Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What is the APP Advisory Committee Doing?

This was the body of a mass email from the APP Advisory Committee:



Update regarding changes to the assignment plan due to enrollment issues:

What the APP AC has been doing:

The APP Advisory Committee has learned a lot from the experiences of the past years, and we are using that experience now to work with the School Board, district administration, and the APP community.

Among the many things informing our work, both committee co-chairs served on Design Teams in conjunction with the elementary and middle school splits, our members work on committees and organizations within our schools, our staff/teacher reps keep us in touch with the administrative perspective (and some are past or current APP parents as well), we work as volunteers in in the buildings where we see issues play out first-hand, AND most important, we have children, like your children, who will be impacted by these decisions.

It is likely you will not actually see most of our APP advocacy, as it is usually done quietly in small steps through many emails, phone conversations, and one-one-one discussions.

Please know the APP AC is working daily to advocate for a strong APP for our students.

--APP AC members are attending the district meetings to learn as much as possible from the District and the communities.

--Co-chairs Stephanie and Geeta are communicating and working with Dr. Bob Vaughan, Manager of Advanced Learning.

--We are talking with School Board members and setting up meetings to speak with them one-on-one, as this is the best way to learn what solutions board members are considering and for us to relay our concerns and ideas as well.

--We are inquiring about meeting with the Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Susan Enfield.

--We are communicating with representatives from the PTSA at Garfield.

--There will be a district meeting to discuss the Transition Plan at Garfield on Monday, November 15. We encourage all interested to attend, and we will be there as well.

--We are still working out the details, but there will be a District/APP meeting on Wednesday, November 17 to discuss issues and options on the table. More information about this will follow very soon.

What the APP AC is saying:

In all our discussions, we are advocating for all of APP to remain assigned to Garfield--this is our first choice.

It is also our obligation to look at the big picture and examine other options the District and School Board members are considering as well, and to advise/advocate for the best options for APP and our schools.

Very soon, we will communicate information on what options the District and School Board members are supporting.

Many ideas are on the table, all of which will be discussed at the meeting on November 17. We will need to consider: what changes the District hopes to implement, what the School Board would like to see happen in their vision of the District and APP, and how we will continue to advise or influence any of these decisions to maintain a thriving and successful APP.

And we want to hear from you.

What you can do:

Attend meetings and become informed. Voice your ideas, concerns and experiences. Keep in mind APP is part of a much larger picture.

Email your APP AC rep listed below and Stephanie and Geeta with concerns and issues you'd like us to know about and what you think is important to bring forward to the School Board and administration.

84 comments:

zella917 said...

Just read over on the Discuss APP blog that 8th and 9th grade APP families got a letter from Dr. Vaughan today asking them to consider the option of an accelerated International Baccalaureate program at Ingraham as an alternative to APP at Garfield. He's asking for feedback as to whether they're interested in such a program, or whether they'd rather just have their students dispersed to their neighborhood high schools. These are options being considered to relieve the overcrowding at Garfield, but it sounds like one or the other will probably happen and that the option of keeping the high school APP cohort intact is not one of the options. The text of the letter is also posted there; I don't know how to post a link, but it's at the end of the first thread on discussapp.blogspot.com.

ParentofThree said...

Interesting that they only included 8th and 9th grade families, you would think they would at least have included 6th grade up or all APP families.

I read that letter and think it is very sad that they may move current APP students, especially ones who already had to leave Washington middle school.

I also think this was the plan all along, which is why the boundry was drawn so big initially.

I don't have any kids in APP, but I totally sympathize with these families, their kids are getting jerked around a lot. And not many outside of the program supports their cause, so they are pretty much on their own.

Charlie Mas said...

Here's a link to the APP Discussion blog and the thread there about the District's plans for breaking up high school APP.

Stu said...

I would expect the APP Advisory Committee to do exactly what they did when the middle school split was proposed, roll over. They advised the community to sit and wait and then to "take it 'cause it's the best we're going to get." I believe to this day that had the entire community fought, threatened lawsuits, rallied, etc., there might not have been a split.

And so it begins:


Important message from the Advanced Learning Office regarding possible changes in our high school program for APP students

Below is an abbreviated version of a letter sent on 11/9 to all APP students and parents in 8th and 9th grades:

Currently, there are 156 more enrolled at Garfield HS than its functional capacity allows, and all signs point to increasing overcrowding next year unless changes are made. Although many factors contribute to Garfield’s overcrowding, some changes in APP are under consideration and include creating an additional APP pathway in 2011-2012:

1) For new 9th graders, based on residence, to another school

2) For 9th and upper grade level students, based on residence, to another school

3) For 9th and some 10th graders, based on choice, to a new program at another school

Solutions 1 & 2 mean redirecting students who live in one area of the city to a different high school with sufficient capacity and the availability of appropriately accelerated classes. These solutions could affect only 9th graders or upper grade students, as well.

Solution 3 requires the development of an alternative advanced option at another high school. Ideally, the new option would need to be sufficiently attractive to draw enough students from Garfield so that there would be a good balance of students at both schools.

Your Advanced Learning Office believes that Bellevue’s Gifted High School Program (GHSP) at Interlake HS provides a model for us to emulate. At Interlake, highly gifted students take accelerated core academic classes together and electives with other students. In 10th grade, they begin the two year International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program that normally only begins in 11th grade. In 12th grade they take 2 community college classes on campus, electives, and a 2 period internship off campus. GHSP@Interlake has sent its first seniors to highly selective colleges, has more National Merit Scholars than Garfield, and has contributed to an academic renaissance for all students at Interlake.

In Seattle, a similar program could be offered next fall at Ingraham HS, where a robust IB program now graduates 30 Diploma candidates annually. Recently I joined a leadership team from Ingraham and from the APP Advisory Committee to visit GHSP@Interlake, interview its leaders and some students, visit classrooms, and consider their student achievement data. There is little doubt that a similar program at Ingraham could become a solid alternative to APP at Garfield.

Offering a choice would allow interested students to continue to attend Garfield while providing an opportunity for students intrigued by the GHSP model to attend Ingraham. The proposal to offer students a choice critically depends on sufficient numbers of students willing to make a commitment.

To explore interest in the new program, your Advanced Learning Office has sent letters to all APP students in 8th and 9th grade (and their parents) to come to a meeting at Ingraham HS auditorium from 6:30 to 8:00 PM on Wednesday, November 17. Although the meeting is open to all, the focus will be on gauging the interest of these students and parents in this exciting new possibility.

Robert C. Vaughan, Ph.D.
Manager, Advanced Learning
Seattle Public Schools
206-252-0130

perspective said...

What is so wrong with having north end HS APP in the north end? Seems like a no brainer to have Hamilton International MS APP students move to an accelerated International Baccalaureate program at Ingraham. What's the problem with that?

ArchStanton said...
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ArchStanton said...

