Thursday, February 13, 2014

Should you go to APP?

Parents are getting eligibility letters now. Let's open a Q&A about whether APP is a good idea for your situation.

There's been a lot of discussion in the previous open thread on this already. Concerns seemed to be stability of APP in Seattle, whether it is worth moving to the Eastside or elsewhere, whether private schools are better, the extent to weight the preferences of the child (especially very young children), and how worth it is to keep siblings together when one might be in APP and one might not. Let's keep the discussion going here.


Anonymous said...

SOME parents are getting eligibility letters.... And some of us don't have a god damn clue where our kid stands, and zero ability to appeal a rejection that may or may not even be coming.... We opted out of APP at the elementary level for our oldest, for several reasons - strong ALO program (for him at least, has definitely taken advocacy on our part, I know not everyone has been as lucky), a neighborhood school we really love with a strong cohort of AG and AHG kids, younger siblings coming up to that school, and some concerns both about the stability of Lincoln and the racial/economic make-up there.... Plus a real sense of friends and community that my son is bonded to and that we'd be very sad to leave.... All that said, my second kid is very different, and not finding the same cohort at this point. So if I could ever get a damn letter, I might make a different choice this time around....

Torn said...

We got my 1st grader's letter yesterday, with pretty much the highest test scores possible. I previously have not considered changing schools; our neighborhood school has an ALO program and my son has a close circle of friends there. However, he does admit to being bored academically and hearing about more people's experiences with ALO programs it sounds like they might not necessarily meet the needs of APP qualified students.

It also looks like APP at Lincoln would not be able to provide bus service - is this true?

I'd love to hear from people who have decided either for or against pursuing APP in the elementary years.

If your child is at APP, has keeping up with homework taken over their life? Are they socially better or worse off?

If you decided against it, how is your ALO or Spectrum program working out for your child?


Anonymous said...

Torn, have you visited the APP elementary school in your area? If not, I recommend going on a tour. What works for first graders in ALO often ceases to work for advanced learners as they get into third through fifth grades.

If friends are a big consideration, I counter with the fact that it's easier to make new friends when you enter a new school when many others are entering it too.

-Just my two cents

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure where the idea of APP=lots of homework comes from. We are in our 3rd year of APP with 2 kids and we have not found the homework to be onerous at all. Seems to follow the 10 min X grade that is widely touted as being reasonable. Doesn't seem like a 'pressure cooker'/'race to the top' sort of environment at all.
I believe an advantage of APP may be that generally the kids are able to work on appropriately challenging material at school, and move through it a a pretty good pace, rather than having the higher-performing kids do more advanced or extra work (i.e. worksheets) at home to challenge them.
I don't want my kids to be overburdened by homework and prefer them to do most of their work/learning while they at school.

Happy with homework so far

Anonymous said...

Why do you think Lincoln won't have buses next year? They will. It's not an option school.

Our family put a young child into APP because we think it's critical for a child to learn how to learn, to learn how to recover from mistakes, and to learn how to persevere when the stakes are low. The only way that can happen is if the child is actually challenged on a regular basis in school.

If your child is bored and everything always comes easy, how will he react in high school or college when suddenly faced with academic challenges for the first time? It's important for these kids to learn that effort leads to results. Having everything come easily, without ever having to work at it, leads to underachievement and fear of taking risks later in life. Many of the current books for parents of gifted kids discuss these issues - underachievement, risk avoidance - in detail.

And, no, our experience at Lowell and Lincoln has not been excessive homework. In fact, the homework has been pretty light, which is fine with us, although it varies by teacher and grade level. Some grades get a packet due on Monday, some get homework every night. Many days, our child does math homework on the bus and has the evenings at home fairly free.

--happy Lincoln family

Anonymous said...

@Torn - bottom line, do what you think is best for your child and know that you can always change your mind. Seriously. I know one family whose son came in 1st grade and while it was better for him academically and though he seemed to make friends and be fine socially, he was very unhappy for whatever reason and they took him out the following year. If that's the worst thing that can happen from making the "wrong" decision, there really is no wrong decision. Same goes if you don't do APP. You're at an ALO school and his eligibility will remain and if things don't improve in 2nd grade, you can opt for APP in 3rd grade.

That said, my older child entered APP in 3rd from private school. Academically, he's much better off and that has also led to much better classroom behavior. He's a social kid but has some "quirks" or "intensities" if you will that can have some social implications. All in all, I feel he has adapated well and this was a very fortunate option for us as I think he is thriving. Would he have if he didn't go to APP? Who knows...there's no guessing and doing a redo to find out.

My second child started in 1st grade. This was primarily because having both kids at the same school was much, much, easier for us logistically. I think she could have been OK at her ALO school but I know she was already bored in K (many kids are, though, right?).

