Monday, November 18, 2013

And the Hits Keep Coming for Enrollment

Update:  I just went in to correct the link to the new document (see paragraph below) and found that the Board Agenda looks like a crazy quilt.   I'm not sure what I have seen or not seen. 

I would say - with no hesitation - that at the end of the voting on the Growth Plan and the Intermediate Capacity Management Plan that will not be one single person in the room who could really tell you what will happen.  I'm sure that there are staff and parents who know certain parts well but the whole thing?  It will unfold as it will. 

The district has just unleashed (and yes, that's the word I'm using) a new document  for pathways for the North/NE.

I'm trying desperately to keep up so did I miss this?  Two days before the Growth Boundaries and Intermediate Capacity Plan is NOT the time to hand this out.  Who can really digest what this means?

They say this on the last page about "program placement":

Board Policy F21.00 delegates to the Superintendent the authority to make all program placement decisions. Board Policy 2200 directs the Superintendent to place programs or services:

- In support of district-wide academic goals.

- Equitably across the district.

- Where students reside.

- In accordance with the student assignment plan.

- Equitably across each middle school region as appropriate.

Yes, that is true BUT the Board has been asking - for YEARS now - for an Equitable Access Framework so that they can help guide this work. This is squarely on Michael Tolley desk and yet, nothing. Banda should not let this continue. I'm looking for the new Board members to add their name to this chorus.

Here's the analysis from a Bagley parent about what the Intermediate Capacity Plan means to their area:

Dear Daniel Bagley Families,

15 AMENDMENTS TO ROUND 3 PROPOSAL- Including one that would move APP to JAMS and WilPac MWIth some questionable parliamentary procedure,  the Board will vote on these this Wed. November 20th. 

None of the amendments addressed the Bagley Attendance area directly. 
There is nothing in the plan that stabilizes the Bagley attendance area (and those of other other schools near I-5 and Green Lake). 
There is no  fix to the area west of Wallingford Ave and east of I-5 that is now poised to go to Green Lake Elementary and then,
I'm hearing, but can't confirm, off to Eckstein MS rather than Hamilton. Can anyone confirm that?

So the Bagley maps remain the same:
                                                                        Round 3 proposed Bagley Attendance Area -- go to page 18

From Bagley's perspective,  the most high impact amendment would ditch the Advanced Placement Program (APP) at Whitman
and Eckstein Middle Schools that were proposed in Round 3 and instead  open APP programs at  Wilson Pacific  (WilPac MS ) & Jane Addams Middle Schools (JAMS in 2014-15). 
So it's possible all middle school bound Bagley kids could be together at WilPac MS  when WilPac MS with APP opens in the fall of 2017. 

At the end of this email is a summary of each amendment with my best interpretation for impact on Bagley Attendance Area families. 

THE INTERIM CAPACITY MANAGEMENT PLAN is the bigger story for Bagley and WilPac MS attendance area families.
"Tweak at will" on annual basis
FIrst off, the district is keeping their options open and have changed their planning assumptions. They are now looking ahead only 5 years, instead of 10 and allowing for yearly changes. 
This could be very hard on the schools near I-5 and Green Lake like Bagley. It does not provide for stable boundaries for schools around Green Lake and near I-5, I'm sorry to say.

Second,  there will be "No change to current Hamilton, Whitman  or new WilPac MS assignments through 2015-16" -- a year longer than before. (Interim Capacity Management Plan, Attachment 2)

However, they have introduced a couple of  changes to the Round 3 transition plan for WilPac middle schoolers (our current 3rd, 4th and 5th graders.)

1) INTERIM APP AT WHITMAN - Beginning in 2016-17, WilPac MS & Whitman MS APP students who live in the WilPac MS & Whitman MS will attend APP at Whitman as an interim APP site until WilPac MS opens in 2017-18.

2) Staff prefer keeping kids at Whitman in 2016-17 and bypassing the stint at Marshall  that year. Instead they would move all 6-8th grades plus APP into new WilPac building in the fall of 2017. However, capacity pressures may not allow that. The attached file has the chart that shows both scenarios for Bagley kids– stay at Whitman for 2016-17 or temporarily gather General Ed WilPac MS middle school students at Marshall. This will be a Wait and See situation.

So current 4th graders could attend Whitman for two years and then move to WilPac MS in 8th grade. The district was sympathetic, but say the numbers do not work out for keeping 8th graders where they are. They do offer a cohort tiebreaker but thinking is the capacity issues are so huge, it will be nearly impossible to invoke a cohort tiebreaker.

While I see how this helps the district, in my view this isn't helpful to the current 4th and 5th graders who will get immersed at Whitman with the Ballard HS -bound kids  + WilPac bound kids only to be moved out of that cohort to WilPac MS -- especially since this same group of kids will likely be asked to go to more than one high school as Lincoln High School is remodeled and comes online. It would be very useful for all the WilPac MS feeder schools to meet with the district to mitigate the impact on this group of kids.

Attached is file that updates the charts showing year by year what is happening and then the chart for current 3rd, 4th and 5th graders. Current 2nd graders will be the first grade to enter into the new WilPac MS building at 6th graders


Anonymous said...

links to the document don't seem to be working.

the multiple hits on this geographic area are a problem. first middle school and then high school. The board could slow down and consider all of these changes in the context of the new high school coming on line, but they won't. there will be several years of kids with multiple middle schools and a new high school and some kids will absolutely be lost in this shuffle.

it doesn't have to be this way but the board members cannot seem to swallow their pride and say this is out of hand.

the emperor has no clothes - except in this case the public is shouting at the naked board-emperors who continue to parade on.

time to start checking out real estate elsewhere...not every family has that option


Lynn said...

I like the way someone has created a new highly capable service delivery method (a blended model) before the task force on service delivery has had their first meeting.

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of the APP/Spectrum blended model for the WS option. My question is will Spectrum then still be offered at Layfayette and/or Arbor Heights, or will Fairmount Park be sole Spectrum site?


Whiplashed in Phinney said...

Since I sent this out to the Bagley parents, the Board packet has been updated at least once -- maybe twice (I have lost track) and then my thinking has evolved.

I've been learning that while it might be easy for kids to move to an interim site, it is not easy to begin a new school that way. Very undesirable for teachers and attracting a fantastic principal. I heard that the schools that have started in interim sites have had a slog digging out and flourishing in their new building. Are there specific examples of this?

Anonymous said...

I don't get what this document is. Is this a new set of amendments? I thought all the changes had to be put out there last Friday. Or is this just clarification of the previous amendments?


Melissa Westbrook said...

Stumped, I would guess it is the clarification of the document (it's not amendments).

Anonymous said...

Yep, link is broken, and the Agenda I'm able to open from the Board page still doesn't have the attachment B in the GB BAR.

But I could open it from the link that Lynn provided, so it is live somewhere.

wonder why the new link is dead? Did they pull it again?

It is Monday night before the board meeting, and the materials are still incomplete.


Anonymous said...

I found it here:


Anonymous said...

Down the rabbit hole again!

Sorry - at this point I don't have anything more intelligible to add, but then, I'm not sure the Board or District does either.

