Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Open thread

Going to be 82F and sunny in Seattle! Beautiful May weather. This is an open thread, talk about anything you like!

The bright side

The discussions here, and news in general, can often focus on the negative, what's wrong and how it might be able to be fixed. That is good and useful, but sometimes it is important to talk about what is going well too.

Let's do a thread with some stories about what is going well in APP. Was your child miserable at their previous public or private school but bloomed in APP? Maybe your kid was bored and doing poorly before APP, but is doing great now? Do you love what's happening in music, math, language arts, or the comradery and community in your school? Tell other parents about it here.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Open thread

What's on your mind?

Declining challenge of APP

In an open thread, some parents were talking about their perception that APP has been weakening over the last several years. Some excerpts:
If APP kids start out ahead of their peers (i.e., they test in the upper percentiles on MAP achievement tests), and if they learn more quickly and require fewer repetitions to master new material (one of the reasons for programs like this in the first place), then why does the gap between APP kids and non-APP kids shrink rather than grow--such that they all end up in essentially the same position come high school entrance? Is it that SPS just doesn't do a good job of tapping into their potential, and providing opportunities for more advanced coursework? Is it that the curriculum is worse for APP than non-APP? Is it that they are learning the same material, but just in much more depth (which we really haven't seen...)? Or are they just wasting time, doing more busy work? Or something else?


It's because the district doesn't want to/isn't required to offer appropriate classes in high school. I think Bellevue has the right idea with their high school program for highly capable students.


If SPS actually planned and implemented an appropriate curriculum, according to the goals and description on SPS's website, would we be having this conversation? What's concerning is things seem headed in the direction of further lowering the ceiling for APP students, rather than raising it. The newly announced scope and sequence has chipped away coverage of world history and now they may not even have the option of AP World History in 9th grade. It really does make you wonder what's the next thing to go.


The AL Dept has no say, and is not watching, how the APP program is being run, or not run. The lack of oversight is why Spectrum has all but disappeared. APP has been being chipped away at for years, and it seems more is happening now. The AL dept is very clear that they only have time to do testing and appeals, nothing more. Bob Vaughan was also very clear that he had no authority when leading AL, and I doubt an interim head has more authority. Those who do have authority over the program, clearly don't like it. I hate to say it, but I see the high school track ending very soon. The more they take away, the easier it is to say high school APP is not needed. It already is not an actual program in high school. I see the district eliminating the high school track and saying needs will be met all at high schools in various ways.
This sounds important, so I'm moving it to its own thread for more discussion. What do you think about this?

Monday, April 21, 2014

New principals at Washington and Thurgood Marshall

Superintendent Jose Banda announced new principals at Washington Middle School and Thurgood Marshall Elementary:
Ms. Follmer comes to Washington Middle School from the International School of Monagus in Maturin, Venezuela, where she has been Assistant Head since 2011. She has a strong vision and a commitment to a healthy school culture and will be a great fit for the Washington Middle School community.

Prior to moving to Venezuela, Ms. Follmer was the Director of the Albright School of Education at City University of Seattle from 2007 to 2011. She also served as a Superintendent Intern for the Highline School District during the 2009–10 school year. Previously, Ms. Follmer has held leadership roles with Evergreen Public Schools, University Place School District, the Kent School District, and the Renton and Federal Way school districts, and she taught English and Reading in Sumner.

Ms. Follmer earned a Master’s of Education from the University of Washington and a Bachelor’s from Pacific Lutheran University. She holds a Superintendent Credential and a P–12 Administrator Credential.

The hiring committee was particularly impressed Ms. Follmer’s understanding of social/emotional development and her focus on technology and its use in educational settings.


I am pleased to announce the appointment of Katie May as [Thurgood Marshall Elementary] Principal for the 2014–15 school year.

Most recently, Ms. May spent three years as Principal at the Seattle Hebrew Academy, a PreK– 8 school. She has a strong social justice focus and believes in building relationships. She will be a great fit for Thurgood Marshall.

Prior to her role as Principal, Ms. May spent eight years at Seattle Hebrew Academy, serving as Director of Student Services and as Head Counselor. Previously, she was the school counselor at Valhalla Elementary in Federal Way.

Ms. May earned a Master of Educational Psychology degree at the University of Washington, specializing in school counseling. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Georgia. Ms. May holds a Washington State Administrative Professional Certificate and an Administrative Credential from Seattle Pacific University. She has attended programs on Improving Schools and on New and Aspiring Leaders at Harvard University.

The hiring committee was particularly impressed with the creative programs Ms. May implemented in her previous school experience, her history of collaboration, and her understanding of diversity in education.
Please discuss.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Open thread

What's on your mind?

Latest at Jane Addams Middle School

By request: "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."