Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Open Thread

What's going on this weekend? What happened this week that we missed?

Now is the time and place to tell about it - Friday Open Thread.


Anonymous said...

How is the new K-5 Math in Focus going for students and teachers?


Transparency Please said...

The City of Seattle is proposing a preschool initiative. Actually, the city is planning a prek program that aligns curriculum through 3rd grade. The entire initiative is focused to align prek-5. The City of Seattle has used the Family and Ed. Levy to control educational policy i.e. MAP testing for children in grades K-2 etc. What impact can we expect from aligning pre-k-5th grade. The city also wants principals to meet with City Hall. What?

The city also proposes funding "alternative pathways" for teacher certification, and wants individuals with 4 year degrees to apply. Any chance the city wants taxpayer dollars to fund a pipeline for Teach For America.

As I have said: Transparency Please

Please vote NO on the city's initiative.

Anonymous said...

Wendy Kopp today writes a front page - and it must be said - quite defensive - opinion piece about Teach for America.

Criticism must be getting louder/under TFA's skin.


Transparency Please said...

Considering Bill Gates is the guy behind the preschool initiative, I'd say creating a taxpayer pipeline for Teach For America must be considered.

When will Tim Burgess and Ed Murray come clean with the voters??

Anonymous said...

What are the Amplify tests? Are they the MAP tests replacements?

Do all schools use them now?

Or, is it purely a school decision whether or not to test, and if so, to use this test?

Or, are these tests just being piloted to be considered as MAP replacements?

I thought Smarter Balance were the replacements for MAP tests?

And, what are "benchmark" tests? Are those the same thing as Smarter Balance?

And, is the MSP tests partially going away?

What are the State driven tests?

What are the District driven tests?

Why should anyone bother participating? How is it specifically in my or your students' best interests to write these?

Are all of these computer based? Except for the MSP writing test?

And then there's privacy concerns...


Melissa Westbrook said...

Ed Voter, TFA is really thinking about revamping because, of course, their model is nonsense. But as districts see these TFAers jump ship before two years or how unprepared they come in, the shine has come off.

Also, as I have said before, TFA also does data collection of students.

Anonymous said...

State testing info can be found on OSPI's website:

The Smarter Balanced assessments are replacing the math and reading/writing MSP this year. There will still be a science MSP.

Amplify tests are district administered. For schools doing the Amplify (mClass Beacon), I think the tests are during class time 3x per year. They are supposedly aligned to CCSS, so are like practice for the year end Smarter Balanced assessments. Some schools will be doing MAP this year.

So it's either 1) MAP + Smarter Balanced assessments or 2) Amplify + Smarter Balanced assessments.

The district notice suggests mClass Beacon tests may replace MAP district wide for next year.

New assessment system

mClass Beacon (short grade level test) is very different from MAP (longer adaptive test with above grade level content), so I'm curious how they will be qualifying students for AL in the coming years.


Anonymous said...

APP @ Lincoln is now the largest elementary school in Seattle at 700 students. So said the school principal last night.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Parent, I have the same question. I'll try to see if I can get an answer from Advanced Learning.

APP@Lincoln is 700 kids? Wow.

Charlie Mas said...

The Teach for America contract expired without any comment. It reached the end of its three-year term and no one moved to renew it.

Funny, huh? Why didn't either of the Board directors who advocated for the contract so strongly in 2010 propose its extension? Why didn't any of the Teaching and Learning staff who supported it then come forward to propose its extension? Why didn't any of the principals who hired TFA corps members propose that the contract be extended? Why didn't TFA send speakers to ask for the extension of the contract? How did this go from such a fantastically brilliant idea to something that should just quietly go away?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Great question, Charlie. It's just laughable.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone gotten results from an Amplify test yet? Are the Lincoln kids doing the grade level tests? My 4th grader said it was really hard to understand.


Anonymous said...

Melissa says:

700 kids? Wow.

That's an understatement. Yet you and Charlie have been pushing the more-the-merrier model for years on this recently as last week--with a personal reflection on the need of your child to fit in.

Be careful what you wish or advocate for, especially when people will look back on these numbers in a few years (or less)
and shake their heads.

--enough already

Anonymous said...


Susan Enfield is gone and so is TFA.
She jumped on the bandwagon because it was the the career-climber du jour.

Simple as that.

--enough already

Anonymous said...

The 700 at Lincoln does not include the interim Licton Springs K8 does it? So is the number of students in the Lincoln building - gyms, lunchroom, etc. - greater than 700?


Anonymous said...

As has already been pointed out, Amplify Education, Inc. is, as has alreadt been pointed out, a subsidiary of Rupertm Murdoch's company. Amplify built a student database that was being implemented by InBloom. InBloom lost its contract to New York city public school system under criticism from privacy and parent activist groups. This information is easily found with a google search.

A reasonable inference is that Amplify is utilizing their database to collect and archive student data. I wonder what data they are getting from SPS? Is SPS providing fake ID's that can't be tracked back to real students, ever? Even fake ID's can be linked to real students, if SPS later wants to provide the link.

I will not be letting my kids take Amplify's tests.

Joan S.

Has anyone heard of "Ned M.", or rather, NEDM, which is the National Education Data Model? Gates and Dell paid for this to be developed. RTTT program sought to have states create databases that met the specifications of NEDM, so that states' student data could be seamlessly transmitted into the a national database.

In all likelihood the Amplify Data base is a incarnation of NEDM.


Anonymous said...

Sorry for poor editing.

MomAnon said...

700 at Lincoln does NOT include Licton Springs K8, the Indian Heritage program, or the medically fragile community, so probably 850 in the building?

The medically fragile program is small, but they do need rooms and time in the gym. I don't know anything about the Indian Heritage program--I thought it was joining the Licton Springs school?--but I've read of the program needing space.

mirmac1 said...

TFA. Another flash in the pan...

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

"That's an understatement. Yet you and Charlie have been pushing the more-the-merrier model for years on this recently as last week--with a personal reflection on the need of your child to fit in."

Never ever said "the more the merrier." I have advocated for all kids identified for Advanced Learning to receive services. Not the same thing.

Also, I said something about my child last week? I was on hiatus and I don't recall that. And I don't recall saying that my child was in Advanced Learning to "fit in." Be part of a cohort, yes.

You can disagree with what Charlie and I may say but don't twist our words.

Anonymous said...

Perspective please. Lincoln accommodated Garfield while it was being renovated. Other ES with smaller buildings thus less capacity are crowded too. For Seattle, the number might be jaw dropping. For districts face with similar or even greater growth, ES enrolling 1000 kids is part of the cycle.


Anonymous said...

BTW, in the 1950's when all the schools were stuffed, Lincoln HS had 2,800 students! Not exactly the good old days we want for our kids, but I gotta admire the can do and get on with it attitude of the folks then.


Anonymous said...

High School classes must have been bigger back in the day. I found this on Wickipedia:

In its first year, Hale opened to sophomores and juniors only, with just 1,206 students. Two years later, it had a student body of 2,002. By the late 1960s, Hale’s enrollment had reached 2,400, and 24 portables were in use.[3]

Now Hale, is considered full at 1200 but at one time Hale had twice as many students but also 24 portables.


Ragweed said...

There is no separate Indian Heritage School outside of Licton Springs. 850 total for the building is roughly correct. The building really is completely equipped for that, except for the lunchroom and sports fields.

It really isn't accurate to say that Licton Springs is combining with Indian Heritage. The Indian Heritage Middle College was a 9-12 program that SHUT DOWN by SPS after the Spring of 2013, and by that time it had been robbed of most of the culturally relevant curriculum. Licton Springs K-8 is working with the Native Ed department and Native Community groups to try to bring it back on the K-8 level, but we are largely doing it from the ground up.

SPS still needs to restore and revitalize the Indian Heritage High School program.

LakeWobegonMathMom said...

Has anyone gotten results from an Amplify test yet?
My child took a Math Amplify test this past week. His Math class was advised what baseline score they should expect to have to "be in the right place." He's also had the Reading Amplify test but shared no expectation nor result of score. He didn't do a grade-level test but a course-level test.

I do not know about Lincoln grade-level tests as my child doesn't attend Lincoln.

Anonymous said...

Joan S.
you may not get the choice, unfortunately. Our school already tested and we didn't get notice til after the fact. I probably would have opted out too.... had I known.


Anonymous said...

My kid took the Amplify test for math. He is in Algebra I and got questions about Algebra that obviously haven't been covered yet. So, if it is a benchmark test, then I assume a low score in the beginning of the year could be expected for kids who haven't been taught any of the material with the expectation that it will go up after the material has been covered.


Cheryl said...

Did anyhone watch the school board meeting? Harium Martin Morris is going on a trip and will bring back a "white paper" regarding mayoral control.

What is going on? First, we see the ST Editorial launch a trial balloon regarding mayoral control of public education. Then, we're hearing that Harium will bring information regarding mayoral control to the school board>

I get the feeling something is in the air and it isn't the smell of sweet roses, or the sounds of birds singing.

kellie said...

Be cautious with historical enrollment numbers. Many of those large numbers were either because of split shifts, extended schedules, large use of portables that may or not still be there.

