Friday, May 2, 2014

APP enrollment for 2014-15

In an open thread, Lynn pointed to the "APP post open enrollment" numbers.

As other parents mentioned, the big surprise probably is the percentage of all middle school students that are in APP (9.7%), which leaves people wondering why that is and what that might mean for high school. Please discuss that and other thoughts on the numbers here in this thread.


Anonymous said...

That balloon at 2nd and 3rd at Lincoln is scary.

Anonymous said...

The current first grade is more than doubling. That cohort will have 75 new kids next year as 2nd graders. The current 2nd grade cohort will have over 50 new kids entering at 3rd.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know the total by grade enrollment for Garfield in 2014-15? In other words, if 9th grade has 173 APP students,how many students total are enrolled at GHS? Put another way, how many non-APP students are in the incoming 9th grade?

Thanks, RR

Lynn said...

There will be 307 8th grade students next year. This year Garfield has 285 attendance area freshman and Ingraham has 219. If those numbers remain the same for 2015-16 and the APP students continue their approximate 1/3 Ingraham 2/3 Garfield split, Garfield's 2015-16 freshman class will be about 480 students and Ingraham's will be about 320 (without admitting any out of attendance area students.) For comparison purposes, current enrollment is 1,604 at Garfield and 1,074 and Ingraham.

Oh - and there will be 451 sixth graders in APP next year.

The current enrollment choices for APP high school aren't sustainable. Then again, I have the feeling there won't be room in our high schools for the general ed population either.

If you could create a new APP high school enrollment option, what (and where) would it be? Keep in mind the fact that the only high schools without waitlists are Rainier Beach and West Seattle.

Lynn said...

This year there are 399 8th grade students who live in the Washington Middle School attendance area - 299 are attending Washington. Washington's area dips below I-90 so it's not exactly the same thing - but as close as I can get. I'm sure someone at the district would have the answer.

Anonymous said...

The 6th grade numbers are very high. 320 at HIMS and WMS combined. If the trend holds and 200 go to GHS and 120 to IBx, that is half the typical freshman class of 400 at Garfield. For years the APP cohort at GHS has held steady at about a quarter of the class (100-125 APP students). That is a huge leap in numbers - what is happening? Go Bulldogs! But this exploding APP program seems to be forcing the eventual move to splitting the high school cohort beyond GHS and IHS.

Anonymous said...

anon at 1:48 here - I missed the 131 at JAMS. Yikes. So 451 6th graders. I wonder what percentage of all 6th graders that is? Up until the APP split, the APP population was very steady. 100-125 APP students per class at Garfield, coming in from WMS. Compare with 451 in the 6th grade alone this year dispersed between 3 middle schools. The program has quadrupled in a few short years? I could imagine the JAMS cohort might be more comfortable going to IBx simply because it is closer to home, but if the 1/3 IHS / 2/3 GHS high school choice is consistent, Garfield APP 9th grade would be 275 in 3 years. My goodness. This is not sustainable between 2 high schools. I can't imagine a lot of north end families would want to make the trek to RBHS. West Seattle is even further.

Anonymous said...

It means that the APP program needs to look different than it does today. A much smaller self-contained cohort at K-5,6-8,9-12.
Advanced programming for the next "tier" - sorry to be crass - at every middle and high school, and at a couple grade schools in every middles school service area.

What a surprise (not) - it would look just like the delivery model distribution happening in special education.

Lynn said...

If we're using the CogAT for testing, trying to split up this group between the 98th percentile kids and the 99th percentile kids is meaningless. The AL office and the current task force aren't talking about/planning another level of services. The state requires services for the students we identify as highly capable - if we cut that number in 1/2 - only that half will have a hope of having their needs met.

Anonymous said...

It's not just APP growing though, right? As alluded to, it's the total population of kids period so we're going to run out of high school seats whether it's APP or not. Most APP kids go to Garfield or Ingraham currently. Not only is it a concern how those schools will accommodate the growing APP classes (mine is part of the upcoming 6th graders)come high school time but what about all the other kids regardless of APP standing? Hard to believe that I'm less worried about middle school and more about high school 3 years from now. I really hope the District will start the ball rolling on this one. The writing is on the wall clear as day.


Anonymous said...