For both kids, homework is not a big deal. There is a lot of time given in class to do work and the homework they bring home is minimal. There is definitely a lot of conscious effort to keep the work to a minimum. Even if there's too much homework (not including projects), I think teachers are very understanding about it if they know the kid spent 20 minutes trying to do what they could.

There will continue to be bus service for APP.

The hardest part for my kids and the biggest complaint is not about anything classroom/academic related. The lunchroom is so small that they have to have many shifts thereby reducing the amount of time they get to eat. You don't have the traditional/typical playground spaces you find at an elementary school because APP is at a former high school. And, being on the 4th floor means climbing lots of stairs or losing recess, class, or lunch time just to get to where you need to go. Otherwise, they really have made friends and they are an environment with kids similar to them and teachers who understand them and are meeting their needs better than I think they would get at their previous schools. If community is really important to you, especially if you have a great neighborhood school community, be aware that there is less of that in APP because of the geographic draw.

I think as parents, we really overthink this stuff. I've been there and done it so it's not a criticism as much as my way of saying, don't be too hard on yourself. I second guessed our decision all summer before my son started because of all the craziness SPS brings upon itself. All I can say is that our decision worked for our family. I think if it didn't, we would have figured out or tried something else. It's too hard to predict whether the decision you make now will be the right one until you see it in action.

Go with your gut.
Happy with APP

Anonymous said...

Are there statistics available that demonstrate learning by APP kids at Lincoln vs. APP-level kids who choose to stay at their neighborhood schools (preferably by individual school)? Would be nice to see some analysis that could help inform decisions. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it would be great to see some analysis like that. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like the district does any such thing.

I believe the APP evaluation done many years ago by external evaluators did look at that, and the results weren't good. I don't recall whether there was a good explanation for that finding though. My hunch is that they just ignored the findings, like they did most of the recommendations.


Anonymous said...

I don't understand how you could do an analysis like that. All kids are different. Besides, statistics about what happened to/fo hundreds of other kids is not going to tell you squat about your kid. That's the fallacy in using statistics. Example, you flip a coin 100 times and 85% of the time, it comes up heads. What are the odds you'll get heads on the next flip? 50%. Except, kids don't come in neat heads or tails outcomes. Based on what we share on this blog, you have to decide if you think APP would be a good fit for you child. There are no guarantees. So, gather what anectodal information you can because that's what there is and decide if APP is the right fit for you. It's not that different than applying for college or getting a job. Parents are looking for some kind of guarantee or quantitative data to make an analysis and I don't believe there's any real way to do that. And, even if those kinds of statistics are available? They don't predict how your child will do or how much they'll learn.


Anonymous said...

We're deciding whether to send our kindergartener to Lincoln next year and are wondering about logistics: Is there an after-school care program on site? I see the activities listed, but is there anything else?

Maple Leaf or Wedgwood families: What time do your children usually get home on the bus, and how long would you say their bus ride is, on average?

These seem like little details, but I'm thinking they will affect our quality of life quite a bit, so appreciate any input!
-Maple Leafer

Anonymous said...

@Maple Leafer...we live in Wedgwood, between Eckstein and Wedgwood Elem. The bus from there is very reliable and relatively short. It's about a 15-18 minute ride from our stop though the bus route starts much earlier and we're near the tail end. The kids are off the bus around 410 most of the time. My kids do not use the after school program, Kids Time (which is on site), or any of the other activities (separate from Kids Time). There are before and after school activities from languages, sports, some technology related, etc... Since my kids are in other activities separate from school, we do have to pick them up several times a week and picking up is crazy, soon to be crazier with some nearby construction. Some of these little things definitely matter and affect the family as a whole.


Anonymous said...

Hi Maple Leafer. Our kids go to the onsite Kids' Co. for before- and after-school care, as well as early-dismissal days, teacher training days and school breaks (they offer full days for those). It's open 7am-6pm.
--Current family

Anonymous said...

Thanks kp and current family - these details are helpful!
-Maple Leafer

Anonymous said...

Can someone tell me about the level of teaching with regards to subjects other than math and reading? Do students in APP work two levels ahead in only math and reading? Are other subjects taught either at a more advanced level or in greater depth than other elementary schools?

Anonymous said...

Thoughts on whether or not to send 1 kids (APP) to Lincoln, while other kids stays at neighborhood option school with ALO (Spectrum qualified kid)? Would like to here from any families with experience of splitting kids.

37 Questions said...

I was in the same boat when we were trying to decide whether to send our APP qualified son or keep him in our neighborhood school with his
Spectrum qualified twin sister. We opted to send him to Lincoln and it was a great decision. He's thriving. Sis qualified for APP this year and we're not sure lincoln is the right choice for her, but we'll likely try and if she has problems we'll move her back to our neighborhood school, and try app in middle school.

