Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Start of school

Let's open a new thread for everyone to discuss issues around the start of school. Usually this is dominated by discussion of transportation and issues with the buses, but feel free to bring up that and anything else that other parents might want to discuss as we all ramp back up into the new school year.

38 comments :

Anonymous said...

Are folks still waiting to hear who their teachers are at Lincoln this year?

Anonymous said...

Never received an email from the teacher, but you can find out the assignment through the website:http://applincolnes.seattleschools.org/
Use your login for the "Source" and then click on "my family" in the upper left portion of the screen.

Anonymous said...

The teacher turnover at Lincoln has been significant (esp. Since even the last year at Lowell). I hardly recognize any of the teacher names. A lot of new teachers because of the growth in population, but so many teachers gone.

Anonymous said...

How are the before and after school programs at Lincoln, especially chess? Would love to hear your experiences.

apparent said...


Lincoln has excellent before and after school programs. Our kids have enjoyed several, offered by different providers, and there's a great variety depending on your family's individual interests.

Chess is especially strong at Lincoln, which has one of the best elementary teams in the state, and chock-full trophy display cases in the hallway. If your kid is a beginner or medium level, and assuming similar offerings to last year, they can sign up for either or both of the fun Monday or Thursday classes offered by Chess4Life instructors. Since last year, there is also a Friday girls only class also offered by Chess4Life, although girls also play in the Monday and Thursday classes and include some of the very best players in the school.

If your kid is an advanced player, they can sign up for the smaller Thursday Chess4Life advanced class. And for the strongest players with the highest ratings there is also a tremendous separate Monday advanced class taught by International Master Georgi Orlov of the Orlov Chess Academy in GreenLake. Your kid can build up their rating by joining the Lincoln Chess Dragons team and entering the many fun day-long Saturday school tournaments that begin in October or November and allow them to qualify for the Washington State Chess Tournament which will take place in April (every player is also already eligible to compete in the U.S. Chess Nationals in May). As you can see, there is something for every kid who loves to play chess, so we hope to see yours in one or more of these classes and hopefully also at those almost weekly tournaments in local schools.

For younger students, you might also check out the Math for Love class taught by Dr. Dan Finkel. From 4th grade and above, math lovers can join Math Club (last year on Tuesdays) where the Lincoln team competes in exciting Math Olympiads and also the state math championship with a strong emphasis on team collaboration and participation. Because this is a parent-run club whose leader is moving on this year due to growing children, Math Club now needs one or more parent volunteers this year who will help this great opportunity continue. So please do pass this message on now to any math-minded parent who might be interested and ask them to contact the after school coordinator through the Lincoln office.

Welcome to the vibrant Lincoln school community!

Anonymous said...

There hasn't been high teacher turnover since APP students were unceremoniously kicked out of Lowell by the district and placed at Lincoln. Lincoln has grown by about 200 students in the last 3 years and there will be close to 700 students there this year. APP is now beginning its 4th year at Lincoln, and things seem pretty calm and stable to most folks I know. Because the school has experienced such a high increase in enrollment, there have been around 3 new classes added each year with requires new teachers to be hired. That's a lot of new faces to fill those new classrooms. We've had stable administration, office staff, nurse, counselor, PE teacher, music teacher, Spec. Ed teacher, lunch lady, math specialist, etc. With any large school, of course some teachers move on to other endeavors and sometimes a few retire. Would I say Lincoln has had high turnover lately? Nothing near what some other schools have/are experiencing (Salmon Bay for one). In a school of 700 students, you're not going to know all of the teachers really well unless you're pretty darn involved. It's a big place with tons of staff. Do I miss some of the more experienced teachers that retired when we left Lowell? Absolutely! But I see very hard working, dedicated teachers there and my child thinks Lincoln is a pretty great place to be.

I guess if you want to dwell on teachers who are no longer there, feel free to do so.

Northender.

Anonymous said...

I only recognized 3 or 4 names that have been there since we were at Lowell (in 2011). It's crazy. This will likely be our last year there.

-Mommyhood

Anonymous said...

Amen Northender! I haven't been an APP since the Lowell days but as we're going into our 4th year at Lincoln, I know a lot of the names and agree with Northender. A few new names every year but the school is huge!!! And, frankly, most, if not all of the new hires, have had high praise. And, who doesn't have turnover. One of the Lincoln teachers actually disagreed with the notion of high turnover as well. Sometimes, I think a teacher is new and my kids will tell me otherwise. Clearly, it's hard for us parents to know all the teachers.

MC

Lynn said...

The Advanced Learning webpage was updated today.

Anonymous said...

Lynn - Thanks for highlighting the change.

Very interesting. Garfield is no longer listed as a school on the APP continuum. Hmmm. All high schools are currently not the same when it comes to AP offerings.

HCC (formerly APP) Schools (2014-15)

Grades 1-5: APP@Lincoln, Fairmount Park or Thurgood Marshall elementary schools
Grades 6-8: Jane Addams, Hamilton or Washington middle schools
Grades 9-12: Ingraham High School (Honors/Accelerated IB pathway), with Highly Capable Services offered at high schools Districtwide.

