Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Advanced Learning News

The Times has a fairly silly article (really, an op-ed because there's a lot of "I heard" and conjecture in it) about HCC.  I'm not even going to link it but it's there if you want to go see it.

I saw these items of interest at the district's website.

About West Seattle:

The Office of Advanced Learning is collaborating with school and community members to develop a Highly Capable Cohort pathway for students in West Seattle. That is, when the pathway is established, students identified as Highly Capable could eventually be served from kindergarten through 12th grade in HC classrooms at schools located in West Seattle.

We are forming a Focus Group to provide an opportunity for school leaders and community members to collaborate on implementing new HC services at Madison Middle School and West Seattle High School. If you are interested in joining the Focus Group, application forms will be made available by mid-April on the Advanced Learning website
Adolescents and Stress Workshop for Parents.  Info here.

April 22, 2015 7-9 p.m. Garfield H.S. Library
April 28, 2015 7-9 p.m. Ingraham H.S. Library
We will investigate:
  • Emotions and their impact on performance
  • Understanding emotions 
  • Coping strategies 
  • Recognizing healthy vs. unhealthy stress
Presenter: Michelle Proulx, M. Ed. NCSP Director of Services for the 3DL Partnership Michelle@thecapablechild.com
For More Information Please Contact: Dr. Matt Okun, Consulting Teacher Advanced Learning Office mjokun@seattleschools.org 252-0182


mirmac1 said...

Hah! I remember talk back 2-3 years ago about Madison as the possible "STEM" pathway in WS. Then it mysteriously disappeared. What next? K-12 STEM at Boren? K-12 APP at Fairmount? As long as program placement decisions are made in the blackbox at JSCEE, well.....

Anonymous said...


As usual, the BASIC MISUNDERSTANDING OF MATH in the Seattle Times article makes me want to bang my head.

I can't even get over how ANGRY I get over the invisibility of Asian-Americans in all discussions of advanced learning. It's as if this author deliberately painted them out of the picture, just like the ultra-orthodox community in Israel took Angela Merkel out of the world leaders photo.

The Asian kids EXIST!!!!

(And furthermore, a heck of a lot of the mixed race kids I happen to know in HCC don't identify that way b/c guess what, SPS doesn't have that as a choice b/c they're so freaking out of date).

Signed: Math counts

(I finally had a picture captcha! Coffee and beer! my kind of captcha!)

Anonymous said...

First,the Times article had nothing to do with fact and a lot to do with innuendo. Second, attempts to add diversity can't be used as proof that there is no diversity. As discussed repeatedly on this blog AL and diversity is a national problem and one that requires larger solutions -- and shouldn't get in the way of those students who are currently identified needing those services. Also, AL pathway is mixed with only two subjects as AL starting in 6th grade.

Finally, I agree with Math Counts above the total of all ethnic groups is less than 50% how can that be and less even be printed in the paper of record.

Times Hardlyright

David said...

On the Seattle Times article, the author also removed multiracial from the data, not clear why. The source data is here on page 50.

Anonymous said...

How is this article any different from anything else found in the Times? Light on facts, big on innuendo - pretty typical blather from the Blethen crew.


Anonymous said...

Math counts -

Over a decade ago in an AP US History class at Ballard High School, one of my classmates said how disappointed she was that our class had "no diversity."

On one hand, she was right. There weren't any African-Americans in the class.

On the other hand, there were at least 3 Hispanic-Americans, along with 6-7 Asian-Americans. Of the Asian-Americans, at least 3 (including myself) were the children of immigrants.

30 kids in the class, 10 from non-white backgrounds, and it was viewed as not diverse.

This is not to discount the under-representation of African-Americans in these programs. But it is also a little unsettling to see other minority groups outright ignored.

Putting my asbestos fire-suit on...

mirmac1 said...


Sorry but Hispanic is "white". Perhaps asbestos thinking cap is more apropos.

WallyMom said...

Seems like a blanket -and incorrect- statement to say Hispanic is white

Melissa Westbrook said...

NW, I see that a lot as well. I don't get it.

Anonymous said...

Mirmac -

People of hispanic origin can be any race. Some may identify as white. Others may identify as black or native american.

Regardless, the purpose was diversity in the HCC.

Are you suggesting that any student identified as "hispanic" for ethnicity and "white" for race should have be considered "white" only when calculating diversity statistics?

I tend to believe that current census system of identifying race and ethnicity is imperfect; there should be more categories available as there are often great differences in culture/race/ethnicity inside the categories available. I'd love to see some of those differences captured.


Anonymous said...

Not so fast, El Guapo!

Hispanic is not white. It used to be (and this is probably correct) that Hispanic was an ethnicity and that most of the people who considered themselves Hispanic also considered themselves Caucausian. In 2010, the federal government changed the way that schools were supposed to report race, similar to the way it is reported on the census. Hispanic is now called Hispanic or Latino for federal reporting purposes. A Hispanic or Latino person is a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or
other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race. This is reported as ethnicity,


hold onto your hats! OSPI collects similar data and you after you choose Hispanic or non Hispanic, could theoretically chose from one or more of the following races: 1. White, 2. Black or African American, 3. 15 Asian groups, 4. 9 Pacific Islander groups and 5. 31 American Indian groups, which would be 57 races as well as a starting ethnicity of Hispanic or not Hispanic. But then, OSPI takes that race/ethnicity data and reports it out as American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Asian/Pacific Islander, Pacific Islander, Black, White, Hispanic and Two or More Races.

To do that it uses some funny rules. If you choose Hispanic/Latino as your ethnicity, no matter what your race is (Caucasian, Black, Native American) you get reported out as Hispanic. If you are not Hispanic/Latino, then you get reported as one of the other 6 categories.

That's race in a nutshell, but it leads to some strange statistics. Because this change happened in 2010, it may look like some races/ethnicities changed dramatically from previous years, when they did not. For example, reporting people as multiracial, will drop percentages of all races, but in Seattle, it shows up particularly in Black and Asian statistics.


Anonymous said...

Final thoughts ...

1) Any effort the district makes to ensure the HCC looks more like the makeup of the district as a whole should be applauded.

2) I'd be curious to know, if you took a snapshot ten years ago when Spectrum was fully functional, what the racial and ethnic make-up of the students was. By essentially eliminating Spectrum, and leaving the district with only Gen Ed (okay, ALOs, but those, by all accounts, don't exist) and HCC, has the district actually restricted access to accelerated education to some groups. Or put another way ... minority students are in the district who would have qualified for Spectrum but don't qualify for HCC and thus are sitting in Gen Ed classes?


Anonymous said...

I'm Mexican, and let me tell you. Nobody treats me as white in this country. Even in pc Seattle I've encountered a lot of racism and prejudice.


Anonymous said...

What a strange, poorly written little anecdote….. for those of you who haven't read it -I'll summarize it. "Well my kid might qualify for HCC (private school rigor, you know!), but, shock horror, HCC isn't very diverse (like private school!), but SPS has tried to improve that (did it work?), but my kid didn't qualify anyway, but never mind because he says his thing is moving" - by which I take to mean the child likes to run around and be active which means,of course, he'd be totally out of place amongst all those rich white Stepford children who like to do nothing but sit at their desks all day and do algebra or read Homer. Snark over. That pretty much sums it up though.

Firstly, I don't know where they got the 'private school rigor' idea from. The fact that the classes work a couple of grade levels ahead (like 2 or 3 of the private schools around here) and the demographics maybe, but that is where any similarity to private school begins and ends. The HCC experience in Seattle, in terms of class sizes, school amenities, teaching and para-teaching support, curriculum, extracurriculars, and parental wealth could not be more dissimilar to the other private schools that cater to the academically gifted population in Seattle.

