Friday, March 14, 2014

Open thread

Discuss what you like!

141 comments:

JvA said...

My K daughter tested into APP and will be transferring to Thurgood Marshall this fall.

Does anyone know if the Thurgood Marshall administration or PTSA or anyone holds any introductory events for the new APP 1st grade class families in the spring or summer? Because we didn't receive our initial eligibility letter until the last day of open enrollment, I didn't know she had qualified back when TM was holding open house, and didn't even attend that.

Anyway, I'd love my daughter to have a chance to meet some classmates (especially other SE kids) before school starts. If there's nothing official planned, let me know if you're interested in having an unofficial park meet-up sometime:

http://midbeaconhill.blogspot.com/2014/03/thurgood-marshall-1st-grade-class-for.html

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

When do students sign up for next year's classes when transitioning to a new school - JAMS, for example? or an incoming freshman in high school? Are forms mailed to families?

Anonymous said...

I was so sad to hear that Beverly Zanetti is leaving Washington Middle School. She is my son's 6th grade LA/SS teacher this year and she is a rock star. They are all supposed to do a two-year loop but she's transferring to JAMS so we won't get her for 7th. Great teacher. JAMS: you are in for a treat.

Anonymous said...

My 5th grade kid scored above 250 on fall math MAP but just below on winter. He wants to take Algebra as a 6th grader at HIMS and his teacher thinks he should as well. His teacher says he can opt up to Algebra if we sign a contract. A form I got at HIMS open house says you can only opt up to 7th or 8th grade math not Algebra. Anyone know for sure what the policy is?

-Algebra ?

Anonymous said...

You cannot opt up to Algebra at HIMS. Fall MAP scores should do it, though.

Anonymous said...

Agree that Fall MAP scores should qualify, but they are also using 4th grade MSP scores for Algebra placement for 6th graders. I'd check with HIMS to confirm the placement guidelines (though this is supposed to be a district wide, not just HIMS). The info was posted on an older thread.

Anonymous said...

According to the table presented at the HIMS open house, Algebra I requires a 4th grade MSP of 525+ and a 5th grade fall or winter MAP of 250+.

Additionally, should be able to do the following:

- know and apply properties of integer exponents
- solve equations w/ one variable and pairs of equations with two variables
- compare graphs, equations, tables and verbal descriptions of functions
- use graphs, equations, tables and verbal descriptions of functions
- understand congruency and similarity
- understand and apply Pythagorean Theorem

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

JvA,
We joined APP at TM for 1st grade a few years ago and recall an orientation *very* close to the start of the school year. (This past September, they didn't even have class lists finalized until a handful of days before class started.) The Jan/Feb open house had been helpful for seeing a few familiar faces from pre-school past, but we didn't connect with anyone new, per se. At the beginning of the school year, the teachers were wonderful about introductions and orientation, it was a smooth and happy transition to the new school and we quickly got to know other families, and I think there was an evening event early on.
A few suggestions: Keep asking on this discussion board to connect with other K->1 kids. Look for Thurgood Marshall PTSA announcements or schedule of late-summer events. Contact the school to schedule a springtime visit for you and your daughter to the current 1st-grade classroom (not a kid connection, but could be de-mystifying if there's any mystery!).
Best of luck!

Anonymous said...

In response to JvA, at the open houses, the principal said that a welcome letter will go out in the Spring to the new families. She also said that they opened the library up from 3-7pm every Tuesday last summer for current and incoming students and they plan to do it again this summer. She said it was a great way for the kids to meet other kids and get comfortable in the building. I would also recommend checking in with the PTA, because they seemed very on top of those types of transition activities. Their website is tmlink.org.

Anonymous said...

Question for current TM parents: Do the TM kids take a set of standardized tests called the benchmark assessments? There's an RBA (Reading Benchmark Assessment) and an MBA (math benchmark assessment). Up to three times a year - it's the old deal multiple choice/scantron type of test.

If so, do they take their grade level, one or two years above grade level?

Curious b/c there's an active Lincoln APP Facebook thread - apparently 12 standardized tests being given there (3X RBA, 3X MBA, the state-required 2 MSP, 2X Reading MAP, 2X Math Map). And wondered about the comparison.

Thanks for info from any current TM parent - especially 4th or 5th grade.

Anonymous said...

Hi,
Could you please list the Lincoln Facebook address? I'm having difficulty finding it.
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Since the "Lincoln" APP group is a program in transition between buildings, they go by "SNAPP" or Seattle North APP. Look on Facebook under SNAPP. I'm pretty sure that's the PTA's name too (SNAPP PTA).

Momof2

Jessie said...

To March 16, 2014 at 9:50 AM,
At the JAMS meeting, the principal said that registration would be done for all children in their current schools later this spring (May). That's all I know!

Anonymous said...

FYI the Lincoln SNAPP Facebook is a closed moderated group for parents only - you have to apply to enter (include your child's name/grade). It's a GREAT source for school news, bus info, things going one, activities, and sometimes long rather intense discussions.

AMF said...

Hello, my daughter is going to transfer to APP/Thurgood Marshall for 3rd grade in the fall. I don't know any parents or kids there and would love to make some connections. Any suggestions? Is there a Facebook group or anything? Thanks so much!

AMF

Anonymous said...

LINCOLN families: COME TO THE MEETING TONIGHT ABOUT WILSON PACIFIC BUILDINGS, at 6:30pm at North Seattle Community College, in the Library building.

All of us at Lincoln are heading to Wilson Pacific Elementary School upon that building's completion. Then, at least 35% of those kids will go to the Wilson Pacific Comprehensive Middle School (except, of course, the Board voted in Nov 2013 to make it a K8 by placing AS1 K8 in the comprehensive middle school, carving out 150 seats, reducing the middle school to 850 seats). APP middle school in the north will be at 3 locations: Jane Addams for the NE and the NW middle schoolers will be at WP and possibly Hamilton (if the numbers can continue to allow the APP).

Tonight is THE PUBLIC HEARING HELD BY THE CITY. It is the only one, (although, depending on how it goes, there could be another one). If the City just rubber stamps the District's variances, then, there will be no more meetings, and, no chance for you to express your opinion about impacts to the neighborhood about the feasibility of the 'plan'.

The District only has plans for some buses to load on the street, that will impact traffic flow. The district has not made plans for all of the buses, so it is unclear what will actually happen. The district is not planning on providing the amount of parking needed for both of these 2 schools. This will impact the neighborhood. Plus, there will be a third school, Lincoln High School, a school of 1,600, that will be coming to Wilson Pacific for the athletics because Lincoln has absolutely no field at all. How can all three schools (650 + 1,000 + excess in portables + Lincoln athletes) be at the same place at the same time with little parking? It is up to the City to either greenlight this, or, tell the district to make a plan that sticks to the codes. Land use and building codes are there for a reason. Safety, security, being a good neighbor, all of this matters. This is not an 'either or', this is a large 17 acre lot, should be possible to meet the buildings, fields, and the transportation requirements.

What if the community pushes back, and demands plans meet certain codes? There could be an additional hearing scheduled, so that there would be more time for the community to learn more and weigh in. Since this meeting seems to have flown under the radar, a second meeting, well publicized, would be good. Attendees could definitely push for a second hearing!

What if the input from the hearing results in the variances not okayed? The new buildings and fields are still built, but, they would be built to respect whatever codes the City enforces due to neighbor input. So, either way, the neighborhood is getting 2 new schools and new sports fields, but, HOW they get done, and, how intense the impact on the community (neighbors, teachers, students, parents) will be planned in such a way as to respect code.

Please come tonight. This are our future homes. We need to make sure they can function without undue impact on our neighbors. As stakeholders, it is critical that our voices are heard. Come, learn more, and speak up, whatever your point of view is.

DEPARTURE ADVISORY COMMITTEE FOR WILSON PACIFIC
The Committee will gather and evaluate public comment on the departure requests.The Committee may make its recommendation following this meeting, or hold up to two additional meetings prior to making its recommendation. MEETING:
Tues March 18, 2014
6:30 PM
North Seattle Community College
9600 College Way North
Seattle 98103
Library Building
Conference Room LB 3129

There will be a brief presentation; after the Committee will consider its recommendations.

