Wednesday, March 1, 2017

March '17 Open Thread

Some darker thoughts:

At the local level, I've been thinking about the district budget situation now that the levy cliff is happening and nationally what if the Dept. of Education was basically eliminated.

So let's try a hopefully cheerier experiment: What things are going on in your building that are interesting and folks not at your site wouldn't have heard about?


Anonymous said...

Someone posted on Ingraham thread course options for IBX senior year "scaled back" no history option etc. Not enough course options to make a 12 grade schedule. They said "consider IBX a 3 year plan".

Parents and students weighing IBX or IB for next year need to be made fully aware by Ingraham staff this is a change for senior year if choosing IBX.

Anonymous said...

That sounds quirky. All IB students are required to take the History HL exam - as I understand it. Thus, how could history be "scaled back". Furthermore, IB is a two year program - you cannot stretch it to 3 years. So how is this workable?


Anonymous said...

IBX students complete IB history HL their junior year. There are no history options offered beyond that. They can take IB Psychology or IB Business Management as social science options. I don't know if any non-IB options are offered. A student on an AP pathway might take AP Gov or AP Econ their senior year. They're also dropping the College in the Classroom English course they've offered the last few years.

Anonymous said...

Thanks - that makes sense from what I saw on my kid's schedule. I think we are aiming for the environment course (hope that is retained). However, is there anything stopping an IB student from taking an AP class? I know the non-IB students take the IB courses.


Anonymous said...

A student on an AP pathway might take AP Gov or AP Econ their senior year.

That should read, [At Garfield or another school that offers AP options], a student...might take AP Gov or AP Econ [not offered at IHS]. IHS offers AP Calc and AP Computer Science (a pre-req for IB CS), but they are an IB school, and do not offer AP options for any other subject.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how many IB and IBX students completed the program last year? What percentage of IBX students complete the program?

juicygoofy said...


At some in the future, could you start a thread to discuss the experiences of HCC students who went to Ballard and/or Roosevelt? With Ingraham planning to cap HCC enrollment and the opening of LIncoln in 2019, my current 7th grader and many of her HCC classmates may choose to avoid the uncertain HCC pathway in high school. It would be great to have a pros/cons discussion from families with experience.


Anonymous said...

The next meeting of the HSC AC is tonight, Tuesday, March 7 at the Cascadia Library (Lincoln), 4400 Interlake Ave N. from 6:30-8:00 pm.

The agenda will include Kari Hanson, Director of Student Support Services who will discuss some new advisory and advocacy opportunities.


Benjamin Leis said...

We just had a high school discussion here: Hopefully that has what you're looking for.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone else get frustrated with Schoology? I get constant reminders that my child isn't turning in work and it turns out that it is not the case. Most of my highschooler's teachers don't use it.

Anonymous said...

Also on Ingraham - my child was told she can't sign up for a 4th year of Spanish (she's a junior and is taking Spanish 5 this year). Has anyone else run into this? Does anyone have experience with their child taking Spanish via Running Start? I'm really unhappy about this.


Anonymous said...

Yes, that's what we've heard, and Running Start classes may not go beyond Spanish 4. Neither Shoreline nor North currently offers anything beyond Spanish 3 (assuming equivalent to high school Spanish 3). Options for many subjects are limited for next year's seniors.

Anonymous said...

juicygoofy--I have heard Ballard and Roosevelt HCC students would take AP and possibly the majority of other classes with older kids. The majority of their classmates would be older and not in HCC. That is one big difference between Garfield, Ingraham versus Ballard or Roosevelt. The other is that with only for example 25 HCC last year at Roosevelt versus a huge cohort at Garfield, they would not have access to multiple honors and AP course sections that would align as well. It is not if an honors or AP course is or is not on the books so to speak, but how many sections are offered to put together a schedule. In addition, there are limited AP and honors science offering at both schools.
-looking ahead

Anonymous said...

Is Ingraham not offering Spanish 5, or just not letting certain students take it? As the immersion pathway school--with some entering 9th graders ready for Spanish 3 or even Spanish 4--not having Spanish 5 would be insane.


Anonymous said...

If 25 HCC went to Roosevelt last year, how many went to GHS? Do those GHS HCC kids really not take classes with upperclassmen? My impression was that classes start to mix regardless of where you are, and kids at both schools are in Freshman only LA/History blocks, right? And I believe music, PE, etc. are also pretty exclusively freshman classes? I imagine for languages and even math and science, it's not such a big deal to have some sophomores and juniors in those classes, maybe even a great thing if you've only been exposed to one cohort for a few years.

My questions is, though, other than for science, does GHS really have more AP classes? Looking at course catalogs, Roosevelt appears to have a couple more World Language AP classes, maybe an extra AP History and a lot of College in the High School English classes that I don't see at Garfield. The math pathways are identical - both offering through AP Statistics. Both have some variety of AP electives, Psychology at Roosevelt but Economics at Garfield, for example.

Looking ahead, I am really curious if (again, other than science) there is actually "more" at Garfield, especially for kids who are interested in languages, writing, social studies. Or, is scheduling, accessibility and number of sections offered the issue? I could imagine not everything in the catalog fits into every schedule. Is it just tradition that Garfield is the pathway to attend and does that need to change with the limiting of AP classes at Garfield, and the potential to move HCC kids from GHS to Lincoln in a few years?

New to HS

Mirnada said...

Where exactly are the two APP elementary sites beginning this upcoming fall? I can't find the addresses or a zoning map to find out which we would be zoned for. We have another year of preschool, but I wanted to familiarize myself with our options. My apologies, I know this is a basic question, but I've been going in circles on the internet and can't find the answer.

