Friday, May 30, 2014

Open thread

Almost June! What's on your mind?

112 comments:

Anonymous said...

Recommendations from the last AL Task Force meeting? Did anyone attend?

Anonymous said...

Recommendations aren't complete - the task force is meeting again in three weeks or so.

Anonymous said...

after schools out!

Anonymous said...

Won't recommendations impact classes for next year, such as how students are assigned to classes? And won't schools create schedules prior to recommendations being released? JAMS, for example, will be doing single subject qualification and blending Spectrum and APP students in LA/SS classes, just as math is currently.

Anonymous said...

JAMS, for example, will be doing single subject qualification and blending Spectrum and APP students in LA/SS classes, just as math is currently.

Is this a done deal? If so, how does the community - those who were moved to JAMS from Hamilton - feel about it?

apparent said...

We're on the (geographic) borderline! So we have the same question as the abover poster . . . maybe worth a new thread = "JAMS v. Hamalton for APP"

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if the JAMS math department will offer math placement to students based completion of math summer courses at the Robinson Center?

-Curious

37 Questions said...

Anyone go to the talent show? It was fun.

Anonymous said...

The Spectrum students at JAMS will be outnumbered by APP students. I believe one of the reasons they are combining Spectrum/APP for LA/SS is that there aren't enough students for separate Spectrum classes.

Some of the Spectrum classes at Hamilton are doing more reading and writing than some the APP classes, so I wouldn't be concerned about the level of challenge being somehow different because it's a Spectrum/APP blend. Students will generally rise to the challenge. The actual curriculum, the specific reading and writing assignments, and teacher expectations and know-how are of much greater concern from my standpoint.

For meeting individual student needs, a single subject qualification for LA/SS seems to provide more flexibility, just as it does for math. The question is whether they will provide enough challenge for a range of abilities, which doesn't seem to be happening in a few current APP-only classes at HIMS.

There is also the issue of the middle school APP LA/SS scope and sequence changing to effectively eliminate a year's worth of World History, but I guess that ship has sailed. It makes some sense to have a similar general sequence (i.e. US History and WA State history taken the same years as OSPI recommends), as long as the courses are substantially modified to provide more challenge and more depth, while still covering the basic content.

my 2cents

Anonymous said...

So if mixed Spectrum/APP classes can work perfectly well at JAMS, then why isn't it a solution at every middle school? Seriously.

Anonymous said...

I am sure the district would love that, but 1) I am not sure it is a good idea. I think discussion is the most important part of a LA class, and I think the cohort is probably the most important contributor to that. So I think this probably does not "work perfectly well." It's an experiment, though. We'll see. I am sure how well it will work it depends on a lot of factors. I just don't have a choice in the matter- this is what they are doing. And 2) the district needs to keep cohorts of app students together so that they can shift them out of the crowded middle schools (Eckstein especially). So they can't just send them back to their home schools. Yet.

Anonymous said...

If there aren't enough spectrum kids, why don't they have an honors combined spectrum class with gen ed kids who single subject qualify for LA? Wouldn't that provide more rigor overall, rather than abolishing self contained for APP?

Anonymous said...

Remember, the "bottom" qualifier for a student in Spectrum is 1 kid out of 8. Not that 'rare' or different, is it.

The "bottom" qualifier for APP, in contrast, is 1 kid out of 52. Those are the frequencies of the 87th and 98th IQ respectively.

APP students need acclerated pace AND depth AND the start point to be at least 2 years ahead.

That's the point of the program service - to meet the needs of HIGHLY capable students. Kids whose minds are wired differently, kids who have no intellectual peers if they were in general Ed. Remember, 1 in 52 is the bottom, my kid, statistically, is 1 in 1,300. Now, are the statistics perfect? Of course not. BUT the point is, APP serves a BROADER RANGE of abilities than can be found in a general Ed/ALO class, contrary to popular belief. And, the inconsistency between APP from JAMS to Hamilton and Washington is unaccounted for.

Gifted Ed is defined as basic Ed for highly capable students. The multiple and high criteria benchmarks (98/95/95) for APP are meant to identify highly capable kids for this academic model. Even with this, kids in APP are bored. So to blend it with kids who have no achievement piece (per spectrum kindergarten enterance) and cognitively occur once in every 8 persons means the ability of the instructor to meet the needs of the highly capable students, by going extremely fast and deep won't work.

APP is really for kids who read a 350 page novel every few days every week and then want to discuss and analyze in class. This is what a highly capable program should do: match the kids' intensity. For kids who aren't that intense, honors classes may well suit. But please don't take away the opportunity for the basic right of basic ed to learn from these highly capable students.

It is the cognition that really drives the need of the highly capable students, it also can make them 'querky' and 'different' and targets for bullying.

I wonder if because these students are a minority, that parents without these types of learners feel confident to espouse what they 'think and feel' would be 'fair'. Do parents who don't have Autistic kids vigorously demand specifics for program design for those types of learners? Autism occurs roughly once in 150 persons.

Do parents demand their non-athletic students get to play varsity basketball? Do parents of average musicians demand their kids get to play in the highest level of orchestra? Because it is fair? Because their kid, if next to the virtuoso cellist, will magically become one too?

If you could walk a mile in a parent's shoes who has a student with an IQ of 99.7 and the achievement scores in that range.... I wonder what kinds of conversations we could all have....

Wondering

Anonymous said...

You need to take into consideration that Spectrum students may have qualifying scores for verbal, but perhaps didn't make the cut for math, and hence didn't qualify for APP.

At JAMS, APP students will outnumber Spectrum students, so it seems they are justifying it as a matter of convenience. How they will assess its success (or not) is unclear. We have yet to hear recommendations from the AL Task Force, but it does seem that they are moving in the direction of single-subject qualification in middle school.

