Thursday, January 05, 2017

Director Geary on advanced learning

Let's start with this disclosure: I agree with Director Geary.

Here's what she said at the Board meeting on January 4, 2017 during a discussion of the CSIPs and, specifically, the description of advanced learning services in those CSIPs:
"I’m glad that you brought up the Advanced Learning piece because thinking about this it is an outward-facing document. And facing a decision through the Student Assignment Plan to have to create another self-contained school is really creating a real problem for me.

"And I think it stems -

"The burgeoning of the Highly Capable Cohort, in part, stems from the fact that people don’t have faith that the needs of their student are going to be met. And so it’s going to be important that while Advanced Learning, of course, is a piece of differentiated learning embedded in MTSS, that this is a population that’s going to be very specifically looking because they have an opportunity to make a choice. That is part of our system. And if it says nothing in the school that they are facing then, of course, they will choose the one that has the mission in a self-contained environment to serve their student.

"So it’s very important to me, and to the extent that we want consistency, and we want to hold people accountable with regard to the services provided as Advanced Learning Opportunities for any student really – not just ones that are tested or designated or pointed to because we want to try and close the opportunity gap as well - that we make sure that if you need it then you need to be working with the other members of this district to come up with what we can provide as assurances through our advanced learning. And I know that this is something that’s an ongoing piece of work, but it’s got to keep wrapping around and as that advanced learning piece is developed for a district-wide approach, that we are, as quickly as possible, making sure that is known within our schools what the expectation is and that it is showing up in our CSIPs because I, personally, do not want any more self-contained schools in this district.

"I think that they are a form of institutional and structural racism that I simply cannot support. So let’s try to really focus in on what it is that is causing that problem and try to untangle it each little place we can.

"Thank you."
Director Geary gets it.

It is not a moral choice to deny children an education, so if you oppose self-contained advanced learning services, then the only moral path you can follow is to encourage schools to develop effective inclusive advanced learning services that make self-contained programs unnecessary.

Unfortunately, the very people who are most opposed to HCC are, in many cases, the same people who oppose the creation of authentic advanced learning services in neighborhood schools. This reflects a failure to understand that HCC growth has been fueled by the refusal of neighborhood schools to serve advanced learners. If families are refused service in their neighborhood school - often explicitly, they will seek it at the school which promises to provide the service.

We need clear, meaningful descriptions of advanced learning services in CSIPs - not to serve one part of the community over others, but to keep the community united. While there are many who pit the interests of various sub-groups against each other, Director Geary highlighted how everyone's interests are actually aligned.

131 comments:

Anonymous said...

OK, but the new school she's beefing about is Decatur, in the heart of predominantly white View Ridge/Wedgwood territory, where meaningful Spectrum has recently been destroyed, so where's the institutional racism?

If all the HCC kids in the district were sent back to their neighborhood schools, highly capable little brown children would still be ignored and passed over because we have no required gifted training or endorsement and too much implicit bias to recognize giftedness beyond the white geek stereotype. Squirrelly little white boy? Get him tested! Squirrelly little brown boy? Discipline him. Bright little girl of any color? Ignore her, she'll just go read a book or be a little teacher helper.

open ears

Charlie Mas said...

open ears, you're not disputing Director Geary's position, you're making her case.

She was explicit when she said that inclusive advanced learning in the neighborhood school would not be exclusively for "ones that are tested or designated or pointed to". Authentic advanced learning would be accessible to all students because nearly every student is working beyond Standards in some discipline at some time and should be supported in that work.

She's not talking about ending HCC and pushing all of the HCC students back to their neighborhood schools. Can we set that irrational fear aside? She's talking about creating authentic services in the neighborhood schools so the HC students don't leave in the first place. She acknowledges that the absence of such services is why the district needs self-contained schools and why HCC is so big. She's saying that HCC would be a lot smaller if people weren't denied service at their neighborhood school. And if HCC were a lot smaller, then maybe she wouldn't have to approve the creation of additional self-contained schools.

Another Name said...

I've not seen a general education classroom that adequately meets the needs of advanced learners. The district isn't even close to meeting the needs of advanced learners in general education classes.

It is only a matter of time before parents take their children out of the district.

Another Name said...

"I, personally, do not want any more self-contained schools in this district."

To me, Geary's statement appears to support dismantling of HCC schools.

Anonymous said...

I agree with her that neighborhood schools have an obligation to teach advanced students, which they are failing now. I agree that we should focus on that. I disagree that this will be done by next fall, or that the 750 students at Cascadia deserve to remain in overcrowded conditions (and, let's remember, almost certainly split to Olympic Hills the following fall if this does not occur, robbing Olympic Hills of title 1 money, and leaving no flexibility for enrollment planning), over solid staff analysis and teacher complaints. Yes let's focus on advanced learning. I will commit right now to help. But also yes Cascadia needs to be split next year. It doesn't matter if the program is in two buildings or one for her complaints. But the children in it will be able to receive an education if it is in two.

Split it, and then shrink it. THAT is the only morally defensible action.

-sleeper

Charlie Mas said...

@Another Name, not adding isn't synonymous with subtracting.

Also, it's critical to understand that Director Geary acknowledges that the HCC schools are now necessary because the neighborhood schools are failing to serve this population.

I mentioned the foolishness of people who oppose advanced learning services in their school and then screech even louder when HCC grows - as a direct result of the absence of advanced learning services in the neighborhood schools.

I should also mention the contradiction of people who say that they would have preferred to keep their child at their neighborhood school if the neighborhood school had only provided advanced learning services, then refuse to give neighborhood schools the opportunity to provide those services.

Let's try to move this away from an adversarial perspective to a more cooperative perspective. It would be best if every child, regardless of their academic needs, could be served at their neighborhood school. Now let's work towards that instead of denying some children services for one reason or another.

There will be, for a variety of reasons, some kids who need specialized instruction and need to be brought together over a wider geographic area to form a cost-effective cohort. I'm thinking of the medically fragile, deaf and hard of hearing, blind, new immigrants without any English at all, and the severely gifted. But there are a lot of students with disabilities, English Language Learners, and advanced learners who can be served in their neighborhood schools, and it is better for everyone if they are.

Anonymous said...

I don't see how you can have kids working at 3 different grade levels in math in one classroom and maintain effective oversight, instruction and rigor for each group. I would like to have someone, anyone, explain mechanistically how that works in the classroom. Surely, if it is this is such an important transition to make schools must have a model for teachers to emulate. I keep hearing a lot of words about how bad tracking is and how important it is to provide AL services in a blended classroom. But nobody ever goes to the trouble to outline how this is done.

Our AL needs were met perfectly well with an inclusive Spectrum class and Spectrum trained teachers. The district eliminated the program mid-year. Mid-year. They told us we could switch schools if we wanted to stay in Spectrum. Why should anyone.....ANYONE....trust the district at this point? We moved to HCC (thinking that state mandated AL support would not be eliminated mid-year) just as the district handed the implementation of the program to the discretion of individual principals. Our principal at Hamilton was expressly hostile toward AL. At this point I would advise anyone who can do so to avoid the Seattle public schools. I would not have said this 7 years ago. But the district is now, as a whole, too hostile toward academically engaged kids to be trusted with them.

-Run

Having Nightmares said...

My ALO elementary school was abusive to my gifted child. They had no training in what giftedness is and could not recognize what they were seeing and refused to accept it when we explained it to them. They misinterpreted what they were seeing and tried daily to punish my child's "difference" out of my child by depriving my child of recess time. My child was suspended for non-violent, normal behaviors that other children engage in routinely without reprimand. The kindergarten teacher told me she and the principal were both "praying over my child." The principal told me he was sure my child would end up in jail one day. I assured the principal that pretty much everyone my child is related to has gone on to become a professor.

So, while I agree that neighborhood schools should definitely be letting children learn no matter how advanced they are, as a parent it gives me nightmares to even have to consider having to send my child back to a school that was so cruel and abusive to HC kids.

Anonymous said...

Holy Sh$t, Having Nightmares!!! That is insane. Please write the board with your examples and name the school.

Crock

Anonymous said...

"She's not talking about ending HCC and pushing all of the HCC students back to their neighborhood schools. Can we set that irrational fear aside?"

Maybe. But what she IS CERTAINLY talking about is forcing dangerous overcrowding for 750+ students, while she gets Thornton Creek the special ed preschool it wants as it's neighbor. She may not "personally agree" whatever that means, with having a whole school full of AHG students, but she is going to use her vote on the Student Assignment Plan to influence the scope and structure of Advanced Learning services. This is absolutely wrong.

Geary has an agenda, as do the other board members, and she is working to meet her goal of supporting and protecting Thornton Creek.

Split Cascadia. Then absolutely work to provide AL services in ALL SCHOOLS. The HCC will shrink at all grade levels if the district can provide AL services in every school. AL can benefit all kinds of students, but the key is having it available everywhere. I don't share the view that she actually understands or supports this point.

Seattle

Anonymous said...

If TC doesn't want a "mega school" then why did they decide to grow?

Back Fire

SPSparent said...

Great idea to beef up advanced learning services at all neighborhood schools...but exactly where would the money for that come in a highly budget constrained year??

Anonymous said...

Run, I agree with you. This is the first year in 20 years I haven't had a child as a Seattle student. In that space of time, nothing that was a problem ever changed for the better. My tentative cynicism (it's just one principal that acts this way, right?) became a permanent lack of trust in even basic functions. A school is a school. It's only a social construct if you make it one. There have to be other school districts that don't simply take the money, run, then give a good share of it away in costly settlements, all to avoid doing what schools are supposed to do: Meet the needs of the students that walk through their doors, the ones they count on every year for the cash.

If my family had one shot at a re-do, two of my students would've remained home-schooled and the one that wanted private school would've attended, come hell or high water, instead of being bullied and held back while trouble makers were given all the air in the room.

Good riddance.

Westside

N. P. said...

Thornton Creek moved out of the Decatur building months ago, but they still view it as theirs. The TC community does not get to dictate who moves into the building next door. No matter how many pearl-clutching letters they write to the board. Talk about NIMBY! Maybe Thornton Creek doesn't want HCC moving in next door because the side by side comparison would reveal that the HCC population is MORE diverse by just about every conceivable metric. Awkward, huh?

Thornton Creek and Decatur are two schools located next door to each other. Like JAMS and Nathan Hale. Like Robert Eagle Staff and Cascadia. Two schools next to each other is not a mega-school.

And Geary? She wants all kids to STAY in their own neighborhoods. That's not exactly a way to increase diversity in her zone of the city.

Anonymous said...

@Run suggested "At this point I would advise anyone who can do so to avoid the Seattle public schools...the district is now, as a whole, too hostile toward academically engaged kids to be trusted with them."

Seconding...for your own mental health as well as your child's.

-exhausted


Melissa Westbrook said...

Back Fire, just to be fair, the size of the school/building is mostly in the hands of people at JSCEE, not principals. (But wait for it; it'll probably be "site-based" soon.)

