current data and not politics). Without that, it seems like just a plain and simple chaos on every level.
Welcome to SPS

Anonymous said...

Erin:
The best possible place to go to is the APP Advisory Committee meeting. They meet on the first Tuesday of the month following this schedule:
December 3, 2013, Lincoln Library
January 7, 2014, Washington Middle School Library
February 4, 2014, Ingraham High School Library
March 4, 2014, Garfield High School Library
April 1, 2014, Hamilton Middle School Library
May 6, 2014, Thurgood Marshall Elementary Library
June 3, 2014, Lincoln Library

They also have a google site with all the related information:
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/app-ac-seattle


Shannon Adams said...

Hey Erin,
Don't worry about people being unfriendly. Its a pretty nice blog and community and I am just poking fun at the whole drama which, I am of course experiencing. I am quite happy in my Voice viewing and complaining without hating anyone.

Good evening all. Happy APP to you too :)

Shannon

Anonymous said...

Shannon, you take the high road here :) Always love your perspective on things.

Heather

Anonymous said...

Shannon,

After a painful night at the district wide PTA meeting, I needed that laugh. Thanks!

Anonymous, you might want to brush up on sarcasm, and having a sense of humor...

ardsnej

Anonymous said...

Anon at 7:41 PM - at least Shannon signed her name! I know it's not required on this blog, but really, if you can't sign your name to something so judgmental and negative, then perhaps you shouldn't post it at all!
Signed, Anon -ha-ha - Elizabeth

Anonymous said...

A non-boundary discussion:

Are any other parents of first-graders at their wits end with math homework?...The leap to 3rd grade math is huge...please tell me it gets easier.

(From SNAPP Facebook) So the question is, why are 1st graders leaping to 3rd grade math?? When our child started in 1st grade the math consisted of 1st and 2nd grade books compressed, with some teacher created content mixed in.
The math was compressed - not outright skipped to 3rd grade in 1st grade. Additionally, some teachers sent a summer packet or suggested math skills to be covered prior to starting the next grade. Is there anyone in the AL office overseeing APP curriculum? Anyone?

Lisa said...

Anonymous, first, that's lame to pull someone's comments off snap Facebook which is a closed group and post here. Second, that poster could be misinformed about the level math their kid is doing.

Lynn said...

Lisa,

It might be helpful to compare what is happening at TM in first grade math. Sadly, SNAPP's private Facebook account doesn't allow for that.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I appreciate seeing comments from the SNAPP FB page here since I'm not on FB and therefore feel out of the loop!
The poster is not misinformed. 1st graders at Lincoln have been doing 3rd grade math (My Math Grade 3 workbooks) since the start of the year. This is a change from previous years and was never communicated at the beginning of the year, however, it was explained at the curriculum night. Basically every grade is now working 2 grade levels ahead in math. I was initially concerned about the big jump from our very basic (non-enriched/nondifferentiated) Kindergarten math to 3rd grade but it seems to be going Ok for my kid anyway. I do wonder if they are missing out on any concepts that would have been covered in 1st and 2nd grade curriculum though and may be assumed to be proficient at by 3rd grade - hope they have a plan to fill any gaps. I also wonder what will happen with report cards and such - seems like it will be a lot more of a stretch for many of the kids to meet the expected standards, initially anyway.
I also wondered about the MAP tests the 1st graders took. Mine said they did not use headphones, but I know from previous years and other schools that the 1st grade MAP tests DO allow for headphone use (headphones are no longer used in 2nd grade and beyond). So I wonder what level MAP test was used for the 1st graders and if they were at a disadvantage through not having headphones (esp those who are more advanced in math vs reading)? Does anyone know?
I would be interested to hear what TM does regarding accelerating the curriculum (and the MAP tests).

nonFBer

Anonymous said...

Jumping into 3rd grade math doesn't make sense for 1st grade - even for APP students. When my son had a wonderful 1st grade Spectrum teacher at Broadview (no longer there:-(), she pushed them through both 1st and 2nd grade math in that year. That worked fine for most kids since they caught on quickly. I would imagine that would be the best thing to do with APP 1st grade as well, in order to make sure the kids haven't missed any concepts.

Momof2

Anonymous said...

Are these curriculum decisions being made on a school basis (not coming from AL)? If so, it has me concerned for the upcoming splits.

Anonymous said...