(Am still flabbergasted by Melissa's comment last week that Tracy Libros had told her that it would be too hard to move to geographical boundaries for MS because of software. Did I say "flabbergasted"? I meant to say "stunned into silence".)


2153 dtargyh

Whiplashed in Phinney said...

The attachment contains two tables one that shows the rollout of the changes for each grade currently attending Bagley.

The other table shows the transition path for current 3rd, 4th and 5th graders to middle school -- especially the 3 years, 3 schools model for current 4th graders once they hit middle school. Although now there is a preference to remove the interim stint at Marshall if possible.

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

Flibbertigibbet - Tracy did not (and I already said this) say it was "too hard." She said it would be difficult because of the technical difficulties BUT that geographic boundaries would make her life easier. She was explaining the balance for her job.

Lynn said...


What is the APP/Spectrum model - and what do you like about it? Will it be different in any way from the current Lafayette Spectrum program which also serves both Spectrum and APP students?

Anonymous said...

The document "ATTACHMENT B (added on November 18, 2013)" looks like a pretty good summary of planned changes. Except: 1) there are a slew of modifications in proposed ammendments and 2) it isn't complete. It doesn't attempt to cover program placement (spectrum, ELL, APP, SpEd) and even states:"Complete program placement locations and linked schools information for 2014-15 will be posted online prior to Open Enrollment in February 2014. There may be subsequent changes if warranted based on student needs. This
information is not meant to be comprehensive or final; rather, it is intended to answer questions about
location of various services and programs that have arisen during discussion of Growth Boundaries"

Which I read to mean that hey, the district can change these placements whenever they wish, even after open enrollment if they think it is necessary.


Lynn said...

Sorry for the multiple posts. It looks like Olympic Hills and Lowell are also getting new "blended model" Spectrum programs. Blended with what? I suspect it's going to be something like Whitman and Wedgwood's Spectrum programs.

Anonymous said...


Is anyone else disturbed by the fact that Wilson Pacific Elementary does not show up in the Attachment A Maps? If the recommendation is that app@lincoln elementary will be it's main (only) tenant, shouldn't the staff recommendation actually define that somewhere, like in the attachment A?

Why is it missing?

Also, I'm still confused as to why the plan does not actually define any recommendations for APP in the North, but it does of the south.

Seriously, am I missing something here? I asked Tracy and her response was that APP can be found in the amendments.

I followed up and asked "what happens if none of the amendments get passed related to APP?" then what?

I was sort of expecting them to slip in a new APP pathway map into Attachment A, and add back in the WP elem map.

But they still aren't there.



Fishhead said...

Looks like Mr. Banda is going to do his job and make program placement. As far WS, APP/Spectrum sounds like a win for parents who don't want put their kids on a long bus ride. I can see it making APP parents nervous about dilution of their program, though. There was quite a blowout on the discussAPP blog about Washington parents being against a split for exactly that reason. Maybe this does foretell a change in APP district-wide. I notice APP north is not mentioned on this new plan.

Anonymous said...

Melissa -

Thanks for explaining that. Either I misunderstood your earlier comment, or I missed a clarification of your earlier comment.


Anonymous said...

Eden, I'm not sure what you mean by APP North not being in the plan. I assume you mean "the plan 3.0," the most recent one. Wasn't there a whole section about APP kids from the N and NW staying at Hamilton, and the kids from the NE going to Jane Addams (via the DeBell/Martin-Morris Amendment). Lincoln stays the APP North site for elementary. Maybe I misread the thing, or have become confused by shifting amendment numbers and appendices and general speculation. But my assumption has been that the big, immediate change involves pulling NE kids out of Hamilton and sending them to Addams, with the next round of changes happening in a few years. If you see something different, please let me know (because I hate the proposed plan!)


Anonymous said...


I'm under the impression Whitman dismantled its Spectrum program. Has it? Is "blended program" code for doing away with Spectrum?


Lynn said...

I really think staff should have put together a complete plan instead of leaving holes that may or may not be filled by amendments. This looks like they just gave up.

Stacy - what happens to APP North middle school students next year if that amendment doesn't pass?

Lynn said...


I don't know what it means. I don't think the Board knows either. (And yes, Whitman is moving from Spectrum classrooms to "differentiation" in mixed-ability classrooms.) If that actually happened, families wouldn't be going to the trouble to test their kids for Spectrum.

Anonymous said...

Ah! I see what you mean (though is there any expectation that it won't pass? Have any of the board members shown resistance? Has the larger APP community risen up?).


Anonymous said...

Like so many families, I have big decisions to make for my kids this February during open enrollment. I'm trying to understand the district intention as to if the Spectrum program will still also remain at Lafayette AND Arbor Heights, AND also at Fairmount Park APP/Spectrum blend. The FP boundary looks pretty small, the Lafayette boundary is big, and the AH Spectrum program has been notoriously capped and is not self contained. Does this perhaps indicate that they plan to only offer Spectrum at FP in an APP/Spectrum blend? Or maybe Spectrum only at Lafayette and FP, not AH? Just trying to read between lines.

@Lynn, the reason I said I like the idea of APP/Spectrum blend is strictly referring to my own personal situation. My family MAY choose to go the FP route because it may turn out to meet the needs of both my kids in WS at one school. Obviously I don't know what the blend would look like. I don't have the skill set to design Advanced learning programs. I have to be open to numerous possibilities in life and make the choice of where my kids needs will best be met.


Lynn said...


I read this on the APP blog:

I agree. It's as if they've wisely seen the light of day and backed off. Maybe there is now still hope that the 542-student north APP middle school body will not be split.

Obviously, it's best for program unity that DeBell & Martin-Morris's Amendment 4 should fail, thus leaving the north APP middle school placement decision to be made by Superintendent Banda sometime before open enrollment.

I'm not sure where DeBell and Martin-Morris will get those two extra votes they need. Right now, Patu may be APP's staunchest friend, although her Amendment 9 is so far limited to her own district. Carr did seem reconciled to a split, but also put in her own unsuccessful amendment to keep north APP middle school together during the meantime. Smith-Blum is on the record for waiting on advanced learning task force reports and avoiding student disruption. McLaren has made similar remarks, although no doubt those who favor a West Seattle elementary APP location are seeking her support. Peaslee might seem the most likely vote to support the DeBell/Martin-Morris Amendment 4 because of her own desire to break up north APP elementary, but even she has said she does want to minimise student disruption.

In sum, there may well be four or even five directors other than DeBell and Martin-Morris who would be much happier to have Superintendent Banda assign north Seattle APP middle school after advanced learning task force meetings and before open enrollment.

Frankly, this would really allow the APP-AC, the appointed task forces, and APP families to be heard much more clearly than being pulled willy nilly into the thick of this hectic growth boundaries process.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, just going to add one more thought--or would "Spectrum" level services be offered at FP APP/Spectrum blend and Spectrum at AH, but not Lafayette? Just thinking that FP and Lafayette feed to Madison, but AH goes to Denny. So would equitable access keep Spectrum level services in both MS areas in WS, North and South...FP and AH. Hmmmmm.... purely speulation. I will have to wait and see. But yes, does seem like Banda is going to step up to make the program placement decision.


Anonymous said...


