Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Student Assignment Plan is Approved


  1. There was no grandfathering allowed. All the HCC cohorts including next year's 8th graders will go to REMS as originally planned.  Note: its still likely due to available space that many of the gen-ed Whitman eight graders will opt back into it.
  2. The Decatur split for the NE HCC elementary school will occur as planned. 
  3. No changes were made in the middle school reference zone from the draft being voted on.

Update: A day later I wanted to add on a few thoughts:

  • The budget crisis still provides an opportunity to cutback and change plans.  Based on the superintendent's comments under-enrolled schools are particularly vulnerable but we may see other unhappy choices coming down the pipeline.
  • The Licton Springs - Eaglestaff M.S. capacity dilemma will continue to be an issue.  The choices made so far are ultimately not sustainable from the perspective of limited space.  L.S. was also explicitly called out in the Friday memo as the most expensive school in the system so I suspect the central staff will apply more pressure through the budget on this point. Bottom line: we need a consensus on a long term solution. 
  • Cedar Park will most likely not be opened next year for budgetary reasons.  This is probably an opportunity to adequately plan a focus for it and meet with the community to generate buy-in. On the other hand, the talk about option schools being non-viable adds a cloud over if its future which may deter potential families in the same way as has happened with Pinehurst/AE1 or the Center School.   
Going  forward there is a lot of space for parent input at both new HCC sites. What's everyone thinking about working on? 




40 comments :

Anonymous said...

self contained as geary "dreaded?"

Anonymous said...

Is Geary saying she intends to try to change Decatur to a blended Spectrum/HCC option school after this year?

Pondering

Anonymous said...

She said she would prefer to have Cedar Park and Decatur both set up as option schools that combine HC and AL (spectrum) and I think that makes sense in terms of managing capacity, meeting needs, creating a healthy scaffolding for learning, responding to the needs of students who are super strong in only one domain, and creating feeder patterns that align with middle schools. Look at the JAMS and Greenlake feeder school elementary kids now going to Cascadia wit a bunch of REMS HCC elementary students. They will have to say goodbye and join up with the Decatur kids at JAMS. It will be hard for them to find their future JAMS buddies at Cascadia, but if they were together at Cedar Park they could make sweet friendships that carry through to help them get a strong start in middle school. Besides a challenge--that's what we all hope for, right? Strong and healthy friendships and a sense of community?

Her approach is terrible, but if you parse out the ideas and keep an open mind--there may be some good nuggets in there.

Fix AL

Anonymous said...

There's no way that Spectrum and HC kids in the NE can all fit in two tiny option schools.


Anonymous said...

True-but that's why Cascadia needs to stay self contained and guaranteed, IMHO.

Fix AL

Anonymous said...

How does that fix things for the Spectrum student at Bryant or View Ridge who doesn't get into the option school? And how does it not create more pressure on AL as the only way to access acceleration?

The cohort model is best practice, benefits from economy of scale and it makes sense to have a self-contained site in the northeast. Nobody is going to argue with efforts to make acceleration available and reliable at neighborhood schools, or improve identification of underserved populations. That's where efforts need to be focused, not on creating a big nebulous mess out of AL option schools in the NE.

Anonymous said...

True! Neighborhood schools need help. Just trying to think out of the box to create choice, especially for single domain kids or those not interested in the cohort. Sorry, my mistake. You're right, and you know what is best for my kid. I'm sure the research does to.

Fix AL

Anonymous said...

If current HIMS HCC 7th graders who live in the Whitman and RESMS areas will be required to move to RESMS for their 8th grade year, SPS should require that current Whitman 7th graders who are drawn into the new RESMS zone ALSO be required to move to RESMS next year. That's the only way we can ensure access to appropriate courses for 8th graders and a comprehensive middle school experience for others at RESMS the first year.

At a minimum, if there is to be any "special" grandfathering at Whitman via the choice application process, there should be quotas imposed by grade level. The best strategy would be to set minimum levels of GE students necessary at each grade level, then make sure that no Whitman "choices" are allowed until those minimums have been met. To use a phrase put forth by a Whitman parent, Whitman shouldn't be allowed to "cannibalize" the RESMS population. If there is no mitigation funding available for RESMS, Whitman and RESMS need to share the pain and

Did the amendment to assign a couple additional feeder schools to Whitman pass? If so what are the updated projections for Whitman and RESMS?

