Sunday, December 11, 2016

Seattle Schools This Week, December 12-17, 2016

A very busy week before the holiday break next week.


Monday, December 12th
Curriculum&Instruction Committee meeting, JSCEE from 4:30-6:30 pm. Agenda
The Agenda is 162 pages, most of it the contract with the yearbook vendor.  But, there many important things to review besides that contract.

Highlights
- Annual approval of schools (CSIPs) - this one was presented at the last C&I meeting and found wanting by the Board committee members so it was sent back to have adjustments.  I'll note that the CSIPs have this notation on Advanced Learning - What alternative instructional techniques and services will we implement for our Advanced Learners (ALO), Sped, ELL students?
Schools could very well have Spectrum and HCC-tested students; don't they have to meet their needs as well?

- Instructional Materials Waivers
Page 127 shows a list of the schools with waivers.

- Indian Heritage High School
Page 127 starts this discussion which includes several ideas on locating NA programs including at Cedar Park.  Page 133 shows the Pros and Cons of Licton Springs K-8 at various locations.  Page 141 says about LS "It was kept open as a small Native-focused school and receives considerable district support to sustain the program ($2K per student.)  About one-fourth of the 130 students are Native."

It is unclear to me what the "$2K per student" means exactly.

Page 147 shows a BAR from March 13, 2014 which I am supposing to be the evidence that Licton Springs was never going to have more than 150 students at RESMS.  

- K-5 English Language Arts, starting on page 155

- Math Adoption Update, page 157

- Advanced Learning update, starts on page 158.  This is the same years-long project to revamp AL that we have seen before.  I think it is a lot of stalling nonsense. 

Tuesday, December 13th
Audit&Finance Committee meeting,  JSCEE from 4:30-6:30 pm. Agenda

Review of audits including Rainier Beach High School.  There was this (partial):

Although school audits were included in the annual internal audit plan, this audit was initiated in response to complaints regarding untimely payments to vendors.

The School does not have clear ownership over the process for creating purchase orders and personal services contracts or the process for initiating these documents after the fact. Each person we interviewed believed that this was the responsibility of someone else. The staff members initiating the purchases with the vendors believed that the purchase orders and personal services contracts were being completed by the administrative staff, and the administrative staff believed they were being completed by the staff person requesting the goods or services. This lack of ownership resulted in purchases being made without proper approvals which prolonged the payment process. District procedures do not specify whether purchase orders and personal services contracts should be initiated by the staff person initiating the purchase or by administrative staff. This is a building level decision; however, the School never assigned clear responsibility for this function. A lack of communication and procedural understanding amongst the staff involved also contributed to the delayed payments.
This item points out two problems.  One, that the district - and it's now 2016 - still does not have procedures in place that are clearly explained to school staff about purchase orders and personal services contracts?  Does the name Silas Potter ring a bell?

Two, that "this is a building-level decision" and yet people within the building never had to file anything with the district about who oversees finances at the school?  That one's on the district as well.

The Recommendation does not say anything about what JSCEE staff should be doing but rather what the school should be doing.

On volunteers, oh look, another school that isn't complying with rules about volunteers in the building AND field trip policies/procedures.

On building rental, RBHS did not follow district policy on facility rental with lack of proof of liability insurance and payment of rental fees.  How much money the district lost because of this is unknown.  

The audit of HR shows that every single person in HR "had access to the Personnnel Administrator Role in the SAP HR Module. This role not only grants authority to change employees' private information, but it also includes access to  change employee pay."  There is no reason given why this is.

Meany Middle School Family and Community Meeting, 6:00-7:30 pm at Miller Community Center

Community Budget Gap Meeting from 6:30-8:00 pm at Ballard High School.
The Seattle Council PTSA is hosting three regional meetings for families to provide feedback on budget priorities.  (There are two this week and one the first week of January.)

Wednesday, December 14th
Board Work Session, Executive Session, no agenda available

Thursday, December 15th
Operations Committee meeting, JSCEE, no agenda available

Community Budget Gap Meeting from 6:30-8:00 pm at South Shore PreK-8

Cedar Park Community Meeting from 6:30-8:00 pm at Cedar Park Elementary.
Discussion around Cedar Park being an elementary school (but see the documentation for the C&I meeting on Monday for details, starting on page

Saturday, December 17th
Community meeting with Director Patu from 10 am to 11:30 am at Raconteur

Community meeting with Director Harris from 1:00-3:00 pm at Delridge Library

159 comments:

Charlie Mas said...

The Curriculum and Instruction Policy Committee meeting should be good. I wish I could be there for it to first hear the Board Directors ask for clear, plain versions of the contorted, jargon-filled crap in the staff documents and then to hear those plain-spoken words.

The CSIPs are crap.

The AL review project is crap.

The MTSS progress is crap.

Honest Fan of Charlie's said...

Go, Charlie! I mean that with no sarcasm. Why can't you be on the board? Or on "staff." Wouldn't it be great to have people who actually cared foremost about educating children running this show?

Anonymous said...

I'm mostly happy with this board. They are working very hard and seem to care a lot about our District, teachers and students. I don't agree with all of them all the time, but I sure feel lucky they are willing to give so much time to attempt to help.

I do hope that after the capacity and student assignments are worked out, they will start digging deeper into curriculum and instruction. Every school should deliver a baseline that serves more than the lower 60%. Teachers need resources to help all students reach their potential--closing the gap includes moving even the very brightest ahead so they always enjoy the feeling of learning.

Fix AL

Charlie Mas said...

Here's a thing that I have never understood: why the District feigns an inability to control the things they control. This is really obvious when discussing the CSIPs.

The district staff say that it would be great if Building Leadership Team (BLT) members and EDs were required to sign off on them for accountability, but they aren't.

The district staff say that it would be great if CSIPs aligned with MTSS goals, but they don't require it.

The district staff say that it would be great if they could track the strategies described in CSIPs, but they don't.

When asked when these desired improvements will be made, the district staff can't answer. The fact is that they could simply start requiring these things this year. Instead, they say that the current form of the CSIP is "a stepping stone to get to where they want the CSIPs to be." I don't understand why they don't just make the changes they want in the document format. After all, they control the document format. In fact, they created it.

The staff make a lot of promises about what will be in every CSIP, but I don't see those promises reflected in the BAR.

Anonymous said...

If Kellie, Charlie or Melissa has read the Cascadia teacher letter at the APP blog about geo-splitting to Decatur, what do you think? Regardless of what you think of the split (pouring gasoline on the capacity fire in the NE), the whole letter is written from the perspective of maintaining the program for the kids at New Cascadia, with zero attention given to what will be done to ensure a comparable or even viable program at Decatur.

TC

Anonymous said...

@TC-I disagree. They said many of the current staff wanted to go to the new location and they believe the curriculum would transfer. There have been community meetings where teachers and parents talk about the possibilities there and benefits of a smaller school. People who only see value in a large school should have the option to go to Cascadia. It's not worth arguing against the best interests of our students and teachers because a segment of the population is worried about not having as much PTA resource, or whatever the concern might be surrounding a small school. Especially when there are plenty who would prefer a small school that is closer to their community....

The catch is they need to make it an option school as soon as possible so the numbers can be capped.

I hope Cedar Park offers a flexible walk to math like Hazelwolf used to--that will make the new option school in the far NNE a nice option for the advanced learners in that community.

Having a few more options for advanced learners besides a mega school will benefit many. Perhaps the Norwegian Heritage building in Ballard can also become an option school that offers a flexible AL approach for spectrum and HC-qualified students and anyone interested for that matter. Cascadia will be a bit of a haul for Queen Anne, Magnolia families.

Fix AL

Fix AL

Lynn said...

If HCC@Decatur is an option school, the district will have to spend more on transportation. (Busing kids from across the Eckstein region to both Decatur and Cascadia.) Each bus costs something like $68K per year.

I'm not arguing against this, just pointing out that this is a drawback.

If it is going to be an HCC option school, the principal must be chosen ASAP because that will be a determining factor in decision making for parents.

Anonymous said...

Is there a comparable staff letter committing to the new location? With similar bullet points about adequate space to "transfer the curriculum"?

If Decatur is successful it should be capped as an option school? How does that help equitable access? A family living blocks from Decatur waits to find out if their child qualifies, tries to decide what program is best, waits to find out if they get into Decatur and buses all the way to Cascadia if they don't get in? Some kids on a block go to Decatur for HCC and others bus to Cascadia?

Do Wedgewood HCC families know they won't have access to Decatur?

Questions

Questions

Anonymous said...

Fairmount Park is an HCC option school, and that seems to be working well. I think people need equitable access to services, not exactly to specific schools. I currently have no way of getting into Fairmount Park, but I do have access to HCC services. I do think our language immersion access is inequitable.

I am concerned about starting two option schools 2 miles apart next year. I don't think there is time to make a decent one at Decatur. if they were going to do that, planning needs to have started last spring. There's no Julie B left to pull one together next year, unless the district plans to poach her (I hope not). I'm already worried about Cedar Park which is much further along and think we all need to focus on that. Decatur as a program split is fine, and then if the gasoline people are right it can be capped as an option school- this takes the very worst case scenarios out of the equation. I'm not convinced that is necessary, but it is an excellent hedge just in case.

I read the teacher letter, and am completely convinced now. The program is too big to provide a nurturing education to students who require HC services. It's even bigger feeling than it seems because it grows over the grades as kids enroll.

I have opinions about Decatur, but really I would like to know how Cedar Park is going. Has planning started? What kind of option school is it going to be? Will it be the same principal? That was a hard fought battle, and I'd really, really like to see it succeed.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

The argument for the option school and capping Decatur is simply that there will not be room and there is no room to grow.

Wedgwood families may or may not know what the District shared last Wednesday. Likely many do not.

There is only one teacher letter, and it is amazing and we shouldn't ask for more.

Fairmont Park is an option school alternative to Thurgood Marshall and this works for the south end. It seems fair we should have an option school for capacity relief at the very least, but also to give a smaller alternative to those interested.

Does the state offer additional funding for HCC transportation? I expect they will be saving money on transportation compared to current costs.

Fix AL

Anonymous said...

@sleeper

You asked "I have opinions about Decatur, but really I would like to know how Cedar Park is going. Has planning started? What kind of option school is it going to be? Will it be the same principal? That was a hard fought battle, and I'd really, really like to see it succeed."

Aside from being included (along with Decatur) as a potential site for HCC in the survey to Cascadia parents, and then pitched to Licton Springs staff and parents as a possible site for their program, there has been no planning that I am aware of regarding option school programming at Cedar Park.

There is a community meeting scheduled for December 15th, at Cedar Park (6:30-8:30). This will be the first community meeting since the school was designated as an option school. The Cedar Park school website still lists Dedy Fauntleroy as the Cedar Park Principal. Curiously, Cedar Park is still listed under "elementary schools" rather than "option schools" on the SPS website.

At the November 16th school board meeting, Ms. Fauntleroy spoke briefly about option school planning. She mentioned three different ways of launching an option school...

1. Pick a theme/focus prior to open enrollment.
2. "Opportunity School." No prior determination of a theme/focus prior to open enrollment, but this would be determined (by the school community?) at some later date.
3. Move an existing option school program to Cedar Park.

It seems as though SPS staff have moved forward with #3, since they have engaged the Licton Springs community, though the Licton Springs staff and parents who gave public testimony at last week's School Board meeting were advocating for more space for the program at RESMS.

Hoping to learn more at the community meeting Thursday evening.

-North-end Mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

Now Charlie, they did revamp the CSIPs so they would be clearer. I would like to see how different principals fill them in. But yes, promises, promises.

I did list the Cedar Park meeting in the line-up of meetings this week.

I was sent the letter but have not yet read it. Crystal-ball gazing is not my strong point with this district but know this:

1) staff knows what they want to do so they need to shape the narrative AND the parents' voice to that end.
2) the state pays for HCC transportation so that's not costing the district
3) A lot will be happening over the next six weeks so it's vital to pay attention.

Charlie Mas said...

I've reviewed the new CSIP form and some of the responses. There's nothing wrong with the form, but the district is still accepting a lot of optimism, magic pixie dust, differentiated instruction, and other fantasies as a response.

Anonymous said...

Having a principal in place and having the option school idea grow positively and organically from the community are both excellent steps I would call planning. Though obviously I am posting because I feel like more should be done. Now. And I cannot imagine signing up for an option school without a focus already picked.

I really hope staff doesn't think they are going to move LS there. It shouldn't happen, and there is no way the board would let it. They would just be wasted energy. I thought the community had advocated for an advanced learning or STEM focus school. Will also be curious to hear about the community meeting.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

The (planning) principal for Cedar Park has been in place since sometime last spring, when it was planned to open as an attendance area school. She has not engaged the community in discussions of option school programming, at least not that I am aware of.

The community meeting scheduled for this Thursday (a month after the School Board approved placing an option school at Cedar Park) will be the first SPS-sponsored opportunity for the community give input regarding option school programming. Prior to the Board vote, the Olympic Hills PTA did an informal survey of their community regarding option school programming, but there has been no SPS-sponsored survey that I am aware of. In theory, the Cedar Park option school transportation zone would include the entire JAMS attendance area (Olympic Hills, John Rogers, Sacajawea, and portions of Olympic View), so I would assume there would be community engagement targeted at all these school communities as well as families of preschool children.

-North-end Mom

Cascadia Parent said...

RE Cascadia Split and Teacher's Letter

One comment I heard directly from a Cascadia teacher two weeks back when I asked where they thought they would end up is that any split would have the most senior teachers getting first choice, and that most senior teachers would prefer to go to Cascadia because of: (a) established principal; (b) established PTA; (c) established programs such as instrumental music; and (d) new building.

Clearly the ideal situation for the senior teachers and building staff is a split and no portables.

