Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Questions about Spectrum

There's a lot of discussion of Spectrum on the Open Thread so I though it would be worth breaking it out into a separate post.

Some General Points:

  • Spectrum is a building by building program and can vary quite widely in implementation.
  • One thing to bear in mind when asking about Spectrum on this forum is I assume most parents have moved to HCC instead because they found it wanting and you therefore are less likely to get a balanced picture.
  • If you're a prospective parent, definitely take advantage of the upcoming tours at the Spectrum sites and ask your questions there. Yes many schools are full but you never know what will happen in the open enrollment lottery so I wouldn't rule anything out based on that.

Some Larger Questions:
  • There's a lot of uncertainty about the future of the program.
  • I personally have questions despite having a Spectrum qualified child myself about whether 3 tiers of education is the best model for how to do things.
  • I've thought in the past and this recent conversation has made me consider it again whether this blog should more directly focus on all advanced learners including Spectrum.  I'm not sure if that would dilute focus and if it would be too much work but I'm curious as always what others think.



The conversation thus far ....





Many of the comments I've read on this site are quite negative about the Spectrum program.

Is it pointless to put a Spectrum qualified child into the designated Spectrum school? (Lawton, in our case). My Kindergarten daughter isn't getting a great education where she is as the curriculum is moving too slowly for her, but from reading the comments on this site I'm not sure moving her will make much of a difference?

Thanks --

Coe parent
Anonymous Lynn said...
The first problem is that Lawton is over capacity - so your child will not be able to transfer. In a school where Spectrum students aren't in a self-contained class, seats are offered to students from outside the attendance area only when space is available.

The quality of a cluster-grouped Spectrum program is dependent on the ability and willingness of your child's teacher to differentiate instruction and the make-up of the classroom that year. This is exactly what you'll get in your neighborhood school. I don't think it's worth moving even if you had the opportunity.

Might she qualify for APP?
Anonymous Anonymous Anonymous said...
Does Coe have walk to math? Isn't that kind of all you get from Lawton in Spectrum these days? It's been awhile for us so I hope someone with more recent experience will comment.

asdf
February 2, 2016 at 12:42 PM
 Delete
Anonymous Anonymous said...
What type of advanced work have Bryant ALO students received?

- New to Bryant

Anonymous Anonymous Anonymous said...
So are there any Spectrum or ALO schools that anyone thinks IS doing a good job meeting the Advanced Learners needs?

NB Parent

Anonymous Anonymous said...
NB Parent - My son is at Lafayette Elementary, which still has self-contained Spectrum (although who knows how long that will continue). He's only in first grade, so we don't have a lot of experience with Spectrum yet, but this year they are covering both first and second grade curriculum so they will be ready for third grade work next year. If they decide to get rid of self-contained classes, we'll be first in line to switch to Fairmount Park.

-Lafayette Mom

AnonymousAnonymous Anonymous said...
My HCC qualified child has attended both Coe and Lawtom. Coe has an excellent ALO program. There is a math specialist doing dMany of the comments I've read on this site are quite negative about the Spectrum program. 

Is it pointless to put a Spectrum qualified child into the designated Spectrum school? (Lawton, in our case). My Kindergarten daughter isn't getting a great education where she is as the curriculum is moving too slowly for her, but from reading the comments on this site I'm not sure moving her will make much of a difference?

Thanks --
Coe parent
Anonymous Anonymous said...
@Former Coe parent. Thanks for your comment. That's interesting. Do you mind if I ask why you didn't put your child into Cascadia? Are you going to as you are unhappy with Lawton?
--Coe parent