SPS Parent, and there's the point. In the end, the district would probably save money and have more students at their home schools if they did what needed to be done. But because they rush from crisis to crisis, this kind of long-term thinking doesn't happen. Or the thinking happens but nothing changes.

Anonymous said...

Challenging a myth. From Vox:

http://www.vox.com/identities/2017/1/5/14175116/acting-white-myth-black-kids-academics-school-achievement-gap-debunked

It's worth a read and touches on public perception of those high achieving kids.

reader

Anonymous said...

Melissa, Back Fire is right. The TC community and principal made a conscious choice to grow the program and move into the new building. At that time SPS made it very clear the Decatur capacity would be used.

TC

Melissa Westbrook said...

Okay but that is not what John Miner has said for years at Board meetings. I guess he changed his mind. I did understand they would be using Decatur for something but nothing was made clear.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, TC. And if the District put any elementary school in Decatur, space will be an issue and the capacity will eventually need to be capped. So, are the TC folks who care so much about special ed going to open their hearts to gifted students? Is there room in the new TC building for a sped preschool? Does a sped preschool really need 15 rooms? Since TC is an option school, perhaps they could cap their enrollment to make space for their preschool.

Back Fire

Anonymous said...

You're right. It was definitely the party line for a long time, no growth, stay small. School leaders saw the writing on the wall, feared it would be forced by SPS to grow in a way that would jeopardize the essence of the program, and took the opportunity to grow intentionally into the new school building, knowing that Decatur would be occupied.

TC

no caps said...

institutionional racism. hcc is not nor is it segregation or apatheid. very nice use of language from a lawyer trying to get her way.... but no benefit to sps in whole. just skirting around the corners to keep perceptions of wealth inequality exposed racially.

cascadia was promised a single self contained bldg now that won't work so half of the cohort will have to struggle to fit in with another program. look at tm's challenges with that. sorry what is instutinal amnesia/ malpractice. this has nothing to do with race.

no caps

kellie said...

I have been on the design teams for multiple schools over the years, including the new Thornton Creek building.

So here are a few simple facts. The plan during the design team phase was that the old Decatur building would be demolished, either immediately at the end of construction or within a few years after BEX V planning was completed.

The campus was not designed at any point with the intention that there would be TWO schools on the campus. For example, the requirement for parking and other details would have been dramatically different if the plan had been for two schools.

The buildings are directly adjacent to each other. This is not at all like the Wilson Pacific Campus where the buildings are on opposite corners or JAMS / Nathan Hale where the schools are separated by both a street and fields.

There was consideration during the design team phase to place the buildings on opposite corners so that the old building could be used as a school but there was some technical lot coverage issue of some sort, that necessitated that the buildings be directly adjacent.

It would be nice if somehow school communities had some influence or control over their fate. However over the last decade or so that I have been following capacity and facilities issues, these decisions are typically dictated by downtown and the school communities do their best to make things work.



Charlie Mas said...

@no caps

I'm not sure how well you understand institutionalized racism and what it is, but it is not segregation and it is not apartheid and Director Geary did not use those words. So if there is a lawyer using that language it isn't her.

The promise of a single self-contained building was, of course, predicated in the cohort fitting into the building. It is NOT "half of the cohort" that will be at Decatur and HCC will have its own building there, and not have to fit in with another program.

Are you intentionally getting all of the details wrong or do you just not know them?

Anonymous said...

Kellie, maybe that was the hope, but SPS always had other plans for Decatur. From the BEX IV site:

"Seattle Public Schools plans to preserve the existing building on the Stephan Decatur School site to address projected elementary school enrollment in northeast Seattle.."

http://bex.seattleschools.org/bex-iv/thornton-creek-school/

TC

kellie said...

To be extra clear about this, it would have been very simple to design the campus with the intention that there would be two distinct school facilities operating on the campus but that would have been more expensive. It was made very clear that there was no additional budget for this.

As often happens, the reality of the project and the mythology of the project, have very little in common. This gap was not restricted to just the Decatur building. With both Cedar Park and RESMS there are huge gaps in the theory vs the reality. The theory that Cedar Park was going to be a great neighborhood school building, despite the fact that it only ever received the budget to be an interim building became a huge problem last Fall. The theory that a K8 and a neighborhood assignment middle school can share a comprehensive middle school building is now coming to face reality.

HCC at Cascadia is absolutely in need of appropriate relief and support. That said, there was no budget ever approved to make Decatur the long term home for any school. The gap between those two statements will need to be managed somehow.

kellie said...

@ TC,

I can only repeat the simple facts that was the foundation of the design and that were included in the budget.

I think the "hope" part came in after the design process but never went back to work with the on the ground reality and constraints. I can certainly understand that it looks and feels like there is a building there and it is reasonable to presume that the building would be at least in the same condition as it was when it was in use.

However, I know that the design plan had included "cannibalizing" some of the old building. I was not involved in the project after the design phase so I can't speak to the final condition of the building. That said, it is rewriting history to say that it was always the plan for there to be two schools. That is simply false.

It could have easily been the plan in reality. If SPS had committed that there would be two schools, the design process would have gone in another direction entirely.

The only other option is the SPS was deliberately deceptive during the design phase and actively lied to the architects, and design team members. I highly doubt that as I have a lot of respect for the facilities team that worked on this project.

Another Name said...

Charlie, Would you consider Honors for All dismantling advanced learning??

Anonymous said...

It's gonnna take a lot to get most parents to stay or go back to their gened classrooms. Charlie seems to think self-contained will return to neighborhood schools. Doubt it.

A good guess would be a severe restriction on students eligible for self-contained, in other words, forcing kids to return (or go private or home-school or another district.)

Hopefully the district does it right away for next year while they are deciding the new boundaries. Might as well just rip off the bandage.

THOR

Anonymous said...

Sleeper,

Can you give a little background/context for the possibility of Cascadia being split to Olympic Hills? Years sgo Sharon Peaslee brought up this (terrible, segregation-producing) idea, but in recent times I'm not aware it's come up again. By the way our high-performing school does do alot of great things including educating plenty of advanced learners BUT there is the 100% opinion among everyone I have talked to about this that there is no way we want a repeat of the Thurgood Marshall experience where self contained HCC (which is like 1% black students) is across the hall from "general education" rooms where most students are of color. So do we have this really reallybad idea to deal with again? Help any of you with inside knowledge.

P

no caps said...



charlie this was in the start of the post and stated as what jill said:
"I think that they are a form of institutional and structural racism that I simply cannot support. So let’s try to really focus in on what it is that is causing that problem and try to untangle it each little place we can."

you have to say that those problems are caused by ses and not race right? that is supported by the vast majority of studies.

that is all i am responding to. she 1./ doesn't want anymore self contained building and she states that it because of institutional and structural racism. sorry i get it all to well. this is a calculated attack on hcc based on false- racial equity. 2./ this is really institutional malpractice/amnesia. the ne folks who want to just receive the promises made by vice sups to appease them to stay in a dilapidated over crowded building with no playground and an impossible commute for 6 years were promised a continued self contained program. now you have to split it and jill wants to renege that promise.

so yeah it is with those teachers at ghs and tm who claim appartheid and segregation. and to be true it a bubble but that bubble is of upper ses families for the most part and those who don't struggle with ses challenges of homelessness nor are ell. (sped though seems equal to me in gen ed as hcc with the high rate of 2e.)

i agree with her thoughts until self contained is discussed as you see what happens when the benefits to the hcc are weighed against those perceived deficits of the school based on skin tone. look at tm.

no caps

Anonymous said...

P, I know it's a great school. It was recently ranked #1 in the city by PSBJ, right? Impressive. I also know it doesn't want to host an hcc program, and I don't believe it is a good match. Cohousing is a lot different than what we are talking about at Decatur, two programs next to each other with separate administrations allowed to develop their own cultures.

I talked to staff at one of the community meetings, after Rick Burke's meetings, and after the Cascadia PTA meeting who all indicated that the next plan, if not Decatur, would be cohoused Olympic Hills. Cascadia at its current size completely maxes out the new Cascadia site even with portables (no room for more), so when there is any more growth, the split becomes imminent and not a "choice"- ie over the summer. It is unlikely (but possible) that would be this summer, but likely in 2018. If you don't want this, I bet the board would like to hear that you'do prefer another north end HCC site at Decatur.

I don't think this is a good potential outcome and so hope it splits to Decatur. And then I hope Geary makes good on her ideas and the whole thing shrinks so much we end up only needing one building.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

maybe garfield teachers feel like they do because they see the outcomes of many students and you dont nc

yc

no caps said...

i reread your post charlie and yeah sorry i was putting words in jill's mouth but for me this is not about race, that is a straw man that the district, blandford and now jill pursue to seem engaged when in reality this about homeless and ell learners being proportionally black. hard to achieve in the 95% on achievement if you don't know where you are going to sleep that night. jill's calling this institutional racism is like those ignorant teachers calling hc parents segregationist because they didn't like the honors for no one plan. oh and how is that going exactly? or the appartheid stickers outside tm. funny none of those were outside cascadia!?!?!?

that is what jill will get if she gets rid of self contained primary programs. especially if they are housed with low ses gen ed students. it is a reality. even tm's program doesn't have a plan to teach gen ed -hcc qualified kids who want to remain in the gen ed program (or have to as kinderkids).



no caps said...

and maybe they do because they suffer from white guilt. or overactive imaginations. or gout. i will go with the later based on personal observations. the reality is all kids could have signed up for 9th grade honors. they should have had made it a challenge for all kids to make that commitment instead of foisting that obligation on the kids. sorry there were too many ways to make this about empowerment not hate. ted howard choose hate and allowed his teachers to call hcc parents segregationist. posters on this blog are similarly deluded that this is about segregation ... fill the classes up with kids who can do the work i say! otherwise stop your pseudo-social engineering and practice best practices to educate my kid.


no caps

Anonymous said...

If HCC were to co-house at OH, there would be less space because they would only let 1/3 of the school be HC, so that means around 150-250 spots for HC vs at Decatur where there is 300 or so spots available and Decatur is centrally located. If they are disgusted with self contained ("can't stomach"), let Decatur and TC share a library, Art/Music, SPED, and maybe go on some fun field trips together. Stagger start times. Bring in a fabulous principal at Decatur who can build community. Done and done!! Cap Decatur and look for ways to strengthen AL at neighborhood schools.

Wishing Well

Anonymous said...

how do you know who "can do the work" nc?

maybe they all can

dont hide behind "best practice"

cluster grouping is also "best practice"

look it up

btw gout corresponds to meat consumption,so you see these people eat?


wkiki lod


no caps said...


i am going with 100 year longitudinal study that found ability grouping in self contained classrooms best practices for districts but be coy all you want mc-t : anti-hcc hyperbole and fact ignorer (see duke/nw study).


no caps

Lynn said...