It is a tough choice, and it is very hard to be involved in two schools with two 1st graders. There also is the chance of resentment among siblings, in our case our daughter is jealous of her brother. But our situation is a bit different because they are in the same grade and that complicates the situation.

go with your gut - you know your kids.

Jen C

Anonymous said...

Can anyone offer wisdom on explaining the move to Lincoln to your kindergartener? I'm wondering about timing of this talk as well as how to explain why she's moving. She has definitely imprinted on her current school so although I think this is the right choice for her, I'm afraid this will be a tough talk when we do it.
-Maple Leafer

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how difficult it would be to change your enrollment decision once open enrollment is closed? It's my understanding that if a student is qualified for APP, they are guaranteed a seat at an APP school if they choose. The reverse is not the case regarding Spectrum, even if it's your neighborhood school. Does anyone know for certain?

We are really on the fence with our decision. Our K (APP qualified) child is very happy at our current school that does offer Spectrum. And we have another child in the same program. We are considering the move for academic reasons only.

My thinking is that if we selected spectrum during open enrollment but changed our mind at some point before the start of next school year we would be able to request the move and still be able to get it. On the other hand, if we choose APP and realize it's not the right decision, it will be far less likely that we'll get a Spectrum seat at our neighborhood school.

Can anyone offer any toughs on my thinking?

37 Questions said...

It can be tough. We handled it by discussing the possibility with him. We told him we were still deciding, which was true. After the tour he was really excited and wanted to go. I try to be straightforward with my kids - it works for our family, but every family handles things differently.

At the end of the day it is your decision. I personally do not believe younger kids have enough experience or rationality to make big decisions.

Jen C

37 Questions said...

Anon @ 10:06

I have one that is at Lincoln and one in Spectrum. Personally, I would not move my kid because of the apparent disintegration of the program. However, our school has ALO opportunities so she maintained her designation at or neighborhood school. Does your neighborhood school offer ALO?

you can pick any school you want - if you don't get in (spectrum schools often have waiting lists) or change your mind, they will automatically assign you to your neighborhood school.
Jen C

Anonymous said...

Jen C, our neighborhood school is a spectrum school. But we wouldn't be guaranteed a spectrum sea, correct? If we went first with app and realized it was not the best choice for us?

Our current decision is to stay at current neighborhood school in spectrum or move to app. (K child)

When you say "disintegration of the program" are you referring to app or spectrum? You are considering moving your spectrum daughter to app, right? So I assume you mean disintegration of spectrum? I haven't heard that at our school although I know it's different everywhere.

Anon 10:06

37 Questions said...

Anon @ 10:06

Since your school offers Spectrum, I think you would get a seat, but I haven't been in that situation. Hopefully someone can answer that for you. And yes, I was referring to the disintegration of the Spectrum program.

It all depends on your kid. My daughter has the exact same cog scores as her brother, but due to certain other complications app may not be the best bet. If it doesn't work, she will return to our neighborhood school. She will still retain APP designation if she takes an ALO.

Jen C

Anonymous said...

My child qualified for ALO & Spectrum. He is currently enrolled at Muir (4th grade), which has a Spectrum program but not ALO. I've been trying to find some information somewhere that compares the difference between these two programs but can't find a thing. I'd rather he finish out 5th grade at Muir so I'll be applying to the Spectrum program, however, I feel like I'd be doing him a disservice if I didn't at least take a look at what ALO could offer at a different school.

Anonymous said...

Spectrum schools (like Whittier in my neighborhood) are Spectrum designated schools for the whole region. So for example, Whittier is the Spectrum designated school for the whole NW region of the school district. All students who qualify and choose to enroll in Spectrum at Whittier have equal chance of getting in. If there are 31 Spectrum first grade seats and 29 kids in the NW region test in, then all of those students get a seat for first grade. However, if there are 31 Spectrum seats in first grade and 41 students test in, then the district does a lottery draw for who gets in. 31 will get a Spectrum first grade seat and 10 will not get in. It doesn't matter that Whittier is your neighborhood school or if your child is already enrolled as a kindergartener there, there is no preferential enrollment for those students. Some Spectrum schools in the district have more students wanting a Spectrum seat than there are available (Whittier), and other Spectrum schools have more seats and not enough students.

Currently, if you test in to Spectrum or APP but don't choose to enroll in that program and you're attending a district designated ALO school, you get to keep your Spectrum or APP status for future years. You don't have to re-test and can choose to enroll in that program on a space available basis at a later date. However, the district has a committee looking at how it admits students into its Advanced Learning programs for the future, what testing criteria should be used, delivery models, etc. I personally wouldn't bank on the guarantee that if you test into Spectrum or APP now and choose to stay at your ALO school that you'll continue to be able to opt-in to a Spectrum or APP school in future years. Spectrum and APP are very over-crowded with no space to grow, so I imagine that things are going to be changing in the next year or two.


