Monday, February 9, 2015

Choosing APP/HCC

Some new parents seem to be wondering whether to choose APP/HCC right now, including what other good alternatives are available. Let's open a new thread to talk about that.

New parents, please ask questions. Current APP parents and other new parents grappling with the same questions, please chime in if you can help.


Anonymous said...

I haven't heard a lot about the Fairmount Park APP program, and was wondering how it is going so far. Also, any rumors about Spectrum dissolving at Lafayette? We are trying to decide whether to send our child to Fairmount Park for APP or Lafayette for Spectrum next year. Lafayette is walking distance for us, which would be great, but we're concerned that Spectrum is disappearing everywhere.

Anonymous said...

Fairmount Park has scheduled APP-specific tours on the 19th and the 25th. Come and take a look. I have a Spectrum-qualified child in the blended program here and we are very happy. We haven't heard any complaints - and we have several friends who moved their kids here from Lafayette.

Anonymous said...

can someone speak to the value of HCC in HS, given that a student attending a regular HS can take advanced classes if she so desires.


HS curious

Anonymous said...

Students can only take advanced classes if they're offered. Not every high school offers separate honors English and history classes in 9th and 10th grade. Some schools have blended AP courses. Some schools require freshman to take biology - even if they had it (and passed the EOC) in middle school.

A child who was happy in middle school without the APP cohort likely won't need that in high school. Some kids do - and some neighborhood high schools don't have many advanced students.

Anonymous said...

Anyone have experience with the Spectrum program at Broadview Thomson, especially middle school?

Anonymous said...

HS Curious, I am wading through this information myself, and am also curious (and, in my case confused). But, I'll write what I understand, and hope others chime in.

First, we can't rely only on what is written on a website (for example, the idea that "anyone can take advanced classes") because there are a number of caveats to that generalization. As mentioned by anon@2:41PM, the classes have to be available. Looking at Roosevelt HS's latest curriculum guide it looks like they're offering "honors contracts" (not honors classes) in Language Arts, at least.

Second, people go looking for a cohort of kids with similar educational needs and investments (say, in that LA class, where extra work can be done to obtain honors, how will discussions go? if honors is a HW project).

Roosevelt might have the cohort (even if not necessarily identified), but some schools may not even have the cohort, and thus the availability of higher level classes.

Anonymous said...

BTW, HCC in HS means the IBx program at Ingraham (accelerated IBx), if not identified until entering 9th grade. Garfield is available as an option school only to those already enrolled in the MS HCC schools (Hamilton or Washington or Jane Addams).

At Garfield, I have never been able to confirm whether there are classes that are only available to you if you were at HMS or WMS and which those classes are. My gut tells me there are classes that are not available to other kids at Garfield, for practical if not official reasons, but I can never get clear answers on the question from official sources and have found the official info misleading compared to what I hear from the parent grapevine).

Anonymous said...

Our student is still in 7th grade so if there were a compelling reason to go to Garfield, we would mover her to HIMS this year.

Our tour at Ballard indicated that there are AP options for Calculus A/B and B/C; chemistry; Biology; US, European and World History; Literature and Comp; Language and Comp, Foreign Languages, Photography and Studio Art. They don't have AP Physics but they do have a College in the High School year long Astronomy class that looks pretty awesome, that gives you credit at the UW at least for Astronomy 101.

Our neighbor's kid went there and felt the AP humanities courses were very rigorous, and she got into a good college, felt she was super well prepared for college, and is graduating this spring and already has a good job lined up in finance, so there's that.

I'm thinking that with 1700 students there should be a cohort for just about everyone there.

Going to Ingraham IBX presentation this week.


HS Curious

Anonymous said...

One thought is a larger cohort permits more scheduling flexibility. There may be more sections of Calculus at some High Schools than others for instance.

Anonymous said...

