Wednesday, January 3, 2018

January '18 Open Thread

The NGCA sent this in the mail:

Don't miss our headline event for the year!
NWGCA is thrilled to partner with GHF to bring Gifted Research & Outreach (GRO) to Washington state for the premier of their brand new workshop!  
Want a preview? Check out GRO's searchable library of almost 300 articles they have gathered about the physiology and neuroscience of giftedness - including more than 70 peer reviewed papers! The amount of research piling up is astounding, and their eye-opening insights will forever change how you talk about giftedness.  

Workshop: The Gifted Advocacy Toolkit
Leveraging neuroscience, gifted research, and industry techniques to drive the change you want to see. 

Saturday, January 20, 2018 
9:00am - 5:00pm
Woodinville, WA  
Attention educators: 6.5 clock hours are available at no extra cost! 
Effective advocacy for gifted students requires both knowledge and skill. This ground-breaking workshop delivers both in one sitting!

Julia Robinson Math Festival

The mission of the Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival is to inspire students to explore the richness and beauty of mathematics through activities that encourage collaborative, creative problem-solving.
I can’t thank you and your entire team enough. My daughter had never attended one of your events. She absolutely LOVED every math activity that she participated in.PARENT
The festival is a noncompetitive celebration of great ideas and problems in mathematics. We will have several dozen tables of rich math problems and activities led by our volunteers, who are lovers of mathematics from different disciplines, representing mathematicians, teachers, engineers, programmers, graduate students, and more.
To register or find out more go here:

What's on your minds?

Book Review of "Off the Charts: The hidden lives and lessons of American prodigies"


Anonymous said...

Benjamin- Can you open a thread to discuss choosing between Ingraham, Garfield and Ballard? It would be helpful for current 8th families getting ready for open enrollment to learn more about various experiences at the schools. Thx

Benjamin Leis said...

I'll definitely do so but my plan is to wait until the pathway decision is finalized or punted at the end of this month. That should give folks enough time prior to open enrollment and it will be a lot less speculative.

Benjamin Leis said...

I added a link to the Julia Robinson Festival.

Thomas said...

Hello. My 2nd grader recently qualified as HC. We would ideally like to move to a HC cohort for 3rd grade. Do we have a realistic chance of moving to a HCC school for next year? Our designated pathway school is Cascadia and I note there were zero on the wait list for 2017 2nd grade. (There are a couple waitlisted for other grades). Does this mean it is likely that we would be able to move?

My other question is for middle school- we already enrolled in a feeder to Hamilton zone and would of course prefer HCC for 6-8. As feeder school is a tiebreaker, is my assumption correct that we are very likely to get placed in the HCC there for middle school, regardless of placement in HCC for elementary?

Thanks for any insight.

Benjamin Leis said...

The next meeting of the Highly Capable Services Advisory Committee will be on Tuesday, January 9, Garfield High School Library, 6:30 to 8 pm (400 23rd Ave, Seattle, WA 98122). Please note that there are several events tomorrow evening at Garfield, so allow extra time to find parking!

Benjamin Leis said...

@Thomas - As long as you sign up during open enrollment, your 2nd grader is guaranteed a seat at Cascadia. The same goes for Hamilton. If you enroll at Cascadia you will automatically be placed at Hamilton in 6th grade. Even if you decided to wait until MS, you still would be guaranteed a place there as long as opted in during the enrollment process. But since its also your attendance area M.S. you are going to end up there by default anyway and that seat is also guaranteed because of your address.

Official Info:

Anonymous said...

A note on your most recent post. Not all of the high schools are overcrowded. Franklin, Chief Sealth, West Seattle and Rainier Beach are all underenrolled.

Benjamin Leis said...

Thank you for keeping me honest. I changed the wording to "almost all". If you look at the projections

we're at an overall deficit of seats in by 2021 without the new building and essentially Rainier Beach is the only place with any significant amount of unused space. The situation is most acute in the North End.

kinderappeals said...

