Tuesday, December 10, 2013

No Grandfathering for Grades 6/7 at Hamilton or Eckstein Next Year

From the Superintendent:

Dear Seattle Public Schools families and staff,

As many of you know, the Seattle School Board on Nov. 20 approved boundary changes for the 2014-15 school year to help address our growing enrollment and to plan for three new middle schools.

We have heard from several families -- especially from parents of 7th grade Hamilton International Middle School APP students and parents of Eckstein Middle School 7th graders – asking that their students stay at their current school next year, and not move to the new Jane Addams Middle School (JAMS).

However, we will not be “grandfathering” – or guaranteeing a seat – for students who are currently in grade 6 or 7 at Hamilton and Eckstein. The new boundary changes mean these students will move to Jane Addams Middle School next fall. 

I understand it is a lot to ask of our students to change schools in their last year of middle school. Please know that we do not take decisions like this lightly.

When opening a new middle school, districts have two options. One is to create new boundaries and assign students living in the neighborhood to the new school. The other option is to create a 6th grade roll up, where the middle school starts with only incoming 6th graders assigned to the new school, adding 7th grade the following year and then in the third year, grade 8. There was widespread reaction from the community against a 6th grade roll up, so the School Board approved starting JAMS as a comprehensive 6-8th grade middle school.

I want to assure you that Jane Addams Middle School will offer the extracurricular activities, such as advanced math and science classes, music and world languages, that both Hamilton and Eckstein offer. Paula Montgomery, the planning principal, is working with families to ensure JAMS is off to a fantastic start and is currently hiring a team of teacher leaders committed to developing a first-class school. This is an exciting time to be a part of opening a new school.  I want to thank all the families who have already begun to work together to develop a middle school and APP program that creates a foundation for the future. For more information on the great work the JAMS community is already doing, please visit http://jamsplans.blogspot.com   
Updated paragraph
"I want to assure you that Jane Addams Middle School will offer an appropriate range of courses, such as advanced math and science classes, music, and world languages, which both Hamilton and Eckstein offer. Paula Montgomery, the planning principal, is working with families to ensure JAMS is off to a fantastic start and is currently hiring a team of teacher leaders committed to developing a first-class school. This is an exciting time to be a part of opening a new school. I want to thank all the families who have already begun to work together to develop a middle school, including APP, and create a foundation for the future. For more information on the great work the JAMS community is already doing, please visit http://jamsplans.blogspot.com . 

If you need any additional information on the growth boundaries work, you can always find that online at http://bit.ly/GrowthBoundaries. For specific information on where your child will be assigned for next fall, please go to the Address Look-up Tool  on the District’s website
Sincerely,
José Banda
Superintendent
Seattle Public Schools

74 comments:

Lynn said...

Is part of his email missing? Those are not extracurricular activities. (No snark intended.)

Melissa Westbrook said...

Lynn, that is the e-mail as sent to me. It does not appear to have anything missing but I will double-check with the district.

Anonymous said...

It looks word for word like the email that I received.

- north seattle mom

Anonymous said...

A couple of points:

1-Are there really only TWO options? I can think of more than two: 3) roll up 6&7 and let 8 stay for one year. 4) roll up 6&7 and give 8th graders the choice to stay or go by, say, Feb 29. A little creativity could help accommodate some of those families who would have to move for only one year. Accommodating families isn't an SPS forte though. Never has been.

2-The address lookup tool does not seem to include APP designated kids. Am I missing something?

-whatever

Anonymous said...

- whatever
1. You are right, there are certainly more than 2 options. But maybe they have a problem with math (only because of the terrible math curriculum they adopted earlier?)

2. You are missing the fact that the district is playing with the APP students like they are chess pieces (only they don't use any accepted rules to move the pieces...)

- LL

Anonymous said...

SPS already sent a letter with corrections (updates?) in the 6th paragraph:
"I want to assure you that Jane Addams Middle School will offer an appropriate range of courses, such as advanced math and science classes, music, and world languages, which both Hamilton and Eckstein offer. Paula Montgomery, the planning principal, is working with families to ensure JAMS is off to a fantastic start and is currently hiring a team of teacher leaders committed to developing a first-class school. This is an exciting time to be a part of opening a new school. I want to thank all the families who have already begun to work together to develop a middle school, including APP, and create a foundation for the future. For more information on the great work the JAMS community is already doing, please visit http://jamsplans.blogspot.com ."

- Second try

Anonymous said...

LL

How is the district playing with APP students when Eckstein students are also expected to move? The most vocal APP posters were vehemently against 6th grade roll up, and actually wanted the WHOLE APP program moved from Hamilton. We can blame the district for many things, but this was not their doing.

CCA

Anonymous said...

