Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Open thread

What's on your mind?

120 comments :

Anonymous said...

If you have homeschooled for Algebra what textbooks do you recommend and which textbooks don't you like?

Thank you

Anonymous said...

Our family used Algebra Structure and Method. It is "old school" math and seemed to do a good job teaching algebra thoroughly. We did spend a few weeks using a good pre- algebra book to fill in the gaps left by the awful CMP before starting. My child passed the EOC with the highest shore and is doing very well in geometry.

-done it

Anonymous said...

"Algebra Structure and Method Book 1" (Brown, Dolciani, Sorgenfrey, and Cole) is straightforward and solid, with worked examples and answers to odd-numbered problems in the back. Chapter tests are included in the text (you can use as is or modify, but you must work out answer key on your own). Another good text is "Algebra 1: Expressions, Equations, and Applications, Classic Edition" by Paul A. Foerster. It's written in a way that works well for self-teaching, and is "old school," plus filled with ample word problems and skills practice.

What I like about the Structure and Method text is the grouping of problems into A, B, and C level problems. You can choose the level of challenge that's appropriate for your child. It also does a good job of teaching the algebra incrementally, with each chapter building from the previous.

CA Review of Structure and Method

The one text I'd steer clear of is the district text, Discovering Algebra.

I'm not sure what a high score on the EOC indicates as it's a base level test with a pretty low bar for passing. If your student works though a traditional text and does well on unit tests, they are likely to score well on the EOC. I'd think the true measure of success is how well a student does in Algebra 2 and beyond.

ben said...

I really like the Art Of Problem Solving textbooks. They're very strong on developing proofs and rigorous problems.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't using the Alg 1 EOC as evidence of how good Alg Structure and Method is. Aren't we all just trying to have the kid pass the Alg EOC? The only way a homeschooled kid can get into geometry now is by passing the Alg EOC. I thought it might be important to another family to know that we used that book and that our kid passed the test easily.

I should also have mentioned that our kid used the Art of Problem Solving pre-algebra book before doing full algebra. It was great at filling the CMP holes.

-done it

Anonymous said...

The Algebra Structure and Method text is part of a series that includes pre-algebra books. The Art of Problem Solving books are a good resource as well - they have a more nontraditional approach in that you are given some problems in order to get to the concept, rather than being told the concept in order to practice related problems. You need to figure out what would work best for your child. Either way, your child would probably be more challenged than with the district texts.

If you are homeschooling math, or supplementing math, odds are you want to go beyond just passing the EOC. That is not to dismiss the importance of passing the EOC, but the proof of the quality of the books listed will most likely be seen when your child gets to Algebra 2. If your child manages the problems in the books suggested, there shouldn't be any worries about passing the EOC. You need to be familiar with the State standards as a handful of topics are included that aren't covered in traditional Algebra texts, but may be part of pre-algebra or even Algebra 2.

If a student is homeschooling for math, they are technically not supposed to use the EOC as a placement test, in part because homeschooled students aren't supposed to be treated differently than private schooled students (who would not have taken the EOC). That said, they will tell you that's the requirement. Schedules are made out before schools get EOC results in September, so you'd request Geometry during course selection time in the Spring. If your child enrolls in Geometry and doesn't do well, they could suggest a change to Algebra.

anon@12:10

Michael Rice said...

I have used the Algebra Structure and Method books for both Algebra 1 and Algebra 2. I think they are very good books. they teach the subjects in a very straight forward method, with clear examples that are easy to understand and follow. These books are vastly superior to the Discovering Series in so many ways, it is hard to count them all. However to me, one big reason is because parents who are trying to help their children, will understand what is being taught and will understand what the problems are asking you to do. These books teach Algebra.

Anonymous said...

Michael, can you speak to what you're seeing at Ingraham re: middle school math preparation? Are kids coming in with good math foundations? Or would kids leaning toward STEM fields be better off avoiding the SPS curriculum and doing independent study instead? I have an incoming Hamilton 6th grader being recommended for Alg 1 in the fall, but I'm having trouble seeing the point of three years with the current math curriculum. And whether he takes geometry in 7th or waits until 8th, what's the point if it doesn't include proofs?

I know quite a few people are opting for independent math these days, so I'm curious to know if high school teachers are finding them better prepared....

And on a more practical note, if kids do complete Alg 2 in middle school, what do they take in 9th? The IBX guide says Stats or Calc AB, but the former sounds like a filler and the latter inappropriate (since no pre-Calc/trig prerequisite). Then again, taking Calc AB in 12th grade, after IB Math HL, also sounds nutty, no?

I guess I'm just not seeing how the entire MS and IBX math sequence really works... Any insights you can provide as we investigate our options are greatly appreciated!

HIMSmom

Sarah Clayton said...

My wish today is for even just ine parent with a number of AP tests in their kid's history to tell me what it means to score 99% on the nonverbal portion of the CogAT and yet only 62% on the verbal. This kid reads Potter fluently, and the last 3 MAP test scores are 100%. Is it autism? ADHD? Learning disability? Bad tester? or just an uncooperative 7 year old? He has aced these types of questions with me--do i worry? spend money i dont have for appeals testing? or wait until he is 8 and might care more? Anyone's span of similar experiences most needed!!

-roulette

RuthsDadCraig said...

My daughter received a packet today (April 15) from the Seattle public high school at the bottom of her list of choices. She has been assigned to the school in her geo area.

The reason this school was at the bottom of her and our list is that the school is simply a poor match for our daughter--academically, socially, and other ways. The school has no IB program, and our daughter--a driven, gifted student--will not be pushed as much as she should be or would like to be.

Is there a way to appeal her assignment to this school? We would not like for her future to be shaped in part by a random assignment to a school that is clearly a poor fit.

Hoping someone can shed some light on anything we might be able to do here.

Thanks,

Craig L.

Anonymous said...

@Craig

Is she waitlisted for her first choice?

Anonymous said...

@Sarah Clayton have you asked the AL office to hand check the test? Scoring errors are pretty rare but do happen.

And this may sound nit picky but AP Tests are not administered to elementary school students. They are College Board exams administered in May to high school students -and an occasional middle schooler. Usually the student is enrolled in a course that corresponds with the exam such as AP U.S. History or AP Calculus.

APPx2

Anonymous said...

Sarah, assuming you still have time to appeal, I think you should seriously consider paying for private IQ testing if you really feel your child needs APP. It is typically about $500. That one low verbal score could just be a fluke. It happens with young kids.

The test results should give you a better idea about whether you need to be concerned about the CogAT results. If there is a similar spread - well, I don't know what it means, but it could mean something.


Anonymous said...

Has anyone else received their official school assignment letter? We received the eligibility notice but not the final school assignment. With the near-deadline submission of our forms (due to late testing) and having a choice selection for my MS APP kid, I would like to see the result before making our choice between private and public school.