Anonymous said...

To Mirnada (March 11, 2017 at 9:41 PM):

Mirnada said...

Thanks to above for that link - but I've already been there and the information is not clear. I read that there's the Cascadia site and the new Decatur site, but it's not clear where Decatur is or if one of the sites will still be Cascadia at Lincoln or not. My son has one more year of preschool, so I can't look up his assignment - he's not in the system.

Anonymous said...

Cascadia is the new school at the old Wilson Pacific site, co-located with Robert Eagle Staff Middle School, 1330 N 90th St, and Decatur is the old building (formerly used by Thornton Creek, previously called Decatur/AE#2), co-located with the new Thornton Creek building, 7712 40th Ave NE.

Anonymous said...

Appendix A (pg 15) of the 2017-18 Student Assignment Plan shows the HCC feeder patterns, but doesn't include the approved boundaries. The table indicate students assigned to the following elementary schools feed into the respective HCC pathway schools:

Broadview-Thomson (K-8), Daniel Bagley, Greenwood, Northgate, Olympic View, Viewlands, John Rogers, Olympic Hills, Sacajawea, B. F. Day, West Woodland

Bryant, Green Lake, Laurelhurst, Sand Point, View Ridge, Wedgwood

Anonymous said...

Boundary maps here:

(Taken from "Growth Boundaries Implementation for 2017-18" on Enrollment Planning page)

Anonymous said...

New to HS-- Some one posted stats recently, can someone please re-post if they know? Was it Lynn? I believe 25 is ENTIRE amount of HCC (not 9th grade) qualified at Roosevelt. Garfield is one of the two HCC pathway high schools. 1/3 of all the students (would be hundreds) are HCC qualified. Big difference. I spoke to advanced learning a couple years ago and they had told me the situation about schedules and the multiple sections of AP classes. At Garfield (& Ingraham IBX) just due to sheer cohort majority they take classes with peers. That is why there are pathway HCC high schools. HCC kids who choose Ballard or Roosevelt etc would be on their own. Benjamin posted a reason recently as to why he thinks they would not be able to eliminate high school HCC pathways and be in compliance with requirements. But then again anything is possible.
-looking ahead

Anonymous said...

New to HS-- FYI Benjamin posted this on the Lincoln High School Thread:
"I suspect there are two issues with serving at reference high schools.

1. Not all the reference high schools even with all the HCC students present would have sufficient numbers to offer a robust selection of advanced courses which would satisfy the state requirements for HCC. You'd really want the master schedule to see how many sections of the advertised classes were given. I don't have the time to analyze the course catalogs across all of the High Schools to even see what's present and also factor in the HCC students per zone to see if this is the case. It would be an interesting project to look into. If there was an issue it would be most likely in sites like Rainier Beach, Chief Sealth, maybe Nathan Hale.

2. Not all the sites could accommodate the return of their student population. So for instance Roosevelt and Ballard even though they are over-crowded would be much worse off if their reference students who go to Garfield came back. This is probably the more serious blocking problem. Again its a numbers game to see what happens once you redistribute adding on Lincoln.
-Looking ahead

Anonymous said...

New to HS,

I just found this highly capable data report from Jan 2016. It states 9th grade Roosevelt last year in 2016 was 25 HCC qualified. Ballard 29 HCC. Garfield 9th grade 176 HCC, Ingraham 91 HCC. Definitely more likely to have classes with grade level peers at Garfield due to numbers, and Ingraham with how IBX works. Roosevelt offers honors option (extra work gen ed class) for LA/SS. Garfield offers honors classes. Garfield offers 9th grade honors for all. Garfield has stated they are implementing honors for all in 9th grade only. 10th-12 honors classes, gen ed classes. Not sure about Ballard honors classes for LA/SS or honors option only. I do find out Ballard does not offer chemistry honors or AP physics either.
-looking ahead

-Looking ahead

Anonymous said...

Re: Ben's take on HS,

1. "Not all the reference high schools even with all the HCC students present would have sufficient numbers to offer a robust selection of advanced courses which would satisfy the state requirements for HCC. "

I'm not so sure a "robust selection of advanced courses" is required by law. It seems the district can just check the "AP classes" box and OSPI will call it good. After all, they check they now for 9th grade HC services, when what do they really offer?

2. "Not all the sites could accommodate the return of their student population."

True now, but that could easily change in 2019 when Lincoln opens. If they wanted to eliminate HC pathway high schools then, they could. Just redraw the Ballard and Roosevelt boundaries to be a lot smaller and send more kids to Lincoln. Boundaries would be ugly and kids near one of other schools might have to trek to Lincoln instead. It would also seriously hurt access to advanced courses, but it would be feasible from a capacity standpoint.

To be clear, the district HAS considered this as an option. If they ever decide to push ahead, hopefully parents--and students--will speak up and stop them.

Anonymous said...

If they pull HCC pathway kids from Garfield (when Lincoln opens) and send them to Lincoln, likely Lincoln will also become a pathway HCC school as Benjamin had previously suggested. I guess they could pull north end kids from Garfield and send them to back to all their neighborhood schools Roosevelt, Ballard, Hale, Lincoln, etc. However, if they no longer have pathway HCC schools, what would that do to Garfield as well as Ingraham? My guess is they would want to keep the HCC pathways (smaller) at Garfield & Ingraham. If no critical mass of honors and AP sections each year to make scheduling work for advanced learners, they would not realistically be in compliance. But who knows.

