Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Decisions, decisions

Based on interest in the open threads, here's a new thread for talking about what school — public or private, APP or not APP — you are favoring for your children for next year. Please use this as well to ask and talk about the situation at a particular school with other parents.


murray said...


We just found out that our son qualifies for APP@Licoln for first grade next year. Our current school is BF Day but we just moved up to 70th so our other option is Spectrum at Whittier. No, of course, we must make a decision. Does anyone have a similar decision to make? Any input? Everything with SPS seems such a mess and confusing - so far we managed to jump through all of their confusing hoops and find ourselves here ;) I think we are "leaning" towards Lincoln but here are some concerns (that may of may not be outweighed by the academic experience at Lincoln).

-the large size of the school (although I heard from a friend grade 1 classes are pretty standard 23/24 kids)

-unclear on the move to Wilson Pacific (although our location is mid-way between Lincoln and WP so not a huge deal)

-too rigorous/stressful- I do want my kid to be a kid but he did score very high

--too homogeneous pop (although there are counters to this-- great cohort to share interests, etc)

Okay, that is all I have time for now!

Also, I know there seems to be quite a past with APP/spectrum and some rumblings that Spectrum could disappear altogether (unlikely I would think)

Anonymous said...

Also no music or visual arts for the lower grades next year(1 and 2), because of the size of the school and pcp sceduling.

Benjamin Leis said...

That's not quite what the PCP changes are going to entail. I'll just add the original mail:

"Additonally, APP@Lincoln was allocated 4.0 FTE for PCP for 2015-16 school year. We will be increasing PE to two full time PE teachers to ensure all students have equal access to PE instruction. One of our goals this year has been to develop an arts program that is sustainable for teachers and will provide more in depth opportunities for students. Because of these factors, staff voted for a model that will include PE and visual art for intermediate students and PE and multi-arts for primary students. This model will provide consistency for students and teachers as well as new opportunities for students in primary grades. While we don't yet know all of the specifics to how this will be scheduled, I did want to share with you that this model means that students in grades 3-5 will not be offered general music next year. The PTA will continue to fund instrumental music for all 4th and 5th grade students and I will be working with the PTA to look at different opportunities for students to work with arts in residence."

So grades 1-2 are exactly the same PE, music and art.

Grades 3-5 are just PE and art with the additional chance to do band starting in 4th.

Note: the overall PCP time has not changed so this means more art/pe minutes in 3-5.

Anonymous said...

Does it? Is that what "multi-arts" means? Art or music every week, as a regular part of school? I took it to mean workshop type things with people coming in as more like a treat(which they do sometimes now, so it sounds like they are just hoping to make this more frequent, but there is no actual plan to make it so- 50/50 odds on it actually happening), not a regular part of their experience. And more PE, which my kid hates now.

Anonymous said...

It is regular PCP teachers - it's like Benjamin said. It's NOT docent/workshop stuff. It's probably 2.0 PE, 1.5 art and .5 music teachers, if I were guessing. And then the instrumental music which many, many 4/5th do.

Frankly, I'm happy for this. I think the 3 - 5 will get a lot out of having more art and more PE, rather than the every-third week rotation.

Re homogenous pop: it's more diverse than some of the elem. schools (probably more diverse than Whittier). Don't know why people seem to overlook the 30% of the school or so that is non-white when they consider diversity.

Too rigorous/stressful: we've generally encountered much less homework than a lot of gen ed schools (not busywork at all). Math is challenging, yes, but lots and lots of kids like that.

The size is a strain on playgrounds, cafeteria and facilities. No getting around that. But that's true at a lot of schools north of the Ship Canal.

Yes, I'd be worried about Spectrum disappearing and you're not guaranteed a spot - doubt you can get into Whittier Spectrum at this late date unless you already put it in for open enrollment?

juicygoofy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ws parent said...

We recently found out our son qualifies for spectrum. We have put in for the spectrum program at lafayette here in west Seattle. However, this would require our son to change schools. We have had some challenges in our current school (which may be linked to our specific teacher and not representative of the whole school) and that's why we are mostly considering a change.