Anonymous said...

@ school assignment

The results (assignment/waitlist) are available online in the enrollment pwge of sps, you just need the student id and DOB.

Shannon Adams said...

Thanks so much.

Anonymous said...

@APPx2

Next time I should not post from my phone. I failed the test! Tried to post anonymously and it didn't quite work out.

Yes, I appreciate the nit-picking. "AP" was the wrong term. AL, ALO, AP, APP. AT. All alphabet spoonfuls I am learning to digest.

The implications of basing APP entrance primarily on a single test, or group of tests, taking up 1 hour of a child's day is that a kindergartener or 1st grader SHOULD, if they are gifted at all, be able to take this test properly and excel, regardless of setting, regardless of mood. IF a child is exceptional, they can take any test, anywhere, and be in the 99th percentile. I believe that is the implication. Am I wrong?

My child did a practice CogAT at home with me last year AFTER he took his first CogAT and bombed. (due to a runny nose, the tester said!) He started out okay, then skipped a line on the answers form and began filling in the correct answer in the incorrect row. Once i noticed this he was able to start over recording answers on the correctly corresponding row and aced the test. Even knowing him well I had not expected him to do so well on the practice test. But considering he initially answered all the answers wrong by placing them in the wrong rows, one might think actually he can't be all that gifted.

Seriously. To be gifted, one should know how to take a test properly. Correct? Now having him retested that same year at great expense improved his assessment enough to appeal for a slot in Spectrum. But his Working Memory result on the WISC was so poor that he did not qualify for APP at that time. The tester then did suggest he was young and more interested in sharing his toys with her than doing the test.

My desire to have my child challenged and not bored by school, and not have a negative experience affect is interest in academics and his view of himself is what drives my desire to have him enter the APP program. He is in my belief highly gifted but also highly unmotivated. If giftedness were the only necessary qualifier for the APP program, we would not all have to be going through appeals process or testing at all? But the schools don't offer challenges enough to ascertain abilities on a daily, non-test, basis.

So the qualifier for the gifted program is how well a child tests. Period. Children with little experience in testing and perhaps little extrinsic motivation to attend to tests, are not going to do consistently well. Am i right?

One-on-One testing, one child at a time at school, during school hours, seems hardly problematic, either financially or logistically considering all we parents pay, and the lack of ability to pay of many others. When I was tested in grammar school, I was given a Stanford Binet in a private room with a tester. Yes, I was the only one tested that day, but the school arranged it themselves.

Still, I have to wonder: How can so many kids do so poorly on this CogAT. Having not seen an actual CogAT makes this hard for me to answer. But the types of questions and methods seem straightforward enough, especially so that the Adminstrator could easily check each child's work as they go to make sure everything is being properly attended.

From my experiences thus far and what I have heard from others, IQ and intelligence are not easily demonstrated for tests, due to a myriad of factors, most of which stem from the age and maturity of the child, and yet it's the young children who perhaps need differentiated learning environments most crucially.

I don't know what i am going to do this year, yet. But I don't have $450-500, and none of the Testers I have called for the appeal testing have yet returned my call.

Craig L. said...

I posted something two days ago about my daughter being assigned to the high school we don't want her going to for academic and other reasons. I found out this morning that she has been waitlisted for her preferred high school (she is #9 on the waitlist).

The SPS employee told me that waitlisted students will have their parents phoned starting in May if spots at the school do open up.

How common is it for spots to open up? Could someone respond who has had experience with this process? I'd appreciate it.

Meg said...

Sarah- My son had a pretty hilarious score progression the first time he tested for APP, in kindergarten. First test: off the charts. Second test: twenty point drop. Third test: an additional twenty point drop (I think the test format has since changed?).

I puzzled over it for a bit, and then asked him if he remembered being removed from class to take a test. He said yes... and that the test was SOOOOO boring. Basically, he got bored and goofed off. We didn't appeal, we didn't do test prep, we didn't tell him to pay attention on tests, even if they're boring.

He did a lather/rinse/repeat in 1st grade (which did make me grit my teeth a little and remind myself to chill out), and then tested in easily when he took it in 2nd. He very much fell into the gifted-but-not-motivated category.

It's probably worth checking if there was a scoring mistake.

As for advice? Eh. I would say that if he's happy at his current school, don't spend money on private appeals, and test him again next year. APP gets a ton of new kids every year - there's not a rush (my kids did learn at school in APP, but they were not challenged). But I don't know your kid. Don't worry about ADHD or anything else because of slumping scores on a test.

Anonymous said...

@Craig L,

It will depend on which school she wants to attend - how full it is and how popular. Do you mind sharing where she's hoping to get in?

LCP

Craig L. said...

Ingraham

Anonymous said...

Craig L.
I know that this year, many students from the wait list got into IHS. I don't have the exact number but many friends of ours got in in September.
Next year might be a little different though, because of the rising number of incoming APP students. If I were you I would call Mr Floe, he seems very helpful whenever anyone has a question.
Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I think there will definitely be some degree of movement on high school wait lists, as many of the kids newly headed off to private school or schools in nearby districts likely submitted SPS school choice forms as their back-up plan. I doubt that most of those leaving the district have informed the folks downtown yet. I know we haven't.

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

@CraigL,

I can tell you my daughter got into Ingraham IBx, but will be attending Aviation HS. So as soon as everything is lined up with that school, I will be dropping her from Ingraham. There's one seat.

LCP

Craig L. said...

Thanks for your responses. I will definitely be giving Mr. Floe a call, so thanks to the anonymous person for giving that suggestion.

LCP, out of curiosity, why is your daughter transferring out of Ingraham?

Anonymous said...

LCP,

My son is going to Aviation as well! (Garfield was our next choice, and the school we were assigned.) Can I ask if you are coming from HIMS? We are. WOuld be good to know a friendly face.
-Rare Commenter

Anonymous said...

@Craig L,

Aviation High School was her first choice because she really wants to work in robotics in the aerospace industry. It's a great school if you definitely know you want a career in aviation and aerospace. If she hadn't been accepted to Aviation, she would be headed to Ingraham.

@Rare Commenter,

She's coming from Eckstein, and she can hardly wait!

LCP

Anonymous said...

Waiting list summary report by schools:
http://www.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1583136/File/Departmental%20Content/enrollment%20planning/WaitingListSummary%202014-15.pdf?sessionid=cfe71cda354135e1a1c8060b370fabc6

Anonymous said...

Has any other kids from Hamilton or Washington APP programs not gotten their first choice for high school? My daughter chose Ingraham IBx as her number one choice. (we didn't put any other choices because we didnt think there was a need)
However she was assigned to Garfield APP with Ingraham Gen Ed as her wait list school which is not even our neighborhood school. Was there a such a large interest in IBx that they couldn't take everyone?
Was it because we didn't put down any other choices? Was there a certain way the choice needed to be written out? (other than Ingraham IBx?)

