Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Q&A for new APP parents

By request, a thread for Q&A. Parents considering APP for their children, please post questions in the comments. Existing APP parents, please help the other parents by answering any questions you can.

76 comments :

Anonymous said...

When are eligibility letters expected to be sent?

K.

jujubee said...

@K: From the "Advanced Learning - Application & Testing Process" web page:

"A Selection Committee reviews each student's test scores and teacher input to determine eligibility. Decision letters with all test results are mailed on or around January 31. Test scores and eligibilities are reported by mail ONLY and are not reported early by phone, e-mail, or fax. Students who do not pass the initial MAP review are mailed letters by mid-November."

Anonymous said...

Our son (who is considering public middle school after private elementary) tested for APP in October. We haven't heard anything about the cognitive test results. Does that mean that they weren't above the 87th percentile threshold for further achievement testing? Or is it possible that the letter has not yet gone out? He previously tested in the 99th percentile on the WISC-IV, so we'd be surprised if he didn't meet the threshold for further testing, and if he didn't we'll probably want to appeal (but may need to do another test because the prior one may be just outside the three year time limit).

Anonymous said...

This question is for parents of Lincoln students who joined APP for academic reasons only. We have a (often anxious, self-conscious and stubborn) 2nd grader who is absolutely dead set on NOT changing schools because of the fear and sadness of leaving a great group of very close friends. But, it's become really clear that our school is not willing to provide an appropriate academic path for advanced learners.

So, is it worth it? Is it worth it for some personality types, but not worth the disruption and heartache for others? I'm ok with disrupting our child a bit, but not with damaging :(

Thanks.
Uncertain

Anonymous said...

Uncertain - we also have an often anxious, self-conscious and stubborn child. We moved him to Lincoln in second grade; he was quite apprehensive about it. Our son is now in 3rd grade and we are very happy we moved him. He has a good set of friends and fits in much better at Lincoln than he did at his prior school (which was a great school - just not the right fit for him).

Part of my reasoning for making the move in elementary school was I knew I wanted him in APP in middle school and I knew that any move would be tough - but if I did it in elementary school, I could help facilitate playdates, get to know other parents, etc. Whereas if I waited until middle school, there would be a lot less I could do to help his transition.

We also have an older child who transitioned to APP in middle school and it worked very well for her - but she's very different from her younger brother.

Also, I think it's easier to transition to a school like Lincoln where there are a lot of new kids transitioning in (so you're not the only new kid) than it is in a neighborhood school where the friendships and peer groups are more established.

Hope that helps.

APP Mom of 2

Anonymous said...

Hi Uncertain. I feel your pain. Its really hard to figure this out, and you can't know how its all going to work out But my kid was anxious and even adamantly opposed to the transition too. It lasted a whole day. You are not moving to a different state - his/her friends can stay friends. And yep if this is tough now, it sure isn't going to be any easier as the years go on. So... if you really feel like your current school is not meeting your kid's needs, you should look at Lincoln,. maybe talk to them about your concerns about the transition> There's a big pool that shows up every year, and I'll bet this is a very common problem that they deal with. Good luck!
APP dad of third grader.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for replying, APP mom of 2 and dad of a 3rd grader! I really appreciate hearing about your experiences.

Anonymous said...

I have similar concerns as Uncertain and I'm disappointed that Lincoln won't allow anyone to observe lunchtime or recess. I'm really concerned about the lack of space and would like to see the kids in action. How are they going to handle adding Pinehurst to the mix?

Recess Worries

Anonymous said...

As a Lincoln parent of 2, I think the concerns of the prospective parents above are very valid. The physical plant at Lincoln is a real detriment. Lunch is crowded, brief, and very regimented. Recess is a chronic problem - not enough room for kids to spread out and engage in different activities, too little space to separate when things aren't going well. The lack of space, bus rides, and the fact that they only get PE every 3rd week as meant that my kids get measurably less exercise than at their old school. The sense of community is definitely diminished; there is nowhere to hang out and play after school, and few kids to do it with so it is hard to have spontaneous social interactions. My kids are academically challenged; I do think the school does that well, but there are real costs that sometimes aren't apparent in the course of a tour.
-Lincoln parent

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Lincoln parent. This is why I'm worried about moving a "happy" kid (who really is just happy about going to recess, but has that great feeling of belonging that always proved elusive for both his parents!) for purely academic reasons. The academics are sorely needed and it feels right to prioritize that for the long run, but the "cost" of it is why we haven't yet gone through with the move.

I know we can't get a guarantee on things working out. I do appreciate the feedback.

Uncertain

Anonymous said...

Uncertain: You might consider that having a kid who is academically accelerated affects them socially as well. The biggest benefit we got from moving to APP is that my son now has friends that are much more like him. Yes, he was bored in his previous school and it's been nice for him to finally be challenged with his schoolwork for a change, but I would say the profound effect of having a peer group that he can relate to has been more important for us ... So even though you're thinking the only benefit you would get would be academics, you might be pleasantly surprised at the social benefits.

