Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Advanced Learning Work Session

The Board will conduct a work session on Advanced Learning this evening. Here is the PowerPoint.

The presentation doesn't address the community's primary concern: Is advanced learning a fiction?

The staff appears to be promoting MTSS as a delivery model for Advanced learning services. That's tough because MTSS remains an unfulfilled promise and advanced learning outside of HCC is, for the most part, already a basket of unfulfilled promises. At every stage of this presentation, the Board should be asking:
  • What evidence is there of advanced learning services delivered through MTSS?
  • Who is developing the advanced lessons?
  • What is the curriculum and how is it suited for advanced learners?
  • Who is checking to confirm its presence?
  • What actions are taken if it is absent?
  • What recourse do families have if the services are not provided?
  • Where are the policies or procedures that provide accountability?
  • Who enforces those policies?
  • How reliable is this as a delivery model?
The answers, I fear, are that there is no evidence of advanced learning services delivered through MTSS, no one is developing the lessons, there is no curriculum only grade skipping sometimes, no one is checking to confirm its presence, no action is taken if it is absent, families have no recourse if their child is denied services, there are no policies or procedures that address MTSS as a delivery model for advanced learning, there is no enforcement, and MTSS is completely unreliable as a delivery model for advanced learning services.


Charlie Mas said...

The district is concerned about disproportionate representation in advanced learning.

Perhaps they should take a lesson from Catherine Blaine K-8, where 100% of the students are participating in the ALO. At least, that's what the CSIP says. At Catherine Blaine, this is their one and only SMART Goal around Advanced Learning:
"2015-2017 SMART Goals for Advanced Learning Opportunity
1. For all students in the general education program we will increase the percentage of students accessing Advanced Learning opportunities in the school from 100% to
100%. The person responsible for this goal is (unspecified).

All of the students, regardless of race, poverty, or disability, are in the advanced learning program at Catherine Blaine. They are ALL getting differentiated instruction that supports their work beyond Standards. All of them are working beyond Standards, even those who did not pass the state grade level proficiency tests.

Unspecified is doing amazing work over there at Catherine Blaine.

Charlie Mas said...

Slide #18 says:
"Advanced Learning Opportunity (ALO)
Services now offered at all elementary, middle, and K-8 sites, providing differentiation for HC and AL students according to the CSIP at each school site.

This is, of course, a lie. There are plenty of schools that have no reference to ALO anywhere in their CSIP, many that mention it without saying anything meaningful, and only a few that actually describe how they are providing differentiation as this PowerPoint slide suggests.

And, of course, the more African-American students, the more FRL students, the less developed the ALO plan. Want to put attention on getting AA and FRL kids into ALO, how about having real ALO programs at the schools with AA and FRL kids?

MLK and Emerson make no reference to advanced learning in their CSIPs. Rainier View's ALO focuses the professional development on asthma and seizures, and the curriculum on anti-bullying. SouthShore's Advanced Learning plan is blank. At Graham Hill, 0% of the students are in their ALO. Dunlap appears to have a reasonable plan of sorts, but only aspires to have 33% of the students in the ALO get a Level 4 score on the SBAC.

This is absolutely typical of how the District works. They tell the Board and the public about how a troop of unicorns will come prancing into the classroom to teach these students (or any other set of students), but no one ever asks if the unicorns actually exist, appear, and teach the students. The staff tells the Board that every school has an ALO plan in their CSIP, but it's not true. The staff tells the Board that every school uses MTSS to provide differentiated instruction to advanced learners, but it's not anywhere near true.

The only reason that the staff can get away with these lies is that advanced learning is primarily for White affluent students who can pass the state tests, and no one in a position of authority in the JSCEE nor anywhere else in the district cares about those students. The Whiteness of the program gives the staff the license to neglect it. Of course, they made it as White as it is.

How strange is it for the District officials who set the criteria for eligibility to complain about the criteria for eligibility?

Charlie Mas said...

The district leaves it to each school and teacher to develop content, materials, and lessons for advanced learners. If that's such as great method, why don't they do that for all students?

Anonymous said...