SPS enrollment has not quadrupled in the last few years. The APP program has grown at a far greater rate than the SPS population. Before the split, north end families had to be willing to send their kids south of the cut to the CD for middle school and high school. That cut out a lot of people who were happier at their north end neighborhood school. Plus add in the dissolution of spectrum and you have many more families who perhaps don't "need" APP for their kids, but it is more convenient and a better option than "gen ed" in the neighborhood school. And it leads to better high school options, at least for now. The new APP post split is going to be a victim of its own popularity.

Anonymous said...

The number of APP students enrolled in 8th grade 2013-14 matches almost exactly with those enrolling in 9th grade for 2014-15, meaning any students leaving for private or choosing their neighborhood school are balanced out with newly enrolled students at IHS. High school in the next few years is definitely a concern. Hamilton is going to be maxed out as well.

Anonymous said...

@Lynn said, The AL office and the current task force aren't talking about/planning another level of services.

From the April 10 meeting minutes (Task Force 2):

Highest achievers within highly capable cluster
* More individualized, scaffolding
* For reasons of Socio-economic status
* Should it be provided separately or within the program?
* Needs to be included in service delivery model

I'd say it is part of the discussion.

Anonymous said...

The meeting notes also mention that the achievement testing cutoff was 98% 10 years ago (as opposed to the 95% we have now).

I'd add there was also the introduction of MAP testing as the achievement test.

Lynn said...

Someone in the open thread noted that it seems many non-APP families leave SPS after fifth grade. I looked at the student loss from 5th to 6th grade for the last three years by program.

From 2012-13 to 2013-14 net loss 255 APP gain 128 Spectrum gain 225 General Ed loss 605

From 2011-12 to 2012-13 net loss 245 APP gain 111 Spectrum gain 192 General Ed loss 548

From 2010-11 to 2011-12 net loss 202 APP gain 93 Spectrum gain 153 General Ed loss 448

I think that note from the task force means they're considering creating a cluster group within APP for the students who are outliers even there. Makes some to me - that way they're more likely to receive appropriate instruction and they still have access to a robust cohort.

Anonymous said...

Do you imagine there will be an appeals process to get into the cluster grouping withing APP?

Anonymous said...

It's an interesting point about lowering the achievement requirement and allowing the use of MAP in the last few years.

I also wonder if some of the recent APP growth is due to the Flynn effect. Basically, the older the test, the "easier" it is to score high. IQ tests need to be re-normed every few years to account for this phenomenon.

You can read more at gifted education expert Deborah Ruf's website, where she wrote, "...the real point is that we are over-estimating the level of giftedness of kids who take the tests when the tests are older and under-estimating the level of giftedness of the kids who take the test when the test is fairly new. More kids test as being Profoundly Gifted who may not actually be if they take the tests when the tests are older"

We've allowed the Stanford Binet V and the WISC-IV to be used in appeals for many years now. The SB-V and WISC-IV were normed in 2003. The WISC-V is coming out Fall 2014. If local private testers change to that version, we could have fewer kids qualifying on appeal in the future.

--new norms

Anonymous said...

At the IHS Auction last week, Principal Floe said that there are 400 students in the incoming class (so 80 more than Lynn's scenario.).

IBx Watcher

Anonymous said...

The 173 at Garfield will likely change, because it includes every 8th grade APP student whohas not told SPS they are leaving the district. My sense is that also with the impact of the history changes, many local high schools or IBx look almost as attractive at this point to those other areas of the city.

Other HIMS Mom

GrumpyObserver said...

Plus add in the dissolution of spectrum and you have many more families who perhaps don't "need" APP for their kids, but it is more convenient and a better option than "gen ed" in the neighborhood school.

I have a real problem with this assumption that you can identify families who don't "need" APP. I have one of those kids who scored 99% on all of the tests given to this point, but, by the definitions of some parents behind a computer screen, won't appear to "need" APP because my child can handle elementary school socially and emotionally. Frankly, I think the program "needs" kids who have some balance of social/emotional skills because they can do their own age-appropriate coaching that adults can't always get right.