We are hoping to hear from some parents who may have some feedback and experience with the lafayette spectrum program. Thanks in advance.

Considering Lincoln said...

I saw someone mention "unpredictable buses" to Lincoln. Can someone tell me more? Our kid tested into HCC this year. We're considering Lincoln, but-- honestly-- are concerned about the logistics of getting him and non-HCC siblings all off to school. We're in the NW corner of the city in Broadview.

Anonymous said...

We're near Broadview, and my daughter rides the same bus. She gets dropped off on the stop before the Broadview stop, and she's on the bus for an hour in the afternoon. Mornings are a bit better; her ride is 35-40 minutes. The busses can be late, but the problem is the length of the ride. Honestly we question whether we made the right choice because she spends over an hour and a half on the bus every day.

-another NW parent

Anonymous said...

For us the bus has been a non issue. Our son rides the bus from NE Seattle. He leaves at 8:40 and returns at 3:20. Its usually on time. He likes to finish his math homework on the ride home, and to read on the way to school. It also helps that there are four other Lincoln kids at his stop so we can just drop him at the bus stop in the morning.

Anonymous said...

should have said "4:20"

Anonymous said...

Well, we also ride from NE Seattle and my kid spends 90 min per day on the bus (40 min in the morning and 50 in the afternoon). There is nobody else at our stop, which is several blocks from our house.

So consider yourself lucky but don't assume it's representative from NE Seattle.

The buses don't even leave Lincoln until close to 4:00.

If you already know it's worth it to you because your current school isn't working, it's worth it.

Anonymous said...

We were worried about the bus ride and it turned out to be my fourth grader's favorite part of the day. It's where he does most of his socializing and he pushes back if offered rides from his dad who works a few blocks away. The biggest issues have been not so great PCP teachers and rules resulting from the overcrowded playground.

Anonymous said...

The unpredictable buses were mostly unpredictable at the beginning of the year, like most schools. Expect the first 2-3 weeks to drive and drop off before the routes and permanent drivers settle in. Also expect that the parent community is REALLY on top of the bus situation as in (posted on FB), "Bus XXX is late getting to our stop, anyone know where it is?" and typically other parents respond very quickly. It might be a big community, but it feels really small when you have this kind of response that I never saw at our very nice, very "good" neighborhood school.

Benjamin Leis said...

One followup on the PCPc changes for those who are interested. I had an email conversation with Rina to clarify the changes. Multi-arts will be taught by a new 1.0 teacher. In addition to being art and music it can also incorporate more movement activities i.e. like dancing.

Anonymous said...


Thank you for the information. I'm hoping this means that the music teacher will not be returning next year to Lincoln. Can you confirm?

signed, wondering

Considering Lincoln said...

Thanks for the bus info... Going to Lincoln or not is a tough decision for us. Glad we have until September to decide..

Anonymous said...

why would you hope the music teacher doesn't return?

you got me wondering too

Anonymous said...


Stay above the fray

Stay far, far above the fray

Please never post about individual teachers. To do so reflects poorly on us, the parents of HCC students.

I realize that there is genuine curiosity, and because we are far-flung, little chance to connect face to face to chat, but, there are other ways to be involved with the school and feel connected. Pusue, vigorously, all 'IRL' or offline school connections. Volunteer at or at least attend the MANY after hours school events, like Math Night, Art Fest, Lunar New Years, Family Dance, Native Cultures night, Heritage Celebration, Welcome back to school, Spring Open House, etc!!! When you are there, chat with fellow parents. Better yet? talk with your own child(ren) or the parents of their school friends.

When this blog carries disparaging remarks about individual teachers (even if indirect like, my child doesn't enjoy X anymore...), it, in my opinion, is unkind, and besides, it fails strategically anyway if reliable info is what you are after (faceless comments?? How do you even know the commentor has a kid at the school??).

This is not meant to be a criticism, this is a reminder for me to take a meta-moment and be my best self, because sometimes I may try and answer the initial question without pausing and recognizing the greater implications.

