Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Open thread

What's on your mind?

100 comments :

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness for Director Peters, who appears with her transportation amendment to be at least partially sane!

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking if parents have their heart set on a program next year, it might be wise to make an appoitnment for private testing just in case. I bet letters won't be coming until next week.

Ballard mom

Anonymous said...

Who are the recipients of the 1600 letters? We haven't gotten ours yet!

Anonymous said...

Hi all -
I'm wondering if anyone can help me interpret the results of the CogAT exam? We just got my 5th grade daughter's letter from the AL office. It says she's not eligible - I think because of her low MAP math score from fall of 4th grade (we've boycotted since then). Here are her scores:
CogAT:
- verbal - 98
- quantitative - 75
- nonverbal - 73
- V-Q composite - 93
- Q-N composite - 93
-V-Q-N composite - 93

MAP:
reading fall 2013 - 97
math fall 2013 - 59

It's totally unclear to me what a composite score means. And is that one of the potential "qualifying" scores for advanced learning at SPS?

I'm trying to decide if we should retest the math assessment in hopes she'd qualify for spectrum @ Mercer. Or is she even close enough to retest everything for potential APP @ Washington? I emailed the advanced learning office as well, but I don't expect a timely response...

Anyway, if anyone has any feedback on our personal experience, I'd appreciate it. It might mean the difference between public and private MS for us. Thanks so much!

- ms SE

Anonymous said...

I'm curious to know if other parents have seen wide swings in CogAT scores? Last year, as a first grader, my daughter got composite scores of 94. This year they were 75. One difference in the test was that last year's was one-on-one; this year's was on paper in a group.

Thanks for your insights!

--Confused

Anonymous said...

ms SE,

Those CogAT scores do not meet APP cut off. They do not meet the Spectrum cut off. The MAP scores do not meet the APP cut off, they do not meet the Spectrum cut-off. All measures are equally important, because the program is designed for a certain type of learner, one who does not need repetition to learn, for example. Again, ignoring the MAP scores entirely, she still would not qualify. So, based on the data points you have presented, she is not qualified both on an achievement basis AND cognitive basis for the advanced learning programs. Don't know if this was the kind of feedback you were looking for. Apologize if it was not. But, you know your child best, so please act in accordance with what you know to be in her best interests!
-info

Anonymous said...

Hi Info- any info is helpful! Honestly, I'm not looking for one kind of info or other, but just some clarification on SPS policy.

I'm still not sure what it's based on. Ignoring her MAP (just for a moment) - I still am not sure what the AL cutoff is for CogAT. The letter I received in the mail said she had to get "two areas" above 87%. They listed six "areas" (including the composite scores). By "two areas," do they mean any two of the six they listed in the letter? Or by "two areas," do they mean "two of the first three we list, and please ignore the last three"?

Truly, I'm not trying to be obtuse, and nor am I trying to squeeze her into a program that she doesn't belong in. It's genuinely confusing to me. And I looked at all the online info about SPS AL that I could find, and it doesn't help clarify this.

I realize her math MAP is weak, and again, I don't want her in a program that won't suit her. However, that score is over a year and a half old. Also, she has scored high(er) on the MSP, ISEE, and on math tests/grades, so that one component might be worth looking at again (through private testing). We're still considering it.

In short, I guess I'm looking for something in writing that clarifies how I should interpret the CogAT scores. (For the record, I never have considered her an APP kid. But she's a hard worker and has (often) scored high on certain tests, so she *may* (or may not) be a spectrum eligible kid.)

Thanks again for your input. This is a good resource.

ms. SE

Anonymous said...

It is not unheard of to have wildly different scores depending on the test setting. You should check the AL page, but it used to be that CogAT scores were valid for a few years, even though achievement test scores need to be within the year. If your child had qualifying CogAT scores in a previous year they can use them as part of an appeal with new achievement testing.

In the ms NE scores, you may only need to retest for 1) math and 2) quantitative CogAT equivalent. If your child then meets the cutoffs in appeals testing, the other qualifying scores can be used as part of the appeal.

You know your child best and need to decide if additional testing makes sense. Do the scores seem out of line with school work? Do you have previous MAP scores for comparison?

5th grade MAP scores are used for 6th grade math placement, so the one time you shouldn't opt out of testing is for 5th grade.

Anonymous said...

ms SE - for the COGAT test, a child needs 98 or higher in two areas to qualify for APP; 87 or higher in two areas to qualify for Spectrum (I'm taking this from the Advanced Learning page on the District website).