Anonymous said...

Thank you, North-ender. Your spectrum thinking is similar to mine. Do you know about APP? I thought it was guaranteed admission for qualifiers? (We would be able to go from Spectrum to App but not likely app to spectrum since there are not enough spectrum seats.) My concern is realizing we selected the wrong program Prior to the start of next school year (after initial assignments have been made), not changes between school years that can be amended during the next open enrollment.

Anon 10:06

37 Questions said...

APP elementary kids are guaranteed a spot in lincoln or TM, if you select it as your first choice during open enrollment. I believe latecomers are "if space allows" but I'm not 100% sure. They may be guaranteed a spot too.

Anonymous said...

Currently if you qualify and apply for APP during open enrollment, you're guaranteed a spot. If you change your mind after open enrollment like over the summer before school starts, you're put on a wait list and admitted if space is available. Lincoln is expected to grow to 650-700 students next year and there was a waiting list over last summer in some grades. TM is also pretty darn full and continuing to grow, bringing in portables each year it seems. So if you think you might change your mind after open enrollment and try to get in to APP over the summer, you're taking a risk of being placed on a waitlist and possibly not getting in if classes at that grade level are full.

My concern is when I hear people who want to stay at their ALO and keep their Spectrum/APP status for years to come. Since the district is reviewing the entrance criteria and delivery model of all Advanced Learning programs, you have to imagine that they are doing it with the idea that they want to change some things. With APP growing at such a high rate and limited space for new students around the district, something has to give. APP is going to be co-located with Pinehurst k-8 and the Indian Heritage Program starting next fall, and there is talk of having Lincoln be an overflow site for Hamilton's students as it outgrows its building. The district is really stretching Lincoln's capacity starting next year so APP at Lincoln doesn't have unlimited room for growth. It will be interesting to see how the district thinks all of these students are going to cram into Lincoln in the next 3 years before the building becomes a high school again.

Students being able to retain their Spectrum or APP status at ALO schools will be reviewed just like all of the other components of Advanced Learning. As a long time APP parent, we've experienced a tremendous amount of instability and change from the district over the years and I expect that this will continue for years to come (for Spectrum and APP). What we all know now will certainly be changing as the district grapples with its severe capacity issues. So, as a long time APP parent I guess I'm quite wary of any promises or expectations that the district makes because they've majorly changed things on APP about every 2 years since we've been around. If it were me, I'd be wary of expecting to keep my Spectrum/APP status for years to come without having to re-test or re-apply.

If you think APP or Spectrum might be right for your child, take a tour. Check out the school environment, the teachers, the kids, talk to the parents and staff on the tour. You'll find the right fit and trust your gut. We're grappling with which high school to send our child to right now so we're in the midst of tours and decision making as well. I'm reminding myself of "go with your gut" as we tour schools too.

Best wishes.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to so many for your constructive feedback. Two questions:

Jen C or others who know- Which tour did you take with your child? My sense is the upcoming tours are for parents. When can kids tour?

Question: Our notification letter explicitly states there will be no bus service to ALO schools. This can be interpreted a number of ways. Does anyone know for sure if there will or will not be bus service to Lincoln?

Many thanks!

37 Questions said...

The kids have an open house - I think it's in April. The kids do a scavenger hunt that takes them around the school, they get a chance to meet their potential teacher and meet some other kids..

There is no testing to determine ALO status, the classes are open to any students. ALO allows kids to move along more quickly in certain subjects, dependent on what the school offers. There is no special transportation for ALO/Spectrum kids. APP offers students in its attendance area (north or south of the cut), at least for now.

Jen C

Anonymous said...

Thanks for mentioning the open house for kids Jen C. So the incoming first-graders get a chance to do that too? I think that would really help my little one get excited.
-Maple Leafer

37 Questions said...

Maple leafer - yes, all grades are involved. First graders for sure - at that point they are all new to the school, not just joining an existing cohort. It's a pretty fun night.

Anonymous said...

37 questions is referring to the ice cream social in May. Each grade also typically does a few summer play dates that seem to primarily draw new student families. I think there's a lot of effort by returning families to make new kids and families feel welcome.


Anonymous said...

@Jen C do you know of other families that have 1 APP kid and one not? What is their experience? Our current school is an option school w/ALO. I can say I am certain the academic challenge would be more at Lincoln. Can't decide if we are depriving the APP kid if we don't move.

Any thoughts on the uncertainty of Lincoln's future and/or the future of APP as a separate cohort in general?

