Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Options outside of APP

By request, a thread to talk about good local options for APP kids near Seattle aside from Seattle Public Schools APP. Starting it off, an extended excerpt from one parent:
Interlake HS in Bellevue houses the district's gifted high school program. The entrance criteria are tighter are more selective than Seattle, but if you qualify and there's space available they take non-residents. It's a smaller program, and from conversations with the director it sounds like it's more accommodating. I asked what they do if a student is more advanced than what they offer in a certain class, and the response was that "we need to figure out how to offer what they need." Can you imagine hearing SPS say that? Their program seems to be a more rigorous combo of the Ingraham and Garfield options, with more Higher Level IB classes offered, and more advanced AP options as well.

Lakeside has the most advanced math of any of the public or private schools we checked out, offering as far as multivariable calculus. We also really liked the small classes that involved a lot of discussion, and the very engaged students. We got the sense that students could really push themselves (and each other), and that for a student who enjoyed a competitive, academic atmosphere it looked like a good fit. There seemed to be some willingness to advance students beyond the typical pathway if they were assessed as ready, as well as a (somewhat more vague) willingness to help figure out solutions for students who might need instruction beyond their highest level class in a subject.

For a much less traditional option, Stanford has an online high school (accredited, diploma-granting). The core courses look pretty interesting, and there's access to some university-level courses (primarily in math and science). We've found Stanford's EPGY courses to be very rigorous. The online HS includes some in-person summer sessions (e.g., science labs), so there's a bit of in-person interaction to complement the online group sessions. Looks like schedules could be very wacky (classes are peppered throughout the day/eve), and this is obviously best for self-directed learners who don't need/want a lot of personal interaction.

Another atypical option, UW's Robinson Center has a couple different programs for those who want to start college early--typically after 10th grade (UW Academy) or 8th grade (Transition School). The RC provides some good supports to help kids navigate the jump, and for those extremely academic kids who haven't been able to find a good peer group elsewhere, this may be the place. Programs are small and draw from the whole region, so it's not easy to get in.
Please discuss these options and add other good options in the comments.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Open thread

Discuss what you like!

Eligibility and appeals

There's still quite a bit of interest in talking about eligibility letters and appeals, so let's open a new thread for parents to consolidate the discussion about that. Please ask questions you might have of other parents and, if you can help someone out with their question, please chime in with an answer.