Friday, September 4, 2015

Garfield and Ingraham Course Scheduling

Per a parent's request this thread is for discussing the difficulties in scheduling the desired classes at the high schools. 9th grade languages seem to be particularly affected. Although this issue is not HCC specific it certainly affects the cohorts.

I have 2 general  requests:

1. Please remember to be to kind to your fellow parents.  We're all in this together.
2. If someone would  be willing to email Ted Howard and find out an official position on language classes and repost it  that would be helpful.

60 comments :

Anonymous said...

Ingraham added several sections of Japanese and French for 15-16 and our Spanish classes still have a few seats. Although I was not aware of any language scheduling problems at Ingraham, this wouldn't be the first time I was out of touch with reality! If you have scheduling issues that have not been resolved by the counseling office, please email me directly at mfloe@seattleschools.org. BTW. I am not aware of a specific language policy at Ingraham other than "take them if you want them". We do try to place students based on prior levels achieved by the student, but I am not sure I would call it a policy.
If I am missing something, I'm sure I will find out in the next few posts :)

Martin Floe

Anonymous said...

Oh, Mr. Floe, you are really making GHS look bad. (Not your fault). It seems shameful that GHS can't meet such a basic need, and that the problem has gone on for so long, impacting more and more students every year. It seems to me that parents are always told "this is the way it is" and "it makes them resilient" but in reality, it's far past the point of being an acceptable nuisance/reality of public school. It's a failure to meet basic needs. You know that old adage about the frog and the boiling water? If you put it in boiling water, it will jump out, but if you heat the water slowly it will boil and drown? Parents at GHS are officially boiled frogs at this point. The students (all students, not just HCC) deserve better. Veteran parents need to stop telling the newbies to simmer down, that's the way it is. It is much WORSE than before. Only the new ones grasp how bizarre it is to accept this situation blindly.

-GHS friend

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to provide an update that some freshmen at GHS were able to get moved into their preferred language today, but Spanish 1 apparently remains oversold. It was encouraging to hear there was some movement, as the message our kid was told by the counselor on orientation day was not to submit a change form because Spanish was full. I'm glad we submitted one anyway.

I understand that the budget has to prioritize providing courses needed to graduate high school over courses that are not necessary to graduate, even though they are required for college admission. At the same time, we and many other families are hoping that high school will prepare these students for college, not just for high school graduation.

- Por favor

Anonymous said...

Our Ingraham schedule is looking great - Spanish and all. Looking forward to Ingraham.

-ibx parent

Anonymous said...

The same thing happened to our incoming GHS freshman who had registered for Spanish II, and was told that "all world languages were full." Counselors made no mention of course change forms or any possibility of getting into ANY language in future. We were told to take a foreign language online or at the UW (at great cost of time and money).

I wish that Garfield and SPS would face up to the fact that, although SPS considers foreign language an "elective," many colleges and universities consider 3 or (ideally) 4 years of a foreign language to be an absolute requirement.

For a high school that prides itself on its "college going culture," this is unacceptable. We love Garfield, and appreciate the difficulties of budgeting and scheduling, but the school cannot consider itself as adequately preparing its students for college unless it is able to offer opportunities for all students to take the necessary college prep classes (and yes, foreign language is one of those).

And could the school really not see this huge class of incoming freshmen coming down the pipeline, and make hiring decisions accordingly?

-frustrated parent

Anonymous said...

Maybe GHS should scale back it's music program in favor of more world language classes. Universities don't require music, and have only minimal fine arts reqs. Could help reduce field trip problems as a bonus.

Anonymous said...

No. Just - no. This does not need to be an either/or scenario (i.e. music vs. foreign language). A high school can (and arguably should) provide both. The music programs at GHS are a huge part of the school's identity and provide amazing opportunities to students. Foreign languages are a necessity, and should be considered part of the school's core curriculum. "Scaling back" on popular and successful programs in order to provide core classes is quite obviously not a positive option for any school.

-parent

Anonymous said...

It's not just the freshmen who are affected at ghs. My sophomore didn't get into French 3. The situation also doesn't appear to meet the criteria for course changes. However, as others have pointed out, languages are not just an elective for college admissions. It's all very frustrating.

- over scheduling

Anonymous said...