Craig L. said...

Ingraham is clearly becoming a much more desired school than even one year ago. I spoke with a women in the enrollment department at SPS on Thursday, and she told me that my daughter was assigned to her geo school and put on the waitlist for her first Choice school. She also let me know that they put each student on only one waitlist.

Anonymous said...

How did you submit your enrollment form for IBX? Mail? online? When we enrolled at Lowell years ago, our child was assigned to gen ed instead of APP. We had a date stamped copy of our enrollment form that we took to Enrollment Services to get it straightened out. Maybe it was a mix-up with enrollment. I'd look into it ASAP.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, that is encouraging. I did go down to the enrollment office to turn it in and have a dated and signed copy showing we put Ingraham IBx as our only choice. My worry is that it won't be an easy fix because they may have received too many requests and had to create a wait list. I never anticipated that otherwise we might have put Ingraham IB as our second choice. I just am stumped why we are wait listed for the Gen Ed program?

Lynn said...

The Friday Memo posted yesterday included some info on APP social studies. Apparently they will be following the OSPI guidelines for scope and sequence beginning next fall. Here is the document. I hope students will still be able to take AP World History as freshman. The available English classes in 9th and 10th grade are not appropriate. Requiring APP students to take Honors World History as freshman would be too much.

maureen said...

Lynn, said: Requiring APP students to take Honors World History as freshman would be too much.

I'm sorry, can you explain this? From what I understand, there are other APP qualified kids (maybe all of the HIMS kids, I'm not sure?) who do not go straight in to AP History in 9th grade. I have kids who qualified for AP at various points in their lives and didn't go into AP as 9th graders.

Why is it "too much" for a 9th grade APP qualified kid to go into Honors history? Is your point that they need to be separated from non APP students or that they have actually formally covered the material from the Honors classes?

My older APP qualified kid went to RHS, my younger one is at IHS (Not IBX). As such, I feel the need to point out that the APP kids they know haven't been particularly well prepared in History. From what I have observed, most SPS kids are pretty poorly prepared in History.

Maybe there should be a test to be assigned to AP History in 9th grade? It's unclear to me as to why a test taken when you are five years old should determine which History class you are enrolled in in 9th grade.

Lynn said...

I feel that much of the value of a humanities class comes from the class discussions. (Maybe more so in English than in history.) When 80% of the freshman in a school are taking honors English, there's very little discussion going on that is engaging and meaningful for an APP student. If those same students are taking honors World History, I imagine it would be the same situation. I might be wrong.

That test taken at five years old doesn't determine how much history you will know going into ninth grade - but it can give you a pretty good idea of how quickly you will learn the history taught in high school and how much repetition you'll need.

Anonymous said...

Given the erratic coverage of history my children have had through the years in SPS/APP, it doesn't surprise me some students seem ill prepared. Is this a step in the right direction...or not? What is happening with LA? Will it become a class separate from SS? Is this paving the way for a different model of AL? It seems pretty lousy for those caught in the middle of the transition. All schools will have to redesign their APP curriculum for next year, WMS included. What will make the classes "APP?" Will there be a textbook adoption as well? It's interesting that the announcement is for APP only, not for all programs.

Anonymous said...

I just spoke with the enrollment office regarding Ingraham's IBx program. They enrolled 36 students, 10 were by sibling preference and the other 26 from a lottery. There are 35 wait listed for Ingraham IBx. Did anyone with an APP guarantee sign up before open enrollment?
I just read 2 conflicting reports about open enrollment/ APP- one states that you may apply before open enrollment and be guaranteed in and another paragraph that states there is no benefit to applying early.
Does anyone know any different?

Anonymous said...

@9:18,

Thanks for that info. How does one even sign up prior to open enrollment? My experience has been that forms are not available until the open enrollment period?

-curious

Anonymous said...

Maureen, I have to agree with Lynn on this one--qualifying for APP doesn't determine how much history kids will know entering 9th grade, but it can be a pretty good indicator of how quickly they'll learn whatever history is taught in high school, and how much repetition they'll need. These kids are fast learners, and the pacing of a typical class is just too slow and too basic for them. (Even the courses designed for middle school APP courses are often too basic and slow--but at least they're better than GenEd or Spectrum classes would be.) And the idea that all these kids qualify based on a test taken at age five is silly--some do, yes. For many others it's based on tests taken in later elementary grades, or even middle school. Kids who, through the years, become poor fits for APP generally leave the program, and others who need it enter at the appropriate time. Kindergarten testing is not sealing anyone's fate, or excluding anyone who needs the program from accessing it in the future if they qualify.

On the larger issue of high school course eligibility, APP kids are theoretically working about 2 years above grade level, yet very little of that translates into any actual benefit to them come high school. It's bizarre. Assuming they aren't one of the few kids going into IBX, what do they really get? They have Biology out of the way early (though they don't get HS credit for it), and they get to go directly into AP World History. That's it. The latter makes sense given that (a) they've taken more world history in middle school than their non-APP peers--currently 2 yrs, soon to be 1.5 yrs, vs. 1 yr for others--and (b) they are learning the skills necessary for success in an AP history class. As HIMS principal Cindy Watters explained it to us, that history-learning skill development is more important than the actual topic (US vs. World) of their 8th grade history class, and these kids are indeed ready for AP history.

Speaking as a parent of an APP kid bored stiff in middle school APP, these kids really do need to be able to have some level of continued acceleration in high school. The minimal options available aren't a lot, but better than nothing. Throwing these highly gifted kids back into what are essentially GenEd classes does a disservice to everyone. I realize a lot of folks will disagree with me on this and think that when it comes to high school we should treat all students as if they suddenly all have the same abilities and prerequisites, but in reality that just isn't the case. Highly academically gifted kids don't generally become ungifted when they hit high school.

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

I just checked the district website for Waitlist and found this:
Ingraham 09 Gen Ed 35
Ingraham 09 SM3 1
Ingraham 10 Gen Ed 14

There is none listed for 9th grade APP students and 35 listed for Gen Ed.
What is going on here?

Anonymous said...

"there is no benefit to applying early"

When we attended Open House I remember hearing this in the context of applying early during the open enrollment period won't provide any advantage. Meaning, standing in line to be the first person to register won't provide any benefit, but you do have to apply during open enrollment.

Anonymous said...

As HIMS principal Cindy Watters explained it to us, that history-learning skill development is more important than the actual topic (US vs. World) of their 8th grade history class, and these kids are indeed ready for AP history.

The idea that "skills" are more important than content is a recurring theme. How do you teach "critical thinking" without giving students much to think about? I think this is a toxic attitude and has led to the diminished coverage of history. A broad base of historical knowledge gives students a basis for analysis.

