Monday, September 30, 2013

FACMAC Response to Growth Boundaries draft

The FACMAC made a response to the Growth Boundaries plan. You can read the summary of the response here.

Here's the short version:

  1. Include high schools now. They take the longest to address, there isn't that much time, and the system is integrated.
  2. Instead of messing with nearly all of the elementary school attendance areas and middle school assignments, leave most of them essentially unchanged and put all of north-end 1-8 APP at Wilson-Pacific. Put APP there and you can leave almost everyone else alone.
  3. Adjust elementary attendance areas only as needed. Re-assign the elementary school - middle school feeders only as needed to add a middle school and adjust for the removal of APP from Hamilton.
  4. Rethink some of the BEX IV investments to more closely reflect what we will need and when we will need it.

133 comments:

Remembering Lowell said...

On a 1-8 APP program alone in Wilson-Pacific, there is no way the district will go for that. Their goal in the splits always has been to spread the test scores of APP around and use APP parents to fix up other schools. APP is a tool for them to solve problems, to be moved around and used. There is no way they are going to give that up, put all those juicy test scores in one building. There is nothing attractive about that for district staff. It is not going to happen.

Anonymous said...

I hope the District recognizes that FACMAC is heavily, disproportionately overrepresented by north-end APP parents. Whatever the merits of the FACMAC approach, it is very much the position of its constituent APP parents. I take their recommendations with a grain of salt.
-- FACMAC watcher

former dragon said...

FACMAC watcher--I would think all of you would be glad to get APP and their parents out of your hair once and for all, and support the heck out of this plan.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I think the people advocating for the elementary/middle school at WP are saying elementary APP and a regular middle school with APP.

But I have come around to the idea of a middle school and a high school at that site.

FACMAC has worked very, very hard. Like many a taskforce/committee, they believed their charge from the district, only to be surprised and then disillusioned when the taskforce/committee is not listened to. Or, whose recommendations are picked over and used when it supports what the district really wants to do.

I have also heard concerns about the make-up of FACMAC but geographical distribution, for some reason, doesn't make the list of attributes for most of these committees. As well, I have heard that FACMAC meetings are not always open and welcoming of parents/public which is troubling.

I do agree with Former Dragon that a separate school for APP elementary IS a good idea. Out of sight, out of mind. If there are those who are so offended by APP, then those students would be off somewhere where others would never have to see them.

Anonymous said...

At the Hale Growth Boundary meeting, members of the public asked that JAMS and Olympic Hills be used for neighborhood kids (not APP). There was applause after the that sentiment was expressed. If some school communities don't want APP, yet there is also resistance to a stand-alone APP site, it's kind of a no win situation. They have to go somewhere. Given that APP lasted only a couple of years at Lowell when it became a neighborhood school, and Hamilton is facing the same growing pains, there is some sense to the idea of a stand-alone APP site.

observer

Anonymous said...

North Ender says

Did the district ask FACMAC for its opinion or did the group do this work as an independent project? Because announcing an alternative plan on its own that bends over backwards for its APP community on the front page of The Times is tacky not to mention makes the district look super lame. Who is on the FACMAC committee? FACMAC does not represent this North Ender.

Anonymous said...

Actually, it makes sense to integrate it into every school as a service. That is the proposal. Then we don't have to worry about it as a standalone program.

This is the old FACMAC, when will we have the new one? The old one was dissolved.

-Read the Writing

Eric B said...

As a FACMAC member, I have a couple of things to say about this:

1. The District tried pretty hard to get a good geographical (and other) diversity on the committee. We're a little bit constrained by what people still show up to meetings. If that happens to be disproportionately North End APP students, so be it.

If the District wants this to be a long-term committee, they'll need to re-open membership. Before, that, there will need to be a commitment to either continue the committee or not.

2. When meetings were open, there were some cases where attendees disrupted a meeting. I can understand why meetings were closed, although I somewhat disagreed with the decision. Part of the commitment mentioned above would need some discussion about what (if any) meetings would be open.

3. I get the feeling that people see FACMAC as a smoke-filled room full of Montgomery Burns characters rubbing their hands together over their latest evil scheme. It's a lot more benign than that. Heck, we didn't even eat all the donuts that a kind committee member brought to the last meeting.

North end middle school APP projections in 2020 are pretty close to 1000, so W-P as an APP middle school would likely not have any gen ed population.

mirmac1 said...

I had suggested that bEX IV money go towards rebuilding on the Denny meadow. I was told, no, it was Wing Luke's turn. I thought that was crazy. And, of course, I thought the $5M for a downtown school was twisted too. That's 5 100yr boilers! (Now I'm going to measure construction costs in boilers)

Lynn said...

Read the Writing,

That is whose proposal? Yours? The district hasn't suggested that. It's a brilliant idea though. Parents of kids who aren't eligible for highly capable services LOVE those APP kids so much. It wouldn't bother them at all to have them down the hall doing their accelerated work. The small class sizes resulting from dispersing a few APP students to school wouldn't be a problem for anyone.

Anonymous said...

1. The District tried pretty hard to get a good geographical (and other) diversity on the committee. We're a little bit constrained by what people still show up to meetings. If that happens to be disproportionately North End APP students, so be it.

So be it? If a committee could only attract gun-toting nut jobs to apply, (mostly because the participation conditions are onerous) would you say "So be it"? No, you cancel the committee - or you ignore the recommendations. They have now insured their own obsolescence.

Read the Writing

Patrick said...

So if the only reason FACMAC meetings are closed is to prevent disruptions, what's keeping them from posting their minutes afterwards?

Zella917 said...

I think the FACMAC plan makes more sense than the district's plan, but that doesn't mean it will get any traction. (Though maybe having an article in the newspaper will help . . . ) Another commenter on a related thread suggested linking APP students' test scores back to the schools in their geographic area. I wonder if there's any chance that could really happen, and eliminate the problem of not wanting to lose all the good test scores for a general education school. The district is so attached to the idea that APP has to share with a neighborhood school population, even when it has proven to be a problem almost every time. I can't think of any other compelling reason for this except the test scores.

Lynn said...

Patrick - that's a good point. I wonder too where we can get copies of the minutes form the Mann building task force meetings.

Anonymous said...

What a smart and sensible plan. I'm very grateful for the work of FACMAC.

Parent

Anonymous said...

Was there any discussion about SBOC and TT minor?

curious

Lynn said...

Zella917,

Maybe it's not the test scores. If the APP kids are isolated, how will they learn the proper social norms? Pretty soon they'd be reading novels while walking between classes, forming fencing and crew teams and playing Magic at lunch. They'd add Latin as a foreign language and require every student to participate in jazz band or drama. They'd hand out PE waivers willy-nilly. The horrors. Think of the children.

Anonymous said...

This "north-ender" supports the FACMAC recommendations, especially those pertaining to to north APP. The FACMAC recommendations makes much more sense, especially for the long-term, than the current SPS Growth Boundaries proposal.

Also, kudos to FACMAC for shedding light on the high school needs NOW, and the need for support from the City and State to aid in obtaining more school capacity for Seattle.

Back in 2009, the School Board approved the NSAP without any plans to implement a 4th middle school in North Seattle. That lack of foresight led to our current middle school debacle. SPS needs to day-light the high school projections, be honest about the upcoming capacity short-falls, and include a strategy for dealing with this mess NOW, not 5 years from now.

-North-end Mom

ben said...

A few random thoughts. Having gone to the press, the FACMAC members must have burnt some bridges. They didn't seem particularly relevant before, and now I guess it depends on how much public support they get.

The fact that the press release is all about APP, and the composition of the committee over represents that program, certainly reinforces the impression that the committee is not a neutral party.

However, in the end, I'd still like to see the District respond. This would be a great time to open up on what priorities and constraints are informing the official planning.

Its also probably a useful evolution in attitudes for the APP community to advocate for an annex at Lincoln. This potentially could free up space elsewhere and its always hard to get people to buy into transition plans that involve temporary spaces.

Ben

Anonymous said...

Northend APP elementary parent here...I hereby offer to give any school the MAP scores of my child if you will at least let my kid stay in one school building for more than 2 years without the constant threat of starting over.

Maybe we should create a "MAP Exchange" for parents who want to bundle their scores and sell them to the highest bidding school that wants the numbers (but evidently, not the kids and the capacity problems they cause). The District would probably go for that if they truly just want APP kids in buildings to balance out the scores. Sheesh.

- A Modest Proposal

Anonymous said...

Lynn,

What you're describing sounds like NOVA. Oh, the horrors.

NOVA parent

Lynn said...

NOVA parent - I was describing my kids! I do think NOVA would be a good fit for them.

Anonymous said...

FACMAC is right. Whether you like their make-up or agree with how they got their recs out there, they are right. It makes no sense to leave high schools out now. And their math is right about how taking APP out of neighborhood schools and putting them in a stand alone frees up space so that boundaries don't have to be redrawn as much. Otherwise, the "predictability" of the NSAP is only that all of our children in the northend will be in predictably over capacity schools.
Northender of 2 kids (gened and APP)

Anonymous said...

I have a kid in APP middle school and a kid in gened elementary. I thought maybe the vitriol towards APP was because those kids are “taking the spots” of neighborhood kids (mind you, there’s no space at my child’s assigned middle school!). While I’m not taking the responses on this blog as representative of all of Seattle’s attitudes about APP, I have to say that it always feels like a no win situation. Currently, it’s either, “you APPers are crowding our school!” or “you APPers think you’re so special that you should have a stand alone school just for you!” I just don’t get it.

Lynn said... Zella917: oh, the horror! ;)

Melissa Westbrook said...