This strange little piece (which was quite pathetic when you look at the quality of similar pieces in NYTs Motherlode column for instance) seemed to serve no purpose other than to highlight a lack of diversity in the HCC program and perhaps hint at charges of elitism. And even in that it was lacking perspective (yes, blacks are underrepresented but I see a lot of Asians, quite a few Indians - looks like there is not much 'diversity' in what they consider to be diversity). Though the program has extremely low levels of FRL, it is certainly not the refuge of the wealthy (although my observation is that most parents tend to be well educated, if not well-off).
No exploration of the program itself, the eligibility criteria, the kinds of kids who go there and the experience those kids and their families have, the educational outcomes of the program, or even the pros and cons of such a self contained program at all. They noted their child's precocious reading level - they could have explained how it turns out this in itself doesn't denote academic giftedness (as they seem to have discovered).

It was just so fundamentally lacking on so many levels makes me wonder why it's in the Seattle Times at all …….

NYT reader

Melissa Westbrook said...

Good job, NYT. I would concur especially with..

"most parents tend to be well educated, if not well-off).."

Again, my children were not in APP but over the years and years of talking to APP parents, your statement above was my impression.

I also agree that article undermines the Times. What IS Education Lab? A blog? A compilation of ed happenings locally and nationally? I'm not sure I get it. And, allowing a piece like that - by a reporter - then undermines that reporter's credibility as you have to try to discern if it is opinion or reporting.

Anonymous said...

Is the Seattle Times article some sort of Op-Ed thing? I can never get a clear grasp of what those types of articles are supposed to achieve.

Also, regarding the notion that APP provides a private school education at public school prices: it may not be what is actually happening, but that is what a lot of people think it is. This incorrect understanding of the program leads to a feeling that the program is elitist and designed for the more well-off kids. The lack of diversity in the program just reinforces this idea. None of that may actually be the case, but that is the impression the program seems to give to the non-APP community.

Also, Hispanic may be technically "white," but Hispanic folks are subject to a whole lot of prejudice based on their "ethnic" status.

North End Parent

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

NYT reader wondered: "It was just so fundamentally lacking on so many levels makes me wonder why it's in the Seattle Times at all ……."

I have no inside track on what does (or does NOT) go on in the heads of ST editors, but I suspect that it is there because they just can't resist printing snippy, snipy little pieces that vaguely denigrate the District. As many have pointed out -- it is lacking in content, in any sort of intellectual rigor or seeming editorial standards with respect to research or objectivity. But if actual "reporting" was never the goal in the first place -- well, then, why not?

I feel the same about the Education Lab (which seems to contain lots of weak, watered down content, all dressed up in some sort of format to make it look more substantive than it is). It allows them to pretend to be "focused on" education and education issues, without really bringing anything substantive to the table.

Having followed ed articles in the NYT and some of the better ed blogs, where the actual desire to find out information, and apply reasoned analysis is evident), my disenchantment with ST reporting on education grows more bitter by the week. When I get to an ST ed article, I actually have to pause to consider whether I can/should force myself to read it. At this point, the editorial bias and lack of intellectual rigor has become so bad that I don't even think they realize they have totally fallen off the charts.


Anonymous said...

Advanced learning opportunities are fine but the SPS version of it fails both advanced learners and general education families. It needs a complete overhaul in delivery yesterday. The curriculum for advanced learning is laughable. The qualification is suspect. The idea that it handles capacity issues is a wrongheaded reason for it to exist in its present form. And a program that leaves behind black, brown and low income families in droves is beyond ill-conceived. It goes against the changing demographics of this country and this region.

I know many families troubled by the program who have rejected it, some because it has such poor academic standards and some because it goes against their family value and learning goal of community diversity.

In short, the advanced learning program as enacted by SPS is a disgrace and Claudia's article, though not particularly good, at least offers discussion from the main stream press.

'Start over!'

Melissa Westbrook said...

Start Over, I agreed with all that you said until your last sentence.

I don't see her article as having any validity at all.

Anonymous said...

There are plenty of brown- skinned kids in HCC - lots of Asian, Indian, mixed race Asian and mixed race Indian (though it has not reached the level of that in Bellevue School districts gifted program. But it seems like those kids don't count when it comes to determining diversity.
Why don't people just come right out and say it, when they say HCC is not diverse, they really mean, it lacks African Americans or those of African descent. And it is true that there is a lack of those kids in HCC despite districts attempts to improve that.
I think you will find the same in many many districts throughout the US and this is not the fault of HCC or SPS. Look at US history, economic policy, conservative politics if you want to point fingers. The lack of black faces in HCC does not indicate there is something wrong with the HCC program, it indicates there is something wrong with our society.
Maybe Ms Rowes article could have delved into why it is that HCC has such a preponderance of kids from highly educated, financially secure (though not necessarily well-off), professional white, Asian, South Asian or mixed families? It's probably pretty obvious - think multigenerational effects of genetics, upbringing, absence of disadvantages like poverty, hunger, homelessness drug abuse etc, coupled with the knowledge/ability to navigate the school system.
No one wants to keep low income or black students out of HCC. HCC families are not elitist or racist as it is often hinted at here -I would say they are mostly a pretty liberal bunch and SPS is trying to identify those that have potential that may otherwise be missed. So how can they do it better?
We hear people say that IQ tests are biased against these populations so what criteria should we use instead?
Should the district have lower entry thresholds for certain underrepresented groups?
Should the district have a separate program to identify and nuture talent in these underrepresented populations who are not meeting the HCC eligibility criteria but are close/show promise?
How could the district make HCC are more attractive option for qualifying kids from those populations?
A lot of people are concerned about the continued growth of HCC - how is controlling growth compatible with increasing the proportion of some groups in it?
A lot of people would like to see HC students remain in their supposedly more diverse neighborhood schools (though in some neighborhoods there is even less diversity) and be catered to in this setting - and while that may be fine in theory, the reality is that in this district, with these class sizes and lack of resources and poor top-down management it just does not work.

Folks love to bag HCC and often on the basis of this lack of diversity (while overlooking the large number of kids of Asian/Indian descent) - but I'll repeat it again- the lack of black faces in HCC does not indicate there is something wrong with the HCC program, it indicates there is something wrong with our society!

NYT reader

Anonymous said...

Right, NYT Reader. There was GREAT stuff that Claudia COULD have written about -- but didn't. And -- what is more damning for ST -- the ..um.. "stuff" she DID write made it past a news editor. Really poor journalism.


Anonymous said...

I don't think that the article was intended to be an investigative piece. If you look down the list of "Skin in the Game" pieces, the first one starts out talking about how the author is now the parent of a SSD student. It reads more like a blog to me, and I don't think she's the only reporter at the Times with a blog-like presence.

So, given that, it makes sense that she talks about the small number of black students vs. other minorities, because she is the parent of a child who is perceived as black (I don't recall if the child is mixed race or not). She also points out that there is a lack of Latino and Native students in HCC/APP. This is true, regardless of the larger numbers of Asians and East Indians. Her point was, I think, to talk about the children of color who are NOT there.

I saw this as a personal comment-that she wondered if her child would be comfortable there, and why wasn't there more kids who looked the same. I think this is a valid concern of many parents of the under-represented groups. I know quite a few who have either chosen not to test or to not enroll their black or mixed children in HCC/APP because of that.

I do want to point out that not all blacks are low-income, live in poverty, have unstable homelives, and worse, as implied by the post by NY Times reader. Our family isn't. Our relatives' families are not. Our child's friends' families are not. But, we still didn't want our child to be the only black face in the room for 10 years worth of school. Our solution was to go out of district.

It does not do much to help the situation to denigrate the reporter's writing and ignore her very real concerns, nor to say, as I often see here, that it's a problem nationwide. The issue is THIS district and THIS program. Shouldn't we hope for better?

A mom

Anonymous said...

I saw this as a personal comment-that she wondered if her child would be comfortable there, and why wasn't there more kids who looked the same. I think this is a valid concern of many parents of the under-represented groups. I know quite a few who have either chosen not to test or to not enroll their black or mixed children in HCC/APP because of that.

@ A mom, now THAT would be an interesting and potentially thought-provoking article. It's certainly one that deserves to be written, provided it's grounded in facts. Why ARE there so few black children in HCC--do they qualify at a lower rate, accept placement at a lower rate, or both? What can be done about the former? The latter? What are the pros/cons to lowering the eligibility bar for certain groups? What services would be needed to help increase eligibility at the current bar? Why is it ok to (wrongly) imply that HCC is all about racism and white families wanting to segregate their kids, while at the same time suggest it makes sense for black kids who qualify for HCC to not enroll because they want to be with other black kids?

