Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Open thread

Here's a new open thread for talking about anything you like! Please use the two threads below to talk about trying to decide which school to pick and talking about appeals, but, anything else, chat about it here.

97 comments :

Anonymous said...

Hi Greg,

Can we get a thread on the middle school Social Studies adoption process currently underway? The public review period is open, and it would be great to hear HCC parents' take on the various materials. This adoption is supposed to address the needs of HCC students as well as other groups. I know district staff have commented that perhaps the same text could work for all groups, for example if there were sufficient extensions or supplementation to provide the additional depth, text complexity, etc. necessary for HCC students. I have yet to wade in deeply, but my first look at the materials suggested the provided extensions for advanced learners aren't sufficient. If additional resources are needed (e.g., supplementary novels, source documents, etc.) for this subpopulation, it seems these would need to be included in the adoption somehow. If they aren't, there won't be money for the materials, and teachers will be left trying to piece together an appropriate curriculum. Yet again.

One other concern I have is that while the committee is charged with making recommendations that work for each group, there don't appear to be many (any?) HCC middle school social studies teachers in the group. The district's adoption page lists the committee members--does anyone know if any of these are or recently were HCC middle school SS teachers? Members of the committee were allowed to self-identify as HCC, but most of those with that designation seem to be at NON-HCC schools. Such teachers would likely be biased toward a one-size-fits-all curriculum, as they are used to serving kids who are fine in a gen ed or Spectrum environment.

Thanks,
HIMSmom

Julie said...

Thanks for the info:
"Short story: it's very unlikely they could fit 780 elementary kids on the WP site. What's probably going to happen is another building will be spun up. For me, what's annoying about this is its fairly foreseeable now that this is going to happen but given how terrible the process is in the district we'll probably ignore it for a few years and then have a terrible fight at that last possible moment making the actual split process much rougher than it needs to be."

Was this the conclusion from the meeting with Sherry Carr? Good grief. As mentioned by BEV V where are they going to pull this second building out of?

Anonymous said...

Has anyone moved from south end to north end in terms of APP district and successfully petitioned to leave your kids in the south end? We are making such a move, and the schools will be about equidistant. We're not committed to staying in the south end program, necessarily, but are exploring options and would love to hear from others.

South on the move.

Anonymous said...

When I looked at the materials, the text with the most detailed teaching seemed inappropriate for any kids with reading or attention difficulties. The level of random snippets in the Pearson made it seem as though not all content could be covered in a year, leaving it up to teachers to develop their own curriculum again. The 3 letter acronym publisher had an appropriately focused text with thoughtful workbooks that seem good for a majority of students, but was lacking in any citations or list of source materials for further study as I expect would be needed for an HCC class.

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...

I meant the comment for the other thread. Sorry.

another NW parent

Lily said...

I am sorry to jump in even though we are in a neighboring school district. I hope you do not mind helping me! My child took the CogAT and the scores are Verbal 99 Quantitative 92 and Nonverbal 89 with a cumulative score of 97. Our school district has zero written information and is very secretive regarding the guidelines into g&t. Can anyone tell me their thoughts on these scores? Thank you. Lily

Lynn said...

Lily,

Those are very good scores. Are you testing for a particular program? If you can share which district you're in, maybe someone will have helpful information for you.

Lily said...

There is only one program I am aware of. Either you are in or not. I would prefer not to say what district. I hope that is okay. Thank you for your help!

Lynn said...

Hmmm. Without knowing which district, I don't know what I can offer. Are you asking for interpretation of what those scores mean about your child and the whether he or she needs highly capable services? The need for services will depend on the general education program your school offers.

Lynn said...

On another topic, news from the West Seattle Blog:
New Pathway Planned for Highly Capable Students

Anonymous said...

From, seeking info:

HIMS parents, do you have any thoughts on the new principal? From Larry Nyland:

Dear Hamilton community,

Today I am pleased to announce the appointment of Tipton Blish as the new principal of Hamilton International Middle School, starting on July 1, 2015. Mr. Blish replaces Cindy Watters, who after three years at Hamilton and five years with Seattle Public Schools is leaving the district at the end of the school year to return to her prior career as an international educator.

Mr. Blish has served as Hamilton’s assistant principal for the past two years. Before coming to Hamilton, he served his administration internship at Ballard High School. He also taught language arts and held several other leadership positions at Ballard High.

Mr. Blish was chosen for this position through an extensive process in the Hamilton community that included the input and participation of staff, building leadership and Hamilton families. The group recommended Mr. Blish for the position because of his strong student interaction skills, his understanding of Hamilton’s complexity and opportunities, and his ability to foster a sense of place for all. Mr. Blish was then interviewed by Hamilton’s executive director of schools, the assistant superintendent of Human Resources, the assistant superintendent of Teaching and Learning and myself. We all agree that Mr. Blish has demonstrated a solid commitment to Hamilton and is ideally positioned to continue the great work at Hamilton.

Mr. Blish holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Middlebury College in Vermont and a master’s in teaching from Seattle University. He earned his administrative credentials and an Educational Specialist degree from Seattle University as well. He plans to hit the ground running, refining and implementing a leadership transition plan, preparing for growing enrollment, adding to Hamilton’s strong teaching staff and celebrating the great work of Ms. Watters and others in the Hamilton community leaving at the end of the school year.

I know you join me in expressing gratitude to Ms. Watters for her tremendous leadership. We wish her well on the next chapter of her educational career.

Thank you for the high expectations that you set for every student and for all that you do.

