Sunday, June 3, 2018

June '18 Open Thread

From the Highly Capable Service Adv. Committee:

The final scheduled HCSAC meeting for this school year will be next this Tuesday 6/5/2018 from 6:30-8:00 at Madison Middle School. 

The agenda includes:

  • Approval of May meeting minutes 
  • Review and approval of the new HCSAC Charge
  • Discussion of recruitment for staff and parent positions for SY 2018-19
  • Discussion of election of officers
  • Update on the Advanced Learning Task Force (ALTF)
  • Farewell to departing members
  • Other items TBD

What's on your minds?


Anonymous said...

This will be the final all volunteer meeting with Stephen Martin (AL Chairman) taking over as Chairman of the Committee as it will be rolled into a district committee with Superintendent oversight. I personally would have rather seen the Committee stay separate.

Anonymous said...

Is it really an advisory committee if it's run by the district?

Any chance that on the annual OSPI grant application/report SPS will stop checking the "yes" box under the "Highly Capable Program Parent Organization" question that asks "Is there a parent organization in your area?" Seems disingenuous to call it a "parent organization" even under the old structure, but much more so now.

Fake engagement?

Anonymous said...

That is exactly my concern. Having been on the committee since the first splits, because of the splits, I have seen the watering down of HCC rigor and continued splits. I also applaud our group for getting out against staff's attempt to eliminate pathways and not even considering LHS as an option. Big win.

Having received multiple reassurances that the HCS AC will maintain its advocacy role I am willing to give this new formation a chance. Candidly, Stephen Martin has done a good job. He has had to work really hard to do it. And what was said at the last meeting it really is the synergy of the parents, teachers and AL lead that has allowed us to really shape the program against the senior staff's hostile policies.

The committee has slowed in it's advocacy in my opinion. There was a promise of a thorough review of honors for all. We are now in our second year and not a peep. Madison Middle School should have never come on line with 30 potential students. The HCS AC has always said 3 classes were a minimum cohort size. Changing the appeals test threshold that will probably mean less 2e students into HCC. This was done and not responded to by HCS AC. Why? Because it was done in the middle of the pathways issues. And it was done candidly because of race as more whites were appealing, and that looked bad.

What I am watching for is the third ALTF in ten years stumbling across MTSS means no more need for self contained classes. Duh?!?! Who will be surprised by this?

I am also interested in who was/will be put on the ALTF. It turns out Director Burke was on the committee so that to me is really great news.

My thought is if the reassurances fall short, and HCS AC becomes a senior staff tool a HC PTSA will be necessary.

-23 kid years in HCC

Anonymous said...

Director Burke showed very little regard for HC kids who were moved in their last middle school year to Eaglestaff. Those kids had terrible experiences, it was very hard and very little that was promised materialized. Certainly there was none of the support even JAMS received such as extra counseling etc. The kids had no dances etc. there was nothing for them. IMO and others whom I know, Director Burke has shown he does not give a hoot about HC kids. I could care less about him being on the committee.

Anonymous said...

Anon at June 8th said, "The HCS AC has always said 3 classes were a minimum cohort size." I find this interesting, as there were only enough 8th grade HCC students at Eagle Staff this past year to fill 2 classes of each HCC subject (albeit, they were over-filled classes.)

And related, chiming in to agree with Anon on June 10. My 8th grader's experience at Eagle Staff this past year was horrendous on almost every level. (Non-challenging social studies and language arts, NO socio-emotional counseling, a repeat and wasted year of Spanish 2, standards based grading system that ended up being a DIS-incentive for attempting A's (set at 100%) in high school level Geometry and Biology, no homeroom or activity period, only one elite and expensive field trip, randomly assigned electives, no option to waive PE unless playing an instrument, no 8th grade exclusive activities (as were for 6th & 7th), and that's the tip of the iceberg.....)