There are a lot of interesting issues that could be explored here, but the article doesn't do it at all. It would be great to see a follow-up by someone willing to really get into it.


Anonymous said...

Last 2 posters make very interesting points. I didn't mean to imply that all black kids live in poverty/unstable home lives of course - just pointing out the disadvantages that a proportion of black and low income of any race families face that contribute to lower educational achievement and might explain lower participation in HCC.
But it is interesting/concerning that even qualifying black students may be foregoing the program. Because while the district can't have much impact on the societal issues that may contribute to fewer poor or minority kids qualifying, it should be able to figure out why those who qualify for HCC don't enter the program and address that.
I can understand not wanting to be the 'only black face in the room' but surely it will take a few such kids before HCC starts to be perceived differently by black families. Until some black families start sending their qualifying kids to HCC, we will never achieve the level of representation which would make black families feel more comfortable about sending their kids there. (I'm not singling out blacks necessarily, could equally apply to any underrepresented racial or socioeconomic group).

NYT reader

Anonymous said...

Why don't people just come right out and say it, when they say HCC is not diverse, they really mean, it lacks African Americans or those of African descent.

No, NYT Reader, that is not what I meant at all.

I meant HCC is not diverse, period. And in saying this I am not ignoring the Asian-American population in HCC. If you drill down into Asian-American, you see that in fact it is largely Chinese with some Japanese kids in that cohort. So you've got Caucasians from the US and some Chinese or Japanese students.

That is not diversity.

Yes, where are the African-Americans born in this country or from the African continent? But also where are the Hispanics and Latinos from South and Central America? Where are those families who speak Arabic, or some variant of Russian? Where are the Malaysians, the Indians, the Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotians? Where are the Native Americans?

Where are the families who qualify for FRL?

They aren't in HCC in any appreciable number. That's a fact.

Your statement, NYT Reader, "the lack of black faces in HCC does not indicate there is something wrong with the HCC program, it indicates there is something wrong with our society! is incredibly tone deaf.

HCC IS society. HCC is a closed society that perpetuates not bridges racial and ethnic divides that get deeper and broader and more noticeable year after year. Its very existence in its present form causes more societal problems than it could ever help to solve. The price of giving some white and some Asian kids an 'accelerated' education in separate school buildings is that these kids do not see students from the broad range of backgrounds that make up this city as their equals. They move to middle school and high school and they go to schools within schools. The students at Washington and Ingraham and Garfield notice this. Their parents notice this. The 'peer group' gets solidified and in many cases hardened by college. And so goes the institutional racism and elitism of a slice of America that will eventually cause it to crumble like soft stone. Because a country that does not make an effort at inclusion at the earliest school years is never going to solve it when those same kids become adults.

HCC is not apart from the problem. It is not a reflection of the problem. It IS the problem. One of many. One of many does not excuse this district from doing better.

'Start over!'

Melissa Westbrook said...

A Mom, the Times should then make it VERY clear what type of piece it is. Ditto on what "Education Lab" is. Ms. Rowe is a reporter, after all.

As for hoping for better for AL, I've been doing that for something like 15 years. It's marginally better on finding kids, not so much on serving them (whether in self-contained or at their home school).

Start over, HCC is not a "closed society." Now if you took NYT Reader's point about the issue being society itself, in terms of families with more educated parents being more "in the know" about the programs, maybe.

And once again, we have the story that these kids are isolated their entire lives and know the same 30 kids.

It's just not true. At middle and high school, they ARE in classes with many other kids. When my sons were at Whittier, they used to take half the Spectrum class, and half the other grade level class and they had PE and music together. So every kid in every grade knew each other one way or the other.

There are NOT schools within schools. Please do not keep that falsehood up. There are classes but there's no "school."

The issue of inclusion is a broader one and it includes Special Education. So I don't think you can lay the "inclusion problem" at the feet of HCC.

The fundamental issue - I believe - is that there are some principals/teachers/parents who believe in self-contained classes for some students and principals/teachers/parents who don't.

I don't believe one group is any more right than the other.

Lynn said...

What percentage of Black and Hispanic middle and high income families in Seattle enroll their children in public schools? What percentage of those children are enrolled in advanced learning programs? Those would be interesting things to know.

HCC is not failing to solve societal problems - that is not the purpose of the program. It's purpose is meeting the academic needs of the most highly (academically) capable students enrolled in the district. If we are not identifying some of the most highly capable students with our current methods, how do you suggest we find them? Are we using the wrong tests? Are we looking for the wrong skills?

Of course all children are equally valuable. They are not all the same. Children in HCC are not more aware of their intellectual differences in the program than they would be outside of the program.

Anonymous said...

Back in the day when my kids were little (long ago), I knew of at least 3 families with African American kids who did qualify (or in one case, probably would have qualifired, if tested) for APP, but who didn't put their kids there because of the lack of diversity (real or perceived, I don't know what the percents were -- they presumably did). One put their child at St. Therese (and didn't like it but I don't recall where they went after that -- not APP), one put her two kids at the SPS African American Academy and thought it was disastrous (she then went private -- again, I can't recall where, U Prep or Seattle Prep, I think, or SAAS.) I lost track of the third family for years, until their child popped back up in public school at Garfield (don't know whether technically in APP or not -- but it doesn't really matter by then, as all classes are open to all kids, and her mom liked the Garfield demographics and class/music offerings just fine.)

All of these families made their decision NOT to go to APP at the elementary level. Once kids leave 5th grade, the demographics of the school matter much more, as the only middle school classes (at least at Washington) that were APP only were English and Social Studies (and maybe science). Music, Math, foreign language -- everything else was blended. And in high school, all classes are open to all kids, as long as you have the prereqs to get into them.

But it IS true that involved parents sometimes do not want their kids to be "tokens" in an environment where there are no other (or few other) kids of their race or ethnicity. Some private schools struggle with the same thing. They want to attract a more diverse student body, but parents don't see them as attractive options. Perhaps it has gotten better over the last decade or so. I have heard that Lakeside has made big strides, but have no personal knowledge.


Anonymous said...

Oh come on 'start over' - don't try and blame all the ills of society on HCC.
People who are opposed to self-contained HCC programs will conjure up reasons to be against them, and diversity is one of them.

Inclusion - what does that mean?
Every kid should get exactly the same in the public school system so that none of them have any advantage over another? Well, the advantages and disadvantages are still going to be there.

Or do you want the most advantaged kids (intellectually, socioeconomically?) to get given less in our public school system so that the less-advantaged can catch up?

Maybe us more affluent folks should all stop reading and exposing our babies and toddlers to a large vocabulary too since in many low socio-ec families they don't get this and this puts those kids behind before they even hit the school system.

Maybe we shouldn't send our teenagers to college, because that will widen the opportunity and income gap even wider.

Denying highly academically talented youngsters the opportunity to an appropriate education is not going to fix the inequality in our society.

The US has one of the lowest levels of social mobility of all developed nations - it is getting worse. Its no longer the land of opportunity here but fault does not lie with programs like HCC.


Anonymous said...

No boo. You should send your kid to private school. And pay for it. If you want private school, go for it! Public doesn't need to pay for your pony.


Anonymous said...

Robert Vaughan, the former head of AL before Stephen Martin, used the MAP to recruit for Spectrum and APP. He is quoted as saying the growth was "awesome".
Roger Daniels and the new chief Martin, seem to be of the same mindset.

@ Start Over makes the point that the self-contained aspect is harmful to the students inside as well as outside of the program and is contrary to one of the goals of public education which is having students of different abilities and opportunities working together. I don't see how cluster-grouping of students at their neighborhood school couldn't provide rigor for the current self-contained students as well as opportunity for other students to receive more challenge.At least in the northend, every school has a decent number of students in the HCC and if sent back to their assigned school, would have enough fellow HC students to form a cluster or two, especially if clustered with Spectrum qualified students and single subject gifted and high achievers.