Lily said...

Lynn thanks for your response. I guess I am wondering if these scores would get my child into the Seattle public school gifted program? It seems like everyone here knows the parameters and if their child will be invited or not. Our district does not give any info. I just have to wait another month or more to find out. Just curious and impatient. Thanks! Lily

Anonymous said...

Lily

Those scores are insufficient for Seattle's program.

The required MINIMUMS are 98th percentile or higher IQ AND 95th percentile or higher reading AND 95th percentile math scores. These are hard benchmarks.

Families who appeal appeal with all 3 benchmarks at the target or else there is no point to appeal. Since you seem to have an IQ score at 97th, you could do private testing to further characterize your child's learning style, and if that report puts him/her at 98th then that would qualify.

By the way, it may not sound like much, 97th to 98th, but there is a world of difference between those two percentiles. You need to really consider what is the best fit.
Hope that helps.

Anonymous said...

Depending on the test, its ceiling and how the scores are normed there is not necessarily a world of difference between 97th and 98th. If there such an effect its usually in the 99th percentile which sometimes includes a long-tail of outliers.

Also generally speaking the entrance criteria to gifted programs are not secret and if you can't find the information an email to the program director of the district will provide a concrete answer. Maddeningly since its up to the discretion of the district you can be classified gifted in one district and not in another with the same scores. Oh and tests all have margins of error so if you retake one you might and often do fall into a different bucket.

And on the oft-chance you're referring to Shoreline. Take a look at the middle of the slides below.

file:///C:/Users/ben/Downloads/Highly%20Capable%20Parent%20Information%20Night%20(120314)%20-%20PowerPoint%20converted%20to%20PDF.pdf


Anonymous said...

Lily,
Those scores would qualify your child for the Spectrum Program in SPS.

Lily said...

Thank you all for your input. I guess more waiting for now. I thought that I had seen something about Seattle just counting the V & Q scores and in that case my child does have a composite of 98 but I cannot find that post. This also makes me think that the Verbal is weighted the most heavily. To the person who mentioned IQ being 97% based on a composite of 97, where did you get that information? Thanks again! Lily

Mohua said...

Hi,
I would like to bring this local 2015 Summer Program in STEM for highly capable/gifted/highly motivated high school students to the attention of the very engaged parents and educators who participate on this forum. The course is BIOINFORMATICS: CODING for MEDICINE and will be offered July6-17 (10am-2pm) at the convenient Bellevue College location. The course and registration details are here:
http://systemix.org/Summer-course/
Early registration ends April 30.

The course will bring together coding skills, mathematics and algorithms for large-scale biological data analyses. Any student interested in either computers, medicine, biology or maths is highly encouraged to consider taking this summer program.

The course is being jointly organized by HOMOLOG.US (Redmond, WA) and Washington Student Science Association (WSSA). Homolog.us is a highly-regarded name in the global bioinformatics community. The course will be very high quality. The course lecturer is a PhD scientist, ex-NASA, an International Maths Olympian with extensive experience in bioinformatics through many US and international collaborations.

Please do not hesitate to contact me for any clarifications or questions. My contact is mbose@homolog.us

Thank you

Mohua

Anonymous said...

If I pull my middle-school aged child for a while to home school, does the child lose access to the APP pathway for high school? If I were to pull the child for part of middle school but had them return by eighth grade, would they return to the APP program?

--considering home schooling

Anonymous said...

Our child took the Cogat in Seattle. The letter we received from the district lists 7 scores; (1) verbal; (2) quantitative; (3) nonverbal; (4) verbal/quant composite; (5) verbal/non-verbal composite; (6) quant/non verbal composite; and (7) verbal/quant/non verbal composite.

My understanding is that to qualify for HCC in Seattle, any two of the above scores must be 98 or higher, age-normed Our letter says, "98 (or higher) percentile in two areas". Our experience would indicate this is in fact the case.

Plus a 95 or higher on both a reading and a math achievement test, such as the Iowa Test or Woodcock Johnson, grade-normed.



Lynn said...

If you homeschool part-time and he or she is enrolled in the HC Cohort for the 8th grade I believe you'll retain eligibility for high school. It you pull out of the public schools entirely, you'd have to requalify when you return.

Anonymous said...

No : the student must score 98th in 2 of the 3 measures, not in the composites. The CogAt 7 reports a little differently, but the HCC standards have not lowered. The students need to be 98th or higher in 2 out of three areas of cognitive abilities. That is the crucial feature of the program. The cognition drives the learning style that drives the service model.

98th +

Lily said...

Well I am as confused as ever. Sounds like your child has been offered a spot in HCC based on 2 of 7 scores. My kiddo has 2 @ 99 and 1 @ 98 so I hope you are correct. To the person who replied, do you work for SPS? Where are you getting your information from?

Anonymous said...

My understanding is you can part-time homeschool and retain HCC eligibility as long as your child is enrolled in at least one HCC class (science, LA, or SS).

Anonymous said...

Links on part-time homeschooling from the Washington Homeschool Organization (it references the WASL, but the WACs are still current):

http://www.washhomeschool.org/homeschooling/whoPartTime.html

When you part-time homeschool, your child is a home based instruction student first. You file a "Declaration of Intent to Provide Home Based Instruction," but still have access to courses and services.

WAC 392-134-010
An eligible part-time public school student shall be entitled to take any course, receive any ancillary service, and take or receive any combination of courses and ancillary services which is made available by a public school to full-time students.

