Saturday, July 09, 2011

From the Lowell PTSA

The Lowell PTA is looking for questions and ideas about the Lowell split.

This form will help the Lowell PTA organize those questions, issues and concerns to facilitate advocating with the district. In addition, we will keep a list of the questions on the Lowell website and any responses/resolutions from the district.

183 comments:

cascade said...

I'm not filling out the Lowell thing. I want the larger Seattle community to be discussing questions. This affects more than Lowell.

Bus sharing between Lowell and TOPS was supposed to save money. Now that's moot. And both school start times were determined by the bus sharing. Will they change?

And what happens to the families in APP that were in the Lowell walk zone. Do they go to Lincoln or get sent to Marshall.

Further, what happens to siblings put into the Lowell ALO to be at the same location as an APP sib.

cascade said...

And why do we even have Gen Ed at Lowell when its draw area largely overlaps with Stevens - which is too crowded because of the dumb closure of TT Minor that our brilliant 4 board members up for reelection signed off on at the behest of the reputation-dimming-like-an-old-lightbulb Goodloe-Johnson.

Oh, right, Gen Ed was put at Lowell to make the SPED program at Lowell compliant with federal guidelines, when it was not compliant before, because only APP and not a typically arcing learning group was there. Of course, APP is now gone and if anyone thinks it will be back, I will take your betting money.

And what happens to the hole at Lowell with APP gone? Another boundary change? Want to see families around TT Minor go postal?

Meh. The district's planning is abominable.

And what are our Board Directors doing? This hits Blum, Martin-Morris, Carr, Maier and DeBell's areas all before the opening of the next school year. Are they being responsive and driving solutions? Or not. I am certainly curious.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why the Lowell PTA is communicating to parents as if there will be one PTA for both schools next year. What's the point? Two schools, two PTA's. APP and Lowell will no longer be associated with each other as of September.

My annual donation will go to the school my child is in, not to some organization that will apportion the funds where they see fit.

I'll be glad to have one PTA for all of Lincoln next year, to better coordinate activities with the Queen Anne kids.

- APP (now Lincoln) Parent

Anonymous said...

Another compassionate comment from an APP parent (above).

I am starting to see why that population gets knocked.

Ask the question with some sensitivity, will ya? A little less ME ME ME entitlement attitude will get you a whole lot farther.

-skeptical-

WV says "pukedia". That is where some APP parents apparently learn their conversational and negotiating skills.

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

APP (now Lincoln) Parent:

I had the same thoughts as you until I read this...

"My understanding -- and I may well be wrong -- is that, administratively, APP at Lincoln would be regarded as essentially a "satellite campus" of Lowell. All the APP kids will still be officially enrolled at Lowell this fall, regardless of what happens the year after....

Just an interested observer"

Queen Anne Elementary has moved out, but McDonald Elementry will be at Lincoln for one more year. They have an established PTA and while I'm sure we can share some things, it doesn't make sense to try to unify those two populations. Why would we want to create a new PTA while at Lincoln since this will not be the permanent APP location? I am not so naive that I believe APP will return to Lowell, but it makes sense to keep that community together until a permanent site for northend APP is found. Once that is established, then we can begin to create a new PTA and start setting up all the programs needed for that building. I'm sure there will be a lot of families whose kids are currently APP eligible that will want to be involved with a northend school as well (but not Lincoln since that is temporary). Hopefully decisions around a permanent location can be made in a timely fashion so there is lots of time for proper planning.

We need to keep the Lowell community together so we can all figure out how to make this transition of APP out of Lowell be as smooth as possible. Then we can slowly start to think about separating the ties between the two populations as we figure out where APP will be going after Lincoln.

Susanne

Charlie Mas said...

The Board has a lot to answer for.

They were warned about all of this (and more), but they chose to abdicate their responsibility to oversee the management of the District and they chose to abdicate their responsibility to enforce policy. They also refused to do their duty to represent the community.

They did a crappy job with the capacity management and closures and now we have all kinds of disruptions. The Board is directly to blame.

Anonymous said...

Is there anyway to reach out to the broader Capitol Hill community? Stevens, Montlake and McGilvra are all so over-crowded that it may be possible for some families to welcome the new space at Lowell.

If Lowell is truly going to be the new neighborhood school, it would be nice to find a way to connect with the neighbors.

- capitol hill mom

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

What about the Thurgood Marshall APP kids? Has it been discussed whether all elementary APP should be reunited at Lincoln, until a larger permanent location is found? I think the excuse given for splitting APP was inadequate space at Lowell. The TM kids would have to bus north to Lincoln, but not by too much farther.

-just asking

Mercermom said...

As a TM parent, I can say we have zero interest in being moved to Lincoln to be part of a single APP school. Our child is doing well at TM, already talking on occasion about how he'll go to WMS with his friends in a few years, and we feel positively about the school community.

Anonymous said...

There won't be room at Lincoln for all of APP, especially at it's growth rate. How many students can possibly be in the top 1%? Is 700 and growing the "right size" for an elementary? 1000? But what about the walk zone kids?

-want to know

Lisa said...

Well, I'm just glad I don't have to be IN this dual-campus Lowell PTA. What a nightmare! Seems like most elementary PTAs fund things like after-school classes, fun events & in-class items like teacher aides. I can only imagine how fraught the meetings will become as they try to divide resources between the two school buildings. PTA donors are a generous bunch and usually don't get too concerned if their child doesn't directly benefit from their donation -- but that is different from knowing for sure the child won't benefit because the funded item will be at another building 2.5 miles away.

Anonymous said...

Want to know -

Based on how SPS has handled previous closures and moves of programs, my bet is the the walk zone students will be given the option of going to APP at TM or staying at Lowell in general ed.

When the Summit program at Jane Addams was "closed" and "reopened" as Jane Addams, that was the option given to those students. When the Cooper program was "closed" those students were given the option of relocating to other attendance area schools (space available) or re-enrolling at "Pathfinder at Cooper."

As there are only about a dozen walk zone families and the walk zone was considered an exception, I imagine the folks downtown are happy to have one more "exception" taken off of the enrollment lists.

Enrollment hates exceptions. Just ask anyone with multiples!! Enrollment just decided that they didn't need to do any of the extra work to keep multiples together during open enrollment this year as multiples are guaranteed to be together at their attendance area school. Since Enrollment just loves to make it more "simple" I just can't imagine them offering any option that involved letting a small area on Capitol Hill go North.

north seattle mom

joanna said...

If it is one school, will the art teachers etc. travel from one site to the other?

Anonymous said...

watching the board members body language during the wed. evening public comments -

they are really having a hard time pretending like all you nobodies out in nobody land are as important as all the somebodies up in somebody land. why should somebody pay attention to nobody, since if nobody was somebody then ... they'd be somebody instead of nobody!

what is really really important is raking in those microsoft campaign dollars to run a campaign and, in the language of our kids, kick it with somebodies before, during and after the election.

maybe everyone should just direct their comments to the ceiling tiles or the light fixtures - at least you'd more easily understand why nothing was responded to, why nothing was changed, and why nothing happened to anything.

Nothing_For_Nobodies

seattle citizen said...

I hear lots of angst (here in a Lowell thread, and elsewhere regarding other programs and schools) but see little action.

Playing nice and responsible-like, asking "please" and arranging meetings with the "somebodies," is quite ineffective. Many of us have been or are on one committee or another, have met with somebody or somebody else, but to little avail.

Is there the will for a coalition to come together to present concerns with a united front? Is there a "shadow board" that can emerge into the media spotlight, some of the smart and articulate commenters here, their friends, and their friends' friends...to organize a li'l old demonstration down at JSCEE? A media event at Lowell? A MAP demonstration for the media?

Playing nice is not an effective strategy. Electing new board members helps (hope you all are volunteering...) but a little action in the streets certainly can't hurt, and will probably help.

See you all down at JSCEE? Let's say Monday the 18th at 9:00am? Bring your friends...

dan dempsey said...

PTA funding ??? Will it even be needed anymore?

Well Below you can watch McCleary v State before the WA Supreme Court. Also watch the Court ask about recent legislature actions (that have happened since the original Erlick decision) ... in regard to k-12 education funding.

June 28, 2011 1:30pm
Event Description:
Oral arguments: McCleary, et al v. State (Whether the State has met its duty under article IX, section I of the Washington State Constitution to make ample provision for the education of all children within its borders)

You can listen to how the State claims that State funding has increased ....

Listen to the State talk about paring back in education funding ... like a 6% cut in central administration ... and cutting teacher salary funding by 1.9% ... ... This would be quite a hoot if this entire line of argument by the State in regard to k-12 funding weren't so damaging to students.

Perhaps it is a shell game or a definitional game says one of the Justices.

This Hearing was on June 28 .... lasted about 1 hour. No decision yet.

Levy lids are now at 28% and for some grandfathered in school districts may be as high as 38%.

Anonymous said...

Hey skeptical,

Enough already with your 'entitlement' obsession.

If you have something constructive to add to this discussion, then add it, rather than making judgmental and snide remarks about other people who are rightfully upset about the uncertainty of their child's education they suddenly find themselves in.

Two days after the school year ended, the district suddenly announced it was removing some -- eventually all -- of our kids from their school; the school where their program has been located for the past 12 years or more; the school where some of their classmates were moved out just two years previously.

Lowell APP parents have every reason to be concerned about the implications of all this and how it will affect their children.

Why shouldn't parents like the one you just criticized be focused on the well-being of his/her own kid? What other parents in the district do you call out for this?

If you think other parents/guardians in SPS are putting the concerns of their own kids at the bottom of their priority list before all other kids in SPS -- as some people would apparently have APP parents do -- then you are fooling yourself.

None of the solutions to Lowell's capacity crisis that were offered were perfect. Each one demanded compromise, sacrifice and loss for ALL of Lowell's kids.

Arguably, by agreeing to leave the school where their kids' program has been for the past 12 years in order to solve the capacity crisis at Lowell for the entire school community is a sacrifice that the APP community is making here.

Cut them some slack will you? And give them some credit.

--Sue p.

Anonymous said...

Seattle Citizen, I think the time IS ripe and SSD families are fed up enough to want to take it a step further in the ways you suggest. All we need is someone to start it. Go for it.

Seattlites are one of the most highly educated urbanites in the country (or so the studies say) AND generally liberal as well, which means we want to give public schools the benefit of the doubt and the chance to succeed. I, too, have wanted to stay positive, wanted to be nice and responsible and respectful; however, enough is enough.

Seattle is not Chicago or Atlanta or Houston; this is a relatively small district. How hard can it be?? Someone has to call BS on the whole charade. Get a real board, real leaders who have a genuine passion for excellence and a desire to educate and do right for our kids. I am so tired of the kids getting lost in the shuffle here amid the career-obsessed educrats and the lazy incompetants. Enough.

-fed up

Anonymous said...

Lowell APP parents AND Lowell general ed parents AND Lowell special ed parents all have reason to be upset. I certainly do not hear the general ed and special ed parents talking with the same degree of outrageous non-collaboration that 'APP (now Lincoln)' parent displayed in his (her?) comment.

I stand by my statement. If I had to deal with a parent with that tone and attitude, well, I simply wouldn't.

I applaud the Lowell PTA for doing something constructive - gathering questions from the community. I would love to hear how the 3 communities will come together - in the absence of any district leadership mind you - to resolve a whole lot of thorny problems, the ptsa being just one. I am constructive. I am not sympathetic to a lack of empathy from a parent, already abused by the system, turning a caustic eye on the rest of the abused community. That's what 'APP (now Lincoln)' parent did with the comment and I repeat that it reflects badly, very badly, on the APP community. You and he/she are welcome to direct all the anger you want at the district. But be kind to the other families involved in the mess and step up to problem solving. Or don't be kind, gather your ptsa toys and sulk at Lincoln with a pity party for your own community. But then reap the consequences of karma.

-double skeptical-

Anonymous said...

As a TM parent (it's our 3rd school; Lowell was our 2nd), I can say we would absolutely be interested in a dedicated APP school.
However, the real choice before us is either stay put at TM or endure continual churn at the district's whim. In that case, we'll stay where we're at. But I do appreciate you asking.

-Herb

Shannon said...

I am also wondering why the assumption is that we will continue to have a Lowell PTA or why APP is now "Lowell at Lincoln" rather than "APP at Lincoln".

I would like to hear the PTA thinking on this - why they are not working on a way to split into two functional PTAs to respond to the needs of the two campuses, different communities, administrations and future planning issues.

I know that ALO and SPED will have different needs and concerns without the APP students co-housed and my question is not premised on the assumption that I am looking to 'ditch' the Lowell community that we were but on the recognition that the school has been split.

We didn't continue to have a TM and Lowell PTA when the program split, so given the huge amount of work ahead, why now?

Curious
Shannon

Anonymous said...

Dear APP at Lincoln. See Shannon's tone and wording for A Better Way To Ask A Question.

-skeptical-

Anonymous said...

"We didn't continue to have a TM and Lowell PTA when the program split, so given the huge amount of work ahead, why now?"

When the APP program at TM was created it had its own PTA already and both the school and PTA had their own budgets. The physical site being created for APP will share budgets and teachers with Lowell ALO and SPED. So long as the three populations are sharing academic and financial resources, why shouldn't they share a voice?

In addition, what makes folks think that the concerns of ALO and SPED parents would be so different from their own. Won't they also wonder about the availability of PCP classes and prefer to see certain teachers stay/go? Won't they also be concerned about the resources available for their children? Physical plant configurations will likely change for those who remain as well as those who leave.

And oh yeah, there's that pesky problem of SPED or ALO families that also have APP children.