Anonymous Anonymous said...
It used to be that Bryant was one size fit all and the ALO program meant an occasional extra worksheet in the homework. This year they're trying to differentiate a little more seriously. There's talk of a year of growth for every student. My second grader has an embryonic walk to math once a week (but not for 3rd grade math) and they do a walk-to reading group by level as well. There's been some experiments with blended math learning earlier this fall. Overall, most advanced learners leave Bryant over the math and that still is not as good as options at other schools. We'll see if they add more next year.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
There is more talk about advanced learning lately at Bryant but for whatever reason it doesn't seem that they are able to implement any meaningful changes. They had attempted to fund a staff position that would take on some of the administration of walk to math and other extensions but without it, the staff has not moved beyond a very skeletal version of basic programs that other schools (see Coe above) are able to implement without extra staff. My feeling is that there is something about the building and staff philosophy that is contrary to implementing a meaningful structure for work above grade level and that isn't likely to change. They do have both the resources and the student capabilities despite their protests.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
NB parent-- You will find that parents all have differing opinions about how well their child's needs were met in spectrum & ALO schools. My child attended Loyal Heights, an ALO school. It was awesome for her, not one bad teacher or experience. But you will hear from others who will complain their child was not challenged. Granted my kid is highly self motivated. She was a stand out student, but it built her confidence and identity as a "smart" kid. Solid walk to math program. Great to be at a neighborhood school, great kids. I felt she was very well prepared for HCC in middle school. She did stellar on the private school admission test, which affirmed our confidence that she received a solid education. We have never done any tutoring or subject supplementing outside school. She was offered admittance to Lakeside for 6th, but we chose HCC instead.

42 comments :

Anonymous said...

My child tested into APP/HCC in 1st grade, so that's where we headed. I understand that every kid is different, and I know many parents would worry about having their kid "too far away," but I was more worried about a bored child than I was with having my kid a bit further away.

That said, I would not put my child in a spectrum program unless it was already my neighborhood school. There is no district support for spectrum (really no support for ALL of AL) and the principals are allowed to dismantle spectrum whenever they want. No one at the district is watching to make sure any accommodations are being made and there is no curriculum. To me, the risk is too high for a potential modest gain.

I wish the district would either support the program or get rid of it. This slow death is nuts.

-doogie

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that each school establishes its own ALL/Spectrum. So isn't its poor reputation the responsibility of the principals? In a nutshell, why would principals or the district not want to support it? (Is it money? Time?)
South Dad

Anonymous said...

I had wanted my kid in Spectrum, as it seemed more appropriate a jump from kindergarten, but I was afraid that I could not get a seat at our Spectrum school (Lafayette) due to capacity. So I sent our kid to APP. It was not my first choice, but the only protected choice, with the scores. It has worked out fine, but was a large jump. If you choose Spectrum, but don't get a spot you kid could be thrown back in the neighborhood school.

West

Anonymous said...

Coe Parent,

My other child is not HCC qualified and I wanted my kids in the same school. I wish we could've stayed at Coe as they were meeting both of my kids' needs in an incredible way. We will stick with Lawton (only one year left in elementary). It's not a bad school, but it has less resources than Coe.

Former Coe Parent

Anonymous said...

Spectrum at Washington will move to Meany in 2 years when it opens, with HCC staying at Washington, at least that is the plan as heard this year. Bad for both schools if you ask me. Some kids will get yanked out of Washington in the middle of middle school. Washington will have a monstrous economic and racial divide between HCC and General Education students. Spectrum at Meany will likely be next to nothing as it likely won't be politically feasible to separate out Spectrum and General Education. Parents will likely howl.

Watching on Capitol Hill

Lynn said...

Spectrum won't move out of Washington - as all middle schools are required to offer Spectrum. What will happen is all the Spectrum students living in the Meany attendance area will be reassigned to Meany, leaving virtually no Spectrum students behind.

Spectrum students at Washington have already lost their self-contained classrooms this year. I expect there won't be much complaint about Meany. I agree though that Washington will be a very odd place once Meany reopens. I wonder what the prinicpal is planning.

Anonymous said...

What is the reason Spectrum is uncertain? By this, I mean what is driving the negative attitude toward it from SPS employees? From what I can tell parents seem to desire it (and desire it to be even more robust..). What is causing families and educators to be on opposite sides?