Earlier this week, I got to see my child and a friend encourage another child who was disappointed at not mastering a *challenging* physical skill within five minutes of trying. FrustratedChild was angry and dismissive of this new activity, and EncouragingFriend and my child described their own struggles when they started the activity and how long it had taken them to reach to their current skill level (hint: a long time). To my genuine surprise, FrustratedChild calmed down, and EncouragingFriend and my child then found a way for FrustratedChild to be a helper and feel included.

I have no idea whether the other two children were ones who "needed" APP or had parents who appealed to make sure they got in, but I'm confident that all of three of them benefited from that social interaction.

And yes, a stronger Spectrum program would make for less of a strain on the APP school, but since all of the schools in the north end are bursting at the seams, I don't know why Lincoln should be any different.

Anonymous said...

I have one of those kids who scored 99% on all of the tests given to this point, but, by the definitions of some parents behind a computer screen, won't appear to "need" APP because my child can handle elementary school socially and emotionally.

APP is premised on academic need. From the AL description (bold added):

Students who are academically highly gifted present significantly different learning styles, learning pace, and curricular needs that require comprehensive and substantial modification to the general education curriculum and classroom experience to achieve educational benefit.

Admission is based on measures of cognitive ability and academic achievement, not social or emotional measures.

It is about meeting the academic needs of students through a "rigorous, accelerated curriculum", while supporting "student social/emotional development."

One can debate whether the curriculum is rigorous and accelerated, but at least it's the intent.

Anonymous said...

The Ruf summary ( is fascinating, especially her report that direct comparisons between the WISC/SB tests show the more recently normed test having significantly lower scores (though she does have a statistical flaw in her report of the data -- picking the comparison set by choosing scores over, say, 130, makes a decrease in scores on a subsequent measurement likely -- because of the regression to the mean). An interesting experiment would be to test everyone on the WISC (more recently normed) and pick them based on a cutoff, and then see if their scores go up with a test normed earlier (like the SB).

That's me getting wonky on testing, but, norming issues could play a role in the increasing size of the population -- if Ruf is correct and the Flynn effect is more robust in the gifted population -- the general Flynn effect wouldn't be expected to show huge changes over 10-15 years (expected gains of a 1-4 points).


Anonymous said...

The beauty of HS is kids can access AP classes and Running Start not to mention all the academies within the HS. Then there's Aviation HS in Renton. There are more attractive pathways in HS than in MS. I know my child is very interested in Ballard because of the options there and she still has many friends still from ES days who will attend.

Lynn said...

Those opportunities aren't available to every student though - and access to an appropriate education shouldn't be limited. Individual schools decide who can take AP/IB classes - and when they can take them. Those decisions are based on many factors - generally not including meeting the needs of highly capable students. Running start isn't available before the junior year. Seats at Aviation and in Ballard's academies are not available to every qualified student.

The district is required to provide access to a basic education to every student - regardless of their address and the attitudes and beliefs of the administrators of their school.

Anonymous said...

Access and basic ed. One child has a gift for languages and we would have loved an immersion elementary school, but after 3 years on the wait list, we realized that wasn't going to happen. Regardless, I think my children's basic education needs are being met. My children don't have a major learning disability and English is their first language which make them far easier to educate by this district. If they did, their experience might be quite different. APP is far from perfect, but overall it's better than our local MS.

Perhaps the confusion comes from how you define basic ed. I guess I never thought to expect any school to tailor education to my children's individual needs. It's high ideal to speak of it, but after peeking at the best private and public schools around here, I'm not sure it's useful. If one child can't get into a specific program because of seat shortages, well that's a disappointment, but hardly the end of their education. They'll deal, find other opportunity, and move on. In any case with time and maturity, my kids are asserting their own preference and making their own choices about school and classes. I'm learning to back off and let go which despite declaring that publicly, personally it has been awkward and harder than I thought.

Lynn said...

RCW 28A.185.020 says The legislature finds that, for highly capable students, access to accelerated learning and enhanced instruction is access to a basic education. I think that's a good definition to start with. Access to immersion programs (as far as I know) is not required by state law.

I don't intend this to be unfriendly. It easier to say things will work out when your child has access to a program or school that is attractive to them. That's not a given for every student in Seattle.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that basic ed should provide regular learning opportunities. If there are some kids for whom the existing offerings really don't allow that, there should be flexibility to create a more individualized approach--e.g., IEPs for those extreme outliers. Most kids wont need that, and can be served by more traditional gifted programs--and I don't think anyone's arguing that they all need tailored opportunities. But for those few kids who are so atypical, the district really needs to step up and be more accommodating.

