Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Open thread

Summer is almost here! What's on your mind?

65 comments:

Anonymous said...

Having a bit of a last minute freak out about NOT moving our oldest to APP next year: he'll be a 4th grader, has been APP qualified for years but was doing great at our neighborhood ALO - until this Spring. Seems very bored & disengaged lately, unfortunately plenty aware that he can do the minimum and get by... trying to decide if it's just spring fever, or a sign of what's to come.... Add all that to NOT feeling particularly inspired by the teachers for next year, and I'm wondering if we should put in to move after all... Would love to hear from current third & fourth grade families....

Thinking twice

Anonymous said...

The APP-AC minutes from April 1 mention an Algebra readiness test that was taken April 2 and April 9 at JSCEE. It was for teacher nominated 5th grade students "who met one but not both criteria for the Algebra 1 class" (250 MAP and 525 4th grade MSP). Apparently not all parents and schools were informed of this option.

Anonymous said...

MOVE! It will only get worse and will be harder to adjust to higher expectations if you join later.

There have been countless stories here of kids who came alive and found their drive once they joined their tribe.

sidneyd

Anonymous said...

I agree with Sidenyd...move now. He's not going to get less bored, but it would be harder to move in 5th than in 4th.

Anonymous said...

@Thinking twice, you still have time to move him. We moved our son in 4th grade and I'm so glad we did-we had a similar experience. We really struggled because we liked our neighborhood school, but it was becoming clear that he was not having his needs met. He was not being challenged and this is not a situation you want to find yourselves in. It's been a great experience and he has said on a number of occasions that he wishes we had moved over earlier.

Happier Now

Anonymous said...

If you are in the north, think about whether you want your kid in a 'mosh pit'. 850+ students (3 schools), no playground. No grass. True, there is a parking lot cordoned off for evacuation purposes that the kids play soccer in. But, when they get tripped up, on concrete, it's off to the nurse's. Looks like 4 lunch shifts. And, there is our ridiculous bell time. AND BONUS: construction right across from the classroom windows. Endless. Noise, smells, blocked roads.

These kids are kids: they are sensitive and can readily become stressed out by the stress of being 1 in 700 amongst 850. The teachers and administrators care and absolutely do their best, but, there is only so much they can do under the circumstances with a district staff and some on the board who clearly have an hate on (they are in good company -- ask half the people in your existing school!).

Baggage aside, because nobody inside our beloved squat ever speaks of that (1- no point, not going to change anything, and 2 - we get it, believe me we get it, and 3- there are children around, and our job is to pretend none of that crap exists: no play ground? No problem! Maybe you could visit the one Director Peaslee had installed for her beloved k8 down the road, they will be there for just 2 years, not like you and your 6 year stint...) the learning is at least 2 years ahead, and true outliers can find a tribe to chill with so they can have friends too. They will be factoring trinomials in grade 5 next year, for example, so if that is not the right fit... think some more about joining or not. APP is NOT better, or more... it is just about fit, what fits a child's learning needs to support growth. But in order to get the needs met, it does come at a cost. Small stuff, like the pathos of certain folks, but, that is all about them, not these kids, because the kids sure didn't do anything. They are just kids, like all of SPS kids. Just kids going to school everyday to learn something.

Don't beat up on the messenger.

It works for our kids, but it has changed from the old Lowell, so my kids don't get challenged. Still, there wasn't a choice with our kids, they self-taught to read at age 3, one scored 210 RIT on math in K in her first month if school (so naturally, that school completely ignored her and our pleas on her behalf to teach her).

Do what causes you the most peace for that one year.

-drilling backhoes

Anonymous said...

It isn't a mosh pit at APP@Lincoln. It is calm and organized. My son is finishing 5th grade there. It is a big school but not some giant chaos. "Drilling backhoes", I'm not sure why you are so sarcastic to an inquiring parent. If it is good enough for you, it might be good enough for that person. I don't even know what you mean about Peaslee's K-8 down the road, and I read the blog. There are too many layers of negativity to follow. We've had a good experience in elementary APP--two kids and our 10th year. I have noticed that most kids adapt to the new school well and make new friends and enjoy the challenges, as well as the group work and the possibilities for leadership. You can go back to GenEd if you don't like it. I have one friend who did go back. But I have many friends who are happy they switched over.
NEmom

Anonymous said...