My daughter's Ingraham schedule is great. She got the language class she needs - and although her first choice for computer programming class was full, the counselor helped her find an alternative computer programming class that pretty much covers the same material. I really appreciated the counselor's help and responsiveness.

Catherine

Anonymous said...

Re: music vs. language: I think it was Kellie LaRue (who is a brilliant commentator on capacity issues in the SPS) made the point that the middle and high schools couldn't handle their capacities without music classes. Since orchestra, band (and PE?) classes can handle up to 100 kids in a period, that helps enormously in scheduling and school capacity. Other classes have only 30-35 kids in a room with a teacher.

Mom of 2

Anonymous said...

Ingraham and Garfield sound like they exist in 2 different districts. How can these two schools be run so differently? And yes, that is kind of a rhetorical question.

Sad Bulldog

Anonymous said...

Sad Bulldog-

I know that the scheduling issues are disheartening - but the difference between Ingraham and Garfield go far beyond that. Garfield is a completely different world than Ingraham, really they have absolutely nothing in common aside from having a population of some really great kids (in all programs at both schools).

High school is much more than academics - and yes, if your child has his/her eye on Harvard from the get-go, the lack of 4-years of language may be a deal breaker. Judging from past college acceptances of kids from Garfield, I believe that our kid will be just fine. Granted, Harvard is not on their list but they will be graduating with 10 AP classes, a top-notch GPA from an incredibly competitive school and extra-curricular activities and experiences that are truly unique to Garfield.

I wish everyone the best of luck as they navigate the high school years and please try and remember that there are many different paths to "success"; however, you may define that term and your child can find that path at truly any high school in the city.

Happy Bulldog

Anonymous said...

Yes, when college admissions officers look at applications, they do indeed weigh both academics and extracurriculars (though academics obviously most strongly). However, many selective colleges, not just Harvard, really do want to see 3, or even better, 4 consecutive years of a foreign language. And college admissions is not likely to get any less competitive any time soon. I'm not a big believer in tons of AP classes, though I know that some colleges like to see them, but I AM a believer in the absolute necessity of knowing a foreign language, not just for college admission but also for becoming a contributing member of an increasingly global society. I don't blame Garfield for its scheduling and other issues (though I hope they get resolved somehow soon!) but it is myopic of SPS not to change its definition of a foreign language from an "elective" to a "core class."

-Hopeful Bulldog

Anonymous said...

Semifinalists for National Merit Scholarships have been posted by the Seattle Times.

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/education/national-merit-scholarship-program-announces-semifinalists/

Anonymous said...

Very surprised by the National Merit Scholarship list. It's certainly not the most important marker of achievement, but it's one marker. As one who has followed this blog for years, this is a small number from Garfield and Ingraham. In past years, Lakeside and Garfield were always neck and neck for most Seattle winners - some of us who have been tracking the split to Ingraham figured that they would soon split the number of winners. But it seems very few from both - and yet so many from Interlake in Bellevue, which I thought was the model for the Ingraham IBX program. Of course every year is different, it's just one test, etc. But I'm very surprised, especially given the huge numbers of HCC flooding GHS and IHS these days compared to say, 5-10 years ago. Anyone else?

-Remembering the old days

Anonymous said...

Remember when you read that Lakeside list that the majority of those are kids that transferred from APP after middle school. Lotsa familiar names on that list.

open ears

hschinske said...

There've always been a lot of kids from APP who go on to Lakeside and other schools, though. I remember years and years ago looking at the list in the Lowell office with the names of former Lowell kids highlighted, and there were always a bunch at Garfield and a bunch scattered all over other schools.

Helen Schinske

hschinske said...

My son didn't get into one of his electives at Ingraham (auto shop), but I'm assuming it's either our error, or a glitch we can get fixed.

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

The big difference in your experience is that at Ingraham, not getting a class can be hopefully described as a glitch you can get fixed. At Garfield, you are told all the classes are full, go take it somewhere else, don't bother even filling out a change request form, etc...but a GHS student can never assume a scheduling error is a glitch that can and will be fixed.

Tired

hschinske said...

I know -- I had two kids at Garfield previously (well, one of them decamped to Nova after half a year).