Why the Al dept. continues to do nothing to attract under-represented groups other than increase testing, is beyond belief. The districts using best practices utilize a matrix that gives extra points for ELL, SPED,FRL and other extenuating circumstances. Roger and Stephen are well aware of these best practices, yet continue to allow the HCC to operate as a charter school for the cognoscenti, because it those who know to get tested, how to prepare for the test, and how to appeal the test, that are most likely to be in the program and to be it's most vocal defenders.


Anonymous said...

Actually per Chapter 392-170 WAC SPECIAL SERVICE PROGRAM—HIGHLY CAPABLE STUDENTS-public school does need to "pay for my pony" as the previous poster puts it it.

WAC 392-170-012; For highly capable students, access to accelerated learning and enhanced instruction is access to a basic education.

WAC 392-170-078 Districts shall make a variety of appropriate program services available to students who participate in the district's program for highly capable students.

WAC 392-170-080 Each student identified as a highly capable student shall be provided educational opportunities which take into account such student's unique needs and capabilities.

So no - I don't need to send my kid to private school (even if i could afford it - just cos not FRL doesn't mean have money to spare) and in any case most private schools do not cater to academically highly gifted.

My academically highly gifted kid is as entitled to public education as any other kid.

boo hoo

Anonymous said...

Well, they trialled testing all 2nd graders in the south end. Seems like that eliminates the "having to be in the know" aspect.
There's free district administered appeals testing for FRL.
I wish they would release some figures from that - e.g., how many qualified, how many of the qualifiers opted to go to HCC.


Ann D said...

Was talking to a mom I know who has a child at Lincoln in the HCC. Did her daughter know another second grade student we know, I asked. The mom told me there are six classes in her grade at Lincoln, plus no proper playground for elementary students. No, she didnt think it was certain her daughter knew this other child.

Other parents I know of HCC level ability dither on whether or not to send their kids across town to this unknown program with crap hours and long bus rides.

Different families are prioritizing different things. For some it is the neighborhood school, or an option program, or private school, or outside tutoring, or homeschooling. There is a lot of frustration about what is being offered to all students in Seattle Schools' classrooms, and some serious concern about mandatory education wasting some families time with the large class sizes and lack of IAs.

I wish the district cared more to understand its customers.

Anonymous said...

I am also flabbergasted that the Advanced Learning department does not use affirmative action to get poor kids and English language learners into HC.

It is legal, easy and, as was said, Best Practice.

Best Practice also would put kids who are Highly Capable in one subject only, also in the HC program.

Why don't Mr Martin and Mr Daniels use Best Practice in the HC program?


mirmac1 said...

As a Hispanic and proudly so, I've never had a box under "Race" to check. Hispanic is an ethnicity, not a race per se. Personally, I do not consider myself Caucasion, Black or otherwise and that is a personal choice that I don't expect anyone else to interfere. Likewise, I do not expect someone's teenager to decide who or what I am.

Muchas Gracias El Guapo! It was that second step - where I couldn't check a box as: 1. White, 2. Black or African American, 3. 15 Asian groups, 4. 9 Pacific Islander groups and 5. 31 American Indian groups; that I ended up...something else.

No one should assert that, because there are "Hispanics" in APP/gym/debate etc that somehow they're ignored or should count toward some kind of hidden race count. I suppose I should have first taken issue with northwesterners reliance on a classmates's complaint about "diversity"; however the teenager defined it.

Of course the root of the thread is the make up of APP/ALO/HC/etc etc. In the late 70's, anyone got into these classes who could or wanted to. Ultimately, you either passed or failed the AP tests - no one held anyone back. It wasn't even an issue! None of this "us" and "them" crap! When biased tests are the barrier to entry well what do you think will be the result? Discriminatory advanced ed barriers are not a societal problem.

Personally, I withheld my child from Spectrum/APP/etc for specific reasons. Some parents do not want their children who are already subjected to prejudice, anxiety and undue pressure, to a stressful environment when they have other, equally challenging issues, to surmount. It was not a decision I took lightly. My child was reading 40 page books at three, knew her phonics, and could count to 100 easily. There are sound reasons to not buy into the commentors' false dichotomy re: societal problems.

As for the latest non-news Ed Lab propaganda piece: my take-away was that BEWARE you hold your (precocious, genius, or autistic) out of HCC - you will be left in a GenEd wasteland. That, in and of itself, deserves editorial rejection.

And Melissa, with care and all due respect, full inclusion is not: "take half the Spectrum class, and half the other grade level class and they had PE and music together. So every kid in every grade knew each other one way or the other." SpEd advocates feel "inclusion" at lunch, PE and recess is token. This is the SpEd communities' issue; that it should not be left to variously qualified or not principals' discretion. For that is not real life. Whether to include or not should not be left to someone who's paycheck is dependent on "growth" and test scores. I was so happy to hear from Nathan Hale parents at the SB meeting tonight describe how inclusion REALLY benefits the entire school. It embodies first class citizenship for every student in a school; in every educational opportunity and improved outcomes overall.

Lynn, with respect to your queries: "Its purpose is meeting the academic needs of the most highly (academically) capable students enrolled in the district. If we are not identifying some of the most highly capable students with our current methods, how do you suggest we find them?" Experts should know what that is and not blame it on parents, society, the tides etc.

Thank you Start Over.

boo hoo, you can collect your state private school reimbursement when my federally protected child gets her Fed and State reimbursement. I hear the district plans to start a special school for high $$$ disabled students at empty Old Van Asselt to save money. Perhaps you can enroll your child there too.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they are afraid all the HCC families would pack it up and go private.
Maybe the district needs a lawsuit by some ELL families or some FRL families.

I dunno why the district won't open up the program. It really does all the families currently in HCC a disservice as it is no fault of theirs that the program is so lops-sided.

The Al department and their policies is what gives the program its bad reputation.

Of course the board could ask them for answers but they don't seem interested either.


Anonymous said...

Have ya'll ever spoken with grads of the APP program, the kids who actually went through it?

One long time (since early elementary) APP student told me in college, on reflection, that being in APP, segregated from everyone else, was "kinda weird".

Another who entered APP at middle school told me that when she started at Washington, the separation was strange, especially APP competing against Spectrum in sports contests at school.

A good friend of my kid never failed to mention that they were an "APP kid" every time they were in our home. Dozens of times. An unusual identity, I thought.

So many more anecdotes, from kids in APP and kids not in APP, who went to all different kinds of higher ed, and have stayed at those particular schools, or have come back to Seattle and taken different paths. We all just want the best for our kids. Being in APP is not the magic ticket to a successful life, but sometimes the competition between parents and playground talk seems to take the program to a level of importance that is beyond its reality. They are kids. Some really do need way more than SPS can provide in the classroom. Most would be fine if SPS was able to offer more, much more, in the classroom. But instead, we have a horserace. And sometimes, it is the kids who suffer from the aspirations of the parents.


Anonymous said...

Open up the program??
To who??

The program is already OPEN to anyone who meets the criteria (which are pretty standard ones- used by many districts). Yes, they could tweak them, add a creativity measure as some districts do. Maybe have more options to include single subject giftedness. Consider different eligibility tests if they would have less bias. Use affirmative action.

Do outreach into underrepresented schools and populations, use translators, make it easier for parents to nominate kids for testing, have realistic testing times, or widespread whole class testing, follow up the results, initiate call-backs for for further testing for close-but-not-quite scores - do everything to identify and encourage underrepresented students to enter. Make it a program that is desirable, that they aspire to, that is seen as their step up (like the magnet schools in NYC).

But there are always still going to be some objective quantifiable thresholds for entry and the programs will be open (as they are now) to any kids who meet them.