Maintaining one PTA allows all voices to be heard/considered, with all groups speaking with one voice. Conflicting demands issued by tribal leaders are way too easily dismissed.

Skeptical certainly seems like the voice of reason to me. Too bad his/her words seem to be falling on deaf ears.

--observer

Anonymous said...

What other school has ever had such a strange configuration?

It's convenient for the district because they can avoid both opening a new school and providing budgets for two schools. The burden is then placed on the parents to fill the gap between the one (split) school and the services that two schools would warrant.

another observer

Anonymous said...

Skeptical, is this really the tone you are striving for....?

"Another compassionate comment from an APP parent (above).

I am starting to see why that population gets knocked."

Your tone is mean-spirited and critical - and yet you all out others for theirs. Incredible.

I agree with Sue P. - Lowell parents have every right to be disappointed and frustrated -

Skeptical, you are not helping at all with your comments. While I do not have kids at Lowell, I truely feel for thie community and APP(not Lincoln) Parent bring up vaild concerns -

- Tired of "holier than thou" comments

Anonymous said...

Shannon,

You will have to double check with Seattle Council PTSA but I don't believe it is possible to simply split a PTA in the same way that SPS can move programs.

PTAs are legal non-profit entities and as such the post 9/11 rules that govern non-profits are quite complex. The broader structure of the Seattle Council and Washington State PTSAs provide all the legal compliance and as such there are pretty particular rules that need to be followed to make a "new" PTA.

When Jane Addams, Sandpoint and McDonald all opened they need to "vote" open a new PTA and they could only do that after the school year had started.

It is possible to start a special interest PTSA as well. There is a Special Ed PTSA that started a few years ago (I am a member!). I think they have done a wonderful job of helping give voice to many Special Ed issues. It is not perfect but in my opinion, Special Ed has more voice because of the PTA than they did before the PTA when there were only advisory groups similar to the APP AC.

It is a lot of work to start a new PTA just ask any of the new ones but it may be time for an Advanced Learning PTSA to be formed.

- north seattle mom

Jon said...

Trying to ignore the trolls and getting back to the original discussion, I think the Lowell PTA has a hell of a job ahead of them next year.

In the short-term, they have eight weeks to set up Lincoln for APP and prepare a now nearly empty Lowell to function without APP. Books, teachers, and equipment will have to be divided between the two locations and there inevitably will be conflict over how they are divided. In addition, the district almost certainly won't spend the money needed to set up the two disrupted locations properly, so PTA funds will have to be used for that, setting up additional conflicts over how PTA money raised at Lowell last year and intended for use at Lowell ALO/APP/SpecEd is now used across Lowell ALO/SpecEd and Lincoln APP.

Later this year, APP at Lincoln will be months away from having to leave and will have to make a long-term plan. The district will want to split elementary APP again, probably to one school in the NW and one in the NE along with the existing central/south (at Thurgood Marshall). The APP community will be divided on whether they want that, with some in the north supporting a new split for reduced commute, but some others opposing further splits for fear it will dilute the program. Again, the community will be pitted against itself in a hard debate.

As many others have said, the APP community should rally in the face of this considerable challenge. But we also need to be realistic about what we have ahead of us. This next year is going to be a very difficult one for elementary APP.

Anonymous said...

Jon:

Don't forget that no matter what APP parents end up advocating for, if and when all that comes to pass, they'll be called entitled and uncooperative by everyone else. It's a given, and we can't forget for a minute that APP parents are always wrong. About everything.

-- Garth

Anonymous said...

I think the APP program is fantastic, but I understand what Skeptical was saying. I too believe that collaboration matters, and some APP parents more than any other SPS subgroup, it seems, tend to forget that point. It shows up in this thread.

That doesn't mean that you haven't been wronged and that you shouldn't advocate for your children. But I agree that you will have to do it by looking at the full impact on Lowell as well as what might be in store for your own program's future, part of which may or may not be at Lowell.

Jon calls out many of the issues at hand. Get collaborative with other parents and get busy. (And yes it's a huge pity that this is dropped on your families in the summer.) But working with parents outside the walls of Lincoln, whether by marching at JSCEE or meeting to design programs or figuring out fundraising with all parties in on the discussion is the best approach. Because of and despite the district's huge missteps.

"Wishing You Well"

Anonymous said...

"I too believe that collaboration matters, and some APP parents more than any other SPS subgroup, it seems, tend to forget that point. It shows up in this thread."

Since I'm so entitled, you'd think I'd be more sensitive to all the times non-APP parents have come to bat for APP. And at the expense of their own kids' programs!

mtt

Anonymous said...

Gawd. Enough bi-polar, passive-aggressive "Seattle-Nice" already.

At this time in history, APP is in the fight for its life. All one must do is witness the dismantling of Spectrum throughout the district in direct opposition to Best Practices for Advanced Learners.

The Board just loves playing Seattle-Nice, as they run parents and kids through with their daggers.

Entitled? Be serious. What group has been assaulted, split, disrupted and damaged more than APP in the past 3 years? And with no end in sight?

If being unselfish and nice worked, APP would do it. It doesn't work, but most APP folk still try very hard not to step on others toes. Unfortunately, they'll never succeed in satisfying certain critics. Oh well. WSEADAWG

Anonymous said...

Maybe APP has the political power to go it alone in this fight for your life. Those of you who are angry can try that route if you want.

But there are some challenges -- there's a suggestion here that the sps might be planning on treating the APP move as a temporary relocation. if so, you might have a tough time setting up the financial structures required for school-related fundraising without collaboration with the Lowell building.

You can be mad about that -- odds are that PTA related activities will be a mess, with two buildings and another PTA in the same building. But you can either choose to work with both groups collaboratively, or expect them to be unsupportive to your needs.

Does Lowell PTA have substantial funds?

I know Some schools raise a lot of money, but had thought that the funds usually got spent during the school year.

zb

Anonymous said...

zb - your point really does beg the question if Advanced Learning needs it own PTA.

wseadawg - yes, advanced learning has been pushed around. But so have all the alt schools, special education and over-crowded neighborhood schools. Just ask any family that got drawn out of their "neighborhood school" for a manadatory assignment at a new school with minimal resources and split siblings.

planing the compare game would be fun if we could actually find any group that doesn't get toyed with on a regular basis

- ne parent

Anonymous said...

Gee, what a perpetually unsatisfied group.

You've got your whole school cohort, moving to a building that fits your population, in a north end location where students reside, and yet still you complain. You can also still go back to your local school if you prefer. What else could the district do? Offer every APP student a pony? Seems to me it's the district that bends over backwards for this group.

-observer

Anonymous said...

Okay observer-

Every time APP comes up in any discussion we hear this same garbage. You said this:

"Seems to me it's the district that bends over backwards for this group."

Please support this statement with facts. I can't wait to hear them.

APP parent

SeattleSped said...

"Entitled? Be serious. What group has been assaulted, split, disrupted and damaged more than APP in the past 3 years? And with no end in sight? "

Oh, oh, I know this one! Children with mild to moderate disabilities. One family's still waiting to hear whether their child will have to ride the bus for an hour, when there's an appropriate program at their neighborhood school. Nobody answers the phone at JSCEE. They're too busy depositing those raises.

Yeah, I'm not feelin' it.

Anonymous said...

Observer: If it were a permanent home, I'd agree. But it isn't. Lincoln is temporary quarters. As of now, APP has no designated long-term site, which is unnerving for everyone.

Granted APP is not alone in the suffering caused by senseless closures and the overstuffed NSAP, and like most lingering problems, poor planning and execution lies at the root of it.

If only we could return to the days when summer meant "no school for awhile." But nooooooooo! Instead I'm here bickering with others over how to turn lemons into lemonade. How nice.

And a bunch of SPS folks got raises this year? Terrific. WSEADAWG

Anonymous said...

Please support this statement with facts. I can't wait to hear them.



Well, you get a program, matched to your needs with a full cohort of many hundreds, no matter where they put it. Who else gets that? Your special education program is available to you by choice. Who else gets that? You get a group of students with low frl, low disability, low esl members. Who else gets that? Having a group with a reduced number of challenges and burdens means that every other school will thereby have more challenges (a bit like the charter school phenonmena) Who else gets that? You get a guaranteed well funded pta no matter where you end up. Who else gets that? That sounds like a lot of good bennies to me, especially given that the district isn't obligated to provide it in the first place. Why knock your good deal? Ok. So, you might move buildings. Is it all about the building? If you cared so much about the buildings, you'd have stayed in your neighborhood school. How many times have we heard that it isn't about the building or real-estate?

-observer

Anonymous said...

Pretty sure this is why the APP specific blog was initiated...

Anonymous said...

-double skeptical- said...

(...)I am not sympathetic to a lack of empathy from a parent, already abused by the system, turning a caustic eye on the rest of the abused community. That's what 'APP (now Lincoln)' parent did with the comment...


No s/he didn't. S/he merely said s/he would fund whatever school his/her child was in -- as most SPS families do.

The parent also suggested working collaboratively with the other school at Lincoln (which is currently McDonald, not QAE). So this parent was thinking of others, despite your claim.

So what empathy are you talking about? Who else should this parent have "empathy" for? Who is suffering?

If you are referring to the ALO and SPED families at Lowell, that's potentially insulting to them and rather paternalistic. Give them credit for being able to manage their own school.

And how does this one parent represent or reflect on the entire APP community which is comprised of over 1,000 families?

S/he doesn't.

Even then, I don't believe that the comment reflected poorly on APP -- it apparently fed into your own negative stereotype of APP parents. That does not speak well of you.

What gives you the right or authority to lecture Lowell parents about empathy anyway?

Were you at the Lowell meeting at Lincoln the other week? Were you at Lowell before, during or after the last split? Do you know anything about what any of us have done for the school and all the programs and children in it over the years? Do you know what I said in my speech at the Lowell meeting or before the school board recently? I asked the district not to move the Special Ed kids -- Lowell has been their school for longer than any of the rest of us. I asked the district to do right by the ALO community. And I asked them to do right by APP. In other words, I advocated for ALL the children of Lowell -- as do most APP parents I know.

Are you a part of the APP community? If so, then why don't you offer a better example yourself of how to communicate with others constructively in forums such as this one? If you're not, then why are you engaged in this particular thread? Is it only to criticize APP families?

The district's decision here is difficult for everyone, but it seems to be the best option. I give the district credit for not moving ahead with its plan to cram 700+ children into Lowell next year. That would have been physically unsafe and academically unsound.

I also share the concern of others on this thread that to somehow tether the APP community at Lincoln to the school they no longer are a part of sounds impractical on many levels -- logistically, and yes, financially. I believe the PTA funds that were raised last year should be divided fairly between the ongoing and the former Lowell populations. But after that, I think Lowell has to move forward without APP, and APP at Lincoln has to move forward as well, towards their new and separate futures.

I'm done with this discussion, by the way. Both the current and now-ex Lowell families have a lot of work before them, and we don't need such unproductive distractions.

--Sue p.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Observer, I can hear the frustration/anger in your post but I don't think it is fair (not your anger but your observations).

You have a lot of points in there that you can't prove. How does having an APP PTA guarantee money? Do you know what their budget is? I can never fault ANY PTA for their hard work. Be envious if you want to but don't fault people for their efforts. It's not taking away anything from your own school.

You also said the program is "matched to their needs." I can't speak for APP but that sounds funny to me. I don't know ANY group that has a program matched to their needs and I think the APP parents can explain far better than me how it doesn't.

"You get a group of students with low frl, low disability, low esl members."

The district has worked hard to expand the pool of APP students and the Board seems convinced that the MAP testing is finding a bigger pool of kids. But again, how can you fault a group for its stats? Every family comes in as an individual family. And I don't know how you classify "disability" but I know there are a fair number of APP/Spectrum students with disabilities (one of mine included).

This belief that somehow APP students are getting "more" is born of what? They aren't.

I absolutely think Special Ed kids get kicked around and their parents ignored. It doesn't mean that APP students somehow are to blame. I don't see the connection. Are you saying that you would want a building with a Special Ed cohort (I'm serious because I'm trying to understand your point).

Charlie has said for years that if you gave the APP families a tent, they would use it as a building just to keep the program. The building doesn't matter. But no one likes living with uncertainty and that has been the case for APP for a long time.

Syd said...

It seems silly for separate sites with programs that will probably never reunite to have to work with the same budget. There will be a lot of conflicting interests. Example: the library - specifically developed for kids working years above grade level. The district should provide a budget for one of the sites to have a new library. But which one?



P.S. I do not have a kid at Lowell.

Anonymous said...

what happened with PTA resources when Lowell & TM split the APP program?

What happened w resources (ie the library that was designed for kids "working two grade levels above."

Is Lowell's library really different from, say Bryant's Are there no books below 3rd grade?

zb

Floor Pie said...

"I absolutely think Special Ed kids get kicked around and their parents ignored. It doesn't mean that APP students somehow are to blame. I don't see the connection. Are you saying that you would want a building with a Special Ed cohort (I'm serious because I'm trying to understand your point)."

No, no one said APP students are to blame. I don't think anyone even mentioned the students. Or blame, for that matter. Personally, I wish them the best.

I'm sorry APP's getting name-called in this post and elsewhere. You don't deserve that. But when I read something like "What group has been assaulted, split, disrupted and damaged more than APP in the past 3 years? And with no end in sight?" it's a little unsettling.

I don't want to get into an Oppression Olympics thing here, but surely you all must realize that *everyone* who doesn't fit the mold at SPS has to deal with their share of assault/split/disruption/etc. individuals.