So your daughter only meets the criteria in one area (verbal). In order to qualify, she would also need either the quantitative or the nonverbal score of either 87th percentile (spectrum) or 98th percentile (APP).

You know your daughter best - do either her quantitative or nonverbal scores seem unusually low?

Also, the private testers get very booked up this time of year - so if you are considering having your daughter re-tested, I would try to get an appointment as soon as possible.

Here's a link to the eligibility criteria: http://district.seattleschools.org/modules/cms/pages.phtml?sessionid=feb740613b76d0c34aef10ecb3ec5e7d&pageid=230109&sessionid=feb740613b76d0c34aef10ecb3ec5e7d

Jane

Anonymous said...

@Anon from above-
We had both of our kids tested and one letter arrived last Saturday, We're still waiting for the other.

hschinske said...

The CogAT scores are percentiles, meaning they're expressed in terms of how rare the score is. So a 98 on the verbal means she scored in the top two percent, and so forth. The same for the composite, except that you're looking at the rarity of the *combined* scores. Combining whatever raw scores she obtained on the verbal and quantitative gives you a total score which is in the top 7%, largely due to her scoring that high on the verbal. (The raw score is the number correct on each section.)

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if the school bus transportation for elementary school APP will work next year?

Anonymous said...

The distance to bus stops has been increased to 1.0 mile for elementary students and I wonder if they will have more cluster stops to reduce ride times. Route information usually isn't mailed until a week or so before school starts in the fall.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who still hasn't gotten their letters yet?
We might get it today as the Mailman comes later but still, this is getting ridiculously late..

Anonymous said...

Why don't SPS live with their time and post the results online so everyone would have access to them at the same time..this process is unfair for those who, if they decide to appeal , will have one week less than the first ones who got it...crazy archaic process!

Anonymous said...

Anyone this year or last year have a kindergartener with high MAP scores (99 & 99) who got an APP-eligible letter based just on CogAT and MAP without the child being pulled for additional WJ-III testing from the district? Trying to read the tea leaves here since we may not have time to appeal at all if we just wait around for this letter.
-time crunched

Anonymous said...

We got our letter today finally!!

Anonymous said...

Is APP the best program for highly gifted in the Puget Sound area? We got our letter today and qualify for it, but we're newish to Seattle and wonder if any other districts are better at serving gifted students.

Also, how does APP stack up against private schools like Lakeside? Appreciate any info (and if I'm posting this in the wrong place, please forgive me and point me in the right direction!

Anonymous said...

Lakeside just isn't possible for the 99%. Have you checked the tuition? A private tutor would likely be much cheaper. Many families save to put the kids in private middle and high high school in Seattle. Remember, when that's all done your darling AHG may hang out in college for a PhD... Not a small bit of change.

-Squeezed

Anonymous said...

I think they only call k kids for WJ testing if the CogAT scores qualify. So probably the CogAT scores did not qualify (though, maddeningly, maybe they did, and they just have not gotten to calling you to do the achievement testing). I think they have called back kindergarteners at all the schools near me now. I didn't hear about anybody at my school, but I'm not sure I would know.

Sorry, not very helpful. I don't think you know anything for sure at this point, 2:21. We haven't gotten our letter yet, nor did our k kid get called back for testing, so I'm assuming he didn't get in (which is fine).

Anonymous said...

Lakeside just isn't possible for the 99%. Have you checked the tuition? A private tutor would likely be much cheaper. Many families save to put the kids in private middle and high high school in Seattle. Remember, when that's all done your darling AHG may hang out in college for a PhD... Not a small bit of change.

-Squeezed

Anonymous said...

Newish to Seattle:
We've been thrilled with APP at the elementary level for our child, though somewhat concerned about the future of the program, which is hard to handicap right now. If you're able to look beyond Seattle and beyond public schools, I'd personally forget about Lakeside but would consider Evergreen (private, up north) or Bellevue public schools (at least at the H.S. level). Not steering you away from SPS necessarily, but these would at least be on my list.
Good luck! -D

Anonymous said...

People could write a book to answer your question. I think it comes down to what you can afford, where you want to live, and what your child wants. My son is in Washington APP, we couldn't afford Lakeside. He's challenged just the right amount, he's not overwhelmed but he's not bored.

If you want the best that money can buy, Lakeside is probably it. It's hard to get into Lakeside, and it's far north.