HS Curious, your impression of Ballard seems to have been great. We are applying similar reasoning with Roosevelt -- but have not been so positively disposed. The lack of honors classes (in replacement for honors contracts) in language arts classes, as an example of an issue for me, because i think discussion is an important part of language arts classes. It's possible that it works out -- because most or many of the kids are doing "honors" work, but without talking to students having the experience, I am concerned.

Have you talked to families currently at the school about access to those courses?

I'm inclined to think that 1700+ students means a cohort, too, even for a very bright student, but I fear that some of the policies actually drive the students away, and so, the cohort you'd have is diminished.

(Say, for National Merit Semifinalists, in 2014, Ballard, 3, Roosevelt, 6, Ingraham, 10, Garfield, 11. I don't think NMS is everything, but it does describe a certain kind of cohort).


Anonymous said...

@ anon@3:53 re: I don't think NMS is everything, but it does describe a certain kind of cohort

You do know that SAT scores are most closely correlated with family income, right? Is that the cohort you're talking about? Because that's the statistical tie.

The numbers of NMSFs that you cite are neither impressive or unimpressive. They are fine. Fine is fine. That is why it's fine. Are you looking for something more special than fine? You won't find it in these NMSF statistics and the statistics certainly are not an indicator of individual student talent nor class depth of study at any SPS school.

Enough with The Cohort! The Cohort! Find a school whose environment fits your kid's personality. Get your student into classes that work for him/her. Get him/her exposed to life outside the classroom which includes work, community service and gasp activities that don't tie directly into a GPA. You and your kid will be happier.

Older. Wiser. Not sold on HCC in SPS Whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

The environment that fits my kids personality is the one where lots of kids know obscure SAT words, and giggle over them, and try to write stories that use 20 of them, just for fun. So, although I don't actually think that SAT scores are all that, kids who do well on them do indeed reflect a part of what my kids enjoy in school.

Why does someone who is not sold on HCC at all spend time here? If you do it to persuade people that strong academic environments are offered in HS, please do - I'm eager to hear how the schools are working for people.


Anonymous said...

The vocabulary portion of the SAT is being dropped. The test company decided it was not culturally sensitive and did not work as an indicator of college readiness as much as other items. Kids can still giggle about obscure words, but they will do it for the fun of it, not for the SAT challenge of it, which is great.

I do believe in gifted education. I also overstated my opinion. I do believe in HCC in SPS at the elementary level. But being in both the middle and on the other side of middle-high, the value of HCC starting at middle school is minimal at best. Kids find their tribes - and if it's academic geek, cool - without HCC. Kids find the opportunity to do challenging work without HCC. Kids find motivation without HCC. Kids get into competitive colleges without HCC.

Kids distinguish themselves by taking tough high school courses, but that isn't enough to get them into the most selective schools. They need a well-rounded personality, demonstrated ability to get along with people who are not just like them, and some special outside of school interests. Neither SPS HCC nor an AP Portfolio delivers that.

So in summary HCC is not a value add starting at grade 6 and SPS school placement is a canard. That's my opinion. It doesn't have to be yours. But I am

Older. Wiser. Not sold on HCC in SPS Middle-High Whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

Although I have lots of opinions on sats and testing and the role of kcc-like programs, the question posed and that I'm more interested in on this thread is how a HCC eligible child would fare in finding academically interesting courses in HS compared to what they would find at Ingraham iBX or Garfield with a detour to HCC MS.

HCC Curious found Ballard promising -- I found Roosevelt unwelcoming -- as though they would prefer I find another option, rather than coming and trying to find classes for my child.

So I'm looking for practical examples of what schedules would look like, given that there is a HCC program that draws a significant number of children who share a certain set of traits away from the general Ed program.

Anonymous said...

From what I understand, kids coming from middle school HCC and going into Garfield do not have access to any special classes that others can't access. So kids at GHS generally face similar course options to those at other high schools that offer a wide variety of AP classes. If you're comparing it to a school with traditionally few AP classes and smaller #s of HC kids, however, it's probably a different story.