Anonymous said...

@ HJ, I agree that's the most likely scenario. However, all I'm saying is that I'm not convinced by statements about being "realistically" in compliance or needing a "robust selection" of advanced classes. There's nothing in the reports the district sends to OSPI that says how many different AP classes are offered, how many sections of each are offered, the number of HC students taking those courses, etc. All they need to do is check a box that says they offer some type of service for HC students in each grade level and OSPI seems to say groovy. That's why they can check off "honors" classes for 9th grade and call it good, right? They could conceivably send everyone back to their neighborhood to fight over whatever AP and IB and honors classes the schools are willing to provide, and even if kids weren't able to get as many advanced classes as before the district could still make the case they are providing HC services. I think its' important for parents and students to know this, since they may need to fight the district on it at some point. Assuming the SPS will "do the right thing" and provide opportunities to maximize learning doesn't necessarily jive with recent actions designed to lower the ceiling.

Anonymous said...

Anon @1:28 is right - the district can check the boxes for "honors" (there is no standard for what honors means), AP, IB, and Running Start, and call it good. Individual schools can limit AP and IB offerings, or not really offer much in their "honors" classes, yet the boxes remain checked on the OSPI report. Running Start may be the only option for advancement, even for schools with AP and IB courses.

Anonymous said...

I have an "off topic" question. Do many parents of HCC-qualified kids choose private "gifted" schools like UCDS or Evergreen instead of Cascadia? I believe the cutoff is lower for private schools, like 95th percentile. I am wondering what those schools would offer...
Not that I'm interested in paying $20K/year, but I'm...

Anonymous said...

We have had children in both private school and public HCC programs. I have witnessed many parents going from one to another for a variety reasons. But first, private schools look for many other things than a cutoff test score. Schools like Evergreen and UCDS have the ability to build wonderfully diverse classrooms with talented children, and turn well qualified gifted kids down every year. The number of kids in public HCC would fill the private school spaces many times over. I don't believe many of the private schools accelerate "more" than the HCC program, but what private schools offer are significantly smaller class sizes, more parent teacher conferences and communication, a better variety of field trips, science materials, beautiful facilities and more small group or one on one interactions for kids and interventions if needed. For some children, this is a great opportunity to get them to feel comfortable speaking groups, or to alleviate anxiety that comes from the large chaotic public school classroom. For kids just looking for serious rigor, who manage just fine in large groups behavior and even thrive and fill leadership roles in public schools, the money may be better spent on summer camps, travel or extracurricular opportunities in sports, music or arts. I think many parents whose kids have done well in an HCC program such as at Cascadia will be disappointed with the content and materials of many private schools. Also, you know the location of your school will not change and the headaches facing families with kids being split from friends and program movement is not an issue. UCDS and Evergreen are both closer to $26K than $20K.

Private/Public family

Public&Private said...

The other issue about UCDS and Evergreen is that there are only certain entry points where any significant number of students are admitted. You can't just flippantly decide to send a 3rd grader to UCDS or Evergreen, because no matter how great a kid you have to offer them, if the school only have space to add one or two new students to their 3rd grade cohort, it maybe impossible to get your child admitted. So, there's more strategy required to entering the private "gifted" schools. Pretty much you have to enter at pre-k level or apply multiple years in a row or enter at a level when they are adding another whole class worth of students to the cohort. Or have the very specific type of child they're looking for to round out their current cohort, who can win one of the two slots available out of the hundreds of applicants. Or donate a building to them. And, it's true, $26k can certainly pay for a lot of great extracurriculars.

But, boy, looking ahead to high school (still years off) I'm feeling nervous about what HCC will look like then. Used to be the $125k was almost enough for med school. Now I might have to blow that just on high school. For one kid. Gulp.

Anonymous said...

The acceptance rate at Evergreen a few years ago at the kindergarten level was 25%. So 75% of the children who had attained the requisite test score to apply, were not admitted. Also, Evergreen has a sibling policy so often half or more of the preschool spots are taken up by siblings. UCDS's admission rate is something like 1 out of 6 in the Early Elementary level, although that fluctuates from year to year. These schools are not easy to get into, particularly if your family is an average Seattle family.

Anonymous said...

Those are numbers published by the schools to increase desirability. My family runs in very "average" circles who would have no particular advantage, and there is no way the rate is that low. 50% at worst, and if you apply to more than one, you're fine. We have done both, and I concur with private/public. You are certainly getting something for your money in private school, but it may not be what you need. HCC is really a unique program, even with all the changes.

Average Jane

Michael Rice said...

Copied from SSS blog:

There are two bills currently moving through the legislature that would require 4 year colleges and universities in the state to grant credit for AP exam scores of 3 or better.

SB 5234 and HB1333

The bills do not mention IB.

If you have a feeling about this, please call or email your legislative team about this. On their webpages there is a place where you can send a message – 1000 character limit.

Things are moving fast – please let them know your feelings about this.

If you need more info, you might want to reference that there are 23 IB high schools in Washington, and 19 of them are public schools. Many of the public schools are in very diverse/high poverty areas communities, like South Seattle/S. King County, Tukwila, Tacoma, and Kennewick.

(School list from the IB website. I looked up some of the schools’ websites to determine what their FRL numbers looked like. Kennewick is 70% FRL, Thomas Jefferson in Fed Way is 55% FRL for example.)

To find your district

Benjamin Leis said...