Is it a particularly expensive program or one that is complicated to run?

South Dad

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have any experience with Spectrum and ALO at John Hay? Is the new principal still supporting the program?

CC Coalback

Anonymous said...

South Dad, no I don't think it is that expensive or complicated. I think there are a few reasons for the parent/administrator divide.

1) the only incentives the district give are for the bottom half of the class, so building focus is naturally on catching kids up rather than helping kids who are already there go further.

2) Most kids are not in a Spectrum program, and those families do not like the Spectrum program, so administrators and teachers get pressure to end it. Since there are no incentives to help the Spectrum kids further, the deck is tipped a bit toward the families who don't want it, and they are the majority anyway.

3) Most educators are given no training on giftedness and think the kids who qualify are just white and whiny, not that there could be any benefit to either them or gen ed kids to separate classes. We have had teachers who just congratulated us on our daughter finishing the curriculum before October, so she could "just kick back and enjoy the year." Not learning anything during an academic year and being bored is not considered a real problem, just "whininess." The only allowable problem is being behind.

4) Spectrum classes tend to be whiter/more Asian and richer than gen ed classes. I think this is a symptom of system societal inequality, and no one is helped by keeping kids from learning, even if they are more ready to learn because of an unfair system, and in fact keeping them from learning is a grave societal harm we should work hard to address. Many teachers and educators would tell you that the class make up is a result of discriminatory testing and is not a symptom but itself the cause of societal inequality, and "those kids will be fine anyway." Several present and past board directors (as well as one superintendent- Banda) agree with the latter philosophy.

5) Probably, unfortunately the most salient, it is easier to deal with capacity when there is only one kind of student- a gen ed student- so you can divide them however you like.


-sleeper

Anonymous said...

...and no more self-contained Spectrum at Lafayette, starting 2016/17 school year.

http://lafayettees.seattleschools.org/

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have any info on whether Whittier Spectrum is self-contained? And how does it compare with West Woodland Gen Ed?

Anonymous said...

CC Coalback

There is no spectrum at John Hay. The spectrum program for the QA/Mag zone is Lawton.

My knowledge of ALO at John Hay is old, but we left the school for APP/HCC. ALO programs, in general, are lame and not supported.

-mouser

Ken said...

Hi Benjamin, I think coverage of Spectrum on this site would be useful too. A lot of the issues between Spectrum and HCC are similar. And a lot of the interest in both programs is for parents going through the process and trying to select schools -- discussion for both are useful.

I know for myself, we were more interested in Spectrum than HCC, but reading this blog has raised concerns that we may not be able to get our child into the Spectrum program of his choice (due to overcrowding). So maybe we should enroll in HCC to be safe... I most likely would not even though about about this w/o this blog.

Lynn said...

I think as Spectrum is now just cluster grouping, any discussion of it would really be about effective differentiation for advanced students in the general education classroom. No need to limit it to so-called Spectrum schools.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Lynn.

H

Anonymous said...

@ sleeper

I appreciate your points.

Regarding your mention of incentives in #1, does that practically mean teachers/schools are paid more for struggling students than for higher achieving students? Or conversely, are they financially penalized for having low-achieving students? I am under the impression there is direct financial incentive to focus on the bottom half but am unsure how “direct” the correlation is in reality.

Regarding #2, (and anyone correct me if I am off base here…), I get the impression that many of the families that do not like Spectrum are one’s that desire it but can’t get over the testing hurdle, for whatever legitimate reason. (Testing issues, socio-economic, 3 high stakes tests, achievement vs. cognitive)

Regarding #3 – I am not sure I would classify SPS’s Advanced Learning system as synonymous with giftedness. I would definitely not classify Spectrum as full of gifted kids. (Of my 3 children, my brightest one, the truly gifted one, doesn’t have the discipline to sit through the testing and finds it all stupid. He doesn’t even bother to finish the tests! My non-gifted but high achieving child, however, fits the mold and gets the titled gifted.) Why would the teachers need training in “giftedness”? If we used the most rudimentary definition of Spectrum as 1 year ahead, is there special training necessary for that?