I think discussion is the most important part of a LA class, and I think the cohort is probably the most important contributor to that
I would argue it's about much more than that. It's about more challenging content, teachers that can provide it, and students that can handle it. We are not seeing that level of challenge in some current APP classes (HIMS).

Anonymous said...

Agree with you poster @ 11:17. I'm all for single subject qualification in MS and beyond.

Wondering, you probably don't mean IQ score of 99.7? Regardless, I don't know if a class of IQ >140 would make for better conversation or even learning than a class of IQ<140. It's what people bring to the table and what they take away in listening and sharing that makes learning engaging and worthwhile. What's often missing is also a variety of perspectives and experience. Maybe that can't be measured in an IQ test, but boy, it makes a world of difference in learning and living.

Anonymous said...

There should be a self-contained program for the top 0.3%, it's the other 1500 kids in APP who are not such outliers that may be able to learn some broader community skills without sacrificing academic achievement by attending classes with other students , maybe only 1 in 10 or even average.
Bill W

Anonymous said...

There are some amazing things being said here. If you are willing to write something you should be willing to say it in public among your friends and peer group. My guess is that much written here would not be said out loud and in my opinion should not then be written. Wow is all I can say.

-Off to see the wizard

Anonymous said...

Single subject qualification was recommended in the 2007 program review. What JAMS will be doing is more a blended model, though. The qualification for an APP level LA/SS class will then be Spectrum qualification, as opposed to Spectrum students that had qualifying APP scores in verbal. Not sure of the implications for JAMS, but they aren't exactly the same.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you Off To See The Wizard. There are Spectrum kids who fully qualify for APP but chose to stay in Spectrum for various reasons. There are Spectrum kids who read 350 page books in 3 days and are fully capable of having an in-depth discussion. Testing into a program does not mean a student is motivated and actively participates in class.

In our case, we were happy in Spectrum at Eckstein until we were obviously going to be relocated because we live in the JAMS hood. I retested my kids in order to keep our options open, then the NE APP was sent to JAMS, so we ended up there anyway. I do hope my newly identify APP/former Spectrum child won't bring down the level of classroom discussion.

The comments I'm reading on here are reinforcing the perception of APP parents and are not making me look forward to next year.

-LCP

P.S. Based on what I've heard from some Hamilton APP parents, Spectrum LA at Eckstein was more rigorous.

Lynn said...

LCP,

Your child was an APP-qualified student enrolled in Spectrum. Nobody is saying that placing your child in APP LA/SS wouldn't be appropriate. I think they are acknowledging that it's possible to test into Spectrum in K with a 90th percentile CogAT - and that means that for some Spectrum students placement in APP classes might not be appropriate.

My concern with the situation at JAMS is that the district Teaching and Learning Department is allowing the principal to redesign APP - apparently based on scheduling convenience.

I think in middle school Spectrum should be replaced with separate honors classes that any student who exceeds grade-level standards can opt into. Isn't the low number of Spectrum students at JAMS the result of inadequate access to Spectrum seats in elementary school? I'd think there are enough students who'd qualify based on achievement testing to make honors classes viable.

Anonymous said...

Some Spectrum kids will do well in APP, and some APP kids would do well in Spectrum. I don't think that's hard to fathom, or too controversial. But let's remember the reason we have legislation requiring a highly capable program in the first place--because, for the most part, kids who are at the top end re: cognitive abilities learn differently. When you put those kids in blended classes, something has to give--a class that moves at the right pace, or includes sufficient repetition, for a more typical, bright learner like those at Spectrum level will be too slow and repetitive for most APP kids.

That doesn't mean APP classes are any more rigorous than Spectrum classes though. APP is in a bad state, at least in middle school. But it's not the kids' fault, and just combining them isn't necessarily the answer. The solution is to fix the APP classes so they are even more rigorous than the Spectrum classes, as they should be. Hamilton APP has been a huge disappointment, and my child hates school more and more every day.

Anonymous said...

LCP why do you have your kids in spectrum, then? I think you're implying APP parents wanting APP classes means they are saying something malicious about spectrum or gen ed students. Do you mean something malicious about gen ed students in having your child in a spectrum program? Would you not have any comment if the plan was to have all gen ed classes, no spectrum, end of story?

Fwiw I have two app qualified kids attending app programs. One of them would have done just fine in a solid Spectrum program, but because of where we live that was not an option for us, and app was just dandy too. I think the new honors spectrum/app blend will probably be fine for her, and there are plenty of kids like her in app, and plenty of kids in spectrum now like her. My other child has trouble getting enough rigor even at the supposedly rigorous elementary level, and slowing down the pace in middle school will definitely be a problem, and so I'm worried. There are also plenty of kids like him in app, fewer who stayed in spectrum. There is a wide range in both these programs, both of ability and boredom tolerance.

I am not sure why acknowledging the range garners snark. We all know the exact percentiles aren't final arbitrations of ability handed down from God to the ears of SPS testers. 97.9 and 98.1 are obviously the same basic score; it's just the best we can do, since we do need a cut off. But the upper range of APP and the lower range of spectrum are pretty far apart. Like the upper range of spectrum and the lower range of gen ed are not working on the same things at the same time, and so it's appropriate to have separate classes for some things.

Anon at 10:03

Anonymous said...

I think Self contained APP should be set at the 1st percentile, or at the very least, the 3 percentile locally normed, and potentially with additional qualifiers that show the need of self-contained

The rest should be self-selected honors with tough standards of performance.

bz

Anonymous said...

LCP and off to see wizard,
My personal opinion is a) there is no "APP community". We don't get together and come up with an opinion that when someone says something everyone gets credited (or blamed) for that. b) this seems to be a forum to discuss APP. I don't see why civil discussion about APP standards can be grounds for a "Wow!" comment or similar comment. c) I think we are all coping with evolving changes in where our child will need to go, which available option we think matches our child. Making judgments about other people's children's need or lack of need for certain things is irrelevant in some ways because it is out of our control. SPS is in charge of what we get, and our opinions don't make things happen.
NEmom

Anonymous said...