This is not to say that the teachers and staff that signed the letter don't honestly believe a split is in the best interests of the students. But many of those that signed the letter likely have an undislosed conflict of interest.

North said...

Did anyone catch the disconnect at the director meeting Saturday where a group of Cascadia teachers were advocating for a geo-split?

On one hand, they talked about the fact that many of the HCC kids are struggling now. Essentially, the program has grown to be so huge that it now includes many kids that would have been better served in a Spectrum program. This is no surprise, I've spoken with many parents who would have preferred Spectrum. But Spectrum has been dismantled and there is no support for kids who need more than a typical neighborhood school, but don't need HCC services. As a result, these families feel compelled to push their kids into HCC, and it turns out to not be a great fit for many of the kids. I'm glad the teachers are finally daylighting this problem, because it has been growing over the past few years, but it sounds like it has gotten to the point where it can no longer be ignored or downplayed.

With that in mind, the disconnect is that they are pushing for a geo-split, which does absolutely nothing to fix the problem! In fact, a geo-split exacerbates it because the same problems would then exist at 2 separate sites, both of which will have less flexibility with classroom assignments, less ability to maintain similar structure at both buildings, etc.

Someone at the meeting suggested that Decatur could become a NE Spectrum school, which would encourage many families (through a magnet/pull mechanism, rather than forced geo-split, like Ingraham IBx did) to stay in the NE, and would also allow a more reasonable fallback for students who are currently struggling in HCC.

This seems like a win-win to me. What do other north-end HCC parents think?

Anonymous said...

@North-it's a good idea, maybe for CP...but the reality is Cascadia needs relief now. I don't think sifting through the 754 students at Cascadia and picking 240-280 who should instead be in a spectrum program is a realistic solution.

Fix AL

North said...

It wouldn't need to be the full amount immediately, though from listening to the teachers, there are a lot of students who would be much better served in a (supported) Spectrum program. It might be a bit of a chicken/egg scenario, but I don't think it would take a lot of convincing for many parents -- if there was a decent cohort destined for Decatur. I can't begin to count the number of parents I've spoken with that really wanted a local Spectrum program for the child, but in lieu of that, they opted for HCC.

The thing is, while this might not be a perfect solution immediately, it's a MUCH better solution than the geo-split that's likely to happen if nothing better materializes. A geo-split has bad consequences that will last for many years, and will continue to dissolve HCC until there's nothing left.

I really like this idea.

Anonymous said...

Having the academic program people the enrollment people and the facilities people on the same page at the same time at this late date to put a self-contained Spectrum program at Decataur in time for open enrollment and that is before parents get involved?I've got some prime real estate on the waterfront to sell you if you're up for a dream. Not going to happen.

North of 85th

Anonymous said...

Gen ed classroom teachers at "neighborhood" schools are expected to meet the needs of kids performing at grade level, below grade level, and above grade level; in a classroom that may include ELL kids, kids living in poverty, as well as SpEd kids with inclusion-based services (i.e. ACCESS).

Providing differentiated instruction to advanced learners within Cascadia/HCC (low-poverty, few ELL students, etc...) seems like a cake walk in comparison.

I can understand how a school of 750+ students is a lot to manage, but please don't use the difficulties associated with differentiated instruction as a reason for splitting Cascadia.

-reality check

Anonymous said...

@reality check--the teachers said these kids are stressed. I think "North" was just responding with a suggestion of how to meet the needs of these students. Cascadia does differentiate, but there is an expectation that the kids jump ahead 2 years in math. It's not difficult to transition if the kiddo comes from a spectrum program, but if the student enters 3rd grade at Cascadia from an ALO grade-level gen-ed school, some of these kids struggle at first to make the leap from 2nd grade math to 5th grade math.

The teachers know what's going on. Do the parents? Do they blame the anxiety on the size of the school or the giftedness, rather than the true source--wrong placement.

Fix AL

Anonymous said...

Clearly the ideal situation for the senior teachers and building staff is a split and no portables.

This is not to say that the teachers and staff that signed the letter don't honestly believe a split is in the best interests of the students. But many of those that signed the letter likely have an undislosed conflict of interest.


I agree with Cascadia Parent. I am surprised that NE families are being lulled into giving up access to the larger cohort and program. The program is going to die under its own weight with a NE location. Parents who benefit logistically now approve the split, but long-term there must be a solution to address the issue North brings up, the failings of the neighborhood schools that are putting a strain on HCC. Putting a tiny cohort in the NE makes no sense through that lens.

Charlie Mas said...

The Advanced Learning Project is horribly misguided. No one asked the district to do this.

The Board has directed the staff to conduct an evaluation of advanced learning programs. This is the same evaluation that the staff is supposed to do every year (per Policy 2090) but have never done.

Instead of a program evaluation - which would require nothing more than quick interviews at the schools and some easy analysis of readily available data - the staff are avoiding that work (that they are required to do by policy) by promising to do some sort of program re-design instead, a "multi-year analysis and continuous improvement process for students and families". They can do that in addition to the program evaluation, but they shouldn't do it instead of the program evaluation.

This boondoggle begins with six months of pretend prep work. It's pretend prep work because no prep is needed.

They're going to interview and survey school leaders, staff, students, and their families, but they don't say what they are going to interview them about. They are going to select a few schools for observations/interviews of Spectrum-eligible students. Wrong. They should observe and conduct interviews at all of them. Why will it take them six months to select the schools for deeper interviews? And, again, I have to ask, what are they working to learn in these interviews? How are these interviews different from the interviews they are doing more broadly? They say that they will "Actively engage community and provide project updates at each meeting" but what meetings will they be having? What updates could they provide?

They say that they will create a protocol for classroom observations. Don't they already have one? Seriously, if they don't, then what are they observing now? Are they not observing any classrooms now? Why will it take six months to create a protocol?

They say that they need six months to begin to compile growth and achievement data for
Spectrum-eligible students and construct surveys for data collection. Really? Why aren't they already doing this? Are we to understand that they don't have any data on Spectrum-eligible students? They couldn't generate any meaningful data in that time so they must already have it. So why would it take six months to write a query?

They want to conduct research how other school districts address equity issues in advanced learning and on the experiences of high growth students of color in Seattle schools. I can see how that might take three months. They also want to provide training to the Advanced Learning team on the Equity Tool. Really? Again, they haven't already done this? Also, is that a six month project?

They want to tell the MTSS Advisory and Teaching & Learning Teams that they will be working on this project. That email should take about fifteen minutes to write. And they want to add trainings for advanced learners in the District Professional Development plan. I love seeing this because it's an acknowledgement that training for advanced learners is not already part of the district's professional development plan despite claims going back years that it is. Charming.

Anonymous said...

Wrong placement? Sounds more like a problem with program rigidity and an inability to adapt and differentiate appropriately for all kids who qualify for HCC, regardless of their backgrounds.

I would support stricter entrance requirements, which would likely decrease HCC enrollment gradually over time, but excluding kids who tested in, but who may need extra support, both academically and socio-emotionally, to catch up with the accelerated learning model is very discriminatory, IMO.

-reality check

Charlie Mas said...

Phase II of the Advanced Learning Plan That No One Ever Asked For will last only the three months of the summer. In that time the team will review and analyze interview and survey input from school leaders, staff, students, and their families and summarize interview and survey input and begin to connect to other research findings. They will, of course, continue to engage with community and provide project updates. I'm not sure how they will do this over the summer, but I doubt that they really intend to do it anyway so it doesn't matter.

I love this action item: "Conduct observations and interviews of the Spectrum program". First, observations are going to be hard to do over the summer. Second, when they say that they are going to interview the Spectrum program, who will providing the answers? Who is "The Spectrum Program"? They will also research Advanced Learner plans as posted in CSIPs. Umm... shouldn't that be something that they do BEFORE the CSIPs are written or, at least, immediately after the CSIPs are posted to confirm that they are valid? Also during the summer they will "research and identify Tier 1 and Tier 2 instructional strategy options linked to proposed structures of services." I had to put that in quotes because no real person talks like that. What does it mean? It means that for all of this school year, all of the schools that say that they will be providing a Tier 2 curriculum for advanced learners through MTSS are lying because the instructional strategies - which the District has had five years to develop - don't exist yet. That's the bad news. The good news is that they can develop them for every discipline and grade over three months in the summer. The same people who need six months to write a database query can design alternative instruction for Spectrum students in half that time.

Also during the summer they will finish compiling spectrum and spectrum-eligible growth and achievement data. I guess that query that takes six months to write takes three months to run.

Here's the one thing that they will do that will be worthwhile: "Analyze and align data for high-growth students to specific instructional practices and supports". This part, by itself, would serve as the required annual program evaluation. This is all anyone ever asked them to do. And apparently they can do it relatively quickly. So why don't they?

kellie said...

@ TC, Yes, I read the teacher's letter and I disagree with the vast majority of it, because it was so disconnected from the reality that so many of the nearby schools face.

Now that the district has released a little bit of the "plan," I think the idea of a split is even worse. The new site at Decatur would not even be able to serve 50% of the students that live closest to Decatur. I strongly suspect that many of the parents who think this is a great idea, to be close to home, will be shocked to find out that they are not attending.

Wedgwood would be bussed to Cascadia under the plan. I truly believe this plan is the equivalent of pouring kerosene on a fire.

Anonymous said...

They have taught at those schools. They know what it is like. They still think this is worse. And they will leave if they continue to have to work under these conditions. I have had kids at two of the "overcrowded" schools mentioned within the last two years, and this is worse.

SPParent

Anonymous said...

where are they going to build a school for NE HCC students? They're not. Go hang out in the bus waiting corrale after school at Cascadia for three minutes, then come back and write your opinion on this blog. I dare you to spend a minute in that environment and come back here and write that Cascadia should stay together.

What is it?! Fear of HCC growing into TC? Okay-make it an option school and cap enrollment! Done and done. This is a necessary change.

Where else?

Anonymous said...

@kellie-your analogy of pouring carosine on a fire makes me think you would rather pour water on the fire. Would you prefer to build barriers to advanced learning or increase access? Would you rather make learning environments accessible or uncomfortable? Are you recommending HCC is difficult to access above and beyond the already convoluted testing and identification process? What is this about? If the fire grows, do you think it will burn down the house or fuel growth?

Intentions

kellie said...

As with all things capacity related, people have very intense opinions and everyone is entitled to their opinion. Democracy at its best. My opinion is based on looking at system wide capacity and I stand by it.

I have also said for years now, that Lincoln has the worst conditions for an elementary school and I stand by that statement as well. The students at Lincoln have been treated terribly for years now, so it is not at all surprising that the teachers feel this way.

Tour de Seattle said...

Not sure how people think HCC is going to be "die under it's own weight"--that makes no sense. There's a set of standards. Kids meet standards. Kids qualify for HC services. Boom, boom, boom. On an elementary level these services are currently provided at Fairmount Park, TM, and Cascadia. I don't see how offering the HC program at 4 schools instead of the current 3 schools is going to shake the foundations of the world.

Decatur will cut down on the horrendous bus rides a lot of kids going to Cascadia currently endure. A lot more kids will be able to walk or bike to school (since having 2 north end schools will increase the chances that one is closer to where a given kid lives). Decatur will be smaller and friendlier with more of a parent community (which is pretty hard to come by at Cascadia due to the busing and everyone coming from such disparate neighborhoods). Decatur will probably have fewer after school class offerings due to it's size, but it'll have plenty because the demographics around the school are rich, rich, rich so families will be able to afford classes and classes will be offered. I bet some of the teachers will choose to teach there. Imagine if they hire Doc LaRock to be the principal. But kids can take classes at other public schools and community centers and music schools and, etc. So, even if the classes you want aren't offered at Decatur kids could still access them at other locations.

When the teachers said the kids are stressed, my read on that was that some of the kids have anxiety issues. Maybe a few of them because math is hard (?!) but I doubt very many of them. These kids learn fast, fast, fast. So they'll be up to speed in no time. Many of them will still have anxiety issues, though, because that's a thing with this population of kids. See:
http://crushingtallpoppies.com/2015/04/01/anxiety-in-gifted-children-3-simple-steps-parents-and-educators-can-take/
http://www.davidsongifted.org/Search-Database/entry/A10750
http://sengifted.org/the-impact-of-giftedness-on-psychological-well-being/

That's part of why they need a cohort and a suitable curriculum and a counselor and really anything to stop them from drooling and banging their heads on the desks in boredom like they were doing in gen ed.

Actually since many gifted kids have gifted parents and gifted people often have anxiety issues, the school district could be dealing with this whole HCC split in a more humane way. Like by not making these poor kids change schools so many times (and I'm just talking about elementary school here--some of the most anxious kids who suck at transitions are going to a neighborhood school then sometimes a Spectrum school, then Cascadia and now a split possibly to Decatur. That's sending some of the most anxiety prone kids to 3 or 4 elementary schools in an attempt to get an appropriate education, Seattle. That is soooooo wrong.)

Kids should be able to get an appropriate education without switching elementary schools 3 or 4 times. Get it together, Seattle.

Write to the board and tell them what you want. As for me, I'm hoping my HCC kid will have room to sit down with both butt cheeks on the bench when eating lunch at whichever (Cascadia or Decatur or ???) HCC school the kid gets sent to next year. Tour de Seattle, that's what elementary school is like for HCC kids in this city.

Anonymous said...

Tour de Seattle, we decided not to put our HCC kids through it all and kept her in the neighborhood. She did well and is on solid ground in 9th grade.

No Regrets

Anonymous said...

@no regrets--thanks for the note...I've been thinking about ramifications of heading back to the neighborhood and rounding things out with the good old math in focus books.

Rat race

NE Parent said...

Personally as a parent of 2 at Cascadia, my biggest issue is that the school size and geographic size makes it hard to feel a sense of community. To compound the issue, the kids are (and will continue to be) split for middle school.