Regarding #4 – Don’t Principals have the leeway to offer classes (I’m referring to elementary level here) that function 1 year ahead without calling it Spectrum? For example, my local elementary school has between 4-5 first grade classes. Statistically, one of them should be Spectrum, no?

I agree with the social-inequality in the system.

What I’m curious about though is if elementary schools HAVE to go through the Spectrum “program” in order to offer 1 year ahead curriculum? Wouldn’t this be a way to circumvent the discriminatory testing process?

Is there a reason why simple parental opt-in to Spectrum-or-similar-program isn’t enough? I just don’t see why elementary schools (particularly “disadvantaged ones”) don’t take a classroom full of their capable 1st graders, give them a year of 1st and 2nd curriculum, and set them on an advanced path for the rest of their time in SPS.

Regarding #5 – It seems to me that pushing for one kind of gen ed student has created pressure on the opposite side for all kinds of specific individual needs. I’m thinking here along the lines of ADHD, dyslexia, etc. A classroom dedicated to multi-sensory learning/project based learning/etc is adequate for many (not all, and I recognized this) students to then NOT need 504’s, IEP’s, etc. Wouldn’t having MORE kinds of classrooms for parents to choose from actually LESSEN the individualized/differentiated burden on the teachers? Statistically, if a grade has 100+ students at a school, that is sufficient numbers to warrant a Spectrum classroom, a dyslexia-classroom, a project-based classroom?

I recognize that this post has gotten a bit long (and perhaps even unhelpful). My sense is that the current crumbling of Spectrum is not actually program-related at all but rather an underlying philosophical approach that the purpose of education is to give facts to students. The purpose is not to engage them every single year of their education. Most of our student measurements seem to measure the accumulation of facts rather than the engagement of the mind. The financial incentive, in the form of paychecks and stable employment for (most) SPS employees, is geared toward adopting the philosophy of facts. (Am I wrong here?) So when I, or any other parent, challenges this by advocating engagement rather than factual mastery for our students, we are, for all practical purposes, threatening the financial livelihood of an entire profession. This is the resistance we see?

It actually HELPS lessen the socio-economic gap the more Spectrum-level opportunities that are provided. So why would educators go the opposite direction?

South Dad

Anonymous said...

Lynn says Spectrum won't move from Washington as all middle schools are required to have it. Can someone state where that is a written mandate? As far as I know, Washington state law only covers HCC and Spectrum is something Seattle started offering a while back. I have seen nothing at the administrative or school level in any middle school building in this district indicating support for Spectrum. At best I have found grudging renewal of this program. From what I understand, Washington blends Spectrum and HCC and the current administrator is not too keen about either program though required to maintain some sort of HCC offering. I have not yet decided what to do about my Washington middle school draw area 5th grader next year and the question of enrollment at Washington with a spectrum designation.

Insight needed

Benjamin Leis said...

@insight needed

Lynn is correct although I'm having trouble finding the documentation when this change was made.

If you look at the Spectrum sites on the SPS website you'll see that all the Middle Schools are listed and you'll also find wording like the following:


"HCC students are guaranteed a seat placement in their HCC pathway (based on their residential address); however, HCC students are not guaranteed a seat placement to another HCC school outside of their pathway. Spectrum students are not guaranteed placement in a Spectrum program and seat placement is subject to availability; however, middle school Spectrum students will automatically be (sic)place in the Spectrum program at their attendance area middle school."


Nothing is mandated as far as the state goes but a program change would probably involve a board vote if this were to ever happen.

Anonymous said...

@ South Dad,

RE: #2, GenEd families also dislike Spectrum, as it pulls more of the strong students out and leaves classrooms that are functioning at a lower level. And it seems many teachers dislike it because whoever gets the Spectrum class is perceived to get an easier time, since all the students are in a very narrow abilities range.