I'm not sure that was exactly Director Burke's fault per se, but he sure seemed to turn his attention elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Director Burke's comments at the board meeting in which it was decided that 8th graders would be moved to Eaglestaff despite the student's tears and testimony about what they would be giving up by moving from HIMS, was where I lost respect for Burke. He had no regard for those kids. They were moved, talked down to and their experience was negative as as un-equitable as it gets. He (& others) did nothing for them. This only happened because they are HC kids and no regard is o.k toward these kids. Moving kids in their last year was terrible. Any other population and things would have been different.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 6:06, I suppose you are right regarding which school board members allowed/approved the move. I think Peters was the only one vote against the move?

But once it was decided, I fully expected SOMEONE to help these kids adjust to the move. The year got worse as my kid and friends slowly realized nobody was paying attention to their issues. There was one promising event reported to me when a kind teacher recognized a class theme of despair and apparently started a dialog. The discussion was continued with (I think) a counselor and (maybe?) the principal. The 8th graders were thanked and advised their comments would be helpful for FUTURE students. That's pretty much when my kid gave up. That, and when the 8th graders were asked to bring pies for 6th graders on pie day...

Btw, this was not an HCC specific issue. No 8th graders should have been moved.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget Burke (& other board members) were told via emails and during the testimony, also by JAMS parents what the 8th graders would likely experience. Burke especially made terrible comments at the board meeting indicating his lack of regard for the kids. This is why he is not a good candidate for any committee or task force related to HC. They had the data and information. The board members never ensured the 8th graders would get socio-emotional counseling, equitable activities, appropriate curriculum or anything else. They completely ignored the tears and the information presented about what would lie ahead. Also, remember that other 8th graders not in HC from Whitman were given the choice to remain at their school.The other 8th grade students who were moved did so willingly.

For high school & Lincoln I hope they learned something. Because the high school students moving are not HC, it seems much more care and thought is going into grandfathering and moves. In fact they will be leaving high schools over capacity with portables instead of moving older grades of kids.

Helen said...

We are lucky to have people like Director Burke serve on the school board. He is always thoughtful and positive. Even if you don't always agree with him, he takes the time to clearly state how he came to his position.


Anonymous said...

Always interesting to watch this crowd throw "their own" under the bus at the first hint of dissension or disappointment.


Anonymous said...

@ Loyalty...not,

To whom do "this crowd" and "their own" refer? And which bus exactly is this someone being thrown under? In any case, expressing dissension or disappointment with a public official based on their public testimony and actions surely does not constitute bus-tossing. Let's call it what it is--democracy. Nobody hear owes anyone blind loyalty.

critical thinker

Anonymous said...

@ Helen, do you have an HCC student who was pulled from HIMS to RESMS for 8th grade? If not, you might want to give more credit to the experiences reported by those who do. I don't have a child at either school, but your comment struck me as disrespectful and dismissive of their realities, which probably isn't what you intended.

Anonymous said...

Having gone through the first splits + move out of Lowell + HIMS split to JAMS, it's hard to have faith the district will somehow do the high school split more thoughtfully. Parents put in countless volunteer hours to ease the transitions, but they can only do so much.

The first year at JAMS, schedules were in flux as the administration tried to balance the lunchroom capacity - hey, you have lunch with your wait, it's changing, you don't...wait, it's changing again. Some classes didn't have books until months after the start of the school year. It was bumpy. It impacted all students. The June surprise move to Lincoln had parents coming in over the summer to scrub and paint walls, create a library with donated books and scavenged SPS furniture, and decorate hallways to make a high school feel like a space for elementary get the idea.

I do not doubt the account of experiences of 8th graders moved to RESMS, but unfortunately it probably does not surprise those who have gone through moves and splits and school openings/closures.

long view

Anonymous said...

members have been announced for the altf. any hook up on those contacts? of course nothing on the al site.