Just got eligibility info for kinder child. We have an older child at Cascadia already. Kid did not hit criteria but was close on all of the sections. She qualified for Spectrum. Trying to decide whether to mount an appeal or not. I know she would probably hit the 98/95 criteria if we appeal but am somewhat doubtful if she'll hit the 99/99 new appeal criteria. I know there are two different webpages on the SPS site about appeals. One lists the "new" criteria and another still has the old (and IMHO proper) criteria. I wonder if you could appeal under the auspices of the old appeals criteria and argue that it's contradictory at best and that the tie should go to the appealing party. Thoughts?

If we don't go that route, I will probably just re-test again next year. However, my son went to Cascadia in 1st grade and I'd love to have her join there in the first year as well so she can start making new friends.

Anonymous said...

Kinderappealas, what did you decide to do?

kinderappeals said...

@anonymous - just got results today. No decision yet.

Anonymous said...

Just got the results of the CoAg for my 4th grader. He did great - 98% on three of the 7 results (to qualify, you need 98% on two of the 7 results). However he did middling on his standardized tests (~70% on the SBAC). Based on previous year results, I don't think this will change a lot in future years.

Is it worth appealing? Even if he does even better on the CoAg, his standardized tests will not change. Have people in this group successfully appealed Did Not Qualify results due to poor showings on standardized tests?

Based on the current results, we don't even qualify for spectrum - even though his IQ is in the top 2% of those tested!!

What do do>


-Frustrated again

Anonymous said...

How is school going now? Is the work inappropriately easy, do you think? I have one child in HCC and one who gets standardized test scores more in the 70's(CoGat better, but I don't remember if it was quite qualifying), and when I thought about it, I'm not sure child 2 would do so hot in the classes his older sibling has had. Just not the right fit for now. I wanted them both at the same school, but really the work is right for child 2 right now. That's us, though, not you.

Or is it more about the testing environment? Do you think those scores are not right for where your child really is? I don't think appeals work without the scores.

1 in 1 out

Agitate for Change said...

@Frustrated Again,

Elementary schools are allowed to provide Advanced Learning Opportunities (ALO) based on teacher/principal discretion. If you feel like he would benefit from more challenge in reading or math, you can approach the school and ask about ALOs. They are supposed to list what they provide in their CSIP, although many of them list nothing. But even the schools that list nothing, can—at teacher discretion—provide harder work for a student. This can take many forms. But if you happen to have an experienced and/or receptive teacher, you may be able to talk them into challenging your son more.

Having access to accelerated or more in-depth material (through walk-to math or more challenging reading or whatever) can raise achievement scores over time. And, even more importantly, can help the student stay interested and prevent the student from tuning out and (ironically) falling behind.

Here's a good discussion:

Also consider writing to the school board and share your thoughts with them: (contacts the 7 School Board Directors, Superintendent, and senior staff)

Also, Seattle is looking for a new Superintendent. Fill out the survey and tell them you'd like to see someone who supports advanced learning

2E Parent said...

Has anyone who tested with accommodation received results yet? My kid has an IEP for high-functioning ASD and was tested with accommodation (i.e. 1:1 during school hours). Looks like most people have received results by now, but we are still waiting. Would be interested in hearing from any parents of 2E students on what their experience has been in this process (even if from prior years), and whether any parents of 2E students have received results yet this year.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your replies so far. My kid is doing ok in elementary school, I think I would keep him there regardless. I was doing the testing hoping to expand our middle school options. I don't believe they offer any AL options. Or limited, at best.

Does the appeal have any chance with his low standardized test scores?

Frustrated again.

Anonymous said...

I would do a test just to uncover if there is a learning difference that his high IQ is masking. Both of my kids have issues like that and if you know about it you can give better academic support. The schools IME won't help with a kid like that, you have to figure out if there is an issue on your own, and a private test can give you info on processing or working memory issues, among other things. My kids are in HCC (from district testing) and I still need to do this.

So frustrating.

Anonymous said...

Why is the information night for families considering Decatur scheduled for Feb 15, the night before Open Enrollment closes? This seems so different from the welcoming and helpful dedication to helping families decide about the program that we had when our older child entered APP at Lincoln.

Old days

Anonymous said...

Because that is when staff and administration are available. There are only 10 classroom teachers now at Decatur, and making sure primary and secondary grades can be well represented is a little harder. It was also not clear during scheduling when advanced learning decisions would be out, and it seemed only kind to try to schedule a date when most people would know whether it was an actual option. Color me surprised that the district has done so much so early, but the date is already on the calendar. Good luck deciding, and I hope to meet you at the information night February 15.