I'm sorry to hear that APP has been kicked around. At the same time, I'm just slightly envious that it's happening to you as a group. You're united. And you actually got the district to keep grades 1-5 together when they planned to do otherwise. That is HUGE. At least from my perspective it is.

So I can see why some parents who've fought longer, more heartbreaking battles without a sense of community and without such good results might be feeling a little bitter. I don't share the bitterness, but it's easy to see where it's coming from.

In any event, it's not really relevant to the original topic here. Carry on...

Anonymous said...

It is miserable to be an APP parent, you can't ever compare notes on kids with non-APP parents because if your kids are working ahead or have achievements that are out of whack with normal kids, you sound boastful.

You learn quickly to stay quiet and to downplay. Eventually your own kids learn that they can't speak freely in the company of non-APP either, and that they are disliked for being different.

It seems the only reason the district keeps APP going is because they want to use the grouped test scores to lift up otherwise failing schools. Examples are TM and Ingraham.

SPS created this mess at Lowell, and now at Lincoln, and it is really wrong to expect parents to pick up the pieces. Yes, the library at Lowell is full of highly advanced children's books, those should to go with the kids who need them.

The person who suggested that APP kids get it easy, clearly has no experience. Parenting and teaching APP kids can be very fulfilling, but it is a mistake to imply they are trouble free, they simply have other challenges.

If you haven't walked a mile in our shoes, you have no right to say how it feels. Please don't stone us.

-StoneFree

Anonymous said...

StoneFree,

By sheer coincidence, Prince William is now touring the U.S.

I'm sure he alone could feel your pain if he read your litany of difficulties because you sure seem to think you're exceptional (in a good way).

--Get Real

Anonymous said...

StoneFree,

I realize that you must not have been serious.

--Get Real

Jon said...

Please don't feed the trolls.

The topic is supposed to be what is required for Lowell to split into Lowell AOL/SpecEd and Lincoln APP. Can we keep the discussion there please?

Anonymous said...

I would be much more sympathetic to this situation were it not for the FACT that a significant number of younger students are in APP because of the appeals process (i.e. the kids did not qualify on their own abilities).

Parents ask teachers and others to write appeal letters, etc. Teachers and others write them because these APP classrooms use differentiated instruction and no one "fails" (just like in the rest of SPS).

Sure, there are some enrollment increases due to demographics (the MAP is not yet impacting in any measurable way) but a HUGE reason for these high numbers is because parents learned how to get their just under-the borderline kids in
(and the district knows it).

--the truth may set you free but it can't fix the crowding

Anonymous said...

I agree with Jon. Here are my suggested actions:

1. Use the combined PTA to provide parent input to the district regarding the equitable distribution of school owned assets (library, PE equipment, etc.). Input on other issues (what school APP walk zone kids should attend, APP/ALO sibling pairs, etc.) is also critical.
2. Use the combined PTA to equitably divide any funds in the combined PTA account into separate Lowell and "APP at Lincoln" accounts.
3. Use the combined PTA to establish the future, separate PTA infrastructures at Lowell and "APP at Lincoln"
4. When this is accomplished, eliminate the combined PTA. It has performed admirably, but the district decision to move APP to Lincoln has made the combined PTA a relic of the past. The two sites have divergent futures, and are best served by separate PTA's focused on their constituents' unique needs. This is the PTA model used everywhere else in the district to the best of my knowledge. Please correct me if I am mistaken, or you see a unique benefit to a combined PTA that warrants an exception to standard practice.
5. The combined PTA needs to work closely with the district and parent communities to identify specific actions parents can take to help with the transition. We have approximately nine weeks to put a school together and I have no confidence in the district's ability to do this on their own. If someones tells me what I can do to help, I'll be there with paintbrush and checkbook in hand.

All this debate on a blog is fun, but it's time to put down our keyboards and get to work.

APP (now Lincoln) parent

Lowell neighbor / Bulldog mommy said...

Everybody breathe. This swift move will be hard. Hard on those that move. Hard on those that are left behind. Kids will follow the lead of the adults in this move. Can be gross or an adventure. Be the adults. Support your teachers/staff.

Remember APP community. The talking point for spring is WE ARE TOO BIG FOR LOWELL. In emergency response, the district has given you your own building. Your own building.

If i have heard your requests clearly during the past 14 years of Seattle Schools meetings & webtalk... this is GREAT news for your program.

i have seen and heard NOTHING in the districts work to create a unique curriculum path for APP that even hints that the program is in trouble. Your curriculum map & increased self containment on campuses are, in fact, becoming embedded and strong.

Because you are tired of the fight and offended by those who find your fight offensive, i hope you are not missing that you have ACHIEVED VICTORY here.

Lowell neighbor / Bulldog mommy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lowell neighbor / Bulldog mommy said...

melissa or other magical monitor.. apologies for my triple post.. can you please narrow me down to one.

THANKS!

Anonymous said...

1 & 2 on the focus of the PTA seem like a good plan, but the critical question is how will that combined PTA represent the combined needs of all the populations and what recommendations should they make on the equitable division of resources and funds?

As I asked before, how were the issues handled when the TM/Lowell split of APP occurred?

How has it been handled with other school closures? Have any schools with significant parent-sponsored resources been closed?

I know McGilvra is battling about parent-funded portables and I've heard discussion about musical instruments bought for different programs.

Answers to these questions are why people have complicated audits and complicated bureaucracies about money and equipment.

(zb)

Charlie Mas said...

While it is possible that some part of north-end elementary APP will return to Lowell, that possibility is remote. It is far more likely that the program will find one or two new homes in the north-end. Consequently, it is difficult to say that the APP cohort at Lincoln continues to be part of the Lowell community.

The question now isn't so much about how to retain the ties, but how to cut them.

dj said...

Lowell neighbor, where have you heard that APP is definitely getting its own building? I am not under the impression that the district has decided what it is doing with the Lowell APP program after next year (when it will be sharing a temporary building with another program).

Anonymous said...

Melissa,

Observations are just that, and no, they aren't angry. Simple observations.

The APP program will be in a large group, it will be well funded by a wealthier than average parent base, it will be located close to home, it will not include many challenging students (that is, its students are relatively low on problems), students will have a cohort. Sure the district has try to open it up, but really, that isn't going to happen any time in our lifetimes is it? Sorta the ultimate in the acheivement gap problem. And as to "a program that meets their needs". That's the whole definition of the program isn't it... APP students need APP because of their needs. And of course, everybody realizes that nothing perfectly matches needs.

Anyway, there's much to be thankful for, and yet all we hear is complaining. That's the only point. Did anybody "blame" APP students? I haven't hread that. Nobody's angry except APP parents.

-observer

Anonymous said...

I know there are many unresolved issues swirling around - and this may be premature, but a note re: PTAs. It seems it would be worthwhile to ask the Washington PTA if they have suggestions about what to do in these situations (with respect to PTA funds, board member responsibilites etc..)

PTAs are registered 501c3s and you can't just break off (to my knowledge.) The "Partners at Lowell School PTA" would stay intact but it seems a new entity would need to be formed (either at Lowell if the Partners group goes to Lincoln, or a new Lincoln/APP group if the Partners stay at Lowell). I'd be very surprised if there weren't very specific things you need to do to divide money etc. IRS is specific w/ other non profits in these situations, so it stands to reason the state PTA would be too.

Forming a new PTA w/in the Seattle Council allows you to set up a bank account, maintains your non profit status (so people's donations are deductible - very important !!) and allows access to D&O Board insurance. All these are really important for a PTA (esp the insurance b/c Board members can be personally liable w/o proper insurance.)

From the WSPTA website: "Contact the State PTA office by phone at 1-800-562-3804 or email us at wapta@wastatepta.org. The Washington State PTA will have a Region Director contact you and take you through the steps needed to form a PTA unit."

LucyK

Anonymous said...

Floor Pie: Points & Exceptions taken & recognized. As much disruption as APP has gone through, it likely perils in comparison to the treatment of special ed families.

Sorry to be myopic, but I tend not to think of Special Ed kids as a cohort or program, versus primarily a community, even though some programs/cohorts exist. With placement decisions supposedly determined by IEPs, and supposedly accounting for the entire spectrum of needs of individual children, I tend to view such decisions at the individual vs. group level, but I may be completely ignorant of what's really going on.

APP was once school. Then it was two "cohorts" in two locations. Now its "just a program, not a school." To me, its evolved into a landless tribe.

Since leaving Lowell, I have very little insight or experience into the plight of special ed families beyond what I read on this blog, so forgive my ignorance. I know some kids are grouped by need and abilities, but placement decisions & IEPs, along with the thrust toward inclusion blur the lines for me as to what the model really is, and should be, for special ed kids. I've talked with many special ed families, and their views and needs run the gamut, from some wanting inclusion, and others laughing at that prospect. Many are in a constant running battle with the district, fighting exhaustion and mental breakdowns from the stress and anxiety they constantly suffer from. My years at Lowell left me humbled and in awe of many special ed families. Having to leave those kids and families behind, not knowing what the future held for them was and disheartening. Depriving my kids of the experience of going to school with and working with the special ed kids at Lowell is perhaps the greatest educational loss we suffered by leaving Lowell. It was invaluable and irreplaceable.


Many, including myself, were told that having the TT Minor Gen Ed kids at Lowell would bring Lowell into compliance with Federal Special Ed Law, and offer inclusion opportunities for Spec Ed kids who wanted or needed them. Of all the reasons given by the district, the needs of Special Ed kids at Lowell, in my mind, trumped my kids' needs to remain at Lowell, so we left for TM willingly, rationalizing and hoping our removal would benefit the remaining special ed kids. Apparently, it didn't.

To read and hear that nothing has improved at Lowell re: inclusion into gen ed classes, and that the Special Ed community is worse off today, is sickening, but not surprising.

I sympathize when special ed parents feel left out of the discussions, and for overlooking possible common-ground we share, often being on the wrong end of the district's sharp sticks. WSEADAWG

NW Mom said...

Just putting it out there to ease some loneliness felt by Lowell APP community...

I remember when North Beach was slated to be closed. The parents rallied and kept their school. They were vilified by the public and the press as rich folks who could buy what they want for their kids. It was said that the district would bend over backwards for these rich parents. Thankfully, because of these parents, NB wasn't closed or we'd have major capacity issues in NW Seattle!

I'm just bringing this up since it seems the passive-aggressive parents in this town can't be happy for anyone's "successes". I struggle to use the term successes since most of these contentious things come after a horrific fight with the district.

Robyn said...

Trying to bring this back to a constructive conversation, these are the questions I sent to the SPS e-mail address for Lowell questions.

Hi,

I assume you are inundated with questions, but here are a few:

1. Is the start time going to be the same as McDonald's?
2. Is there going to be any movement to improve the playground?
3. How long will APP stay at Lincoln? 1 year? 2 years?
4. Can my daughter go back to her neighborhood school?

Thanks,

Robyn

Anonymous said...

I am wondering if all this talk about a split PTA is premature. Though it is likely the APP program will move to a new building in one, maybe two years, that is not a done deal. Until firmer plans are announced, it would make sense to continue to work together as one united PTA, albeit one that should probably work internally on a contingency plan over the course of the 2011/12 year. I don't see a compelling need to fast track a split until more is known about the long term plans for the APP program.

New to SPS

Anonymous said...

Robyn -

The Lowell PTA has created a FAQ page and is posting answers as they come in from the district.

Your 4th question has been answered on that page:

http://lowelles.seattleschools.org/modules/cms/pages.phtml?pageid=236159

Interested Parent

Anonymous said...

I knew Lowell. I served with Lowell. Lowell was a friend of mine.

Lincoln: You're no Lowell.


WSEADAWG

Robyn said...

Thanks for the link, Interested Parent!

I was clicking on the District's FAQ page, but it says "search function temporarily unavailable". Maybe they are updating it...

Robyn

SeattleSped said...

WSEADAWG, thanks for acknowledging there are other (worse) problems. To clarify, my child does have a cohort, and little consideration is given on this point. The whole bankrupt concept of ICS is that disabled children should attend neighborhood schools in their "natural proportions" (according to the crap "peer review".) So maybe 2 children with ASD, .5 child with a physical disability etc in every elementary. I reject this notion. It's ludicrously expensive and chimerical, wholly inadequate, and SPS never had any intention of living up to this ideal.

By the same token, why wouldn't gifted children attend their neighborhood schools in their natural proportions? Receive their services in Resource Room? I'm providing context here.

BTW, I advocate on many issues for many different populations of students and families. I do not believe we can afford to be myopic given the deficiencies of this district's administration.

Anonymous said...

To "Get Real," I was quite serious and you show yourself to be part of the problem. Prejudice of and ignorance about APP are unbearable.

To "Mercermom," yes, thankfully TM is doing well now, my comment was about how the district let it flounder the first year of the split.

To "Lowell neighbor," nice of you to try to bring the situation to a positive read, but there is no victory in a last minute switch to a new and temporary location, not for anyone who was at Lowell last year.

About the PTA issue, the only workable solution is to create a program specific PTA. It can't be linked to the location because that is not permanent. It can't remain with Lowell building interests because that connection no longer exists. It can't be merged with TM because they support other populations within that school that are disassociated with APP at Lincoln. They can't co-PTA with the other school at Lincoln because they won't have a lasting relationship with that school group.

I know APP parents will donate time and money, but what will the district do to support this crazy scheme?