The public is invited to make comments at the meeting. Written comments may be submitted to:

Steve Sheppard
Department of Neighborhoods
700 5th Avenue, Suite 1700
P.O. Box 94649
Seattle, WA 98124-4649

For more infor:
Steve Sheppard at 684-0302, or e-mail steve.sheppard@seattle.gov

Anonymous said...

Steve, it would have been great to hear about this sooner... It's 6:42 right now, no way I could make it there in time. If there is a follow up meeting, could you please let us know a few days ahead of time? Thanks!

spsmom said...

AMF,

My son is enter 3rd grade at TM too, with about 5 kids from his school. And he knows about 5 kids going into in 3rd grade already, very nice group of kids.
TM opens the library on Tuesdays during the summer for get togethers. If I hear of other get togethers I'll post here, but I think the school will send out info too.

See you in the fall!

Anonymous said...

For folks that are interested in the APP identification process, there are two meetings now scheduled for the APP Task Force 1 that you may be interested in sitting in. All Task Force meetings are open to the public, though only TF members have a vote. The two newly scheduled meetings for the AL TF 1 that is focused on identification for APP are:

March 28, 2014
10:00 AM- 2:00 PM
JSCEE 2774


April 3, 2014
9:00 AM- 1:00 PM
JSCEE Auditorium

Anonymous said...

The times for those meetings are ridiculous. Most people are working during the day. Whoever organized these meetings does not want the public there. The website says the meetings are on March 27th from 4-8PM. Who changed these times and why not have them when most folks can get there which is toward the end of the work day and/or in the evenings. Kind of like the original times from what's posted on web site?

Geesh.

Anonymous said...

Sorry but this Identification Task Force is the one that previously met, but still the same rant. Meet when people can actually be there.

Geesh.

AMF said...

spsmom,

Thanks so much for letting me know about the library meetings. We'll definitely check that out over the summer. There are 2 other girls from my daughter's school going to TM next year as well. If you hear about a get-together, I'd love to know. I'd also be open to helping put one together if we want to share info via email.

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

The ALTF meeting times are:

MARCH
Thurs, 3/13
Auditorium

4:00-8:00


Thurs, 3/27
Auditorium

4:00-8:00

APRIL
Wed, 4/2
2765

4:00-8:00


Thurs, 4/10
2765
4:00-8:00
MAY
Thurs, 5/1

2765

4:00-8:00


Tues, 5/20

2778

4:00-8:00


Thurs, 5/29

2776

4:00-8:00

Anonymous said...

@ AMF And SPSmom

My son will also enter 3rd grade at TM next year and we would love to meet other families! Let us know if you organize something, we would love to join..

Thanks!
SEMaman

AMF said...

@SPSmom and SEMaman,

I'll send you both something in a few months to see who, amongst the new 3rd graders to TM next year, wants to get together. I think the other 2 from my daughter's school are interested in a get-together as well. Send me an email at arlene@arlenefairfield.com if interested.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting the ALTF meetings that are from 4-8PM. A bit easier to attend but four hours is a bit much.

However, there are still these meetings which are scheduled at very difficult times for the average parent.

"For folks that are interested in the APP identification process, there are two meetings now scheduled for the APP Task Force 1 that you may be interested in sitting in. All Task Force meetings are open to the public, though only TF members have a vote. The two newly scheduled meetings for the AL TF 1 that is focused on identification for APP are:

March 28, 2014
10:00 AM- 2:00 PM
JSCEE 2774


April 3, 2014
9:00 AM- 1:00 PM
JSCEE Auditorium"

geesh

Anonymous said...

RE: ALTF meetings

CLARIFICATION:

There are TWO Task forces going on now. Both are APP specific.

The first is the one with the meetings during the day, and is focused on identification for APP (not all of advanced learning).

The second is for "delivery model" where the discussion is about what, how and where APP will be delivered (or possibly if it stops being called APP and gets a new title). This second TF is the one with the evening meetings.

There are some of the same people on both, but they are two separate entities.

And to the point that these meetings are not planned for when working parents can attend...

Yes, they aren't advertised widely, and they aren't scheduled so that working folks can attend without taking time off.

Yet they will be deciding some rather important policy for APP, so if you want to get involved, the time is now to find out what is being discussed and weigh in if you have something to say. If you aren't on the TF, you don't have a vote, but certainly you can write letters to district staff and board members if the recommendations that come out of the TF's are ill advised in your opinion.

District staff are planning to ask the board to approve "new" Advanced learning policies in September/October.

Lynn said...

Can anyone who is on either task force confirm that you are working with an understanding that before school starts next fall our policies have to include identification procedures for students in 9th through 12th grades and a variety of services available to identified students from K-12?

Anonymous said...

Lynn,

I can't speak about the identification TF and what their understanding is, but the APP TF 2 has only had two meetings so far, and I'm not sure exactly how to answer your question, but I'll try. Also, please know that I'm only sharing my perspective here, not the whole TF's thoughts.

APP is the focus of this task force. We aren't discussing Spectrum or ALO's. This task force is working on defining the "service delivery model" for APP, which would include aspects of education to answer the "how, where and what" the service is provided within APP.

There is still some discussion about what is meant by "service", and the perception that APP is not a program but a service. It has Program in the name, which puts me in the camp of..."It's both!" it is the main advanced learning services for AHG kids (the others include ALO and Spectrum), and it is currently the main program designed to serve AHG kids.

I don't know if the district will produce a policy that defines multiple programs or services for identified kids... Currently I don't believe that the task force is being asked to contribute specifically to that policy. However, I do think that the recommendations on service delivery for APP that come from the TF will help define what other services/programs need to exist, and will help shape the district's policy.

Also, it was said at the last APP-AC meeting that the sense is that this Task force may not plan to specifically make recommendations for Spectrum or ALO, but that it is might make some sort of statement saying that there should be other services offered for those AHG kids that don't go to APP, or perhaps for AG kids or whomever isn't likely to be served in the recommendations of APP.

The crux of the issue for me is that all of the research I'm aware of has shown that grouping AHG kids together is the best service delivery model both academically and socially. It also provides the best logistics for making the administration of services (skilled teachers who collaborate on best practices for gifted learning, for example).

So the "variety of services" in my mind means curriculum, PCP's, cohort size, teacher training etc. It could also mean these services are delivered also in different programs, like spectrum or ALO.

I assume that the district has every intention of meeting the WAC requirement of "services" for highly capable, and I don't know yet if they mean the same thing I do when I say "services"

This last meeting was really helpful in starting to get everyone on the same page of "Where we are now with APP" and these discussions will be continuing.

I hope that helps.

Eden

Lynn said...

Thanks so much for responding Eden! I think my question wasn't clear. I wasn't asking about Spectrum or ALOs. I am all for self-contained programs. However, the state OSPI's information on district responsibility makes it clear that we cannot design a single program and call it a range of services. We can no longer offer a choice between "two years ahead" or nothing. The state says Each student identified as a highly capable student shall be provided educational opportunities which take into account the student's unique needs and capabilities..

For example, a middle school student who is self-studying a subject in preparation for an AP exam will have different needs than most APP students. That student will require different services. What will the district offer? Honors 9th and 10th grade English classes do not meet the needs of a student who is highly verbally gifted. There is currently no way to access any other English class for those students, and as a result, they make no progress in a core academic subject for two years. Highly capable children who enroll in the district at the wrong time can be trapped at their neighborhood high school - which will has no plan (and no desire) to meet their academic needs. Our response to the new law should resolve these problems.

What process will the district use to identify highly capable students in the ninth grade next year? What services will be provided to those students? What services will be provided to every kindergartener identified next winter? Those are the questions I hope the task forces are considering.

I think the district is going to have to either give up the preferential assignment to Garfield, or extend it to students who were not enrolled in APP in the eighth grade. For students attending other high schools, there should be one counselor at each school who is trained to work with highly capable students. They should have the ability to opt out of entry level classes in their areas of strength. If a school won't do that, those students should have guaranteed access to a school that will.

I hope that the district meets the requirements next fall. I will be surprised if they make meaningful changes that address these problems.

Anonymous said...

I think a variety of services could include Spectrum, with guaranteed access, APP, grade skipping, and testing out of courses for credits, as well as running start. That seems like a pretty large variety of services to me.

Variety

Lynn said...

Do you think those options are adequate for high school - or is a choice of enrollment in Garfield or IBX necessary?