I don't want to discourage anyone from fighting the good fight, but in my experience, that letter indicates that APP/IB at Ingraham is a done deal. This is just the post facto community engagement.

/taken from my longer post on the APP blog

wseadawg said...

Does the district want to read the news headlines that will say, "After Dumping 150 Million into the Garfield Remodel, SPS kicks out the Advanced Learners?"

Is that what levy supporters vote for?

Overcrowding is a serious problem. Granted. But I think the district needs to take it slow on this one, along with the Board, and come up with solutions that can thin the population a bit without dramatically altering the school.

We know about all the neighborhood families who want their kids to go to Garfield, and that's fair on its face. But much of what makes Garfield's reputation is its music and academics, not it's location. If we start sacrificing the highly talented and high achievers, lose a bunch of those kids and teachers to other schools, will this not drop Garfield's rank in the eyes of many families, and voters?

I think R Vaughan recognizes this, and is seeking ideas to deal with the overcrowding without causing a precipitous drop in academics and perhaps reputation at Garfield. But the Board and Admin, including MGJ, have been ham-handed before, and I fear will be that way again.

I'd hate to see Garfield's reputation sink, because the district once again penalizes it's students and families for its own bone-headed mistakes.

If they let the APP & Advanced Learning community create the solutions to these problems, it will be much better for everyone. If not, it will be a disaster.

perspective said...

"If we start sacrificing the highly talented and high achievers, lose a bunch of those kids and teachers to other schools, will this not drop Garfield's rank in the eyes of many families, and voters? "

We're talking 1/2 of the APP kids at Garfield, not all of them. The middle school north/south APP split has already been done, and aside from a few bumps, it was fairly successful. Doesn't appear to have weakened Washington, or made it less popular - school is still over crowded. And it has strengthened Hamilton.

Charlie Mas said...

Funny thing, but it turns out that members of the APP Advisory Committee, in their list of What They Are Doing, neglected to mention that they had visited the school in Bellevue with Dr. Vaughan.

That's real action that they took, yet they didn't include it in the list of What We Are Doing. Hmmmm.

Charlie Mas said...

For what it's worth, I think that the story on splitting high school APP is exactly the same as the story on splitting elementary and middle school APP:

If done right, it could be good.

Unfortunately, Seattle Public Schools didn't do the elementary or middle school splits right and they are not good. Moreover, they refuse to acknowledge any problems in the elementary or middle school splits, they refuse to fulfill the commitments they made, and they refuse to address any of the problems or acknowledge the commitments.

perspective said...
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emeraldkity said...

My nieces graduated from Interlake ( & IB), and my concern is that model ( in Bellevue) seems to have made a divided school in the way that ( IMO) Garfield currently is not.

My daughter attended Garfield- took classes from remedial to AP and had friends who did the same.
My nieces experience @ Interlake was more removed from the non-IB students.

IMO, part of the experience at Garfield, was the numbers of students who had been in APP- I would be concerned that to reduce those numbers would be to change the program for everyone.

perspective said...

The district is only talking about moving half the APP kids out. The other half will remain at Garfield.

There are plenty of non APP students at Garfield that seek the school for the AP classes, band, orchestra, marine bio. They will also remain at the school.

North end students should not be expected to commute on metro across the city twice a day to get APP services. They should be served in a north location.

With half of APP gone, maybe Garfield (and this is a reach) will be better prepared to support it's struggling students.

Currently black students math pass rate on the HSPE test at Garfield is 17%, while their white counterparts pass rate is 91%. Talk about an achievement gap.

Garfield is in step 5 of NCLB, and if it remains in step 5 this year, the district will be mandated to restructure the school.

The restructure might be just what the school needs to force them to support all populations at the school.

The split may be the districts way of "restructuring" the school?

wseadawg said...

Perspective: There are two competing schools of thought concerning the split. There are those in the district who want to disband the APP at Garfield pathway entirely and return the kids to neighborhood schools, then there are those who recognize and desire to maintain cohorts who are talking about a split.

We know APP is growing in elementary and middle school, so eventually a split makes sense, if done right.

But there remains a pervasive misunderstanding of APP within JSCEE and a belief there is no real APP program at the High School level.

I'll refer to those folks as the "Excellence for All" folks, who think AP classes at the local school will provide the equivalent of what kids currently receive within the in-tact cohort at Garfield. They won't. The strength of the APP program is the cohort and bind of the community. It's the program that counts, not just the class difficulty level, and there is no way we can maintain the same level rigor and instructional quality at multiple locations, as we currently can at Garfield.

This is where SPS falls logically off the cliff. They don't seem to understand, or value, many facets of their strongest programs, nor, especially, the value of keeping robust, in-tact communities of parents, teachers and students. Last year CAO Enfield publicly stated that there is no High School APP program, and only after many, many lectures did she seem, reluctantly, to acknowledge there might be one. But clearly, she doesn't like the idea, philosophically, as it doesn't seem to square with her view of how things should be. My inner cynic says she sees the opportunity of sprinkling APP kids around all high schools in the district to bring scores up across the board.

Those folks need to get off the bus and let the APP-AC, Bob Vaughan, and the APP community of parents & teachers come up with their own proposals to deal with the overcrowding issue. North End parents will be well-represented and well-consulted if it's done that way.

If we leave the overcrowding solutions to the same folks who did the closures and the NSAP, arrange a Viking funeral for APP, 'cause it will be Game Over.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Perspective, I see this as offering information and discussion, not starting a fight.

What I think is interesting is how this issue is thrown out at the Regional Meetings as if parents not at Garfield or in APP would have a clue what to think. (More on that later.)

Of course it is an issue what they do in other areas of the city with capacity management. The district seems keen on a new middle school in the north end. Parents at my table last night felt that meant a new high school. If we had one, say at Seattle Center, how much pressure would that take off Garfield/Ballard? Or would that be too late to be any use (probably)?

It's not my area of knowledge but yes, Garfield will be a different place if half APP leave (or maybe they may grow to like the new program at Ingraham so much they ALL leave Garfield).

TechyMom said...

Does anyone have the details on the Nov 15 meeting? I want to go and bring a neighborhood perspective in favor of keeping APP at Garfield.

I live in the Garfield attendance area and do not have a child in APP. I feel very strongly that the presence of APP at Garfield is what has made Garfield such a vibrant, diverse, and rigorous school. Garfield is an example of an urban high school that works, and APP being in the school is a major part of that. Moving APP, combined with proposals to move some of the schools from the northern part of the Washington service area to Roosevelt and Ballard, will significantly reduce the diversity of Garfield. Removing APP will also have a significant impact on the rigor available at Garfield, the culture of acheivement at the school, and the school's high standing in national rankings. Let's not resegregate, and destroy our flagship high school. Speaking as a neighborhood parent, I can't think of a worse thing to do for this neighborhood than to move APP out of Garfield.