Here's a link for the bills Michael mentioned:

"Requires institutions of higher education to establish a
coordinated, evidence-based policy for granting as many
undergraduate college credits, as possible and appropriate,
to students who have earned minimum scores of three on AP

From the preamble definitions in 28B.10 (

"4) "Institutions of higher education" or "postsecondary institutions" means the state universities, the regional universities, The Evergreen State College, the community colleges, and the technical colleges."

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why AP credit should be awarded the same way across all the state's colleges. College courses can be different and major requirements can be different and students can be different and degree of difficulty can be different, so why should AP credit be awarded the same way?

And what does that even mean, to award credit the same way? If one college's intro chemistry class includes a few more topics/concepts/skills than another college's, and the less comprehensive school awards credits for an AP score of 3, does that mean the school with a more comprehensive class will also need to? Or can they require a 4, because their class requires more?

The proposed legislation also says this should be evidence-based, so why not let each college do it their own way, based on data re: how their students scoring at various levels do on subsequent classes, since it might be different at different colleges?

not convinced

Anonymous said...

Saw this on the JAMS page and found it interesting:

Spectrum Information Night, Wednesday, April 19, 7-8pm

This event is for current and future JAMS families to learn about options and recommendations for Spectrum Eligible students.

Our goal is make sure that parents understand their students options and pathway.

Currently, we automatically assign spectrum students into a HCC (Highly Capable Cohort) pathway while attending Jane Addams. During this evening, we will review the pathways for students 6-8, high school implications and help parents make scheduling decisions that are best for their students strengths.

Lynn said...

That must be related to the complaint filed by a parent of a current Spectrum 8th grade student at JAMS. They were not happy to learn their student didn't have an automatic HCC pathway high school assignment.

Who couldn't see this kind of problem coming when the school decided to reinvent HCC?

Anonymous said...

Once again, we're seeing the issues with site based decision making in the delivery of AL services.

Anonymous said...

How did the school decide to reinvent HCC? Similar to TM or different? I can't keep up...honestly, I just wish the teachers had the tools and training to succeed.

Bloody Chickens

Anonymous said...

I don't think JAMS is reinventing HCC.
SPS has no guidelines on what the program is such as a set curriculum.
When my kid was in JAMS there were very few Spectrum eligible students and the administration decided that it was better for them to blend them with the HCC students than Gen Ed. It seemed to have worked. How good a class was depended more on the teacher than anything else.


Mirnada said...

I was wondering if someone would be willing to catch me up on conversations that have been had at school board meetings or elsewhere about how to make HCC programs more diverse. I read the news article about race and Garfield High, but I've also heard conversations about how opaque the HCC process is, and what I little I know of intelligence testing is that it's hard to keep it from being racially and culturally biassed. Any information the community would be willing to share would be very helpful to me.

Thanks in advance.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mirnada-- I just recently learned statistics of ethnic and racial breakdown for advanced learning programs in Bellevue & Mercer island. 20% of Mercer Island kids qualify. Highest out of any district around. Asian kids tended to be very well represented & were in fact over-represented compared to whites in Bellevue. Achievement tests are part of the identification process for gifted programs. The most recent research in diversity and achievement coming out of Standford (Reardon etc) and elsewhere is focusing more on class, but understanding there is an intersection with race. In seattle, 30% of the most affluent as well as upper middle class send their kids to private school, so data is skewed.

Anonymous said...

I haven't been part of those conversations, but have just gone through the process with my youngest and am surprised at how they seem to be making it harder. Having testing outside of school hours in remote locations is not going to improve access. It selects for families that can prioritize time for testing, have reliable transportation, etc. I work weekends, and my partner ended up spending hours sitting in a cafeteria with our two other children this year so that one could be tested. This is throwing up barriers.

Also, using achievement testing is highly problematic. You are not selecting for "highly capable" children, you are adding the selection criteria that they have been aggressively coached. When Kumon is the answer to getting your child into the HCC program, something is wrong. (Okay, I'm a little bitter that my child had CogAt scores well within the range for HCC placement, but her 80%ile reading MAP is keeping her out of HCC AND Spectrum. It's is a fair representation of her ability and I did not pay to have her re-tested. We have not drilled early reading at our house - but that does not change that she meets most standard criteria for giftedness. It also doesn't change that I expect her to be bored in a standard classroom next year when the HCC and Spectrum kids are tracked to other classrooms.). -Dorsi

Anonymous said...


Before my child was in the HCC elementary, I also wondered why achievement scores were necessary. Now that I've observed first hand, both as a parent and volunteer, I see that the program structure of the elementary program (1-2 years acceleration) is the basis for requiring the achievement test.

It's expected that these are kids are ready to learn advanced material at an accelerated pace upon entry with very little ramp up of the missing year's material. Within the first 7 months, 1st grade has covered multi-digit addition and subtraction with carrying, multiplication, division and fractions. The math includes multi-steps and word problems. Spelling tests include words with both beginning and ending multi-consonant blends. Writing is rigorous.

Stop and think a moment about the pace, executive function and prerequisite reading, writing and math skills it requires that for a 6 or 7 year old to be a good fit for the program.

Your comments about "aggressive coaching" and "Kumon" are false facts. I understand you're upset, but please don't over generalize. Some of these children are auto-didacts and learned how to read or multiply before entering formal schooling through their own grasp of symbolic language without any direct instruction and certainly not "drilling" by parents or tutors.

I do agree with you that testing during school hours would decrease barriers, and I sympathize with your challenges in finding a suitable education for your child. It can be very difficult and frustrating.

- n

Anonymous said...