I would like the advanced learning department to write (and enforce) policies for grade-skipping and testing out for credit. Those decisions shouldn't be left up to principals. Running start would be a good option - if it were available before the 11th grade.

Anonymous said...

Lynn, you're more optimistic than I am. Yes, the state says "Each student identified as a highly capable student shall be provided educational opportunities which take into account the student's unique needs and capabilities." However, it's not clear the district will really do this at the individual level, rather than a program/service such as APP that is designed to meet the "unique needs and capabilities" of AHGs as a group.

As for high school level identification and services, I don't imagine there are many students who suddenly become academically highly gifted in high school, do you? If the AHG services are just AP level classes, maybe kids can just self-identify as AHG by enrolling in and passing AP classes. Since all the high schools offer AP classes, I'm not sure why preferential enrollment would be needed at Ingraham or Garfield for these newly id'd kids, who likely haven't covered some of the prereqs that those in middle school APP already have.

While it would be great to SPS really come up with a great high school option for AHG kids--something beyond the current honors and AP classes--I'm not holding my breath. From what I can tell, the current high school options seems to work for most AHG kids, and the number out outliers for whom this is not the case is small enough that the district doesn't seem to care.

HIMSmom

Lynn said...

Of course they don't become highly capable in high school. Some of them are 2e - and their disabilities are not diagnosed until they're in middle school. Or they're happily attending private schools for elementary and middle school. The point is that there are highly capable children in 8th grade classrooms all over the city, and when it's time to register for high school, the district does not provide equitable access to highly capable services to them.

I hope that next year when newly identified students are ready to register for high school, they have the same options as the students coming from HIMS and Washington.

Anonymous said...

A standard curriculum such as common core would allow uniform testing out of courses, at least for math, and perhaps English. We allow a ton of standardized testing already, why can't this along with parent and student desire and maybe a teacher, principal or counselor recommendation enable a grade skip. Add IBX and AP and lower the age for running start and we have a really varied APP program.

Variety

Anonymous said...


My daughter is currently in preschool, but we are looking ahead at applying to APP for first grade. She has a late fall birthday and won't turn 5 until end of September. If we were interested in applying, when would you recommend testing? I know that for 1st grade, you need to be 6 years-old by September 1st.

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

You would need to sign up for testing through SPS when she is in Kindergarten.

-stop and smell the flowers

Lynn said...

Michael Tolley provides the reason for the delays in the advanced learning testing process here. The linked document also contains news that changes to APP, Spectrum and ALOs are possible outcomes to the work of the service delivery model task force. And finally, it looks like there will be an additional testing opportunity in May for APP at JAMS.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Lynn! You always post such helpful information.

After reading this, my question is: why doesn't SPS or AL think they owe parents any explanation for these delays? Do they know how much resentment and ill-will toward SPS has resulted from this process? And it didn't have to be this way. If they had been transparent about the problems and timely informed parents, we may still have been frustrated, but most of us would have been more understanding and been able to adjust our expectations accordingly.

-Baffled by SPS

Anonymous said...

Hey look,

According to the data in Michael Tolley's recent memo (see Lynn's link a couple posts above), the AL office:

- Received 4,825 individual student nominations
- Administered 4,008 cognitive achievement tests
- And is processing over 300 appeals to decisions made

Looks to me like most people do NOT get into APP via appeals, as some frequently like to assert. Of course, these aren't the final enrollment numbers, but it looks like those who get in on appeal are likely to be very much in the minority, no?

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

There is no way to know how many get in on appeal. If all 300 got in that would be the majority of students entering.

Anonymous said...

HIMS Mom, those numbers are for Spectrum, APP and ALO. And those are just the numbers for kids who took the test, not those are got in to a program. Would be useful to see a breakdown that way for sure. 300 appeals still seems like a large number to me.

Spectrum Parent.

Anonymous said...

If all 300+ of those appeals included private testing and the average cost was $450 (ours was more), parents spent $135,000 trying to gain admission to a public school program. I know there are probably appeals without testing and some with subsidized testing, but still, it's a lot of money.

Anonymous said...

I would presume most appeals are successful. Why would you appeal if you did not have the scores via private testing to be admitted to APP/Spectrum? I would assume most families appealing know this, or are informed by their private tester that they should go ahead with their appeal.

The 300 plus appeals received by AL does not include those who went through private testing and did not come back with scores that would allow them to successfully appeal, so they did not go through with the process. The $135,000 spent on private testing is presumably quite a bit higher than that.

So if a large percentage of over 300 appeals are successful, that is a majority of kids entering the AL programs. And the $135,000 plus price tag is appalling. Perhaps SPS should fix the in house ID/testing process so that it doesn't have so many errors that need to be corrected by all this private testing.

Anonymous said...

I know several families who just missed the cutoff with private testing and appealed anyway. Wouldn't you if you'd just spent that kind of money? You can't assume that the 300 don't include families who pay for testing but didn't get the scores.

Anonymous said...

But you can assume that more than 300 plus families went through private testing. Not everyone who went through private testing appealed. I wonder how many of those who just missed the cutoff and appealed were admitted?

It just seems like the first round of testing should be more airtight so people don't have to run around getting qualifying scores in 10 days to appeal at such a great cost. It's a pretty ridiculous system. Especially when you know people are making these appointments in the fall with private testers just in case they need them, or doing private testing proactively so they have successful scores in hand. It's a broken process, especially this year, evidenced by the delays, scoring errors, understaffed AL office, etc.

Anonymous said...

I think if you want "airtight" testing, you can't test kindergarten and first graders in a group setting. I would think a majority of the appeals are for younger children, who often do need an individually paced/administered test.

Anonymous said...

I guess I was assuming that a good portion of the 4000+ AL applications/tests were successful. I don't know where to find all the enrollment numbers, but I did see that 137 AG or AHG 1st graders are in ALO schools this year. Those would have have been newly qualified kids via last year's testing. So would all the first graders in any Spectrum program, as well as all the first graders at Lincoln and TM. Those numbers add up, and that's just first graders. There are lots of additional kids who are found eligible for AL programs in 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades, too. Then there's a another sizable group that tests for middle school--lots for 6th grade (I know that at least 1/3 of my kid's 5th grade class tested this year), but also 7th and 8th. When you add these all together, I think the number of kids that are deemed AL-eligible over the course of one testing cycle is pretty large, isn't it? Does anyone have, or know where to find, these types of figures, to help fill out the picture?

HIMSmom

Lynn said...

The only thing I've seen is this chart from the capacity management page. It's not current - it's a projection of the number of APP-eligible elementary students for the
2012-13 school year.

During the 2010-11 school year, there were 20,417 K-5 students enrolled in the district. 3,531 (17.3%)of them were tested for advanced learning eligibility (Spectrum and APP.) 433 (12.3%) of the children tested qualified for APP.

Anonymous said...

I found this Data Profile in the REA section of the Seattle Schools website. It lists all qualified for Advanced Learning in every school (every student scoring above the 87th percentile in cognitive ability and reading and math achievement). The total for the district in every high school, middle school, elementary and K-8 is 6,273. This is for June 2012.

http://www.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1583136/File/Departmental%20Content/siso/disprof/2012/DP12indsch.pdf

It would be impossible for almost all, or even a good portion, who apply in any given year, 4825 nominations this year, to qualify for AL. The number of applications alone is almost as large as the entire 1-12 AL population.

Anonymous said...

A friend with kids in a NE Seattle elementary school told me last year that she felt there was a huge pressure among the parents to have her kid tested, as if she would be failing her kid by not trying to get him into at least the Spectrum program. She felt she would be showing a lack of faith in his abilities if she didn't test him. Since the test was free, she didn't feel there was much harm in doing the test so she did it. He did not get in and she did not appeal, but I wonder how many of those 4000+ CogAT tests every fall come from this situation?

Lynn said...

The sixth page (labeled page 143) of the report linked by anon at 3:25 is a good example of the reason we should not tell highly capable 8th graders who aren't enrolled in APP that they're out of luck for high school.

# of combined APP/Spectrum eligible students in the 2012-13 school year:

Franklin 19
Nathan Hale 22
Rainier Beach 1
Sealth 16
West Seattle 11

Anonymous said...

