Wednesday, August 13, 2014

ALTF recommendations

Melissa Westbrook over at the Seattle Schools Community Forum has a post, "Advanced Learning Task Forces' Recommendations", that lists all the recommendations to come out of that task force.

To avoid duplicating discussion, please comment on the recommendations over there. But let's open a thread here to do something different. Let's say you could recommend just one change to advanced learning in Seattle Public Schools. Something in the recommendations or something you think is missing, either is fine. What would that one change be?

10 comments :

Anonymous said...

Have a small self-contained program for the extreme outliers, say 200 kids for K-8. The kids who are 145 and up in IQ. Provide service for all other students at local schools. This would be a boon to all the bright kids who for whatever reason don't do APP.
emily

Anonymous said...

"145 and above" what is that in standard deviations as that is what all of my kids hit and I would think that there would be a ton more than 200 kids in APP that would qualify.

that said go a std dev further perhaps but they have that at cascade current iteration of IPP.

Anonymous said...

"...they have that at cascade"???

Are you referring to the Cascade Parent Partnership? While they may serve a few families whose kids are outliers and need a more individualized approach, I haven't seen anything about a formal program for exceptionally or profoundly gifted kids, and I would imagine such kids would not find a large peer group there to support their social needs. The class offerings don't seem to support a highly gifted population, either (e.g., the highest level math class in their catalog is Pre-Algebra, listed for 8th graders; other middle schools make Algebra I available at 6th grade). I'm curious to know more about why you think Cascade is a possible solution.

And I wholeheartedly agree with Emily that we need a program for those outliers. APP does not work for them at all.

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

Well then 145 is not the cut off. And yeah that is what I have been told is that Cascade is for the outliers with parents who can attend their classes. As for the lack of advanced math offering those kids move on to an another place, perhaps the UW, once they cap out or they home school that portion.

Anonymous said...

When they suggest providing "differentiation without a ceiling" in Recommendation #2, I think they may be trying to address the need to allow a pathway for outliers within APP.

ben said...

To me, it seems backward to decide on an arbitrary school size or to even try to pick cutoffs to achieve it rather than deciding under what criteria the teaching and curriculum need to be different and then evaluating how many kids need such a program.

@HIMSmom - the way you've described your child in the past it doesn't really sound like he had many academic peers within APP. What would have worked better for you? I'm wondering if the ideal would have been closer to independent study.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if my child is an outlier among other APP students - how would you really know - but I have been underwhelmed with the level of challenge within APP. The thing is I don't know if it is just HIMS, or lousy SPS texts, or the lack of texts, or some poorly placed teachers, or a combination? I have to believe many students are capable of much higher level work than has been expected of them in several APP classes.

One option I'd like to see in terms of removing the ceiling: allowing students to do independent study on school campus.

another HIMS parent

ben said...

I'll add - APP as currently structured is a program where large number of students successfully join even in the later grades and where the pacing basically is the same as gen-ed just a few years accelerated. I find both those conditions bizarre. There are many reasonable explanations for part of why these occur (more depth, extra tutoring on entry etc.) but they basically imply academically there is not a lot of value-add especially in the younger grades and that its expected students generally learn at a uniform pace after a sudden burst at the beginning.

Anonymous said...

@Another HIMS….
I completely agree with everything you said. Furthermore, the independent study on school grounds idea is a very cost-effective and workable alternative.

-YetAnotherHIMS

Anonymous said...

@ben, I think independent study addresses the academic portion of the "lack of academic peers" problem, but not the peers/social component. A thoughtful, ON-CAMPUS independent study component might really help with that, but to date SPS has required that independent study be done off site (so they don't have to provide supervision). If kids who were committed to independent learning, however, we're able to take a period or several as independent study while at school, they could be with other similarly driven and passionate students, forming a nice learning community. They might be able to form small discussion groups, say if several are working on similar subjects. They could also be held accountable to each other in some unique ways, say by giving occasional presentations to their independent study peers to teach them about what they are working on (which helps cement their own learning, too), and would expose them to the cool ideas and new topics their academic peers are studying. It could be rich, inspiring learning community. It would probably be a pretty easily supervised group of kids, but would be great to have a teacher good with providing guidance as needed--almost more of a facilitator than teacher. I think something along these lines would give kids like this a chance to pursue learning at their own quick pace, without feeling so alone and atypical. They might all bring different skills and interests to the group, but they've have some common ground as well.

HIMSmom