At one point the now Wallingford Center was a part of Lincoln High School. That property is sold. Also at one point, the John Marshall was the 9th grade annex for Roosevelt.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Charlie, I'll have more to say on this subject later.

Anonymous said...

Please give me a elected full time school board that runs day to day activities and sets priorities.

North and south districts with school level administrators capable of making intelligence decisions on how to spend their budgets.

No more Neros as superintendent.

Moving forward

mirmac1 said...

I'm curious how those whiz bang TFA teachers did when it came to driving up those scores; because in the long run that's what TFA is all about - ginning up numbers by teaching the test to justify their existence.

Anonymous said...

Here is an update on the Garfield Rape Part 1.Mr. Nyland, School Board,
cc: Media, PTSA, Parents, Law Faculty, Organizations, Others:

The District will have a sexual assault task force. But the District needs to take itself to task. It has failed to follow its own definitions of sexual harassment/assault and continues to pretend that our daughter was not sexually harassed or sexually assaulted, contrary to the assailant's admission of assault and medical treatment for rape in the hospital. The District's definitions:

Sexual Harassment – Deliberately harassing another person for sexual reasons or in a sexualized manner with unwanted attention, touching, or verbal comments such that the person is uncomfortable, intimidated, or threatened by the behavior.

Sexual Assault – Sexually assaulting or taking indecent liberties with another person (includes “pantsing” behavior by other than elementary-age students).

The assailant admitted to the National Park Service and the District's own investigator that he continued touching our daughter after she told him to stop on three occasions. After each time she told him to stop, he continued with more intrusive actions. The assailant admitted to at least this much with his mother present in the interview. He admitted that although our daughter told him to stop multiple times, he "did not pay attention to her that much." The district also discarded forensic and medical information that our daughter was raped and sodomized for 10 minutes, according to the assailant. You can see the assailant's testimony here with recommendations to brutalize women like animals: p 232 You may also read our daughter's version of events in this document.

In contradiction to the District's own definition of sexual harassment and assault, you determined in March 2014, that our daughter was not sexually harassed or assaulted. You had the above information and much more and you even granted her a school transfer with rape as the basis. How can the District then determine 16 months later that she wasn't sexually harassed or assaulted? How can your counsel, John Cerqui, write that an assailant may "persuade" his victim? Why is the District assuming an advocacy role for a valued athlete? See the District's self-serving argument here

Furthermore, you give students the message that sexual assault will not be acknowledged because the District puts its liability ahead of student safety.

Now the District has put on a new face. Therefore, it must be consistent with its policies. It cannot ignore its own definitions to avoid liability for sexual assaults. Therefore, because the assailant met the definition of sexual assault by his own admission ( E-215 of the Code of Prohibited Behaviors as we have stated innumerable times), the District must reverse its decision that our daughter was never sexually harassed or assaulted. Otherwise, the District remains a shining example of hypocrisy. We will share this correspondence with the US Dept. of Education, Office for Civil Rights, who opened an investigation after evaluating our complaint. To this day, your decision constitutes discrimination against the female victim of sexual assault.

Anonymous said...

Garfield rape update pt. 2
Next, the District failed to hold anyone accountable for the egregious negligence that allowed our daughter to be raped in an under-supervised setting by a student with a history sexual misconduct at school. Our staff complaint was distorted and trivialized by the District's regularly hired investigator. He reduced the legitimate documented concerns to a few points that were distortions of the significant issues we brought to your attention. After so doing, the investigator could exonerate the staff even though they failed to perform their duties with tragic consequences. We wrote a response to the District's bizarre investigation report over a month ago and asked you to conduct an independent investigation. You never replied. Perhaps you ought to read our response online atÂ.

You would also do well to compare the District's sham investigation with the parents' original complaint (Feb. 2014). There you will see the District's culpability in its own documents. Then, Mr. Nyland and School Board, tell the public why a comprehensive complaint was so distorted to exonerate the negligent parties.

Regarding your task force, would it not be appropriate to acknowledge and incorporate guidance from the Garfield assault victim's parents who made the effort to compel change, however embarrassing it has been for the District? None of your new "innovations" would have transpired voluntarily without our relentless advocacy for accountability, which the District dodged until it was necessary to call for a federal investigation. Consider this our offer to sit on your task force in an advisory capacity. We hope change does occur--but consider at what expense--the horrible tragedy our family endured.

Moreover, until the District makes right its verdict on sexual harassment and negligence, we can only conclude that the talk of change is PR. Change must be manifest in real cases, in which our daughter's is among the most tragic. We repeat: the District must be consistent with its own definitions instead of pretending our daughter wasn't sexually harassed and assaulted. The District must hold staff accountable for their failures if the public is to have any confidence in the District's new initiatives in response to our complaint. Save Seattle Schools blog moderator wrote: "But let's give credit where credit is due. The credit should go first to those who did the hard work to shame the District in the national and local press which has caused them to take action. They would never have taken action without that."

So far we see no acknowledgment of appreciation for the family that has forced the District to "get its act together." Nor have we once seen an expression of regret for the devastation the victim and her family suffers to this day. While we may turn our attention away from successful demonstrations, we know the District's creation of a ask force is not a panacea. More policies and new procedures mean nothing because the District failed to comply with ample policies/procedures when our daughter was raped and thereafter. Until the District takes accountability for the staff negligence that led to sexual assault, until the District stops denying the assault, we see the same old District.


Anonymous said...

Standards Based Grading...ugh. My middle schooler reported that meeting standards, meaning following the assignment to a T, will be considered a B. Remember when that was an A? They have not been given a rubric for what is expected for an A. Is this a what SBG is supposed to be like?

just ugh

Anonymous said...

That's true Kellie. Lincoln HS did annexed the building now known as the Fremont Center for a few years in the 70's. Before that, it was a public elementary school (go ahead and weep). My neighbor's mom went there as a child. It remains one of my favorite historical buildings.


Anonymous said...

Sorry Wallingford center. Not Fremont :)

Anonymous said...

No question that Lincoln (particularly when it was fully operational) could accommodate 700 or 850 high school kids. 700 is a pretty big elementary school program, however, and it's not clear to me (a parent at Lincoln) that the District is allowing staffing to accommodate the numbers, particularly in PCP (art, music, PE). We have one art and one music teacher position - maybe that's what we're supposed to have, but that seems like a lot of students for one teacher. Can anyone point me to the staffing guidelines for elementary schools?

- BigSchool

Lori said...

I no longer have an elementary student or anyone at Lincoln, but having looked at this in the past, PCP staffing relates to the number of *teachers* in the building rather than the number of students.

PCP stands for "planning, conference, and preparation" time, and part of the teachers' contracts is that they get X amount of time per day or per week to plan, conference, and prepare during the school day without their students. So when kids go to art, music, and/or PE, the classroom teacher gets that contracted planning time and that's how PCP allocations are determined: based on how many teachers need how much time per day or week without the students.

Remember a few years ago when the district tried to re-allocate a Lincoln classroom teacher mid-year to save money? The side effect of that decision (or benefit, if you're the district) was that that teacher loss would have also triggered a 0.5 FTE reduction in PCP because the building would have gone from 21 teachers down to 20 (IIRC), and the PCP math worked out such that they could "get away with" also reducing the hours for the art or music teacher (not PE given the supposed state-mandated minimum hours required). Number of kids in the building wasn't changing. It was crazy.

So it's complicated! But I heard that Lincoln has 2 PE teachers this year, so maybe that's how the PCP staffing "adds up" this year? 2 PE, 1 art, 1 music?

I'm not saying any of this is "right" or that a school with 700 kids couldn't use more staffing or that an art or music teacher should be expected to teach that many kids! Not at all. Just explaining how I believe it works on the district's end.

I'm sure someone at school could explain the exact situation more clearly, as well as any possible remedies or alternatives.

Linh-Co said...

Elementary teachers are allowed 30 minutes of PCP a day. This can be any combination of library, PE, music, art, etc. The building staff has some discretion.

Anonymous said...

MCK, My kid took the Amplify Algebra I test. After I heard about it, I found out it was a benchmark for the beginning of the class. That's why he didn't know much of what was on the test.

Yes, Lincoln was so big in 1972 - 1975 that classes were held also at (now) Wallingford Center plus there were a couple of portables in the (now) Wallingford Center parking lot. There was an alternative school (LOGOS) that was part of Lincoln that had two portables there from Jan. 72 to June 73.
Lincoln alum

dan dempsey said...

TFA departure ... hey Not So FAST.

Board member Peter Meyer at the time of the TFA approval stated that there would be an analysis of performance and TFA impact.

So after 3 years of "The Grand TFA Experiment" where is the data?

To improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data.

Perhaps UofW could provide some TFA impact data?

Let me see here....

TFA accountability scoreboard

SPS Staff = 0
School Board = 0
U of W. College of Ed = 0

And don't forget the State Board of Education that decided to give WA Teaching Certificates to these 5 week wonders..... what data are they looking at now?

Anonymous said...