When negative critiques are spread about a particular teacher on a blog, that is damaging. How can he/she defend themselves against unspecific anonymous blog comments?

If you have a problem or question, please do go to building administration.

For parents not yet at the school, come to the info session and ask questions.

Do onto others

Anonymous said...

Busing can indeed be a nightmare to/from Lincoln. Truly. Especially the first month of a school year, but it happens randomly thereafter.

Fortunately, we ended up moving close enough to Lincoln to walk every day. Still get the notices from the district about late buses and all we can do is pity the parents and especially the unfortunate kids on the bus - we know the pain, stress and feeling of so much wasted time.

That said, despite this and other shortcomings (I fear the lunch situation next year and beyond) at Lincoln, it's absolutely the right choice for our kid(s). It's far from perfect, but it seems just fine overall. Our older kid is pretty happy and our youngest will likely be starting 1st grade next year.

The cohort is awesome, I think, in that being around kids with similar abilities really helps them be themselves, to just be kids, rather than being bored or "mothering" other kids, or being ostracized for being so different, etc. Yes, the north end could use more diversity in all forms, but, again, the pros still outweighs the cons for us.

murray said...

Thanks everyone for your comments. I did submit the choice form during open-enrollment as instructed (even though we didn't yet know his test scores). I did email with SPS and they advised me to put APP@Lincoln first, followed by Spectrum at Whittier so we do have that in. However, it seems to me that you wouldn't even need to put APP down at all given it is guaranteed or maybe 2nd? Do you think that putting Whittier Spectrum down as the 2nd option means that we likely wouldn't get it? All quite complicated- more complicated than it should be in my opinion. In any event *IF* we did decide we wanted to do spectrum at Whittier and didn't get in, it seems as though they let you decide on APP much later so we could just go with that.

Thanks for the bus information as well-- we are close to 70th & 14th-- does anyone now about how long the bus ride would be from there? I also work at the U and ride across 45th (on a cargo bike) and could theoretically drop him off on the way.

Thanks again!!

Anonymous said...

It is a fact that families with HCC qualified kids can wait to enroll until Sept. 30th. If you choose to go this route for whatever reason, please understand there are impacts. Schools get their projected enrollment, budget and staff allocation in the spring. If schools need to hire or let go teachers based on those numbers, it's done in the spring. Enrollment numbers may say that Lincoln needs 2 first grade teachers next fall so that's what's planned for. If several new 1st graders show up in September, those existing classes may be able to absorb the new students. However, if the numbers go over the classroom limit then the school will be forced to come up with some new configurations to deal with the numbers. Maybe a 1/2 grade split class would have to be created by pulling some students from a first and a second grade class, hiring a sub for a few weeks, and then hiring a new teacher in October. Since enrollment numbers don't finalize until Oct 1st, none of this process can begin until after Oct. 1. That would mean classes would have to make due with however overenrolled they are until after Oct. 1st and then the shuffle would start.

One year, our APP elementary school had two first grades and a 1/2 split in September. 2-3 weeks in to the school year, the numbers looked different than anticipated and the 1/2 was collapsed into the existing 1st grades and the 2nd graders were moved into another 2nd grade class. Although it worked out to some degree, it was extremely disruptive to those new to APP first graders who had already bonded with their teacher and made new friends. It was like starting the beginning of the year all over at the end of September. Some may say that a few weeks in September are no big deal, but tell that to a kid who's just left their neighborhood school, is figuring out how to take the long bus ride, and then is split apart from the one friend that they've made and the teacher who they love (this was my child). The whole experience was really disruptive.

One other thing to think about is math. September and some of October is the big review/ramp up time for new students to get them up to speed on the 2 years ahead math. This is an especially important time in 1st and 2nd grade since they really move those students into the 2 years ahead curriculum quickly. Teachers work really hard to ensure new students get up to speed in those first few weeks. If you don't enroll when school starts then your child will miss that ramp up material. Maybe that doesn't matter to some kids and they'd be fine jumping in to 2 years ahead math, but I think it would be a pretty big jump for a lot of kids. Sept. is an important month in the curriculum that I wouldn't want my new to APP child to miss.