It can be a workable compromise. You can provide better instruction for the courses that are least serving your child, but they retain eligibility, can still be with their cohort for part of the day, and can participate in band, foreign language, afterschool activities, etc. That said, there are few students that go this route. It's less isolating than full-time homeschooling, but it's still a big commitment.

Anonymous said...

My HCC 8th grader will be attending Ingraham next year. Given his current level of ah, motivation, I have a hard time imagine him completing an IB diploma (I hope to be surprised!) Wondering if other Ingraham parents/kids are putting together "rigorous enough" coursework with a mix of IB and gen ed classes and how that is working. Ingraham is our reference school so that's where we are headed either way.

Thanks in advance.

WG

Anonymous said...

Anyone considered part-time homeschooling for LA? I know families have single subject homeschooled for math, but our experience with middle school HCC LA classes has us considering alternatives.

Anonymous said...

We homeschooled second semester 7th grade LA. Best thing we ever did. Kid just wrote lots of essays and did some on-line grammar and vocabulary. Since there's no set curriculum in LA we just made sure to keep up with SS readings and added some others for fun.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much to other parents for the information on homeschooling and HCC eligibility. I would be homeschooling, if we went that route, primarily because of the LA curriculum (or lack thereof -- I am mystified at how little both reading and writing my child has been doing for LA class), so I could consider leaving the child in school for other classes.

Two quick follow-up questions: would sending my child in only for science, language, and social studies retain eligibility (since it would include science) retain eligibility (if I were to choose also to homeschool math), and does anyone have experience getting middle schools to work with them schedule-wise? I have this vision of the school saying, "sure, you can homeschool selected classes, but they will have classes here 1st, 3rd, and 5th period, and you'll just have to pick them up in between."

--considering homeschooling

Anonymous said...

@ considering homeschooling, Yes, I was told as long as they retain at least one HCC class they retain eligibility. You indicated retaining two of the three (science and social studies), so you should be fine. Math is not part of middle school HCC, so homeschooling for that isn't a concern.

In terms of schedules, though, anything you do that creates complexity makes it harder to get a workable schedule. For example, if your child only wants to be in a particular level of band, Japanese immersion, etc., these are typically only offered once per day. We've had years where we were able to get two consecutive free periods at the start/end of the day, and others where it came down to a choice of dropping/changing the preferred class or giving up the free period(s) altogether. Our registrar has been willing to work with us to try to determine the best bet each year.

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

If you let the school/registrar know ahead of time - in the Spring during class registration and then again in the fall - they will try to accommodate your request, but you need to have some flexibility and realize some compromises might have to be made to get a workable schedule (choice of electives, late start vs early release, etc.). The principal ultimately needs to sign off on the late start/early release.

Anonymous said...

Lily and Anonymous @ 9:39AM. For SPS HCC K-8, your child needs to score at 98th (or higher) percentile in 2 of 7 areas. The 2 do not need to be verbal, quant and non-verbal but can include any of the four composite scores. My child scored 97 on verbal and quant, 98 on non-verbal and V-Q composite and 99 on the other three composites and was found eligible for HCC.

Anonymous said...

Is the middle school HCC LA/SS, as currently delivered, the "new curriculum?" If so, how, and to whom, do we provide feedback about how inadequate it seems? Does AL have any control over the curriculum? There is little to no connection between LA and SS (even though it's a blocked class), it jumps around from unit to unit with little rhyme or reason, there is not a focus on reading and analyzing higher level texts, there is little historical content knowledge being imparted (they will go weeks without SS while they do a unit in LA, and vice versa), writing skills are not being developed, everything's a group project, and the list goes on.

baffled

Anonymous said...

@ baffled,

Sorry, I wish I had good news.

The "new curriculum" for middle school LA/SS is not currently being delivered, and may never be. As I understand it, the AL office's curriculum person is currently working with a small group of HCC middle school teachers to develop teaching units that are supposed to be rigorous enough and appropriately differentiated for HC learners. The unit plans are based on the new scope and sequence, target grade-level Common Core standards, and build on the gen ed units (adding depth and complexity). Reportedly, however, it has been somewhat of a challenge to get HCC MS teachers involved in this unit development process--which also does not bode well for widespread adoption of these units across HCC sites anytime soon. But as the AL office has no authority to make HCC teachers or schools adopt these units--or do anything, really--they will just be unit guides. Teachers will still be free to do as they wish, and repeating what you've always done sounds easier than learning something new... But maybe with time things will slowly change, who knows? It will require buy-in from principals and HCC teachers across the district, so I'm not holding my breath. As one stated aim of the common unit planning is to be able to have common assessments and benchmarking across the HCC sites, I assume that's even more disincentive for teachers to adopt the units.

At the same time the new LA/SS unit plans are being developed, the middle school SS materials adoption process is also underway. The two processes unfortunately don't overlap very much, although the AL curriculum person is also on the adoption committee, so that's something. At least one JAMS HCC middle school teacher working on the new "unit guides" also apparently looked at the SS materials up for review, but it sounds like there were no HIMS or WMS HCC teachers present at that time. There are very few--if any--adoption committee members with experience teaching HCC middle school Social Studies, so it will be interesting to see what they end up saying re: a new adoption for this subgroup of students. That there wasn't interest on the part of HCC middle school SS teachers to participate on the adoption committee seems another bad sign.