Thinking twice, you sound a lot like us, although our child is a year behind yours. We really wanted to stay at our neighborhood ALO, but it just isn't working and now that we've made the decision to switch over, we are feeling really positive about the change. I stopped by Lincoln this week to drop off a form and thought the vibe there was really positive. Kids on the front lawn working in groups on a science project, principal was talking to office staff and smiling, no mosh pit to be seen.

Anonymous said...

I don't even know what you mean about Peaslee's K-8 down the road, and I read the blog.

I think the original poster who brought this up is referring to the brand new play equipment recently installed at John Marshall for the JAK-8, who will be at that site for 2 years. If you're in the area, the brand new playground equipment has been installed on the south side of the building. Park on the 6500 block of Oswego Place NE to take a look at it. It's quite nice.

Why the original 400, and soon to be 700, kids at Lincoln have never gotten something similar despite a 6-year interim stay is something the district should have to answer for.

--go check it out

another perspective said...

I think the comments about the mosh pit refer to what next year could be like. There will be almost 300 more kids on campus. It is going to be radically different than this year.

There is no playground and barely any PE. My kid might be getting a marginally better education than our neighborhood school, but she does no work at all and claims boredom in math. It's not all it's cracked up to be, but it could be slightly better. Who knows. There are many days we wish we didn't leave the neighborhood. There are many days we are grateful to be at Lincoln.

That being said, I would never tell someone not to send their kid. However, I wouldn't downplay the large number of kids that will be there next year, the tiny lunch room, the lack of playground and the lack of PE. My kid's physical development is definitely way behind peers at schools with playgrounds and regular PE.

I really wish our PE teacher didn't spend precious active time teaching health. Our kids need to run.

Anonymous said...

Seattle schools has led the charge to roll back "Brown versus the board of education", by eliminating student school choice in favor of "Separate but equal" schools. The original decision eliminated boundaies for students and enforced the rights of ALL students to attend the school of their choice. In the name of "fairness" the school board has created a Separate but equal" system again and no one says a thing. It is unbelievable. Equity is the new catchword for central authority.

Anonymous said...

Tough call, thinking twice! I do think there will be a lot less opportunity for movement generally next year, and less pcp time. I don't think it's hyperbole to say it's a real con, and one I would think about. Class sizes will also be very large- do you have a sense of them at your current school? Is there differentiation happening, or will there be next year?

Our experience new in 4th grade has been great, though. For our child's area of strength, the curriculum is not at all challenging, but it is still much, much better than sitting through a two years easier one at her old school. For her area of weakness, the program is just right, a good amount of challenge but accessible. We have loved our teachers, but I think I would have loved them at the old school, too. The lack of movement is not as much a problem for my kid, and the other stuff(kind of crazy lunch schedule) is more worrisome for younger children thinking of coming, I think.

Good luck!

Current 4th grade family

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone, Thanks for the info about the John Marshall playground. I don't know why the SPS leaves Lincoln so under provided in the play category. It is the attitude that APP will do fine no matter what. But actually we do need things. I think going to the Wallingford playground would be something new and untried. There is no reason why we taxpayers should not be able to use that playground. Our kids study so much they should have some time to play. I told our principal the other day about the paint peeling on the ceiling of the breezeway going from the main building to the auditorium and gym. It has been peeling since we got to Lincoln. She said she would put in a work order for it. I am concerned about the paint chips falling in the wood chips of the little play structure next to the breezeway. (It used to be called the smoking area when I attended Lincoln as a high school. ) I think it is terrible to have such a small lunchroom. It isn't fun to have to eat lunch so fast that you can't finish. I wonder with 300 more students if they will be able to actually handle lunch. Or will lunch start at 10 am.? That said, my kids have lucked out with great teachers, and a great experience in the ten years we've been in APP. It could have been great in a neighborhood school, but we switched over. They have made great friends who have something in common with them. That could have been OK in the neighborhood school too, but I don't know about if boredom would have been too much. I think yes.
NEmom

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for the thoughtful responses, I really do appreciate the time folks have taken. The pros/cons here are basically what led us to staying at our ALO school for 3 years; just not sure if we've reached a tipping point... Not only in terms of being bored/unchallenged, but also in terms of a good social cohort. He has friends, but increasingly obvious that those friendships are not as rewarding as they maybe could be elsewhere...