Cluster grouping is the best practice when you don't have enough gifted students for self-contained classrooms. This is not an issue in Seattle.

no caps said...


oh and i think they all can and should but to tell them the need to instead of empower them to make that decision is gout-headed. then to follow that up with hate should loose you your $170k a year job especially after the field trip debacles.

take not mc-t it is really quite easy to stick to single moniker -- not deluding anyone other than yourself.


Charlie Mas said...

no caps, you have substituted your conjecture for facts and you don't know what you're talking about so your conjecture is wrong.

I don't have time right now to catalog everything you wrote that is false, but try sticking to the facts and try not putting your words into other people's mouths. All of these people are perfectly capable of speaking for themselves and they have. They don't need you to interpret for them, especially since your interpretations are wrong. Please just speak for yourself instead of trying to speak for others. No one asked you to do it, no one benefits from your incompetent efforts, and no one appreciates it.

THOR, I do NOT think self-contained will return to neighborhood schools. You have completely misread me. In future, if you want to know what I think you can ask me and I'll tell you. You don't have to guess. I disagree with your prediction that the district will change the eligibility criteria for HC. It's very unlikely. As hard as it is to place HCC, it would be ever harder to find seats for HC students back at their overcrowded attendance area schools. HCC gives the District a useful capacity management tool that they can ill-afford to lose. It allows them to move students from overcrowded areas into any building with capacity.

Charlie Mas said...

Another Name asked if I would consider Honors for All dismantling advanced learning.

I will presume that Another Name is referencing the Honors for All 9th grade humanities classes at Garfield High School. The answer, I'm afraid, is that we don't know yet, but that time will tell. The teachers at Garfield have made it very clear that they intend to maintain the same standard of rigor in the current Honors classes (Honors for All) as they maintained in the previous Honors classes. They have not only committed to sustaining that rigor and challenge but they have promised to assess for rigor to confirm that it is maintained.

If the students are getting instruction as challenging as they would have gotten last year, and I recognize that's a pretty big condition, then I don't see how Honors for All constitutes a reduction in advanced learning. In fact, given the usual definition of rigor used in academic settings, one that includes elements of personal challenge, emotional challenge, and ambiguity, I think that Honors for All has the potential to bring MORE rigor to discussions about history and literature for high performing students.

I'm sorry that wasn't a simple yes or no response, but it's not a simple topic or question and, as with almost all human endeavors, the real difference will be in the execution rather than the concept. We just don't know yet how the execution will play out. I am encouraged that the teachers at Garfield have given serious consideration to the risks and have taken steps to address them. Will the academic rigor be the same or better? Will is be diminished? We'll find out.

Anonymous said...

@ Sleeper said: "I talked to staff at one of the community meetings, after Rick Burke's meetings, and after the Cascadia PTA meeting who all indicated that the next plan, if not Decatur, would be cohoused Olympic Hills. Cascadia at its current size completely maxes out the new Cascadia site even with portables (no room for more), so when there is any more growth, the split becomes imminent and not a "choice"- ie over the summer. It is unlikely (but possible) that would be this summer, but likely in 2018. If you don't want this, I bet the board would like to hear that you'do prefer another north end HCC site at Decatur."

This comment seems designed to pit school communities against each other - as in Cascadia will be situated at either Decatur or Olympic Hills. There must be other solutions for Cascadia or HCC that don't disrupt intact, well functioning school communities like Oly Hills or Thornton Creek. - Cap Hill

dj said...

Fwiw, I have an HCC student in "honors for all" at Garfield. It is less challenging and rigorous than the middle-school LA classes my kid took and her impression is that "honors for all" has been more like "honors for no one". She doesn't care that much -- LA isn't her favorite in the first place -- but my impression definitely isn't that the class is in any sense rigorous.

Charlie Mas said...

dj, I regret to say that the complaint that classes at Garfield, including Honors classes, are not as rigorous as HCC/APP classes at Washington is neither new nor unique to Honors for All.

While your child's report may indicate a reduction in rigor from Washington, it doesn't necessarily indicate a reduction in rigor from Garfield last year.

Anonymous said...

@cap hill parent--what do you believe the District should do with Decatur if not fill it with students needing space to learn? The District does not plan to tear it down, they have invested in retrofitting the building. If it needs to be an option school to cap enrollment to not disrupt an "intact well functioning school" such as Thornton Creek, so be it! Would it matter, then if that option school has an accelerated focus and serves HC kids? Or is it only okay if a school goes there that has any other group of students besides HC? I'm beginning to wonder.

Fix AL

Anonymous said...

There is no reason HCC at decatur has to disrupt Thornton Creek. They will not share teachers, pcp, administration, entrance, start time, library, gym, or cafeteria. They will just be next door. I do think hcc would disrupt what Olympic Hills is doing. I did not design anything to pit anyone against anyone. That is what staff told me is the plan. We are about to vote on plan A. It is obviously useful to know what plan B is if plan A is shot down.

-sleeper

Melissa Westbrook said...

I listened to a multi-part interview with Carol Burris who is coming to Garfield next week to speaking detracking. See my thread on that for a full round-up of what that interview said.

I will note that this is one school in a wealthy district. (They spend double per student than SPS.) That said, I think most of her ideas are good but, as she and her co-author note, it takes organization, an entire school effort and a lot of PD.

I do have to wonder if anyone at Garfield will ask questions about what the other part of her newest book is about - scaling back testing.

Anonymous said...

Thorton Creek is 73% white, 7% FRL. Cascadia is 70% white, 4% FRL. Both schools pull heavily from NE Seattle. The kids at these schools are already neighbors. Neighboring schools should really be no big deal.

NE Mom

Anonymous said...

@ Sleeper - I am interested in plans C or D as framing something as either A or B pits schools and communities against each other and doesn't allow for other options to surface.

@ Fix Al - I was actually hoping SPS would place a Special Ed pre-school at Decatur which would feed into Thornton Creek and provide learning options and a seamless pathway for these children. -Cap Hill

Anonymous said...

I agree with the original post. While I know I cannot speak for every student, I think most would benefit from in-house ALO instruction. I do not believe this can be achieved by classroom differentiation for anyone except with the most talented, most dedicated teacher. This needs to be accepted to fix the problems of HCC. And I do agree- based on my own experience- that neighborhood schools with differentiated academic instruction (although there is no reason why gym class or music classes should be differentiated) are much more likely to be economically and racially diverse than the current reality.

And Kellie - I sympathize with your experience in the design process of Decatur. Loyal Heights was promised many wonderful things to make up for the fact that they were building a mega school on one of the smallest lots in the city - a courtyard with a playground, a gym with a garage door that opened so that kids could run inside and outside, a third floor to minimize the building footprint. Ever single promise was broken, and I am willing to bet that those experienced in the design process knew full well that they would be. But these promises had to be made so it could look like they were compromising with the parents and teachers.

-NW MOM

Anonymous said...

@cap hill: what about a seemless pathway for HC students in the NE for 1-12? Decatur, JAMS, HS TBD. Or a more approachable HC school for students with sensory issues and trouble fighting their way through hallways dealing with 750-800+ students? Or a nice pathway for the TC families with students who attend k-2 at TC then transition to HCC (there are a number of them.)

Fix AL

Anonymous said...

@ Cap Hill, we're not really in the brainstorming phase re: what what happens with Cascadia this fall. They are voting soon, and will be doing so based on the options already identified and vetted. It's not pitting one school against the other to talk about both options if there are only 2 under consideration. Please stop trying to make people sound obnoxious for the weighing pros and cons of the options that have been presented to them.

grown up

dj said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Getting back to Dir. Geary's comments, I don't support her larger view of HCC but I would love to see predictable AL in neighborhood schools.

Bryant gets probably the most attention for exporting so many kids to HCC, but their name also came up favorably in the CSIP discussions for their efforts to improve math instruction so that all learners, including advanced learners, are served. They've started walk-to-math and I'd describe it as an Honors for All type of approach. All leveled groups are taught grade-level standards at varying complexities and all groups are offered "extensions". By 5th grade, no matter the student, they have all technically been taught to 5th grade standards. It's consistent with Bryant's longtime philosophy (to challenge all students at their level, regardless of label, which of course wasn't actually ever happening), which distinguished them from the NE Spectrum schools when they existed.

I wouldn't be happy to see "deeper" and "extensions" be the approach to ALO consistency in elementary schools, though. It limits students, for example in middle school math placement (currently decided by the standards reflected on a student's report card, so no official acceleration is a problem for these students later, even with the parent option to opt up one year). To get back to Dir. Geary's comments, does she support AL in every neighborhood elementary school that requires offering one year's acceleration in math and for example would allow students to "track" into different levels of math as sixth graders?

H.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I don't think we truly know what each Board member thinks on this issue.

We don't know how well-versed they are on this issue (but I perceive Director Peters is).

I do know when I mentioned to Director Geary about this lengthy timeline to "review" Al, she mostly shrugged. She did want to see it become one of the Strategic Goals - which is great - but didn't see that timeline as problematic. I do.

Anonymous said...

not "shrug-gate" again


memories

Anonymous said...

I'd love to get serious about advocating for predictable AL in neighborhood schools but individual advocacy directed at school admin doesn't work. I don't expect the board to go in and micromanage policy at a school like Bryant, but at the same time, it would be nice to find someone that acknowledges that families should have predictable access to acceleration, at least a grade level in math.

H.

Melissa Westbrook said...

It is NOT micromanagement to ask for clarity about a district-wide program.

It is NOT micromanagement to ask how the district is reaching out in new and different ways to parents of students who may benefit from a district-wide program.

It is not micromanagement to ask how the district is supporting learning for all students in real and concrete ways.

Anonymous said...

@Melissa" I will note that this is one school in a wealthy district. (They spend double per student than SPS.) That said, I think most of her ideas are good but, as she and her co-author note, it takes organization, an entire school effort and a lot of PD. "

Melissa-- Yes, lots of differences. Rockville Center on Long Island is very wealthy. Think Madison Park. At South Side HS Approx 15% are considered economically disadvantaged. Very small district, like many on LI, with only one high school. My cousin sends her kid to school in that district.Class sizes are also about half of ours. Cousins property taxes are $15,000 per year, she said she has friends pay as much as $20,000. NY has a state income tax. Per pupil funding is much higher, yes likely at last double. Also, their high school actually tracked kids previously, unlike Garfield in which AP courses are open to anyone who decides to take them.
- Jane

no caps said...



sorry charlie i know a great deal more about self contained hcc then my post led you to believe.

1./ jill said hcc self contained is institutional racism.

is it charlie?

2./ sps is trying to dismantle hcc self contained based on racial equity.

you don't buy that charlie?

3./ tm and ghs are the camel's nose under the tent to make that happen all in the name of equity. thank you michael tolley.

no concern for the advanced learners in the mix, right?

it is pretty clear cut charlie but if you like 90% of jill's message, you can't ignore she is wrong about the 10% racism claim.

Anonymous said...

