Monday, June 13, 2016

HCC Procedure Changes

The Curriculum and Instruction Committee will be reviewing procedure changes to the HCC program tonight June 13th

Agenda  (The revised procedure begins on page 295 of the agenda and the changes are summarized on page 312. )

The summary is as follows: 
The proposed revisions to Highly Capable Services and Advanced Learning Programs Superintendent Procedure 2190SP have been made to promote clarity and align with other relevant procedures. The following points provide a guide to changes:  

• On Page 2 of 7: The high school eligibility application requires the submission of a student writing sample. The writing sample was not explicitly addressed in previous version of 2190SP, so we adjusted this language.  
• On Page 3 of 7 No substantive changes to eligibility criteria, except that achievement data is required for Advanced Learner identification in all grades K-7.  
• The appeals language change on Page 4 of 7 is meant to make transparent the process that the MSC uses to make eligibility decisions on students who have appealed. All data points are considered at that stage in the eligibility process; these include parent rating scales, teacher rating scales, and any/all available cognitive and achievement scores, including those from privately administered testing.  
• On the bottom of Page 5 of 7 under Program Design, and under the HCC subheading, the wording specifies that HCC in grades 1-5 is self-contained for ELA, mathematics, and science, and may be offered as self-contained in social studies. This wording was added to give flexibility to the staff at elementary HC sites, and reflects the practices have been and will likely be proposed in the name of equity and a social justice agenda.  
• Also on Page 5 of 7: Clarification of Garfield as pathway school and Ingraham as option school for 8th HCC students. Ingraham enrollment based on space availability and not guaranteed, per Student Assignment Procedures 3130SP

A few opinions/points on all of this:


  1. Proposing changes publicly late Friday for the first time and discussing them the following Monday is terrible public out reach. In the name of process I would delay this until the next meeting to allow more time to understand the implications. 
  2. The High school changes need clarification that the default placement for HC students is Garfield if they do not get a placement at Ingraham otherwise parent's will be forced to unnecessarily gamble if they want that program. This is especially important since it functions as a relief valve for the capacity issues.
  3. Someone on the board really needs to force a more public discussion of the enrollment caps at Ingraham. Currently, I haven't been able to pinpoint who even sets the numbers or why.
  4. The social study changes are explicitly limited to grades 1-5 but Middle School is redefined as being "mostly" self-contained which is open to a lot of interpretation.
Update

Melissa Westbrook over at SaveSeattleSchools had this writeup of the meeting:
"So this was QUITE the discussion at the C&I meeting yesterday. Highlights:

- Stephen Martin, the head of AL, had to apologize - yet again - for misinformation from his office to parents. "Sorry for the confusion." I have to say, this seems to happen quite a lot and, at this point, I don't think sorry is enough. There needs to be more vetting of information BEFORE it gets to parents.

- He said some changes to the procedure were "editorial" and then pointed out five other ones. 

- He said they would be seeking engagement before August 8th (read on before you comment.)

- For those applying for high school, students will have to write an essay based on a standardized prompt that the AL offices gives them. Apparently this has always been the case but not clearly stated.

- They will use MAP test data for kindergarteners.

- Appeals. Martin said some parents thought if they did private testing and got the scores needed that would be the deciding factor. He said a single score would not be and that it is a committee decision based on several factors.

- "Flexibility" for staff at HCC sites. This is where it got real. Martin said that Thurgood Marshall wanted, as part of their social studies program, have more "socially responsive" teaching. He said they needed "permissive language" so they can go ahead with the program they have planned with input from department of race/equity. 

Director Geary - you know this will cause "some stir" within the community and that it needed to go thru the community engagement tool and she didn't see how it could be done by August 8th (which is some kind of deadline for Thurgood Marshall to have the program in place.) 

Martin said that it was up to the Board but it was just for one school.

- He also said that there was a clarification that only Garfield was a guaranteed high school pathway for HCC and not Ingraham. (He made it sound like Ingraham was never intended to be and I'd have to go back and check but I thought it had been.)

Director Burke said he was worried about the TM issues because they would be amending a procedure for a practice. He said it is "out of alignment for inclusion" and could "create polarization."

He said the district didn't seem to be serving AL students well OR closing the opportunity gap and having underserved kids at either end wasn't good. He said there were "optics" around this issue.