Imaging reading Animal Farm without having learned about Lenin and Trotsky. Imagine learning about US Government without having learned about Greece, Rome, the Magna Carta, John Locke, etc.

Anonymous said...

I think the wait-listing for GenEd rather than IB, is because IBx is the only program other than GenEd. IB technically IS GenEd. It's IBx that's accelerated. The IB diploma (if that's what your student wants) is the same one.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 9:18am and others...

I am very positive after speaking to Ingraham's office that all APP students who put "INGRAHAM APP" as their first choice on the Enrollement sheet should have gotten assigned. As anon at 3:05pm says, the standard IB pathway is a class choice not a program with a separate student population, so those wanting into it sign up just for Ingraham. My understanding was that all newly qualified and currently enrolled APP students got a seat. This year in 9th grade, there are around 75 APP students so it seems weird that they would drop the number to 36. Are a lot of people in this position? Our son decided to switch to Ingraham IBx as of yesterday, when we learned from a current IBx family that they would be offering all the IB sciences every year along with IB Further Math, which would allow for him to take a similar schedule to what he had planned at Garfield. Is there still a chance of getting in at this point?

HIMS Family

Anonymous said...

Anon at 2:31, I agree that the overall history/SS curriculum is lacking, and would love to see it revised so that all students cover things comprehensively and in a sequence that makes sense, regardless of which program they are in. But then again, this is SPS.

So given how things stand, is your position that APP students should enter the same world history class that everyone else takes in 9th grade, and that they're not capable of skipping that and moving on to the AP version? Do APP kids lose ground in middle school--they may start out a year or two ahead of their peers academically, but by the end of the three years they're all at the same level? If so, that's a very sad situation--they essentially hit the middle school ceiling upon entry.

(Apparently blogger agrees. My very appropriate captcha was just "The wastdA.")

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

For our family's perspective, even if Ms. Watters and HIMS say our 8th graders are ready for AP World, based on what they have been doing in class compared to previous years, it sure doesn't feel like they are covering much history at all. My daughter almost chose Ingraham IBx over this, but has decided to do the honors World History next year, after she figured out that seniors get priority into project-based AP American Gov (which she would take senior year). For the new social studies curriculum, why don't they do US history in Grade 6 to build off of Elementary APP, then do WA State in 7th (1st sem), and then switch to Foundations of World History. This sequence would tie better to the elementary and high school APP sequences at both IBx and Garfield.

On a side note, does anyone know if QA/magnolia residents or anyone in APP at Lincoln's pathway get a seat at Fairmount Park? We have a friend, with a son newly eligible to APP in Grade 3, who heard about the FIVE experienced APP staff plus Julie at Fairmount and was willing to commute to West Seattle to take part in it.

Other HIMS Family

Anonymous said...

I was the one who posted about the numbers I received over the phone today about Ingraham's IBx program and wait list. Since then I went down to enrollment and learned that the numbers quoted to me were not for IBx but Gen Ed rather. (their mistake)
We did not get in because the verbiage I used was Ingraham IBx rather than Ingraham APP. MY MISTAKE!!!!! There are 100 students listed for APP for next fall. I filled out a new enrollment form and have to wait. They still dont have all their facts correct because another person over the phone told me that my daughter would be 5th on the wait list and when I went down there in person they said there is no wait list??????????

Anonymous said...

@4:13

ARGGGGHHH how frustrating. But thanks very much for posting your story - I can easily see us doing the same thing.

-curious

Anonymous said...

On a related topic, here's the thing I've never understood:

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 just doesn't make sense to me...

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

I am really interested in thoughts on this question from HIMSmom. We are entering Lincoln next year in upper elementary and it's a nagging question I've had for a while.

Boy mom

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

So given how things stand, is your position that APP students should enter the same world history class that everyone else takes in 9th grade, and that they're not capable of skipping that and moving on to the AP version?

I guess I'm calling BS on the principal's claim that they are A-Okay moving into AP World History in 9th based on the coverage of history at HIMS (WMS may be a different story). We haven't hit high school yet, so we don't know how it really plays out. The recently announced change to the scope and sequence means even less world history will be covered - a full year's worth if you consider the semester that was part of 8th grade, and the loss of a semester in 7th grade.

Is it that the curriculum is worse for APP than non-APP?
Hard to say. WMS still has the old books and materials - HIMS has different books, some of which they scrounged from district discards and even then they don't seem to have enough books to go around. With the exception of 7th grade, it seems there is not much alignment with the old APP.

Or are they just wasting time, doing more busy work? Lots of time spent on presentations and group projects.

Anonymous said...

"Is it that SPS just doesn't do a good job of tapping into their potential, and providing opportunities for more advanced coursework?"
- For us, this seems to be the case.

"Is it that the curriculum is worse for APP than non-APP?"
- Since there is no official APP LA/SS curriculum, every teacher is teaching different things, at least in HIMS. There is some alignment only in 7th grade I think.

"Is it that they are learning the same material, but just in much more depth (which we really haven't seen...)?"
- We haven't seen that either.

"Or are they just wasting time, doing more busy work? Or something else? It just doesn't make sense to me..."
- Our student thinks it is mostly just wasting time.
Another HIMS mom

Anonymous said...

Anon at 4:13pm,

I am so glad you figured out what the problem was! I am sure there is no APP waiting list, but good luck anyhow. See you next year at Ingraham.

HIMS Family

maureen said...

I think there is so much variation in what a gifted child is capable of learning on their own (and with their family) that whatever they learn in the classroom is just in the noise.

Some kids (and I know quite a few) can come out of a neighborhood or Option school with the same (or greater) level of critical reasoning skill and even content knowledge as the average APP trained student. The idea that they need to have occupied a seat at HIMS or WMS to be allowed to interact with APP kids in 9th grade is laughable.

IBx at least allows those kids to try and test in (if they didn't blow off their 7th grade MAP that is). Are APP purists claiming that those new IBx kids aren't capable of keeping up, relative to HIMS/WMS grads?

I guess I am mainly responding to Lynn, though I think there was at least one anonymous who would disagree with me (it really helps when people pick a name!)

Lynn said...

maureen,

I'm sure that there are students at every school in Seattle who meet the criteria you mentioned. I'm saying that the most rigorous English class available to any freshman at Garfield wouldn't meet their needs. 80% of the freshman take this class. That is pretty much any student who was reading at grade level in the 8th grade. That is too wide a range of abilities to meet the needs of all students in the class.

I'm just saying that I don't want to see the same situation develop with history classes at Garfield.

Anonymous said...

Maureen, who is saying APP kids and non-APP kids shouldn't interact in 9th grade? Please don't start the whole "exclusivity" or "segregation" thing... I don't know of a single class at Garfield that would be APP only, do you? And I'm not even sure what you mean by "APP purists," but is sounds offensive. How is arguing that highly academically gifted kids be allowed to continue skipping a general prereq akin to saying they shouldn't mix with the masses? Skipping a class does not mean it's APP only, just that they will be in it with older non-APP kids. And my kid, for one, would be happy to have any kid of similar abilities, who could keep the class moving quickly and with rich discussion, absolutely.