-pickle

Lynn said...

What's really awesome is that the only APP high school is 18 miles from the opposite end of the district. How long do you suppose that takes by Metro? Once again, we see that equitable access to services is not a priority for staff.

Anonymous said...

The district also did not prioritize telling parents about a major change to a long standing program. It's much better to allow the parents to have the element of surprise so they can really enjoy the last minute, unannounced change.

Yes, Ingraham is a haul for large parts of the city, and IBX is not for every kid.

How equal really are the high schools when it comes to AP offerings? From my understanding (I don't have a kid in HS quite yet), Roosevelt is the only school that is similar to Garfield. Many APP kids (mine included) have no access to either school based on address.

-pickle

Anonymous said...

The omission of Garfield is not a change in sites or in policy but simply an omission. Look for an update soon.

Jeanne Thompson


Anonymous said...

Re: Garfield omission from program sites.

If you click through the information on the site, it states that students are automatically assigned to GHS from the three middle schools. Has anyone contacted the office to ask that it be corrected to include GHS on the first page of the AL web page?

irked

Anonymous said...

from the FAQ page:
Testing Older Students


Is eligibility testing available for eighth-graders? Yes. The Accelerated International
Baccalaureate program (IBX) at Ingraham High School requires students to qualify for Highly Capable Services in order to enroll. Eighth-graders who do not wish to enter IBX may still be tested for Highly Capable eligibility at their neighborhood high school. Eligibility testing is not required for entry into the standard International Baccalaureate program (offered at Sealth, Ingraham and Rainier Beach) or to access Advanced Placement courses (offered at nine high schools in the district), but counseling and other supports are available Districtwide for Highly Capable high school students.

Is it possible to test and become eligible for the Highly Capable designation after eighth grade? Yes. A testing opportunity will be offered during the second semester for students in Grades 9-12. Highly Capable eligibility flags a student for attention by the school counselor and notifies teachers of potential special needs. It does not provide access to a different high school, unless the Multidisciplinary Selection Committee determines that the student's needs cannot be met at the assigned high school.

Anonymous said...

The HC designation sounds pretty meaningless in terms of services for newly identified high school students. Notification to counselors and teachers? That's it? You don't need HC designation to access AP classes, so really, what services are being provided?

Lynn said...

I think the assignment to Garfield will continue to apply - they're just admitting there's no specific HC program there. This makes it much easier to drop the Garfield assignment if that is necessary for capacity management at some point.

Students identified in high school won't get any services. Extra attention from a counselor who has 400 students in their caseload? Worthless. There's no chance the Selection Committee will admit a student's needs can't be met at their neighborhood school. Where - by the way - there won't be an HC peer group as they will all have been stripped off prior to the 8h grade and funelled into Garfield and Ingraham.

Anonymous said...

Wading through all of the comments about Lincoln, Middle School and High School. I have a question for experienced parents. Would you move your child from a school with Spectrum Math in 4th Grade to Lincoln if they were qualified for APP and the child did not want to move away from friends? Or would you wait until 6th grade entering Middle School in the neighborhood?

Anonymous said...

Other than his friends, what are the reasons to move him or not move him? Is he being challenged enough in Spectrum math and other subjects? Did you get a good teacher this year at your neighborhood school? There are many factors to consider.

Honestly, if you're second guessing yourself for this year, then you may really be wanting to move him to Lincoln.

-midnight

Anonymous said...

I'd wait. If your child is socially happy and his/her needs are being met in the neighborhood school (with possible supplementation at home, if there's an academic desire to move faster) there's no reason to switch. At middle school, about half the incoming HCC/APP 6th graders will be new to the program, so it's easy to jump in then. And since middle school math levels vary by ability, it's not a problem if some of those coming from Lincoln are a bit ahead in that one subject.

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

I'd wait.

Lincoln/APP 'ain't all that'. Honestly.

Let him have one more happy, final year at his school/home away from home with all his chums (and possibly his short commute), and jump in middle school.


Seriously, you want to push him into a school of 850 that will be severely impacted with overcrowding, no playground, and construction? If you are not sure, I urge you to come on the first day tomorrow at drop off and pick up, and try and watch lunch, then decide if you want your kid in that. No body would knowingly endure that at all unless you truly have no choice. There will be loads of APP parents who will rush in to put lipstick on this pig, but really, just look at teacher turnover and maybe you'll understand all is not so rosy.

-good luck

Anonymous said...

Hi trolls!

Anonymous said...

Trolls?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your feedback. I really appreciate it. My gut instinct is to wait but I waffle constantly. I know my kid is not easy to deal with no matter where they are! I know nothing of trolls.

Anonymous said...

Also, consider that math placement is not always based on ability - it is often dictated by capacity. In other words, you might likely be more poorly served by APP in both middle school and at Lincoln. We certainly have been poorly served by APP at HIMS. I think both Jane Addams (untried but with better policies) or WMS would be better choices than NIMS. Very little challenge there. We've had to supplement and homeschool quite extensively.