Therefore, if given the choice, and if our kids were just starting out, I would place them at Decatur, because: a) there is a small geographic community; (b) all the kids will funnel into the same middle school.

I think all of the other differences between Decatur and Cascadia are really a wash. The key is that Decatur needs its own dedicated principal. That, and given the parent community, I have a hard time seeing how Decatur won't succeed over time.

Sure, it would be great if schools like Wedgwood could feed in, but if there is no room, that still doesn't mean it shouldn't go ahead.

From my standpoint, a geo-split is really a no-brainer.

Tour de Seattle said...

@no regrets—I wish my kid could have just dealt a the neighborhood school. But sadly... no. We tried. My kid was the one banging head on desk and drooling. So bored, so bored... out of kid's mind with boredom. Every day at pick up, kid was so frustrated, so intellectually pent up. It was an epic disaster. Every single darn day. It was a nightmare. It was HCC or homeschool just so we could pick up the darn pace. Kid never could make any friends at the local school either. The other kids were lovely but... it's like they didn't speak the same language, didn't enjoy the same games, didn't consume the same media or books, didn't jive. Kid is thriving at HCC. So many friends. Has no room to sit down in the lunchroom, no room to run around at Lincoln's busting-at-the-seems recess, spends hours everyday on the bus getting there and back. But the kid has friends. Kid is learning. Kid comes home fulfilled and happy and not frustrated. Worth all the inconveniences not to have such a miserable kid.

Anonymous said...

folks i have said it a million times go south my friends. lowell is under enrolled. people who need to get on a bus now would just need to ride from qa, magnolia, wallyworld and laurelhurst ( i would throw in montlake and add walk zone cap hill families) and send them to lowell. it is a matter of a few miles either way. cap hill is a huge heatzone so that would save on bussing too. and then the northerns go to cascadia. for good measure do a fp style option at decatur. it adds up.


and of course i am with cm. reviews regarding efficiency should be ongoing. and imho regarding equity the only way equivalent numbers of aa and hispanic kids are in the hcc program is when sps figures out a way to solve the abject poverty of over 1/4 of these households. sps numbers show high frl and ell populations in those racial demographics and to do this they would have to no longer have those barriers.

-nc

Anonymous said...

Thank you, nc. People should hear more about the good things going on at Lowell. The only problem is traffic--the Mercer mess is too much of a barrier for families, buses, to get over to Lowell from Queen Anne, Magnolia, and Montlake is equally tough.

rat race

Anonymous said...

Lowell? It isn't an HCC site, is it?

ParentingHC

Lynn said...

No. It's not an HCC site and there's no room there for HCC students.

Anonymous said...

last i heard there was room for 200+ kids with large facilities. getting up to 90th is going to be a stretch from qa, mag and wallyworld as well. then there are the kids currently having to bus all the way to tm from montlake and all those cap hill kids can walk. it makes sense.

nc

Anonymous said...

also, my kids are in secondary so...


nc

Anonymous said...

How does it make sense for parents to send their HC students to Lowell if they don't have an HCC program? QA, Mag and Wallingford families have closer option if they're looking for GE schools--their neighborhood assignment schools.

Or are you suggesting HCC moves back to Lowell? I don't see that happening anytime soon.

ParentingHC

Anonymous said...

of course! sorry they are talking about hcc at cascadia and where???? some say decatur i say lowell. it adds up folks. it would be roughly the same time on the bus and there really isn't enough room at decatur for those that don't fit into cascadia. i would do an option hcc there. lowell is a huge school with a great field. large lunch room. it should be seriously considered.

-nc

AB said...

Transporting kids from north of the cut to Lowell only makes sense if the kids go to school at night so they'll be commuting against traffic. It takes my kid an hour to bus the 5 miles southish to Lincoln. It seems obvious to me that Seattle is eventually going to need HCC elementary schools in every quadrant of the city. Those elementary school kids are going to need middle school and high school space, too. I guess the district could be thinking about capacity management with the future in mind if they weren't so busy doing whatever they're doing.

Decatrix said...

There ***IS*** room at Decatur. Not infinite room, but between Decatur and the new Cascadia, there's more than enough room.

Anonymous said...

An expanded Thornton Creek is supposed to take enrollment pressure off Bryant/Wedgwood et al. A NE HCC location would attract too many kids... Is there really pent up demand for Thornton Creek? Is there more demand for HCC? Why not allow HCC to share the Thornton Creek building? I know it's not what Thornton Creek parents want, but it might better suit the needs of the neighborhood. And demographically the two schools should be pretty similar, right?

NE Mom

Anonymous said...

NE Mom: Don't go there. Really. Don't go there. Unless you want to make HCC even more of a target of hate than it already is. Thornton Creek is a beloved program with a beloved principal and tight community. Having HCC arrive on campus will be rocky enough as it is. Add a suggestion to grab part of Thornton Creek's building and watch a slow smolder turn into a raging wildfire which can only hurt HCC students. I do not think the HCC community should be advocating to take anyone's building beyond strong insistence that it get the part of Cascadia which it was promised. Let downtown handle the heat for anything else. They're the ones who keep getting wrong - not HCC students, parents, staff.

Seen It

Anonymous said...

Thornton Creek has taken over 90 kindergartners for the last 2 years, and always has a wait list...so I would say there is demand for the program.

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

@NE Mom-you're obviously not involved with either of our communities, so it's best to stay out of it.

Respectful HCC

Melissa Westbrook said...

Respectful, you may not have read what I say over and over - what happens to one program or one region, will indeed ripple out. And, as parents, you are all in this together. So NE Mom only said what factual info she knew and then asked questions. That's okay with me.

Sorry but HCC is not its own little community because it's part of a school district.

Anonymous said...

Melissa--that's not at all what I meant. Thornton Creek has made it abundantly clear they don't want those HCC kids or their families encroaching into their space. They have gone so far as to challenge our values. We just need space and we want to be good neighbors, so much so that people are advocating for an option school to control our size so we don't risk running into TC's space. We really, really want to land quietly and respectfully in a space that will work since Cascadia is too big.

For someone who doesn't know this history to post a comment right now about HCC sharing the building is just bad timing and not helpful. Clearly that person doesn't know our communities, or perhaps they're stirring the pot. Either way, we don't need TC's space and we don't want to upset anyone. That's all.

Respectful HCC

Anonymous said...

Best to stay out of it? I'm a parent with a very advanced preschooler. We are zoned for Wedgwood. We are in the Thorton Creek geozone. I want my children to have public educational opportunities in the NE. When I look at the heat maps I feel strongly that NE HCC kids deserve NE classrooms. Even if they have to share with Thorton Creek. You don't have to agree with me, but don't assume I don't have anything at stake.

NE Mom

Anonymous said...

Okay, NE Mom--there will be plenty of room between Decatur and Cascadia and if you pound your drum loud enough, you will unknowingly be advocating for NE HCC to be tossed up to Cedar Park or Olympic Hills. Do you want that?

Respectful to TC

Anonymous said...

@NE Mom

There has never been an HCC site for every region. Do you know the history of elementary APP/HCC? The program used to be at Lowell, then split into Thurgood Marshall (south) and Lincoln (north). Lincoln (aka Cascadia) serves all of North Seattle and Queen Anne Magnolia. There is now an optional pathway for West Seattle at Fairmount Park.

Decatur is empty and available. That's pretty much the only logic for placing HCC there, though it does align with the HCC heat map, which is very saturated in the southern portions of NE Seattle.

Thornton Creek just moved into their new BEX IV-funded building, and is growing into it as a four classroom per grade level configuration. They already have somewhere around 450-500 kiddos in the building. It will be full in a few years, as they are taking in more kindergartners than they did when they were housed in the smaller Decatur building.

Same goes for Olympic Hills. They added a 4th kindergarten this year, and there is a significant amount of new high-density housing going up in the Olympic Hills attendance area. Olympic Hills grew by about 60 kids this year, and that trend will likely continue.

The programming for Cedar Park has yet to be determined. Despite its shortfalls (i.e lack of a library and 8 modular classrooms on permanent foundations), Cedar Park has a larger capacity than Decatur. If SPS decides to use it for HCC, then I'm guessing HCC kids from the JAMS and at least part of the Eckstein attendance areas would be assigned there.

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Northend Mom. You covered everything very well, except for the part about Cedar Park being excited to create their own option school and stating at meetings that they don't want the HCC kids coming to their building.

Respectful HCC

Anonymous said...

@ Respectful HCC

There are many different ideas and opinions floating around regarding the potential programming at Cedar Park. I personally know HCC families in NNE Seattle who would much rather have their children be served closer to their home. The bus ride to Cascadia from the Lake City area is very long.

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

I have been listening and I am pretty sure Cedar Park generally does not want HCC. As far as I've been able to tell being in the area no local families in the geozone have advocated for it and a number have said they adamantly do not want HCC at CP as would lead to further segregated schools. I have only heard one person (who I otherwise respect) advocate for that idea (a person not in the geozone who does not have elementary kids). Most people I have heard at meetings and in other ways talk about this issue are very concerned not to create a situation where a neighborhood school has a high percentage of kids of color yet a few blocks away sits a school part of an HCC program that had over 3000 found eligible last year yet less than 40 of those being African American kids. That kind of program would have very different demographics than I think many local to the diverse neighborhood nearby would like to see.

The Decatur school sits in the exact middle of the HCC heat map. It is better for HCC, since it will not increase inequities in the neighborhood but instead will give the Bryant and View Ridge area families an option close to home. Also capacity-wise if HCC were at CP it would not ease much local neighborhood school overcrowding. With so many housing starts in the Olympic Hills and Cedar Park area CP may be an important part of addressing those issues. If it's serving Bryant families that have to drive several miles to get there, Cedar Park can't offset local capacity. There are lots of considerations. Anyway, if you live in the area whether you want HCC at Cedar Park or not, I think you would be welcomed at the planning meeting 12/15.


Nearby

Charlie Mas said...

Funny, isn't it?

It is totally inappropriate and horrible for anyone to say "I don't want those kids at my school." You don't get to say that about FRL kids, students with disabilities, ELL students, or students of any race or faith. With one singular exception.

Apparently people don't hesitate and are not ashamed to say "I don't want those kids at my school." when the kids are Highly Capable.

I don't have anything more to say about this except to note this as a fact. People who would never say that about any other population say it about HC kids without compunction. And the response from other people - including the District, is to respond as if this were perfectly normal and okay when they would zealously oppose that statement about any other population.

Is HCC so toxic?

seattle citizen said...

Charlie, I think you're right and my only suggestion as to why this is is that HCC is perceived as being advantaged and F/RL, Special Ed and ELL are perceived to be at a disadvantage.

Not saying this is the case, but in the general view by most people this is probably their initial, knee-jerk reaction.

It is pretty hard to argue that F/RL, SpEd, ELL students AREN'T disadvantaged, but it is equally difficult to argue that HCC students aren't advantaged. While many would argue that the student's HCC status is a product of genes or natural proclivity or some sort of inherent ability, the more prevalent view is likely that the HCC student's status is a product of a more engaged, more enriched home environment, along with other factors such as disposition and opportunity. Furthermore, the three disadvantaged groups are perceived as likely having to fight for every scrap in life, while the HCC students are likely seen as coming from wealthier, whiter families that cushion them against such onerous existential pressures.

Again, I am not taking a position on this, only stating what I see is the problem in terms of perceptions. You seem shocked that people would treat F/RL, SpEd, ELL students one way and HCC another, but there are obvious perceptions that would lead to that dichotomy.

I agree that in one way these groups all share a certain "outcast" status, and thus might be seen as similar, but in terms of how they are viewed by others, the different perspectives are telling. HCC parents and guardians might do well to be aware of these perceptions and change them. The racial equity piece would be a good place to start: HCC might DEMAND that the cohort become more diverse. Use the united voice to MAKE it so.

Anonymous said...

This plan is going to clearly work, not. The folks pushing for it, know that it is not enough space for even the immediate area so it took seconds for someone in the walk zone who wont be able to go to suggest taking space inside thornton creek.

Did anyone ask the TC teachers to write a letter? Since they has many more sped students than lincoln.

Folks wonder why people dislike hcc. Many schools are severely overcrowded. But only hcc insists that a brand new building is not good enough and insists that a 1,000 kid campus is the only solution. The campus is not infinite and you think busses are a problem now, try sharing with another school.

- wedgewood neighbor

Anonymous said...

How come people who claim to be from Wedgwood don't know how to spell it?

HP

Anonymous said...

HCC has a reputation of being an inequitable program and being championed by toxic attitude parents. It is viewed this way by the downtown staff, by most school staffs, and by families outside the program. It is no wonder that no school wants to partner with it if it can be avoided. This is nothing new. From what I can see it's been the rep of the program for a decade. It's a self-fulfilling rep as those of us families whose kids need this service but are still actively working for more diversity in the program, and those staff who genuinely enjoy and understand this cohort, tend to stay under the radar, not wanting to deal with the judgments of neighbors, friends, colleagues. No one is working on a p.r. campaign for HCC, so I don't see how or when this will change. But I agree that demanding services close to home if that entails taking space within the existing building of an oversubscribed program will do more harm than good to the program.

We will be long gone by the time HCC morphs into whatever comes next but my prediction is that it will eventually melt away and just become services offered within each building. We are out of space for placement of the growing program after this next north end split. I cannot imagine ever getting money for building a dedicated new building or two even thought it is typical especially at the high school level in most major cities to have selective entrance schools for HCC kids. It's unfortunate that in many ways Seattle is as backward with its most intellectual students as it is with its most disability-impacted.

The other reason I think the program has nowhere to go but down publicly in the few years we have left in Seattle schools is the lack of funding. If we are being asked to cut more and most people want that to happen downtown, which do you think is the department likely to get agreement to be defunded? To go back to my first sentence, it seems easy for most to agree that HCC is a low, perhaps lowest, priority of all the programs within Seattle schools. We'll get what the state gives us and that's about it.