Anonymous said...

Has anyone's students every received credit for math placement from courses taken at the Robinson Center. Our school won't allow it, which seems fairly regressive. I am curious if anyone else had a different experience.

Thanks for any info.

-curious

Lynn said...

curious - are you looking for high school credit or for math placement?

Anonymous said...

Math placement (such as Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II).

-curious

Rosario Freeman said...

@curious

I looked into this when signing up for Robinson this summer. The counselor at GHS I communcated via email with indicated that it was possible, but that pre-approval was needed from the head of math department at GHS. This was the reply I received:

"Hello there, courses that would be considered requirements for graduation need administration approval prior to enrolling. There would also have to be approval given by the Math Department head for the course to be taken outside of Garfield. The steps to this process involve getting your enrollment completed with courses for next year. Then filing a request to take a Math course outside of Garfield

1. You should continue the process for enrollment.

2. Middle school visits are occurring in late April for 8th grade students coming to Garfield from SPS schools.

3. Private school students will have a registration night in early May for enrollment. The date will be posted on the Garfield Web-site within a few weeks.

4. The current math Department Chairperson is Mario Shaunette.

5. As for precedent to courses being applied to a Garfield academic history prior to a student entering Garfield, the policy has been administration approval."



Anonymous said...

@Rosario,

Thanks much for that info.

-curious

Anonymous said...

Maybe this question has come up before, but with all of the complaints about the playground situation at Lincoln, why can't PTA dollars be used to buy the playground equipment? I understand that it would be preferable if SPS would act, but if they won't, is there an obstacle to parents making this purchase?

Incoming Lincoln Parent

Anonymous said...

Pretty sure PTA dollars were used to purchase the climbing structure in front.

Anonymous said...

Where do the younger grades have recess? In front of the school, or in that courtyard with the little playground?

Also, thank you to the parents that made the jungle gym happen. I wish there was more, but my child did have a blast playing on that at the open house.

-incoming first

Anonymous said...

Info from AL task forces:

Highly Capable identification and services

Some highlights:
- Two classifications suggested, Highly Capable (90%+90%) and Most Highly Capable (98%+98%)
- Triple acceleration in math will be ended
- Eliminate appeals process
- Garfield?

Anonymous said...

Those are just recommendations brought forth by individual task force members - not necessarily the final recommendations. I do think something's going to change at Garfield. There are 476 freshman registered for next year.

Greg Linden said...

New thread started for that, "Notes from Advanced Learning Task Force".

Anonymous said...

An appeal process is part of the WAC, so it can't be eliminated, but the current procedure can be revised.

One suggestion was to eliminate triple acceleration in math, but another was to allow independent study at school (with a proctor).

Anonymous said...

Appeals could just be for internal error, though. They do not have to allow private testing (most districts do not) or further parental input.

Lynn said...

We could do that. It would be a mistake. Here's task force member Gail Herman on appeals:


Appeals: no change
Discussion: The critical purpose of identification is to identify all students who need access to the service model for highly capable students, services are their basic right. The identification process should be as inclusive as possible to ensure no highly capable student is not getting their basic education needs met: the process should not be an ‘I gottcha’. The CogAT is not designed as an IQ test, but it can continue to serve to identify cognitive abilities as it has relatively low error bars and has been validated. Nationally normed IQ tests administered by trained professionals one-on-one for upwards of an hour are appropriate for appeals. Appeals are especially critical to ensure that students from our district’s most culturally diverse families have an ability to have educators advocate via the appeals process to match appropriate services to the child. Note that appeals are not a ‘back door’ to ‘gain entrance’, nor are license psychologists bribable; rather, the results seen by the Advanced Learning Department have been filtered three times by three compounding systemic biases:
(1) Really, the only parents who are prepared to pay out of pocket are those parents who already know or have a very, very strong suspicion that their child is highly capable (and needs appropriate educational interventions) and they are the ones who pursue a private test in the first place (they may have been counseled by preschool teachers or parent educators to have their child tested); similarly, only parents who pursue the free testing available by the district are parents who know or suspect their child is highly capable and know his/her needs are unique and not being met;
(2) Only parents who are prepared to send their child to APP are parents who are going to obtain test results privately or though the district and then pursue appeals.
(3) Only parents whose child passed the 98th percentile benchmark will be motivate to file an appeal