RE: #3, I agree--SPS does not have a "gifted" program. There are some gifted students in it, but the program is not designed for gifted students. While on one hand you could argue that since it's not a gifted program it doesn't need teachers specially trained to work with gifted kids, on the other hand you could argue that since it is supposed to be a program for gifted kids and since there isn't an associated curriculum, it is even more important that teachers receive such training.

RE: #4, they don't generally break classes up that way. Without Spectrum, a principal is more likely to distribute the HC kids, so that each class gets a few. While they could lump them all together, they don't always come in neat packages of 25 or however many kids. Then you get into situations where there are waitlists, or "select" non-Spectrum kids getting in, etc. I've never heard of a school just casually placing all the highest ability students of one grade in the same class and allowing them to work a year ahead. Wouldn't that mean that first grade class was actually a second grade class?

RE: #5, more kinds of classrooms would be great, but again, students don't come in nice neat packages, and offering the different types adds complexity and reduces capacity flexibility. Some students might need multiple types, such as a project-based classroom at the Spectrum level and geared toward dyslexia students. And what if there are only 10 dyslexia students but 40 who need Spectrum? Not to mention the complexity of multiple grade levels--would you offer all at each grade, or would it be a single dyslexia class for all grades? It's complicated!

The problem, as I see it, is that the purpose of education now is to get as many kids to standard. If kids are already at or above standard, then it's just a matter of maintaining that over the years, which doesn't take a lot of thought or focus. The energy (at the school and district level) goes toward getting those at the bottom up to speed. Individual teachers here and there may care more about individual learning, but there are aren't a lot of incentives (and there are disincentives).

DisAPPointed

Lynn said...

Principals have no incentive to offer classes that operate one year ahead - and many disincentives. Teachers want their fair share of bright students to act as examples and/or tutors and participate in classroom instructions. Parents want their kids in the advanced class or want advanced kids in the general education classroom so that those classes aren't populated disproportionately by students who are below grade level.

Anonymous said...

I agree with doogie...the district should either strengthen Spectrum or get rid of it. For all the trouble it takes for AL to test and identify these students, a parent would be under the impression that an actual program for Spectrum students exists. I think it's misleading.

Understandably, a parent with a Spectrum-eligible child might want to tour their Spectrum elementary school. While there, if they ask questions about the program, it's as if they've said a dirty word. Beyond the opportunity to work one year ahead in math, cluster-grouping might be mentioned. With this model, classrooms probably end up with a composition similar to other schools; there's always a group of advanced students in each classroom as schools aim to created balanced rosters. Parents leave the school wondering why they bothered to go through the process. Nobody, much less SPS, has the $$ or time to waste on this.

sbj

Anonymous said...

Lafayette self-contained Spectrum will be dissolved next year. Dominos.

open ears

Anonymous said...

Related to the Thornton Creek/Decatur question: is Oly Hills or Cedar Park also a possibility?

Reader

Anonymous said...

Whittier's self-contained Spectrum will also dissolve next year. I believe Spectrum students will do walk to math with grade one year ahead but be distributed across the classrooms.

XX

Northender said...

Reader: Oly Hills was once proposed to be the site for HCC but it was taken off the table at the boundaries adjustment a few years ago. My money is on the Decantur building.

SPS Mom said...

If the district was smart, they'd split HCC either to Cedar Park or Decatur and keep the OlyHills program together (not splitting to a Cedar Park Gen Ed program.) This would give HCC a stand-alone program (rather than co-locating a program, which has proven challenging many times in the past) and would, if done at Cedar Park, prevent a ~90% FRL Cedar Park demographic that wouldn't get to use the amenities that are being built into the OlyHills building expressly for that population. For more info about this situation, check out the Seattle Schools Community Forum Blog.

SPS Mom said...