If you're mobile, Bellevue probably has the best public schools and their advanced learning is very good. One of the best schools, however, is a lottery, so you're not guaranteed to even get in.

We are happy with APP in Seattle Schools despite all the problems. We love the diversity of our school, and we are more comfortable in a public school than a private one.

So, it really all depends on what is a good fit for your family.

Anonymous said...

Yep, I see the tuition, but also see the financial aid and scholarship opportunities. Not looking for prestige or elitism; I have a genuinely different kid who's just really smart and curious (like many of your kids, I imagine). He's also sensitive and sweet, and I'd rather have him in an environment that nurtures those qualities than in a place filled with bullies (the well regarded Seattle public school he is in now is NOT a fit). I am absolutely thinking about going back to homeschooling and getting help from a tutor. I just want to do right by my guy.

Anonymous said...

Time crunched, I feel your pain. That's where we are at: MAP scores clearly in 99%, and feedback from teacher and principal that we should assume APP eligible based on what they have seen, but ZERO info from SPS. I heard today that some kids who were absent for the CogAt are being tested tomorrow at school, but seems insane that they might be doing the WJ tomorrow without even notifying us, etc, etc. I would really just like to know what is going on. Doubt we would appeal this year anyway, since we kept our older kid in an ALO school, but if the score was almost there, maybe we would... At this rate, we have NO time to decide. And I would love to hear that they aren't making all K kids take the WJ, but....? I've yet to hear anything different.

Anonymous said...

2:21 & 4:38,
We're fairly confident our K-er will qualify on the CogAT, but we too have received nothing yet from the district about the initial test results from November, or about scheduling the follow-up. (Not currently attending SPS.) Only got a response to our inquiry last month, saying that these initial test results should be ready by late-Jan/early-Feb. Yes, with deadlines looming it's certainly a source of anxiety...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the thoughtful comments. Yes, we're pretty mobile and willing to move into a different school district. We're in North Seattle now, and don't mind going farther up, or over to the Eastside.

We only have one more year at the elementary level. It's so hard trying to figure out how things work here, and what we should do. Thanks again.

-Newish

Anonymous said...

The only thing I can think is that they figure they can address K kids at the very end, since there isn't the same concern with class sizes or what have you for a prospective first grader that there might be for a 4th grader entering Lincoln... But still. This is ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Newish,
If you have a kid who is "different" then Lakeside is probably not the school for you. It is not geared toward AHG children per se, but rather just has a very rigorous curriculum. Some parents pull their children out of Seattle APP for Lakeside because they want their them to have more homework.

If you want a school that is set up more specifically to meet the needs of AHG learners, then your private options for middle school are Evergreen and Seattle Country Day. Evergreen has a pretty standard curriculum that is accelerated about two years, so it's akin to a very pretty version of Seattle APP with smaller class sizes. Seattle Country Day on the other hand is more geared toward gifted children so they aren't always "two years ahead" but go into much more depth in certain subjects, based on student demand.

I can't speak to the Bellevue system other than to say it's definitely more stable than Seattle.

Good luck!

--NE APP mom

Anonymous said...

From what I understand, your middle school APP experience may vary depending on what school your child attends. Washington middle school is the original home of the APP program, while Hamilton is an offshoot. There will be a new program at JAMS next year for those living in the NE, but being new it's hard to know what it will be like. There will be three different options for middle school, and your address determines which school/program your child would attend.

If you are in north Seattle, you could also look into Shoreline schools. Kellogg Middle School (starts in 7th grade) has a gifted pathway/honors classes. Some families do an inter-district transfer.

Anonymous said...

Shoreline had a gifted program 30 years ago, I assume they still do.

Anonymous said...

...For elementary kids.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comments from the other kindergarten families who are still waiting. It's been hard with such a shrinking time window for decisions. Hope we get some conclusive news either way soon.
-time crunched

Lakesider said...

NE APP Mom,

Really? More homework? We pulled our kid from APP to go to Lakeside because the kid was not challenged in APP. There are quite a few middle schoolers at Lakeside who were pulled out of Evergreen because they needed more challenge. And, yes, the financial aid is fantastic.

Lynn said...

Kellogg Middle School covers only sixth and seventh grades. The school offers opt-in honors classes with no testing requirement or application process. I've heard people like it - but I wouldn't call it a program for highly gifted children.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone who wasn't tested (with the Cogat) until last week gotten a letter yet?

NE

Anonymous said...

