Monday, February 27, 2017

Advanced Learning in Seattle Public Schools: Part Three

Update: here are the minutes from that Work Session; in some ways more fleshed out than mine but I don't see all the things I have reported.  (They also attribute something to Director Pinkham that I do not believe he said and I will ask him about it at tomorrow night's Board meeting.)

This section will cover only the Advanced Learning Work Session on Feb. 8th because this thread turned out to be quite lengthy.

I'll cover the UW Equity Summit on Gifted Education, Feb. 9-10 in a final part to this series.

Advanced Learning Work Session
All the Board members were there except for Director Blanford.  (As an aside, I see that Blanford seems to be missing more meetings or coming in very late.  Not sure why but a trend.)
There were a number of staff/parents (?) from Thurgood Marshall.

Staff included Michael Tolley, Deputy Superintendent, Wyeth Jessee, head of Sped and AL and Stephen Martin, the head of the AL department.  As well there is a new-to-AL staffer, Kari Hanson.  Interestingly, the former head of the AL department (at two different times), Bob Vaughn, was there.  I had wondered why until I later learned that he's working there.  (It's unclear to be in what capacity but I will try to get clarification.  It's hard to assess whether this is a good or bad thing for AL.)

Ms. Hanson spoke at one point during the meeting about different HCC parent groups including the TM parents but seemed unaware there was a long-running APP listserv group that she might consult. I sense that much of the input that AL gets seems to be coming from Garfield's Honors for All and TM's Social Studies' programs and I hope that they intend to hear from and listen to more parents from across the district.

Here's the agenda. 

Mr. Jesse led much of the meeting and managed to spend the opening moments with a basic overview that was reflected in the agenda and therefore, really didn't need to be repeated.  When staff does this over and over at Work Sessions, you have to wonder if they are just trying to run out the clock.

Highlights (Editor's note - I am only pulling out key points from the presentation, not all items that in the presentation.)

- On page 5, "Strengths," it was noted that "systems upgrade to increase referral efficiency" means they have changed from manual to technical system "to streamline this process).

- On page 6, "Weaknesses,"
1) demographically disproportionate number of student referrals.  There was not a lot of discussion at this point but clearly, there are things that could be done.

2) impact on staff time due to identification, testing, and eligibility process (August to February).
Yes, there is too much time on this process and it's to the detriment of supporting teachers and students in the program.
3) lack of consistency and common definitions of services.

Finally! Staff admits that this does exist and is a problem.  Of course, the question is - how did that happen and why has it gone on so long?

On page 7, "Opportunities"
4) Provide meaningful services that meet the academic needs of Advanced Learners and Highly Capable students available at all attendance area schools through MTSS

Well, that statement was going well until...MTSS.  Because MTSS isn't fully rolled out at every school, how will MTSS be used to meet these needs and schools haven't done this with the existence of ALOs so why would it be different with MTSS?

On page 9, Board Concerns and Status
The Board has quite the list and I applaud their directness.

- On Disparity in enrollment demographics, staff says they are "well on their way to address this in a number of different ways."  They want to have more info sessions, targeted to parents.  

- One of the highest priorities for the Board?  Need for shared understanding of services and expectations (HCC, Spectrum)

Discussion

Director Pinkham asked about referrals and who can make them.  Staff said that referrals can be made by not only teachers and parents but by community members.  I cannot find that language at the AL website.

It was also pointed out that there seems to be a disconnect between principals and parents over one Board concern - stakeholder engagement.

Page 10 - Highly Capable Services Eligibility 2015-2016 - "In Seattle Public Schools, 8.1% of students were eligible for Highly Capable Services."  To note, that word "eligible" does not mean that all those eligible are receiving services.

Director Patu asked about options to qualify more students of color.  Jesse said that there are challenges in a standardized process.  Patu pressed on and said that she saw no Native American or Pacific Islander students in the chart.  It was explained that they don't report numbers of less than 10 to protect student privacy.

This was in reference to a handout, "Advanced Learning Referrals by Region, Grade Level, and Ethnicity, 9/7/2016-10/6/2016."  However, the handout DID show numbers less than 10 as was pointed out by Director Pinkham to the consternation of staff.  