As to providing feedback about the inadequacy of the current LA/SS you feel your child is receiving, because the system is so decentralized and lacks any sort of standardization or common expectations, I'm afraid it's something that can only be addressed at the local level--via the teacher. Given the lack of curriculum, teachers are free to teach as they see fit. (Actually, I was told that's the case even if there IS a formal curriculum, too. ) Most principals seem content to let teachers just do their thing, unless perhaps they get a ton of complaints and are tired of dealing with unhappy parents.

Overall, the sad truth is that things aren't likely to change any time soon. Your best bet, assuming you remain in HCC, is to cross your fingers and hope for better teachers next year, and do outside supplementation when things aren't going well. In our many years of HCC middle school experience we saw all the same problems you mentioned. And although some of the teachers were great in comparison to others, I can't say we were ever impressed with the level of academic challenge or expectations.

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

@ baffled-there is no AL curriculum. That should be the starting point of all curriculum conversations.
-SPS Tired

Anonymous said...

I would love to hear any feedback about Tipton Blish, Hamilton's soon-to-be new principal. He's very likable and my son tells me the kids feel the same. Beyond that, does anyone know what his thoughts are re HCC and strengthening that program at HIMS? I am more optimistic than others on this blog about the current state of the program but understand that some of that is relative as I'm happy to see my child challenged to a much greater degree than he ever was in gen ed. That said, I'm hopeful Mr. Blish will bolster HCC in a way that Ms. Watters may not have. Thoughts...?
signed, hopeful at hims

Zella917 said...

Im interested in the same question as WG above. How have options at Ingraham worked for kids who might not choose to do the whole IB diploma program?

Lily said...

Thank you for the information. It makes the wait easier!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, no AL curriculum, and opening a new West Seattle "blended" pathway is on the agenda. We all saw how well that worked this year at JAMS. At least there it was a fresh start. At Madison, our kids will once again be interlopers as when HIMS opened. And sensitivity training or PD from the teachers there that hate AL? Good luck. They were the last middle school to accept Spectrum dragging their heels til sparks flew.

open ears

Anonymous said...

Zella,

If your child is identified as highly capable, they have a guaranteed seat in IBX at Ingraham but not in the general education program. Is it your attendance area school?

Anonymous said...

I don't think every HCC student that enters Ingraham ends up with an IB diploma. That may be the intention or hope going in, but I don't think it is reality. Some do regular IB, some want to take other electives like art or drama, and probably some take a few gen ed courses. Let's not get into a big thing about if it is fair for those students to be at Ingraham or if those student should go take up a seat at Ballard or Roosevelt...(see capacity thread on SSS thread) If anyone has anything to offer regarding taking a mix of IB and other classes at Ingraham, I'd still like to hear it!

WG

Anonymous said...

Tipton Blish has a child enrolled in Spectrum at a local elementary. Looks like he supports advanced learning at some level!

Maureen said...

There are definitely HCC kids at IHS who are not doing accelerated IB. This can work out just fine, but if they begin the IBX classes as 10 th graders they can get stuck or at least have to give up the idea of a regular IB diploma. There was a meeting at Ingraham last month with 9th grade IBx families to encourage them to really think through their options before beginning IB classes in 10 th grade.

zella917 said...

Ingraham is our attendance area school, so we should have options outside of just IBX. And as other posters have said, it also seems like one can decide after the first year if IBX is the right track. I'd like my daughter to follow through and do the full diploma, but I'm not sure she will. So i do appreciate hearing that other paths can still be viable :)

Anonymous said...

@ Maureen, I'd be curious to see some sort of evaluation of how the IBX option has worked for HC kids. I know there have been some issues with the senior year, but it would be interesting to see the pros/cons of the the accelerated track after a few cohorts have gone through. Do you happen to know if anything like that is happening?

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

HIMS Mom,

This could be one of the top priorities for the newly formed IB and IBx support group, VIBES, that we heard about last night at Ingraham's college night. I think there is a strong desire to capitalize on the wealth of resources and knowledge offered by Ingraham's IBx cohort 1 that has recently heard back from colleges and will be leaving SPS soon. As a family with a younger IBx student, we have heard and witnessed the many issues with that cohort first hand, and hope to be involved in the planning of solutions to address the many concerns that arose in their unsuccessful process to get an adequate senior year curriculum this year.

IBx 9th grade Family

Anonymous said...

Re: Ingraham IBx
I missed the 9th grade meeting and the college night. Do you have information on how to get connected to the VIBES group?

So far my 9th grader has a very positive experience with LA, SS, and math. Her friends from APP but not in IBx are enjoying Ingraham but not very challenged in the 9th grade. There are many short and long term considerations and I hope to hear more from previous cohorts.

Another IBx mom

Maureen said...

HIMSMom, What sort of metrics would you recommend using for such an evaluation? (Would you want to use the GHS HCC as a control group? Or are you thinking just summary stats like retention rate...?)


IBx 9th, I have been following the issue closely, and I'm not sure I would characterize the issues that arose with the initial cohort as "unsuccessful process to get an adequate senior year curriculum." I understand that that was a concern in the beginning. Are you saying that the students who chose to take AP LA on line did better in the college application process than the ones who are taking the 200 level Sociology and English classes through North Seattle College? Are students who did internships being penalized for that?

There was a meeting with 11th grade IBx families about options for next year as well. I haven't heard any feedback (positive or negative) about that though they seemed happy enough in the room. I go to a lot of meetings. There is one on teens and stress on 4/28, I'll probably be there.