Then Director Harris quietly laid into Mr. Martin. She said she didn't appreciate getting this info on a late Friday for a Monday meeting. She said she felt blindsided and parents may as well. She said she didn't see how there could be true community engagement in the middle of summer. 

She said, "This is not the best we can do." She said that "we have got to do a better job for every child, every day." 

(Burke pointed out that Martin had walked each member of the committee thru the changes before the meeting. Harris wasn't a member so she didn't get the walk-thru. She did state that as a Board member, it was important for all of them to understand the changes in any program in the district. She said she heard from parents at her last community meeting and "it was not pleasant."

Michael Tolley mentioned that staff would take the info, work thru changes and it ultimately goes to the Superintendent.

Now that's true and this is the super's procedure but the procedures flow from policies. 

Between this discussion and the one around MTSS (see my next comment), I was gobsmacked. Trying to make AL even more hard to understand? Allowing schools to decide how they want to present advanced learning opportunities? Sure, why not? It feels like that is what has been happening all along. 

I cannot see the Board going along with all these changes and especially being presented them right before school ends and then coming back to them in early August."

So its a bit hard to read what the staff will do next.  In theory procedures unlike policy don't need board approval so they could try to go ahead anyway.  If you want to contact the Staff I'd suggest asking for more genuine engagement in this and other changes being proposed.

Update2: It looks like the staff are supposed to come back in August with an amended proposal.


48 comments:

Anonymous said...

@ Benjamin-I'm glad to see this post here as I was reading the C&I agenda from another blog. I agree that posting on Friday for discussion and possible agreement on Monday gives zero time for any community discussion and frankly, that may be a strategy.... What do you suggest is the best manner in which to slow down this discussion so that parents are more aware of these issues? Is it outreach to each of the board members? Is it attending the meeting today?
-SPS Tired

Lynn said...

The change is not limited to grades 1-5. On page 299 the revised procedure says The HC Cohort service model is also self-contained in most core subjects in Grades 6-8. This gives every principal the right to decide which classes are self-contained.

Also on page 299, the revised procedure says: Highly Capable services are available to all students who are identified as Highly Capable in grades K-12. The curriculum is presented at an accelerated learning pace and/or advanced level of complexity and depth, requiring students to perform significantly above grade level.

How are Thurgood Marshall's new combined social studies classes going to provide HC services? Will they present the curriculum at an accelerated learning pace or advanced level of complexity and depth? Those are the two options. What are the general education students in the classroom going to be doing while the highly capable students receive services?

If TM staff feel this is important for the students at their school, they should be free to rearrange the schedule so that classes are combined for PE, art and music.

Anonymous said...

So are these changes separate from the changes that were going to be proposed by AL before they decided to hold off because of the new school board - to be revisited this year? Could the end of appeals still come via the AL revisions? It looks like there were qualification changes proposed and struck-through here as well: 99% cognitive threshold and 97% achievement threshold on p. 305.

CP

Anonymous said...

"What are the general education students in the classroom going to be doing while the highly capable students receive services?"

Really you mean what are the HCC kids going to do while the gen ed kids receive services? Of course those units are highly self study and project based but they should be able to cover further dept in less time then they will be with a mix of kids from SpEd to HCC outlyers.

And this 11th hour sham is another of the tricks from Tully and Heath, despicable.

-ouch

Anonymous said...

Because the current SAP very clearly states Garfield is the default placement if Ingraham seats are not available, I don't think it's a gamble. However, the lack of wording in the superintendent's procedures does give them flexibility to take that wording out in the next round of the SAP, so definitely something to watch closely.

"HCC: Students assigned to HCC in 8th grade will receive an initial assignment to Garfield. They may also apply for the HCC/IBX program at Ingraham; assignment to Ingraham depends on space available and tiebreakers. If not assigned to HCC/IBX at Ingraham they retain their seat at Garfield (unless they apply for and are assigned to a higher ranked choice)."

Current SAP: http://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/Enrollment%20Planning/Student%20Assignment%20Plan/Student%20Assignment%20Transition%20Plan%20for%202016-17.pdf

2HC

Anonymous said...