Director Harris asked who was on the selection committee.  Martin said it is outlined in the state WAC.  There are four people from the organizational chart on page 4 along with him.  Harris expressed concern over finding twice-exceptional and ELL students.

Jesse stated that the district is "partnering" with Rainier Scholars (and I'll have a thread on that organization soon).

Page 12 - 2015-16 Highly Capable Eligibility Appeals
As I pointed out when this presentation first became available, staff either wrote the page in an inconsistent manner; whether that was deliberate or not is unclear.

Director Harris said that people who test for HCC may be doing it because "they don't recognize Spectrum as stated by the district" to be what is delivered at schools.  Jesse said (with no trace of irony), "That's why we are investigating" because of inconsistencies.

My notes reflect, "Hallelujah" and "why did this take years to say out loud?"

Director Geary asked about including students in stakeholder feedback, saying that HCC kids don't integrate well in high school "I heard that."  

President Peters had the most questions throughout the Work Session.

- She said it appeared that testing was stressing out the AL department because it's such a heavy lift.
- She said there does not seem to be enough PD for teachers.

Martin said that as far as eligibility goes, that they are said they want to look at potential and not just a score on an achievement test.

I learned something new on page 17 - the AL department does the testing for early entrance for kindergarten.

page 23 - Looking Forward/Next Steps

President Peters again asked several questions.

1. She asked about the Advisory Committee; Ms. Hanson was not sure.  She did say that her thinking was around groups from Thurgood Marshall and West Seattle Elementary and she wanted to "capitalize" on their work.

Peters stressed looking at the work of the various AL taskforces (thank you, President Peters).

2. It seems that PD for AL teachers is "on-demand" but that means teachers/schools have to be proactive.  Martin said they had a meeting on that and all schools will have this kind of information on the MTSS teams.

3. Peters asked what the HCC curriculum is.  Tolley said it was just acceleration by two years.  But he said all AL students are part of the MTSS effort.

4. Peters also pointed out that the appeals numbers - such a source of conflict over equity issues - is something of a red herring because if the appeals process wasn't there, you'd still have the same disparities in the population.

The issue of why the numbers of parents of color who do not appeal  was not explained.  I would have to think that if a parent went to the trouble of applying and having their child tested, that most would follow-thru if they knew appeals testing was available (if they qualified as F/RL). 

Harris said that Chief Sealth had been using blended classrooms but where is that data?

Geary asked about the appeals process and said that HCC should be 2%, 8%.  She said that "self-contained is not equitable nor good for our schools."  

So if you had any doubt on her stance on self-contained classrooms, now you know.  I may find it helpful at some point to ask her to provide more nuance to that statement.

Director Burke said that the CSIPs needed to be accurate on what schools are doing to provide for advanced learners.

Harris said that 12 appeals from 2E students did not seem to be in the data.  She also pointed out that the staff stated 16 schools had received PD but did not name them or how many teachers had taken the PD.

President Peters and Wyeth Jesse had some back and forth about appeals.  Peters said that she was trying to understand the figures around the appeals.  She got clarification that the total eligibility number of 570 included 236 students on appeals.

Jesse said that getting rid of the appeals would probably solve the disproportionality but, by law, they have to have an appeals process.

Peters said that it might be worth examining who does appeal and, that not every appeal is successful.  She said the numbers show that, proportionally, the number of white students' appeals is the same as the number of students of color appeals.  She said it did mirror the overall program.

This was one of the most open discussion about Advanced Learning that I had ever heard.  Staff did finally admit to issues that they had not previously.  The Board was direct in their questions.

But again, I don't hear the urgency to create change even in the face of obvious disparities.

93 comments:

Anonymous said...

Of 570, 236 are in via appeals?????!!!!!

What the what?????!!!!!

Ridiculous.


Jawdropped

Anonymous said...

The linked slide says, "Of 479 total eligibility appeals [HCC?], 236 were successful." That means 49% of appeals were successful. AL referrals totaled 4936, so if 100% of those referred went through testing, only 10% of those tested appealed for HCC eligibility.

"Tolley said it [HCC curriculum] was just acceleration by two years."

Except that HCC is not even that. Tolley eliminated middle school LA/SS acceleration with the opening of JAMS. Classes are aligned to grade level standards.

just tired

Anonymous said...