Okay, I'll let this slide but please STOP using multi-word monikers. It's spelled out right in our policy above and I see it happening here. Please do not do this or I will delete your comment.

Anonymous said...

FACMAC watcher,
it's not like FACMAC's recs for the northend make APP win some lottery at the expense of all other children! It's simply a way to keep the boundaries of the rest of the schools from having to move so much.
Don't get it

Anonymous said...

I have a kid in APP middle school and a kid in gened elementary. I thought maybe the vitriol towards APP was because those kids are “taking the spots” of neighborhood kids (mind you, there’s no space at my child’s assigned middle school!). While I’m not taking the responses on this blog as representative of all of Seattle’s attitudes about APP, I have to say that it always feels like a no win situation. Currently, it’s either, “you APPers are crowding our school!” or “you APPers think you’re so special that you should have a stand alone school just for you!” I just don’t get it.

Lynn said... Zella917: oh, the horror! ;)

(Sorry, Melissa - delete away.)
Signed

Anonymous said...

Fencing, crew, Latin, and jazz band?
If my kids school will get all that by disbanding the giant APP program and sending these gifted students back, then I'm all for it!
You really have all that stuff? No wonder people are envious.

Jealous

Eric B said...

@Ben, The leak was definitely not an official action by FACMAC. It may or may not cause friction between the committee as a whole and the district. If it does, it may be the end of the committee. Which would be unfortunate, since it is the largest collection of people knowledgeable about capacity issues in the District.

For those looking for transparency, meeting minutes are generally not made public, but recommendations to the superintendent may be gotten with a public records request.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Jealous, do you not recognize sarcasm? No, APP does not have that (except for the jazz bands at Hamilton and Washington and they are open to ALL students). Good grief.

Eric, I'm sorry but ALL minutes of every single district committee/taskforce should be made public without a public records request (which can take a long time to get).

As well, the CAICEE committee was also one that had one of the best assembled group of talented individuals ever and were their recommendations implemented? Nope.

Quality of the committee doesn't seem to elevate how much the district or Board listens. Sadly.

Maureen said...

Melissa Westbrook said...
I think the people advocating for the elementary/middle school at WP are saying elementary APP and a regular middle school with APP. No, look at p. 4 of the FACMAC memo. They show that projected APP enrollment would fill the proposed WP schools.

Here's a link to the Seattle Times article about the FACMAC memo.

I appreciate that FACMAC has brought the High School capacity issue to the fore front.

Anonymous said...

Pretty soon they'd be reading novels while walking between classes, forming fencing and crew teams and playing Magic at lunch. They'd add Latin as a foreign language and require every student to participate in jazz band or drama.

...and this is exactly why the district doesn't want a stand alone APP. They want to spread the wealth, so to speak. It's not just test scores. Lynn, you really are giving truth to some of the stereotypes about APP. Your comment actually provides support for the district's plan - not from a capacity standpoint, but from their idea of equity. I get that is was said as a bit of sarcasm, nonetheless...

watching&waiting

Anonymous said...

I am sighing today. Once again the district's lack of programmatic vision has caused trouble.

As with English language learner programs, language immersion and special ed, the district MUST give a vision of how it wants to deliver accelerated learning services. This should not be driven (solely) by capacity. It should be driven by academic and -yes - social philosophy. Service in every classroom? Every school? By middle school regions? By magnet schools? By stand-alones? Is cohort cohesion important? Are mixed-ability classrooms or schools more important? Is access to traditionally underserved communities more important? WHAT IS OUR DISTRICT'S PHILOSOPHY ABOUT ACCELERATED LEARNING (which includes but is not limited to APP.)

When the District has had that discussion and come to an understanding, if not full public agreement (because these decisions are always debatable...they are complex!) then we can tie capacity and capital expenditure decisions to the philosophy.

Again, there will be voices that disagree with whatever course is charted, but at least the decisions would make sense within an academic context.

FACMAC made a suggestion based on its view of the world: Capacity. But it is blind, as are all of us, to the core facts that should give the board the basis to make very tough capacity and building decisions: The District's Academic Programming and Vision. And, as well, how the District's mandatory commitment to compliance with Federal and State law regarding serving specific populations such as ELL, Sped and a portion of accelerated learners affects its Academic Programming and Vision. And, as well, our current and 5-year projected operations and capital budget.

Please, District, connect some dots so that we all can have a relevant and well-intentioned discussion about capacity.

It really is about more than making sure there is a desk and chair for every student.

EdVoter

Anonymous said...

"If that happens to be disproportionately North End APP students, so be it. "

Really not OK. If a committee isn't representative of the district, we really can't listen to it and the district has to find some other means of engaging the community.

Also, an answer on the minutes? Can the FACMAC actually meet without making their minutes publicly available? Don't the public access laws apply to the committee?

zb

Anonymous said...

They don't have anybod that. It's much easier to get into language at Eckstein than Hamilton. The technology program is way better. I think the science is better, though they could use bio. It's not better in an app middle school - the parents are not more involved; the programs are not better, the teachers are mostly less exprienced, and much less experienced in dealing with the population. There were more after school offerings at my small previous elementary than the app elementary (parents are split, can't coordinate programs). It's not better. It's just two years ahead. Which is better for my one kid, but not all of my kids. There are no fringe benefits that come with the two years ahead- at all. I would not under any circumstances move my other two kids away from the good programs they are in- they would lose the fringe benefits associated with neighborhood schools, better enrichments, better funded schools, more cohesive, local community, more stability- because they are not in need of the 2 years ahead.

It is NOT better. It is a little worse in a lot of regards, and necessary in one. Critical mass to be accelerated.

-sleeper.

Anonymous said...

That being said, would this really solve the problem? Does a stand alone 1-8 at Wilson Pacific actually relieve the boundary issues throughout SPS? I presume this recommendation would also mean no changes in the south end boundaries (and, presumably no international school at Dearborn?).

How big would that school be? Would the 6-8 be "comprehensive" enough that APP students would stay in the program? Would foreign languages be offered? Are foreign languages currently offered at K-8's? -- My only knowledge is of families that left Pathfinder K-8 because no foreign language was offered.

Rreading the short summary makes one think that those questions aren't addressed, but maybe they were?

zb

Grace said...

A coherent, defined plan for AL? We can only hope. Don't they need to hire a director still? Maybe this leak, as Eric B. calls it, will spur some action downtown.
Melissa, if WP was all APP, don't you think it might morph into a super school with things like Latin and fencing and crew? Not that it would be a bad thing at all, but can't we spread, not dilute, but spread the awesome energy that APP parents bring to SPS to more schools and to kids who don't have such energetic and talented parents by co-housing? That seems more of a win-win than the WP stand-alone plan.

Anonymous said...

I now read the menu, and it sounds tone deaf to a general audience -- imagine saying the same statement on "removing the APP cohort from the equation . . . ." with respect to any other specialized program?

Regarding the sarcasm of a program that caters to a subgroup of students "Pretty soon they'd be reading novels while walking between classes, forming fencing and crew teams and playing Magic at lunch", it's simply not the case that it is children who need to "work 2 years ahead" or meet the current testing criterion for APP who might benefit from those services, nor is it true that children who test 2 years ahead will want those services.

My guess is a stand alone north end APP program is a non-starter. But it'll be interesting to see the politics in action.

zb

Po3 said...

Funny everybody pounces on the APP suggestion but provides no support for their very first recommendation:

1. Include high schools now. They take the longest to address, there isn't that much time, and the system is integrated.

Maureen said...

Am I wrong in thinking that if there are 1000 North end kids identified as eligible and enrolling in APP that that is about 7-8% of ALL Seattle middle schoolers? I don't know what percent of SPS students are in the north end, but it looks like there are another 300 APP kids at WMS so that would mean about 10% of SPS middle schoolers would be eligible, identified and enrolled in APP. If a new, stable, centrally located home for 1-8 APP is built I expect that more students will test and choose to enroll so that number will increase (unless eligibility requirements are changed.) They should probably make those WP schools larger. (or plan for portables.)

Anonymous said...

What makes APP parents any more energetic and involved than other parents? I've been at non-APP schools, and there is a ton of parent involvement and fundraising happening. If APP parents are really active in their school, it is because they *have* to be due to the instability of the program. When the District moves your entire school to another location in July as they did a couple of years ago, you have to act fast if you want to build a support structure for the school. That means forming a PTA (filing non-profit paperwork with the IRS), asking parents to donate money in the face of uncertainty, provide money for the PD that the District doesn't provide, etc. It means parents painting walls and helping teachers move because the District didn't offer this. It means buying basic equipment because the District still considered us part of another school and said "you've already received your allotment."

I know other school and programs face similar things, and it's not right that anyone should. But these are reasons why APP parents might be more involved and vocal. If we're not, we get completely run over by poor district planning.

- Modest Proposal

Anonymous said...

Commenters should read the FACMAC memo. Starts with the big picture, and who is going to disagree that high school needs a look yesterday, not when these boundaries are done? Fine.

By the end, the memo does a deep dive into the North End APP program and that's where things get sticky. But if that's the makeup of the FACMAC committee, it kind of makes sense that they went there. The memo suggests closing streets in Wallingford, or the city-owened parks, for portable placement. No way that flies with Wallingford.

The memo also says that Wing Luke project should wait. I don't think it was good form to call out another school, especially one not in the north end.

SavvyVoter



Maureen said...

Po3 I called out FACMAC for the HS focus! :)

APP parents do seem good at revving up music programs (at HIMS and IHS at least.) IHS PTO board seems more full of Salmon Bay parents than you would expect based on the numbers (though APP parents may be there too-it's not like they wear identifying badges!)