The low number of Spectrum students at JAMS is because there are not any Spectrum schools feeding into it. There will be 7 Spectrum students in 7th grade at JAMS. Some of these kids are working 2-3 years ahead in math. As I mentioned earlier there are Spectrum kids who read at a very high level and are capable of in- depth discussion. So is the most logical solution to send them to Gen Ed? Perhaps the handful of Spectrum students should have been allowed to stay at Eckstein.

I'm not commenting on APP parents wanting rigor for their students. My point is don't assume Spectrum kids won't be able to keep up and slow down the class.

-LCP

Anonymous said...

I am sure there are also plenty of gen ed students who could keep up in a spectrum class, as well, though, especially as you say the number of spectrum schools feeding in is very low. Why is the logical solution not honors for gen ed and spectrum(gen ed opt in, spectrum automatically placed) and app remaining self contained? That's 3 levels(which I think is a more appropriate range for a school with our population), and especially if it's spectrum families who don't think the levels for cut offs are meaningful, doesn't it make sense for them to be in a blended class? Or opt in honors?

As I said above(and as everyone has agreed) the edges around the cut off are fuzzy. Surely the higher performers in spectrum could do app classes no problem (including your kid who qualifies). Probably better, in some cases. Surely higher performing gen ed kids could also keep up just fine in a spectrum/honors class, though, too. Probably outpace plenty of the spectrum students. I don't think that's a reason to get rid of spectrum classes, so I am not sure why the same reasoning means getting rid of app classes at the top end.

But it is not the case that the lower performing spectrum kids are as appropriately placed with the higher performing app kids, and that is a loss for the higher performing app kids. This is lowering the bar for entry to the classes. It has its pros and cons- more access is great, less suitability for the outliers is bad.

If you think the tests don't tell you anything about performance or ability, well, that's a different discussion.

10:03 anon

Anonymous said...

LCP,

If APP were done appropriately, most Spectrum-level kids wouldn't be able to keep up. That fast pace of learning is one of the reasons for a highly capable program.

That said, the current version of APP doesn't move quickly enough for many/most of the kids in it. So yes, Spectrum kids can probably keep up. But if the program were done well, and was really designed to meet the needs of APP students, it would be too challenging for Spectrum students. That's the point.

Anonymous said...

I've heard complaints in my son's class about it is moving too fast without enough chance for mastery. I don't think the school or the teachers are doing a good job in the elementary classes of counseling what is best for the student, if it is not APP. They can't stand up to parents or it is uncomfortable. Now my son is in a class that is not much different to his K-8.

Anonymous said...

At the last JAMS information meeting, teachers were directing parents to email the principal with unanswered questions, so I'd probably email the principal directly with the question about math placement following Robinson Center courses.

Anonymous said...

Reminder- tonight at 6:30 pm is the last APP AC regular meeting at the Lincoln school library. All welcomed! Please attend. Listen, contribute, share, learn.

Also APP AC needs a JAMS parent school rep. Interested? Want to apply? Great! Check out the APP AC google group site for info.

Anonymous said...

What is the process for selecting representatives for the APP AC? Do schools have a say in who represents them? Why aren't other positions open for next year?

Anonymous said...

With the impending math adoption vote tonight - I'm wondering what the impact will be on Lincoln's math curriculum. We trialled several different curriculum last year and selected My Math, which seems OK (well, better than EDM anyway).
One of the ones our kids trialled last year was Envision which was a huge turn off for our kid and many others I know of. It's too verbose and my strong-at-math kid hated having to provide (and could not formulate) written explanations for their (correctly calculated) answers. I would hate to see us adopting this curriculum and I think it will make a lot of our good-at-math kids frustrated and come to hate math. So, does anyone know if we would continue using My Math or would we switch to whatever the district adopts?

No Envision

ben said...

Based on a conversation I had with Rina, I'm pretty sure she'll adopt Envision if the district does.

Anonymous said...

Was the My Math curriculum always going to be just for 1 year?
It does not seem optimal for the curriculum to change each year - first EDM, then EDM plus mixture of others, then My Math, then ? Envision (bummer!). Any thoughts?
Are Lincoln families generally on board with the idea of Envision instead of My Math? And if not, is there anyway we can lobby to stick My Math?

Anonymous said...

There is a proposed amendment before the board TODAY which would allow schools to adopt a different math curriculum, math in focus. Please email board members today to urge them to vote for it!

Anonymous said...

Yes, as soon as I realized we would probably end up defaulting Envision I emailed the board. Selfishly, I guess, I hadn't been paying as much attention to the math adoption process as I should have, since I though we were doing Ok with My Math and didn't realize that would be subject to change.
So, I would urge anyone who hasn't been following the process closely because they didn't realize it will effect their kids (like me, I'm ashamed to say) - to get up to speed quickly and have your say. Save Seattle schools blog has a number of threads about it. The whole process appears to have been manipulated by T&L staff to produce their desired outcome (Envision)

Anonymous said...

Hamilton principal Cindy Watters just abolished Humanities blocking for next year. That's why the new LA recommendations have NOTHING to do with the history content. Don't need to read the Aeneid when we study Rome, or Chaucer when we study medieval. And this is supposed to be replicated at the new site? Parents! Speak up!!!

Anonymous said...

Speak up? To whom? Will it make a difference?

New HIMS family

Anonymous said...

Both 6th and 8th grade HIMS APP language arts and social studies were disconnected content wise this year, despite being blocked classes. This is a huge loss, as the integration of LA and history was a major part of the program. This year many of the reading materials were of questionable value and all over the place in terms of level of challenge and appropriateness.

Why are teachers and principals independently dictating APP curriculum? The HMM-DeBell amendment was supposed to address the APP curriculum for LA/SS - so who's in charge of following through?