I'm curious to hear what you have heard. Feel free to email me if you don't want to post. I'm in the bulletin right now. Oh and when you find my email address, please volunteer to "invigilate" the written exams in May! It is actually really interesting, and your help will be greatly appreciated!

Anonymous said...

@ Maureen,

Given that IBX is new and the numbers are small, and that there are self-selection differences in who chooses IB/IBX, I wasn't thinking about an external comparison group. At this point I'd be more interested in something that provided greater depth re: the experience of students in the program--quantitative info re: their pathway and outcomes, as well as more qualitative info re: their experience.

I don't have a kid in IBX at the moment so probably don't have the best grasp on what to look at, but these would be my initial thoughts. I'm sure parents and students closer to the program would have some better ideas.

Basic stats on IB/IBX participation, such as:

- # admitted to IHS for IBX
- Of those, # who actually started IBX in 10th, vs. switched to IB in 11th, vs. took non-IB track
- Retention/completion rates on those different paths (e.g., for HCC kids who went IBX, HCC who went IB, as well as non-HCC who did IB)
- IB exam results (broken down similarly)
- IB diploma results

In addition, I think it could be valuable to collect qualitative info from participants. Questions could address things like:

- Why they decided to take the path they did (i.e., stayed on IBX, switched to IB, did only partial IB, etc.)
- Pros/cons of the track they ended up taking
- Were they happy with that choice in the end, or wish they'd taken another route
- Thoughts about taking IB exams a year early (e.g., do they think they are at a disadvantage, do they feel it's too stressful, do they wish they'd delayed a year/glad they waited, etc.)
- Questions re: senior year experience (e.g., pros/cons of what they did, satistfaction with how it worked out socially and academically, how they think their path impacted college applications, perceived value of internship, thoughts on their college level courses, etc.)

So overall, at this early stage in the IBX program I'd be more focused on trying to understand (a) whether the IBX is in fact a good pathway that makes sense for most HCC kids who want to do IB (or whether they'd be perhaps better served with a more traditional IB timeline if there were stronger, HCC-specific prep classes in 10th grade); and (b) what is working and what isn't and how can it be improved.

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

Ingraham just held a college info night with break out sessions on various topics, including one with college admissions representatives from various schools. One rep gave the impression that an IB diploma was seen more favorably than a collection of AP classes, and the IBX program was seen as even more favorable. With IBX, schools know how students scored and whether or not they completed the diploma prior to making admissions decisions.

I'd be interested in the Ingraham IBX student perspective as well, but hearing an individual college's perspective was interesting.

Maureen said...

It was the Whitman College Rep who expressed this. The Seattle U rep didn't address this issue directly (though was definitely supportive of IB as evidence of rigor.) Both of them pointed out that with regular IB students, they have no idea if they even earned an IB diploma before they are admitted. The UW rep, in my opinion, didn't seem to know anything about Ingraham or IB at all and made mostly general statements (he may be new to his job?) The visiting rep from MIT (last fall) said that she could not imagine that any Ivy League or similar school would penalize students for completing an IB diploma early. (this in response to concerns that maxing out on HS level English could hurt an applicants chances.)

Maureen said...

HIMSMom, I wonder if an IBx student could do that sort of an analysis as part of an assignment for AP Stats, or maybe as a small part of an Extended Essay on Education Theory, or, you know, just for fun! The trick would be gathering an unbiased sample. Some of that data would be (and is) available from the school, but not all of it. (And certainly not the qualitative stuff.)

Anonymous said...

Maureen, that's definitely an idea. Or perhaps they could do it as part of an internship or independent study project, working with someone who had relevant expertise in survey design, data analysis, etc.

Then again, now that I think about it, SPS might throw up some road blocks regardless of who tried to do any sort of formal evaluation. It would probably need to go through the evaluation, AL, and who knows what other depts, and probably through IHS admin as well. Still, it might be possible--and that would add a whole other dimension to the learning experience, no?

But if there were an informal meeting that included a lot of kids and that happened to involve informal discussion of many of these things, that could be a still-informative workaround. :)

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

One more logistical Ingraham question: if an IBX student decides to switch to regular IB, what do they take their 10th grade year instead? Assuming they come in from HIMS and take chemistry and Algebra II their freshman year. I suppose they can't get a jumpstart on IB and take one or two IB classes.

WG

Maureen said...

No they really can't take IB classes early. It's a two year self contained program. They can take AP Calc or Stats. I think there are a couple of non IB science classes they could take, or do an extra elective like drama AND music. Can anyone out there answer this from experience?

Anonymous said...

We recently had our child take the Woodcock Johnson reading achievement test as part of the Advanced Learning Appeals process. Our testing provider reported our child’s scores using age-norms. I told him the district required grade-normed scores for the achievement tests, and he proceeded to explain to why age-norms are better and then sent me a letter for submission to the district using age-norms anyway, without explicitly stating in his letter what norms he had used. He also sent me an email explaining that he had been submitting age-normed scores to the district for 14 years, and that the district had never questioned his appeals letters.

Using age-based norms instead of the districts grade-based norms boosted our kindergartner's scores by 9% compared to the district test. That’s the difference between GenEd and HCC. When the provider finally sent me the grade-normed scores, after I asked four times in writing, his scores dropped by 1% compared to the district test. Our child was born in the spring. If he had been born in the summer, he would have achieved a good 10% boost simply by us paying the $200 for private testing.

Should the district even being using grade-normed scores? Have your child in September and they are HCC qualified. Have your child in June, and they are only average. It does seem unfair, but at least it doesn't seem to discriminate, as much, based on socio-economic status.