The number of classes (not kids, alas) at Lincoln APP gets 3.5 PCP. (1 art, 1 music, 1.5 PE). This year the PTA funded the other .5 right out of the door to round up the .5 PE to full time. I understand he teaches PE and does math specialist stuff? Could be wrong. But that's what I heard.

And they had to get very very creative with scheduling blocks.

There are 6 fifth grades, at about 30 kids each. But here's a cool thing: They managed to get the 3 fifth grade math teachers all having kids in PCP at the same time, so they can coordinate and do joint planning every day for their period! That is the most awesome thing ever, and I hope readers can take that back to their own schools to help with teacher mentoring and transition to the new math program - b/c a lot of schools are going to a system where 4th and 5th grade are team taught with some teachers doing math and some doing language arts. (Larger classes can be more effectively taught with specialization, like industry). So get all the math teachers to have their kids in the different PCP classes at the same time, and you have automatic coordination time for them. It's beautiful.

--hanging in

Mary Griffin said...

The school website has a very nice blurb about Toni Bader, the new adapted physical education specialist, training paraeducators on how to help students with disabilities in P.E. class. Featured in the attached photo was interim Superintendent Larry Nyland who was at the training, and the article concluded with this great line, "the district will continue professional development for all staff on working with students with disabilities, including how to support them in physical education and becoming physically active."

Anonymous said...

Whittier has started walk to math and this is how they're doing it: kids are sorted into 3 groups by grade. No one is placed above or below grade level. The spectrum kids are sorted with the grade above. There is no high, middle, and low(although I think they're clustered with kids who were assessed similarly. No one moves down, only up. Everyone is on the same page of the book by grade. This is not what I envisioned walk to math to be or am I wrong? It seems like a feel good rearranging of kids to make everyone feel like their kids are getting something special and personalized. How do other schools do walk to math??

Anonymous said...

With regard to Walk to Math at Whittier, I know that some people say they are not high, middle, low, but I think that they really are. They just don't want them labelled. I know that while they may stay in the same chapter, they are not on the same lesson (all three groups) in that chapter. I actually doubt they will all remain on the same chapter but we will see. As for the different "learning styles" that they are divided into, I do not understand that, and I don't think it has been clearly described. Also I do not believe that the kids were divided out as nicely as was done (three classes of equal numbers of kids) by chance "learning style" differentiation, whatever that is.

-Whittier doubter

Anonymous said...

@WG - what you describe seems reasonable and thoughtful and accommodates various ways of learning. I don't understand your concern.


Lynn said...


What various ways of learning math are you referencing? I believe it's most common to see students learning at different paces. This walk to math method doesn't accommodate that at all. If they've been grouped by test scores/ability but are then taught at the same pace - what is the benefit? Which group's optimal pace is provided to all three?

Anonymous said...


I was referring to the Sept. 11 thread where you responded to the comment about a "healthy" environoment (which had been part of a discussion about some kids not fitting into neighborhood schools) and you said the the principal said he could do nothing for your kid.

You can't deny that you and Charlie have pushed back tremendously for many years whenever the suggestion that self-contained programs were growning exponentially and inappropriately has been raised. It would be very disingenuous to parse phrasings about this fact. Your words over the years are in the archives in this blog for anyone who wants to see them.

"It depends on what the meaning of
'is' is" won't deny your advocacy for growth of self-contained. Saying "wow" to the consequences of your wishes coming true seemed to beg for some response.

--enough already

Anonymous said...

Went to a football game at Chief Sealth high school Friday night and was pretty offended to see them doing the Tomahawk chop and playing the tom-tom drum rhythm at kickoff. I guess I expected more cultural sensitivity at a school named for Chief Sealth and an international school.

The band is very good and lively but someone needs to inform the band director that these actions are offensive to Native Americans.


Charlie Mas said...

Director Maier did propose an amendment to the TFA contract approval that called for an assessment of the effectiveness of the TFA corps members, but that assessment was only required if the contract was going to be extended. No extension, no assessment.

Anonymous said...

I don't know how they are doing walk to math at Whittier but they are taking about it at my kid's school and I am all for it. I know it's come up before that kids needed self contained because some kids "felt bad" when other kids left the room and parents didnt like it. I would not feel bad AT ALL if my kids were in a classroom that wasn't the highest group as long as they were actually learning Math. If they were left behind to be babysat because other kids were learning and they weren't considered worth teaching at all, I'd be mad (this is what made me mad about self contained the way it affected my kid's classroom). What's wrong with dividing kids into 3 groups? The kids who need more time and explanation to get the concept should get that time, get the extra practice and work until they master the concepts. They should also get a teacher who is just as capable of teaching as the kids in the higher groups (heck, they might even need a better teacher). My kids don't need anyone to tell them they aren't in the highest ability level in Math. They know that. They do want to learn Math though. As long as the intent is to actually teach all the children, I don't see the problem with walk to Math.

Gen Ed Mom

Anonymous said...

There's an excellent study out that was done at the Air Force Academy on sorting groups by math achievement, basically, and what works and what doesn't. Worth finding on the web or someone posting here ...

And in theory with sorting everyone, you don't have to have three perfectly equal sized classes. You could give a slightly bigger class to one teacher, the class that is more homogeneous, for example, and then give the kids who need more intense help a smaller class so the teacher has more individual time and ability to intervene.

That's how it should work, I think - I think few people in the bigger class would complain, if they felt their kid was actually getting math that was moving fast enough, and that the kids who needed extra help to keep up were going to be able to get it. Most people are pretty fair and reasonable if they have all the information. It's when the school hides the whys and whats and leaves parents to try to figure it out through rumor and guess that parents start to complain.

But if schools just said, the 30 kid class is made up of kids we're confident are going to be able to master the material even in a larger setting, but we put the kids who are at risk of falling farther behind in the new curriculum into a 22 kid class, to try to get them ready for middle school success ...

Still, I like specialization better than walk to. The teacher gets to teach math and science twice, rather than every subject all day. THe strongest math teachers can be put into the math spots - because there are wild differences in ability to teach math.

-- Hanging in

Melissa Westbrook said...

Enough, I did not get my wish come true with the overcrowding of Lincoln.

I did not say expanding Advanced Learning was a good idea. (Never)

"..self-contained programs were growning exponentially and inappropriately."

That phrase is your take, not the reality. I suspect you are talking APP but Spectrum not only did not grew, it shrank.

"I know it's come up before that kids needed self contained because some kids "felt bad" when other kids left the room and parents didnt like it."

That was the exact comment years ago when it was called "pull-out."

I think this is okay but kids should be placed at the level they can work at, and not by grade. That means all kids, not just advanced learning kids.

Hanging in, my husband would agree with you. He's not sure everyone can teach math well.

Anonymous said...

5/20/2014 "Spectrum Is Dead"

Bemoans the loss of a highly questionable self-contained program and, like on other threads, predicts and encourages the growth of APP for those who can qualify.

There is absolutely no question raised about the numbers at APP. In fact, Melissa states that, if 20% of students in SPS qualify for APP,
then so be it.

Charlie proposes a walk-out because self-contained programs are on the decline (Spectrum in this case). Charlie also states that there is a strong research basis for Spectrum.

--enough already

Anonymous said...

"Lincoln accommodated Garfield while it was being renovated."

Before serving as the interim site for Garfield, the old Lincoln building was large enough to also house Ballard HS and later Roosevelt HS during those schools' renovations as well.

Lincoln is a large building (4 floors over most of the building!). I went there for summer school the year before it closed. I marveled at the size of the building and complex in comparison to Roosevelt and Garfield at the time as well as now.

In fact, when Garfield returned to home, it seemed as if Lincoln better suited its needs with so much space rather than the new building where teachers still have to share rooms.

At any rate, I am happy that in the future, Lincoln High School might exist again.

-OldSchool Music

Lynn said...

enough already,

A program isn't "highly questionable" just because you don't like it.

What is the magic number of students in self-contained classrooms that you feel is appropriate? There are a lot of very bright people working at the UW and living nearby. It's not shocking that they'd be more likely to enroll their (very bright) kids in APP when it became available closer to their homes.

If I recall correctly, you're a teacher. Can you share what you think neighborhood schools could do differently to meet the needs of these students?

Anonymous said...

Yes Amplify shows where you are in that year's standards. So my 5th grader will probably have a much lower score at the beginning of the year, hopefully will have a little higher next time, and by the end of the year will hopefully have mastered all or most of 5th grade content. The teachers can see how many in the class have mastered what (so can see what needs to be retaught, or what is not being taught effectively). The written parts of the test are scored later by school staff on site. What I don't know is what happens if a 5th grader scores super high at the beginning of 4th grade. Do they keep taking the 5th grade test? Do they move up to 6th? That seems weird because they aren't being taught 6th grade content... but it seems weird to just keep taking 5th grade tests that you have mastered. It is a totally different type of test that MAP. It is directly related to the content they are being taught in class that year. So supposedly is more useful to the teachers. That is what the schools piloting it are finding out-- if it is in fact useful data. I'm interested to find out. My kids said it was easier than MAP, less stressful, and much shorter.
-another parent

Joe Wolf said...

Lincoln's capacity as a comprehensive high school is about 1,600.