Sleeper, THANK YOU for the heads up. Wow. District staff are actually talking to members of the public about putting HCC at Olympic Hills without ever talking with OH parents, teachers, or community. Just wow. This alone represents a huge level of institutional racism. It is so exhausting. We as a school succeed despite long odds yet are constantly in the crosshairs. It's kind of like they really don't want to see a gap-closing school stay successful....

P

Charlie Mas said...

1./ jill said hcc self contained is institutional racism.

is it charlie?

Yes. It is. But institutionalized racism is not like individual racism. It's more like ethno-centrism. It is thoughtless, not thoughtful. I acknowledge that because it includes the word "racism" a lot of people have a visceral reaction to it and get wigged out over it, but it has none of the malice that individual racism has.

HCC is institutionalized racism because the nomination and eligibility process, which is not difficult for members of the dominant White, middle-class, college-educated, bureaucratically competent culture, presents barriers to members of other cultures. All sorts of things that don't appear as barriers for White middle class people are barriers for low-income, non-English-speaking, or less educated people. It's a lot like the way that Voter ID laws and restricted voting hours constitute racist voter suppression even though most of the readers of this blog have no trouble getting a state ID.



2./ sps is trying to dismantle hcc self contained based on racial equity.

you don't buy that charlie?

No. I don't buy that. There was a common lie in circulation that President Obama was coming for your guns. The truth is that during his presidency gun ownership expanded dramatically. The district is NOT trying to dismantle HCC. That's a lie. The truth is that HCC has grown dramatically under Michael Tolley. HCC is not at risk. It is protected by law and funded by the state. What's at risk is advanced learning for non-HC eligible students who are working above grade level. That is almost completely lost. While you were worried about HC, Spectrum was eliminated.


3./ tm and ghs are the camel's nose under the tent to make that happen all in the name of equity. thank you michael tolley.

no concern for the advanced learners in the mix, right?

All of my concern is for the advanced learners. That's why I poured over the CSIPs looking for documented plans to support them.

it is pretty clear cut charlie but if you like 90% of jill's message, you can't ignore she is wrong about the 10% racism claim.

Again, you don't seem to understand what institutionalized racism is. I would encourage you to learn about what that expression really means.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Charlie. I think more effort needs to be focused on making Advanced Learning accessible and effective in the neighborhood schools, and a concerted effort needs to be made to address the system SPS has set up the makes HCC difficult to understand, navigate and enter/exit. Identification, nomination, application, the Pathways and sequencing -- all of these elements and more are a mess.

It seems that the more people they hire in Curriculum and Instruction, the less is accomplished. I'm foggy on who is responsible.

Fix AL

some caps said...


thanks for the response charlie and i will just put this forward again as you seem to miss my point and prop up your arguments with ill fitting analogies.

1-B
"Institutional racism is a pattern of social institutions — such as governmental organizations, schools, banks, and courts of law — giving negative treatment to a group of people based on their race." clear cut stuff charlie. that is apartheid and segregation. sps hcc self contained is not.

BASED ON THEIR RACE and yet the closest you can come to say is that seattle is a majority white city therefor they can't help themselves from keeping black kids out of certain programs based on their minority status. RACIAL PROOF PLEASE charlie and jill? you need to look at this with open eyes. heck sps is a minority district white therefor based on your numbers only matter shouldn't those white students be a protected group. AND your cultural examples are actually racist. black people don't graduate from college? black people aren't middle class? black people don't know how to navigate a system (albeit a lot of folks can't navigate the mess that it is)? is it really black or is it poor. is it new immigrants? is ell learners. and do those people normally enter into hc programs? you do know information is provided about hcc in 17 languages right?

your analogy is voter fraud, really? we have mail in voting here in washington state. to the reality of institutional racism at sps; dr. vaughn and dr. martin have pushed outreach: se t1 universal testing, testing accommodations for frl students and ell students. they scrambled to add poor and ell kids in many ways. yeah they didn't formulate policy based on race and that is what you are saying they are doing. but you claim it was AGAINST black students. they haven't and they wouldn't and jill and you should be ashamed of saying that is the case. especially with only circumstantial analogies and zero proof.

no caps

some caps said...

2-B and 3-B

heck charlie don't sell yourself short on this, csips are just the latest. i remember dr. vaughn defending the splits based on the established curriculum that was already "in place" and your insistence otherwise. you were right then and you are right mostly now. that was michael tolley, though.

in-name-only used to apply to alo now it applies to hcc especially at the neighborhood schools. but demise can be measured in many ways. sure we have more kids in hcc but we also have more kids in sps. but the growth is deceptive. the program is no longer accelerated in ms, there are less self contained classes at tm and they are now trying to limit the amount of hcc self contained classrooms for hcc seemingly based on race oh and .

you suppose that this is propaganda or a lie like those used against obama. strange charlie that you should use that when the facts are much more compelling. and you see correlation all over the place as causations. YOU ARE WRONG. dead wrong.

hcc has grown DESPITE michael tolley. yeah the legislation helps. two task forces and an 11th hour recommendation that finalize a plan for hcc to meet the state's law. if tolley fostered hcc he wouldn't have waited years to get this done. the legislation was signed long before.

no hcc curriculum still. why? no hcc best practices other than cohort grouping. why? hcc placed with high frl populations. why? district gerrymanders wms' assignment area to increase frl population with the opening of meany. why? honors for none. why? no specializes counseling services for hc kids at the high schools? less self contained core subjects at the primary level. all recommendations from altf and you want to talk about rumors about the president. those are facts charlie many of which you have advocated for. get it michael tolley does the least amount he can to keep the program going. but nothing to make it better. if you had a doctor that maintained your high blood pressure but didn't advocate items to lower it would you continue to see her?

and you know many proposals from tolley and the district to diminish the hc services have been shot down by parent advocacy (including yours and mw) to the betterment of the program. unbelievable proposals like tm being the NORTH elementary school or that we should get rid of ALL private test. the only wedge they have is to accuse parents in the program of being racist. when nothing could be further from the truth imho. but if sound logical minds like yours and jill's see it how can simple incompetent folks like me get it right?

yeah tolley is here and the program has grown. correlation or causation? keep in mind this is despite his increasing and aggressive attempts to diminish the program.

finally sorry, i did mention al but that is not what jill was addressing in her comments. also spectrum's demise was under tolley too. but i really can't say that i advocated for spectrum at all. honestly i have no relative understanding of the program. i do see it as a way to satisfy some of the hc needs locally which benefits the district.

the reality that you and jill need to stomach is that hcc is being gutted and not fostered based on the lie of increasing racial equity. you want racial equity in hcc get more middle class black families to live in seattle and get rid of private schools that make majority white seattle have sps' student population minority white. instant solution.

no caps

It's Complicated said...

Wait, @Charlie, did you just say the nomination and eligibility process is not difficult for members of the dominant White, middle-class, college-educated, bureaucratically competent culture? Um, because I beg to differ. You have to
1. fill in the referral/application in October, two weeks into the school year (to qualify for the following school year, 11 months later)
2. take the kid to a screener across town on a Saturday morning with 2 weeks' notice
3. kid has to score high enough on screener and you have to be notified of this
4. SPS schedules full CogAT and notifies you at least 2 weeks in advance
5. take kid back across town at appointed time for full CogAT
6. kid has to score high enough and you have to receive notification of what your kid is eligible for
6. if your kid is eligible for something you have to apply for it during the open enrollment period (12 days in February)

This process is incredibly onerous. There's 4 critical deadlines strewn throughout the year. And two of them are on Saturday mornings with 2 weeks of notice. I agree that it's not intentionally racist. But SPS is definitely trying to make it really, really hard for people to get into this program even if they qualify. Really hard. Regardless of race.

The process IS difficult. Incredibly difficult. Why is SPS trying to keep kids from getting educated?

no caps said...


it's complicated,

i really think it is because they want everything one size fits all. so much easier to manage then. but the state and those pesky parents keep pushing it forward. but now option schools and immersion schools are going to get the pinch. funny no one questions the racial inequity of those programs though.

principals hate hcc schools, even some of which are who are at those buildings. hcc causes all those gaps in their enrollment even though as you say the deadline is really abbreviated after the start of the year. this also means many 2e kids overlooked because the qualification process. but imagine how much more control you could have if you could limit hcc enrollment to those who are willing to fight for it.

but to really answer your question it is just cya management and it starts with nyland and goes all the way down .

no caps

F. Johns said...

Wait, even if some kid's parent was the most tilt-the-scales, over-the-moon racist in the world, Seattle Public Schools would still have to educate their frickin kid. Right? Since when would the parents' personal views have any bearing on anything? SPS is supposed to educate the kids. ALL of them. Even if their parents are bigots. Right?

no caps said...



yep any and all. bigots and white guilt sufferers. they even have to teach the teacher at ghs kids (if she had kids) who called kids i know as fragile based on their white race. which is a lot like charlie calling black people poor, unable to navigate systems and poorly educated.

I know charlie doesn't really believe that but that is what he said in his well thought out post. sorry imho race's meaning is limited in this day and age... it is all about money and stability the two best predictors of success in school. which doesn't come with skin pigment. it comes from the home. and private schools don't help either.

no caps

Charlie Mas said...

nc, you spend a lot of time talking for other people and saying what they want and what they mean, but it's pretty clear that you don't spend any time or effort actually paying attention to what they write or say.

no caps said...

sad. cm. respond or delete your account . starting to think you are a racist!?!?! don't play trump unless you have winners. and all I see is that u are a whinner.

no caps said...

oh cm i verbatim tossed you into the ash can of sps apologist. I am surprised you fit so well. sad. OPEN YOUR EYES. it is not too late but if you think sps is doing the right thing and that jill is adding light to a institutional racism.., gfy.

no caps said...

respond to the thoughtful rebute or just call yourself tolley's toy. I point on point refuted you now....

Anonymous said...

I'm not fully disagreeing Charlie, but isn't Institutional racism when policies and practices--intentionally or unintentionally--disproportionately impact some races more than others? In this case, in your own words, HCC " presents barriers for low income, non-English-speaking, or less educated people." Those are not race. It's also not unreasonable to think that HCC rates SHOULD be lower for children of low income and less educated people, given the contribution if heritability and early childhood environment/exposures to child brain development. The assumption that rates should be equal given inequity in factors that contribute to giftedness is based more on politics than science.

I should also note that your statement that "HCC is not at risk. It is protected by law and funded by the state" is also inaccurate. Highly capable serves are required, but this doesn't have to take the form of HCC. As well, the state funding is put toward testing and eligibility, not the HCC program. The district could legally dismantle and claim they are serving HC students some other way, just like they dismantled many honors classes at Garfield and claimed they were providing honors for all.

DisAPPointed

Confounded said...