Anonymous said...

nvm - i'm encouraged by the group. fingers crossed. i do see at least 6 no self contained elementary school votes. we will see. glad to not see the board monopolizers (right).

Sharmila Williams Community Organization, Equal Opportunity Schools
Christine Tang Community Organization, Families of Color Seattle
Dominique Daba Community Organization, Rainier Scholars
Kari O'Driscoll Community Organization, The SELF Project
Jonathan Carroll-Madden HC Student in Seattle Schools
Andrew Siegel Parent of a Seattle Schools Student, identified AL
Mary Kunce Parent of Seattle Schools Advanced Learner
Joanna Noonan Parent of a Seattle Schools Student, identified Highly Capable (HC)
Ji-Young Um Parent of a Seattle Schools Student identified HC
Ursula White-Oliver Parent of a Seattle Schools Student identified HC
Joy Sebe Parent of a Seattle Schools Student identified HC
Richard David Bash Parent of a Seattle Schools Student identified HC
Valeri Makam Parent of a Seattle Schools Student identified HC
Julie van Arcken Parent of a Seattle Schools Student identified HC
Laurie Bohm Parent of a Seattle Schools Student
Daniela Hall Parent of a Seattle Schools Student
Jenny Miller Staff, Indian Education Services, Seattle Schools
Rina Geoghagan Staff, Principal at Decatur Elementary
Vanessa Meraki Staff, Teacher at Emerson Elementary
Nancy Hertzog Subject Matter Expert: Professor, University of Washington
Colin Pierce Alternate: Staff, Teacher at Rainier Beach High School
Theresa Yeh Alternate: Parent of a Seattle Schools Student, identified AL
Kari Hanson Director, Student Support Services, Seattle Schools
Stephen Martin Supervisor, Department of Advanced Learning, Seattle Schools
Faizah Bradford Coordinator, Department of Race and Equity Advancement, Seattle Schools
Wyeth Jessee Chief, Student Support Services, Seattle Schools

Anonymous said...

Bellevue High School

Long shot: anyone on this blog able to chime in with experiences about moving out of Seattle to Bellevue specifically to attend Bellevue High School? Or, Interlake HS in Bellevue?

Rigor and generalized excellence is what our family is seeking. We wish to explore options to ensure growth in learning, and it appears Bellevue may be the place to do that (one metric: Ballard and Roosevelt each had 0 national merit schools; Garfield had 4; Lakeside had 16. Bellevue HS had 11, Interlake had 27).

Considering direction of Seattle public schools (we could cite multiple objective data and curricular lapses), being proactive about moving is all we can (and will) do.

There appears to be no equivalent community blog for Bellevue; is there a facebook page or PTSA website? Deeply appreciate your sharing of your experiences. Thank you.


Michael Rice said...

MovingOn. Before you decide to try to cross a bridge, please know that Ingraham had 11 National Merit Finalist, just like Bellevue High. I would encourage you to give IHS and the IB program a long hard look.

Anonymous said...

There were 4 NMSFs from Ingraham most recent year:

Ingraham had 11 the previous year, but that year the other schools had more as well. The cut-off was raised.

Anonymous said...

uh as i said on the ssps blog; psat has a lot to do with psat prep - not great schools. probably more to do with student to college advisers. 1- <100 is the norm on the east side and private. it is 1 - >400 at ghs. kids have historically been able to punch their own ticket coming out of ghs hcc. not surprising as they have historically
had rigor and acceleration (and started out 98% iq and avanced in reading/math). now we will see what it means without rigor.

if you want a nms go to lakeside. if you want a great education go to whatever school fits your kid.

Anonymous said...

@ Moving on " NMS and having 4 like Ingraham in 2018 or none at a school means little to me as one small measure of kids at the school or the environment. I don't think a move to Bellevue is needed. Ingraham, Garfield, Ballard & Roosevelt are all really great public schools. The counselors track where many of those kids have matriculated to colleges and which majors in recent years, they are all fantastic and not one is better than another either! Those schools also have alot of great clubs and programs going on that develop excellent skills. We know two HC kids who went to Ballard and are in highly selective colleges and programs. Also, most great colleges and programs are much more holistic now in their application processes.
HC parent

Anonymous said...