Anonymous said...

anon at 7:13-

I don't have two kids, just the one who entered APP in first grade, so can't speak to the challenge of multiple schools. However, personally, my perspective is that the best academic setting for AHG learners is in self contained classrooms with other AHG learners. I don't think that the ALO format or the non-self contained spectrum classrooms can do as right by our AHG kids as APP can.

The idea that all teachers should be able to differentiate all the way from special needs up to AHG and that a math or reading pull out is going fill the gap for the AHG kid just doesn't make sense to me, personally. Even in the APP classroom there is a wide range of abilities, and it is really impossible to do everything.

But it looks to me like the District staff and some board members are on a mission to push APP back into the neighborhood schools in an integrated classroom model. Many people want to split APP At Lincoln into smaller pieces and don't think a stand alone APP elementary school is "ok". It took a significant amount of work to push back on the district and NOT split into two during the last growth boundary vote. AND there is still no commitment that APP at Lincoln will move to WP elementary at a whole in 2017 when it is supposed to open.

They will be voting EVERY YEAR now on boundaries, so it is likely to come up again next fall, and given the current Task Forces and so forth, I think that if the district staff and others get their way, APP at Lincoln will be split up and distributed again, just as APP at HIMS was spilt off to JAMS, and those same families are once again starting up a new school.

I think that most APP at Lincoln parents would tell you that it is an awesome school, and provides so much that Spectrum and ALO don't/can't/didn't provide.

But it has been a fight with the district to get reasonable resources (the PTA completely funded the library, painted the walls, got carpet and so on after these kids were plopped down into this 100 year old high school building) and it will take a lot of advocacy on our part to keep it from being split into tiny pieces, and even with that we might not be successful.

I love the school, the teachers, the principal and the students. It is an awesome community of super engaged, smart, companionate and lovely people. And the district doesn't seem to want to support it, but wants to split it up.

The future is uncertain, but I still wouldn't put my kid in the neighborhood school spectrum program, because it isn't the right fit.

--APP at Lincoln rocks

Joshua said...

How can we get our son in to take a tour of Lincoln APP? We are preparing our son to attend next year and he's very anxious, does not want to shift and leave friends behind. Our son's counselor told us that many kids get excited upon seeing the school. But the official tour on February 27th is for adults only. What's the protocol for getting the kids in to see these schools?

Jessie said...

Anybody know anything about APP at JAMS?

Anonymous said...

JAMS fusion page

Feb 25, 6:30-7:30 - Open House

Feb 26, 6:00-7:00 - Planning meeting for current middle school students headed to JAMS

Anonymous said...

In the past, do parents feel it is primarily children who are unhappy in their current schools who move to APP for first grade, or do parents whose kids are loving school make the switch then too? We can certainly see that our kindergartener is under-challenged currently, but she is really good at entertaining herself and loves class anyway. Part of me thinks we should wait to move her until boredom becomes more of a problem, but I also like the idea of her getting to meet lots of other "new" kids who are moving to Lincoln at the same time. Thoughts?

Anonymous said...

There will be an open house in May for new families.

Anonymous said...

This question (whether to move a happy kindergartener) was asked at a Thurgood Marshall tour last year. The parents leading the tour suggested that if your child is qualified, you're likely to move them to APP at some point - and the transition is easiest in first grade when everyone is new.

Kindermom said...

Joshua, we also wanted our child to see the school in action, so we simply dropped by one afternoon in April or May after our school day ended. Lincoln ends at 3:35pm, so we just walked the halls a little--I had done a tour and knew where some of the key rooms were (library, reading room, first grade rooms). It's not the same as an actual tour for students, but it was nice to do it at our own pace.

Anon, we had a happy kindergartner, but we came to the same conclusion: she would top out at our neighborhood school, and we would want to move her at some point. I would rather her be part of the first grade cohort from the beginning instead of joining in a later grade.

Anonymous said...

Can I ask as gently as possible that people please not just drop in generally? The number of people who tour Lincoln is staggering to me, and it is already extremely disruptive. We have a lot of kids with anxiety issues, and families wandering the halls is really detrimental to their learning environment. Of course one family isn't going to hurt- but so many people come just to check it out (understandably). It's not like a neighborhood school that way- many people come just to see what it is like, to see if they want to test.

If you want your kid to see the school, maybe come to an event. There is an open house in May, which is a nice time, or maybe after the school day is over. There are after school clubs, so it won't be like just wandering empty hallways. I absolutely understand that you need to make the transition smooth for your child, but next year you'll be the one trying to keep things regular for your kid during tour season!

Anonymous said...

How many first-grade classes are there at Lincoln this year? Have people been pleased with their first-grade experience so far?

Anonymous said...