Aeneid? Rome? Will they even be covered next year? Not with the new sequence.

Anonymous said...

Does unblocking classes mean they will not coordinate the curriculum? Or does it mean LA might be taught be someone that can actually teach LA and history will be taught by someone that actually knows history?

What are the new LA recommendations being referenced in the earlier post? Who is creating them?

Anonymous said...

The new LA/SS scope and sequence details--which seem like they will provide the basis for a curriculum, in the absence of an actual curriculum adoption--are being developed quietly by a select group of principals, SPS staff and a seemingly small group of teachers. Unbelievably, the Advanced Learning office is NOT involved in this process.

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

To clarify, the blocking and curriculum issues are different but related. The pseudo-curriculum being developed apparently de-links the LA and SS portions. That makes it easy to also un-block courses if one so wishes. There won't be a need to "coordinate the curriculum," because the curriculum is already being de-linked. Who determined this should happen???

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

In that case, perhaps parents need to write to the school board to request that AL be involved in the writing of the APP curriculum. Are WMS teachers involved? Why would AL not be involved?? That's part of their job!

Anonymous said...

6th grade LA was largely a repeat of elementary Readers and Writers Workshop. There was a fiction unit, a nonfiction unit, personal essay, and literary analyis, none of which were in any way connected to the social studies curriculum. Many readings were self-selected by other students as part of book clubs. There were some very questionable reading choices. Whole class reading and discussion of specific works of literature? Didn't happen. Carefully selected materials for advanced learners? Didn't happen.

8th grade LA was essentially a social justice curriculum ad nauseam. Very limited history content was covered.

If this is the new standard, parents need to speak up now, and loudly.

Anonymous said...

How do Lincoln people feel about moving from My Math to MIF?

I assume two grade-levels ahead in MIF would entail a greater "jump" than the current materials.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 7:03 (or anyone else): do you have examples of the questionable reading choices and other inappropriate material for APP students? As a parent whose children won't be in middle school APP for several years, it's hard for me to understand this LA/SS issue because I just don't have a good sense of what is actually happening in the APP middle school classroom or what used to happen. So I see from a comment above the Aeneid won't be taught next year -- but what will be? Is it that no one knows yet?

Any examples would be really helpful (not asking for teacher names or anything like that).

Anonymous said...

Speaking to the questionable materials, some have been teacher selected and some student selected.

Student selected material has been used in some book clubs where they have done units on fiction or nonfiction reading. Each group chose a fiction (or nonfiction) book for their group, but the only general requirement was that it was fiction (or nonfiction, depending on the unit). There were not sets of pre-approved classroom texts from which to select readings - students were charged with finding a book on their own, either from the library, or purchased. This led to some wildly varying choices. Anything from picture books (it was nonfiction) to some base level fiction (story dialogue included jokes about bodily functions). Maybe some parents are A-Okay with that, but it's not exactly what you'd expect from an advanced level LA class. Also, how do you feel about other students choosing your child's reading material?

HIMS does not seem intent on following the traditional APP scope or content for LA/SS. It's as if the material doesn't matter for LA as long as you can tie the assignment to a CCSS. Of course the standards are so general that just about anything could fit the standards - they were written in a general way so districts could fit them to their chosen curriculum. In SPS's case, their doesn't seem to be a curriculum.

APP LA/SS used to be intertwined so as someone suggested, you might read parts of the Aeneid and the Odyssey when studying Greece and Rome. A World Literature text was used for some readings (it sits on the shelf unused in some HIMS classrooms).

8th grade is another story.

Anonymous said...

So who is driving these LA/SS changes? Are they teacher driven? Principal driven? Happening at a higher level in the district?

Anonymous said...

What math curriculum do they use at Lincoln for 4th and 5th graders (it will be 6th and 7th grade math)?

Incoming

Anonymous said...

One component of the changes was apparently district-driven: the change in course topics for middle school SS. That was apparently designed to bring APP into alignment with OSPI and Gen Ed. Why this was a priority, I'm not sure, but I've heard it'd important to facilitate kids transferring from GenEd into APP during middle of middle school--which is not a very common occurrence anyway. It's hard to understand why alignment with GenEd is the goal for a program that is supposed to provide a "rigorous and accelerated curriculum."

With the new APP SS scope and sequence broadly laid out in that April--by Michael Tolley and Shauna Heath, not the AL office--there were then efforts initiated by the workgroup (SPS admin, principals, and limited teachers, but again NOT the AL dept and also not open to public) to further define the LA/SS scope and sequence. It sounds like this is also being driven by the district, but I'm not sure--there may be individual principals really pushing this for their own reasons. I had heard the intent was to work on a transition plan to deal with kids already in the middle of the current sequence, but it sounds like they are moving on to curriculum issues--meaning dismantling the existing APP MS curriculum that was in place at WMS and implemented only minimally (7th grade?) at Hamilton, in favor of a clean slate. Meaning no curriculum, just random teachers making their own way. (And unfortunately, these are usually teachers who don't have experience with gifted kids.)

The work of this workgroup is not being shared with the public, but it sounds like some of the longer term APP teachers are very unhappy with the direction things are headed. Delinking the LA and SS subject matter means the traditional APP MS curriculum is officially gone, if Washington MS is actually planning to implement these new ideas as well... (Anyone from WMS know how this is going over???) The latest rumor--eliminating blocked LA/SS classes at Hamilton--is further evidence of the reported delinking underway, although whether that is a HIMS-driven idea is unclear.

jujubee said...

Incoming,

I don't have a Lincoln 4th or 5th grader this year (my kid is in 2nd grade), but I'm pretty sure they are using the middle school curriculum from the MyMath publisher (McGraw-Hill/Glencoe???). I'm not sure if it's called MyMath, or something else, but it's the middle school continuation of elementary MyMath.