ParentofThree said...

The district needs to sweeten the pot by:

1) Moving Lowell APP students to the northend.
2)Provide yellow bus transport, grades 1-12, to and from the APP schools.

And of course they need to ensure that the IB program is really in place Sept 2011, which I don't see happening. Half-baked is probably what they will get, just like the rest of the schools (except of course STEM!!!) JA Spectrum comes to mind as an example of what they promoted to parents and what parents actually got!

Howard said...

Perspective, Metro service to Ingraham stinks. If they are traveling by Metro, most Northend APP students can get to Garfield faster and more conveniently than they can get to Ingraham. The district could provide yellow bus service, but I have difficulty imagining that the state transportation subsidy will survive the current budget climate in Olympia.

More generally...

Is an accelerated IB on the Interlake model a good alternative option? I share EmeraldKity's concerns about the self-contained character of the Interlake program, but I suspect many - but not all - families could find it attractive if done right.

How much will the current cohort-based model at Garfield suffer with a smaller cohort, and how small will it be? Difficult to say; a lot depends on whether or not the program as a whole is truly going to grow as fast as the district says.

How do we maintain program equity across the district? This is the most problematic element; even a quality IB option would look very, very different than the Garfield program. If the district chooses to send northend kids to an IB program and southend kids to a cohort-based program, it loses even the facade of equity that it currently uses to justify the splits. If the district put an accelerated IB into a reasonably central location and allowed families to choose, they might draw a substantial number of kids from Garfield while maintaining equity. Unfortunately, Ingraham is not that location.

perspective said...
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hschinske said...

North end students should not be expected to commute on metro across the city twice a day to get APP services. They should be served in a north location.

From where I sit, in Ballard, there is no location benefit to Ingraham. Garfield is one bus and fifty minutes from NW 85th, Ingraham is two buses (changing at Northgate) and over an hour. By car, according to MapQuest, there's ten minutes difference (12 minutes vs. 22 minutes -- both estimates sound highly optimistic to me).

North-end parents of APP-qualified kids, along with everyone else, have HAD THE OPPORTUNITY to put their kids in the IB program at Ingraham for years and years. Most haven't done so. I went to the Ingraham parent night and tour and I saw lots and lots of other APP parents there with me. Few ended up choosing Ingraham.

If the district folks had planned it out and done this as a sensible long-term project, that might have been different. But to willfully and purposely put Garfield's students, teachers, and school administration through weeks of chaos from overcrowding in order to press that agenda, when NONE OF THAT WAS NECESSARY if they'd just done their jobs ... well, I feel manipulated and I'm pretty mad.

I don't think it's fair on the IB or other communities at Ingraham, either, who seem to me to have been under-supported for years (which is why Ingraham hasn't been as successful as it ought to have been given its supposed advantages), and now this influx is supposed to fix a bunch of their problems. Bloody condescending.

My sense is that Ballard parents of APP-qualified kids might very well just choose Ballard High School, and ditch the commute altogether. Then you'd get ANOTHER overstuffed school, and you'd STILL have to fight boundary wars. Bah.

Helen Schinske

perspective said...

"Garfield is an example of an urban high school that works"

Garfield works great for white students, and APP students. It doesn't work very well for black students, which make up 28% of the students. And it doesn't work well for ELL students either.

"Moving APP, combined with proposals to move some of the schools from the northern part of the Washington service area to Roosevelt and Ballard, will significantly reduce the diversity of Garfield"

This reminds me of the forced busing of the 70s. Is it acceptable to expect north end students to commute across town twice a day to get APP services, in order to preserve diversity at a school far away from their homes? Is that in the best interest of the north end kids?

perspective said...

Weren't they talking about an "advanced" Ib program at Ingraham? Have they defined "advanced"? Maybe it will be much more attractive than the current IB program? Maybe not?

lendlees said...

Helen-

Same thing will happen at Roosevelt. Why send your child to an unproven program in an inaccessible location, when your child can hop one bus and be at Roosevelt in 15 minutes, with music and other extra-curriculars.

Lowell APP parents told KSB that we would go to our local HS if we couldn't go to Garfield as a cohort. Our distrust of the district is very high as they haven't done good on the elementary/middle school split.

Another overstuffed school will be the result and Ingraham will still be under-enrolled.

Lori said...

Perspective, if the argument for moving APP out of Garfield was truly about distance and whether long bus rides are fair, offering Ingraham as the alternative makes no progress on that front. Helen already wrote about what it means for folks in Ballard. Here in NE Seattle, Garfield is 5 miles due south of me. Ingraham is 5.5 miles northwest of me, nearly equidistant as the crow flies. Of course, my child wouldn't go by crow; she'd take a metro bus that requires transfers. If my alternative is to have her hop on a bus that drives right past Roosevelt or walk or ride a bike there (maybe 2 miles away), that would probably be a more attractive alternative unless they can build a program at Ingraham that made the commute worth it.

ArchStanton said...

Garfield works great for white students, and APP students. It doesn't work very well for black students, which make up 28% of the students. And it doesn't work well for ELL students either.

Perhaps, but what high school does work well for black or ELL students? Moving APP into T.Marshal or moving T.T.Minor into Lowell hasn't helped black or ELL students especially well. Moving APP out of Garfield alone isn't going to improve things for black or ELL students, either.

Is it acceptable to expect north end students to commute across town twice a day to get APP services, in order to preserve diversity at a school far away from their homes? Is that in the best interest of the north end kids?

Many (if not all) elementary APP parents wanted to keep the cohort intact, even if it meant commuting across town twice a day. Was it acceptable to break up the elementary cohort in order to "increase diversity and access" to advanced learning? Was that in the best interest of ANY of the kids? The results are in from that experiment and it hasn't happened the way they said it would.

Maureen said...

(Sorry, I haven't read every post yet, but:)

Given that APP has apparently grown significantly (I think they are projecting 550 HS level kids in the near future in comparison to the current 400--and what in the recent past?), and given that the Garfield area APP kids will stay at the school, it doesn't seem like moving the north end part of the cohort would significantly change the mix of course offerings at GHS (did they ever offer math past AP Calc BC?).

The music issue is more complicated, in that, who knows if that amazing Jazz trumpeter lives in Mount Baker or Ballard, but the thing is, their parents can rent their house out and move to the Central District for four years. Right?

The real problem, in my mind, is what about those north end APP kids? Is IB automatically a great fit for an advanced learner? I have the (mistaken?) impression that it works better for preLaw types than science geeks. Am I wrong? And that Jazz trumpeter really would have no stage for her genius at Ingraham-not for years at least. (Of course very few of our nonAPP musical geniuses have an appropriate stage at their local HSs.)

With half of APP gone, maybe Garfield (and this is a reach) will be better prepared to support it's struggling students.