Anonymous said...

"Very bright"

Why do they get a place for themselves, away from the merely"bright", average and below average kids?

Shouldn't the merely "bright" get their own program away from the average and below average? Should not the average get a program away from the below average?

Why is one group allowed to separate? Surely the bright and the average also have unique needs and learning styles different from the other groups.

My kids are above average but not geniuses, but not struggling.

Why don't they get a program that buses them to a school filled with like ability students who can progress
at a faster rate than they can with less capable students?


mirmac1 said...


I was there as well. That was not the ridiculous redskins tomahawk chop. That was the school fight song and they pump their fist to "fight, fight, fight". I'll grant you that the kickoffs has a building cadence of bom bum bum then the trombone does a kazoo like up and down raspberry. The only reference to "indians" on campus is a beautiful totem by the office. The "seahawk" mascot is a raptor in school colors of light blue red and white.

Lynn said...

OMF'ingG (to quote mirmac1),

Do you have nothing else to think about? You know very well that very bright is one of those descriptors used to avoid upsetting the feelings of other parents who love to be outraged.

I'll reword that for you. There are a lot of people who likely have IQs at or above the 98th percentile working at the UW and living nearby. It's not shocking that they'd be more likely to enroll their kids with IQ's at or above the 98th percentile and math and reading scores at or above the 95th percentile In APP when it became available closer to their homes.

Feel better?

Anonymous said...


Ironically, had you attended a WS High School game before 2000, you would have actually observed that type of think when the school's mascot was Indians.

Most school's kick off is a percussion take on a Zombie Nation song (techno), haven't been to a Sealth game this year, but I think that is what they have played in he past.

Mirmac is right, there is no tomahawk chop, it is a fist pump pump to the school fight song.

Fight On Seahawks, Fight!
Go S-E-A-L-T-H
Fight S-E-A-L-T-H
Win for the Alma Mater
Fight for Sealth High!
Red, Blue and White
Fight, Fight, Fight
Onward to Victory
So Hail to our Alma Mater
Fight on Seahawks, Fight!


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

Math in Focus has been working well for our kids. We had envision last year and that worked as well, but I have no concerns about switching.

Maureen said...

Gotta say, I LOVE Ingraham High School and their willingness to let a 100% student driven production to use the auditorium and associated tech to PUT ON A SHOW!

One night of the EMERALD CITY REVIVAL brought in something like $2000 and, more importantly, show cased the abilities of a FULL ORCHESTRA (unlike Broadway, these days) and an incredible cast and crew.

My kid threw her heart and soul into this thing, largely because another 70+ kids were willing to make it happen. My kid is not going to post here, but I want to encourage parents whose kids are bright and driven to let them follow their dreams and do something that might seem too unstructured (i.e., not adult driven). I think this is the way our kids build self efficacy (as opposed to ego) and, perhaps more importantly, apply their skills and HAVE FUN!

Anonymous said...

Separating kids into self-contained who are the Spectrum-eligible CogAt range(even without addressing their current levels of progress) is not considered best practices in the current research on highly capable. Clustering is the recommended approach.

Hope this addresses your concern about my "highly questionable" comment, Lynn.

--enough already

Melissa Westbrook said...

I can only say that the research is mixed on how best to serve highly capable students. We can all choose what to support.

Anonymous said...

Education "research" can be kind if squishy, for lack of a better term. Conclusions can also be misapplied and generalized to support some practices that are less than effective, so "research shows" can become somewhat meaningless without the specific research being cited.

The education establishment embraces a lot of magic bullet ideas that don't always pan out. And isn't it human nature to embrace ideas that support your own ideologies?

Don't like self-contained? I'm sure there are studies to support integrated classrooms. Believe in self-contained? I'm sure there are studies to support self-contained classrooms.

This guy (Thalheimer) says it best:

Not all research is created equal. Some is better than others. Some is crap. Too much “research” in the learning-and-performance industry is crap so it’s important to first acknowledge the quality of the research review.

Have some links to current research? I'd love to read up on both sides of the debate.

Here's a place to start:

From Will Thalheimer's blog, Will at Work Learning

I love his Learning Styles Challenge - he's offering $5000 if "any person or group creates a real-world learning intervention that takes learning styles into account--and proves that such an intervention produces better learning results than a non-learning-styles intervention."

happy reading

Anonymous said...

There is a lot of research about climate change, too, and people believe what they want.

--enough already

Anonymous said...

"We can all choose what to support."

It doesn't matter what we think, it is what the district decides to do that matters.
Of course we as parents have some pathways to explore. For example, my child who qualified for HC is at the neighborhood school and I'm exploring a lawsuit against the district for lack of appropriate service. I want the district to prove to me that services are available and utilized. I don't want to leave this great community, force my child to leave its many friends, ride a bus rather than walk, or lose the ability to interact daily at school with children of all levels of "intellectual capacity"(or whatever it's called).
My principal is not all powerful and has an entire school with many kids with many issues, I'm just one parent with a problem, that is a child who is not challenged sufficiently.So I look to the district to help and a court date seems to be a motivator, from what I've heard.

Not Waiting

Anonymous said...

the problem with HCC is the bubble these kids live in at school.It warps their perceptions of other children and the world and not in a good way. it also affects the parents with an us vs, them mentality and a goal(good college) oriented rather than humanistic (we're all citizens of the same planet) ideology. one of the more interesting and perhaps disturbing rationales is that these kids will be the saviors of the world, a super-race as it were, and need extra mental nourishment to thrive.

Anonymous said...

Not Waiting--

There is no requirement in state law that an individual child be served in any specific way in all schools. Your child is not guaranteed preferential treatment in your neighborhood school.

The primary service that is offered in SPS is the HCC: the specific "services" (i.e classes, curriculum and teachers) that are organized to meet the needs of these kids.

It is the insistence of parents like you that your child is special and should get special services in whatever school you want to go to that is problematic. The reason why there are self-contained programs is because it is impossible, as you say, for every school to be all things to all kids. Impossible.

I don't think you will be successful in a lawsuit against the district on this point because they do offer you services: it is in joining the HCC. If you choose not to utilize the services that are offered to you, that is your choice, but it is not the districts responsibility to force to accept the services. You have a guaranteed seat. You have free bussing. You just don't want to access the services that exist because of your own desire to keep him with his friends, and some misguided perception that it is an awful school.

What exactly to you think that the services at neighborhood schools should be? Individual tutoring and acceleration? When we don't actually even come close to fully funding education now, why do you think that your kids should be able to insist on more resources so that he can stay with his friends instead of joining HCC?

I really don't understand this selfish perspective. You, you, you, and you are going to waste the districts resources in suing them because your kid "deserves" to have special treatment so that he can stay with his friends?


Lynn said...

Not Waiting,

Can you share what you'd like your child's current school to do differently? What would appropriate services for your child look like?

As I'm sure you're aware, the WAC says For highly capable students, access to accelerated learning and enhanced instruction is access to a basic education. Is your argument that those services must be provided in your neighborhood school? Or that the services offered in the self-contained program available to your child (with free transportation) are not appropriate?

I'm hearing that you like your neighborhood school for social reasons, but that it's not meeting your child's academic needs. While that seems unfair, I doubt that you'll have much luck with a lawsuit. Children who receive special education services are often shut out of their neighborhood schools. You at least have the option of choosing to stay local.

Lynn said...


Is that the atmosphere you experienced in your child's APP school? Would you mind sharing which school that is?

mirmac1 said...

Not Waiting,

You will be wasting your money. SpEd has a federal law that mandates that a student with a disability attend the school s/he would attend but for her/his disability.

Since passage of IDEA, many Courts of Appeal have ruled that...well...not so much. District can offer specific services in a single or central location, if the neighborhood school does not offer that service.

Our beef is when there ARE a services at a local school but the district caps enrollment for these students. The district never caps enrollment at assignment schools for students without disabilities. This is discriminatory.

Anonymous said...

Especially like this post on the Will at Work Learning blog:

The Edgar Dale myth seems behind the support for project-based learning and the dismissal of content-based learning.

And, yep, you can't count on TED talks to be fact checked.

Gordon Macdougall said...

Wow, Komo....I used to teach APP and, like you, have some trepidation regarding its insularity (as do, in my opinion, many of the parent/guardians and students themselves.) It's a decision that might not come lightly: purported service to meet the academic needs of your "highly capable" child, or the social diversity of gen-ed...
But to state that college readiness and not citizenship, and a belief that the students will be "saviours", permeates the thought processes of the parent/guardians is ridiculous and insulting. Yes, as many p/gs in APP want their kid to be ready for college as do p/gs of gen-ed. As many want their kid to save the world. But, as one with experience with both "kinds" of p/gs, I can assure you that most, across the board, want both success (academic and, yes, social and economic) AND for their kid to be a warm and caring citizen.

SE said...