Anonymous said...

Very sad about Whitman. It was a troubled school, now doing very well. SPS should let as many current Whitman students who wish to stay at Whitman stay there, AND should let as many other "choice" students "opt in" that Whitman can accommodate.

I disagree that with the previous poster @1:17 about sharing the pain. Let's minimize the pain and make sure as many kids as possible have a good educational experience.

-sixwrens

Lynn said...

Geary did not say she wanted to blend HCC and Spectrum. She wants Decatur to be an advanced learning option school that's available for any student - not just the ones who've been tested and "labeled". This is a stupid idea. The building is being reopened because there are too many HCC students to fit in Cascadia. If they're not moved into Decatur, where would they go? Also - one opt-in advanced learning school couldn't come close to satisfying the demand from families stuck at schools where staff "don't believe in" acceleration.

Anonymous said...

Fix AL, were you able to find a sense of community and strong and healthy friendships within the cohort? As a family considering joining, your comments are poignant to me. Did your child(ren) not find these things or did they lose the friendships they had in their neighborhood community as a result of their move?

Lynn said...

Ashley Davies stated several times last night that choice access to schools with room will be limited to avoid impoverishing other schools. (See the SE high schools for how this works.) Some Whitman 7th and 8th graders will be at RESMS next year.

No feeder schools were moved from Whitman to RESMS.

Anonymous said...

Choice access through open enrollment is a joke. It's only used to fill option schools. They only really assign kids off the waitlist for neighborhood schools that are very underenrolled. The lists are controlled by admissions and enrollment planning, and they want enrollment to be as close to their predictions.

Anonymous said...

Skipped the cohort til MS, because of the friendship community piece I heard from others who made the switch and either thrived or struggled. Since our student was socially fine, we decided to supplement, but it was work considering our busy social/sports schedule. Not sure if it was the best choice, but at the time it seemed like the right choice. I hope neighborhood schools improve and more options are available. After watching the budget portion of the meeting last night, I'm not feeling optimistic. The opportunity gap conversation is important, but I wonder if they're looking at the right data and comparisons.

Fix AL

Lynn said...

Is everyone aware that next year highly capable students in West Seattle lose their transportation to and guaranteed seats at Washington Middle School? Using data from 2015/16, it looks like highly capable enrollment at Madison next year will be:

6th grade: 31
7th grade: 40
8th grade: 17

That doesn't seem to be a viable cohort. I guess self-contained in most subjects doesn't mean what I thought it did.

Of course the Garfield students from West Seattle will no longer be able to ride the bus in the morning either.

Anonymous said...

So RESMS will open this fall to include 6th-8th grade HCC. Has HCC been discussed in any of the planning done to date? And why haven't any recent community meeting minutes been posted on the BEX project page? How are parents supposed to know what's been going on, now that we finally know more about who is going where?

Anonymous said...

Lynn -
Thank you for sharing the information about West Seattle students losing buses & seats at WMS. Are HS students still guaranteed enrollment at Garfield? Where did you find this information? I'd like to share it with other West Seattle folks.

westseattle one

Lynn said...

The new pathway is listed on Appendix A of the Student Assignment Transition Plan that was approved this week. (See page 21 of the Board Action Report.

Garfield is still the high school pathway though I wouldn't count on that for long. You can see the recommendations of the Madison Middle School HCC Focus Group here. This decision was made as an effort to shore up the program offered at Madison but does so at the expense of families who prefer the self-contained classes promised in the school board policy.

Anonymous said...

thanks lynn. i doubted that madison would work. i forget which of the out going board directors wanted that madness to happen and with meany opening now their will be even less kids at wms. that said altf recommendations that were approved by the sup/board called for 3 classes per grade to be able to achieve the scheduling flexibility needed. damage done. snuck through to satisfy marty i think.

no yellow bus would be bad for ws to ghs kids right. is that a strong arm move? do they still have the ibx bus from south seattle?

i did hear some murmurs to move qa and mag hcc kids to wms instead of hims. not sure if that will make sense.

no caps

no caps

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link and page note on the Student Assignment plan.
As I read it, the students currently at WMS would be grandfathered in (pg11)?
If so, then they'd retain bus service?
Also I have a vague recollection of the HCC bus service being under a different funding than gen ed buses? They'd tally the kids on the bus for a week to determine the funding amount. Does anyone else recall something of that nature?

westseattle one

Anonymous said...



hcc kids get sped treatment for bussing. so there are additional funds for them and yeah they do a census later in the first 30 days to estimate money to recieve.

no caps

Anonymous said...