If more students show up in September than anticipated, please understand that this is impactful to APP elementary schools. If the existing classes can't absorb the new students then new classes will have to be created, new to APP teachers hired, the PCP/library/recess/lunch schedule might have to be altered, etc. Since schools are so full, there isn't unlimited space for an unlimited number of students to enroll without having impact on the APP schools. Yes, your spot is guaranteed until Sept. 30th. But please know that waiting to make your decision to enroll in APP is impactful on the schools (APP schools as well as the neighborhood school that you're leaving).

Although it's been the policy to be able to transfer until Sept. 30th for some time, this is really the first year that it's been promoted so much by the Advanced Learning office and by word of mouth. I've heard many rumblings at our school that the staff is quite nervous about how many people may just show up in September and how it will impact things. I can't speak to what's the word on the street in neighborhood schools since we're not there, but I'm sure they're talking about their enrollment numbers as well.

APP mom of 2

Anonymous said...

The Seattle North APP PTA (APP at Lincoln's PTA) will be hosting a Q and A night for prospective parents of incoming 1st-5th graders on Wednesday, May 6th from 6:30-7:30PM in the Lincoln library. This event is geared towards families who are still considering making the transition to APP at Lincoln next fall and haven't filled out enrollment paperwork for APP yet or didn't go on a school tour. The PTA will give a short presentation about APP at Lincoln and then there will be time for questions and answers afterwards. Some teachers will be available to answer questions as well. Due to space limitations in the library, we request that only adults attend.

*This event is not a school tour. Classrooms and the rest of the building will not be open.

Families who are already planning to attend APP at Lincoln in the fall will be invited to our Open House Ice Cream Social in May. There will be the opportunity to meet teachers, staff, and new and current families at that event.

DATE: 5/6/2015 (Wed 6:30PM - 7:30PM)
LOCATION: Lincoln library

Please register for this event on the signupgenius link:

murray said...

I completely understand those impacts and have no intention of making a late decision (I like to know what we are doing and get us prepared- e.g., arrange transport, get acclimated with school location, etc). For example, I am not going to yank him around in the first month- he is going to start on time at the school he will be at- it is too disruptive on everyone.

We are leaning in the direction of Lincoln- I would just like to know if we get a spot in our local Spectrum so that we can weigh options. I would ideally like to make the decision as soon as possible.

Anonymous said...

We have a K child at a private school. He missed the cutoff for APP by 2 points for reading achievement but met cogat/math scores. So far we have been underwhelmed with the support of his current school for differentiation, particularly in math. We really liked the program at Evergreen but he did not get in this year, although they encouraged us to apply again next year. Anyone have suggestions for school programs (public or private) for a kid who needs an accelerated curriculum? Has anyone had luck applying in subsequent years when not accepted at a school like Evergreen or UCDS? We applied for a Spectrum option school but have no idea on the chances of getting in or how good a fit the Spectrum program will be.

-Hoping for a light at the end of the educational tunnel

Anonymous said...

Evergreen is approximately spectrum level, so if you liked that I would recommend a spectrum program. They are harder to find lately, but I hear Hazel Wolf does a good job with that level. Open Window in Bellevue (private) is also accelerated at a similar level.

juicygoofy said...

Murray, the current bus to Lincoln that stops in front of Whittier picks up a bit after 9:05AM and drops off around 4:15PM. The ride home tends to be late more often than the ride to school. Note that routes change from year to year.

Anonymous said...

Can someone comment on how Lincoln serves twice exceptional kids? We have a recent diagnosis of mild ASD and are trying to decide between the LARGE APP@ Lincoln and a smaller private school. Worried that our entering 4th grader might have a tough transition? Currently we're at an even smaller private....

Anonymous said...

Would HIMS parents comment on pros and cons of the school for an entering 8th grader? My child has long qualified for APP but chose to remain in the neighborhood school. She's not highly social, has a few close friends at her school, but would be less impacted by any social climate issues than most kids. Nevertheless, how cliquey is the 7th grade class of girls?