HCC presents barriers for busy people, people who have things to do on Saturdays, people who don't realize their kid's academic needs aren't being met by the 2nd week of school, people who have transportation challenges getting across town, people who work and therefore have less time for the Kafkaesque process that is attempting to get a qualifying child into the cohort, people who have multiple children and thus less time for the Kafkaesque process. Why do parents have to apply for their kids to be in the program that suits them? I can see giving families the right to opt out. But are families having to apply to get their kids into ELL? Do the families have to show up on Saturdays across town and hit 4 critical time deadlines in order to qualify for F/RL? If your kid needs a 504 plan, do you need to apply by the second week of school or too bad, so sad? At Garfield where they decided everyone desperately needed honors level classes, why didn't they make them meet the four critical time deadlines (including two on Saturdays and one the second week of the school year) in order to get what they need? If AL and HCC and ELL and SPED and McKinney-Vento busing are all services, why is it so much harder to get some of the services than others? The schools are supposed to educate all the kids. The kids have a wild variety of educational needs? Lots of kids have multiple simultaneous needs? Why is the school system favorably disposed to offering some of these services and flung into conniptions to try to prevent kids from accessing other of these services?

The education of children seems to have slipped far from the minds of the people running the system.

Charlie Mas said...

If there were a thoughtful rebuttal I would have responded to it. There wasn't.

Charlie Mas said...

Aside from the legal protections, HCC is also protected by because it provides the District with an invaluable capacity management tool. HCC gives the District a non-geographic community that they can freely relocate from crowded areas into schools with space available.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, you ignored my first paragraph. What about it was not thoughtful or well-reasoned?

"Aside from the legal protections...."??? Again, HCC is not legally protected. HC services of some nature are, but not HCC itself. Why do you keep saying otherwise? I agree that HCC has proven a useful tool for capacity management, but that's no guarantee it won't ever be eliminated in favor of an alternate approach. it's unlikely to disappear anytime soon, but certaily not impossible. They've considered eliminating HCC pathways for high school alteady (and may implement that any year now), and they've aligned middle school HCC ELA and SS classes with GE scope, sequence and standards, so it's not ridiculous to think HCC could be threatened. With the confusion and controversy over HCC middle school placement in the north end--Zander arguments to move part to Whitman and/or REMS, what's to stop them from declaring--in name, at least--that all middle schools are HCC sites, like they do for Soectrum?

DisAPPointed

Anonymous said...

According to state law, HC is not a program but a continuum of services. The district has not complied with state law regarding this continuum. The few students who need it should be in a self-contained service. The rest should be getting a continuum of services based on their needs, which will likely change over time.

WAC 392-170-078 Program services

Districts shall make a variety of appropriate program services available to students who participate in the district's program for highly capable students. Once services are started, a continuum of services shall be provided to the student from K-12. Districts shall periodically review services for each student to ensure that the services are appropriate.

Likewise, the district is not complying with the identification of students that is stipulated in state law.

For the composition of students in HC, district must "make sure student SELECTION reflects the demographics of the area they serve." OSPI references the WACs that apply to non-discrimination to back it up.

http://www.k12.wa.us/HighlyCapable/pubdocs/IdentifyHighlyCapablePrintableBookmarks.PDF

The low numbers of FRL, ELL and other underrepresented populations in SPS HC clearly are not in compliance with state law. Jill Geary's statement from the podium in a public manner, calling HCC a perpetuation of institutional racism, is highly significant.

Charlie, as he did when he saw Spectrum on life support, jumps ship--like Obama and Hillary did when they saw the writing on the wall about gay marriage.

It's okay, Charlie. Better late than never.

FWIW

Anonymous said...

@FWIW--all the things you note would make things better. I wonder what is the road block to providing services outside of the cohort and keeping the self contained portion more targeted? The budget excuse doesn't fly. I think it's the refusal of neighborhood schools to support the need for services and the inability of the district to provide baseline requirements and tools for the teachers.

Despite the loud roar many hear from parents defending self contained, there indeed is a concentric ring, starting in the middle as 1/3: loud & paranoid parents wanting self contained, next ring is about another 1/3: a group of students in the cohort because they are high achievers and their parents likely skill and drill them, the outside ring is the final 1/3 of families: bright students who need more than what they get at the neighborhood school so they reluctantly moved to the cohort and they're not happy.

Fix AL

Anonymous said...

Again, FWIW?

Here's your HC services continuum:
- Neighborhood schools, GE for those that don't want anything
- Neighborhood schools with differentiation (in-class, walk-to's, cluster grouping, etc.)
- Spectrum schools for kids who want to work approximately a grade level ahead (yes, Spectrum still exist in some schools)
- HCC elementary and middle school cohorts
- HCC pathway high schools and option high school pathway
- Honors and AP and IB courses available at many high schools

So you can stay at your neighborhood school and get nothing, stay at your neighborhood school and get differentiation, or go to a different school to get Spectrum services, or if you need even more, you can go to HCC. How is that not offering a continuum of services? What level of services are missing--where's the gap in the continuum? A continuum does NOT prescribe a particular delivery method or set menu of services, no matter how much you want us to offer the same thing as what that one school district you always cite does...

As to demographics, regardless of how OSPI may have written its guidance on the issue, the WAC itself says "highly capable students are students who perform or show potential for performing at significantly advanced academic levels when compared with others of their age, experiences, or environments. Outstanding abilities are seen within students' general intellectual aptitudes, specific academic abilities, and/or creative productivities within a specific domain. These students are present not only in the general populace, but are present within all protected classes according to chapters 28A.640 and 28A.642 RCW." It says they are present in all classes, but does not say they are present in exactly the same proportion in all classes (because that would be ridiculous, since we don't know that and it doesn't make sense with what we DO know from a scientific standpoint.) As for the composition of HC, if Seattle's demographics are such that minority students are also more likely to have grown up in poverty or have parents who are less educated, you would expect fewer minorities to qualify, based on demographics. Because early childhood experiences and exposures do impact brain development, in ways that can persist.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
no caps said...

let us call anon directly above "no name"


N. P. said...

It could simply be that Geary, who represents school board district 3, actually believes that schools are competent or willing to provide AL services in-house.

Residents of her district write a lot of letters to the school board and attend a lot of meetings. Well over 150 parents in her district wrote to the board about the fate of Cedar Park this fall. I'm not really sure why the largely (often extremely) wealthy families in her district should get to decide what happens at Cedar Park or Olympic Hills, but they sure write a lot of letters to the school board and have a lot of opinions. They also send a lot of kids to private school. And a lot of kids to the HCC program (far more than any other school board district).

So, yes, one does get the sense that elementary and middle school education in Seattle look different from that vantage point than they do to a lot of the rest of us. Writing to the school board is free. The rest of us ought to be doing it a lot more.

John D. said...

Someone wrote above that there is a continuum of HC services and described them this way:
Here's your HC services continuum:
1 - Neighborhood schools, GE for those that don't want anything
2 - Neighborhood schools with differentiation (in-class, walk-to's, cluster grouping, etc.)
3 - Spectrum schools for kids who want to work approximately a grade level ahead (yes, Spectrum still exist in some schools)
4 - HCC elementary and middle school cohorts
5 - HCC pathway high schools and option high school pathway
6 - Honors and AP and IB courses available at many high schools


But a lot of the schools don't offer anything beyond 1. My neighborhood school is trying its hardest to phase out any of the remnants of 2 that have lived on.

The school doesn't even know who could benefit from more advanced work because MTSS has them stop leveling kids when they reach "benchmark" otherwise known as grade level end-of-year expected level. If your kid is working above that at my school (and surely others) the teacher will never even know. Because they've apparently be ordered not to check for that.

So the continuum dies at level 1 with a few fading gasps of level 2. I haven't been successful in talking the school into doing #2 all the way. Apparently it's better for the teachers to have kids reading at 4 different grade levels all in the same room. Not sure why. The Spectrum school is overenrolled so you can't get into it even if you qualify. Not sure my kid would qualify for HCC. Not sure that would be a good fit.

Anonymous said...

@John D.-I think that person is out of touch with current reality at the schools. Perhaps it was a board member, or maybe that guy who rubber stamps the school CSIP's?

Fix AL

Melissa Westbrook said...

Reprinting for Anonymous (no anonymous comments per our policy):

"Consistent, effective AL at neighborhood schools is deeply implausible. It will just never happen.

1) Many principals and teachers are opposed to it for ideological reasons and won't let it happen.
2) Even where principals and teachers are not personally opposed, they lack the experience, programs and materials to make it happen.
3) Teachers are already 110% occupied with higher priorities and don't have time to make it happen.
4) If an ounce of dedicated staff time or budget is devoted to AL, it will be the first thing cut every budget cycle. A lot of the weak and fragmentary AL that does currently exist in neighborhood schools will disappear in the next few months.

Perhaps Director Geary is just clueless, with no understanding of the reality on the ground in the school system she allegedly directs. Or maybe she is being willfully deceitful, like Lucy with the football, telling Charlie Brown parents to run up and kick it hard as you can, promise I won't pull it away this time.

Consistent, effective AL can only happen self contained. Otherwise it will not happen. There is no essential difference between advocating an impossible approach to AL and opposing AL."

Anonymous said...



thank you mw. i would love to hear if you think jill's comments about institutionalized racism resulting in lower black enrollment is fair. i applaud her call to work together as this is what needs to happen. it is just her lapse to use that language that does not foster much in the way of level communication with hcc.

no caps

Anonymous said...

@ John D and Fix AL, I'm not out of touch, nor am I a board member. I also never said we offer these services consistently or well. In fact, I think all our AL programs and services (incl. HCC) suck. Or at least have major shortcomings. But in terms of being able to say the district, as a whole, offers a continuum of services, they can make that case. FWIW keeps saying we are breaking the law it not providing a continuum of services, but we do have a continuum. Consistedly implementd, effective, easily accessible? No. But does it exist? Yes.

Accidental anon, AKA
DisAPPointed

Charlie Mas said...

Sorry for the miscommunication, DisAPPoointed. The absence of a rebuttal was from no caps, not from you.

Anonymous said...

Fix AL, really? That description of your fellow HCC parents as concentric rings doesn't describe the vast majority of parents we know and I'm disappointed you, as one of its advocates, would characterize the community that way.

2HC

no caps said...

bs the absence of rebuttal was from you. you like to hide behind words don't you. then you complain that people try to figure out what you are saying. you call that putting words in your mouth. i'm done trying to figure your point is so here goes:

do you have proof of institutional racism being practiced in sps. not correlations and not stories about voter fraud but hard cold facts? it seems an awful large claim to make by a sps board director and you seem to think that is just great. but no proof. and there are several indicators to the opposite but that doesn't matter to you and jill.

you can only speak in vague generalities charlie about hcc successes under michael tolley but when the failures are pointed out you ignore multiple posters (including your own threads way back when) who share what they see is his dismantling of the program. so again what are the facts that you have that show hcc has not been water down/slowly dismantled under mt? my strongest point is no hc curriculum still 9 years later. oh and killing acceleration in ms would be number two.

i trust you will continue to ignore me charlie. i see that as pattern. you dive in snide and pompous with grand proclamations and yet when pressed you get all porcupine-defensive and ignore any counter argument with facts only being real if you judge them to be so. oh well.

no caps

Rich H. said...