NE APP mom

Greg Linden said...

The APP AC just sent out an e-mail with tour dates for all the schools:

*APP @ Lincoln Open House and Tours*
Wednesday, January 29, 7-8:30 (Q&A event for prospective families)
Monday, February 10, 10-11:30
Thursday, February 27, 10-11:30 am
Tuesday, March 4, 10-11:30 am

*Thurgood Marshall Elementary Tours*
Wednesday, February 12, 8:30 am
Wednesday, February 26, 8:30 am
Wednesday, March 5, 8:30 am

*Hamilton International Middle School Open House*
Thursday, January 30, 6:30 pm

*Jane Addams Middle School Information Night*
Tuesday, February 11, 6:30-7:30 pm, JAMS auditorium
Tuesday, February 25, 6:30-7:30 pm, JAMS auditorium

*Garfield High School Tours*
Tuesday, February 11, 9:00 am - noon

*Ingraham High School Open House, Info Nights and Tours*
Open House: February 5, 7:00 pm, Ingraham Auditorium
IB Info Night: February 12, 7:00 pm, Library
IBX Info Night: February 13, 7:00 pm, Library
Daytime Tours: Feb. 12 & 26 – 8:15-9:45 am, start in Auditorium


If you want to get this e-mails, the APP AC Google Group is here.

Anonymous said...

The SPS Advanced Learning website now states that testing will continue into February and that they will mail the determination letters as soon as possible after January 31. So, it looks like we won't know until early to mid-February.

I wish Lincoln would move their Q&A session to later in February--after the determination letters have been received. It makes more sense to meet with parents who already know whether their children qualify.

-NW Mom

Anonymous said...

@Uncertain: We have two boys at Lincoln. I would say our older son (now in 5th, started in 2nd) likely needed the academic rigor more, but to be perfectly honest, he lives for recess and P.E. Yes, the playground is small. But they make it work the best they can and he is full of tales of football exploits and soccer heroics. He had lots of friends at his old school and has lots of friends at Lincoln. He stays in touch with many of them through sports and things. I wish they had more time and space for exercise at Lincoln, but he is not complaining of boredom any longer. Sometimes I wish he cared about homework as much as he cares about the Seahawks but there you go!

Our younger son started this year and for him it's been a big leap in math. He was pretty frustrated initially but has great teachers and his confidence and patience are increasing. I know transitions are tough but he is also glad he switched and is proud of himself for taking on some new challenges. He has made some wonderful new friends this year and is very happy socially.

For both I kept waiting for a lightning bolt that would tell me what the right decision was, and truly, it never came. Each child is so different--and what works for your neighbor or even one of your children might not work out the same way for another child. But we weighed the pros and cons and went for it with our older son, and knew a lot more about the school and kids with our second and that made it a little easier. So far, so good!

Good luck to you. Apologies for a mostly anecdotal post, but I know I spent a lot of time talking to friends with APP kids and reading other posts here, and it can be tough but ultimately, listen to your gut. It's been a good experience for our family, FWIW!

NEMama

Greg Linden said...

Looks like the APP AC sent out an update to the tour dates and times:

Correction to Previous Email: Thurgood Marshall Elementary Tours
start at 8:45 and Garfield is hosting an Open House: February 4, from 6-8
in the Commons

+++++++++++++++

Below is a list of APP sites and the upcoming tour dates or information
nights.

Please contact the schools directly if you have any questions.

*APP @ Lincoln Open House and Tours*
Wednesday, January 29, 7-8:30 (Q&A event for prospective families)
Monday, February 10, 10-11:30
Thursday, February 27, 10-11:30 am
Tuesday, March 4, 10-11:30 am

*Thurgood Marshall Elementary Tours*
Wednesday, February 12, 8:45 am
Wednesday, February 26, 8:45 am
Wednesday, March 5, 8:45 am

*Hamilton International Middle School Open House*
Thursday, January 30, 6:30 pm

*Jane Addams Middle School Information Night*
Tuesday, February 11, 6:30-7:30 pm, JAMS auditorium
Tuesday, February 25, 6:30-7:30 pm, JAMS auditorium

*Garfield High School Tours*
Tuesday, February 11, 9:00 am - noon
Open House: February 4, from 6-8 in the Commons

*Ingraham High School Open House, Info Nights and Tours*
Open House: February 5, 7:00 pm, Ingraham Auditorium
IB Info Night: February 12, 7:00 pm, Library
IBX Info Night: February 13, 7:00 pm, Library
Daytime Tours: Feb. 12 & 26 – 8:15-9:45 am, start in Auditorium

-The APP AC

Anonymous said...