So it's really not about exclusion--it's about proving the challenges kids need, and not boring them stiff with a slow-moving, too basic class. Will APP kids miss some background material by making a history skip? Possibly. My kid would love that--it might finally mean a class would be challenging! Will there be non-APP kids who could succeed in and make a positive contribution to a higher level class, if they were also able to skip into it? Probably. And there might be APP kids who would be better off taking the prereq instead. However, as a group, APP students are likely in a better position to succeed in an advanced class than is the entire pool of gen ed students, don't you think? A class designed for the general school population is going to be way too easy for the majority of APP students, that's just the way it is. One size does not fit all--and just because the system for determining who gets which size may not be 100% perfect, doesn't mean it should be abandoned altogether.

Your argument seems to have the feel of "if my kid, who is APP qualified for but didn't participate in APP, can't skip that one class, nobody else should be able to either!" I feel your frustration--we've been forced to take too easy classes all along, too, or find outside options to supplement or replace what's available. It's been a huge hassle, and APP has not really proven to be a whole lot of value added. But I know there are kids for whom APP works well. Just because it wasn't ideal for us, doesn't mean I'm pushing to change it to our personal specs. It's all about trade-offs. Maybe by not participating in APP it means you have to take an extra prerequisite down the line. Or, I'm sure your kid could take an comparable class online or at a community college and take care of the prerequisite some other way, if it's really that big of a deal, right? I'm sure a school would be open to considering a skip in such a case, just as if a transfer student had met a prerequisite.

HIMSmom

Lynn said...

Exactly. On the topic of AP World, College Board says there is no prerequisite - though a student should be able to read a college-level textbook and write complete, grammatically correct sentences. I think any student who is identified as highly capable by the end of eighth grade should be able to take AP World as a freshman.

I don't know if the district should create new English classes for highly capable students in 9th and 10th grade or if they should be able to jump into AP American Lit - but none of them should be making mini-posters defining and illustrating vocabulary words as sophomores.

Anonymous said...

Any current Lincoln families know if the Open House coming up in May is a good thing for new first-graders? Or is it mostly for current families?
We're looking for ways to build a positive association with Lincoln and decrease anxiety for our incoming squirt.

-incoming

Anonymous said...

@ incoming, the Open House/Ice Cream Social on May 15 is DEFINITELY for new and incoming families. It is really a fun time for kids (and parents though crazy with the number of people that show up). I know it really helped both my kids to go. I was surprised at who I knew either already going or new to the school. It's a great opportunity just to get a feel for the campus/school, meet teachers, and ease any anxieties. Please attend!

There will also be playdates in the summer and classroom visit with your child's teacher just before school starts. Welcome to Lincoln!

K

Anonymous said...

Well, Maureen, you're in luck. Just received the Garfield 9th grade course selection form, and it looks like AP World History is no longer an option. It was on the form, but has been crossed off. APP middle school officially gets you pretty much nowhere. Way to go, SPS.

So incredibly frustrated with this district,

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

Wow. What's next?

Anonymous said...

No one is suggesting that APP 9th graders at any school should not be in classes with other students (especially those at Ingraham who test into IBx). The general frustration is that HIMS 8th graders are being put in a honors English and possibly an honors history course that is not meeting the needs of these students. Based on our current 8th grade experience, jumping into AP World didn't seem like the best idea, but putting students back into a class with repeating content is not the answer. IBx changed their curriculum this year once they realized HIMS was not preparing their students for AP World, but has done so by creating a new history course. That course is not the honors history course, but one open to all APP 9th graders and those who test in. In Ingraham's case, the IB program is very challenging and I would be extremely wary about students who wanted to do acclerated IB who were not pre-tested or screened. Again at both high schools, APP students are not asking for or getting more services, they simply need more appropriate services than what is currently on the table.

Other HIMS Family

Anonymous said...

Is the AP World option off the table just for HIMS APP students? I hadn't heard that from WMS parents?

-GHS Parent

Anonymous said...

Yes, I was wondering the same. The packet we received has an instructions sheet that says "Social Studies options for 2014-15 year - all freshmen will be enrolled in either regular or honors World History. AP World History is an option during the sophomore year."

I'm assuming this really means "all" freshman, but it would be interesting to confirm that WMS 8th graders got the same info...

And don't you love how this change comes after open enrollment? If my kid new he'd end up in all gen ed classes, he never would have selected Garfield as his first choice. More APP BS.

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

I think beginning May 12th, we might fill out an option sheet for Ingraham. HIMSmom, our daughter just had the same reaction.

Other HIMS mom

Anonymous said...

I would definitely check with your counselor. If I remember right, when our kid filled out their registration form two years ago, AP World wasn't an option either, but they were told that was what they were going into to.

Let me know - because the PTSA should likely know about that change and there has been no discussion about it.

Especially if WMS kids have access.

-GHS Parent

Anonymous said...

Is AL involved in any of these APP curriculum changes?

Lynn said...

I can't see sending my younger children to a Seattle Public Schools high school. We live too far from Ingraham for the drive to be bearable for four years.

Maybe the UW will increase the seats available in their early enrollment program?

HIMSparent said...

It would be great to get more info (if its available) on this curriculum change for incoming Garfield APP students. To verify if the option to take AP World History is available for WMS APP, but not HIMS APP kids? How does this change affect the previous pathway, will they lose the opportunity to take certain classes in Jr or Sr yr? We are very new to the HS process and apparently we need to fill out the course schedule and hand in by early next week. If it seems important to be able to take AP World History in 9th gr, not just for the comparative rigor that class offers but also to maintain the preferred course pathway, then perhaps the students might be able to take a summer prep course online utilizing the recommended textbook - is this something we (parents and kids) could/should talk to GHS counselor or registrar? Thanks for any input.

Anonymous said...

Lynn:
"Maybe the UW will increase the seats available in their early enrollment program?"
Do you think it is right/fair to expect the UW to stand up for the problems at SPS? For a huge program's failure like APP? With hundreds of students involved?

Also, what could happen with those APP students who wouldn't miss out on the HS experience?

Just asking because I am also
- Curious

Anonymous said...

The UW early entrance programs don't seem to accept a lot of SPS kids as it is--probably partly because they know how weak APP really is--so I can't imagine why they'd want to start taking more just because SPS is failing to adequately serve this population. The absence of other good options doesn't necessarily make more Seattle kids a good fit for the Robinson Center's programs.

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

The UW Early Entrance program is for a very small subset of students and is not a program the majority of APP students would choose. It's just not an equal alternative.