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

re: National Merit Semifinalists
I too was stunned when I saw the low numbers for Garfield and Ingraham. Yes, I agree that some of the Lakeside names were previous APP kids, but that's been true in the past and there were still many at GHS that achieved this distinction. I guess I'm curious as to whether it's an issue of curriculum/instruction or just a culture of not caring about these tests as much. Either way, it seems like a troubling sign for parents choosing between SPS for high school or jumping ship to private school.

Stunned Middle School parent

Anonymous said...

To become a National Merit Semifinalist, you need to score in the top 1% in your state. The cutoff for each state is therefore different. Washington State's 2015 score cutoff was 219 (out of 240), whereas Oregon's was 217 and Utah's was 208. The highest cutoffs were in DC (224), CA (222), MA (221), MD (221), and CT (222). If you want to really increase your odds, you'd move to SD (203) or Wyoming (204).

http://blog.prepscholar.com/national-merit-semifinalist

Perhaps the change in numbers can be partially attributed to changing demographics with the influx of tech workers and their families. Look at Interlake results. WA had the 6th highest cutoff. It may get more competitive as time goes on.

Anonymous said...

Another thought about the changing numbers is that they may have less to do with the schools themselves (i.e. Lakeside vs. Garfield or Ingraham) and the quality of the teaching or curriculum therein, and more to do with what kids at those schools are doing to achieve the kind of PSAT scores you need to quality as a National Merit Semifinalist. Could it be that kids at Lakeside or Interlake are doing more PSAT prep and PSAT tutoring? This can dramatically impact scores, particularly as most other kids going into the PSAT are going in cold - i.e., using it for practice only, which is what it was intended for.

Another parent

Anonymous said...

Have you looked at the new PSAT sample questions? The math is Algebra 2, tops, with very limited Geometry or Trig, and an unusual amount of statistics type problems and operations with quadratics. It's based largely on math APP/HCC students would have (or should have) covered in middle school math and basic science classes. Studying for the PSAT means reviewing math they covered in middle school. Middle school. And when did Discovering Algebra become the adopted text? 2009. Current high school students learned the basics with CMP and Discovering Algebra...not the best preparation.

Anonymous said...

Re: the National Merit scores. Yes, I see a couple (2 or 3) I recognize from the old APP at Lakeside. But as Stunned MS parent says, that's not new. What's new is the shockingly low #s from IHS and GHS. This is a pure number score, and we know the kids are as smart as those at Interlake or Lakeside. It's the CURRICULUM. Those scores are prime example of the failure and dumbing down of curriculum over the past 5 years, especially on math. The kids were the product of Everyday Math. Mastery of math (and acing of SAT or PSAT sections) are about a solid base and practice. It was never a problem before for APP kids and that's why GHS either led the state or went neck and neck with Lakeside with the number of finalists in upper 20's. The kids haven't gotten dumber and it's sour grapes to say those other schools are doing test prep. They haven't changed. We have. A better curriculum would have these kids performing as they should.

-remembering the old days

Anonymous said...

I think that the class of '16 is a small APP one. If I remember correctly from the Lowell days, class of' 15 and '17 were much larger. This could just be a proportion thing. Someone more clever with actual numbers might prove me wrong, though.

-old dragon

hschinske said...

Re "The kids were the product of Everyday Math," Ingraham doesn't do fuzzy math, so their students shouldn't have been too much affected -- at least not more than the private school students who went through eighth grade in public schools.

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

Helen,

Then what's your thought on the very low numbers from IHS? Only 6 students out of all those IBX grads? (And only 7 from GHS!?) If the math was so solid, seems there should have been more. There's less than 150 students per grade at Lakeside - and they had 24. This is an objective test. Lakeside has stayed steady. SPS has noticeably dropped. Maybe this year is an anomaly, but I doubt it. I think it's the math. Happy to hear more thoughts....

-remembering

Anonymous said...

I agree that I think its partially the math. I also think its a general apathy about standardized tests that really don't mean anything. These are the kids who opted out of MAP and SBAC and have been at the forefront of that opt out movement. These same kids are pulling very strong ACT and SAT results -- far higher than you would expect if you believe there is a correlation to their PSAT scores.

Out kid scored a 191 on PSAT and a 2250 on the SAT. Zero correlation.