Hi Uncertain-
I have two kids at Lincoln, one of whom was moved for being an outlier in a lot of ways(easy call, good fit, moved in 1st grade), and one of whom was moved for almost entirely academic reasons later, away from a lovely solid peer group with plenty of bright peers, but a school firmly committed to not providing harder work to anyone for any reason. I think I'd agree with everyone else that there is no easy answer, and that it's not right for every child who qualifies, even if they are a little bored at their current school. Recess is...ok right now, but I am worried you are right that the addition of Pinehurst is going to squeeze it so tightly that there's not really room for play anymore. I don't think any of us really know the answer to that.

We moved the academic one this year in 4th grade, and I did not find there to be much (any) help with the transition even after we asked, and with only 3 new kids in her class (I think in every class), many of them felt adrift for a long time. They used to cluster the new kids, no idea why they didn't this year. It's better now, about since they came back after break, but still not great, and I would say she is usually a pretty socially easy child- no particular quirks that ordinarily slow her down making friends, well loved in her previous school. It's just hard to break in later. I can't decide if I wish I had moved her in 3rd (a big transition year- lots and lots of kids come in 3rd) or waited until middle school.

Academically it's definitely better than what we had before, no question. Not perfect, but a lot better fit for her. Group projects are much less frustrating, reading is appropriate, and math is at least sometimes interesting. I think the size and the fact that almost everybody has another school they are tied to has made it harder to make community there, which is important to us, though people are very nice and try as much as they can, given the whole split elementaries thing we are all facing.

Sorry this is mostly anecdotal too, and not all positive, though I do think it is a great school. It just is what it is- not perfect, like any place, and though it has some great things your neighborhood school probably doesn't, you have to give up some great things to get it. It's hard. Move him this year or wait for middle, though, is what I'd say.

-Hard Call

Anonymous said...

Just for a little scare... I know that some families were turned away from Spectrum due to lack of space and assigned to regular classrooms. So, if your kid is ready for math and reading somewhere near 2 years ahead the choice may really be APP or 2 years behind where they are academically, or private tuition. Perhaps this is why such a huge percentage of Seattle's kids do go private.

Also, why don't more kids just get bumped ahead a grade at SPS? I don't know. -J

Anonymous said...

Something for parents to consider is that the APP identification process may change for next year. Your child may just as well qualify in subsequent years, but it just adds another unknown going forward.

Anonymous said...

Huge thank you to parents for taking the time to respond to me. (And no apologies for necessary for anecdotes or the plain truth -- just the opposite!).

Gratefully,
Uncertain

Anonymous said...

Have the teachers at Lincoln stabilized a bit? I know many or most of them were brand new for a year or two. How happy are families with the current set? Any grade levels to avoid?

K mom

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Hi, I'm gathering info for a pending relocation to Seattle summer 2014. Have been told by Seattle Schools AP dept that my 7th grader can take the AP admissions test in Aug as we are new arrivals. She's the classic overachiever but quite laid back about it.

Just wanted to see if any advice for a total newbie parent might be available via you wonderful experienced AP parents.
Specifically:
1) Wondering if the test requires any preparation (I'm assured there's no US history or geography involved, which is great as we are Canadian).
2) At this point we're just planning on putting her name in the queue and showing up to write on the day. Would anyone recommend a different approach?

Thank you!
TorontoMimi

Anonymous said...

A few comments for Toronto parent:

AP is a designation for the Advanced Placement high school level classes (which are not specific to Seattle), while APP is the Seattle Public Schools designation for the grades 1-8 Accelerated Progress Program serving "highly capable" students.

The testing consists of a math and reading achievement test, plus the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT), which has a quantitative and verbal component. No writing. No history. No science. It's all multiple choice.

If your child qualifies, she could be placed in one of three different middle schools based on your address. One is a more established program, while another is starting up next year in a yet to be opened middle school.

To be honest, I don't hear many people saying they moved to Seattle proper for the quality of its schools, whereas families do move to Bellevue for the reputation of its schools. So, when you say you are moving to Seattle, do you mean Seattle proper, or Seattle metropolitan area (in which case there are even more options)?

Anonymous said...

Can anyone speak to the entrance requirements for Algebra at HIMS for next year's 6th graders? I know in the past it has been 250 on the winter MAP. My kid scored well above 250 on the fall MAP and just under on winter. Will above 250 on fall get one in?
Thanks-
-2014HIMS

Anonymous said...

Uncertain-
We moved my now 5th grade son to Lincoln when he was in 4th. If your son is opposed to the move and has a lot of friends at his school, I would really be careful about your decision.
My son had a lot of friends at his old school, but was academically pretty bored. We decided to move him as he was supportive of the move. Academically, he is definitely being challenged in ways he never was at his old school. Socially, however, he is miserable. Mid way through his second year at Lincoln he still talks about how he misses being with his neighborhood friends. He is a very athletic, socially confident kid. He feels like he just doesn't fit in with the kids at Lincoln in general. He has made a few friends, but overall he feels like he just can not relate to most of the boys at Lincoln. Knowing how big of an issue this had been for him, I wish we had considered the social ramifications a bit more. Would we have made a different decision? Honestly, probably not, because the academic side of things has been such a huge improvement. However, if your kid is not having social problems at his current school, know that he may be unhappy at Lincoln.
-Pros and cons

Unknown said...

