Wednesday, April 30, 2014

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.

16 comments:

SusanH said...

Thank you for this! It's true that these school blogs are often filled with doom and gloom and kvetching.

My son started at WMS this year, coming from a Gen Ed elementary experience. It's been so, so wonderful. I've seen my child totally come to life, embrace learning, get excited about what he's doing in school, and make some friends with some nice peers who are like him. He has also embraced music for the first time ever.

Yes, I'm sure all this would have happened in a private school as well, but this is FREE and it has been great. I feel like he is finally getting an education, rather than the test prep and boredom he was experiencing before.

Anonymous said...

Washington Middle School rocks!

-bright side

Anonymous said...

Can APP students in the North End choose to go to Washington? Is there APP space there?

Anonymous said...

North End students to WMS:
I think you could actually sign up and you will be wait listed first. I am not sure there will be space for next year though and I am not sure how it will work after Open Enrollment (but you could certainly try!).
But please note that with this decision you have to provide the transportation for your child(ren).

Anonymous said...

I feel 'much better' today after reading this website:
http://www.accelerationinstitute.org/Nation_Deceived/Get_Report.aspx
It means that destroying the different AL programs is not only happening in Seattle...
(If you don't have time to read the two volumes, have a look on the poster, it is a great summary).
AB

Anonymous said...

...I think you are just reinforcing why HIMS parents are feeling the need to rant.

SusanH said...

Really you guys? You can't think of one single good thing your kid has experienced in this program? A great teacher? A fun project? An arts or music opportunity?

You know, Washington Middle School isn't perfect either. I'm sure you would find much to complain about there too.

Anonymous said...

I have a child and HIMS and Lincoln. My HIMS child is about to move on the Garfield High School in the fall, which I have a hard time believing that I have an almost high schooler. Both of my kids have been in APP since 1st grade. Over our years in APP, we've experienced splits, being kicked out of our building over the summer and having to start a brand new school in 7 weeks (Lincoln), having mediocre/bad principals, having diluted curriculum, etc. There are many things that I could choose to complain about.

But in looking back at the experiences that my kids have gotten in their schools, especially my 8th grader, I am so very thankful for APP. I am thankful for the amazing friends and great cohort of peers over the years. I am thankful for the teachers they've had, some were just ok but some were especially amazing and have truly inspired my kids. All of our teachers at Lincoln especially have been hard working, caring, and dedicated to providing a solid classroom experience for my kids. We've had the very most experienced APP teachers as well as some fresh out of college teachers, and all have brought out some great things in my kids. My 8th grader has had some ok teachers at HIMS, but there have been some amazing teachers too. Mr. Rowe the music teacher has instilled a passion in music in my child that we never would have imagined, coming from our non-musical family. Warts and all, my 8th grader is leaving HIMS a confident student and is excited to experience all that Garfield has to offer.

My youngest child has one more year at Lincoln and then we're done with elementary school forever. I've been reflecting on what APP has meant to our family. For all of it's up's and down's, I wouldn't trade our time in APP for our neighborhood school or any private school. If you're planning to join APP (at any of the APP schools) next year, I want to welcome you to our great family. Don't let the naysayers get you down. There will be good and bad, it's a public school and it's not perfect. But your child will find friends, you'll have some good, caring teachers, and your child will grow and explore. If I had the choice to do it over again, I'd absolutely choose APP all over again.

Glass-half full

Anonymous said...

@SusanH,

Funny you mention this, I was just talking to an old-time APP parent about this the other day. Looking at how music and the arts have gone from cherished parts of Lowell to depreciated side-things at Lincoln is depressing. I will say that the population of students is exploding, which is a plus. The more vibrancy, the better. And the kids are demonstrating resiliency and a sustained passion for learning, which I hope never dies.

-MsK

Anonymous said...

So interesting that so few have anything positive to say, yet more and more families test in every year.

My (at some points) APP-qualified kid has never been enrolled in APP, but is finding the community at IHS (IBx, IB, preIB, GenEd, SpEd) to be welcoming, truly fabulous, and a great fit! The Principal accepts every kid where they are, the community decided to embrace a PTO and drop the PTSA, the all school auction is raising record amounts and 400 kids are enrolling for next year (Aack!). AND our wait list is longer than Roosevelt's!

If you are on your way, WELCOME! (Check out Drama if your kid has an interest. My kid has found a home there!)

IBx Watcher

Anonymous said...

Most people that I know don't read blogs at all so I'm sure that's a lot of why you don't read more responses here. Folks who are happy don't really have a reason to seek out information on a blog like this. They stick with reading the Lincoln facebook page where there is more specific information and discussion about the school. That's where you'd get more people chiming in about this and that. I'd say that most people that I come in contact with at Lincoln are very happy with their child's experience. Just like any school there are things that we'd like to change and improve about APP. But for the most part, I send my child to school knowing he is well cared for and will be engaged in learning. He's learning new things, is curious, happy, and likes school. He had pretty much the opposite experience at our neighborhood school, so yes, we're very happy with Lincoln.

I think the ever-increasing numbers of people leaving neighborhood schools to join APP are a good indication that people like what they see. 700+ students at Lincoln next year, an increase of 100 students from this year. I'm sure it's reflective of some folks dissatisfaction with their neighborhood school, but it's also an indication that APP is doing something right. There's a lot of good stuff going on at Lincoln.

Glass half-full

Anonymous said...

Well, that was a short thread.
-my captcha includes "sadly"

Anonymous said...

Snark away. Happy parents aren't on the blog.

Anonymous said...

My 4th grader is having an amazing year. She is learning new math in school for he first time ever, and has come home excited and engaged in complicated civics and social studies projects that are only possible because all the kids are more academically advanced and don't need work on the basics they learned years ago. We moved her just this year after asking probably dozens of times over four years at our home school for differentiation- no walk to math; "that would hurt kids' feelings," no more appropriate reading level books; "we only allow up to a certain letter level in each grade"; differentiation meant she was "allowed" to write longer stories if she wanted, though would be graded with the same rubric as everyone else. It is wonderful to have an environment where she can really learn in core subjects. That is not possible for advanced kids every where right now in sps, and I am happy that she is at a place where it is.

It is not perfect, and I blanched at the fifth grade class sizes for next year, but it is a relief to feel like there is a place where she really does have a right to learn at school.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comment, anon @ 3:03. We've been through the same thing and are just now moving our son for next year. Very reassuring to read your thoughts.

New NE family

Anonymous said...

I also have one child at Hamilton and one at Lincoln. Particularly for my youngest child who's at Lincoln, APP has been a godsend. His previous school was very good - but he felt like he never fit in and was always the odd man out. At Lincoln, he has found his people so to speak. Parents are very friendly and welcoming. I really like the principal.

Hamilton has been a pretty good experience as well. The quality of teachers has been more mixed though my kid has mostly had the stronger teachers (pure luck).

Overall, I am very glad for the existence of the APP program and my main complaint is with how the District treats it (last minute splits, etc.).

Jane