Meg said...

I said this on another thread, but I'm going to re-post here.

In the north end, APP should be decoupled from the attendance area system. It's mucking the attendance area system up, and making promised predictability for neighborhood students into a joke.

If all of APP is co-housed with one attendance area school, two programs with guaranteed assignment are competing for the same number of seats. When the building, which might be able to operate at a higher capacity with a single program, cannot continue to operate with so many students, APP has to move out, causing disruption for everyone.

Enrollment continues to grow at a tremendous pace in the north end. Splitting north end APP will pretty much just double the problem, and create an insane whack-a-mole cascade of capacity issues in a hugely overburdened system. Boundaries end up taking on a bizarre, Byzantine character in order to accomodate schools that have APP in them.

Pulling APP out of the attendance area system and stuffing it somewhere will allow for increased predictability for ALL students in the north end, most particularly for neighborhood students. Without APP in attendance area schools, boundary adjustments can actually be about how to draw boundaries for the most flexible system that causes the lease disruption for students.

Will there magically be enough space? Nope. Not for anyone. There are too many students and not enough buildings in the north end, even once all of the BEX buildings are complete. But allowing the attendance area system to operate without obstruction would be so, so, so much better for every kid in that system. In 2012-13, there were approximately 15K elementary and middle school students in the north end. APP being co-housed with attendance area kids is causing unnecessary disruption for everyone.

I think the Wilson Pacific campus may be best utilized as an APP middle school and an attendance area high school - it will have a field, which the Lincoln site will not (making it, I think, the only HS aside from the center school w/o a field). Leave elementary APP at Lincoln in a wing, and use the other part of it for interim.

The north end system needs to be stabilized, and a way needs to be found for it to operate as effectively as possible. I don't have a kid in the north end, but the problems are pretty clear.

Anonymous said...

Come on, this was a smokescreen except for the WP APP super-school. Can the Committee really think that's going to fly in Seattle? They should be looking for a way to get the rigor up in all schools, because that's where they're headed. Self-contained is so incredibly contentious, it will eliminated, except for the very, very highly capable. This leak is playing into the hands of their enemies and was a poor move.

PI

Anonymous said...

Zb, truly. There are no services. No one in my household has ever, to my knowledge, touched a fencing saber or sat, even for a moment, in a crew boat. It's just ahead. Many children in sps, including app students, could use much more enrichments and traditional trappings of gifted programs, but no one anywhere is getting it right now.

-sleeper

Eric B said...

OK, I was too dismissive on the "so be it" comment. There are people on FACMAC from every area of Seattle. North End APP is probably overrepresented as a population, but again, those are the people that show up to meetings. Like I said, if FACMAC is to continue long-term, it needs a way to bring in more people and more diversity.

I agree 100% that there needs to be more transparency in FACMAC (membership, minutes, recommendations, etc.), and have recommended that to the committee leadership.

Lynn said...

Jealous - Of course we don't have those programs.

There is so much hostility here sometimes I think people forget these are just children. Most of them have had some unhappy school years and they and their parents are grateful to find a place where they fit in and can expect to learn something most days. I was trying to draw a picture of APP kids and the (sometimes pretty geeky) things they love. I enjoy them - but lots of their former classmates (and teachers) did not.

If you want those things at your middle school, have you suggested them? You could drop a couple sections of a current language to make room for Latin. Maybe a couple of middle schools could share a Latin teacher. Would your PTA be interested in adding fencing as an after-school activity? I don't have a clue how you could set up a crew team in a public middle school.

watching&waiting - Spread what wealth? Really, if a school wanted those classes and activites, they'd have to give up some others. Isn't that equitable? Substitute Latin for Japanese, fencing for Snow Sports (Eckstein), drama for TV Productions (Whitman.) I'm pretty sure anyone can read novels and play Magic already.

Sorry to distract from the Growth Boundaries discussion.

Anonymous said...

"playing into the hands of their enemies?" Uh, who are their friends?

-just curious

Anonymous said...

@Meg, there is another way to decouple APP from capacity and it isn't a dedicated school. Put the accelerated learning service into every school. Put money toward staffing and teacher training. I don't buy that dedicated cohorts are the only or even the most optimal to deliver learning opportunities for the gifted. My money is on most SPS administrators thinking the same thing. Put the kids in their local schools. Provide services there. Added bonus is less angst over capacity.

Gifted Mom

Lynn said...

zb - I believe they were suggesting separate elementary and middle schools at Wilson Pacific. I'd assume that middle school would have the same resources as any other comprehensive middle school.

Grace - Is there something APP parents would provide at JAMS and WPMS that the other parents at those schools would not? Are you assuming that the FRL rates at either of those schools will be particularly high? It can't actually seem reasonable to you to place children around the district based on the resources you think their parents will share.

PI - Self-contained is so incredibly contentious, it will eliminated, except for the very, very highly capable. Self-contained will not be contentious once the programs have permanent locations and this doesn't have to be discussed every other year. The less time everyone else spends worrying about APP kids the more time they'll have to concentrate on their own schools. I can predict the future too.

Anonymous said...

A bit more thought. I have seen highly capable learning delivered in a wide variety of ways. Districts truly differ in offerings. SPS has not made APP self contained in the central south or (potential) West Seattle locations. It does not offer APP-only learning in high school. SPS does not like that model. And so I imagine a self-contained APP campus at WP will be a non-starter downtown. The co-location model causes unlimited capacity problems. That is one reason I am ok with a distributed gifted learning model.

Gifted Mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

Maureen, I wasn't referring to FACMAC but if they say APP could fill a middle school, I'll believe them.

Ed Voter, you echo Charlie. Why are capacity/facilities driving district policy rather than academics?

Grace, Latin already exists (and has since 1922) at Roosevelt. It would be nothing new to this district? And what's up with the fencing and crew references? Trying to make APP sound elite?

Again, it is NOT the job of any student or any parent to make a school better. So no one parent or group of parents is responsible for the extras at a school. Now the district may play that game with test scores but no, no parents are on the hook because they care.

Po3, I did a whole thread on high school and yes, people should be paying attention.

What is the district to do?

It's a self-contained program that exists. It is not going away (Spectrum maybe but not APP).

We are not absorbing those kids into their neighborhood schools.

The neighborhood schools don't want a separate program in their buildings.

What is the district to do?

But district (and Board), I don't care when you got here - this problem is here NOW. Quit ignoring it. Quit thinking you'll solve the problem of AL AFTER boundaries.

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

Boy oh boy, are we feeding the APP stereotypes on this thread. Fencing? Even in jest, could we cut the sarcasm, cockiness and outright bragging about "my kid being 2 years ahead?" It's quite transparent, y'all. And I can't blame the critics of APP for pushing back against those attitudes.

Many seem to have forgotten that APP is a special needs program, and speaking from experiences in APP South, we and many parents found APP to be a godsend because finally, after much effort, grief and worry, we found the right school that was the right fit for our child. APP is (or was) a good fit for many kids who had social challenges in their regular schools, where most normal kids were happy and doing well, because these kids were very different in a multitude of ways. My child had an adult's perspective on social behavior which led to chronic misunderstandings between her and her classroom teacher. On the recommendation of one teacher, we tested her, investigated APP, toured the school, met the staff, observed the classrooms, and realized it would be a good fit. And our story was the same as many dozens or hundreds of people we've met in APP since.

But there seems to be a growing and destructive stereotype of APP being all about the super-snobs and their little ones confirming what super-parents they are, as they live vicariously through their hovered-over children. And what I am seeing on serious threads only reinforces that misconception, and at a minimum, is not helpful in solving any problems before us.

So, on behalf of someone whose child was rescued and saved by the APP program, without which I have no idea where my child would be today, could we dispense with the not funny jokes and sarcasm? What you say can, and will, be held against APP in the court of public opinion, sarcastic or not.

On another note, I bristle at the "spread the wealth" notion based on test scores and other theories. Since when are others' children to be treated as pawns in anyone else's game? My kids are more than their test scores, and we as a community owe the same respect to them as any other children in the district. What does it say about us as a society when we look upon children this way? When we rear children by labels and brands like this? Is it any wonder we now use terms like "human capital" to describe "human beings?" And are we all okay with that? Well, I'm not. The vast majority of APP kids didn't enroll because of academic superiority, but because they didn't fit in their regular schools and classrooms. Been there, done that. Didn't work. People need to remember that. WSDWG

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

There isn't much discussion of the actual proposal here.

I think it is a good idea, but naive. It will never happen. It is like the people who ran this FACMAC group forgot why Lowell was split in the first place.

APP did have its own elementary program, co-housed only with special education, at Lowell as recently as 2008. Goodloe-Johnson saw the extraordinarily high test scores (one of the top schools in Washington state) and relatively high PTA funds and didn't like it. She and district staff split Lowell into Thurgood Marshall and moved general education students into Lowell to replace those APP students forced to Thurgood Marshall. The goal was to spread out the test scores and use the APP parents to help fix another school.

The district is doing it again with the latest growth boundaries proposal. They have proposed putting Lincoln APP in two schools, one of which, Olympic Hills, has a 73% FRL population. It is the same reason APP was put into Thurgood Marshall back in 2008.

The district leadership does not care about the children in advanced learning, it only uses APP as a tool to solve problems. They will continue to view APP as something to be moved around and used. They are not going to create a 1-8 APP alone in Wilson-Pacific. It will never happen. It does not serve their goals. Proposing it and having any expectation of them accepting it was naive.

Anonymous said...