The only thing that PSAT is for is resume-building - and these kids resume's look just fine. There are a couple schools that offer significant tuition scholarships if you become a finalist so if that matters to you (or your kid) then review 6th grade math before taking the test.

Otherwise, I wouldn't worry too much about it.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 7:41. That's pretty dismissive. I don't think most people put the PSAT or SAT in the category of the ridiculous standardized tests like MAP and SBAC. The PSAT is all about scholarships - that's great it doesn't matter to you. Glad your kid did great. But I think it's a disturbing trend and someone should be looking at the bigger picture as to why numbers have dropped. If it's opt out, great, but I doubt it. This one benefits the kid, not the district. I haven't heard of folks "opting out" of the PSAT on principle.

Any other thoughts? Helen?

-remembering

Anonymous said...

I don't know a lot about Natl Merit Scholarships. Seems like high scoring kids in each state get invited to compete but then have to write an essay and also get letters of commendation from their schools.

Is it possible that our overworked, overcapacity schools didn't provide as many commendation letters recently or somehow kids just didn't go through the requirements to compete after being nominated?

How big of a deal is Natl Merit status anyway? The winners appear to get $2,500, which is great but not sufficient to cover college expenses. Is it mostly a prestige thing? Better odds at acceptance at certain schools?

--middle school parent with a lot to learn

Anonymous said...

Did anyone notice that the District has dramatically changed the HCC eligibility application process and removed the description about appeals from the website in entirety?

Check it all out here: http://www.seattleschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=14554

Shockednotshocked

Anonymous said...

correcting myself from earlier. I guess the list is semi-finalists only, not finalists, so they have not yet given out the scholarship money or review the kids' essays or school recommendations. Sorry for the confusion

--middle school parent who makes mistakes

Anonymous said...

Sorry Remembering - didn't mean to be dismissive. I can see where this might be important to some people and the recognition for both Garfield and Ingraham, of course, would be great.

Just sharing my personal opinion that the PSAT isn't even close to as important as the SAT/ACT and I do feel based on my observations that most students would agree and do group it into the MAP, SBAC, EOC etc, so it would follow that the effort level was likely pretty low unless they were highly motivated in the fall of their junior year to go to USC or another school that gives significant scholarships for the recognition.

The question then becomes, are kids today more disinterested in the PSAT than years previously - my guess is "yes" based on over-testing. Our kids are tested far more than Lakeside kids and the cynicism among high school students about it is pretty rampant.

The truth is, the reason likely lies in a number of areas, including less retention from middle-school math AND test apathy. I certainly don't believe the kids are any less "smart" than they have ever been.



Anonymous said...

But there are so many more APP students now than there used to be, wouldn't it follow that the proportion of National Merit semifinalists would increase based on the growing numbers of students in the program? In my kids' day (not long ago, but before the big growth in APP) it was a definite win to have your name announced as a National Merit Semifinalist and have it appear on the counseling office window all year. These kids are competitive and want to ace these tests. They know they are not the same as the SBAC, MAP, etc. Perhaps it is not just the math that is the problem but the generally lowered bar for APP in general.

Tired

Anonymous said...

Fair comment, Anon 10:55.. I personally do feel they are a big deal, and the scholarship means a lot to some (I used one back in the day). I really doubt kids are less interested in the PSAT than in the past, but I don't have data to back it up. For kids who are focused on college, it is a big deal. It's a nice feather in the cap - not just for the top competitive schools but across the board, and can open the door to more scholarships from those individual colleges or universities.

We know one kid who was a finalist a couple of years ago, and went to a solid (not top tier but good) school in the midwest - and the NM finalist thing was the thing that got them interested in her and started the outreach from them. She ended up getting a really good amount of money as scholarship (not need-based). The college was happy to have a Finalist and she got a great private education at a small place where she wanted to go at the same cost as public in state (which she was accepted to as well). She wouldn't have known about the possibility of that school if not for that.

-remembering





Anonymous said...

Shocked not shocked - there is a step in the process for referral and testing for HCC on the link you sent that includes the appeal process. Click on the link for Information and Applications for the fall/winter testing session 2015/16.

Tired

Anonymous said...