The AL has morphed into the defacto testing department for SPS. If you look at Lynn's link to the memo regarding the AL process this year and delays, it notes that the office will be testing through the month of June for AL programs. They also run the Early Entrance Kindergarten process. No time to regroup as summer testing for recent transfers to SPS begins shortly thereafter. When and how are they supposed to plan for next year? Fewer kids need to be tested during the regular round. And we parents should stop pressuring each other to participate. Just because the test is free should not be a green light to do it. We should only be testing our kids if we believe that they need APP or Spectrum and are willing to transfer them. I feel badly for any parent that tests their kids because of pressure from other parents.

APP x2

Lynn said...

If there was guaranteed access to advanced reading/language arts and/or math instruction at every elementary and middle school for every student who meets the grade level standards on end of the year testing, we would not need a Spectrum program. That would cut the amount of testing quite a bit - and increase the number of kids whose needs are met.

Anonymous said...

I have to second the comment at 1:39.... We have an older kid, who tested in to APP easily in first grade. I was admittedly one of those parents who scoffed at private testing, who basically bought into the presumption that folks were doing it to "push" their kid into something. Then I thought I would be "more prepared" with my second kid, and have him tested in K. I was floored by his initial scores on the CogAT - not horrific, but far below what we expected, and what his teacher had expected. We debated and debated before deciding to private test, and the difference in his scores was dramatic. Reading similar stories on here, it's hard not to agree: this type of group cognitive testing for young kids isn't working. I don't know anyone who went into this thinking (for all sorts of reasons) that their K kid was APP material who didn't have to appeal with private testing.... I'm not so concerned with the number who get in on appeal as I am with the number who get in WITHOUT it?! Is the CogAt actually 'catching' the right kids in the first place?

Anonymous said...

Lynn, I'm unclear about your 3:55 comment. What do you mean about telling them they're out of luck? The way AL eligibility works, you either use it (via enrollment in a program) or lose it. Unless I'm misreading things, these must be the incoming freshmen who were APP eligible but chose not to attend an APP pathway school, no? Perhaps they were satisfied with the AP and other options available at the neighborhood schools.

HIMS

Lynn said...

HIMS,
These are the students attending private middle schools who don't have appropriate options for high school. Or the students who move to Seattle after the testing deadline in the eighth grade. Or the students whose giftedness is masked by a disability and is not recognized until it's too late to test for APP.

Their needs are the same as those of students who are enrolled in APP in the eighth grade. Their access to appropriate programs is not.

How do you think AL eligibility should work for students who don't enroll in SPS until the ninth grade? Next fall, 8th grade students will be nominated for testing. If their test scores qualify them to be identified as highly capable, they'll get an eligibility notice in the mail. What options do you think it should list for them?

K qualifier said...

Anon at 505-

I have 2 kids who qualified in K. Both had IQs on other testing that would qualify them for the Davidson Young Scholars. http://www.davidsongifted.org/youngscholars/Article/Davidson_Young_Scholars___Qualification_Criteria_384.aspx

One was clearly bored in APP. The other was challenged in certain areas, but not others.

Anonymous said...

Lynn, you're not understanding me. I'm not saying those kids don't deserve something, just that I don't think the numbers you provided represent those kids. AL designation is "use it or lose it." The kids you refer to would not have had AL testing in 8th grade, wouldn't be included in the district's figures.

In terms of what those newly id'd in HS should get, I don't know. AG kids don't get anything now, and AHG get very little. There isn't really an APP program at HS as it is--just AP classes and possibility of IBX (and IBX just speeds up the IB option, with the value of that debatable). I guess it's the fact that there are these guaranteed optional schools that's the issue? The educational experience itself is likely not all that different for an ongoing APP student who goes to Garfield vs a new AHG transplant who goes to Ballard HS and takes AP classes, is it? Policies may still need to change a bit to comply with the law, but I'm guessing it may not change much for HS AHG services.

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

What I anticipate changing is the middle school delivery model for APP. There will be an effort to single subject qualify students in APP level LA (and SS?) as they now do with math. It is unclear what will happen to the sequencing or structure of the coursework. The advanced learning update stated "eligibility testing information for access to the new Jane Addams Middle School option in the Northeast Region will be announced in May 2014."

As it stands now, APP LA/SS for students at HIMS is not following the traditional integrated LA/SS model (at least for 6th and 8th grade). Classes are blocked, but there is little connection between the LA work and the hitory topics they are supposed to studying (US and WA State history for 8th). 8th grade APP LA is essentially a study in race, gender, and social issues. The LA materials selected would not be considered of lasting literary value (with the exception of a Shakespeare play), but seem selected on the basis of their support of the above agenda. History coverage is very limited. The year is 2/3 done, and the closest they've come to writing a 5 paragraph essay is an editorial assignment based on the viewing of Food, Inc. Is this what you'd expect from APP?

Advanced Learning is so wrapped up in the testing of students, that there is little oversight of the program itself. It is very concerning that a new middle school will be opening and the APP curriculum is not more clearly defined. Or perhaps it is defined, but schools can choose to follow it or not at their whim? It's simply not clear what's happening.

IB Parent said...

HIMS Mom is right about Lynn's numbers. Clearly there is more than one kid at Beach who would have qualified for Spectrum/APP if they had ever been tested. It would be ridiculous to think otherwise. The District doesn't have any way of knowing where those untested kids are.

The thing that qualifying for APP (at any age) buys you is a cohort of students and, probably more importantly, parents who will advocate for the things you need to thrive. If that choice is valuable to kids who were identified before they were 13, it is valuable for kids who enter the district late, or who stayed at their non APP middle school or K-8. If it's ok for those kids to go to Ballard or Beach, then it should be ok for previously identified kids to as well.

Lynn said...

HIMSmom - I was using those numbers to illustrate that those schools are not likely to have a plan to meet the needs of highly gifted students - and that the district should provide access to a school that is prepared for them. IB Parent makes my point much more clearly.

The advanced learning website says:

The program is guided by four principles:
1) Provide a rigorous and accelerated curriculum in language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science.
2) Support student social/emotional development as well as academic development.
3) Move students through the program as a cohort.
4) Provide instruction by teachers familiar with the needs of students who are academically highly gifted.


HIMS and Washington APP students can choose between Garfield and IBX - presumably because those are programs that provide
(1)the rigorous curriculum they need,
(2)support for their social/emotional development,
(3) access to an academic cohort and
(4) instruction by teachers who are familiar with the needs of students who are highly gifted.

Students who are academically highly gifted have those needs even if they don't attend HIMS or Washington. How is the district meeting their needs? And - if Nathan Hale, Franklin and West Seattle can meet those needs - why are we assigning kids from those neighborhoods to Garfield?

Anonymous said...

can a student re-join app in ms if they leave the district for 1 year?

curious

Anonymous said...

Some AP classes won't be offered without enough students to take them. APP students that have been accelerated in math, science, and at one time, social studies, can access more AP classes because they have fulfilled some prerequisites in middle school. You need a large enough cohort of students that have been accelerated in order to offer more AP classes. Students should also be allowed class placement based on previous coursework (as opposed to being forced to take a certain class simply because you are a freshman). If students were reassigned to neighborhood schools, would there be a large enough cohort of accelerated students to have a robust offering of AP classes at each and every school? By offering specific pathways as a cohort, students are more likely to have appropriately challenging options.

I would like to see high schools offer more flexibility in class choices so that students not part of APP in middle school can still maximize their opportunities for advanced coursework in high school. There should be some option beyond Garfield and IBX. Garfield is limited to those living in the assignment area, or those in APP in 8th grade (blocking out any privately schooled or newly identified students). A smattering of AP classes at your neighborhood school may not be enough.

Anonymous said...

If a student leaves APP for a year they need to go through the process of retesting to rejoin APP (reapply in fall for the following school year). The exception may be for families leaving the Seattle area on sabbatical or for a work assignment, that have the intention of rejoining on their return. I'd check with AL based on your situation.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 8:30, my point was more about the use of the CogAT for K level kids. I have talked/emailed with/read so many stories this year of K kids who did NOT qualify on the District's testing, and then tested SIGNIFICANTLY higher on straight IQ testing. It just seems like an odd pattern, which makes me question the value of using the CogAT at this age.... If I was going through this experience with my first kid, I would never have questioned the results of the District's testing. (Obviously I had some sense he was 'smart', but I would have just seen Spectrum as sufficient, assumed other kids were 'even smarter' , etc.). It's only because I have an older APP kid that I had a sense of my second child's "true" potential, and was willing and able to seek outside testing to confirm it. I feel for the folks who just took those first CogAT scores at face value, and for kids who may be bored silly next year....