At Garfield, APP kids used to be able to skip Honors World History and move straight into AP World History, but that's no longer the case--they now need to take the same prerequisite as everyone else.

Similarly they can take an honors language arts class, but I'm not sure how "honors" it is in practice. Something like 70 or 80% of students take the honors version, so in some ways it sounds more like a gen ed class. Opinions I've seen are mixed--some report their HC student finds it challenging enough, others don't. In any case, it's not designed specifically for HC students.

Science seems to the only area where HCC students can take a slightly different path at Garfield. Because they have already completed Biology (and passed EOC), they can move on to other science options sooner. They don't take any special HCC-only science classes. In contrast, if you go to a school other than Garfield, kids might have to repeat some science. At Roosevelt, for example, all 9th graders have to take Physical Science, and then you'd take Bio in 10th. Roosevelt does offer AP Physics C: Mechanics, though, just like Garfield. (Do any other SPS high schools offer AP Physics?) It's just that at Garfield you'd be able to do AP Physics as well as probably another AP science, while at Roosevelt you'd be limited only one.

Disclaimer: I could be wrong on any of the above, but this is what I've been able to figure out thus far. :)


Anonymous said...

Broadview Thomson Spectrum-

I don't have personal experience, but I spoke to a parent of a spectrum student there. I think the student is in 2nd or 3rd grade (it is the older sibling of a classmate of my child's, at a different school).

The parent I spoke to said that there is not a spectrum cohort. Spectrum kids are pulled out for enrichment activities, and I think they may have separate math & reading/writing for spectrum.

Unfortunately when I heard the parent describe the program I thought it wouldn't make sense to send my child there, so I didn't probe too deeply and I don't remember all the details the parent told me. I do specifically remember that there is not a separate spectrum class.

BTMom said...

Thanks for your info on Broadview Thomson Spectrum. That's about all I know too. The principal is considering having a parent meeting/ coffee chat about it. I'll attend or meet with him directly. It's just always nice to hear parent views too. My kids are actually enrolled in the Gen Ed program there now so I guess I should know more, but no one there seems to openly talk about Spectrum. We're new to Seattle and SPS this year, guessing that our kids tested into Spectrum/maybe HCC and considering options. My kids have actually been really happy at Broadview-positive social environment, great PTA leaders, cool field trips, caring teachers. The pushy mom in me just wants a little more academic rigor :)

Anonymous said...

Anon at 9:01pm:

If you are looking for a HCC-tailored experience, the only true option is Ingraham IBx. While students are in three cohort courses in 9th grade, the rest of their courses are blended with older peers. In a sense, while only mathematics and Science acceleration are possible at Garfield, all core subjects and foreign language can be taken earlier at Ingraham.

Since we started our child four years ago in the first cohort, the program and school have dynamically changed. There is now a full-blown music program with Jazz band, Vocal Jazz, two band ensembles, two orchestra ensembles, and a growing drama program. As more and more APP families choose Ingraham, this effect will grow.

Sure, there has been some bumps along the way but Ingraham allows each kid to pick their own path and doesn't force them to all follow the same path as they might at another school. This applies no matter if the student is in IBx or not.

I would recommend attending the school tour (tomorrow morning!!!) and the upcoming Thursday evening APP information night to learn more.

Ingraham IBx family

Anonymous said...

BTMom- I should add that the parent I spoke to seemed happy with the program. She said that it served her child's needs well. I think he would have attended B-T whether he was in Spectrum or not so it made sense to do the program there. She is not sure if she would move her other child if he tests into Spectrum. The school he currently attends does not have Spectrum or ALOs, as far as we can tell...

These decisions are so hard to make, especially when we don't even have test results yet!!

Anonymous said...

For those of you who had a child who placed into APP in 1st grade, what was their reading level in K? What sort of math were they doing (addition, subtraction, multiplication, etc?) I'm trying to gauge where my kid might end up in achievement testing as I really have no idea.

