Thursday, February 13, 2014

Open thread

What's on your mind?

103 comments :

Anonymous said...

Current APP elementary families who entered APP in 1rst grade,

What did your family, and/or your gen ed K teacher, and/or your gen ed school do (if anything) to get your student ready to move to APP for 1rst grade?

Thanks! -Moving

Anonymous said...

Moving,

One thing you should def know going in is that this year Lincoln accelerated all incoming first graders to third grade math REALLY quickly. (Instead of just one year ahead, as they had done previously.) Once we heard that, we started working with our school/teacher/principal to get our current K kid working on some first grade math -now- so that the transition would be easier. Our plan is basically to get through first grade math now, and then either be ready for second grade math at our neighborhood school through ALO, or do some of that this summer if we end up opting for the move to Lincoln. My oldest had to do a year's worth of math over the summer when he switched, and it was not the ideal way to do it, so trying to spread it out some this time...

Anonymous said...

Our 1st grader started this year with no summer preparation and just the very basic K math (no extra/accelerated work). We didn't realize they would jump to 3rd grade math since when our older child started in 1st grade it was a more gradual transition (they started on 2nd grade math). I was a bit worried that it would be a big stretch to go from the very limited K math to 3rd grade but it has been fine. Of course the kid hadn't been exposed to many 1st/2nd grade concepts, but neither had most of the other 1st graders so they just quickly bring them up to speed as they work on each 3rd grade unit. That's the thing about these kids- they learn quickly. It has been really interesting to see the pre unit test results (e.g. 3/12) versus the post unit test results (eg. 12/14) - obviously the kiddo doesn't get the unfamiliar concepts at the start of unit, but picks it up quickly during the unit and is competent at it by the end. This is exactly what should be happening. They don't need to spend a few weeks on the 2nd grade level material - maybe a day or 2 and then they're ready for the 3rd grade level stuff.
So I my advice would be not to stress out about getting your kid up to speed. They don't need to already be competent at 1st/2nd grade math when they enter 1st grade APP. Many, if not most, kids will not be prepared in this way. For us the whole benefit of APP is that we don't need to do all of this extra work outside of school, because we are getting the right amount of challenge/acceleration at school.
With reading, everyone is at different levels anyway.

Summer fun

Anonymous said...

We are a hold over from choice based schools (sib), so not at our assignment area school. Our current school is ALO. We have no letter yet from SPS, but a prepared appeal letter. The appeal letter is a little wonky because it reports not only IQ but other scores on verbal processing that are not great.

What if we apply to Lincoln planning that the appeal will go through? Do we then lose our spot at our existing not-neighborhood school? What if our kid does not get into Lincoln? This is for transition in 4th grade. It will be hard to move schools and school communities, but worth it for better service. Terrible if just a move to a new school where they don't even have ALO he is not known.

Anyone I can contact within SPS?

-tough choices, time running out

Anonymous said...

Anecdotally, my son scored abysmally on verbally processing on a private test in third grade (well below average for his age, the psych said he missed such questions as "why would you say you were sorry when you hurt someone" and he reasoned through that there was no reason for it :/.

That year he missed cutoff for everything but Evergreen on the private test (he was all over the map and they happened to look at categories he was good at), on the cogat he qualified for spectrum. This year (5th grade) on the cogat he easily tested into APP.

Lynn said...

Anon @ 1:51 - have you tried calling or emailing enrollment services?

Anonymous said...

enrollment isn't answering phones!

-tough choices

Anonymous said...

Lynn, I don't know about Anon @ 1:51, but I have tried EVERYTHING short of camping out at the main office.... While simultaneously trying to respect their requests to "be patient", "email, don't call", "we return messages in the order received" - blah blah blah, it's all just a meaningless attempt to pacify us instead of admitting things are badly screwed up and they are frighteningly far behind. So much so that now, literally FIVE MONTHS after I submitted my K kid's paperwork, I'm leaving town with ZERO info other than the MAP scores I knew four months ago.... Emails, calls, pleas to my principal, nothing.

I have an older kid, APP qualified years ago, and I cannot believe this ridiculous mess.

- Fed up

Anonymous said...

Are any other 8th grade parents concerned about the poor coverage of history and sparseness of independent reading and writing assignments in LA/SS? Also, at the Garfield open house the high school teachers are saying HIMS students won't be prepared for the APP pathway of AP World History in 9th. WMS students are on a different pathway.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that was a concern of mine re: AP World History, but we didn't attend the Garfield open house. This has big implications for HIMS students, and is clear evidence of inequity in the two current middle schools. With JAMS APP coming online soon, there are even more opportunities for divergent curricula and misalignment at the high school level.

Oh , and guess what? I called Shauna Heath to specifically ask about this issue of HIMS graduates and AP World History readiness several weeks ago. did I ever hear back? Of course not. This district is a mess.

HIMSmom

TM/WMS mom said...

To Anon who asked about preparing a child for 1st grade APP - there is nothing academic to prepare for because all kids enter the program with different skills and the teachers are used to incorporating students into the program.

In our experience with 2 kids entering APP (one started in 3rd and the other in 1st), there are some emotional things to prepare for: first, of course, kids have to work through a new school and making new friends. Also, sometimes it is challenging for kids who have always been the "best" in school to be in class with other kids who might read or do math a little better at the outset. Our kids haven't experienced this as a competitive thing in APP, but it can be a surprise and we've sometimes seen a temporary loss of confidence. APP teachers at TM and WMS do a wonderful job of spiraling kids into the curriculum and over time everyone settles in.

Anonymous said...

I somehow doubt that access to AP World History in 9th grade is a top priority for Teaching and Learning. There should be some concern, however, about the increasing differences at each site, especially with new sites at FP and JAMS.

Anonymous said...

Anon on 2/17 at 4pm responded:

"I somehow doubt that access to AP World History in 9th grade is a top priority for Teaching and Learning. "

Well, I'm with you there! APP program integrity, fidelity and alignment are very clearly NOT a top district priority. Or a mid-level priority. Or a priority of any sort, really.