Anonymous said...

I privately tested my youngest before kindergarten. His siblings are in APP, so I knew that was a possibility. I wanted to know whether I could choose a school based only on the kindergarten program or if I needed to look for something that would work for the rest of elementary school too.

I think a paper and pencil fill-in-the-bubbles test read out loud by a stranger outside of their usual classroom environment is not a recipe for success for many young five year olds. Doesn't mean they shouldn't be in APP in first grade.

Anonymous said...

Lynn--

I'm interested in understanding a little better what your point is about APP in High school.

You said, "HIMS and Washington APP students can choose between Garfield and IBX - presumably because those are programs that provide
(1)the rigorous curriculum they need,
(2)support for their social/emotional development,
(3) access to an academic cohort and
(4) instruction by teachers who are familiar with the needs of students who are highly gifted.

Students who are academically highly gifted have those needs even if they don't attend HIMS or Washington. How is the district meeting their needs? And - if Nathan Hale, Franklin and West Seattle can meet those needs - why are we assigning kids from those neighborhoods to Garfield?"

Currently, APP is the main program designed to serve AHG kids. So, if a kid isn't in the program, then while those 4 things theoretically should apply now to all identified AHG kids, the only place the district has even said they are providing it is within APP. As you've noted, new rules are coming down from OSPI so this will need to change, but currently there is no plan to "serve" AHG kids that aren't in APP

The very real challenge at all grade levels is one of simple numbers and logistics. In order to provide those 4 things, there needs to be a critical mass of students so that you can schedule the appropriate number of classes for each subject area. I don't know what that number is, but I recall that the numbers of minimum cohort sizes for middle school have been at 3 classes per grade (90 kids). It gets really challenging to actually have some cohesion in a given school for their AHG kids if there isn't a critical mass so that you can actually hire the right teachers and so forth.

I have no doubt that some people feel very satisfied with a few of the ALO labeled elementary schools (which also seem to have relatively high concentrations of AG and AHG kids so that they do have some sense of cohort) but in high school what is the issue you are trying to raise here?

Do you mind clarifying?

Eden

Anonymous said...

First of all, the district doesn't provide those 4 things to APP as it is, so that argument doesn't work. And APP isn't really cohort-based in HS, meaning there aren't segregated classes just for APP kids. The thing they gain is critical mass, so that there may be additional AP offerings (though fewer options perhaps in some other areas, since other schools have cool specialities too). In many cases, ability to really take advantage of those addl AP offerings might be dependent on middle school coursework. For example, 9th graders coming from APP are able to go directly into AP World History, because they've already taken a prerequisite that other kids--even newly id'd AHG kids would still need to take. That doesn't mean, however, that the ex-APP kids get a special, cohorted class--they just take it earlier, and likely with a bunch of non-APP kids who are taking it "on time."

I would think, however, that if a newly id'd AHG HS student were on a path such that they could not access appropriate courses anywhere but one of the APP high schools, provisions should be made. I'm not sure what such a case would look like, but suppose it's possible.

HIMSmom

Lynn said...

Hi Eden,

Thanks for asking. I am having trouble expressing myself. I think access to a rigorous curriculum, a cohort (for social/emotional & academic reasons) and teachers who are familiar with the needs of academically highly gifted students is important in high school. The cohort and teachers aren't available at most of our neighborhood high schools.

Newly identified eighth grade students should have the same access to Garfield and/or IBX as currently identified students.

Does that make sense?

Lynn said...

HIMSmom,

Do you think a student who is in APP at HIMS should have the option to enroll at Garfield or IBX if their neighborhood school can offer them appropriate courses?

Teachers at Garfield are more familiar (through experience) with the academic needs of highly gifted students than teachers at our other high schools. The majority of the academically gifted high school students (the cohort) in Seattle Public Schools are at Garfield and Ingraham. This means there's little chance of finding intellectual peers at the other high schools.

Anonymous said...

It has been interesting to watch IBX evolve since it's creation. At first the plan was to mirror Bellevue's Interlake Gifted program but now, for some reason or another, parts are becoming more Garfield-esque in the implementation. Interlake's program success, as written on their website, is due to the self-contained nature of the program in all four core subjects for most of the four years the students are in the program. It goes for depth and further understanding instead of simply accleration. The teachers are even given some summer training for working with gifted children. We were excited about IBX's potential to meet the needs of students on the end of the academic and in many cases, social spectrum. But with simply acclerated IB classes, without the added structure to support the needs of the students, is the same as Garfield with a different label. If the rethink of delivery model is occuring, it might be good to look at students who might benefit from an Interlake style program, in addition to those focused simply on accleration which both of our APP high school options appear to be at this point.

JAMSFam

Anonymous said...


Lynn, you asked if think a student who is in APP at HIMS should have the option to enroll at Garfield or IBX if their neighborhood school can offer them appropriate courses. Well, IMHO, if the neighborhood schools did in fact offer appropriate courses--with appropriate level of rigor and appropriate course sequencing--I'd say no, they wouldn't need access to a couple specific school. But the fact is, the neighborhood schools DON'T provide those, so APP students DO need access to those few programs.

For example, our neighborhood HS--as good as it is--doesn't offer an advanced or honors level language arts class for 9th graders. While APP students have been working a couple grade levels ahead in middles school, they are all lumped together in LA that freshman year. My AHG student wants more rigor and deeper discussion than even the APP program allows, so would probably be incredibly frustrated. The same would probably happen a couple years later, since AP Language and Composition is required of all 11th-12th graders--meaning another very mixed ability class.

Another example: the local HS also doesn't have an APP-appropriate science pathway. The stated policy is that all 9th grades take the same science class--despite the fact that APP students have already gone ahead. Garfield, on the other hand, recognizes that APP 8th graders have already taken Biology and lets them go to the next level.

So to me the big issue is that where there's a critical mass of incoming APP students with various prerequisites already complete, Garfield recognizes this and has an alternate course progression sequence for them. 9th graders from APP can proceed directly to AP World History, since they've already covered the prerequisite material. The neighborhood schools tend to treat everyone the same, as if they've all had the same level of preparatory classes. Students in the APP program have had different courses in MS--while newly identified AHG HS students will not have. (For those transferring to SPS from gifted programs elsewhere, I think they should be treated like APP students if they have the same prereqs done.)

My sense it that you think it's not so much about the actual course offerings, but more about the cohort. Again, IMHO, I feel otherwise. For my AHG, it's the classes all the way. The idea that "teachers at Garfield are more familiar (through experience) with the academic needs of highly gifted students than teachers at our other high schools" doesn't ring true to me--if so, we'd have experienced the same with APP middle school teachers, no? They have no special training in dealing with AHG kids, and since the classes aren't AHG specific anyway come high school, I don't think the instruction will be tailored to such students. AHG students might get to take a class earlier, but they may be in it with a bunch of Gen Ed students. The cohort is dispersed come high school--but having a large enough cohort makes it likely that you'll have the appropriate academic pathway.

One last thing: You said "the majority of the academically gifted high school students (the cohort) in Seattle Public Schools are at Garfield and Ingraham. This means there's little chance of finding intellectual peers at the other high schools." That's not true, as AG (Spectrum-eligible) kids don't have a special pathway to those schools, only the AHG kids who have chosen to participate in APP do. Those AG kids won't keep showing up in the HS AL numbers--nor will APP kids who elect to go to those neighborhood schools. The idea that AHG kids can find intellectual peers in their mixed-ability AP classes at Garfield but not in their mixed-ability AP classes at the local HS doesn't make sense to me. For us, it has always been an issue of the local HS not allowing access to the right classes, not the right peers.

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

"o to me the big issue is that where there's a critical mass of incoming APP students with various prerequisites already complete, Garfield recognizes this and has an alternate course progression sequence for them. 9th graders from APP can proceed directly to AP World History, since they've already covered the prerequisite material. The neighborhood schools tend to treat everyone the same, as if they've all had the same level of preparatory classes. "

This, of course, is a problem for every student entering a HS, who has the "prerequisites" already, or who is looking for a deeper/more rigorous classes, not just for those who were enrolled in APP at HMS or WMS. That population includes those entering from private schools and from outside the Seattle system as well as those students who may have worked used extracurricular classes to supplement their work in the neighborhood or alternative schools.

zb

Lynn said...