Anonymous said...

As someone whose kid scored in the 99.9% in private testing, but only in 90th% through the District's testing, I cringe at the thought of putting such absolute faith in the CogAt. My kid has had an absolutely miserable year; I can't imagine how frustrating it would feel to have wait another year before he could get 'more'... the more even his teacher says he needs.

Anonymous said...

I've known a handful of young students (k/1) who have truly bombed the Cogat group test. What would be the recourse for these families?

Anonymous said...

@incoming lincoln parent

Appreciate the sentiment, but really, let's stop and think...

My question: why should ANY school have to make the parents pay for a playground at their children's school?

Should Alki? Should Rainier View? Should Adams? Did the parents of the students of the K8 interimly staying at John Marshall for 2 years have to pay? Answer: no, of course not. But, Lincoln students, there for 6 years? The parents are suppose to pay for it?

Why should any parents of any children, if they want a playground for their children, have to organize to pay for it and build it? (Or even have to organize to lobby for it?). Should they also have to buy lunchroom tables? Are there basics we can agree on that all children at all elementary schools should be able to have at their elementary schools? Like, for example, playgrounds?

And yes, Lincoln parents did pay for and install the rope climber. And yes, Lincoln parents have exhaustively worked with Facilities practically begging for a solution for a playground, but all they got was a whole bunch of "nos" and "not possible". (It took 3 years of begging for woodchips, which only came after Bob Boesche toured and understood the custodians union was going to file a grievance.)

What's that favorite word of everyone? Equity! Rock on equity.

Tired

(The playground isn't talked about much anymore because it is crystal clear what staff and the board think about it, and everyone knows that on the urgent list, fixing SpEd comes before everything else).

Anonymous said...

Isn't there a play structure in the breezeway?

Is the principal behind the cause of adding more playspace? This is really confusing to me.

Another new family

Anonymous said...

There would be no recourse for the many students for whom the CogAT isn't an appropriate test.

The student who made that recommendation appears not to have considered all of the ramifications of eliminating appeals.

Anonymous said...

Not only has SPS made minimal, if any, effort to make the grounds of LIncoln suitable for elementary kids (i.e a playground) but apparently the PTA did explore purchasing and installing various additional play structure and the district basically said no to every option they were offering to pay for (or various reasons - e.g. it might damage the roots of the protected trees, wouldn't allow installation that would have to be removed later etc etc.)
Basically the district vetoed every option even when the cost and installation was going to covered by parents!
How can they whip up a play structure at JM at short notice yet find every reason possible to deny the same to Lincoln kids - a larger population, there for a longer duration.

Anonymous said...

I know there is so much unfairness, but that seems so, blatantly unfair and even mean. Has the principal addressed the playspace at John Marshall? Has there been a petition to highlight the disparity between Lincoln and JM?

Anonymous said...

It appears that more then half of the recommendations from task force members include eliminating or severely curtailing the appeals process... However, there are also a few who say it should be kept. It seems to be a point of contention for the group.

Other HIMS mom

RosieReader said...

Re the Lincoln playground, the parents at Salmon Bay fund-raised for all the incredible playground improvements that happened, including the conversion of the asphalt area to the amazing play field, and the wonderful play structures closer to the school. probably close to $750,000 over the two or three main phases.

Yes, it would be great if McCleary were fully funded and the School District was paying for these important features of a school, but in the meantime, if a school's parent body is lucky enough to have the ability to raise funds for extras like playgrounds, then they will probably have to keep on doing so.

ben said...

A few playground thoughts.

