Friday, November 28, 2014

More splits coming?

In an open thread, parents highlighted a section of an update to the District's Growth Boundaries Plan:
"Highly Capable Services students within the Washington pathway continue to grow, limiting the space at Washington Middle School for non-Highly Capable Services students coming from feeder schools. Again, staff are reviewing Highly Capable Services student enrollment data, as the location for Highly Capable Services could potentially be moved from being housed solely at Washington to a combination of Washington/Meany/Madison or otherwise."
And others said:
Washington is doing a fine job educating APP kids... better break it up.
Any bets on how many weeks it'll be before we see that same sentence repeated, but with Garfield and other high schools instead?
The writing is on the wall for high school. The new AL policy says that all high schools will be equipped to handle HC kids. It's just a matter of time before the automatic assignment to Garfield ends and the options will be neighborhood school or opt in to IBX at Ingraham, Rainier Beach, and possibly Sealth, depending on address ... I don't see any other way to solve the capacity problems that are coming.
Doesn't sound good. Please discuss further here.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Open thread

What's on your mind?

The miserable state of facilities

By request, a new thread to talk about facilities. The request was to talk about facility issues at Lincoln, but let's broaden this to talk about facility issues at all HCC (APP) locations.

For reference, the "2014 Facilities Condition & Educational Adequacy Assessment" might be helpful. In it, I noticed that Lincoln and Washington Middle School have quite a lot of issues, though some of the other locations are in fairly good condition. While this thread is specifically to discuss HCC location building issues, the miserable state of facilities is a broad problem at many locations throughout the district, in part aggravated by years of delayed maintenance and poor capacity planning, so a broader solution like a bond measure and then investment in ongoing maintenance may be necessary to get beyond twiddles.

Purpose of HCC (APP)

There's a discussion in some of the recent threads about what the purpose of HCC (APP) is. Who is it for? What services should be offered? How big should the program be? Who is not being served that should? Are their children in the program now that might be better served by something else?

To start off the discussion, it might be useful to quote WAC 392-170-035
Highly capable students are students who perform or show potential for performing at significantly advanced academic levels when compared with others of their age, experiences, or environments. Outstanding abilities are seen within students' general intellectual aptitudes, specific academic abilities, and/or creative productivities within a specific domain. These students are present not only in the general populace, but are present within all protected classes
and WAC 392-170-036
Students who are highly capable may possess, but are not limited to, these learning characteristics: (1) Capacity to learn with unusual depth of understanding, to retain what has been learned, and to transfer learning to new situations; (2) Capacity and willingness to deal with increasing levels of abstraction and complexity earlier than their chronological peers; (3) Creative ability to make unusual connections among ideas and concepts; (4) Ability to learn quickly in their area(s) of intellectual strength; and (5) Capacity for intense concentration and/or focus.
This topic seems to come up a fair amount and doesn't seem to get a lot of traction each time, but let's open a new thread on it anyway since there seems to be a lot of interest. Please be aware that, every time we try to talk about this, trolls inevitably say that we should destroy HCC entirely and toss out personal attacks at all the parents and children in HCC, so brace yourself, be polite anyway, and try to have a thick skin.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

HCS-AC on challenges to HCC

The Highly Capable Service Advisory Committee (HCS-AC, formerly APP AC) sent out an e-mail with links to its report to the superintendent and suggestions on improving HCC (APP). I thought I'd highlight a piece of them in this post so we all can discuss them here:
The two biggest challenges that face the Accelerated Progress Program today are: 1) the explosive growth in the number of students at SPS and 2) the lack of diversity in the program, which we believe is rooted in pervasive socio-economic inequity rather than explicit racial bias. As APP has expanded to new sites, we support efforts to standardize scope, sequence, curriculum, and teaching materials across sites, and caution against losing the rich, individualized pedagogy that has made APP so effective. We also believe that rigor should be available for all students in all schools so that APP is seen as an intervention rather than the hoarding of a scarce resource.
Your thoughts?