HIMSmom,

I inadvertently omitted the word *highly* from the sentence you quoted at the beginning of your last paragraph. I am aware that Spectrum students do not have a special pathway for high school.

It's clear to me that different children have different needs. You've said that APP doesn't offer academic peers for your child and I believe you. Many students do find peers in APP but would not find them in the classes you describe in your neighborhood school. Some of those students need access to academic peers as much as they need access to appropriately challenging classes.

It's interesting that you bring up English as an example of classes at your neighborhood school that would not be appropriate for your child. APP students receive enhanced rather than accelerated instruction in language arts in middle school. (Evidenced by the fact that they earn no high school English credits and do not have access to accelerated classes in English in high school.) Without an academic peer group, a highly gifted student isn't going to get anything out of a ninth or tenth grade English class - honors or not. This is true whether they're coming from 8th grade APP or somewhere else.

You've said that you can't imagine the student who is highly gifted and needs something our neighborhood schools don't offer. Imagine that your next door neighbor's eighth grader attends Seattle Country Day. How well is your neighborhood high school - with it's physical science for everyone, general ed ninth grade English for all and required AP English Language and Composition going to meet her needs? Does the district have an obligation to do that? How about highly gifted students who are home schooled through middle school? Do we have any obligation to them?

Anonymous said...

Agreed. Except students coming from Hamilton APP will not have the prerequisites for taking AP World History in 9th grade. They might be allowed to sign up for the class nonetheless, but they have covered no world history in 8th grade, whereas in the previous years they had. Students coming from Hamilton and wanting to take AP World History at Garfield would need to self study over the summer to catch up to WMS APP students.

APP students receive enhanced rather than accelerated instruction in language arts in middle school.
This is also changing, as some teachers are simply teaching Common Core Standards that are 1 or 2 years ahead, and even using books that probably shouldn't be used in middle school, APP or not. It's inappropriate, but it's what we see happening. We would not consider the current incarnation of 8th grade APP at HIMS as either enhanced or accelerated.

reality check

Anonymous said...

Well, obviously I don't have the answers, and I don't know that anyone does. There isn't room to guarantee "the APP pathway" to everyone who might potentially benefit from it, and it's clear that the neighborhood high schools don't always (or rarely?) provide for the needs of AHG kids. I'm not sure what exactly you're advocating for Lynn, but I wish you the best of luck in finding a way for all to get what they need at all levels. None of the options worked well for us, so we're leaving SPS.

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

I wish SPS offered more flexibility in letting students self advance. For example: online classes that could be done onsite (rather than having to leave the building) and placement in high school classes based on previous coursework (rather than being forced to repeat coursework or take a specified AP class).

If allowed more flexibility, perhaps more students would feel well served at their neighborhood schools.

wishful

Anonymous said...

"There isn't room to guarantee "the APP pathway" to everyone who might potentially benefit from it,"

But, for the subgroup of students I am talking about, those who have had the prerequisites already and who qualify on the same basis as the APP-qualified students who enrolled in the APP program (i.e. meet the testing criterion), the question isn't simply, not providing the best but excluding a group of similarly qualified students because they simply weren't there at the right time (in the 7th grade).

I don't know what Lynn is advocating for -- but I think that advanced learning services available to any ALO identified child in SPS should be available to a child identified at any level, not just to those identified in the beginning of the 7th grade (or earlier). Right now, that would mean making the Garfield path availble to students who test in in the 8th grade (or the 9th, or so on). If that makes Garfield's program too big, then the Ingraham split should be mandatory -- not voluntary for students identified/enrolled earlier than the 7th grade and mandatory for the rest.

zb

Anonymous said...

Aack! - Garfield and Ingraham pathways are not equal. One is based on availability of AP courses, another on IB. They are not the same, and I don't think a student should be forced into one or another based on geography.

Lynn said...

I am advocating for equitable access to services for highly capable students. This year's eighth graders at HIMS and WMS have two options next year because they have been identified as highly capable students - IBX at Ingraham or the "cohort model" accessed via guaranteed enrollment at Garfield. Those are two entirely different services and they should both be available to students identified as highly capable in their eight grade year.

If there is not room at Garfield for everyone, the district needs to make room - or make IBX at Ingraham more attractive - or create another option that is equally available to all eligible students.

Anonymous said...

As far as I understand it, Garfield is already overcrowded, and Ingraham IBX is struggling to keep up with demand. And the incoming AHG population just keeps growing...

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

To HIMSmom
"None of the options worked well for us, so we're leaving SPS."
Can I ask you where are you going? I think we have a similar problem but can't figure out where to go yet with a 7th grader.
Another HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

@ Another HIMSmom, if you feel comfortable saying what kind of issues/concerns you have and what you're looking for, I'd be happy to provide any relevant info re: the various options we looked into. For privacy sake, however, I'd rather not say where my student landed.

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

I'm confused about the assertion that a high school wouldn't allow science placement based on previous coursework, just as they'd do for math. If a student requested high school credit for the Biology class, then I don't see how it's possible to deny placement in a higher level class. On the other hand, placement should be based on successfully completing the course, high school credit or not.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what Roosevelt does about biology, but they definitely require all ninth grade students to take Physical Science.

Anonymous said...

That 'a right. So it's basically a GenEd science class for all.

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

I really appreciate your comments, HIMS Mom. I think that many people think they have no choices beyond SPS and private for advanced learners. There are options. Also, I think it's instructive to look at other districts and see their high school options and pathways. Bellevue, Shoreline and Highline (all neighbors) have different options. We too found SPS not meeting our needs. One of our kids went private, the other applied as an out of district student to a neighboring district. SPS is really in the weeds right now, and I hope it will improve, but it didn't seem likely to do so in my kids' timeframes.
Yet Another HIMS Mom

Anonymous said...

To Yet Another HIMS Mom:
Thank you very much for the recommended different directions out of SPS. I was wondering about these...
Another HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

A couple notes on a few of the many options we investigated:

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.

Would be curious to hear about some of the other nearby high schools or other options that may be good for highly gifted learners, as we'll be shopping around again for the next kid soon enough!

HIMSmom

Greg Linden said...

HIMSMom and others, this seems like a great conversation for a new thread? I think a lot of people would be interested and a new thread would give it more visibility. Should I copy your comment up to a new thread on the topic of good nearby alternatives to Seattle Public Schools APP?

Anonymous said...

Has anyone here ever accessed services from the Davidson Institute Young Scholars program? Feedback?
-CS

Anonymous said...

A dedicated thread makes sense to me, Greg.

HIMSom

Greg Linden said...

Great, new thread started, "Options outside of APP".

suep. said...

Sad News for Lincoln APP - Veteran APP Teacher Ms. Jacobsen retires this Friday 3/28

Best wishes and fond farewell to longtime and beloved Lowell/Lincoln APP 4th grade teacher Ms. Jacobsen whose last day is this Friday March 28.

This is truly a great loss for the school and the program. Her creativity, gifted ed knowledge and dedication to the children prepped them well for middle school and beyond. She has been greatly appreciated by many parents and students over the years.

She was the last Lowell/Lincoln APP veteran teacher at Lincoln.

Please stop in her classroom* this week and wish her well. *(This year she was assigned a 2/3 split.)

-- Sue Peters, longtime Lowell/Lincoln parent

Anonymous said...

suep, Ms. Jacobsen is retiring mid-year? Maybe I'm reading into this, but was there something unfortunate about the way she was treated that caused her retirement?

Incoming Lincoln

karen said...

We toured Lowell when APP was still there. We were really on the fence about moving to APP given all the drama with Rina and Greg and the distance from NW Seattle. We spent 10 minutes in Ms. J's class and we were sold.

Alas, we never lucked out by getting Ms. J. All of our teachers have been good, but none have much experience and it seems all are brand new, teaching to the test,referring to books and common core 'standards' letting kids learn from each other via project based learning, etc.

APP isn't what it used to be. We never got to experience what it used to be other than those 10 minutes of heaven in Ms. J's class during a tour. It felt like a college classroom. It was awesome.

Those were the days, apparently.