As the cohort continues to fracture, and HC identified students choose Ballard and Roosevelt in increasing numbers (over GHS and IHS), I'd anticipate the NMSF numbers to become more distributed over those 4 schools. Anecdotally, of the families with siblings, there have been many whose oldest chose IBX, but their HC identified siblings did not follow.

Anonymous said...

I went to a very mediocre public high school in Texas (great schools rating of 2) with basically no college advising, took no PSAT prep classes aside from what material is offered for free by the ETS, and was a National Merit Scholar/Finalist. The school you go to is not the deciding factor here.


Anonymous said...

The only problem with Ballard is the rampant drug use. Weed, booze - even acid are easy to find and it's become something of a badge of honor to partake.

Wynkoop needs to get on drug education. Convincing kids to put it off until they move out and are in college.

Drive or walk by Ballard on 15th Ave. at lunchtime tomorrow and see the kids standing on the sidewalk vaping and smoking. They can vape weed and nobody can tell the difference.

It's a culture of drug abuse and Wynkoop casts a blind eye.

Angry Beaver

Anonymous said...

Angry Beaver-

Similar situations at Garfield and Roosevelt, not sure about Ingraham.

The entire district needs more drug education.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Roosevelt's principal was on top of it:

"Parents should definitely educate their kids,” freshman [ ] said.

Anonymous said...

Angry Beaver I have heard it's much worse at Garfield but who knows. It's at every school including the private schools. It also comes down to your kids friend group and your own kid.

Anonymous said...

Didn't they originally say there would be a board member on the ALTF? And why no HCC teachers included on the task force?

Whatever the case, I hope one of the first things they do is figure out what they mean by "advanced learning" vs. "advanced learner." Currently, the term "advanced learner" refers to a student who meets certain criteria (the old Spectrum criteria), whereas when the district sends out surveys asking if people want more access to "advanced learning," that's a very different use of the word. The district also sometimes uses "advanced learning" to refer to the AL dept and its programs and services (i.e., Advanced Learners/Spectrum, HC services, AP/IB,/IBX).

Anonymous said...

Re-posting from the SSS blog:

We are looking for an online AP Calculus AB course for next year that is approved by the Washington State OSPI. (I know there is a list of approved providers at the OPSI website.) Does anyone have any experience with their student taking AP Calculus online? Any thoughts or recommendations as to specific providers? Thanks!

Seeking Options

Anonymous said...

Seeking Options - depending on what grade your kid is in, they could do it through Running Start (mine did Statistics that way) or there is a list of accredited providers here:

We used Accelerate Ed for Geometry in MS and it was fine.

Anonymous said...

@ Seekin Options, are you sure this needs to be via an OSPI-accredited provider? Depending on your student’s plans, it may not—and you may be able to find a better or more challenging course elsewhere. Programs such as CTY and EPGY will generally provide transcripts that you can use for college, and AP test results can also be sent. Plus, Seattle doesn’t require 4 years of high school math, so OSPI accreditation may not matter. Getting a school to recognize the class and move the kid up a level may be the biggest hurdle, but showing a work samples and AP exam results should do the trick. Every case is different, though. Best of luck!

Outside Math

Anonymous said...

What grade is the student, why is taking the course at school not an option, and over what timeframe would the class be taken? Answer those questions and you may get more useful feedback. Some high schools approve online courses through an Independent Study pathway even if they are not OSPI approved (though probably not Garfield...), and the course then shows up on a student's HS transcript once they get final scores.

Anonymous said...