1) There is already a structure on site in the back so its kind of silly to talk about there being no playground. What people want is a larger/newer one.

2) I sat through the presentation from the volunteers who were trying to talk to the district about improvements this last year. While they sounded well meaning, they did not seem particularly clueful about how to navigate the district bureaucracy. Its quite possible there is room for improvement if a new initiative was started. Partnering with Pinehurst parents would help as would arguing that the larger number of the students necessitates more equipment. Also any initiative ought to get all the notes on what has been done before, discuss what Rina wants, send folks out to lobby the board members (politely) as well as talk again with the central staff. Preferably new faces would be involved.

3) The fixation on JM alone is not healthy or really that helpful. A general survey of what playgrounds other schools have though might be a good supporting piece of evidence. Its important to realize that across the district there are other schools with equally small/old playground equipment. Personally the student / equipment ratio is probably more compelling.

4) Having said all that, I feel this is not the only path forward. Playgrounds are really for the youngest kids and I'd be happy for the PTA to focus on having more volunteers organizing group games and other activities during recess. There's the movable play structures that were purchased this year that should help as well. My pie in the sky scenario would be convincing the district to knock down the technical buildings in the back or the green house in the front which I suspect will be removed anyway during renovations to just provide more open space.

Ben

Anonymous said...

Ben, were you at Lowell when the summer move to Lincoln happened? There was a lot of time and energy and engagement with the district those first 2 years in the building, and there were even times it seemed like the district was in fact going to do come through for our kids. I've personally lost track of all the back and forths, but maybe some of it is in PTA minutes? Or in the memories of PTA members from those first 2 years?

I completely agree that a joint APP/Pinehurst coalition should step up and carry on the charge. Assessing the student:equipment ratio is a great idea. Have you proposed this to anyone at school?

And yes, there is a small, old structure in the courtyard. It isn't nearly big enough to accomodate all the kids who might want to play on it at once. And remember, the first year at Lincoln, we couldn't use that area because it was McDonald's space. That was why the first thing parents did was purchase and install the rope climber/structure out front so at least there'd be something for our kids. Once McDonald moved to their building, we could use the courtyard the following year, but again, that structure is for little kids and not large enough for all our 1st or 2nd graders to use during recess.

Good luck. I hope you can make something happen.

--play matters

Anonymous said...

Ben,

Like the poster above, my child was moved from Lowell to Lincoln, so I know all the gory details of what the district did, or mostly did not do, for Lincoln. Did you know when we moved that we didn't have any gym equipment? It all had it stay behind at Lowell. We also got almost no library books. We begged and begged and finally got a bit of money for books. I was one of many who donated money to buy some of the gym equipment that it still being used today. I am only trying to make the point that the distict wanted to give us nothing, and parents stepped up to make a lot of things happen. It wasn't as much as we wanted, but we did the best we could.

Do you volunteer at Lincoln during the day? I only ask because you said this; " the PTA to focus on having more volunteers organizing group games and other activities during recess." In my time at Lincoln, it was nearly impossible to get volunteers to help with lunch and recess. Most families live far from school and have no interest in driving across town to help for an hour, not to mention that many people work and can't. These volunteer positions went unfilled in my time there.

I hope you get something. I can't imagine how full the building is going to be with all the APP kids and Pinehurst kids there. The district should be putting a lot of effort in to make sure this works as smoothly as possible, but I am not holding my breath.

-long timer

Anonymous said...

About playgrounds paid for by PTAs:

Salmon Bay, Bagley, West Woodland and I think BF Day (plus more, I’m sure) have all had PTAs raise $ to improve their playground. Agreed - it is ridiculous that that is necessary. Most of these PTAs got matching grants from the City of Seattle. Took Bagley 3 years (if I recall) from the first planning meetings. Bagley raised something like 60-70K primarily from parents (some businesses - very small amount, though) and was matched through a City Neighborhood Grant. Bagley parents weren’t entirely pleased with the result: the green field is much smaller than we wanted and kind-of dome shaped for rain run-off (not so great for games with balls) and there’s still a lot of cement in bad shape. AND since we finished the project, the District has plopped multiple portables amidst the playground.