Tolley and Box have also been instrumental in eliminating/obstructing two year math acceleration for a significant proportion of the HCC students. I believe that this is because they just didn't have the classroom space in the Algebra classes.

-EliminateTHEM

Anonymous said...

Do you mean 3 year acceleration? Two year math acceleration is typical for HCC students. Students are supposed to be able to accelerate in math, even without HCC eligibility. Are individual schools limiting math acceleration?

hmm

Anonymous said...

just tired-- I had inquired last year about HCC LA/SS, and was told at HIMS LA/SS standards are cohort and accelerated 2 years, but not curriculum. Is that not the case at JAMS?
-HCC parent

Exasperated said...

@hmm

Yes, individual schools are limiting math acceleration.
Individual schools are limiting math acceleration.
Individual schools are limiting math acceleration.

Individual schools are forcing the most advanced math students in the school to repeat grades in math.

Anonymous said...

So it would seem that if 10% appeal and 1/2 of the appeals are successful, only about 5% of HCC students are admitted based upon appeal. I have heard many parents and educators lament about the growth of HCC as being tied to successful appeals. People have this idea that there are all these kids who are qualifying based upon private appeals, done by private psychologists. Some even seem to suggest that these psychologists are crooked and that you can "buy your way into HCC".

I am glad there is data that demonstrates the facts. People need to understand we have a city that is attracting a higher than average number of families with gifted eligible kids. I think this is a completely legitimate explanation of why HCC is 8% and not 2% in Seattle. My guess is that other large urban areas attracting a talent pool that obtains high paying tech and other careers are the same. These careers require a highly educated population with advanced degrees These urban areas would have the same demographic skew. They also happen to be predominately white and Asian.
-GL

Anonymous said...

Not exactly, GL. Referrals mean total number of students applying for AL of all levels, Spectrum included. If 10% of those referred/tested then appealed for HCC, and only 50% of those appeals were successful, then 5% of the tested students got into HCC on appeal. But that's different from how many HCC students got in on appeal. That wasn't clear from the linked presentation.

just tired

Anonymous said...

What's the point of all the discussion? Besides increasing representation of black, Hispanic, Native American and Pacific Islanders, what do they want to do with advanced learning? So much talk, no action.

Our advanced students and their teachers are not being supported with appropriate curriculum or standards. All of our students are being underestimated and not given the challenges they need to grow.

Get it together!

Action

Anonymous said...

Jesse has a child in private school, if that matters.

interesting

Anonymous said...

why don't they tap the long standing HC Advisory Committee for input? What about parents from Cascadia, JAMS and Ingraham? Their voices don't count?

My neighborhood kids who attended HCC at Lowell-Hamilton-Garfield and now attend college on the east coast all integrated well at high school and are doing great in college. They had HCC and non-HCC girlfriends and friends, participated in extra curricular activities and are grounded and kind. I'm not sure why Director Geary thinks it's okay to make generalizations about thousands of students based on hearsay. Doesn't she have a legal background? She should know better how to make a case. Eye roll.

When will Director Geary stop ripping on the self contained program (designed by the district not the parents/kids navigating the system) and actually present an opinion of how to serve this population and create an avenue for students to move along the advanced learning spectrum.

Broken District

Anonymous said...

Yes, individual schools are limiting math acceleration to a maximum of two years ahead of the general population of age-mates.

To be fair, a few years back there were a few middle schools where students were allowed to accelerate to any level of math offered in the school. The folks downtown at AL heard this was happening and forced the middle schools to limit math acceleration to two years at that time. I know this because my student was removed from class in the middle of the year and put into a class two years below that class. The parents of the affected students were understandably upset but we were told that it was more important to (a) leave something for them to learn in high school and (b) avoid upsetting the older students by allowing such young students into their classes. I pointed out that my student, who was getting an A in math, was not helped by being moved down two years but they just suggested I try to get a scholarship to a private school.

So I don't put the blame for the current situation mainly on the individual schools.

Irene

Anonymous said...

"...but they just suggested I try to get a scholarship to a private school."