You also said: "There should be some concern, however, about the increasing differences at each site, especially with new sites at FP and JAMS."

Yes, that argument is at the heart of my original statement! But why do you think it's an issue primarily only for the new sites and not those that exist already? If you change things at ANY of the APP sites, it increases differences across the program, no?

This district is supposed to be committed to equity, yet by allowing teachers and principals free reign to recreate the APP curriculum however they see fit, that weakens the program--it becomes increasingly difficult to define what the program even is, much less replicate it.

It also creates inequity. When students from one APP pathway middle school are able to go straight into class x (with other APP kids of their own grade, as well as older students ready for an AP class), while students coming from another APP pathway instead have to spend a year in a gen ed class, how is that equitable? Not only would that mean a year worth of frustration in class likely to be too easy and slow-moving for most APP kids, it means you can't take as many AP classes in high school as your peers can. This can have college cost and admissions implications.

Really, I'm confused by your reply. You agree it's important to minimize differences between new and current APP sites, but don't really care about how these differences might affect kids come high school? One could easily argue the reverse--as long as kids are happy learning at their APP elementary school, does it really matter if they have a different program structure and curriculum than the APP school across town? Where those differences really play out, it seems to me, is where they end up. If kids from one program end up having to take gen ed classes in high school and those from the other are ready and eligible for AP classes, it seems that there's a qualitative difference between the two programs, no? Things aren't that bad yet, but don't think they couldn't get there. (Don't have a teacher for APP 8th grade Biology? Drop it! They can take that in high school too!)

Given the expansion of the program, I think it's more important now than ever that folks demand a coherent, consistent approach to APP. This AP World History issue, if the differential eligibility holds, may be a canary in a coal mine. It's a concrete example of how the complete lack of program fidelity in earlier grades can have real-life implications for students down the road. I don't have an APP kid moving on to high school anytime soon, but I would see this a very bad precedent to just sit back and let something like this pass without a fight.

It's a slow blog day, so I hope you'll all bear with me on my long post. :)

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

I am in agreement with you, HIMSmom, and did not mean to imply current differences are unimportant. On the contrary, they are just a canary in the coal mine, as you say, of the lack of oversight over the past few years. The opening of new sites at a time when current program fidelity and alignment is lacking doesn't give one much hope of a clear pathway forward.

Anonymous said...

On the identification issue (the use of nonverbal testing), you may find these interesting reading:

The Role of Nonverbal Ability Tests

You may want to start with the accompanying powerpoint presentation (by David Lohman) titled:

The Role of Nonverbal Ability Tests in Identifying Academically Gifted Students: An Aptitude Perspective

Lynn said...

From the advanced learning website:

Our office is currently swamped with emails and phone messages which would normally be answered by the same people who are currently scheduling and conducting assessments, making eligibility decisions, and processing letters for mailing. Please understand that there will be significant delays during this time. Emails will be screened daily to prioritize those requiring immediate response. Please do not send repeated messages or send to multiple people. This further clogs the system and slows down response time. We are working evenings and weekends to get the work done prior to the Open Enrollment deadline of March 7.
Thank you for your understanding.

Lynn said...

Here's the explanation of required CogAT scores:

Any two of the six reported CogAT scores at or above the threshold (87 for Spectrum, 98 for APP) count for eligibility.

Anonymous said...

The AP vs non-AP World History does have implications for class rank as "A" in an honors class is weighted as 4.5, while and "A" in an AP class is weighted as 5.0.

Anonymous said...

We live in northest Seattle and I am trying to determine transportation for my 8th grade kid who wants to go to Garfield. (Though Ingraham would be an easier commute.) Does anyone know if SPS provides a yellow/school bus for APP students?

Anonymous said...

Hi. we finally got our second grader's results back and she qualifies for APP.
We are currently in the process of moving right next to a Spectrum school and decided that she will try that school next year.
Question, the letter says that for APP or Spectrum you need to submit the Open Enrollment forms even if your child is currently enrolled at a building that offers the program. Are these forms available online? I'm only seeing the standard enrollment form. Is it the same?
Thanks!

Lynn said...

The forms will be available online next week.

Your child isn't guaranteed a seat in your school's Spectrum classroom. If there isn't one available, she'll be automatically assigned to the general education program. If that won't work for you, you could make APP your second choice on the enrollment forms.

Anonymous said...

We're considering Thurgood M next year, but hear the principal and half the APP teaching staff are leaving. What are current TM families thinking about this?

We are also interested in hearing others' perspectives about APP and homework load.

Thank you!

Newbie

Anonymous said...

We still don't have a letter. I sent in an appeal based on a psychiatrist's assessment of IQ using a standard tests, along with his license. This was "incidental" testing, carried out to assess for learning disabilities, and so the board-certified child psychologist who administered the test is not on the SPS official list. The resulting IQ scores very clearly demonstrate qualification for APP (overall score above the 99th percentile). Does anyone know if this will be accepted by SPS? We don't want to shell out for testing if we don't have to. I went to John Stanford in person today. There was no one who would talk to me. I was told AL is swamped.

-looking for an answer

Anonymous said...

They will accept the scores you submitted as long as the testing occurred no more than three years ago and the test is on the approved list.

Anonymous said...

I asked staff at Garfield about whether our HIMS APP 8th grader would be allowed to enroll in AP World History next year (even though she and her peers are currently taking Washington State History/Geography for social studies), and it was confirmed by their counseling department that the answer is yes, APP students from both Hamilton and Washington can enroll in AP World History as freshman.

Maybe Garfield


Anonymous said...

Finally, an answer from AL. (And no, we still have not gotten our letter...)

Thank you for your inquiry. We apologize for the delay in our reply and in sending you the eligibility letter for your child. Due to scoring errors by the publisher and the district's transition to a new student information system, we were not able to meet our original goal of having all decisions made and letters sent by the beginning of February.