Copying from the SSS blog Friday open thread 6/29/18, 6:57 as is relevant here:

I’m on the ALTF and Kari’s opening presentation seemed so much that she was directing us to disband the cohort. She started by talking about MTSS, and talked about how many kids choose to stay at their neighborhood schools (hinting that she would soon be telling us how well they perform there), and then spoke disparagingly about “labels.” I felt it was so over the top that I straight out asked her if she was trying to lead us to a foregone conclusion. Because the time commitment we’ve committed to is immense, and if they aren’t even going to pretend that this is nothing more than a dog and pony show, I would rather step out now than 12-18 months from now. She said no, of course, but I hope she tries harder going forward to hold her bias in check.

Anonymous said...

Ask for actual numbers. For which schools is the retention rate high for HC identified students? What are the numbers of Spectrum identified students at those schools? Do they essentially have enough of a cohort? Do they offer unique programming? Which schools have the highest percentage leaving and opting into the cohort?

As far as "labels" go, our kids have had a handful of teachers and administrators openly disparage HC identified students. The labels were not the problem - it was the attitudes of those who were supposed to be the grown ups.

Anonymous said...

Those are good questions. As well, ask for data on WHY those students opt to stay, as well as WHY others opt to leave for HCC. The students may be very different (e.g., those who leave may be more out of sync with their grade-level peers, more socially isolated and more desperately in need of intellectual peers). The families may also be very different (e.g., those with HC kids who stay may be more able/willing to pick up the slack and meet their child’s educational needs on their own time and dime).

Differences in schools, as noted by previous commenter, is also important, with factors such as teacher commitment to gifted ed, school demographics, parent volunteerism, PTSA funding, and so on all playing into whether a school has the means to serve such students. If SPS were to analyze HC stay/leave data by school they may find that some schools are more amenable to HC students and some inhospitable (although given the frequency of school leadership and philosophy changes, it may only be possible to see such patterns in more stable schools). Additional factors such as special programs like LI, Montessori, etc. also need to be analyzed separately, as these may provide an alternative to HCC for HC students (e.g., learning in a foreign language may be considered a sufficient extra challlenge or benefit in lieu of HCC).

Unfortunately, I don’t think SPS has most of these data, because they continue to not really care to understand what’s going on. Their evaluation person is fine with making blanket statements (e.g., using Cascadia data to represent all HC students), and the rest seem fine (mis?)interpreting results in the absence of key info that nobody has bothered to collect. It’s very unfortunate.


Anonymous said...

Since my last one is out, yay, a couple of things I’ve noted through the years. Having lived through both Lakeside and public school experiences, Lakeside does put out good looking numbers about their graduates and where they end up for colleges.

However, if you analyzed Lakeside data, there are far more legacy kids than the average Seattle HS kids, not to mention, a lot of millions which are dropped to pave the way by some of these stupendously wealthy families. There are also quite a few students who are very smart, but their golden ticket is sports. These kids are picked up early by choosy schools. Yes, that means UCLA, Princeton, Harvard, U of Chicago, Northwestern, etc. The draw about these kids is they are not just pretty smart, but round off the school’s volleyball, swim and baseball teams nicely. The other good things about Lakeside is if you look at all the things picky colleges are looking for in their admission, 1st gen, poor, of certain background, religion, etc., Lakeside has already made the cut for these colleges in addition to preparing these students to succeed at elite colleges.

That’s why choosy colleges always look at schools like Lakeside. So if you are rich, super smart, sporty and has certain desirable trait (hooks) which colleges are recruiting for in their “holistic”admission process, Lakeside is a great place to be.

If you are upper or middle class family at Lakeside with children who don’t fit those criteria, you are far better off to save your money and stick with public HS. Lakeside wants families like this because they pay full fare and are basically, cannon fodder. They make up the core to support the outliers (the ones with the hooks). The bulk of Lakeside families are in this group and find themselves locked out of the crazy admission process to very selective colleges. It wan’t always this way, but the college industry is multi-billion dollars and there is no sign of reform.