Anonymous said...

Karen,

We had a similar experience as you did, but my kid is a bit older so we did see Lowell in the olden days.

The teacher who sold us was Mrs Roth. She was teaching the kids math by having them use various food items to make angles in order to solve math problems. That combined with the enthusiastic kids were enough to make us switch. The best part is that my kid did have Mrs Roth before she left and she will be a teacher my child never forgets.

Things were better.

Anonymous said...

I get a different picture about the teachers from reading posts by veteran parents on here than I did from attending a tour and listening to the principal. Is she not beig forthcoming about the school?

Anonymous said...

Rina is molding Lincoln like she would like it to be. Mrs J is the last (I can't remember who hired Ms Adams -a good teacher) of the long time teachers. There are various opinions about why all the teachers left, but that's a lot iof teachers to lose in a relatively short time.

I prefer the way Ms Breidenbach ran the way Ms Breidenbach ran the school.

Things were better.

pm said...

Yes, some of the former teachers were great, but some were awful. I feel like now there may be fewer stars on the staff, but there are also fewer worth avoiding.

Anonymous said...

Ms. J is leaving for health reasons. She had planned to retire at the end of the year but had to move it up on doctor's orders. I'm sure there will be conspiracy theorists saying this is because of RG. I have not been very pleased with how the class has been this year. She has missed a lot of time and has not been very communicative and haphazard. I am inclined to think health is the legitimate reason and wish her well in her retirement. I believe Ms. Ravenscroft is the oldest of the last one(s) connected to Lowell.

Anonymous said...

I believe the longest serving teacher at Lincoln now is Ms Adams. Ms Ravenscroft has the longest association, though, because of her daughters.

You don't have to be a wacko with a tin foil hat to look at Lincoln and all the turnover they have had in the last three years. It could all be coincidence, but that's a lot of turnover.

Anonymous said...

I have a child in Ms. Jacobsen's class this year. Her retirement is due to health problems. I like Ms. J but there have definitely been some issues this year.

Lincoln Mom

Anonymous said...

Sure, you can get a bad teacher at any school, but part of what we're moving for is the talents and interest in understanding the needs of these kids that Rina G. was selling on the tour. I have no inherent bias toward younger teachers, I've had a fantastic one for one of my kids, but I've also had experience with younger teachers being overconfident, feeling the need to act like they know it all and have been there before, and not really listening because they are self-conscious about seeming "inexperienced" whereas wise teachers will always listen and grow and adapt to new students and situations.

Anonymous said...

So far we have experienced only the pros of the younger teachers we have been assigned- enthusiasm, dedication, and flexibility in approach, and none of the cons you mention. I think we've gotten a little lucky, but I also agree with pm above- there are fewer stars now, but fewer duds, too.

I do think there are some unpleasant politics going on behind the scenes, but I think the kids are kept insulated from it, and it's not necessarily more than at other schools, though parents seem to know more than at other schools. mr. Sakue last year was a huge loss, and there were hard feelings. Mrs. J may have some too, but I also have a child in that class, and though she is obviously a wealth of information, she has health issues that have significantly interfered with her ability to run the class and probably to get joy out of it. She's put in a lot of decades for gifted kids- it's time to let her rest go enjoy her opera and ballet. I don't believe she'd leave mid year over politics- she wouldn't do that to the kids.

Anonymous said...

Yes to Anon @ 10:29 and Lincoln Mom. I am anon@9:45pm yesterday. Sorry for not using a name!

Nothing personal against Ms. J and I think it has been a very hard year for her not being able to give her all because of her health.

another parent

suep. said...

Note from Ms. Jacobsen to the Community

How very kind all of you are. I appreciate your kudos. After 5 years in private and 25 in WA public schools, I depart wistfully, as I have loved every child, every parent and every unique challenge. It has been an honor to be part of your lives and entrusted with your precious children. Every day has been new and freshly different--an opportunity to creatively meet individual needs and for our whole class to have FUN! Now, I brunch with former "babies" (once my baby, always a Mrs. J. baby) who are surgeons, astronauts and really spiffy adults. I go to weddings and christenings-my goodness! What an enormous extended family I have! It's a perk of my profession.

Now, is the appropriate time to bow out and pursue new adventures. Mahalo, Merci beaucoup and all that jazz! My deepest appreciation stays with all of you.

--Candace Jacobsen AKA Viola Swamp AKA Mrs. J.


(p.s. from suep: I was impressed to learn that Ms. J also has a PhD in psychological research of twice exceptional children. She will be missed!)

Anonymous said...

My child told me the class had a sub today and they watched Monty Python. How is this ok?

Anonymous said...

My son had Ms. Jacobsen several years ago and she was wonderful. She was out for a number of weeks for health issues, which was hard on my son.
Someone mentioned that she is teaching a 2nd/3rd grade split this year. If that's true, then it seems like she was set up to fail. You don't move a highly successful teacher that is close to retirement, and may have health issues, to a new split grade class unless you are trying to get rid of them. I feel bad for how she was treated. Unfortunately, the kids in that class were set up as well - since she now has to leave mid-year.
Momof2

Anonymous said...

None of this is an issue for us because we took on extra work and cut some expenses to send our kids to private school. A child's education is more important than having a smartphone or the platinum cable TV package. Our kids come first.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 6:23

Nice way to sound judgmental...

Anonymous said...

Soooo, you came here to gloat rather than contribute to the conversation.
Ok I'll take the bait. Maybe the presence of a parent before and after school (i.e not one who is busy doing 'extra work' in order to afford private school) is important too.

Anyway annual unsubsidized private school fees are at least ~$15-20,000 - that's a lot of smartphone and cable! Don't assume people who can't cut enough expenses to afford private school are less interested in putting their kids first.

And good for you for being able to pick up 'extra work' just like that - not everyone is able to find work (let alone extra work) in this economy.

Oh, and BTW is every single one of your private school teachers a super duper hotshot teacher? Because from what I have heard, the quality of teachers in private school can be variable too - parents identify great teachers and try to get their kids in those classes, and also identify ones to avoid (just like in public school). Teachers leave/retire and there are internal politics - just as we are discussing here. But I don't doubt the money buys you enviably small class sizes, a lot of resources, nice buildings and grounds, plus stability of leadership and location. However, people avail themselves of public education for both social/philosophical and financial reasons and who are you to say the choice you made for your family is better than the choice anyone else has made or to gloat over those who in reality have no choice in the matter.

trollbuster

Anonymous said...

Anon at 6:23

You just care about your children more that I care about mine. We all know that's what private school means.

-choosy mothers choose jif

Anonymous said...

I love people who say that they put their children first, so they "sacrifice everything" to send them to private school.

It is a direct judgement that everyone who sends their kids to public school doesn't care about their kids. Its totally laughable.

As a parent of a high schooler in public school currently looking at colleges, I can say with confidence that we didn't sacrifice our child's education by going through the public school system. His experiences are far and beyond more global and broad than he would have experienced at Lakeside or another "elite" private institution. How is that for a generalization?

We all place value on different things, my value is knowing that we didn't spend $100-$125k on a high school education that is resulting in the exact same college choices that he has now.

We also have the money to pay for his college education because we were able to save over the past several years.

-Pro Public School

Anonymous said...

Looking at both sides, there's a lot of baiting going on. Sometimes it feels a bit like working mom vs. non working moms (and then there's the outré Sheryl Sandberg effect). Really it's about finding quality education and access to that for all our kids. Just like working to improve conditions- better family leave coverage (including paid leave to care for elderly parents and/or spouse/partner), child care options whether you work or not.

There are family with parents who work as assisted home caregivers making a little more $12/hr who have their children in private schools and Microsofties and UW deans/MDs in private schools, the likes of O'Dea, Blanchett, U Prep and Bush. The same types of parents send their children to public schools too. Some families mix it all up and do both. The reasons vary and maybe that's where the judgement comes in.

If I want to save my money, not pull OT or a second job and APP is working for my children, then that's my choice. My circumstances is such that I live in a good neighborhood with good neighborhood schools and easy access to UW for summer camps. We are older folks who have elderly parents who need financial help and in hime care and we don't want to dip into our savings if we can avoid it. That's our choice. We save much by not paying for private schools. Other families have very little savings, do staycations, live in smaller homes in not as safe neighborhoods so they can send their kids to private schools. Good on them. That's their choice. It doesn't make me better for choosing public schools. Nor they. I find for most of us, we share far more than we differ no matter where our children go to schools.

