Saturday, November 16, 2013

Final boundary assignment plan

Looks like it is here. There is no information in it about APP splits in the current plan. The document that apparently would cover that, Appendix B, is missing, but several amendments might change the plan. The best that can be said is that the future of where APP will be is unclear.

There are links, in Appendix C and D, to what feedback was provided from the community. For example, 24 responses said, "Oppose spilling APP north MS," 15 said, "Don't add additional APP paths in South/Southwest,", and 15 more asked to delay any action on major splits and moves. In general, community feedback was overwhelmingly against further splitting APP. It remains to be seen whether that makes any difference.

118 comments :

Greg Linden said...

HT, Melissa Westbrook, for pointing to the latest version of the boundary assignment plan.

Anonymous said...

Hello! My son is a sixth grader at Hamilton. He is new to APP this year. He is among the kids from the NE that will be yanked out of Hamilton next year.

My question is whether there is any group/forum where NE parents are talking/strategizing/planning. I have been to meetings at Hamilton (parents from all over;did not focus on NE concerns), and I went to the meeting at Washington (parents from all over; lots of (impotant) discussion about splits in the South). We are not part of SNAPP, because my son wasn't part of the program until this year.

Any ideas for me? I feel like my family is blowing in the wind.

JJ

Anonymous said...

There are also approx. 48 comments that directly support APP in West Seattle on the community feedback documents from May-Nov 14th.

-WS Voices

Greg Linden said...

WS Voices, where is that? I'll like to correct the post if it is wrong, but I haven't seen anything like that. The Appendix C & D of the current document have only one comment supporting West Seattle APP. Do you have a link that says something different?

Greg Linden said...

WS Voices, not sure if you are talking about this older summary of the feedback on the first growth boundaries document?

Almost all of the feedback there is against splits. How did you get 48 in support of West Seattle APP? There are hundreds of comments against splits. I was curious enough to spend the time to tally the comments that explicitly mention whether they are for or against West Seattle APP, I counted 16 pro and 29 against, and that ignores the hundreds that ask for no further splits without explicitly mentioning West Seattle. That is nothing like overwhelming support for APP in West Seattle. If anything, it's very much the opposite.

Can you explain how you got something different? As I said, I'll correct the top level post if it is wrong, but, so far, I think I was correct to say that community feedback is overwhelmingly against further splitting APP.

Anonymous said...

Hi Greg,

From what I was looking through 4 input documents on sps growth boundaries pages:

1. Nov. after the 13th-14th

2. Nov. 1-13th

3. Oct. 11-30th

4. May 29-Oct. 8th

Out of curiousity, I read through and copied/pasted the comments in support of APP in West Seattle to count up. Not exact, depending on if a couple comments that are noted on end columns with a tally of 2, 3 etc. depending if those are for example 2 in addition to the initial comment or 2 including the initial comment. Could be approx 43-48.

I have the comments that I copied and pasted, if you want me to email it to you? I should have noted the list number of the comment from the Oct. 11-30, since that's where most comments are, but again, I was just going off my own curiosity since there seem to be people in WS that don't feel like their opinions are necessarily being heard.

-WS Voices

Greg Linden said...

WS Voices, I'd really appreciate citations. I don't mean to sound grumpy, but I've got an anonymous commenter claiming something I said is wrong without providing any way to check, and that's annoying if the anonymous commenter turns out to be wrong.

I did find the document you are talking about, it is here, the May 29 - Oct 8 feedback. There are only two comments in there pro for West Seattle APP and none against.

So, that means there are 19 pro and 29 against in all the feedback that explicitly mentions West Seattle APP, along with hundreds against the idea of splits in general. So, the statement is correct in the original post that the community is overwhelmingly against further splits (including West Seattle APP).

In the future, it'd be really helpful to provide citations, links to source data. That's really useful to others and makes it much faster to double-check what the data says to resolve these kinds of questions.

WSParent said...

Thanks for posting, WS Voices. I am one of many pro-APP in WS whose voice hasn't seem to have been heard.

Lynn said...

It sounds like the Advanced Learning office and any interested parents will have the next year to decide what they'd like an optional West Seattle program to look like. There's lots of work to be done - I don't see how you could have a successful start by next September.

Anonymous said...

Not final yet. Sharon Peaslee is trying to push for another Elementary APP split in the north. We need to, once again, email the board and stop this. It's amendment 5 in the list: http://district.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1583136/File/Departmental%20Content/school%20board/13-14%20agendas/112013agenda/20131120_Agenda.pdf?sessionid=98fb8eb55340d6ed163594bd8de64905

Greg Linden said...

WSParent, this isn't a team sport. The question we are trying to answer, using data, is what the APP community said it wants in terms of splits.

I said the data shows the APP community is strongly against splits. WS Voices claimed there is strong support for splitting off West Seattle APP, which would be different than what I said, so we started looking at the data.

The data, from feedback we have so far, shows at best uneven support for West Seattle APP, with as many or more opposing as supporting, and overwhelming opposition to more splits in general.

This isn't a team sport. We are not on different sides. We are trying to answer a question using data.

Anonymous said...

Tracy made a very interesting comment to me at the PTA meeting last week - essentially that they are getting messages from current APP parents advocating against the WS option because those parents don't want the cohort to shrink - and her interpretation of that seems to be that those parents are looking out for their needs at the expense of the WS families. I was left with the strong impression that she feels providing WS with a closer APP in their community trumps protecting the cohort size for non-WS families... who knows what that means in the long run, but I got the feeling they were taking the non-WS opinions with a grain of salt.

Greg Linden said...

Anonymous, yes, as the original post said, it remains to be seen whether the district staff will pay any attention to the community feedback, which is overwhelmingly against splits. If history is any guide, it's likely they'll dismiss the community feedback, as you just did, and do whatever they want to do.

Lynn said...

WS Parent and WS Voices,

I have to say I can't understand advocating for an APP site in West Seattle when the district hasn't told us what it would look like. What are the things the optional program would have to provide for you to enroll your child there? Are you open to cluster grouping of APP students in general education classes? Would mixed grade classes (1st - 3rd) and (4-5) be acceptable?

Anonymous said...

Whatever plan gets settled on, DEMAND a design team from the board, the AL office, the principals at the new schools! When the first split happened, there were experienced APP teachers founding the program at TM and staying at Lowell. A design team from WMS planned the program at HIMS and veteran teachers went to establish and mentor the program. If there is no design team, the program will be whatever each building says it is, like ALO which is meaningless at many schools. Remember, principals in buildings can assign whomever they like to teach APP, so if program fidelity is important to you, get involved on the ground level.

sidneyd

Anonymous said...

While your advice is admirable, Sidney...personally I wouldn't want the 'veteran' teachers from HIMS. IMHO, the newer ones have been way better at adapting to APP kids.

That being said, having some voice would be helpful.
LH

Anonymous said...

Greg, don't shoot the messenger. I didn't 'dismiss' anything, I merely reported a conversation that I participated in that feels relevant to this discussion. I didn't say anything about what I thought. Dealing with 'facts' like you asked...

That said - you are fooling yourself if you think this community (of which I am a member) doesn't have people pursuing vastly different personal agendas. The desire by those in West Seattle for a meaningful APP experience closer to their community is just as valid as the feeling of 'the rest of APP' to not endure any further splits. Denying the validity of their feelings, or flat out pretending that they don't exist, is to buy into the exact kind of us vs them mentality that lets SPS do whatever they want to smaller communities... Those families deserve respect - and as much as I would love to think the rest of Seattle would understand if they suddenly had to commute *to* WS for a permanent APP facility, I'm not holding my breath.

Anonymous said...