If you are legacy, have connection, and/or have a pretty decent college saving plan, to make the semi list of finalists may not matter much. It's not the dollar amount, but access to better schools and access to other far more lucrative scholarships as other posters mentioned. We take living in big metropolitan area for granted. In smaller places, to be one jumps out in an application. Taken as a whole country, it's still a small pool of feathers (16,000 semi-finalists this year out of 50 million public school students) which is why in competitive and monetary situation, makng the list holds value. I congratulate and admire the students who make it, but don't put heavy emphasis on it personally. Schools will look at the overall student profile and so much of that is out of our control. The only control my child has is choosing wisely and not fall for that hi prestige, hi pressure, hi student loan game.

tortoise

hschinske said...

Ninety percent of semifinalists go on to finalist. It's basically a matter of minor hoop-jumping most of the time, not further competition. (As far as I'm aware, the kids who don't either didn't bother to go through the hoops at all, or they're in trouble some way -- dropped out of school or something.)

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

Not sure if this helps re: the conversation on National Merit semi-finalists and math curricula, but my kid, who made the list, opted out of SPS math altogeher, in favor of more rigorous online programs. No PSAT prep was needed, as the math foundation received was rock solid. So score one for Stanford's EPGY and Johns Hopkins' CTY programs.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, anon at 4:47. That supports my theory. I talked to a Lakeside parent whose kid made the list too - and she said there was no test prep for it either. Just a rock solid foundation of math. Of course, the troubling part of the result isn't merely the lack of appearance on the National Merit list, with its attendant opportunities - the problem is the kids are going off to college without a solid foundation in math. Certain courses will not be open to them based on university placement exams, and this will impact their majors, and other opportunities. I can see it being discouraging, and turning away really smart capable kids who had a poor foundation in math from some really great career choices. It's not about test scores - it's about an education.

-remembering

Anonymous said...

I totally agree about the math foundation issue -- looking back, we probably should have supplemented math in middle school; however, I am not worried about college level math for our kid. He has a the benefit of being able to study and review and pick things up again pretty quickly.

Our senior did very well on the math portion of the ACT - after he prepped a bit for it. The prep was absolutely necessary - again likely due to no supplementation or support for subpar curriculum. He is fully aware that he will be taking Calculus again in college, even after taking AP Calc. He didn't even take the AP exam because he realized that the score was useless. Even if he pulled a good score (you only have to score 50% correct to get a 5 on the test I believe?) - he doesn't know the material well enough to skip anything for the field that he wants to study.

Recommendation for current middle-school families -- all families, not just APP -- don't rely on SPS for a strong math foundation.

The kids we should be most worried about are the kids who take a bit longer to pick up math concepts, are not native-English speakers and have little support at home. Those are the kids who will bear long lasting effects of math education through SPS and will feel like they aren't "good" at math, when in reality with a better curriculum things could have been different.

-GHS Parent

Benjamin Leis said...

The last post reminds me of a pet cause of mine: I'm really hoping that the district finishes adopting a new math curriculum for middle school. There hasn't been much movement on that front despite the long gap now since the elementary curriculum was revamped.

Anonymous said...

Thank you GHS Parent. That is really useful information. That was the point of this discussion - not to lament the past, but to look forward. However, I wish someone was looking at some evidence (like National Merit lists, etc) to see the long view of the math curriculum over time, and do something different going forward. I agree that ALL kids need a better curriculum, not just HCC. But I sometimes selfishly feel that HCC are totally overlooked because of that "they'll all be fine!" approach. For years, I think the district (particularly Bob Vaughan, back in the day) defended allegations of weakening APP and a "dumbing down" of curriculum by always pointing to the fabulous achievements of the GHS kids. The argument I heard from him was, "If it's so bad, why do we have all these scholars? And kids going to great colleges?" Well, the scholars numbers have dropped dramatically. And while there will always be some super achieving kids (from GHS or IHS), it's not fair to use them as justification to stop supporting advanced learning or look at whether it is working as a program. The kids who are rock stars seem to be rock stars now DESPITE SPS, rather than because of it, and they are getting fewer and far between as the ones who don't have amazing home support (like GHS parent and others, including me, who can afford some test prep) are no longer given the same opportunities. The NMS scholars is a canary in the coal mine. People should pay attention.
-Remembering

Anonymous said...