I'd like to know where SPS has this entity and who's on it:

[5/3/2013 9:43:03 AM]
Multidisciplinary selection committee.
The multidisciplinary selection committee for the final selection of the most highly capable students for participation in the district's program for
highly capable students shall consist of the following professionals:
(1) A special teacher: Provided, that if a special teacher is not available, a classroom teacher shall be appointed;
(2) A psychologist or other qualified practitioner with the training to interpret cognitive and achievement test results;
(3) A certificated coordinator/administrator with responsibility for the supervision of the district's program for highly capable students; and
(4) Such additional professionals, if any, the district deems desirable

Looks like a violation.

Anonymous said...

As a teacher you may not be privy to parents' conversations among themselves, but your point is valid. People are concerned about the insularity and a stellar college is not everyone's obsession. However the "savior" mindset is one that is more pervasive than you are apparently aware of existing. In fact, the AL department itself has thrown out such ideas. Read some postings on the discussapp blog, I wouldn't paint all parents with the same brush but the the mentality exists and it is not inconsiderable.

Lynn said...


pages 13 and 14.

Anonymous said...


Are you a parent in APP? If so, are you privy to ALL parent conversations? You are strongly implying you know the conversations of everyone . I love this comment: "However the "savior" mindset is one that is more pervasive than you are apparently aware of existing." I like at the end how you say you aren't painting all APP parents with the "same brush." Thanks for that!!!

I have been a parent in the APP program for eight years, and I am not familiar with what you are talking about. Are their jerky parents in APP? Of course. Are there jerky parents in EVERY neighborhood school in the district? Most definitely. You will even find parents with behaviors you ascribe to APP parents in every school.

Kids in APP participate in all sorts of events all over the city. They play on all-city sports teams, participate in scouts, play in all city orchestras. In fact, most APP kids even have neighbors who are kids!!! My child knows all sorts of kids outside of school, as I would imagine is true for kids all over the district. I doubt that there are many kids who only know kids in their school.

As for the us vs them mentality, I experience that on this blog more than I have ever experienced in person. I have yet to have someone tell me in person that I create an insular environment for my child and that I am making my kid into a self-centered pig. I read that sort of stuff on this blog on the time.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Not Waiting, good for you. Charlie and I have said that Advanced Learning students, no matter where they are, should be served. Schools are supposed to have advanced learning opportunities (which could be available to any student) but don't.

I'm glad you are forcing the issue. It takes courage.

Komo, I have heard many stories (some recently) about parents who have convinced themselves (and their kids) that their kids are the brightest kids on the planet. I have personally never encountered these parents but I have no doubt they exist.

But a "super-race?" A bit over-the-top.

And here we are with that age-old belief that advanced learners get some "preferential treatment." I wish someone could back that up with a real example. Whether the law says advanced learners at neighborhood schools should be served, that's what the district policy says.

And again, there is NO highly capable curriculum. Tell where you have seen it and what it looks like.

What I don't get is this perception that highly capable kids get more. And we just go in circles.

The day we see everyone who wants to be in orchestra, band, or any athletic team able to be in those groups, then I'll drop my support of highly capable.

But that day will never come because yes, kids have talents in all directions.

dw said...

enough already said: There is a lot of research about climate change, too, and people believe what they want.

Thank you so much for pointing this out, it was exactly what came to mind when I was reading your post(s) above!

enough continued: Separating kids into self-contained who are the Spectrum-eligible CogAt range (even without addressing their current levels of progress) is not considered best practices in the current research on highly capable. Clustering is the recommended approach

This is incorrect. First, read your above statement.

Second, realize that there are almost no quality objective studies on this topic, and in particular ones that have been able to randomize students, due to the nature of most programs and assignments. I think I've only been aware of 2 studies over my many years of involvement and research that even remotely measure up as far as objectivity and could withstand peer review. These studies do NOT recommend mixing or clustering as a first choice. I'm not going to go redo my research for your benefit right now, but I remember one of the studies was referenced by Dr. Dina Brulles of Paradise Valley when she was here in Seattle a couple years ago. Its bottom line was that self-contained HC helps all students with measured achievement.

A very specific form of cluster grouping is recommended for situations where there are not enough students to form self-contained classrooms. As far as I know, this type of cluster grouping is not practiced anywhere in Seattle. Even worse than that, at one school with a hugely disingenuous principal, he decided that cluster grouping meant disbursing the HC as thinly as possible across all classrooms!

The unassailable fact is that very few teachers can or even want to effectively differentiate, even in situations where it's feasible to do effectively, like a class with +/- 1 standard deviation of ability and achievement levels. When student needs span a very wide range there is no other realistic way to meet student needs other than self-contained classes. You can continue to live in a dream world where you believe otherwise, but that's all it is.

When people claim "studies" exist that show otherwise, they're based on pre-determined goals, egalitarian notions, fuzzy claims of unmeasurable student characteristics (we want well-rounded students), etc. I'm not saying that those goals are all undesirable, but good luck constructing a meaningful study based on those. Good and great citizens come from all forms of classrooms.

It's so sad that we keep having these conversations.

dw said...

GenEdMom said: I would not feel bad AT ALL if my kids were in a classroom that wasn't the highest group as long as they were actually learning Math.

Thank you! If only everyone had your common sense on this topic. We should all want what's best for our children, and that's great. What sucks is when people think they need to tear down others' opportunities along the way.

I was at a school where kids did walk-to-math for a while, and they even used flexible grouping where the kids were assessed after each unit/topic and the groups were re-balanced. Yet, there were so many parent complaints about which group their kids were in, that the program was shut down. Too much parental ego.

If they were left behind to be babysat because other kids were learning and they weren't considered worth teaching at all, I'd be mad

Absolutely. ALL kids deserve to learn. I think (hope!) that's what most parents want.

What's wrong with dividing kids into 3 groups? The kids who need more time and explanation to get the concept should get that time, get the extra practice and work until they master the concepts. They should also get a teacher who is just as capable of teaching as the kids in the higher groups

I don't think there's anything wrong with this, but it seems a lot of people (including, sadly, a lot of educators) think kids are just replaceable widgets, and that's clearly wrong. Like Melissa said above, we don't put every kid that turns out for football on the varsity team, or every kid that plays an instrument in the top band or orchestra, or every kid that walks on stage in the starring role. And yet for some reason there are people who think that academics are somehow different. We might want academics to be different, but they're really not.

Ida said...

As an HC parent who is staying local, I applaud the poster who is threatening to sue. Service at our middle school is satisfactory, not perfect, but not deleterious.
I know this is not the case at every school, more so at the elementary level. It's hard to serve outliers well at the K-5 level. Just look at Special Education services.
The district is in big trouble with the state over SpEd and there seems to be more pressure to make it work better for kids. The same can happen with gifted ed. Parents need to put pressure on local principals and the district administration and not let the existence of a self-contained program be a dumping ground for kids who are "hard to challenge".
Many, many parents have tried to get their neighborhood schools to change and have basically been told "my way or the highway" by principals. Parents who want to stay in the neighborhood have a right under SPS policies to receive AL service and I hope the poster goes through with the lawsuit.
And yes, it's selfish. Just like we don't starve our kids because other kids in this messed-up world are starving, parents want a good education for their kids at their neighborhood school.

Anonymous said...

Knowing many families who have moved into HCC after trying to get their children challenged at neighborhood schools, I see how being in the program has a bad effect on the parents. They have to fend off everything from raised eyebrows to outright insults from friends and acquaintances. The program is not that great and the logistics are a hassle and they worry like all parents if they did the right thing, which is all they wanted to do.
The bottom line is the district has not insisted that principals serve HC students. By pretending to offer something better with HCC, when really it would truly help many students to challenge them in their neighborhood schools, is the game AL has played for years with full complicity of the rest of the administration and local principals. Parents are put in the position of busing their kids or letting them languish and possibly sustain real harm from an unchallenging atmosphere. I would also encourage a lawsuit to get the district off it's heels.

Anonymous said...

My friend has a 1st grader at Thornton Creek. The co-teachers for the class were pleased to announce they were in a position to continue teaching out of TERC and EDM. They will not be using MIF.

I wonder if this is the norm at Thornton Creek?

Does any TC parent/teacher know if TC got a waiver to keep TERC, and if not, by what arrangement is TC allowed to deviate from District's adopted curriculum?


Anonymous said...

I'd like to remind folks that there is a need for special education and HC programs. Kids who NEED special education services and HC programs, in the sense that without the appropriate services, these kids are at higher risk of depression, suicide, bullying, acting out, suspensions.....

I know several kids that were disruptive in their gen ed classroms who subsequent to movig to APP (HC) were much better behaved and more successful. I suppose it is some combination of social and academic factors that contribute to the improved behavior profile that is typically seen in these kids.

This fact alone is sufficient for me to believe that APP (HC) programs are necessary to the success of a small percentage of students.

Parent of 2.

Anonymous said...

Hey, my kid is not a Math genius, but she's really good at a lot of other things. I would do her no favors by pretending she was the best at Math. Instead I tell my kids that they can learn Math just like everybody else, but they need to put in the work where it doesn't come easy. I am sure that your HC kid can relate to that in *some* area of life. Most people are not good at everything. The discouraging thing for our family about being at a school with a self contained HC program was that we felt BECAUSE she isn't a Math genius she wasn't valued at all. I didn't expect to encounter that attitude (I can't say I felt it from parents, but I DID feel it from the classroom teacher who pigeonholed my daughter as not worth much attention on day one and seemed unable to overcome her predjudice to see what a great, curious, hardworking student my kid is. ). We don't need to pretend everyone is equally good at everything. We just need to value all gifts and be able to see them all as equally valuable.