It looks like you got your question answered, and here's the deal (which I probably don't need to repeat for you or anyone else whose spent any time on this blog):

APP elementary in the north is presently in Lincoln high school. these 600 1st-5th grader kids were promised a real elementary school in Wilson Pacific elementary during the BEX process, planned for 2017.

And now, there is NO mention of APP elementary going to WP elem in the plan.

If the amendments don't pass (which they might not), APP STILL does not get a home. This is year 3 in a "temp" location. it would be FINE with me if it became the permanent location, but the Nomad thing is draining on our kids and community.

Basically it looks like either split into one of two scenarios (into schools that don't have space and don't want APP) or continue being nomads are the options presently on the table.

Unless a board member steps up and adds an amendment.

The PTA has rallied and written a letter that basically repeats the same thing that's been said over and over...

But more rallying may be needed. Its just really hard because this community has been split and moved already so many times that everyone is really tired. I'm already tired and I just joined this party in September.


Anonymous said...

Oh, I get it. Mr. Banda is obviously not up to the job. He is clearly and utterly out of his depth and completely overwhelmed. So his strategy is to make this such a gigantic mess, such heaping dose of crazy, that our new mayor who is about to be sworn in, Ed Murray, will be chomping at the bit to get hold of Seattle public schools. Well done Banda! You've made it such an idiotic circus, there's no way Mr. Murray won't have enough ammunition to come after SPS now and take control.

That's the end game here, right? Because no superintendent in his right mind has three different versions with untold iterations hidden in nested documents that are unsearchable and exceedingly difficult to ferret out of a non-indexed website, and all done without community engagement WITH, as some sort of cherry on top, a Board the responds with more than 20 amendments, which themselves have been iterated several times over.

This is shameful.

Teaching and learning's performance has been abysmal. They know it's all about kids, right?

I can hardly wait for Mr. Murray to take over. He could not do any worse. NOBODY could.

-scared & scarred

Anonymous said...

Will admit up front. Super confused. Have been trying to figure out what the Staff proposals are for 2014-2015 since Friday. Was hoping that Attachment B would spell it out and alleviate the confusion. Sad to admit - still confused. I'm not trying to decipher the long term to 2020. Just what is being proposed by staff to happen next year! Not even attempting the amendments. Aach!

In the staff proposal there is no mention of where APP middle school will attend next year if you live in the Eckstein or JAMS areas. As no change is mentioned will they just attend Hamilton next year unless the HMM/MDB amendment passes? And even if the HMM/MDB amendment passes will the ominous and vague last paragraph hold sway and the Superintendent will declare last moment changes just prior to Open Enrollment?

The same with JAK-8. In the interim capacity document there are some items like JAK-8 moving to John Marshall next year in the "NOVEMBER 6 INTRO" column. But, in the "NOVEMBER 20 ACTION" column the verbatim wording is all in red and lined out.

There are other interim items such as "Interim Capacity Management - Central Region Middle School that are repeated verbatim in the "NOVEMBER 6 INTRO" column and the "NOVEMBER 20 ACTION" column "Keep students at Washington MS until Meany opens 2017-2018.

It gives the impression that items in red and lined out in the Nov. 20 column are not a part of the Nov. 20 vote for action. But, items repeated in both the Nov. 6 and Nov. 20 columns are included in the Nov. 20 vote for action?

Maybe, postpone this vote until the next Board meeting and give staff a day or few to get some sleep?

As they exist the BARS do not make sense. Even if there is a verbal explanation otherwise, what is in writing will rule if there is a disagreement. For our Board Directors - please make sure that what you have been told or explained verbally is clearly outlined in writing before voting yes.



Normal said...

I'm tired of the constant whinning about App/Spectrum debate from mostly north end parents. They wonder why south end parents consider them elitists.

Lynn said...

Normal - So how are the boundary changes affecting your neighborhood? Are you happy with them?

Anonymous said...

"Students ingrades 1-5 who live in the new attendance area are grandfathered, but will be assigned to Laurelhurst if they apply during Open Enrollment through September 30"

What does that mean? I see the same terminology used for grandfathering throughout the document. Does it mean that students who are currently in the boundaries (1-5) but won't be after the change can go to Laurelhurst, but only if they apply through open enrollment? So, say, you're a 2nd grader who lives in an area that will be drawn out of Laurelhurst: if you do nothing? (-> to new school) but if you fill out open enrollment forms (-> stay at Laurelhurst)? I find the words themselves confusing, not to mention the plan.


Anonymous said...

Is the spectrum program at JA K-8 considered a "blended" model?

- North-end Mom

Lynn said...


I think that's an area that is being added to Laurelhurst. So if you live in that area and are attending another school, you can stay at your current school. You can decide to switch to Laurelhurst anytime through September 30th.

Anonymous said...

@North-End Mom,

Yes, it's blended at JA K-8.


Anonymous said...

Someone needs to define what a blended model. Great that it is being done at JA K-8, but how is it distinguishes it from gen ed.?


Anonymous said...

"Someone needs to define what a blended model. Great that it is being done at JA K-8, but how is it distinguishes it from gen ed.?"

I meant to say define a blended model please and exactly how is it being done a JA K-8 that distinguishes it from gen. ed.

My apologies for the first attempt. I Hit publish before edit aack


Joe said...

Blended means cluster-grouped according to the AL webpage.

Lynn said...


Where did you find that? All I see is:

On APP - Service delivery is through a self-contained program during grades 1-8.

On Spectrum - Bring district-identified students together through self-contained or cluster-grouping strategies to form classroom rosters.

dw said...

Joe said: Blended means cluster-grouped according to the AL webpage.

Which means nothing in SPS. "Cluster grouping" by the literature (Brulles) means something very clear and specific. "Cluster grouping" at some schools (Wedgwood) essentially means mixing everyone up randomly to avoid any clustering, because the principal doesn't believe in the benefits. He used the terminology to very effectively dissolve Spectrum at his school, so don't believe what you read without details.

Lynn said...

If the district splits middle school APP into enough pieces, he'll have an excuse to do it at Wilson Pacific Middle School too.

dw said...

Lynn asked AL: What is the APP/Spectrum model - and what do you like about it? Will it be different in any way from the current Lafayette Spectrum program which also serves both Spectrum and APP students?

AL's response: Lynn, the reason I said I like the idea of APP/Spectrum blend is strictly referring to my own personal situation. My family MAY choose to go the FP route because it may turn out to meet the needs of both my kids in WS at one school. Obviously I don't know what the blend would look like. I don't have the skill set to design Advanced learning programs. I have to be open to numerous possibilities in life and make the choice of where my kids needs will best be met.

This all sounds well and good from a naive perspective. Sorry. Of course you should do what's best for your own kids, that's a given. What's not a given is that you'll have anything different from what's in WS already, and it helps push APP down its path of dissolution.

The blend will, at the very best look just like Lynn said, i.e. Spectrum, with a blend of APP-qualified kids (if you're lucky). That model works for some kids and families, but the important thing to understand is that IT IS NOT APP! It's Spectrum with a mix of APP-qualified kids. Not the same thing at all, and that option already exists in WS and other areas.