At the recent HCS-AC meeting, it was made clear that private appeals would not be eliminated with the proposed revisions of the AL policy. The state requires an appeals process. There could not be an end to appeals, only an end to private testing being allowed, as that is a district based decision. I also found the proposed increases in thresholds interesting.

What district based achievement tests will be used for qualification? I'm assuming SBAC for grades 3-8, but for K-2? I'm glad to see AL moving away from doing so much testing, but wonder who has control of what district based tests get used.

The Superintendent Procedure needs more clarity with the Ingraham/Garfield assignments. It should be painfully clear and consistent with the board approved SAP. As written, it's just confusing.

Anonymous said...

I know Garfield is a great school, but shouldn't north-end HCC students have a pathway option that is closer? Why is Ingraham a lottery instead of a standard pathway? I realize that the rules were changed in the SAP, but I assume that could be revisited. I don't understanding SPS motives on this. Limiting enrollment at Ingraham only exacerbates problems at Garfield.

--Perplexed

Anonymous said...

It is MAP for K-2. That hasn't changed.

Anonymous said...

Perplexed, I assume they need to cap the size of IB.

Anonymous said...

Is it the cost of IB that's the issue or space in the building? For years now, I've been reading blog comments suggesting that the guaranteed placement at Garfield will eventually be going away due to capacity issues. If Ingraham is going away too, where are the HCC kids going to go to HS?

--Perplexed

Anonymous said...

It's concerning that the revised policy removed language stating AP and IB are district supported courses.

Prospective IB parents should really be provided a disclaimer: Dear Prospective IB Parent, Please know that by choosing this program, you will need to pony up the money for its continued existence. SPS will take credit for the school's success, but not provide funding to support it. It's a win-win for us. Sincerely, SPS.

Anonymous said...

Clarifying my earlier comment, IBX has always been "space available." It has to be, because it isn't a district-funded program. SPS can't guarantee a no-cap enrollment if they aren't prepared to pay for it. Further, if SPS changed the North End pathway and "served" kids in a program they didn't actually fund, would they still be in compliance with state law?

The only highly capable program funded for high school by the district is Garfield, so that is the official pathway, until it isn't anymore. I don't think they were prepared for the demand for Ingraham this spring, and they got caught with some inconsistencies in their program descriptions, and now they are trying to fix them.

That said, from a capacity standpoint, they desperately need to figure out the Garfield situation, and Ingraham seems a logical choice.

2HC

Anonymous said...

They are planning to add 500 seats to Ingraham by adding a wing to the building. That should make IB available to anyone who wants (and can afford) it.

Anonymous said...

They do need to clarify a few things about Ingraham though:
Five year projections show HC at Ingraham hovering around 350. Does that mean there are 350 seats for IBX?
Are those 350 seats assigned based on lottery?
Do these seats get assigned to HC students even if there is increased demand from neighborhood students for IB?
What is the assignment process for an out-of-neighborhood gen-ed/AL student who wants to enroll in the IB program?
If an out-of-neighborhood HC student decides freshman year they want to take the IB path vs IBX, can they be displaced by a neighborhood student who wants that IB seat?
When they announced the addition of 500 seats to Ingraham, I think many of us assumed these would be HC seats to take pressure off of Garfield. But is that what the district is intending? Is it feasible to add these seats to the IB/IBX program? Would it depend on funding support from the district?

These are questions I think they are only just now considering, if at all. As the program is seen more and more as a relief valve for parents wary about Garfield and Lincoln, all of these issues are going to come up.

2HC

Anonymous said...

We need to know method of enrollment decision and numbers of IBX slots available. And is it going to change every year? Is IBX a percentage of total IB? Is it its own category? Is downtown or Ingraham administration putting a cap on IBX seats and if so what is the reasoning? How can students and parents make high school plans if they have no idea how many slots are available?


Weary

Anonymous said...

2HC-- I hope the new "capacity committee" that is currently forming has enough parent reps to ask these important questions.

Anonymous said...

@ Lynn, you answered your own questions. You asked: How are Thurgood Marshall's new combined social studies classes going to provide HC services? Will they present the curriculum at an accelerated learning pace or advanced level of complexity and depth? Those are the two options. What are the general education students in the classroom going to be doing while the highly capable students receive services?

