Spectrum is distinct from an ALO in only one way: the self-contained delivery model. A Spectrum class is supposed to be composed entirely of Spectrum-eligible students. If there are not enough Spectrum-eligible students to form a class, then all of the Spectrum-eligible students are supposed to be in that class and the rest of the class is supposed to be filled with high performing students selected by the school staff. These students are supposed to be the ones that the staff believes are ready and able to succeed with the Spectrum curriculum. The entire class is then taught to the Spectrum Standards.
Again: the self-contained (or nearly self-contained) classroom is the hallmark of Spectrum. Schools may develop their own ALO model, but they are not free to develop their own Spectrum model. The peer group is an essential part of the program. Without the peer group, it isn't Spectrum.
I'm not saying that it can't be good without the peer group or effective without the self-contained class. Of course it can. It just isn't Spectrum.
Dr. Colleen Stump, when she was the Project Manager for Advanced Learning, told the Board that a middle school Spectrum program needed a critical mass of students to be viable. There are certainly two middle schools in Seattle, and possibly as many as five, that lack that critical mass of students. These schools are suspected of providing Spectrum in Name Only.
These were the Spectrum enrollment numbers, by school, in 2008-2009
Eckstein . . 329
Washington . 177
Whitman . . .172
McClure . . . 75
Hamilton . . .73
Denny . . . . 56
Mercer . . . .27
Aki Kurose . . 2
(Note: Meany and Madison did not have Spectrum programs in 2008-2009).
I think it is worth noting that the two Spectrum students who were at Aki Kurose last year were 8th graders and are not there any more. Similarly, 25 of the Spectrum students at Denny were 6th graders; that's growth in the program which should also be noted. I don't know how the creation of a program at Madison will impact that growth.
It is also worth noting that the Spectrum program at Washington has been capped at 180 students for years and years. It is unclear if that cap on Spectrum enrollment will continue or if a Spectrum alternative will be offered to Washington Service Area Spectrum students who cannot gain access to the program. Those in the Eckstein Service Area can enroll in the Spectrum program at Jane Addams K-8. Broadview-Thomson K-8 offers Spectrum in the Whitman Service Area.
I will research and provide the enrollment numbers for elementary schools in an update.