Thursday, November 21, 2013

Open thread

Discuss what you like!

38 comments :

Lynn said...

I'm thinking about the new requirements to provide services to highly capable learners. From the OSPI:

*The HCP is to be fully implemented and serving identified students from Grades K-12 at the beginning of the 2014-15 school year.
*Identification procedures must begin in kindergarten, and identified students must receive services during their kindergarten year.
*A single assessment result should not qualify or disqualify a student.
*Identification system must include procedures for nomination/referral, assessments, and selection at each grade level (Grades K-12) each year.
*Students cannot be exited from the program based on underachievement or poor behavior.
*AP, IB and Honors courses provide students access to advanced content and instruction (acceleration). These courses are long time options that have been used at the high school level and will meet the needs of some HCP students. For students whose unique basic education needs are not met by these courses, then the district would need to provide other options.

This is the reason our Advanced Learning Task Forces are meeting. I have so many questions - mostly about how this will affect high school next year. Students whose needs can't be met by the courses offered at their assignment area high school will have the opportunity to be assessed and if eligible, must be offered something else.

sixwrens said...

A question for you: We just found out that our son is to be tested this Saturday at 11:15. We are hosting a holiday party on Friday night, and so he will be up late. We never got a letter from the district.

What can we do? Can we test, and the request to retest given the circumstances? Or does that put us in the realm of $500 pay-your-own way testing? Should we decline?

Is there someone I can talk with at SPS?

Thanks for any info you can provide.

Anonymous said...

The Advanced Learning website says:

Absentees will be rescheduled. There is no need to contact our office if your child cannot be present for a scheduled test.

There is one more day of CogAT testing scheduled - December 14th.

Lynn

Anonymous said...

@11:15? Just make it work. Seriously. Our child had an 8:00am (or 8:30?) test time on a Saturday following Halloween.

Anonymous said...

You need to have a district administered test, so no you can't skip it altogether. But as Lynn says you can reschedule it and I would. Fortunately all my children were tested during the school day. Just a better fit IMHO for them then a weekend.

APP- Dad

sixwrens said...

Thank you all. I agree that 11:15 makes this do-able. The crazy thing is there has been no notice from SPS. We only found out because we asked at the school.

Agree - school day testing is a much better plan.

Anonymous said...

Huh. Sharon Peaslee is now School Board President.

-- not a fan

Anonymous said...

News on the other blog:
http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/2013/12/no-grandfathering-for-grades-67-at.html

Lynn said...

From the APP-AC meeting minutes for 12-3-2013:
Second, Ms. Heath asked APP-AC to assist with the upcoming service model task force by determining the selection process and criteria for task force members and drafting a charter for the task force (although a charter isn’t strictly required for a task force). She would like the APP- AC to make a recommendation about deliverables, purpose, and the question. This is more time- sensitive and needs to be done by January because of the timeline for next year’s enrollment. One criterion she suggested is that all parent members have a child in the program.

From the minutes of the 11/5/13 meeting:
Ingraham High: Vicki Schweickart, Parent Rep, reported that the biggest concern for APP families at Ingraham is frustration over the lack of information about plans for Senior Year. The Ingraham student present shared that a few decisions have been made: the college classes offered on site will be mandatory for IBX students, those classes will be offered in two-hour blocks, 2-3 times per week to emulate college schedules, and they will be offered mid-day so students can participate in internships in the afternoon. Vicki also reported that Principal Floe has been petitioning the district to cover IB fees, with no results to date.

I would be uncomfortable enrolling a child in IBX when the final year is still undefined. Who is arranging the internships? Is it possible for the IBX students who receive the IB Diploma to leave at the end of their junior year? (Not this year's students - as their college applications aren't complete.)

Anonymous said...