I have a first grader at Lincoln this year. There are three classes, two of 23 students and one of 22. We've been pleased so far. The transtion was tough for our child for roughly a month, but child now adores classmates and seems to be thriving in school. In our view, it is incredibly valuable to have our child in a group of peers from whom the child learns and who challenge the child intellectually -- its important to us that our child not think of him/herself as intellectually gifted. Our child's particular teacher has high expectations for the kids, but is also a nurturing person. We're not thrilled with the math curriculum, which often seems developmentally (but not intellectually) off -- e.g., the places to write answers are too small for a first grader who's still working on handwriting. We are also not thrilled with the apparent lack of support for the program from the district and the potential for instability that causes. But other than those two concerns, we are pleased with the school and our decision to send our child there.

first grade parent/lincoln

The Lorax said...

My 4th grader just tested in to APP from a private K-5 school. We were initially taking this test as "practice" for middle school next year. However, we're having some financial issues that make continuing in private school a bit daunting. She is perfectly content where she is and getting the extension she needs, so it's not like we have non-financial reasons to switch her now vs waiting for one more year. Has anyone made the switch for one year at Lincoln before going on to Hamilton? Was it helpful socially...or is it better (if we can afford it) just to wait and send her in 6th grade when there are lots of new students coming in? (Assuming that she tests in again.)

I am planning on going to the Lincoln open house next week...which will surely help us decide... but was wondering if any of you have insight into what transferring is like for kids in late elementary grades. Good or bad idea?

Thanks much!
The Lorax

Anonymous said...

To The two cents is that it is easier to transfer in 5th, so the kids know each other before middle school. While a big group does come in at middle school, our experience has been that the kids hang with their elem buddies - like the 4-5 kids who come from a View Ridge or Bagley to APP will hang out, while the kids from Lincoln are by far the biggest group. They do mix more by 7th grade, but if you're coming from private, there probably won't be too many others so 6th grade could be rougher socially. I'd move in 5th - a bunch of my kids' friends came to Lowell (then Lincoln) in 4th or 5th from private for the same reasons you mentioned, and by the end of 5th grade they were just as much a part of the group as anyone else, and 6th grade transition was easy.
-Old Time APP parent

Anonymous said...

Lorax, if I were in your position and we could make it financially, I might be inclined to wait a year since you said your daughter is doing well both socially and academically.

I have a kid who started a new school in 5th grade, then entered APP in 6th. While we did fine with the back-to-back transition years at the time, when the following year came around and we were able to stay in place, it felt so much nicer to have that stability. Switching schools adds a little bit of stress for the whole family.

About half (?) the APP 6th graders are new to APP, so I doubt your daughter would feel left out. My kid only had 1 other kid coming from his previous school (not a friend), but he knew a couple others through sports. Even if you know a dozen kids, you're not likely to end up in classes with many of them, though. But the kids who do end up in your class, tend to end up in multiple classes with you, due to scheduling issues. So you get to know them pretty quickly. It may be a bit awkward at first trying to figure out who to sit with at lunch, but people seem to find familiar faces pretty quickly.

Also, remember that things will be a little different with APP middle school transitions starting next year. With the new JAMS APP program, the Lincoln 6th graders will be dispersed to two different schools for 6th grade. The new friends your daughter makes may not end up with her in middle school anyway.


The Lorax said...

Thanks for your feedback, Old Time APP Parent and HIMSmom! You both make good points! In some ways, it would be better to set her up socially for middle school. However, I forgot to consider the JAMS factor this year, which means it's true that she might lose a number of the friends she would make at Lincoln anyhow. I hadn't thought about that. I'm still not sure what we'll decide, but I sure do appreciate your thoughts.

The Lorax

Anonymous said...

Another thing to consider, Lorax, is having to go through the AL testing and identification process again. If your child is in SPS at a neighborhood school with ALO or Spectrum, they retain their APP eligibility through elementary school without having to retest for middle school. Since your child is in private school, she would need to retest for middle school. It may not be a big deal, but there are discussions underway about program services and identification procedures for next year. It's unclear what will change and what will remain the same. You need to factor in those uncertainties and ask if you want to go through the testing process again next year. If you enroll this year a spot is guaranteed, but who knows what next year will bring. It's a tough call.

Smart but Squirmy said...

Can any parents speak to APP at Lincoln for those kids who are not super focused/self-motivated? The more distractible, squirmy kids? We're considering Lincoln next year for our current kindergartener who will be APP qualified based on GAI scores. Our child is doing well in a local public school but can be distractible. (When doing something of high interest, our child's attention span is just fine.)
Any parents who have been in a similar situation and tried APP? How has it gone? Have you found the teachers at Lincoln to be skilled/experienced at working with this type of kid, who doesn’t necessarily look like a star pupil, may have some unevenness in cognitive skills, but is highly capable in some areas? How do the kids who are less focused fit in with the other APP students?