The thing about self-contained HCC that makes it a very good idea is that a lot of the kids who are "gifted" have other gifted traits that neighborhood schools can't really deal with (and, in fact, don't deal with). Gifted kids have high IQs, yes, but that is just a bureaucratic proxy for a whole set of traits in this population that is different and opens them up to all kinds of challenges.

For instance, most gifted kids are very, very asynchronous in development. That means they're far ahead in some areas and very far behind in others. Kids in the HCC program might be reading at high school or college level but can't tie their own shoes--that sort of thing. Gifted kids also tend to have intensities (usually called "overexcitabilities" by child development specialists) that people outside the HCC community don't understand (and pathologize). Think kids who flip out over seams in their socks or become depressed over minor instances of injustice. And also, gifted kids just learn faster. They don't need to spend as much time mastering the same material, so if they're in a gen-ed classroom, it teaches them to tune out as the rest of the class does the repetitive work they don't need. The tuning out makes teachers think they don't understand, when the opposite is true. And then gifted kids often lack intellectual peers--the kids in gen-ed are reading and watching different things and thinking about different things, and they don't connect. They typically have a hard time making friends, and this leads to social isolation. And then there are the 2E kids--gifted who have actual ADHD, actual autism. Their needs are not well met in the geozone schools, nor in sp-ed. In the end, gifted kids are the ones who sit alone at lunch, these are the kids who are bullied for their quirks and intelligence, these are the kids who teachers and principals misunderstand.

Untrained teachers and principals in neighborhood schools see kids with these traits and think, oh, AD(H)D, autism, OCD, ODD, etc. They don't ever think "gifted"! And (in our experience, which we know isn't unique to us), principals and teachers can actually be bullies to such kids or tolerate bullying of them.

So, as a parent, you don't move your kid into the HCC program because they have a high IQ per se. You move them into HCC because the neighborhood schools can't deal with all the other things that come with the high IQ. You move your kid into HCC because your kid is floundering. Again and again you hear stories how a child was floundering, not making friends, tuning out, etc., at their geozone school, but once in HCC they could suddenly make friends and started thriving academically.

Maybe a talented teacher can differentiate in a class of 27 so the kid with an IQ of 135 has challenge. But the teacher can't teach the gifted child faster (which the child literally actually requires), the teacher can't deal with the social-emotional issues of giftedness, and the teacher can't help the kid find intellectual peers among her age peers if there are none. Self-contained gifted classrooms, if not schools, are incredibly important for all these reasons. Once-a-week pull-outs, which Director Geary also supports, would be laughably inadequate and solve none of the problems that HCC exists to address. Self-contained is not only the best model for delivering the services, it's essential for these kids to thrive.

Anonymous said...

Rich H.

Have you every worked with children who have experienced trauma? Unfortunately,
there are plenty of these children in our schools, thanks to the poverty rate in the USA. They have many "asynchronous" areas also--having seen, perhaps, violence
and other atrocities beyond their years but lacking in the ability to respond
emotionally. Yes, there are definitely some "excitabilities" when working with
students who have PTSD.

Public schools are not set up for segregating students due to perceived life experience and personality differences.

In fact, the characteristics of giftedness they you allude to are most common in creatively gifted children, not high academically achieving children.

As a side note, HCC is simply not a gifted program. It does not follow gifted protocols when determining entrance, especially since research shows that many gifted youth are actually underachieving and, therefore, would not be admitted
into HCC.

FWIW

HCC Dad said...

HCC was for many years called the "Accelerated Progress Program (APP)". That name seems like it made more sense because that is really more aligned with the curriculum and eligibility.

Perhaps people wouldn't object so much if the name didn't indicate something different for the "highly capable" aka "gifted" but instead simply indicated something accelerated for those students two or more years ahead.

That's really all I consider my kids, two years ahead. I don't consider them to be more capable or more gifted or my special than any other kids, but rather simply accelerated academically most likely because we as parents supplement a lot.

HCC Dad

Rich H. said...

@FWIW

Thanks for your comment. Yes, actually, I have worked with kids who have suffered trauma! A difficult but rewarding part of anyone's life who has the opportunity to contribute that way.

Now, the asynchrony that you are talking about due to violence, poverty, etc., is obviously developmental as well, but it generally has an environmental etiology which sets it apart both therapeutically and in terms of prognosis. In gifted populations, asynchrony is an inborn developmental normal variation not due to environmental factors that typically evens out over the course of otherwise-normal childhood development. Most gifted individuals reach adulthood well-adjusted and without a history of therapeutic medication, behavioral therapy, or other therapies so long as their academic and social needs are met at the primary and secondary levels. This is because trauma-associated asynchrony is part of a pathology, whereas giftedness is not a pathology. (That is a critical distinction.)

The term "overexcitabilities" is actually a jargon term in the field of child psychology/child development. You are using the term in a way that makes me doubt you are very familiar with the origin, although maybe I'm wrong. (Indeed, "giftedness" is also a jargon term in education science and doesn't mean what laypeople assume it means.) The concept comes out of Jan Henryk Dabrowski's theory of positive disintegration, and there is a large body of replicated research in this area. Overexcitabilities assessment is a commonly used technique for identifying gifted individuals precisely for the reason you name, i.e., it better identifies gifted creativity and gifted innovative thinking than do IQ testing and IQ-like testing (such as the CogAT). It's important to bear in mind that high performance and high grades are not the same thing as being gifted, which is why an all-A student may not necessarily be the right fit for a gifted program, but certain types of C and D students actually are (and generally become all-A students in gifted programs). You are right that gifted children are often (even typically) underachieving grade-wise, but on achievement testing and CogAT or IQ testing they also usually excel. Thus, they usually do find their way into HCC in this school district and into other gifted programs elsewhere--at least when their actual needs are identified and addressed. (In fact, focusing on identifying underachievers is the first step to expanding the racial and ethnic makeup of any gifted program, including ours.)

Your implication is that it would be better if the district used a more holistic approach to HC identification, and you are certainly right about that.

Anonymous said...

Rich H.

Thanks for your thoughtful response.

I am very familiar with the term and origin of "overexcitabilities" as applied
to gifted children. I have worked extensively with both gifted children and chidren of trauma--and plenty are both. PTSD certainly creates its own excitability. I don't
need jargon to tell me that. I call it overexcitability because it is a reaction to a stimulus with an atypically overexcited response.

If you read Rachel Yehuda's work on trauma, she is very careful NOT to pathologize
trauma because she recognizes that it has its own strengths.

Children and others who have traumatic experiences and don't recover are the ones who haven't had effective treatment, not because they are damaged for life.

This part remains:

Public schools are not set up for segregating students due to perceived life experience and personality differences.

The imagined "gifted" program that you allude to that identifies and serves creatively gifted students through careful and equitable identification does not and has never existed in SPS.

Therefore, I'm not sure what your original post was defending.

FWIW

Melissa Westbrook said...

FWIW, you keep using this word "perceived" when, it fact, there are experts who know how to figure out what it all means. And life experience and personality are not really what they are measuring but abilities, behavior and brain function.

Sandy said...

@FWIW,

Wouldn't students who have experienced trauma or who are suffering from PTSD or other psychiatric disorders benefit from access to a classroom that best suits their academic needs (be that general education, Spectrum, HCC, Special Ed, etc.)? Probably in addition to diagnosis and treatment for any psychiatric disorders they may potentially have?

I'm not sure what a conversation about that has to do with Director Geary's comments about the Highly Capable Cohort. The two issues seem unrelated unless the children you're referring to who have experienced trauma and/or are suffering from a psychiatric disorder are also highly capable and would benefit from services for highly capable students?

Anonymous said...

@Sandy,

FWIW is expressing their outrage at the possibility that any consideration might be given to the needs of undeserving gifted children who are not also poor or traumatized. They were bound to be triggered by the discussion of overexcitabilities because this infers these children might have actual problems.

FWIW believes the goal of gifted services is to make children less highly capable so they can be returned to general education classrooms as quickly as possible. They believe they are more skilled at determining whether a child is gifted than the district's professional staff.

Same Old

Anonymous said...

Sandy,

The issue is that "special" emotional needs are not confined to (the initial
misinformation) HCC or Sped but infiltrate the system. Is that news to people?

Same Old: Your conclusion is not supported by anything I have ever
have referenced or written.

FWIW

Anonymous said...

back on topic. how do we get to highlighting the fact that jill geary's comments that hcc is institutional racism. fwiw you seem to want to about talk everything else heat maps and ptsd and not the actual serving those few kids identified as hc versus sps' population.


speaking solely to "institutional racism."

1./ if there was truly an effort to keep black kids out why are there "unbelievable" accommodations for those groups that pull highly from black families. frl and ell families are given special consideration with their application. in addition the se initiative followed by title 1 - 2nd grade testing also pulls from those groups. why would a segregationist institution do that? shouldn't it really be just the opposite to fit that firm definition.

2./ now before you say hey that is "racist talk" go up to charlie's post that says blacks are poor, undereducated and not able to work within a systems requirements; therefore any program is excluding them systematically if they don't mirror the gen ed population.

which program are you about 1 or 2 fwiw? charlie is clear that he doesn't understand and the words he types are hollow and empty of fact. he isn't jumping ship he just has no ship in this harbor.

no caps

Charlie Mas said...

no caps, I keep writing it and you keep ignoring. You continue to refuse to understand the meaning of term institutionalized racism and continue to insist upon your, incorrect, definition of the term. I will agree that institutionalized racism, as you define it, is absent from HCC, but that's not the topic of discussion.

Institutionalized racism does NOT require or include "an effort to keep black kids out". That's not what it is or how it works.

I did NOT say that blacks are poor or uneducated. You can continue to pretend that I did, but my words are there for everyone to read and those are not my words.

You have not made a rebuttal because you have not addressed yourself to what I wrote. Instead, you have addressed yourself to your gross misinterpretation of what I wrote and to the baseless conjecture you made based on what I wrote. That's not a rebuttal.

There's no need to "try to figure out" what I'm saying. I write plainly and my words have no hidden meanings. Here's how to understand what I write: take the words at face value and don't presume meanings that are not plainly stated. I'm not shy about my opinions. I'm not trying to hide them or be cryptic.

Do I have proof of institutional racism being practiced in Seattle Public Schools? Yes, I do. A lot of it. The proof lies in the rates and severity of discipline for African-American students for same offenses committed by White students. That's a cold, hard fact. The proof lies in the failure to identify advanced African-American students. Rainier Scholars can find them when Seattle Public Schools cannot. Finally, the District freely acknowledges the elements of institutionalized racism within the district and is actively working to find and eliminate them. You don't see them, no caps, because you're looking for something else. You're looking for blatant, active personal racism or overt Jim Crow. That's not what institutionalized racism is or how it works - which is what I have been writing from the start.

Institutional racism was defined by Sir William Macpherson in the 1999 Lawrence report (UK) as: "The collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture, or ethnic origin. It can be seen or detected in processes, attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racist stereotyping which disadvantage minority ethnic people."