Lynn,

I think this is a critical issue - what the senior year looks like for IBX. I have the feeling that no one is owning the project of lining up internships. It will take time to build up a stable of opportunities like there are at Interlake in Bellevue. It is one of the reasons we are leaning towards Garfield. I told my husband I think it will be up to us and my son to find an internship on our own, and I don't know that this will be feasible for us. I know at least one APP family that will be going regular IB for this reason. Would love to hear from the leadership about what if anything they have planned. HIMS parent

Anonymous said...

That is our greatest reservation about the IBX program - the unknowns around senior year.

Anonymous said...

Since IBX started I have speculated the district's fall back plan for the seniors would be an Orca card for the bus ride to North Seattle Community College. This is exactly the kind of thing the district does not do well.

Anonymous said...

We were also concerned about Senior Year at Ingraham when we were considering our choices a couple of years ago. Our child is currently a sophomore at Garfield.

I have always believed that if SPS can graduate students early - they will. It reduces capacity issues! Which is also why we didn't take high school credit for the middle school classes. We were afraid that he would reach Senior year and not technically need any additional credit to graduate and be told that there isn't enough room in desired classes.

We were not, and are not, interested in an accelerated high school experience (3 years) for our son.

We never believed from the get-go that SPS would follow through on their promises to the IBX kids for Senior Year. Huge (not unexpected) disappoint so far.

-GHS Parent

Anonymous said...

A reminder: this Wednesday, Dec. 18 @6:30pm Jane Addams Middle School, site of APP program for opted-in APP middle school students who reside in the Eckstein and JAMS middle school feeder patterns (think NE), the information meeting is happening. Paula Montgomery, JAMS principal, will answer questions and discuss the plans for JAMS. Students welcomed! Please come, and support the newest site of APP and the students who will be attending and the principal as she advocates for the whole of the JAMS community!

-JAMS

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with taking classes at NSCC? Some kids are ready to graduate early while others are not. FYI: some HS programs like biotech and finance have internships. Some students also find their own internship with the help of teachers and their own initiative. Not having a perscribed track allow for these seniors to be creative, take on personal responsibility, and find internships that meet their interest. My oldest just google for high school internships and found programs galore through businesses, govn't and social services, the courts, and universities. Same for scholarships.

The best thing about all of this is that the kids do it themselves. It's like looking around for your first job and finding one on your own merit and effort. There's learning in that process.

good hunting

Anonymous said...

Good hunting,

There is nothing wrong with taking classes and for the motivated student who is emotionally and academically "done" with high school by 11th grade, the IBX might be a great fit. The flexibility to create something is great for some kids - my concern is for those that don't have the motivation and/or resources to do this. Parents have to make a choice in 8th grade whether this model works for them, without knowing how their kid will be in 11th. My husband and I work full time, and we are not in "connected" jobs. We are not sure if we are able to do what will be required to find him an internship - and we don't want him just "done" with high school. It is only 4 years - we don't want him to miss out on a senior year on campus because there is nothing left there for him to do. It seems that SPS should have set something up if they were going to launch this program. (A senior year coordinator? A list of approved internships set up?) for those who want some structure. That would still leave room for those who are done, to explore other more creative options.
-half baked

Anonymous said...

I was just reading the JAMSPLAN blog and it's depressing to realize how little extras other middle schools have. JAMS is deciding on either two or three foreign languages, how many levels of band and orchestra, jazz band, math offerings, sports. Many middle schools get only one language and no Algebra II even though kids were started in Algebra I. No computer classes, no jazz, two levels of bans and orchestra. Do people know Washington MS has 12 different music classes? Hamilton has 10. Art? Not at most middle schools.
The district should ramp up the rest of the schools to the level of these APP and other northend schools.
P.S.
My students have never brought a textbook home in nine years as there has never been enough.


Seeking Equity

Lynn said...

It's all a function of the number of students in the school. I'd bet that McClure has the least number of electives (less than 500 students) and Eckstein and Washington have the most (well over 1,000 students.) There will likely be some changes at Eckstein next year and at Washington when Meany reopens.