No one is afraid HCC families are going to pack up and go private if it's "opened up".
Though, frankly the district would be relieved (and capacity issues reduced) if a lot of families (not just HCC) did that. Again, there is this misconception (veiled hints of elitism) that packing up and going private is even an option for most HCC families. If families really want a private education and think it will meet the needs of their HCC kid and can afford it they will go - so, the fact that they don't go (in large numbers) tells you either
a) most private schools here don't meet the needs of HCC kids
b) there aren't enough spots available in private schools, or the kids are not getting selected by private schools
c) the parents support public education and want to be part of a more diverse community
d) they simply can't afford public school
e) all of the above
Do you really think they'd put up with this mess of a district and its offerings otherwise?

Open arms

Anonymous said...

My APP elementary kids have no sense of being segregated from anyone. They just go to a school, not unlike their neighborhood school except bigger, with a mix of other kids from many different neighborhoods who they play with and learn with just like any other school. All the differs is the higher grade level work and the ability of all the kids to perform at that level. Like Pepper said, they are kids.

Are the kids at View Ridge segregated?
Are the kids at John Stanford International school segregated?
Are the kids at Evergreen (private) segregated?

You could say yes to all of the above.

My kids are no more segregated than they were at their neighborhood school, and a lot less than their friends who go to private schools.

I don't think you can read too much into Peppers anecdotes - there are obnoxious kids all over the place - I don't think APP breeds them. Not that different from the kids I see who are all pumped up about being in the Select Seattle United soccer team - but then again, no one minds that since we love our sports stars (smart kids not so much).

not segregated

Anonymous said...

Varsity sports (the genteel kind - soccer, tennis, lacrosse), were, in my experience at GHS, heavily APP. Including captains. They are not two separate camps.


Anonymous said...

The kids I referenced were not obnoxious, especially the first two who were just reflective as 18 year olds heading off to college. They continue to be wonderful young adults. And as humans who had actually participated in the APP program, I think their reflection and insight holds merit. They were not necessarily critical, but as intelligent GHS graduates heading off into the world, just looking back at 6-10 years of their education and wondering what it was all about. Being at Garfield for 4 years certainly does give these kids a reason to reflect. In a good way.


Anonymous said...

These APP/HCC posts are always the same. Someone posts concerns about the program. A bunch of parents with kids in the program jump in, telling the poster with concerns he/she is WRONG IN EVERY WAY, and PREJUDICE against gifted kids!!, and why is APP/HCC being PICKED ON again, when JSIS, McDonald etc are WORSE! Go pick on them! Go pick on the SPORT teams! These parents must not read the many threads here devoted to how unfair it is that Wallingford gets both immersion schools and raise all that money for immersion IAs; nor the threads about how sports shouldn't be considered when flipping school start times (not that I don't think that this country put too much emphasis on sports, but the reality is, being good in sports is how the poor kids get to go to college; and last year I read MANY posts from APP parents saying how ridiculous it was that SPS didn't cancel school so they can take their kids to the Seahawks victory lap downtown, so sports don't matter, until they did?), I guess. The reasoning seems to be that if there's ANY school in the District not diverse, say QAE or Montlake or North Beach, then it's fine and dandy that APP/HCC isn't diverse. Very Kantian.

I've stopped reading most of the AL posts because why read the same thing over and over? Unfortunately the heading of this thread made me think there was some NEW policies or practices coming for the program. Sigh, so wish Country Day has IB.
BTW, Asian AMERICANS, African AMERICANS, Native AMERICANS, Hispanic AMERICANS! Not INDIANS, not CHINESE, not MEXICANS, not ASIANS, unless you're saying there are ELL kids and foreign nationals in APP/HCC? Where?


Anonymous said...

If you want ELL and FRL in HCC, you need affirmative action.

HCC is a program for all of the district and it contains only certain parts of the district.

I agree that what is needed is a lawsuit and/or new leadership in the AL department.

Stephan Martin was appointed without a search. It would be good to open the position up to other candidates and get some people of color to apply for the job.


Anonymous said...

I'd like to see all kids in the top 5% of FRL kids automatically qualify for an advanced learning/HCC program. Those families will need the AL office and the principal to actively encouraging the families of these FRL qualifiers to enroll. Once enrolled, those FRL qualifiers may need added supports to to get up to speed if they are a little behind academically at first. Extra support takes resources. Also, the AL office could rely on principals to identify especially bright FRL kids who would benefit from the program. Julie B. Did this at Thurgood Marshall. But the testing system made it hard for young FRL kids who were often ESL kids too to qualify for the reading cutoff for HCC. The paucity of FRL kids in HCC is striking, and with economic diversity we would get racial/ethnic diversity. It also avoids legal issues to have different qualifiers for FRL kids.
-- just an idea

Melissa Westbrook said...

"Why the Al dept. continues to do nothing to attract under-represented groups other than increase testing, is beyond belief."

I actually think they have but what would you suggest that they do?

"I am also flabbergasted that the Advanced Learning department does not use affirmative action to get poor kids and English language learners into HC."

Well, I'm not so sure it's legal. You may recall that the district gotten taken to the Supreme Court over using race for assignments...and lost.

Now the Supreme Court did NOT say that a district cannot use race but said it could only be one of several factors.

But if the district tests kids and assigns them AND uses race in those assignments, it may be a problem.

Of course, in the end, it's the senior leadership. No one there has any real commitment to Advanced Learning (except Sue Peters but she can't do it alone). If the people at the top don't care about the program, oh well.

FYI, if Advanced Learning parents REALLY wanted to see change, opt your kids out of testing. The district NEEDS those high test scores and would be greatly upset.

You have a weapon; you should use it.

Anonymous said...

Plenty of districts use "affirmative action" by through entrance tests that are non-verbal or that screening that gives emphasis or weight to recommendations. Don't forgot that the Supreme Court itself stated that diversity is a value but that race could not be used as a tie breaker in the Seattle and Louisville cases. Gerrymandering and other creative methods were encouraged by the Court. Louisville took heed but Seattle did not. Including FRL numbers would correlate to the admissions process in Texas for college. Using this case to perpetuate the woeful lack of HCC diversity in Seattle doesn't work.

The current model of the APP program is not on the side of history at all. Time to get past the excuses. As a veteran teacher, I have seen many parents throw their values out the window to get their kids ahead. It's really ugly to witness.

--enough already

Anonymous said...

As a parent of an HCC student, I'm interested in knowing how my opting-out could be used to send the district a message. There are a lot of messages I would like to send the district, so I'm very interested!

Lynn said...

Advanced learning programs are meant to be an intervention for students whose academic needs are not easily served in general education classrooms. If there are students who need Spectrum or highly capable services who are not getting them we either are not identifying them or their parents are not choosing to enroll them.

Do we need a new identification process? I believe any child with the required cognitive scores should qualify for advanced learning services. That would allow identification of English language learners and children with specific learning disabilities. Universal cognitive screening would make this possible.

If parents of children with qualifying scores choose not to enroll them in advanced learning programs, what gives us the right to tell them they are making the wrong choice?

Lynn said...

The advanced learning procedures were recently changed to include the following:

A Multidisciplinary Selection Committee (MSC) reviews each candidate's test scores and Teacher/Educator Rating Scales to determine eligibility. SPS's established eligibility thresholds are not absolute qualifiers or disqualifiers; teacher input is also an important consideration. In order to provide equitable opportunities for all students and to uphold the intent of WAC language regarding protected classes [WAC 392-170-035], the MSC will give special consideration to, and assess the impact of, the follovving factors: cultural diversity, Supplemental Educational Services (SES), linguistic background, and identified disability.

Is that an error? I think they meant socioeconomic status?

Anonymous said...

"BTW, Asian AMERICANS, African AMERICANS, Native AMERICANS, Hispanic AMERICANS! Not INDIANS, not CHINESE, not MEXICANS, not ASIANS, unless you're saying there are ELL kids and foreign nationals in APP/HCC?"

This labeling has always puzzled me. If an African-American or Asian-American moves to a European, African, or Asian country and becomes a citizen, would his or her race change? If said person has dual citizenship, what would their race be then? Doesn't "American" indicate nationality, not race?

-label weary

Anonymous said...

Funny, I feel like Advanced learning threads are also all the same- Melissa posts some news. People interested in the program try to talk about how to improve it, or how it is being impacted by this, that or the other. Then someone posts about how parents who chose the program are awful people and Seattle's highly gifted program is why there are starving children in Rwanda, and we are off to the races.