I very much support the Advanced Learning Program. And I very much support Seattle Public Schools. I believe parents should have a right to private testing, just like I have every intention of working with my son to boost his reading scores.

I've sent a letter to Advanced Learning asking them to update their procedures to prevent this from happening in the future, and copied the superintendent. It’s discriminatory against those who can’t pay for private, independent testing. It taints a program I strongly support. I don’t believe it’s intentional. And I believe every district staff member is truly dedicated to our children. But that this has been going on for fourteen years is absolutely unacceptable.

Another Parent

Anonymous said...

I would be curious to hear his reasons, 10:36. I feel grade based norms make perfect sense for achievement, since they are answering the question, "do you know enough material to work in a class with kids who have learned x, y, and z?" while the cognitive portion answers the question, "do you learn fast enough so that you can maintain an accelerated pace?" So the achievement is kind of how tall you are, and you need to be over X height to do well in the program, and the cognitive is how fast you are growing, and it doesn't make sense to grade norm that. We'd need to know for your age, to be more exact, especially since it's more of a ratio.

I would be concerned about sending a kid into first grade HCC who scored in the 90th percentile on an achievement test his would be peers scored 95th-99th on. 90th percentile for first grade reading is not very high, and I would definitely work with him over the summer, if they accept these scores and you send him. The great thing about reading is it's so easy to work with a kid on reading! Just get stacks of interesting books for them and they are good to go!

Anonymous said...

We will not be sending any age-normed scores for reading or math to the district, unless they change the rules. To knowingly do so I believe is unethical.

He is our provider's reasoning:

"Each child’s standard score is based upon the score distribution at the age range and I was taught professionally and believe that is a fairer comparison because children aren’t always taught the same curriculum at the same point in a given year and that effect tends to wash out when age comparisons are done. "

Another Parent

MiddleSchool Curious said...

Would love to hear thoughts about Ecstein vs. JAMS. My daughter is HCC qualified and we will be making a decision this Fall about where to send her for 6th grade in 2016-17.

Anonymous said...

Not sure if it's been mentioned yet, but Mr Pounder is retiring. He was going to see the 7th graders in Geometry this year through Algebra 2 next year, but unfortunately he can't now because of ill health. He has told the kids that he probably won't be at school the last six weeks because he has to see doctors. I'm assuming (my kid is very vague, puberty!) that means he will be starting some course of treatment soon that will make him too ill to teach, and it is very concerning that he can't finish out the year as he had previously hoped. So that sounds like he'll be gone within the next week or ten days after spring break.
Mr Pounder has been a great and incredibly dedicated teacher for whole generations of APP students, at Washington and now at HIMS. My kid says he makes math so much fun and really easy to understand, that before they just memorize how to do things, now they can understand why things are done that way and figure out how everything are related and how it applies to life: now the world makes sense and it is beautiful (I didn't have this epiphany until much later and I was supposed to be very good in math nationally). I think this is the highest praise a math teacher can get.
If you feel the same about Mr Pounder, and is a current/former student of his or are parents/relatives of one of his former or present students and want to show your appreciation for his tireless work teaching kids throughout several decades, please do it very soon.
Whatever treatment he's going through sounds serious. Let him know what it has meant for you having him as your teacher in the next 7-10 days, as. he might be gone from Hamilton before end of April.
I think hearing what a difference he has made to many kids' lives and how he is that ONE teacher in school who you'll always remember; that he will always be thought of with thankfulness and joy - as that's what he helped you feel about math - JOY and MUSIC (if this is your experience, as it is for my kid and our friends' kids who were at Washington, if not, please don't say/write anything); hearing this will really help him in his fight against illness. He really deserves to have many great years in retirement doing whatever he loves most or relaxing in a hammock on a beach somewhere.
Thanks, and please let others know too, many families are on vacation this week and won't see this post.
(If my kid misinterpreted what Mr Pounder said, and he is just retiring early because he got great deals on a cruise to the South Pacific and just want to leave early to miss the crowds or something, please let me know, we'd be very happy & will just buy him a big hat and an ugly shirt.)

Anonymous said...

Yes, Pounder is really retiring. The best thing you can do for ANY teacher during teacher appreciation week, which is coming right up, is to write an email and cc that teacher's boss, the principal or department head about specifically how that teacher has made a difference to your student. Even if it's a teacher from a previous year. Starbucks cards and chocolate are great, but feedback about teachers who "get" our kids is invaluable at a time that the prevailing belief among most administrators is that any certificated teacher in any classroom can meet the needs of a gifted child.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @2:39
Sounds like your suggestion is more for the benefits of gifted kids than for their teachers. If you wush to write letters to admin about teachers you want to retain for APP, then that is fine. The previous post was about doing something for Mr Pounder, not your kids. You seem to have totally missed the part about his health. Cc'ing the admin isn't going to save Mr Pounder for gifted kids next year, and he's already done more than his part for decades.

Anonymous said...

Can't we just thank a teacher (or anyone) anymore without making sure there's some benefit to us?

Anonymous said...

Anon@1:41

Nice attitude. Are you from central district administration? Way to miss the point of the post.

-GottaChipOnYerShoulder

After School Options at Lincoln? said...

We will be joining HCC at Lincoln next year for our incoming 1st grader. Who do people use for after-school care besides KidCo? I'll get on the waitlist there but am wondering about busing and then putting in another after-school program in our neighborhood. What do you think? Would really appreciate some suggestions. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Boys & girls club. It's a little crowded at times but the kids seem to enjoy it there, and you can't beat $35 per year in terms of costs.