Letters are being sent as soon as cognitive testing scores are available and decision are made. You may have received your letter already. If you have not received your letter please know we are working evenings and weekends to get the work done prior to the Open Enrollment deadline of March 7. We appreciate your patience and understand the extra anxiety you may be experiencing. Scores and eligibility decisions are not available by phone or email.

Most families' concern is if they will have the Advanced Learning services eligibility information in time for Open Enrollment. If you have not received your letter prior to the beginning of Open Enrollment, February 24, we recommend that you participate in Open Enrollment with what you think will be the best choices for your student believing s/he receives the eligibility decision you were expecting. Remember that you will need to select both the program and the school when you make your choices. The default program at every school is the General Education program. If you only write down a school's name without the program, you are NOT requesting an Advanced Learning program or service (i.e., APP, ALO, Spectrum).

The Advanced Learning department works closely with the Enrollment office and updates their database on a frequent basis with students' new or continuing eligibility. The Enrollment office may have received our decision before a family does, which is why we encourage you to participate in Open Enrollment if you have not received a decision or if you are still waiting for information for an appeal to our original decision. Eligibility decisions including appeals will be processed before the open enrollment deadline of March 7. Extensions will be made when necessary (www.seattleschools.org/enrollment)

If you do not believe the original decision reflects your child's ability, you are welcome to appeal. Please provide information as soon as possible. Our original deadline was in place to guide families to appeal prior to the start of Open Enrollment. We know that may not be possible for you if you received your letter late and we will continue to consider appeals throughout the Open Enrollment process. There is no appeal of the appeal.

Jessie said...

Can anyone comment on the transition from a gen ed elementary to an APP middle school? If our son has been working mostly at grade level, will the teachers work with him to get him up to 2 grades ahead? Or will he just be behind and having to do a lot of extra work to catch up?
Thanks in advance for any insight into this issue!

Anonymous said...

The transition from a gen ed elementary to an APP middle school was pretty painless for us, and I suspect it was that way for most. The idea that APP is two years ahead--once you get to middle school--seems to be a myth, and since there doesn't really seem to be a curriculum that builds from year to year, they can't really be "behind." My kid certainly never felt that way at all. On the contrary, my kid felt better prepared in many ways.

The only area in which I've heard kids struggle is math, but that's because placement is based on scores rather than APP placement. If you've been doing regular math in 5th grade, it can be quite a leap to go into Math 6HH or Algebra I. My incoming 6th grade APP student will be placed in Algebra I, so we'll be doing a pre-algebra class this summer to catch up.

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

OK - slightly off topic but based on the comment (and not the first one I've seen) about parents having their kids prep before going into Algebra I boggles my mind. A kid should not be placed in Algebra I if they're not prepared. They should not need tutors or a prep class. Otherwise, they should be in 8th grade math, which is essentially pre-algebra. My kid will presumably be placed or recommended for Algebra I. I will be doing no prep in the summer. Thankfully, his 5th grade APP teacher is already planning on filing in the gaps. That said, I just don't see the need for kids to have to prep for a class just so they can be in the highest math class. It's not a race. We'll help our child along the way if he needs it though I fully expect that pre-algebra concepts will be brought up in Algebra. However, if there's any concern about readiness for Algebra, then regardless of MAP, MSP, and whatever data, placed the kid where you don't have to do summer work before hand.

So - that is just my opinion and a pointed one. Your kid, your choice...I just don't understand it. Exasperated rant over. =)

Anonymous said...

Sorry...ranter again.

And, in that vein, if you're going into APP at any grade level in elementary school, check with the teacher about what the kids should do in the summer. Most, if not all, will say that you don't have to do anything. They'll catch up on their own once school starts.

Anonymous said...

In response to the rant: Yes, they could always keep being bored in math like they have been all through elementary, with the only bit of interesting math being what we manage to squeeze in over the summer. I have a kid who is good in math and wants to do more, but our neighborhood school doesn't even have ALO or walk to math. He'd gladly do an online class over the summer to quickly cover some new material (what a concept!) and then start working at a more appropriate level. It's not about pushing him to move ahead, it's about giving him an opportunity to do math that sounds interesting to him.

For others, waiting may be best. To each his/her own, no?

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

I would suspect that many students that are truly ready for Algebra 1 in 6th grade are doing additional math beyond the APP classwork. I would think carefully about placing a child in Algebra 1 for 6th grade based only on MAP scores. With the switch to another math program at TM, for example, more students were meeting the MAP cutoff for Algebra 1. It doesn't necessarily mean Algebra 1 is the best placement for all of them. If your child is very motivated and wants to push forward to Algebra 1, and is so motivated that they would even do math over the summer, then maybe Algebra 1 would be a good fit. The motivation really needs to come from your child.

The typical APP pathway of Algebra 1 in 7th grade will allow your child to access fairly high level math in high school, and you won't need to wonder if an appropriate class will be available come 8th grade.

As far as summer prep in elementary school, we were given the same line about not needing to do anything over the summer, but wish had had done some work over the summer. I'm not talking about tutoring or a formal class - just getting a Singapore workbook or something from Math-n-Stuff. It's much harder to supplement once the school year starts. Our child entered in 4th grade and would have benefited from some summer coverage of concepts. This was several years ago (in the days of EDM and CMP).

SusanH said...

Jessie: My son started in APP in 6th grade this year (Washington) after being in Gen Ed at a South Seattle school. It's been wonderful. He's having no problems keeping up with his APP language arts/social studies/science classes. The lessons are suddenly interesting, and the classmates are peers. It's the first time I've seen him inspired at all by school. I wouldn't worry about the leap. If your child tested in, he's probably ready for it. Your child won't be helplessly behind. And the teachers do a good job at teaching what needs to be taught (and don't assume the kids already know everything).