"Wednesday sad"

Anonymous said...

@ seattle citizen, can you please clarify how exactly HCC parents should, as you suggest, DEMAND that the cohort become more diverse, since, as you say, "a student's HCC status might be a product of genes or natural proclivity or some sort of inherent ability," or "the product of a more engaged, more enriched home environment, along with other factors such as disposition and opportunity"?

I'm going to assume you don't want them to demand some type of selective breeding program, so should we demand that parents of students from underrepresented groups provide more engaged and enriched home environments and other opportunities instead? Say that those parents need to do a better job?

Or, are you suggesting we advocate for the district to lower the eligibility criteria for certain groups and/or increase recruitment/screening in underserved groups? As far as I know, the AL office has already done both to some extent. They consider factors such as ELL and FRL in making their decisions, presumably relaxing the cut-off points a bit to let more of these students in. I suppose we could advocate for quotas and simply taking the top 2% from each subgroup, whether or not those students are ready for HCC. Would that be more fair in your mind?

Neither the district, not HCC parents, can find HC students who aren't there. If all those factors you mentioned above impact cognitive development in children (and thus, HC status), it's plausible that HC students are just not out there--currently--in equal percentages. Such disparities are not fixed and can likely be reduced/eliminated over time, but only with efforts directed toward early child development, quality educational programming, wraparound services, etc. You don't make more HC students simply by labelling them so.

reality bites

Anonymous said...

Regarding the possibility of HCC at Cedar Park...

The primary concern for most of us who advocated strongly for Cedar Park to be designated an option school rather than an attendance area school was that Cedar Park, as an attendance area school, would become a high-poverty school. Every "viable" boundary for Cedar Park presented by the District (with size being the only indicator of viability) had low income neighborhoods from both sides of Lake City Way at Cedar Park. Also, the boundary changes triggered by splitting John Rogers and Olympic Hills to open Cedar Park as an attendance area school would have caused the geo-split of over 800 students across the north-end, impacting several Title 1 schools, and would have resulted in the segregation of low-income students and students of color primarily at Olympic Hills and Cedar Park, with a loss of diversity at surrounding schools.

Due to the Board's thoughtful decision to not draw boundaries around Cedar Park, kids from high-poverty areas east of Lake City Way will continue to be assigned to John Rogers, those living west of Lake City Way will continue at Olympic Hills, and the cascade of geo-splits across the north-end was avoided.

My personal preference for what goes into Cedar Park would be something that will not adversely-impact the neighborhood schools in the area, while, at the same time, filling a void or a need. For example, it will be tricky to find an option school program that will not suck out the spectrum-level advanced learners and their usually involved and sometimes more affluent families from our neighborhood schools. This could leave small, isolated pockets of advanced learners behind in the neighborhood schools, whose needs would be difficult to meet.

JAMS has a strong HCC component, yet the JAMS attendance area is under-represented. Due to the long bus rides and lack of neighborhood buy-in, neighborhood families may not have their students tested for HCC, or they may test them in relatively late, hoping for HCC placement at JAMS. In my opinion, increasing access to HCC for kids living in the Lake City area would be a good thing, and may actually help diversify the program.

HCC at Cedar Park would probably not help as much with local capacity needs as something more accessible to the general population, but it would serve neighborhood kids who qualify for the program.

Of course, forcing families to attend a school that they don't want to be at is not as desirable as opening a new school that families are excited to attend. This was my concern with the proposal to place Licton Springs at Cedar Park, and I'm sure there would be many families opposed to HCC at Cedar Park, as well.

At this point, we haven't heard much from SPS regarding what types of programming would be feasible at Cedar Park. Hopefully we will learn more at tomorrow's community meeting.

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

If you haven't read the letter, it is hard to summarize just how self centered the argument is.

The Cascadia teachers want to solve their over crowding problems, by shifting the problem to another school. Their solution to a "too big" school creates a 1,000 student mega school at a campus that was not designed to support two programs.

Wedgwood neighbor

Steve B said...

@Wedgwood neighbor

What the heck are you talking about? Thornton Creek and Decatur are TWO COMPLETELY SEPARATE schools. They happen to be located next door to each other, but they are completely separate entities. Just as the new Robert Eaglestaff Middle School and the new Cascadia Elementary are two distinct, separate schools that happen to be located next to each other. These are not mega schools. These are schools next door to other schools.

The current Cascadia Elementary program at 754 or however many kids is currently an actual mega school. It is hands down the largest elementary school in the entire school district. After it splits, it will no longer be the largest. The new Cascadia Elem. will be a normal largish elementary school (like many others, including Thornton Creek). And the smaller Decatur school will be a small elementary school, like many of the school district's smallest elementary schools (Sacajawea, etc.).

There is no mega school. You're hallucinating.

RB said...

Charlie is right. HCC kids get scorned and maligned a lot. Many people are very open about not wanting them. In a way that would be completely unacceptable for most any other group. I think in part this comes from a mistaken belief that HC kids are rich. If you want to scorn rich kids, you need to look beyond the public schools. Seattle sends a massive percentage of children to private school compared to pretty much any other city in this country. It's actually insane. And while there are some rich kids in every school, there are certainly a LOT of rich kids clustered in certain schools (North Bucks? View Rich? Vast Woodlands? Thornton Cash?). If you want to pick on rich kids, there are plenty of them out there. Stop scapegoating HC kids. Kids actually don't pick how rich their parents are, what race they are, the kind of parenting they get before kindergarten, the neighborhood they live in, whatever the genetic component of their intelligence is, etc. Kids are ALL kids. They ALL need educating.

There is a mistaken belief that HC kids will thrive no matter what, but did you see "This is Life with Lisa Ling: The Genius Experiment" ? She followed families who had had kids with "genius" sperm donations and was kind of freaked out to find a bunch of pretty normal people, some of them unemployed, etc. Watching the show you got the sense that it kind of freaked her out how if they were so smart why weren't they accomplishing more in life. HC status doesn't make you Einstein. It doesn't mean you will grow up to be an eminent anything.

It makes you vulnerable to dropping out and getting addicted to drugs and having existential angst about stuff. It makes you really hard to educate in a gen ed classroom. Folks need to stop picking on kids for who they are. They don't pick any of their demographics. It is abhorrent to mock and belittle children and spurn them. All kids should be welcome in public school. Period.

seattle citizen said...

reality bites, I'm just calling it as I see it. I have no more substantive suggestions than you do, but merely believe that if the HCC community wants to combat a perception of elitism, that it do so pro-actively. How? I don't know.
When I wrote that, I had in the back of my head the identification piece (how can we ensure that ALL students capable of advanced work are identified and supported in choosing HCC?) but you point out some larger, societal aspects that are certainly relevant.

If we can't provide early learning and deep enrichment to ALL youngsters before school starts, are we justified in offering advanced programs to the special few who had such enrichment? I suppose so; it's in the best interests of the students, but it DOES thereby APPEAR like those with the wherewithal to offer enrichment therefore get their own cohort.

Getting their own cohort, though, as many point out, isn't really a special bonus wonderful thing; it's not like HCC is getting gold-plated seat belts on their school chairs. In fact, it's not all it COULD be, as it appears that advanced curriculum is not really mandated by the district and things could be all over the map in that respect...

So, two things HCC might do: advocate...strongly...for identification and support of EVERY capable student; and promulgation of the fact that HCC isn't really all that "special," it's merely a group of students who are capable of working at a higher level.

No, wait, THREE things (I feel like Steve Martin): Convince us all that ONE test at age seven serves to provide a viable rationale for acceleration or advanced curriculum in ALL subjects - on a personal level, I believe that Gardner is correct and EVERY child has aptitudes in some things while struggles in others - given multiple intelligences, I believe that a students might be a "genius" in some math skills while be quite klutzy with language. Yet we are asked to believe that one test provides rationale, K-12, for believing that the whole student is above level in basically everything. Personally, I find this dismissive of the myriad abilities I believe to be present in EVERY student. So #3 is to convince us that that one test supports the idea that some students should be treated differently that all the others and merit a cohort, etc.

This might be the case and it might not. I'm just stating my perceptions and those, most likely, of others as well. If HCC wants to advocate for itself, I might suggest it would do well to argue these points in a simple, straightforward way in order to be persuasive. I understand you have the law behind you and can make a legal argument, but it's hearts and minds you need to win, so you have allies in asking for what you need.

Anonymous said...

"My personal preference for what goes into Cedar Park would be something that will not adversely-impact the neighborhood schools in the area, while, at the same time, filling a void or a need. For example, it will be tricky to find an option school program that will not suck out the spectrum-level advanced learners and their usually involved and sometimes more affluent families from our neighborhood schools. This could leave small, isolated pockets of advanced learners behind in the neighborhood schools, whose needs would be difficult to meet."

Its not tricky, its impossible. You can have a neighborhood school and serve everyone where they happen to live or an option school and have people move around and then end up with distributions that are not the same as what you started with. You can't have both at the same time. To start with the baseline demographics of the area don't change whether or not an option exists. The pockets of poverty still exist. We know from experience in the district these families are the least likely to take advantage of option schools. I'm not even sure if that's a good or bad thing. We also know that Olympic Hills will continue to be a high FRL school and the justification for that is the facilities are there to provide extra help. Those pockets of advanced learners that you worrying about are very likely to move towards one site if it seems advantageous and perhaps the same goes for middle class families in the surrounding area. This is the scenario the community has set in motion.

-Dominos











Anonymous said...

Folks-the person who posted a "demand" for space knew what she was doing and it was a calculated attempt to keep the NE HCC kids from moving into her neighborhood and having space they dearly need. Those saying a new building with capacity for 580-660 should take 750+ students when it opens have questionable intentions that don't benefit children. Shame on you.

Fix AL

Melissa Westbrook said...

"For example, it will be tricky to find an option school program that will not suck out the spectrum-level advanced learners and their usually involved and sometimes more affluent families from our neighborhood schools. This could leave small, isolated pockets of advanced learners behind in the neighborhood schools, whose needs would be difficult to meet."

Ah, all in a nutshell.

- Schools don't want advanced learners gone from their schools (presumably for their test scores and their class leadership skills.)
- Schools and PTAs don't want advanced learners gone from their schools because of parent leadership and money-raising abilities.
- But boy, are those parents annoying and
- too small a number of HCC kids to bother to create real learning for them

"Kids are ALL kids. They ALL need educating."

Yup and opinions of their home life or eventually outcomes ("they'll all be okay") is not valid.

"Folks need to stop picking on kids for who they are. They don't pick any of their demographics. It is abhorrent to mock and belittle children and spurn them. All kids should be welcome in public school. Period."

Again, in a nutshell.



Adan said...

@seattle citizen

1. HCC parents already DO advocate for the identification and support of EVERY student. It was HCC parents who got the district to offer appeal testing for free so not only rich kids could appeal. HCC parents fought for free advanced learning testing at title 1 schools.
2. HCC is not in the least special. The district SAVES a ton of money sending kids to Cascadia (which educates them for way less per kid than other schools)
3. Kids can test into advanced learning at SPS any year between kindergarten and 8th grade. They just fill out a form prior to the October deadline any year. They can test every year if they want.
4. Regarding the multiple intelligences issue, SPS only offers courses in certain subjects. It doesn't really matter to the school district if kids are "gifted" at ballet since the schools don't offer ballet. It doesn't matter if kids are "gifted" at oil painting since the schools don't offer oil painting classes. There is no point in testing SPS kids for gifts in the myriad of fields the schools don't offer coursework in. Archery? Diving? Philosophy? Leadership? Programming? Microbiology? It doesn't matter if kids are gifted in any of those subjects from an SPS perspective. The schools only offer courses in a few subjects. Those are the ones they test for advanced learning needs for. Kids who have a gift at piano mostly have to feed that passion outside of school because schools mostly just teach (a small handful of) academic subjects.

Anonymous said...

@ seattle citizen,

Thanks. I'm sure others can do this more eloquently--and concisely--than myself, but these are my initial thoughts.

First, you say we should "advocate...strongly...for identification and support of EVERY capable student." Capable, or highly capable? If the basis for special services is that highly capable students need something different (e.g., deeper coverage, faster pace, acceleration) than what capable GE students need, we need to be sure the program is finding students who need and will benefit from faster, deeper coverage. So assuming you meant "highly capable," I'm still not sure where to go from here. We can't go out and find these kids ourselves. We've been supportive of district efforts to do more outreach to underserved groups. We fight against the misguided efforts of many non-HCC parents and JSCEE staff to eliminate the appeals process, which would most surely deny placement to many HC students, particularly those with learning disabilities, anxiety, etc. We fight against efforts to kill Spectrum (which can be a stepping stone to HCC for some), we fight efforts to eliminate honors and advanced classes in favor of detracking, we push for meaningful AL portions of CSIPs, etc. What else can we do to prove that we care that all HC students get served? We really do care. A lot. We know what it's like to raise HC children, and see all the challenges and frustration and depression and loneliness and boredom that these kids experience in the absence of appropriate services. We don't want that for any kid, so we fight for services. We ARE doing it. Is there something else you think we need to be doing to prove that we support identification of all HC students? I know the AL office had proposed some sort of additional support program for promising students from underserved groups--a sort of HCC prep program--but they didn't get the funding they need. I've advocated for something similar in the past. But in this budget and anti-AL climate, this feels like a pipe dream. Maybe if we had a district-wide HCC parent group that did fundraising for that? (Then again, we'd likely be seen as a bunch of rich white elitist parents thinking they know what's best for the poor children of color, right?)