Could another WS school attempt to beef up their Spectrum program to "compete" with Lafayette? Sure, and I'd support that in a heartbeat. But to call some undefined, optional, who-knows-what "APP" is misinformed, mislabeling, and let's be honest, agenda-based. It's the label that's the problem.

The reason none of us should be supporting these splits and "optional" buildings is that it's clear the district is trying to eliminate APP. Factions within the district staff and administration have been trying to do this for years. They have finally found a strategy that works, which is to keep stuffing more kids into the program and splitting it at every available opportunity. What looks good to you (the "APP" label in your neighborhood), is nothing of the sort, but it does help to dissolve APP, the program, city wide. I wish more people understood the full ramifications.

ArchStanton said...'s clear the district is trying to eliminate APP. [...] What looks good to you (the "APP" label in your neighborhood), is nothing of the sort, but it does help to dissolve APP, the program, city wide.

After they've finished putting APP in every school, maybe we can get a new, small, stand-alone program that serves the highly gifted at the nth percentile.

/Not helping, I know, I know...

Anonymous said...

Sharon Peaslee's latest APP clarification, reposted from the APP blog.


Just received this in response to my email to district staff and board members:

I am not proposing a three way split of elementary APP in the north end. I am proposing one north APP elementary program east of I-5, in addition to the one that will stay at Lincoln until Wilson Pacific is built (2017). The confusion has come from the fact that I posted two amendments so that staff could vet both to determine which would work better. I will propose only one at the School Board meeting on Nov 20.

Staff recommended an APP program at Olympic Hills in earlier versions of the Capacity and Boundary plans. This recommendation is fully consistent with the letter sent out by Superintendent Banda on Sept. 28. (

As an alternative to this recommendation I have asked that they consider Thornton Creek. I proposed this as an amendment because many APP students live in the area around Thornton Creek and we are building a larger school on that site. However, staff has recently informed me that capacity in this area would make it impossible to fit an APP program in the new school. I plan to withdraw this amendment at the School Board meeting on Nov 20.

Since staff has already recommended an APP program at Olympic Hills it’s clear that this is feasible, although I’m still waiting to hear if it will require some adjustments to current boundary proposals. Even if this is the case I will put forth this amendment for a vote by the Board on Nov 20.

All APP programs throughout SPS are within larger schools, with the exception of the program at Lincoln, which is an interim situation. APP within larger schools aligns with our Highly Capable Policy- D12.00, with “program sites distributed geographically and among clusters to provide equitable opportunities for program access.” It also makes it possible for APP students to be, “main streamed with other students for non-core academic subjects such as music, art, and physical education, and shall be encouraged to interact with other students through tutoring and other activities.” (Policy D12.00)

An all APP elementary school does not align with these policies or with the Mission of our Strategic Plan, which ensures “equitable access, closing the opportunity gaps and excellence in education for every student.” An APP program at Wilson Pacific, within a larger elementary school aligns with our policies. Creating a second program within a larger school on the east side of I-5 also aligns. This is the plan proposed in each of my amendments.

Staff is in the process of developing an Advanced Learning Plan for the district, but it’s not ready now. This plan must ensure the stability of all our advanced learning programs so that they are not repeatedly moved and split. However we need to accomplish this in alignment with our policies and Strategic Plan so that all eligible students have access to APP, and so that APP students have access to non-core academic subjects with other students who are not in APP.

If you would like to read the posted amendments here are the link:

Amendment 5 to Action Item 7: Elementary APP pathway to Wilson Pacific and Olympic Hills

Amendment 6 to Action Item 7: Elementary APP pathway to Wilson Pacific and Thornton Creek

Sharon Peaslee

Seattle School Board Director

Lynn said...

The worst thing about this is: "shall be encouraged to interact with other students through tutoring and other activities." Can you think of anything less likely to foster good relationships between groups in a school? Let the adults teach and the children learn.

Anonymous said...

This language comes from Special Education, which is the basis for gifted education.

The least restrictive environment means that students will be in the company of their peers to the utmost extent possible, except when the placement is detrimental to the child or others. This is also the foundation for public schools.

No one is forcing friendships here, but being in the company of peers is consistent with being part of the community. Private schools are for those who are seeking exclusivity.

--enough already

Lynn said...

Here you go enough already:

Grouping gifted children is one of the foundations of exemplary gifted education practice. The research on the many grouping strategies available to educators of these children is long, consistent, and overwhelmingly positive (Rogers, 2006; Tieso, 2003). Nonetheless, the “press” from general educators, both teachers and administrators, has been consistently less supportive. Myths abound that grouping these children damages the self-esteem of struggling learners, creates an “elite” group who may think too highly of themselves, and is actually undemocratic and, at times, racist. None of these statements have any founding in actual research, but the arguments continue decade after decade (Fiedler, Lange, & Winebrenner, 2002).

From an NAGC position paper.

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

One Parent says:

I am reposting the above comment because it violated the blog's Name Policy. Really, I am reposting it because it says almost exactly what I posted on the APP Blog a few minutes ago. Great Minds Think Alike? :-) I will repost my own APP thoughts shortly. Here is the above comment again:

Anonymous said...
What about the least restrictive environment and serving students close to where they live whenever possible? DO all students who are APP qualified really need to be segregated from all other students all day (even other AL students) and moved out of their communities to be served? Some may absolutely need this and should have it. I recall comments suggesting that some APP students' academic needs were not being met because they were being held back by APP students flooding in who could have been well served in a quality Spectrum or ALO program. Imagine you have a early elementary APP qualified student at a neighborhood school in WS that is good at what it does but has no AL, no walk to math, nothing. Imagine you are very involved in your children's schools, but don't have a private vehicle or a flexible schedule to get to PTA meetings, etc. outside your community. For these families an APP program in WS is a long-awaited solution. APP at FP will not be like applying for the self-contained Spectrum at Lafayette because if a student qualifies they will get access and because it will be an actual APP program. If a design team and planning principal are put in place now they can select a staff, school policies, scheduling, library, and technology that will support a strong APP program. No parent who supports WS APP wants to dismantle APP, they want access to a working AL program without sacrificing many many hours of family-time and playtime for their children each week like the rest of this city has. They want their family to be able to take part in a school community that serves their children even if they aren't economically privileged enough to easily commute across town, and don't already live in the "right" zipcodes. Another side


Anonymous said...

Here are my own reposted thoughts.

This latest APP plan is clear as mud. That said, I am not concerned about APP remaining self-contained if that means leaving it in one school per area. I am glad the district is shaking up the current format.

I would like APP to be available at all middle schools. I would like advanced learning opportunities in math and language arts to be available at all grade schools.

At the grade school level, I do not care if the classes are APP-identified together with opt in or teacher recommended.

I quite like the idea of grade school kids being able to access either/or advanced reading/math classes, as development profiles can be quite uneven in the grade school years.

This final boundary plan looks to be moving the delivery of APP in my preferred direction. I wish the district were more forthcoming with their thoughts, because this is an awful process for current APP families. But the end result in a few years may be more accelerated classes offered to more students closer to where they live. That is great.

One Parent

Charlie Mas said...