Also, how are the classes--are they interesting and how much work is involved? She originally chose not to attend b/c she didn't want a lot of intensity/work. She manages her energy level and puts a lot into math, which we do on-line in a very rigorous course, and into music; she is learning a new instrument and practices about an hour a day. So she works hard, but on those two things, and I don't think she wants to add a bunch more work. But she doesn't enjoy school, and for such a curious kid, that seems wrong. She wants to understand everything. She likes her science class, for instance, but she she understands something after 10 minutes but a few kids in the class don't, they spend a whole period on it. This is the problem with blended classrooms for HCC kids.

I think she'd love the orchestra program, we'd still do online math b/c AOPS is awesome and SPS curriculum marginal, and I just don't know how the rest will play out. I don't like to see her bored and unmotivated by her classes, but maybe that wouldn't change at HIMS. I also don't want to inundate her with work, as she likes to have a significant amount of down time.


Anonymous said...

My kid with mild ASD went to Lincoln for a couple of years, although we are now in a smaller environment, and we will definitely go private for middle school. The pros for us were: more challenging work (which improved behavior), accepting and friendly peer group with shared interests, and good teachers. Cons all had to do with the size of the school -- it was too chaotic for my kid after school and at recess, and lunch was tough. I still thought it was a better choice for my kid on balance than our neighborhood school, but if your child is sensitive to noise or crowds, you might consider looking into accommodations before your kid gets there. Maybe visit during lunch to take a look?

Anonymous said...

Anon at 9:06,

I can't comment on the current cohort of 7th grade girls at HIMS, but do have a few general HIMS HCC comments that may be relevant to your decision-making.

LA/SS classes can be hit or miss--it really depends on the teacher. We've had some great ones, and at least one terrible one. The curriculum itself is pretty nonexistent at this point, so the teacher's ability to come up with interesting, educational assignments and activities is key. Some teachers assign a lot of busy work, but most seem to assign very little homework of any kind. They don't seem to do a lot of reading and analysis, nor do they get much meaningful practice or instruction in writing. In my ideal program they'd get a lot more instruction in literary analysis, essay writing, solid research techniques, etc. But I admit I don't know how this compares to other HCC middle school LA/SS offerings, or what's typically done in gen ed or Spectrum. (I've heard from some other parents, however, that depending on the teacher, Spectrum can be much more rigorous. So like I said, it's all teacher dependent at this point.)

RE: a couple things you mentioned specifically:

She wants to understand everything. She likes her science class, for instance, but she she understands something after 10 minutes but a few kids in the class don't, they spend a whole period on it. This is the problem with blended classrooms for HCC kids.

My kid was the same--and consequently hated HIMS APP science. The curriculum isn't really any deeper or faster paced than gen ed science, it's just that they do things a year or two ahead of schedule. But it's the same boring stuff, and they seem to only scratch the surface of whatever they cover. For my kid, it was basic stuff he already new (aside from a short unit on genetics in 8th grade). The majority of kids seem to be content with the basic coverage however, as do the teachers. My child wasn't, so often ended up seeking out additional reading at home. Unfortunately, efforts to insert that new material into classroom discussions were apparently not well-received by teachers or classmates, who wanted to just stick to the basics. I'd guess, however, that the classes are probably more interesting and less repetitive than what your daughter finds in her current school, and she can always go above and beyond if so inspired.

...we'd still do online math

Assuming you don't also want here to take math at HIMS, there are a couple ways to handle this: she can either take an independent study period, or take an additional elective. If you opt for independent study, you would probably want to try to get that scheduled for 1st or 6th period, so she would arrive late or leave early each day. If you have transportation issues, however, or other scheduling challenges, it might not be possible. If her "independent study" period has to be midday, she'd probably need to take an extra elective to fill it. They won't let her just go to the library or sit in another classroom and work alone--they are not very accommodating in that regard and require her to be off campus during that time. That means the math becomes an extracurricular activity, so it adds to the workload. We've done it both ways--the shorter day was definitely nicer in our experience, as tacking math on as an extra was a challenge some days.