And anon at 12:55, I'm glad your APP kid's basic educational needs are being met. Surely you aren't suggesting , however, that therefore all academically highly gifted kids in APP are likewise having their needs met? Even the exceptionally and profoundly gifted? Such kids are rare , but deserve an education as much as any other. Your argument sound a lot like the old "don't worry, they'll be ok in the end" argument to me, unless I'm misreading it.


Anonymous said...

I should add to my 12:55 comment. The child in APP is more the straight and narrow who does better in this kind of delivery. The other one would not qualify unless the district provides a talent part to advanced learning. For that child, electives, sports, and a couple of great teachers made the MS years.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone seen this, or know how Seattle Schools APP feels about it? (We have never applied but I m curious):
The Verbal Comprehension Index (VCI) and the Perceptual Reasoning Index (PRI) are also independently appropriate for selection to programs for the gifted, especially for culturally diverse, bilingual, twice exceptional students or visual-spatial learners.

Anonymous said...

GrumpyObserver, I'm with you on that. Our child scored 99 across the board as well, but I'm confused as to why parents here are so nitpicky on the percentage points and who belongs and who doesn't.

This will be our first year at APP Lincoln. My question is, does the above attitude and sense of entitlement translate over into the students? I hope not!

Anonymous said...

GrumpyObserver seems to have misinterpreted someone's earlier statement when Grumpy commented on the issue of identifying families who don't "need" APP.

The original comment--Plus add in the dissolution of spectrum and you have many more families who perhaps don't "need" APP for their kids, but it is more convenient and a better option than "gen ed" in the neighborhood school--was clearly put forth as possible reason for why APP enrollment has increased so dramatically in middle school. There's no judgment there, only a statement of reality. Parents, when faced with questions as to whether or not to apply and/or enroll child in APP base their decisions on many factors, including whether or not they, as the parents, think their kid "needs" or would benefit from the program.

And anon at 12:42, I'm confused as to why you think "parents here are so nitpicky on the percentage points and who belongs and who doesn't." I don't see a lot of discussion here about "who belongs and who doesn't", rather just concern about the size of the APP program enrollment increases and what that may mean for capacity management, pathways, etc. These are valid and timely issues, no? I'm curious as to where exactly you are seeing the "attitude and sense of entitlement" here...


robyn said...


If you're still reading this, where did get the numbers of students leaving SPS after 5th grade? And, are they for the entire District? I want to update a spreadsheet that I have going back and forth with Flip. SPS assumes a loss of 193 5th grade kids in Fall of 2017 JUST in the WilPac service area. The numbers they project across the entire district are staggering.



Anonymous said...


I am not Lynn, but I know that the 6th grade APP has increased over 5th grade by 50% in each iof the the last several years. The Will-PAC #s don't make any sense at all due to that alone. That may be a good fact to point out, especially since the APP 5th grades are getting larger every year.


Lynn said...


I looked at the enrollment reports on this page. Section 9 and 10 show Spectrum and APP enrollment by grade and you can use Section 3 to back into the number of students per grade (by attendance area and overall.)

Anonymous said...


I see the info there about APP enrollment, any idea if there is anything in that same form for APP eligible but not enrolled? (i.e, a sense of the kids coming up the ranks who might join at MS?) I've seen the other sheet that spells it out school by school/grade by grade, just wondering if you've seen a simple summary anywhere? (Apologies in advance if it's there & I'm missing it; it's been a long day!)

Anonymous said...

Anyone else following that APP middle school will be further split between WP and Hamilton (and JAMS) when it comes online? Either that, or QA/Mag is redrawn to Capitol Hill? That's the talk at the WP meeting and the latest APP advisory meeting.

robyn said...

Anonymous on May 14th, the problem you mention is going to happen since SPS is building Wilson Pacific too small. I don't know what solution SPS will spring on us at zero hour. It doesn't necessarily have to be QA/Mag going to Capitol Hill. That's actually the first I heard of that. According to SPS, there will be 400(!) open seats at Whitman so they could pull APP out of HIMS and WilPac and put them there, start 4 APP MS programs, end APP MS altogether....Who knows. What does seem apparent is SPS is hell-bent on closing the achievement gap by taking away opportunities for advanced learners.