I think APP kids having their own school is a good idea. If the district wants high test scores in all the schools, the district will have to work to produce good schools throughout the district where some APP kids will want to stay and classrooms where kids who are one year ahead will be challenged. Self contained programs in neighborhood schools that take all comers from a certain geographic area isn't a sustainable idea and some kids will suffer. Lynn, I sympathize with you I really do. That's exactly how I felt when I was trying to explain what a hardship it was for my poor child to be in a class where she really didn't belong and could never fit in and instead of trying to see where I was coming from people attacked me personally (and made up stories about my kid that just weren't true). The fact that the district thinks kids who are one year ahead need to be in a self contained program and then we need another program for the REALLY smart kids, does not speak well for the confidence in the teaching and support at the schools. You want test scores? Provide all kids with a quality education and earn them. Don't shift kids around to stack the deck in your favor!!! Gen Ed Mom

ben said...

@Lynn - AL includes more than just the northend APP and the self-contained spectrum classrooms do look like they are being phased out. Further under this approach we'd be left with a big disparity in delivery models between North and South. I'm sure that would generate plenty of discussion over time.

Thinking about the dynamics of this a little more I'm a bit concerned that the district would be opening itself up to civil rights lawsuits if it went down a path like this. Just imagine, we have no official curriculum, 8% enrollment which is disproportionately non-minority non-frl and they are housed in a separate and brand new campus. From the outside I can easily see that as a exercise in segregation.

Ben

Patrick said...

I think FACMAC's recommendations may be good ideas, but their secretive ways of operating greatly diminish their credibility.

I still have a bad taste in my mouth from the surprise last-minute recommendations from FACMAC to move JA K-8 and close Pinehurst. Maybe that was the best thing to do, but introducing it at the last minute with no transparency does create the impression that FACMAC members were looking out for their own interests. FACMAC membership is said to be overrepresentative of families in the NE from between the ship canal and 85th. (And if that isn't true, all they have to do is publish a membership list, the way we do in democratic institutions.)

All that said, a separate self-contained school for APP would have a lot of advantages. My child is not in APP, but I have family friends who were, and years ago I was friends with UW students from UW's early entrance program, many of whom came from APP. It's very easy for students who are that far from the center of the curve to end up marginalized, getting little academically and nothing but grief socially. (It's a problem that APP is admitting many students who don't really need a self-contained program just because their neighborhood schools lack rigor.) APP shouldn't be moved around every couple of years; no kids should. But as long as APP shares with neighborhood schools, and NSAP gives priority to neighborhood, APP is going to continue to be moved around like a pawn wherever it seems to fit at the time.

joanna said...

Eric, I have attended every meeting and there has been no decision to keep them closed in general. The chairs requested one very humble and modest parent to leave before a meeting ever began, and I do not recall any guest being disruptive. The parent that was asked to leave wanted only to observe. In my memory the guests have all been observers and not disruptive. I would have strongly disagreed with any decision to keep these meetings closed.

Anonymous said...

WSDWG Re-Posting for Anon at 1:05 pm.

I have no confidence that SPS would serve highly capable students adequately if they were dispersed to neighborhood schools - there wouldn't be a large enough cohort to offer appropriate classes (except for the neighborhood middle schools with a higher number of APP students, Eckstein, for example). With the current configuration, you can have a dedicated teacher for a given subject, say biology, because the students are at one location. Would all middle schools offer biology if there was no longer a dedicated APP pathway? Unlikely. You lose the economy of scale and the flexibility in scheduling that comes with having multiple sections of a given class at one location. Hamilton parents had to fight to get accelerated math for those working beyond the APP pathway, and that was at the APP designated school.

ALO or Spectrum is supposed to be at every school - how's that worked out? Not well enough for most APP eligible students. More importantly, many schools do not have the capacity to reabsorb APP students.

Dispersing students would be most inequitable for those in neighborhoods with lower percentages of APP qualified students. They wouldn't have a robust enough cohort.

Anonymous said...

I'd be careful about saying self-contained is here to stay. For maybe 1% of ALL SPS students but not necessarily for the 8% or whatever we have now. The trend nationwide is reducing self-contained gifted programs to the most needy, making them special needs programs for those who can't function in a heterogenous environment. There are only about 1% in any given population who meet that criteria. Can the rest be sent back? You bet they can and they have been in many a district.
Parents just don't get it that skimming the top 7 or 8 per cent is not a special needs program. It is group of kids who are smart, usually very advantaged and predominantly white and Asian. Great kids, great parents, but not special needs and not deserving of special treatment. Different treatment, for sure, like every student deserves, but not special. Those different needs can be accommodated as well as any other student's in a regular program and should be. If and when they are returned, I hope APP parents will advocate for advanced programs at their local school as much as they now advocate for self-contained classrooms.

G

Anonymous said...

I said the program is two years ahead. Which it is. There are no other special things about it. I am sure Lowell was special for you, but that does not now nor will ever again exist. I hear TM is great, but the north will probably never get anything like that, even with a standalone school. We just won't have the experience base. Oh well, honestly, it is what it is, and everybody's trying hard.

What we have now is a program for kids two years ahead-no social or emotional qualification at all. No safe space or expert teachers or special clubs or special kinds of parents. Maybe you have some baggage so see that as bragging, but that's more about you than me. I have one child who requires it, and two who don't, and they are all equally special snowflakes.

-sleeper

Greenwoody said...

What Meg said above makes a huge amount of sense. And consider that while this debate is intense here on this blog for the folks who are most knowledgeable about the issue, to the broader public (including many parents) the FACMAC response is very compelling for the following reasons:

1. It includes high schools now, rather than kicking it down the road

2. It promises minimal disruption to current school boundaries, something many parents would very much like to avoid

Most parents and residents aren't worked up about APP. Stability and predictability matter more. And that is why this proposal from FACMAC will not be so easily dismissed, especially now that it has hit the media.

Anonymous said...

@Remembering Lowell: The "to raise test scores" rationale has been tossed around a lot, but I don't think it flies. TM was half-full at the time and had even more space when they moved the Bilingual (or ELL kids? Can't recall) to Bailey Gatzert. While the Special Ed "Gen Ed Peers" and unsuitable building arguments for splitting were bunk, the explosive growth was real. It was already at 530 at Lowell the year it split. There wasn't going to be room enough at Lowell the following year.

I also don't buy the test score rationale because co-housing also created a host of other problems like losing funding from the drop in FRL percentages. If they simply wanted to raise test scores, they'd have disbursed APP to several low-performing schools instead of 1 or 2.

I didn't like being lied to during the '08 splits either, but the booming APP population was legitimate reason enough for the program splitting in '08, I believe.

WSDWG

Anonymous said...

Remembering Lowell, I think you forgot the Lowell number pre-split. Don't think Lowell could accommodate over 600+ students then or now. We grew. A lot.

The only way we could have stayed at Lowell is to shrink the growth by tightening entry. I just don't see that happening. It's popular and there are advantages despite the uncertainty which is why it'll continue to grow. This district doesn't re-test at MS or HS. Many other gifted programs do. Even if you don't work 2 grades ahead, there's accommodation especially with math. You can't blame parents for wanting this. FACMAC is advocacy.

Crunch

Anonymous said...

NUMBERS! Every time someone posts about the "incredibly high" % of kids in APP, I want to scream b/c I have never once seen people get it right. Even Charlie's post at Seattle Times last week to the Hale meeting article was misleading -- and I know he knows the math that 30% of Seattle kids attend private school. When you calculate how many kids "should" be eligible for APP, use the TOTAL number of kids in Seattle, okay? Not the total number enrolled in SPS. SPS only represents 70% of our city's kids.

And guess what? This is the second most educated city in the country. Given that APP eligibility has TWO components - ability AND achievement - think the average higher education of parents in the city perhaps yields more than 2% of city students who qualify as top 2% in the country? Remember the national norms include all the village idiots clearing brush in Texas... (okay, so Ted Cruz is pretty smart, but get the point? it's not 2% of SPS enrolled kids. It's kids who score 2% in a national comparison, out of all kids in Seattle.).

What is skewed in Seattle is private school enrollment, not APP eligibility.

Signed: Math Counts

Julie said...

Gifted Mom - what makes you think that APP could work as in-house program in all the neighborhood school? Has there been a successful precedent for this? The closest thing I can think of is the Spectrum program and that is going the way of the DoDo bird - and not because there isn't demand. The ALO is a joke according to other parents who have it in their school. With such track record, can the school district - with their money problems - be trusted to run the APP in all neighborhood schools?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Two things:

Would readers PLEASE either sign in with a name OR if you put it at the end, place it on its OWN line. When I'm reading, sometimes I don't see a name and I also delete a comment (see: WSDWG and GenedMom). Makes my life easier.

Two, why the growth in APP? Well, that was a goal - to find the kids everywhere in the district. You can't fault the district for doing what they were asked to do under the guidelines.

BUT, maybe, as some have suggested, that bar is too low and not all those kids need to be there. My reading of the research is generally the top 2% and SPS dips lower than that.

So maybe there are too many kids in APP. But until the district adjusts that, they all have to be served under the guidelines given.

Anonymous said...

Sale Auriol offers youth fencing classes and might be available for on-campus after-school enrichment programming (I know you were being sarcastic, but perhaps it is worth investigating)

http://www.salleauriol.com/youth-programs/

GMG

Anonymous said...

Math counts, just remember if you are going to use numbers, private school enrollment captured between 25-28%. The percentage hasn't changed much. Enrollment Number for private schools trend up alongside SPS, but remain steady < 30%. It has been high since busing, long before APP. I think there's more of this discussed in Kendrick's report to SPS.

crunch

Anonymous said...