Second, you said we should promulgate "the fact that HCC isn't really all that 'special,' it's merely a group of students who are capable of working at a higher level." I have to disagree with you on this one. If it's merely a group of students capable of working at a higher level, the program should be eliminated. You don't separate students by who they are--you separate them by what services you need to provide. The key is the services, but maybe you actually meant that. I agree that HCC isn't all that "special" in that they don't have a some magical curriculum or lower class sizes and all that, but it is--or at least it should be--different. That's why we have a program in the first place, because these kids need something different. It's not something better, it's not something more expensive, and it's not something that other kids won't also get when they are ready. But it is special-IZED in the sense that it's on a different schedule (e.g., do x in 3rd grade instead of 5th), and the coverage should be a little deeper and the pacing should be a little faster.

(continued below)

reality bites

Anonymous said...

Third, you said we should convince everyone that "ONE test at age seven serves to provide a viable rationale for acceleration or advanced curriculum in ALL subjects." First of all, it's not all subjects. HCC covers the core academic subjects in elementary (although there is more blending now), and covers only LA, SS and science in middle school. There's no belief that the these students are above level in everything. There is, however, belief that they are above level in BOTH reading and math, since they have to pass both with very high scores to qualify. I agree that all children have aptitudes and areas in which they struggle, but clearly for these kids math and reading are not significant struggles (2e kids notwithstanding).

It sounds like part of your comment on request #3 has to do with single domain eligibility. I'm not sure how that would work logistically in elementary grades when students usually have the same teacher for the whole day, but at least in middle school math placement is by level, not HCC status, so that helps a little. Would advocating for single domain HCC status--whether or not the district could find a feasible way to implement it--help our case in your eyes? Or would it be seen as a bunch of rich white parents whose kids didn't get into HCC fighting for partial access? I suspect that the reality would be that the same demographic patterns would again prevail, and minorities would still be underrepresented. There'd just be even MORE of the overrepresented groups in (some TBD form of) HC classes.

As to the whole "myriad of abilities" thing--yes! Kids and adults have all sorts of gifts and strengths--some are great artists or athletes or can easily learn foreign languages. Some are gifted leaders or activists. Luckily there are a lot of venues in which they can hone these skills and let them shine, both at school and outside. But what does that have to do with HCC placement, when HCC is really about core academic subjects (areas in which those who qualified tend to shine)? We have cohorts in all sorts of thing--beginning vs. advanced band, Spanish 1 vs. Spanish 4, JV football vs. varsity, etc. Why does it feel ok that placement in music levels or on sports teams and access to those cohorts is based on tryouts, while it doesn't feel ok that placement in HCC is based on cognitive and math/reading achievement tests?

Maybe your primary concern is the "one test" aspect? With both cognitive and achievement components it's not really just one test, so maybe you were referring to the fact that you do not have to retest every year to maintain your placement? It's an interesting issue, and I can see both sides of this one. On one hand, if there's a sense that people are gaming the system to get in (which there is, whether or not it's warranted), you might want to up the "proof" requirements, right? I get that. But on the other hand, testing is burdensome in terms of time and resources, and it's a cost-benefit thing. Students in HCC--or any program--are continually assessed already. That's what teachers do! If kids aren't cutting it and aren't really a good fit for HCC, teachers will notice and they can be counseled out. Once you test into HCC it's not like anything goes--you do still need to perform at that level. They are "tested" throughout. If you're performing at that level, isn't that proof enough that the placement continues to be appropriate, no matter how many years ago the initial test was?

(cont'd)

reality bites

Anonymous said...

Do some kids get in on a fluke, scoring high enough on all the eligibility tests one year even though in all prior years (and subsequent years, if they were retested) they might have just missed the cutoffs in one or more areas? I'm sure that happens, and statistically it would make sense. Requiring retesting would help find those kids. But to what end? So that we could kick them out even if they were doing well and make them repeat material (and miss other material) because they didn't "deserve" to be where they were that year? Make them try again the next year, and if they got in then they could further disrupt their course sequencing, creating more gaps? There's a benefit to keeping kids on a steady, high level path if they're doing well on it. It's hard to justify disrupting it in the name of labels. Moving kids up makes sense. Moving them down, less so.

That said, I'm not opposed to retesting at key entry points, such as 6th grade. A little reset there might be a good idea--since middle school HCC kids are coming from all sorts of schools and with all sorts of backgrounds and prior coursework levels, it's a good time for fine tuning. Some HCC students might benefit from a switch to Spectrum level courses at that time. However, there are drawbacks with that approach, too. For one, middle school is the time when gifted students with learning disabilities are often finally recognized to have special needs. It's very common that their giftedness allows them to compensate for their disabilities in the early years, so the challenges go unnoticed. Around middle school, however, the challenges can overtake their ability to compensate, and their performance can suffer. Unfortunately these are many of the students who would get kicked out via the requalification process, even though they arguably need the cohort more than anyone because they face a very tough road ahead, trying to navigate the frustration of being cognitively very gifted (and needing those HC peers) yet unable to perform at the level that everyone--your parents, your teachers, your peers and yourself-- expect. Demoting those kids could be catastrophic, as they are much more likely to suffer anxiety, depression, impulsiveness, etc.

I doubt much of this has convinced you, but I'm interested in your thoughts. I appreciate that you've engaged on this topic in a thoughtful, respectful and open-minded way, and I hope you can see the honesty and positive intent in my responses. Having seen up-close the very real and unique needs of HC students, it's an area I feel strongly about. I fight for HC students not because I want my kids to get ahead or get into a the best college or anything, but because I care about the welfare of these often-misunderstood and frequently maligned children. I want ALL HC students to get what they need (or at least something reasonably close), just as I want all other SPS students to as well.

reality bites

seattle citizen said...

Adan,
I'm glad that HCC parents do that advocacy and support IDing students. My point is that perceptions are that HCC is still mainly wealthy and white, real or not. It's optics I'm talking about.
I don't know what you mean about SPS saving money by having a cohort model and HCC schools. You'd have to explain that to me, and the rest of the world.

The theory of multiple intelligences isn't about subjects; it's about learning styles. My point is that many, including myself, find it implausible that one test, at age seven, somehow proves a student is capable in all ways to do advanced work in all subjects for the next ten years. Meanwhile, many students in Gen Ed are certainly "highly capable" in a couple of subjects, while maybe not in others...just as HCC students are. What is it about that one test at age seven that is the magic indicator?

Adan said...

@seattle citizen

Look at the 2015-16 SPS funding per student by school:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Bw_7VLw9Q63FjbwbJmUpbLjkITJynt7jgq7iF6Rw8ec/edit#gid=0

The amount being spent on the HCC kids (listed under APP @ Lincoln in the top row) is well below the district average of $7,154 per kid. And well under 1/2 of what is being spent per kid at some schools.

The data comes from the school budget here: https://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/Budget/Budget%20Book%202015-2016/2015-16%20Budget%20Book%20updated%2006162015v2.pdf

As for the test to qualify for advanced learning, kids can take it any year between kindergarten and 8th grade. They just need to sign up for it by the deadline (usually in early October):
http://www.seattleschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=14582
They can take it more than once if they don't feel the test scores reflected their abilities. It's not one test at age seven. It's one test that you can sign up for any year between K and 8th grade.

And the results can be appealed. SPS will pay for your appeals testing for anyone who can demonstrate financial need. Many of the approved private testers also have a sliding scale for fees.

seattle citizen said...

Thanks, all, for the detailed and informative perspectives. I am on the fence about the whole thing, though I recognize that some students seem advanced enough to warrant their own curriculum and pacing. I don't know why that it is, but it's apparent. Your responses are very helpful; I am not the one that needs convincing, however, it is the many that have a knee-jerk reaction against HCC.

But condense all that down to a bullet-pointed one-sheeter, send it out to the doubters, and you're golden!

Anonymous said...

What evidence can you point to that Cascadia spends less per student than other schools in the district? I'd love to see those stats.

Concerned parent

Anonymous said...

@Melissa,

Just to be clear. I strongly feel that kids performing up to one grade level ahead should be supported in a neighborhood school setting. In schools with a broad range of students, including those needing intervention (which is basically all of the attendance area schools in NNE Seattle), there is just not the bandwidth to adequately-support kids who qualify for HCC services. Those kids need to be served in a high-performing cohort.

The "brain drain" of kids from neighborhood schools to option schools is a very real thing. Again, I am referring to kids performing about one grade level ahead, not HCC, as HCC kids are typically not well-supported in a neighborhood school setting. It goes beyond impacting test scores...and impacts volunteerism, PTA support (vital in today's funding climate), and over-all school diversity.

Choosing to support an option school at Cedar Park was a hard decision for me, because I am a strong supporter of neighborhood schools. For me, it was more desirable than supporting the creation of a neighborhood school with boundary lines drawn around the highest-poverty, most non-white census tract in North Seattle. Supporting an option school at Cedar Park was the lesser of two evils. I would have much preferred Cedar Park to be used as an interim site for a John Rogers and Sacajawea, assuming one or both of those schools will be rebuilt at some point, but that option was apparently not on the table.

-North-end Mom

Adan said...

@Concerned parent

Look at the 2015-16 SPS funding per student by school:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Bw_7VLw9Q63FjbwbJmUpbLjkITJynt7jgq7iF6Rw8ec/edit#gid=0

The amount being spent on the HCC kids (listed under APP @ Lincoln in the top row) is well below the district average of $7,154 per kid. And well under 1/2 of what is being spent per kid at some schools.

The data comes from the school budget here: https://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/Budget/Budget%20Book%202015-2016/2015-16%20Budget%20Book%20updated%2006162015v2.pdf

Anonymous said...

@Adan

To be fair, some of the higher cost/pupil at other schools is due to Special Education funding. Cascadia (APP@Lincoln) has a relatively-low percentage of special education students.

-North-end Mom

Adan said...

@North-end Mom

Yes, there should be more special ed kids at Cascadia, which I suppose would shift costs there from other schools. But at SPS it's currently harder to get a qualifying 2E kid into HCC than a... camel through the eye of a needle (? is that the analogy I was looking for?). There are many kids who need SpEd AND HCC and currently the way the district identifies kids for SpEd testing is to wait for them to fall two years behind. Which is darn near impossible for many academically gifted kids even when they have learning disabilities. They just flounder at neighborhood schools, not really learning anything but not really floundering far enough to be identified for their disabilities either. SPS SHOULD be identifying these kids for advanced learning AND special ed services. But that's not really here or there. There are many special ed kids at Cascadia.

Anonymous said...

Fwiw: the special ed #'s in that budget don't match the corresponding enrollment data very well for any of the schools. In September '15 there were 2.5x more special ed students actually attending Lincoln than budgeted for (which I guess does really save money).

http://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/Migration/General/P223_sep15.pdf

-puzzled

Anonymous said...

@puzzled

This is just a guess, but I'm pretty sure some special ed services cost more than others, based upon staffing requirements. Resource room being the least expensive. Self-contained, ACCESS, etc... cost more, and take a higher percentage of the school budget.

-North-end Mom

seattle citizen said...

Adan, you write that, "the way the district identifies kids for SpEd testing is to wait for them to fall two years behind."
A) could you source this statement, and
B) explain how that works? What do you mean? How would the district know if a student is "two years behind"?

Anonymous said...

@ Seattle Citizen - My experience with SPS and disability is that SPS will not provide services to a child unless that kid tests 2 standard deviations below the norm. In other words, a child could be struggling and doing poorly in school, but not poorly enough to qualify for services. In other words, SPS waits for the kid to really flame out, to fail badly before they are willing to provide interventions and supports. It is maddening. Kids most affected by this policy are those who are 2e or able to compensate for their disability - at great personal (mental, emotional) cost to them and their families. -NP

Anonymous said...

@Seattle Citizen, My experience with SPS and a child with a disability is similar to NP. Your child needs to be 2 years behind standard in order to get evaluated; otherwise, your struggling child circles the drain in MTSS Tier 2 while their self esteem gets flushed down the toilet.
- MTSS Disservice

Anonymous said...

@North-end Mom: Cascadia doesn't have a relatively low SPED population compared to our neighborhood school. Take a look at the OSPI report--I believe it's around 8-10%, but seems higher because of the nature of some kids at the school.

Fix AL

Anonymous said...

Adan, the ONLY difference in "per pupil" spending in the various schools, including HCC schools, is the paltry sums given to schools for special education students - and even less for FRL or ELL students. That's it. The challenges that ELL students in particular bring into a school - are not really compensated for by the extra funding they bring. So when you say "per pupil" spending in HCC is the lowest - it's the lowest BECAUSE there's no SPED there to speak of. Sure, there's a handful of resource room students, they bring in a few thousand dollars each. Students with 504 plans, ironically bring in $0, as neither the federal nor state government funded the ADA. So, $0 for 504 students. "Intensive Special Education" students bring in much more - around $20,000 per student. That money is spent on staffing their classrooms. At this time - there are no students receiving HCC services and intensive special education services. So, the fact that neighborhood schools have expensive special education programs, is the one and only explanation for their "higher per pupil spending" at any given schools, and it has nothing to do with the true per student cost at Cascadia. It is not proof of equity in spending among non-disabled populations. In particular, schools with little ELL (like HCC) do not have to pay for all the extra services that refugee populations need.

Spedvocate

Adan said...

@Spedvocate

I don't understand why I keep hearing people claim that HCC costs more money? Because it sounds like what you're saying is that no matter where HCC kids go to school, they don't cost much to educate. In this view, having them in a cohort would then be a cost neutral way of ensuring that they have an opportunity to learn something at school (since we've seen that neighborhood schools are unwilling to teach these kids anything).