CCA-

Did the district not split the current north APP 6th and 7th graders? I thought that's what just happened. Yes, this is the district's poor planning, and I put ALL the blame on them.

I am sorry that when APP is brought up so many adults dismiss these kids and their feelings. Not many kids have had a split in 1st or 2nd grade, a last minute move in 4th or 5th grade and then another split or move in 7th or 8th grade. I know that no one would choose this for their kids yet this is the experience of some of the current north 6th and 7th grade APP kids.

That the district talks about the "excitement" of starting a new school while ignoring the reality of many families who have already had this "excitement," twice before, is frustrating to say the least.

-pickle

Eric B said...

I know I'm a broken record on this, but allowing current 7th graders (APP or not) to stay in their current schools will screw over the few 8th graders who go to the new JAMS. Most students who can would stay in their current schools, vastly reducing the opportunities available to JAMS 8th graders.

I think you're also understating how many students change schools. Once you start looking at the number of people moving from place to place, there are a lot of kids that change cities, let alone schools. I know I'm not typical, but I changed schools between K and 1, then followed that up by changing cities between 4 and 5, halfway through 7th grade, between 7 and 8, and between 8 and 9. I'll grant you that it sucked and that all of those moves were my parents' choice rather than the school district's, but I still pulled through.

Anonymous said...

Eric-

I understand that - people survive all sorts of things I never want to experience. Families choosing to move is different than district incompetence. Your parents decided to move while we have lived in our same house since my kid started K, yet this will be their 4th school.

The district has already decided this but I don't see why accommodations can't be made for this particular group of kids. These kids "have taken one for the team" twice already and are being asked to do so a third time.

Will they die? No. Is it fair? No. Yes, kids need to learn life isn't fair, but another group of kids should be made to learn that this time.

-pickle

David said...

If they're moving APP to JAMS, then any APP 8th graders who stay at Hamilton will no longer have classes appropriate for them, correct? Just trying to figure this out...

Anonymous said...

David-

No. Only half of APP is moving to JAMS.

-pickle

Eric B said...

Pickle, I'm definitely not saying that's a model childhood for anyone. I feel for those kids and the challenges that they'll face. However, it's also not that uncommon for families to move due to factors in or out of the parents' control. It's painful, but it's also the least painful option.

There is always room for improvement, particularly in communications, but I dispute that the opening of JAMS with a geosplit is an example of incompetence at SPS. They had to open a new middle school. They had to fill it. Roll-ups severely penalize the kids at the rolling-up school. A geosplit does spread the pain across the entire area, but it causes the least overall disruption.

If they don't do a geosplit, there will be very few 8th graders at JAMS next year. Probably not enough to support advanced music, foreign language, math, or other electives. Does the social pain of moving 200-300 students (some of them with their social groups) outweigh the poor educational options you would force on the small 8th grade class?

Anonymous said...

Eric,

Yes, the smaller 8th grade at JAMS would also not cause anyone long-term harm. These kids have been through so many school disruptions already. They should be allowed the choice of staying or going. We have seen some parents have post on here that they would move but some would prefer to stay.

The district knew five years ago that APP at HIMS would be temporary. There.was never going to be space for long. APP ended up at HIMS during the MGJ "emergency" capacity management disaster.

-Pickle

Anonymous said...

I'm with Eric B on this one. Changes have to happen and some kids have to move at times that aren't standard shifts in schools.

I switched schools at 7, 11 and 16 to entirely different groups of kids each time. At 7 & 16 it was a little more challenging because I was entering schools where most kids had already been with their cohort for a while, but I found my place and actually I think positive things came from it because I had to learn how to make friends at critical ages, rather than rely on the same old comfortable relationships. That's a valuable skill to learn in life and one I'd be happy for my kids to learn (parental choice, but I'm actually not keen on my children being in the same cohort from K through 12; I'd like them to step out of their comfort zones occasionally).

-flibbertigibbet

Eric B said...

Pickle, so you're saying that not having the appropriate ability level classes in math or foreign language in 8th grade does no long term harm? That skipping a year (or repeating) in either because you've already taken the lower level course and there's no higher level course available isn't a problem?

Lynn said...

Eric B,

Would the district be able to just not offer math to 8th graders? That would surprise me.

Anonymous said...

Eric,

The district should still offer all appropriate classes to the kids. I don't care if there are only two kids in the class. This is of the district's making, not the kids'.

Yes, yes, yes and duh. Change happens. Why burden the SAME kids with it for the third time?

Obviously, we are not going to agree. I am tired of having the "life is not fair" and the "district screwed up capacity" conversations with my kids.

-pickle

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

AL-

Thanks for the free diagnosis. You do get what you pay for.