Sleeper: If APP is simply 2 years ahead - and that's it, nothing more - then why not just skip your kid ahead 2 grades? Any reluctance to do that? Any social reasons involved? Emotional? Why not?

Answer that, and you'll have all the reasons why APP is a lot more than just a 2 years ahead curriculum. Otherwise, there'd be no rationale for self-containment or the cohort, the needs for which are constantly in question, or so it seems. Many don't realize that APP is, in fact, much more than just 2 year ahead curriculum. If that's not your experience, you're being short-changed.

I don't know what baggage of which you speak, but if it's baggage from Lowell, I carry it proudly. Lowell was the epitome of a seasoned program with all the supports to make every kid fit in and thrive.

I take issue with the fact that the "just 2 years ahead" label becomes the fixation of too many staff, executives, families and students outside the program. APP is a godsend for many families and students at the end of their rope. Like NOVA, many K-8 alts, and The Center School, APP is a special needs alt program for many kids who truly need it to be productive and learn in school. If it were "just 2 years ahead" and nothing more, why have it? ALOs or grade-skipping would do. No?

I take your apparent point to be disappointment that North End APP is (anemically?) little or nothing more than "2 years ahead" - right now - perhaps due to it's constant disruptions and lack of experienced, truly qualified teachers and staff who genuinely understand the social & emotional issues that come with many APP kids. Fair enough.

But there are, and always will be, reasons too numerous to list to have and support a true HC or APP program for children who genuinely need all the supports and experienced staff to help them learn at their pace in school. Just saying "2 years ahead" oversimplifies the purpose of APP, and does nothing to justify the program on its own innumerable merits.

WSDWG

joanna said...

It seemed that the FACMAC recommendation for APP had less to do with what was good for APP and more to do with Wilson Pacific opening as a neighborhood assignment school. That seemed to be the controversy after all was said and done. Is it a good location? Does it disrupt the Northend assignments more than necessary? The students and families who are impacted by the recommendations should weigh in.

Lynn said...

G - you said:

The trend nationwide is reducing self-contained gifted programs to the most needy, making them special needs programs for those who can't function in a heterogenous environment. There are only about 1% in any given population who meet that criteria. Can the rest be sent back? You bet they can and they have been in many a district.

Would you mind sharing the locations of those districts and links to data on how that is working out?

If and when they are returned, I hope APP parents will advocate for advanced programs at their local school as much as they now advocate for self-contained classrooms.

I hope you're advocating at your local school right now for whatever programs/curriculum you need. I imagine most APP families will be looking somewhere else. We have been in our local schools and they did not work for us.

joanna said...

Yes, there are a lot of developmental reasons not to just skip a kid ahead and remember some APP kids are more than 2 years ahead in some subject areas. APP allows them to have peers of the same age in a cohort large enough to make is fiscally possible to deliver the classes with age appropriate material.

Anonymous said...

This is ridiculous. Did the district ask FACMAC for a response to its Growth Boundaries?

If so, why did the district not release the information, including its own comments as to FACMAC's findings? If not, why is the district allowing a rogue committee !!!that the district sponsors!!!! to place its opinion on the front page of the Times.

Who sits on this committee? Surely that is publicly available information. What are the meeting dates?

An all-APP campus at Wilson Pacific? What would the demographics there look like? Bet they wouldn't look like the Native American program that was kicked out - they are at the luxurious NORTHGATE campus now, or the families of poverty living nearby. Did representatives of those families have access to FACMAC? Like heck they did.

It's a canard that a self-contained K-8 program at WP will be a big help for everyone else.

Angry Parent



Anonymous said...

The reason APP is heavily represented on FACMAC is b/c they are always the canary-in-the-coal-mine. They were the first group to receive the big double-fist based on capacity. Remember, they were pushed out of Lowell with a few weeks' notice in June 2011. And then in September 2011 the call went out for people interested in capacity challenges to join a new committee? You think they were people who wanted to answer that call? You betcha.

And there was no big collusion or back room "let's pack the court". It was just that the hundreds of parents who had just spent the summer scraping gum off the crappiest abandoned furniture, painting Lincoln's walls, and scouring second hand bookstores to build a reading room (you know they left Lowell's school library behind? Every book. They got to share McDonald's library, which as the time the start up McDonald had basically only K-1 and a little bit of 2d grade ... ) Well, after doing all that on their hands and knees, don't you think those parents applied for FACMAC? They lived capacity.

By the way, they weren't all chosen as "Advanced learning representatives." Some are geographic representatives, and they've done a good job visiting the schools they represent and communicating both ways about capacity. Some of them have had kids in 3 or more schools. They're walking every boundary and reporting on it.

To a person, the FACMAC thinks the highest priority of the district, even higher than APP program placement, needs to be attendance areas and SpEd. However, placement of north APP is so tied into attendance area sizes that it cannot be ignored.

Signed: Tweety.

Anonymous said...

I don't skip because the child is not accelerated socially, just academically and you are right- it does move a little faster, so the pace is a little better. Not a ton, though. I think grade skipping is a bad general solution because it demands social acceleration (as opposed to thinking app is necessary only for social reasons), and subject acceleration causes isolation if it's enough subjects and enough ahead. So they need self contained for efficiency's sake.

Maybe we are being shortchanged, but that's the reality on the ground we are working with. It's what's on offer,so we took it and are thankful. I really believe everyone working in the school buildings my kids go to are working as hard as they can; they just have fewer resources and space, and are only human. The over enriched, club filled, special class filed, emotionally safe north end app school so many posters rail against does not exist, though. I am sure it once did for you, just as I am sure that many local elementary schools used to have more enrichment and differentiated much more, and so many posters with older children can not believe it is harder for current elementary app qualified students to be educated there than their own were. But they don't now, and that's not coming back soon, so I just want to solve the problem we are working on - a capacity crisis. And once the schools are not quite so stuffed, hopefully they will have the flexibility to allow more of what used to be so great about many of them.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

I also don't buy the test score rationale because co-housing also created a host of other problems like losing funding from the drop in FRL percentages. If they simply wanted to raise test scores, they'd have disbursed APP to several low-performing schools instead of 1 or 2.

If you were around for the first split, you'd remember the original proposal was to close Lowell and split [er "expand"] APP to Hawthorne (77% FRL in 2008-09 and some of the lowest scores in the district) and Thurgood Marshall (88% FRL in 2008-09). The final plan kept half of APP at Lowell with neighborhood students from the closed TT Minor school (some of whom had gone through the MLK closure). Hamilton, pre-APP, was 55% FRL (now 13.3%) and had marginal test scores.

The latest district plan does not seem too different. They can say it's about capacity, but it's obviously about more than that.

watching&waiting

joanna said...

I am not sure if I made a mistake in my earlier posting regarding different models and meanings of self contained. It seems to be gone. My end point was that the District should develop several blue prints/models that have proven successful for co-housing programs in general, be it APP,Spectrum, Montessori, language immersion etc. Some may use more of service delivery model. Anyway having these models and taking them seriously would definitely facilitate planning and hopefully reduce paranoia.

Lynn said...

joanna,

I like the idea of a WP High School. Maybe it could eventually have an APP program. I worry that Garfield would lose some of it's AP classes if we did that - but that's a discussion for another day.

If we use WPMS for APP, where will the students from Broadview-Thompson, and Northgate be assigned for middle school? Can they all fit at Jane Addams?

Melissa Westbrook said...

I did receive word - from someone at the FACMAC meeting - about the following:

- these recommendations were not vetted by the whole committee and were not even discussed. They were sent out for review but I don't think responses may have been included.

- Also, I'm not sure if the district knew this was coming (and given FACMAC is a district committee, I'm sure the district would have liked to have known).

- APP parents - as a group - were also not consulted so don't take the recs as endorsement from those families.

The issue is - and I'll bet you'll hear this A LOT in the coming weeks - is that the clock is ticking. They have to get the boundary changes done (if any and I really wish they would tweak them and not change them so much if they don't do high schools) AND BEX work has to start.

I will ask others in the know about the numbers around middle school in the WP area.

Anonymous said...

Watching&waiting, remember NSAP kicked in along with newly renovated Hamilton are factors too. I feel we are in danger of mythologize Lowell too much. The APP situation evolved alongside SPS growth, shrinking budget, and whims of its many superintendents and revolving door of administrators. While it's fine to justify the anger, victimization, and distrust, I feel as a group we can overdo it. I have to remember many other groups are seeking relief and certainty for just as long. Some have lost their schools and program outright.

We are too big and too vocal for that. For those who didn't care for Dr. Vaughan and thought he didn't do enough, APP growth happened because of him. In hindsight, I just have to wonder what tremendous pressure and compromises he had to deal with.

crunch

kellie said...

While there are lots of things that can be discussed and there are lots of vary valid opinions out there, there really is one major fact that keeps disappearing from these conversations.

The simple issue here is that enrollment growth has outpaced the ability of the district to provide capital planning solutions. That's fancy speak for there isn't a way to build fast enough for all the students who are already here, let alone all the ones that are coming.

It was a just a little more than a year ago that there was a huge debate over whether or not the north end needed two middle schools or if one additional middle school would make due. Now it is clear that that not only does the north end need two school but that if both schools were open today, they would already be full.

These are order of magnitude problems. There are no easy answers and there are no good answers. In fact, the majority of the answers pretty much stink and/or don't work. In other words, every single option offends someone, and it is going to get worse before it gets better.

Please remember that we still don't have updated projections based on this year's enrollment. Every year, the situation gets "more dire" once those numbers come out.