Maybe, but from what I hear, the GHS community currently provides a tremendous amount of support (money and time)that the District doesn't budget for. So it could go the other way too.

Maureen said...

Techymom, you say: Speaking as a neighborhood parent, I can't think of a worse thing to do for this neighborhood than to move APP out of Garfield.


And you don't want the Montlake/McGilvra kids sent to Roosevelt either, so what's your proposal for reducing crowding at GHS? I bet you've been thinking about it...!

Maureen said...

Ingraham is a terrible place for anyone to get to by Metro. The state (currently) pays $3500 to transport each APP kid ($350 for other kids). SPS is currently running yellow buses from North Ballard to IHS for the attendance area kids. Putting APP kids at IHS will let SPS collect the state money for busing those kids and I bet the nonAPP kids can ride on a space available basis. That nets out at a couple of hundred thousand. I'm thinking they closed Summit for less.

perspective said...

"And that Jazz trumpeter really would have no stage for her genius at Ingraham-not for years at least."

I doubt the APP community would allow that to happen Maureen.

In one year (08/09 to 09/10) Hamilton went from having no music program at all (band, choir, or orchestra) to a comprehensive music program to accommodate the APP cohort

From their website:

"HIMS music has an orchestra, band, and choir. These are multi-leveled classes such as Jazz band, beginning strings, etc. tryouts for each group are held in late summer to begin registration for our new school year."

I'm sure Ingraham would do the same.

Howard said...

I can't help but fantasize about an alternate universe, where the district staff acknowledges, up front, that the new boundaries will overcrowd Garfield, works to mitigate the short term impact before 200 "unexpected" kids show up for class, and engages the community while taking the necessary time to come up with a good, long-term solution.

Instead the district expresses "surprise" at the overcrowding, publically denies any plans to split or disperse the APP cohort until the very last minute, and then ramrods a half-baked plan through using their long-planned "emergency" as an excuse. All the result of a fortress mentality that views school communities not as clients and collaborators, but as adversaries to be pacified through shock, awe and surprise.

At this point, the "least bad" solution would probably be to implement the accelerated IB at Ingraham and make it available - voluntarily - to all APP high school students (not just the northend). While they're at it, the district should also allow APP-eligible kids who did not attend WMS/HIMS into this program as well. (Yes, they also should do that at Garfield, but that's an alternate reality beyond what I can imagine.) This might result in a viable program at Ingraham. It won't, by itself, solve the Garfield overcrowding problem, but it's a start. As I mentioned in a previous comment, this would work more effectively in a location other than Ingraham - but that would have required real long-term planning on the district's part.

north seattle mom said...

I think it is hard to escape the fact the real Garfield troubles stem from the fact that QA and Magnolia simply do not have a high school. They don't have a full school. They have NO SCHOOL.

This lack of any proximate high school naturally puts too much pressure on a geographically defined system. Garfield and Ballard are the two closest schools for the QA/Magnolia communities. Therefore, Garfield and Ballard will not have any opportunity to support anything other than neighborhood kids in the long run.

This may be the first capacity issue for Garfield but it is certainly not the last. North end high schools are pretty full now and they will be breaking full in a just a few years (3-4) and then there will once again be talk about where to send QA and Magnolia and the only option will be Garfield as the next Geographically close high school and then APP will likely be over.

If QA high school were to be on the next BEX (impossible bc it was sold) then there would be a way for the entire district to get behind a real solution to keep APP at Garfield but without a high school for this part of town, all special programs will eventually be pushed out of both Ballard and Garfield.

So I think the next best bet for APP is to find a piece of property in the district inventory that could work as a new high school. I hear rumors that there is still quite of bit of unsold Magnolia property. I don't know if any of it could be turned into a high school but if APP wants Garfield, they should focus on solving the real problem that is created in a neighborhood school plan.

data watcher said...

@wseadawg

You make a lot of good points, but I need to comment on one thing: "We know APP is growing in elementary and middle school, so eventually a split makes sense, if done right. "

The question is: WHY is the program growing?

Scads of kids aren't magically getting smarter all over the district! Why don't people get this?

The program is growing because the district has been messing around with the entry criteria for the past few years. Much of this has been in an effort to find more under-served kids, but even that hasn't worked. Instead, the program has been slowly dumbing down.

At the Lowell KSB meeting she asked the crowd about this, and someone suggest that she should talk with *long-time* teachers in the building to verify that. Some of us have already done that and we know it's happening. Prior to the changes, particularly the ones in 04-06 kids *always* showed up with very high reading skills, even in 1st grade. Math wasn't quite as universal, but nearly so. That's just not the case anymore, and it's completely changed the nature of many classes in elementary. We'll see if KSB follows up.

data watcher said...

And following up on this issue, let me just repost something from the DiscussAPP blog:

@meg

"The Advanced Learning site has some info - 5100 is waaaay up from most years, when the range has run 2300-3000. "

I found some of what it looks like you're referring to at: 10 year eligibility.

However, that data is a 6 years of date, and those numbers do not agree with the data that I've been carefully keeping track of for a number of years. If I was a suspicious person I would wonder if someone is attempting to rewrite history.

Here are details from an APP meeting a few years back, where Colleen Stump, Ruth Medsker and others presented this data:

Year - #tested - #eligible - %
02/03 2267 133 5.8%
03/04 2953 179 6.1%
04/05 3042 239 7.9% (chg to 2 of 3 on cog)
05/06 3383 306 9.0% (kept 2 of 3, added in-house appeals)

I'm missing 06/07, but from an 08/09 meeting
07/08 3400 (given as approx)
08/09 4050 (with more to come)

So it's really been 7-8 years since we've seen anything less than about 3,000 applicants, and there were 3,000 as far back as 1997/98. And unless there's been a contraction, there have been over 4,000 for the past 3 years. So I don't see where there has necessarily even been a huge jump in applications this year - though probably some incremental bump.

The percentages above weren't included in that presentation, but were easy to calculate at the time. Notice that there was not only a steady increase in the number of applicants, but a steady increase in the percentage of eligible kids, due to fiddling with the entry criteria.

Everyone listen up! This is the problem our program has been facing for many years. The district has been dumbing down the eligibility in order to "grow" the program for a Long Time. Note the recent talk of creating yet a 3rd elementary site, which will be the nail in this coffin if we let it happen. Breaking up Garfield is just one of the many pieces of this puzzle.

gavroche said...

perspective said...

We're talking 1/2 of the APP kids at Garfield, not all of them. The middle school north/south APP split has already been done, and aside from a few bumps, it was fairly successful. Doesn't appear to have weakened Washington, or made it less popular - school is still over crowded. And it has strengthened Hamilton.


Perspective -- is this what you mean by "a few bumps":

Algebra class for APP 6th grade has been eliminated as a result of the split.