Fwiw, Kindergarteners are very young. We saw fairly radical shifts in reading between K and 1st. And more importantly my slower reader really grew to love reading over the next year. Looking back, I think the gen-ed 1st classrooms we experienced were generally well taught and did not suffer from a few kids being moved over to other programs. Nor in the long run did switching into HCC later on have any drawbacks. So I'd caution to not assume that your daughter's next year is lost and wait and see.


Anonymous said...


Thank you for your reasoned response. As I mentioned, I'm bitter with the process. I did not mean to imply that the kids in the HCC had been coached or taken to Kumon; I know that my child would have likely done much better on MAP testing if we had been doing those things. She might have done much better if it hadn't been her first time using a computer mouse.

My older child tested in without preparation of any kind, but I don't think MAP scores were used that year? I don't remember the process well. Is it possible that MAP testing is a relatively new requirement?

I think we all know that IQ (or whatever the CogAt score is purported to represent) is not a stable figure in the young elementary cohort. However, it is trying to measure some intrinsic quality (though obviously there are things like socioeconomic status that play a role). I would suspect MAP results are far less stable, as they are measuring something much more dependent on extrinsic factors. Reading and math achievement happens in fits and starts, and I bet the MAP score if tested weekly would have swung wildly through the year. I hope that the same would not be true of the CogAt score - it should be about the same if it was tested weekly.

Let's say, for the sake of argument, that my child has a brilliant mathematical mind, demonstrated by aptitude testing. It seems as thought the school has some obligation to provide her with appropriate education, despite her merely "above average" reading achievement on a day in January. Your argument based on your experience is hard to counter; I don't have children in the program. However, I think this gets to the root of what is the role of an HCC program? Does it exist to give opportunity to children who are a "good fit" for two year acceleration? Or should it exist to provide appropriate education for children who have capabilities that are a few standard deviations from the norm?


Anonymous said...

@ Mirnada, there aren't any good answers to your question about what the district is doing to increase diversity in HCC. The reality is that making HCC more diverse is challenging and complex, and there aren't a lot of clear steps to be taken. One thing many of us have suggested they do--and it would be very helpful information to have--is to do some analyses that look at income and not just race. Income disparities are likely a more significant factor than race, but the district never seems to acknowledge this.

Based on the data that have been presented to date, it would seem that the only route to getting an HCC population that reflects Seattle's (or SPS's) racial demographics would be to essentially set quotas by race. Groups that are currently overrepresented (Asians most dramatically, then whites) would likely need to reach higher cut-off scores than now, while other groups would have their qualifying scores reduced, maybe somewhat dramatically. This seems likely to be the case whether we retain that achievement testing component or not, since underrepresented groups tend to have lower achievement scores and lower CogAT scores BOTH. (The Advanced Learning department's effort to screen all 2nd graders in high poverty SE region schools didn't help with diversity as planned, but instead found more kids from "overrepresented" racial groups, since those were the kids that scored better on the CogAT screener.) Setting quotas by race, however, wouldn't be legal, but they could likely do something by income instead and that might have the same effect.

Trying to implement something like that, however, would be a nightmare. If you have a bunch of kids who qualify at the 99th percentile but only have room for x, how do you decide who doesn't get in? And are the tests really so precise that there's any meaningful difference between someone who scores at the 99th vs 98th percentiles? It's not easy to start denying services to a bunch of kids who seem to need them, just so you can get the diversity you want--which also means letting in a bunch of other kids who aren't ready for that level work, but who happen to be at the top of their subgroup.

One thing I'd like to see--and I believe the AL office did propose something like this once but it didn't get funding--is a type of pre-HCC academy type thing, to provide intensive services to students who show great potential but have not yet qualified for HCC. Rainier Scholars does a similar thing with their middle school age students, who attend a summer session and get lots of additional support. If we want more minority children to qualify for HCC, let's work to help more minority children get ready for HCC.

Oh, and the Garfield issue isn't really an HCC one, since we don't really have HCC in high school. Garfield's "Honors for All" approach was supposedly designed to provide additional rigor to students who typically didn't elect to take honors classes, but from what I've heard the reality is that the class is no longer as challenging as it used to be. (Some people refer to it as "honors for none.") I suspect it's similar to what happens when schools try to require that everyone take Algebra 1 in 8th grade--the class ends up being Algebra "lite" and hurts everyone in the long term. Pretending that everyone is ready for the same level of challenge at the same time seems to be a


juicygoofy said...

Could someone please elaborate on the 8th grade HCC science curriculum at the various school middle schools. I understand that Hamilton offers high school level Biology. Do Washington and JAMS also? I am asking because the I heard that the science planning teacher for REMS recently would not commit to offering more than a class called "Life Sciences." I would like more background information before following up. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Yes, JAMS offers high school biology (equivalent of the normal 10th grade course) and as recently as last year the kids took the EOC for it. At the back to school night the teacher said she collaborates with the high school teachers and is confident that it is as vigorous as the high school version.

Anonymous said...

I would contact the head of AL to clarify that high school level Biology is part of HCC services at all HCC pathway middle schools, and mention what you were told by REMS staff. Is there a plan to make a change at all schools next year, or is it just REMS?

Anonymous said...

You *could* take bio in middle school and leap ahead in most Seattle high schools. But don't be so sure it's the right thing to do if you have a science kid. Like algebra, biology is not something to be rushed through to call it done. It is the basis for years of study. Better a deep understanding than a middle school EOC. So your kid might get biology twice? So what, really? There's a world of biology to be explored.

Anonymous said...

Are you assuming that bio in SPS high schools is likely to provide a deep understanding? I doubt it. In any case, kids who take bio in middle school have the opportunity to take AP Bio in high school, providing them with two years of biology and allowing them to take three other science courses in high school.