The district has been adding 30+ portables every year for a few years now. That is the equivalent of one high school worth of capacity in portables. All the last BEX does is create permanent facilities for the last six years worth of portable purchases. We are not getting ahead of this.

Maureen said...

Math Counts, do you believe that a disproportionate percent of private school kids would NOT qualify for APP? It seems to me that (given the demographics) they would be MORE likely to be in the top 2% of test scores, so that would reduce the % left for APP.

I have been convinced ("fat tails") that 10% of a population could legitimately score above 2% on a test (especially with retakes and accomodations). But still, that is 10% of the population: that's a lot of kids. It probably means that in some schools, 30% of the kids could qualify for APP. If that's the case, Why do they have to be bused to a cohort?

Maybe APP should be for kids who are outliers at their neighborhood schools. The resulting cohort might have a broader range of test scores (say exceed 5%), but they would need each other. They could either be placed together as a cohort or be given a seat at a school with a large qualifying population.

The problem with my proposal is that it leaves too many kids at already overcrowded schools. Bryant, for example, needs to be able to push out some large percent of their neighborhood kids.

I'm liking the idea of APP 1-5 staying at Lincoln and building an APP 6-8 and comprehensive HS at WP I'm not sure why WPHS should be an APP pathway though--IHS IBX is right up the road. Actually, I think every HS should have an APP pathway and that all kids should have more real choice amongst all of the schools (Maybe with guaranteed APP seats at GHS and an option of the closest IBX program.)

Anonymous said...

Was APP growth a good thing? Dr. Vaughan was tasked with trying to increase the number of underrepresented groups in APP, but it contributed to the increased APP enrollment districtwide, not necessarily to increased enrollment of underrepresented groups. It was not for lack of Dr. Vaughan's outreach efforts. Add in the dismantling of Spectrum and the use of MAP for achievement scores, and APP has morphed into a large, and very different program.

watching

Anonymous said...

I did receive word - from someone at the FACMAC meeting - about the following:

- these recommendations were not vetted by the whole committee and were not even discussed. They were sent out for review but I don't think responses may have been included.

- Also, I'm not sure if the district knew this was coming (and given FACMAC is a district committee, I'm sure the district would have liked to have known).

- APP parents - as a group - were also not consulted so don't take the recs as endorsement from those families.


Good lord. SPS get a leash on your committees. If what Melissa says is true, the people who just pulled this FACMAC trick need to be removed from the committee. Or the committee itself needs to be disbanded. This is not helping an already impossible situation.

Angry Parent

Anonymous said...

@Lynn,
The Portland School District has only in-class differentiation for it's gifted. Tacoma apparently does self-contained for 4th and 5th grade only. Every district has a preferred delivery, massive self-contained programs like ours are definitely the exception.
And,as far as that red herring you keep throwing out "fix your school, mine's just fine, thank you", well, my school school has an autism program, ELL, ten times the FRL rate, probably thirty times the single parent/two working parent rate and 20 times the disciplinary problems of your "no different, just two grades ahead school".
You may not be elitist but the demographics of the student body and parents are very, very different from other schools.
Let's think of an analogy.
Take Magnolia and take Rainier Beach. Great neighborhoods, great people, great kids. But look at crime stats, income levels, education levels, food stamp usage, single parent homes, domestic abuse, drug addiction rates.
Then take a public service, like fire protection. If the city said Magnolia homes are worth more on the open market and therefore get more fire protection, we'd all know that was crazy, I hope. Or, the residents had more important jobs and needed a special bus and bus lane to their jobs downtown, again ludicrous. Or their children do better at the CogAT and achievement rests because they have a parent who doesn't work and money for tutors and generational success in whatever society they come from, so their kids get to attend a segregated school filled with likewise fortunate children.

G

Anonymous said...

One more thing Lynn. If my kid misses the cut for APP and my local school does not "work for us" as you say; I'm out of luck. I can try the lottery at an option school or move to tent city and pay for private school, but I don't have a GUARANTEED option, like APP families have. They are the only families in the district, correct me if I'm wrong, who have two choices for their kids, guaranteed choices.

G

Lynn said...

G,

From Portland's 2012 Survey of parents of TAG students:

Appropriate Learning Opportunities and Challenges for My Child

80% feel that their child does not receive appropriate learning opportunities and challenges as an individual.

Opportunities for Peer Learning

80% feel that their child is not provided with many opportunities to work with peers who have similar abilities

Improved Academic Achievement as a result of TAG Services

83% feel that the TAG services provided by their child’s school have had no impact on improving their child’s academic performance

Consistent TAG Services Across Grades/Classrooms

85% feel that their child receives inconsistent TAG services and that the quality of the services is dependent on
who their child has for a teacher

Comments?

RosieReader said...

Great link to Salle Auriol! There's plenty of places to learn to row in Seattle. Including Parks Department programs at Greenlake and Mt. Baker, and lots of private boathouses. (like mine, Lake Union Crew) which offer robust juniors programs. Rainier Valley Rowers and Row to the Future do a great job ensuring access to rowing regardless of economics. And rowers tend to go on to higher levels of business success than participants in other sports. http://blogs.wsj.com/atwork/2012/08/01/which-olympians-make-it-big-in-business/

Melissa Westbrook said...

I did verify that:

- the district did not know that FACMAC's new recommendations were being released to the Times

- the Times received the recs (did not find them at some website page).

Anonymous said...

Lynn,
I guess those parents need to advocate...
Seriously,I read that survey as well, 22% of families responded! fairly representative but hardly an overwhelming indictment. You want more districts that don't do self-contained, I could find them all day, anybody could. Look at San Jose Unified in CA.
Why don't you address the real issues bout our program that I mentioned

G

Anonymous said...

G:
I wonder why are you compering Seattle's APP program to the ones in Portland or Tacoma? How about you compare it with Bellevue? That is more similar in every measure.
Or if Math Counts is right saying this: "This is the second most educated city in the country." then how about you compare it to the third and first city from the same list? You would get a better and more accurate picture for sure.
-Curious 2

Anonymous said...

The provocative NYT opinion piece today "The Glass Floor Problem" needs to be read with this thread in mind.

A line for me that really stuck out is "One potential danger zone for opportunity hoarding is access to higher education." Drop the "higher" from that sentence and I think I have insight into why some SPS administrators are clearly conflicted as to how to deliver APP services to the North End APP population in the greater district-wide context of limited time, money, space and personnel. And why North End APP parents might feel that this conflict is unjust within their own context.

Worth a read!

EdVoter

Julie said...

G - My impression from your argument and perhaps from others belligerent towards APP is that since APP families 'got' their program, they should simply suck it up even if the school district kicks them from building to building every two years. After all, they are all 'privileged' to begin with, therefore their children are undeserving of consideration.

Really?

Anonymous said...

What? No, Portland has a self contained gifted program, called "Access," with slightly lower cut offs than we have for 1-5.

http://www.pps.k12.or.us/schools/access/

San Jose also has a highly gifted magnet at the elementary level, grades 2-5, and a cohoused middle school self contained for highly gifted.

This is what school districts do. It's best for most students, cheaper than attempting local site differentiating, and an efficient use of space,

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

Oh, oops, access in Portland is 1-8. It's outside the TAG program, which is like our Spectrum, delivered partially in class and partly self contained.

-sleeper

Lynn said...

ten times the FRL rate Really?

FRL rates:
T. Marshall 32.4%
Washington 50.9%
Garfield 40.0%

I suggested you advocate for what you need in your school now after you said:

If and when they are returned, I hope APP parents will advocate for advanced programs at their local school as much as they now advocate for self-contained classrooms.

Don't wait for APP families. Can you get a region-wide group together to talk about what you need and advocate with the district as a group? I think the district really wants schools dealing with those kinds of issues to succeed.

joanna said...

Lynn, I think you would have to decide if you want APP to leave Ingraham. That is where the other program is being developed and being at the edge of the District makes it have less impact on neighborhood assignments, maybe.

Melissa Westbrook said...

And here we are arguing about APP...again. When the recommendations had other issues as well.

I honestly do not get the absolute hatred for this program.

Anonymous said...

Political Reality knocks.

The district will not be dedicating its largest piece of North End open space to a shiny campus for affluent, white, APP students. Reference: Institutional indifference to Eckstein crowding.

The district will not be informing Queen Anne, Magnolia, Fremont and Wallingford that Lincoln High School is not reopening. Reference: State legislator addresses.

The district will be sidelining FACMAC: Reference- APP Taskforce

That's the way SPS rolls. No need to debate ad nauseum.

DistrictWatcher

joanna said...

Melissa, I do not think all the comments were anti-APP. I certainly did not mean mine that way.

Anonymous said...

It is weird, that's for sure. I have lived in a lot of cities, all with programs like this, and nowhere with this kind of blind hatred. Problems and tinkering, sure, but Seattleites take it up a notch.

What about the high school recommendation? And on that note, would Wilson pacific help? That would bring high school space online 2 years sooner, but we still end up with a 2k seat deficit. Portable use doesn't bother me quite as much at the high school level as elementary and middle school, but access to classes bothers me more, and I am sure overcrowded high schools have a harder time getting people electives they need for college. That is the biggest problem with the split shift "oh people will moan"" attitude to me. This isn't like some middle schooler bummed because they have to take pottery instead of drawing- these are kids who will or won't be able to get into college if they can't get certain classes. High stakes. Which I am sure we all know.

I wish I had more to offer other than, "oh, shoot, that's a big problem. We should get on that."