One of the reasons we chose the public school over private schools 15 years ago was their well-thought out advanced learning program. Spectrum, with Spectrum-trained teachers and separate report cards served us well. We were in a well-working inclusive Spectrum program open to any kid who could keep up with the work. When that successful program was eliminated mid-year from under our feet we switched to APP/HCC - already beginning to crumble itself. Now in high school, we have watched advanced learning options in the Seattle Public schools dismantled. We chose an IB program in a bid to get away from the SPS insipid curriculum and it is working well for us. If you think individual schools can provide your kid with AL opportunities without framework and oversight - you are drinking the SPS kool-aid. I think that, without opportunities for kids to excel if they desire, the Seattle public schools no longer serves Seattle children well. I would, presently, advise anyone who can, to opt out for other educational opportunities outside of SPS if at all possible. Private schools, home schooling, Ranier Scholars: anything else will serve you much better. The SPS is doing its best to drive motivated students out of the system. I'll be glad when we are out of SPS for good - it has been a nasty experience for us. As parents, we feel battle-worn, scarred and belittled by Tolley & company.


Anonymous said...

Correction - we entered SPS 10 years ago - though it seems longer!


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Charlie and SPSParent. It seems the parents are fighting to erode advancement just as much, if not more, than the district.

I checked in with our NE ALO school yesterday to see how their walk to math program they started finally last year is coming along. The principal said they are offering extensions for those who are ready to do deeper grade-level work. When I asked if they were willing to accelerate even one year, the response was NO.

How does this serve HC kids? I will add that this particular school ships off hundreds to Cascadia for obvious reasons, even this year when families know they are signing up for uncertainty.


Anonymous said...

What SPSParent said.


Lynn said...

Is this a school where the PTA pays for instructional support and math tutors? I'd suggest withholding those funds in the future unless the principal has a plan to use them as intended. (Every principal is expected to provide ALOs for advanced students now - this should not require PTA funding.)

If your child is highly capable, I would be calling the advanced learning office to ask for advice. Those students have a right to receive accelerated and enhanced instruction as a part of their basic education. I'd look at private schools too. Life's too short to be fighting with your child's schools for years. As an added bonus, private schools provide stability.

Anonymous said...

Could parents sue the district? How do parents get some attention and traction on this issue?

Anonymous said...

Could someone point me to the location of individual school CSIPs? I'd like to check out my students' schools. Thank you.

One mom

Marc said...

HCC students only have the right to receive enhanced instruction to the degree that the district and school have the money to pay for it. HCC in your neighborhood school is up to the principal. I went down this road with the school, Advanced Learning, and the state. At all three levels, they were willing (or unable) to do anything. Thus we moved our children to Cascadia. Beyond Cascadia, I'm worried.


Lynn said...

The CSIPs can be found on this page.

Anonymous said...

Marc and Lynn, I also moved to Cascadia. Not sure what's next. I believe the lack of interest in acceleration comes from a subgroup of parents and the teachers at the particular NE ALO school that sends HUNDREDS of HC kids to Cascadia.


Anonymous said...

I believe WTH is referencing Bryant.

It is so counterintuitive and ultimately damaging that a school with so many HC students and with over 50% scoring a 4 on standards-based SBAC testing is almost overtly hostile to any form of math acceleration.

Principal Sanger should be asked to explain how he thinks Bryant students should be placed appropriately in middle school math.

Another parent

Anonymous said...

I will add that it was a very kind NO, from Principal Sanger.


Anonymous said...

Is zero opportunity for math acceleration acceptable for a school claiming to serve HC students using MTSS?

Agenda reader

Anonymous said...

If they want to begin solving the capacity crisis at Cascadia in a meaningful way, they will offer appropriate learning opportunities and methods in the neighborhood schools. Oh, wait! They don't have the skills, interest, or SPACE to deliver on that pipe dream. This is a catch 22.


Melissa Westbrook said...

HJ, what can parents do?

Today, you should email the Board ( and tell them of your concerns.

You should also considering going to your PTA and asking them to consider withholding money until your school directly addresses how they provide rigor to ALL students.

Could a parent sue? Probably. With the facts that Charlie presents (the district's fiction versus what is truly happening on the ground), I think you would have a very good case that students are not being served under the law.

Like Sped, if a group of parents wanted to start a lawsuit, I think the district (and the Board) would notice.

Anonymous said...