Anonymous said...

It's not a "middle school EOC." It's the same EOC high school students take. Waiting to take basic high school bio in 9th or 10th grade isn't going to make the course that much more comprehensive, and it just means they have to take more intro level science classes instead of more advanced versions.

Anonymous said...

Biology taken in 8th grade can count for high school credit, and provide the pre-req for more advanced biology in high school. Most students are not taking it to get high school credit, but to allow for more advancement in high school. 8th grade "Life Sciences" will not provide students the same advancement. The general expectation is Biology would be taken again in high school (at AP or IB level), or as Marine Biology, along with at least one year each of Chemistry and Physics + one more year of an advanced science. The baseline offerings for HCC middle school - math through Geometry, at a minimum, plus Gr7 Physical Science and Gr8 Biology - should be provided at REMS. When is the next meeting for the HCC AC? Parents need to get clarification now while REMS is planning, hiring, and purchasing texts.

Anonymous said...

I had also heard that sometimes kids do not want the high school credit from courses taken in middle school, as it hurts class rank. Does anyone understand exactly how that works?

SusanH said...

Yes, someone (another parent) FINALLY explained that to me. It's actually pretty simple: honors classes count more than regular classes when figuring out class rank (although not for your GPA). I think an A in a standard class gives you 4.0 points, while an A in a honors classes gives you 4.5. So, since generally the HCC kids opt for honors and AP classes, those will let them end up higher in the class ranking. Apparently this is why no one opts to put Algebra 1, Geometry, Physical Science or Biology on their high school transcripts. They just use their actual high school classes instead.

I believe that's how it works.

Anonymous said...

See page 36 of SPS Counseling Manual:

Anonymous said...

Regarding reading scores and HCC qualification, here’s another experience.

We had a child tested in K that qualified for HCC on everything but the reading. We paid for a private reading test that returned similar scores to the MAP, so didn’t appeal.

For the next year, we tutored our child in reading. This meant starting the Magic Treehouse books towards the end of K and our child reading the entire series (multiple times) in first. We read them together and our child also eventually read them alone. Note, those books get much harder and longer as you progress through the series and were enjoyed by both our son and daughter. Plus we practiced with some of the reading comprehension workbooks.

How did our child do in first on the reading? At our school, the MAP was only given in the spring for first grade, so Advanced Learning used the kindergarten reading score and again disqualified our child. We again paid for private reading testing, and this time our child pasted the reading test. Our child had also again passed the CogAT and the MAP math test.

I believe reading is one area where private testing and SPS testing may vary leading to different results. I believe the MAP test is more of an ELA where some private tests are more focused on just reading.

Did we consciously prep our child in reading? Absolutely; but the only way for a child to get advanced math instruction in SPS is to pass the reading test to get into HCC. And in a year our child became a voracious reader who now frequently reads 500+ pages a week of text 4 of 5 grades up.

Is it fair and equitable that we help our kids? Absolutely not, as I’m sure there is another child out there that will never qualify for HCC because they didn’t have someone at home to support them. But if someone wants to bash us for teaching our child to read, go right ahead, I make no apologies.

Anonymous said...

Spring achievement testing (previous school year) is typically what's used for AL qualification. Before MAP, K-2 students were evaluated at their school in small groups.

What you call "tutoring" some would just consider good parenting - reading to children from a young age, taking them to the library, etc. Remember the days when you could check out 50 books from the library instead if 25? We took full advantage of it when our children were young. BOB books were a favorite.

Anonymous said...

Also, to be honest, if going through the process again I would have had our summer birthday kid start kindergarten at 6, not 5. He has always had qualifying CogAT/IQ scores but misses the math/reading cutoff. I believe that if he were in first grade now instead of second he would easily attain the achievement test cutoff--he's doing third grade math and reading at a level P in a private school, where the learning groups are flexible and dynamic and not set in stone at the beginning of the year.

Just something to think about if you are on the fence. I was very against red-shirting but in retrospect it may have been the best thing to do for my child, for this fact and the fact that focus seems better in kids who start later. It's frustrating to be bright but compared to kids a year older than you, when a year constitutes 20% of your years of life lived to date.

-Wishing we'd redshirted

Anonymous said...

Regarding red-shirting, we have two kids in HCC. The one with a summer birthday, we red-shirted and sent to pre-k and started K at age 6. The one with a spring birthday started K at age 5. Both kids are doing fine in HCC.

Because the CogAT is age-normed and tests learned reasoning, I believe red-shirting could hurt these scores. Because the achievement test is grade-normed, I believe red-shirting could help these scores. In general, those kids born in September have an 11 month achievement test advantage compared to those born in August for HCC qualification, which matters most in the early grades.

I was red-shirted as child but not because of HCC. I don't regret it. I always tell our red-shirted child that life is not a race.

The biggest issue we had with red-shirting is that our child was always on a soccer team with kids a grade up. But soccer recently changed to assignment by calendar birth year so the soccer team now has lots of kids from both grades.

Anonymous said...

The HCC testing screens for students who are already achieving above grade level, not just those who have the potential to work above grade level. The services are mostly acceleration of content, so students should be working ahead of grade level for best placement. Aren't CogAT scores age normed, so an old for K student may get a lower SAS score than a young for K student, even if they have the same raw score?

Anonymous said...

Interesting that many want to redshirt in order to more easily qualify for HCC. We had wanted to start early instead, since child was so far ahead and so much more mature than age-mates. I always kind of assumed that other highly gifted kids would be in the same boat--ready for more sooner, not needing to sit out a year to get an added advantage.