As far as math: math at Washington is separate from program placement; thus Washington APP 6th graders can go to 7th grade math, 8th grade math or Algebra 1. My son had a 249 math MAP, but we decided to put him in 7th grade math. We didn't want to overwhelm him, and since he had only done 5th grade math in Gen Ed, it was only a jump of one grade. It's been fine, easy for him. Not stressful. He plans to jump to Algebra 1 for next year, to catch up with his peers. Because it's his decision to challenge himself, we feel better than if we had forced him ahead before he was ready.

Probably more detail than you were looking for. But there's one perspective of the Gen Ed to APP jump. It's been great. :)

Anonymous said...

HIMSmom, can you elaborate on how your kid felt better prepared for MS than the kids coming out of APP elementary? That's not the first time I've heard that, and it gives me pause about APP elementary.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

My thought is that your kid will be really behind and having to catch up. Math progresses building on the knowledge already attained. It doesn't matter what kind of genius your kid is... They won't know information they have never been exposed to. If your kid is ready to learn two years of math in one summer, able to, and has an interest, then teach them the math over the summer to give them a strong start. There is no shame in helping your child learn what they are ready to learn, in fact that's your job. Not preparing your child, and setting them up for struggle in middle school, just because someone on a blog, thinks their kid already knows everything, would be shameful. If your kid has some things to learn and is ready to learn, then help them.

Jessie said...

Thanks for your very helpful comments about the transition to APP MS from gen ed elem. I didn't know about the math placement being separate. Now if I could just find out something about APP at JAMS! ;)

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 9:06

Our child ended up better prepared for APP middle school math coming from North Beach Elementary where the school used Saxon math. I can't say precisely where the improvements were but my kid certainly could do computation better than most of the APP kids in her math class. Of course, the irony was that she was not allowed to do computation in class because it conflicted with the district math curriculum. She sat through 6th grade math extremely bored and a bit angry. Unfortunately, to fulfill their capacity issues HIMS did not allow her to take Algebra I, despite the fact that other students with the exact same MAP scores were admitted to Algebra I and despite our entreaties. She actually told me she enjoyed district testing days because it was the only time she actually got to do math. While my kid has continued to excel in math grade-wise through 8th grade, both the use of the district's math program and the poor teachers she encountered at HIMS have, collectively, made her considerably less mathematically sound in my opinion. Our experience with math at HIMS has been very poor. You might have better luck at WMS or JAMS. If it were not for the inspirational cohort of friends she has met in the APP program (70% of which are switching to JAMS next year and leaving us behind), APP middle school at Hamilton would have been a complete scholastic bust. We are just trying to endure it.

I don't think you have to have pause about APP elementary per se, but if your elementary school has a better math program (some do, via a waiver from the district) then you should seriously consider staying unless the district sees fit to improve their math curriculum for all students.

-HIMSparent

Anonymous said...

Jessie-

The folks at JAMS are trying to get as much information out to families as possible. Visit www.jamsptsa.org and sign up for emails. That site also has links to the Fusion page that Principal Montgomery is updating.

The next open house is on Tuesday the 25th. The math lead teacher hasn't been announced yet, but the math pathway will be exactly the same as HIMS and WMS.

LH

Anonymous said...

HIMSparent,

Have you considered moving your daughter to JAMS next year? You would have to handle transportation yourself - but there will be space. If she is just enduring the academics and 70% of her friends are moving, I'd consider it.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to say, but I'd say that my kid feel better prepared for MS than the kids coming out of APP elementary for a couple reasons. I imagine it's really different for each kid though.

Probably the biggest factor was that because his classwork was so easy, it gave him both the time and incentive to take charge of his own learning--doing additional research on his own to get beyond the basic information presented, finding free online classes on topics of interest, etc. So while he didn't learn much at school, he actually was able to learn a lot during that period. He had to be a very independent and responsible learner.

Second, because the math curriculum at our neighborhood school was so weak and my kid loves math, we supplemented. With good math instruction, kids can actually go significantly ahead and have a strong foundation.

Third, my kid spent early elementary years in a non-SPS school. We didn't have Readers and Writers Workshop (I'm definitely not sold on that), and we had a decent science program. His 2nd and 3rd grade teachers did a great job at differentiation, too. I suspect there are some SPS teachers good at that as well, but we haven't seen it with any of our kids.

So those are the biggies, and now that I get it all down I see a theme: internal motivation to learn and willingness to push forward independently. It's hard to know whether that was just his nature, or whether being an outlier in a non-APP school contributed to that personal responsibility for learning.

HIMSmom

Lynn said...

News on the Advanced Learning task forces is available here.

Anonymous said...

I would agree with much of what HIMSmom said, except that our child is tired of having to be somewhat of an autodidact. Rather than being inspired, our child is building up resentment. A good attitude can only go so far when complaints about school have some validity. We also supplemented math at home and our child would do calculations by hand when classmates might reach for the calculator. I think the CMP/Discovering/RRW methods have a lot to do with the program weaknesses being discussed.

What's even more interesting is when you read the "Academics" link on the HIMS website there is no mention of APP. Nothing. Compare it to WMS. It's very telling.

HIMS2

Anonymous said...

I agree with HIMS mom. Our child was destined to repeat 4th grade EDM after having it in the 3rd grade (we moved from a walk-to-math school to a hell-no,-no-kid-is-ever-walking-to-math school, in a classroom that did not differentiate well or at all.) She was so bored.

So we supplemented with Singapore in 4th and 5th. Her Map scores we well above the Algebra cutoff and her 5th grade teacher felt strongly she should be placed in Algebra, but I knew she didn't have some key foundation elements for Algebra. I didn't want her to be bored in math, and the school we attend has a very strong Algebra teacher, so I had her use Alcumus over the summer. I can't say enough good about Alcumus. She dug it, and worked 20 minutes each day, and is doing great in Algebra. That is her favorite class, favorite teacher, and she uses words like "fun" to describe what they are doing.