I feel like the easiest, easiest first step to improving equity in advanced learning access (and shrinking the program) would be to implement advanced learning in the form of free, not difficult, walk to math and walk to reading groups in all neighborhood schools at all grades. Guarantee advanced math at all neighborhood middle schools. That is not happening right now because if you did that, droves of families in in the south NE would stay at their schools instead of moving to APP, and the system absolutely cannot handle that. They need every child they can possibly ship out of the south NE to leave, pronto. At the elementary level, at the middle school level, and at the high school level, though that last one is about to stop working.

I gave elementary tours this year, and I noticed a huge uptick in the number of NW families, proportionally, visiting. I think the same capacity crisis which boiled over in the NE a few years ago is boiling over in the NW (and soon after will in Lake City/Maple Leaf). Those places are already crowded, but it takes a lot to actually get people to move schools, and they haven't been as bad as Ravenna until now. I wonder if then those families will be the new bad guys, because they had the misfortune to live where a bunch of other people with kids their age also chose to.

I absolutely think we should eliminate the achievement component for FRL families. That would make a better program. I don't know about eliminating it altogether, because I believe acceleration should remain a part of a program (but not as much as now). And I also don't see gen ed as a booby prize. Everything fits together there, in ways you don't even notice if it is working. The pacing, the reading level for all subjects is appropriate to grade; the topics build on each other. When it has worked for my kids, it has been so much more cohesive than the tacked on app curriculum. Lots of highly gifted kids can be served in gen ed better, and if for whatever reason they are not wanting to accelerate, maybe they are better off there for a year or two more, or the whole time. The test is not magic. Like any other diagnostic tool, it just tells you what might be best, not what definitely will be. Like in special ed, you can get a diagnosis, but the specific interventions may vary. But we still should have best practice available (self contained).

But all the district actually cares about APP for is to solve its capacity crisis and check a box in the cheapest possible way (self contained and accelerated), and it behooves the district to have it be unpopular politically so it doesn't have to treat the kids and families in the program fairly, especially in terms of stability. I don't exactly think the district is "out to get" APP so much as would not be motivated to make it more politically popular or improve it, because the status quo is what is keeping their capacity, their first priority, working. I used to feel worried when I read these threads, that the program was actually in danger, because for one of my kids self contained(and accelerated) is absolutely the only option. But now I have been around long enough, and I think I know how the district works- I'm not worried. Not because the program is so great, but because the district is predictable in one, if only one, way. Capacity drives everything. APP is their fix for capacity.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Sleeper, excellent assessment.

"I feel like the easiest, easiest first step to improving equity in advanced learning access (and shrinking the program) would be to implement advanced learning in the form of free, not difficult, walk to math and walk to reading groups in all neighborhood schools at all grades. Guarantee advanced math at all neighborhood middle schools."

We would probably only need HCC if this were done but it's not. Despite the district having ALO as part of AL, schools do not all have a plan for advanced learners. Why? That's a good question.

But yes, capacity is the driver right now.

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one that finds all this talk of racial and ethnic classification systems, with different HCC entrance criteria for each classification, morally repugnant?

One standard

Anonymous said...

Enrollment is skewed by race. Assuming this reflects similarly skewed eligibility data (needs to be confirmed), and assuming that we believe the bell curve for cognitive abilities is the same across all racial groups (just being clear that this is an assumption...), then clearly our testing process is not doing a great job at identifying the right population for services. Since the whole point of HC services is to provide appropriate education for those with very different needs, we need to figure out who those kids are.

Eliminating the achievement portion of the eligibility criteria for FRL students, as sleeper suggested, is one option for addressing the under-identification of some groups. (I'd include ELL students in that as well.) One tricky thing, however, is that I don't believe the cognitive testing component is a pure reflection of innate abilities either. More likely, what's picked up in a cognitive test is a combination of genetic/innate ability and opportunity/environment. If we had the ability to determine pure innate ability via a single test, one standard would make sense. But if external factors such as poverty tamp down those scores a bit, we need to account for that.

If it were me, I'd keep both the cognitive and achievement portions, but set slightly lower thresholds for FRL and ELL kids. I wouldn't adjust by race, as we're assuming race doesn't determine cognitive abilities. But in addition to adjusting for FRL/ELL, you'd need to also provide additional support to help ensure newly identified kids could thrive in the program. Throwing kids who are less-prepared into HCC doesn't do them any favors, nor does it help their peers. It also doesn't provide the intended benefits of diversity if people perceive certain groups to be struggling in the program.

Personally, I think lowering the bar somewhat and designating these kids as "pre-HCC" or something to that effect and then providing them with a year of more intensive, personalized services would likely do the trick. I've often thought how great it would be volunteer at a high needs school if I could go in and do my own unofficial screening for giftedness and then really focus on those kids... You know they are out there, and who doesn't think that if you were able to work with them for a year you could get them to qualify--based on the same eligibility levels as everyone else--and be fully prepared to excel? But I don't know of a mechanism for really doing that in the current system. Does anyone else? Do any of the high FRL schools have any type of pre-HCC academy program? It could be via pull-outs, afterschool programming, etc. Or are there any schools/principals that you think would be up for implementing something like that if they had some volunteers to run it? I'd love to hear any ideas...


Anonymous said...

Having followed the public schools/gifted education issue for about a decade, it seems like we just hash the same talking points over and over. At this moment, I feel like something needs to happen to break the logjam, though I don't know what that is.

I will say that one of the points that I always come back to is the whole chicken/egg issue of, "How do you get more black students into gifted learning when no one's family wants to be the first?" We can adjust criteria and recruit heavily 'til we're blue in the face, but if they don't come, it's all for nought. There's enough anecdotal evidence to make me think that we would get decent representation if all the African/African-American families that were eligible actually enrolled.

How could we achieve that? Issues of privacy notwithstanding: Could we get all those families in a room to see how many people that looked like them they might find if everyone commited? Could we get behind some sort of 'gifted-prep' school to help them see themselves in gifted learning?

What can we build so they will come?


Anonymous said...

Gifted programs throughout the country use affirmative action to provide increased access to under-represented groups.

Google it.

Students get a point for ELL, for race, for SES.

Somebody might sue about it, but the difference between affirmative action in gifted programs is the fact that no students are being displaced by the under-represented group. There is no harm to the majority group.

The number of districts that use affirmative action is astounding and why SPS does not do this is a real question.

Anonymous said...

The reason SPS does not use affirmative action in AL placement is simple:

It would cost money

money for IA's
ELL staff

it's also why the district discourages disabled students from the HCC

It's gifted program on the cheap


Anonymous said...

June et al. I googled. Which G&T affirmative programs are you talking about? Are you assuming what black students you see now are due to affirmative action?

Gad, with this attitude, do you really have to ask WHY we don't see more of us in HCC?

Congratulations. It works!


Anonymous said...

here's one of hundreds

our district does NOT use such a process

The School Board of Broward County, Florida
Plan to Increase
the Participation of Underrepresented Groups in Gifted Programs
Appendix C
D. Environmental Indicators
Environmental indicators are considered when determining eligibility for the gifted program. The gifted are not a homogenous group nor do they express their talents in the same way. Special attention needs to be given to the different ways children from different cultures manifest behavioral indicators of giftedness.
The following environmental indicators will be considered for eligibility.
1. Speaks language(s) other than English (one point)
2. Student is from an underrepresented group (one point)
3. Meets criteria on the Underrepresented Student Trait Indicators Checklist
(one point for 15-21 indicators checked, two points for 22-28 indicators checked).


Anonymous said...

Try googling:
gifted and talented matrix ses frl ell

something like that


Anonymous said...

Again, our AL department is not using best practice.

Merely testing underrepresented kids without giving them any extra boost into the program to compensate for factors beyond their control, is tantamount to discrimination.

It isn't the fault of parents choosing HCC, the blame rests on the downtown administration, the AL department and the Board of Directors.

If such a noise can be made about math books, why not about getting more under-represented kids into HCC?