Have the rules of this blog changed? Is name calling now allowed?

-pickle

Eric B said...

Lynn, historically speaking, the district offers mitigation for various splits and programs, but then often doesn't follow through for one reason or another. Pickle's example of a class with two students isn't that far-fetched. It's also really expensive, which is why the promised funds often don't materialize.

Anonymous said...

I was contributing to a public discussion about the impact of changing schools on learners with a general comment - I did not intend to target any specific poster. I stand by my comment and ask the blog administrators to let it stand in the blog record.
Thanks,
- advanced learner

Melissa Westbrook said...

I can hear the frustration and it's justified.

Pickle, could you explain this:

..district incompetence."

I know many things (boy, what a list) have happened but did you have a particular one in mind? I agree that APP never should have gone to Hamilton and I thought it bad idea at the time. Didn't get the district to see that at the time, though.

You'd think that someone would think about reviewing some of these decisions - at least behind closed doors - and vow to be more consistent, transparent and coherent in the future. That we still have these issues is troubling.

I do know that several of the newer cabinet members seem to want to think about these issues.

Anonymous said...

Melissa-

The district imcompetence I was referring to was the split/closure process five years ago and the last minute move to Lincoln a couple of years ago. My kid was affected by both of these as well as the current JAMS situation. I would also add the process this time was very messy and the district was not as transparent as they should have been.

That the district needed to do something now for capacity cannot be questioned, and I fully understand that. That does not mean the way it was done was best, however.

I, too, hope the new board members will be an improvement.

-pickle

Anonymous said...

- Pickle
I second your previous comments in this thread. One additional fact about my student: JAMS would be his 6th school in 8th grade and then the high school is his 7th. I will do my best not to let this happen to him since we haven't moved at all in all these SPS years.
Thank you Mr Banda for helping us with our decision because these numbers before show a bigger than fair share for our family.
- LL

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

- AL
I understand your position but I would like to know how many times YOU started a new school with your students? And with starting I mean that you spent your summer first with meetings and then with painting the new school, cleaning the tables, desks, walls, common areas, helping the teachers move and set up their boxes, furnitures in their rooms, set up play structures, etc.
I did exactly this 2 years ago and since I don't want to do this again next year for my student for only one year (8th grade), please feel free to call me "dysfunctional, neurotic and/or narcissistic, selfish, etc. parent".
- LL

Shannon said...

I also received this email and my son is in 7th Grade at HIMS. This is his 4th School so far. We are down to be moved to JAMS.

If my son stays, other grades will still go and new issues will come up for us, or others. HIMS has said nothing helpful about the transition while Paula Montgomery has been very welcoming and open in her process so I am just ready for this to be clear and liked this clarity. However, I am not sure whether this is factually a clear statement or is just the Superintendent's declaration of intent not to enter into a discussion with the board and those lobbying for a review of the decision.

I know that frequent school moves are difficult and I don't 'like' SPS.. its a visceral @#$# them reaction I have now after so many painful and train-wreck-worthy decisions. However, moving school buildings while remaining with a large group of friends and acquaintances is not quite the same as parents moving cities and dragging you with them. My husband moved cities innumerable times in elementary and middle school - multiple times a year - and that was bad. He sees no parallel with my son's moving around with his friends, a transition that is more about environment than friends (although we have been very sad to lose good friends in previous and in this scheduled split and find the loss of teachers particularly difficult.)

I also objected to the use of the word "extracurricular" and appreciated the amendment.

- Shannon

Anonymous said...

I too appreciated Superintendent Banda's clarity in his letter and hope that it is his and the Board's intent to continue to be consistent, transparent, and coherent. Grandfathering certain groups of kids would only undermine that. Personally, I hope to teach or model for my kid resilience and making the best of a new situation - those skills will serve her well in the long run. I may not always be good at that, but it's worth a shot.
RR

Anonymous said...

Agree with Eric B.

True district incompetence would be a 6th grade rollup (and there would not be an appropriate math class for the 2 APP 8th graders who'd end up there for whatever reason; it just would not happen. No way. Look how long it took to hire teachers for classes w/45 or so kids at Garfield and other places.)

And then, b/c one 6th grade roll up happened, EVERY middle and high school would be a rollup - b/c that's equity. Repeating the same mistake over and over.

No, everyone has to move. And if ANYONE gets a dispensation, it has to be SpEd from Eckstein - not APP - sorry. I have an APP student, and know many kids who will be moved - yes, I'm sorry.

But please, weigh your personal desire that flows from a choice - which was to choose APP rather than neighborhood stability b/c the student needed the APP cohort and program -- against the real, pressing needs of a solution for every secondary school start up in the next decade.