The principal indicated that they would most likely be doing the same in next year's 4th/5th grades, with maybe some small exposure to the CMP1/2 materials, so that kids who move on to CMP3 in middle school are familiar with the CMP "style" (for lack of a better word?).

These are just my recollections, based on a recent coffee chat with the principal.

jujubee

Anonymous said...

Having experienced the "random teachers making their own way" model - I'm deeply troubled by the prospect of this continuing. My children passionately dislike LA/SS at HIMS (7th grade was an exception). Teachers (and principals?) inexperienced with gifted ed have contributed to the problem.

Was there any discussion of these issues at the most recent APP-AC meeting? I don't understand the seeming lack of involvement from AL. Is there anything parents can do to move things in a better direction?

Anonymous said...

As far as math at Lincoln, I'd encourage parents to support a continuation of MyMath or whatever elementary program the school is using if it means avoiding CMP.

Anonymous said...

Yes, there was discussion of these at the recent APP AC mtg, but it was limited by the fact that nobody knows what's going on because most of it is not public and the AL office is not involved. The AL dept apparently has no authority to do much of anything, but I think parents need to stand up now and demand that the AL office be involved in any changes to AL programs. Write the Board, and write Stephen Martin to tell him you support him trying to insert himself into the process. And write Banda, Tolley and Heath to let them know this unacceptable.

Anonymous said...

Thinking about the MIF adoption, I am wondering how it will be implemented in APP. APP used to compact the curriculum (1st graders started with a combination of 1st and 2nd grade math) rather than jumping to math 2 years ahead. The strict 2-year ahead approach could backfire for MIF implementation, as students may miss the foundation for upper level problems. If early years build number sense and gradually introduce the bar modeling technique, what happens if years 1 and 2 are skipped?

Singapore Math Demystified

Any parents familiar enough with Singapore math/MIF to comment?

Anonymous said...

Examples? Selection of poetry used this year in APP LA/SS:

Bluebird

37 Questions said...

If Bluebird is used at a high school, I personally have no problem with that. Some of the classics I read in high school were quite risqué, but that doesn't mean they were not valuable teaching tools. Bukowski was a great writer, and his work has many layers and complexity. It's worth reading. There is a lot of his work that is not appropriate at all for in class reading, but there are some poems that will challenge and engage. I think a lot of kids push down a lot of feelings and feel pressured to present themselves a certain way to the world.

Also, by high school doesn't everyone know about loose women, alcohol, and smoking?

Jen C

37 Questions said...

http://www.artvilla.com/we-aint-got-no-money-honey-but-we-got-rain-poem-by-charles-bukowski

This another poem of his I would love to see in-class.

37 Questions said...

http://www.artvilla.com/nirvana-poem-by-charles-bukowski

Nirvana is completely appropriate for even middle school reading. (This is the last one I will post)

Anonymous said...

Which grade? Is this a middle school example?

High school, fine. -- we read Bukowski in high school (12th grade) and although I personally can't stand his poetry, it did lead to some interesting conversations. At that age, my concern would be more about the depiction of women than the drinking and smoking.

That is helpful, as I didn't know if "inappropriate" meant that kind of inappropriate or that the material was not sufficiently challenging.

37 Questions said...

I agree with you regarding the depiction of women in his works. I would never suggest any of those poems be taught before college.

Anonymous said...

Last night was the district-wide science fair. Every middle school was there except for HIMS. A teacher let me know and said it was a shame as HIMS usually had some of the top projects. It was really too bad that there was no science night either this year at HIMS. Mr. Tanaka used to organize that and it was a real hit. Another miss for this year at HIMS.
- Old Timer

Anonymous said...

If Bluebird is used at a high school, I personally have no problem with that...Also, by high school doesn't everyone know about loose women, alcohol, and smoking?

It was used in a middle school class.

Anonymous said...

Apparently emergency BLT meetings are being called at schools this weekend (see Save Seattle Schools blog) - the game is afoot; district is trying to coerce or at least ease the way for individual schools to get waiver to use Envision. Decisions need to be made by next Tuesday so schools are onto it this weekend.
Anyone heard anything going on at Lincoln or TM?
Anyone concerned that our principals and BLT are going to be given the power to choose our next math curriculum with any kind of community engagement process? I was so excited that MIF was adopted for the district but now I find out that doesn't necessarily mean that our school will get that.
Anyone concerned that the curriculum that our democratically elected board voted to adopt is being undermined in this way. (Dual adoption or waivers may be a reasonable option but staff said that was NOT an option at all when they thought Envision was going to be adopted. And now all of a sudden it is. Astounding lack of integrity!
Check out Save Seattle SChools blog for more info. Write emails. Spread the word if you have any news regarding what is happening at APP elementaries

Concerned

Anonymous said...

I meant withOUT any community engagement obviously

Concerned

Anonymous said...

Well, TM has been using enVision for the past 2 years and I hope we continue with that choice. I know that the staff is discussing what they feel is best for the students and I imagine that we'll hear more on Monday from the principals.

Yes, the district staff appear to be behaving badly, but is that really any surprise at this point? I don't think their behavior should be relevant to our choice.

I hope we stay with enVision, but I don't think it's the end of the world if we end up having to use MIF. Both of these curriculums are so much better than EDM, in my opinion.

Now, when do we get rid of the current middle school math curriculum?

Anonymous said...

I totally support Thurgood Marshall be allowed to continue with Envision if they are having success with this.
I just don't think that now the decision has been made for the district to adopt MIF that schools who have been using EDM should now get to choose (without a process involving all the stakeholders, teachers, PTA, familys, on the basis of a hastily convened weekend BLT meeting) to opt out and choose a different curriculum. It was never this easy to opt out of EDM (when lots of schools wanted to) so why should it be now that we have replaced it with a very well-regarded curriculum.