For all new APP families -

We were promised an APP curriculum as part of the splits in 2008. It has never appeared. There is ZERO consistency across schools, and I don't know why that would change in the future. The AL office has nothing to do with curriculum and has flatly stated that they have time for testing and nothing else.

I know I don't believe this curriculum is coming. I don't believe in Bigfoot, fairies or unicorns either.

-been around

Anonymous said...

Maybe I haven't been reading all the blogs closely enough but I had not heard of proposed amendment #20:

"Hamilton and Lincoln trade buildings.
Move all Hamilton students to Lincoln. APP stays in Lincoln with Hamilton.
All interim programs move into Hamilton, including APP elementary, Indian Heritage with AS-­‐1."

That seems to me like a great plan for North APP (assuming they can get the lights on in parts of Lincoln building). It was thrown out because it "Would require numerous moves into and out of both buildings."

Just curious what readers here thought of this amendment? Did anyone advocate for it? It seems to me like it would have been a good way of keeping the APP cohort from being fragmented until the supposed APP curriculum materialized……

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

Also, what was the discussion around Pinehurst moving into Lincoln? I hope Pinehurst doesn't get closed, but I do wonder how the Lincoln cafeteria and so-called playground could accommodate another 150 or so kids on top of the 600 already there. Staggered start times, maybe?

ben said...

@MomOf2 - Readiness for 3rd grade math really varies kid to kid. We had several first grade kids walking to 3rd grade math last year at JA last year based on doing assessments as the beginning of the year.

In my ideal world we'd recognize that kids even in the APP segment learn math at different rates and start at different points and accommodate that. What always kills me is that we're now routinely assessing before each math unit starts (and as well for the entire year) but there is no provision to skip the unit if a kid is already showing mastery.

Ben

Anonymous said...

FWIW: it is recognized that not all kids are in the same place re math so walk to math has been introduced in order to group kids of similar level/learning style etc together.

nonFBer

Anonymous said...

If the APP-AC does nothing else, could they please increase their focus on pushing for some clarity around APP curriculum and materials? With the looming splits and moves, there really needs to be some more definition of what and how content is covered. One of my children's classes doesn't seem to have a history text at this point (little history has been covered), and another has recently spent multiple LA/SS class periods watching and discussing the video Food Inc. (supposed to be early US History). Huh?

Anonymous said...

The 1st graders took the MAP test for 2nd-5th graders this year. We were warned by our teacher that we may see a drop in MAP scores because of this, presumably because of the change to no head phones and relying on their reading ability.

Anonymous said...

Can someone currently at Lincoln give me some sense of where the other grades are math-wise? Trying to determine if this new policy is just impacting kids in 1st grade, or if they have done it across the board, so it would be nice to get a sense of where current 2nd-5th graders are...

Have to say this makes me think twice about the possibility of moving my current K student over next year. On the one hand, I have a meeting with his teacher tomorrow to discuss ways of doing more advanced work this year, so knowing that could be the scenario next year helps me know how to approach things this year... On the other hand, my 'APP eligible but in ALO' kid has been able to slowly move two years ahead through a combination of summer work & skipping grades via walk-to-math, so the jump was not so extreme for him. He will still (hopefully) enter MS 2 years ahead, but at what feels like a more reasonable pace. (Admittedly one very parent-involvement heavy, so I appreciate why that doesn't work for every family.) I would agree that much of 1st & 2nd grader seems repetitive (thus why he was easily able to skip 2nd) but also wonder about the building block/strong foundation idea mentioned above...

Opting in

Anonymous said...

If the 1st graders took the grade 2-5 version of the MAP test in fall, how do we interpret the results.
Are the percentiles reported according to the scores for 2nd-5th graders in that case?

Does that mean the percentile my first grader got was reported as if he was a 2nd grader doing the 2nd grade test (i.e he was for example in the XXth percentile for 2nd grade scores in a subject) and if so, how would that correlate with percentiles compared to other 1st graders?

Or are the 1st graders percentiles calculated alongside those of other 1st graders (doing the typical first grade test)- surely they would not do this since it is not an accurate reflection of the percentile at all if a different test is used)?

Presumably the RITs are consistent between the 2 versions - but the percentile depends on what population you are being compared to. I know it doesn't really count for much, but if we are doing these tests I feel that we should understand how to interpret the results.