People don't waste your life fighting with the system! Cut out Starbucks, dinning out, vacations and send your child to a private school that will address and meet your child's learning needs. It can be a financial struggle, but in the end it's worth every penny.

So true

Anonymous said...

WTH--our elementary wouldn't allow walk to math, instead promising that they would go "deeper" for ALO kids. When I pointed out that in math, deeper IS the next level, e.g. you do simple fraction work in this grade, more complicated or deeper fraction work in the next grade, he looked confused, as if he hadn't thought about this before. He then stated he didn't want any kid to get special treatment...they should all get the same thing. He thought the same thing meant the same lesson. I'd say the same thing is that all kids get a chance to learn.

Getting any kind of challenge for my kid was like pushing water uphill in SPS. Because, equity.

Both kids are in private now, and though it's a financial strain, it's so much better that it's well worth it. We tried for 8 years.


Anonymous said...

Asdf-which private school?


Cap hill said...

Melissa, regarding your point about PTA withholding money: we were told (at Garfield at least) that the school would rather not have the money than have the money with any requirements. I hate to be this cynical, but in SPS, it is not like the principals have meaningful performance targets that the PTA money helps them achieve. I know there are probably a number of really well intentioned and accountable principals that want the investment and are willing to report back. In the Garfield case, the PTSA funded a college counselor, and the school used the money to hire a football coach.

Secondly, PTSA's need to think through the optics of this. At Garfield, Washington (and my guess TM), the vast majority of the PTSA money goes to underserved kids. Buying supplies, even basic access to food, supplemental programs etc. Holding that hostage for HCC and AL may not be what unites people.

What would be interesting is elevating advocacy for AL: raising money to initiate litigation and getting aggressive with school board races. Blanford's spot is coming up and having someone in that spot who is a strong supporter of AL would be a game changer.

Cap Hill

Anonymous said...

Reading through the presentation, the feeling I got was that the Advanced Learning office has finally given up. They know the information in the CSIPs is usually bogus, but they'll cite that as evidence of current practice anyway. They know MTSS isn't really working--especially for highly capable students--but they cite that as evidence that appropriate differentiation is happening.

They say the purpose of the meeting is partly to make sense of the data, yet they present very little data that can be used for that purpose. What data don't they understand? Eligibility, enrollment and appeals data aren't that complicated, and they've discussed these a lot already. What more do they need to "make sense of" in those areas?

The only other data presented concern SBA test results of AL-eligible students. Is that single slide really the best the AL office can do in this area? Of course not. The slide covers all AL-eligible students--whether participating in AL service or not, whether HCC-eligible or not, whether in elementary or middle school, etc.--so no wonder it's hard to make sense of the data. Are they really trying?

The slide (#28) shows that about half to 3/4 of the students who had previously met the AL eligibility met the AL eligibility cutoffs in both Math and ELA on the recent SBA. Ok, so what's the significance of that? Are they putting this out there to suggest that AL-eligible students aren't really AL-eligible? That would bring up a lot of other questions and lines of inquiry, such as the reliability and validity of that new test; the number of times people test before they get in (and how that effectively lowers the cutoff); the effectiveness of the appeals process (e.g., whether students who get in on appeal perform just as well); etc. There are lots of things you could look at in greater depth, if you actually had questions and wanted to make sense of the data.

Or perhaps that data slide suggests that our AL services overall are not working--that we are not serving AL students well. If students who met the 87th percentile cutoff once can't do it again, maybe our classrooms are failing them. Regardless, this chart brings up other questions, such as breakdowns by participating vs. not, AL vs. HCC, elementary vs. middle school, number of years in the program (e.g., do you do better/worse the longer you're receiving AL services?), the impact of individual schools (e.g., do AL eligible students do better at certain schools than others?, do schools provide the services in their CSIPS), etc. You'd also want to acknowledge the key factor that is self-selection, which likely has a huge bearing on any comparison of eligible vs. enrolled, so you'd probably want to look into that further (via a survey) if service effectiveness is an area of research interest.

My point is, if you want to make sense of the data, dig into the data! Don't present overly simplistic and aggregated results like what's in slide #28 and pretend that you can draw many conclusions from them. Such conclusions will most likely be wrong.