It looks like Garfield is still going to be the HCC pathway for West Seattle kids, even though rising HCC 5th graders will go to Madison rather than WMS. If so, and since I believe rising 6th and 7th grade HCC kids who are already at WMS will be grandfathered (won't go to Madison for 7th and 8th), it seems like transportation will still be offered for West Seattle HCC kids going to WMS and to Garfield (AM)going forward. If I'm off-track on this understanding, please let me know. Thanks!

-West Seattle parent

Not Sure said...

I had heard somewhere that the state pays for HCC busing, not SPS.

Anonymous said...

I posted the following comparison of RHS & IBx on last year's thread. There are others who sent HCC kids to 2 different high schools that posted last January, so maybe go back to that thread.


The one thing I have learned since posting last year is the difference between HL math & AP Calc AB/BC. HL math is more rigorous. Not because students go further, but because they go deeper. AP Calc series was similar but not equivalent to the first 2 calc classes at UW. HL math included more proofs, investigations & creativity more like the upper division classes that math majors take. So if you want more college credit, take AP math, if you love thinking about math, then HL math may be a better fit. Both scenarios can include AP Stats, which I think is basic to any future college studies.

last year I said...

I also had one APP qualified student at RHS & one at IHS. RHS had a strong cohort because that class came from the days when most NE APP qualified students did not move to APP, so they continued to together through Eckstien & Roosevelt. It could be different now students are moving into APP at a higher rate.

I think the both RHS & IHS have equivalent math opportunities. LA & History are more rigorous at IHS because IB is more critical thinking/writing & less memorizing than AP. Science is a mixed bag at IHS & poor at RHS because good science teachers seem to be scarce. Foreign language is strongest at RHS. At IHS, if you do the diploma, much of the rigor will be humanities because of the way IB works.

My RHS kid loved the LA honors options, partly because they are somewhat independent, so they can be very creative & demanding.

The real difference is AP vs IB program. I think most kids would do better in one or the other. Also the EC's are extremely different, much lower key & more open to different abilities at IHS, more demanding & competitive at RHS.

One other difference is the school culture. RHS is bureaucratic & inflexible, cliquey & competitive. IHS is more student focused & flexible, inclusive & laid back. RHS has some rock star teachers but IHS has a more solid staff overall.


-Just my opinion

Anonymous said...

West Seattle Families -
Has anyone spoken with the school district to get clarity on Madison vs. WMS assignments, for those kids who are currently enrolled at WMS?

I carefully read the approved assignment plan but there is no specific mention of current West Seattle WMS kids transitioning to Madison.

The SPS Website Advanced Learning 2017-2018 enrollment grid states the following as a footnote: ** Madison as an HCC pathway site is rolling up, beginning with 6th grade in September 2017, adding 7th grade in 2018, and 8th grade in 2019. That implies, to me, that current West Seattle WMS students (current 6th or 7th grade) can continue to attend WMS next year and the year after, as next year, Madison will only be the official pathway site for 6th graders.

I will email Advanced Learning and report back what I find, just curious if anyone has already done so.
west seattle wms parent

Anonymous said...

I have not reached out to AL. I agree with you though. It states that currently enrolled WS HCC WMS (how is that for a string?!)students will continue through WMS as their pathway. I wonder if many WS HCC families are aware of this coming change. There used to be an email group, not sure if it is still active. I'm thinking of folks with multiple middle school aged kids making choices.

westseattle one

Lynn said...

Fairmount Park families just learned of this change last week. Until that point, the principal had been publishing tour dates at both WMS and Madison in the PTA newsletter.