Anonymous said...

Math advocate, I have a child in that class. They have a waiver, which is what they said- maybe your friend was too gobsmacked to hear properly. Lord knows I was not happy. I was so hoping for some real math to finally come to TC. But no, still TERC. Yes, this is the norm. It's a creative approach school, which is why. TC has some great strengths, but math is not one of them, and I guess it is staying that way. The parent next to me was thrilled, though, so we may be in the minority.

I usually post under another name, but today I am

Still mathless

Anonymous said...

I think it is no surprise that many in NE Seattle have HCC/APP students. I would go as far as to say that the program is DESIGNED that way. With the focus on what you know basically going into K and 1, kids who have highly educated parents and start school well prepared are at a massive advantage entrance-wise. I don't think it actually says all that much about how "smart" the kids really are once they age up a little and many of those earlier advantages even out. I wouldn't be surprised if this is also why there are a fair number of complaints about "challenge" in middle school - because many kids really aren't in that much of a position to be challenged.

Also, so sorry to see TC is using their old math program. There is so much to like about that school. Math...isn't it.

NE Mom

Anonymous said...

The need for "challenge" as the main service for HC kids shows a fundamental misunderstanding of what HC is and who these kids are.

Again, APP is talking about the outling 2 %ile in cognition. These kids actually DO think a bit differently, and the needs are not a simply served by just providing "challenge." in the neighborhood school.

Every single parent I've talked to parents who insisted on keeping their kid at the neighborhood school and then finally did put them in APP, says essentially, "Why ever did I wait?! It is so much more than just academic challenge, and it really is so much better to be IN the school instead trying to force the neighborhood school to be a gifted ed program that it simply can't be."

I would argue fervently that at Lincoln, not only is the work at a pace which is more appropriate, but that the amount of social emotional supports they have to provide is equally as important. These are kids that will come off like a 16 year old going on 35 and they are actually 7, but then 10 minutes later turn into a crying mess because there stuffed animal fell on the floor.

I don't think it is possible to provide the same services in every school for every HC kids, because it is the whole program combined that does it. You are literally short changing your HC kid in many ways by not accessing the HCC, in my opinion.

And yes, while there is no curriculum across all of APP, there certainly is curriculum at Lincoln. The second graders all do a whole project on democracy and community, for example, and the other grades have similar "curricula". It is not the same at TM or Fairmont park, but there is a curruculum.

It's not much different than a language immersion program in this way, really.

Is is really possible to mix mandarin immersion kids in the same class as the Spanish immersion kids and have either of them learn anything?

No, you group them by language.


Anonymous said...

Not waiting - how incredibly selfish of you to threaten to sue and waste the districts time, resources, and money that could be used to educate all our kids! Your child has multiple options and schools to attend, unlike many other kids. No school is perfect, but threatening to sue is way over the top. And Melissa, I am appalled that you support this behavior and special snowflake attitude. - RR

Anonymous said...


I was there as well. That was not the ridiculous redskins tomahawk chop. That was the school fight song and they pump their fist to "fight, fight, fight". I'll grant you that the kickoffs has a building cadence of bom bum bum then the trombone does a kazoo like up and down raspberry. The only reference to "indians" on campus is a beautiful totem by the office. The "seahawk" mascot is a raptor in school colors of light blue red and white.

In reply: From where I was sitting it did not look like a fist pump. It looked their arms were going from a 90 degree angle to a 180 degree angle ie a Tomahawk chop. A fist pump would be up into the air. Secondly, the drums were playing an stereotypical 'Indian' drumbeat heard in every single bad Hollywood cowboy movie. Every other high school football game I have been too, the band, if there is one, plays a drumroll at the kickoffs. This was the only high school that played that BUM-bum-bum-bum BUM-bum-bum-bum (Indian war drum beat from Hollywood movies) at their kickoffs.

Yes there were no other overt references to Indians and yes their mascot is the Seahawk but the rest of it, I found offensive as did my Native American friends.


Anonymous said...

Oh and Tomahawk chop comes from the Atlanta Braves. Jane Fonda was called out on it.


Anonymous said...

One last thing, they were doing the Tomahawk chop during the kick offs not during their fight song.


Charlie Mas said...

Moonbeam asked: "Why is one group allowed to separate?"

Because they not only think faster than other kids; they think differently.
Because all of the research has shown that they need a different kind of instruction.
For perfectly legitimate pedagogical reasons.

mirmac1 said...

I am a Sealth graduate. My child's in the band. I was in the stands clenching my fist and articulating my elbow, chanting fight fight fight. We don't do the chop.

I'm sorry if these were perceived as slights to Native Americans, because they were not intended to, in any respect whatsoever.

Melissa Westbrook said...

itsnotjustchallenge, the type of delivery, i.e. a democracy project, is not curriculum. So yes, every single school uses the same curriculum.

RR, parents are entitled to seek redress if the district does fulfill promises. The parent in question said he/she was "exploring" the idea and I said think it's a valid thing to do. YOU get to think it's a waste of time and money but others may think differently.

As for the time and money, the district has spent a lot of legal time and money over lawsuits that they should never have allowed to see the light of day.

Again, we can disagree on this issue but to go around and around in circles is really tiresome.

I note that no one who is against highly capable programs explained why it's okay for music/sports programs. I know A LOT of parents who thought their athlete was a "special snowflake."

Anonymous said...

Uh boy, these merry go around topics do generate a lot of hits. Personally the G&T students I feel the most for are the talents and the prodigies. The Seattle metro area lacks a performance arts school. (Yes, some public school have components, but you admission is based on zip code and CogAT, not talent.) It's STEM and more STEM. The prodigies usually don't last long in K-12 system. It's even tougher when you have such a student living in rural school districts.

The emotional component argument lacks heft only because you'll find sensitive, emotionally labile, and
intuit students across all spectrum. Some come with IEPs of EDB/autism (and some groups of kids get EDB attached labels with greater frequency). Talk to those parents and you'll find a well of pain and frustration.

Suspect despite all the difference of opinions, many here have far more in common. Hurt feelings being one.


Anonymous said...

moonbeams statement in context was:

"Why is one group allowed to separate? Surely the bright and the average also have unique needs and learning styles different from the other groups.

My kids are above average but not geniuses, but not struggling.

Why don't they get a program that buses them to a school filled with like ability students who can progress
at a faster rate than they can with less capable students?"

so the question is, as i read it,
the above average yet not HC kids have style of learning and academic needs different than struggling students or even average ability kids so why don't they have a program where they can get bused to be with like-abled students? They get bored while the teacher keeps a pace to accommodate the struggling and average. Just because the law doesn't mandate that their needs be met to bring out their full potential shouldn't mean they are relegated to mentoring other students or reading when they should be learning more math.
I'm not one to say that HCC should be dismantled but where is the fairness for the rest of the students? I see how a kid with a CogAT in the mid 80's percentile is in classes twiddling their thumbs as the teacher works with average IQ kids. A lot of twiddling.
The district appears to be happy to give the kids who can get into HCC a refuge from the masses. As many have said they don't get different anything, just acceleration. that and a homogenous
group which, if it helps them so much, why deny it to the mid 80 percentile group or the 50 percentile group?
"all the studies",I don't think so. Yes, the 145+ IQ kids are often incompatible with standard pedagogy,but that is a small subset of the HCC. Much research is showing that differences as measured by cognitive tests is not the factor in learning it was once thought to be.
Think about what we are saying to kids, you're smart but not smart enough to go the HCC school so you stay in class with kids who are struggling, help them, be patient while they catch up, read quietly when you're done with your work, give someone else a chance to answer, don't work ahead, help me out with busy work in the classroom. All the things that happen to HC kids that makes their parents upset and put them on the bus to HCC.


Anonymous said...

Melissa-- About the curriculum...No there isn't a standard curriculum across the HCC sites, but they DO tailor the curriculum to these kids. So there is curriculum, just not standardized and consistently applied. What is taught and how it is taught in HCC is not the same as in the same grade general ed classes. It is paced differently, for starters.

It is because you group that you can appropriately serve.

I fully agree that neighborhood schools should be challenging all kids, and that is what spectrum was designed to help do better, but since it is all but formally dismantled, it is not happening.

The thing is that we can't really have it both ways but everyone wants to have it both ways. They want every school to individualize instruction for their kid.

Unless and until we have schools that are fully funded with reasonable class sizes, this is simply an impossible task. Grouping kids is how you appropriately manage the very real work load of teaching different kids. This myth that all teachers can differentiate across 4-5 levels is crazy.

Kids that are getting language immersion get grouped together.

Kids that are on either end of the cognition spectrum get grouped together.

Kids are grouped by age and grade.

To expect that a neighborhood school that has 1 or two kids that are outliers should get tons more resources to serve those 1 or 2 kids when there is already an organized program and schools meant to serve these kids IS selfish.