Greg,

I'm a WS K parent looking at the possibility of APP elementary for 2014. I understand the concern about splits, but also the concern about a 2-hour bus ride for WS students. I know families in WS with APP qualified students who have stayed in WS Spectrum programs, strong neighborhood schools (like Schmitz Park) or gone private in elementary rather than subject their kids to that bus ride and have a school so far away they can rarely visit it. I'd love to see the data of a 2-way South APP split TM & Fairmount Park both with a pathway to Washington. Current families at TM could be grandfathered to stay there if they wished. Fairmount Park has the advantage of being a new school that could hire a principal and teachers who are experienced and supportive of AL, rather than pushing the program into an existing school where it isn't a wanted focus. It could start as a 1-2 or 1-3 only program and either grow into 1-5, or stay lower grades only and let the older kids bus to TM depending on whether the cohort sizes support two programs. Fairmount Park will likely have few upper grade students at all the first few years. An APP program at FP would be a welcome help to the new school rather than squeezing space and resources from an existing school. Unfortunately there is no survey reaching potential WS APP families yet. I echo WS Voices that the numbers you have published here are under-representing the support for a WS APP program. You provided a link on Nov. 16 to "the older summary" which lists comments from Oct. 11-30. You report only 16 in favor of WS APP there, but when I skimmed it I found 26 comments favoring WS APP. Here are the comment numbers: 39,75,81,84,91,100,102,108,118,143,172,176,190,221,225,231,241,285,386,387,388,389,400,401,402,621. Please don't underestimate the support for APP in WS and the potential numbers. I don't think counting these comments really reflects it as some people currently enrolled in TM seem to be very organized and active on communicating about this as is their right, but many who could benefit from WS APP are not aware of this possibility or how to comment on it. -WSKparent

Anonymous said...

Isn't the West Seattle question sort of moot? The boundary plan that is going to the Board for a vote on Wednesday has a West Seattle optional APP pathway, and there are no proposed amendments that would change that. So at this point, the only way the WS path is not happening is if the Board rejects the entire boundary plan.

The staff's plan also has an optional Southeast APP pathway. Director Patu has proposed an amendment (Amendment #9) that would hold off on adding the additional SE pathway until there is more of a plan for APP.

So if you want to advocate against splits for South APP, the options at this point are to ask the Board to vote down the entire plan (probably not realistic) or ask them to vote in favor of Director Patu's Amendment #9.

Someone please correct me if I have misunderstood the plan and amendments, because lord knows the changes are almost impossible to follow. The link to the amendments is here:

http://district.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1583136/File/Departmental%20Content/school%20board/13-14%20agendas/112013agenda/20131120_Agenda.pdf?sessionid=98fb8eb55340d6ed163594bd8de64905

Anyone from North APP want to suggest which amendments they think are good or bad for North APP? I saw one North APP poster suggested advocating against Amendment #5.

I will be writing an email in favor of Amendment #9, and would be happy to address North APP amendments in my email. I hope North APP parents will also consider advocating for Amendment #9.

Signed,

Need a voting guide

Lynn said...

I still do not see any mention of APP pathway changes in the Growth Boundaries BAR attached to the agenda. Can anyone tell me where they are?

The body of the ITCM BAR says APP is going to Eckstein, Whitman and Hamilton. Attachment 2 says it's going to JAMS, Hamilton and WP.

I don't see APP in West Seattle anywhere.

Anonymous said...

This north-end APP family urged them to support Director Patu's amendment precisely because the task forces need time to finish their work before we go changing APP willy-nilly.

BUT, voting guide makes a great point - I guess I thought her amendment covered everything south of the ship canal. Now I see that it probably doesn't. ?!?! I can't keep up any more. I won't be surprised to wake up on Thursday to find my north-end child suddenly going to Aki Kurose next year at this point!

North end families seem to agree that neither of Peaslee's amendments for elementary APP make much sense. Thornton Creek doesn't want us, and neither does Oly Hills. Both schools should be used for neighborhood kids and to relieve capacity throughout the northeast.

Banda even put into writing in September 2012 that APP@Lincoln would move intact to Wilson-Pacific in 2017, so it would be nice if that promise were kept.

--stop the ride, I want to get off

Anonymous said...

It is a sad truth, but we are all suffering burn out. It's great that schools like Wedgwood can pull out the stops with signs and support when they are threatened. I just can't anymore. Sorry to say I've stopped emailing the board. It doesn't seem to matter anyway, but I'm sure it hurts APP that me and lots of other people have just burnt out on this feedback loop.

-moving on

Lynn said...

There is also no mention of APP in the SE region in the current plan. The agenda is a mess.

Anonymous said...

-moving on
I feel exactly the same. I gave up and moving on. There are so many meaningful things I could do with my time than to try to figure out what is the latest version, proposal, addendum, etc that the Board will vote on Wednesday (or not). I have no clue and even if I knew I can't change anything.
- Sad but true

Lynn said...

The Growth Boundaries BAR has a new attachment B - which includes the following:

SPECTRUM
Continue to offer Spectrum at all attendance area middle schools, including the three new
middle schools when they open (Jane Addams, Meany, and Wilson-Pacific).
Offer Spectrum at Lowell (new program/blended model) beginning in 2014-15.
Offer Spectrum at Olympic Hills (new program/blended model).
Offer Spectrum at Fairmount Park in a blended model.

ACCELERATED PROGRESS PROGRAM (APP)
Current south end APP pathways remain in place, with eligible students guaranteed pathway assignments at Thurgood Marshall, Washington, and Garfield.
APP will be offered as an option for eligible students at Fairmount Park in West Seattle beginning in 2014-15 (and subsequently at Madison). This will be a different service delivery model, which is why enrollment is optional. It is anticipated that this will serve students who live in West Seattle who may not have participated in APP previously because of the distance to their pathway schools.
APP may be offered as an option in Southeast Seattle in the future if eligibility and enrollment increases warrant additional sites. There are no plans to implement additional such sites at this time.

I wonder what a blended model is? I guess the AL task force has to recommend it as a service delivery method now.

Anonymous said...

Oh, come on, Moving On and Sad But True. You can't stop fighting for what's best for your kids. We will need some grit if we're going to to fight the machine in the final hour, and definitely if we're going to be building new sites at new schools.

Sarah

Anonymous said...

Lynn:
And what about North End APP?
Question

Lynn said...

The Growth Boundaries Plan doesn't mention North End APP. The options now are DeBell's amendment or the Superintendent can decide sometime before open enrollment starts.

Anonymous said...

Lynn:
That is the whole point. Two days before the Board final voting there is NO word about North End APP program (only where it won't go) in the written and public documents.

Sarah:
I am not building a new site for APP at this time, I did it twice whole heartedly for my kids and that was just enough. I am with moving on...
Sad but True

Anonymous said...

I live in West Seattle and am truly puzzled by the support the "local APP" is receiving.

Sorry in advance if I offend, but in absence of a plan communicated plan from the distric, the support seems to be rainbows and unicorns - and no bus ride. Commenters are filling in the blanks of what they want the program to be - not grounded in any sort of details.

I also struggle with the debate of the number of positive comments from WS families - how should one extrapolate that to enrollment? 26 or 49 comments means 5-10 kids per grade, unless there is some magical multiplier to make a population that forms a viable number of kids?

I remain neutral to the idea until I see the specifics on how the curriculum will be delivered, how teachers will be resourced, and what the incremental offerings will be (e.g., will music be on par with TM and Washington?). And then more building-related specifics like strong leadership, a library that supports the needs of APP kids. What exactly is a "different service delivery model" anyway, and why hasn't it been discussed as part of this process?

I just don't understand why people are advocating for something that has not been even remotely defined - except for a shorter bus ride. For me, there are just too many questions and not enough answers - and unknowns trump a shorter bus ride.

- IMHO

Anonymous said...

Sarah,

Sad But True and I aren't giving up on our kids, we're just going to put our efforts elsewhere. I'm giving up on SPS. I'll put my efforts into moving, selling my house, going private or doing what I can to mitigate the damage until I can get my kids out of this mess. I'm not building a new school.

-moving on

Lynn said...

WSK Parent,

Please do not advocate for making West Seattle's blended APP/Spectrum program a mandatory APP assignment for any student. We have access to that at Lafayette already. If you want it - go for it. Some of us choose APP primarily for the social support of the cohort. This isn't going to provide that.

apparent said...

Lynn,

I agree. It's as if they've wisely seen the light of day and backed off. Maybe there is now still hope that the 542-student north APP middle school body will not be split.