-StoneFree

Anonymous said...

the truth may set you free but it can't fix the crowding -

I know we need to keep this stream on the future of North Elementary APP, but I think it's important not to let incorrect information sit on the blog on not be corrected. This quote below is NOT a fact:

"I would be much more sympathetic to this situation were it not for the FACT that a significant number of younger students are in APP because of the appeals process (i.e. the kids did not qualify on their own abilities)."

I would love to see written proof of your "fact."

This is a common factoid that is thrown out constantly around APP appeals. An appeal is not just a teacher saying that a kid should be in APP. An appeal is a kid taking a full on IQ test with a licensed psychologist. A kid, sibling or not, will not be admitted into the APP program if their IQ does not test high enough.

-Please let the factoids die

Anonymous said...

Thanks SeattleSped. I know there are potential lightning rods all over the subject, and I am woefully ignorant of the nuts & bolts of Special Ed.

Before we left Lowell, it was my impression that 90+ percent of Special Ed parents did not support or buy the concept of Gen Ed inclusion for their kids, and didn't want to change the model or move from Lowell, where they had a tight community of parents. But a few did, and of those few, some wanted it badly. Because the smallest percentage aligned with district designs, guess who won out?

My worry then, and today, was that sprinkling a few kids back into neighborhood schools would reduce accountability and quality across the board, versus keeping those kids together in larger groups or within one building, where larger concentrations of parents could advocate and be heard. But, some viewed that as too institutional.

There will always be some who support a minority position, which SPS is adept at exploiting for its own agenda, then dropping like a hot potato.

I don't think its out of line for APP folks to feel they've been used in similar ways recently.

It is upsetting to see divisions between parents, as we really are all in this together, and I hold this board largely accountable for making decisions to satisfy outside interests instead of satisfying the needs of their community.

We closed schools supposedly to satisfy the State, when in reality, it was part of the national reform agenda model to consolidate power into the office of Rock-Star, Executive-Trained, CEO-like Superintendents. And the widely known growing community's interests? Pffft! Pack 'em in like sardines, Chuck! We need to get these things to market! WSEADAWG

Anonymous said...

I always see APP parents advocating for Spectrum kids, ALO kids, and Alt School kids, as I've done myself, constantly.
The notion that APP parents only care about their own program is nonsense. Do we rally when we're on the chopping block? Hell yes! Who wouldn't?

I'd like very much to put this fire out, and get back to helping other parents get the best they can from this district.

It serves my selfish interests to ensure that your kids are well educated, because I want my kids to live in a well-educated, safe and thriving community. Who doesn't want that? WSEADAWG

Anonymous said...

WSEDAWG,

Yes you are woefully ignorant. First off, the requirement for "inclusion" under IDEA could have been, and can be, met at Lowell, with or without the ALO/gen-ed program. The legal requirement is simply that students with disabilities are placed with non-disabled peers to the maximum extent possible. There's no reason that couldn't have been done at Lowell-APP, except that it was against Lowell/district policy and philosphy. The students in the low-incidence programs are disabled enough that the delta for them, between gen-ed and APP is irrelevant. APP students do indeed meet IDEA's bar for inclusion: non-disabled. Yes APP teachers would have had to massively differentiate... but then, so would gen-ed teachers. Given the severity of the disabilities of the students in Lowell's disability programs: NO SCHOOL provides inclusion for students that severely disabled. Look at Greenlake. They have the same program, and no inclusion there either. Look at Orca, no inclusion either.

Second off, yes a few special education parents wish to have an inclusive education for their students as is their right under IDEA. Moving those students to Greenlake (as was done) doesn't facilitate that. Some students were sent to Greenlake. No Lowell students were "returned" to their neighborhood. They weren't put in "ICS". The current community at Lowell now, has been highly reluctant to provide meaningful inclusion to it's students with severe disabilities. (the ones in the programs. The resource-room students, of course are included) These families show up at SEAAC and sped-ptsa all the time with huge problems getting the smallest things. Changing the other populations at Lowell was of no particular benefit to sped families.

Thirdly, IEPs are not "small percentages" with some sort of collective needs. They are all indvidual, and their services are individually designed. If 1 student needs general ed/APP/anything, then that 1 student should have access to it, whatever his/her reasons despite district policy. That is their right. Inclusion, to the maximum extent possible, is a right for everyone. It is likely that many Lowell families do not seek or have that need, but those who do, should have it.

4thly, yes many, many sped families try to have a cohort, just like you. And no, it is never honored by the district. Ever. Students can be, and are transferred at any time to anywhere. Even in the middle of the year.

5thly, sped was never the reason for anything done at Lowell. Although, it would be pretty darn stupid to revamp some other building for same sped purposes and same sped students. Not out of the realm of stupid possibility though.

-sped parent

Anonymous said...

The notion that some APP parents are buying their ways into APP through some buy out scheme is an old one. At our school, the spectrum kids are doing the same thing. Just like the medicare death panel and the non-native born president don't you know. These are facts too!

-My kid is going to grow up and play for the NFL!

SeattleSped said...

Pardon my friend sped parent. I would have said naive. It is true that Lowell's SpecEd population is NOT representative of the SpecEd "community" as a whole.

When I talk about my child's cohort, it is in the context of an 8:1:2 inclusion program (the highly successful model SPS is in the process of killing off). Eight friends to support a child when others perhaps do not; an important factor in the life of a mildly autistic child.

all the same said...

"By the same token, why wouldn't gifted children attend their neighborhood schools in their natural proportions? Receive their services in Resource Room? I'm providing context here."

That's basically what an ALO is. Lowell's had a pull-out this year for first grade.

I think there are many people at district headquarters who would like this to be the model -- for everything. No special anything. Just a bunch of all-the-same schools with assignment based on address. It's so SIMPLE! Can't you see the beauty? (snark)

Anonymous said...

Folks,

No one is buying their way in but plenty have negotiated their way in when their child did not meet the criterion. This is usually in reading or math, where one is quite high and the other is below the cut off point. At this point, the letters from teachers and other adults are used during appeals.

As a matter of fact, I know this for a fact. Ask some of your cohorts--they know because that's what they did.

It has also been confirmed on previous threads on this blog by parents in the program.

--overcrowding in a short period of time

Anonymous said...

Overcrowding,

Is this opinion journalism?

- truthiness

dj said...

Surely noone here really would defend the district's planning process here, right? So I am unclear on why this needs to be a "who gets screwed more" pissing contest. We have a bunch of neighborhood schools that are getting stuffed to the gills and a shoestring budget to deal with it. I hope folks are watching the district closely and thinking about what kinds of panic-mode maneuvers it might engage in when your own neighborhood school gets crammed to capacity, and you don't have a non-neighborhood program to ship out.

WV says you'll be pretty soren then.

Anonymous said...

I have read many threads about APP appeals and nobody said they got in with a weak Math or Reading score. You can appeal if you are close but you still need to meet the same requirement of 95th percentile or higher in Reading and Math MAP test and 98/99th percentile in 2 of 3 areas in the IQ test.

Appeal Process and requirement
http://district.seattleschools.org/modules/cms/pages.phtml?sessionid=ec5288cbc38867aa30e9ce71f8419b50&pageid=230102&sessionid=ec5288cbc38867aa30e9ce71f8419b50

Parent

dj said...

I can say anecdotally as a frequent poster that my kid got into APP via the appeals process and that I have mentioned this. Of course for us (as I also have mentioned) the appeals process involved telling the district it could not read its own paperwork, since my child's scores qualified her for APP. That is a pretty easy way to win your appeal, as it turns out.

Anonymous said...

Robyn -

You can try this link:

http://lowelles.seattleschools.org/modules/cms/pages.phtml?pageid=235094

Click on the link under 7/9.

APP Parent

Anonymous said...

I'm curious who is "responsible" for answering the questions on the "Lowell Transition Topics/Questions" site. I am shocked (shocked that there's gambling going on at Rick's) that, after the decision having been made by the district that the right solution is to relocate the APP 1-5 cohort, there are not answers available to these questions. The answers to many of these questions should be available simply as a result of how the decision was made. Oh, wait...or not.

Oompah

Charlie Mas said...

North-end elementary APP isn't going back to Lowell. So there is no reason for that community to retain ties with the Lowell PTA.

North-end elementary APP can go without a PTA for as long as it is in placement limbo. What would the PTA do that families cannot do acting independently or in ad hoc groups?

When the program is placed, the families can join the PTA at the school or schools where their children are assigned. If the District places the program in a newly re-opened or re-purposed building, then a PTA can be formed then.

What are the other options?

Continue to be part of the Lowell PTA with completely separate concerns? That's not a good idea.

Form a new PTA and then possibly split it if two sites are named? That's not a good idea.

Form a new PTA and then possibly merge it (or them after a split) with an existing group after the placement? That's not a good idea either.

Anonymous said...

Fundraising may be hard w/o nonprofit status. Both from community donors (in kind or goods donations) and/or large cash donations. Lowell has done a fund drive traditionally I think? If parents want to donate money, it won't be tax deductible.

Sometimes the PTA signs contracts for goods/services, enrichment providers etc.. Will individual parents be willing to sign?

The bank account could be tricky too. They'd need one I think and it would have to be an independent account(ie Joe Smith can't fundraise and keep it in his account and disburse from it... not exactly sound no matter how trustworthy Joe Smith is..) I recall another non profit I was on the board for needed to be either incorporated or have 501c3 status.

I agree Charlie, the options aren't good but how will they function logistically? Maybe I'm missing something, but the day to day money in, money out needs to be handled somehow, right?

LucyK

Anonymous said...

I disagree with the idea that there are no reasons to maintain ties to the Lowell PTA. Surely there will be some shared resources while APP is at Lincoln, and no long term plans have been announced. And once plans are announced, there will need to be a transition of some parents and resources to a new PTA. Maintaining a healthy and joint PTA seems like a smart thing to do for now.

New to SPS

Melissa Westbrook said...

"..the FACT that a significant number of younger students are in APP because of the appeals process (i.e. the kids did not qualify on their own abilities)."

Where is that factual data stored? I have never seen it but I would be happy if you would tell us where you saw it. Saying you heard it is not factual data. It's ancedotal.

Observer, you provided no data so I will take your comments/observations as such and not as factual information. It would have been a good idea to state them as opinions at the start.

"First off, the requirement for "inclusion" under IDEA could have been, and can be, met at Lowell, with or without the ALO/gen-ed program."

My recollection is that this is what the district said was true when they reorganized Lowell so maybe WSeattledawg was just listening to the district.

Anonymous said...

"First off, the requirement for "inclusion" under IDEA could have been, and can be, met at Lowell, with or without the ALO/gen-ed program."
.

My recollection is that this is what the district said


Whatever the district said... lots of other people seem to think that sped "inclusion" was the driver for reogranization of Lowell. And, that somehow, sped students couldn't really be mixed with APP students because APP students are too good to sit next to disabled ones, in any kind of meaningful way. Well, I don't know what the district told anybody... but, IDEA wasn't the driver. The above argument, though oft recited, isn't a required stance. And that reogranization of Lowell wasn't IDEA driven.

--sped parent

suep. said...

sped parent --

My recollection is that the district invoked the IDEA Law as one of its alleged rationales for wanting to close Lowell, split APP in two (and evict SPED kids entirely -- with zero plan for them, which was unbelievable).

That was Rationale #2, provided after Rationale #1 -- the school was falling apart and needed to close -- faltered when we all pointed out that the district had just spent over a $1 million installing new windows in the building.

I agree with you that IDEA compliance was not the real driver behind the split of Lowell in 2009, but it was used by the district.

The district claimed it had to add a gen ed population to Lowell to make it compliant with IDEA, which, SPS claimed, states that children with special needs are legally mandated access to classrooms/interaction with non-SPED kids.

Advocates in the APP community said that the APP kids met this federal requirement.

It was the DISTRICT that said NO, APP kids don't count in this IDEA stipulation. Instead, the district said, Special Ed children must be included with 'typically developing children,' and APP/gifted kids did not meet this definition. Therefore, the district argued, gen ed kids needed to be added to the building.

So, no, Sped parent, it was not the APP parents saying our kids were "too good to sit next to disabled ones, in any kind of meaningful way," as you put it. I find that claim offensive and unfounded.

In fact, parents like myself have advocated for SPED at Lowell on various occasions and have greatly valued all the interactions our children have had with their schoolmates in the Special Ed program, in the "buddy" system the school has set up, in the whole-school assemblies and events, in the Outdoors for All excursion for the Special Ed kids that my child was invited to go on as a buddy. In fact, the longstanding APP-Special Ed relationship at Lowell will be one of the greatest losses for the kids who will no longer be at Lowell, in my estimation.

At any rate, I just wanted to set the record straight on this. I would appreciate you doing the same.

-- Sue p.

Anonymous said...

No, sped parent, I'm not saying it was the driver for splitting Lowell. I'm saying the district said it was to shame and guilt people into silence. Given their plight, nobody wanted to impede any special ed kids from inclusion opportunities, even though there were no such qualified kids at Lowell at that time. The district said the reason was because APP kids weren't suitable peers and the Board agreed. It was total BS, didn't make sense, and lawyer-parent group looked into it, but it didn't matter. The Board wasn't interested. They were going with what SPS wanted all the way.

As for the 12:20 post, sure, I can't hold a candle to what any Special Ed parent knows and experiences. I concede that point. But APP is a program, whereas IEPs are for individuals. The only point I was making was group treatment versus individual treatment, which is apples to oranges in the current context.

Are special ed families treated even worse than APP? No question. And I'm not saying the APP situation is worse than yours. I'm just arguing that APP has been stretched, bent, twisted, lied to, and abused for three years straight, and I can't believe the district, or some parents, think they should shut up and quit complaining. It would be one thing if all this turmoil were necessary, unforeseeable, and not the result of inept planning. But it isn't, and that's why people are complaining loudly. They just want an end to the chaos.