Charlie Mas said...

continued...

I did not use any "vague generalities" to describe HCC successes under Michael Tolley. That's your mischaracterization of what I wrote. Here's what I wrote: "The truth is that HCC has grown dramatically under Michael Tolley." That is neither a vague generality - it's an objectively measurable fact - nor a description of success. This is exactly the sort of grotesque mischaricterization of my statements that makes your statements an utter failure to provide a rebuttal. You don't address yourself to what I have written.

"So again what are the facts that you have that show hcc has not been water down/slowly dismantled under mt? my strongest point is no hc curriculum still 9 years later. oh and killing acceleration in ms would be number two."

The fact that it has grown, rather than shrank is the proof that it is not being slowly dismantled.

The absence of a curriculum pre-dated Mr. Tolley. There has never been an APP or HCC curriculum, so the continued absence of one does not represent a loss.

Has the program been watered down? We can't say. There isn't any evidence to show that it has or that it hasn't. There's no curriculum and there never has been one. So there's no way to compare and contrast the current curriculum to the past curriculum, is there? Short of researching the syllabus for every APP and HCC grade and course for the past twelve years, no legitimate conclusion can be reached. While the absence of evidence precludes me from reaching a conclusion I notice that it doesn't slow you down one bit, no caps. Ironic that you accuse me to stating conclusions without evidence.

Killing acceleration in middle school? HCC students in middle school are able to take math through geometry and beyond. That's as accelerated as it ever was. They are now getting accelerated science, which they didn't used to get. As for ELA/Social Studies, the district says that the HCC classes are taught two grades levels ahead. I have no evidence to support or dispute that claim, but it is the same claim that they have been making for years and years. What HCC acceleration in middle school, exactly, do you think has been killed?

I wish I could ignore you, no caps. You certainly have been ignoring me. You deny my facts, which are real and present unsupported claims to refute things I never wrote. You deserve to be ignored.

All Kids said...

I find it suspect that Director Geary is calling it out and apparently ONLY troubled by institutional racism as it pertains to the one, really quite small, program of HCC within the much larger auspices of the entire school district. If a school district with 50,000 kids has issues with institutional racism, surely these issues impact more than just the couple thousand kids in the HCC program? And the thousand or two kids who would have been eligible for the HCC program if the district weren't inept at identifying qualifying kids? What about the tens of thousands of kids in the rest of SPS? There's no institutional racism impacting any of them?

I'm not saying we shouldn't root out and fix all instances of institutional racism at SPS. We absolutely should. But it's a little weird that Geary sees institutional racism in the eligibility process for HCC as a bigger, more important issue than in how often kids get punished or who gets asked more challenging follow up questions in class or which kids are considered leaders or why schools with lower income students have this creepy attitude that kids need to learn every second of every minute of every day so they can't be given any extra play time whatsoever because they need to cram cram cram. Those things take a real toll on real kids everyday. There's plenty of institutional racism around. Easily demonstrable through statistics.

I'm concerned Geary is focusing on this issue in just one tiny program. The school board needs to address this issue throughout the entire district, in all programs. When statistics or whistleblowers say it's there, it should be investigated and if possible addressed. Not JUST in the admissions process for one small program.

Anonymous said...

What does acceleration in HCC middle school LA/SS look like now?

Yes, there was an APP LA/SS curriculum, but it was teacher driven and developed, so unwritten. Some assemblance of it remained when APP was split to HIMS, but it was slowly lost as we lost long time APP teachers. The final blow came with the opening of JAMS. Tolley aligned HCC LA/SS to grade level standards and the middle school textbook adoption did not include accelerated materials for HCC. How can it possibly be two years ahead, with grade level standards, grade level materials, and only a handful of teachers with knowledge of the older curriculum?

APP LA/SS used to be blocked, with LA readings related to the time period being studied. Readings included Homer's Odyssey and Shakespeare. Much more history content was covered, and students could enter high school and take AP World History as 9th graders.

While math and science are "accelerated," they use the grade level adopted texts (Discovering Algebra, Conceptual Physical Science, etc.) which do not offer advanced material - it's being delivered on an accelerated timeline, but it's not necessarily advanced. What middle school HCC courses are both accelerated and being delivered at an advanced, honors level? The answer depends on the teacher.

The problem then, and the problem now, is that so much of the curriculum is teacher dependent. Go back to the 2007 review of the APP program and you will see the same criticism. It somehow worked when APP was at only one location and the cohort was much smaller, but since curriculum was never put into writing with the first APP split, it has slowly morphed into nothingness. And perhaps that is exactly how SPS wants it.

I suppose both Charlie and no caps are right. There's no record of an HCC curriculum, and yet, a curriculum did exist. It would be very interesting to compare syllabi of APP/HCC classes over the years, though very few teachers have detailed syllabi of books read and topics covered - they are mostly short class descriptions with detailed classroom policies.

"fact" checker

Melissa Westbrook said...

"If a school district with 50,000 kids has issues with institutional racism, surely these issues impact more than just the couple thousand kids in the HCC program? And the thousand or two kids who would have been eligible for the HCC program if the district weren't inept at identifying qualifying kids? What about the tens of thousands of kids in the rest of SPS? There's no institutional racism impacting any of them?"

And again, somehow HCC is the major reason there is institutional racism in SPS? Not buying it but it seems as if this is being pushed - from all directions - as the reason. Hmm.

Lynn said...

Director Geary's outrage over institutional racism appears to be quite selective. If the evidence of institutional racism in HCC is the disproportionate enrollment by race, she should be in outrage overload over every school in her region.

The New Student Assignment Plan of 2009 is the single largest cause of disproportionate enrollment in our schools. Here's the percentage of Black students living in the attendance areas of every school in her region:

Roosevelt 4%
Eckstein 4%
Sand Point 12%
View Ridge 2%
Bryant 2%
Laurelhurst 2%
McGilvra 7%
Montlake 4%

In comparison, 15.7% of the district's students are Black.

The next largest contributor to disproportionate enrollment is our system of option schools. Here's the percentage of Black students in each followed by the percentage of Black students in the corresponding middle school attendance area:

Hazel Wolf 7% Eckstein 4% This is an anomaly because HW is difficult to reach from most of the schools in the Eckstein attendance area. The three schools sending the most students to HW are John Rogers (11%), Olympic Hills (15%) and Olympic View (11%).

John Stanford 1% Hamilton 3%

Licton Springs 7% Hamilton 3% The school is temporarily located in the HIMS region. The three schools sending the most students to HW are Olympic Hills (15%), Northgate (15%) and Olympic View (11%).

McDonald 0 Hamilton 3%

ORCA 12% Mercer 25%

Pathfinder 4% Madison 7%

Queen Anne 2% McClure 3%

Salmon Bay 0 Whitman 7%

South Shore 41% Aki 36%

STEM 12% Denny 25%

Thornton Creek 1% Eckstein 4%

TOPS 13% Washington 33%

HCC is a program created to meet the academic and social needs of a protected group. Our option schools are created to fulfill the desire of (non-black) parents for a different teaching methodology or curricular focus. Their existence increases the segregation of black students in our attendance area schools.

Anonymous said...

@ Charlie, you stated: As for ELA/Social Studies, the district says that the HCC classes are taught two grades levels ahead. I have no evidence to support or dispute that claim, but it is the same claim that they have been making for years and years.

I'm not sure they state that anymore. The "two years ahead" thing was removed from the AL website a couple years ago, and around that same time Kathleen Vasquez presented on the new LA/SS scope and sequence for middle school HCC and was very clear that they were to go "deeper" into grade level standards rather than move to higher grade level standards. Not that going "deeper" even makes sense with many of the standards, but that was the plan/directive. If LA and SS were two years accelerated in the past, it seems there's been some dismantling in that regard when they decided to "align" these middle school HCC classes with GE. Additionally, the fact that 9th graders are no longer allowed to skip ahead to AP World History in 9th (because GHS staff apparently found they weren't ready) suggests that middle school HCC social studies has suffered a loss of rigor.

DisAPPointed

Anonymous said...

Just because there is segregation in the SAP and option schools doesn't mean it doesn't exist in HCC. Nor does it mean that Jill Geary had no right to call out HCC.

This rhetoric is a classic method of avoiding or changing the subject and kids use it all the time: "See! They did it, too! I skipped in the hall, but she ran!" Teachers hear it daily.

The SAP is egregious and so are the option schools.

However, there is something particularly egregious in the lack of representation of African Americans and FRL/ELL students in HCC.

This is the program, supposedly, for HIGHLY Capable, some call gifted. There is a horrible history of bell curves and eugenics that this fits into. Some are now routinely saying, "Oh, poverty is making THEM less smart than ours! Science
backs us up!" Science was backing up the other versions, too.

History will not look kindly on this...at all.

FWIW

Sandy said...

@FWIW,
I'm not saying it's not a serious, egregious situation for the several hundred to a few thousand African American, hispanic, Native American, FRL/ELL kids who would be eligible for HCC services but whom SPS is failing to identify for such because SPS is being institutionally racist in how is carries out the identification and eligibility assessment for these children. This is also a serious, egregious problem for all the current HCC children who are being deprived of all the perspectives and contributions those unidentified kids would be bringing to the cohort if they had been identified and their parents had chosen to send them. But we're still only talking about a couple thousand kids at the most.

And surely somewhere among the other 45,000+ school children in the city of Seattle, some of them are ALSO suffering from the effects of institutional racism right now. Fixing institutional racism as it affects HC kids is definitely something SPS should do. But it should also fix institutional racism affecting the other 45,000+ kids in Seattle.

It would actually be really shoddy of SPS and the school board to ONLY care about reducing institutional racism for gifted kids. Are kids who aren't identified as gifted somehow less important? This school district, this city, this state, this country need to root out and correct institutional racism as it affects our school children and residents and citizens EVERYWHERE WHERE IT OCCURS. Not just for gifted people.

Jill Geary is on the school board. It is actually her job to call out institutional racism where she sees it in SPS and see that it gets fixed. Hopefully she will fix SPS's chronic underidentification of eligible hispanic, black, and Native American students for HC services. I just hope that ultimately she cares about eradicating the effects of institutional racism on all SPS's 53,000 kids, not just the gifted ones.

no caps said...