The Board contends that they took back the authority to place APP and International Education programs with the NSAP. That appears to be the case. A review of the annual transition plan for the NSAP shifts these decisions from decisions about program placement to decisions about "feeder patterns". The Board, by taking authority for "feeder patterns", took authority for the placement of any programs that extend from elementary to middle school or from middle school to high school. Those decisions are now made as "feeder pattern" decisions in the context of the assignment plan rather than as program placement decisions.

This only applies to APP and language immersion because, as the transition document states, they are guaranteed assignments.

Lynn said...

I think some APP students' academic needs aren't being met because APP teachers are not required to differentiate instruction based on their student's needs any more than any teacher is.

Before you enroll your child in an APP/Spectrum hybrid program, be sure to find out how many grades will be included in the classroom and which curriculum will be used. Will the 2nd grade APP students be using 2nd, 3rd or 4th grade science kits?

I hope the program does work for the children who enroll. Getting in on the planning team will be important - as will choosing a principal whose vision for the program is acceptable to you. An undefined program like this one is defined by the principal.

Charlie Mas said...

Director Peaslee is mistaken in quoting Policy D12.00. That policy was suspended by a vote of the Board on January 29, 2009 and was never re-instated. There is no governing policy for Highly Capable programs.

Lynn said...

One Parent,

Yes - I too want advanced math, science, language arts and social studies classes available at every middle school. Students should be able to take as many of those classes are they want and are prepared for.

It's fine with me too if APP-eligible elementary students stay in their neighborhood school and depend on their principals and teachers to meet their educational needs.

You're describing ALOs. Go ahead and ask the district to provide real ALOs at all schools - but please don't call it APP.
District staff will absolutely use that as an opportunity to get rid of APP. You don't have to destroy APP to create a program that meets the needs of other kids.

Anonymous said...

Olympic Hills is within Director Peaslee's district (District 1), but I see nothing in her response indicating that her proposal to place APP at Olympic Hills was presented to, or vetted by, the Olympic Hills BLT or PTA.

There are, in fact, several comments in the Growth Boundaries public feedback indicating that APP at Olympic Hills is not compatible with inclusive methodologies already in place at Olympic Hills, as well as how the boundaries needed to accommodate APP at Olympic Hills (Growth Boundaries version 1, Sept 17) bisect the Olympic Hills neighborhood, and restrict neighborhood children from access to the new building.

Olympic Hills has approximately 73% FRL, and a high proportion of non-English-speaking families. It is a vulnerable community, and it is a community that is not able to voice opposition as loudly as the more vocal and organized neighborhoods of NE Seattle.

If Director Peaslee is concerned about access to advanced learning throughout the NE, then perhaps a better cause would be to advocate for a strong Spectrum program at Olympic Hills, when space is available in the new building (2017).

As it will take a while for the new Spectrum program at Olympic Hills to establish, she could advocate NOW for the inclusion of a Spectrum feeder school at JAMS, in order help JAMS be a successful, well-rounded comprehensive middle school.

Director Peaslee's most recent community meeting was held September 5th, prior to the release of Growth Boundaries Version 1. I am concerned that Director Peaslee is losing touch with her constituents, especially those whose children attend neighborhood attendance-area schools within her district.

IMO, the amendment to place APP at Olympic Hills should be withdrawn, because it proposes to dramatically alter the culture and programming of an established school community, Olympic Hills Elementary, without proper engagement with that school community.

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

So if Mr. Banda insists on placing programs like APP, will the board seek his removal? What does the board cite as justification for assuming program placement is their duty?

Anonymous said...

@ Lynn: Respectfully, I believe you are missing the point. 'One Parent' is directly saying dismantle the current APP delivery model. Spread the wealth of access.

I for one agree. I am willing to lose an APP cohesive cohort in favor of nearby access to the service. I would much rather have all my kids served in the same building. I do not need my children to be self-contained with other APPers. I want them to have a wide variety of friends.

With APP curriculum distributed throughout SPS, ultimately, it means APP kids would not be pushed around on space available reasoning, because they would already be in their neighborhood schools, along with their Gen Ed and SPED peers.

No more ridiculous enrollment machinations that harm all segments of learners.

No more special transportation trips.

And capital building plans (grow, contract)that are matched to the needs of the nearby residents.


I guess my rambling is to say that not everyone in the APP community is sold on "The APP Community". Some of us just want the service of accelerated learning.

I do agree with you, though, that the district needs to get this current mess and future direction straightened out and communicated pronto.

Another Parent

Lynn said...

Another Parent,

That was a lovely list of what you want, what you need and what you are willing to take away from other people's children to get your wish list fulfilled.

Can you spare a moment to share what happens in that scenario to the children who need more than "accelerated instruction?" Really - if APP is the only thing that works for a kid, where do they go now?

If what you want is APP curriculum in every neighborhood, have you considered having your child skip a grade or two? This would get them the exact curriculum they would receive in APP - without creating ridiculous scheduling machinations that would harm all segments of learners.

Anonymous said...

Wow Lynn. I did not say take APP away. I did not say take the idea of 2 years advancement away. I said take the standalone delivery model away. There are pros and cons to my idea as there are to yours. No one answer will be perfect for all families. I am aware of this. Are you?

You post continuously on every single thread these days and I thought, as we're coming down to this final board meeting, that having a different perspective from the same community would be a good discussion point.

Your hostility and your entitlement to wanting the program to look exactly like it does right now does not leave much room for conversation.

Nor does it make you much of a public advocate for a level of learning that extends beyond your own kid. No wonder the district tunes out APP parents.

Wow. Just wow.

Another Parent

Anonymous said...

Another Parent
Wow, I can say that to you also. Just wow.
Because what you say is showing me that you don't have a true outlier student whose educational needs couldn't be met in the neighbor school.
I have one and I tried and I know it is impossible. And I also know we are not the only ones. That is why I am leaving SPS now before it is too late.
Sad but true

Lynn said...

Sigh. That was more hostile than necessary. I'm sorry.

What I'm trying to say is that some kids absolutely need the current program. Please consider that when you're advocating for getting rid of the current program.

For other kids, I can see your perspective. I do think every middle school should be required to offer separate honors classes in all the core subjects. I think at many middle schools, you wouldn't be able to come up with enough kids ready to work two years ahead to make up more than one class - and that would be a major scheduling problem.

Isn't there a way we can meet the needs of the kids in both groups? If we work on getting those classes set up at every middle school, families could choose which works best for them. The self-contained program would shrink and would be less of a problem to house.

Julie said...

Another Parent,

Ideally, APP in neighborhood schools existing harmoniously together would be great and would save many families from sending their kids on long bus rides. However, I don't know how long your child has been APP but there has been a long battle fought by successive APP parents trying to keep the educational integrity of the APP program intact as they get kicked and split and then kicked to the curbside again due to over-crowding in neighborhood schools.

The ideal APP program you and others describe resembles Spectrum/ALO program more than APP. That is probably what you should be advocating for in your neighborhood school.

What many APP parents fear when ideas like yours finds support is that APP will go the way of Spectrum/ALO - fade and basically be compromised to non-existance. The APP program in the north is not what it was before the split. It is beginning to get its bearings and figure out a way to deliver the APP education it is supposed to. Is it too much to ask that it be given some reprieve to strengthen its program before splitting it to be sent to foster homes?