WSEADAWG

Anonymous said...

And, that somehow, sped students couldn't really be mixed with APP students because APP students are too good to sit next to disabled ones, in any kind of meaningful way.

Sped Parent, it sounds like you're parroting what you heard, but I have to draw the line here. That suggestion is complete and utter BS. We loved having our kids sharing a school with the most fragile kids in the district and I challenge anyone to find a more meaningful, real-world, educational experience anywhere that compares to what the Lowell kids had. What SueP says is 100% true and represents the view of every APP parent &kid I knew. Too good for special ed kids? Never. Quite the opposite. Those comments are mean-spirited and malicious.

A lawyer-parent group investigated and researched the special ed issue, and briefed the matter for the district, but it didn't matter. The district said APP kids didn't count as "typically developing peers" and the Board swallowed whatever their own lawyers said, parents be damned.

The district knowingly used the Special Ed kids as pawns to get what they wanted, and sadly, it worked. APP did everything they could, but it was all in vain because the Board didn't care. That's the truth. WSEADAWG

Melissa Westbrook said...

"Well, I don't know what the district told anybody... but, IDEA wasn't the driver."

That's a little contrary. You have no knowledge of what the district said but you are sure it wasn't about IDEA.

I want to add my disappointment at the suggestion that APP parents did not want Special Ed at Lowell. Either you are new or not paying attention.

The Special Ed program has been part of Lowell for many, many years. Every time the group got threatened with moves, the APP community asked/begged to be kept together. I remember this very, very clearly.

Another said...

Going back through the blog archives, back to the discussions of the split (Nov 2008), the following justification was given in the preliminary proposal (remember the original plan was to close Lowell and put APP in TM and Hawthorne):

They say it explicitly on page 35 of the PDF: "the strong interest of APP students and parents in music and fine arts will likely extend those opportunities to everyone in Hawthorne and Thurgood Marshall, as will the tradition of an active, resource-enhancing PTA."

Anonymous said...

In defense of Sped Parent -- in the last round of closures, I heard more than one parent of APP kids who suggested that Gen Ed kids would be better placed at Lowell to allow inclusion because "obviously it would be inappropriate for any inclusion with APP kids" (my paraphrase.) Please do not slam me and suggest I am making this up or hearing this 2nd hand -- I attend a lot of meetings and read lots of posts and that is what I 'heard'.

It would behoove the APP community to be able to hear when people in broader community complain about INDIVIDUAL comments. Don't jump down the throat of people who try to enlighten the community to what others find offensive. The fiery responses make it seem like the individual offensive comment truly is indicative of the community.

APP families have every right to be upset about being jerked around by the mindless behavior of the District. The idiocy of the District is beyond ridiculous. Just please do not demean others in the process and listen with an open heart when someone is brave enough to step in and say they were offended. Don't come to the defense of every comment made by an APP parent. And remember there are other families in our District who are heartbreakingly desperate for an opportunity to receive a BASIC education from the District for their child (yes south end families, you have not been forgotten) and SOMETIMES the righteous indignation of individual APP families crosses a line. Yes, the APP community has every right to be furious and indignant and should be yelling at the District but if the community does not want to be alienated from the rest of the SPS families, please listen without shooting the messenger when someone says a line was crossed.

Better response to sped parent: "I am sorry that you feel that APP families think their children are too good to be in class with your child. I do not believe that is a true reflection of the broader APP community. It certainly does not reflect my views." No haranguing necessary.

SeattleSped said...

Thank you Anonymous at 9:31. You've stated the case so eloquently. I picked up on the whole "trolls, get your own thread" vibe. As if we shouldn't dare to speak or note our observations. I appreciate your understanding.

Anonymous said...

The line crossed goes many ways. In any discussion you are going to get the heated and agitated voices, but it should be the adults in us that can take singular comments in context and develop some perspectives. I think Sue P.'s comments are thoughtful and representative of many. This is a blog with anonymous postings, so I never take to heart the vitriol, the "truths", I read here. Better to work together, stifle those impulses to scream bloody murder in public, and make best of this next opportunity @ Lincoln and the new Lowell.

-Divided and we'll fail all our kids

Anonymous said...

This discussion has become crazy. Why should a comment made by one, or even a few, APP parents paint every APP parent with the same brush?

I have heard some general education parents say some pretty stupid and insensitive things to me, an APP parent. Things like: I would never do to my child what you are doing to yours (meaning put them in APP). So, am I to assume that every general ed parent in the entire city of Seattle thinks the same thing? That's patently ridiculous, but that's what we're hearing. There are inconsiderate losers in every group of people. It shouldn't be assumed that one loser speaks for everyone.

I also want to add that Melissa is correct about APP and Special Ed parents at Lowell being told that general ed needed to be added to the population in order to comply with the law. I was at Lowell, and going to many meetings, at the time of the split.

Former Lowell Parent

Dorothy Neville said...

Also wanted to say thanks to anon above, although it might get deleted.

It would behoove everyone to realize that folks from any or all programs or cohorts or backgrounds might say something offensive. Also any comments saying "NO ONE feels that way!" or "EVERYONE wants this!" are typically wrong. I don't know anything that any group agrees with universally.

As for the least restrictive environment thing, there was a type of situation explained back at the time that made sense to me, although I don't have anyone at Lowell anymore and did not at the time and I do not know it is accurate from a special ed viewpoint either. Not having a general ed cohort at Lowell meant that the special ed students learning letters, numbers, how to read, or other such learning typically done in kindergarten or first grade would not have access to typically developing peers doing the same thing. That's what I thought the issue was. Without a kindergarten, and without kids learning to read or count, the special ed students do not have inclusion opportunities that would be most relevant to their academic needs.

Sure, as someone stated above, they could be included in an APP classroom and the teacher could differentiate, but how is it least restrictive and helpful for a special ed student learning their letter sounds if the APP teacher differentiates for them so drastically from the group who is otherwise reading at the third grade level?

Anonymous said...

I am reposting Anonymous @9:31am so that is doesn't go poof. I think it a very valid comment. We have not placed our APP qualified kid in APP precisely because of some comments by some APP parents. These comments may not reflect your community as a whole, but they are out there.



Anonymous said...

In defense of Sped Parent -- in the last round of closures, I heard more than one parent of APP kids who suggested that Gen Ed kids would be better placed at Lowell to allow inclusion because "obviously it would be inappropriate for any inclusion with APP kids" (my paraphrase.) Please do not slam me and suggest I am making this up or hearing this 2nd hand -- I attend a lot of meetings and read lots of posts and that is what I 'heard'.

It would behoove the APP community to be able to hear when people in broader community complain about INDIVIDUAL comments. Don't jump down the throat of people who try to enlighten the community to what others find offensive. The fiery responses make it seem like the individual offensive comment truly is indicative of the community.

APP families have every right to be upset about being jerked around by the mindless behavior of the District. The idiocy of the District is beyond ridiculous. Just please do not demean others in the process and listen with an open heart when someone is brave enough to step in and say they were offended. Don't come to the defense of every comment made by an APP parent. And remember there are other families in our District who are heartbreakingly desperate for an opportunity to receive a BASIC education from the District for their child (yes south end families, you have not been forgotten) and SOMETIMES the righteous indignation of individual APP families crosses a line. Yes, the APP community has every right to be furious and indignant and should be yelling at the District but if the community does not want to be alienated from the rest of the SPS families, please listen without shooting the messenger when someone says a line was crossed.

Better response to sped parent: "I am sorry that you feel that APP families think their children are too good to be in class with your child. I do not believe that is a true reflection of the broader APP community. It certainly does not reflect my views." No haranguing necessary.

NW parent.

Anonymous said...

Nobody is jumping down anybody's throat and I don't need to be coached how to write, thank you very much. If I thought you were a troll, SpedParent, I wouldn't engage and make the efforts I've made. As we're discussing history, and current events, I'm just trying to share information and keep the record straight, that's all.

By now, I hope we can all see how pitting ourselves against one another distracts us all from getting what we need, which benefits......SPS Admin! Of course! They LOVE fingerpointing. It keeps the heat off them.

I attended every meeting prior to the Lowell split and never heard any comment, anytime, anywhere, from any parent that indicated a bias or lesser-than attitude towards special ed kids. That was my experience, and all such discussions tilted heavily in the opposite direction.

I'll take your word, SpedParent and Anonymous, that you did hear such comments, but will say that they were totally inappropriate, not representative of the APP community's feelings and position, and were contrary to "The Lowell Way" the creed the Lowell kids recited everyday, that goes like this:

We care for
and support
all of the
Lowell school family

We speak out against
unfair or hurtful behavior
towards others
and get (clap)
adult (clap clap)
help when needed (clap clap)

We care for
and support
all of the
Lowell school family

We use extra effort
to include all students in activities
at our school
to include all students in activities
at our school

We care for
and support
all of the
Lowell school family

Kids & parents didn't just say it, they lived it at Lowell, and if you can believe it, the new principal actually tried to remove it and caught hell from the entire community over it.

There are jackasses & ignoramuses in every crowd, of course and I'm sorry those you heard from misrepresented the APP community's feelings on the subject. But I can assure you, that was not a widely held or representative view of the APP community. In fact, th prevailing view was the polar opposite.

Reminds me of the game "telephone" sometimes, where what goes in the first kids ear comes out of the last kids mouth entirely different. Seems to happen a lot with APP.

Reading "the Lowell Way," Can you understand why we fought so hard to stay there with the Special Ed kids? WSEADAWG

SeattleSped said...

Hi Dorothy, before my sped parent friend has a stroke (I am equally passionate) I just want to clarify that a third grade child with, say, Down's should be in an LRE with other third graders with specially designed instruction and appropriate supports. For example, in a lesson calling for a written report on the MLK, the special needs child may have an aide read aloud a book about MLK and then draw a picture of him giving his "I have a dream" speech. (The allusion to basic civil rights is apropos.) Or the teacher will differentiate instruction to enact a scene from his life in which the child can participate. Thanks for seeking understanding.

Dorothy Neville said...

Thank you special ed for an example of how LRE could and should work in any situation. I think the more examples folks see and can understand the more understanding there will be.

I am not saying that I agree or disagree with the situation I explained above. I am really saying that this was exactly the example explained to me at the time and it makes some common sense to me. So, if I am understanding correctly, the SpEd APP blend could have and should have produced more inclusion opportunities. But do you have a comment on the specific example I was told? About having no real academic environment available to those whose academics are in the K2 range? I can see that as a drawback. Is it?
(I am really not trying to argue one way or another, just want to understand.)

joanna said...

I was never clear that the Special Ed. community at Lowell was unhappy about being there with just APP. Also some families from the entire region with students with dyslexia and other related reading and writing disorders spend thousands in tuition to send them to a private school like Hamlin Robinson, which of course, only serves that population and can choose which students are a good fit.

In the past I thought that most teachers were sensitive to the dyslexia type disorders, but perhaps not. Or, perhaps it is more likely that some students thrive in non mainstreaming environments, at least for a time. I wonder if the public schools can develop programs where families choose not to mainstream their students.

Damned When I Do said...

For some reason reading this thread reminds me of "Lord of the Flies"---how quickly the veneer of civility disappears, how eager some are to ally themselves with and 'speak for' one group so that they can denigrate another group, how past grievances and disappointments surge to the fore as some try to beat back contenders to the throne of 'most victimized.' Anonymity on the internet doesn't help.

To the APP-eligible family who said they wouldn't put their kid in the program because of an impression about APP parents---please, please, let your child's needs drive that decision. That's what APP is supposed to be about---the needs of children. There's as much diversity of opinion inside the APP community as elsewhere---I have points of disagreenent with other APP families, including ones I know very well. But parents are parents, and kids are kids, and the experiences and needs of the two have very little to do with each other.

At the end of the day, this blog thread is a bunch of noise that some participants will probably look back on with embarrassment or regret. But I note there aren't any kids on here, and I wouldn't expect them to ever bring this pathetic tribalistic sniping into the classroom. Makes you wonder who is more mature.

Floor Pie said...

NW parent, thank you for re-posting Anonymous @9:31's comment.

Lowell APP parents, I'm sorry this thread is off on a big tangent, but now that we're here I think there's some good discussion happening and I hope it doesn't just get dismissed as "angry" or "trolling" or whatever.

I agree that there's always a few insensitive types that make the rest of a group look bad, and it's not fair to paint all of APP with the same brush. From what I heard (through the grapevine, so take this with a grain of salt), it was Bob Vaughn who didn't want special ed "messing up" advanced learning. Not the parents.

Really, I think the district just wishes we would all shut up. So let's not.

Horse Not in the Race said...

I have a gifted kid who is not in the SSD, so the APP discussion is of interest to me as a gifted parent, but doesn't affect me. But AS the parent of a gifted kiddo, I DO like to see what's going on in Seattle.

It DOES interest me that Spec Ed vs. APP is being discussed, because on a Mensa mailing list to which I subscribe, there is currently a nasty, heartless group of posters there who basically agree that Spec Ed, below-standard kids and ELL kids are taking "all" the resources away from "The gifted", who deserve it more than "future ditch diggers". I kid you not-that's the actual opinion of nearly a dozen people.

Those parents with 2E kids,a disabled AND a gifted kid or just those with hearts have spoken out, but anyone coming onto the list now would CERTAINLY think that parents of gifted kids don't give a rat's behind about anyone but their own. So I can see where a few misfired comments from a prickly APP parent or three might give them a bad rep. Apparently it's not entirely uncommon.