Every kid is different, but getting our kid ready so that she could take Algebra was the right move for her.

SPS mom

Jessie said...

Thanks for the tips about math and finding out more info about APP. You are right- I found nothing about APP on HIMS site, but WMS mentioned it, but there isn't really any info that I could find, like who the teachers are, what the curriculum is, etc. I just don't know much about how it is usually structured. Are all the classes separate from the rest of the middle school? Are the teachers the same? How many APP 6th graders would there be, etc.?
I will go to a JAMS info night and ask some questions, but I know that other parents don't always appreciate it when there are a lot of questions about a specific program like APP. Thanks again for all the input. I'll look into that math program, too!

Anonymous said...

This year at Hamilton, 6th graders taking Algebra 1 are mixed in with older students taking Algebra 1. As math is considered ability based, gen ed, Spectrum and APP students are mixed in any given class. It means they may not have lunch with their 6th grade class. I believe some classes have been arranged so one semester they may have 6th or 7th grade lunch and the second semester they have the opposite. Multiple teachers have Algebra 1 classes this year: Mr. Buchanan, Mr. Pounder, and Ms. Anex. You can click on staff links on the Hamilton website to see their schedule. It was different last year, and will probably be different next year as part of APP transitions to JAMS. JAMS has said they will offer math through Algebra 2. That is the extent of what families know.

Anonymous said...

Are folks still waiting for their letters?
I wonder if this will affect turnout at Lincoln next year.

North end mom

Anonymous said...

North end mom,

It certainly could since many private school deposits are due around this time right?

-Moving

Anonymous said...

I'm also wondering if folks are still waiting on letters, mainly because I'm curious as to when the AL office will be finally able to shift to processing appeals.
ML

Anonymous said...

We just got our enrollment letters, but are still waiting on the test results for our son. Our rising 5th grader's enrollment letter does not indicate that she is APP-qualified. She qualified in 2nd grade. We kept her at her ALO school with ALO report card. (This was a time of change for APP - the split). MAPs are 99's and 98's down the line. No where does it say anything about how to enroll in APP. And the appeal window closed yesterday.

How far will SPS go to kill APP?

switcheroo

Anonymous said...

switcheroo, theres nothing weird about that and you shouldn't have any assumption that you'll need to appeal. I dont think the enrollment letters usually say anything about APP. They just indicate your default placement. You would need to research on your own what your APP middle school pathway is and enroll in it yourself via a choice form.

Anonymous said...

switcheroo,

Don't panic yet. I think the enrollment letter shows nothing about AL eligibility. It just shows the default enrollment if you don't submit a choice form during Open Enrollment. See the comments of the Friday Open Thread on Seattle Schools Community Forum: https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=28765366&postID=2210983074163529349

You can try calling or emailing the enrollment department on Monday for clarification if you can't get through to AL.

-Moving

Anonymous said...

North end mom,

We are -still- waiting on an eligibility letter for our middle kiddo (currently in K) - he has 99% MAP scores on both math & reading, so cautiously hoping he scored well enough on the CogAt to be done with testing, and honestly we prob won't appeal this year anyway, but the uncertainty is frustrating to say the least... 3

Anonymous said...

We're waiting on our letter here as well. Ridiculous.

- Southend Mom

Anonymous said...

We finally got our eligibility letter today. But I am confused! My kindergartner was given achievement testing based on high CogAt scores, but there is no mention of achievement test results in the letter.

Shouldn't it include those?

It only refers to his MAP scores, which made him spectrum eligible, but not APP. I thought fall MAP scores were not being used for Kindergartners?

Sand Point mom said...

Still waiting on our letter as well. I've moved beyond frustration into helpless resignation.

If I ever get the results and feel they're worth appealing, I'm going to do so - even if it's late. AL would be pretty bold if they were sticklers about deadlines at this point.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous from 2/22, 9:02pm:

I wonder if we experienced something similar last year. My son was in K and given Woodcock Johnson (WJ) for achievement testing after AP qualifying Cogat scores. We then received a letter stating he was Spectrum eligible without referencing the achievement scores. Our letter did not mention MAP scores. Then later we received a 2nd letter with the WJ scores which qualified for Spectrum. It was confusing. I called the Advanced Learning office then and they said that kindergartners in that situation were a small number and they intended to send a second letter out clarifying the WJ scores and Spectrum eligibility. Don't know why they referenced the MAP scores in your case - and I also don't know if they accept those for K. I hope you receive clarification soon.

Best Wishes

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for your reply. It sounds very similar to our situation.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 9:02

"But I am confused! My kindergartner was given achievement testing based on high CogAt scores, but there is no mention of achievement test results in the letter."

It sounds as if your kindergartner was administered the Woodcock Johnson Achv. Test. It may be an inadvertent mistake for instance the form letter did not get changed to reflect that the achievement tests results are the Woodcock Johnson. They are trying to get results out quickly and those kinds of slip ups sometimes can occur. Email the office with urgent delivery. Remind them that your student took the Woodcock Johnson and the letter references MAP scores. If they are MAPs ask them to mail the Woodcock Johnson results to you pronto. If the WJ and CogAT scores places your student in the APP range,they may reconsider without an appeal. But if you need to appeal, use the WJ to form the basis of an appeal.

NGC

TM/WMS mom said...

To the poster who asked about TM staffing, Principal Julie Briedenbach, who is wonderful, announced in January that she would leave to launch the new APP program in West Seattle. We are really sorry to see her go but she has built a vibrant school and a strong APP program and hopefully the next principal, who may be the interim principal, will maintain and continue to build the program.

It is not true that "half the staff" is leaving with Julie, but 3-4 teachers are, including our excellent band teacher, a 3rd grade teacher and at least one other. People come, people go at every school. If we have a strong new principal, and this is unfortunately never guaranteed with SPS, then TM should continue to do well. Great school, great teachers there.

Anonymous said...