APP 8th graders at Hamilton have been told there is no math class for them anymore, so they are being used as free TAs to correct papers in 6th grade math classes, or told they can go do an online course, at their own expense.

There is not enough physical room at Hamilton for the music program, so the school had to give up a gym space for the music program and divide the main gym in half to accommodate multiple PE classes.

At least 3 teachers in Hamilton 6th grade APP this year have no prior APP experience and this has resulted in inappropriate assignments and expectations.

One of the APP math teachers at HIMS is only teaching gen ed math this year.

There's evidence that Washington MS's quality of APP curriculum and instruction is much stronger and not the same as Hamilton's.

Like Washington, though, Hamilton is also overcrowded.

This is not a successful split.

The District has failed at creating equity in the split APP locations.

Why should the APP community trust the District to create an equitable split at the High School level now?

Jessica said...

Does anyone know how many APP students (or the % of APP students) currently attend Garfield and live north of the Ship Canal?

It would help to know how many children we're talking about, and/or if the district believes that splitting the APP cohort will "solve" Garfield's overcrowding or if it will only put a dent in the crowding problem and pointlessly break up a high school APP program that works well.

fyi, all APP parents who have signed onto the APP-community listserv were emailed Bob Vaughan's letter this morning, even if they weren't 8th/9th grade families.

ArchStanton said...

The District has failed at creating equity in the split APP locations.

They learned enough from the previous splits that they aren't even pretending that the HS split will be equitable. The district at least tried to give lip service to the notion that the elementary and middle school splits would be equitable (i.e. that they would be the same programs, that one wouldn't be somehow better than the other). This time they're up front about the fact that half of APP might remain more or less the same at Garfield and the other half will be transformed into some new APP/IB hybrid.

north seattle mom said...

I think it is hard for non-APP families to see the issues at Hamilton. For years Hamilton has been described as under-enrolled and now is full.

However, the most recent enrollment report very quietly revised Hamilton's enrollment number to 975
http://www.seattleschools.org/area/newassign/board_wkshp_11_3.pdf

I know that Hamilton is completely full and out of space with the current 850 students. However, when the district puts out reports saying that there was significant growth and that there are still 125 spaces left for more growth, it does make it look to the rest of the local community that the move was a success.

I don't think we can blame perspective for thinking it looks good on paper because the paper that the district puts out looks good.

dan dempsey said...

So should Lincoln be reopened as a comprehensive high school?

Ballard Bouncer said...

Ballard is getting pretty tired of being bounced around!

How many north-end APP students do we have?

Moving north-end APP students would change Ingraham- for the better. We would have more parental involvement etc. This, combined with an IB program, makes Ingraham an attractive school.

I for one, am finding this an attractive option.

I suspect, as Ingraham fills...the district will look to bounce Ballard folks around..again!

Transportation could be worked out.

Bird said...

APP 8th graders at Hamilton have been told there is no math class for them anymore, so they are being used as free TAs to correct papers in 6th grade math classes, or told they can go do an online course, at their own expense.

If there ever were big giant FAIL for the split this would be it.

Isn't the whole point of an advanced learning program that kids get appropriate classes and aren't told "Sorry you've learned too much already to get instruction this year"?

It boggles my mind that the district things this is ok.

Bird said...

04/05 3042 239 7.9% (chg to 2 of 3 on cog)
05/06 3383 306 9.0% (kept 2 of 3, added in-house appeals)


Can someone make these eligibility changes more clear?

"chg to 2 of 3 on cog" - means what? What were the criteria before this?

"added in-house appeals" - means what?
Are "in-house appeals" different from other appeals?

Maureen said...

This seems so odd to me. Is there really not an 8th grade APP math teacher who is willing to teach a few kids Algebra 2 (or is it PreCalc?) as an independent study? I hear that a math teacher at Eckstein sent four kids straight to Calculus at RHS this year that way. Are the APP teachers boycotting that in protest of the District refusing to schedule the appropriate 8th grade APP math class, or do they just not want to bother? Or is the problem that their classes are really just too full and they can't grade separate homework for another six(?) kids?

perspective said...

If an APP 8th grader is two grade levels ahead they would be in Geometry wouldn't they?

Meg said...

perspective - I think it's important to point out that there are struggling students at Garfield who aren't being served. It's a serious issue. But it's also a separate issue from whether part of all of the APP high school program is in the building. African American students at Garfield did have a dismal level of math proficiency, but they still scored higher than Rainier Beach (4%), Ingraham (5%), Cleveland (6%), West Seattle (6%) and Sealth (10%). The issue of effectively supporting struggling students is a very serious district-wide issue. But at Garfield, it wasn't caused by the APP program, nor is it likely to be fixed by removing half of Garfield's APP students.

Ballard Bouncer - north end APP families haven't been choosing the Ingraham IB program. It may be a wonderful program, but it doesn't, for whatever reason, appear to be a school of choice at present. If high school APP is split, I think north end APP families will take their neighborhood assignments to Roosevelt and Ballard instead of staying with APP. The over-crowding problems at Garfield won't be solved - they'll be moved to Ballard and Roosevelt.

hschinske said...

"chg to 2 of 3 on cog" - means what? What were the criteria before this?

The previous criteria meant meeting the threshold specifically on the verbal and quantitative portions, with the nonverbal portion not used unless the student was ESL. Apparently they changed to meeting the threshold on any two out of the three. I am not quite sure about the in-house appeals, but I *think* that relates to students on free/reduced lunch being eligible for individual testing with district psychologists if they wanted to appeal, rather than going to outside testers.

Helen Schinske

hschinske said...

The 8th-graders with no math classes referred to are the ones who qualified for algebra 1 in their first year of middle school, went on to geometry in 7th, but now there is no algebra 2 class for them to take. So, bad enough, but it isn't *all* the 8th-graders in APP by any means.

Access to three years of high school math was one of the distinct promises made by the district at the time of the split. They've broken that promise.

Helen Schinske

hschinske said...

I wrote:

By car, according to MapQuest, there's ten minutes difference (12 minutes vs. 22 minutes -- both estimates sound highly optimistic to me).

I should clarify that the 12 minute estimate is for Ingraham and the 22 for Garfield -- I inadvertently made it sound as though the commute by car to Garfield was also shorter than that to Ingraham, when it's only shorter by bus.

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

Students at McClure also took college level math classes while in middle school. It seems very odd that APP students simply can't be taught advanced math, when it's totally possible at other middle schools. Sounds like a red herring to make a point.

McClure Parent

hschinske said...

Students at McClure also took college level math classes while in middle school.

Wait, are you saying there were enough kids at McClure who were advanced enough to take college-level math that they had a class for them? Because I have a hard time believing that. And a student here or there taking a class *outside* the system doesn't count for anything as far as the middle school doing its job. That could be done anywhere -- you could do it at Aki Kurose.

And did you really mean college-level, or high-school level?