And then before demanding that APP kids stay at Hamilton: weigh that against some of the very high needs SpEd kids at Eckstein.

Where does your need fall?

I know my child's need falls lower than both of those, and my child has moved several times also. I want things to be RIGHT, and it's my duty as a citizen to consider the big picture, especially for families and children who have fewer resources, fewer choices and fewer abilities. My child will be fine being moved, as will most or nearly all APP students.

Not ideal, but fine. And given that this is not a lifeboat on the Titanic, I'm not willing to prioritize my child's needs over the larger ones of other children and the whole system. It's just not that important. Moving is just not a make or break deal here.

Signed: Nothing's ideal.

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

I don't have a child in APP, but I cannot imagine any parent wanting their child to be moved by the school district three times before 7th grade. Show of hands for those who would want that? Anyone, anyone? That's what I thought.

Because this parent wants their child to start and finish at the same school they are: " dysfunctional, neurotic and/or narcissistic" and an "ever so entitled self." I hope I didn't leave any insults out. C'mom people! Really? Survivor even goes on to tell the parent that the kid would've been fine at a neighborhood school. Not only are random strangers diagnosing the mental state of the parent, they also have insider knowledge of what's better for the kid.

-flash

Anonymous said...

Flash, we are talking about buildings here. Kids aren't being randomly moved without context. Large numbers are moving together. The kids who DO get randomly placed with no regard for peer groups are the sped kids, and they have absolutely no choice in it. Where is the hue and cry, or 500 posts over that? Nobody is"diagnosing" either, simply noting that people chose the program for the curriculum and peers, not stability. Nobody can have it all. Choice. Remember it. Be thankful you have it, when you do.

Survivor

mirmac1 said...

Agreed, Survivor

Melissa Westbrook said...

Look, Charlie and I will go over the rules of the blog for the new year. Promise.

But please do not say insulting things about "parents" and then say, "I wasn't talking about anyone specific so it's not name-calling."

Yes, it is. If you're here, discussing/arguing with other parents about why people are upset or make the choice they do and then randomly call out attributes, yes, you mean all the parents who are commenting.

It's all semantics but, in the end, you can make your point without doing that.

Lynn said...

Nothing's Ideal,

It isn't necessary to consider the well-being of special ed students at Eckstein before we worry about APP students at Hamilton. We can consider them simultaneously. They are at different schools now and are not competing for limited seats in one or the other.

If we're going to prioritize students in this way, there are a lot of variables to consider. There is FRL status, there are different types of disabilities. What if there were a disabled APP student who qualifies for FRL? Where do they fit in the hierarchy?

You could suggest that if there will be open seats at Eckstein next year, allowing any students receiving special education services to choose to stay would be the right thing to do. We could make that a standard tiebreaker for any open seats at an existing school when we open a new one. We could have a policy that it doesn't matter if there are open seats, those students are never moved. Why not bring that up as a separate issue? There is no need to scold parents who are also concerned about their own children. You have determined that your child will be fine with this move. Please respect the ability of other parents to do the same for theirs.

I believe JAK-8 sends advanced math students to Nathan Hale. Is there reason to believe this won't be an option next year?

Lynn said...

I wonder if this is how we'll handle opening Lincoln. Will there be another geo-split or a roll-up? If my children were affected, I'd prefer a roll-up, but I imagine not many would agree with me - given the reaction to using that method for middle schools.

It would be nice to make the decision earlier in the process next time.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I think the bias shows when some commenters practically say that APP kids must take what they get because their parents made the choice to not stay neighborhood.

One, I know that there are many parents who DO stay neighborhood but ONLY because they know their child's academic needs can be met at that school. That ability is NOT widespread through this district so it would be a real gamble to stay in your neighborhood school.

Two, would you say this to a SPED parent or an ELL parent? "You can have the choice of service to your child's issue or being in a neighborhood school. Take your pick." It doesn't sound any better if it's about APP.

Anonymous said...

No Melissa. APP is not special ed, and it isn't the same thing at all. Put away the Kleenex. You can't go to any old school if you're designated for a particular sped program. You can't go to your local school. You can't pick a nice option school that prioritizes your values. No, there aren,t optional IB programs for Johnny Come Lately to Sped or as an option if you don't like the regular pathways and choices. There arent millions of extra offerings like special (read extra) languages, science, trips, music once your child is placed. It might be a shock for you to learn sped kids need that stuff too. Kids are often transferred in the middle of the year, and routinely transferred with no sacred cohort. And finally, ask any sped parent how many times they got the "come get your kid, we don't want to deal with him today" call. Nearly all who are forced into sped. Get a grip. The fact that a huge and growing program needs to move often, with nearly everything in place, and with tons of great opportunities, just isn't a tragedy.