Anonymous said...

You will get many answers as to the level of reading and math in K. Our child tested before the days of MAP, and AL testing was done in a small group as a pull-out during the school day. Anecdotally, our child was not reading at the beginning of K when the initial tests were given (tests were administered verbally), but was independently reading simple chapter books by the end of the school year.

Anonymous said...

I feel for kindergarten parents who are trying to make these decisions without testing results, probably totally unfamiliar with APP and having had barely any time in their regular/neighborhood school.

Your child's MAP scores could give you an idea of how they will fare on achievement tests, although K/1 MAP scores are usually inflated IMO.

I think people should also email AL and ask them when they are planning to begin achievement testing.

Anonymous said...

9:27 AM poster here, our child is in private K so we don't have MAP scores. now we have to decide whether to re-enroll at private school, or hope for APP or option school. hard to make these decisions with fairly little data as we don't know how easy option school placement is in 1st grade nor do we know about APP qualification.

Anonymous said...

My kids who tested into APP were only doing the K math that they were 'taught' in their SPS elementary school - i.e, learning the colors, shapes, very basic addition/counting. They did not do any additional math outside of school other than around dinner table 'mathy' conversations (i.e. no tutoring/kumon or anything) but clearly they were doing stuff in K that they had grasped years ago. As far as reading, neither stood out as being a precocious reader - probably above average for K but they weren't reading chapter books or anything like that. Early reading ability does not necessarily correlate with high IQ anyway.
Both did well enough on the achievement tests and IQ and are doing fine in APP. Not sure if that helps answer you question - but perhaps it will reassure you that at least in our case, the kids were not exposed to anything different (math and reading-wise) in K than their peers at school. And at home - no formal teaching but I suppose they have been read to/exposed to large vocabulary etc right from the start.

Anonymous said...

That is hard, 9:27. We have had two children qualify, sent the first in first but not the other, because we felt the second would not have a good experience because of a relatively low achievement level. I volunteered a lot in the one we did send's first grade class, and though it may have been the right decision for the families who sent their kids who weren't achieving as highly, it wouldn't have been good for mine. The one we sent was reading at an X in K and doing all operations, but was in math pull outs/top reading group. I don't think that level is necessary. The one we did not send was reading maybe a J by the end of Kindergarten(and this was a leap from mid year when we had to decide, was still reading pretty easy picture books), could add to twenty but not subtract well, only with fingers and lots of errors. Could tell time but not multiply or divide. Barely qualified on the achievement test(mid 90's, neither was a 99), which given the kid's home environment(lots of books, math talk with nerdy older sibling, etc), I felt like meant for whatever reason they weren't taking it in at a fast enough rate to have a good experience at APP so young. We are glad we left the child where they were for a while, and eventually they did zoom up with the achievement. I agree that early reading is not a perfect or even great corollary to IQ, but I also think not reading well would be a hindrance in an APP first grade class. I wouldn't put a kid through that.

Anonymous said...

I'd take that post by anon @ 12:03 to heart. My advice would be the same.

2x APP

Anonymous said...

Ballard is looking pretty good. Both at the open house and the morning tour have stressed Ballard's ability to provide as much as Garfield or Roosevelt. It has a program called UW at Ballard where professors come to the school to teach college level courses. It also has a UW prof teaching Astronomy, I think.
One more tour next week if you want to find out more. Open-ended Q&A at the end with principal Wyncoop. He said his own kid's in HC so I think he gets it. They handed out a list of universities students have attended or will be and it's impressive.

Anonymous said...

According to the course catalog posted on Ballard's website, they don't offer many of the AP courses Garfield does. For example, no AP Statistics, AP Physics, AP Enviro Sci, or AP Computer Sci. My kids was really looking forward to several of these, so we quickly ruled Ballard out. Ballard provides some great opportunities, yes, but 'd suggest a thorough comparison of course catalogs--for all high schools under consideration--if your kid has specific interests or needs. It's one thing to say a school provides "as much as" another, but what exactly does that mean?