Just prior to that you noted: On page 299 the revised procedure says The HC Cohort service model is also self-contained in most core subjects in Grades 6-8. This gives every principal the right to decide which classes are self-contained.

So TM will serve HC students by not including social studies in their HC services. HC students will get GE social studies, but because they'll have all those deep and rich discussions that are sure to emerge in a more integrated social studies class full of all sorts of insights and diverse world views from these elementary students, they'll surely get much more out of it.

not likely

Anonymous said...

These are great issues and questions to pose to the school board before tonight's meeting:

School Board - spsdirectors@seattleschools.org

School Board+senior staff - schoolboard@seattleschools.org

-SPS Tired

Anonymous said...

I sent out an e-mail to the Board + Staff. Please voice your concerns and opinions.

- N

Beth D said...

My son is a 9th grader at Ingraham in the IBX cohort, so I can answer a few of the questions. The IBX program is simply having the students do the IB program in 10th and 11th grades, instead of 11th and 12th. The IB program's requirements are that it has to be completed in 2 years. The IB and IBX students are blended in the IB classes.
Because of starting the IB program early, IBX/HCC kids have separate Social Studies and English classes in 9th grade to prepare them for the IB program.
However, HCC students from out of the neighborhood are not required to stay on the IBX track, and are actually encouraged to switch to the IB track, as the IB program requires advanced time management skills as well as higher thinking skills, both of which develop with age. Once HCC students enroll at Ingraham, they are guaranteed a spot at Ingraham regardless of their academic track (IB, IBX, Running Start, etc.)
Momof2

Anonymous said...

Anyone have enrollment update information from last night's Board meeting? Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if part of the reason they are keeping a lid on IBX at Ingraham is due not only to the unfunded cost of the program, but also to keep the number of seniors without a clear high school path during their last year of high school to a minimum. There has not been much discussion about the outcomes for these seniors this year, but the district's plan for the senior year following early completion of the IB program has always been suspect and it seems the kids are kind of on their own to figure out internships, classes or early college entrance. Having an ever larger number of these "out of the box" seniors would undoubtedly be problem for the district which has a hard enough time when things are "in the box".

Anonymous said...

There's a new entry on the saveseattleschools blog regarding the discussion about Advanced Learning from last night's C&I meeting. Could we get a separate thread going on this and a call for action by our parents to get in front of this issue (if it's not too late!) with the school board? Otherwise we could be facing some critical changes come Fall.
-SPS Tired

Benjamin Leis said...

I added Melissa Westbrook's account of the C&I Meeting to the top.

Anonymous said...

I am confused what the update by Melissa Westbrook means for the daily running of HCC. Will my kids still be at Thurgood Marshall and Washington, or is this implying a return to neighborhood schools, provided they can create a big enough cohort? I am not trying to be daft, I just want to know whether there is concern about the wording, or is some massive programmatic change afoot?

-Maybe I just need another cup of coffee.

Anonymous said...

No, it's not implying that. This document does say students are eligible to enroll in HCC pathway schools, and the Student Assignment Plan still stands.

But there is concern about the wording, which could lead to programmatic change. It's the change from this: "This self-contained, K-8 program provides a rigorous curriculum in language arts, social studies, mathematics, and science."

To this:
"Highly Capable Cohort (HCC) service model is self-contained in Grades 1-5 in ELA, mathematics, and science, and may also be offered as self-contained in social studies. The HC Cohort service model is also self-contained in most core subjects in Grades 6-8. "

The revision eliminates social studies from self-contained in elementary, separates out middle school and is vague about which subjects are self-contained in middle school.

2HC

Anonymous said...

@2HC, thank you for the clarification!

-Maybe I just need another cup of coffee

Anonymous said...

Does it also remove the words "provides a rigorous curriculum?"

Anonymous said...

Yes, it does. New wording: "The curriculum is presented at an accelerated learning pace and/or advanced level of complexity and depth, requiring students to perform significantly above grade level." Ben posted the link to the revisions at the top of the post (the doc starts on page 295 of the agenda he posted).
2HC

Anonymous said...

Are there HCC parents at Thurgood Marshall here who can speak to the community's desire to combine students into heterogeneous groups for social studies? If so, do you feel the social benefits outweigh the academic costs of this change and at what point in your child's education do you believe academics become more important?