Thanks, Anonymous. We are following my hubbie to Seattle/Amazon from Toronto. Currently we are a 1 car family and bike/transit everywhere, so moving to Seattle proper is a lifestyle choice for us. Suburbs are never gonna work for us. Looking at either Roosevelt HS or Seattle Prep for my 9th grade son. And will get my 7th grade daughter to write this APP test (thanks for the AP/APP clarification!) and see what happens from there. We were a bit shocked by the sheer size of the Middle Schools in Seattle. Eckstein is bigger than our local HS! But my daughter may end up there for 8th grade next year as we are looking to purchase a home within walking distance of Roosevelt. Wish us luck! So we're looking at NE Seattle and feel we can live with that.

So it sounds like this M.Choice test isn't something one can prepare for. We'll just keep the math/language juices flowing this summer and hope for the best.

Please elaborate about which 3 schools would be APP for 8th grade? Is there transport provided if you're not from the area?

Lynn said...

The APP middle schools are Jane Addams (opening fall 2014 and the site for NE Seattle students), Hamilton (for NW Seattle) and Washington (the rest of the district.) If you move into the attendance area for Garfield High School, your children could attend the same high school (almost 2/3 of the APP students attend Garfield and it is an excellent school.)

Anonymous said...

To further clarify, if your child qualifies for the APP gifted program, and then enrolls for 8th grade, there are 3 high school choices - your neighborhood school (Roosevelt?), or the two pathway schools for APP students, Ingraham (which has IB) or Garfield (which offers AP classes). All high schools offer some AP courses in high school, but Garfield has more AP offerings since it is a pathway for the APP students. If your child attends the neighborhood middle school, then the default assignment is to the neighborhood high school (Roosevelt?). There are some other option programs offered citywide (NOVA High School, for example), but APP students get a priority assignment to either Garfield or Ingraham. High school transport is typically on the Metro if you are beyond walking distance.

And even more to consider...the boundaries have recently been redrawn for several schools, Eckstein included, so if that is your preferred school you need to look into the latest boundaries.

http://www.seattleschools.org/modules/cms/pages.phtml?&pageid=296812#growth_boundaries_future_maps

-anon

Unknown said...

@Lynn: I'd heard about Jane Addams. It's near Nathan Hale HS, I think? But I was under the impression that all middle schools offer APP? If your child qualifies then you get into the program through your assigned neighbourhood middle school... Or am I mistaken? And Garfield sounds great... IF you're in APP-AP stream. Heard it's not so great if you're not.

@Anon: So sounds like APP is not via neighbourhood middle school. Interesting. Are most 8th graders ok to bus around town, in your opinion? I guess my kid takes streetcars & subways during daylight hours in TO so how different can SEA be? Thank you for the tip about boundaries. Your link will be of great use to me in the house hunt. I'm not a details person so I'll need all the help I can get!

Lynn said...

Nope - only those three middle schools offer APP classes. Your daughter would be assigned to an APP school based on her address. You don't have to be an APP student to take those classes - it's great for any student who is interested in rigorous classes. The staff certainly seem to be passionate about meeting the needs of all students - and over 70% of the students living in the attendance area chose Garfield this year.

Unknown said...

@Lynn: new info to me. thank you! By "rigorous", I assume you mean more in depth study, but at the same grade level. I also assume this means a heavier homework load. Am I way off track here?

I'm curious as to what "rigorous" looks like in the classroom. Currently my daughter attends a very small gr 7-8 public alternative school in Toronto. Definitely rigorous, per above, but in a really creative, fun way. Kinda a school for really bright and disciplined and driven hippies. Will APP be a shock for us?

Lastly, is AP at Garfield HS much different than what's on offer at other schools? I understood you could take AP courses at Roosevelt, Ballard, etc.

Anonymous said...

If you are looking to find a house within walking distance to Roosevelt, your neighborhood middle school if you do no testing would be either Eckstein or JAMS depending on the address of your house. If your child does testing, she could test into the APP program (top 98%) or into Spectrum (a bit lower threshold). APP generally functions two years or more ahead of grade level. Spectrum classes function one year ahead. So depending on how your testing goes, you could gain admission to either program. Spectrum is offered at every middle school in Seattle. APP is offered at Washington Middle School in the south, Hamilton in the NW/Queen Anne, Magnolia, Wallingford, and JAMS in the NE. JAMS is going to be a brand new school in the fall, and there will be some pro's and con's to this. What you will get at Washington and Hamilton are more clear since those schools have been running for some time (Gen Ed, Spectrum, Spec Ed, language immersion, APP, etc). JAMS is still in the planning stages right now and many staff haven't been hired yet. How APP and Spectrum classes will work is still being determined. It's looking like JAMS will be a different model than the other APP schools. The principal seems like a solid choice, but there is much up in the air about that school. Not bad stuff, but you won't totally know what you're going to get and how things will run until next fall. Many people who will be going there next year are excited about the opportunity to be a part of a new school. But there are also some that want a school that is tested and known. If you're child is coming in for 8th grade and will only be at a school for one year, you can weigh which school might be the best fit for you. Bottom line, I wouldn't say steer clear of any of them.