Re: K kids and MAP scores, my understanding (from email exchanges with the AL Dept last week) is that Fall MAP scores can and will be used when they exist and are sufficiently high. For example, our kiddo wasn't called about the WJ test, so we assumed APP was off the table. But really, because he had Fall MAP scores of 99/99, the WJ wasn't given/needed.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for calming my nerves about my daughter's enrollment letter. I am appalled that the district sends these out with no accompanying information about program eligiblity. And they wonder why there are disparities in the programs!

We are *still waiting* for the results from our son's cogat test! I emailed AL (advlearn@seattleschools.org). It took them a few days, but they did reply. I was told we would have 10 days to appeal after notification, and that appeals would continue through open enrollment.

switcheroo

Private Testing Eschewer said...

Submitted our appeal for our 2nd grade daughter who qualified for Spectrum but not APP. Her MAP scores exceed the APP guidelines, but her CogAT scores just missed the threshold. The appeal consisted of a 2 page letter putting forth our argument (based largely on her history of high achievement on the MAP, examples of some work she has done and the lack of a Spectrum program at our current school) along with recommendation letters from four educators at her school. We are hesitant to submit to private testing due to how the "pay to play" doesn't allow an even playing field as well as simply not wanting to put that sort of pressure/expectations to perform on our daughter. We expressed these reasons in our appeal letter as well.

My question is: Is anyone here aware of any case in which this sort of plea (absent private testing) has caused the district to change a student's Advanced Learning eligibility? My level of optimism is close to zero, but we figured we'd give it a shot.

Anonymous said...

Eschewer, are you asking for the APP label so that you can switch to your APP school? When you mention lack of Spectrum, and if the letters from educators say that they can't serve your daughter at your neighborhood school, I would still think you could be told to transfer to an elementary that does offer Spectrum. Or are the educators saying she can only be served in APP? If this is truly what you believe, you should get the private test. It is no more pressure to perform than the school testing, if you frame it correctly.

Anonymous said...

Eschewer - I agree with the previous commenter. If you're fully against private testing, okay, but if you believe strongly enough APP is in the best interest of your child to get letters from four educators, why not take one more step to support your appeal? Given that SPS offers free individual testing with the same test most private psychologists use for families on free and reduced lunch who want to appeal, I don't know that I understand your reluctance based on uneven playing field. And I would argue that two hours of private testing is probably less stress in the long run than possibly years of mismatched education.

It sounds like you've put together a thoughtful, thorough, and logical appeal, but I'm afraid based on what I've heard from others over the years that it may be denied unless you can offer some more support with qualifying scores. If it turns out differently, please let us know so others can follow your lead in the future!
CS

Anonymous said...

Is the TM open house for APP on Wednesday 2/26 at 6:30? I can't find any info on their web site, but I think I heard that somewhere.

SE Mom said...

My understanding of an appeal, including our families experience, is that if you do not have the private testing scores that reach the required benchmarks,the appeal will not be successful.

Anonymous said...

Eschewer -

I will agree with previous posters. I admire your desire to take a higher moral ground, but I don't think it's worthwhile or a higher moral ground. You need to do what is right for your kid. Sadly, SPS isn't looking out for your kid.

-been there

Anonymous said...

Eschewer,

Just a note about not wanting to pressure your daughter by testing her privately: I protected my kids from the stress of testing by not telling them until the day of or the day before the test. Then I gave them a simple explanation like "They are going to ask you questions so they can decide what school would be best for you. Just do your best to answer the questions and we will find out which school would be the best for you."

Momof2

Anonymous said...

Eschewer, the private tester we used specifically advised us not to use the word "test," but rather to tell our kindergartener that she would be doing some work with him to tell us and his teachers how he learns best. (For my kid, saying that it had to do with which school would be best for him -- i.e., that we might change schools -- would have caused stress.) On the flip side, she also advised not to say she would be playing games with him, because then he might not come prepared to do what really is some significant mental work. Of course, a second grader may need a slightly different approach or wording, but those are some ideas.

Private Testing Eschewer said...

Thanks for all the thoughtful responses and suggestions regarding our decision to submit an appeal while forgoing private testing. Based on your feedback, it seems my low expectations are indeed warranted.

I agree that staking out the moral high ground on this issue may not serve our daughter well in the short term, but we feel very strongly that the current system is unfair. I'm aware that a provision is made to pick up the testing tab for those families which qualify for free and reduced lunch, but I don't feel that is more than a Band-Aid on a severely broken system. We're satisfied enough with our daughter's current situation that we feel waiting another year won't do her any harm at this stage.

To the question of why we don't move her to a school with a Spectrum program, the answer is that we are convinced that APP is where she belongs and so want to avoid disrupting her by placing her in what we feel would be only a short-term environment. This was also something that we covered in our appeal letter.

I'll definitely return to let you all know the outcome of our appeal. Does anyone have a feel on when we might receive a determination? The district's website is vague on the timeline and given the level of competence I have seen in the past I'm guessing we'll be lucky to hear anything before May.

Anonymous said...

Eschewer - I really do applaud your intentions. I do remember thinking the exact same thing when my oldest was in kindergarten. My views have evolved, I suppose. Years in this system will do that. I wish the system wasn't so broken as well. Best of luck with your appeal, and please do report back.

-been there

Anonymous said...

Dear Parents,
We are still awaiting the results for our Kindergartner. He took CoGat followed by WJ. I understand letters started flowing in - question is by when can we expect the results? Followed up with the Ad. learning department - no response.

Are many of Kindergarners still awaiting the test eligibility scores?

thx - anxious parent

Anonymous said...

anxious parent,
I posted above a few days ago. My K student finally got his letter on Saturday, but I feel it was incomplete. He took the WJ four weeks ago, but the letter mentions nothing about it. It includes only CogAT and MAP. I emailed dept 2 days ago, but haven't heard anything yet. Frustrating...now trying to get ready for appeal.