Playgrounds

Anonymous said...

A bit off topic, but this came through today:

The updated Estimated Average Per Student FTE for School Year 2014-15 from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction:

Basic Education: $5,390

Programs With Enhancements
Special Education: $5,236
Learning Assistance Program: $463
Transitional Bilingual: $909
Highly Capable: $9
Student Transportation: $807

See how much Olympia cares about HC? That $9 probably doesn't even cover testing.

-LH

Anonymous said...

Highly Capable funding is based on a fixed percentage (2.314%) of district enrollment. For 52,00 some students, that $9 per student is close to $0.5M, which is much better than $0.

Anonymous said...

Does the $9 include transportation or is that a separate pot? I know the state also pays for transportation.

Anonymous said...

Something else on playgrounds. They are considered building projects by the city and need permitting. Between district red tape and city red tape you have to plan on more than a year to implement something. So even if we had money and plans in hand right now nothing would be available for 2014-15.

My guess is the district doesn't want to do anything to the playground as is because the site is planned for high school use and the district considers grade school playground renovation a waste of money. To be clear I have heard nothing of the sort from staff, but that's how SPS rolls. It also rolls this way: If that's the case no one on staff is going to want to come out and say it.

Anonymous said...

Funding: the 2.314% is IN ADDITION to the Basic Education Allocation (BEA) PER STUDENT.

(There seems to be some SPS agenda-driven, and untrue, rhetoric, that states the myth advanced learning services are 'underfunded' and 'a money loser' when the EXACT opposit is true! The BEA dollars are blended into one pot at the district, and via the WSS, they are then, rightfully so, titled out toward high poverty schools. )

The EXTRA dollars that come from the state for homeless, preschool, ELL, SpEd, and 'gifted' student transport are from a separate source/budget.

Bottom line: APP does NOT disproportionately cost more, and in fact, because of the way the overall budget works, it is contributes net dollars.

Myth Bustin'

Anonymous said...

I thought much of the AL dollars went into testing kids and the AL admin folks overseeing testing, appeals, answering emails, etc. At least that was the answer I got from Dr. Vaughan when he was AL head. There wasn't much left for PD. Lowell PTA and parents were terrific in stepping in with the $ to fill in the gap. Just like many schools with parents who can afford to contribute (I'm looking at you- Hay, JSIS, and Schmitz park).

Anonymous said...

The appeals process as it currently stands is one significant contributor to the nondiversity of the program. In my own circle I know three middle income Caucasian families who plunked down the $$$ to get their kids into middle school APP on appeal. At $600-$800 a whack, this rules out FRL families fast.

All kids should be screened for cognitive (not achievement) ability early in their grade school years and again before middle. Parents should not be allowed to pay for outside cognitive testing to get into APP. If the district uses an achievement screener in addition to cognitive testing, there should be a way to appeal that test, as one-time high stakes tests are not good for kids. This could consist of a 2nd taking of the test, a portfolio + teacher recommendation appeal, a different test or something else agreed-to by the committee. The key is that this happens on the District dime, not out of the family budget.

Private Testing Promotes Inequity

Anonymous said...

@Private Testing Promotes Inequity

FRL families are entitled to appeal just like any family - and at no cost. The district organizes and covers the cost individual testing for these appeals. Now it be that some FRL families are unaware of this, or don't pursue an appeal for other reasons - so the district/schools/teachers should make sure folks are aware of this option and encourage them to appeal if the results of the group tests don't reflect what teachers/parents are observing about the child.
The worse off families in this situation are actually not the FRL ones, but rather poorer families who are not poor enough to qualify for FRL. They cannot easy afford several hundred dollars for testing. Just imagine the powerlessness they feel - when they can clearly see their kid is a candidate for APP, the notoriously unreliable group CoGat is just a few points below the threshold and they have to choose between paying the rent vs paying for private testing.
The problem is the group administered CoGat is wildly unreliable, especially in younger grades and it is just wrong to deny kids entry to the program on the basis of this when so many subsequently demonstrate extremely high cognitive ability on individual tests. This individual testing provides a much more accurate assessment of the child's ability, is the accepted means of qualifying for private schools catering to the highly capable, and is not, contrary to popular opinion, akin to " paying your way in" (licensed psychologists are not faking positive results for $). If the district had more accurate group tests (is this even possible), or was able to provide individual testing then it might be reasonable to disallow appeals. Until then, I say it would be a huge mistake to disallow them (at least in the earlier grades when kids don't understand the relevance of the test and the need to concentrate and complete all the questions, may not understand the tester (one year my kids tester had a strong accent and a lisp and I could barely understand her), and may get distracted by needing potty breaks, birds outside the window, their neighbor (little kid stuff).