Obviously, it's best for program unity that DeBell & Martin-Morris's Amendment 4 should fail, thus leaving the north APP middle school placement decision to be made by Superintendent Banda sometime before open enrollment.

I'm not sure where DeBell and Martin-Morris will get those two extra votes they need. Right now, Patu may be APP's staunchest friend, although her Amendment 9 is so far limited to her own district. Carr did seem reconciled to a split, but also put in her own unsuccessful amendment to keep north APP middle school together during the meantime. Smith-Blum is on the record for waiting on advanced learning task force reports and avoiding student disruption. McLaren has made similar remarks, although no doubt those who favor a West Seattle elementary APP location are seeking her support. Peaslee might seem the most likely vote to support the DeBell/Martin-Morris Amendment 4 because of her own desire to break up north APP elementary, but even she has said she does want to minimise student disruption.

In sum, there may well be four or even five directors other than DeBell and Martin-Morris who would be much happier to have Superintendent Banda assign north Seattle APP middle school after advanced learning task force meetings and before open enrollment.

Frankly, this would really allow the APP-AC, the appointed task forces, and APP families to be heard much more clearly than being pulled willy nilly into the thick of this hectic growth boundaries process.

Anonymous said...

Lynn,

No I don't think it should be mandatory which is why I mentioned grandfathering, but the optional status seems even better. I especially don't think Madison should be mandatory. Will "blended" mean APP & Spectrum mixed? That could be a real asset to kids who are numerous years ahead in math but not LA or the opposite. Yes we have Lafayette but did the WS Spectrum kids waitlisted there get in this year? I think for several years their self-contained spectrum classrooms have filled and have excluded qualified WS kids. I know one family whose child got into Lafayette Spectrum by lottery but their gen ed sibling did not which shouldn't be the case for Fairmount Park at least at first. I too hate the lack of information but it could be an opportunity to offer a model that works for some APP kids mixed with Spectrum (and even Gen ed who are advanced in one area) and for those who need self-contained APP no matter how far away, TM is the answer. One thing I am really optimistic about is at FP there is an opportunity to hire a principal and staff who want to support AL and don't just have it thrust upon them. Just as STEM @ Boren was able to hire a principal and staff who were enthusiastic about building a unique, innovative program there. If it isn't done right parents will opt into TM or Lafayette or something else. I know TM has been a godsend to some, but riding on a bus for two hours a day does not work for some kids and families especially in the lower grades. I hope this program isn't going to dilute the TM program, rather it will provide a option for WS kids who are not in APP because of the distance and who can't get adequate AL services at their schools in WS. -WSKparent

Lynn said...

WSKparent,

Using the term grandfathering generally assumes new students will not have the same enrollment choices as current students. Sorry if I misunderstood and you weren't suggesting that children not yet enrolled at TM should not have that option.

Was there a waitlist at Arbor Heights for their Spectrum program this year?

I too hope this is helpful to families who would not otherwise choose APP. It will be interesting to follow the principal hiring process.

Anonymous said...

Lynn, I think there was a Spectrum waiting at Arbor Heights initially because I remember people saying they were being prevented from having a cohort for an adequate cluster or even self-contained because enrollment had capped the number of Spectrum seats too low.

This end of Sept. lists shows 13 Spectrum students waiting for Lafayette and none for AH, so maybe the list moved or they switched to a list that was moving or went private. http://www.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1583136/File/Departmental%20Content/enrollment%20planning/WaitingListSummary%202013-14.pdf

Some families who might not consider AH due to distance, awful building condition, no self-contained AL, and the fact that it will be moving twice in the next few years for a rebuild might have held out for Lafayette only. They now could be served at FP. Some of these could be APP qualified or able to work 2-years ahead in one area. We'll see what happens, and I'm happy the option will be there for families like mine. -WSKparent

Bad vibes said...

Some opted not to attend Lafayette because of the reputation of its climate

Anonymous said...

Bad vibes, No doubt about that. Was any of it Spectrum-related or just the school in general with a revolving door of leadership and other issues?
WSKparent

Anonymous said...

Warning: The optional APP at FP plan is a test to see if they can blend APP kids and non-APP kids together without self-containment. (Should be easy and non-controversial at first, in an under-enrolled school.) Whether successful or not, the district will proclaim it a success and use it as proof that APP does not need to be self-contained throughout the district. This is entirely consistent with the world views of Michael Tolley, Shauna Heath, and particularly Chris Chronas, who destroyed the self-contained Spectrum program at Wedgwood Elementary, causing the exodus of many families from there into North End APP. Mark my words, the plan is about diluting APP and weakening the cohort, which is the primary reason many people choose it in the first place.

APP is about the cohort for most HC kids, and therein lies the problem, from the district perspective. They disregard the social needs of APP kids entirely, and buy into the labels of elitism and privilege, because it coincides with their agenda, which has nothing to do with Advanced Learning needs. Common Belief: If you're already in AL, what do you really NEED, anyways?

WS APP may be convenient, but it's not good for quality or program integrity. Of course people would rather avoid a long bus ride, especially those who've never endured it and don't realize it's not a big deal. The district is zeroing in on those folks to pull on their end of the rope, against self-containment. All the evidence points that way.

WSDWG

Anonymous said...

Amen, WSDWG. I absolutely believe that is the intention too.

We will be out of the system before the dilution takes place, but it makes me sad for families with newborns, toddlers, preschoolers who will one day need the emotional and social support today's elementary APP programs provide. I don't think it will be there for those kids in a few years.

But maybe in another decade or two, the pendulum will swing back. Someone will notice that some of the kids are depressed and withdrawn and lonely, even in their "blended" programs, and someone will propose a large cohort program, in a central location. Maybe Lowell will be available after the downtown school is built...

--slippery slope

Lynn said...

WSDWG,

Yes - what else could it be? I wonder if TM and Washington will still be available to them by the time they realize their optional program is no different from Spectrum.

Anonymous said...

Just received this in response to my email to district staff and board members:

I am not proposing a three way split of elementary APP in the north end. I am proposing one north APP elementary program east of I-5, in addition to the one that will stay at Lincoln until Wilson Pacific is built (2017). The confusion has come from the fact that I posted two amendments so that staff could vet both to determine which would work better. I will propose only one at the School Board meeting on Nov 20.

Staff recommended an APP program at Olympic Hills in earlier versions of the Capacity and Boundary plans. This recommendation is fully consistent with the letter sent out by Superintendent Banda on Sept. 28. (http://seattlenorthapp.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Letter-from-Superintendent-Banda.pdf)

As an alternative to this recommendation I have asked that they consider Thornton Creek. I proposed this as an amendment because many APP students live in the area around Thornton Creek and we are building a larger school on that site. However, staff has recently informed me that capacity in this area would make it impossible to fit an APP program in the new school. I plan to withdraw this amendment at the School Board meeting on Nov 20.

Since staff has already recommended an APP program at Olympic Hills it’s clear that this is feasible, although I’m still waiting to hear if it will require some adjustments to current boundary proposals. Even if this is the case I will put forth this amendment for a vote by the Board on Nov 20.

All APP programs throughout SPS are within larger schools, with the exception of the program at Lincoln, which is an interim situation. APP within larger schools aligns with our Highly Capable Policy- D12.00, with “program sites distributed geographically and among clusters to provide equitable opportunities for program access.” It also makes it possible for APP students to be, “main streamed with other students for non-core academic subjects such as music, art, and physical education, and shall be encouraged to interact with other students through tutoring and other activities.” (Policy D12.00)



An all APP elementary school does not align with these policies or with the Mission of our Strategic Plan, which ensures “equitable access, closing the opportunity gaps and excellence in education for every student.” An APP program at Wilson Pacific, within a larger elementary school aligns with our policies. Creating a second program within a larger school on the east side of I-5 also aligns. This is the plan proposed in each of my amendments.

Staff is in the process of developing an Advanced Learning Plan for the district, but it’s not ready now. This plan must ensure the stability of all our advanced learning programs so that they are not repeatedly moved and split. However we need to accomplish this in alignment with our policies and Strategic Plan so that all eligible students have access to APP, and so that APP students have access to non-core academic subjects with other students who are not in APP.