I also think it should have been announced to families that out-of-grade level MAP tests would be used. I had no idea and therefore no explanation for the drop in percentiles.
And is this even the appropriate anyway? What do they do at TM??
Doesn't it potentially make the the district score data screwy if all 1st graders aren't being compared to other 1st graders for example (what do they do about the other APP grades)?


Anonymous said...

To opting in; all grades at Lincoln are currently working on material that is 2 grade levels ahead in math

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 1:01pm, I can tell you that my first grader was tested on the 2-5 MAP test last year, but this was at our neighborhood school. They did not tell me beforehand. And yes, the percentile was calculated no differently than it would have been with the primary grade test: The RIT he obtained on the 2-5 test was used to calculate his percentile as a first-grader.

No teacher can ever explain to me how or why they are using or interpreting MAP data, and this honestly was no different.

H.

Anonymous said...

Thats interesting H.
So basically my kids percentile scores are meaningless - since the kid did a different test compared to the kids he is normed against. I'm not sure what the implications for validity the RITs are (maybe they are ok?).
On a broader scale, how can MAP be used to obtain any meaningful data on a district wide level level if this sort of thing happens? Doesn't it also invalidate any data that NWEA gathers to use for researching trends or tweaking the test or norms etc.
I would have thought a district-wide, district-mandated test would have been subject to basic usage criteria set by the district (or NWEA), rather than leaving it up to individual schools to decide which test to administer to which students.

Tell me again, what exactly is the point of MAP testing?? ; )

Anonymous said...

Last year's first graders also took the 2-5 test, and were told to expect that same drop. The rit percentile is against other first graders; it is just supposed to have a higher ceiling. I don't like the MAP, but this is what they usually do.

Yes, all grades two ahead. I actually like it a lot as having been through 1st and 2nd math with my oldest I found it mind numbingly slow, and 3rd is when some interesting stuff finally gets introduced.

Lynn said...

Opting In,

APP-eligible kindergarteners are supposed to receive services at their current school in the second half of the year. (This is new this year.) When I talked to Shauna Heath in August or September those services had not yet been defined. I'd tell your K's teacher that you'd like help preparing them to do third grade math next September.

Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

Our 3rd grader is challenged for the first time in his life with math. It's been a very rude awakening for a boy who used to do addition in the hundreds in his head in preschool. This is not a bad thing, despite the tantrums and cries for pity ("I'm not smart..."). He's learning how to handle real challenges.

Anonymous said...

Lynn, how did you hear that APP- qualified kindergartners are supposed to receive services at their current school?

Lynn said...

I'd been wondering how the new state requirements for highly capable programs would be met - so I read the grant application when it came up on the board agenda. It reports that kindergarteners will receive services. I emailed Shauna Heath and asked her what was up. Here are my question and her answer:

Q. The application indicates 103 kindergarten students will be served. How are these students selected and what services will be offered to them?

A. We project 103 K students based on the number of K children who have historically qualified as Academically Highly Gifted and been eligible to enter first grade in the Accelerated Progress Program. Students will be identified during normal testing cycle which takes place during the first semester. This year, because of the new WACs requiring a continuum of services K-12, we will initiate supports and services for identified students during the second semester.

Anonymous said...

Many thanks Lynn, very helpful going into my meeting tomorrow. Our particular principal seems on board with working with us, but this is a different K teacher than I had with my oldest, so good to know there may be something 'official' coming up behind it.

Anonymous said...

On a side note, is anyone else still waiting for MAP scores to show up on the Source? I already know what they are because the vice-principal sent them to us as part of this meeting, so I know they're 'in the system' but still zilch online. We also haven't heard anything about a testing date, so wondering if they are just crazy back logged?

Anonymous said...

anon@ 10:11

Can you tell more about the class with no history? What grade? MS or Elem? Are other teachers at the same grade level doing history?

open ears

Lynn said...

There's a tentative testing schedule on the AL website. If your school isn't listed on the schedule, they'll be testing during the school day. Maybe your principal would have that date?

Lynn said...

Oops, there was something in that email about curriculum too. Here it is:

Q: On a related issue (but not mentioned in the grant application), how much progress has been made on creating a curriculum for the APP? Who is working on this project?

A: Committees within and between APP sites have been collaborating to establish a uniform set of expectations for students. This work is somewhat complicated by the move to Common Core State Standards, which is now being phased in. This is a work in progress which will take at least two years to implement with the first suite of assessments beginning in 2014-2015.