Anonymous said...

17/18 yo is far different than 13 or 14 yo, as in ready to go off to college and beyond. At this point in their life, some measure of independence and can do it on their own will need to be forged. Less to do with being a go getter, than about growing up. Like most families now a day, dual income family need to keep on working to pay for college.

good hunting

Anonymous said...

This is a poorly planned move for a middle school roll out. The first version that interm principal Montgomery was hired to lead was a roll out program where students would be phased in as they graduated from elementary school. She admitted this in the last meeting.
Grandfathering is for the childrens benefit. They bond with a school and the other students. This breaks their heart and their achievement and purpose is broken by this needles action. There are no benefits for the children who are part of the school building programs that the school board in it infinite autocratic power has enacted. Is any one of them or the superintendent going to speak in person to them and tell them why they need to leave. It's power mad adults that have made these decisions. The children need to be grandfathered or they will lose heart. Their feelings were never taken into account.
Grandfathering can still be added to this mix.
There is no way this solution will be fair or equal for the students required to move. This alone is the basis for a solid lawsuit.

Anonymous said...

A lawsuit? Seriously??? In terms of inequities between schools in this district, or the way populations are moved, I hardly think this is the most inequitable situation. Making a group of kids go to a new school that opens in their neighborhood doesn't sound like the end of the world. Will kids miss their friends? Sure--but lots will move with them, and they may be back together with others come high school.

I had to move in 6th grade--the final year of elementary school--when a new school was opened. Turns out it was the best year of school I ever had.

Anonymous said...

My HIMS APP 8th grader is frustrated with the frequent testing in Biology class (lots of pre- and post-unit tests), and feels like they spend more time testing than learning. They are using the Carbon TIME curriculum, so I decided to check it out. It turns out it's a new curriculum under development by Michigan State Univ and National Geographic, and SPS is apparently piloting it. Interesting, as I don't remember hearing about that before...

A quick peek at the website raised an important question for me--is this really a biology class? The pilot curriculum is described as "Environmental Literacy," and it includes the following lesson units:

Systems and Scale
Animals
Plants
Decomposers
Ecosystems
Human Energy

I haven't looked through the materials for each unit carefully yet, but so far I'm not really seeing the types of things you'd expect in an actual biology class (e.g., cell biology, reproduction, genetics, evolution, and plant and animal classifications). Am I missing something, or is this biology class not really a biology class? This is supposed to be a high school-level biology for these APP kids, but I'm wondering if they're going to need to take a real bio class next year anyway!

Here's a link to the website.


Anyone out there with a good understanding of what a high school bio class should cover, and whether this fits the bill?

HIMSmom

Lynn said...

SPS Biology Curriculum Map

Will he be able to pass the Biology EOC exam?

Anonymous said...

The biology teacher is familiar with the requirements of the EOC, so I would hope they'd be ok there. I have been told at private school open houses that they have students retake biology if it was taken in middle school.

My child is generally kind of hazy on the material - admitting to passing the tests without really understanding it.

Lynn said...

I don't think it means that students need biology again if they first took it in middle school. Last year 84 students took the Biology EOC at Washington Middle School and 80 of them passed at level 4. The others passed at level 3.

Anonymous said...

What I am saying, Lynn, is some private schools don't consider the biology taken in middle school to be complete. Passing the state Biology EOC is not the same as being prepared for upper level biology classes, just as passing the Algebra EOC with a 4 doesn't mean a student has had a deep coverage of algebra. If your child attends a SPS high school, then passing the Biology EOC is enough to advance to the next course, just as passing the Algebra EOC advances a child to Geometry.

Anonymous said...

Is it the course that they feel is incomplete? And is it just the middle school course - or all SPS biology classes?

Roosevelt requires all freshman to take Physical Science - and I don't think that means APP students need the class again. What I am saying, Anonymous, is that I wouldn't assume those private schools are correct. If they are, I'd want to know that because it indicates that APP students are not actually being taught a complete high school biology class. That would require correction.