Please let us know when you get your letter and if it includes the WJ results.

-Frustrated mom

Lynn said...

Eschewer,

Will you pay for private testing next year if necessary? It's much easier to make a move when everyone is new than to be the new kid in a later year. The other thing to consider is that she might be happy enough now, but if she's miserable next year, she's stuck for the rest of the year in that situation. (We dealt with this and it's just not worth it.)

What is the change to the identification system you'd like to see? Are the test scores for APP qualification too high? Do you want APP to be available to any child whose parents feel they need it? Do you want individual IQ testing to be provided to every family who requests it? Should only the CogAT score be allowed?

Anonymous said...

Our kindergartener took W-J on 2/10 and we haven't heard anything yet. Neither has her classmate who took W-J the same day. Presumably her Cogat scores are APP eligible, otherwise she wouldn't have been given Woodcock-Johnson, and she has APP level winter MAP scores (she didn't take the fall MAP), so if she doesn't qualify for APP, we will probably just send her MAP scores in as an appeal.

We are at a spectrum school and don't plan to move to APP yet, so we will just enroll her in the spectrum program at our school. Even though we aren't considering a school change, and aren't weighing the pros and cons of private testing, the whole process is incredibly annoying.

I feel for the families who are considering a change and are running out of time to research and process their options.

I also feel for the families who don't understand this whole process. How can the district increase the diversity in their advanced learning programs when the testing and notification process is such a mess!

Anonymous said...

I thought that too, 11:37, but I now know two families whose kid was given the w-j without app qualifying cogat scores. We haven't received our letter yet either (kindergarten, was given w-j last month), and now I don't know what to think.

Anonymous said...

My 4th grade son tested in October and we have not heard anything about his results. I assumed he did not meet requirements but asked AL for a status out of curiosity.

I just received an email from AL advising that they have not scheduled achievement testing yet.

Huh???

Signed,
Totally and utterly confused and baffled parent of a private school child whose school requires a deposit shortly

Anonymous said...

AL eligibility requires two things: cognitive testing and achievement testing. It sounds like maybe he did the cognitive testing in Oct, (which sounds early honestly since the deadline to apply was Oct 3, and current SPS kids weren't tested until December at the earliest) but hasn't yet been scheduled for the kind of achievement testing that currently enrolled SPS kids take at their school. (For example, MAP testing.) He needs sufficient scores on both for APP...

Lynn said...

Yes - but I think the parent above is asking why it would take four months to score the CogAT and schedule achievement testing.

Anonymous said...

As a private school student, we also tested in Oct and just got our results, qualifying for APP. Does anyone know if they publish the final numbers of qualifiers, or those who choose to enroll?

-not sure

Anonymous said...

I'm very curious just how many CogAT tests they still have left to score. We haven't received our results and it sounds like there are still a lot of us in this boat. When does open enrollment end, and will we have any results before that??

Still waiting in the Southend

Lynn said...

The minutes of the final meeting of the first advanced learning task force are available here. It really was all about increasing the diversity of students in advanced learning programs.

Recommendations:
Keep the current nomination process
No mention of any changes to scores required for identification as highly capable
No mention of single domain qualification
Add a universal screener in the first two weeks of Kindergarten
Add another universal screener in second grade

What they apparently ignored: the requirement to provide an opportunity to be identified in 9th through 12th grades.

Maje said...

I'm at a loss on what I should do next to figure out what's going on with my kid's AL (missing) info. I've emailed them to confirm that she's in the pipeline. I tried to respect their request to keep emails to a minimum, but after a week and a half with no response I tried again.

Now I'm wondering if I should proactively do an appeal test. Or maybe nothing because I can't even get confirmation that they're processing the application. So frustrating.

Anonymous said...

Jessie,
Our son moved from a gened elementary school to APP at HIMS this year. I was nervous about the transition, but it has all gone really well. He has made all A's, is happy, and homework isn't nearly as high as we'd been led to belive. Most nights he has about 20-30 minutes and the most I've seen him do is an hour. He is pretty motivated and organized, but in no way a perfectionist. Now I sometimes wonder if APP is all that advanced, to be honest. However, he is happy to go to school and has said that he really likes how it's ok to be a nerd at HIMS (and that there are even a wide array of types of nerds!).

He missed the MAP score cut-off to take Alg 1 by a point and I was relieved not to have to make that decision at the time. However, if he had acored 1 point higher and I could make that decision based on what I know now, I would have put him in alg 1. We likely would have supplemented over the summer - just to be prepared and because he would have enjoyed it (he's pretty much a math hungry kid). He's pretty bored in 8th grade math at HIMS, which is a bummer. It is possible that boredom is not just the curriculum, but the teacher he has.
HIMSmomalso

Anonymous said...

Can anybody give updates on the Spectrum program at Hawthorne Elementary? Perspectives?

reader

Anonymous said...

For what my kid tells me, the entire test was filling in bubbles. So what needs to be manually scored in order to get Cogat results out the door in a timely fashion?

--dumbfounded.

Lynn said...

Dumbfounded,

The meeting minutes I posted above at 10:36 last night indicate that the company that publishes the test also scores it for us. Apparently the test booklets are fed into a scanner here - and Riverside Publishing was not able to receive or process the data. Something like that anyway.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Lynn. That at least explains the delay.

Anonymous said...

I am so confused about what to do. We have both kids in an ALO school, but one qualifies for Spectrum (1st grader), the other APP (4th grader). We tour Lincoln tomorrow, but I'm unsure about splitting them up, and also unsure about putting my APP kid in Lincoln if he's just going to switch to JAMS next year. Sooo...would love some feedback on this plan:

Both go to Jane Addams in the fall for Spectrum (2nd and 5th), and my APP kid moves into APP the following year for 6th.