Stephanie Morris
Decatur PTA President

Benjamin Leis said...

I should add that you can take submit your enrollment form up until May with no penalty. Disclamer: Don't do this if you have made up your mind. Delay causes a lot of planning uncertainty. But if you're waiting for the information night and you need a week to mull it over, that's still fine.

Anonymous said...

Are you sure about that? I thought they changed that last year and students will be put on the waitlist if not enrolled during what they call the "on time" open enrollment (ending Feb 16).

Benjamin Leis said...

From the current student assignment procedure (3130 SP):

Disclaimer:Its much easier for the school to plan when they know who's coming.
Don't delay enrolling without good reason.

"Students entering HC in grades 1-8 who apply during the period from Open Enrollment through
May 31 will be guaranteed assignment to their HCC pathway school for next year, based on where
they live, as follows:
 Students who live in the Hamilton and McClure Service Areas will be assigned to Cascadia
Elementary, Hamilton Middle, and Garfield High schools pathway.
 Students who live in the Eckstein Service Area will be assigned to the Decatur Elementary,
Jane Addams Middle and Garfield High schools pathway.
 Students who live in the Jane Addams Service Area will be assigned to the Cascadia
Elementary, Jane Addams Middle and Garfield High schools pathway.
 Students who live in the Eagle Staff and Whitman Service Areas will be assigned to the
Cascadia Elementary, Eagle Staff Middle and Garfield High schools pathway.
 Students who live in the Aki Kurose, Meany, Mercer and Washington Service Areas will
be assigned to the Thurgood Marshall Elementary, Washington Middle, and Garfield High
schools pathway.
 Students who live in the Denny and Madison Service Areas will be assigned to the
Thurgood Marshall Elementary, Madison Middle, and Garfield High schools pathway."
January 17, 2018 at 2:39 PM

Anonymous said...

Can anyone help with experiences at Garfield or Ingraham IB? My 8th grader is deeply intellectual and serious but is not that great at getting good grades (combination of anxiety and contempt for rubrics?). He has always found even 3 years ahead math classes painfully slow and boring, but it's up in the air at this point whether he'll be a STEM kid or a humanities kid. He's interested in all sorts of things! I want to know at which school he's more likely to find serious, nerdy peers and how horrible the homework load is at Garfield versus IB. If anyone has any experiences to share, that would be great!

new teen parent

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...Superintendent Procedure, so subject to change without Board approval (was updated 12/13/17).

What does this footnote mean, related to Garfield (pg 35):

Students assigned to HCC in 8th grade are automatically continued into Garfield HCC for 9th grade (and then subsequently grades 10-12) as a Choice assignment, but it is not their alternate designated school. Is there a reason for the distinction between "choice" and "alternate designated" school?

Anonymous said...

In theory, the IB curriculum provides a strong foundation in math/science and the humanities. Students are supposed to make cross curricular connections, etc. The structure of the diploma program, however, can restrict math and science options. IB math does not align well with typical US math pathways, and the HL math option - a very challenging two year course - is generally recognized by universities only as AP Calc AB. The science options become limited because the only way to access IB science in 10th grade is to do the full diploma starting in 10th. It becomes an all or nothing choice - follow the IBX pathway in order to access advanced science as early as possible (and to have a more logical math pathway), or wait a year, but then have little in the way of advanced science options until 11th. Doing the diploma early, though, now that they are actively discouraging the IBX pathway, separates students from their grade cohort and shrinks the IBX cohort in a way that creates much bigger unknowns for those students in 12th grade (think Running Start).

Anonymous said...

New teen Parent-

I have a type A anxious kid straight A student who already spends alot of time doing homework, so I don't think IB is for her. We are likely choosing our neighborhood school Ballard as there are many spectrum and also a good amount of HC kids who attend, Garfield is too far and we also don't want to deal with a possible split in 10th grade to Lincoln.

Here is what I have heard.IB is harder than AP, has more homework, more stressful and leaves little to no tome for extracurricular activities.