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.

also@HIMS

Anonymous said...

From what I understand, the current pathway allows APP students to take the following:

9th-AP World
10th- AP US
11th- AP Am Gov (1 sem)
12th- Contemporary Problems ( 1-sem started for the first time this year)

Other Honors/AP track students take:

9th- World H
10th- AP World
11th- AP US
12th- AP Amer Gov (project based)

The second option doesn't seem bad at all except for the concern about the rigor and challenge of the 9th grade history course.

Other HIMS mom

Lynn said...

The whole problem is the rigor and challenge of the 9th grade history course. (Also - project-based AP American Government takes two semesters to prepare for the same exam as the one semester course. It's not the class for Honors/AP track students.)

If highly capable students aren't allowed to accelerate their course selections in high school, they're not receiving services. Without that what does Garfield provide other than the music program?

Anonymous said...

I was under the impression that the project-based class was designed to make it more accessible, not necessarily more rigorous. If it takes a year instead of a semester, isn't that one less elective a student can take?

Anonymous said...

Lynn,

You are absolutely correct. I am concerned that Garfield is getting a mass of APP students in one building and little to no services are being provided, but beacuse it has worked in the past with different middle school pathways, no one seems to want to relook at the offerings.

For those who IBx is either not practical or the best fit for, how can another equal service be provided?

Anon at 9:49pm, I am not sure about the reasons behind the project based class, you may be completely correct, but I do know that senior students get higher priority for entry than APP juniors on the current history track.

Other HIMS mom

Anonymous said...

Lynn - can you explain why the AP World History class is so important to the concept of an APP/Advanced course progression - wouldnt the LA, Science, and Math still be presumably 2 years advanced from the classes that the GenEd students have been taking? How would this new course progression (with Honors W. History instead of the AP W History) compare to the course progression at, eg, Roosevelt or Ballard? Thank you for any feedback.
- newbie

Anonymous said...

I've been following this discussion about high school history with interest, although my oldest is entering 6th. I'm curious what's going on in HS for APP kids in terms of science and LA? Any special track for APP kids in those subject areas, or do they take the same courses in the same sequence as most everyone else?

--thinking ahead

Lynn said...

newbie,

Only the math and science are appropriately accelerated. APP students take honors LA 9 and 10 - which is really a gen ed class as 80% of the students take those classes. My kid is very humanities focused and those LA classes have been awful.

If this change in the history progression takes place, the only advantage Garfield will have over Roosevelt is that Roosevelt allows acceleration in math only. An APP student at Roosevelt is required to repeat Physical Science and Biology.

Anonymous said...

And when Lynn says science is appropriately accelerated, understand that she means appropriate to what's offered in middle school APP--which is one year ahead only, not two. APP 8th graders take Biology, and by passing the exam they get to start high school with that one science course under their belt. Since it's a prerequisite for some of the other science classes, that can be useful. They still don't get HS credit for it though, like non-APP kids taking it the following year do--even though it's the same EOC exam.

Also, math has never been part of APP. It's not accelerated for APP--it's all based on individual level in middle school, and that continues in HS. There's no APP math track.

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

I am responding to this posted above. Please choose a name - it makes it far easier to resoind.

" Anonymous said...
Is AL involved in any of these APP curriculum changes?
April 22, 2014 at 5:07 PM"

I think it's important that everyone is clear on this. NO, 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.

-pickle

Greg Linden said...

I think this discussion of the rigor of APP might be of interest to more people if it was more visible, so I started a new thread for it, "Declining challenge of APP".

Anonymous said...

According to the April 2 meeting minutes from the AL2 Task Force:

Shauna [Heath]: Recently adopted APP curriculum for social studies, teachers have not seen it yet.

Does anyone have more details beyond the announcement that the scope and sequence will follow WA state social studies sequencing?

And the update from Ken Courtney (Garfield):

AP World for 9th APP has been a sprint to catch up
 Start at Chapter 14 in Strayer
 Assumed that the rest will be covered in middle school
 That changed this year


also@HIMS

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Lincoln Open House tips K. Good to know!

-incoming

Anonymous said...

Looks like those April 2 meeting minutes from the AL2 Task Force also talk about blended science classes and non-APP access to Biology. Did anyone happen to attend that meeting, and if so, can you elaborate?

Thanks,
HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

Those minutes, and the history sequence change, reflect what I've heard "off the record" from district personnel - that kids are coming to Garfield unprepared for the AP history course in 9th grade.

Of course, my solution would be to increase the rigor in middle school to make sure they are ready for the 9th grade class, but apparently the district is choosing to go the other way: accept the lack of preparation and make the 9th grade class less challenging.

And yes, changes to APP in highschool are coming - per the state mandate to offer some sort of services K-12. My guess is that eventually Garfield won't be an APP option except for kids living in the attendance area. Rainier Beach now offers IB, so they too can offer IBx like Ingraham does in the future. Look for RB IBx to be an APP pathway in the future.

Note too that hidden in those minutes is a comment that APP LA/SS is "expanding to JAMS then to Madison ('15-'16)." Looks like Madison is getting APP 2 years from now (for the Fairmount Park/West Seattle) kids?

--change is the only constant

Lynn said...

Not happy to see that about Madison at all. I think Fairmount Park will have at most one full APP class per grade. Those kids will be in the same classroom for up to five years of elementary school. They need access to a larger group of (highly capable) students in middle school.
I've mentioned this before - the principal at Madison doesn't believe it's possible to have both APP and Spectrum in the same school.
When I read the note about offering biology to non-APP middle school students - I was reminded of the Hamilton families who said they'd rather move their kids to Eckstein than JAMS - IF Eckstein offered biology.
I'd like to see the APP-AC bring Shauna Heath to the next meeting to explain what will be offered to APP students at each middle and high school next year. APP families who are affected need to be given this information now so hat they can make informed enrollment choices.

Anonymous said...

Wondering why they think APP kids are not prepared for the AP World History course? Our kid took the AP test last year as a freshman and scored a 4 - and everyone he spoke to scored either a 3,4 or 5.

A 4 or 5 is good enough to receive credit for the course at some universities...how is that not being "prepared"?

I can't think of how else they are determining that the kids are not prepared - my kid got an "A" and I know the majority of APP students also did well in the class. It certainly wasn't his most challenging class (Marine Bio took that honor).

Are the teachers this year seeing a bit difference in preparation in the freshman class? If so - it has to be due to the changes at Hamilton, nothing changed at WMS - right?

-GHS Parent

Lynn said...

There is still room on the public comment list for tonight's board meeting.

Anonymous said...

The next APP AC meeting:
May 6, 2014, Thurgood Marshall Elementary Library

Anonymous said...

Are the teachers this year seeing a bit difference in preparation in the freshman class? If so - it has to be due to the changes at Hamilton, nothing changed at WMS - right?