I was at the meeting when OlyHills was suggested as a co-located site for HCC and there was a LOT of energy against that proposal - specifically because it would co-locate a high FRL population next to the HCC, very low FRL population and parents and the board didn't want to create such wildly different demographics in the same building which would lead to almost inevitable bad feelings.

Anonymous said...

Similarly I think Decatur next to Thornton Creek would be too contentious for different reasons. My money is on CP.

Anonymous said...

Which schools still have separate middle school Spectrum classes?

Lynn said...

Information on HCC @ Madison has been posted on Madison's website.

This is the part I'm curious about: Because Madison will initially be an “option” school, we expect the numbers of HCC students to increase every year, just as we saw with our Spectrum program. However, if the initial cohorts are below 30 students, a blended model with Spectrum students will be implemented, similar to the program at Jane Addams Middle School. Spectrum students would be selected based on teacher recommendations and test scores.

Ken said...

I was just looking at the WASL score for various schools, and I was struck by how poor Hazel Wolf K8's scores are. Does anyone know why HWK8 scores so poorly on this test? I would have thought with it being an option school with STEM focus that it would do well, but it doesn't. It does worse than the district average, pretty much across the board.

We're interested in the school, but have some concerns about the test scores (are there major gaps in their curriculum)...

Northender said...

I was also concerned by this, specially in math and science.

Anonymous said...

Are you looking at the scores excluding no scores? There could be a difference of some 20% points depending on whether or not you are looking at scores with 0's included.

Ken said...

Hi Anon@857, I'm using the data given at http://www.seattleschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=6369011

If you look at Hazel Wolf you'll see that for every grade level and most demographics (white, black, free-reduced lunch, etc...) they are worse than the district.

I can't seem to make sense of this given that the school is:

1. A Spectrum school.
2. An option school.
3. A STEM school
4. A school that I've heard nothing bad anecdotally.

I'm trying to understand why the numbers are so bad.

In contrast I'm also looking at Loyal Heights, which has great numbers, yet is not a Spectrum (in fact they don't do Walk to Math at all), not an option school, and not STEM. The only thing they share in common is that anecdotal data from parents is also glowing.

Any insight here would be appreciated!!

Anonymous said...

I think SPS school reports are including the opt-outs/absences, which count as zero in the averages.

Compare with the OSPI Washington State Report Card:

http://reportcard.ospi.k12.wa.us/summary.aspx?groupLevel=District&schoolId=7623&reportLevel=School&year=2014-15

If you look at 5th grade math, for example, the SPS school report shows a 40% proficiency rate. If you look at the OSPI report, however, the pass rate is 48% when you remove the opt-outs and absences. It's still quite low...

For 8th grade math, the SPS school report shows a 43% proficiency rate, but the pass rate excluding no scores is 64%. Still not so great, but when you have a class of only 65 students, and about 1/3 of them don't test, the results can be pretty skewed.

The OSPI reports give much more information, and you can break out data by category, or look at the actual spread of test scores:

http://reportcard.ospi.k12.wa.us/WASLScaleScore.aspx?domain=SBAC&schoolId=7623&reportLevel=School&year=2014-15&gradeLevelId=5&groupLevel=District&waslCategory=1&chartType=1&subjectType=201

Anonymous said...

I will also point out the obvious in that the FRL rates at Loyal Heights (7.1%) and HWK8 (25.5%) will correlate to some differences on overall pass rates. Hazel Wolf also serves a much higher number of transitional bilingual students than Loyal Heights.

Ken said...

Anon@10:21, thanks for the OSPI data. It does look slightly better for HWK8, but still much below Loyal Heights (after removing "Not Tested").

Anon@10:40, I do think that FRL does likely impact the overall score, but what is concerning is that if you only look at FRL then HWK8 still only scores (Math/ELA) 37/41, while the district average is 40/43, and Loyal Heights is 60/73. To put that in context Loyal Heights' FRL scores are higher than the overall score for HWK8.