appealing

Anonymous said...

For comparison, here is Bellevue's appeal info:

https://www.bsd405.org/schools/gifted-programs/appeal-process.aspx

Anonymous said...

I agree that with our current appeal process, the families in the middle are at a disadvantage. My K daughter missed the CoGat by a point, and we paid for private testing last year. She's thrived at Lincoln this year (and has been in the 99th percentile on every MAP test she's taken). I feel guilty that we had the means to pay while other families didn't, but I really believe she's where she belongs. I asked our tester if she'd consider a sliding scale for families who don't qualify for FRL. She said she'd think about it. Maybe that's a possibility for families in the middle?
--Appealed

Anonymous said...

Isn't that equivalent to asking your dentist to provide services on an income-based sliding scale? Is this something you do in your professional life?

There is such a negative attitude toward the appeal process. I think Bellevue's rules on appeals are awful. The CogAT is not nearly as accurate a measure as an IQ test. It's more accurate in the middle score ranges and less accurate as the scores get higher. Using it the way they do is equivalent to choosing a random sample of the students who meet the required achievement test scores. Children who need services do not get them.

Anonymous said...

I am an attorney and often reduce my fees for clients who can't afford to pay the full amount. Not sure why the commenter above thinks it would be ridiculous to ask for a sliding scale.

I will say that I found private tester's rates to be very reasonable.

Anonymous said...

Maybe there could be some psychologists who would undertake to offer a sliding scale specifically for this purpose - SPS families who don't meet FRL and therefore free district appeal criteria, but who have solid grounds for an appeal and limited ability to pay?
SPS could 'refer' families in that situation to these ones? Would be great if AL could 'broker' that sort of arrangement.

Anonymous said...

Or maybe we could get rid of the private testing altogether.

A lot of FRL families, even if notified by the district don't take advantage of the appeal. For some it is an issue of English not as first language. For others it is an issue of no time or interest.

Slightly more well-off families get squeezed by the cost of the appeal. Net result: APP participation skewed toward well-off and Caucasian.

Anonymous said...

The point is that the current group cogAt is not accurate enough - lots of qualifying kids would miss out just because of the nature test. If anything, I would bet that this disadvantages FRL, ELL, kids with special needs (2e) kids than any others. These kids especially are much more likely to demonstrate their true intellectual capabilities in one-on one testing. So eliminating appeals because it appears to favor those well-off enough to pay would be like "throwing the baby out with the bathwater ". If FRL families aren't taking the district up on their offer of free appeals, then find out why not and figure out how to change this, figure out how to promote APP to this population - don't eliminate appeals for them and everyone else.

Anonymous said...

"nature of the test" above

Anonymous said...

I have heard that Bellevue (and some other districts - Northshore, I think) are moving/have moved to the Lohman-Renzulli matrix for HiCap eligibility. I know little about this, but from a brief Google search, it looks like it takes the scores on multiple assessments into account rather than having a hard cut-off on all as Seattle does. (So those with high CogAT could be a few points below on the achievement tests, or the other way around.) Perhaps that would eliminate the need for many appeals where students are a point or so below in one area?

Lynn said...

I found this in the Q&A on the BEX project at Lincoln Pacific:

Q. When will a decision be made about whether the elementary will be all APP or if there will need to be two APP elementary sites and Wilson-Pacific will also serve neighborhood families for elementary school?

After the Advanced Learning Task Force completes its work.


I haven't seen anything on the AL website that indicates this issue has been discussed. Has anyone else?

Anonymous said...