-HIMSparent

New APP Parent said...

I stopped by our daughter’s second grade classroom today at Lincoln, and from initial appearances, it seemed encouraging: 23 students; a friendly teacher that’s been there four years; a nice looking spacious classroom with tons of windows and natural light; new 4th grade Math-N-Focus books, etc.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if LA/SS at Hamilton is still in blocks? I can't tell if my 7th grader has a split block (he has a class in between, so I suspect not), or if they're not blocking those classes anymore.
Thanks, HIMS mom

Anonymous said...

At JAMS, they are supposedly integrating (blocking) LA/SS, according to curriculum developed by the unnamed unofficial working group. Will HIMS and WMS be following the same curriculum? Will there be a formal curriculum adoption for next year? I think this is one of the books being used at JAMS:

History Alive Medieval World and Beyond

Sometimes blocks were split at HIMS for scheduling purposes, but content wise they were supposed to be blocked.

Anonymous said...

A 2009 Amazon review:

7 chapters on Islam, compared with half a paragraph on Christianity in the 6th grade book. Less than a page on any of the other religions. even if you ignore the biased, positive only description of islam and even jihad, the historical descriptions throughout the series are factually wrong in at least 12 areas within the 6th grade and 7th grade books alone. One of the principal contributors is a professor from Cal State known as an apologist for Islamic radicalism. the curriculum was pulled from Arizona after parent complaints and is currently being pulled in Texas.

Okay...so has the text been updated since then?

A 2013 Amazon review:

Less than halfway through this "textbook" I fell back in my chair with my mouth hanging open. My list of thoughts and notes from reading had grown to five pages of errors I had spotted just on a first reading. I kept thinking that at some point in the next chapter, the author would have a sentence in bold type that shouted, "HA! Gotchya! Just kidding! Send in this coupon for a full refund of this silly satire of history." But, it never appeared. (I scanned through the rest of the book just to be sure.)

This book is a total waste of time. Don't bother. And don't confuse your kids.


And another:

History Alive is incredibly biased. The book begins with a chapter on the contributions of Roman civilization, which credit Rome for all kinds of things. That is followed by five chapters on Medieval Europe, which credit Christianity for practically nothing. (Jesus gets less than a single ambiguous paragraph.) Everything good in Europe, came from Greece and Rome. Much of the evil, is unambiguously ascribed to "the Church." (Never mind the many in-depth treatments of how Christian thought influenced the rise of science, the spread of education, the withering of slavery, lent Europe coherence, and of course lent the continent so much great visual art, literature, and architecture.)

Islam gets an entirely different sort of treatment. Mohammed is treated to an entire hagiographic chapter. Islamic doctrines are repeated gushily, without a hint of critical thought. All of Mohammed's crimes are whitewashed or (far more often) just ignored.


If this is the text selected, I'm not sure what to think...I'm now interested in seeing the chosen texts firsthand.

Anonymous said...

My understanding from an announcement by the principal last Spring was that HIMS would no longer be blocking LA/SS. Has that been changed. I don't even see a teacher listed on my kid's schedule for LA.

Anonymous said...

Yes, LA /SS is unblocked at HIMS starting this year.

HIMSmom

Lynn said...

We had a great first day at Fairmount Park. Julie reported that last year there were over 60 West Seattle students at Thurgood Marshall and this year there are 11 or 12.

Anonymous said...

I would take Amazon book reviews with a grain of salt, especially with what was selected to post here. Christianity still predominates in the US. Given the occasional Jesus loves you message scrawled on my kids' old ES bathrooms, it thrives underground too. I really don't think you have much to fear.

Anonymous said...

For those planning ahead, AP history exam changes. SLATE has this:

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2014/09/ap_u_s_history_exam_revisions_have_conservatives_furious_the_changes_are.2.html

Will probably makes some parents want to homeschool history and ban Jon Greenberg. It's not the stuff I studied 40 years ago and that's a good thing. It's not a static world we live in.

Anonymous said...

Before calling a person a troll, I recommend looking at data, like the annual climate survey. Usually it's pretty telling about the school environment for students, parents and staff, respectively. It's readily available on the SPS website (though it seems to be jumbled on their site, so a web search might prove more helpful.) It's a significant part of how we made the decision about where to send our kids to school this year. (I say this as a teacher myself.) All of the sites that offer APP are listed.

-Just the Facts, Ma'am

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear that Fairmount Park is off to a great start, I am sure that it will flourish under Julie's leadership. We stayed at TM, WS families that also stayed have kids in older grades or siblings...upside of so few WS kids is a short bus ride. And, so far so good at TM this year.

Anonymous said...

My son can go to Lincoln next year, but is really into sports needs his outdoor running/climbing time. How is Lincoln in these areas??

Anonymous said...

My son can go to Lincoln next year, but is really into sports needs his outdoor running/climbing time. How is Lincoln in these areas??