Our school system is already so significantly underfunded that if you wanted to make a difference for you kid, what you should be fighting for is a fully funded system, not wasting time and energy on how to siphon of $$s from already strapped schools.

If you have an HC kid, and you insist on keeping them in a general classroom when there ARE HC services readily available through the HCC, it is the same thing as insisting that your kid should be held back a grade but the teacher should be teaching them the next grades curriculum. It just doesn't make sense to me.

Put them in the right class for them instead.


Anonymous said...

Moonbeam--HCC a refuge from the masses? That's bizzarre. A 700 kid school IS the masses.

Secondly, it is because you insist on everyone being in the same class altogether that you end up with this situation where only SOME of the kids actually get moved forward in their education.

Sit patiently while we work on stuff from last year for the 3 students that are behind get focused instruction. No, this should not be happening to any kids, but when you insist on putting kids of 4-5 different grade levels all int he same class together, that is what happens. It is impossible to teach 5 levels all at the same time.


Lori said...

This will be controversial, I'm sure, but I've often wondered why the default enrollment isn't to APP/HCC instead of creating an extra hoop/barrier by making families opt in.

In other words, families would be notified of APP/HCC qualification AND receive a default assignment to the program for the following year. They would have to opt *out* and perhaps even sign off on it, acknowleding that, according to the district, optimal placement for children who score 2 or more standard deviations from the norm is in APP/HCC.

Thoughts? Anyone else think the idea has merit? Was it discussed by the recent task forces?

Lynn said...


State law (WAC 392-170-047) requires that the district receive parental permission before placing a student in the program.

Anonymous said...

I'm so over caring what the theory is of best educating HC kids. Now it's about the practice...what actually happens regardless of the theory. I've given up on having a rational discussion about it, trying to find a system that works for all kids. If there is any aspect of advocacy for your HC kid, you get labeled with the kind of negative stereotypes seen in this thread. The principal at our ALO school is actually hostile to families that try to get their kids a bit of challenge. He makes judgements about the kind of person you are.

Tired of beating my head against a brick wall to no effect, I just keep a smile on my face and move along with the stream, while assessing what my kids need and providing it out of school. This is working quite well, but wouldn't for a family with two working parents or parents that are less experienced in education. So it is a system that is tilted toward people like me, well-educated and willing and able to figure out solutions. And toward people who can afford private school and get their HC kid into a program that meets their need to be challenged, develop perseverance, and learn what it's like when everything isn't always super easy.


Anonymous said...

In practice and as a parent that truly hemmed and hawed about sending my child to Lincoln, I can see after only two weeks at the school that we should have moved our child before upper elementary. I am already over the guilt of moving my "snowflake" out of the neighborhood school where "all the kids are smart" and any grief I am taking because of it. I regret the time and energy I spend trying to obtain "challenge" at our ALO school as it wasn't time well spent for anyone, it turns out. Yeah, I'd like to avoid the bus ride for my child, but this school is actually school for my child. An opt-out rather than opt-in might have changed things for us, but I don't know how such a change in law would affect the broader field of families.

I do strongly agree that the neighborhood schools in certain areas need a mechanism for raising the rigor to a level that's more appropriate for the population they serve.


Anonymous said...

And regarding saving the world:

I have a kid who misses things on tests, doesn't always understand everything, works well with her peers, and knows that missed problems on a test while disappointing, are not the end of the world. She has to look at where she made mistakes, shake it off and try to course correct. She knows how to work. She knows there are people better at some subjects than she is, and can live with that. She may save the world one day.

My HC kid has learned this through her unchallenging public school experience: She is smarter than everyone else in the room, doesn't need to try, and never fails. How is she going to save the world with those traits?

Why is she in gen ed? I fell for the ALO speech during school tours, and wanted both kids in the same school as they needed each other's support when they were younger. Why does she think she's smart? Because every other kid in the class tells her that, introduces her to their parents as the smartest kid in the class, etc. We don't talk to her that way at home. I finally have her in an on-line math course that is truly challenging, and she is learning she is not the smartest kid in the [virtual] room, that she has to work to learn, and how it feels to face a problem you have no idea how to solve and just start to chip away at it. And the ultimate joy that comes with solving such a problem. These are life skills she needs, no matter what she decides to do with her life.


Anonymous said...

Exactly. When you leave an HC kid in the neighborhood school they end up not having to do anything to be labeled the smart kid, and in some cases even marginalized and bullied.

Having an HC kid in the HCC means they actually have to work and learn and grow. They aren't always the smartest kid in the class and skating by. They are actually getting an education.

I think it is far more damaging for an HC kid to have the perception that they are always the best by being the top of their class without really needing to do much. Wait until the real world hits them when they are older.

Smarts doesn't mean success in this world. For all of the voices on here that think that HC kids should be "integrated" and blended in general ed classrooms for their own good, the opposite is actually the reality.

It is damaging to both the kids in the class who feel awful every time that kid aces the test again and they didn't understand, AND to the HC kid who didn't ever have to work to learn.


Anonymous said...

Has anyone gotten results of an elementary Amplify test yet? How are these results going to be reported? Our teacher didn't even mention that the kids took it.


Anonymous said...

Our child said the test score popped up on the screen at the end of the test. That's the only info we have at this point - what our child reported.

Lori said...

Thanks, Lynn. I didn't realize that was the law.

I wonder if it would suffice to grant that permission at the time that the parents grant permission to test? That is, by agreeing to have your child tested, you are agreeing to a placement based on the results. Would that work?

ben said...

@Lori - What's the problem you're trying to solve? By the time someone requests placement testing they are fairly likely to exercise that option if their child passes.

Anonymous said...

My son is very athletic and good looking by current standards and he likes to wear preppy clothes and is into good haircuts. He's introduced as the best looking boy at school. We don't refer to him like that at home and wish people would treat him as an ordinary kid. Does anyone know if there is a self- contained program for those afflicted with good looks above 98% of students nationally?
He'd be so much more comfortable and successful in school if was with his peers in appearance. The other kids feel bad being around him because they will never be as good looking and would feel better if he wasn't around. Is there an HCC for him(Highly Cute Cohort)?


Lori said...

Ben, it's something I've wondered about for a long time but don't think I've ever posted about.

The thought came to me again today though because someone upthread is considering suing the district for not providing APP/HCC services to their child at a neighborhood school. That just seems strange to me given that there is a program designed to serve that child's needs but the family didn't "opt in" to it.

Over the years, I've also read posts on this blog from people who suggest that the opt in design is a barrier to enrollment for families who aren't used to or don't have time to navigate thru bureacracies. Or worse, for families who are counseled to remain local to help keep test scores up (again, that's something I've read here over the years). Maybe having to opt *out* would increase socioeconomic diversity in the program?

And, I don't know how much this goes on anymore once they started using MAP as a hard screen, but back when my family tested and it was a parent-driven process, people did in fact sign their kids up for testing with no intention of moving them. I've spoken to parents who were just curious what their kids' results might be and there was no down-side to taking the test.

So, maybe a mandatory assignment based on test results would increase diversity and reduce unnecessary testing? I don't know. I'm just posing questions for discussion.

But suing the district because you didn't avail yourself of the recommended intervention is still weird to me. It would be like the school noticing that my child needs glasses but me saying, "No, thanks. You should just write bigger on the board, and give him worksheets with a bigger font because getting glasses would be too inconvenient for me." I'm sure that's not a perfect analogy, but it's close, IMHO.

Until recently, there was never a promise that APP kids' needs would be met locally, but the opt in nature of the program seems to imply it. And, the task force recommendations even say now that some sort of "modified" services will be provided, so that promise is clearly being made to families as of this school year.

Anonymous said...

Topretty...Yes, there is! It's call varsity. The benefits of joining the varsity sports program is that you can get away with hazing and even sexual assault. The down side is that you might only be valued for your looks and sports prowress and never learn a thing, but you'll get promoted through school while you skip classes and don't learn anything. But never mind, sports are more important than academics in school anyway.


Anonymous said...

"The legislature finds that, for highly capable students, access to accelerated learning and enhanced instruction is access to a basic education."


"Access to accelerated learning and enhanced instruction through the program for highly capable students does not constitute an individual entitlement for any particular student."

I think these are the key phrases for someone considering litigation. Qualified students have access to APP/HCC services (with transportation), so why would someone opt out and think their child is entitled to services outside of the designated schools?


Melissa Westbrook said...

" was no down-side to taking the test."

Maybe not to the kid and the parents but the costs to the district testing all those kids who were going nowhere? Huge. Remember the majority of money goes for testing, not PD and better ways to reach these kids.

Lori, it is unclear to me whether the student whose parents may sue has an APP-qualified student or Spectrum. It matters because yes, I believe the district is obligated to service all APP students,whether at an APP school or not. They very much could have a case if that is true.

mirmac1 said...

I have many decisions from the second highest courts in the land that say otherwise.

Melissa Westbrook said...

That's what you go to court for - to find out if the law is saying what you believe it is.

Anonymous said...