The kids who are rock stars seem to be rock stars now DESPITE SPS, rather than because of it, and they are getting fewer and far between as the ones who don't have amazing home support (like GHS parent and others, including me, who can afford some test prep) are no longer given the same opportunities.

The program has changed for the worse with each split, and it's not just the math. Math is a big part of it - these students were the product of a lot of discovery math, from CMP to Discovering Algebra, and the curriculum is no longer adapted for accelerated learners, but just offered sooner. The weakening of the curriculum happened in LA/SS as well. This is not new information. The numbers of NMS just seem to be a data point confirming what parents have been saying for years.

I was told 7th graders used to read the Odyssey in its entirety, yet my middle schooler spent 3 weeks on a young readers edition of a book - it was maybe at a 4th grade reading level. It could have easily been read in 2-3 days. Assignments included drawing pictures. There was perhaps one formal essay written the entire year. If students aren't given work above grade level, can we expect them to achieve above grade level? The metrics used by the district (MAP and grades, and now SBAC?) are not showing the deficiencies in the program. Even if the deficiencies were more apparent to district staff, would there be any improvements made?

Anonymous said...

The Wa state nat. merit cut off this year, 219, is lower than it was when my kid got it.

It did seem like a big deal at first, but looking back not so much. Nat Merit actually offers very few scholarships. Most are offered by colleges or by companies. There are full-ride scholarships available at some schools for Nat Merit, and many students take advantage of that. Schools like U of Arizona, Oklahoma & Texas. Other schools offer national merit scholarship that are or are not guaranteed like 50% at USC & Northeastern. But there are equally good merit scholarships available for non nat. merit students. Those awards were based on SAT scores, GPA & EC's. There is no advantage at highly competitive schools, like Stanford or MIT. Your SAT scores are more important there.

My student didn't really like the colleges that had large nat. merit money available. But got a great merit offer from the school she wanted. She ended up a nat merit scholarship winner from a company, but not much money.

If you don't need merit money I don't see any advantage beyond getting your name in the paper. And if you do need merit money, most of it is not based on nat. merit status. Schools care more about SAT scores.

-my 2 cents

Anonymous said...

-my 2 cents

You're missing the point. The posters are talking about lack of math EDUCATION, and the merit scores are just an indicator of that. It's not about "getting your name in the paper." Sheesh.

And FWIW, we'll be one of those families hoping for money from those "lesser" schools that might have money for scholarships. It's great that your student "didn't like the colleges that had nat. merit available." Even your kid got some company money.

Look at the big picture too. Regardless of need for scholarships, are you really OK with the vast majority of our HCC grads not having mastery of the basic math required to ace that test? Of going to college and not being able to placement test into the same courses that students from the rest of state and country can? C'mon. We can do better than this. Think past your own student. Who can we get to look holistically at the curriculum?

-just sayin'

Anonymous said...

Where are you getting that the vast majority of HCC grads are not going to be able to place into the same courses that students from the rest of the state and country can? All of that from a PSAT score? No credit to the SAT/ACT math scores, which are typically quite high - albeit with some review/prep before the test. A better curriculum would remove the necessity for review maybe, but the idea that none of the HCC kids understand math is a major leap.

I buy into the need for a better curriculum - I don't, however, but into the doom and gloom of HCC students forever wallowing away and not grasping basic middle-school math concepts because they didn't make the National Merit cut-off score.

That's a little much for me.

Anonymous said...

Sorry,

My post was to give information about the mechanics of national merit money for those who are wondering how important it is.

I didn't mean to sound dismissive of merit money. What I was saying is that there is lots more merit money not attached to nation merit status than is available for national merit scholars. Even the schools that have full-ride heavy recruitment for national merit scholars have similar merit opportunities for students who are not nat. merit scholars. There are guaranteed full-rides available for students based on GPA/SAT/EC's . There are many more of them at many more schools, than for national merit. My kid chose a school that had full-ride but not associated with national merit. I didn't say 'lesser' schools. I think most kids get out of college what they put into it, regardless of school prestige.


I never assumed that district curriculum would teach my kids everything they want to learn or everything I think they should learn. But the PSAT has also not guided or defined what my kids learn.