Anonymous said...



not a fan. makes no sense when you have PE / art / music could be combined with zero academic impact. This is just for optics and it is stupid. Oh and should also include Peace Academy as they should also be in these classes. Not going to happen next year. Board is going to shut this down.

Anonymous said...

As a TM parent, I would rather see the district address the disproportionality of HCC than stop providing advanced learning for HCC students in academic subjects. I think blending in art, music, and PE is a great idea, but apparently those changes would be harder to implement, so it's not on the table.

It's hard not to feel like the district wants to reduce the achievement gap by lowering the high end of academic scores instead of focusing on raising the ones at the low end. It seems they are looking for quick fixes that optimize for optics instead of doing the hard work to help students across the academic spectrum.

--TM HCC Parent


Devin Victoria Bruckner said...

I am the parent of a child in HCC at Thurgood Marshall, and I am really supportive and excited for TM to offer blended social studies. I think blended social studies will enrich the learning of children both in HCC and Gen Ed and will give children opportunities to learn in more diverse environments and build more diverse friendships, which I believe will better prepare them for the future. I trust that the teachers can and will appropriately differentiate (which is their plan), and believe that my child (and all children) will learn more from this blended experience than without. The suggestion came from the Thurgood Marshall community and leadership, and is designed as a small step to address equity issues specific to Thurgood Marshall, given the more segregated nature of the school (due to multiple programs), which I believe has a negative impact on all students.

As further context, I am part of a group of parents, teachers and administrators at TM working to improve equity at the school, and am leading a sub-committee that is working specifically to improve equity in HCC. Our group is excited and supportive of this change! While it doesn't begin to address broader HCC equity/diversity issues (which we are concerned about, think are critical to address, and are working towards) it is a small step to address unique issues at TM now. Longer term, our goal is to improve the diversity of students in HCC, such that it reflects the diversity of the district overall. In the meantime, I hope we are able to find a way to make this blended social studies change possible for the TM community!

Interestingly, every parent I've talked to (HCC and Gen Ed) at Thurgood Marshall is very supportive of this change. I realize, however, that not all parents are supportive….as a parent expressed on this forum that they don’t support blended social studies. My own sense, however, is that the TM community is overwhelmingly supportive of the change, and believe that it is a great fit for the unique TM community.

Anonymous said...

It's not surprising that parents in your community who do not support this for educational reasons wouldn't feel safe discussing it with you when you present it as an equity issue.

TM is not unique. Fairmount Park, Washington Middle School, Hamilton International Middle School and Jane Addams Middle School all have more than one program in the building. Staff in those buildings are able to manage this. How much training has your principal had in meeting the educational needs of gifted children?

Anonymous said...

JAMS is nowhere near as segregated as at TM, the kids are together in advisory, lunch, music, foreign language, art, pe, MESA, electives, and sports. I would feel VERY uncomfortable if they had no classes together. Even in the demographically similar spectrum and gen ed program we were in a few years ago I appreciated that the kids were divided in half and paired with a partner classroom (a and d to PE and b and C to Art for example). I think TM should look into that as well as the social studies idea.

Anonymous said...

Devin,

Thank you for your work on equity issues specific to Thurgood Marshall but can you please explain what those issues are? Are the teachers in gen ed less qualified? Is the admin less concerned about gen ed? Do the students get taught in ways that are less than best standards or with less differentiation? Does the PTA money only go to the programs that the students are in? You name issues what are they please?

As for the goal to have the HCC program match the district how is that practical? Any instance of bias should be eliminated but please understand that the AL team is constantly attempting to make improvements on outreach to less representative groups (like SES constrained kids through performing screening test in title 1 schools) which I applaud. But if your goal is to have the racial mix match the district's racial mix. Where is the merit in that?

I wonder about the test to get in and wish it was more based on teacher and family recommendations. The number of 2e kids who are being turned away I am sure is staggering. But test are elements of identification that seem inherent to all HC programs.

SPS Parent

Anonymous said...

JAMS is a middle school and TM is an elementary school. IT IS NOT SEGREGATED. You folks must have no understanding of the programs which you speak and the types of worthy improvement that could be made if that is how you view the problems of the HCC.

SES diversity is a problem for the HCC cohort.

Racial diversity is not.

Lack of rigor is a problem for HCC.