I have to say that I'm not aware of a single other district ANYWHERE that offers free, public self-contained gifted ed for kids up through 8th grade. As far as I can tell, most parents would kill for such an option. But I also see that many, many gifted kids in other districts DO share classes with "gen ed" kids and the world doesn't end. Often they "walk to" other grades for certain subjects. So I would like to see that be an option in more places-Seattle, for example-say a highly gifted math student walking to APP for math and sticking with his regular class for the rest. With APP being so self-contained, that's not an option, and it leaves kids in need of that level of instruction behind. And I don't think Spectrum covers it, because those kids are NOT working as far ahead as a math or reading/writing/science prodigy might.

Anyway, that's the two cents of someone without a horse in the race.

Anonymous said...

BTW: Any parent who would avoid APP because of "what they've heard..." is selling their kid and themselves way short. I find it hard to believe any parent of an APP qualified kid would make such an important decision based on rumors, without checking out the program on their own. Sounds like rhetoric to me. And what would be their source, anyways? People in the program who love it? Or people not in the program who hate it?

Would you buy a car without driving it first? Or based on heated rhetoric from car writers and critics? We're not talking about a car or a movie here. We're talking about children's lives. I'm not putting my kid in there because of those awful APP parents. Really? Even though its a Special Needs program designed to meet your kids needs? Is it about the parent? Or the kid? Wow. WSEADAWG

Anonymous said...

Horse: We are SUPPOSED to have that already, and it's called ALO! It was exactly the bridge you are talking about. Unfortunately, it's little more than a phantom MIA program in most schools, which Charlie Mas has been on his soapbox about for two years!

Welcome to SPS! WSEADAWG

P.S. Hey, Blogger: Quit eating my posts!!

Anonymous said...

Regurgitated Re-Post from about 11:45 a.m. Take that, Blogger! It was cached!!

I'm with you Floor Pie. And thank you SpedParent for engaging. If you hadn't, I wouldn't have known what you heard and what you felt about the split & its reasons. I'm glad we've had an opportunity the clear the air, and to those who thinks things have gotten nasty, aren't you paying attention to the substance here? Of how the district said and did whatever it wanted by pitting parents against each other and using kids as pawns in a game? That's the real story here.

SpedParent and anonymous defender friend, I'll take your word for it that you heard things I didn't, and It's a shame. That is not the Lowell community I knew, but I know jerks are everywhere. But this was the real Lowell:

The Lowell Way

We care for
and support
all of the
Lowell school family

We speak out against
unfair or hurtful behavior
towards others
and get (clap)
adult (clap clap)
help when needed (clap clap)

We care for
and support
all of the
Lowell school family

We use extra effort
to include all students in activities
at our school
to include all students in activities
at our school

We care for
and support
all of the
Lowell school family

Kids & parents didn't just say it, they lived it at Lowell, and if you can believe it, the new principal actually tried to remove it and caught hell from the entire community over it.

As I hope you can see, the comments you heard do not square with what Lowell was about. Not for my family, nor anybody else I knew. If we sound selfish, it's because of what we lost and left behind at Lowell. It was a great program, school and community and the district is splintering it apart with all these chaotic decisions.

APP is still a great program, but culturally and as a community, it is a shadow of its former self. We just want to stem the losses we've already endured before the entire nurturing, compassionate culture of APP is killed off entirely.

Hmm...WV says "inkill." Though creepy, I'll take that to heart. WSEADAWG

Anonymous said...

WSEADAWG @ 12:16PM

You've obviously have not seen "Mean Girls" or Gossip Girl. Most time when I read postings that are a bit over the top and I ask myself:
1. do thinking people really believe this stuff?
OR
2. flamebait!

-Leave the dog crap alone!

PS: wouldn't be great if SPS just implement programs with integrity instead of playing us with their shell game.

SeattleSped said...

"pathetic tribalistic sniping"? ...no comment.

Actually, this is a (long) APP thread I actually find refreshing. Thanks Dorothy, Floor Pie and Horse for an open exchange. I can say that I elected not to appeal my child into Spectrum because of not wanting to expose him to excessive anxiety and pressure. My thinking was why have him be a grade ahead if it meant less time to improve his communication and social skills and physical development? But hell no to self-contained. Inclusion in general ed is his right.

joanna, unfortunately, there are too many opportunities for a special needs child to be "non-mainstreamed." In fact, that is all that's left of special education in our district (I refuse to call ICS a viable option). A culture of low expectations has made many self-contained classrooms into educational wastelands for too many cognitively normal disabled kids. Similarly, resource room has failed many with mild learning disorders (note the abysmal HSPE pass rate). Finally, I believe this sad state of affairs applies to disadvantaged children...even more so under this NSAP.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Thank you for printing the Lowell Way.

I don't know how many schools have these but they did at Whittier and my 19-year old can still repeat it word for word. He said it kind of followed them around and was a bit of a conscience when a kid might go off track.

SeattleSped said...

Thanks WSEADAWG.

WV: kiling (?!) What's up with WV?

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 12:38. I get your point, but the poster appeared sincere, so I'll take them at their word. I pose rhetorical questions just to get folks to step back and think things through. That's all. WSEADAWG

Anonymous said...

Finally, I believe this sad state of affairs applies to disadvantaged children...even more so under this NSAP.

Ugh. That was exactly what APP and Special Ed families at Lowell feared would happen. Never made sense to me. Still doesn't. WSEADAWG

Anonymous said...

The Davidson Academy of Nevada is "A FREE Public Day School for Profoundly Gifted Learners"

http://www.davidsonacademy.unr.edu/

FYI

Anonymous said...

for horse not in the race...

Actually many states have enacted laws committing state government to gifted ed, just as funding and standards are federally required for special ed. The problem is that this is not the case for Washington, among other states, which is likely (although I don't agree) the source of complaining on your Mensa blog.

If Washington law specified gifted ed as a defined need, as it is accepted to be in other states, then as individuals we would not have to work so hard to convince other individuals outside of APP that it really is a special need.

We almost left Washington state partly because of this. I really can't say strongly enough that if you have a student with this particular need, it is obvious and requires accommodation. Not to the same extent as special ed but with some elements in common, there are health problems and risks that are closely associated with each group.

That is why it always seemed like such a nice combination to have APP and Sped together at Lowell. There was a long history of deep and genuine inclusion. That is a big loss now that the bond has been broken.

-StoneFree

hschinske said...

I have to say that I'm not aware of a single other district ANYWHERE that offers free, public self-contained gifted ed for kids up through 8th grade.

Look at http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/schools.htm; you'll find quite a few. Also try googling "self contained" along with "gifted classes", "elementary" and "middle school".

Helen Schinske

Lori said...

StoneFree and others, the governor recently (finally) signed a bill into law making gifted education part of "basic education" here in WA state.

http://wcge.wordpress.com/

To those who think APP parents are fighting for something *special* or something *more*, we too are also only fighting for a basic education for our children. And at long-awaited last, the government now recognizes highly capable programs as basic education and cannot cut them, as they threatened to do all of last year.

Yet another reason many APP parents are tired. Perhaps many don't know that the Advanced Learning office almost had all of its funding revoked this past year, retroactive to 9/2010, which would have affected not only APP but also Spectrum. Such a cut was only possible because the bill was being delayed. Now, at last, parents have a legal leg to stand on when fighting for gifted programming.

Folks whose Spectrum programs are being dismantled might want to get some legal advice about what this new law means for their programs. I'm not an attorney, but I do wonder what exactly the new law requires and how it will be interpreted when challenged.

Anonymous said...

To those who have said this is about me and not my kid, let me assure you that my child is quite well served and very happy with both the academics and the community that we have found at our alt school. So is his sped brother. I would not keep my child out of APP just because of some parents. But there is a sense of entitlement that comes from some APP families. ( and fairly, from other families in the district too, I have just noticed it more in my dealings with some families that have their children in APP) I am looking for a more real world experience for my kids.

It is not rhetoric, I am not a troll, it's not flamebait and I have not shit on anyone's rug.

It is that precise sort of attitude, how dare I, or anyone else have a negative view of any hallowed APP parent. It happens people. Some of us choose not go the APP route because of a perceived culture of entitlement that we do not want to engulf our kids. Maybe APP has a PR problem, I don't know. But it is very telling that any negative thought is put down as trolling or perhaps just negligent parenting. Wow indeed.


NW Parent

we're not alone said...

From the Hoagies Gifted link, here are a few public or tuition free Gifted and Talented programs/schools:

School (grades) - state

Pine View School (2-12) - FL

Iles School (1-8) - IL

Rockford Public Schools (K-12) - IL

Capitol Hill Gifted and Talented Magnet (1-8) - MN

Spring Lake Park Schools – MN

Minnetonka Navigator Program – IQ of 145 or higher (2-5) – MN

St. Louis Regional Program for Exceptionally Gifted (1-12) – MO

Hunter College Campus Schools (K-12) – NY

Fuller Gifted Magnet (elementary) – NC

Menlo Park Academy (K-8) – OH

Infinity Charter School (elementary) - PA

SeattleSped said...

AARGH! A legal leg to stand on?! Bob Vaughan kept his job, due in no small measure to our school's principal sending out the clarion call for Spectrum parents to raise hell. Meanwhile, SpED funding was cut with not a peep out of principals and politicians. SpEd parents are consigned to legal bills, due process, and the slow grind of SPS service "gatekeepers" and telephone musak.

I have to tune out now.

Anonymous said...

"Perceived."

Case closed? Okee-Dokee.

WSEADAWG

Anonymous said...

NW Parent: I heard the same stuff before I toured Lowell and checked it out. It turned out not to be the case at all, and quite the opposite, in fact. APP indeed has a PR problem because of terms like "Gifted" and "Highly Capable," which don't apply to a lot of the kids. But I don't know how to get around that as long as the experts choose those labels. I'm just saying don't judge a book by it's cover, or you might be selling yourself and short. That's all. No offense intended or taken. Just FYI. WSEADAWG

Anonymous said...

Sorry: Nix the surplus "and." I meant selling yourself short. WSDWG

joanna said...

Even 15 years ago, I wouldn't have described APP as self-contained 1st-8th grade. That was pretty much true for 1-6th, although art, music, etc was not. By 8th grade language arts/social studies and science were the only self-contained classes. Incoming 6th graders at Washington were placed in math by achievement level across programs.

I was not advocating for self-contained Spec. Ed. From the postings, if it is happening here that it is not planned as such or for transition, but that is happening due to neglect. I just intended to ask the question about programs with intent, support and plans and only as families would support. My understanding was that things were working fairly well at Lowell when it was just APP and Spec. Ed. I mean to ask what is it that the well-off parents at HR support. Also are the Spec. Ed dollars that the SPS receive really being used with intent? My understanding is that there is a lot of disparity across the district.

joanna said...

I should have added that at Washington, especially at 6th grade, every effort was made to have 6th graders in math classes with other 6th graders, but not necessarily with other APP students.

APP families and students are as caring, sensitive and and empathetic as any other group. I think John Stanford recognized that too.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post listing all the self-contained gifted program.

I know that the St. Louis "PEGS" (program for exceptionally gifted) serves only 5-10 students per grade for the entire city.

As a start, an IQ over 140 is required, plus then additional testing so very, very few students actually are accepted. We had friends whose children qualified on the IQ - but were denied after the additional testing.

Each child receives an IEP and a curriculum specifically designed to their needs.

Our kids were not accepted into PEGS, but were in their once-a-week pullout GATE program (which was completely useless).

Comparing the two is like comparing apples to oranges.

-APP Parent too

Lori said...

NW Parent, I'm late to this thread and enter hesitantly given the emotions. I'm glad your child's needs are being met locally. I truly am. I wish our child's needs could have been met locally, but they were not.

I wonder if some of the disconnect among parents over APP has to do with precisely each family's experience. Your child qualified but is well-served elsewhere; you don't have a *need* for it. For many others, APP is the only fit; it's the only option within SPS.

I've said many times in other threads how utterly transformative the move to APP was for us. My lonely, sullen child just blossomed and is truly happy and thriving now. And that experience is exactly what makes me a passionate defender of APP, as well as of keeping the 1-5 cohort together. It's probably also what makes me defensive when I hear negative comments and generalizations about the kids, the program, and even the parents.

You said you keep your child in a local school to get a real world experience. Ironically, mine is in APP for that exact same reason. It's the only place where other kids understand her and thus include her in games and activities. It's the only place where other kids get her jokes and listen to her ideas and stories. It's not just academics; for families like mine, it's critical for our child's social and emotional health as well. I actually felt for a time that my child might be clinically depressed at the age of 6 at our neighborhood school, that's how bad things were. But with no drugs, no lengthy psychotherapy, just a simple move to APP, I no longer have those concerns. That's the power the program has for the right kids, and that is precisely why we cannot let it be dismantled.

Different Strokes said...

I think what we need to remember is that there truly is no one-size-fits-all program for ANY group of students, be they highly gifted, low-performing, Spec ed, even gen ed kids from the same neighborhood. What one family might find to be the greatest thing possible for their kid, another might find it a poor fit.

For a number of reasons, APP was not a good fit for my kid. Interestingly, it was the SOCIAL aspect that was the poorest fit-in retrospect we should have found another solution. But we've landed in a perfect situation in another setting and like Lori's daughter, that's what we see in our new school home. But for Lori's kid or someone else's? Maybe not. Just as a friend of mine in S. Seattle is very happy with the education her son is getting at the New School, such that they opted not to seek APP status. Different strokes.

Anonymous said...