On Racial Identification into HCC:

thank you charlie for your response but it is more of the same argumentative conjecture. the fact that fwiw and you are tilting at the same windmills should speak volumes to you. where ell and frl are evident you see race. both of you. fwiw at least admits that those are a factor and i guess you do when you say "All sorts of things that don't appear as barriers for White middle class people are barriers for low-income, non-English-speaking, or less educated people." (that is why i said you said black = poor and undereducated... because you did).

so how does white really matter in that sentence? when really you are talking about new immigrants and frl students.

show causation if you want to prove such a highly evil act as "discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racist stereotyping which disadvantage minority ethnic people."

so your michael tolley, who oversees this, is ok with racial prejudice used in assignment to hcc? i don't even believe that! as i have written repeatedly there have been several programs to place from the ell and frl student base. in addition, it has been well known that those two groups get more wiggle room on their applications then kids not in ell and frl. and you know that the al office works hand in hand with the sps' racial opp team. right? al has been put under a microscope to add racial balance to the program and i would think that should be applauded but they can't just ADD black students to the mix like fwiw thinks they can. that would be illegal. but they have added frl and ell learners and will continue to. again imho the only way to get sps' racial numbers equal to the student population you need more middle class black families in seattle and outlaw private schools.

oh and you mention rainier scholars. first that is a private organization right, who can admit whomever they want. and you know full well they don't just recruit black kids: "We recruit those students who have the greatest number of barriers to a college education. More than 85% of our scholars qualify as low-income. More than 90% come from households where they will be the first generation to earn a four-year college diploma." so they too look at frl and ell as factors NOT race alone.

their application process is designed to find "Beyond test scores and typical academic indicators, we look for students with a fierce work ethic and a determination to use education as a pathway to a brighter future filled with opportunity. We seek curious young people who want to enrich their lives and their family's life through the transformative power of education. We search for candidates who understand the value of Excellence, Perseverance, Integrity and Courage and are ready to apply them in their own journey. To help us identify these characteristics in our candidates, we use test scores, interviews, recommendations, essays and family surveys." but you do have to have the test scores. and finally rainier scholars is not a hc program. it is a program that is designed to get you college ready with tons after school commitment.

good luck getting rainier scholars through sps and not because they are racist charlie because no public entity could use those metrics for placement. so why do you even bring them up? are you ignorant or just love a good sophist argument? sadly i am going with the latter. i have repeatedly thanked you for your advocacy ... but now i see that it is dull, vague and mostly bullying.

no caps

no caps said...

On Michael Tolley:

thank you lynn, disappointed, mw and fact checker for your fact filled responses. and good god charlie this man lied to you. he said at the splits there would be curriculum and since then... no curriculum. he said they would put cascadia in its own self contained building and now they aren't (after years in a dilapidated, overcrowded hs with no playground). he has allowed site based management to erode hims, jams, wms, tm and now ghs. he has made self contained = racist. it has been a systematic process smearing many great advocates for all students.

ms math is not (nor ever has been) a hc class anyone. can take it as long as they have the prerequisites. ms hc ss/las is who knows what. varies from school to school but they aren't accelerated anymore. but we will never know because tolley lied about the curriculum as a condition for the splits and then never delivered. that is the salient point charlie he said he would deliver it and never did. never intended to imho.

so yeah charlie how do you square that; the item you advocated tolley never delivered and now hc is suffering greatly. larger bag of rocks means nothing charlie if you are starving. bigger program doesn't mean it is working. and why did you advocate for a defined curriculum when tolley split app? because i assume you knew the challenges ahead going from one primary and one ms to two of each. you knew it would require coordination or it would falter. it is faltering and primarily thanks to mgj and her guy mt. i advocated for curriculum with you charlie.

finally you say you can't ignore me... but you have no trouble ignoring the facts. let's make a deal charlie ignore me not the facts like you use to.

no caps

Anonymous said...

This is the program, supposedly, for HIGHLY Capable, some call gifted. There is a horrible history of bell curves and eugenics that this fits into. Some are now routinely saying, "Oh, poverty is making THEM less smart than ours! Science backs us up!" Science was backing up the other versions, too.

FWIW, so to be clear, are you denying the science on poverty and brain development? If so, that would be helpful for us to know. Research has shown that poverty is correlated with smaller brain volume, and that difference persists over time. The idea that you can take 1000 kids born into poverty and 1000 kids born into well-resourced families and expect that rates cognitive and academic potential will be equal may be PC, but it's not supported by research. Or experience.

Is there some level of institutional racism (which may include lack of parent education on how to use the system) in SPS in general and HCC specifically? I"m sure there is. But is that the only reason for the racial disparities in HCC and AL eligibility? Probably NOT. Have you ever seen an analysis done by SPS or the AL office that breaks down eligibility numbers by income instead of race? I haven't, but I bet it would look somewhat better. They could probably analyze the data controlling for a lot of other key factors, too, such as FRL, parent educational level, single parent household, etc. If we control for those, race might not be much of a factor. Wouldn't that be good to know? The AL office should really get on that...

DisAPP

no caps said...


cm says let us pay attention to voter fraud as an analogous reason that there are racist policies at sps. pretty big stretch right. so fwiw and cm don't speak to the facts. there is an entire department of equity and race at sps that isn't running around about hcs being racist. in fact, the e/r department has members interfacing with al dept at the highest levels.

i know there is absolutely no one more perplexed and thoughtfully trying to add more diversity to the program then the al lead dr. martin. he is as concerned about how it looks and surely isn't trying to push things more unbalanced. but you have to work with the hand you are dealt.

you can say wow this is out of whack with national averages. so? how is seattle in line with any national average in any capacity. number one factor is housing cost versus median income. our little city is a total aberration. but it is easier to say that the race and equity head isn't doing his job? or that dr. martin is either incompetent or a racist knowingly or not? strange to think he has a phd in education who probably has sat in hundreds of hours of professional development seminars on race and equity alone (perhaps on par with the numbers of hours he has had on the delivery of services for middle schoolers) could be a blinded racist.

i would love simple solutions that you speak to fwiw just how and who? imho we here in seattle have two choices neighborhood schools that are equal and ses balanced (not going to happen) or make what we have work- with hc grouping. any better ideas would be appreciated but probably as impractical as my former option.

mw if i had the podium you have i would ask to meet with the people behind these policies and ask them to address them head on. i am sure they could speak to their valiant efforts and be confused by cm and fwiw's assertions. i would also ask dr. nyland why he allows michael tolley to waterdown hcc and if sight control is such a building right why we have executive directors... who seemingly do nothing.

-no

no caps said...

opps and that was no caps not just -no

and i would also ask jill what information she has and how the racial makeup of the proposed self contained hcc program reflects institutional racism versus other buildings in her district as others have said (lynn, et al). and those option and immersion programs why are they so white when heck they don't even have admissions committees.

no caps

Melissa Westbrook said...

No, if you had my podium, you'd be very tired from you efforts to talk to people in this district.

While I like the superintendent personally, it is useless to talk to him. He has decided his course as a superintendent and that's it.

I have helped elect many people to the School Board and something happens from the time they run to the time they help govern. Most of the current group is much better than any other Board but they, too, are not being firm enough (or have too much ground to cover or aren't savvy enough to realize they are being had.)

Anonymous said...

I'm listening with tears to John Lewis testify against Jeff Sessions.
He quoted MLK:

"We may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now."

The heart of the problem is a substantial number of African Americans still suffer from their ancestors' bondage. Can the white people please try to imagine the generational effects of the degrading, abusive treatment, not just of outright enslavement, but the effects of Jim Crow segregation with it's schools that left African Americans illiterate while teaching white children properly(until the 60's which would include some parents of current students who I've heard being scolded for not reading enough to their kids).

The line from slavery through segregation to today's HCC is clear. Whites pass on their privilege while using arguments of meritocratic purity.

Someday the effects of slavery will be hard to discern, but just look at the racial invective used against the current president and his wife and family. Can people truly believe that kind of venom has no effect on children? That the redlining and racial attacks in our own city haven't hurt the growth of the parents of today's African American students?

How about the Coon Chicken Inn in North Seattle, doing a solid business until 1949.

http://www.historylink.org/File/9191

"The Settle NAACP protested against the racist slurs and caricatures which led the owner to change the face of the porter from black to blue in the early 1930s. The owner also agreed to tone down his use of racial stereotypes in marketing as a result of a threatened defamation lawsuit from the local branch of the NAACP."

Imagine how much liberty things like this gave to racists to harass African Americans in Seattle. Imagine how their children and grandchildren feel seeing an all white program like HCC.

water flows

Anonymous said...

Our district exists to educate all of our students. Self-contained programs are the most successful and most cost effective way to educate a particular group of students, identified by their cognitive abilities and academic achievements not the color of their skin.

If racially integrated schools are important to you, advocate with the city to locate affordable housing in every neighborhood and with the district to replace the neighborhood assignment plan and of course enroll your children in a school in which they will not be in the majority.

Learning Matters

Melissa Westbrook said...

Water flows, I don't see the line you describe. HCC is NOT all white and you need to not say that. I will have a thread on this topic but the bottom line is there are bright kids, throughout this district of all races, who need the benefit of gifted education. The district find and serve the needs of all gifted learners.

I'm always quite surprised that people want to get rid of program rather than reform it. That kind of thing always makes me suspicious.

not mc-t said...


is the plight of asian americans that much less than black americans? in the 50's you are claim redlining but what about internment camps on bainbridge, waterflows? to state "The line from slavery through segregation to today's HCC is clear. Whites pass on their privilege while using arguments of meritocratic purity." is asine and shows your incompetence in this matter. you need to realize your attempts to defame hcc won't better sped because it will only lead to charters and more private schools. if we were a white family shouldn't i be up in arms about the disportionate number of asians in hcc? it is all about the numbers right?

this is what you get charlie when you support such inane positions like hcc is an example of institutional racism...

again you want equivalent hcc black students; out law private and have more middle class none immigrant black students move into seattle. two simple fixes. but i would think you should advocate for sped and not tear down a program that works (kind of) for its students and the district.

no caps

Anonymous said...

@ water flows, do you think racist, overarching statements like "can the white people please try to imagine the generational effects of the degrading, abusive treatment, not just of outright enslavement, but the effects of Jim Crow segregation..." really help?

Most of the white people I know HAVE imagined that. We've gone further than that, reading up on the issue, discussing it, volunteering, etc. We care deeply, and try to do what we can, even though it's not always easy to know exactly WHAT to do.

What's clear, however, is that we aren't likely to sacrifice our children's needs in a misguided effort to somehow make things right, make up for the past. Whether our kids are in well-off schools, HCC, or someplace else that somehow seems unfair to those who don't have the same, we are going to advocate for our students' well-being and education. That doesn't mean we aren't also advocating for others, either. We can--and should--do both.

HF

Anonymous said...

I think water flows is right on the problem and so is Jill.

Number &

not mc-t said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

so somebody brings up the Coon Chicken Inn, slavery and Jim Crow and THEY are the racist?

LOOKING GLASS

Anonymous said...

please delete and stop comments mw

off topic

no caps

not mc-t said...

sorry that was not me no caps above. but we know who it was, right. what a slimey thing to do but it follows just about in line with all their activities to date.

no caps (the real)

not mc-t said...


oh and no i didn't call you a racist. reading is tough too? i said your statements were racist. i doubt you are a racist. just very misguided like one, which is evident in all the monikers you post under... even mine.

no caps

not mc-t said...


funny you want to close down conversation on something that you and charlie agree on? but it is your typical flame out. such an odd duck.

-no caps

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, we will be ending the conversation here because some want to have a fight, not a discussion.