But as I mentioned at the outset, I'm not convinced the AL office really cares that much anymore. If they did, would their "considerations for next steps" really be to investigate (1) eligibility procedures; (2) the structure and definition of Highly Capable Services; or (3) the structure and definition of Advanced Learning? Are those seriously the big questions that merit further research? Why is there nothing re: actual service delivery? Or meaningful outcomes data? The only logical conclusion is that just don't care whether the program is meeting the needs of those who need it.

Sad Face

Anonymous said...

I agree with Cap Hill parent. I woukdnt advocated to withhold PTA funding to solve inadequate AL delivery. I think the district and the board needs to hear from parents, and the Heat maps need to be better understood so the data can be used to make meaningful change. A new board member or two would help, let's get a new Mayor while we're at it....


Anonymous said...

TM's CSIP has no HCC goals or objectives it does mention AOL but it is very limitedly. In fact the only mention is to say they are doing 3-4 level work on grade level (age grade) work.

This is equity in that admin's eyes. Oh and riddled with typo's.


Anonymous said...

"There are plenty of schools that have no reference to ALO anywhere in their CSIP, many that mention it without saying anything meaningful, and only a few that actually describe how they are providing differentiation as this PowerPoint slide suggests."

Yes! I'm also concerned about the schools that have Spectrum or ALO language in their CSIPs, but aren't following some of it. This is the case at our school. When I asked about this, I was told the information was outdated. Hoping to meet with the principal to discuss this further.


Anonymous said...

Even though we are almost out of the grinder - I would be happy to participate in a lawsuit against the district regarding their dismantling of AL and their absolution of any responsibility to provide AL opportunities to the districts children.


Anonymous said...

Has the district presented the draft Highly Capable Students Program Annual Plan for 2016/17 yet? I haven't seen it referenced in any of the recent board (or committee) meeting agendas, but it's usually done and approved for submission to OSPI by now. This is how we get our money for HC services for the current year.

When it's available, I suggest people review the plan and let the district know about any inaccuracies. Post them here, too. The district tends to exaggerate things on these reports, and with all the recent changes in AL services there's even greater potential for misrepresentation this year. Let's watchdog it, and make sure our school board directors aren't signing off on information that we know to be inaccurate.


Charlie Mas said...

Go through the CSIPs and you'll see that, for the most part, they are vague or misguided about their Advanced Learning program, or they simply fail to mention it at all.

Ask around about MTSS and you'll find that, for the most part, it is still on the chalkboard pending implementation.

Inquire into ALOs and you'll find that, for the most part, they exist only on paper.

The whole mirage is a lie, inside a fantasy, wrapped in a deception.

There is no enforceable policy or procedure. There is no supervision. There is no data. There is no curriculum. There is no enforcement. There is nothing but a carefully cultivated ignorance to allow for plausible deniability. This is the state of advanced learning in Seattle Public Schools.

Outsider said...

Bummer, we already cut out Starbucks, dining out, and vacations just to pay rent. 'Fraid private school is out of the question. I also think any fantasy of suing SPS is hopeless and silly. The only realistic option is to look for other exits.

This article:
... mentions home school cooperatives in Georgia. "While most states prohibit homeschooling parents from teaching anybody except their own children, Georgia has no such restriction." Washington being so veeery progressive, it is probably one of the states that outlaws cooperative home schooling, that would be one possible escape route for parents who can't afford private schools and also can't teach their own kids full time.

Imagine a couple of other scenarios:

-- gather 20 parents who kick in $5,000 each (one third the cost of private school) to hire their own certified teacher and rent a classroom.

-- certified teacher lucky enough to own a house in Seattle gets licensed to operate home child care, and takes in a dozen kids to teach at $5,000 per head who are officially registered as home schooled.

I am sure it's all totally against current law, but perhaps if any state legislators really believe in family choice (as opposed to merely being bought off by the corporate charter school lobby), perhaps alternatives could be made legal.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Cap Hill, I had to smile at your statement that a principal would say "no money" than money with strings. If PTA money went away in an significant way, the principal would want it back.

I think it really depends on the school.

Litigation would be good and maybe who we elect but, as I have said again and again, AL has NEVER had a champion in senior leadership. Not on the Board, not at top of the food chain.