Lack of mixed classes are not.

Lack of teachers who can differentiate for gen ed. and HCC is a problem.

Lack of teachers who can teach HCC alone is a problem.

-SPS Parent

Anonymous said...

I would also add ELL diversity is a problem for HCC.

SPS Parent

Anonymous said...

Thanks to "SPS Parent" for addressing many of the misperceptions of "Anonymous." Middle schools have far more scheduling flexibility than elementaries; Fairmount Park has far more homogenous demographics than Thurgood Marshall.

I am a TM HCC parent who has followed the social studies planning closely. It is a choice being driven by school leadership, staff and engaged parents, with a primary purpose of giving kids in different programs a few dozen hours each year to get to know and learn from each other. The same social studies curriculum is used in both programs, anyway, and can be adjusted to challenge kids at whatever level needed.

This is *not* an initiative by the District to undo HCC as a self-contained program.

I think many TM parents are bewildered and saddened at the way this policy fracas has diverted attention from more-serious issues, such as the fact that TM is far over capacity. In 2016-17, five classrooms (130-150 kids) will be outside the main building in portables and the soon-to-be-former child-care facility. Meanwhile, other Central Region schools (especially Lowell, Madrona K-8 and Stevens) have hundreds of empty seats.

- Focus on the Important Stuff

Anonymous said...

Yeah Focus, I agree it does distract from class sizes, rigor and overcrowding. Is is worth it?

The HCC program is not segregated it is a tracked program designed not to keep kids out based on color but to include kids based on IQ and achievement. I would kindly ask anyone to reconsider that word as it is quite unfair to those families in the program.

And I am sorry if they can mix one class why can't they mix another class like art/PE and music which aren't academic. I have zero hope that the SS course will be that differentiated as that concept has never worked in SPS. That is why the developed IPP then APP now HCC in the first place.


Anonymous said...

I completely agree with SPS parent post. The focus should not be on race but on socio-economic status, ELL etc. diversity where they are underrepresented. I agree with the other points SPS made as well.
-Agree

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm a TM HCC parent. I was skeptical of this change at first, for many of the same reasons that other posters have mentioned. But I've come around to supporting it after delving in and learning more. Several people have said, "The problem TM is trying to fix is just optics. It should not be called segregation, and this change isn't really about equity." And that is fundamentally true. But the optics have a very real and negative psychological impact on both the GenEd and HCC programs at TM (kids, parents and teachers).

I also thought, why don't we address the problem by blending PE, music, and art? The answer is that it is really hard from a scheduling perspective - we have only 3 PCP teachers and the classes that would need to be mixed don't come in convenient batches of 3.

That leaves social studies, and I was wary of social studies being blended. I worried about teaching to the lowest common denominator, and about HCC kids losing the "safe space" of the cohort. But the teachers and principal at TM are putting a lot of careful thought into this. They are not just blending the classes, but also re-imagining the way they teach social studies. They are coming up with really exciting ideas about how to incorporate more project-based learning, creative drama techniques, story-telling, civics, etc. The teachers are jazzed about it, and I think it has the potential to be something really special. I trust this teaching corps to do a good job with it.

So I've come around to supporting it. (By the way, I was in the minority when I was skeptical. The PTA did a survey and a solid majority of HCC parents are in favor.) I think blending social studies will be good for everyone at TM. But at the same time, it is our own unique solution to our own unique problem, and it should be limited to TM. The key is to get the right words in the policy to make sure it is properly limited. Ideas? Could the policy just say "except for social studies classes at Thurgood Marshall, which may be blended"?

TM Supporter

Anonymous said...

That really is the issue. With site based decisions anything goes meaning it is a matter of time before there will be no there, there. Also, to blend these kids in it means some HCC kids must be going to gen ed classrooms right? So what kind of professional development have these teachers received regarding HC students?

Any proposed changes should be for increased rigor.

-sorry

Lynn said...

There are several Q&As related to advanced learning in the Teaching and Learning update included in this week's Friday Memo. (beginning on page 10)

One question addressed the timing of the proposed changes to the Superintendent's Procedure:

10. Timeline: What is the latest date that this can be addressed as an action item by the School Board to address testing in fall 2016?
Advanced Learning will not have the entire Advanced Learning team on board after June 23. The team would need to make any adjustments to the published policy so that time is allocated for the policy to be circulated in order for action to be taken in August.