That, or homeschool, right?

wow

not mc-t said...

jams, wms and hims all are teaching 6-8 curriculum - with some talk of it being deeper and fasters - but all the same tolley should know that.

and yeah all the talk they never separate out al from hcc. that would be very helpful especially for appeals data. and they also never separate out ell/frl/sped- 2e by those groupings or as an aggregate.

as for jill she often responded on this blog when she was running. now, not so much. i would like her to elaborate on this mw to :" Geary asked about the appeals process and said that HCC should be 2%, 8%. She said that "self-contained is not equitable nor good for our schools." did she really put those forward as united ideas? they aren't at all as one is selection the other is delivery. as for the rally against self contained was that against self contained programs like cascadia or classrooms like the old tm? regardless what is the downside to either in her opinion. and doesn't she have a kid in ibx which is self contained classrooms?

no caps

Anonymous said...

@wow

Yes, I did homeschool for math rather than have my student repeat multiple years of material already mastered.

I would really like to see the district state explicitly what services are offered and what services there is no intention to offer.

For seriously advanced math students the district offers nothing and, when pressed, the AL people admit they don't have the resources to offer anything, but they keep encouraging parents to send those students to HCC, and whatever the reason is, it is not to teach them any math.

Irene

Shape Up said...

It's no easier for a student to qualify for advanced learning (Spectrum or HCC) by appeal. Whether the student qualifies via the regular in-school testing or via appeal following private one-on-one testing, students all need to meet the same criteria to qualify for admission to Spectrum or HCC:

Hard to see how it matters how you met the criteria for admission to the program if you meet the criteria for admission to the program. One on one testing is actually considered more reliable and accurate than group testing. If a student qualifies, they ought to be admitted to the program. If anyone has reason to believe a specific psychologist is taking bribes to give children higher scores than they earn, you should report them to the school district so the psychologist in question can no longer be considered a valid provider by SPS. Also, their license should probably be revoked.

SPS obviously already has the data to see if students who were admitted by appeal with test scores from a particular psychologist were crashing and burning academically in the program. One would assume that if that were the case, they would already have done something about it.

Isn't it more likely, however, in a district that does everything it can to prevent students who need advanced learning from getting that access that the district's screening process is overlooking qualifying students?

To admit a student to the program, the district already requires that:
1. a referral form be submitted by October 6.
2. a CogAT screener be taken on a weekend at short notice across town (and passed with a high enough score)
3. a full CogAT be taken on a weekend at short notice across town (and passed with a high enough score)
4. achievement tests be taken in reading and math (and be passed with a high enough score)

To admit via appeal requires ALL of those steps, PLUS the additional steps:
5. arranging and paying for the student to take the test with a private psychologist
6. writing an appeal letter that shows that the student does indeed meet all the required criteria
7. mail or hand-deliver the appeal within 3 weeks of the district's decision

Even if you have a child who qualifies for Advanced Learning, these bookkeeping tasks are best described as onerous. They take a full year when the parent doesn't screw up and fail to turn in the right form or deliver their 6-year-old to the designated middle school. And that's to say nothing of actually getting the child access to the services that are allegedly available to the child once they have officially qualified with their AL status.

The problem at SPS is that children who are ready to work above benchmark need to have their parents jump through 4 to 7 hoops at critical deadlines spread over 5 months to get them access to an academic program they qualify for. Even if we limited HCC to 2% of SPS students, that's over 1,000 students whose educations are entirely reliant on parents or caregivers working concertedly on hoop jumping for a full year in order to get the student access to learn anything he/she doesn't already know.

So, what about qualifying students whose parents or guardians can't or won't or aren't interested or don't know about jumping all those hurdles? How do they get access to anything to learn? They don't.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, all talk, no action. I pointed out for the "urgency" of the inequity saying it'll take almost two years of investigation seems quite odd.

No, it's usually none of anyone's business whose child goes where. Everyone has to make the best choices for their own child.

Well said,Shape Up. Kind of the institutional racism that the district decries but acts like someone else is shaping those actions. They need to own that the program suffers because of many reasons and some of it is at their own decision-making hands.

FYI, Director Geary usually has a Thursday morning coffee at Zoka's, 2901 NE Blakeley Street from 7:30-9 am. (This is by U Village.) She is having one this Thursday.

Anonymous said...

Very well stated Melissa.

-HCCParent

Anonymous said...

Everybody knows a big part of the problem is Tolley. Yet nobody on the board is willing to do anything about him. Talk is cheap. Let's see action. If we don't see action, demand it - and fire those board members unwilling to act when they're up for re-election this fall.