Sped parent

Lynn said...

Sped parent,

Are parents able to turn down special ed services and keep their child in a general education classroom in their neighborhood school or apply for an option school? I probably should know this - but don't.

Can students move to Seattle after the eighth grade and qualify for (and receive) special ed services?

I think you might have some incorrect information about APP. There aren't actually special (extra) language or music classes or trips offered at schools with APP programs. Some science classes are offered earlier - but they're not different than the science classes offered to every student.

Back to problem-solving. What do you think of a policy that special ed students have the option to stay at their current school when geo-splits happen?

Anonymous said...

The fact that a huge and growing program needs to move often, with nearly everything in place, and with tons of great opportunities, just isn't a tragedy.

Lots of assumptions there. No, it doesn't move with nearly everything in place. With the last move, they had to purchase playground equipment (with PTA funds), they left behind their library, and many new teachers were hired. Parents cleaned and painted rooms. Parents. As far as "tons of great opportunities," I'm not really sure what you think the program gets that other schools don't. There aren't any extras unless families pay for them.

Enough with the blanket generalizations and assumptions.

-enough

Maureen said...

Re school turnover: 1% at APP at Lincoln vs. 9% at Dearborn which was the first school on the list (alphabetically) that I thought might be a "poor" school.

Note that APP parents CHOOSE to move their kids away from their first school, so whatever numbers parents are citing (4 schools in nine years!) need to be renormalized to be at least n-1.

Personally, my first kid got into our first choice K-8 off the wait list (yay!)so he attended TWO schools K-5! And if it hadn't been a K-8, he would have attended THREE!

I understand that switching schools is difficult, but most kids are resilient. When APP kids have to change buildings, usually they maintain their cohort. Most kids (like at Dearborn) don't have that luxury. (I actually sympathize with many APP parents' issues, but there is such a thing as perspective.)

Lynn said...

Maureen,
What you're showing with those reports is that families at Dearborn Park are nine times more likely to move their students than families at Lincoln. That doesn't have anything to do with how often the district moves students.

Maureen said...

But it has everything to do with how often students move.

Are you saying that it is more harmful to move students to a program their parents choose or with their entire cohort than it is for students to be moved because they are evicted or can't afford to live where they have been living? (I'm guessing not.)

Every APP student moves once because their parent chooses to moves them. Start with n-1.

Lynn said...

Yes. Every APP student moves once. So far. Many districts test the spring before kindergarten - and now that we're required to provide services to kindergarteners, I don't know why we wouldn't do this too.

I'm saying that the fact that some students experience awful circumstances doesn't make it any more acceptable for the district to treat a different group of students badly.

Anonymous said...

When APP kids have to change buildings, usually they maintain their cohort.

Excluding the move parents chose for their students upon entering the program, and excluding the normal move from elementary to middle school, this is what some students are dealing with:

2009 split - elementary and middle school cohorts split and moved

2011 - north elementary cohort moved

2014 split - middle school cohort split and moved

So no, for two grades of students, they will have gone through two splits. They will have separated from friends to join the program (parents choice), then twice because of district splits. Just acknowledge that there is a limit to kids resiliency. Some of these students have had more transitions than a military family and they've never moved. It's not about who has it worse. I think parents just want others to acknowledge that they are kids, nonetheless, and it's a lot to ask any child.

-enough

Anonymous said...

One more thing...with the previous splits, teachers moved with the program. This time around, JAMS is hiring internally across the district. There is no guarantee that any of the existing APP teachers will be hired for the new program at JAMS. It is possible that the program will start with teachers completely new to the program. There will be nothing familiar except the faces of fellow classmates.

That's a lot of uncertainty.

-enough

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

Enough says:
As far as "tons of great opportunities," I'm not really sure what you think the program gets that other schools don't.

Ok. I'll bite. What does APP have that other schools don't? Well, in middle school, APP students get science, other kids not so much. In lots of schools not any really. Are they just not smart enough for it? Or do we just not bother? Couldn't all kids benefit from science? In elementary - other kids get a bag of bugs or other crap from the National Science Foundation, and that's the year's science. APP - well, they get a ton of stuff. Field trips, microscopes - all the things everyone would like for their kids. There's multiple foreign languages in middle school. Couldn't all students use that? Other schools offer maybe 2 years of Spanish... or even, nothing. There's always great music. Do the superty-duper kids deserve more music than everybody else? And then there's the bit about "well the parents pay for it so their kids deserve it". So now you're saying that the program is really just a piggy bank? In that case it definitely should be split up so that other schools can get.

And yes. Other kids get split. SPED kids get split all the time with NO cohort, eg 1 kid, and often in the middle of the year. The fact that it's bad for some doesn't make moving great of course. Just, it could be a lot worse. And, you didn't have to choose it.