I toured APP@Lincoln today and was really impressed by the principal (Geoghagen) and the PTA president. They both seemed really interested in helping prospective parents and were willing to talk with me about my individual child and concerns. I left with a great impression of the school

UC

Anonymous said...

NE APP Mom,
I will agree with Lakesider. We loved APP for elementary but moved to Lakeside due to the program instability at the middle school level. I've met most of the parents who moved from APP and have never met one who moved for more homework. There are pros and cons to both private and public. Please don't generalize about why families move to private, and don't stereotype. SPS has some fab teachers, but the central administration is abysmal, and APP is a roller coaster. The academics at Lakeside are incredible, though the tuition is high. We're giving up a lot to go there, and are aware we are fortunate it's even a possibility.
-Another Lakesider

Anonymous said...

Lakesider, thank you for the info! I know there is a divide between public and private, and I'm genuinely not trying to ruffle any feathers.

I've heard it's extremely tough to get in. Test scores were very high (98th percentile on ISEE), but all the other stuff (essay, interview, etc.)...I just can't tell. So I guess we'll see if it's even an option for us.

- Newish to NE APP :-)

Anonymous said...

NE & others who are waiting ,

Our K kid was given a CogAT test in early Jan. (The fall MAP scores were APP qualifying.) We got a call last week saying that there would be another AL test given to our kid at school the next day. We are still waiting for a letter and wish we knew the outcome to determine which open houses and informational nights we should be going to this week. -Waiting Also

Anonymous said...

Waiting also, not trying to put you on the spot, but 'testing a hypothesis' - can I ask how high the MAP scores were? Trying to figure out if there is any correlation between that and who hasn't gotten the WJ testing yet...

Anonymous said...

Not waiting also, but my kindergarten kiddo had both 99's on the MAP test, and is having further AL testing this week. What is the hypothesis?

Anonymous said...

My kindergartener took the Woodcock Johnson test today. She didn't take the fall map, but had 99s on her winter map scores. We got a call on Thursday to let us know about testing today (Monday). I believe they only pull kindergarteners for WJ if their cogat scores are app levels. This rolling notification is very hard on families, I really hope everyone hears soon.

Anonymous said...

The Fall MAP scores were 98th & 99th. My kid said other kids at the school were testing, but one at a time not together. That made me think it was scheduled that day based just on location. Someone wrote earlier that they don't look at Fall MAP scores for K hence the additional test and delay. What is your situation? Does anyone know which scores (if any)are adjusted for age? -Waiting Also

Anonymous said...

We sent our older child to private and then public university. Everywhere we went recruiters talked big about financial aid and scholarships... But our income was always above financial aid levels... And the scholarships were more of a marketing ploy if you ask me. They were semester at a time things.

Anonymous said...

Would you consider the APP program - as currently being delivered at HIMS - appropriate for highly capable? If Lakeside were an option for our family we'd choose it over the SPS roller coaster.

Anonymous said...

My child took the CogAT in mid January and we haven't received a letter yet.

-SE mom

Anonymous said...

Public vs. Private

Having kids in public high school right now, and knowing many friends with kids in private high school, I can honestly say that I don't feel like our kids are missing any opportunities at the public high school. Granted, they are at a very strong public high school with a national reputation and ties to some of the best universities in the country - so my view may be a bit skewed.

However, fact remains that the list of schools to which Garfield kids are admitted matches the list of schools to which Lakeside kids are admitted.

I know that isn't the only barometer that parents should use to make a decision, but knowing that we could pay $25k/year/kid for a private high school (we would not qualify for financial aid) and then not receive any type of "leg-up" for college was the deal-breaker for us.

The education that our kids are receiving at Garfield goes beyond the academic boundaries by offering leadership, service, athletic and social opportunities that are broadening their global worldview. All of these opportunities are kid-driven, there is zero hand-holding. They are also surrounded by kids that come from all different ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, which was another plus for us.

Lakeside offers a first-rate education on a wonderful campus with first-rate counselors that will help guide your student every step of the way. They have fabulous athletic, academic and service opportunities. The students that we know seem very happy.

Just depends on what you are looking for in a high school experience.

Good Luck, and know that everyone that we know with kids in high school are happy with the choice they made and their kids are all doing well (granted, our friends tend to fall in the hyper-parented category so all of our kids are pretty privileged).

-Happy at Garfield

Anonymous said...