Anonymous said...

I don't have one of those kids, but is would think long and hard before moving him or her. The people I hear most unhappy with the program are people with wiggly kids who want it to be something less structured, more time for their kid to choose what they do, but it is not. It is more structured, and he kids have more to do during the day. Just hopefully more appropriate level stuff, but not really different than neighborhood school curriculum.

There are a lot of driven, high achieving kids, so there's more pressure to sit down and do the work since so many other kids want to. Also how sure are you that the work will all interest him or her? There is definitely more, and more being told what to do, so it's disastrous if it turns out that whatever it is is not "high interest" for your particular kid, you know? A lot of what they do there is the same stuff, just faster. Does that sound exciting, or would your kid maybe prefer to develop outside interests for a while, and join later?

I think that is more discouraging than I meant it to be. I would just have a hard time saying some of this in person, and I figure you are getting lots of encouragement to send them to Lincoln from other sources, so maybe this will balance that and you can decide. There have definitely been parents who have said their kid was distractible in their old school, starting to dislike school, but now is totally into school. I think the teachers are great at managing the classroom, but one thing I *like* about Lincoln is that the wiggly kids are less of a focus for the whole class than they were at our old school, so the quieter kids get some more attention. That does seem hard on some kids, but great for others. Did you tour? Did you get a look at the kids? I think that would tell you a lot more about how your kid would fit in than abstract theorizing on the internet.

Hope that helps a little, and good luck.

Anonymous said...

@Smart but Squirmy:

I have to put this out here: APP is not a gifted program. It is an achievement program in which many gifted kids - of a certain type - participate. APP recognizes kids who have innate intelligence in certain areas that are compatible with the traditional set up of SPS language arts and math curriculum. It then accelerates exposure to that curriculum. The APP system also rewards students who are early readers because it expects kids to read to learn at a faster pace than in general ed.

Your kid may (privately) test as gifted (I say private because MAP is in no way a valid screener for giftedness) but have a horrid time in APP as currently structured. Your kid may be twice exceptional. Your kid may be off the chart gifted in one area, but not in another. Your child may need added social-emotional nurturing. Your child may learn best through tactile learning.

APP does not serve any of these learners.

Again - APP does absolutely nothing for (nor does it try to identify) gifted children who do not fit into the APP curriculum box.

APP works for many families. That's great. But do not try to force a gifted creative child into the APP box, because it is likely to make matters worse, not better, for him/her academically.

Keep your child in a setting in which he/she is happy. If you can afford private education, consider it. (This is advice from well-respected, local pediatricians and psychologists). If you stay within SPS, supplement at home as much as possible, or better yet change districts, since Seattle does not offer a true "gifted" program.

And don't feel bad about your wiggly kid not fitting into the APP box. It's the outliers that make history.

Been There

Anonymous said...

Which private schools would serve this kind of gifted student? Our well-respected local psychologist told us APP was the only appropriate placement. (Our 2e kid needed access to a peer group.)

Anonymous said...

Evergreen maybe, though some grades have a big bullying problem, and the curriculum is not as rigorous. Classes are smaller, though, which can be easier for a distractible child. Maybe a Montessori, too.

Anonymous said...

While I am not comfortable for confidentiality's sake saying where we landed, I can give you a run down of what the recommendations were for the professionals I saw. My kid is wiggly, creative, gifted in two areas, average in another, no learning disabilities, independent spirit.

In no order: Lakeside, SAAS, Billings (middle school), Montessori programs, and within SPS Thornton Creek (K-5), UCDS (K-5),Salmon Bay, TOPS. Not on the list: Schools billing themselves as hard core college prep, schools that were too unstructured, and none of the catholic schools. Again, this was a list for my specific family.

Upon inspection, some of these worked better than others. The common denominator from my family's list is a smaller environment where a kid can be truly known and where teachers are willing to work with a kid whose ability to learn shuts down when teacher/peer attitudes are sit down, shut up and crank out this accelerated work.

Again, the APP program would have been a disaster for us, but I know it meets the needs of other families. I do wish there were a true gifted program in the district, though.

Anonymous said...

Oops, UCDS is obviously not an SPS school, and I didn't sign the above post. Thanks.

Been There

Anonymous said...

Dear Been there and other parents,

thanks for some good conversation and experience sharing. I would like to undersatnd what a 'True' gifted program would look like compared to APP. Apart from smaller class size and fast/slow pace of class, I did not see anything distinctive - are there two different phrases with same meaning.

Curious parent

Anonymous said...