If you try splitting the program into tiny bite size pieces just so no one has to do longer bus rides, you basically destroy the program. If you doubt, look at the history of Spectrum and see how it is implemented or NOT implemented in the district.

If the SPS delivers on real spectrum and ALO throughout the district, I think you will get what you are looking for, as will many other APP families who want to remain in their neighborhood schools. And those who truly need APP can stay in APP school as they should.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever seen this Equitable Access Framework slide deck from Spring 2013? It seems to present some guiding principles to how they are approaching the boundaries redraw:

Equitable Access Framework

Ann D.

June said...

Not to pile on, but the "large cohort is the only way my kid can learn" mantra gets to sounding hollow when you dismiss out of hand any alternative. The cohort is what keeps us out of APP, that and the distance. We parents who have APP qualified kids but don't want to switch schools would greatly benefit from having more APP at neighborhood schools. How exactly would your kid(s) suffer from such a plan, Lynn?

Anonymous said...

But Another Parent, that is what we supposedly have -ALOs, and differentiated eduction in every classroom. It obviously does my work for a lot of kids, otherwise they would stay in their neighborhood schools, so it is hard to see how this is anything but less for kids who currently go to APP.

Are you still in your neighborhood school? What good would not having self contained APP do for you? Do you just want those kids back in class with your kid? Even if it's bad for them? Or are you at APP and want to be back in your neighborhood school? If so, maybe you should try it. The district already offers what you are suggesting, so if it is currently working the way it will always work. I think with the right principal, small class sizes, right philosophy, and right teachers, it can work. But since the district doesn't really like to focus energy on advanced learners (except during capacity crises), those supports are in short supply here.


wendy ostenson said...

This is really out of control and a terrible way to allocate resources and kids. With all these board amendments and last minute changes, driven by surveys and mass parent letter writing campaigns, I can't help but feel like it's a bit like viewer voting on the Voice. Maybe we should all hashtag #SPSWTF. I am truly frustrated and have lost confidence that anything but the loudest and most aggressive approach to get what I want is the only option for my kids. What about taking care of all kids? What about equity? Right now, it's all noise and politics.
In Green Lake

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of APP parents would be very open to having the district build a program that people could opt into, and then people can see how well it works and how successful it is, ala Ingraham. But they/we have an obviously healthy amount of skepticism over the district shutting down a program that is working for many kids and "promising" another one they are thinking of will be better, and the old one isn't going to be an option for people to choose anymore(ala Wedgwood Spectrum- many more of those kids are at APP now). Just make that program first, and then see how many kids still go to APP. If you're right, and that is better for more kids, APP will shrink considerably, and everyone will be happier.


Anonymous said...

Sleeper,you want your cake and you want to eat it. If, say 75 to 80% of cohortted APP were put back in neighborhood schools there would be big enough groups to make cluster grouping work. The rigor won't show up until the kids are there. Maybe you're new to the district, but things are not done in advance with the red carpet rolled out before things begin. It may take a year or even two to get it all together, but that's what we call sharing the pain when we're all in public school together. We APP parents who don't want to switch schools deserve rigor as well and your leaving does have an impact. When there is only one or two kids who can work two years ahead per grade that doesn't make a cluster and they get short changed. Why don't parents who want to stay put get the same opportunities. Why should we have to pack our kids up to get a challenging education for them? That is unfair.

Lynn said...


Is it fair to override other families's decisions about their children's needs to make your life more convenient?

Melissa Westbrook said...

One interesting thing I note is that Director DeBell has done something I've never seen before with his amendment for Dearborn Park.

He wants it to be an "attendance area school" with an international focus for kindergarten. And then, NEXT year decide if the whole school goes international.

First, I'll check with Tracy Libros, but I don't think this has been done before. Second, the big money for int'l IS in year one so we spend this money and then decide, "never mind." Three, I see this as a sop to DP families who had zero input on this but really, once they have started down this road, they're going to stay on it.

Anonymous said...

I am the opposite of new to the district, and what I am proposing is exactly what happened with Ingraham. Sharing the pain is what people invoke when they want someone else's kid to endure pain so they get what they want. More kids who are advanced at certain elementary schools does not currently help those parents get rigor or other differentiation, (Bryant, anyone?)so putting more kids there who are APP qualified without a program just means fewer kids get served. Lots of schools only have a kid or two who is APP qualified overall; are those kids just stuck? I have one kid who is 5 or 6 years ahead in an area of strength, and can only be served in a cohort that draws from the whole north end, because there wouldn't be enough kids like him in just the small app qualified group from our neighborhood. But there are at Lincoln- not a lot of kids, but some ( similar for kids with other areas of strength like this).

Rigor is a top down decision- your principal sets the tone. Parents have very little impact. If you don't have a supportive one, don't just ask other people to share your misery- move, or supplement.


Anonymous said...

There is a whole lot of room between ALO at every school and only 1 APP program for the SW & the rest of the south when the SW is cut off by bridge bottlenecks. A lot of the comments to the district against splitting APP acknowledged that a WS split might be necessary to reach students who are not at all served by the current model. Learning how to get along with or at least be civil to people who have different needs and perspectives is an important part of schooling too even when its inconvenient. -SPKparent

Anonymous said...

Just a comment about putting APP students at more schools: if APP serves the top 2% (or even the top 5%) of students, that means that a school with 80 kids per grade would only have 2-4 APP kids per grade on average. Some grades would have 0-1 and others might have 5-6.

The reason that you group APP students together is that it's much more efficient for the district and works out better for the kids.


Lynn said...

There are more changes to the agenda - directors are withdrawing four amendments and adding two.

Anonymous said...

Using a Special Education model for gifted involves a continuum of services. The Brulles model is based on the IEP delivery system, as it should be.

A continuum of services means that some students with stronger needs go to a designated school that has services for their needs (which is the equivalent of clustering and, for the most gifted, self- contained). However, they participate in PE, lunch, etc. in which they can interact with same age peers to the greatest extent possible. Only in the most extreme cases are students removed entirely from their peers and put into a separate school.

Lynn, your tendency to pigeon-hole people who don't agree with you has caused you to miss my point entirely, it seems.

--enough already

Anonymous said...

Page 3 of the Intermediate Capacity Management Plan was just edited. I suspect the intent was to include the language re: opening JAMS with a full 6/7/8 next year (which had been deleted in the earlier version for some reason), but it looks like there's a typo. As it currently reads, JAMS won't have any students next year! It reads:

"Assign JAMS and Eckstein APP 6, 7, & 8 to Eckstein in 2014-15."



Anonymous said...

There are 10-12% of students in the northend who are APP. That's over 100 per middle school. And sleeper, your altruism is exceeded only by your humility. If you have a child actually doing schoolwork 5-6 years above age-based grade level, then you indeed have need for special self-contained environment with other students of comparable ability. Are you maybe referring to MAP scores? Cause 5 or 6 years ahead is pretty common.


Anonymous said...