Note, I couldn't figure out how to split out FRL from the OSPI site, so I'm using the SPS School Report PDFs I linked earlier. If anyone has a better way to filter this out (like a pivot table for the OSPI data), that would be super appreciated! Or anyone with experience with HWK8 that has an explanation -- I'd love to hear that too.

Anonymous said...

Ken,

My child attended Loyal Heights. They do have a very strong walk to math program, but I think it begins in 3rd grade. My child was in the highest math group 3-5th and the teachers she had were always working at least a grade ahead. She entered HCC in middle and had no issue working 2 years ahead off the bat. In addition, private school admission test scores, as well as district tests have always been very high. We did not do any supplementing, tutoring, nor even helping her with homework. Great teachers the entire pathway. Most hold Masters degrees.

SPS Mom said...

One explanation is that HWK8 started out as an assignment school and for, the first years (until the move to Marshall last year), had quite high ELL and FRL numbers. With the move to Marshall and the district shift in assigning ELL students to neighborhood schools rather than to a central ELL site (HW was a designated ELL site), the FRL and ELL numbers dropped dramatically. It might make more sense to look at the more recent scores, especially for the younger kids, to get a sense of the real trend for results. There have been so many variables shifting in the last few years for this program in particular, it's hard to parse the data. The school community will be moving again next year, up to Pinehurst, which will likely (hopefully?) draw back in some ELL and FRL kids, but with a new building and a strong reputation, it will likely also draw in a broad range of academically strong students as well.

Ken said...

Thanks for the info Anon@11:31. Based on what I heard at the Loyal Heights open house, they are getting rid of Walk to Math, as it didn't seem to benefit everyone. They want to bring it back, but once it can better benefit all.

SPS Mom, great info. I feel like this might explain a lot about HWK8 test scores. One statement you made I didn't fully follow though:

"The school community will be moving again next year, up to Pinehurst, which will likely (hopefully?) draw back in some ELL and FRL kids"

Why would this move increase the number of ELL and FRL students? Is HWK8 no longer going to be an option school anymore (will it go back to being a neighborhood school)?

Much thanks, this is all super useful!

SPS Mom said...

HWK8 is staying an option school as well as a spectrum school (and E-STEM).

About ELL students - when the program moved to the Marshall Building near Greenlake AND ELL services got moved into neighborhood schools, the ELL population dropped dramatically. Having two moves in 3 years and having one of the moves be so far from our first location really affected us. We've also had a lot of inconsistent information about what our available transportation would be. Add to that the process that even siblings need to apply in Feb/March to get a spot in kindergarten and many of our ELL families didn't make the move with the program. We anticipate (hope) that will change with the building in Pinehurst. First, that neighborhood has much greater diversity than Greenlake. There are a lot of students in the walk zone for HWK8 who will be ELL and/or FRL. Additionally, the school is outreaching specifically to ELL communities - HWK8 is holding two info nights this year near the Pinehurst site and providing interpreters and help to fill out enrollment forms. Also, there is outreach through current ELL families to make sure they (and the siblings and aunts and uncles) know that the form needs to be turned in now.

Less known than the E-Stem portion of the school's mission is a social justice mission and there's a lot of support and energy from both parents and staff to keep the school diverse. There are a number of supports built into both the staff and the PTSA for ELL/FRL students (coat drive, scholarships for afterschool activities, field trips, etc, weekend food backpack program, etc.)

And, since this is a spectrum thread, HWK8 will continue doing walk-to-math one year ahead with the planned option for capable students to do 7th & 8th grade math in one year so that students may end up finishing up 8th grade two years ahead. Some of the older grades have students walking 2 years ahead, but that is being phased out.

It's been a neat community that is very diverse with students from all backgrounds.

Ken said...

SPS Mom, that is really useful information! It does make me feel a lot better about HWK8. Although it does worry me a bit now that getting in next year will be very difficult. I guess you just roll the dice and cross your fingers!

Thanks again!