My understanding was that smaller schools automatically cost more to run and that larger schools were cheaper to run. That does seem to be born out by the numbers in the 2015-16 SPS funding per student by school (a lot of bigger schools are cheaper than a lot of smaller schools on the list):
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Bw_7VLw9Q63FjbwbJmUpbLjkITJynt7jgq7iF6Rw8ec/edit#gid=0

Where does the money for "Intensive Special Eduction" students come from? And surely in a district with over 50,000 school children there would statistically be some who need BOTH "intensive special education" AND HC services... Hmmmm....

Anonymous said...

@Fix AL

Thanks. I checked the OSPI reports. Cascadia has 7% SpEd (2015-16). District average is 14.4%.

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

The money for all special education comes from the state and from the federal government's IDEA funding. Districts receive 2X basic education allocation for students with disabilities up to a max of 12.7% of enrollment - not counting preschool or birth to 3 - which are funded by the state for all identified students. Districts then divvy up the state and federal funding they receive on behalf of students with disabilities at varying rates. SPS has a notion of something called "Intensive Services" - which are services beyond resource room prices. Intensive Services are fixed costs unlike resource room service which varies based on enrollment - that makes the schools with Intensive Services look like they have a high per pupil spending - when they really do not have that. Notice resource room teachers are often part time. Not true of self-contained teachers. Thurgood Marshall does have "Intensive Services" - which are the 3 self-contained SM4 programs. Sure. And yes - it has come up as an issue. If one of those kids qualified for HCC - then that would be available. The district's average for special education participation is listed at 14.4% - by OSPI. An 8% special ed participation rate - would be one of the lowest in the district. Generally the "language immersion" schools have driven out special ed and have gotten special ed down to the 6% range. Truly unfair to other schools and regular education, not to mention unfair to students with disabilities.


I can't speak to HCC costing more money. But it doesn't cost less. Transportation is certainly a significant cost that lasts the entire lifetime of the HCC student. I believe it "costs" more in a variety of ways: 1 the wealthy parents subsidize enrichment that other schools have to fund without wealthy parents 2. Extra tutoring for struggling students come out of the bottom line in schools where families can't afford that - non-HCC schools have many more struggling learners. 3. FRL students have many health related expenses that wind up costing those schools more - and it comes out of the bottom line of the schools with many FRL students. These are all significant costs, that should be spread out more evenly. Bottom line - segregation sucks for those on the bottom, it's illegal for those with disabilities - even if it's great for those on the top. We've known this for a long time.

Spedvocate

Anonymous said...

Since we're looking at numbers.
FRL for SPS is 36%
FRL for Cascadia is 3.6% 10 times less!!!!!
ELL for SPS is 12.7%
ELL for Cascadia is 0.8% MORE than 10 times less!!!!
Cascadia truly is a rarified elementary.

We all know that the district does not provide FRL and ELL anything close to their needs and that failure winds up costing their schools much more - the price of that impact is what we're talking about.

Spedvocate

Lynn said...

But students at Cascadia aren't leaving schools with high FRL, special education or ELL rates. Bryant is the elementary school that sends (drives) the most students to Cascadia. Bryant's FRL rate is 5.2%, special education rate is 6.2% and ELL rate is 3.3%. Practically speaking, sending Cascadia students back to their neighborhood schools wouldn't help anyone.

The state pays for transportation of HC students.

Families who don't qualify for free meals can't be required to pay for their classmates's enrichment activities.

Schools receive Title I or LAP funds to help struggling students. Those funds are reduced as struggling students are replaced with successful students.

If schools are supporting the health needs of FRL students, they're doing it with district dollars provided for that purpose. Sending HC students to those schools isn't going to magically increase the available funding.

Anonymous said...

@Lynn--the schools in North Seattle that are legitimately suffering the effects of brain and $$ drain described above include Sandpoint Elem and John Rogers. I believe some of the most vocal opposition to HCC comes from those schools as they have experienced the loss of families. Bryant hopes the door doesn't hit students on the way out and seems to go out of their way to teach to the middle--very little SPED or AL support or focus. Parents who keep their kids at that school to enjoy the community simply supplement at home or at Kumon.

Fix AL

Not asking much said...

If Bryant is driving away these kids, then when is someone going to hold that school accountable? Families are open about their desire to stay. They just want to access a modest level of dependable acceleration.

Anonymous said...

Spedvocate-do the same comparison of Cascadia to Bryant, Queen Anne, Magnolia, Ballard, Loyal Heights, Laurelhurst, Wedgwood, Thornton Creek, and Hazelwolf...then let's chat.

Fix AL

Anonymous said...

@ Fix AL, what percentage of students at Sandpoint and John Rogers leave for HCC?

And if a lot do leave in what you call a brain drain, why do you think they leave? If a school is meeting a child's needs close to home, families usually want to stay. If these schools are bothered by the loss of intellect and money--or realistically, probably just the money--they should make serious efforts to serve and retain those kids (and their parents' pocketbooks). If they don't, don't begrudge parents for looking for more appropriate options.

DisAPPointed

Anonymous said...

@DisAPPointed-I'm not begrudging, just clarifying. I don't blame them at all, but it is important for people to understand where some of the loud "anti-HCC" advocacy comes from and why.
Fix AL

Anonymous said...

The biggest "brain drain" at John Rogers happened when Hazel Wolf K-8 (formerly Jane Addams K-8) opened 1/2 mile away from John Rogers, offering Spectrum. Previous to 2010, Spectrum was only available at Wedgwood or View Ridge, and those programs were extremely difficult to get into from outside the attendance area. From 2010, when Hazel Wolf became an option school, until 2014, when the program moved to its interim site at John Marshall (and the geo-zone shifted west of Lake City Way), there was a marked reduction of advanced learners at John Rogers.

I was a John Rogers parent for 10 years, and I don't recall much anti-HCC rhetoric at John Rogers.

-North-end Mom

Option Drain said...

Here's where students living in the John Rogers attendance area were going to school in 2015-16:
John Rogers 333
Hazel Wolf 106
Thornton Creek 58
Wedgwood 25
Cascadia 23
View Ridge 18
Sacajawea 8
Laurelhurst 7
Olympic Hills 7
Northgate 6
(and several others with 4 or fewer)

So, the cited brain drain and $$$$ drain at John Rogers is DEMONSTRABLY going to option schools. 333 are staying at John Rogers and 164 are going to option schools (Hazel Wolf and Thornton Creek). That's almost 50% again of John Rogers' population!!! The next destination "draining" John Rogers is Wedgwood with 25. Cascadia comes in a distant fourth with only 23 kids assigned to John Rogers going there. So, if John Rogers is suffering brain and money drain, blame the option schools and Wedgwood sooner than Cascadia. There is remarkably little blaming of option schools going on in this city. Somehow HCC gets scapegoated for all the stuff that the option schools are just strutting around doing far more flagrantly. What's up with that? Did you know that Thornton Creek's PTA brings in something crazy like $800 per student every year? I don't have the numbers to prove it, but I bet you anything that is WAY more than Cascadia's PTA brings in.

The other school you mention as suffering from brain/$$$ drain is Sand Point. In 2015-16 the students living in the Sand Point attendance area were going to school at the following schools:
Sand Point 205
Cascadia 30
View Ridge 25
Thornton Creek 24
Laurelhurst 22
Wedgwood 10
Bryant 9
Hutch School 9
Hazel Wolf 7
(and several others with 5 or fewer)

Cascadia is the biggest single "drainer" of kids from Sand Point. But 30 kids is hardly breaking their bank. Especially given how many are choosing to leave Sand Point for every other nearby school. Sand Point lost 90 kids last year to neighboring elementaries (View Ridge, Thornton Creek, Laurelhurst, Wedgwood, and Bryant). And if you add the two option schools together, even Sand Point is losing more kids to option schools than it is to Cascadia. So, again, where's the hating on the option schools?

Families don't make these choices flippantly. If the brains are draining, they're doing it for a reason. If schools want these kids to stay, they would need to step up whatever those kids aren't getting that makes them willing to schlepp halfway across town to try to get it.

Now, if you want to see the $$$ drain, wouldn't it be handy of SPS told us how many kids are assigned to each SPS school but choose to go private instead. I'm sure those numbers would truly be enlightening.

Anonymous said...

John Rogers is not lacking in enrollment. It is over-enrolled, and has grown by over 100 kids since the NSAP. There has always been more kids in the John Rogers attendance area than the school can hold. The playground would have been absolutely full of portables had Hazel Wolf not opened. John Rogers has to lose kids to other schools, at least until it gets a new bigger building.

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

Thank you, "option drain"...now here is the question for those who hate families that leave their neighborhood schools: are you against choice? Would you rather everyone get the same generic education, or do you agree students school be able to migrate to a school that is accelerated, language immersion, expeditionary (TC or Salmon Bay), Montessori, Arts, or STEM?

Having option schools provides choice and flexibility for those looking for something else, but they are NOT the same as charter schools.

Everyone was so excited about Cedar Park finally getting an option school because they were not in the geozone for any option schools. Let's let them succeed!!! Capacity is an issue, correct? Schools need relief. If the state would fully fund education, people would STOP seeing children as dollar signs. It's really sick.

ps-the Cascadia PTA doesn't even raise 1/2 per student as Thornton Creek, to answer the question above.

Choice Rules

Anonymous said...

Great information, Option Drain. Thank you! It's a lot more fun to blame HCC though, right?

It's also pretty funny that people like to insinuate that HCC kids aren't really so smart anyway and don't need "gifted" ed, yet at the same time they complain if those kids leave their school, depriving them of all that cognitive ability. They don't want HC kids here, and they don't want them there, either. Often it feels like they just wish such kids didn't exist.

Here's an idea. Let's rename HCC again. If we call it something that sounds negative, or something that sounds more like a special ed program, maybe it wouldn't sound so appealing or like it's somehow better. We could call it Atypical Development Program, or Supplemental Special Education. Ooh, or how about "You're Not So Special Education"?

DisAPPointed

Anonymous said...

@ DisAPPointed - There's really no comparison between SPED kids and HCC and your making fun of SPED isn't funny. As you point out, SPED is negative. And why are all these threads completely hijacked by demanding and entitled HCC parents anyway? Or at least that is how most of you appear from reading these comments on multiple threads. Surely there are other issues going on in SPS besides where to house HCC. - CapHill Parent.

Anonymous said...

@ CapHill parent, how is it "making fun of SPED" to suggest that gifted ed should be positioned more as a special ed program? In some states gifted ed actually functions under the umbrella of special ed departments, and that seems logical to me. My point was that renaming HC programs to better reflect that are a service designed to meet a special learning need might make them sound more like an intervention and less like a "reward."

Maybe my stab at renaming the program felt like a joke--particularly the last one? It wasn't meant to insult SPED at all--I was simply suggesting that we could have Special Ed (like we do, and nothing funny there) and Not-So-Special Ed (since so many anti-HCC people tend to suggest these kids really aren't so "gifted" after all, that their parents gamed the system to get them in, etc.)

I apologize if I offended you or anyone else, but I still don't understand why exactly it was taken as you took it... If you care to enlighten me, maybe I can learn something from it.

DisAPPointed (and Disappointing!)

Anonymous said...

DisAPPointed - Special ED is defined under IDEA - so that's wrong. Gifted ed has never been under the same umbrella. The umbrella for SPED is IDEA: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. There's no gifted mandate in IDEA. HCC couldn't handle it if the program "were run like SPED". The notion that HCC wants to be SPED, that's a joke. With HCC - it's always been "one and done" with respect to qualification. We even have parents who are sure their preschooler is gifted. You have to requalify for SPED every 3 years and demonstrate need for and benefit from the program. APP parents howled at the slightest suggestion that their kids ever be retested, or requalified, or in any way held accountable for progress. They never need to show proof that they continue to be 2 deviations beyond the mean. They claim with no evidence, that students who fail at APP are counseled out. Evidence shows that the program has grown leaps and bounds over the last decade without any counseling out. When APP parents were faced with the very modest prospects the district proposed that their kids simply be at grade level and pass the grade level WASL at level 3, boy did the howling begin. They circled the wagons. No testing for us!!!! (Except for the test to get in, of course, to prove we're gifted, or a note from the doctor if ordinary testing fails to "prove" giftedness.) Melissa even said in one post, that truly gifted were too smart to be tested like everyone else. Testing is a great measure for average kids, but unfair to gifted kids who are just too smart for testing, except that first test.

PulEAze

Lynn said...

Pennsylvania treats gifted education as special education (not under IDEa but under state law) and provides students with gifted IEPs. This is not a ridiculous suggestion.

Why so bitter? Preschoolers can be gifted just as it's possible for preschoolers to have diagnosed disabilities. Some are both gifted and disabled.

As for counseling students out, of course it happens. I know two students who were removed in the last two years. I doubt it's a common occurrence because it's unlikely that a student's IQ would drop (barring serious injury). In special education, the hope is that a student will eventually be able to access the general education curriculum without supports. That's why they are tested to evaluate the need for further services. This is not the goal of gifted education. Children are assumed to continue to require services because their differences won't disappear.

Anonymous said...

Lynn, that information is incorrect.

The OSPI has a section about exiting students from Highly Capable:

Districts should use Exit Code H — Element I09 — if policy or SIS restriction requires the district to exit and transition students at the end of each school year.
Important! Districts must report the re-entry of their HCP students at the start of the new school year.
However, sections (a)
through (d) — also directs districts to include specific content in notifications that cover appeal and exit. Find the reference to an exit procedure in (c):
(a) A full explanation of the procedures for identification of a student for entrance into the highly capable program;

Also, the author of CogAT is very clear that the test is not an IQ test and that scores can be improved upon (and decrease) over time.

FWIW

Anonymous said...

Lynn, why are you so bitter? If students are counselled out of HCC, then why is the program ever expanding? Why does each year receive more and more and more students - all non-black of course? Do you realize that Cascadia has exactly 2 black students? Are you kidding me? And, 1 is graduating. Then what? You're going to recruit 1 to replace her? I guess you must think you're just a lot smarter than they are. And the achievement gap is just an unfortunate, immutable problem for somebody else to solve.