I believe the changes will not be effective for next year's testing. The draft updated procedure has been removed from the Advanced Learning website. This is not surprising as they were brought to the C&I committee on June 13th.

I found this non-responsive answer really annoying - and I bet the board member who asked the question did too:


Is there community engagement in and outside of the HCC community?

The Advanced Learning team engages the community in a number of ways, both inside and outside the Highly Capable community.

 The Highly Capable Advisory Committee meets monthly.

 The West Seattle Highly Capable Pathway Focus Group meets monthly.

 An Advanced Learning team member sits on the Equity and Race Advisory

Council.

 An Advanced Learning team member participates in the Southeast Seattle

Education Coalition.

 The Advanced Learning team continues to consult with the Thurgood Marshall

Equity Committee.

 A 2014-15 community task force made wide-ranging recommendations on

Advanced Learning programs and Highly Capable services.

 The Advanced Learning team has surveyed stakeholders on various issues,

including a districtwide survey of administrators and kindergarten teachers on Early Entrance to Kindergarten and a statewide survey of districts regarding appeals processes.

 The Advanced Learning team has increased communication with historically underrepresented families, including universally administering the Cognitive Abilities Test screener to second-graders in Title I schools.

 The Advanced Learning team has broadened its outreach to the teacher community through professional development offerings, including partnering with English Language Arts for training, offering differentiation PD to all SPS staff monthly, and providing training at school sites on Differentiation, Active Learning, Unit Planning and Formative Practices.




The question related to the proposed changes in policy not general engagement opportunities. Also, the West Seattle Pathway Focus Group is not meeting monthly - the group held its last meeting in January.

Anonymous said...

Further from the Friday memo:

"1. Is there consistency as a district regarding what we offer students identified as Highly
Capable or as Advanced Learners?"

"Consistency
These policies and procedures indicate that delivery mechanisms are to be consistent not
in their structure, but in their ability to meet the learning needs of students. Consistency in AL programs does not refer to a scripted curriculum across programs and services, but an expectation of learning achievement and instructional quality appropriate to the needsof the learners."

"AL Team Support
Given this definition of consistency, designed to reflect site-based decision making, the
AL team offers identification and support to any and all schools that request it. For
example, the team has worked with more than a dozen individual schools this year, and
the team has provided supporting documents for all principals as they develop their
Continuous School Improvement Plans. The team, however, does not provide scripted
curriculum nor is it able to require compliance."

So with site-based management, it seems they're saying AL can not create a standardized HCC specific curriculum. I often read posts that comment on the lack of HCC curriculum, but this memo certainly clears the air about AL's intent and capabilities. Instructional quality, achievement and appropriate are all "expectations", but neither defined nor enforced by AL.

This may be obvious to the veterans, but we're new to the district and trying to understand all this is difficult at times.

How many of you would prefer standardization to site-based model?

- NEM


Anonymous said...

Also, I find it confusing why the equity issue never addresses the larger issue (to me), which is the site-based model. Every school has the CC standards as the goal, but how they get there, what's taught and how it's measured (curriculum-based assessments) differ by site.

How is this equitable?

When "differentiation" is stated as the primary tool (for example, TM Social Studies blended class), my question is different from WHAT? Is there a pre-test at the beginning to determine what is the starting point for each student? Are learning goals developed by student? If not, then differentiation is just different, not appropriate.

- NEM

Anonymous said...

The district highly capable plan for 2015-16 indicates the following "CEDARS Gifted Value 34 Acceleration Services and Program" for grades 9-12:

AP - Grades 9-12
Concurrent or dual enrollment - Grades 11-12
Honors/Advanced - Grades 6-12
IB - Grades 10-12
Running Start - Grades 11-12

And the less defined instructional practice, "differentiation." What AP classes are available in Grade 9?

http://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/School%20Board/15-16agendas/081915agenda/20150819_HighlyCapab_Annual%20Plan.pdf

Anonymous said...


This is totally wacked and just highlights the dysfunction of the school district. If the State hadn't legislated in HC being basic education I believe we would have zero program right now... And we are pretty close to zero as it is.

-SPS Parent