There was a reader comment about wanting to opt an APP student out of MAP testing but the parent seemed to think that the child would lose eligibility if he/she did not take the MAP. Here's what I learned from speaking with Stephen Martin, head of the Advanced Learning department.
The MAP is the gatekeeper to finding out if your child is eligible for AL testing.
However, once you are enrolled, your child does not lose eligibility in AL programs if he/she does not take MAP.
What is a problem is maintaining your eligibility if you qualify but then do not access a program. (Let me say that, on the surface, I think this policy is good because I used to hear many parents say they were just testing their children "to see how they do" with zero intention of enrolling them in an AL program. That's just a waste of time and money for the district and it should not be happening.)
BUT, the issue is does your child have access to an AL program even if he/she qualifies? The answer may be no.
If you are in APP, you have a guaranteed seat at an APP program. You must move to that program to keep your eligibility. If you don't, you lose it and must test again the next year.
If you are in Spectrum, you are not guaranteed a seat EVEN if you qualify. You have would have to be one of the lucky people to get a Spectrum seat in your region to get those services to keep your eligibility.
If you qualify for APP/Spectrum but don't want to move from your neighborhood school, you might keep your eligibility but ONLY if your school has an ALO. If there is no ALO at your neighborhood school (and you can't move to one that has an ALO), your child will lose his/her eligibility.
Yes, there are many problems in this process especially from the parent side.
One, you have no control if you can get a Spectrum seat.
Two, you have no control if your school has an ALO.
Unfair is putting it mildly.
The AL department would LIKE to have services at all schools but that is not their call. That would be the call of Teaching and Learning but apparently, the unfairness of this policy doesn't seem to matter. Or more likely, it's just not a priority.
The Strategic Plan's nod to AL is just to say "implement equitable criteria for advanced learning placement." Okay, but it's not saying, "make sure there are equitable opportunities for advanced learning at all schools." (What's interesting is that under former Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson's Strategic Plan, there was a plan to get ALOs in all schools without Spectrum or APP.)
I note that Mr. Martin has now done a one-on-one with every member of the Board and feels that it was helpful in clearing up some issues for directors, especially around cognitive versus achievement abilities.
As well, Mr. Martin confirmed the second of the two AL taskforces has been picked. Info on meetings and minutes is at the bottom of the AL page. There is also a separate Google group for the APP TaskForce.