For the kinder parents, my daughter tested this summer and got pulled for the WJ (not sure if they do that for all kinder kids or if it's based on higher/lower scores) Her results were AG (by a couple of points) but she is not in a Spectrum program. Now that my older son has tested APP I wish I had appealed or had her retested this fall to see if they could be in the same school.

-Newish NE Mom

Anonymous said...

Well it's day 12 and we have not received THE LETTER. We didn't even get any mail yesterday, I'm beginning to think the post office and the school district are part of a conspiracy against me. LOL

Can someone confirm the appeal process (if we go that route) The AL web site sates it will take MAP scores from the Fall above 95% to support an appeal. My son's math is 99% in MAP last fall but reading was 96%, so I assume that's sufficient for an appeal? Anyone else read it that way too? I don't want to pay for private testing.

If I submit the MAP scores from fall (99 math, 96 reading), a list of the books he's read, and a letter from his teacher stating he reads far above grade average (she said this to us already). Do you think that's sufficient for a successful appeal?

-no letter limbo

Lynn said...

I believe the only thing they're looking for is the benchmark scores on the ability and achievement tests. If your son's CogAT scores were at least 98th percentile in two areas, those MAP scores will be all you need.

Anonymous said...

Regarding additional achievement testing for K: Last year our K daughter was not called back for WJ testing, and it turned out that she had missed the CogAT cutoff for APP by 1 point. We paid for private IQ testing and successfully appealed. Her fall and winter MAP scores were all 99%, and we submitted those with the private IQ test results and a cover letter. She's thriving at Lincoln, and we have no regrets about appealing her initial test results.
--One family's experience

Anonymous said...

For any kindergarten families who are wondering - I have email confirmation from the district that Fall 2013 MAP scores at or above the 95th percentile are fine to submit with your appeal as proof of eligibility on the academic achievement requirement. I still don't get why they do all that extra academic testing with the WJ-III for kids who already have high MAP scores on file, but there you go.
-time crunched

Anonymous said...

Anon on February 11, 2014 at 7:46 AM asked:

"Would you consider the APP program - as currently being delivered at HIMS - appropriate for highly capable?"

I'd say it depends on your highly capable kid, and the degree of giftedness they possess. For the exceptionally or profoundly gifted, there aren't likely to be any programs that really address their needs appropriately. For more typical highly gifted kids, though, APP can potentially be a good fit.

I have one kid finishing HIMS APP, and another likely to start in the fall. HIMS APP has NOT been a great fit for the oldest, but may be better for the next. In our experience, the curriculum is not particularly rigorous, the kids are asked to do a lot of worksheets and group projects, there's not a lot of tolerance for kids wanting to take the discussions to deeper levels than what's covered in class, and a lot of the kids don't seem to be particularly motivated or intellectually curious. If your highly capable kid is one of those kids who values academics more than the social experience, they may end up frustrated like mine.

My middle child is APP-qualified and will likely go to HIMS in the fall. She's well-rounded, gets along with everyone, and is often happier doing the minimum required. HIMS isn't likely to push her too hard to do more than that--which may make it a good experience for her, but which worries me. Private school is a slim possibility for us, but I think she would ultimately thrive someplace that required more accountability and had class sizes that allowed for more individual attention. Assuming she ends up in HIMS APP, I have a feeling we'll need to step up our parental involvement to keep things on track--pushing for more independent reading and analysis (sorely lacking), providing math supplementation (poor curriculum), setting high expectations for quality of work (not just good grades), etc. In the end, it'll probably all work out just fine.

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the additional information everyone. Seems like the WJ should be unnecessary for kids who already qualified with MAP and CogAT, but maybe it informs their process for kids on the edges and for appeals. Maybe they are giving the WJ to K students who qualified on the CogAT and MAP so they have more data for possible changes to the identification system. One can only hope the extra testing and stress were for a good reason! -Waiting Also

Anonymous said...

Have any kindergarten families received letters yet? Mail just came - still nothing today.

Anonymous said...

My 6th & 8th graders tested in mid-November. Their letters arrived today.

-Lake City Parent

Anonymous said...

To those who have just received their letters - did they give you an extension on the appeal date?

Our kids were not tested until mid Jan and we don't have letters. We are traveling for winter break so I basically have 3 days to turn around an appeal even if the letters arrive today.

We have an IQ test at 99% and their fall scores MAP score are 95% - so should be OK with an appeal but would like to back up with a letter from their teachers etc

- Queen Anne parent

Anonymous said...

Still no letter.

Have ANY kindergarteners received a letter?

Anonymous said...