Biter

Melissa Westbrook said...

Sped Parent, first APP students go where the program is just like other students. They get no first rights to any Option School. And FYI, I have a special needs child myself so your belief that I don't have an understand of these issues would be wrong.

Biter, you are saying that in middle school APP students get a different science class than other students? Not true so please let us know where you get your information. There is no APP science anywhere.

The foreign language classes in every middle school are open to every student.

APP do not have more music opportunitites than other students. Did APP parents advocate for this when they moved to Hamilton? Yes they did but any student can get in.

Anonymous said...

App science kits are the same as every other elementary science kits. They are accelerated by middle school, so they do in 8th grade what all other kids in the district will do in 9th grade. Same things, though. Theoretically they learn faster, so this is appropriate, but also it means they skip units or blow through things too quickly for most kids (and some of them). Eckstein is not an app middle school, and I think you'd have a hard time convincing anyone that that is not an amazing caliber music program, and the foreign languages at Hamilton have nothing to do with APP. That's because Hamilton is a language immersion pathway for international schools. So your ire there needs to be saved for language immersion schools.

No, parents didn't have to choose it, but generally they did because their first school was not working. Nobody tests for anything if the first option is working.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...



I'm saying APP drives better classes into schools because people think those students exclusively need it. And, there's a perceived "need" for lots of opportunities for selected kids. For others, not so much. Nobody cares. Yes, I get it. Once those classes are established in a school, other kids MIGHT get to avail themselves. Great! That's a reason to keep moving the program.

Enough seemed to be asking for examples. So I bite. McClure, a comprehensive secondary school, for example, has 2 years of Spanish. That's it. McClure, for example, has crappy music - about like 4th grade beginners. McClure, for example, has no science. Hamilton, for example, has great music program, Spanish for multiple years (every year while there) and Japanese. Other schools, well no, they don't need anything sophisticated like that. Before APP was at Hamilton, it did not have those "extras", it had pretty much the standard basement offerings. Lowell, back in the APP days, for example, had yearly trips to Washington DC to enrich and study history and government. Does plain old regular Lowell have that? Other elementaries certainly don't have it.

Hey, I was just responding to the idea that the offerings are the same across schools. And that APP kids really don't get any extra opportunities. Uh. No they aren't the same. And, yes APP students do get extra opportunities. Hard to see how anybody would argue (or complain) about that! I'm not blaming anyone for wanting it. Just calling it what it is.... opportunities.




Biter

Anonymous said...

I would suspect that, as a parent, finding out your child has a learning disability or is disabled in a potentially debilitating way is a much different process that finding out your child is eligible for advanced learning.

There are certainly 2E students, but most in the APP program have relatively mild disabilities.

This has nothing to do with moving schools, but all to do with perspective. The parents who have responded to the attempt to equivocate APP with ELL and Special Ed. seem to be reacting to the insensitivity of this portrayal.

Certainly, truly gifted children have needs that are more in line with students with IEPs, but the the majority of students in APP don't.

--enough already

Anonymous said...

Trying to determine who's has it worse is a fool's game. (Though I do think there are students who do have it worse, but it's rare to find their parents /guardians speaking for them on the blog.) For whatever reason, you read many more comments by APP parents on these threads. The sheer volume draws good and bad attention to their concerns and opinions.

Many non APP parents can understand your frustration because they face them too. Parents whose kids have experienced school closures, changing neighborhood schools with boundary changes, frequent teacher/principal turnovers, getting TFAs, class size with 35+ kids, classrooms without enough tables for all the students, crazy beginnings of the school year with many students going through schedule changes well into late October, fighting with admin to get accommodations, painting classrooms, gyms, and building a better library, experiencing violence/intimidation in school, on school buses, and outside school, etc. are all part of the school experience.

Much of what one parent describes can be found in another's experience.

common ground




Anonymous said...

I don't think you know about the majority of students in APP, enough already, or how debilitating their disabilities are. I agree that mostly deciding to go to APP is am easier process than finding out about a learning disability, but not always, honestly. The reason for the equation is not lack of perspective and an attempt to play misery poker, but because both groups are out of the norm and therefore need something different (not better) to receive basic educational services. I understand you don't like it, but you'd be surprised how illuminating it can be for people who have never thought about who the general educational curriculum is designed for, or really thought about whether different kids need different things (those same people who would have thought disability accommodations are cheating). It is a metaphor and has its limits, but it's useful.