Good luck figuring out your best option,

Anonymous said...

Our experience is consistent with HIMSmom. HCC classes have been more "miss" for the reasons stated. There are simply few teachers able to provide an appropriate level of challenge, plus the curriculum is all over the place.

This, especially, for both LA and SS:
They don't seem to do a lot of reading and analysis, nor do they get much meaningful practice or instruction in writing. In my ideal program they'd get a lot more instruction in literary analysis, essay writing, solid research techniques, etc.

murray said...

I'm really appreciating all of the feedback. I'm wondering if anyone can help with this issue (e.g., any first-hand experience or a specific person I can talk to at SPS). I'm sure I know the answer but I'm finding this so ridiculous and I really want this to be more transparent for other parents in the future:

If APP is guaranteed then I'm not sure why parents are instructed to put it down on the form at all or at least they should be told to put it second and the local spectrum program first if they are interested in having a choice. I did ask and was told to put APP first- I thought I was doing the right thing but it looks as though I was not.

I understand it's complicated and there are a lot of kids qualifying, etc.

It looks like our choices really are APP or general ed at Whittier because there is no way he can get a spot there if I put it second on the choice form. He is currently at BF guess is that he could *probably* get a spot in their spectrum program but I'm not sure.

At the very least I would like to make the process more transparent for parents in the future so they are not faced with the same dilemma. I know other parents who also made the same "mistake" that I did and find themselves in a difficult situation.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have personal experience with Spectrum at BF Day? Our rising first-grader just missed the APP cutoff on reading achievement so we're going for Spectrum next year--it looks like it may be easier to get into BF Day then Wedgwood or View Ridge. Is it a self-contained program?

Anonymous said...

Can the parents who discussed about being enrolled or planning to enroll in smaller programs, more suitable for HCC kids with sensitivity to noise/ moderate ASD recommend any such programs? Thank you!

Anonymous said...

3:12, I was the poster above at 11:30 writing about my child with mild ASD. We moved to a neighboring school district which also has a self-contained HCC program, so that's why my kid is no longer at Lincoln. Sorry, I know that's not helpful. We are looking at small private schools for middle, but few of them are in Seattle.

There is a 2E in Seattle Facebook group for parents that is pretty active. If you're not already a member, you might consider joining. I suspect some of those parents would have a lot more helpful information than I do.

Fairmount for 5th? said...

Does anyone here have experience switching their child to HCC in 5th grade? Up until this year, we had believed that our school was committed to meeting the needs of kids at their level. Turns out, that was really only the teacher we were lucky enough to have and the administration doesn't seem keen on changing the status quo.

That said, my daughter is having a very successful social experience and is not one of those kids who has difficulty relating to her same-age peers (wherever their academic level may be).

I am struggling immensely with the stress that might accompany such a move for one school year. On the other hand, waiting until 6th grade with all of the other changes that happen with middle school (increased homework, new social pressures, larger school) makes me worry that it would be perhaps the worst time to dramatically increase academic pressure (of catching up 2 years).

Has anyone been in this situation? Anyone waited until 6th grade? How did that go?

For the sake of reference, we would be attending HCC at Fairmount Park in West Seattle.

Anonymous said...

From Fairmount Park's website:

If you missed the school tours we will have a final tour on June 3,2015

Perhaps you can do the tour with your daughter.

Anonymous said...

If you wait until middle school to switch her, I don't think you'll find that two years of "catch up" is necessary. Middle school HCC isn't really two years ahead. And since there are a lot of kids entering HCC in 6th grade, I'm sure there will be many others at her level if you go this route. For most kids who enter in 6th, as mine did, I think it's a pretty painless transition.


murray said...

Does anyone have any more information (heresay, grumblings, etc.) on whether or not Spectrum is going to be phased out- I know nobody knows for sure.