Anonymous said...

here's the latest article calling APP a white privilege program.

And the last line is unintentionally hilarious, too.

http://www.seattletimes.com/education-lab/skin-in-the-game-6-to-push-for-advanced-learning-or-not/

Greeny said...

What is the point of using "grade-based" norms, really? Yes, I read the rationalizations above, and am completely flumoxed by the 'differences in what is taught/when'(?) reason. With age norms, you ensure "apples to apples", fair comparisons - they're built as a compilation of years of all kids - nationally - who have taken the CogAT, at all ages, reporting down to the MONTH eg your 5 year, 4 month year old's scores are compared with a host of OTHER kids at 5 year, 4 months. Not 5 year, 1 month, not 5 year 11 month. And definitely, your kindergartender's score WONT be compared with a norm skewed by those red-shirted firstgraders. A summer birthday's IQ is compared with others born the same month, and not with those born the same summer month but held back in school a year (if you are 5, that's comparing against those with an extra 20% more developmental time) Coming from private to public, outside testing (we don't have all these tests in private GeD school :) - another thread, I know!) for diagnosis, not an appeal, I sought to understand this when later submitting scores to SPS. I got a clear "we use age-based" from them. Now IN SPS, I'm sure I would now follow-up, looking for at least a second person confirmation.

Anonymous said...

Grade based is only for the achievement part. The iq side is age based- february birthdays compared to february birthdays.

But the program is two years accelerated, so in addition to the question of "do you learn fast enough and differently enough to need to be in a self contained gifted program?" There is also the question of "are you prepared academically to begin this program next year?" So we have achievement tests, which do not eat problem solving skills at all, just content specific knowledge. For that it does not matter how old you are. If you can't multiply in third grade, you should not begin a program that is teaching sixth grade math in fourth grade.

Anonymous said...

I would like to know how do fellow middle school parents feel about having our students do the grade level math and English Language Art SBAC for days to get a result not really meaningful / appropriate / informative. Especially in math, when the students 2-3 years ahead will be required to do a much lower level test (for example 8th graders who are doing Algebra 2 and finished the State requirement EOCs in Algebra 1 and Geometry) will do Pre-Algebra level test.
- opting out

Anonymous said...

I guess I consider the state tests review and a check that grade level standards have been mastered. What bothers me about SBAC is the amount of class time being lost - 4 class periods each for both ELA and math. And that's on top of the Amplify testing. Then I look at what little learning is actually happening in my child's core classes this year (middle school, math excluded) and I think the SBAC is the least of my concerns. The whole "two years ahead" discussion is somewhat laughable when I look at the low expectations of some classes this year.

Anonymous said...

The SBAC tests your student on content from two years ago and gives you no useful information. You already know that your student tests very high, or he/she would not be in HCC. WHY ARE YOU PARTICIPATING in this fiasco? Do you, the parent really need that gratification every year? Your kid doesn't. It is of no use for gifted students or their teachers, and frankly not great for other kids either.

All HCC should opt out!!!!!

open ears

Anonymous said...

Actually, no, it is not testing material from two years ago, as not every class was aligned to Common Core two years ago, nor are they teaching the standards two years ahead. In middle school HCC, they are covering grade level standards in ELA.

Anonymous said...





IS JAMS TRYING TO ENFORCE A FAKE PE WAIVER REQUIREMENT OF 100 HOURS???!!!




If so, where do they get off?


Why, oh why do buildings think they can do this? It is a huge waste of everyone's time and creates so much ill will.

The PE wavier MUST be consistent district-wide. End of story. It must dove-tail with the law. End of story. If this isn't an cut-and-dried equity issue, don't know what is. The same rule needs to be applied in all buildings.


Is there an attorney someone can recommend? A simple writ dropped to SSD ought to clear this up fast. Talking seems to not result in action. A legal issue will get them to resolve this quickly on the basis of a finding of fact.



Push back on the PE policy, which isn't really an official district policy, right? HIMS tried requiring more hours - 90 instead of the state specified 60 - in order to get a PE waiver approved. The state specifies an average of 100 min per week (which works out to 60 hours).

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/WAC/default.aspx?cite=392-410-135

Waivers are allowed for "directed athletics." Karate class, yoga, dance...those are all directed athletics, yes? Call BS on the "competitive sports" requirement.

http://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=28A.230.040

Many students get PE waivers in order to participate in music. This benefits the school because they can squeeze more students into a music class than into an art class or other elective. It actually helps a school with capacity issues.

-push back!

4/17/15, 11:13 AM



A parent simply needs to drop a writ and then this will get fixed once and for all. That is the only way.

WRIT TIME

Anonymous said...

WRIT TIME,

Where did you hear that JAMS is bumping the requirement up to 100 hours for a PE waiver?

Anonymous said...

This year's PE policy, posted on JAMS website, says 60 hours - where is the info on the proposed 100 hours? The state required 100 minutes a week translates to 60 hours total. Are you positive the policy is changing for next year?

If so, Sherry Carr is the Board member that dealt with this very issue at HIMS. With her intervention, HIMS changed from 90 to the state required 60 hours. Contact her with your concerns and cite the related WACs and RCWs with pertinent language. Mention you are aware this was an issue at HIMS a few years back and she was able to help resolve the issue.

You should not need an attorney. The state law is on your side. Act now before the Board is out for summer.

-push back!

Anonymous said...