Biter, every opportunity you talked about has nothing to do with APP. Language absolutely does not, and APP kids are generally less able to the advantage of languages at Hamilton because of scheduling. One- music- has to do with relative wealth of a middle school generally (see: Eckstein), and parents trying to make up for something they lost during a split (from Washington to Hamilton). The same thing is happening right now at JAMS with the robotics program at Eckstein(not APP families). There used to be a lot of class trips in a lot of schools back when education funding was not so abysmal, but now there are none, in APP or otherwise. No, the loss of stability for thousands of students is not worth a couple kids getting to take a robotics class, when if that's the goal, the district should just offer it. Not keep splitting the same kids and hoping those families will try to fill in district gaps.

There is indeed a need for kids who learn much faster than the norm to be able to access material faster, so that they can receive some educational benefit from school, and that is what they get. Nothing else.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

Sleeper,

The staffing for Special Education at all schools is public record.

--enough already

Anonymous said...

But just being in APP disqualifies students from many accommodations they really do deserve, and many very debilitating disabilities do not allow for IEP's (especially mental illness/anxiety disorders, which are highly correlated with IQ.)

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

Ok, I'll bite. Eckstein - no APP, yet they have an amazing music program, ski bus, drama, computer classes (not at Hamilton), and three foreign language offerings (not at Hamilton). Hamilton has higher level language classes (Spanish and Japanese) because they are the pathway for JSIS and McDonald immersion students. Those language opportunities are because of Hamilton's International school designation, and not APP. Offerings are not the same across schools - heck, they're not even the same across APP program locations. Those yearly trips to Washington or wherever are privately funded outside of the classroom and outside of the school year. Being in APP doesn't mean you can afford such trips anymore than the next person.

McClure science is designed to develop a foundation of Science concepts and Critical thinking skills. Students will develop and apply thinking skills to the real world and are expected to participate in the annual science fair project. We follow the Inquiry-Based Science Kits adopted and provided by Seattle Public Schools. In 6th grade students will complete Diversity of Life and the Magnets and Motor kits. In 7th we cover the Catastrophic Events Kit and Properties of Matter Kits. In 8th grade we Cover Energy, Machines and Motors, Earth and Space and Ecology and Evolution Kits. The specifics concerning each Kit can be found on the District’s website.

APP students use the same science kits through 6th grade - Catastrophic Events, then Earth and Space. In 7th grade they take Physical Science, the exact same class other students take in 9th grade. Same stuff, but taken earlier. Really. Yeah, the kits are kind of lame.

Yep, it's a fool's game to compare. The grass ain't exactly greener.

-parent

Anonymous said...

http://www.sagepub.com/upm-data/27324_Chapter_1_Federal_Special_Education_Disability_Categories.pdf

#4 qualifying condition--emotional disturbance

all must be significant enough or a 504 may be used instead

--enough already

Anonymous said...

Significance includes performing below grade level, at least at the 504 level.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

@Parent, do you have a kid at McClure? If not, I wouldn't go by what's written on a web site. The school is
trying hard to beef up its academics and to find good staff who will stay. If it was so hunky dory, McClure would be stuffed beyond capacity by now. They don't have it better or worse in the big picture.

Repeating science kits and subjects is common in many MS science classes. The problem isn't with APP science or APP LA/SS or APP math, it's with all the SPS curriculum in these core subjects! Sigh.

common ground

Anonymous said...

Repeating science kits and subjects is common in many MS science classes. The problem isn't with APP science or APP LA/SS or APP math, it's with all the SPS curriculum in these core subjects! Sigh.

And that is the crux of the problem. If the core materials and classes in SPS were solid (math, science, LA/SS) would people really give a flying leap about APP?

Thanks, common ground.

-TP

Anonymous said...

Look, you can give a million reasons why schools with APP have MORE opportunities, and you might be able to find an Eckstein here and there with something comparable... but the fact remains: schools with APP get more stuff. Nobody cares why. It's pointless to keep denying the obvious. You people are really out of touch.

Biter

Anonymous said...

Biter - you may see correlation but that is not causation. When APP leaves Hamilton (one day), I highly doubt suddenly all this "stuff" will disappear with them.

not buying_it

Anonymous said...

NB, you forgot what Hamilton was like before APP. Well, it wad like the old McClure. No extras, bare bottom school. Only south end kids would go. A dog of a school, in a doghouse of a building. BEFORE they moved APP in, the district had to massively spruce it up. Massively. It had to be internationalized. It had to have all sorts of extras to be good enough for APP. A plain old school wouldn't do for those special kids. It was definitely causation. The district added those perks as a trade for the split. Yes. Let's hope Hamilton gets to keep a few "opportunities" that APP hosting bestowed on it.

Biter

Anonymous said...

Seriously? You think Hamilton was renovated for APP alone? I'm pretty sure the plan for renovation preceded the placement of APP at Hamilton.