If you would like to read the posted amendments here are the link:

Amendment 5 to Action Item 7: Elementary APP pathway to Wilson Pacific and Olympic Hills

http://www.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1583136/File/Departmental%20Content/school%20board/13-14%20agendas/112013agenda/20131120_Action_Report_Amendment_PeasleeOHAPP.pdf

Amendment 6 to Action Item 7: Elementary APP pathway to Wilson Pacific and Thornton Creek http://www.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1583136/File/Departmental%20Content/school%20board/13-14%20agendas/112013agenda/20131120_Action_Report_Amendment_PeasleeTCAPP.pdf







Sharon Peaslee

Seattle School Board Director

Anonymous said...

They revealed their intentions when they put Chris Chronas in charge of designing the new programs at Wilson Pacific when it reopens. He is on all fours against Self-Containment at any cost, as he aptly demonstrated at Wedgewood. APP has always had its critics, objectors, and obstructionists, but the current crew is as toxic to APP and AL, in general, as I've yet seen.

And as we should all know by now, ideologues cannot be persuaded by facts.

WSDWG

Anonymous said...

It's disingenuous for Director Peaslee to use policy D.12 in support of her amendments. That policy is from 1993, and the staff and Board have been working on updating it for at least a year. Everyone knows that that policy is out of date and no longer reflects best practices and that it will be replaced with a new policy soon.

I hope the other Directors keep that in mind. There is no need to make decisions today about where elementary APP should be placed in 2017 when the key policy is currently undergoing revision and the relevant task forces are still debating!

--slippery slope

Anonymous said...

There will always be self-contained for some HC kids, but there is a continuum of gifted and where to make that cut-off is the question. Do you, WSDWG, believe the cut-off is currently set correctly?

Anonymous said...

In order for the APP program to survive in its current cohort based form it needs to be paired with a program. When it was at Madrona the program survived as a separate part of the school. At Lowell it survived when paired with the severe and profound unit. If it is to survive it needs a carefully planned partner at Wilson Pacific.

Lynn said...

What leads you to believe there will always be a self contained program for some HC kids?

What I really want to know is why staff spend so much time and energy trying to get rid of AL programs. Why not put that energy into improving the general education curriculum?

Anonymous said...

It seems there will always be kids who need self-contained, especially in a large district like ours. Do you think the cut-off is at the right spot, Lynn?
As far as energy spent, I think beaucoup energy is spent accommodating APP, that's part of the problem the district has with it's current configuration. It's hard to place and hard to anticipate growth and is very controversial. Is there a conspiracy to reduce it, certainly one could see much evidence to support that idea.

Anonymous said...

This latest APP plan is clear as mud. That said, I am not concerned about APP remaining self-contained if that means leaving it in one school per area. I am glad the district is shaking up the current format.

I would like APP to be available at all middle schools. I would like advanced learning opportunities in math and language arts to be available at all grade schools.

At the grade school level, I do not care if the classes are APP-identified together with opt in or teacher recommended.

I quite like the idea of grade school kids being able to access either/or advanced reading/math classes, as development profiles can be quite uneven in the grade school years.

This final boundary plan looks to be moving the delivery of APP in my preferred direction. I wish the district were more forthcoming with their thoughts, because this is an awful process for current APP families. But the end result in a few years may be more accelerated classes offered to more students closer to where they live. That is great.

One Parent

Anonymous said...

OP,
It is always a source of irritation with me that the district is so secretive about it's thoughts and plans regarding APP and AL in general. Public relations should be a part of any district and this one does a pretty poor job most of the time in explaining itself. Transparency sounds good but it takes effort and the1675y don't seem inclined to make too much effort downtown.

Anonymous said...

One Parent,

Maybe you're new to the district...? What have you seen in the district that leads you to believe the district will do what you talk about well? My child has been in APP for seven years, and we are still waiting for the district to fulfill the promises made in 2008 with the first split.

We fundamentally disagree about the correct service model of AL. The model you suggest will only offer AL to those slightly ahead. Everyine else gets nothing. Not my "preferred solution." What you have suggested is what we are supposed to already have with ALO. How's that working out?

I wish those proposing new AL models would look at what the district has already demonstrated that it will do to Al if given a chance ie Whittier and Wedgwood. Magical thinking will not create a good system. The West Seattle parent who wants the APP option program says they will hire specialized APP teachers. The district isn't doing that now. HIMS randomly puts whatever teacher they want in front of an APP class. There are ZERO rules to prevent this.

-not wearing rose-colored glasses

Anonymous said...

One Parent
I am happy to know that there are families like yours who are satisfied with the actions of the District, especially the AL programs.
The others, like my family will vote with their feet. ASAP.

apparent said...

"Urgent request to SNAPP board: Please RESCIND unfortunate November 18 letter that crossed with last-minute SPS plan revision keeping APP middle school intact now . . ."

"On the eve of the SPS board vote, we are now in the remarkable position that while the final proposed Growth Boundaries Plan (Version 4.0) no longer proposes any imminent split of the 542 north APP middle school students, the SNAPP board is advocating for a 3-way split beginning next fall 2014! . . ."

I am posting this alert for everybody on this active thread because of the 24-hour urgency of this very important important public concern leading up to the November 20 board vote. Please read and discuss the full posts concerning this on the November 1 Open Thread a couple below this. As our moderator Greg points out that open thread is now dominated by discussion of the SNAPP PTA, including this unfortunate November 18 open letter.

Lynn said...

Anon @ 12:35,

I think the cut-off is fine. Children who are 2e, or are very asynchronous in their development, or very highly gifted are more likely to need a self-contained program. Their parents know if they need it - let's trust them to make that choice.

Anonymous said...

"There will always be self-contained for some HC kids..."

@Anonymous at 12:07 -you are engaging in wishful thinking. A new program (W Seattle blended APP/Spec) is being introduced at the last minute to a controversial capacity management plan. The new W. Seattle program has nothing to do with butts in seats. It has emerged -quite conveniently- with soft language but the truth is that this new program has little to do with capacity management. A Task Force whose charge will be to recommend gifted program models has not yet met -but brand new program is being proposed. Boggles the mind really and begs the question -what is the point of the Task Force?

Based on current and past behavior by district leaders -including principals- IMHO it is unlikely that self-contained gifted classrooms (in SPS) will last another 5 years. Those same leaders will cite how well blended models work and claim that gifted students are better served in their neighborhood schools or closer to home take your pick. They will tell you it is APP or Spectrum or some hybrid of the two but it's not and won't be. Any research, data, parent testimony, etc that does not support their pov will be ignored.

That's my take for what it is worth.

older parent

Lynn said...

Older Parent,

I guess that gives us a few years to look for another solution. Has anyone heard good reviews of nearby district's gifted programs?

Anonymous said...

On other districts: Bellevue and Shoreline both have great advanced learning programs. It's no wonder people go there. I haven't heard much about Highline, but their website says grades 2-6 and is infinitely clearer than SPS's. I know people who have moved to Bainbridge from APP because of the academics are so strong all around over there.
moving on

Anonymous said...

You have to be a Shoreline resident to get into their gifted program, so even though they accept inter-district transfers (and NE families have gone up to Shoreline for sure), you can only do GenEd if you have a Seattle address.

Lynn said...

I can't post a link now - but there are more changes to the agenda.

Anonymous said...

Apparent,

What is version 4.0? Are you talking about the appendix that the board made available yesterday? Didn't that still imply the imminent split in the NE by the DeBell amendment?

KR

Wsparent said...

Slippery slope: my child does ride the bus to TM. It is a big deal. He can't sleep for lack of exercise, can't have play dates or play sports. And he is often stuck in traffic and late for school. He can't sit still at school. He is lonely and sad.
WS par

apparent said...

KR,

Growth Boundaries Plan Version 4.0: Yes, I am talking about Appendix B that was finally released yesterday.