Walrus

Anonymous said...

What is Tolley's story? I don't know his background or agenda and don't understand why he isn't leading efforts that support the teachers and all of our students. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that if you eliminate spectrum before supports are in place for differentiated learning, people will be unhappy and act.

Fix AL

Anonymous said...

Didn't Blanford used to work for the Alliance for Education? And Geary wants to shrink or eliminate HCC with zero intensity around advanced learning in neighborhood schools. Could they be plants by the Gates Foundation to promote charters?

Paranoid maybe

Melissa Westbrook said...

Mr. Tolley was one of the first people the late Dr. Goodloe-Johnson brought with her from South Carolina. He is the last of the people she put into place.

He has been a principal and a teacher in Charleston, S.C. (He taught biology.)

For all the time that he has been here, there hasn't been a lot of visible movement/initiatives from him to close the opportunity gap. I believe he is part of the (kinda) unclear initiative for African-American male students.

He has applied for at least one superintendent job elsewhere in the region and, given that, may have out of state for all we know.

He is something of a cypher. I rarely see any passion from him but that may be just his way. I find him hard to read.

I think a new superintendent might come in and decide they need a new team with fresh ideas and outlooks.

Anonymous said...

When would it be possible for SPS to get a new superintendent? It's time to put the magnifying glass on District staff and stop blaming parents. We can only do so much with a broken and mysterious system.

Fix AL

Anonymous said...

So Geary "heard" that HCC kids don't integrate well in high school? I wonder which BS stereotype about HCC students she thinks accounts for this so-called perception--that they are socially awkward nerds, or they're elitists? Must be both.

I haven't heard about big problems related to this issue, so I'd love to know her data source or evidence. Most HCC students I know go on to have wonderful high school experiences, joining clubs and teams and so on.

But here's the thing: If HCC students DO in fact tend to hang out more with other HCC students, why is that necessarily a problem? Isn't the whole point of having a cohort in high school so that highly capable students can find like-minded students? If they aren't integrating well with non-HCC students, isn't it more likely a success--they have found their people--than a failure? It doesn't mean they can't get along with or collaborate with non-HCC students when they need to, but that they have more in common with students who are similarly advanced. One of the most challenging aspects of being highly gifted is that you're so different than everyone else, which can be incredibly socially isolating. Director Geary doesn't seem to get it.

DisAPPointed

Melissa Westbrook said...

Fix Al, I believe the Superintendent's contract ends July 2018 but I'll ask. We're stuck with him because to buy him out would be a horrible cost. Of course the cost of staying the course is large but you know, optics.

Now the Superintendent might be getting tired of this gig but hasn't shown signs of that. Him walking away would be a gift but I don't think it'll happen.

But, we could end up with worse so there's also that (although I think this Board would do a good job on a search and I know there are a couple of local people who might apply).


DisAPPointed, yes, every child tends to find his or her tribe and I haven't seen a high school yet (except maybe Nova and Center) where all the kids are joining hands and singing together. People do naturally congregate where they feel comfortable.

Anonymous said...

Finding and hanging out with your like-minded friends is part of the high school experience. It is part of finding out who you are and what you want in life. Is the district trying to engineer a "Breakfast Club"? This kookiness is what happens when administrators don't spend enough time working on academic curriculum and, instead, prefer to waste time on gossip about the students.

Gamers, Stoners, Nerds, Popular kids, Arty kids, Drama kids...........its part of what makes the world interesting. Don't homogenize them to a dull grey paste.

A little attention to curriculum and learning please...

-Parent

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the Center School....is it likely to remain in existence? I can imagine it being a fit for my 7th grader when she's ready for HS.

asdf

HCC Parent said...

Director Harris asks for data- again!! Thank you.

I agree with disAPPointed. My child didn't connect with other children until he/she was in a cohort.

Walrus does not understand the role of the board. With the exception of the superintendent, the board does not hire or fire staff.

Not surprised that Blanford missed the meeting.

not mc-t said...

mw said "He is the last of the people she put into place".... still here (you meant right??) nbd mw.


and no tolley ain't going anywhere. he is damaged goods. his best bet is to hope and pray seattle gets all hot and bothered about inequity (as perceived) that we would bring him in on to solve it!!! problem is he has had banda and nyland. both dead at the helm. what has he done? built up layers upon layers between himself and the kids. he has solved no of this.

if you think al is a mess towards equity then you can not support tolley in any position. he has slept through it all. now he is saying who stole all the equity when he was to oversee it.

bad apple.

no caps

Anonymous said...