I've never heard of any middle school other than Washington or Eckstein that had an Integrated III or algebra 2 class (let alone pre-calc or above).

Helen Schinske

Maureen said...

Helen, Are you saying that it is key that there be a self contained class with a dedicated teacher to teach Algebra 2 (and/or PreCalc)to a small number of APP kids? I can see how that would be ideal, but if the kids are supported in learning the right level of material, wouldn't it be ok to have them sitting in a room with kids who are learning Geometry and spending some time learning on their own? I expect that is how quite a few of us here were taught advanced math.

Of course that is separate from the issue that APP families were promised that the two programs would be equivalent.

Over it said...

The 8th grade math situation at Hamilton is a main reason we will be applying to private school for next year. Promises, promises. And no delivery. We will get nothing for HS. And we don't have the luxury of choosing our neighborhood assignment, we live in the Hale district.

perspective said...

"And we don't have the luxury of choosing our neighborhood assignment, we live in the Hale district"

What does that mean?

Anonymous said...

Helen, independent studies are available at middle schools in a variety of contexts. And wow-wee, you can do advanced work in them, while at school, and even get college credit. College, not high school. Why is it hard to imagine that there can't be kids working way, way ahead at places besides the favorites? If people really want to do advanced work, they can do it. If they really want to complain about how they got shafted, because they didn't get their learning in the self-contained setting they dreamed of, they can do that too. It's all in the goal.

McClure Parent

gavroche said...

I think you're missing part of the point, McClure Parent. The kids at Hamilton are simply not being offered the opportunities you mentioned. It's not an option. Opportunities, by the way, I agree should be available to all kids whichever school they are at. There are other indications that kids at Hamilton are not being encouraged to work ahead. This is not just an APP issue. This would affect the Spectrum population and gen ed kids as well.

Maureen said...

gavroche, do you know if this is a teacher problem or a principal problem? It seems to me that the APP AC should get the WMS principal (Halfakre?) to talk to the HIMS principal and encourage him to find a way to teach the kids at their level. I also wonder if the APP parents are being flexible enough (hard to tell here), I can't imagine they would get one whole teacher and a classroom for six (or however many)kids, is that what they are asking for?

TOPS and Blaine have to run after school tuition-based classes just to get to Geometry. It's not ideal, but it's the price we pay for keeping our cohorts together. To be honest, if I heard that six APP kids had a dedicated class to cover Algebra 2, I might throw a small quiet determined fit and ask SPS to send TOPS an extra math teacher to cover Geometry for the 25-30 kids who are paying for it.

Is part of the problem here that I'm skimming over that HIMS won't let 6th graders take AlgebraI because AlgII isn't offered to 8th graders? If so, I think that is just stupid. Let the 6th and 7th graders take the right math since it's being offered in the building and then in 8th grade they can go online if they can't set up a class for them. Are they keeping the kids at the wrong level math for three years just because of one course being a problem?

Anonymous said...

It seems pretty obvious that the root problem in APP is the dilution of the program, NOT the split. If you make the program, grow without end, you're going to eventually have to split it up... and split it some more. The problem is that there's no program for the really advanced kids. Those kids should actually be together. If APP stayed at the level it was designed to serve, say the top 1%. And I do mean 1% of those in Seattle Public School, then those students would be able to be together and form really advanced classes in a group. But, with the program continuing to grow, it will continue to be watered down. And, the brightest kids won't be together to form a class. Think about special education. You'd never dream of having a special self-contained placement serving 5% (and growing). It would never meet anybody's special need.

Another Parent

hschinske said...

McClure Parent, what I said was "And a student here or there taking a class *outside* the system doesn't count for anything as far as the middle school doing its job." I'm sure there are students at Washington and Hamilton doing independent studies in math, too -- I've heard of lots who took classes at UW during the summer, or did EPGY, or whatever.

But the point of APP is partly to make MOST of that dinking around with outside classes unnecessary. Obviously there will always be a few students who are too far ahead for this to work, but given that middle-school math is already somewhat decelerated (in most private schools algebra 1 in eighth grade is a standard placement, not a year ahead), it's not at all extraordinary to expect a classroom's worth of students at Hamilton and Washington (especially, though not exclusively, drawn from those in APP) to need math at three years ahead. It's also more efficient, less expensive, and less elitist to serve these students as a group in a regular classroom whenever possible, rather than expecting the families to pay for outside instruction.

Helen Schinske

hschinske said...

Is part of the problem here that I'm skimming over that HIMS won't let 6th graders take AlgebraI because AlgII isn't offered to 8th graders?

I don't think so. According to my son, there are seventh-graders at Hamilton taking geometry this year. But there was the hoohah over the new district placement test last year that determined that there were NO rising sixth-graders who qualified for algebra 1. Eckstein, from what I hear, ignored the district results, administered their own placement test (as far as I know the same one they've been using for years), and found about the usual quantity. Not sure what happened at Hamilton or Washington. In the past, some kids have transferred midyear to a higher class.

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

No Helen, it isn't *outside* the school. It's IN the school, but not in a traditional math class, and not after school. So what if there isn't a class "Calculus for 8th graders"? Isn't that flexibility what people want? Advanced options within their school? You know, schools thinking outside the box to meet student needs? If you want paint by numbers, you're not going to paint every picture.

McClure Parent

ParentofThree said...

Wow, McClure students are being offered college level math. I am interested in hearing more about this. How many students are taking this level of math, is it college level algebra or pre-calc?
What textbook is being used and who is paying for the materials?

Bird said...

So what if there isn't a class "Calculus for 8th graders"? Isn't that flexibility what people want?

I think some people, count me included, would like there to be more than independent study when we have enough students to fill a class, or half a class.

I did "independent study" when I was in school, and it was always much worse than being in an advanced class with kids working at the same level.

Generally, it meant a teacher would show up once a week or once every other week and say "Hey, how's it going?" It was pretty much no instruction at all.
If that's all my kids get at school, I'd be inclined to just keep them home.

Maybe what McClure kids are getting is better than what I had as a kid. I am curious about the details.

Is this super high instruction paid for by the district or is it something the parents are paying for? Is there instruction from teachers in the school for the course work, or are kids left on their own or left with some sort of online instructor? How many kids are we talking about here? Are your kids involved, McClure Parent, or is this second-hand information?

Bird said...

I'll add that I also don't see anything in the McClure online list of courses that indicates that kids can take an "independent study" course.

I don't think this is a problem restricted to McClure. I do think it's a problem across the district that there are instructional options that are not explicitly stated. If kids can do some super advanced indepedent study, the schools need to advertise that fact. It shouldn't be restricted just to those in know.

hschinske said...

McClure Parent, I have no idea why you think the situation I'm talking about at Hamilton and Washington is in any way opposed to what's going on at McClure (whatever that is; like other recent posters, I'd appreciate a clearer explanation rather than a series of hints).