I know of at least two K families who received letters, we're one. We received the one for our K kid, but are still waiting for the letter for our first grader.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 4:05, Can I ask if yours was a yes for APP? Just trying to figure out if there is ANY logic behind who has gotten a letter and who hasn't. You are the first K family I've heard of hearing anything definitive.

Anonymous said...

Another perspective on the question (from Anon at 7:46 am) "Would you consider the APP program - as currently being delivered at HIMS - appropriate for highly capable?"

We have found HIMS offers a good selection of classes well suited to highly capable kids. Sometimes people who are not familiar with best practices for highly capable learners think that those kids should have more homework, just because they are "smart." But what they really need is more challenging work, not more of it (they need time to explore other interests). Most of our teachers at HIMS seem to have a good understanding of that, and it appears that Principal Watters is a big proponent of keeping homework within reasonable limits. The music program at HIMS is phenomenal, so if you consider that an important part of education, I don't think you could do better. We have also found that being in a group of similarly capable kids allows kids to be known for something other than just being strong students. Instead of always being called the "smart" kid, they can be the kid who loves chess, the kid who plays bass in the jazz band, the kid who likes Dr. Who, etc. Another plus: I have heard of no bullying incidents at the school.

From what I have heard from parents with children in 8th grade or already in high school, I think the HIMS program has improved in the past few years, so those who were there at the beginning after "the split" may have had different experiences. Also, the experience can vary depending on the specific teachers, but that is not surprising as different styles work for different kids.

We also like not having to worry about tuition as we would with a private school (think about the other learning experiences one can buy with that amount of money!). The downside is worrying about what the school district will do with the program in any given year. Stability has not been a strong point.

- Riding the SPS Waves

Anonymous said...

@Anon at 4:55 - I realized we know of a third K family and none of them got Spectrum or APP.

I'd like to think that means a pattern, but I'm skeptical.

Anonymous said...

No letter yet for my 3rd grader who was tested in December. This process is ridiculous, particularly the lack of communication. I wrote to the School Board today as I can't think of any other way to vent my frustration. There seems to be no accountability at SPS, and so far as I can tell, no one understands or cares about the impact on the families of their delays and lack of communication.

--Maybe tomorrow

Anonymous said...

We know of one K that got into spectrum and one 1st grader who did not get into either. Our K student is waiting to be tested with WJIII.

Anonymous said...

6:03,
You wrote, "Our K student is waiting to be tested with WJIII." Could you please share, when did the district notify you that your student would be tested, and what date is that scheduled for? Thanks!
-Under-notified

Anonymous said...

We were notified last Tuesday 2/4 that she would be tested, believe it or not, on one of three dates. The latest being March 5th! That is obviously AFTER Feb 21. I have sent two different emails (last week), one regarding appeals and one regarding the testing and neither have been answered.

Anonymous said...

Update on the Advanced Learning Website:

"
Many families have not yet received an eligibility letter from our office. Remaining decision letters will be mailed as soon as possible. Our goal is to allow families at least 10 days to appeal after receiving a letter. The appeal deadline will be exteded beyond February 21 if necessary. Families that qualify for free/reduced price lunch should request appeals as soon as possible so that the Advanced Learning office can arrange for additional testing in a timely manner."

-Shirley

Anonymous said...

Shirley, Thanks for the update. It says they are once again extending the timeline for themselves right under the proclamation that "We adhere strictly to the established timelines and eligibility criteria without exception..."

Doesn't feel very fair to still be waiting for a letter while the open houses are going on this week.

I know of two K families who have gotten a letter. Both were not eligible for AL based on the CogAT and so they weren't scheduled for another test.

-Waiting Also

Disappointed in Advanced Learning Dept said...

Dear School Board (cc: Superintendent Banda),

I write to request attention to the poorly run process of the Advanced Learning Department in conducting testing evaluations and communicating evaluation results to families in a timely fashion. Communication is poor and delayed. Test results have repeatedly been delayed. We have not yet received results that were supposed to have been received or sent by 1/31/14. It is now 2/12/14. This impacts families who need to attend school tours and make decisions about fall in a timely manner. It is stressful to wait. I would appreciate an explanation from Advanced Learning as to the delay and what is being done in future to improve this poorly run process. This especially affects families who qualify for Free and Reduced Lunch or for whom English is a Second Language as these families may need to contact Advanced Learning to request free additional testing for their students. I understand these are the students that Advanced Learning is intent on including in their programs instead of excluding. To shorten the timeline for all families, particularly disadvantaged families, to navigate the system for an appeal is unacceptable and entirely against the supposed intent of inclusion of underserved populations.