With regard to HCC testing and appeals process, I think it's important to point out that the largest (this is my unverified guess) group of people being tested are kindergartners. Not high school students or fifth graders.

Little tiny people with yet-unmastered idiosyncracies. 4--6 year olds. This is an incredibly unreliable age group in terms of testing abilities. Someone misses lunch (which is what happened at our elementary school) or has yet-unidentified-learning, or sensory issues, or the tester looks mean...and that's it. You're screwed for a year or more.

It doesn't matter that you have IQ tests or multiple teacher references. Then you're stuck with the appeals process. And that's dicey at best. There is a TON of pushback on parents going this route.

My kid has Aspergers and sensory issues. We thought that it would be best to test at the local school through services. That didn't turn out well--the kids' lunch was two hours late because of testing. And there was no one letting the teachers know exactly when things would happen. I wish we'd known. My kid's test results were pretty off considering observed behavior and past IQ test. We were considered Spectrum qualified, but... It didn't help much. And I missed the fine print on our letter that said we needed to fill out a choice form for Spectrum services even though we're at a Spectrum school. I didn't find out that I'd screwed up until the first day of school.

This year we skipped special services, did testing at a standard location and got into HCC with flying colors.

I'm only writing my anecdote to point out "why bother appealing?" We've now had one year of school wasted where my kid hasn't learned a thing. I had to work EXTREMELY hard to get them to bump up reading levels and get walk-to-math. EXTREMELY hard. AI had pushback from both teacher and principal. After several months of knowing my kid, the teacher has become pretty helpful. But it's a struggle. And what we've been given in terms of advanced materials hasn't been satisfactory at all. We're still a year or more behind skill level.

Forgive me for hitting several sorepoints at once, but: I'm a SAHM and we're supported by a good income. I spent hours and hours doing legwork. Can you imagine trying to navigate these hurdles if you were a single parent, low income, and working two jobs????

Seriously, almost every aspect of the current system is a nightmare. And it doesn't support accelerated/interested/gifted learners or their PARENTS. You want to support students, start by supporting their parents.

--So frustrated

Anonymous said...

Going back to MW's notes, where providing AL/HC services at attendance area schools through MTSS was listed as an "opportunity"

What does that mean???

jt

Anonymous said...

Agree with Parent and DisAPPointed. Kids will group together anyway, find me a high school that does not have groups of kids that are artsy, into sports etc. I also remember her calling the program "racist". Meanwhile Jill Geary has an HCC kid now in IBX at Ingraham, so she was she says is hypocritical.

I am also astounded at the hostility by some toward regular kids who are interested and do well in school in this city. For such a "highly educated" city, wow.... the resentment and assumptions also about "who" is enrolled. The data gathered does not give much information so stop assumptions. I have a kid who qualified for HCC and believe me "we ain't rich" and my partner and I were both first generation college students who came from poverty. Meanwhile Seattle area and other tech companies are hiring people from other countries because they cannot find enough qualified employees.
-DF

Anonymous said...

@DF-so true! My neighbors who are not participating in HCC openly laugh to me and call it an Asian program for hyper academic types. Good luck in college to your hyper non-academic type? Seriously, how can you generalize about 754 Cascadia students based on a few helicopter parents and some rabid blogger?

Get real

Anonymous said...

Tolley was principal of Academic Magnet School in Charleston.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academic_Magnet_High_School

From a state proclamation lauding their achievements:

Whereas, under the astute leadership of Principal Michael Tolley, the magnet school has had the highest average SAT scores in the State for public high schools with grades nine through twelve for several years running; and

Whereas, the school is proud to boast students who have been offered over five million dollars in scholarship funds over the past two years, and the school is also home to ten National Merit Semifinalists and one National Achievement Semifinalist. One hundred percent of the students attend college; and


...it goes on and on. Go figure.

hmm

Anonymous said...

@hmmm...so, maybe the problem is Seattle?

Fix AL

Anonymous said...

http://www.postandcourier.com/archives/academic-magnet-high-school-consider-plan-to-increase-diversity/

http://www.postandcourier.com/opinion/the-real-academic-magnet-high-school-scandal-in-plain-sight/

Or not.