Anonymous said...

Here is the Ballard AP and CIHS(college in high school) offerings:

LA 11th gr
LA 12th gr
World History 1/2 10th gr
European hist 10th gr
US History 11th
American Gov 12th
Calculus A/B
Calculus B/C
Studio Art Photography
Computer Science(it's in the catalog!)

Composition 12th
French 3
Spanish 3
Japanese 3

How exactly CIHS is different from AP is not clear to me. UW credit is available for a reduced fee, but do those credits count at other schools, is the content different or the instructors?

Hope this helps.

BTW, business is an option at Ballard with Finance Academy, AP Macroeconomics and an active DECA club.

Anonymous said...

Right, AP Comp Sci is listed. Thanks for catching that. There are several classes listed in the subject areas that are NOT noted on the list of AP classes in the catalog's intro material. I don't know if that means they are not offered as regularly or if it was just an oversight. Glad to see there are few additional classes offered.


Anonymous said...

Tried to look this up for Roosevelt:

AP Psychology
AP Lang/Comp
AP Statistics
AP Calc AB
AP Calc BC
AP Physics C1/C2
AP SIgn Lang
AP Span Lang
AP Span Lit
AP Latin
AP Japanese
AP French
AP US History
AP Photo
AP Human Geography
AP American History
AP Government

Ethnic Lit
"LIv in Place"

Anonymous said...

The handout at Ballard noted AP Biology was not offered this year.

They also offer honors in

Algebra 2

Anonymous said...

FYI, Roosevelt also offers a post-AP computer science class for students interested in pursuing advanced CS concepts and projects---they learn a lot of software engineering, and more in depth algorithms, data structures, and other topics.

Anonymous said...

I think Garfield also has an option for post-AP Com Sci.

Anonymous said...

Practical question:

9th grader takes four core classes, LA, SS, math, science and they like music so they take orchestra and foreign language, that makes six periods.

How do they take computer science? Or any elective for that matter, but CS in particular.I've heard on-line foreign language, but really, I don't see it working. Why can't SPS add another period?

Anonymous said...

Re: kindergarten math levels

I'm the mom of a current first-grader, and I agree with anon at 12:03 too. Our child was just exposed to her regular kindergarten math + conversational topics for fun at home. She didn't have any operations knowledge beyond addition/subtraction, and even those weren't very fluent because we just never worked on it (nor did the school). She struggled a little for the first few weeks of first-grade math (meaning she had to actually work hard), but suddenly 2 - 3 months in she seemed to leap into stride with all the learning and is now cruising with the math. She's a strong reader, and I agree that literacy skills really come into play across subjects in APP 1st grade.

Anonymous said...

anon @ 2:34pm - money.

Former BT Mom said...

BTmom & others who may be interested -

We were at Broadview from K-5, Spectrum cohort 2nd-5th, and specifically chose HCC when tested as eligible during 5th because we'd been advised by Spectrum teachers (back when Broadview had the cohort, it was actively dismantled and I'm heartened to hear the new principal is open for discussion to possibly change that) that middle school there would not be a good match.

We have no regrets as significant growth has happened with the 6th grade HCC change. We'd started seeing classic signs of hiding abilities in 5th to fit in and that has vanished and been replaced with a deep love of learning with much stronger perseverance to meet tough but fair academic standards than I believe would be possible there.

Definitely keep talking with as many people as you can to get different perspectives though!

Kindergarten Mama said...

Has anyone's kindergartener taken the achievement test yet? If so, which school? Everything is so behind, I know, but it's frustrating not knowing (and not knowing when we'll know)about whether he will be offered the second test or not.

Seattlemum said...

Does anyone have experience with BF Day School's Spectrum program?

Anonymous said...

My Fairmount Park K kid has taken the test, but we don't have anything in the way of results.