Here is what an IBX student now a senior, posted recently on the HCC Seattle middle Facebook page through his mother's account:

" IB is not for everyone. I've heard less than 25% of the kids get the full IB diploma. Most students end up just getting IB certificates for certain subjects. Having gone through the program, I don't know that it's worth it. Junior year is a struggle. Kids are up past 2 am on a lot of days. Too much homework and busy work in some of the classes. Running Start seems so much easier to get college credits which automatically transfer to UW if it's the 100 level and above. Way less intense and more efficient. You can only get credit for Math 124 (Calculus I) at UW if you score a 7/7 on the HL Math exam. There was only one period of HL Math (the highest IB level math) last year with 20 kids. Painful!"


KinderMom said...

So, I am reading the appeals information page. This is what the SPS site says:

"It is important to note that a successful appeal for HC eligibility will need to include supporting evidence that the student qualifies as “Most Highly Capable” or “Highly Gifted”. Those qualifications usually indicate that the student’s scores approach 3 standard deviations above the norm on standardized intelligence and achievement tests. This does represent a higher threshold than for the initial eligibility process because the student has been given the benefit of individually administered assessments. Students who meet the published cognitive and achievement test threshold scores are not guaranteed a successful appeal."

When it says "are not guaranteed a successful appeal" does that refer to the higher 99% standard or the 98/95% standard? Also, does it mean that you might be successful? I find the language equivocal. Any thoughts? I think my kinder daughter will meet the lower threshold in achievement (waiting for her scheduled test to occur) and already scored 99% on cognitive in private testing. I will probably send in an appeal anyway if she hits 95% on achievements but curious what others think...



KinderMom said...

One more question, has anyone out there challenged SPS regarding this new, more rigorous appeal process, especially since it was done in the middle of the testing cycle? I'm curious to hear if anything is in the works on it. Super frustrated by having this sprung on us so late.

IB options said...

Just adding to the conversation that it's impt to remember IB classes can be taken individually without doing the whole diploma - lots of Ingraham students do this and in that regard it is much like AP. These are great classes with a unique perspective that focuses more on connections/analysis and critical thinking than facts/memorization. I have an IBX student and she does not stay up until 2am doing homework and is very involved in lots of extra curricular activities - band, jazz, clubs, ultimate, etc. I'm sure there are kids taking 4-5 AP classes that have lots of homework too. Also, I disagree that they are discouraging students from doing IBX - I like that they are presenting options. We felt like options were presented, classes she'd take starting IB in 10th vs 11th were mapped out and we were encouraged to make a thoughtful choice. My student felt supported in choosing to start full diploma in 10th and her friends waiting until 11th or choosing to do individual IB certificates felt supported as well. Lots of good options.

Anonymous said...

@IB options- If an HC student just takes individual IB courses, what can they take that would be appropriate for the rest of their schedule? My HC child (was paired with a 9th grade gen ed student for shadow) and the classes attended were not only repeat material but also very rowdy and not at all appropriate. The IBX student we met in the office said expect a minimum of 4 hours homework and often there is much more time spent leaving no time for outside activities. I have also heard from others the homework is much more intensive than the AP courses. I would have concerns if my student who is already on an accelerated track did a mix of gen ed and IB classes. It kind of seems like it has to be all or nothing or is there another option I am not aware?

Anonymous said...

Check with IHS, but my understanding is that individual IB courses are not available until 11th. Only IBX diploma candidates take IB courses earlier (in 10th), and then it's pretty much all or nothing. AP Calc AB and AP CS (usually only one section offered) are options for all grade levels.

IB options said...

PT - Just giving you my personal experience with my IBX student. Some students do struggle for a variety of reasons and I think that is why IHS is now offering options for students so they can choose what's best for them. Just because you have been on the HC track for years doesn't mean you have to make that choice. As far as classes, they would take the same classes as other incoming HC students in 9th grade (like H Chem) and then there are courses for them in 10th that are not repeat courses (such as H World Lit, Spanish 4, H Physics). My child has lots of friends currently doing this. Personally both my kids HC middle school classes were hit or miss (esp LA/SS) so I don't presume they are exactly the same classes/material anyways. In 11th grade they could then take the IB courses they choose to take. More kids are doing this coming out of HC so I would expect them to add more classes as well if they are offering it as an option and adding 500+ students soon. IHS website/tours have charts that layout the different classes. We just made a quick spreadsheet that showed all the different options and it was helpful as we weighed our options. Not saying Ingraham or IB classes are best choice for everyone just trying to clear up some misconceptions that it is all or nothing. Ingraham has a lot to offer besides just doing the full diploma program. We personally love the teachers, music program, student clubs, diverse student perspectives, & flexibility that Ingraham offers.