Garfield has a very extensive AP course offering, more than the other area schools. But Roosevelt and Ballard have a wide selection of AP classes as well and those schools are popular schools with waiting lists too. Ingraham is the other APP feeder school. The IBX program (for APP students) has been there for only 2.5 years, IB (anyone can enroll) for more than that. Garfield has been an APP feeder school for more than 30 years. Ingraham is a good school that students seems to be happy with, but the school is still working out the logistics/kinks of their APP IBX program. For instance, they don't have plans in place yet for their current Junior IBX students for their senior year. So Ingraham is a new program, Garfield is much more established. Roosevelt is a long established successful neighborhood school, but it's not an APP pathway school, a good neighborhood school.

Seattle has been experiencing a record breaking increase in student enrollment over the last few years. Most all schools are very crowded and over-crowded. We can't build schools fast enough. No matter where you enroll, you'll experience a very, very large school.

The Metro buses in Seattle are very consistent and reliable. Having traveled to other major cities, I'd say Seattle is behind the times in transportation though. The only way to get around the city is via buses. We're building a light rail but that's years away from coming to the north end of Seattle. Currently it's running in the south end to downtown. Some bus routes are slow and very full. But overall, the routes are easy to manage. I'm not sure how many younger students use the buses, but since there is no yellow bus service for high school students, most high schoolers take the Metro bus. Would I personally let my middle/high school student take Metro alone at night....no. We arrange carpools in those situations. But daytime is ok.

Best wishes and welcome to our great city!

North ender

Unknown said...

@North ender: super info. My suspicions confirmed! Thank you for thoroughly fleshing out the details. This is such an active thread, and I apologize for hijacking it to discuss new to Seattle Schools stuff. The AP/APP/Specturm info is great for us to know. I really appreciate this! So as I understand it, my 7th grader will take the test and depending on percentile, will be offered either APP (98 and above) at the assigned school for your region, or Spectrum (score?) or regular stream at the local school. Sounds fair enough.

I can see from the threads here there are kinks with APP but overall, as an outsider, it seems great to me that there are options for kids to avoid 'tween boredom at school, which can be disastrous. Sounds like there is a lot of talent being nurtured in the public school system, which is a wonderful thing. Thank you all for entertaining my newbie inquiries and for your time and detailed responses!
TorontoMimi

MomAnon said...

TorontoMimi, if you're on Facebook, there's a Seattle Family Biking page that might be useful to you. Although the audience is mostly families with younger kids (and so the emphasis is on cargo bikes and trailers), you might find some tidbits there. Also, http://www.seattlebikeblog.com has some good stuff, and the Cascade Bicycle Club is helpful.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Pros and Cons. I'll take it to heart.

Uncertain

SusanH said...

I want to take a stab at responding to 2014HIMS regarding the question about 6th grade algebra. I have a current 6th grader at Washington, and my experience was that the math placement is pretty fluid and flexible. The 250 on Math MAP score is a starting point, but they also look at teacher recommendations, and student/parent desires. You can also request to be moved ahead to the higher class, then move back down if it proves too difficult. We had several emails back and forth with the head of math at Washington to figure out where my new-to-APP son should be placed, and he seemed amenable to conversation and movement. I would hope HIMS would be similar?

Anonymous said...

HIMS parent of a 6th grader in algebra here. He qualified via the MAP and we had to sign an extra sheet saying yes, we really truly wanted that. I think that same sheet had an "appeals" function where you could move "up" if the score didn't quite support it. In general, they seemed to want to make sure that people really knew what they were getting into...

Anonymous said...

From a parent of a 7th grader @ HIMS:
Last year there was no appeal or opting up to a Algebra I class. If you didn't have the winter math MAP of 250, nothing could change that, your student couldn't take Algebra 1 at HIMS.
This year, there is no possibility to change math class (go to a more challenging one) due to the number of the students in the building and the full classes - at least in 7th grade.
I am not sure what would the 8th grade bring for us, will there be enough students (and a teacher?) to have Algebra 2 classes?

Anonymous said...

In response to the question about whether or not the teachers at Lincoln have “stabilized”…

APP at Lincoln is almost 600 kids this year, and I think they had to add a few classrooms and teachers, though I'm not sure how many. The whole district has increased by thousands of students in the past few years, so we aren’t the only school that is adding teachers and classrooms.