There's money for some weird stuff in SPS, but not for Dearborn Park to have a counselor or getting some of these brilliant kids who are disadvantaged into HCC.


Anonymous said...

A poorly reported article had one point of fact: that less than 5% of hispanics and blacks were in programs designed to serve students in the 85%+ in achievement in nationally normed test.

Those numbers include spectrum and app but not ALO for 2012-13.

Any surprise that the SES / ELL are being excluded from these programs.

Since that report there have been increased cognitive testing initiated by Stephen Martin/the district to identify more high IQ kids in those groups. Once identified they will get in-school assistance to serve their needs.

The IQ test they are using currently is normed for ELL/SES participants.

Also, effective this year every kindergarten teacher has received professional development to identify HC students and provide those services to the child in K.That was due to the States move to have HC services as basic ed.

My point is that many of the cat-calls here are mere echos of a program long since gone.

Getover yourselfs

Anonymous said...

Thanks for clarifying that, @getover.
How is an "IQ" test normed for SES and ELL?
Does that mean extra points are added to the score? How many and which test?

Where did you see that info, BTW?

Was it buried in the minutes from an AL taskforce or is it on the SPS website, 'cause I can't find it.

If true, I stand corrected and am very glad to hear what you've reporting.


Anonymous said...

@june- et alia(s)

Providing a More Complete Picture of Student Abilities

"CogAT Form 7 reflects the most up-to-date research on how best to measure cognitive abilities and learning styles. Lead author Dr. David F. Lohman, an internationally recognized abilities assessment researcher and winner of the National Association of Gifted Children's Paper of the Decade, has built on the strengths of the test by introducing a variety of enhancements, including new item types, a reduced language load to make the instrument even more appropriate for ELL children, an expanded instructor support package, a choice of methods of administration, and more."

This screener is going to FRL schools (with the hope to do all 2nd / 5th graders in the future) as mentioned by Dr. Martin in the article and discussed in the ALTF. This is following a SE schools initiative that identified 35(?) possible candidates that were similarly screened and not yet identified by MAP screening. This was a project Roger Daniels worked on.

PD for K teachers was in the ALTF recommendation to meet the State's K-12 HC basic requirements and was adopted by the Sup.

This is not apartheid or "segregated" learning. This is following the current best practices in the least expensive manner.

Finally, let us be clear the author of that "story" son did not get "in" besides reading at the 3rd grade level in Kindergarten. Do you think that was because they were black/hispanic or that they weren't spectrum qualified in math (less than 85%). Answer that if you care to banter.

Getover Yourselfs

Anonymous said...

I have a Spectrum assignment question.

Previously, Spectrum students who live within what is now the JAMS attendance area (Sacajawea, Olympic Hills and John Rogers) could choose Spectrum at Hazel Wolf K-8 (aka Jane Addams K-8).

As of 2014-15, the Spectrum assignment changed, and the entire JAMS attendance area is now linked to Wedgwood and View Ridge for Spectrum. It doesn't appear that Hazel Wolf K-8 is a linked school for the Eckstein attendance area, either.

Wait lists for Spectrum (2015-16):

Wedgwood 1st grade - 20
Wedgwood 2nd grade - 23
Wedgwood 3rd grade - 7
Wedgwood 4th grade - 1
Wedgwood 5th grade - 9

View Ridge 1st grade - 8
View Ridge 2nd grade - 17
View Ridge 3rd grade - 1

So, my question is this...do students who live within the Wedgwood and View Ridge attendance areas get priority assignment to the Spectrum program over those who live outside of those attendance areas, including linked attendance areas (ie. Sacajawea, John Rogers and Olympic Hills)?

Even if this wasn't the case, and there is a lottery assignment, a resident student could presumably get into Wedgwood or View Ridge as Gen Ed, and just wait it out to see if a Spectrum spot opened up. A Spectrum-qualified kid from outside the Wedgwood or View Ridge attendance area wouldn't have that chance.

The Lake City area has a fairly significant population of students of color. It would seem as though unless they qualified for APP and wanted to go to the Lincoln building, they would have to settle for ALO programs at their neighborhood school.

The problem is that the neighborhood schools in the area are used to there being somewhere else for the "smart kids" to go. ALO programs exist, and perhaps they aren't all that different than an integrated Spectrum program, but each school writes their own plan, and these can differ widely. Also, since Spectrum seats are not guaranteed, and since the area just lost a Spectrum assignment school (Hazel Wolf), parents may not be as motivated to have their kid tested for AL (unless they think they will qualify for APP).

I know that most people think of just HCC/APP when equity in AL is discussed, but identification and accommodation of Spectrum/ALO-qualified kids is important, as well.

- North-end Mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, Spectrum spots rarely open up (ask all the parents who have waited year after year).

North-end Mom, the whole thing is pretty much a mess. I would defy anyone at JSCEE to explain the entire program without a diagram, a map and a book.

Anonymous said...

The CogAT 7 has been out for awhile, 4 years maybe, and there hasn't been much change in HCC in regards to demographics.

What I want to stress is the fact that SPS could use additional affirmative action to boost enrollment in the program.

It chooses not to do that and maybe it's money, maybe not.

Here's another district going the extra mile to make their program more diverse.

HOUSTON INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT Gifted and Talented Identification Matrix, K-12 Kindergarten for Spring Services 2013 &
First through Twelfth Grade for the 2013-2014 School Year


Check all appropriate boxes: Limited English Proficient Special Education/504 Low SES
(One or more = 5 points) Points:______ If Low SES Above +
Minority(Hispanic or African American) = 3 additional points
Total Points:________

It's not rocket science, it's not complicated, but it might cost money to actually serve these kids at an HCC school.

Thanks for being so engaging. I'm sure I'm not the only one learning a thing or two.


Anonymous said...


HCC could be much more diverse overnight if it adopted a plan like in the Houston district.

It just does not want to do so.

Roger Daniels is an honorable man and is doing what he can to increase diversity, but he is also an employee of the district and he is not the director of AL.

The kids are out there. If they get a boost into the program, they will step-up.

Who said: Justice delayed is justice denied?

HCC parents want their kids given opportunity, what about the kids who are just as capable but have the hobble of poverty on their ankles?


Anonymous said...

Here's one reason why poor and ELL families need a leg up:


the parent had her daughter study for a year before testing at 4 years old!


Anonymous said...

Maybe that's the answer. CogAt prep at the new city-run pre-schools.


Anonymous said...

Ok June please answer the question as stated:

3rd grade reading ability in K and black/hispanic but not qualified for AL; based on what? Race or lower than 85% qualifying scores?

To the point, this mother is a reporter who is educated and paid non-SES wage. Her son is also non-ELL. What accommodation should this kinder kid receive based on his skin color? It is repugnant and ridiculous that Houston is treating skin color as a disadvantage for kindergartners - if that is what you are asserting.

And get used to it. Most kids will be of color soon in the US. Great! They will also be of non ELL/ESS families. So should they get a leg up too! Just because...

I'm of native american decent and only if I told you so would you say, oh yeah. Talk about a tough upbringing but that wasn't because of my heritage it was because my father was military and we were FRL. I know ELL/ESS/SPED first hand. Boost those kids! But the thrust of this thread is about another thing. It is the color of ones face. And that should mean nothing when it comes to standardized achievement test and insertion into said programs based on your achievement.

SPS in my opinion should never have had spectrum as achievement based programs are inherently skewed. Moreover, the current HCC program shouldn't have an achievement component either. It should get the 98% IQ with teacher letter and have the district teach all the other kids in neighborhood schools. MS would allow further differentiation, followed by HS with even more. But that cost too much and how would we solve the capacity problem.

Getover Yourselfs

Anonymous said...

Your article is irrelevant and out dated.

Propose a better solution to identify/teach high IQ learners who burn out most teachers, classes and schools unless taught in a cohort and I will listen.

Answer my question. Does face color give you a disadvantage on a standardized achievement test if you are not also ELL/ESS/SPED?

I'm listening...

Getover Yourselfs.

Anonymous said...