Anonymous said...

Anecdotally, there are also summer B-day HCC students who didn't redshirt, but would benefit from more advancement than is offered in HCC. It's not about racing ahead, but wanting to go the speed your car is equipped to handle.

Anonymous said...

Every child is different. In our case our son is also on the ADD spectrum, so while he is ready to handle academic acceleration his focus skills aren't as good as they could be and I think he would have benefited from another year of maturation.
Interestingly, he shows much more focus when working on things that are more challenging.

Our daughter appears to be the opposite--working on multiplication/division at three with tremendous focus. She is also benefiting from a much more enriching preschool environment than our son got. And yet, IQ testing shows them at about the same percentiles.

I think the problem with the way things are set up is that in most cases it is HCC or no academic acceleration/enrichment at all, except what one can provide outside the home.

-Wishing we'd red-shirted

Anonymous said...

A poster above noted a reading score of the 80th percentile and qualifying CogAT scores.

A kindergarten student scoring in the 80th percentile on the winter reading test would have a MAP RIT score of 162. A kindergarten student scoring in the 95th percentile on the winter MAP would have a RIT score of 172. That’s only a 10 RIT difference. The mean annual RIT growth from winter K to winter first grade is 19.71. So the difference between an 80th percentile score and a 95th percentile score is only about half a year.

Since the MAP test is grade normed, a child with a summer birthday that is 11 months younger than another child in the same class is at a measureable disadvantage for qualifying for HCC. That can be very frustrating for a parent that has a child with qualifying CogAT scores but non-qualifying reading or math scores.

But, it also means that if a younger child has qualifying CogAT scores in K but non-qualifying reading or math achievement scores, if the parent actively works with them for nine months including over the summer, they have a real chance of making up the difference and then appealing with a private achievement test in first grade. Because the system discriminates against younger kids, I believe this is a perfectly ethical use of the appeals process and private testing.

Redshirting is a different approach, but because it’s age-normed holding a child back could impact their CogAT scores. But there are many reasons to consider redshirting a summer birthday.

Anonymous said...

SB 5234 and HB1333
I'm confused about this. I'm a middle school HCC parent. I always assumed that if my kid went to high school and did Running Start (is that the same as IB or IBX?) that she would get college credit and essentially have a community college degree by the time she finished high school. Is that not true? Or am I mixing things up?


Anonymous said...

The bills are related to college credit for AP exams (only for institutions within WA state). Colleges and universities have different policies regarding credit and placement based on AP/IB exam scores. Some colleges grant college credit for specified scores, some just grant placement into higher level courses, and some do neither. Policies vary for AP and IB as well, with AP generally being more recognized than IB. For AP, a student doesn't even need to take the AP course - any student can take an AP exam and if they get a high enough score they may get college credit, depending on the policy of the institution.

Running Start (NOT the same as IB/IBX) grants dual credit - both college credit and high school credit. Students take classes at their area community college and earn college credit at the same time they are earning their high school diploma. They can potentially earn an associate degree after two years of Running Start. Students are not eligible for Running Start until they are juniors. Running Start becomes a part of a student's college record.

With IBX, if students meet all the school requirements for the IB diploma, and pass all classes, they get a waiver of state graduation requirements and can graduate at the end of junior year if they wish. They can also take Running Start classes their senior year.

SB 5234 - 2017-18

Requires institutions of higher education to establish a coordinated, evidence-based policy for granting as many undergraduate college credits to students who have earned minimum scores of three on AP exams as possible and appropriate.

HB 1333 - 2017-18

Requires institutions of higher education to establish a coordinated, evidence-based policy for granting as many undergraduate college credits, as possible and appropriate, to students who have earned minimum scores of three on AP exams.

Anonymous said...

This article highlights some of my concerns with the current system:

From this example, high-achieving students who didn't necessarily make the "gifted" cutoff saw large gains by being an an enhanced, accelerated classroom. Kids who are in the top 10-20% of the classroom are losing out on their potential academic gains by the "one size fits all" approach in general education. We really should bring back Spectrum classrooms for those that don't quite meet HCC. I would guess that after a year or two in a Spectrum classroom, many of those students would end up having achievement scores worthy of HCC.

Some of the same effects could probably be attained by after-school tutoring, intensive parental support, and Kumon. But many parents (myself included) lack the time and money for these options, and this approach dramatically decreases equitable access to high-quality education. That's what is really at stake here.

Some other countries provide educational environments a year or two more advanced than American schools, and they provide this to all children, not only a select few. Why can't we do this in Seattle, and then provide extra support for the few children that are behind?


Anonymous said...

How do people feel about Seattle opening a "low barrier shelter" a 5 minutes walk from the Wilson Pacific site? "Low barrier" appears to mean, in this context, no restrictions on substance (alcohol or otherwise) abuse while on site.

This in an area that has been having a long standing crime problem, including the occasional shooting, including one happening last night.

Anonymous said...

I agree we should bring back Spectrum! I have one HCC kid and I wonder if my younger will "test in" or not. I have a feeling she is in the Spectrum range but not HCC, but it's hard to know. I think there needs to be more rigor in general ed.

Anonymous said...

Seattle Times has a front page story aimed squarely at the SPS program. A lot of criticism without calling it out by name, but the intent is obvious. It quotes one of the psychs that many families use to test into AL. Psych says the process is bogus. Doesn't seem the best move for his practice! I note it turned off reader comments on the story, which it almost never does. I knew HCC was unpopular with the political types but wow.