As to math. I think it was made clear by many voices in higher ed at the time of the CPM2,EDM, Discovering Algebra adoptions, that mastery would not be taught. Even the district said that mastery was not the goal of those curricula. Many of us protested that, went to board meetings, wrote letters, voted for board candidates that support different curricula, etc. That fight continues as we saw in the MIF adoption and will certainly be a factor in the board election. I don't think it is a surprise if students depended completely on those texts they didn't master math skills. It is terrible for all SPS students.

-my 2 cents

Anonymous said...

Anon @4:52, you mentioned HCC "SAT/ACT math scores, which are typically quite high."
Can you please point me to those data? I've never been able to find anything about how HCC students perform on these exams in comparison to others, but would love to see it.

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

You won't find any data comparing HCC students to non-HCC students on SAT or ACT -- that is personal info that people may or may not share. I am basing my info on having two high school HCC students - 2 years apart - that tested well personally and their friends had similar scores. They do share scores with their friends (both HCC and non-HCC) and many of them are applying to the same highly selective schools - and gaining admission. I know that doesn't represent 100% of all HCC kids, but its a strong sample.

If the math SAT/ACT scores were inherently low, admissions of HCC kids to top-tier schools would show a decrease over the years I would think? I consider top-tier schools to include many beyond the ivy-league - Carleton, CMC, Pomona, Stanford, NYU, UW Honors etc. although there are always some kids going to the ivies every year (Princeton, Brown, Yale, Dartmouth, Columbia - I haven't seen any go to Harvard lately - although I don't even know any kids who actually applied to Harvard).

I have a current senior (yay - officially on Thursday now that they are going back to school) and her stats put her in the 99% in the nation based on GPA/ACT score - which actually doesn't guarantee her anything as far as admission to a top-tier school but it certainly puts her in the running. She is not interested in applying to the ivies -- she is far from a cut-throat type of kid so she is looking for a better fit - a more collaborative approach. Her school choice will be based on personal fit as well as considering merit offers etc. Gaining admission to "that" school will be a success story.

The day when HCC kids stop being admitted to the schools that they want to go to (top-tier or not) is when we need to sound the big alarm. I don't see that happening yet - in any way, shape, or form - but who knows what will happen 5 years from now.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 6:40 (could people please use names?) -


"The day when HCC kids stop being admitted to the schools that they want to go to (top-tier or not) is when we need to sound the big alarm. I don't see that happening yet - in any way, shape, or form - but who knows what will happen 5 years from now."

I strongly disagree. Do you have any data to back this up? Anecdotes about the kids who got into top schools don't help - there will always be rock stars who go to top schools, but are you sure all HCC kids are getting into the schools they want to go to? Or are you talking about your peer group? Do we know that 5 years ago 95% got into a first choice and that number is the same? We can't go on anecdotes. And again, I think that the rock stars are rock stars despite SPS, and have had a ton of outside support and supplements. But is that ALL the HCC kids? (Yes, there is a bottom 50% of HCC too, and not all are from affluent families). The NM test scores are an objective data point - I think it is fair to sound the alarm, especially given what others have posted from their experience.

I've noticed that there are some folks who vehemently defend HCC no matter what. I'm a big supporter! My kid is there! But that doesn't mean we shouldn't be concerned at trends or possible curriculum flaws. It's great your kid has fab test scores. Does everyone in his or her class? No one here is talking about Ivy league admission. We're talking about a solid educational foundation, which I believe is no longer happening through SPS. I don't think that the measure of success or failure should be if they get into Ivies or top colleges. It's about EDUCATION, not prestige. But scholarship potential is a big deal. And not being able to pass UW's placement test into their calculus classes. Objectively, HCC kids no longer ace the NM test. I think we should explore why. Maybe this year is just an outlier. How about some data, and less anecdotes and personal stories. Chances are (myself included) if you are on this blog, you're an involved, typical HCC parent. Your kid is probably a star. We're not hearing from the parents who AREN'T here, whose kids maybe aren't 99% in the nation like your kid. If you have data about an entire graduating class of HCC kids, would love to see it.

-remembering

Anonymous said...

Remembering -

You have convinced yourself there is a huge issue - regardless of actual input from other HCC parents.