I was talking with someone familiar with Whittier who was talking about the dissolution of Spectrum into whatever advanced opportunities can serve students at their local school-- this is my main problem-- my son qualified for APP however I would really prefer for him to go our neighborhood school; however, he likely won't get a spot in Spectrum so essentially we have to go with general ed or trek over to Lincoln.

This conundrum just seems so ridiculous.

Fairmount for 5th? said...

@11:48a, thank you for the tour info. I went on one of the February tours alone. I wasn't aware that they had added a "post open enrollment" tour. I will call the office to make sure that it will be OK to bring my daughter.

HIMS mom, thank you. If they do follow through with opening an HCC pathway in West Seattle, that would make waiting until 6th much easier, as she would be entering a school with more kids that she has known through the years. Entering Washington, far away, without a group you know would be pretty scary for my kid.

I'd still love to hear from anyone who has made the switch at 5th grade.

Anonymous said...

Fairmount for 5th,

If you are thinking about moving your child this year to HCC at Fairmount Park, they will be able to be part of the roll-up cohort for students in the optional Madison HCC pathway. A design team is being formed this month and will likely lead to a better and improved advanced learning experience for HCC qualified students. If you plan on staying in West Seattle for middle school HCC, I would highly recommend moving your child this year. Fairmount is an incredible community, both in and out of HCC, and this will be the group of families who will have the strongest voice coming into the Madison design process.

If you plan to go to Washington, I would not move in 5th since the vast majority of current Fairmount Park 4th graders are likely to choose to continue in the new pathway at Madison and lots of new HCC students start at 6th at Washington.

APP Family

Anonymous said...

I'm curious to hear how you know what the vast majority of current Fairmount Park 4th graders are going to do. The parents of fourth graders I know want nothing to do with Madison.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 9:08pm,

I should have been more clear. I am speaking only of the 4th grade parents who attend the Middle School West Seattle HCC design team. There was at least 10 4th grade families there, and they seemed to indicate that their views represented the views of others as well.

It's interesting to hear if that is in fact not true. Do you know what reasons those 4th grade families you are referring to don't like Madison?

APP Family

Anonymous said...

The school has a history of being unsupportive of self-contained advanced learning programs. On the school website, you'll learn that Madison’s programs are centered around “Turning Points” or “Best Practices for Middle Schools". This educational theory for middle schools requires placing kids in blended classrooms. I suggest you make sure there are some Madison Spectrum parents on the design team. Listen to what they have to say.

I think the parents who are pushing for this don't have any experience with APP past the early elementary years. APP in middle school provides self-contained classes for a reason. Your kids are going to want (and need) access to more than a handful of academic peers. They'll be much happier and more productive in a classroom that moves at their pace.

As for high school, HCC in high school provides one of two things. At Ingraham, the benefit is early access to accelerated classes and the continuation of some self-contained classes. At Garfield, the benefits come from the large number of highly capable students. Putting those kids together means the school can offer four years of Latin and a nationally known jazz band and a huge theater program. At Garfield, there will be a number of kids in every class who are working at the same level as yours. West Seattle High School won't have either of these things.

Anonymous said...

They'll be much happier and more productive in a classroom that moves at their pace.

This is true, and what parents are hoping for when they choose APP. Just realize that the middle school program as being delivered in some classrooms (JAMS and HIMS) is neither moving at an appropriate pace nor with an appropriate level of challenge - no standard curriculum and very little district oversight. The idea of "going deeper" with grade level material is falling short in many ways. If this is the Madison model, or the new APP, then I'd be concerned.

The Fairmount Park program was started with a principal experienced with APP (formerly principal at Lowell, pre-split), plus some experienced teachers that came from TM. Who will Madison have to support a meaningful program for APP students? Will there be any teachers experienced with, and supportive of, APP?

Considering APP@Lincoln said...

Our 1st-grader qualified for APP next year before we'd really thought about this option, but after the tours had ended. So we're going to the Q&A and looking for more information.