That would be my guess.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see the APP-AC bring Shauna Heath to the next meeting to explain what will be offered to APP students at each middle and high school next year. APP families who are affected need to be given this information now so hat they can make informed enrollment choices.

That would be helpful, but haven't we already made enrollment choices? Are you suggesting parents might try to change schools based on recently announced changes to program offerings?

curious

Anonymous said...

So - due to the lack of preparation of Hamilton students - all incoming APP freshmen are shut out of AP World History?

That seems ridiculous. WMS students are 100% prepared for that class and will be repeating material next year.

-GHS Parent

Anonymous said...

If concerns move up the chain of command, who will ultimately take responsibility for the deficiencies at HIMS? The teacher can say there is no APP curriculum, the principal can say there is no APP curriculum, the Executive Director can say there is no APP curriculum...so at what point does someone take responsibility for it?

depressing

Anonymous said...

In our 8 years in SPS I have learned 2 things:
1.: No one is responsible for anything (or if you really press it hard then they will find someone before the current job holder)
2.: there is no accountability in SPS (Charlie could write about this for pages).
Yes, it is depressing. And it means you have to stand up for your student because to wait for SPS not going help. "Stand up" could mean moving out of SPS, moving to other district for school, choosing online and /or summer courses for your student or even homeschooling. Sorry, I don't think there is any other way...
Another old timer

Anonymous said...

"I think Fairmount Park will have at most one full APP class per grade."

Really? How did you determine this? I seriously doubt there will be one full APP class per grade, and even if there is Julie Breidenbach is committed to a blended Gen.Ed./APP/Spectrum model. Fairmount Park will not be a self-contained.

Observer

Anonymous said...

Does the new History course progression at GHS (no AP World in 9th gr) also affect the LA progression, or does everything else remain the same? Has anyone tried to talk to GHS counselors about this?
Also, I feel like several months ago many current GHS parents posted glowing comments about the teachers, the science classes, and lots of other aspects of Garfield. Now its starting to feel kind of negative - if the teachers are good, hopefully the class will be interesting,even if its not super-rigorous there is still a lot to learn about World History and it can be taught in a fun, engaging way. Now thats a truly raw deal for WMS kids, who have been preparing hard for AP World this year. Coming from HIMS, unfortunately our current 8th graders are not learning any World History this year (thanks Cindy!), so I can see where they would be struggling with AP World, unless they prepped over the summer.
Thanks for any feedback on GHS LA classes and/or teachers,
Hopeful mom

Lynn said...

Observer,

I said "at most." This year there are 31 West Seattle fifth grade students who are APP-eligible, (18 in APP, 10 in Spectrum and 3 in ALOs.) If they all enrolled at Fairmount Park, that would be a full class. West Seattle APP students have a guaranteed seat at FP. Spectrum seats in those classrooms will be limited as more APP students move to FP. Are you thinking the district is going to limit access to FP for APP students to preserve blended classrooms?

Anonymous said...

GHS 9th grade course options sheet allows option for Honors chemistry, but it looks like registration materials only allow 10th grade or older to take this class, is that correct?

Anonymous said...

Hopeful mom, I don't see how the changes could affect LA. LA is already not tracked--it's the same basic class for all in 9th and 10th, but you can add work to make it "honors."

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

HIMSmom - Do you know if that approach to LAHonors class (just adding more work to differentiate the Honors from GenEd LA) is the same at other HS like Ballard and Roosevelt? I'm starting to 2nd-guess our choice of GHS (my kid was also interested in Ballard for the Bio Academy, that is our reference school, but ultimately we chose GHS as they supposedly better set up for APP kids who are expecting to take an AP/Honors pathway). As others have mentioned, I am starting to wonder what Garfield comparatively offers now as a choice for APP kids...can anyone offer an opinion on the teachers ? The ones we met at Open House seemed great but hard to tell from one general meeting. Thanks ,
-hopeful mom

Anonymous said...

Hopeful mom, yes, that's the approach at Roosevelt. I'm not sure about Ballard, but it looks like they might be separate classes.

HIMSmom

Lynn said...

Honors LA at Garfield is a separate class. 80% of the freshman take it.

Anonymous said...

Lynn, are you sure about that? The Garfield catalog for the current year reads as follows:

"An honors designation for Language Arts 9 is also available to any student. This option will allow students to earn honors credit for the class by completing outside work connected the class curriculum. IN general, students will be required to read additional texts and write essays, allowing them to expand their breadth of understanding of the course goals."

I imagine it could be different for next year, but I don't see it in new course catalog. It's also not yet updated to reflect the change re: AP World History.

FYI, the non-honors version looks like it's only for 9th graders who read below the 8th grade level. That should provide an idea of how advanced the honors version is likely to be, if it is a separate class.

HIMSmom

Lynn said...

HIMSmom,

I don't see that in the 2014-15 registration guide. Instead, it says At the 9th grade level, there are two courses – Regular and Honors Introduction to Literature and Composition. Students will be assigned based on their HSPSE test scores and their grades in 8th grade Language Arts. If an assignment needs correction, it will happen in the first two weeks.

The current year's master schedule clearly lists separate classes too.

The registration guide still says APP students take high school biology and world history in 8th grade, making them eligible to take AP World History in 9th grade and eligible to take one of the science electives (Marine Science, Genetics or Environmental Science) as freshmen on page 8.

I think it would be interesting to ask Garfield's testing coordinator (Kris McBride) what the average AP exam score of Garfield's ninth grade AP World History students has been. This sounds like a very recent decision and I think it should be challenged.

Anonymous said...

So maybe they've changed it, I don't know. Or maybe the description was off in this year's catalog, who knows. In any case, there are two options available: regular and honors. But since the regular version looks like it's more of a remedial version, and most students take the honors version, it sounds like the honors version is more like a general ed version. Have they formally gotten away from the "do extra work to get honors" version, so that it's now just a "be at grade level, get honors status" version?

HIMSmom

Lynn said...

HIMSmom,

That's exactly what it is this year. I think the reason is so that they don't have to accurately name the remedial class.

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't Garfield offer the APP version of Intro to Lit and Comp 9H and World History 9H that Ingraham does? This would seem to be a good solution for meeting the needs of all the students and providing a bracket between honors and AP World for the history situation. Similarily to Ingraham, non-APP qualified students could test in. This would help meet the WAC requirements for highly capable services, correct?

Other HIMS mom

Anonymous said...

Other HIMS mom, I'm guessing it's because there's no APP program in HS, except for the IBx track. And since they offer fake "honors" versions of lots of classes already, who needs APP???

HIMSmom

Lynn said...

Other HIMSmom,

The district won't allow newly identified highly capable students to enroll at Garfield. Not because they don't need or deserve access to the program - but because it would create a capacity management problem. It's a good idea though.

Anonymous said...