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

"I'd be careful about saying self-contained is here to stay. For maybe 1% of ALL SPS students but not necessarily for the 8% or whatever we have now. The trend nationwide is reducing self-contained gifted programs to the most needy, making them special needs programs for those who can't function in a heterogenous environment."

Yes. And yes, Seattle probably has an over-representation of the population that tests into the highest tails compared to the national population. But, once that population becomes large enough, there's no reason to separate them from the rest of the student population SPS. We can reasonably propose that they can be accommodated along with their other capable peers in more heterogenous classrooms (which will also contain children whose cogAT scores are shifted from the mean of the general population, probably). Otherwise, we're talking about running away from the tail on the other end (i.e. the ELL students, the economically disadvantaged, the special needs children) rather than accommodating a tail (which isn't a tail in the population we are serving).

zb

Anonymous said...

Hatred is a string word Melissa, are you calling me a hater? I am merely trying to point out the inconsistent arguments for a large self-contained APP program.

It's not the only way to serve students or even the best way except for the most outlying of students, necessarily.

Distorting demographic data is so disingenuous, I can't believe Lynn doesn't get one of your verbal spankings.

The ability to bail on a school you don't like for one filled with similarly advantaged kids is unfair.

That is not hate.

I think self-contained is wonderful for bright kids. It motivates them, gives them a safe space to be enthusiastic about things others might not appreciate.

It makes them work hard, makes them push each other.

But any one who is sincere realizes there are downsides and not just perceptions.

I can't speak for others who may or may not be haters, only myself. I don't want these kids in APP to lose the good parts of the APP experience. The challenges and excitement for learning. But many professional educators, which I am not, believe a more inclusive model cam work for those kids and that such a model will help kids not at that intellectual level.
My opinion is that our disrrrict should adopt a more inclusive model and reserve self-contained for the small number who are profoundly gifted. It's a valid opinion and in my view the hostility and chicanery comes from the APP side at least as often.


G

Anonymous said...

(I also think it is true that APP haters are wildly disproportionately represented in blog comments. We are a very select group of education geeks on here, with probably more extreme views than the average person. Most people, as pointed about above, just want convenience and less crowding for their students. All the non APP parents I've talked to in real life like the FACMAC proposal because it gets them out of their buildings. But mostly they could not begin to care less. Mostly people don't think about APP, or if they do, with vague positivity, like, oh, Montessori or one of those language immersion schools. People, mostly, have their school, and they are fine, unless and until SPS starts mucking with things. Ok, done talking about APP now)

-sleeper

Melissa Westbrook said...

G, interesting reflections.

I say hate because you are either new or haven't noticed but the flow and volume of any topic to APP is unbelievable and it's the same thing over and over.

It's a valid opinion and in my view the hostility and chicanery comes from the APP side at least as often.

You are saying there has been "chicanery" from both sides. Do tell, what form has that taken because I haven't seen it from either side.

No one said your opinion isn't valid but APP is, as well, a valid program that works for hundreds of students. Goes both ways.

I agree with Sleeper; most people don't care.

Anonymous said...

@ Julie @ 1:54-

Yes, I do believe accelerated learning would work distributed to neighborhood schools. In fact, it would help get rid of the farce of ALO and Spectrum being presented as "programs". This would also help address the complete lack of services for students who are strongly gifted in English but not math, and vice versa. It would also catch more gifted ELL students. They are out there!

As with "G" in the comment prior to mine, I also have no problem with a very, very constrained self-contained APP program. It would apply to perhaps the Top .5 percent of SPS students via testing, as well to twice exceptional students. The emphasis in that program would be as much on socio-emotional as accelerated learning. That piece of accelerated learning has been lost to SPS. Peer interaction is not a replacement for mindful socio-emotional classroom emphasis.

I do NOT buy that gifted kids need to be surrounded by "peers just like me". That's no way for a gifted child to learn his/her place in the world. Distributed programming is actually an advantage here, with the key proviso that schools are mandated to provide accelerated learning opportunities and that SPS provides accelerated learning training to its full teacher corps. Which it should.

Gifted Mom

Gifted Mom

Anonymous said...

Most parents in APP have not bailed on their home school. They still have kids there. I do. It's a great school and great for most of my kids. It's just not appropriate for one of my kids.

The demographic issue is a very thorny one, which the district and parents are constantly working on. That was most of Bob Vaughn's old job. For example, some iq tests are more verbal, while some are more spatial. If the iq test you use is more spatial, you get more English language learners, but you get fewer girls, who often develop verbal skills before math ones. Many special ed and ell requirements are such that qualifying for app means you are not eligible for services, because you can't be "below grade level."

We could rely more on teacher recommendation (the famed "sss blog commenters think you are weird enough" test) but that gets more white, old for grade boys. Objective tests do a better job. Also, gifted minority students are often recruited heavily to private schools. And, finally, the district cut app up a few years ago so that the north would be as rich and white as possible, while the south would be as diverse as possible. The solution to that is not to cut it up further, and certainly not to blame parents. This is not ever going to be completely fixed, just like some schools in rich neighborhood will always be better than some schools in poor neighborhoods. We are trying. The fact that we are not there yet does not mean the program has to go, any more than kids from wealthy elementary schools should be split into pods and sent to poorer parts of town.

And anyway, it's basic education, and this is the only research based way that doesn't cost the district $$$. Which I guarantee you they are not spending on advanced learning, so self contained it is.

Ok now I'm really done. I do hope by the time I check in again tomorrow you all will have solved the high school problem.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

I have no hatred for the APP program.

I just believe that programs that are for a large portion of the student population stop being about offering special services to people who need them and instead about separating one group of kids from another group of kids.

I would consider supporting an APP program that selected a much smaller subset of the SPS population (1%, say) as needing special academic services. Such a program wouldn't create the program placement issues that a program that grows to capture a continually increasing population of students does.

BTW, this escalation of the number of students who qualify has become a problem in other communities as well -- take, for example, New York City's attempt to tweak their selection processing so that their program continued to capture the subset of students who really needed to be educated separately from their peers.

zb

kellie said...

APP and Capacity are just greatly mis-understood topics.

I agree that the size and scope of AL should be an academic decision. The capacity problem and APP is just ... different.

Under the old choice plan, when capacity problems were smallish, the demand for APP was met pretty reasonably with one central location. You never heard about over-crowding and your never heard about people being turned away.

By and large, folks choose Lowell, mostly because their child's academic needs were just not being met at their local school. For most families the inconvenience of getting to Lowell, meant real switching costs, so if their needs were met locally, that is what most folks did, first.

However, the landscape has changed, dramatically. Schools that used to work to retain their advanced learners are encouraging them to leave for APP so that they can focus on the already full school. Per the heat maps, the largest concentrations of students are coming from the most over-crowded areas.

Hence the capacity and APP challenge.

All geographic based systems, need to have a mechanism to entice students from over-full areas to less full areas. From that point of view alone, APP is doing a perfect job. It draws families away from the most crowded areas disproportionately from the less crowded areas.

Again, that is a capacity only argument. I think many students could go back to their neighborhood schools. However, there would need to be a whole lot of money invested in expanding those schools so that they were able to accommodate ALL neighborhood students.

In the parts of town, where SPS has sold off many of the elementary schools, this is simply not possible. To "return" APP students to their neighborhood schools would cost at least $100 Million by my estimate. That would be the cost of securing land and building schools in these already over-crowded areas.

Anonymous said...

Chicanery in the sense that, for example, no one even cares about APP except a few people on this blog and if they had their own school no one would notice or care.
Chicanery in that. FRL rates at Washington as a whole reflect FRL rates of APP students at Washington.
You know using trickery to achieve ones goals.
Anyways, Gifted. Mom and I seem to agree on a very small program being essential for those kids who need it for the reasons she stated of profound giftedness, like Sheldon on that TV show, Big Bang.
I think GM's point about self-contained having adverse effects is entirely reasonable. Kids need to be proud of who they are, could we imagine a school for gay students so they could be with their "peers"? We want our kids to work and work hard, and we want them to appreciate all the other types of kids there are in the world. Again, my opinion is we should move to a more inclusive model but keep all the rigor for those who need it.

G

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but G, your arguments are full of platitudes and generalities. Yes, you're entitled to your personal opinions, but they remain subjective, so how "valid" are they, in reality? Likewise, to say that "anyone who is sincere knows there are downsides and not just perceptions" posits that those who don't see downsides to the current model are not sincere? How can you say that?

And yes, there are professional educators who *believe* kids should all be taught together, and there are just as many who say "hogwash" to that. There is so much speculation and belief driving the conversation, versus actual research and evidence, that many APP folks are on constant watch for the baby going out with the bathwater.

The "differentiation" arguments remind me a lot of Ana Maria DeLaFuente's arguments in favor of Discovery Math: That with all these supports, and those supports, and supplemental materials, and teacher training, and money, and after-school tutoring, and this and that and all in between, then it *can* work as good as say, Singapore Math, that basically requires a book and a human with a pulse.

Does that make Discovery Math sound as good as Singapore? Or like a patient in critical condition who'd die if we pulled the plug? Or like the colossal failure it turned out to be?

Any changes to the program should be based upon tried and true, proven methods. Not based on feelings, beliefs or perceptions, which constantly result in bad outcomes.

WSDWG

Anonymous said...

I do NOT buy that gifted kids need to be surrounded by "peers just like me". That's no way for a gifted child to learn his/her place in the world.

Well, then that's that!

So, here we go again. Opinions, feelings, beliefs and perceptions, none of which involve evidence, history, replication, proof, science, research.....

Forgive me for not wanting populism to dictate policy decisions in my district.

WSDWG

Anonymous said...