No - maybe the district means YEARS after the task force completes its work?

Recess Matters said...

Having said all that, I feel this is not the only path forward. Playgrounds are really for the youngest kids and I'd be happy for the PTA to focus on having more volunteers organizing group games and other activities during recess. There's the movable play structures that were purchased this year that should help as well.

Ben, I'd be happy for you to lead the PTA effort to improve recess. Maybe you'd like to sponsor the effort to fundraise to bring in Playworks ? Because no one knows how to play like a grown up! Do note that groups in other countries are trying to make recess more unstructured. See: http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/01/recess-without-rules/283382/

Perhaps you'd like to volunteer to join the parents who come daily to for two hours to make sure the unicycles are available? We're there supporting Allen, Che, and Karen from 11:20 to about 1:15, and an additional parent would mean that the Monday/Tuesday volunteer could only have to come one day a week.

Maybe you'd like to just come once a month and help with the Thursday Recess Running program? I've see requests for help to keep that program going.

Oh, and I see you know about the purchased movable play structures? Perhaps you'd be willing to be trained on how to be the "facilitator" for play structures? Apparently, the kids can't use them until adults have been instructed on how the kids should best play. You know, because adults are so much better at this play business!

Maybe you'd like to be the volunteer who supervises the giant chess pieces that are also sitting in a closet? They sit there because instead of being used for serious games of chess (during the 15-18 minutes of playtime they have during recess), the pieces were swung as bats or ridden at horses, which is only logical that kids would do crazy things with giant plastic pieces when they only have a concrete parking lot to play on.

So I'd be happy to see some concrete ideas for what you've got in mind. Of course, be sure to run your ideas past the principal, the PE teacher, and the recess team because those people actually see what the recess is like. Or even better: commit to coming for two hours over YOUR lunch hour and pitch in.

Anonymous said...

I went to a 1-8 that only had a giant concrete parking lot as our playground. Now it did have 4 basketball hoops and a couple of tether ball poles. Quite giving concrete a bad rap. It can work. Grass meet concrete.

Phil

Anonymous said...

Stevens is all asphalt. Minus a 10 -10 play structure

ben said...

@Recess Matter -
I seemed to have touched a nerve with you and mostly unintentionally at that.

My only point was that the existing PTA efforts were worthwhile and doing more of them could also work. Thank you to those who have staffed them.

However, its hard to have a constructive discussion when you're one hand complaining about lack of volunteers and on the other saying structured play or having adults organize/help with recess is not a good idea.

I'm quite willing to chat about how to increase volunteer participation OR whether we adults should all back off and let kids have unstructured play time but not in the same breath.

Recess Matters said...

Ben, after I posted, I did realize that I sent two different messages, and I wasn't able to get back until today to add to my post. I apologize.

I should have started by saying my biggest frustration--the underlying issue I never addressed--is that the kids need more time to eat lunch and play. If any of us are able to visit the school (or any Seattle school), you see that they just don't have enough time to do either. My child has requested that I only pack certain things for lunch because the time is so short, and I fear it will only get worse with 100 additional Lincoln students and 150 Pinehurst students. All of these kids deserve to have time to burn off energy, and the teachers need the downtime over lunch and recess to plan and recharge for the afternoon.

I am frustrated by the ways money is spent to add temporary playground equipment without thinking about the logistics of how the kids will use it. Even a hula hoop can become part of a game of tag when the kids are stuck with little to do (it becomes a lasso), so if we can't put the stuff out because an adult needs to be there to make sure it's used properly, what's the use in that? If we are buying stuff that needs trained adults to "facilitate" the play, where's the budget to pay for the adult or are we assuming that volunteers will just jump in and be there?

I would prefer to find a way to let the kids just play, but at the same time, I feel that is challenging on a play area that is so fragmented with out-of-sight areas, indoor and outdoor space, and sections that adults can't see easily from one vantage point. At the same time, I appreciate programs like the recess unicycling that is volunteer-led, because I see how the kids use the unicycling (usually 50-80 kids, depending on the weather outside). So yes, as you called it, I have two opposing opinions on recess, and I don't know what is useful going forward.