I'm a parent of a first grader, and we got a brand new to APP teacher. And, she has been AWESOME! Besides being an awesome teacher academically, she teamed with the music teacher to do this video , which has now gone viral!

http://vimeo.com/85052374

We have been having a great experience in spite of the fact that we are located in a high school building for the next 3 years. There were some challenges with math homework during the first few months because there was a jump straight into 3rd grade work, but that is all smoothed out now. I’ve since learned that basically all kids who come to APP at any grade have a little adjustment with catching up during the first few months, but everyone I’ve talked to says that after a little initial adjustment, it is clearly the right move. I’m sure that there are some kids who it isn’t right for, but I think if you polled the school, well over 90% of the parents would say it was the right choice.

We love that she is being academically challenged, that the school is focused on social and emotional development (they are doing the Ruler Approach, and it is a wonderful program that really helps to create a positive school climate AND increase emotional intelligence) and she is having fun.

We would have loved walking down the street to our neighborhood school, but for our kid who was speaking in full sentences at 18 months, APP provides the educational experience for her that she needs, and the neighborhood school simply doesn’t provide.

-APP at Lincoln rocks

Anonymous said...

Thanks, "APP at Lincoln rocks".

Any parents with an older kid who went through APP and a younger kid there now willing to compare their experience then vs now?

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous at 11:48: I am not sure if I fully qualify, but I have a 5th grader and a 3rd grader there now--my older child started in second grade and my younger child started this year in 3rd.

My older child has had two new teachers and two teachers who had taught at Lowell/Lincoln previously. ALL have been great for him and for us--so scientific party of one, but a very happy sample set.

Our younger child has a new teacher this year and we have been very, very happy. There is a level of enthusiasm, personal attention and leadership that has been shown is just wonderful.

Not sure if the earlier poster "K Mom" has older children in SPS or not, but I'd say just because a teacher is new, there's no automatic correlation to underperformance. We may be the luckiest family in SPS, but each of our new teachers in APP and at our previous school were really fantastic.

Mac

P.S.: I *loved* the viral Vimeo clip--very cool indeed!

37 Questions said...

We have a new teacher that gets it - academic challenge as well as support for social and emotional needs. New does not always equal poorer experience - I would not trade her for a more experienced app teacher - she gets my kid.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone address the comment earlier about the APP identification process potentially changing for next year? Does this refer to the identification of new students who qualify? Or existing APP identified kids? I have an APP identified child who is still at her neighborhood school and we are debating whether to move her to APP in elementary or middle school. Curious if there is any chance that children already identified could lose their status if the don't attend an APP school?

Similarly, does anyone have any numbers for how many Spectrum eligible kids are turned away from those classes each year? Thanks much!

Amy

Anonymous said...

Amy--

There is a task force that was convened a few months ago and is still working. They are tasked with re-defining, in a sense, the process and details around how kids are identified as Highly capable. You can read about it here:

http://www.seattleschools.org/modules/cms/pages.phtml?sessionid=6302ea8ee002ee95cf28ed3fc16add68&pageid=214087&sessionid=&sessionid=6302ea8ee002ee95cf28ed3fc16add68

Currently I believe that the district has always said that as long as your AHG identified kid is in either an ALO or Spectrum program, they retain their AHG designation so that you could move into APP in 6th grade, for example.

However, the identification task force may or may not be looking at that. I don't know. It could change?

Also, there is another Task force (also on the website) that is being formed now that will decide the "program delivery model" for APP.

Currently APP is defined as self-contained classes in grades 1-8 and other things (see the definition on the website).

However, this second task force will be re-examining the "program delivery model" and simultaneously the district is opening an "Option APP site" at Fairmont park next year where they will be blending both Spectrum qualified and APP qualified kids in the same classrooms. That site won't be the same APP there is at Lincoln and Thurgood Marshall. (Personally I think they should call it something different than APP because it will not be APP as we know it, but that is another discussion.)

So, APP could change dramatically in the next few years. this Task Force could decide that all of APP qualified kids should really be blended with Spectrum qualified kids in both elementary and middle school, or maybe even that it is ok to send them all back to neighborhood schools and just provide pull out services for certain subjects. Or, this task force could really focus their energy on making APP the best possible self-contained classroom setting program for AHG kids, and folks who are happy to stay in Spectrum or ALO schools can do that just as happens today.

It is hard to say exactly what will happen, but there is lots of speculation. A recent post on the other blog might be an interesting read:

http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/2014/01/highly-capable-services-delivery-model.html

As to the number of Spectrum eligible kids that don't actually get a seat in Spectrum, I don't know that the district has provided that number, though I've heard there are waitlists in all spectrum schools. If you have a specific school in mind, you might call them to find out what the current waitlist is?

I hope that is helpful info. :)

Eden

Anonymous said...

On the seattle school blog, there's a thread up on "classroom rants and raves" with comments on the pitfalls of group learning/group projects. There is a thoughtful post about how introverts can underperform in this setting. In elementary APP, where there is a focus on the benefit that's derived from the cohort, how do introverts fare? Not shy kids, or kids who need like-minded peers to "open up", but true introverts? Would love to hear from introvert parents.