Testing occurs at times without notice to families or the wrong date is given to a family for the testing and the actual testing occurs prior to the date stated in the letter. Last year, we received a call late in the evening prior to the testing morning. Not adequate notice.

It is disrespectful to require families to adhere to district deadlines while the district repeatedly revises its own timeline to respond.

Thank you for your attention to this. And thank you for the fine work you continue to do on behalf of the district's students.

Anonymous said...

We finally got the letter for our kindergartener in today's mail. She is Spectrum eligible.
-time crunched

Anonymous said...

This may be off-topic, but does anyone know why some schools do Fall MAP testing for kindergartners and others do not?

Lynn said...

In October Michael Tolley and Shauna Heath reported this to the superintendent and the board:

Advanced Learning Task Force
Advanced Learning has contracted with a facilitator, Barbara Grant to help guide two task forces this year. The first is focused on the identification of students for highly capable services, with particular attention to reaching culturally diverse and underserved populations of gifted students. This group begins its work on October 10th, and expects to have recommendations by November 29th.


The task force on identification has made no recommendations. They'll be meeting tomorrow - their last meeting was November 19th. They have postponed three meetings because they're waiting for the results of the CogAT screener given to all second grade students in the Southeast region.

Anonymous said...

My child's scores are at APP standards except for his reading achievement scores (MAP). Anyone have any advice on where I can get a reading achievement test without an appointment with a pricey psychologist? Do Sylvan or any of those places do that kind of thing? Thanks in advance..

Make said...

Anon @1:38-
At our school (JAK8) the MAP tests for K kids have changed over the last two years. Last year they tested only the kids who had applied for AL but found that many of the kids just weren't ready to take a computer test right off the bat. This year they didn't start until the winter tests. Even then, they had so many problems with the computers that many kids didn't finish.

Anonymous said...

Still no letter for us yet, but I was finally able to pry our Advanced Learning eligibility decision out of the District. Everyone affected by or even just concerned about this situation should write to the Board. Apparently making a lot of noise is the only thing that gets results.

--Maybe tomorrow

No Letter Yet said...

Dear Maybe Tomorrow -

May I ask HOW you were able to get your eligibility decision from the district!? I was amazed to talk to someone in Advanced Learning today but was informed that the eligibility decision had not yet been made even though scores were ready for evaluation. And staff declined to share the scores with me.

Thanks for any suggestions you may have!

Best Wishes

Anonymous said...

Best wishes,

I'm not sure which of my efforts finally earned me a response. I don't have any trick to offer except persistence. My suggestion would be to write a thoughtful personal email about how these delays affect you and your family and why you need to know the result now. Send it to the school board, advanced learning folks, superintendent and anyone else who might listen or have power. Don't send a mass email with everyone copied. Send each person a separate email and to the extent you can, personalize it to your audience. Figure out which Board district you're in and make sure to point out that you are in his/her district when writing whichever member represents you. Ask questions and tell them you would like a response/explanation.

If a decision hasn't been made in your case, I'm not sure you'll be able to accelerate the process, but it's worth a try.

--Maybe tomorrow

Anonymous said...

Maybe tomorrow, any sense of whether there is a rhyme or reason to the process? Are they sending no letters first, then Spectrum, then APP? Or oldest grades first ? ANY logic you could tell? Had some folks get letters today, all for Spectrum and not APP... And still no letter for us.

Anonymous said...

We received one letter for our 5th grader, who we were encouraged to test by teacher because of his high ability in Math. He did not, unfortunately make it far enough for Spectrum. For our 2nd grader who is Spectrum but was tested in Kindergarten so we had her tested again out of curiosity, we have not received anything yet. Since we moved and I was worried about mail getting lost, I tried to call only to get vm, I emailed twice and both have bounced back...

Anonymous said...

We haven't received a letter as of today. Our child qualified for Spectrum last year. We thought we'd test again since his MAP scores were 99% and 99%. Maybe give him a shot at APP.

Since there doesn't seem to be any room in Spectrum for new students, we thought qualifying for APP might give him some options.

Anonymous said...

today I got my 2nd grader's APP letter, he got in. His composite score is 98%.

He's in an ALO school that he loves, so now we decide whether we stay or go. I told him he could decide. I want him to move to APP, he wants to stay ALO.