Do you mean federal court, mirmac? I believe this would be a state court case- McCleary tells us among other things that the courts here are fairly friendly to educational rights, and they have new regs to work with. It's also a different constitution they'd be working with that promises ample education- just different.

Not trying to launch into a fed jur lecture, just not sure if you mean wa state Supreme Court or the 9th circuit (who would not control on this issue, unless they are bringing up federal issues I am not aware of).

Generally I agree with Lori, about how obliged local schools need to be to serve HCC designated students who could go to an HCC school. I do think that all local schools should offer more in the way of advanced learning opportunities to all students, though. I don't think they need to serve every single advanced learner, but they should be serving many more than they currently are.


Anonymous said...

@ Toopretty,

Congratulations! You win the most specious argument of the year award! Your inability to engage in meaningful discourse proves my point: best to just take care of one's own kids. One can't fight a tidal wave of prejudice and willful ignorance.


Anonymous said...


If you have a kid that is good at sports, be sure to tell him to use his non-dominant hand for throwing the ball, and be sure his shoes don't fit so he can't run well. You don't want him to outperform anyone, or further develop his already too strong skills, so don't let him practice. Try to get him on a team that is younger than he is and less experienced. That will help hold him back so he won't improve. By the time he's grown he'll be really average at what used to be his special talent, and all the other parents will still like you.

a mom

Anonymous said...

A lawsuit against the district regarding it's own policies would go to King County Superior Court, as the lawsuit by parents including Cliff Mass over discovery math in 2010. The judge ordered the board to reconsider the adoption.

Local courts can apparently order the district to do things.I assume that is where the HC parent is considering suing.

Selfish? If the district makes a promise in writing to deliver service, it needs to follow through or face the music. If they don't want lawsuits then give students what they've been promised.


Anonymous said...

I'm a little sick of HC parents telling me how bad it is for my kids to be in school with theirs. How bad they will feel being around geniuses(or near geniuses). How their kids suffer just being in the same place as mine. How there's a damage that will occur to them if they are not with their own kind, the "smart", yes I'm quoting some posts, ones.
How all, yes Charlie, you and others have said all, the research says they must be separated. How there is no right to expect service at local schools. And the real insult, how miserable they have it at their overcrowded Lincoln, forgetting the six or is it ten levels of music at WMS and Hamilton. The money that flows like water into the HCC schools,, the lack od diversity. I read the discussAPP blog and the posters are obsessed with IBX english and Ivy league schools when in other parts of our city kids deal with graduating HS. I think Toopretty"s post was cute, like her boy. I'm surprised people took it so literally.


Charlie Mas said...

Hippie, thanks for providing even more satire.

Anonymous said...

Let's hope you don't base your ideas of APP/HCC (whatever it's called) on the blog postings of a handful of parents.

Anonymous said...

I'll take that as a compliment, Charlie. I have to say, that if nothing else, and there is a lot of really good else on this blog, the passion people show for education of children, even if it's just theirs, is fantastic. That energy seeps into the schools and the administration and can only help. Plus the watchdogging and meeting attending by the stalwarts is incredible. I love the info, my friends are always amazed by how much I know about the district and the schools and it's fun to do a little creative writing once in a while. Keeps me on my toes for helping the kids with editing papers.
BTW, kudos to Lawton for teacher of the year in the person of Lyon Terry. That school has been hammered a few times for introducing "cluster grouping" into our lexicon. Thank goddess they have the best teacher in the state!


mirmac1 said...



Anonymous said...

Textbook question: When in a high school class where the teacher is using an adopted text, especially math or science, aren't students supposed to have their own copy of the text to take home? Our child is reporting there aren't enough books and they won't have a copy to take home. How typical is this?


Melissa Westbrook said...

Satire or sarcasm? Just not sure (but really don't care).

Anonymous said...




Anonymous said...

"I'm a little sick of HC parents telling me how bad it is for my kids to be in school with theirs." How could you have so misinterpreted the issue? Do you even want to understand? Or is your resentment so great you just manufacture your straw man so you can knock it down?

It's not about you, or your kid. My other kid is in class with your kid and I'm thrilled with that because my other kid is learning. My HC kid is in class with your kid and is not learning math. I'm not wanting something different for my kid because something is wrong with your kid. I'm wanting different for my kid because my kid is not learning. My kid is not learning because the school is not teaching my kid. The school is "not worried" about my kid because my kid already knows everything they are responsible for teaching this year. They will start teaching my kid when they've neglected her long enough that she is finally at grade level. Until then, she can be bored, get lazy, and learn to hate school. You may be happy if my kid ends up like that, but I'm not.


Anonymous said...

"It is damaging to both the kids in the class who feel awful every time that kid aces the test again and they didn't understand, AND to the HC kid who didn't ever have to work to learn."

That's the part that is irritating.It's analogous to saying that good looking kids should be removed because they make the rest feel bad, or Nobel Laureates should be living in special enclaves and not speak to the ordinary folk.Why is it so awful for kids to see each others' abilities? Now if the teacher won't challenge the kids who ace the tests by differentiating, that's on the teacher and should be rectified, or the school should pull out advanced math students or create walkto's or if you like, send them to HCC. Just don't keep repeating that idea of doing the rest of the kids a big favor by moving out the HC kids. Think for a minute about how that sounds regarding kids who are below grade level; we don't say they shouldn't be around higher performing students, do we? What about SpEd students? Isn't it good for kids to be around others of different abilities for its own sake? Don't we want our kids to appreciate each other for who they are as people not how well they do on tests?I don't care where you send your kid just don't tell me how good it is for mine to not be around kids who are born with a better propensity for mathematics. That is patently ridiculous and offensive.If the district can get its act together and serve most HC students in a heterogeneous environment it would benefit all students. If it can't then then there's the HCC, but don't you set the straw man, asdf, 'cause its BS.


Anonymous said...

Expecting all teachers to differentiate across maybe 4 levels is what seems unrealistic. Some level of ability grouping just makes it more efficient and more likely that all students will be closer to getting instruction at the appropriate level, whether they are working below, at, or above standard.


Anonymous said...

good point jkl;
who should we group? the top three so the really struggling get a narrower range or should the lowest three levels be grouped and give the top level a smaller range? or two levels in each group?


Anonymous said...

I think we already pull out 1 in 5 kids in the northend for grouping in HCC.


Anonymous said...

It depends on how you define levels. Take a fourth grade class. There may be kids still working at third grade level, kids at 4th, and kids beyond 4th. The kids beyond 4th are likely to include some working at 5th (Spectrum-like ), as well as others at 6th, 7th, or even 8th grade level in various areas. So pulling out the "top level" does not necessarily result in a smaller range for that group. It may, however, provide actual opportunities for that group to learn--and likely will increase the ability of those closer to grade level to learn as well, since the teacher won't be spread so thin.

That said , I think it would be fabulous to provide additional support for struggling students. Isn't that what MTSS is supposed to do?


Anonymous said...

the range of the top 1/5 is essential
infinite as it goes from 98% to the the most capable student possible, who could be a prodigy with an IQ over 200. I doubt such a child would be very well served at any school however. There should really be a program for the prodigies and extreme outliers. At 8th grade there is the UW program for skipping high school and going straight to college but nothing like that for younger children and the UW program is quite small, less than thirty children I believe. I would advocate for a highly selective program for the top 1/2% or 3/4% nationally normed. Say IQ's over 150. Guessing probably 50-100 or so in the district, but a very different group than the average HCC student and with an even greater need of a cohort and specialized instruction.


Lynn said...


What would you do with the remaining 2,800 APP students? Their neighborhood schools in most cases have no interest in educating them.

Anonymous said...

I think we need two programs, Lynn. I did not say anything about sending anyone back, as you say it's pretty much impossible.The point is a student over 150 IQ is a different type of learner than an average HCC student. There have been students at Hamilton and WMS who needed access to classes at UW, even elementary age students, if I'm not mistaken. They are as far out of sync with the HCC as the HCC is with general education, I would argue more so as their numbers are so small. These kids need a tight multi-aged cohort where they can do differential geometry together and study cell metabolism and quantum mechanics when they are ready, no matter how young. There languishing in HCC and they're bored and losing steam.


Anonymous said...

With a site like Khan Academy it's easy to see where your child can go beyond normal acceleration. If a child can complete Algebra II on Khan and absorb the lectures on chemistry, physics, etc. while in elementary school, they are in need of AL service beyond normal HCC. Easy enough to find out.

Anonymous said...

IPP (then APP, now HCC) started out serving more of the outliers. IPP stood for Individual Progress Program, and students were allowed to work more independently. It was a much smaller cohort.

Once you get beyond the "at risk for greatness discussion," the article gets into the origins of IPP (later changed to APP), which was created after work done at the University of Washington. It originally served students achieving 4 years above grade level and served 75 children in 1981.

The uncommonly bright child by H. Robinson, 1981


Anonymous said...

That's what I'm talking about. A program for kids working 4 or more grade levels above. HCC can handle 2 and 3 year above, that's a doable range, but when kids are at 4 or more years above grade level, they need their own cohort and teaching methods.
I'm afraid these very outlying students are getting lost in the shuffle of HCC and sitting on their hands a lot.