I expect every north end middle school to be an HCC site in the near future. The excuse for busing kids to HIMS and JAMS and WMS has always been to provide a cohort for both students and teachers. This change by the school board informs us that 30 students per grade is an adequate cohort.

The program placement report that was attached to the agenda for last week's board meeting said that current WS WMS students will be able to stay at the school. The grandfathering of these students is not included in the student assignment plan though and this promise may be as strong as the one given to Whitman families when the RESMS boundaries were drawn in 2013.

Anonymous said...

The cohort. It's not just for the benefit of the AL students - it provides an enrollment management tool for the district. APP/HCC has historically been placed in schools that would otherwise be considered underperforming or underenrolled. HIMS went from an enrollment of just under 700 and 55% FRL to an enrollment around 900 and 20% FRL in just a couple of years (it's now around 8%). How many JAMS HCC students are from the Eckstein area? Those who were around for the first splits will remember TM and Hawthorne being proposed as elementary APP locations, TM being the location for north end students.

Anonymous said...

It seems like it would still be possible for WS HCC kids to select WMS HCC as their first choice during open enrollment. If there's room, wouldn't they get in?

As far as transportation, since rising 6th and 7th graders from WS will be grandfathered at WMS, maybe incoming HCC 6th graders from WS could receive transportation for at least two years if they received placement at WMS.

-Seattle Parent

Lynn said...

No I don't think it's possible for new WS HCC students to enroll at WMS. Choice placements are based not just on seat availability but also on the effect they will have on the student's default school. This change was made specifically to drive more HCC students to Madison and make it possible to offer HC classes there. These students now have no other option than to essentially attend a one room school within a school for their middle school years. They'll be assigned to the same ELA, social studies and science courses. Most will take the same full year music elective which means they'll also be assigned to the same PE class. In 7th and 8th grades they may split up into two separate world language classes.

This is not the choice most parents would make for their middle school students.

Anonymous said...

West Seattle Families:

Following up from the post above, here is the information I was provided by both Enrollment and Advanced Learning:

The HCC kids who are currently enrolled at Washington Middle school will remain there unless they opt out the program and want to go Madison Gen Ed.

Madison HCC is open only for the new riser who are currently attending the elementary HCC at West Seattle. The default for the 7th and the 8th grade remains at Washington.

The Pathway for West Seattle rising 6th graders will be Madison.

I did not ask if a rising 6th grader could go through Open Enrollment and try to get into WMS.

Thanks -

robkni said...

Hello all.

So... I have no idea whether it would be worthwhile to appeal or not. My daughters are in kindergarten and after doing the initial COGAT in October the Source said no further testing is necessary. Okay.

But on their MAP tests one of my daughters scored a reading RIT of 197 and math RIT of 194, the other scored a reading RIT of 198 and math RIT of 203. Those score put them comfortably in 99+ percentiles and correlate to 3rd/4th grade ability levels.

I think my daughters have many characteristics that I read are associated with gifted children but I'm their dad. I'm not objective.

So what do I do? Appeal? I don't like the idea of having them take a private IQ test but will an appeal based on their MAP scores alone be rejected out of hand? Should I just let this go for a year? I'm afraid they'll be bored and frustrated in 1st grade. Our home school is Thurgood Marshall, so should I just talk to the administration about this? Maybe they have ideas.

Help!

Benjamin Leis said...

Based on what you describe, the cogat scores didn't meet the thresholds so you will need to appeal if you do go down that route based on alternative cognitive testing. That means you can't use the MAP scores for this purpose.

1. Do you qualify for the Free and Reduced Lunch program? If so the district will pay for the appeal process IQ test and I would probably go through on it.

2. The cogat is more likely to be reliable a second time around in first grade. One option is to wait and retest next year. How is the experience this year going? Are they bored or are you worried they are not learning enough? In other words, do you feel there is there an immediate need to enter into the program or not? Speaking only for myself as a family that did not enter in first grade, we thought our needs were met at our school in Kindergarten and waiting did not have any impact on the experience once we did join later on.

3. Even if you feel can wait, you'll need to balance this against the possibility the appeal process may change in future years. It may be safer to pursue an appeal now especially if you think there is any possibility of a learning disability interfering with the testing.

Ultimately I don't think you will get much out of talking to the administration. The decision boils down to some combination of your gut instincts and tolerance for risk.