Anonymous said...

Here is the story link

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this article. It highlights exactly the sentiment that I was attempting to express.

This sentence in particular is worth noting: "Rainier Scholars, for instance, handpicks promising minority students in the sixth grade, none of whom have tested into gifted programs. After 14 months of high-powered academic counseling, 95 percent find their way to advanced learning."


Anonymous said...

I, too, noticed that comments were turned off for that article.

“The kids we call ‘gifted,’ for many their only gift is their parents, who’ve had the time and money to invest in them,” he said. “We’ve confused being privileged with being gifted."

Hard to know where to start.

Anonymous said...

The front page of the Seattle Times article has a graph of Federal Way AP and IB courses, showing that 89% of black students pass their courses, along with high scores for other groups. That's incredibly misleading, because buried deep in the article's 2nd page, it admits that 2/3 of the Federal Way students FAIL their AP and IB tests. 66% failure rate! It doesn't break that percentage down by ethnicity.

Isn't the point of AP and IB classes to get students to do college-level work? Aren't most students expected to pass the tests if they complete the year? What kind of classes are Federal Way students getting if 66% fail the exams? What does that do to kids' self-esteem to be set up for failure?


Anonymous said...

Right. And the article even mentions there had been concerns about the potential downward impact on rigor, while suggesting that fear didn't pan out because students were passing the courses at high rates. News flash--lots of students passing the class but not passing the associated exam is exactly what you would expect if a corse was watered down!

Seriously, Seattle Times, how about a litte critical thinking here?

Anonymous said...

Overall, however, Washington tolerates a persistent caste system in its schools, with an upper strata [sic] characterized by creativity and exploration, and a general-education track emphasizing little of that.
A caste system, really? And where can I get some of this "creativity and exploration" in education in my child's public school advanced learning experience. I'm not seeing it.

The label “gifted” is a loaded one. No proven marker of future brilliance, it is defined differently in different places...
Who the F expects it to be a marker of future brilliance, or even wants it to be? The point is for it to denote a different level of current ability/achievement, a different learning style--in other words, different needs in the present. It's about providing an educational experience that is....educational.

Just because you’re an early reader does not mean you’re going to be a brilliant scholar.
Duh. But the implication is that if you're not going to end up a brilliant scholar, you don't deserve an appropriate education now?

Whites occupy 66 percent of the seats in Washington’s accelerated classrooms, and Asians much of the remainder. The big-picture ramifications — from future employment prospects to income inequality — keep education researchers awake at night.
What, so if you're not in gifted ed your job prospects are doomed? Only the top small percentage of students are bound to succeed in life? Even though being "deemed" "gifted" is not a marker of future brilliance?

The question is one of definitions, and at the Robinson Center for Young Scholars at UW director Nancy Hertzog agrees that high I.Q. scores alone do not always correlate with giftedness — though that is a measure often used by schools. Hertzog sees these students as kids who need services akin to Special Education, rather than stars granted special status.
Uhh, aren't the gifted services supposed to be the "special ed" type services? And in what district are gifted students seen as "stars granted special status"???

“When students are privately tested, they’re getting a completely different experience from the usual Saturday morning cattle call.”
That's probably true. But here's a question: Is that testing experience any less reliable? Are the results perhaps even MORE accurate than the "cattle call"? To suggest "we only test kids in chaotic group situations, and if they aren't gifted enough to overcome their anxiety or ADHD or whatnot, then they aren't gifted enough to need services" is complete BS.

Riled up

Anonymous said...

A little more...

“It’s ugly. I see kids who’ve clearly been coached, and I hear all the time from parents who want to get their kids into gifted programs — not necessarily the program that’s best for their kids. It’s a problem...”
Ok, so there's demand for gifted services. Who cares? If it's so obvious to psychs that kids have been coached, then those kids can't cheat their way into gifted programs. Any psych worth their credential should be able to figure out who is really qualified. We're talking about kids at the 98th+ percentile. They stand out.

“There are very, very few kids who are truly at the advanced-learning-genius kind of level,” said Wilson Chin, a cellular biologist who left the lab to teach sixth-graders at TAF...
He thinks "advanced learning" and ""genius" level are, or should be, the same thing? That's crazy. He's right that very, very few "genius" level kids are in advanced learning programs--why would they be, since the programs aren't designed for them and wouldn't serve them well? These programs are designed for students who are highly gifted, not genius level. Big difference.

“For most students, the idea that ‘my child is brilliant and can only be challenged by other so-called brilliant kids’ is absurd. If kids have the right teaching, any of them can be in a so-called ‘advanced’ program.”
Ah, so they only need "so-called" advanced programs. Got it. I guess that's like Federal Way's so-called AP classes?

Angela Griffin was there, shaking her head at gifted-student Power Points that showed the same racial patterns she encountered a decade ago, driven by the same old tests. Her daughter Nila, meanwhile, was 25 miles away. She’d been part of the first graduating class at TAF, attended college early and was back to tutor students in math before continuing her pursuit of a career in medicine.
Wow, nice closing. I guess that "proves" the point that it's all racism? I mean, nobody who isn't "gifted" could ever graduate from high school and go to college, right?

Still riled up. But trying to calm down. I just feel so bad for my academically gifted but also very sensitive student, who has come to hate feeling so different, so attacked by the system for being smart, made to feel guilty, etc. I just want to scream sometimes!

Anonymous said...

Suggestion to the Seattle Times:

How about doing a story sometime on academically highly gifted students and the struggles they face in trying to get an appropriate education?