Anonymous said...

A few years ago we were told that even with extremely high MAP math test scores our incoming APP 6th grader at HIMS couldn't be placed in the highest level math available to 6th graders because he didn't come up through APP elementary and thus wouldn't have the background. Does anyone know if APP vs. non-APP pathway is still used in HIMS math placement? We have an incoming student with high MAP and MSP math scores, but again, not coming from Lincoln...

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

I think the district math department is in the process of making a 6th grade math placement matrix that includes multiple measures - MAP, MSP, and possibly teacher input. It's supposed to be for all middle schools. I think APP elementary students are given a default placement in 8th grade math, or 6HH, or whatever it's called now, but placement in Algebra for 6th grade will be according to the matrix. In short, it sounds as though there won't be a penalty of sorts for students that haven't been in elementary APP.

Anonymous said...

Great, we'll hope that's really the case!

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

Math placement info was available last night at the HIMS open house, fyi.

For 6th grade Algebra I placement, the matrix shows a MAP of 250+ and 4th grade MSP of 525+. For CMP3 (typical pathway for APP) the matrix is at least 240-249 on MAP and at least 476-524 on the 4th grade MSP.

Anonymous said...

No letter for us today. Anyone else get their letter from SPS? The appeal deadline is quickly approaching.

-Ballard Mom

Lynn said...

Ballard Mom,

The advanced learning office is behind schedule - I expect the appeal deadline will be later this year. The website now says:

Eligibility letters will be mailed beginning January 31 and will continue to be mailed until all 4024 letters have been sent.
Testing continues through early February.
Scores and eligibility decisions are not available by phone or email. Please be patient.
All eligibility decisions including appeals will be processed before the open enrollment deadline of March 7. (www.seattleschools.org/enrollment)

Anonymous said...

The appeals deadline is Feb. 21, so if we don't get our letter until late next week, we will have little time to appeal.

-Ballard Mom

Anonymous said...

Replying to HIMS Mom re algebra placement for kids starting APP in middle school. Our sixth grader was placed in algebra, and it has worked well for her. She did not start APP until middle school, but she was able to walk to 6H math in fifth grade. Not every kid is ready for algebra in sixth grade, even if they score well on the MAP. If you are unsure, there are algebra readiness tests you can find via the internet.
- Been There

Anonymous said...

Algebra again? This topic seems to hijack every thread!

Anonymous said...

Hijack? It's a thread for questions by those new to APP, with a question posed about whether prior APP status in elem school would impact math placement upon entering APP in middle school. How is that not a valid question for new APP parents??? It's also not a question I recall having been asked before.

Sorry if you're tired of hearing about this topic, but given recent changes in the policy around 6th grade math placement, it's timely, in addition to being on topic.

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

Hi, our 6th grader started APP this year and we decided not to put him in Algebra although his math scores are very high. With so much change this year, we all agreed to less math pressure, and 8th grade math isn't exactly easy.

Anyway, you should decide before the first day of school so you can change your student's schedule if needed. They will automatically assign high math testing kids to Algebra and changing their schedule after the first day can be a nightmare at WMS.

-WMS APP

Anonymous said...

Anyone get a letter yet?

-Still waiting

Anonymous said...

I received a call yesterday to inform me that my K student will have additional testing (WJIII). I was told I would not receive a letter until after all of her testing has been completed. Anyone else in the same boat?

I'm curious to know why SPS chooses to perform additional testing on her when her MAP scores for both reading and math are 99th percentile. The appeals website says that fall math scores may be used for an Appeal. Assuming that they are only administering the WJIII to students who scored 98+ on the Cogat, is there a point to having a child with high MAP scores undergo additional testing? Since she would qualify on appeal even if she unexpectedly did not do well on WJIII?

Lynn said...

Does the AL office have her MAP scores? If they're scheduling testing, it sounds like maybe they don't. I would scan and email them in if I were you - and ask if the WJIII is required.

Anonymous said...

Good morning all:

I am fairly new to the APP application and testing process. We have not yet received the eligibility letter in response to testing done late last year. Should I assume that my child did not meet the minimum criteria? And, if so, wouldn't failure to meet a minimum criteria result in an auto-generated (read: timely) letter of denial? I am just concerned about having enough time to contemplate an appeal. Your help is appreciated as I learn to navigate this process!

Anonymous said...

I think MAP is not considered valid for kindergarteners this year. But sure, ask.

8:43, they are running late this year. Less than half of the letters have gone out, and anecdotally k seems to have less than that so far. Nearly zero.

Anonymous said...

Um, no, there is no "auto-generated letter of denial." The website explains that they are running late with all the letters.

Anonymous said...

Pleased to report that an actual letter has been received!