My concern is what will Lincoln do? We are currently using My Math but will that continue next year? I heard that Rina had indicated we would use Envision if that is what the district adopted. So will we use MIF because that is what the district chose? Or will she be one of the cabal that help overturn the MIF adoption all together. Read the update in SSS blog - Melissa spoke to Banda and basically it looks like the plan is to get as many schools as possible seeking waivers for Envision so that the district will say they can't afford both and force the board to back down on MIF.
I want MIF and I'm sure I'm not alone in that. We trialled Envision and lots of kids hated it. What kid wants to have to write detailed written explanation of how they calculated something. They know how to calculate it , they get the correct answer - it just turns off the kids who 'get it' right away and don't want to labor over a detailed explanation.
The board voted to adopt MIF and that is what I expect to get (if we switch from My Math). I will be outraged if the Lincoln BLT requests a waiver for Envision unless it can be clearly demonstrated that the majority of families are on board with this (could that even be done before the 10th one deadline).
SO does any know anything? I guess we need to contact Rina.

Lynn said...

The BAR for the Highly Capable Program Annual Plan is on the agenda for Monday's Curriculum and Instruction Committee meeting along with an update on the Advanced Learning Task Force. Shauna Heath has to present an updated plan for providing highly capable services to the committee Monday in order to get it approved by the board and provided to the OSPI by July 1st.

As the task force has not yet decided upon it's recommendations and has not even begun to discuss high school issues (and that is the area where changes are required), Shauna will have to write this updated plan on her own. Who knows what it will contain? I hope that there are parent members of the task force who are available to attend the meeting and take notes on her presentation.

Does anyone else remember her presentation of a proposed Advanced Learning Policy in May of 2013? Minutes from that board meeting include this:

Directors asked for an outline of how the policy relates to State law and noted this plan should not be developed in haste. Directors asked if the policy was time sensitive. Ms. Heath and Superintendent Banda confirmed the policy was not time sensitive and agreed to address the concerns and issues that arose.

Where is our new policy?

Anonymous said...

What is Rina's email address? We are a new family and on the APP@Lincoln site it states that you must log in to send her a message.

-Concerned parent

Anonymous said...

Rina Geoghagan

Anonymous said...

legeoghagan@seattleschools.org>

Anonymous said...

Also very concerned about what is going down at SPS.
Rina's email is:

legeoghagan@seattleschools.org

Anonymous said...

I was elated when MIF was approved. It gave me a glimmer of hope that things can improve in this District.

I am so deeply troubled by how this is now playing out. It's a new low for SPS and has me concerned for future decisions. Will the ALTF make recommendations only to be superseded by what MT and SH personally want?

unsettled

Anonymous said...

Is it even clear what the next step is after the task forces make their recs? Who do they go to? Do they need to be approved by the Board? Banda? Is there any reason to think the recs of these groups will be adopted, when those of similar groups in prior years weren't?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if there has been an emergency BLT meeting at Lincoln Elementary this weekend? I know other elementaries have and some are seeking waivers for EnVision Math.

Watching

Anonymous said...

Still nothing from Rina? Has the BLT met?

signed, getting worried

Anonymous said...

Posted on the Save Seattle Schools Blog:

From Steven's Principal Kelley Archer, received today:

RE: New math adoption
Dear Wonderful Stevens Families;
Many principals, including myself, expressed concern over the board's decision to disregard the
designated math adoption committee's recommendation of EnVision Math for another program: Math
in Focus. The Executive Directors asked elementary principals, as a bargaining unit, to come to a
consensus on whether to file a waiver. This means that the principals' union would file a waiver on
behalf of all elementary schools in the district.
Friday Stevens staff voted unanimously to support the math adoption committee in filing a waiver, if and
only if, the waiver is filed on behalf of all elementary schools. We feel that continuity across the district
is of paramount importance as well as the validation of the hard work and time the adoption committee
put into their recommendation.
I imagine both EnVision and Math in Focus are very good programs. The math adoption committee
looked long and carefully at all the approved options. The committee was made up of parents, teachers,
district curricular experts and other community members. Stevens staff and community members went
to Douglas Truth and other libraries to give their input as well. After consideration of the programs and
input from community members, the adoption committee felt that EnVision was the best program for
Seattle students.
At this point, I do not know the results of the elementary school votes outside of Stevens and a few
schools within the Central Region. I was originally told a waiver must be filed on June 10th which gave
us very little time to get everything in place. The principals’ union is in the process of drafting a letter of
important questions that we need answers to before we can make a truly informed decision. Because of
that, union leadership is asking the district to delay ordering the Math in Focus materials until we get
the answers we need to ensure a smooth, successful transition to a new program. I will share more
information with the community as soon as I know more. Please do not hesitate to email me with your
thoughts and concerns as well.
Kelley Archer
Principal, Stevens Elementary


Anonymous said...

"loose women" is not PC. Normally "loose" is descriptive of a female who sleeps around with multiple people. Those guys are also having the same behavior. Are they "loose"? I am all for unloose behavior, but it is amazing how we have prejudices.

Anonymous said...

Anxiously waiting to learn where Rina G and Lincoln are going to come down on the waiver issue. From what I understand (we are starting at Lincoln next year in upper elementary), they've piloted several math programs in the last few years, and just recently started to follow a straight 2-yrs-ahead curriculum rather than a ramp-up (which will mean even more of a jump ahead if they switch to MiF). Since a big reason we are switching is for better math, I really hope there is serious thought going into what's best for Lincoln students rather than doing what is politically easy.

Anonymous said...

Especially since the school trialled several math curriculum last year (including Envision) and Envision was NOT chosen. (My Math was selected on the basis of this pilot study). I can't see any grounds to join the collective waiver for it now when it has been vetted by staff and rejected as the best math for the Lincoln population.

Anonymous said...

Yes, but MIF wasn't chosen either last year. I would like to know if the staff prefer enVision over MIF or MIF over enVision. I want the staff to be excited about the curriculum,

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if MIF was one of the ones trialled. Anyone else know?