No, GBP Version 4.0 does not imply any imminent split of north APP middle school. Instead, Version 4.0 authorizes Superintendent Banda to make that APP program placement decision before or even after 2014 open enrollment.

At this point, the only item implying any imminent APP middle school split is the DeBell/Martin-Morris amendment itself. But that disruptive Amendment 4 is not being recommended by Superintendent Banda. Right now it looks dead in the water, because name two other board directors who would lend their name to such pointless churn?

They don't exist. The SNAPP board must immediately request Directors DeBell and Martin-Morris to withdraw their Amendment 4, which would split APP middle school in 2014. The SNAPP board must also urge every other director to reject this "Split APP!" amendment if it has not already been withdrawn.

Anonymous said...

Apparent,

The APP AC sent out an email this evening calling the NE split "likely." I don't know what's being proposed anymore, or who's advocating for what, but I think I need to figure out a way to tell my 7th grader that she'll be leaving her friends and her activities behind.

KR

Anonymous said...

Can anyone refresh my memory? Wasn't the split between Washington and Hamilton also done with all grades rather than just as a 6th grade roll-up at Hamilton?

Not saying that makes things any better for anyone. Just curious.

Anonymous said...

From the APP AC
Email 17: Update on the Growth Boundaries and Capacity Management Plan

On Wednesday, Nov. 20, the School Board will be voting on the proposed Capacity Management Plan (see link to agenda below). There are 12 amendments on the agenda, four of which potentially impact APP (amendments # 4, 5, 6 and 9; see links below). There are still uncertainties ahead depending on how Directors vote for amendments, but we believe there are several results that are likely to happen.

Likely Outcomes for APP in 2014
South APP
The current guaranteed pathway for all APP students will remain the same (Thurgood Marshall Elementary, Washington Middle School, Garfield High School).
There will be a new optional pathway for APP Elementary at Fairmount Park Elementary School (FPES) in West Seattle (a blended program with Spectrum - see Attachment B below).

North APP
APP Elementary will stay at Lincoln (until the 2017 move to Wilson Pacific)
APP Middle School will be split into 2 cohorts: the NE cohort going to Jane Addams Middle School (JAMS) and the NW cohort staying (for now) at Hamilton International Middle School (HIMS). (The NW cohort will either move to Wilson Pacific Middle School (WPMS), or be split between HIMS and WPMS, in 2016 or 2017 depending on the size of the cohort).

To summarize, there will be a split in the North APP middle school cohort and students will not be grandfathered at their current school. JAMS will start with a full complement of APP students (6 – 8). If you live in the middle-school assignment area for Eckstein or JAMS, your middle school APP student(s) will be going to JAMS next year.

In West Seattle at FPES, we do not know yet how large the program will be. The District is describes this as "a different service delivery model, which is why enrollment is optional. It is anticipated that this will serve students who live in West Seattle who may not have participated in APP previously because of the distance to their pathway schools."

There is good news, as well:

APP is not being thrust into an existing school with a fully developed identity. All 3 new APP sites (WPMS, JAMS, and FPES) are brand new schools where all students and staff will be starting de novo and can forge a school identity together from the start!
There is still time to plan for a good start at each of these sites. We have learned from the past splits what went well and what needs improvement. There is time for parents to take the training offered by the district and participate in the hiring process for staff.

We encourage parents to read through the amendments, and remind Directors through email that the votes they cast on Wednesday night should bear in mind:

A minimum cohort size of 250 for elementary and 90-120 per grade in middle school
Committed leadership
Program integrity through fidelity of curriculum, professional development and staff collaboration

Relevant Links:
Nov 20 Agenda: http://tinyurl.com/mtcf3vk
Implementation with Program Placement Notes, Attachment B: http://tinyurl.com/kwst3tn
Amendment 4 (DeBell/Martin-Morris): http://tinyurl.com/nxqbh3k
Amendment 5 (Peaslee): http://tinyurl.com/m3ldpnp
Amendment 6 (Peaslee): http://tinyurl.com/mrgbblo
Amendment 9 (Patu): http://tinyurl.com/kd4mxds
Latest Intermediate Capacity Management Plan: http://tinyurl.com/kp8we6r

Lynn said...

WS Parent,

I don't like to hear that your child is lonely and sad. I think most children are happier when they get to APP. Is he happy while he's at school? Really missing his neighborhood friends? Was he miserable at his previous school?

Wsparent said...

My point is, the long bus ride is a huge deal, or deal breaker. We could use some compassion about this issue, and have a valid option this side of the bridge. Looks like someone listened.

Lynn said...

WS Parent,

I hope this works for your family and your child is happier next year.

kellie said...

WS Parent,

I think you did a great job articulating the particular challenge that is West Seattle. Thank you. It really resonated for me. I have one kid that loves the bus. Thinks is is the best part of the day and I have one kid that I do my best to drive whenever I can because the bus ride, just makes his day too long.

I guess when the district level of crazy reaches this frenzied peak like it does each year, and APP is up for some ritual capacity management sacrifice, it is good to know that at least on kid might actually benefit.

Anonymous said...

Seattle Council PSTA just sent out a letter asking that all PTA members request that the Growth Boundaries plan be voted down:

http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/2013/11/yes-to-seattle-council-ptsas-suggestion.html

Their VP testified at that last BOD meeting that this plan is the districts "Challenger" NASA knew that there were fatal flaws before they sent it up, and the did it anyway.

Why? Group think. No one stood up and said, "wait, I know that the launch date is set and everyone is super excited to get a space shuttle up in space, but the walls will peal off during lift off and kill everyone on board."

The long range plan is the districts Challenger. There are fatal flaws, and not just for APP.

Even the APP-AC and SNAPP PTA have joined in the group think. Even though ALL of the recommendations for highly capable learners are to NOT split APP into tiny chunks, maintain stand alone classes and cohorts, they are now, in the 11th hour, ok with sending this ship up.

It is totally understandable, and it is not any one persons fault.

But it is ALL of our fault collectively. This ship is not ready to launch. Stop the count down please.

Eden

Anonymous said...

If the "blended" APP/Spectrum happens, I hope they give it another name. It won't be APP so it shouldn't be called that. It should be named ALO because that's what it will be. I don't want the WS option to begin to define a new delivery model for the rest of APP, like what happened with Spectrum at Wedgewood, Lawton, and Whitman. I think to call it APP also will be misleading to incoming parents who will think that they will be getting the same level of rigor and depth as at Thurgood Marshall. Since it's an option school, FP won't be peeling kids off from TM and the TM teachers won't be moving. That means FP will have to hire all new APP teachers who have no experience teaching APP.

I fully support the WS parents who want more rigor closer to home. I think it's great that there is support for Fairmount Park as a new school. But I do worry about the ripple effects of this being called a "blended" program. It was only a short time ago that we all witnessed the blending/dismantling of Wedgewood's Spectrum program, then Lawton's Spectrum program, then Whitman's Spectrum program. Want to know where many of the families at Lincoln and Hamilton now come from? Wedgewood, Lawton, and Whitman. Many parents at those schools haven't been happy with the blended model and have fled to APP at Lincoln and HIMS. This is part of the reason that those two schools have gotten so bloated over the last couple of years. The timing of the Lincoln/HIMS growth isn't just a magical occurrence.

I am glad the WS parents are getting what they want. I hope it works out the way that they want.

Lincoln/HIMS

Anonymous said...

Another metaphor… What makes a good meal?

West Seattle folks, I get that you want a school closer to home. I feel the same. Unfortunately, this plan will not give you what you want. This plan will not create a robust advanced learning class for your kid. Just applying the APP name to something does not make it APP.

You can’t slap a new “sell by” date on expired meat and expect it to taste good.

One of the FUNDEMENTAL problems with this long range growth boundaries plan which will move and split kids in all sorts of directions (not just APP) is that the actual educational offerings are not defined.

There IS NO APP "program" to split and move. There is NO coordinated curriculum or educational delivery plan. It does not exist. It is the same with Spectrum. There IS NO shared curriculum, approach, leadership or educational delivery plans. Spectrum in elementary is general education with Walk to reading and Walk to math in all schools now but Whittier.