Thank you! We are wondering if the blended APP/Spectrum in West Seatte might be more child friendly and flexible than the description of APP listed at 12:24 above. Does anyone have any feeling about that?

Anonymous said...

We were wondering the same thing about the new blended west seattle program. Our child is under appeal for spectrum eligibility, and so there is a possibility that is an option for us. Does anyone have insights into that program? We have a high energy wiggly kid.

Anonymous said...

Smart but squirmy - I have a 3rd grader who is smart but very wiggly, easily distractible and would happily spend all day drawing cars. We switched him to Lincoln last year in 2nd grade and have been very happy we've done so. This year he has a teacher with lots of experience with wiggly kids who is great with him -has him sit on a stool rather than a chair, provides lots of spaces where kids can sit by themselves if they feel they are getting distracted. She views it not as a problem but something that kids need to learn how to manage - and she works to give them the tools to manage it.

The main reason we moved him was we thought he would fit in better socially - and we were right. He's made a lot of friends and has a really nice group of kids to hang out with.


Anonymous said...

A true gifted program? Oh boy, that's a topic for a different thread and I'm sure there will be many strong opinions. If a new thread gets started, feel free to copy my opinion over to get the conversation rolling.

Here's my off-the-cuff-thus-incomplete gifted program:

A true gifted program would emphasize depth of subject matter and complexity of thought, NOT (solely) acceleration.

A true gifted program would incorporate project-based learning.

A true gifted program would allow for - in fact insist upon - a variety of demonstrations of mastery of material beyond written reports and standardized tests.

A true gifted program would have teachers who acted as much as guides as authorities.

A true gifted program wouldn't penalize English Language Learners.

A true gifted program would welcome and accommodate students with disabilities ("twice exceptional" students.)

A true gifted program would recognize and accommodate asynchronous giftedness. (Giftedness in one area, but average or below average skills in other areas.)

A true gifted program would NEVER use MAP to screen for giftedness. (I think my passion on this point can be duly noted.)

A true gifted program would not equate "early readers" with "giftedness".

A true gifted program would seek out learners with talent in the 3rd big area of intelligence (spatial) in addition to math and language abilities.

A true gifted program would recognize and serve exceptional talent in creative arts, performing arts and creative thinking.

A true gifted program would accommodate kinesthetic learners.

A true gifted program would recognize and address the difference between student "potential" and student "performance." It would serve students with potential as well as students with demonstrated performance.

(Related to the previous point:) A true gifted program would work its tail off to reflect in enrollment the socio-economic makeup of the district it serves.

General education classroom behavior would neither help nor hinder admission to a gifted program.

A true gifted program would provide social-emotional skill building.

A true gifted program would have a dedicated, professional, strategic, funded central staff as well as requiring all teachers and administrators in the program to have training in gifted academics.

A true gifted program would foremost a service -- not a location(s).

A student would emerge from a K12 gifted program with a deep love of inquiry learning and a confidence in one's self. A certificate allowing a student to "skip ahead" in future studies would be a byproduct, not a goal, of the program.

A true gifted program would look nothing like APP in its current form.

Parents fight for the crumbs of APP. I wish they'd fight for the delicious frosted cake of a true gifted program. A cake that would better-serve more students than APP ever will.

Unfortunately, I don't see that cake being baked by this district anytime soon. Let alone a cake with frosting on it.

Been There

Greg Linden said...

Okay, I created a new thread for that, "What a gifted program should look like"

Anonymous said...

Can anybody provide info, experience, perspective on the SPECTRUM situation at Hawthorne Elementary?


Smart but Squirmy said...

Thanks, everyone, for your thoughtful comments -- both pro and con -- in terms of sending a "wiggly" kid to APP at Lincoln. Your insights are very helpful. No decision yet, but I'm leaning towards staying where we are for now. This would give us more time to see what type of learner our child is becoming, as well as to see how things are looking for the future of APP as a standalone program.

Anonymous said...

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?


Thanks for the insight

Anonymous said...

Reasons to attend (in no particular order):

1. To be with a cohort of academic peers
2. To be part of a great music program
3. To have Ingraham and Garfield as additional high school choices
4. To access higher level science classes (Physical Science in 7th grade, Biology in 8th grade)

Reasons to not attend:

1. APP LA/SS classes are all over the place in terms of quality and consistency. This is one third of your child's day, so it's a big deal.
2.There is a weird dynamic with some teachers disparaging or opposed to APP.

Wondering said...

We have *ONLY TODAY* received any notification at all about our child's results. She is scheduled to do the achievement testing next week, after open enrolment. She is currently in 2nd grade in a private school and very happy but I worry that the curriculum is not so rigorous. I would love to hear any thoughts at all on moving from a private school to Thurgood Marshall-- all comments so far seem to concern Lincoln.