What it says is 5 points for either Sped, ELL or low SES, if the student is low SES plus black or hispanic, three more points

So, yes,a student gets affirmative action for "skin color", as you put it.

The district is only 8% white, 215, 000 students, half hispanic.

Trying to link the whole matrix for you.


Getover Yourselfs said...

Don't do it for me. I am only talking about the reporter's son, not Houston, who is black/hispanic. Should he hypothetically be given an accommodation because of his face color - even though he was not ELL/ESS and read at the third grade level in Kindergarten. Just waiting for that answer - nothing else.

Here you go check the box

[Y] [N]

Getover Yourselfs

Getover Yourselfs said...

Seriously the 8% white kids in this scenario are the minority... and yet they will loose three points to non-whites. Must have been put together by the private schools to dollar segregate the schools. Please no more about the wretched state of Texas.

Anonymous said...

Propose a better solution to identify/teach high IQ learners who burn out most teachers, classes and schools unless taught in a cohort and I will listen.

Ok. "No private tester inners." How's that for identifying the high IQs.?

No kids who take the test 15 times from private providers and then "ace" it for program acceptance. No notes from your doctor. That would already eliminate more than half the kids in HCC. Remember the recent blogger whose kid took the test again - but this time age "normed" it... well, that test was already invalid because it was taken within 6 months of the district test. So, why even make the case? Yet, it generated 50 odd posts about how deserving the kid was.... after double test dipping, even though the kid wasn't ahead of his "kindergarten".

Every person who says... "we were just 1 point off, and so of course we private tested and appealed and got in." That more than doubles the size of HCC. When the whole group is supposed to be less than 2% (because it supposed to be the top 2% cognitively AND ALSO 5% academically)... And people say they were "only a point off" - well, that 1 point increases the population by at least 50%. And if your kid was really off by more - then it is more like 100% or 200% in the increase of students accepted to HCC - and a commensurate dilution of the program.

Maybe you wouldn't need a minority identification program - if white people weren't overidentified.

Reality Check

Anonymous said...

It seems like it would help if they eliminated or adjusted the achievement requirements. IQ testing is far from perfect, but that alone would at least reduce the favor of early academic achievement that HCC currently has and which strongly favors higher income children.

Many districts do IQ testing only and seem to be quite successful focusing on enrichment vs acceleration in the lower grades. That's the model I was familiar with growing up. "Gifted" kids received enrichment services (creative writing, problem solving, math puzzles, maps, photography/videography type of creative arts, etc) through middle school with some very limited math acceleration beginning in 4th/5th and more acceleration (math, science) plus tracking through middle school. Kids ended up at the same place in high school, it was fun and not stressful. Though I was very modestly gifted :), I had a number of seriously off the charts friends who all seemed to have a great experience as well, without any homeschooling or major concerns with being super ahead of the class in elementary.

NE Parent

Anonymous said...

Ok, I went to Broward co. Site and came away with a better context regarding Broward County G & T program. This district wanted to capture groups who were underrepresented by looking at ways beyond standard method of cognitive and achievement testings. Why? Because these children are often overlooked. Often poor. Often lacking parents with social networking skills or language and cultural fluency to know how to access such a program. This idea is not new. Dr. Renzulli of the NAGC fame along with Davidson and Hoagie have advocated a new primer on how to better ID and implement such a program. In order to qualify, these children must take the usual cognitive tests and undergo much more scrutiny.

The Broward county assessment forms for gifted traits are below.

Plan A: http://www.broward.k12.fl.us/advancedacademics/resources/GIFTED_Downloads/Gifted_Indicators_ChecklistA_B.pdf

Plan B (for underrepresented groups):


The checklist June selected to highlight contains certain indicators/traits found in G&T children and are very similar to traits listed on Davidson and Hoagie sites. To qualify, these children must submit more info before the evaluation panel. The same matrix used in plan A is used in Plan B as well. *** Just because one is poor and black or an ELL student does not mean the student automatically gets a point. The student gets a "point" if s/he demonstrates traits of such things as inquisitiveness, talkative, self control, good at strategy, creativity, etc.

A better reading on this subject can be found at Hoagie


And at Davidson

June brought up Affirmative action and point system several times. Here it is decoded.

The use of points and affirmative action in higher education(Gratz vs. Bollinger case) came before SCOTUS in 2003 and was ruled unconstitutional. U of Michigan used the point system and awarded points based on the applicant's race, athletic ability, essay, scholastic, etc. The Rehnquist court ruled point system violated equal protection clause. However, in the same year, same court ruled on another case (Grutter vs. Bollinger) that U of Michigan Law School can take race under consideration in their admission Policy.

Affirmative Action and points have been the cause célèbre among those who oppose race based (and low income by de facto ) affirmative action.

What Broward county and some individual schools and districts are trying to do is identify children with potential EARLY. They are using standard cognitive and achievement measures along with non traditional methods because one size fits all testing does not work. This is true for 2E children as well. It's crucial to catch them in elementary or even better in preK. One of the drawback in NYC, is the lack of nearby schools which support G&T learning in poorer communities. As a result, for these students to access such program, they must commute further to access it.

So to better understand what places like Davidson Institute and Broward county are doing, it is important to look beyond affirmative action and points.

another reader

Getover Yourselfs said...

"No private 'tester inners.' How's that for identifying the high IQs.?

No kids who take the test 15 times from private providers and then "ace" it for program acceptance. No notes from your doctor. That would already eliminate more than half the kids in HCC."

Sorry I don't know how to properly quote Reality Checks post so that was they --

Fact is that over 10 percent get in on appeal. Some kids try several times. If the district thought the private testing was not done by professionals they would have closed it down. I know RC can not support the 50% and I doubt that with three variables IQ /Math 95 / Reading 95 that most folks are missing achievement. Again I think Achievement is asinine for a HC program. It is highly capable not highly achieved , right?

I have kids that tested in with 1 subject only and 2E. And I have kids that passed through no problem. Kindergarten- GHS and soon college. Good grades for all of them. And always fitting in.

You posters with your agenda of what is best for my kid are unfortunately wrong. We did 2nd grade ALO with one kid and that was just about the worst year we have had. We thought it was right but no way was it with a 99% IQ.

You can blame the test sure but if a kid with an IQ that high gets a MAP score in the teens ... they have given up. And the teachers, school and district will too.

Kids in the HC program are engaged because they are understood by both the teachers as well as their cohort. It makes a world of difference.

Oh yeah back to the private testings. No tricks, no gimmicks but the missing achievement pieces were in place due to private testing and away they went along with the downward spiral. Yeah we tutored between but why not. And no, if they didn't get the cogat score we would never try to test into that.

Anonymous said...

Placement in an educational program within a compulsory educational system is quite different from public higher ed access.

Seattle has as bad a history of red-lining and discrimination as Houston, just sans the Jim Crow.We could do it too.


Getover Yourselfs said...

Sorry Another Reader,

June is wrong as their comments are based on a non/FRL/ELL family. That of one of the times reporter's kids who didn't make the 85% so the whole program is racist as it... ho hum... read above.

So for you to say:

"Affirmative Action and points have been the cause célèbre among those who oppose race based (and low income by de facto ) affirmative action."

are incorrect as there is no longer a de facto. The majority of kids born will be mixed race and they will not be ... Poor. Sorry. White folks have to open up to two realizations. One we are no longer the job givers and two, we are no longer the job givers.

But regardless, this about achievement testing and a kid not getting two scores over 85% on both do you think that has to do with race from a NonFRL/ELL family RC. All your et alia(s) won't answer that simple question.

Getover Yourselfs said...

Sorry Miller, you are talking of jim crow like you know him personally.

No idea what that means to anyone.

got an idea if a kid with no ELL/SES issues with hispanic/black skin (asian doesn't count) should be allowed into a program that they don't have the math/reading achievement levels even if they are reading at the 3rd grade level in Kindergarten.

Otherwise disengaged as no one will say... YES. Give them pigment advantages! Anyone? Anyone?

No surprise in apologetic Seattle.
Otherwise still listening for that program that will identify/teach high IQ kids without burning out teachers, schools and the district without a cohort.