I hope this helps

tdub said...

@robkni
My 2 cents in addition to what Benjamin said:

If your daughters are finding friends that have common interests and/or they come home from school talking about some of the cool stuff they learned, you're probably fine to wait another year.

If they're only sitting with each other at lunch, think the best part of the day is PE, or their CogAT scores look incongruent with their MAP scores, then it may be worth having them retested privately.

Anonymous said...

My 2 cents, is that I spoke to the woman at UW who run the Robinson center. She does not think SOS should be testing for gifted in kindergarten. My child always tested 99% year after year in elementary on state tests. We tested again (cogat) in 4th grade and qualified for HCC no appeal, thru school testing. My child went thru an ALO elementary and did fine with some differentiation in math and reading, and is now thriving in HCC in middle school. It is fine to wait before you decide to move them and I believe they can more accurately identify gifted kids who would benefit from the program later.
-MB

Anonymous said...

I meant SPS, not SOS
-MB

Lynn said...

So the director of the Robinson Center recommends that the district not follow state law? We are required to identify kids from grades K-12.

Anonymous said...

@ MB, I have to say, it really drives me nuts when parents assume that what worked for their kid will work for others. I'm happy that ALO met your child's needs, but that in no way suggests than any other school will meet any other kid's needs. Even among HC-qualified students there is a huge range of abilities. Your kid happened to be in the range where their needs could still be met by a neighborhood elementary, which gave you more options. Other families aren't so lucky, and their kids were/are just too out of sync to be served at their assignment school. It happens. Plus, factor in the differences in how well--or how poorly--schools, and individual teachers, differentiate. There aren't a lot of ALO or Spectrum schools left, and some principals and teachers are opposed to any sort of walk-to's and the like. If you're in a school like that, good luck getting differentiation.

There are people who opt out of HCC, and I suspect that most do so because whatever they are currently doing is working ok--whether that be an accommodating neighborhood school, some partial homeschooling by parents, extracurricular enrichment, etc. There are also people--a lot of them--who are forced to flee to HCC to have any hope of getting what their child needs. Often these differences are apparent very early on, way before kindergarten.

Anonymous said...

" I'm happy that ALO met your child's needs, but that in no way suggests than any other school will meet any other kid's needs. Even among HC-qualified students there is a huge range of abilities. Your kid happened to be in the range where their needs could still be met by a neighborhood elementary, which gave you more options."

I would say that the ALO elementary school tried to differentiate, as best as it could without HCC qualified students. It would have been a much better experience for my child if there were more HCC qualified kids were in the school. My child had maybe 1 or two others in the classroom. I agree that some kids really benefit from HCC. I am not disputing that fact. HCC in middle has been very beneficial to my kid, now with HCC peers. Yes, huge variance in HCC as well. Child is surprised still feels like one of the top students in the HCC classes academically.

My response was meant for the parent with a K child who did not meet cogat threshold and whose kindergarten kids tested 99% on MAP. It was not a disaster for our child, 99% cogat, also testing 99% on MAP year after year, who did have some spectrum qualified kids in the classroom. There are pluses to being in a neighborhood school. But the school also has to have enough kids spectrum eligible to differentiate.

-MB

Anonymous said...

" Plus, factor in the differences in how well--or how poorly--schools, and individual teachers, differentiate. There aren't a lot of ALO or Spectrum schools left, and some principals and teachers are opposed to any sort of walk-to's and the like."

Yes, the particular ALO school had walk to math (at the time) & although few HCC, a solid group of spectrum eligible kids. It helped. Still kid was an academic outlier in the entire grade. But was good from a neighborhood perspective to stay in the neighborhood & happened to have a kid who did o.k and was o.k with being the smart kid. I don't think the other HCC kids who do not do o.k are any smarter if that is what you are trying to say. This kid is 99% cogat and WISC as well when we tested for Evergreen. If more HCC qualified kids could be served well in their neighborhood schools would be better. This might not be a reality in many schools in Seattle, but seems they are working on adding HCC pathways to more schools due to the explosion of HCC. Simultaneously eliminating spectrum though which makes no sense. I agree it would depend upon elementary school.
- MB