Let it go people.

Anonymous said...

Mrs. J is NOT leaving for health purposes. The assignment to a 2/3 split was indeed a punishment, and I'm not surprised it didn't go well. Shame on Rina for not letting her teach her beloved 4th grade. It's all a shame, and the program isn't what it once was.

-Glad we're out of elem APP

Anonymous said...

Yes she is. Seriously. If you were there Friday, you'd be 100% certain of that. She told us about it. It's private, but 100% health. Leave the tinfoil hats somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

I want to know why a parent thinks a beloved teacher like Mrs. J was "punished." Please explain. That's pretty serious.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone give an opinion of the APP program at Thurgood Marshall?
My son tested in but we're keeping him at Stevens for first grade because we love the school. (More specifically, my wife wants to keep him close to home, and I want him to go to APP, and she won...for now)

Anonymous said...

To Anon at 10:56,

If you feel like your son is getting what he needs at Stevens, then I would not move. You can re-evaluate each year whether Stevens is still working for him. It's basically a case of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Also, TM's principal has left to start a new school and she will be taking several teachers with her. (She is also taking a couple Stevens teachers.) By waiting a year, you will have a chance to see what the new principal and teachers are like.

TM Parent

Anonymous said...

Both things are true. Ms. J's health has been destroyed by stress due to the relentless persecution of the administration.

open ears

Anonymous said...

What was she being persecuted for?

Anonymous said...

Open Ears,

Agreed. They did destroy her health.

-Glad We're Out

Anonymous said...

OK, am I the only new parent finding this disturbing? Is the community at Lincoln so fractured and ignorant that this was allowed to happen, or conversely, so subject to rumors and innuendo that people can just say this on a blog in the absence of facts? Either way, it makes me cry about giving up my neighborhood community.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the 2nd/3rd grade split class was punishment for Mrs J. Having the most experienced 'star' teacher was more of a sweetener for those kids/families who were going to end up in the less desirable split class (mandated by district funding).
I can't say whether Mrs J was subject to any 'persecution by the administration" - it's possible, I guess, given she was one of the last old timers, and probably had her own way of doing things which may or may not have been compatible with Rina's vision for the program.
I don't know how much say she had in it, or how it exactly it went down but I do not think moving her to teach the 2nd/3rd split was meted out as part of any so-called punishment but rather as part of a strategic reconfiguring of staff so that a more experienced teacher could take on the more challenging set up.
I also think there are staff 'politics' and parent/staff 'politics' at all school and it's not necessarily worse at Lincoln - although perhaps more-involved parents are more likely to be aware of what is going on.

My 2 cents

Anonymous said...

The only "relentless persecution" going on has been the crusade against the Lincoln principal by people who hide behind anonymity on the blogs. It's been going on for years now, and I wish it would stop.

To Anon at 727PM, no, the community isn't fractured or ignorant or anything like that. I am constantly amazed at the strength, compassion, and can-do spirit of the Lincoln parents, the volunteering, the thoughtfulness, the generosity, the ability to pull together on short notice to improve our kids' school experiences. It just goes on and on.

I would advise new families to get involved, come to school events as often as you can, because it is a little harder to get to know everyone when the school isn't right in your own backyard. But if you get involved, you will find an amazing community of kids and families. And an amazing leadership team that has hired talented, dedicated teachers as the program has grown.

Also, if your kid takes the bus next year, you can get to know other parents at the stop and find people you can talk to in "real life" about what's going on, rather than relying on libelous drivel posted anonymously on a blog.

And, now, prepare for the backlash that will come in the form of several anonymous posts declaring that I don't know what I'm talking about, that the principal is driving teachers away in droves, blah blah blah... In reality, the several posts may very well be written by the same person. We'll never know since names aren't required here. But it's an easy way to amplify your opinion and make it sound like something ominous is going on. Such petty games.

--happy parent

Anonymous said...

Remember the Lowell staff climate surveys that went "missing"?

You don't have an entire staff of talented and dedicated teachers just leave for random reasons over just a couple of years.

I only use this moniker and no others, so I guess there are several others who have seen what I have seen, and heard what I have heard. No tinfoil hat needed.

I'm glad you are a happy parent, and there have been some lovely young (inexpensive)teachers hired in the last couple of years. But we have lost so much.

open ears

Anonymous said...

7:27, I hate to tell you this, but your home school has exactly this kind of crazy in it. I don't even know if I mean the politics or the publicly posted theories- but whatever, it's there. Exactly, they all do, every single one(even private schools, most of the time); it just does not have a blog attached to it that people post all the rumors on and that then observers post judgment on. That's not all bad- there is a lot of helpful information on here, and app has and feels more of responsibility to reach out to the whole city since it's an all city draw, and so everything is more public. But yes, everything is more public. Even the less good parts.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous at 10:56 AM considering TM or Stevens for 1rst grade. Ask for a tour of TM with your spouse to see for yourselves. Take your kid to a TM event and talk to other kids and parents. Yes, TM has a new principal, but two of Stevens' first grade teachers are moving to Fairmount Park, so you are also looking at an unknown factor if you stay at Stevens. I would really encourage you to look at TM. I have heard parents say the move was easier for 1rst because everyone was new that year. If your son is a the very top in ability, he may suddenly get really bored in 1rst. It's easier to enter in 1rst grade, than to come in at a higher grade and be behind everyone else in math. You are lucky that Stevens is an ALO school. If not and if a child is not at the tip top, you risk not testing into APP again since the district is considering changes in the identification process and testing cut-offs. However, if you have a teacher who is new to Stevens you may not get the same experience of ALO that kids have there now. -FP Parent

Anonymous said...

Anon at 10:24, no, actually, it doesn't. You would be looking a long time for a parent willing to allege persecution by our principal or missing climate surveys.

7:27

Anonymous said...

7.27, well you are in the lucky minority then.
It happens all the time: there are good principals and bad ones, great teachers and poor ones, disinterested/neglectful parents and over involved nitpicking ones - and the whole gamut in between, - and all of these working together. Many families would differ in their opinion of what constitutes 'good' and 'bad' in the school setting because what works for one, doesn't necessarily work for another.
- some parents are unhappy with some principals
-some parents are unhappy with certain teachers
- some parents lobby principals to remove certain underperforming teachers
- principals sometimes have to do unpopular things - just like any boss
Who decides whether the action a principal takes to address concerns over a teacher is justified or persecution? (Not related to Mrs J at Lincoln by the way, but there have been other cases where parents vigorously lobbied to have certain teachers moved, and succeeded. To the involved teacher this no doubt does feel like persecution, to the kids and families who had major issue with them - it was right thing to do)
You can't keep everyone happy all of the time. You may think your school smells of roses and it's great that that is your experience but I bet there are staff issues, issues with families being dissatisfied, or unpopular management decisions just like there are in every workplace in the real world.

My 2 cents

Anonymous said...

The next APP AC meeting is today, April 1, 2014, @ Hamilton Middle School Library between 6 30-8 30pm.

Anonymous said...

Several hires for JAMS are now posted:

JAMS Fusion page

Anonymous said...

What about advanced math at JAMS? The recent hires are not currently teaching Geometry or Algebra 2 level classes...

Anonymous said...

Not looking for gossip...just wondering if anybody knows anything about these new hires. Are we getting good teachers?

JAMS 2014

Anonymous said...

Is Lincoln going to continue with My Math given that it's been removed from consideration by the district?

Anonymous said...

Have the reasons for dropping My Math from consideration been made public? There was some mention of violating policies (by campaigning for their product?) on another blog, but that is all I have heard.

---Lincoln 3rd grade mom

Shaune said...

Way up above there was a lament about the loss of Beverly Zanetti from WMS, and I echo that sorrow. My son too is in 6th grade LA/SS with her and she is amazing. Any idea about who will pick up her classes? Will they have to hire another APP teacher to take her place?

Anonymous said...

Could we possibly have a new thread about JAMS, new teacher hiring there, status of music program, etc? Things are starting to happen at JAMS and I would love to see some discussion about it. It seems to be a topic of interest to others as well, given the recent posts. Thanks!

Greg Linden said...

Okay, done, a new thread on JAMS.