As for your stated purpose of HCC segregation, wealth preservation, yes indeed that can be stopped. You seem to think you can't force families to pay for FRL. Yes we can. Eastside schools, and many surrounding districts, prohibits inequitable private funding for public schools via parent donation. So, it is definitely possible to force donation to be done equitably.



PulEAZE

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

Are there statistics that show which SPS schools have the richest/poorest families? You don't have to report your income when you register your kid for school, right? So, we can measure how many kids at a given school have qualified for FRL, but that doesn't tell us how much money the rest of the families whose kids go to the school make each year. Right?

I just don't buy it that the HCC families are all that rich compared to the families whose kids go to View Ridge, Thornton Creek, McGilvra, Laurelhurst, North Beach...

And, PulEAZE, you are right about one thing: SPS is doing a terrible job identifying gifted black, hispanic and native American kids. Apparently they're also underidentifying gifted kids from Olympic Hills and Viewlands, because there's hardly any kids assigned to those two schools attending Cascadia and statistically there should be. SPS needs to step up their identification process.

As for identifying HC kids in preschool. Of course you can. Maternal IQ and education are independently related to child IQ at age 3. So, if the kid's biological mother has several advanced degrees AND a known high IQ, you have good scientific reason to consider the possibility that the kid might be gifted. And if your baby/toddler is considerably early in meeting developmental milestones, that's another reason to consider the possibility.

http://www.davidsongifted.org/Search-Database/entry/A10106
https://www.nagc.org/resources-publications/resources/my-child-gifted

I

Anonymous said...

gosh.

were to start.

hcc hires trolls.

there is no exit out.

cogat is not an iq test.

it is wrong to compare hcc to sped.

monkeys can type faster than 12 year old kids.
all lies.
hcc haters.
have only lies.

merry christmas haters. sbac test is for grade level math that hcc kids did two years ago. math is cumulative but if you haven't done geometry for two years you will struggle on a standardized test.

oh and then there is the reality that if you don't really have a separate curriculum you will garner less achievement. m tolley promised a curriculum with the first mgj splits. nope! never happened. now it is up to admins like follmer who is adversarial to hcc learning; as well as the others. ted howard and katie may have caved against the research. oh well. can't blame the kids for not learning at the rate they could based on their iq if you aren't teaching them, right.

you have a high percentage of 504/iep students in hcc and there is a lot of common ground between hcc and sped. but the poster's questions about labels makes you wonder if the fact that we are being called segregationist without the moderator deleting those post shows too much leeway. can't say the n word but yeah you can call parents appartheid or segregationist. it is a double standard mw.

again folks wonder why we hcc parents always hijack these threads about hcc? fact is we don't! we just respond to the factual misrepresentations of fwiw with their heat maps and the rest of you haters with your out and out lies. (and fwiw uw uses the cogat as an iq test). but we aren't paid. and i am not concerned about hcc. too much is helped by the magic that was.

-nc

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

As someone who has been a "remunerated blog commenter", I assure you it is a real job and very possibly there are some on this blog. Why not? It's pretty cheap and very effective at both advocacy and intimidation.

The style of some comments is familiar to paid writers.

President Grant

Anonymous said...

Just because people disagree with you doesn't mean they are trolls. The only people being bullied here are those who haven't subscribed to the view that HCC is like SPED or needs all kind of special accommodations as outlined in the Cascadia teachers' letter posted on the APP blog. What the Cascadia teachers outline as horrendous problems are what General Education parents, teachers and students encounter everyday. - CapHill Parent

Anonymous said...

@ CapHill Parent (aka PulEAZE?), if your skin is so thin that you think people disagreeing with you, or people responding factually to lies and misrepresentations about HCC, is bullying, you probably shouldn't hang out here. If anyone is being bullied, it's the HCC parents who are sharing legitimate information and concerns--and who get called trolls for doing so, get accused of hijacking a thread that addressed several AL-related issues in the original post, etc.

I also see you conveniently didn't respond to my followup comments re: you misinterpreting (or mischaracterizing?) my comment about HCC and SPED. Or maybe you did, under the pseudonym "PulEAZE." If you would have carefully read my initial comment instead of getting all riled up, you would have noticed that I was talking about the name of the program--not the funding source or legislative requirement, just the marketing. I am perfectly aware there is no gifted mandate under IDEA, and I never suggested the HCC should be "run like SPED." I never said HCC "wants to be SPED," either--so no, that wasn't a joke, just your imagination. As to my comment re: the umbrella of SPED, there are plenty of states in which the gifted ed contact person is housed in...wait for it...the special ed dept! That doesn't mean they get federal funding for it or have the same requirements, but they run it out of the same office because they see gifted ed to be another type of special ed. Not THE "Special Ed," but a type of special ed.

There are HCC parents who HAVE supported the idea of periodic requalification, but the implications/consequences of retesting are very different for SPED and HCC. And while there may be a benefit to it in SPED (since a goal is presumably to reduce the need for or nature of services over time), the cost-benefit in HCC isn't there (since testing is expensive, cognitive abilities don't change dramatically from year to year, there are already opportunities for students to be counseled out, and moving in and out of HCC would lead to major gaps and/or repeats in curricular coverage). If a kid is doing ok, there's no real benefit to moving them down just to “prove” (at least temporarily) that they didn’t belong there in the first place.

You seem to feel a lot of outrage over the WASL level 3 issue, and I'm not sure why. Is it a big problem? About 97% or more of Cascadia 3rd-5th graders met standard on last year's SBAC, with most at level 4. Did a few kids get a 1 or 2. Yes. A reasonable person might ask: I wonder what's up with that? Are they 2e with their special needs not being met? Were they denied accommodations for testing? Do they have undiagnosed learning disabilities? Were they sick? Was something going on at home? Did they just move to HCC in the past year or two, so they skipped a couple years of math, including the year covered on that grade-level test? Or are they maybe not a good fit for the program, and if that's a case, will the school talk to the family and counsel them out? That's what a reasonable person might think in the face of such data. You, on the other hand, seem like you'd love to see them thrown out. That would show them! And their obnoxious parents, too! Maybe we could even turn it into a reality show (a la "You're Fired!) and publicly demote them, so you could your proof that folks got kicked out!

Here's an honest question for you: If a kid whose cognitive testing shows him to be in the 99th percentile and whose MAP/SBAC scores in both reading and math show him to be at, say, the 97th percentile, if that kid scores a Level 2 on an SBAC, what should happen? Is it so abundantly clear from that one data point that the student is "not gifted"? Is that one test the gold standard of assessment, providing everything a teacher or parent needs to know about a student's cognitive, emotional and developmental status and needs? Of course not. So what would be appropriate, in your eyes?

DisAPPointed

Anonymous said...

well said disappointed.

nc

Anonymous said...

a page from trump's playbook

nc

Anonymous said...

mc doesn't equal nc. again delete your accounts


-thereal nc

Anonymous said...

funny you bring up trump. you seem to be emulating him. is that because you see him as a winner? you know hillary got 3 million votes more than him. i believe that is because reasonable people found him unreasonable. i imagine most folks look at your post in the same light.

-nc

Anonymous said...

ur in trouble nc. trump will hate on things like hcc. he hates white privilege and racial disparity. he will champion the poor, the non-english speakers, especially muslims and illegals.

hire more trolls, ur only chance against donny

k

Anonymous said...

http://www.cracked.com/blog/6-things-you-learn-getting-paid-to-troll-people-online/

http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/236403/confessions-of-a-troll/

hiring a troll

much cheaper than private school

exclusionary education for mere pennies a day


desert tortoise

Silly Turtle said...

In the 2010 Census, Seattle was 8% African American. SPS schools that, suspiciously, have fewer than 8% African American students:
B. F. Day
Greenwood
Montlake
Fairmount Park
Daniel Bagley
Adams
Pathfinder
John Hay
Laurelhurst
Coe
Schmitz Park
Whittier
Queen Anne
Wedgwood
North Beach
West Woodland
Lawton
View Ridge
Thornton Creek
Green Lake
Catharine Blaine
Loyal Heights
John Stanford Intl.
Salmon Bay
Bryant
McDonald
Cascadia

Wassup with that? Exclusionary education?!!

You know how many of those schools have FEWER THAN 3% African American students?
Coe
Schmitz Park
Whittier
Queen Anne
Wedgwood
North Beach
West Woodland
Lawton
View Ridge
Thornton Creek
Green Lake
Catharine Blaine
Loyal Heights
John Stanford Intl.
Salmon Bay
Bryant
McDonald
Cascadia

That's right, there are EIGHTEEN (18) Seattle public schools that have FEWER than 3% African American students.


Anonymous said...

Silly Turtle,

I totally don't get it, fewer than 3% and it's STILL too many!

But still, there's the poor kids and the sped kids, they are still at all those schools in numbers at least TEN times as large as at Cascadia. And they're all sub 98% nationally normed on the test.

As Woodie Guthrie sang before it was dammed, "Troll on Columbia".


Copenhagen Interpretation

Anonymous said...

mc troll, your medicine cabinet is calling. it is right below the drug attic. your inane post about hiring trolls are like talking about rigged elections. it is all rigged even the post by committed parents. oh well like you said you were paid to post in the past. i am sure you are having an effect. i don't think so. i don't see anyone else supporting your post other than your bogus accounts. and just so you know sps doesn't respond based on the public discourse on this blog. in fact it might be the opposite.

i am done responding to your tripe directly. going forward it will just "be see troll mc is at it again. i wonder if he is paying himself to post this garbage. so sad."

-nc

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

what sps does is test all t1 school's second graders to see if they are being missed. why the don't do that for all schools i don't know because $ is the dividing factor and not race. and as it is there may be hc capable kids not getting into hc because of ell, 2e or ses that are not getting in but go to a lower frl school. i would say test them all. every 2nd grader, not just t1. for a few years and see how that changes things.

testing is messed up. but if you look at a program like rainier scholars those students are tested too. also their parents have to commit to the program and then finally they have to transport their kids as a lot of that is happening after school when their are no busses. nothing against rs. i love their emphasis. but it is a race based admissions program and if sps tried anything like that it would be shut down. i would think sps could do a needs based one on ses, 2e and ell but then who is going to pay for that? rs is a foundation. sps can't be.

as for name calling mw i would hope you would delete that post as i don't want my kid called assholey nor do i want to be called a racist by folks. segregationist is intent. appartheid says intent. no one enters hcc to escape diversity they do it to get the right program for their kids (who are not assholes) often times based on their teachers recommendations. which normally means get your kid out of my class he is driving me nuts.

-nc

Anonymous said...

sorry should have read:

what sps does is test all t1 school's second graders to see if they are being missed. why the don't do that for all schools? i don't know, probably because $ is the dividing factor and not race.

it is about the cash not the color of ones skin.

-nc

Charlie Mas said...

The District did do universal testing of all second grade students one year. It was tried.

The result was the identification of even more White students for advanced learning programs. Turns out that the "marathon obstacle course for parents/guardian" process excludes more qualified White students than qualified minority students.

Eligibility to these programs requires not only high scores on the CogAT but also high score on the achievement tests. For African-American students to be proportionately represented in the program, the district would have to drop the CogAT requirement and admit every African-American student who scores a Level 4 on the SBAC.

Are we to believe that every student who scores a Level 4 on the SBAC belongs in HCC or just the African-American ones?

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

The district needs to accept the fact that poor, black and disabled kids do not meet the definition of highly capable and NOT just because they are black, poor or disabled.

HCC is for kids who are not getting their needs met in their neighborhood school, it's that simple.

Every kid in HCC would be hurt by going back to their neighborhood school, possibly hurt beyond repair. The teasing for being different, the boredom, the required tutoring of other kids, the lack of challenge, the attitude of teachers and staff who are not gifted themselves and don't understand and/or resent giftedness.

HCC is a lifeline for the kids in the program, they WILL not reach anywhere near their potential in a mixed ability environment.

Do want to deny humanity the benefit of these minds by offering them only a grade level or at best, a walk-to for math, experience? Is it fair to them or the rest of the world to deny them a challenging education for the sake of mollifying social justice warriors who believe that social harmony and togetherness trumps everything else?

SPS is bereft of truly outstanding students, just look at the NMSQT semi-finalists. Dismal. Why? Because the top kids, even IN the HCC, get very little challenging work.There are high schools in California with 40 semi-finalists each year; single schools! Where are ours? Languishing in "aligned" classrooms doing work they already know how to do and learning from teachers who care more about social engineering than scholarship.

Is HCC too white? Look, the cards fall where they fall. Is it lead paint, poverty, "culture", residual racism? It doesn't matter. Facts are facts, numbers on a CogAT do not see race. If black parents want into HCC, then get out the books, not just for junior, but for all you parents. Learn about science and art and geography and discuss these things with your children. Pick up a guitar at Goodwill and learn to tune it properly and play a few chords. Children copy what they see and if they see parents learning and enjoying themselves they want to do it as well.

TL





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

Paying commenters makes sense (maybe) on a blog that makes a profit on advertising. The idea that Melissa or Charlie are paying people is ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Having seen the results of self-contained vs. blended first hand in my own child's experience, I would make the following points.

TL is right about staff having trouble understanding both the needs of the students and the very real feelings of parents who would be classified as HC themselves. These parents know first hand how they were treated in school and often it was sub-optimal, to say the least. They may have fears that their kids will face the same obstacles and mistreatment they endured. They truly fear for their kids well being and staff needs to understand that as much as they need to understand the feelings of SpEd parents and ELL parents and FRL parents.

Dismissing these parents because they have managed to become successful to some degree and their children are intellectually advantaged is wrong. It is not coddling the privileged to accept their concerns as real and try to address them.