We are all distracted by these emergency capacity challenges that were created in 2008 with school closures.

It is opening night at the restaurant, and the tables are double booked. Schools and Programs are all so busy fighting with the host about their reservation, and which is theirs (some get to eat in the kitchen next to the garbage cans, others don’t get a seat at all) and we have no idea what and if we'll get anything to eat.

But, there is no menu. The chef hasn't done the shopping, hasn't found the recipes, hasn't prepped the veggies and certainly has not made the dinner for our 51,000 school kids. Instead the servers are running back and forth to the kitchen and grabbing anything they can find and dropping it on whatever table seems most convenient.

Schools are nothing without good teachers serving yummy educational offerings made from tried and true recipes.

And without a good chef, and good recipes, and good the ingredients, we'll keep eating scraps. Some will get better scraps than others, but they are still scraps.

The fundamental problem with the growth boundaries plan is that the dinner is not planned and it certainly isn't ready. There is NO reason for us to take our seats.

Instead of taking a seat and waiting for the server to drop something in front of us, could someone PLEASE go into the kitchen a find out what are they serving and when will it be served?

We are all hungry, and for most of us that can’t afford an extra 20,000 a year for private school, it’s the only restaurant in town.

Eden

Anonymous said...

"One Parent" from 11/19, 12:41 pm:

What you want is Spectrum.

SusanH

Anonymous said...

WSParent: Not sure why the bus ride is the deal breaker, and apparently largely responsible for your child not having many friends, play dates, lacking sleep or playing sports. But I know you're in the minority on that. Lots of APP kids, including both of mine rode the bus all through elementary, played sports, had play dates, did after school activities and got the invaluable experience of going to school with like-minded kids from all over the city and district. One shouldn't overlook the many tangible and intangible benefits that come from having their child go to school with kids from all over the city. Huge, huge benefit.

Beyond that, I agree with the other posters that say a new, optional APP program in WS will not be a real APP program, but an ALO at best, which have not been adequately supported or delivered anywhere throughout the district. This is truly a matter of being careful what you wish for. Everyone gets their opinion and voice, but experience counts, and some are flying blind on this, fueled by wishful thinking, given the precedents set by this district.

Just because a program might work for one or a handful of families doesn't mean its good for the program itself, or experience their kid might have.

WSDWG

Anonymous said...

I wonder how this blended classroom will work now that the district is moving to Common Core. I heard Shauna Heath talk about this recently, and the idea is to look to the standards first, then choose a lesson that helps meet the standard.

If Spectrum is teaching the standards one grade ahead and APP is teaching them two grades ahead, how does a teacher actually pull that off within the same classroom?

Just looking through the math standards for grades 2 and 3, for example, it seems like it would be hard to do in a class of 1st graders (eg, 2nd grade standard is measuring length; 3rd grade standard is calculating volume), but I'm not a teacher, so what do I know? Maybe it's perfectly do-able, although I bet it's easier in a class of 22 than in a class of 28.

Anonymous said...

maybe they'd do a class of Spectrum 2nd graders mixed with APP 1st graders and only teach one set of standards?

Anonymous said...

Eden, well said. Perfect explanation.

Just to be clear, there will be no support from the school district to set this program up. APP gets no district money for curriculum or professional development. Steven Martin, the Interim Advanced Learning Manager, has said that his office can really only administer placement tests and that his office isn't staffed to oversee what actually goes on at individual APP sites. The APP AC is an advisory group of volunteer parents and teachers, and their function isn't oversight or to provide tangible support. They can offer their opinions to you, but they don't have any resources to support individual schools. At the last APP split in 2009, program integrity at the split sites came from hard work of the teachers/principal/parents who were split off and moved. Those core experienced teachers are who we have to thank for the program integrity that we have now. Since no experienced APP teachers will be moved to FP, those newly hired teachers will be coming up with "blended" curriculum on their own. Maybe some sort of meeting can happen with these new teachers and a few current APP teachers from TM or Lincoln. But there won't be the same sharing and planning together with the FP teachers that occurred during the 2009 split.

The FP parents will have to ensure that a strong supportive of Advanced Learning principal is hired. But the FP parents and teachers will need to get ready to roll up their sleeves and be ready to create something on their own and expect that there will be no supports in place for the creation and implementation of this program. There is no shareable APP curriculum in existence. We were promised by the district that there would be a written APP curriculum after the last split, but the district broke that promise. Get ready to be promised things that won't come to fruition.

I really hope this thing works in WS. I really do. I just hope WS parents are aware that nothing will be coming your way and this program really will have to be created from scratch on your own.

Lincoln/HIMS

Anonymous said...

Is anyone on the APP AC a current Hamilton parent whose kids will be impacted by the move to JAMS?

Just wondering

Anonymous said...

Students should have the choice to remain at their current schools. We provide transportation everyday for our child at APP Hamilton and will continue to do so. I change to Eckstein another huge sc hool with huge new groups would cause our child to withdraw. It is the human connections that bind us and keep us progressing. The current plan would be a disaster for our child. We would have to file a lawsuit to keep our child at Hamilton.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else hear that Peaslee has come up with an amendment to co-locate Pinehurst at Lincoln next year (and that she would want Pinehurst to share Lincoln's administrative resources)?

I can't imagine that Peaslee took the time to consult with Lincoln staff as to whether this is feasible. And given that the District concluded that Lincoln couldn't be used as an annex to Hamilton due to inadequate bathrooms and cafeteria space, I'm wondering what miracle occurred so that now there are suddenly adequate bathroom, cafeteria and playground spaces.

Dumbfounded

Anonymous said...

Dumbfounded,

I think you're right. I just saw that. If there's enough space for a K-8, there should be enough space to have an annex until the APP task force recommendations come in. If we think splits are bad, shouldn't we be actively advocating against the NE split if there's any possible way to prevent it?

Argh

Anonymous said...

WSDWG,

Did your child ride the bus from West Seattle? Under the three-tier system where buses aren't even scheduled to leave Thurgood Marshall until 3:50 and they often leave later? I am not from West Seattle, but I am TM parent and I see first-hand how tough the bus situation is for the West Seattle families.

I developed great empathy for the West Seattle families when there were issues with my child's bus route earlier this year. My child wasn't getting off the bus until 5:00pm. He was tired, hungry, late for after-school activities, unable to have playdates, etc. It was awful. And it's like that every day for the West Seattle kids.

My child also loves the bus, but he didn't love it when it was taking an hour and 20 minutes to get home. He was miserable.

And in the morning, the West Seattle kids are missing instructional time because their buses never make it to TM until after the second bell.

So I can understand why some West Seattle parents want an option closer to home, even though it won't be "real" APP. I'm against splits in general, but I really do think West Seattle is a special case.

TM Parent

Anonymous said...

Yes, my kids rode the bus to TM and back. And it wasn't that awful, even though recent transportation "improvements" like removing car lanes from Spokane Street crossing Beacon Hill have made the bus rides unnecessarily longer in recent years.

People need to understand that APP is not just a 2 years ahead curriculum. Not by a longshot. It involves seasoned, professional educators who understand how to work with kids who lie far out on the skinny tail of the "mean" curve. Lots of kids can handle 2 year ahead curriculum, but don't require the APP cohort. That's what ALO's are for. But for the kids who truly need the APP cohort and experience, it's a godsend.

I would not call the proposed WS APP plan a "plan," but an illusion. The bottom line is that if you aren't getting what others are getting in APP, then your kids won't be adequately served, and I don't want to see what is now "optional" become "mandatory" in the future, completely screwing over WS families who will not get the quality and attention that is currently provided at schools like TM, covering larger reference areas.

APP has many enemies throughout the district, and you'll quickly have them in WS as well (with nowhere to escape on the Peninsula). It's not fun, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone, especially right in my backyard.

As APP has learned the hard way, bigger equals stronger (united we stand, divided we fall), which is sometimes necessary to protect program quality. I would not embrace any aspects of APP that could weaken the program. The conveniences will not be worth it in the long run.

WSDWG

Anonymous said...

Board vote final- NE APP kids going to JAMS next year.