Am I missing some fatal flaw in this plan? My younger child is not as academically inclined, but my APP kid is being bullied and is very unhappy at our neighborhood ALO school. That's my one hesitation in putting him in Spectrum, as I feel the separate cohort might be best for him. Would it be weird to have him at Lincoln for just one year? Would he find friends? He's very social, but he's also just very different from his current peers.

I (sincerely) welcome all feedback!

-Confused NE Mom

Anonymous said...

I would just tour and see. It's my impression that at least in previous years the spectrum population at Jane Addams at that grade (now 4th) has not been very robust, and they are clustering, so likely it will be the same classroom make up you have now. I think it's a lovely school many people like, but I sort of doubt the experience day to day will be very different for your current 4th grader, though it would be a shift away from the bully which might help enough on its own. I have split kids, 2 at Lincoln, one somewhere else, with no plans to change. Most people do.

It seems to me girls generally have a harder time switching after about 3rd grade, but I don't hear as much about boys. Probably worth asking, though of course the biggest factor is your individual child. Would many friends he made next year at the k-8 switch with him to JaMS? Or would he be starting over two years in a row?

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the thoughts. I wonder how many current Lincoln APP kids live in the NE and will go to middle school at JAMS? If he went to Lincoln and had to transition twice, it would be a lot easier if there were some other kids doing the same.

-Confused NE Mom

Anonymous said...

I have a 4th grader who is new this year, so I am worried about that too! I hear it would be about half his class. Can't say for sure it would be who he chose for friends, but it is a lot of kids, especially in this grade.

I bet you'll know more once you tour, whether the class make up seems different enough that it's worth the split and transition, whether the 5th grade teachers seem like teachers you want for him, whether the academic level seems appropriate, etc. It's tough, I know.

pm said...

I think that there is some confusion about Jane Addams middle school and Jane Addams K-8. The school that is currently housed in the K-8 building is moving next year to the building that currently houses Pinehurst and the school will be changing its name. The Jane Addams building will be occupied by a completely new middle school that has nothing to do with the existing school. The new school will house general ed and Spectrum students from the north and north-northeast. It will also house all of the APP middle school students living in the Eckstein and Jane Addams reference areas. So, if your student attends Lincoln, about a third of the class will be moving on to Jane Addams. If your student attends the K-8, very few of those students will be moving to Jane Addams.

Anonymous said...

Just a slight correction to the post above: Jane Addams K-8 is moving and changing its name next year, but it is not moving into the Pinehurst K-8 building. Jane Addams K-8 will spend the next 2 years in the John Marshall building, then in fall 2016 moves into a new building that will be constructed on the current Pinehurst K-8 site.

Shannon Adams said...

My friend and I both had our kids tested for AL in October and as of today (26th Feb) neither of us have heard a thing. Last year, her son tested into APP easily, this year he did not even get called back for the second round of testing. A friend whose kid is in 2nd grade at Lincoln, and routinely scores 98th percentile MAPs was scored 33rd percentile. The AL office said she might have had a bad day.

I am getting the sense that AL screwed up something significant and are doing damage control.

Anonymous said...

Shannon, confused by your post. Why is a current second grader at Lincoln taking it again?

Anonymous said...

Shannon, same question. Also, what are you implying? They are making scoring mistakes?

juicygoofy said...

From the Whittier Elementary PTA newsletter comes a posting from current 5th grade GenEd teacher, Julia Ward. It announces that she has accepted the position of lead science teacher at JAMS for 2014-15, and reads, "I am beyond excited about the opportunity to build a new science program."

Anonymous said...

Last year my daughter scored a 75 in reading and 0 (not enough questions answered to score) in math. So I asked for them to take a look at her answer sheet. There had been a scanning error, and her actual scores were 99 and 98, and she qualified for APP.

Just sayin'

Anonymous said...

Posted this on the other thread but that thread seems to be dead now so I'm reposting here. I apologize if that's not Kosher.

What's HIMS going to be like next year, best guess? If you had to list the top 3 reasons to send a 7th grader there, what would they be? And the top 3 reasons to not send said 7th grade-to-be student, what would they be?

My thoughts are that our current middle school is working fine, with some good and some lousy teachers, my kid might benefit from friends who like to discuss the obscure things she does, it preserves the options of Garfield and Ingraham, and because of the split kids might be more open to making new friends than they otherwise would.

She's fine where she is but isn't socially invested. She's extremely bright and not terribly challenged, even in Algebra, although she's not particularly intense nor competitive, and doesn't want to be a super achiever. She just wants to be interested and not bored, and I think she'd enjoy some kids who like to ponder the nature of consciousness and deconstruct Sherlock episodes and think math is really fun.

She wants to learn the cello. She's accomplished at piano.

Any thoughts?

asdf

Thanks for the insight

Anonymous said...

Well, we just toured Lincoln today and I'll say two things: 1) the teachers we talked with seemed truly inspired. I could imagine our kid absolutely salivating over many of the special projects we heard about. 2) We saw many, many students talking excitedly to each other about what they were learning.

Still not sure whether we'll make the switch next year, but our impression was a good one.

Anonymous said...

Hi - I know Spectrum seats are not guaranteed for all Spectrum eligible kids in elementary, but the enrollment office has repeated told me Spectrum seats are in fact guaranteed in middle school. I suppose that makes sense since all middle schools have a Spectrum program (right?), but can anybody confirm this? I have a Spectrum eligible 5th grader who did not receive an automatic Spectrum assignment for 6th and I'm trying to sort it out. Enrollment says to just submit a school choice form and it will be "automatic" but I guess I'm not so sure.

Thank you in advance - 5th Grade Parent

Anonymous said...

I have a Spectrum eligible 5th grader who did not receive an automatic Spectrum assignment for 6th and I'm trying to sort it out. Enrollment says to just submit a school choice form and it will be "automatic" but I guess I'm not so sure.

@fifth grade parent - advanced learning states they will have caught up all the paperwork by the time enrollment is processing the forms. so your student's spectrum status will be updated in the system by then.

hope this helps.

been there done that