Obviously you are correct because anything anyone else says that doesn't support your view is unacceptable.

The sky is falling and SPS is not educating HCC students anymore because the number of PSAT National Merit Semi-finalists are not at the level that they were when the program was smaller and centralized. As a result, they will all be placed in remedial math in college.

Happy?

I don't share your view and I'm ok with that.

hschinske said...

One set of data that should belong to the school district: a few years ago there was a grant to have all freshmen and sophomores take the PSAT for practice. That data, as far as I recall, was never released; there was a lot of hoohah about why (e.g., http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/2009/11/psat-update.html).

I do remember there were at least a couple-three kids in my daughters' class at Garfield who were scoring in the National Merit range as freshmen.

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

anon at 11:33.

Pretty petty. I guess by the same token we can say because everything worked out for your kid, middle school parents shouldn't ask for a better math curriculum. Let's wait 5 years. Oh and use college acceptances as the measure (only the ones you deem appropriate - not too competitive like Ivies or too lowly in your opinion) and see if every thing is hunky dory for a few select kids then. Happy?

I wish your kid well. Fine if we don't share views.

Helen, thanks for the info. Does anyone know if the Advanced Learning office is going to be doing anything besides testing/admissions this year? Is the APP/AC still active? Is there someone from AL who meets with them?

Thanks Benjamin for trying to track curriculum. It would be good to have evidence and data to go to the district with.

-remembering

Anonymous said...

At an APP/AC meeting last year, there was some mention of AL moving to a computerized system for tracking applications and appeals. Hopefully it will significantly reduce the time demands on AL.

For those interested in numerical comparisons, here's a count of NMS for the past few years, listed in order of Lakeside, Garfield, and Ingraham (based on Seattle Times numbers).

2015 - 24, 7, 6
2014 - 33, 11, 10
2013 - 42, 19, 0
2012 - 40, 15, 2
2011 - 31, 22, 2
2010 - 36, 18, 3
2009 - 28, 17, 0
2008 - 30, 20, 2

Is the sky falling? Hard to say, but the 2015 numbers are somewhat lower when you look at past numbers, for Lakeside as well. Without knowing the number of APP students, it's hard to say what the numbers mean. Plus, it's one year. I also wonder if we'll start to see more and more HCC/APP qualified students decide to stay at their neighborhood school (Ballard and Roosevelt) rather than choose IB at Ingraham or an overcrowded Garfield.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting those #'s - they are super interesting and it does put this year's number in perspective with Lakeside's #s falling as well.

The class of 2016 is a VERY small class relative to other years (Garfield/Ingraham -- have no idea why Lakeside #'s would be lower as they have a consistent size class from year-to-year) so maybe that is a correlation. That was a "low" year as well. Last year's # was actually pretty high - if you add up Garfield and Ingraham.

Next year's class is larger, and the class after that is even larger - so it will be interesting to see if the National Merit #'s increase next year.

-GHS Parent

Anonymous said...

Many of you are looking at only one end. Don't forget the hype and gaming these "highest ranked, most prestigious" universities play on their end to get and keep their ranking. Balance that out to get a better perspective. Your kids are not competing against perfection, but money. Lots and lots of money here and abroad. You think Harvard with its crazy, ridiculous endowment the size of a small country GDP can be happy with what loot it has. Think again. It's never enough. Same with Stanford and all the ivies. The kids they are favoring: the connected (VIP and legacies), the very smart poor, the artistic and athletic, and the monied. It's sad because as states have cut back funding their higher Ed, many state U have had to resort to similar gamenship for funding, ranking, and resources.

I don't really understand why people like to compare our PUBLIC schools with Lakeside. Wouldn't it be more relevant and meaningful if you are going to make comparison, to do so against Bellevue or Issaquah school districts? People assume Lakeside is a geek school (legacy of Gates and Allen?). It's not.

HS parent





RosieReader said...

I know this thread has mostly died, thanks to the light provided by the actual facts that Anonymous posted on 9/17@ 9:23 am. But I want to add one more thought. Doesn't the PSAT cover language skills as well? Why would anyone assuem that it was the math scores that were "the problem," if any problem existed?

Anonymous said...

Correct, it's not just math. But if your math isn't up to par you won't qualify even if you do well on the other sections.