Lori,

I am in no way looking to dismantle APP, it is just hard to sit by and watch real people with real concerns be dismissed as trolls or malcontents. It is a difference of opinion. I think we all want our kids to do well and to be happy. I am glad APP is working out for your child, my APP qualified child is also flourishing without it. Is there not room for both? My child flourishes in the community and the quirkiness of our school. In my opinion he would not do as well with the community that I met when I toured Lowell and talked to parents. Perhaps your theory about not "needing" Lowell is why I am more critical of it.

NW Parent

Wikipedia said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_(Internet)

"A troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community."

Anonymous said...

Spoken like a true Troll.

grumpy

Anonymous said...

When my oldest child first tested into APP years ago, we were told that about 50 percent of kids who tested in, moved into the program. Our neighbors had successfully sent their 3 APP qualfied kids through the neighborhood school. So we stayed in our local school. Our child had a great experience and continued to advance academically. Through the years we have had other friends choose to keep their children in their neighborhood schools. As well as friends who choose to move into APP. I think we need to respect each family’s decision. There is not one right answer for all gifted kids. We are lucky to have a choice. This is not true for many other children in the district who are outliers.

- Hindsight

Anonymous said...

Back to questions about logistics...

If Lowell at Lincoln will no longer be sharing buses with TOPS, can we lobby for an earlier start time? McDonald has an 8:50 start and a 3:00 end time. Wouldn't it be disruptive to have different start/end times? It would also make sense to share the after school care with McDonald, meaning same start and end times. Then there are after-school activities - which could be open to both McDonald and Lowell kids if the start/end times were the same.

In reading the McDonald website, they say kids get 30 min of PE daily. Will there be enough gym time to accommodate both Lowell and McDonald kids for PE?

Also, from the cafeteria...McDonald will offer a "pre-pack" meal program. Because of projected low numbers of students needing free/reduced lunches, they anticipate low numbers of students purchasing "hot" school lunches. These pre-pack lunches and breakfast are packaged at the district office (in the "big meal prep" facilities), require less handling than a hot lunch, and are delivered to about 15 elementary schools around Seattle. They typically include a sandwich, piece of fruit or vegetable, and drink.

parent

Anonymous said...

The District Q/A response is a 9:35 start time. Is there going to be any thought about coordinating with McDonald? Is Lowell@Lincoln going to be physically separated from both Lowell and the school with which it shares a site? Argh.

-feeling pessimistic

lil'dragon said...

I am so confused why so many people who don't have children affected by the move to Lincoln are so upset and passionate about this? You seem to have a lot of extra time and energy on your hands. Why don't you quit giving parents a hard time, roll up your sleeves and help fellow parents get a school ready for their children?! Notice how this is really just about children, parents, teachers and education?! Notice that this really isn't about whether or not these kids are APP, ALO, Special Ed. or general ed. I'm pretty sure that as parents, we all wants what is best for our children. We want them to be happy, healthy and get the education that they all deserve. If you are unhappy with your local program, then your anger and energy should be devoted to the district, not all the families who have had a tumultuous start to their summer. I have heard that APP parents have lots of money, this is not true. We are just an average family with struggles like every family. I have heard that APP parents only care about their children. This is not any more true than any other parent. We all want is best for our children. Stop pointing fingers, name calling and start using that energy in a more positive way. Our children ended the school year thinking that life was going to be one way and that has totally been disrupted. It has been very stressful for all involved. This is not about being entitled. This is about saying enough is enough, stopping the tit for tat and getting down to business. This is for the children after all. Isn't that where all our misguided and misused passion comes from? From our love for our children? We are unified in this. Don't let this district segregate and separate families anymore than it already has.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of rolling up our sleeves, does anyone know what Lincoln building will need to prepare for the incoming APP kids? Guess what I am asking is: do we need to paint, clean up, etc. over the summer to prep the place before school starts? We are new to APP so not on the e-mail list. Let us know what we can do to help. Also are we coordinating this with the present school that is there?

New family

Anonymous said...

New family,

You can go to this link to see all the Transition Topics/Questions:
http://lowelles.seattleschools.org/modules/cms/pages.phtml?pageid=236159

You can also email with questions you don't see on the list to lowelles.PTA@gmail.com

Lowell Parent @Lincoln

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the the Q/A link and the PTA efforts to get the ball rolling...but why is there such little info from the District?

I'm already concerned that the District doesn't appear to be coordinating with the McDonald school already at Lincoln - having different start/end times is sure to be disruptive to classes and makes for a more fractured community.

L@L parent

Anonymous said...

For the question of why people who don't have kids in Lowell are interested, I can offer one answer.

I was uninterested in APP when it was at Lowell because it is too far away to be worth it for us, as was Washington Middle School. Changes in the location of the program change our interest in it and I plan to stay involved din the discussion for that reason. I've always been frustrated by the treatment of individual schools and programs as though their responsibility is only to their *current* students (though of course they have a major responsibility to that group).

As such, I want to participate in the discussions about what a sufficient cohort is, where the cohort should be located, and what services should be provided to the students.

(and, I'm speaking from the point of an APP-eligible child, but it's not unreasonable to have opinions even if one's child was not currently APP-identified, for a whole variety of reasons, including access to higher-level programming independent of the rules governing APP).

(zb)

Lori said...

New family, I hear your frustration with communications for new families. Are you getting any information right now? Did you go to the community meeting and give your email address? I think that's one way they are getting the word out.

Unfortunately, I keep hearing that new families aren't officially in the school's computer records until the year starts, thus won't be on email lists yet unless manually added.

Last year, we started a yahoo group for incoming NE families to start making connections prior to the school year, sort of a spin-off of the popular NE Seattle Moms group. It's another possible place to get information this summer. We just kicked off our weekly summer picnics last night, and it was great to sit down with several other families and brainstorm. The desire to help was universal, as was the desire to find effective ways to communicate broadly the next few weeks. And there are indeed families from outside the NE area on the list as we recognize there simply aren't a lot of other ways for incoming families to connect.

Here's the link:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/APP_NE/

To anyone who wants to join, I just ask that you do follow the instructions and tell us roughly where you live, your kids name, grade, school you're leaving, as asked in the intro. Thanks

Anonymous said...

It is very likely that the different start time for McDonald and Lowell would be quite helpful.

There is only a small playground and only the small cafeteria has been set up for lunches. If both schools were coordinating schedules, then there will be over 700 students to schedule in the cafeteria and recess times.

With a shifted schedule, there is almost one extra hour in the day to schedule recesses and lunches. This will better fit the building and more naturally into the schedule for the day so that students get their lunch in the middle of "their" day.

This extra time will also mean that the library will be more accessible to more students.

I think it is a good call to have different start times for the two different schools in the building.

- north seattle mom

lil'dragon said...

I was only asking why people who are on here spreading negativity and didn't have a direct interest in what was going on were wasting so much time and energy? I think it is great to have a place for open discussions as long as they are healthy and productive and not full of mean name calling. I really just want people to think about how they are acting and what they are saying. Being divisive and negative does not benefit anyone. In fact, what are you teaching your children?

Anonymous said...

Hoo Boy...

grumpy

Anonymous said...

Sorry Grumpy. We should develop a blog where lovers of circular arguments can go to. Don't worry, there are lots to keep you grumpy with SPS.

-Happy (and off to work)

Anonymous said...

Perfectly stated hindsight. I want great schools across the district. They are great in WS North, but overstuffed. We did the neighborhood thing, but went to APP because it fit my kid better. Many other of my daughters peers stayed and thrived at their local school. The best fit is the most important thing.

This is not a zero sum game where one program or child benefits at the cost of others, but when we get into comparisons about who has it the worst, the discussion often seems to tilt that way.

Folks: The district and the board are masters of the game of pitting one group against another, while looking the other way at things like Pottergate. Could we not all have benefited hugely from a couple million dollars extra in our district? No elementary counselor cuts, for example.

Grrrr! We can disagree, but let's all avoid the trap of scapegoating each other and letting the administration off the hook. Their arrogance, obstinance and incompetence is why we're all in this mess together.

Double Grrrrrr!!! WSEADAWG

Enfield has a Plan? said...

Dr Enfield is walking the line between self-contained and integrated differentiated classrooms. I think she sees the need for self-contained but also the drawbacks. Speced and gifted programs both need a mix of delivery models. APP is a needed program but ALO can and should be ramped up to serve more kids at local schools. Cluster grouping is hopefully a model to have significant grouping within a classroom. It does recognize that their needs to be a different level of instruction for different groups and that is a good thing that should help all kids. Teachers are being asked to group students and many have been very reluctant to do so. While the transition to effective ALO and cluster grouping may be slow and painful, I think Enfield and Vaughan are trying to serve more kids whether it's Speced, Spectrum, dyslexia, APP level or handicapped at the local as well as providing self-contained for those who need it.

Meet the Press(ure) said...

WSEADAWG
I don't think the district wants to distract or divide and conquer. I think that any large beauracracy is hard to manage and I want to give Susan Enfield a chance. I would like to see more info put out to the community. In this day of the internet I think a weekly 1 hour video press conference with emailed questions being addressed at the end would be a good use of her time, and Bob Vaughan's and others, as well. Even the US president manages to get out and explain things more often tha SPS.

Need more info

Anonymous said...

"While the transition to effective ALO and cluster grouping may be slow and painful, I think Enfield and Vaughan are trying to serve more kids whether it's Speced, Spectrum, dyslexia, APP level or handicapped at the local as well as providing self-contained for those who need it."

How will we see this in action? Dyslexia? Parents of dyslexic kid at our school pay out of pocket over $50/hour for tutors. Class size is getting bigger. Cut backs to SpecEd and IAs with more kids assigned to resource room to do ????

I need to see more on the ground to believe. I volunteer with this population in between my work shifts and hear lots of hopeful talk. We've gone through the surplus budget year and are still waiting for it to get better. It has been frustrating for the teachers, parents, and kids. The APP and spectrum situation has been addressed ad nauseum ( I have kids in both designation), so I'll end here.

-frustrated

Anonymous said...

The "cluster plan" currently being rolled out is not the one that has been proposed by Winebrenner and Brulles. In their model, the highest and lowest achieving clusters occurs in only 1 or 2 classrooms per grade level, for a variety of reasons including reducing the differentiation gap between clusters, and reducing the total number of clusters per teacher. It also allows for differing learning style groups to shine within an individual classroom, and for larger clusters within a classroom so a small but coherent cohort can be achieved within each cluster.

What is currently being called clustering is actually a fully heterogeneous classroom for each teacher in each grade level. This aspect of their model - only 1 or 2 gifted clusters per grade level - is being disregarded. Each classroom will have the full range of students in it, but they will all supposedly be given differentiated instruction within each defined cluster. This both dilutes the concept of "critical mass" for clusters at any level (there are now fewer kids in each classroom cluster), plus increases the range and number of clusters that each individual teacher must manage.

Winebrenner and Brulles' work is primarily focused on gifted and high-achieving clusters, and how to make them work in a classroom setting where self-contained is not an option. They also make a point to separate out the highly gifted (high scores on cognitive tests) vs the high achievers (high-excelling students) out into two different clusters in two different classrooms, on the theory that the learning styles are different, and it allows both groups to shine. The MAP test, which will be used to determine cluster for all students, cannot do this, obviously, so this important aspect of the Winebrenner/Brulles model is also being discarded as well.

Do not be fooled by the label. The plan is to cluster within a classroom and not across grade level, to increase the cluster range per teacher not reduce it, and the metric used to determine clusters is flawed and not what the original model suggests. This is so far from the Winebrenner/Brulles model that it truly should not be called clustering at all.

What is being rolled out is a return to a fully "inclusive", heterogeneous classroom, where all ranges of ability and knowledge will have to be managed by one classroom teacher. It will be harder, not easier, for teachers to provide appropriate levels of instruction for both ends of the learning spectrum. I am not claiming that there are not teachers out there who can handle this, because I know there are. I am claiming, though, that this will make their life harder, not easier.

New To SPS

Anonymous said...

Tour dates have been set for Lowell @ Lincoln Tours:

Thursday, July 28th: 6 - 8 PM
Tuesday, August 2nd: 2 - 4 PM
Wednesday, August 10th: 6 - 8 PM

The Lincoln building is being cleaned and furniture is being moved around the week of July 18th, so tours will start the following week. Parents are welcome to stop by the building and look around anytime the building is open, but formal tours will only be held on the above dates.

Lowell Parent

apparent said...

The Schools Directory on the SPS website now lists Marella Francois as the Principal of Lowell Elementary. Just happened to notice while clicking onto the Lowell site. This online directory contains no separate entry for the Lincoln school building.

KG said...

Marrella Francois Griffin is a terrible principal. Just ask employees who worked in the Meany magnet school program in 1996.

Institutional memory? You bet.

They probably kept her in a locked room with DeWanda Cook Weever for years expecting us to forget.

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

Neither is mine, but the following two anonymous postings appeared responding to my news about the SPS Schools Directory listing of Marella Francois as the new Principal of Lowell. Probably worth reposting here before they are deleted (posters, remember you must sign your anonymous comments with a pseudonym to comply with blog rules):

*'I am so sorry to hear this and then to blog anomalously. I can't stand this. She was given to Garfield free of charge during the early part of the last decade due to the some issue where the District has to pay her whether she is assigned or not. Is this still true. "Marella Francois Griffin is a terrible principal. Just ask employees who worked in the Meany magnet school program in 1996."'*
Anonymous 7/13/11@9:37 PM

*'Marella Francios Griffin's relationship with the District and the parent groups is just too toxic to believe that she still wants to work here.'*
Anonymous 7/13/11@9:40 PM

Anonymous said...