Talk about revisionist history.

Anonymous said...

Biter - You can't isolate one variable and assume that is the cause. There are other factors/variables you haven't considered. Maybe you can do a regression analysis to identify if it truly is APP that is the cause for your perception of more opportunities. Until then, it's just a correlation.

You have geographic and income disparities to consider. Hamilton is made of mostly northend families...not all APP. I'm sure that has as much if not more to do with the success of Hamilton (and Eckstein), than APP.

Sorry Biter...still

Not Buying_it


Anonymous said...

Right NB, local families wouldn't enroll at Hamilton until APP signed up. APP wouldn't sign up until "international" was offered. And so it goes. Perk after perk. All opportunities for kids. It doesn't even matter if it's"cause" or "correlation" btw, nobody really cares. The fact remains: There are more and better opportunities. Hamilton is quite illustrative. As are Madrona and Garfield. Madrona is back to sucking wind because app left.

Biter

Anonymous said...

APP did not "sign up" for Hamilton. APP had no agency in that decision, just as it does not now for JAMS. APP fought to stay at Washington, partly because they felt they had some good work under way on diversity, and splitting and starting a new program would put that work on the back burner. Were you not around then?

All the stuff you are talking about is not limited to Hamilton and Eckstein; there are plenty of schools with high parent participation(I bet Whitman is similar). I just don't know them quite as well. The only actual "extra" I can find in your post is language, which has only to do with a completely separate program the district has prioritized (unlike APp). Do you have kids in both APP and non APP buildings? I do. APP does not provide any extras. At the elementary level, the non APP program I am involved with (with a very high special ed population, not a huge fundraising schools) has many more enrichment opportunities, field trips, and trips. The curriculum, class size, and materials are the same as at every elementary school. I am not saying it's bad, or I don't like it, but there are no special perks. At the middle school level music seems to vary by school, and there is extra language for those schools designated international, which has nothing to do with APP. You are just not factually correct about this. I am sure of this, because my family experiences both, while it seems like you are basing some awfully nasty accusations on rumor.

-sleeper

Linh-Co said...

I have both an APP kid and non-APP children. I have to agree with some of Biter's comments.

At Ingraham, the APP kids get access to a full year of World History while the "regular" sophomores only get a semester of it even if they are in the pre-IB program. Also 2 years ago, when my daughter was a sophomore taking World History Honors, there were not enough textbooks for her class, yet the IBX students had enough books for every student taking the same course.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Biter, Hamilton WAS an intn'l school before APP. So naturally they had two language offerings. And the building got renovated before APP came.

At least be honest about this before you say "APP gets better."

Lynn said...

Linh-Co,

An APP student at Washington takes a semester of world history in the 8th grade. If they enroll at Ingraham for IBX, they take a full year of world history in ninth grade and move into IB classes in the 10th grade.

Any other student at Ingraham also takes three semesters of world history - two in ninth grade and one in tenth.

I don't know what's up with the textbooks. If each teacher had the same number of them, it's possible the APP classes are smaller (there were only 48 or 50 in the first two classes.) Were there more than 24 or 25 students in your daughter's class?

dw said...

Linh-Co,

I'll echo Lynn on the Ingraham World History.

On the books, I don't know the specifics at Ingraham (sounds odd), but even if there isn't a good explanation, I'll just say that it's the counter example. After the previous APP split, there were not enough books for kids in both schools, so you know what they did? Nothing. Teachers worked logistical magic to make sure they could teach their students, and the kids at HIMS still to this day cannot bring certain books home because there aren't enough for each kid to have their own copy. Five years and counting.

While we're on the topic of books, Lincoln APP didn't even get a library after being booted from Lowell; they got a spare classroom to use as a "reading room", and if I'm remembering correctly, it was parents who were expected to supply the bulk of the books and I think parents even had to partially staff the room to keep it open.

Most of Biter's comments are so ridiculous and uneducated I'm not going to address them, but I did want you to know that book shortages are at least as common in APP as elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone tell me why the Laurelhurst neighborhood general education 6th and 7th graders ARE grandfathered at Hamilton?

. Grade 7-8 students attending Hamilton from the Laurelhurst attendance area who were grandfathered at Hamilton when Laurelhurst was changed from the Hamilton feeder pattern to the Eckstein feeder pattern would maintain their grandfathered status.

I've read the blog comments, and I agree that there are many reasons for starting a new middle school with all three grades, but as a parent of a 7th grader at Eckstein who receives special education services and does not adjust well to change, it is VERY hard to stomach a move to JAMS for one year (even if it were the most fantastic school ever). I will be very happy for my 3rd grader to attend JAMS for grades 6 through 8.

-Concerned Parent