It's not a choice between "paint-by-numbers" and creative solutions for individuals. We need *both* separate classes, as far as that is practicable, *and* individual accommodations for students who are far outside the norm for their environment (whether that means a student who's working at college level where almost no one else is working at more than high school level, or whether it means a student who's working a couple of years ahead in an environment where almost no one else is more than one year ahead).

That said, historically there has been a lot of opposition to math acceleration in Seattle Public Schools (even such a minor step as providing algebra 1 in eighth grade has been fought in some schools), and many of us have had the experience of battling the administration over it. Individual accommodations can vanish quite easily, and often are not documented on the student's record. It's much less easy to un-document a whole class.

Helen Schinske

hschinske said...

Bird, you're absolutely right about undocumented instructional options. I was very happy when North Beach started advertising the fact that they have an all-school math block where they do cross-grade groupings. That's the kind of thing more schools should do (both the accommodation and the advertisement of the accommodation).

Helen Schinske

Syd said...

"And we don't have the luxury of choosing our neighborhood assignment, we live in the Hale district."

"What does that mean?"


I think that means the family does not think their assigned school - Hale- will meet the students needs. So, unlike many parents in neighborhoods assigned to RHS or GHS, they don't feel they have the option to just accept the neighborhood school.

I have to agree that independent study is not the same as a classroom. The entire point of a program that serves the top 2% is to have classes. Otherwise, I agree, we could just home school them all. Which, since it looks like the program is being killed, is what it looks like we will be doing.

I sure would like to know more specifics about the McClure program. Is this first hand experience? What is exactly offered?

Syd said...

Hey Charlie - did the APP AC board visit the Bellvue program? Wow! maybe they saw something there they would like to share with the rest of us.

Mercermom said...

When every so often people contend that APP has been "watered down" and access broadened to include those who really aren't highly capable enough, I have the following thoughts:
1. The APP audit identified the percentage gate-keepers as problematic because of the Standard Error of Measurement could mean that a child who got a 98 score could really be anywhere from 94-99. Which means that in the past (and now) some kids get in who wouldn't be at the percentages due to the SEM, and others don't. Appeals and consideration of additional information are a way to correct for this SEM.
2. Allowing in-house appeals helps level the playing field for those who aren't as wealthy or confident. It doesn't mean the standards change.
3. An increase in APP eligibility could be attributable to the high education level of Seattle residents and gentrification: If your family is wealthy and well-educated, you are more likely to score well on this type of test. And you're probably more likely to take it and appeal.
4. Why should Seattle only serve a set percentage of students in Seattle if the number of kids who score at the highly capable level based on nationally-normed tests is higher than you'd expect based on the number of students in the District?

Syd said...

Something to consider - most of the PTA board are APP student parents. Outreach as been done to include different demographics on the board, but it has been unsuccessful.
Much of the fund-raising is done by APP parents. Programs supported by this funding include participation fee scholarships for athletes, lab fees for science classes, grants for teachers, an incredibly successful remedial reading program, part of the salary of an art teacher, and much much more.
Gut the APP program, and what we will be sacrificing are programs for every student.

ArchStanton said...

FYI: Stephanie Bower is posting on the APP blog and Greg Linden is asking her if she would do some kind of Q&A.

Maureen said...

Syd, I get what you are saying, and don't want to minimize it, but note that a crazy percentage of PTSA/Volunteer positions at GHS are filled by TOPS grad parents. And GHS only get about 15-20 TOPS kids per year. My kid is at RHS, but I'm amazed at the number of names I recognize on the ghs volunteer lists.

I expect that those other volunteers would miss the APP parents.

Jan said...

There have been several comments on here about kids "choosing" their neighborhood schools (mainly RHS or Ballard) rather than "risking" Ingraham. It is interesting to note that at least ONE of Vaughn's proposals (#2) would simply reassign all of the APP kids to Ingraham. They would have NO choice (or, maybe incoming 9th graders would -- but the upper class kids would not. There is no automatic neighborhood assignment at their grade levels. They would just get moved -- based on their residence -- to Ingraham. Well, THAT would be tidy, wouldn't it!

And, for next year's and other future 9th graders, I guess they would have to make an election in 8th grade to chance the "new IB/APP program, or stay local (assuming that their "residence" would permit them to either choose their NSAP school or Ingraham.

And it looks like this at most moves about 200 kids (north of ship canal). But Garfield is already overcrowded by 150 -- with just new freshmen. Since none of that overcrowding is APP-related (they were already counted), Garfield is STILL overcrowded by several hundred kids in 4 years -- AND we have (in my opinion, because I believe the full cohort is important) trashed high school APP by dividing the program into two different, and not equitable programs.

So -- what do we lop off next?

frustrated said...

I see the Hamilton math issue has come up again, and seems like there may be some misunderstandings. I can offer firsthand info, if anyone cares.

McClure Parent got the ball rolling with Students at McClure also took college level math classes while in middle school. It seems very odd that APP students simply can't be taught advanced math, when it's totally possible at other middle schools. Sounds like a red herring to make a point.

A red herring put out by who? And to make what point?

For some background: there are three separate situations with HIMS math, one for each grade at Hamilton right now. Last year there were a number of 7th graders in geometry, who asked and waited forever to understand what would happen to them this year. Eventually half-hearted plans were made for them to be class TAs, but even that fell apart after the school year had already started. They were booted and are doing independent online courses, but not as a group. Neither the school nor the district was helpful in the process.

The current 7th graders' story began last year when several very highly qualified 6th graders were refused enrollment in Algebra I. In fact, some of the kids actually were enrolled in the class for a full month and unceremoniously booted down to the pre-algebra class, ignoring their classwork, MAP scores, and any other relevant data.

McClure Parent also said If people really want to do advanced work, they can do it. If they really want to complain about how they got shafted, because they didn't get their learning in the self-contained setting they dreamed of, they can do that too. It's all in the goal.

So to your point, for the 6th graders last year, there was an existing class with plenty of open seats, a willing teacher, and eager students who were performing very strongly in class. No one was asking for anything special, just a seat in an existing class. Parents were given excuse after excuse, and in some cases outrageous tales of why the kids couldn't be in that class.

While the decision was technically signed by the principal, the "orders" came from Bob Vaughan downtown. As far as I know, no one has ever gotten a straight, believable answer about why this happened. And there were many, many emails and conversations.

Some of the kids dropped one period and did math independently outside school, some stayed in school and took and extra math class on the side to "keep up" with their cohort. All of this took great effort and it wasn't free. And with great difficulty they all eventually got permission to take geometry in the building this year, but like the current 8th graders right now, there will be nothing for them in the building next year. Again, to your point, no one is expecting a "self-contained" class. But not only do we not get a real class, we can't even get a back-of-the-room with a little teacher help class. We can't get help coordinating an online class through school. We get absolutely nothing. The kids are just abandoned until high school.