Our letter starts off by noting that the AL Review Committee saw that our child is "already currently eligible"--which was in bold and italics, and the letter was somewhat tailored based on that. I wonder if that's a group/category receiving the first batch of letters?

(And I might a well note here that that determination of current eligibility isn't actually accurate, at least by my understanding. My kid has tested into APP several times in the past, but we stayed at the neighborhood school--which does not offer ALO or Spectrum. We didn't even bother with testing last year, since we weren't planning to switch at that point. So it's been two years since his last test-in, with no AL services via SPS in the meantime. Aren't you supposed to Lise eligibilty then, and need to retest?)

HIMSmom

SusanH said...

HIMSmom:

You are right. They've always said that unless you are enrolled in a ALO school, that you do lose your APP designation and must retest to be eligible again.

Anonymous said...

And I have had that applied to my family-child qualified in k, was not at an Alo school, decided not to go that year, had to retest in second when we wanted to go in third. I even called, because I wasn't sure how long scores lasted. At the time they said until the end of the open enrollment period, though I understand that changes basically every year.

Anonymous said...

We also received an eligibility notice yesterday that states that our child is "already currently eligible" for APP.... The letter continues to state that students who have been found AHG in the past and enrolled in advanced programs retain their eligibility.

Our son has been found eligible for APP in the past (he also tested this year), but has never enrolled in an advanced program. Sounds like they used the wrong form letter?

Anonymous said...

Anyone else have a current K kid with high MAP scores (99%on both) who had to do even more testing after the standard CogAt testing? Waiting (impatiently), thought of still more testing and delays while we debate what to do is making me insane...

Anonymous said...

Per the SPS website, K kids will take an additional achievement test to qualify for APP. MAP is not used as the achievement test for K.

Lynn said...

The appeals section of the advanced learning website says: Qualifying Fall 2013 MAP scores may be used to support an appeal. There must be a documented math and reading score at or above the 87th percentile from Spring or Fall MAP, or other nationally normed achievement test.

I think you can submit MAP scores for your K student if needed for appeal. They just don't look at them automatically.

Anonymous said...

I just wish there was some way of knowing -ahead of time- that my kid may or may not be given yet another test. He scored well into the 99% on Fall MAP testing, and has an older sibling in APP, so cautiously assuming he will get in, but frustrated that we are already at Feb 10th with no letter and no information.... Assuming extra testing means they would at least tell us, but?!?

NW Parent said...

Have to say I'm really frustrated with the series of delays. It's 2/11 and still no notification letter from the district. This of course means touring schools my son may not be eligible for and/or touring schools we may not be interested in depending on eligibility results.

NW Parent

NW Parent said...

I'd appreciate feedback from families about the Lincoln program. How much homework? Do kids feel pressure/competition with one another? How long are bus rides from Crown Hill? Does the school support new students socially to help make new friends and get oriented?

Would appreciate pros and cons.

Thanks very much.

WS parent said...

Our daughter is eligible to transfer to APP at Washington MS from Madison where she's currently in the Spectrum program. Any Washington MS parents willing to provide their 2 cents on the program? Wondering what the classroom environment is like? Do the kids tend to be more focused and/or engaged, or is it mixed?

Also, I love having a neighborhood school, but a big reason we would transfer her is the opportunity to go to Garfield. Not sure if the MTSS plans would change that.

Thanks!

WS parent

Anonymous said...

We received a letter stating our kindergartner is qualified to enroll in APP. Yet tomorrow she has further testing.

Will the results of tomorrow's test influence the decision we have already received?

Very confused.

Anonymous said...

Hi,
I'm considering enrolling my 5th grader at Hamilton next year. This would be his first exposure to foreign-language classes (he's at a K-8 with a strong arts focus). He's definitely easygoing, but doesn't like to feel behind. Can anyone tell me what the typical APP class size has been at Hamilton? Also, just wondering if any parents whose kids didn't go through APP for elementary school have experiences to share--or if those whose kids did attend APP from K-5 have any general observations about kids transitioning into APP middle school without the social connections from elementary years. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Our daughter will be new to Lincoln, entering 5th grade for 14/15. On another forum, https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/app-ac-seattle,
I read several posts about the lack of social/emotional support at Lincoln, and on this forum posts indicating little introduction for new students. I'd appreciate your positive experiences. (I have read this entire page so no need to reiterate if already addressed.
Our daughter was "considered weird" by the 12 other girls in her current class, and even after much social support, only a little positive peer response. The school has been heart-warmingly responsive and proactive. Still, Lincoln has much to be desired; APP, a larger pool of intelligent kids, and my HOPE for a wider variety of personal styles and level of acceptance. Luckily, my daughter is self-confident, and aware but not crushed by lack of connection with students.
What's your experience at Lincoln (and HIMS) with quirky kids being accepted, support for new students and support for social skills development.
Lastly, I've sent 3 emails over 3 weeks to the 2E Parent Support Group. Are other avenues for getting on this list?
-Believe in Possible