It's a shame, in my opinion, that SPS insists on moving forward with the $120+ million WilPac project.... Ruining the last large piece of land that the District owns when MANY people have shown staff and the Board that the enrollment projections SPS are using are wildly low.

All I can say is I hope all of us who are very concerned about the numbers are very wrong.

Jim said...

I think that's either paranoid or incendiary to say that anyone wants kids to do poorly to reduce the disparity between high and low students.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, Jim, putting a ceiling on learning so that we don't have disparities is very real. It is not an incendiary belief. How many classrooms have you been in to make this statement? I know several first grade classrooms where there are no books above M in the Guided Reading system because they don't want any kids reading too far above their peers. I know a team of fifth grade teachers who have agreed to teach no new math material once the fifth grade standards have been covered, just review and solidify. The reason given is so that the kids won't be at all different levels when they go to middle school. So what? At middle school you can take a higher math class.

It's not paranoia. There is an active effort to keep the top kids in line with the pack in gen ed. Shauna Heath's recently reported pronouncement that Spectrum is one year ahead, no more no less, and APP is two years ahead, no more, no less, is another chilling illustration of this practice. Michael Tolley's recent "realignment" of APP middle school LA/SS scope and sequence with gen ed is another one. I could go on and on, and the parents here could give many more examples of the way their kids were actively held down in gen ed, and even in AL, but the political climate in this district is indeed against too much academic achievement.

open ears

Anonymous said...

There are classrooms where teachers stop teaching due to pacing. It's an agreement so when the kids move up a grade, they come in at par. It doesn't mean teachers stop teaching math altogether. I know a 4th grade teacher who took that opportunity to teach checkbook math and statistics. As for not having reading books beyond a certain level, how common is that? Could this be more of a particular teacher issue than a district wide conspiracy? Just asking because our school draw students from many schools and this is not a problem we've run into.

Perhaps we've been lucky with our teachers.

Anonymous said...

The k, 1, and 2 classes I have been in in the NE all have ceilings on what reading level is allowed, even for independent reading time. And when I told this to my friends at other schools, they confirmed it's the same in their classes. These are mostly the two NE option schools. M for first grade, O or Q for second. It's one of the reasons we moved our younger child early to APP, to avoid those ceilings, which are becoming more common (were common before, too). I do think you were lucky- reading ceiling is standard. We were lucky with one teacher, too, and it was great.

I don't think people would say they want kids to do poorly, but I do think they would say 1) high achiever's higher test scores are evidence that we are giving too many resources to them and should focus more on the bottom half (I disagree and think those high test scores are generally in spite of the district, who owes them much more in terms of learning opportunities. Not more resources, but the ability to move ahead if ready) and 2)it is more important that children be in the same place when they move to the next grade than that they learn something new. I find that statement actually odious, because I believe we should not treat children like completely fungible blocks, and should be able to meet children where they are, but there you go.

It is patently ridiculous to align app and gen ed la/SS. That is bad news.

Anonymous said...

Our kids are now in high school, but I remember when they were in elementary (pre APP) and our daughter's teacher was trying to assign her reading group higher level books because they were ready. These kids had already read through the American Girl books before kindergarten and she was strapped to find appropriate material in the classroom.

She started them reading a book called "The Donner Party"...which triggered an alarm with me (being from Colorado and recalling the Cannabalism that made that story famous - Alfred Packer Day in Boulder was a huge annual event :) of which she obviously wasn't aware). I didn't say anything at the time, thinking that there was no way that she was allowing kindergarteners to read such subject matter....

Thankfully, the teacher was reading the book ahead of them and took it away before the kids reached the disturbing part.

We chuckled a bit about it, but the teacher basically said that she did not have access to books that were both appropriate and challenging - so the kids didn't meet for reading group any longer.

Anonymous said...

What are they going to do at Lincoln if the pop goes over 700 kids? View Ridge just scrapped self-contained Spectrum for third grade.

Greg Linden said...

This discussion of the achievement gap and a ceiling on learning in APP seems worth discussing more widely. I started a new thread for it, "APP and the achievement gap". Please move further discussion over there, thanks.