10 -12 percent? Someone said 4 percent. In an earlier thread someone said "no APP parent is advocating for the top 10 to 30 percent to be removed from the Gen Ed classroom." But it seems to me some people are. It's 10 - 12 percent and getting bigger? My neighborhood school (which I understand is an anomaly, and I say, "good!" But they have been endorsed by Charile and Melissa as the only school doing Spectrum right) has a fullly self contained program and you have to test in in K or no chance of getting in, no opportunities for those who are ahead in one area and average in another, crazy splits that don't make sense for the Gen Ed kids, a dearth of girls in the Gen Ed program after 3rd grade. It's 30 percent and getting bigger. I have no doubt there are some kids (Sleeper's son who is doing work 5 - 6 grade levels ahead) who need a self contained program. My kids need not to be in a second tier program and need access to more advanced work. If APP in the North end is 10 - 12 percent and getting bigger, we are headed toward a two tiered system.
That's bad for our school system. If that many kids are that bright surely we can increase the overall rigor of the system! My kids can do more!

Gen Ed Mom

Anonymous said...

Teacher, I can't speak for sleeper, but I have a kid 5-6 years ahead in a strength area, too. Not MAP scores ahead, but coursework ahead. It's not common, but there are definitely kids out there. Kids like these only have a chance of finding a cohort in a program that draws from a wide pool, much larger than the neighborhood.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the heads up Lynn and HIMSmom,

Good golly, if I were staff I'd probably be laying on the floor doing the hysterical laughing/crying thing right now.

The agenda is looking very pretty. Today's color is purple!


Anonymous said...

This is why I remain anonymous on this blog. No, I'm not referring to MAP scores; I do mean coursework. There are some kids who are far enough ahead that a cohort of 6 instead of a cohort of 2 is not going to help them find their peers, and they have to go to a half city draw place to find some. There are not that many at Lincoln in the same grade, with the same area of strength, but at least there are some in a similar zone, and they work together sometimes, and it is a huge relief. I imagine it is the same for families with kids with other areas of somewhat uncommon strength.

10-12% is Hamilton, middle school, and only that middle school. It's an outlier. Elementary is a smaller percentage. People want to stay in their neighborhoods, until that doesn't work. Overall 4% of the district is APP.

And the Brulles system recommends a slightly lower same cut off we do- 97th percentile- and calls that "extreme." She also only recommends any kind of clustering in districts that are too small to support self contained, which she recommends as the standard.


Lynn said...

enough already,

Thank you for the clarification. I did miss that connection. (What I have read on the LRE as it relates to special education services doesn't include any mention of peer tutoring though.)

Isn't the LRE required in special education to provide the greatest benefit to the child with a disability? Can you help me understand who benefits from mixing highly capable and other students in PE and music classes?

I have read a bit on Brulles's school district. They do provide a range of services to gifted students. They do it by employing the following personnel to support Gifted Education Services in the District:

Gifted Education Specialists at each elementary school
Gifted Cluster Teachers at each elementary school
Gifted Education Liaisons at each middle and high school
Self-contained Gifted Program Teachers at the elementary and middle school levels
Self-contained Teachers for the Uniquely Gifted Program at the elementary and middle school levels
Honors, Advanced Placement, & International Baccalaureate Teachers, K-12
Administrative Assistant
Gifted Testing Technicians

It probably is possible to educate a portion of our APP students in their neighborhood schools. It's expensive though. I'm really defensive about this issue for good reason. APP is the program in Seattle Public Schools that it's OK to hate. There is just no way the district is going to hire the necessary staff and reduce class sizes to make cluster-grouping of highly capable children in every school work. APP is a really inexpensive program - I think APP @ Lincoln has the lowest per-student budget in the district. Is the cost of replacing it with another model the best use of district funds?

Anonymous said...

I don't expect APP kids or even Spectrum-level kids to be served in all neighborhood schools. Some like mine are already serving other groups with programs integrated within the gen ed classrooms (ELL & SPED) and students from other surrounding schools who don't have those programs in their neighborhood schools are assigned here. It is a short bus ride or drive for them. Our school serves multiple schools' areas for these programs so those other schools don't have to focus on meeting all students' needs. It would be unfair to our teachers to ask them to do an additional AL programs especially since they already do more than most with the current programs which are not self-contained. Several of those nearby neighborhood schools that send their ELL or SPED students to other schools have more of an advanced learning focus either officially with Spectrum or unofficially with enough kids ahead in each grade to have advanced math offerings. There is no guaranteed access to those programs unless you live in the right location. They are very popular even for students who don't need or use AL so people outside the neighborhood (especially those who have no sibling preference) can not reliably get in. Some kids clearly need to go farther to find their peers if that is crucial to their learning environment, but that doesn't mean every student needs to. The district will now be offering an APP option for 12 elementary schools who had none nearby. I think that is a good idea. I also think making it optional so those who need a half-city draw to find peers will find each other at TM is great too. Trying to put APP or Spectrum in every school would not make sense, just like we don't put ELL in every school. However, we guarantee access at reasonable distances to those students who need it and the same should be true for AL whenever possible. Also adding APP or Spectrum to an existing school community through no choice of their own is different from building a new school with AL in the plan. I see firsthand at my neighborhood school how kids benefit from being in a diverse learning community. I also see the benefits of having parents who live a short distance away who can easily volunteer at the school. I don't think those positive factors should be given up lightly unless there is no other way to meet AL needs. I understand that is the case for some APP students but for others whether you have access to any AL in your region shouldn't be a lottery. -WSKparent

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

From a newly-revamped Pinehurst closure amendment 3 (housing of Pinehurst and Indian Heritage at Lincoln for 2 years), an explanation of why Pinehurst K-8 and Indian Heritage should not be housed at John Marshall with Jane Addams K-8.

"The Building Leadership Team of JA-K8 has mapped classroom usage when they relocate to John Marshall, finding that no classrooms will be available.
There is no information to substantiate that cost savings would be greater locating this program at John Marshall vs Lincoln.
• It should also be noted that the BLT of Jane Addams K-8 has already considered “whether to incorporate any of the instructional strategies, vision, mission, cultures, values and expectations in use at Pinehurst K-8 should be applied to Jane Addams K-8” as recommended in the BAR. The BLT determined that the two programs are fundamentally different and distinct in pedagogy and there is no gain for either program to attempt a partnered or blended model. Even the BAR contradicts this recommendation, as follows: “Instructional Analysis: It has been suggested that the Pinehurst program become a “program within a school” at either Thornton Creek or Jane Addams K-8, or Wilson-Pacific. This is not recommended. The concept behind option schools is that each school offers a unique alternative to the attendance schools in each region. Thus, merging two option schools is the most incongruous combination possible; by definition they are more different from one another than two attendance area schools would be. Not only do option schools have different visions, missions, cultures, values, behavior expectations, academic approaches – option schools have defined these beliefs into their identities as well as into their program. Unique identities are what makes each school special.”

-optioned out

Lynn said...


But even 100 kids at a middle school is just one classroom per grade. If you send them to their neighborhood school, they'd have to take their four core classes with the same students every year. That seems very limiting socially. No middle school attendance area had enough students in each grade to make up two classes.

Lynn said...

Exclusione Costse,

Not very nice - and you missed my point. If you want to educate highly capable students in their neighborhoods, using cluster grouping, it will be more expensive. You'll need smaller classes and you'll need teachers with special training and gifted program staff to advise those teachers. The current program is the most cost-efficient way to educate these children.