Anonymous said...

"In 11th grade they could then take the IB courses they choose to take"
Thanks but I wonder if not taking a full slate of IB courses 11th and 12th toward the diploma there does not seem to be many other appropriate classes an HC student can take besides the AP math & CS.

Thanks for your feedback though as we are still checking Ingraham out. Not sure IB is for our particular student who is a perfectionist, straight A student who already spends alot of time on homework. Don't like that I keep hearing the word stressful and homework and up all hours about IB from the HC students & parents.

We were very impressed with Garfield's open house last night. It reminds us very much of HIMS in all the good ways. That school would be perfect if there was a guarantee of grandfathering for current 8th.

Anonymous said...

To clarify, based on the course offerings for those opting out of IBX, the "all or nothing" is the dilemma faced by those trying to maximize advanced science options, while still having a logical math sequence. As currently taught, the honors physics is somewhat basic, and because of the IB diploma SL/HL requirements, you then face the choice of taking the 2 yr Math HL in order to take two SL science courses (IB Physics, IB Chemistry, IB Biology, or IB ESS), or you choose to take the 2 yr HL Biology and forego any other advanced science courses. Alternatively, you could HL in an elective such as world language or art, but that restricts those wanting to stay in band/orchestra/choir. Foregoing the diploma would provide more flexibility, so that's a choice you'd need to make. Also, 10th grade HC students are offered only a semester of World History, not a full year.

In our kid's experience, the courses that have created the most stress and increased the HW load the most are those that don't adequately teach the IB material in class, or don't pace the work in a manageable way. If class time is not well planned or random assignments are taking the place of needed instruction and coverage of IB material, more work is shifted to students outside of class time. This seems especially problematic in a few of the classes.

Anonymous said...

@11:06AM- "This seems especially problematic in a few of the classes." So about three classes have kids stressing out? I have also heard from IBX/IB students that they spend so many hours on homework (& other requirements if diploma candidate) they have no time for anything else. Also, have heard IB (more than AP) requires organizational and time management skills. It seems to be much more intensive leaving less time for music, clubs and activities than the AP route at Garfield, or Roosevelt/ Ballard.

It is important for parents to understand the differences so they can make the best choice with their kids. I prefer a high school environment where on average no more than 2 1/2 hours of homework is spent per night. That is plenty. When kids are stating they are spending on average 4 hours or more or are up until 2AM, it seems excessive.

Anonymous said...

Once again, my third-grader had qualifying CogAT scores but fell short on the achievement test (ITBS). He mentioned seeing problems on the math ITBS section with four-digit multiplication and division, which he hasn't encountered yet at school. Reading scores were better but not qualifying.

How should I interpret a gap between cognitive potential and achievement? Is this indicative that we should be supplementing more at home? Is the school curriculum not accelerated enough to cover the right material? Is it just a problem with test-taking and attention to detail? Since we just get the percentile score it's hard to know where exactly he's falling short. We didn't have him do any practice tests, would that make a large difference? Also, his current school doesn't do any standardized testing.

Anyone else experience this issue with a kid? What helps? Kid is in private school right now; we found that public school wasn't rigorous enough academically, but now it seems private school isn't really either.

Are SSAT/ISEE tests more like the CogAT or the ITBS? Wondering if this will be an issue for middle school and we should put more effort into test prep.


another kindermom said...

Has anyone heard anything regarding successful (or unsuccessful) HCC appeals under the new guidelines? And if so, what was included in the appeals packet aside from test scores? My kiddo has the seemingly requisite scores (99s on MAP and ITBS; 99.9 on cognitive from outside testing) but I'm not sure what else (if anything) to include, aside from a cover letter and a statement from his teacher.

And of course the district's statement that "Students who meet the published cognitive and achievement test threshold scores are not guaranteed a successful appeal" is neither straightforward nor encouraging.