But they need your child's high test scores and they want your child's interest in learning in a classroom so I'm not so sure that they actual care as much as your child's actual learning.

Anonymous said...

You cannot force a principal to use PTA money the way you want them to. But you can refuse to sign the check to pay for something that was not part of the PTA budget authorized by the PTA membership. In fact, you are obligated not to sign it, unless and until you go back to the membership and allow them to vote on the budget re-allocation.

no bait and switch

Melissa Westbrook said...

I just sat down and looked at the PowerPoint. From about the first 10 slides, you wouldn't know you were talking about AL.

I love page 33 - "Clarifying questions (4 minutes.") So now staff is telling the Board what kinds of questions they can ask?

Spectrum on page 34 - has moved "this year" to cluster or flexible grouping. All without any district-wide notice. Sorry but that's just shady.

And, with Charlie, I call BS on ALOs at every school.

Page 35, with the chart about applying, testing, etc. They don't note that the window for actually applying is one week.

Page 42, interesting how in 2013-2014 there was a spike for both white and AA students and now both groups see a steady drop in enrollment.

Maybe someone can explain page 44 to me; I find it confusing. I think they are trying to say that kids who were eligible for AL did just as well not being in the program.

Page 46 makes my head want to explode. "Explore options" and "structure and definitions." Sounds like a lot of make-work. We don't need another taskforce.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I didn't say force a principal to do anything. I said don't give the school the money and either hold it back or spend on what the PTA deems important (field trip scholarships, supplies, etc.)

Anonymous said...

@outsider, WA State homeschooling laws are fairly friendly and hands off compared to most states (thank you, tireless homeschool advocates). I know, we've homeschooled both full and part-time throughout our years in SPS. SPS can make it difficult for part-time homeschoolers, but it's not because of WA State laws. Families could get together and hire a teacher, but why? Why should families go to such great lengths to have a basic education for their child? Other large districts manage to have an actual program and curriculum for advanced learners. Why is it so hard for SPS? In hindsight, moving would have been so much easier than all the solutions we've cobbled together in our years in SPS. Silly me, I told myself each year was just an anomaly, and it would somehow be different the next year.


Anonymous said...

WTF, in answer to your question, we are in private schools that don't specialize in gifted ed and aren't super expensive, but that serve a cross section of academic abilities. So how does that benefit an HCC kid?
1.) Honors classes in math, science, and English;
2.) Full complement of APP classes
3.) Textbooks for every kid! What a concept.
4.) A real math curriculum!
5.) Counsellors who from freshman year on, have a program to get kids thinking about what they want from college and how to get there.
6.)You don't have to argue with them to do what's right for your kid. Our freshman got placed in math two years ahead of most of the class, and an honors section at that. We didn't argue for it. We didn't ask for it. They contacted us, and told us that based on the placement exam, this is where they are putting kid. Only freshman in the class, but no hand wringing about equity or hurt feelings. Kid is thriving in math for the first time since grade 1, instead of bored stiff.
7.) A "How can we help you?" attitude from all staff, vs. a "What the hell do you want, and you probably won't get it attitude."
8.) Enough counsellors that they can really get to know your kid.
9.) Teachers that really love what they are doing, instead of some winners and some losers.
10.) Minimal if any discipline distractions. Classes are fun, engaging and productive.
11.) In electives and activities get to know and make friends with all sorts of kids with all sorts of gifts, not just academic.


Anonymous said...

Both of my kids (now in HCC) attended a SE Seattle school that didn't have an ALO plan, nor did they seem that interested in trying to differentiate my kids' learning to meet them where they were at. I don't think it is out of lack of concern for the needs of my kids, but when there are so many kids not meeting grade level, my kids' "needs" seem like a luxury. I also wonder if anyone has mentioned that the equity team at TM are proposing to the board to eliminate private testing as an avenue for appeal (among other recommendations).

-No ALO, so we had to go

Melissa Westbrook said...

Insanity, the district does have a department to support homeschoolers with classes and everything.

No ALO, yes, this issue of addressing all kids needs with more than a "mission" seems to be ever more problematic.

If you have a list of suggestions from the equity team at TM, please send them along to me.

Anonymous said...

That's great,, which schools?