Lastly, the current 6th graders were just flat out barred from taking Algebra I from the get-go, and apparently their parents didn't have any fight left in them after watching what happened to the older kids.

From your comments it seems like you either misunderstood the situation, or Helen's description (her kid is not part of this, so she's getting 3rd hand info, but I didn't see anything wrong with her descriptions).

As someone directly affected, I would absolutely love to hear what's going on at McClure so we can point to a school that's doing what they should be doing. The actual classes are not as important as the process and the effort made to serve the kids to whatever reasonable degree the building can. As others have asked, could you please give more details?

Seattle Parent said...

I would like to hear more from HIMS parents about the current situation. We have a 5th grader at Lowell, and I'm not up to date on the math courses that MS kids take in each grade. Are math issues cropping up only for HIMS APP kids, are they affecting all grades, and non-APP kids as well? Is this math issue mostly affecting very advanced kids (in Math) or all kids? How does this compare to WMS? Other than Math and Music,are the kids generally happy, are the other courses working out well? What is the vibe, how are the APP teachers and the new principal working out? IS there tension between the APP and non-APP kids? We visited the bldg, it seems fantastic so it's dismaying to hear of all these problems. It would be great to have a separate thread about HIMS APP: what's working, what are the current problems, how can we work to make things better?

hschinske said...

Wow, frustrated, it's worse than I thought (gavroche obviously had a better handle on the situation than I did). This is appalling.

Seattle Parent, if your student is more middle-of-the-pack, like mine (who is doing very well in algebra 1 as a seventh grader, but who isn't way out there), this issue may not affect you directly. We've otherwise been pretty happy at Hamilton. My kid doesn't talk much about the social situation, but when we're there I do see him talking to kids whom I don't remember from Lowell, for what that's worth.

It happens that several of the teachers my older APP student had at Washington were the ones who moved to Hamilton, so I'm curious to know how things are going at Washington -- it seems like more of an unknown quantity to me even though they have lots of the same teachers they did before.

Helen Schinske

Single Child said...

My kid is in the APP 8th grade Geometry class at WMS. She said that they have several kids in her class working by themselves on the computer taking Algebra 2 or other courses, no TA jobs.

Seattle Parent said...

Helen, thanks for the feedback (and for all yr extremely informative posts!) My kid is definitely middle-of-pack, especially in math, so I'm not concerned about the option for super-accelerated math. I AM concerned about the negative info I've been hearing re HIMS teachers/principal attitude towards APP program; are these isolated incidents, or more pervasive: if so, wondering if the kids sense this ? Do non-APP students "resent" APP kids, or are they all getting along? At Lowell, ALO and APP kids did not really mesh despite all of Principal King's heartfelt efforts. Can anyone provide perspective on the general vibe at HIMS: is it mostly parent frustration over this accelerated math issue, or are there multiple problems? Helen you mentioned many (presumably good) teachers moved fr WMS to HIMS APP - it seems that would bode well for APP classes at HIMS. APpreciate any feedback here, especially re the new Hamilton principal and whether yr kid is enjoying school at Hamilton. We do have the option for McClure, our neighborhood school - not sure things are so much better there...THNX!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
hschinske said...

I AM concerned about the negative info I've been hearing re HIMS teachers/principal attitude towards APP program; are these isolated incidents, or more pervasive: if so, wondering if the kids sense this ?

I am probably not the one to ask, as I haven't heard about any of this, and hadn't heard about how bad the math situation had gotten until recently (I had thought that it was getting quietly solved behind the scenes).

Helen Schinske

JRines said...

My general impression, without going into a detailed list of issues, at HIMS is this:

Overall, it feels like the first year of the split, where you would expect some bumps in the road.

But this is the second year. I do not get the sense that the principal is going to toss a lot of energy into the program and help resolve some of the basic issues like making sure that HIMS and WMS have the same textbooks and materials, that all teachers have experience with the APP population AND want to be teaching in APP classroooms. (the latter is becoming one of my biggest concerns).

Yet he seems thrilled at the bump in test scores.

In terms of the populations mixing, I can only speak for my student, who seems to have a mix of APP and non-APP friends. Socially I don't think there is a huge problem with the populations, but I have limited exposure into this.

Anonymous said...

HIMS Principal and a great number of staff did not want our program there, do not want it there still and the admin is doing everything possible to get rid of us APP teachers that came from WMS going so far as threatening and carrying through disciplinary action on the APP teachers where the union has had to step in several times. It is sad when the tone of a school is not about the kids but about the admin's wishes to get the teachers they want to hire to "make everything fair."
Unfortunately, that is the way this district is going with this school board and Goodloe-Johnson. Teachers are in despair here.

Jan said...

It seems to me that the APP parents at HIMS need to get together and demand either that the District resite the program somewhere where the principal is not antagonistic (not a good outcome, I realize, but MGJ won't want to resite it either, so you can rattle that sword without much fear) OR name a new principal to the school who will support ALL the programs, and ALL the kids, in the school.

You will have to be a District headache to make this happen.

Caton said...

And, someone (who is not an SSD employee who can be axed) needs to show up at the next board meeting and demand of Sherry Carr on what basis it is ok with her that the District has broken its promise with respect to adequate math classes for the HIMS kids. This is her school. On what basis is it acceptable to her that the program has been sited in a school hostile to it, with a principal whose time is spent trying to hound APP teachers out of the building (as if there weren't enough stuff that NEEDS to be done)? Is she not aware of the HIMS problems with class availability, staff issues, and antipathy between the principal and the new staff? If not, why not? Is it not incumbent on someone to follow up, when a program is resited, to see whether the transplant has worked, what problems have cropped up, etc? And, now that she is aware, what steps is she willing to take to ensure the success of the APP cohort at HIMS?

There is nothing horrible in the fact that things don't always go well. ONE of the reasons it might have been a really good idea to leave APP alone is that historically, siting problems with the program DO occur. APP students are frequently NOT welcomed in other schools. This is not news, and in fact should be something that was specifically watched for after the move (sort of like watching for graft versus host disease after a bone marrow transplant). Given the history we have with Madrona, the early years of Garfield, etc. etc. -- why was the District not watching for this, and why is MGJ not doing something about it now?

Sherry?

none1111 said...

admin is doing everything possible to get rid of us APP teachers that came from WMS going so far as threatening and carrying through disciplinary action on the APP teachers where the union has had to step in several times.

This is extremely disturbing. Were the union interventions official? What I'm wondering is: are there are official records. Can you elaborate without putting yourself further at risk?

APP AC, are you listening? Any members reading this? Granted, this is an anonymous post, but given the circumstances, one could not expect anything else. There definitely needs to be some digging into this.

It's bad enough for a principal to have passive indifference to a program in their building (which has been my non-insider impression), but antagonistic behavior and taking destructive action is another story.