Hamilton Mom

Anonymous said...

Soooo, Pinehurst coming to Lincoln in 2014. Hows that gonna work out......Did anyone know Peaslee was gonna pull that out of the hat. And don't get me started on her other APP amendment BS. What is that woman's beef with APP!?

Anonymous said...

Clearly Peaslee doesn't understand it. Pinehurst at Lincoln is fine just like McDonald at Lincoln... But they will have their resources unlike when L@L needed to start from scratch.

I think APP has now grown so big and so active that any Board member should think twice about half of the audacious stuff that has transpired.

That said I do believe that wasn't Carr's motivation when she killed the Peaslee amendment.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, my head is spinning from last nights meeting and I am very sad for our kids.

I couldn't watch any more of the carnage in person around 10, so I did not catch if Patu's amendment passed to NOT have any changes to the south end.

I would expect APP-AC to write up a synopsis of the impacts of last nights many many votes on APP. I'll ask if they plan to do that.

The one good thing that came out of the vote was a promise for the district to develop APP middle school curriculum for all 3 middle schools that come on line next year. The did not plan for the 4th (Wilson Pacific) or the 5th (Meany) which will IMHO happen within 3 years.

There still isn't APP curriculum for elementary school, and based on the comment on here from a TM parent who said that their kids APP classes were much more than acceleration and that they had skilled and experienced gifted ed teachers, there are already 2 different elementary programs in the south and the north.

I'm curious to learn more about the promised made during the split that have not been fulfilled. Does anyone have any documentation of those promises?

A new board starts next month. APP parent Peters will hopefully be an advocate for the program.

Given Peasley's misguided perceptions of the need to "mainstream" app kids, and her very persistent attempts to split and move the same APP kids repeatedly, AND the lack of an AL manager, and the lack of any shared curriculum AND no requirements that APP teachers have any additional professional development, there is LOTS of work to do to push the district to do these things.

Yes, I know, it can't be done and they won't do it and so forth, but I'm gonna try anyway. Our kids deserve a decent education.

Eden

Lynn said...

This was posted yesterday on the Save Seattle Schools Blog:

Anonymous11/20/13, 10:39 AM
After almost 2 hours of discussion at last night's John Rogers General PTA meeting, with JAMS Planning Principal, Paula Montgomery and School Board Directors Harium Martin-Morris, and Sharon Peaslee in attendance, I am still baffled by how JAMS will meet the needs of all the students who will potentially be assigned to JAMS next fall.

If anyone can do it, I feel that Principal Montgomery can, as she is well-qualified for the job, but it will not be an easy task, by any means.

As part of her planning strategy, Principal Montgomery will hire Department Head positions this winter for: Math, Science, Language Arts/Social Studies, Performing and Visual Arts, Counseling, and SpEd.

If APP is placed at JAMS, and JAMS assignment is by Geo-split from Eckstein and Hamilton, she and her team will have to figure out how to accommodate:

1. Students, including ELL students, requiring intervention strategies to be brought up to at least grade level.
2. Students working at grade level.
3. Advanced Learners performing one grade level ahead in Math, Reading (and possibly Science?). These would be "Spectrum" students as well as undeclared advanced learners from area ALO schools.
4. Advanced Learners performing at least 2 grade levels ahead in Math, Reading and Science. These would be APP-designated students, as well as undeclared students determined by MAP scores, etc...
5. Former Eckstein and Hamilton students seeking World Language continuum in Spanish, French and Japanese.
6. Former JA K-8 students seeking World Language continuum in Chinese/Mandarin (as well as Spanish).
7. Former Eckstein, Hamilton, and JA K-8 students seeking advanced music (advanced band, jazz band, orchestra, etc...).
8. Former Eckstein, Hamilton, and JA K-8 students seeking advanced science and technology electives.
9. ELL students, representing a very broad range of native languages.
10. SpEd students, composition unknown, but likely to be a mixture of self-contained and inclusion.
11. Services to meet the needs of homeless, low income, and very low income students.

It appears that Principal Montgomery is leaning towards an inclusive "one school" approach to advanced learning, where students are placed according to aptitude, and not labels. I am still confused by how students performing at the "Spectrum" level if there is not a substantial cohort to warrant two levels of advanced learning classes, due to no Spectrum school in the JAMS feeder pattern. This may involve "Walk to LA/SS," and "Walk to Science,"in addition to "Walk to Math."

In my opinion, the JAMS planning team would have had enough on its plate trying to figure out how to serve a population of students drawn from the surrounding neighborhoods, plus students from the former JA K-8. To add to that the complexity of accommodating the needs of both APP students, as well as 7th and 8th grade students from the Hamilton and Eckstein geo-splits is, in my opinion, too much for JAMS.

To tie my post to this thread, I think JAMS is one example of what must be focused on in order to "Get 2014-15 Right."

Using what will be an empty building to solve capacity problems at two different middle schools (Eckstein and Hamilton), and moving students to the new building like widgets is not, in my opinion, a valid approach to designing a new middle school, especially in an area where of town where the needs of the resident students are so broad.

There is understandably some urgency to have the boundary decisions finalized so that JAMS program planning can begin, but I honestly wish the Board will take a step back, take a second look at the task before them, and see that trying to simultaneously solve the immediate capacity shortfalls at nearby middle schools is not an appropriate course for the design and implementation of the first new secondary school in Seattle in 40 years.

- North-end Mom

Reply


Anonymous said...

Where do I sign up for the class action lawsuit. The district only listens to lawyers

Anonymous said...

When the district split TM off from Lowell, the promise was made for standardizing programming across both schools.

It never happened. It never will. Rinse and repeat for JAMS/Hamilton, West Seattle, WP, yadda,yadda.

The idea of a united APP community is done forever. It's now each school for itself.

The implications are myriad. Most not good.

Veteran

Anonymous said...

Lawsuit over what? The kids are still going to going to be served in some capacity. No, it will never be the program it once was. Now that we know the plan, we can work with the JAMS principal to support a smooth as possible transition.

I am trying to count the positives, and the fact that a materials adoption must now be done for APP LA/SS - which means the curriculum must actually be defined to some extent - is a positive for all. My child just wants to learn more history (only they don't have history textbooks). Crazy, right? JAMS will have an actual field for sports and outdoor PE activities. Electives might include art and drama and ?

Who knows, but I remain...

-cautiously optimistic

Anonymous said...

@ cautiously optimistic, can you please clarify what you meant by "the fact that a materials adoption must now be done for APP LA/SS." Is there some district-wide APP or LA/SS materials adoption deadline approaching? Or were you simply referring to the fact that JAMS will need to order supplies--in which case, they should be consistent with the materials used in WMS and HIMS, (to the extent possible, given differences between those two!)?

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

Greg, can we have a new post on the effect of the Boundary Changes to the APP programs in the different schools please?
And maybe another one on the new ideas how to make the different sites work, because I think APP parents will have a lot of work to do in the rest of this year in almost every school.
Thank you.

Greg Linden said...

Sure, I'd be happy to start a few new threads. I was planning on that, but I was waiting for some kind of summary as to what the changes are for APP, as I'm thoroughly confused at this point about what is actually going to happen next year and then in the years after.

If someone can summarize the changes briefly, I'm sure that'd be helpful to other parents. And I'll use the summaries to start the threads too.

Anonymous said...

i am with you greg, if someone can briefly summarize what has been decided for north end app for next year i would appreciate it!
i hear the jane addams piece, but who is slated to go there and who stays at hamilton? if a whittier child qualified for app which school would they attend next year and would they stay there for 3 years?

Anonymous said...

I would love to see a chart by grade (3-7 perhaps), with middle school (and which elementaries feed into it), by year.

kp

Anonymous said...

Next year middle school APP is not complicated, just hard to accept.

If you live in the JA or Eckstein service area and wish to continue in the APP program, you will do so at JAMS.

The rest of the cohort stays at Hamilton.

When WP middle opens in 2016, families from Whitman and WP service areas will go to WP for middle school APP.

Yet to be decided for 2016 is whether McClure service area APP would go to Hamilton or WP.