From Lowell FAQ: Can people provide more details about Marella and Meany? Was Meany a school for gifted kids? What did she do that was bad since it looks like she will be @ Lincoln. See below.

Gregory King will oversee both schools as principal. Marella Francois and Rina Geoghagan will provide additional leadership at Lincoln.

Lowell parent@Lincoln

Anonymous said...

Some articles about Meany are referenced in a May 27 thread:

http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/2011/05/open-thread-friday_27.html

-doesn't inspire confidence

Anonymous said...

Meany was not a school for gifted kids - it was an underperforming school where kids were assigned for reentry. John Stanford tried a turnaround, and assigned Marella as principal, and after only a year, she was assigned to an office job and a new principal was brought in.

Anonymous said...

For some history, just google Meany and Ms Griffin's name and you'll get a serios of articles. Her time at Meany started with glowing reports of, but kinda went topsy turvy, to gone from the school after a year. I don't see much in the news where she went after that.

(Note: I take what I read from the media and hearsay with a grain of salt. But it's worth doing a little research while keeping an open mind as my mom used to say.)

Go to this:

http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19960517&slug=2329632

Letter to Editor re: reassignment of Ms. from a parent:

http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19960528&slug=2331550

This after she was removed as Prnicipal of 1 year from Meaney

http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19970523&slug=2540794

1998, 2 years later

http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19980211&slug=2733837

More telling is why would the district put a controversial and possibly polarizing figure into a controversial, demoralizing situation (fragmented school community) at this very moment?

-another reader

Anonymous said...

From one of the referenced articles:

"She handpicked her whole staff and she can't seem to get along with the majority of them," said...one of the disgruntled parents. "Until the climate is one of teamwork and support, I think we're going to lose a huge number of teachers."

"With this one (Griffin), we've tried. I'll put it like that," said Roberta Bond, who was the school's site-council chairwoman during fall semester, referring to what she says is a lack of communication between Griffin and the parent group.

...The superintendent has staked a lot on Meany's success. The school had a reputation - somewhat undeserved in recent years - as a tough, inner-city school weak in academics. Stanford's goal was to create a challenging new academic environment that would attract kids from all over the city.

But several teachers who've left Meany were driven out by Griffin, according to teachers who spoke only on condition of anonymity because they fear for their jobs. Griffin threatens teachers with whom she disagrees with loss of their jobs or negative performance reviews, they allege.


"Meany Principal Getting Some Heat"

http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19970523&slug=2540794

Anonymous said...

Here's an odd link, a letter written by David Blomstrom (School Board candidate for District 1):

http://www.arthurhu.com/99/09/blom.txt

Melissa Westbrook said...

"I don't think the district wants to distract or divide and conquer."

Are you new? I say that tongue in cheek but YES, the district is always trying to distract and divide. It's their coin of the realm and how they keep parents spinning in circles.

Trust but verify is always the phrase of the day with SPS.

apparent said...

On the online SPS School Directory webpage, Gregory King is again listed as Principal of Lowell Elementary (Lincoln has no entry). Marella Francois is no longer so listed.

Anonymous said...

Hmm...makes you wonder. Will the real principal please stand up?

Anonymous said...

The Lowell and Lincoln APP principals have been named:

Gregory King will oversee both schools as principal. Marella Francois and Rina Geoghagan will be housed at Lincoln.

Lincoln APP parent

Anonymous said...

Re: Divide & Conquer. They may not "intend" for it, but they let it happen, and do nothing to stop it, because it gives them the ability to say, "there's also people who want the opposite," which, of course, is always the case, but who are those people, exactly? Usually people on the other end of town, who know nothing about the goings on at a school or community beyond what they read in the paper or from SPS.

Do not forget that the Board Members are politicians being funded by deep-pocketed money interests driving the Ed Reform movement, and profiting handsomely from it. Sweet talking a group on one end of town, then feigning the opposite to a similar group on the other end of town is standard fare for this Board. They are politicians: They want to be liked by everybody, so they say what people want to hear, even though they know it divides people. WSDWG

Anonymous said...

Talk about doublespeak:

19.Will APP ever be at Lowell again?

◦APP is at Lowell, just at a different campus for the 2011-12 school year. We will spend the next year looking at long-term solutions for APP.

Walk in their shoes said...

Melissa, sorry I missed your reply. Divide and conquer means that one has a goal that will be achieved by said strategy, and I don't see what the goal is regarding APP, or Spectrum and ALO, for that matter, that the district is going for. Do you think they want to elimate APP and self-contained Spectrum and keep ALO as weak as it is in most schools? You think they don't care about poor kids and Speced and underperforming and handicapped? I don't believe that and I think anyone who does is mired in cynicism and frustration. The relentless attacks on this blog and the sometimes paranoia detract from the real constructive energy that you and many others bring to our community. I think we have to believe in Enfield and Vaughan's good intentions or there really is nothing worth doing.

Anonymous said...

Walk

I think that district management, including Enfield & Vaughn, believe that parents are stupid and only cause harm to the district by trying to hurt others to benefit their own child, so all children must be protected from parent lobbyists.

I think they also believe that they can not let the needs of individual children (like those on IEPs) get in the way of big system wide initiatives that will shortly cause every child to succeed.

-Tried talking to them

Dorothy Neville said...

Tried talking to them is Absolutely Positively Correct. A most complete summary of the state of district-parent communication from the perspective of the district.

Ditto with teachers. They only lobby for what will make their life easier, never for the good of children of the district as a whole. Treat all teacher ideas with suspicion as well.

Anonymous said...

To Walk in their shoes,

We won't bite. We walked like other parents to schools like Hamlin Robinson, and Morningside. (Ever tried getting an IEP for dyslexia in public school?) It was an expensive move, but after a year, we saw our child reading and as corny as it sounds, a whole world opened up. There is real confidence now because the kid has earned it the hard way by working with teachers who know how to teach kids with dyslexia and other cognitive/developmental issues.

Our other child will go private this year with scholarship. We left the pubic school not because of the dismantlling of the spectrum, but the way it was done with little input and the social stigma that was heaped on families with the spectrum and APP label. The ironic thing is our family is considered a "minority group" by demographics (and at our school). We are first generation and are proud of it so the label of segregationist is an interesting one to have to deal with.

So no, we left not because of anything to do with Dr. Enfield or Dr. Vaughn. If you interviewed all the parents who left our neighborhood school for other public schools or private schools, they will tell you the decision to leave was not an easy one. Ultimately the biggest reason why we and others left was based on the learning needs of our children.

- Walk 2

Anonymous said...

From reading through these comments, I have a couple of questions:

1. Were the APP students at Lowell kept so segregated from the ALO/gen ed population that there was no sense of an overall "Lowell" community including both programs?

The APP folks here seem very eager to put the Lowell years behind them, and even offended that the district considers their program to still be part of Lowell this fall.

2. Did the Lowell PTA really focus so much on the needs of APP that parents don't think it should do anything for the students left behind at the old Lowell school? Did the ALO parents feel disenfranchised? Really, the comments here make it sound like APP parents consider the PTA "their" PTA, and seem to dismiss the idea that it serves "all of Lowell" as nonsense.

- Curious observer

Anonymous said...

To CO:
Won't bite to that one either (love the American vernacular).

Walk 2

Charlie Mas said...

The District creates divisions where people would not. When the District closed schools, such as Cooper, they staked out a very clear position: the building is the school; the activity in the building is a program.

They didn't close the Cooper school; they closed the Cooper program. They closed the Genessee Hill school and moved the program that was in it, Pathfinder, to the Cooper building.

Some schools have multiple programs. Leschi, for example, has a general education program and a Montessori program. The Montessori program is independent of the general education program and is independent of the school. It came, in fact, from T T Minor.

This is not the way that the community would think about these things if the District had not built, enforced, and defended these constructs.

So when a program, north-end elementary APP, is removed from the Lowell building, it simply isn't part of Lowell anymore. It is no longer associated with either the general education program at Lowell or the special education program there. There is no longer anything Lowell about it.

Lowell is not a community - the District does not recognize communities. Lowell is a building. It is a building that housed three programs last year and will house two programs next year.

The District is free to change their story, but they need to come out and say that's what they are doing. They haven't done that. If the District is going to change the rules they owe it to people to notify them of the change.

Anonymous said...

The APP folks here seem very eager to put the Lowell years behind them, and even offended that the district considers their program to still be part of Lowell this fall.

Strongly disagree - it just seems absurd for the District to say "APP is at Lowell", when APP is physically at Lincoln (with no promise to return to Lowell) and the building is so far removed from Lowell. My child would much rather be at Lowell, but it's not really an option, is it?

Anonymous said...

Charlie:

In its FAQ (http://lowelles.seattleschools.org/modules/cms/pages.phtml?pageid=236159), the district seems to make it very clear that Lowell is no longer just the building, and that the school still includes the north end APP program:

"The program is moving to Lincoln for the year, but it is still considered Lowell Elementary."

"What will Lowell @ Lincoln be named?
Lowell APP at Lincoln"

And so on.

- trying to be helpful

Anonymous said...

Let's not give the district too much credit. Instead, assume they are talking from both sides of their mouth, trying to placate and appease all sides. This is where the trouble starts in every case with these "it is, but it isn't" talking points covering up the inability to say "we really don't know, but we're trying to figure it out." As "leaders," the district personnel are always compelled to act composed and sure of themselves, and to be fair, people always want answers sooner than they can reasonably be given. So, we get useless doublespeak. I wouldn't rely to heavily on anything said yet, as most of it is certainly improvised.

Oh, what silly games we grown-ups insist on playing!

Isn't this really "checkers, and not chess?" Fitting a program into the right space, temporarily, then long term, based on current projections.

School, no school, etc. Lowell at Lincoln? If it walks, talks and acts like APP at Lowell is a goner, why the charades? WSDWG

Anonymous said...

That said, how about a new, self-contained Spectrum program at Lowell? I bet it would be a big hit, as the CD doesn't have a Spectrum elementary right now that I'm aware of. WSDWG

Anonymous said...

Okay, I've got my Kevlar vest on, so here goes:

I'm confused by the scorn shown toward people who say, "if APP is no longer at Lowell, then it shouldn't be on the hook or responsible to the other cohort." I think people expect too much, especially when the ejected group has to rebuild from scratch. Been there, done that. It's not easy.

Anywhere APP locates will receive the benefits to time, involvement and resources the community brings. Some will appreciate it, and engage the APP community, while others will resent it and take it for granted that APP "owes" it to the other community as a price of admission for invading their school, taking over the PTAs and such. It's a huge Catch 22, and APP is constantly told, "No, you can't do that. Think about how the other cohort will view it." So, many resources are actually kept from being deployed for political reasons, or to not offend or disrespect the other community they share a building with. Nobody, ALO or APP, gets to be themselves without always taking the other into account. This is what John Stanford saw and why he separated APP and put them in their own building: It didn't work for either group.

Now, we've combined APP with non APP cohorts, and though it's worked out fairly well up to this point, the same old problems persist of what to do, what not to do, and where to draw the line, because of course, a line must be drawn somewhere, which means, again of course, there will be some winners who get what they want, and some losers who don't. It will never be clear, easy, or perfect. But that's life in APP these days and none of this is APP's fault.

Yes, any cohort that loses the APP group is going to lose resources that benefit them. But why is APP responsible and so taken-for-granted, as are all well-funded PTAs in this district, by the district, and/or ALO community who have rely upon their fund-raising to benefit them? I'm all for subsidizing those in need to the extent I can, but to demand or expect it like an unwritten law or tax is unfair and immoral. Since when should generosity and volunteerism be compelled?

To me, this is a district problem, not APP. They put the programs together, and allowed ALO and APP to build a bridge that couldn't withstand the weight. So, now they have a situation where one group that has come to rely on a certain level of resources is about to lose them if APP leaves, and why isn't the district saying, how can we replace those resources, instead of people saying APP should still be on the hook for a school they are no longer part of? A few raises just given to JSCEE employees could easily replace what Lowell might lose, so why aren't people pointing the finger there instead?

I get the issue, folks, and I don't want to see ALO kids have the rug pulled from under them either. I want to support them even if it means writing checks to replace the losses from APP leaving. But I do not see the wisdom or morality of advocating that APP parents living in exile from Lowell should still be funding a different program just because that's the way it was before they left. How can we say the departing, exiled cohort "owes it" to their former school to fund-raise for two separate schools? Why isn't the district stepping forth and addressing this problem, instead of leaving it to the community to wrestle over? Where is the leadership on this?

Who doesn't think the district pits parents against one another, or lets it happen as they stand idly by? Hello! WSDWG

NESeattleMom said...

Charlie, You are right about the community vs. the school vs. the program. The "north" APP program is being housed at Lincoln for the next year. The administration in charge of the program is the Lowell principal, Mr. King, plus the other two assistant principals. The school district can call it Lowell APP @ Lincoln, but I think if they send us to some other location will it still be called Lowell APP. Why? It would make more sense to me to have the principal of the APP program be the principal of the whole city APP program to get everything aligned. So my take on it is administratively it is part of Lowell, but it doesn't make sense in the community/building way. Plus with the turnover at Lowell among teachers last year, it seems to be a very difficult start to next year with the line-up and physical location of the principals.

Anonymous said...

WSDWG thank you for saying all of this so well about how the Seattle School District owes ALO at Lowell a good situation rather than APP at Linclon being the ones who owe ALO at Lowell a good experience.(and let's just drop the Lowell reference for those students leaving Lowell, shall we?)

I agree