Insecurity drives parents to the HCC and teachers and principals can do a better job of dealing with the insecurity simply by showing they are open to improving the experience for gifted kids at neighborhood schools. No parent wants their kid to be seen as different, gifted parents know how unpleasant that feeling can be and would do anything to spare their children.

Understanding these emotions and training staff would help all kids.

My kid has been in self-contained classrooms and blended ones; I see the advantages and disadvantages of both. She has heard teachers say to her and her AL classmates, "you kids are Spectrum", or "APP" or "highly capable", depending on the timeline, followed by a cutting remark about why they aren't behaving better or doing better quality work.

That is wrong and it also drives parents into the cohort where, hopefully, they won't hear that crap as much.

I get it. We parents know a lot about pushing teachers' buttons and getting what we want, but we also know about the hate towards people who are different, about the hate towards gifted people. It continues throughout one's life and for many adults the only solace is the company of other "gifted" adults.

So it's only natural we'd seek the same "safe space" for our children.

herbivore

Anonymous said...

Lynn, your detailed knowledge of the district makes you an unlikely paid commenter, however I was referring to parents less capable than you who would unscrupulously hire commenters.

Like commenters who repeat the same mantra and one name or two downtown that they routinely malign.

If, and this pure speculation, Melissa was getting Amazon gift cards from HCC die-hards, it would be for her own advocacy. If she got a nickel per pro self-contained comment, she could but a Prius!

Not sayin' she does, but, hey we all gotta hustle these days.

TL

Anonymous said...

What the Hay?

Is TL the Electron Cloud? Did you forget you moniker? Are you an Advocate of HC AND a anti-troll vigilante?

Are you some kind of troll yourself?

This rabbit hole is getting mighty deep.

photon

Anonymous said...

i think photon that mc troll just scooped up another's moniker. like they did to me earlier. as far as motivation I would guess it is merely manifestations of paranoid delusions.

-nc

Melissa Westbrook said...

Silly Turtle, you do know that there was red-lining for generations in Seattle, right? Historical patterns, wrongly, got established so it can't be a huge surprise that schools in some regions are largely white.

Woody, I would have left your comment but you resorted to name-calling. Not going to have it.

"APP parents howled at the slightest suggestion that their kids ever be retested, or requalified, or in any way held accountable for progress."

Not entirely true but thanks for that blanket statement. It's the district that seems to not want to retest leaving it up to teachers and schools to try to counsel parents on their child's progress.

TL, interesting comments. I think you get a lot right.

There seems to be one person who is just fixated on how this blog runs and if Charlie and I make money. One, we don't have to explain anything so really, go fixate on your own life and work. Two, that said, we don't make money on the blog. We did briefly when we tried Google's monetizing which I found irritating and so we stopped it. (Get that? Stopped making even a small amount of money on the blog.) Three, so paying commenters? Hardly. No money, remember?

Moving on.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Forgot to say - the reason we have people who appear regularly to comment? Those are called "regular readers" and any good blog has them. Some might even call them fans.

Silly Turtle said...

Yes, I know of Seattle's history of red-lining. And that's partly my point. Factors well beyond the control of SPS, or its students or parents, contribute to how many African American kids attend the various SPS schools. But at least one of this blog's commenters is **really** fixated on how many African American kids attend Cascadia. And Cascadia's population is drawn from kids at:
Bryant
View Ridge
Green Lake
John Hay
Wedgwood
B.F. Day
Catharine Blaine
Loyal Heights
Adams
Lawton
Sand Point
Daniel Bagley
Whittier
North Beach
Laurelhurst
Olympic View
West Woodland
John Rogers
Frantz Coe
Sacajawea
Greenwood
Broodview Thomson
Northgate
Viewlands
Olympic Hills

And the vast majority of those schools have quite low numbers of African American students, the majority of them well, well below the 8% of Seattle's population that's African American. So, yes, red-lining was a thing and its effects live on. As do many other societal factors that influence the lives of African Americans and everyone else in our society. But if you select kids out of schools that are whiter than average, you're going to end up selecting kids that are whiter than average. Right? How can you not?

Why isn't PulEAZE more upset that Coe, Schmitz Park, Whittier, Queen Anne, Wedgwood, North Beach, West Woodland, Lawton, View Ridge, Thornton Creek, Green Lake, Catharine Blaine, Loyal Heights, John Stanford Intl., Salmon Bay, Bryant, and McDonald are so white? Why is it just Cascadia that bugs him/her?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Silly Turtle, well, good that you know the history of redlining but it would have been helpful to acknowledge it in your post.

Yes, I understand the issues about why HCC has a large population of white students. It does beg the question as to why principals with large populations of children of color don't work to find those children and get them into programs that would support their learning. It also begs the question as to why Thurgood Marshall - with HCC right there - doesn't have more kids of color in the program. Almost like the principal doesn't want that program to work for those kids.

I see your point on obsessing over Cascadia and HCC and hope to address that soon.

Anonymous said...

julie tried to scaffold kids into app. i believe katie may abandon that in favor of solving the optical concerns vs making a true effect to a possibly missed student.

redlining is one thing but look at the map next year for meany that is the modern redlining and to what purpose? probably to have bcc prop up wms. That said it may backfire on tolley... If enough cap hill parents say no thanks to high flr school.

-nc

Melissa Westbrook said...

NC, are you the original "NC?" If not, pick another moniker.

Yes, I feel the same about the boundaries for Meany as I do for Cedar Park. There is no reason to create high F/RL schools.

Anonymous said...

The original. And thanks for all your work and advocacy.

-nc

Anonymous said...

Melissa,

Why do you keep blaming principals for low diversity in HCC?

It is ill-informed and wrong.

The lack of diversity is the result of not using proper norming
to score the test. I have linked the CogAT author numerous times
because he is the one who has made this clear. I have also linked
gifted sites that state this as basic best practices in identification.

Universal testing or blaming principals or any other excuse is
ridiculous at this point.

Eastside schools do their own version of this by keeping the
entry at 1 percent for the demographics that are overrepresented in
Seattle.

State law and/or a civil rights lawsuit will eventually make SPS
stop this blatant injustice.

Holding your ears and blaming principals while denying the need
for proper norming is simply beyond the pale at this point.

FWIW

Lynn said...

Which Eastside districts are identifying students in the way you'd prefer?

Here are the percentages of students in Bellevue (Edmonds) Seattle and (WA State) in each group identified as highly capable in 2015-16.

American Indian/Alaskan Native 0% (2%) 1.7% (3%)
Asian 20% (9%) 7% (11%)
Black/African American .75% (2%) .7% (2%)
Hispanic/Latino 1.3% (1%) 2% (2%)
Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander 2% (0%) .8% (2%)
Two or More Races 8% (5%) 9% (6%)
White 4% (4%) 13% (7%)

Total identified students in local districts:
18% of Mercer Island students
11% of Bainbridge
10% of Bellevue
8% of Seattle


Once again, I'll note that the author of the CogAT says identifying the top students in each group makes sense if you're going to create a program that meets students where they are and builds on their success. Our district provides HCC services for two reasons; to meet the requirements of the law and to provide a basic education for advanced students for whom the general education classroom cannot differentiate. Because we have no program to support students with the potential to be highly capable, Lohman would approve of our identification methods.

Anonymous said...



fwiw, you need to understand that julie b. did try get kids in gen ed at tm into app. that program has ended. i believe it was because after enough attempts to move kids into app there were no successes. i think the best that can happen is be prepared for those kids if they should be identified to make the switch.

i do believe that it ended with katie may coming into tm. i know that katie may is running loose with the rules in efforts to solve an optic-only problem with the prior blessing of tolley. to be clear tolley is doing this to divide and conquer. i know that you fwiw find these comments sacrosanct but having been at this for a long time i have only on view on this.

thanks lynn, facts-be-damned post are so tedious; having real data points shows that sps is trying but it is hard to overcome homelessness and ell learners which comprise over a quarter of the black students in sps ( i doubt the ses issues are that extreme on the eastside).

-nc

Anonymous said...

@ fwiw, yes, you keep linking to articles on the use of local norms, but it seems you haven't bothered to read those articles closely. As lynn stated, that Lohman piece suggests the use of local norms wouldnt make sense if you were only offering a one-size-fits-all gifted program, like SPS does. There are many of us who have pushed for a more intensive, tailored program targeted to high potential students from underrepresented groups, and the use of local norms for that would be perfect, but alas, SPS won't do it--too expensive.

What did you mean with your comment about Eastdide schools limiting over-represented groups to 1%? The numbers lynn posted don't seem to bear that out. Additionally, are you suggesting they would deny an HC student HC services based on the color of their skin or how much their parent makes or something?

HF

no caps said...

fwiw to me is soft on facts and hard on dogma. just like tolley and like blandford.

nc nocaps

Anonymous said...

Perhaps there should be a racial breakdown of who owns ugly sweaters and we can start building culturally and ses tolerant curriculum from there?

26 percent of surveyed Americans own an ugly Christmas sweater or plan to buy one this year.

Lol

ML said...

Parents already choose if they want to send their kids to kindergarten at 5 or 6. Why not just let them choose if they want the kid to enter into kindergarten (aka general education) or first grade (aka spectrum) or second grade (aka HCC). The kids would have to maintain some certain benchmark level, and if they didn't they would be held back a year. I'm betting parents would do a pretty accurate job picking the right level for their kids. If there's a run on the HCC (two-years-accelerated) group, you just have more classrooms doing that.

Actually, instead of doing all the CogAT and achievement testing, you could just have any kids who want to "challenge" into HCC skip two grades ahead for a few weeks. Then at the end test them on what they learned. If the kids are keeping up and learning at the end of challenge period, they can officially join the two year accelerated program.

And maybe SPS could re-introduce some sort of one year accelerated program. Since there would be a lot more demand for that than the two year accelerated program.

But this would get rid of the grass-is-greener mentality. People would have the freedom to try it. It wouldn't be the right fit for most kids. That's what the current system of referral, CogAT, achievement testing is meant to predict. To save everyone the trauma and hassle of trying and finding out it's not a good fit. But the bitterness would be more appropriately directed at the all the real-life factors that make this kind of program not a good fit for most kids instead of scapegoating the program.

Anonymous said...

"But the bitterness would be more appropriately directed at the all the real-life factors that make this kind of program not a good fit for most kids instead of scapegoating the program."

well good luck with that ml. sorry nothing will reduce the scapegoating. look at 9th graders at ghs. not hcc 9th graders, just 9th graders. they could have chosen either honors or not. that choice wasn't good enough. and they are still scapegoating in their malpractice review of the program... saying oh yeah no difference in performance. you bet if you continue iv's of hate-koolaid why should we expect a reasonable review. did we expect the teacher saying it was appartheid to say why did we do this? no. they will tell you whatever they need to support their dogma.

sorry it is not. they are wrong. fwiw is wrong. anyone who thinks this is simple isn't paying attention. tolley, blandford and many others want to make hcc disappear. FOR ENROLLMENT. i have heard it said several times that the last minute adjustment of hcc kids is unpopular with principals that are losing kids. there is no stability. to protect the admin staff they decided why not just cut teachers who lose kids to hcc leaving whole school in a lurch. win win for tolley.

-no caps /nc

Anonymous said...

Grade skipping isn't an ideal situation, for a number of reasons. For one, I doubt many 2nd grade teachers want a bunch of K-age kids in their class. HC students may be cognitively and academically ready for K, but they are still 5-year-olds, and often still act like it. Would teachers be ready to deal with so much more developmental asynchrony?

Two, they'd still be in Gen Ed classes. A second grade class might be enough for an entering K-age student, but what happens a little down the road, once they settle in? The pace of the class will likely be too slow, the depth of coverage too shallow, etc. Just because the material is covered a couple years earlier does not mean it's covered in an appropriate way to match the needs of HC students. cladses would still be geared toward GE students, who require significantly more repetition, etc.

Three, classes would contain huge ranges of ages and abilities, requiring much more differentiation (or more likely, greater unmet needs). You'd have your regular range of GE students, plus some advanced Spectrum-type students opting to skip one year, plus some HCC type kids who were two years younger. Students wouldn't all magically mesh: rather the young ones would likely band together--for protection, and because as advanced students they'd have more in common. If people complain that "walk-to's" make kids feel bad for being in the low group, how do you think kids will feel if they have a bunch of kids two years younger in their class--and how will they feel when those little kids are outperforming them? It's a recipe for a big mess.

Four, where do you draw the line? Can a kid skip ahead three years if they are ready? And can you only skip once, or can you skip more each year if it's too easy? What happens when you have 8-yr-olds in middle school or 12-yr-olds in high school? Do parents really want their HC kids graduating from high school at age 15-16 or even earlier? Do we want a bunch of 12-yr-ol freshmen going to high school dances? Playing on high school football teams? Etc? Or is it ok to deprive them of a typical childhood experience because they're HC?

I'm sure there are more issues to consider as well. If Seattle only had a few gifted kids, this might be our best bet for dealing with it given the constraints. But that's not our situation. This would be a lazy, uncreative approach. We can do way better than this, creating programs that better serve all kids.

Half Full

Anonymous said...

Bellevue is getting written up for having great math results. Their program is different from our program, maybe more integrated? They have a range of languages and nationalities, but not the income disparities. Regardless, there must be something we can learn from them. Let's start with their org chart. Typically what you value shows up in the org chart. Anyone out there have time to figure out a side by side analysis of Bellevue School District central admin org chart compared to SPS?

Org Culture

Anonymous said...

@ org culture, what kind of "great math results"? At all levels, or specific grades? All schools, or specific ones? GE classes and/or gifted? Based on what type of outcomes?

If you have any details to share, that would be more helpful.

DisAPPointed

Melissa Westbrook said...

I will have a brief write-up on Bellevue SD (there was an article in the Times.) But also, just like everywhere else, Bellevue has its own race issues.