WTH (otherwise known as WTF)

Anonymous said...

ASDF-- Please if you can share the school where your kid is enrolled. I am guessing a parochial school if it is not terribly expensive.

Scott said...

"advanced learning is primarily for White affluent students who can pass the state tests"

This is the most accurate thing you've ever said, Charlie.

Slide #28 is interesting, but as with most standardized tests, only two data points isn't very helpful. This doesn't tell us if AL students scored lower than 87 percent once, twice, or five times. If once, then the higher score is probably the accurate one and the lower score could be attributable to poor test performance, as opposed to lack of knowledge. If the latter, it is probably evidence that their initial qualifying score was an outlier and, perhaps, they aren't AL material. How do you gently let a parent know their kid isn't gifted? Just as there is entry criteria, there should be some reasonable exit criteria (if there is, I haven't heard of it).


Charlie Mas said...

The way to get a principal's attention is not to withhold money from the PTA but to withhold test scores from the high performing students.

I don't know how many times I have said this, but the action to take is a test boycott.

Anonymous said...

What is the slide, Advanced Learning Achievement, trying to show? Clear as mud. AL eligibility is based on both achievement and ability (CogAT), so are they showing the difference between those meeting achievement cutoffs vs those meeting both ability and achievement cutoffs? On appeals data, how many students applied for AL? If only 50% of appeals of were successful (and that's for both Spectrum and HC), those 236 successful appeals account for what percentage of newly eligible students?

Lots of interesting slides, but not one on the assessment of program services. So much energy spent on who is eligible and so little on whether the program actually serves students.

-nothing new

Anonymous said...

Here is the TM link: some good suggestions, but for the appeals piece


Marc said...

Some further analysis using data from Board Special Meeting Power Point

Proportion Advanced Learning Eligible vs Met Minimum Achievement Criteria (Higher Percent better)

* Black- 47%
* White - 52%
* Hispanic - 54%
* Multiracial -55%
* Asian -76%

The proportion of Whites meeting the 87th percentile on the SBAC is five percent higher than Blacks and only 2 percent lower than Hispanics and 3 percent lower than Multiracial.

That's hardly evidence of widespread cheating by White parents with regards to AL Eligibility as compared to other races.

Calculated as follows: (Scored 87th Pctil in both Math & ELA (SBA 2015)) / (AL Eligible (Spectrum or HC) in 2015-16)

Anonymous said...

While the HCC ratios don't look like Seattle schools, it looks almost exactly like Seattle.

Race & Ethnicity Quick Statistics
2010 Census Estimates

2010 Population Count: 608,660
White - 69.5%
Black or African American - 7.9%
Amer. Indian & Alaska Native - 0.8%
Asian - 13.8%
Native Hawaiian & Other Pac. Islander - 0.4%
Other race - 2.4%
Two or more races - 5.1%
Hispanic or Latino ethnicity (of any race): 6.6%
Persons of color: 33.7%

This means that HCC is accurately reflecting Seattle as a whole with percentages of white and asian students.

- KT

Anonymous said...

@KT...we believe Cascadia offers more diversity (ethnic, SES, and emotional) than our neighborhood school.

Target Practice

Anonymous said...

I'm interested in the statistics referenced by Sad Face. How do I even know if my HCC kid scored in the 95th percentile or higher on math and LA SBAC last spring, and whether my AL (Spectrum) kid scored in the 87th percentile or higher? I have their scores, but not their percentiles. In fact, further to that point, in trying to decide whether to have my AL kid test this year for HCC, it would have been nice to know whether or not her SBAC scores were in the qualifying range. I know SPS has this info, but they don't share it. Makes no sense to me.

Also, I too would love to hear the name of asdf's school. We are looking at high schools now. I think it's great you are so happy with your choice!

-HCC curious

Anonymous said...

@HCC curious, the percentiles are in a spreadsheet on OSPI's website:

Open the 2016 file and select the sheet with your child's grade level, then find the "Cumulative percent (percentile rank)" corresponding to the reported SBAC scale score. For 2016 3rd grade ELA, for example, 95% would be around a scale score of 2580.


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much! I was able to find the information!

--HCC Curious

Melissa Westbrook said...