37 Questions said...

Anon @ june 9, 2014 at 10:58 AM

I think men can be whores, too. I am specifically discussing the poem at hand. Bukowski has anumber of poems that romanticized women as well, plenty that call out the nature of some men.

As to pc, I am a liberal straight to the core. I believe tiptoeing around difficult issues that surround us is a failure as a society. The important conversations about these issues are often brushed over as worries about being pc come to the surface, in effect diluting the more difficult topics needing to be addressed.

I say this as a part native liberated woman in the lower middle class. It's time to cut the bs and focus on how to solve the societal issues that affect us all, IMO.

Jen C

Anonymous said...

Hi Jen,
I knew you were referring to the poem. I haven't read the poem. The word just triggered a memory many decades back to high school where a girl who I did not know got drunk at a party and was raped by a bunch of guys from the football team. The girl was considered loose. I know that is not your opinion, I just think guys also need to be responsible for their behavior too.
NEmom

37 Questions said...

I agree 100%. Men can't brush off their responsibility based on patriarchal history. I do see this as a big issue in society.

Andrea said...

As for the math adoption process at Lincoln…
Personally, I don't know enough about either MIF or enVision to determine whether I could support a waiver or not. Lincoln has 2 years left on a waiver for MyMath. What if we ask Rina/BLT to continue with MyMath for one more year?

Anonymous said...

Banda has sent letter to Principals quashing all this nonsense about mass- waivers and the like. In part -
"I must ask you to support the adopted Math in Focus program for the fall. We will provide the funding to fully implement the program and also ensure aligned professional development." The full letter at Save Seattle schools blog.

I'm still wondering what that means at Lincoln exactly - presumably we continue with My Math for the rest of the 3 year period and possibly revert to MIF once the 3yrs are up? Or switch MIF next year??

apparent said...


Just received a Seattle Schools robocall, and listened to the message from APP@Lincoln Principal Rina Geoghegan. If I remember it correctly, it went as follows -- Grades 1-3 will use Math in Focus next year; Grades 4-5 will continue with what she called Glencoe (i.e. MyMath?); also, the school contracts with Dan Finkel and Catherine Cook (sp?) will continue.

Maybe somebody else who also listened can confirm that I am relaying it accurately.

Andrea said...

That is correct. Lincoln will switch from MyMath to Math in Focus for grades 1-3 next year. No change for the 4th and 5th graders (since they're using a middle school math curriculum and this adoption was for k-5 only).

apparent said...


Thanks Andrea. What do the contracts with Finkel and Cook involve? Can anybody explain what is Rina referring to there?

Andrea said...

They are the folks behind Math for Love http://mathforlove.com

I know they teach our after-school math programs and they help with our math night. I do not know if they assist or advise the teachers in any other way.

Anonymous said...

They do professional development, as well (you can see it on the website- check out the blog and videos too). I believe the PTA pays for some, to help with math strategies for our population since the teachers otherwise get no PD. I would assume Rina just meant there will be work done to assure we can use the new curriculum properly for two years ahead, adjust if needed for the younger kids who will be using it, in case parents are nervous about the switch.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

How do those of you that are partial homeschooling (I know there are at least 100 at HIMS) handling the EOC exams? Do your students take them at school in the spring?

Thanks for any information.

-HIMS parent

Anonymous said...

HIMS parent,

I filled out the intent to homeschool form in the fall and told Ms Watters that I wanted my child to take the EOC. My child took the EOC with the other Alg kids in the classroom with them.

There was no issue, and it went smoothly.

Are there really 100 partial homeschooling families? Wow. That says a lot - it is not easy. Do you know, or have a guess, of what percentage of people are homeschooling which subject? I know people homeschooling both math and LA//SS, but I am curious how representative my small sample size is.

-pickle.

Anonymous said...

Are you sure that number isn't closer to 10 at HIMS? It's not easy or convenient, so the posted number would surprise me.

Link to Declaration of Intent to Provide Home Based Instruction Form. It gets submitted to the Cascade Parent Partnership office. Save a copy for your records in case the school requests it.

You also need to notify the registrar at your school so you can request a schedule with a late start or early release (not guaranteed), as your student can't be at school without a scheduled class. Some students choose to take an extra class and enroll full time, while still doing the extra class at home.

done it (math)

Anonymous said...

Are you sure that number isn't closer to 10 at HIMS? It's not easy or convenient, so the posted number would surprise me.

Link to Declaration of Intent to Provide Home Based Instruction Form. It gets submitted to the Cascade Parent Partnership office. Save a copy for your records in case the school requests it.

You also need to notify the registrar at your school so you can request a schedule with a late start or early release (not guaranteed), as your student can't be at school without a scheduled class. Some students choose to take an extra class and enroll full time, while still doing the extra class at home.

done it (math)

Anonymous said...

Thanks everyone for the info - it is very helpful.

Last year when I inquired into this at the SPS district office they said there were 60 kids at HIMS filing single subject intent forms. I don't know if this is accurate. Since the class size is so large this year I assumed there would be more. Furthermore, not everyone will have followed through. So you are right, mine is an upper estimate - but it is based on info from the district office.

You are right though - this will NOT be convenient. But I am thankful for the info from everyone!

-HIMS parent

Anonymous said...

I'm curious what people do for homeschooling LA/SS. Do you cobble together something on your own? Read the texts that students are supposed to have (but don't)? We part-time homeschooled for math, but it is relatively straightforward to find an online option or to select an appropriate text. In hindsight, homeschooling for LA or SS would have been academically superior, but too much time at home. LA/SS benefits from discussions with other students, etc. Has anyone paired up with another part-time homeschooling family?

And holy cow, 60 students just at HIMS for last year? I had no idea. Maybe there are opportunities for students to form part-time homeschooling groups.