I think to preserve FACMAC's legitimacy, names supporting these recommendations to Seattle Times should be made public. Many people are on the committee and for this to go to Seattle Times while previous FACMAC recommendations did not, it muddies the water. I'm not even sure this help APP's cause. It can give the impression of influence and access other groups can claim they don't have. Bringing up high school capacity issue is fine, but the district is aware of the problem already and this Seattle Times' FACMAC article lacked the specifics that would help meaningful HS planning. The details about APP in the north end on the other hand showed much more depth and planning.

It does speak well for APP advocacy, but can backfire.

If you look at the make up of APP demographics, it does lack noticeable representations from FRL, ELL, and AA, Latino/Hispanic, Pacific Islanders, and American Indians. The numbers are much better when you look and GHS overall, but this is not a true reflection of APP make up. I rather owe it than hide it. APP is not a perfect program and the ceiling is a disservice to those students who really need more. Perhaps it can't be help with dilution and growth.

crunch

Melissa Westbrook said...

"Peer interaction is not a replacement for mindful socio-emotional classroom emphasis."

I'm not even sure what that means but it's great psycho-babble.

Kellie has said it but I'll say it again.

The district will NEVER return all the APP kids (or even most of them) to their neighborhood schools. And why?
Not because it wouldn't be good for them but because of the extreme stress on the buildings.

Simply put, there is NO room.

Anonymous said...

What if 50% of SPS kids were APP eligible? I believe, looking at the numbers, that nearly 50% might be ALO eligible. In that case, what needs to be done is not to separate the 50% (who cannot, in any circumstances, be perfectly identified with testing) from the rest. What makes sense is to raise the standards to serve the population you have at the school

Furthermore, when you're separating the 50% because they are capable students, you are really segregating the other 50%, who will have greater needs and broader academic spread than the 50% you've removed.

If we're tracking, why not just go whole hog? We can have a school for the top 10%, the next 10% and so on -- that can solve the crowding problem, too.

The APP program only makes sense and is only sustainable if it is small. Then it is really serving a subset of students who need access to a different education than those offered their peers.

zb

Anonymous said...

"The district will NEVER return all the APP kids (or even most of them) to their neighborhood schools. And why?
Not because it wouldn't be good for them but because of the extreme stress on the buildings."

But, the district appears to have made a concrete choice to co-house the APP program with other programs and to move it as needed to accommodating changing neighborhood dynamics.

zb

Anonymous said...

You know Melissa, if you don't understand something, it might be a good idea to look it up and not call it babble.
Profoundly gifted or 2e kids need more than just access to bright children. They need a program that directly addresses their social and emotional needs.
Who is getting hostile and calling people's comments babble and platitudes?
Ouch. I think Gifted Mom and I both have a little experience on the receiving end of gifted Ed, for good or ill, and we do care about these kids. More than you think.

G

Anonymous said...

zb has it on the nose. "What if...50%" is approaching true in the NE,and if there was a NE APP site, I think it would get to 50%, I really do. The NE schools are not serving the population they have.

APP in ALO

Anonymous said...

G:
I am still waiting for your comparison of the different highly gifted programs other than the ones in Portland and Tacoma. Do you think you could provide that for the readers of this blog since you started the discussion?
-Curious 2

Julie said...

Gifted Mom - do you have a gifted child? Even so, I don't think you should presume that other APP parents think the same way as you. Have you been to APP school and sat in the class and talked with them? The kids there don't walk around thinking that they are somehow 'special'. Because, they are not. Just regular kids with specific needs. No one is telling them that they are somehow 'special' or 'different'. I think that is a good thing.

You think that APP could work in all schools because it can replace AOL and SPECTRUM? Perhaps, in an ideal world where SPS gets their act together supported by lots of money from somewhere. Still, by then, I don't think it will be APP anymore. It will be closer to Spectrum and we know where that is heading. In reality, I feel the real crux of the problem lies with disappearing Spectrum. If all schools provided robust Spectrum to begin with, I don't think APP would be so big.

zb - what 50% eligibility?

Perhaps all this angst stems from the fact there are so many children who needs curriculum that falls between ALO and APP and it is not being provided.

G, you talk about not being fair that APP kids get to dump their school for better option. Fair? Does this only apply to APP? How about the 'rich' folks who manages to buy their homes near magnet schools or well funded schools with their special programs? APP is open to all - it does not discriminate by which neighborhood one comes from at least. The real issue you might be having is with the feeling that the 'rich white folks' are hogging the educational resources. Are they really? If you have issue with income inequality, I think it might be applied better elsewhere.

I think it will be really helpful to meet the various APP families and talk to them to find out where they are coming from - and go outside your comfortable boundaries of 'WHAT YOU THINK YOU KNOW'.

You may be surprised.


Anonymous said...

Right on G. You are very reasonable, and are articulating what most people, certainly most staff, already know. After all, the segregated south did indeed benefit some people. And boy, they'll do anything to keep that perk. You are wrong about one thing though... the ever growing APP cohort actually has triple entitlement in high school: GHS, IHS, neighborhood HS as well as available options at Center, Nova, and Cleveland. Compare that to students w disabilities, the true special needs, who get a seat at 1 school of the district's choosing.

GG

Anonymous said...

Besides the inefficiencies of putting the APP-qualified classes at every school, a big problem with that idea is that there is frequently resentment at the school level - by administrators, teachers and parents - for having kids in a "special" class. They talk as if the kids would be the "leaders" if they were just in the regular classes. However, as many parents have said, kids who are advanced academically often have trouble finding friends in general ed classrooms. Then others (like my son) become troublemakers when they are bored and are having to constantly listen to material they already know. That's why many gifted kids who are not getting appropriately challenged drop out of school and give up.
Also, when talking about kids who are "just one year" or "just two years" ahead of the standard for their age, remember that general ed classes in most schools have many kids who are well below standard that the teacher needs to spend extra time with.
Mom of 2

Anonymous said...

G said: "The ability to bail on a school you don't like for one filled with similarly advantaged kids is unfair."

I'd argue: The inability and unwillingness of neighborhood schools to provide appropriate educational services to highly gifted children, forcing them to attend school elsewhere and separating them from their neighborhood community, is unfair.

And wow, some people seem really hung up on the fact that APP students have a couple different pathways. I guess they'd feel better if kids got sent to their neighborhood school and had to repeat classes instead. Nice.

HIMSmom

John said...

While I agree with some of the conclusions, the FACMAC release to the Times is troubling. Is this something the committee voted on?

The easiest way FACMAC could deal with complaints about transparency would be to be transparent. It's been a perception problem for a while, and undercuts some of the hard work by the committee. This latest move doesn't help.

Anonymous said...

@ EdVoter at 11:31am, well said.

-Want it

Anonymous said...

What a night. CogAT and MAP are not IQ tests. CogAT is an abilities test. Those children who come better prepared, are native speakers, have more exposure to enrichment will have an advantage. MAP is an achievement test. Lots of research out there. Because of these flaws, there is bias. Bias that does not favor you if you are poor, lack stable and supportive family, lack good environment and academic and enrichment exposure. The test may appear impartial, but the inherent flaw of the test favors certain qualities of test takers.

It would be better if the district uses individual intelligence test which provide far more accurate assessment of intellectual giftedness. But cost is prohibited given demand.

Given that limitation and the fact our schools have become more zoned into high FRL and ELL areas with NSAP, the concentration of such high needs affect student outcomes. This is a real problem. It matters because no matter how you shake it, APP demographics reflect the flaws with how we measure intellectual giftedness for this program. I know FRL students qualify for individual testing. But I have to tell you, it's not well advertised. It takes some savvy and free time to navigate this district.

I apologize for sounding like I am dissing APP, but I can't pretend this is a perfect system, free of bias.

I find even with the changes to APP these past 6 years, the program is becoming more of a magnet program for high achievers because there is a lack of rigor in local schools. Though friends are telling me while there is some scuttling of spectrum in some ES and MS, other schools are ramping up their rigor without emphasizing the AL label - too soon to say what this will mean given common core (or not) along with big changes to school boundaries. In the meantime, for those of us who have students with APP designation, we benefit and this program will continue to attract and grow.

This is why the Seattle Times article is troubling for FACMAC.

crunch

Anonymous said...

I am just going to throw a bomb in here. I think the antagonism towards APP comes from parents whose kids are bright, but for whatever reason did not make the cut-off. We are a city that is really well educated and values academics and IQ.
I watched an APP parent talk about this antagonism. He made the analogy that no one complains about providing places on the varsity teams to the most talented athletes, but lots of people complain about giving a place on the APP team to a kid with intellectual strengths. The place went berserk. It was an apt analogy, but the crowd was not willing to accept it. Their non athlete kids were too good enough to be on the varsity basketball team, and damn well better get a place. Or something like that.

Gee I understand - my bright, funny, unchallenged by gen ed kid deserves more. But he is not gifted by any of the measurements we have in SPS. Lot's of kids are, especially in Seattle where many have moved for careers at Microsoft, and UW, and the biotech and computer start-ups. Smart parents..smart kids. I want more for my kid, but not less for other people's kids.

He is not going to be on a select soccer team either...but I did sign him up for fencing. Really. :)

Fencing mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

G, both my children tested into APP and one is twice gifted. Yes, I do know a bit about the subject.

John, my information is that FACMAC, as a committee, did not vote on these recommendations.

I think we have gone as far as we will get on this topic so I'm closing comments.

Lynn said...

G - Profoundly gifted children who are 2e need access to other bright children more than anything else in the middle school and high school years. Yes - counseling from someone trained in dealing with the population would be helpful. Without the peer group though, nothing else is going to help.