Again, where did you hear JAMS is proposing the requirement for next year will be 100 hours instead of 60?

Anonymous said...

My kid said the Assistant Principal of JAMS came to Lincoln for a talk and she told them about electives and to take band and language you need a PE waiver and that it requires a letter stating it takes 100 hours. He was clear this was said. Where on the JAMS web page does it say 60 hours? Maybe she mispoke. Maybe he misheard.

Also he said you can't get a PE waiver and take 2 half year electives. He said you can ONLY get a waiver to take 2 full year electives ( instrumental music + language). Why would that be? Says who? If a kid wants to take art + technology plus band, why not?

WRIT TIME

Anonymous said...

My kid went to that same talk and heard 100 minutes a week, nothing about hours. She added up her sports minutes to make sure she got there.

Let's check before we bring out the lawyers.

Anonymous said...

We are a JAMS family. I have not heard anything about the hours requirement being increased to 100 hours, which doesn't mean it's not true though. It is true that you can only get a PE waiver at JAMS if you take six year-long electives. Eckstein allows you to get one for any combination of semester and year-long classes. I have been pushing back on this at the school level. Would love some company.

Anonymous said...

Ok...sounds like miscommunication, because the JAMS website says 100 mins/week (see Forms and FAQs link). I'd simply email the Assistant Principal and confirm that it's still 60 hours (based on an average of 100 min per week).

As far as the PE waiver only for year long electives (meaning only music and foreign language) I'd agree it's pretty frustrating for those not in music. I think they don't want to plan for additional electives (and staff) if more students seek a PE waiver. My child liked PE class, if that's any consolation.

Anonymous said...

Big story in The Seattle Times about all Franklin HS students in 11th refusing the SBAC, with huge refusals in other HSs too. Then just looked at the Save Seattle Schools blog and a big discussion there too. I pulled my kids from this test and am proud of our family's action. I understand that some parents thoughtfully decided to do the opposite, and I respect that. What I don't respect is the vast cluelessness especially at the APP middle school level around what this test is and what its benefits and faults are. I really can't stand it when supposedly 'advanced' kids and their families can't take the time beyond their own self interest to look into an issue rocking the public school universe.

Action mom

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't you agree it's more of a no brainer for high school juniors to opt out? They are taking a combination of the ACT, SAT, AP, and IB exams, and they do not need the SBA for a graduation requirement this year.

As for opting out in middle school, I'm leaving it up to my child. If the test is as bad as it's made out to be, and my child decides it's beyond pointless, then refusal can be done verbally on the day of the test. They can simply decide to not complete the test.

Anonymous said...

I hear staff morale at Lincoln is at another all time low. Anyone know the truth? Another annual staff exodus?

Anonymous said...

No, I really haven't heard that. I hear some fear about class sizes next year, and the specialists being overwhelmed by the sheer number of kids they see. But that at least should be improved next year. Overall morale seems pretty good. It's a huge staff now, though. I would be surprised if no one was unhappy. I am sure someone is.

New HCC parent said...

Does Lincoln have any summer playground playdates or mixers for new kids (especially first graders) to meet each other? My son is an entering first grader at Lincoln this year and since we won't be attending our neighborhood school any longer, I'd love my son to meet some of his new classmates before school starts. We're in Ballard.

Anonymous said...

*correction

"next year" not this year

Anonymous said...

hcc parent all 1st graders are new to L@L - he will fit in just fine.

Anonymous said...

New HCC parent,

Yes, Lincoln usually has some organized summer playdates for incoming 1st graders. You'll likely be notified of the dates via email sometime in June.

-ML

Anonymous said...

Suggestions on saveseattleschools blog to once again punt some north end HCC middle schoolers into yet another enrollment pattern. The madness never ends. Not mad at the discussion. Hopping mad at the district. Where is the enrollment leadership and planning on fitting all kids in?

Anonymous said...

northend will be divided.

I think they will put QA/Magnolia at lowell with CH and mountlake kids the rest will go to WP

Anonymous said...

Anon at 12:11-- what's CH? Are you guessing as to this placement or do you have a source? I'm hoping my 6th grader and 5th grader (who will also be at HIMS in the fall) will be able to finish at HIMS as well. Thanks

Anonymous said...

At a JAMS parent meeting, months ago, the principal mentioned something about delaying some phase of the work. It was something about not wanting the teachers to have to pack up their classrooms and then set up classrooms the week before school. Okay...but what about the students? I think the work involved top to bottom refinishing of one wing (earthquake retrofitting? removing asbestos containing floor tiles?..wish I knew). Will this delay exacerbate the impending capacity issue?

(guessing CH is Capitol Hill)

Victoria K said...

Hi there,

Is anyone else sending a student from Ravenna/Bryant to Lincoln and using before/after care? My daughter will be new this fall and we're figuring out transportation options. Would love to hear how others are managing this.

Victoria

Anonymous said...

Anyone have thoughts about the AL website's call for focus group nominations? HCC at Madison MS and WS High School - good idea/bad idea?

Anonymous said...

Bad idea. I'd like to hear why I'm wrong though. It seems to be supported by a group of parents who have no experience with middle and high school highly capable programs.

ebgrivas said...

Hi I'm new here, so let me know if there's a different place to post. My Hamilton APPr is heading to Ingraham in the fall, and we are looking for transport options from Tangletown/Wallingford because we are not close to Aurora's Metro bus. I know of one shuttle named Let's Tour Seattle which stops at Bagley and 45th St. Anyone know another option?