Where are you seeing that 80% of Freshman take LA Honors? I don't recall that being the case last year. Kids had to select Honors and at Curriculum Night there was talk about kids switching around based on what teachers had seen up to that point.

I also don't recall a huge difference between what our kids were doing in LA compared to our friends at Ingraham with regard to rigor.

Fact is, its high school and as far as I'm concerned the kids have an opportunity to take their engagement as far as they would like, or NOT, depending on their interests. The 9th grade class was fine. Not great, not terrible.

The 10th grade Honors LA has been better and the rigor is adequate, when coupled with AP US, Honors Chemistry and Pre-Calc.

We are VERY happy with Garfield for our kids. They are engaged, they love the school, they are learning so much more than just what they are getting in class.

It is a vibrant community that offers so many opportunities for kids to find out who they are - which in our book is what its all about as they are going to be making choices that shape their own futures in a few short years.

Kids are heading to places like Vietnam, Haiti, Guatemala, Sri Lanka, Thailand through the various service clubs. They are taking POST trips, rock climbing, skiing, survival camp, Lopez Island, Desert School. Going to Hawaii with Marine Bio etc.

The 9th grade honors rigor/not enough rigor has not shaped their experience.

My advice? Relax and let your kids enjoy the high school experience - including and beyond the academic framework.

-Parent of 2

Lynn said...

The 80% figure is in the minutes from the April 2nd task force meeting.

All highly capable students are not the same. It's wonderful that yours have found the rigor in LA classes at Garfield to be adequate. LA is my kid's thing though - and for her the honors LA classes have been painfully slow and shallow. She's the kind of kid who finds it very difficult to stay engaged in a class where the answers to all the questions are glaringly obvious.

I like Garfield too - I don't think there's another school that would be a better choice for my child. There is room for improvement though in this particular area. There should be a way for a kid who needs something different to get it.

It's disrespectful to tell parents they don't know what their children need.

Anonymous said...

Parent of 2, I'm glad it's working for your kids. However, not all kids are interested in forgoing rigor in favor of extracurriculars. Some kids--and yes, I'm talking about the kids, not the parents--are academically motivated and driven. Would your advice to them be similar, to just chill out and stop trying to learn so much, maybe focus more on having fun? Or maybe your guidance would be along the lines of "Don't worry about not learning much during the day, you can always spend your evenings and weekends trying to make up for it?"

Personally, I find the idea that this is all parent-driven insulting. We all know our own kids, and how their educational experiences to date have shaped and affected them. When changes are made that are likely to create more negative situations for some kids--even if it's not your own--it's uncool to brush off other parents' concerns like that.

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

Lynn-

Hilarious that you call me disrespectful and then say how lucky I am that my kids are not as smart as yours - too funny.

Our APP kids have sat through classes that are very boring, not engaging, intellectual voids throughout their time in APP from 1st grade until now.

As a matter of fact, I personally have tasks that I do on a daily basis that are not engaging, totally boring, beneath my intellectual capabilities.

It doesn't define me - or them. Its just part of life.

There is every opportunity to pursue that LA passion outside of class if you choose. One of our kids is working through the Oxford University suggested reading list and maintains a blog. She checks out 10-15 book a week from the library every summer.

There are opportunities to write for the Messenger or apply for an internship with Seattle Public Library.

These are high school kids - I think its time that they take part in their education instead of relying on someone else all the time.

There are so many opportunities to pursue outlets that will challenge them - less than engaging classes are unfortunate - yes - but it does not define their experience.

I'm not saying that there isn't room for improvement - but that is seriously the truth in any school. We have friends at many of the top private schools, Roosevelt, Ingraham, Ballard - they all have areas that have room for improvement.

For people to suggest that GHS is going to hell in a hand basket because their APP kid will be "stuck" in an 9th grade honors class with the other "80%" of kids is completely ridiculous in my view (and recent experience).

Just trying to share my opinion - I didn't intend to suggest that I know what is best for your kid.

I do not have control of how you take my advice, that's obviously up to you and based on your own experiences.

Happy Friday.

-Parent of 2

Anonymous said...

Thank you Parent of 2. No kids in high school yet but this conversation about Garfield had me wondering and I really appreciate your perspective and of putting the high school experience in perspective. I was starting to feel depressed about the whole situation.

Yes, improvements can be had at every school and parents and families have differing philosophies about everything education related. No kid is going to like every class and at some point, it's how you deal with that situation that is going to define you, not the class.

Thanks again.
Relieved

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the great input on Garfield - I think its important to be aware of all this because maybe there's another way to handle the AP History situation. We chose Garfield for so many of the opportunities that Parentof 2 cites, and my kid is very much looking forward to it, despite almost every kid she knows is going to IHS or Ballard. HOWEVER - I am wondering why its necessary for kids to take Honors World History in 9th and then AP World in 10th? What is the progression in other HS, it seems like even if they cant take AP World in 9th, should be able to move onto another area of History in 10th. Or perhaps an additional elective? Very new to how this works so appreciate all input, would it make sense for us to try to meet with the GHS counselor? They are probably getting a lot of calls since course selection is due Tues. (at HIMS). Again, thanks so much to all current HS parents for taking the time to share yr experiences here!
-new HS mom

Lynn said...

Parent of 2,

I didn't mean to say my kid is smarter than yours at all. I'm sure they weren't challenged by their LA classes either. I'd guess that they are more mature and more successful students than mine and were able to make the best of it.

My kid has attention issues and really struggles in a class that isn't challenging. In her area of strength, it takes more to challenge her. That's all. Different kids need different things. SPS in general and Garfield in this particular case doesn't seem to recognize that.

Anonymous said...

Update:

I heard from Cindy Watters, and it sounds as if this MS APP social studies curriculum change was in the works for a while. This was apparently an effort to align the curriculum across the MS APP programs, although there was apparently no consideration given to how this would align--or not--with HS classes. If the idea was that everyone was switching to US History in 8th grade APP, it looks like it was only a matter of time before Garfield made this change re: AP World. And now the time is here.

With the opening of a new APP middle school, alignment efforts certainly do make sense, but only if done (a) by adopting a good, rigorous shared curriculum; (c) by ensuring that teachers are well-trained in the new curriculum before implementation this fall; and (c) with an eye toward the post-MS pathway. Since they already blew it on "c" let's hope they can get it right on "a" and "b." Any thoughts on how to ensure that? I'll be relaying my feedback to Ms. Watters, for one. I'm also hoping to get the APP AC to take up the matter, but they don't seem particularly focused on advocacy...

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

Hi,
Can you repeat Algebra 1 even if you pass EOC, just to improve your grade (since it goes on your high school transcript) and to get better understanding of the subject for Algebra 2 or advance calculus later.

Can you repeat in high school or should repeat in middle school ie 8th grade.

thanks
HIMS mom