Anyway, since he's ALO, no more testing for us! My older one is in APP middle school, he stayed ALO until 5th grade. We are DONE with testing (famous last words!)

Anonymous said...

Anon, we are in the exact same boat with our second grader. We told him he could decide, but I find myself really pressuring him to "choose" APP, and now I think maybe I shouldn't have let him have the last word! Are you going to let your son make the call to stay in your ALO school?

Anonymous said...

To the two parents of second graders who told them they can decide whether to enter APP: May I suggest that you tell your kids you made a mistake, and that the final decision will be yours? Adults are allowed to make mistakes, and if you both believe they should be in APP, that's where they should be.

Anonymous said...

Looking for advice/experience for families where 1 child is APP and another is Spectrum. Interested in if families chose to split them up or keep them together in Spectrum/ALO school?

Anonymous said...

We are in the same boat as 7:21. I have one child in Spectrum at a school we have been very happy with. Trying to figure out if we want to split them or keep both in Spectrum.

We just received a letter today that our K child got into APP. This is before WJIII testing, although that is still supposed to be administered as far as we know (?). K child got into APP on Cogat and MAP scores.

I wonder if other K children have received results yet or if we were the only ones since I sent an email asking why WJIII was being given when MAP scores qualified.

Anonymous said...

Not exactly your question but with one kid spectrum and one kid regular we choice to keep the spectrum kid at the school with her sibling. It's an ALO school so the Spectrum kid is able to work a grade up for math and literacy.

Anonymous said...

chose...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 7:36, thanks VERY much for sharing that. I've been going crazy all week wondering if that outcome is even possible, or if a lack of a call about WJ testing just means APP is completely off the table at this point, at least without an appeal that we are running out of time to even seriously consider....

Anonymous said...

@7:49pm. My K student was given WJ on 2/6, results (APP) received today (2/12).

Anonymous said...

FYI My K student had the WJ on 2/7. We got a letter today with APP eligibility. The letter only contained the MAP & CogAT scores. I did not call or email anyone to ask for information.

Anonymous said...

"He's in an ALO school that he loves, so now we decide whether we stay or go. I told him he could decide. I want him to move to APP, he wants to stay ALO."

Anon at 5:30 PM : if he is happy and the current school is a good fit -for now- there is no reason to move him. My understanding is that his APP status is maintained if the current school has an ALO. You can move him to APP when the current school no longer meets his/her needs. Some kids need to be with a room full of academic peers and others do not -and that also should be considered. Just my two cents.

Older Parent

Anonymous said...

@7:49. Just to be clear, we did get a call for our child to have additional WJIII testing. It just hasn't been administered yet. There has been no contact regarding canceling the test even though we received a letter about qualifying for APP. Hence the (?)

@7:36

Anonymous said...

? -
Yes, that's strange. Unclear why you'd need the WJIII test if the MAP scores qualified, and/or if you've already got the APP assignment. Would be VERY interested to hear back when you learn why...

But meanwhile, I think you do have to plan to go to this additional test, can't see how it can help you to disregard them on that. Anyone disagree?

Anonymous said...

Still no letter and we leave on vacation on Saturday morning. Brilliant.

SE mom

Anonymous said...

Also in SE Seattle, and still no letter either..they told me yesterday that the letter hasn't even been sent yet, but when I asked why,suddenly no one replied to me anymore..strange!

Go SE!

Anonymous said...

Any chance we could get a thread focusing on appeals? Obviously if you get the test scores through private testing, that's great. I'd like to hear from folks who have successfully appealed who didn't quiet have the scores. Does this happen? What did you include with you appeal? They say you can use MAP scores to support an appeal, but don't they already have these? Does teacher input really matter? Book lists? Writing samples? I realize every case is different but would love to hear about the experiences of those who've been through this process.

--maybe tomorrow

Lynn said...

I have never heard of anyone getting in without the test scores. I did have a successful appeal just sending in private scores with a "please consider these" letter.

Anonymous said...

SE Mom, boy do I share your frustration! First time we have ever made out of town plans for mid-winter break.... And yep, mail came already today and nada zip nothing.... And no reply to my email from days ago. What the hell is taking so long?!? One transparent honest communication about WHAT is actually going on would at least alleviate some of the frustration.... But this black out and vague 'we are still working on it' just doesn't cut it. I keep trying to have faith in SPS, and they just keep living down to their reputation...

Greg Linden said...

Okay, a new thread started focusing on appeals, "Appeals for APP eligibility".