Here is the doc.

This plan was proposed by DeBell and Martin-Morris and passed last night.

Lincoln stays put until WP comes online.

Do I think these plans are subject to change? Yes. But not for next year. The attendance path is clear.

Veteran

Lynn said...

cautiously optimistic,

There is no deadline for the curriculum adoption in DeBell's amendment.

Anonymous said...

You're right Lynn...sigh. Perhaps Board members will push it forward...and maybe unicorns are real.

Anonymous said...

Bottom line, did APP get anything it lobbied for anywhere in the district?

Anonymous said...

It did alright. No elementary splitting now, default of WP since no attendance area kids drawn in, no SE splits. I think a sixth grade roll up at JAMS would have been particularly hard on the smaller APP cohort. Though that's not a solid win- APP kids are still being ripped out if Hamilton instead of using the annex, since they decided Pinehurst needed it more. But Peaslee is pretty relentless, so it had a lot to worry about.

Can anybody confirm or deny that rumor about APP not being self contained at JAMS next year? We will probably go if it's self contained, but not if it's just a blended spectrum style program. At that point why not just take our Eckstein spot, so she can walk, with neighborhood friends, and go to the same school as siblings?

Polly said...

If the task force recommends or the district just decides to blend at JAMS, it could throw APP students into Eckstein. No doubt some will already choose to go for the music or to get back into the neighborhood scene. Will Eckstein offer Biology for 8th grade APP next year? Will JAMS have any music program for advanced players?
Hamilton will be forever grateful to the NE parents who helped make their music program a close second to Wasshington. Hopefully, some of the huge supply of instruments will go to JAMS and we will see another great program blossom there.

Anonymous said...

I have lobbied for bio for years at Eckstein- definitely not happening next year. They'll have fewer teachers and be struggling to maintain basic class offerings as it is. But I could see some former Hamilton students coming for the music, and just taking spectrum classes and repeating some science. No matter what they offer musically at JAMS, music programs take time to be developed and are parent driven, so it won't be anything close to Hamilton and Eckstein for several years, if ever.

-Eckstein parent (with an app qualified child we chose to keep in the neighborhood)

Polly said...

Well, they have to have bio at JAMS, I don't know why they can't put it at Eckstein, or Whitman and all the middle schools. They are going have to do something with the geometry kids who are rising for next year, even if it's only three or four students. It is possible to teach geometry in an Algebra classroom, though, and probably not possible to do biology in a mixed class.

Insanity! said...

veteran, what your post is missing is the WPMS opening in 2016 would be located at John Marshall since the building isn't going to be ready before September 2017.

So, if you live in the Whitman or Wilson Pacific service areas, and have a 4th grade kid in APP or APP qualified, this could be their middle school:

6th grade: Hamilton (if not kicked out for capacity purposes).
7th grade: John Marshall
8th grade: Wilson Pacific

Guess what? That puts your kid right into the high school capacity nightmare! Guess double-what? This uncertain future might also apply to QA/Mag kids, or McClure service area kids. Heck, they might send them to Washington in order to make the North APP MS cohorts more equal in size.

As crappy as this situation is for everyone, at least the Eckstein and JAMS kids have some certainty on their MS years. For now anyway...

Anonymous said...

If there is biology at Eckstein, and no self contained at JAMS, then we'd definitely go to Eckstein. That would be much less of a transition for us. It's our neighborhood school, and I know it's a good one. What would be the point of schlepping up to JAMS without the cohort? I'm interested to hear what the planning principal has to say. Is she coming to Hamilton?

Anonymous said...

Here's my question: will kids who live in the Eckstein attendance area but currently attend HIMS APP be allowed to enroll in Spectrum at Eckstein rather than go to JAMS as 7th or 8th graders?

Attachment 2 to the Intermediate Capacity Management Plan states that these for these kids it's "JAMS 6, 7 & 8; can stay at Eckstein as GenEd".

Does anyone have a definitive understanding of this issue? As you can imagine, the plans of many families may be affected by the answer. I thought this was the District's way of forcing APP to JAMS.

Clarity please

Insanity! said...

Greg, I second the request for a new "planning" thread. I'd like more than one thread actually. One for JAMS and one for WPMS. We face very different obstacles.

Anonymous said...

So what happens with current Lincoln 4th-graders in 7th grade? After going to Hamilton for 6th grade, it seems they will be grouped into the new WP middle school cohort (WP APP, Whitman APP, and WP Gen), but will they be at John Marshall for one year? I assume so since the new WP building will not be ready until 8th grade.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have the link to the blog for the JAMS planning process? I recall seeing it mentioned a while back on the "Save Seattle Schools" blog, but I can't locate it now.

Also, I'm sure the community is anxious to engage with the JAMS principal. Does anyone know next steps for that process, and for starting to get input in the planning for next year? (Any input from SNAPP or HIMS PTA representative out there?)

Clarity Please

Anonymous said...

They can"t because they don't have the resources, won't have the teaching staff (science classes will need to be exactly as big as they need them to be, so there can't be very many different ones) and would need to work all those kids schedules around one biology section, which is not that hard with a self contained cohort that mostly moves together throughout the day, but very hard in a general program. These are nice ideas, but they just have bigger fish to fry right now, and cannot have less flexibility in teacher and student scheduling. There have always been lots of app qualified students at Eckstein, so a few coming off Hamilton next year will not make a difference. Give it a shot, though, and ask for it. Maybe time number 24 will be the charm.

Eckstein parent

Anonymous said...

What about a planning thread for West Seattle APP?

Anonymous said...

Hey, I'm good with my Magnolia kid going to Washington. That's where the older sib went.



Lynn said...

Anon @ 2:08,

I think you'll be working mostly with families who are not already in APP. I suggest posting something on the West Seattle Blog to try to get a group started. You might also contact the executive director for West Seattle to find out when the principal will be hired. Maybe you could ask to be on the interview team.

Anonymous said...

Sorry that was for the previous poster.

Greg Linden said...

The APP AC has a great summary (in an e-mail, join the APP AC Google Group if you want to get them). The key excerpt:

----------

The final outcomes for APP from the Board Vote last night are as follows:

South APP
The current guaranteed pathway for all APP students will remain the same (Thurgood Marshall Elementary, Washington Middle School, Garfield High School).
There will be a new optional pathway for APP Elementary at Fairmount Park Elementary School (FPES) in West Seattle in 2014 (a "blended program" with Spectrum, details unknown at this time).
The optional Southeast pathway and the site at Madison will not happen until some date in the future.

North APP
APP Elementary will stay at Lincoln (until the 2017 move to Wilson Pacific)
APP Elementary will share the Lincoln building with AS#1 and the Indian Heritage program (AS#1/Indian Heritage will be housed in the South Wing)
APP Middle School will be split into 2 cohorts in 2014: the NE cohort going to Jane Addams Middle School (JAMS) and the NW cohort staying (for now) at Hamilton International Middle School (HIMS). Northeast APP students will not be grandfathered at Hamilton.
The NW cohort will either move to Wilson Pacific Middle School (WPMS), or be split between HIMS and WPMS, in 2016 or 2017 depending on the size of the cohort.

Dorothy said...

And, Greg, if it's a 2016 start instead of 2017, and it's only Whitman and WilPac kids, a teeny, tiny co-hort of APP kids will be sent to John Marshall for a year. I'm assuming they will be joined by the WilPac GenEd kids, but no one knows that yet, either.

These kids are left with uncertainty for many years - placement to be decided annually due to an amendment last night. That's is incredibly unfair. It is the same, although to a lesser extent, for APP kids in HIMS and McClure service areas. It could also be that John Marshall gets ALL HIMS, WilPac, Whitman and McClure APP kids out of Hamilton in 2016 and the GenEd kids don't join the WilPac cohort until 2017 when the building opens.

Anonymous said...

Veteran--

for clarification on this point:

"Yet to be decided for 2016 is whether McClure service area APP would go to Hamilton or WP."

Alternative 2 was the feeder pattern that was selected, so while this might get put back on the table again later, it was taken off in this vote.

Eden