Anonymous said...

The middle school Biology teachers that are teaching the Biology course are required to be high-school certified. I'm not sure why there is a question that middle school students taking Biology are not taking an equivalent of a high school course?

These same kids go on to take Marine Bio (renamed Oceanography) and AP Bio with no problems whatsoever...

If there were significant holes in the middle school course, I would think it stands to reason that these kids would struggle in the other courses.

There is no evidence that they are struggling in the advanced courses.

I wouldn't worry about it.

Our daughter was accepted to Holy Names for high school, but she didn't want to repeat Bio (among other reasons) so she chose to stay the course with Garfield.

-Garfield mom

Anonymous said...

If it's a new curriculum being piloted this year, past success in later science classes doesn't mean much. I don't know if they're covering the old material in addition to the new, or if the pilot program is the whole of it.

I'd also be curious to know if Washington Middle School's APP program is also piloting this, and if it's what SPS is using across the board for high school bio this year. EOC pass rates this year will interesting to see.

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

What I am saying, Anonymous, is that I wouldn't assume those private schools are correct. If they are, I'd want to know that because it indicates that APP students are not actually being taught a complete high school biology class. That would require correction.

I can only relay information given at Open Houses, not the reasons why. If you're considering private schools, it's something to consider. I think we can agree that in general, classes with the same name can be taught at different levels. A "high school" algebra class taught with Discovering Algebra, for example, is different than a high school algebra class taught with an honors level text.

Anonymous said...

Private schools take kids from different school districts and other private schools. I heard a science dept. head from a well respected private school said they do this to cover curriculum differences. The teacher also stated because of their small class size and resources, the class is expected to go into much greater depth. Individual students who show aptitude and interest in certain topics are encouraged to explore further. They can do this because their science program is very hands on and inquiry based. I think you have to look real hard at your child's interest, the school itself along with the curriculum and how they teach bio to see if repeating it will be a waste of time or not.

dn

Anonymous said...

We are considering APP at Lincoln again this year and I was just on their website looking at touring info for 2014. Is it true that "space is limited" so I need to "make my reservations early"? I just wonder about this phrasing. I realize that the tours are a thoughtful service that is provided by the principal and parent volunteers, and I appreciate that. But wouldn't a more accomodating approach be more fitting of a public school?

Anonymous said...

The deadline for feedback on K-5 math materials is Jan 8. Cliff Mass has direct links from his blog post (you can review materials without going to John Stanford Center).

Decision on a New K-5 Math Curriculum

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous Dec. 28 at 8:42 pm., The reason they say that space is limited is that volunteers host the tours. They set quite a few tour times in advance and get parents to lead the groups through the classes that are in session. If a prospective parent does not get into one of those tours, it would be additionally disruptive. The school is very large with a lot of activity already happening, since the school is physically large. I can understand your question, since I had the same frustration when I was trying to tour Garfield during school hours a couple of years ago, but it is actually true and not unwelcoming. You will find the school to be welcoming, but there are constraints you have to work around. That said, if you moved to Seattle and needed to tour at a different time, I would expect they would make an exception.
NEmom

Anonymous said...

Thanks, NE Mom.
Anon @ 8:42

Anonymous said...

fyi, for future JAMS families:

Paula Montgomery (JAMS Principal) will be at the APP-AC meeting this Tues, Jan 7, at WMS.

Anonymous said...

Our daughter is in 7th grade and we did not do APP testing this past fall (so moving to a middle school APP program for 8th grade is not an option.) Can she go through the APP testing during 8th grade and, if successful, be placed in a high school with an APP program?

Lynn said...

Under the current rules, she'll be able to test into APP in 8th grade for placement in Ingraham in 9th grade.
There should be more opportunities available next year for identification of highly capable students in 9th through 12th grades.