It sounds like some of the biggest drawbacks to APP at Lincoln are more about the space and transportation. Some related questions: Can the kids buy lunch in the cafeteria? How is the food? (My son is a picky eater and loves his current cafeteria.) Also, what do kids generally do after school? Are there after-school programs they could attend to get picked up later and avoid spending so much time on the bus? And how bad is the playground for a kid who definitely needs to get some exercise during the day?

Any responses much appreciated.

Evelyn said...

My daughter will be attending APP@Lincoln for first grade next year, and we will have another daughter starting KG at sand point elementary. we heard that there is an option for taking the bus directly from the elementary school so that we can still utilize the LASER SPE program for our child at Lincoln, whichs would be so convenient for us.

Does anyone have any experience with this? I called the transportation office and was told that nothing could be finalized until late august, but we have to sign up for LASER this saturday. we may just sign up anyway and hope for the best, but would love any reassurance if others have been able to make it work this way.

Anonymous said...

Evelyn, you should be able to use the LASER@SPE address for your Lincoln student's transportation. I can't remember if there is a separate form for alternate addresses (like childcare) or if it's on some standard form, but either way, if you use that address from the start with Transportation, you should be able to get a bus stop right where you need it.

Anonymous said...

what is the LASER SPE program?

Anonymous said...

SPE is Sandpoint Elementary. That is what the commenter was asking about.

Anonymous said...

Our son will go to APP @ Lincoln in first grade this coming Fall. Any recommendations on how to prepare him in Reading and Math? Any materials you recommend? Knowing him, I would rather do some prep work in advance over the Summer.

Anonymous said...

He should know math facts - fluently (addition and subtraction; multiplication and division won't be until the end of the year). And basic skills, how to measure, how to tell time, etc.

Anonymous said...


When I was in highschool, my favorite thing to do was cheer. This year my daughter will be graduating from HIMS and will be attending a private high school recommended by teachers. I know this may be a little off topic, but the school she will be attending does not have many after school sports. So my question to you all, is if daughter would like to participate in a public school sports team, can she? She loves sports and the transition to the new school will be very hard with out them.

Thank you,


Anonymous said...

we were hoping to get into a smaller private middle school but didn't make the cut so we have another year to go in middle school and then we will try again for high school. not really impressed with the HCC curriculum middle school. time to move on.

Penny said...

Does anyone have any experience with the elementary programs in West Seattle? (Lafayette or Fairmount) We are considering moving our daughter but I don't feel ready to commit to the long bus ride to Thurgood.

Maria Gerea said...

Posting here as this is where most parents of incoming APP students seem to hang out. We are moving to Ballard (East part) end of June and my son will enroll at Lincoln for 1st grade this Fall. I'm looking to connect with one or more kids in the area and in a similar situation, for play dates over the Summer. If interested, email me at

Anonymous said...

Hello new Dragons!

APP@Lincoln Ice Cream Social OPEN HOUSE is tonight 6-7:30pm

COME! Fantastic way for your student(s) to see the class rooms, tour the building, inspect the art room, meet the teachers, listen to the Principal speak, and most importantly, hang out and play with their new classmates from their new community!

We are so happy that you're here :). Welcome!!! Looking forward to meeting you soon!!!


murray said...

I don't know too much about the program but I do know that the new principal is working with parents to redefine the spectrum program, improve it, etc. I'm quite sure it is NOT self-contained. My son went to BF Day for K and we loved the school- we are going to APP next year but had a great experience at the school as a whole.

Anonymous said...

Found this forum and this thread while trying to learn more about Garfield's APP program. We moved to Seattle from another state three years ago and found it very difficult to pursue APP for our son then. He is now in 8th grade in a private school, and Garfield's APP program has been recommended to us. I've looked on Garfield's website and can find no information about the program or about how someone not already in the system can get in.

We are in south Seattle, so I believe he would be considered eligible for Garfield's APP.

I appreciate any help you can give me!

South Seattle Mom

Benjamin Leis said...

This thread is probably too old for many if any folks to see further comments (besides myself). I'd comment to the latest open thread instead. I'll be posting a new thread for sure when school actually starts which would also be a good place to ask.