Anonymous said...

This is a work in progress which will take at least two years to implement with the first suite of assessments beginning in 2014-2015.

So the splits will go forward with no established content/standards for APP? And this is just a-okay with Teaching and Learning? By assessments, I am assuming she means the state tests that will be aligned to Common Core starting in 2014-2015 (new Algebra EOC, etc.). The Common Core Standards specify skills, but the district has to specify the content. Common Core or not, the content for classes needs to be more clearly defined. Common Core should not be used as an excuse for having no uniform APP curriculum.

ranter

Anonymous said...

How do parents feel about teachers withholding recess as punishment for classroom misbehavior? Hasn't that been proven to lead to, um, classroom misbehavior?

Recess mom

Anonymous said...

I don't love it, but I also don't think they have that many tools at their disposal. If it was frequent, I'd hope they were reevaluating. But occasional- if there were urgent management needs not taken care of by more positive methods like charters, class meetings, etc- ok.

Anonymous said...

I hate the idea of taking away recess as a tool for punishment. If teachers did it once or twice (a month), I would let it go and I have. Luckily, it wasn't too frequent with my overactive boy though I still thought it was wrong. However, I wish I had the guts back then to push back. My son is older and it does happen still every now and then but I do think it depends on the frequency.

This is a sore point with me as I feel the elementary school years are too heavily female teacher dominated who have unrealistic expectations of (primarily) boys and I find it abhorable. I have had most success with teachers who understand that some kids need to move and fiddle, are kinestetic learners (or other types) and allow for these different learning styles in the classroom. But even they resort to taking away recess...I think it's simply the easiest thing. OK...taking a deep breath now.

Ugh!

Anonymous said...

I hear you, ugh. I have one of each-a wiggly, talkative boy, and a quiet girl who shuts down and can't learn in a loud, chaotic classroom. It is hard when clearly some learning styles and needs are opposed to each other, and you have to balance the needs of both groups(and I admit I generally find my girl's position the most difficult since she is the less squeaky wheel so this is often seen as a les urgent problem, and her app classes have all been mostly boys). We have had the best luck with teachers who are very proactive, set expectatIons very early, are generally calm people, and use group discipline very sparingly. We have been fortunate enough to have almost 50% male teachers, and I do think it's great that my kids have had some balance in their perspectives there.

Anonymous said...

I don't support loss of recess OR group discipline for movers and fiddlers, lack of focus, the wiggles, etc. If a teacher feels a consequence is needed for a deliberately hurtful or disrespectful incident, I am OK with it but want to be notified.

Lynn said...

The ideas of the committee on a positive school climate are interesting to me. They talk about the importance of the community (including students) determining what kind of behavior is necessary in the classroom.

If a child is unable to meet these expectations, the response wouldn't be to assign a punishment - but to assume the student wants to be well-behaved and help them determine what they need in order to be successful.

So if your kid is wiggly, maybe they could be sent on an errand to the office for the teacher - or maybe they need to be seated where their activity doesn't disturb someone who is particularly sensitive to it. That just sounds like good classroom mangement.

Anonymous said...

I agree. We need male teachers at the elementary level. Because clearly these women-folk teachers aren't capable of raisin' our boys...

The men would indeed send all wiggly, out of line, distracting students on an errand and poof! Problem solved...

-IfItWereThatSimple

Anonymous said...

On a different note, would love to hear people's thoughts/suggestions on Lynn's comment above re: adding services for APP-identified K kids. For those of you who were able to successfully get "more" for your child before he/she switched to Lowell/Lincoln, what did that look like? What would you like to see for those kids while they are still in their neighborhood K classes?

- Looking for more than "more homework"

Anonymous said...

The amendment from DeBell and Martin-Morris includes this:

I move that the School Board:
....3) Direct the Superintendent to provide proper instructional materials and curricula for Language Arts and Social Sciences [Studies?] for all middle schools serving Academically Highly Gifted students in the Accelerated Progress Program (APP).


This is a good thing.

Lynn said...

Anon @ 10:07,

Because those kindergarteners are supposed to receive highly capable services now, there should be some communication between your child's teacher and the 1st grade staff at Lincoln or Marshall about what they'll need to cover in kindergarten.

If I were you, I would ask Stephen Martin and Shauna Heath to set that up.