Lakeside is a great school with some stellar depts such as the humanities and chemistry. Surprisingly, weak in math, life sciences and CS. The students who shine at Lakeside STEM will shine at Garfield or Ballard. Another word, it’s the Lakeside kids who are the strong ones, not the Calc teacher. It does have an attentive college counseling dept. which does a nice job handling angsty parents and students, but Lakeside runs up against quotas of elite schools too. Bottom line, you need hook(s).

This is where public HS is an advantage, because Lakeside students are competing against each other in the college admission process and elite schools with finite seats will offer a public HS grad from Alabama (with lesser or comparable record) than to one from Seattle area, and even less of a chance to a Lakeside grad (without all the hooks).

Why? For the same reasons many APP/HCC families are experiencing from SPS admin and that is the assumption that smart kids will be ok without special programs for them. The assumption that families are the safety net here and smart kids need less attentiin when it comes to limited budget and resources. But mainly, the goals of admission isn’t to select based on meritocracy, but for all the hooks colleges are looking for.

Our family is happy about our Lakeside and public school experiences. It’s still about the individual and what a person makes of the opportunities and about MAKING SMART CHOICES. That’s why elite colleges and higher ed in general, just like corporate America, are relying more and more in consolidating their power base and finances in such opaque and less than consumer friendly ways. It’s why people need to pay attention to college debt and loss of consumer protection and not fall into the very divisive trap public institutions (SPS) and private ones set out. That’s stuff Harvard and Stanford can’t and won’t teach you.

Class ‘20

Anonymous said...

@ Class ‘20, not everyone chooses a high school based on what advantage we think it will confer in the college admissions process. Many of us choose based on what we think will be the best fit for our student over the next four years.

I’m not sure of your point exactly, but if it’s that a fancy private school education is not a golden ticket, I’m sure most would agree—and would have expected that in the first place.

Seamless said...

As for the ALTF and HC students who do or do not go into the cohort, my guess is that families are far more likely to switch a student to an HC site in elementary school if the student has a high level of Dabrowskian super-stimulatibilities/overexcitabilities (

Austina DeBonte also covers this in her talk "What Parents & Educators Need to Know About Smart Kids."

Teachers and parents would ideally coach and mentor students in learning how to cope with their OEs, not try to change them or pathologize them or punish students for having them. To the extent that behaviors or emotions stem from a kid's wiring, it just doesn't work to attempt to punish/reward the behavior away. When a school is not dealing well or constructively with a child's OEs, I suspect the family is more likely to move the child to HCC.

Anonymous said...

@Seamless, I agree. The kids themselves may be different, thus any of the superficial analyses done by SPS and previous evaluators is not comparing apples to apples.

Then there's the fact that they have never looked at the effect of the intervention itself, or the measures used to evaluate it? Is the HCC curriculum appropriate for and designed to meet the unique learning needs of HC students? Not really. Does HCC deliver a curriculum that should even be expected to result in higher scores on grade-level tests, if they are covering above-grade level topics? Probably not. Or would you expect HC students who stay in grade-level neighborhood schools to perform better on grade-level tests, since the material is fresh in their minds and they didn't have to skip material when moving to HCC? Logic says yes.

Too bad logic usually loses out in this district.


Anonymous said...

@Class 20
"If you are upper or middle class family at Lakeside with children who don’t fit those criteria, you are far better off to save your money and stick with public HS.Lakeside wants families like this because they pay full fare and are basically, cannon fodder."

Umm...small point in which I disagree (the rest of your post IMO is spot on) I am "middle class" (income just under $130,000) and Lakeside offered my kid (for middle) a very generous admission package. Nowhere near full tuition. In fact I believe they offer at least some financial aid for families making up to $250,000. I would call those making over $250,000 "affluent" and not middle class. Although they may not super wealthy like the billionaires. Also, regardless we ended up choosing public HCC program and my kid had a really stellar experience.