No ALO, thank you for providing that link. That TM document is quite interesting and I'll have to ask Stephen Martin, AL director, how he came to some of his conclusions (like how much parents spent on private testing.)

The document has some conclusions that I'm not sure I believe or agree with. And, they make suggestions that I know have already been done and, for whatever reason, didn't work. As well, they don't try to acknowledge what are some of the likely reasons that there are not more students of color in AL.

All that said, very pro-active on their part.

Anonymous said...

Interesting what KT and Marc pointed out. Research from standford and elsewhere has strongly suggested income being primary determiner of achievement gap, not race. I also think it would be very interesting to correlate socio-economics, level of education of parent along with race/ethnicity breakdown in relation to advanced learning eligibility. For example, comparing lower and higher SES white & asian kids and advanced learning participation/eligibility versus other races/ethnicities.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the TM staff understands the implications of this proposed change: "Make appeals process clear and equitable, including ceasing to accept private tests."

Do they know that "private testing" appeals are available for FREE for low-income students? Do they expect that by eliminating this for low-income families that they will increase enrollment of those same families?

This seems like cutting off your nose to spite your face.


Anonymous said...

@ Nose - yes that is what I was coming here to comment on. I wish they would cite their sources! "It is generally accepted that higher scores are easier to obtain on the private 1:1 WISC test than the mass administered CogAT, giving families who pursue private testing an advantage." Who says? And, like you say, if this the case, wouldn't you want to encourage this among low-income students as another way to increase their eligibility in the program?

-nose is right

Anonymous said...

MW that is pseudo statistics and a bastardization to follow someones failed understanding of driving forces in HCC.

First, they claim to be the HCC Equitability Committee but they really are just a group of folks at TM and don't speak for the HC Committee or community at all.

Second,there are all kinds of claims of numbers but from first glance you can see many (including testing cost) are for AL in its entirety not JUST HCC. You can do that all you want if what you want is to show a greater achievement variability. But HCS are offered based on IQ first and not achievement (though it seems the opposite based on some of the identification tools used to increase diversity).

Third the heat map argument might apply to option schools and neighborhood schools but it doesn't apply to special protected groups like ELL, SPED and HCS. You can't protect a class and then add a bunch of another race to "seem" equitable.

Fourth private testing elimination is a red herring and mostly supported by the schools so that they can stop the late roll of kids to HCC. There is nothing equitable about denying services to those kids who need a more controlled environment to take an IQ test (ADHD and other 2e kids).

Finally, this is not about skin color, it is about fRL, ell and 2e and that is why those groups ARE giving special consideration to enter the program. I think it is also weird that TM group would put this all on the North. TMs HC population lines up pretty close to Cascadia.

bad data

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

The statistics that KT posted from the City of Seattle shows that HCC is in the exact same proportions as the City of Seattle as a whole for White and Asian students.

The distinction is with the number of mixed race/Hispanic/African American. That is where you see the variation.

So the problem is not the over-representation of White students but rather the over-represnation of mixed race and under-represenation of Hispanic and African American students.

Rainier Scholars was designed for exactly this type of challenge. So there is a solution.

SPS doesn't need to change HCC. They need to ADD a new program that specifically supports low income / high potential students with their independent set of entry requirements.

As a side note, HCC elementrary enrollment has leveled out. HCC was growing quickly at the same time all of North end enrollment was growing quickly. Now that elementary enrollment has stabilized so has elementary HCC.

kellie said...

So those statistics also begs the question if HCC looks like Seattle, why doesn't the rest of SPS look more like Seattle?

It is because of the high private school enrollment. Private school enrollment is the missing part of this equity conversation.

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

Tired of Zealots above just broke the one unbreakable rule of this fine blog. No outing commenters no matter how much one disagrees with the commenter. Jerk move.

Calling Lame

Anonymous said...

How about this "calling lame," they outed themselves? And that would be she right? You can't spread the same lies in the same grandiose manner without showing your hand. we had the same thing with a school board candidate earlier. That should be the precedent.

Bear in mind the defense of watering down HC is all based on straw man arguments.

And thanks Kellie. Totally agree; surprise one size fits all will never work and that is why we need testing accommodations and greater support for the ell, frl and 2e kids.

bad data

Melissa Westbrook said...