On another note, I'm pretty sure those state test scores get attributed to the school, even though you are part-time homeschooling.

done it

Anonymous said...

Done it,

Score credit may vary by how you do the homeschooling. We did our homeschool math class (algebra 1) through another WA state school distict so that the class would officially be on our kid's school record. Our kid's school funding also went to this district for the one class.

If you do another form of homeschooling, HIMS may get the "credit" for the score.

-pickle

Anonymous said...

I thought SPS no longer allowed dual enrollment - has this changed, or did you homeschool some years ago? Or was I given misinformation by enrollment?

Anonymous said...

We are currently homeschooling LA this semester (7th grade @ HIMS). My kid had a split block so it was pretty easy to peel off that class and have him substitute another 'elective' instead.

By the time we are done he will have written 5 essays: 2 research papers, one literary analysis, one compare and contrast and finally a persuasive one. His writing skills have improved exponentially having direct instruction and detailed feedback--something that wasn't happening at school. He also has gotten way better at self-editing his work.

He also did grammar and diagramming sentences online, Quizlet for vocabulary and a little Brain Pop for reading comprehension. He's an avid reader so we tried to steer him to books on the topic of what was being covered in SS. The only thing he didn't get was poetry, but I know he'll get enough of that in high school.

It's been great and I wish we had done it earlier. It's even helped his writing and analysis skills in other classes.

-LH

Anonymous said...

Different topic, but related to the math adoption:

At one of the parent tours for new families, the Lincoln principal said teachers were considering creating packets for new students for the summer before entry to APP. Especially for math, the packets would cover concepts that a student entering APP at a given grade should be up to speed on. With the new math curriculum, and for younger students for whom a jump two years ahead might result in significant gaps, this seemed like a great idea. Anyone know if this plan still exists? I know it would be doubly hard to implement using Math in Focus since they don't even have the materials yet, but they could perhaps still use My Math materials. With all the new kids next year, particularly in second and third grade, it could ease the transition next year.

New family

Anonymous said...

They have not done it in the past few years for 1st graders anyway. Advice was for them to have fun over summer. Not sure if it's different for other grades though.

old-timer said...

The new math curriculum shouldn't impact the kids coming to Lincoln in any grade. It is the straight jump ahead of two years that should be concerning. My kid got the ramped-up version when he started in 1st, not the straight jump into 3rd grade math.

I heard a few complaints at the beginning of the year from 1st grade families, but the chatter died down. I don't know if they "fixed" it, or if it was just the transition to Lincoln. My son is going into 4th. 1st grade was by far the most challenging year we've had at Lincoln. I can't say it was due to math, but I don't know what it was. Is the program watered down now?

Anyway, no matter how smart a kid is, I find starting 1st graders (or any grade) with math 2 years ahead is insane. I'd inquire before I believed 1st and 2nd grade curriculum was outright SKIPPED.

Back to curriculum, my kid used Singapore in K at neighborhood school, everyday math in 1st at Lincoln, 4(?) piloted curriculums in 2nd grade and now mymath in 3rd. The point of that is people should find out really what happens as far as acceleration as I mention above and not worry about the curriculum. No matter what was chosen by the Board, virtually ALL k-5 kids will get a new curriculum next year.

Anonymous said...

Last Friday there was a Parent Coffee meeting to meet the new Principle at TM. She mentioned that the teachers and admin were to decide on Monday if TM would try to continue with Envision, does anyone know what the outcome of that decision was?

Lynn said...

I'm not crazy about those summer packets at Lincoln. You can't just assume that every child has a parent with the time, ability and desire to teach them new math over the summer. When you do that, the kids who don't have access to that help are left farther behind at the end of the summer.

It should be the responsibility of the current (non-APP) teacher and/or next year's APP teacher to help children make that transition.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, it sounds like it would be helpful for an incoming second grader to work though the second and third grade Singapore workbooks before arriving at Lincoln. Did anyone do this? How much time did you spend? Would you recommend it?

-new to Lincoln

Anonymous said...

I think it would be useful to practice multiplication & division up to 12. Maybe 5 min each day.

Parent of second grader

Anonymous said...

How about third grade?

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

My 1st grader at TM did skip right into 3rd grade math. The one week review of previous skills in the textbook stretched into 1 month and then the kids jumped right into multiplication and the division and then fractions. Yes, he did 3 years of math in 1 year and did not want to continue with APP for 2nd grade until I explained the the would not be skipping any more content but continuing on from where he left off.

We supplemented with Kumon to master memorization of basic facts this year but it was a really hard road for a 6 year old. It would not have been nearly so hard if he was allowed to do walk to math in Kindergarten, but our home school did not allow it although he tested out of K math at the initial teacher evaluation. I had taught him Singapore in preschool, but no one taught him in kindergarten, and the 1st 2nd and 3rd grade math curriculum was a huge ordeal in his first year of APP. 2 years in one sounds like a much more inclusive learning curve. That said, if he did 3 years of math at once, why couldn't he do 2 years next year? His APP school doesn't allow further skipping, but seems possible for many kids once they get up to speed initially. In fact there were one or two kids that had the third grade curriculum down on starting APP 1st grade, they probably would have been fine starting with 4th grade math.

Yes, drill and kill all basic arithmetic facts. With a high IQ, fast comprehension, they will be able to pick-up the conceptual stuff pretty quickly. Memorization on the other hand takes practice, practice, practice for all but the few with superior memory.

-Skipped 2

ben said...

You may find this chart helpful:

http://www.hmhco.com/~/media/sites/home/education/global/pdf/scope-and-sequence/mathematics/elementary/math-in-focus/MIF_GradeK-5_Scope_and_Sequence.pdf

This has a breakdown of the skills per grade level covered in Mathin Focus.

Ben

Anonymous said...

curious. anyone know what the staff changes will be at lincoln next year?