Anonymous said...


The argument you make is funny considering the arguments that have been made for keeping spectrum self-contained.

-been there.

Anonymous said...

I think most educators are onboard with a self-contined model for students working five or more grade levels above their age group. But how many are there of those in the district? A few dozen?
That's where APP needs to head, serving strongly outlying kids. I agree 80% could be sent back to neighborhoods and cluster grouped or blocked with other strong students blended( that word strikes fear like miscegenation does to Umar Johnson) together. And all Brulles 's "specialists" are just regular teachers with some PD on gifted.
Keep the HC kids who cannot be accommodated, like sleepers 6 grade level above student, in APP self-contained. That is precisely the student we want to help. That is truly a special need. Working two years ahead is not.

Anonymous said...

If anything sleeper, I would think you would want a smaller more selective program of self-contained. Six years ahead in any subject is not offered to the cohort. Those kids, presumably one is yours, go off campus for instruction. Ther wasn't even three year ahead math until last year at middle school! Having six year ahead student with two year ahead students is akin to regular APP two year ahead kids being in self contained classes with kids two years below grade level. A smaller program would be a godsend to your student and every other who is at that level.
Eagle Scout

Anonymous said...

Splitting the cohort is the worst thing for those kids, I think, because then they have no access to each other. Of I was queen, we would do this:
No splitting right now.
Walk tos standard in every school, for reading and math, up to three years ahead if the school is big enough.
Some kind of mandate from the district that schools have a plan for advanced learners aside from extra report cards and another worksheet, with some kind of stick if you don't do it. A plan for k-5, pathway for middle school.
After two years of this, ratchet up APP qualifications, 98+ on all 3. No retesting kids in the program, but for new kids, to minimize disruption. This is still probably slightly lower than absolutely necessary, but the test is a little squishy, and then assuming there is more rigor in neighborhood schools, fewer parents are going to choose to send their kids elsewhere- really just if it's clear they need it.
I have been poking around, and it seems like in other places that have appeals, the private appeal cut off is higher than the school cut off. I wonder if that is an option. I want to school cut off to err on the side of inclusion, so be a little low, but private appeals should be more accurate. Or to put it better- an appeal to get in should have the cut off be who we think it most necessary to serve, not kids who get captured by the fuzz at the margins because of group tests. Free appeals for up to 200% FRL, not just FRL.

What I don't think we should do is just dismantle the program that is the only option that works at all for many families because there is theoretically another way to do it. The program has grown because the district has systematically abolished advanced learning all over the district. On here the venom is saved for APP, but at the district level ANY advanced learning is segregation, special for this kid whose parents obviously cheated somehow, suspect, bad, not allowed until all other kids catch up. Parents are powerless to fight that in individual schools, and until the district decides to turn that around, APP is going to be the only place to serve kids who are ahead at all. So there will be overwhelming demand, and who can blame those parents? Their kids actually aren't being and won't be served in their neighborhood schools, even if it's possible they could be, under some other regime.

This will sound hopelessly naive, but I actually think if McCleary really happens, and class sizes get smaller, we'll see enormous improvement in both how advanced learners get served in neighborhood schools and who chooses self contained right there, even with nothing else.


Lori said...

Here's a question for the task forces.

I recently heard that the group CogAT testing uses the grade level for the norm rather than age. That is, all first graders, regardless of age, are compared to the national sample of first graders who took the test and comprise the normed group.

If true, does this bias the outcome toward older kids? You could have a child who was held back and starts Kindergarten at age 6, but a child who just turned 5 on August 31 might be in that same class.

With private testing, I believe that children are compared to other children their same age, right down to year and month.

As someone who likes looking at numbers, I'm curious if the appeal rate is higher for the young-for-grade kids versus the old-for-grade kids and whether this is something worth changing in the future (ie, evaluate kids versus age peers, not grade peers)

Anonymous said...

@ Lori, who told you that SPS uses grade norms rather than age norms? In the past SPS used the age norms.


Lori said...

Interested, it was another parent who is involved in district issues. Maybe it's not correct.

I'll put this on my list of questions for Stephen Martin, who is visiting Lincoln for a Q&A some time in December.

Also, any task force members our there who read this, please look into it! Thanks.

George said...

Evaluation tecniques drive every AL program. When AL says all they do is assessments, they're really saying they gate-keep. Tests done at age level, or below or above grade level, make huge differences in program size. Some possibilities coming out of the current task force should be giving tests normed for a younger age as a form of affirmative action to underrepresented groups and having other kids add six months to their age for testing purposes. Without changing tests numbers of kids can be manipulated easily.
Then of course they have to decide what happens when you get designation.

Need therapy said...


I have a kid with a summer birthday in 3rd grade at Lincoln. We sent our kid to school on time, meaning started Kindergarten at 5 years old. The vast majority of kids in the same class at Lincoln are 9-14 months older than my child. This always made me wonder about the testing so I inquired. So, I know how the testing works. Yes, it definitely benefits children older for their grade.

The MAP scores, which are the gatekeepers to further testing, are GRADE based. If a kid with a May birthday is held back from starting K at 5 years old, that kid is 14 months older than many children who start on time. The parents think their kid is brilliant due to high MAP scores and have them CoGat tested. The CoGat test is AGE based within 3 months of the kid's bday. This is where the private testing comes into play so often.

Here's the example: little Johnny doesn't make the 98th eCoGat cut-off, but the parents think the kid is brilliant based on the MAP scores. Something must be amiss so they have him privately tested just for the CoGat. Who can blame those parents since the teachers (that I've encountered) don't even know how the AL testing system works.

Much of this would work itself out if testing didn't start until later. My experience is the benefits from holding a kid back start to disappear by mid-elementary school. Of course a kid who starts K at 6 years old will crush the K MAP test getting them a label that stays forever if they are in ALO/Spectrum/APP.

On another note, my other kid is GenEd at our neighborhood school. The math placement is a total crock-of-****. Once placed, kids stay on that track and there is no room for other kids. This placement happens at the beginning of 1st grade and is based on a 10 question test! Many of the kids in the advanced math are the PTA Board kids or kids with older siblings. They know how the system works and game it to get their kid into the class. Parents of 3rd graders at our school have been told their kid should be in the advanced walk-to-math class, but there's no room. They get extra worksheets.

A better approach than this walk-to-math BS would probably be to skip 1st grade math for ALL kids, or do K & 1st in K and then put all 1st graders right into 2nd grade math. The kids who struggle could be pulled out for tutoring to get caught-up. This worked for my GenEd kid who was behind in reading in K. Now, he is ahead of grade level.

People bag on APP, but the walk-to-math and differentiation is, for the most part save a few excellent teachers, a total CROCK! My kid at Lincoln does not need it for social reasons. I will say, however, MANY boys at Lincoln and a small handful of girls do need it for social reasons. For us, it was a way to challenge our very smart kid who may have been OK at our neighborhood school, but even the advanced math is a joke.

I know, I need a therapist.

P.S. What's the deal with the crazy need for equitable access to AL, but there's no such push for equality when it comes to language immersion? I know, they are adding more schools to say it's equitable, but McDonald and JSIS are still not accessible to anyone other than those in the geozones.