Again, do not out someone. I know no name was mentioned but we don't do that here. That some of you are able to discern patterns in writing is probably useful to you but let's keep it civil (even if others are not.)

Kellie, see my newest thread on Lakeside. You are spot on.

kellie said...

Thanks Mel!

I guess I shouldn't be surprised any longer, but ... I am quite surprised by the intense focus on HCC and Cascadia this year.

IMHO, I wouldn't even put Cascadia in the top 10 capacity problems. Nor would I put HCC in the top 10 academic / educational outcome problems.

But yet, these two issues are getting a tremendous amount of time, focus and energy.

None of the items under discussion will improve equity for poor minorities or students who start K gifted but behind their more affluent peers. The proposed boundary changes are creating equity issues that are much more impactful to students. Cedar Park is only one example but the entire domino effect of the boundary changes in the north end will greatly increase segregation will simultaneously removing students from the supports built at OH.

The feeder patterns for North-end middle school are fundamentally broken. They are so badly broken, that they can't be fixed without undoing all of the elementary boundary changes.

And middle school HCC is a real problem that isn't on the agenda. The feeder patterns for the southend are also going to be very problematic as the current plan will effectually empty out Washington and overfill Mercer. There is no official statement for where north end HCC will be placed.

kellie said...

If anyone was remotely interested in actually fixing this problem the new building at Olympic Hills would be a perfect opportunity.

Olympic Hills will be opening next Fall. The school was very carefully designed to have the ability to provide substantial extra support for a high poverty population. The opening could be paired with a pilot program to support gifted and talented in some way as well.

There is the space and small class sizes for something like this to be a real possibility.

Instead the plan for this building is to send the poor kids to a substandard building without the infrastructure.

This entire HCC conversation just feels like a big distraction. What is the process to get something elevated to "key initiative" because I would love to get high school on that list.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Kellie! Leave Cascadia alone, create 250 spots at OLympic Hills for an option HCC, move on to start over with the disaster neighborhood boundary "plan" and look at the entire system with pathways and special program numbers included in the projections.


Charlie Mas said...

I have read the report from the HCC Equity Committee. It is seriously flawed. The two biggest flaws in the report are the author's perception the HCC eligibility is a prize rather than a response to a pedagogical need and the belief that native talent at birth rather than current capability should be the basis for eligibility.

Anonymous said...

The title "HCC Equity Committee" is misleading as well, and hoodwinked even current Cascadia parents into sending along a supporting letter under the guise of being simply support for increasing diversity in HCC.

Devin Bruckner is the committee chair. Is he or she a parent of a student in HCC or a teacher or? Are there parents, teachers, administrators on the committee? The set of recommendations seems to contain a large helping of personal bias.


Anonymous said...

Thanks CM but to be clear it isn't HCC Equity Committee it is a self anointed group of people at TM that are working to waterdown HCC classes. It has no charter from the superintendent and is not related to the parent/teacher Advisory Committee which has a diversity reps.

What is surprising is that this is authored by parents not just teachers like GHS. At least the learned to drop the segregation line. Geez

bad data

Anonymous said...

bad data is right, they have no official standing and there are HCC teachers at TM who are not speaking up for fear of being labeled racist.

open ears

Anonymous said...

Its also fairly hypocritical to admit you used an appeal to enter the program, say the data leads you to believe future kids shouldnt use appeals and continue to both participate in the program and rail against other parents for bring racist - no?


Anonymous said...

The HCC Equity Team info is posted on the PTA's website, not the school's website, and seems like a parent led initiative, not a SPS initiative. It's concerning if others are mistakenly led to believe this is coming from SPS (though it is probably not out of line with what some staff believe). SPS already had a committee meet and discuss changes to AL policy, some of which were incorporated into the revised district policy. They tweaked the entry criteria, but did not make major changes, and agreed that the appeals process (required by WA Highly Capable rules) would still include private testing (district choice). That a small group is now trying to change the policy, after the discussions have already happened at the district level, well, I'm just not sure what to make of it. They are pushing a personal agenda. It bothers me in the same way a vocal group pushed for the start time changes that created such upheaval this year (only to find out major schedule changes may happen next year as well). The safety of young children waiting for early buses on busy roads on dark mornings...sigh. That's a post for another day.