Anonymous said...

Then there's this one from Charleston...read the comments about the achievement gap being a problem for decades, and the sad solution simply being to slow down those one the high achieving end:
http://www.postandcourier.com/opinion/editorials/lincoln-scores-point-to-larger-issue/article_7fa116f4-f2d5-11e6-a561-ab37565ae0f1.html

Tolley Folly

not mc-t said...

your links are not complete above and the link from tolley folly doesn't say what they say it does. oddball posts i guess.

no caps

Anonymous said...

My #1 question for anyone running for school board this year: "Will you fire Michael Tolley?"

And don't give me any of this bullshit about board members not being able to fire staff. There are numerous ways to get rid of someone who shouldn't be there. The board hasn't done so.

I am especially interested in Sue Peters' answer. She has had four years to fix this problem. I await her response.

Querida

SE Mom said...

Here's the article "The real Academic Magnet High School scandal in plain sight" that had the incomplete link above. The article is from just over a year ago.

It's interesting that Charleston's superintendent, Gerrita Postlewait, wants 10 percent of each eighth-grade class to meet Academic Magnet High School's academic criteria. That really gets to part of the problem with HCC here in Seattle. Some elementary schools are sending ZERO students to HCC. Some fire ought to rain down on elementary schools who don't send any children to HCC if you ask me. If ALL the kids entering middle school from certain elementary schools are unprepared for Spectrum or HCC level work, that says more about the elementary school than it does about the kids. If you ask me.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, Querida, I have no idea why you are singling out Director Peters as Director Patu has been here 8 years and Director Blanford for four years. Ask them as well.

Anonymous said...

@SE Mom--it is also "interesting" that we have a Board member publically stating she would like to see 2% instead of 8% of our students participating in HCC. Way to aim for championship status in the race for the middle! I would much rather hear from board members who have ambitions to raise those in the bottom percentage up and reduce the low scores by a significant amount.

Fix AL

Anonymous said...

Why in the world would Jill Geary "want to see 2% instead of 8%"? I agree with Fix AL. BTW if they included the 30% who are currently at Private schools Seattle would likely have more than the current 8% who qualify for advanced learning. Why should it surprise anyone this is a highly educated city with lots of highly skilled jobs and a major research university and major tech companies that attract people from that demographic.
-BH

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

anonymous @ 2/28/17 5:30PM On the discussapp blog there was that question. Benjamin Leis felt "not all the reference schools could accommodate the return of the student population. Also, not all the reference high schools even with all the HCC students present would have sufficient numbers to offer a robust selection of advanced courses which would satisfy the state requirements for HCC. You'd really want the master schedule to see how many sections of the advertised classes were given."

2/21 on the Lincoln thread
http://discussapp.blogspot.com/2017/02/lincoln-high-school-planning meeting.html?showComment=1487707703891#c7610860201057093039

Geary Contreary said...

What I find odd is Geary represents a lot of super rich neighborhood schools. She represents Seattleites who send their kids to private schools in DROVES. While 28% of kids living in the district overall attend private school, I would wager that the percentage in the zone that Geary represents is far higher. And she represents schools like Bryant and View Ridge that are sending WELL beyond 8% of their student populations to HCC. I don't know what percentage Bryant is sending to HCC but its WAY more than 8%. View Ridge, too, right?

I find it incongruous that Geary represents neighborhoods who send so many kids to swanky private schools and who send far more students to HCC than anyone else and yet she is opposed to that. Like, she's opposed to the people she represents. Wassup with that?

I mean, when I bought my house I wanted to buy one in one of the neighborhoods Geary or Peters represents because I'd heard the schools were better there, but I couldn't afford a house there. It's kind of precious-in-a-bad-way that Geary's preaching to stop so many qualifying kids from having access to HCC. Easy for her to preach because if my child got sent back to Wedgwood or View Ridge or Thornton Creek or Bryant or McGilvra, I don't think I'd mind so much. But that is not where my kid would get sent back to.

I'd like to see Geary fix advanced learning for all Seattle children at all schools and do what it takes to bring children back into SPS from private schools.

Anonymous said...

Exactly my point, Geary Contreary...stop complaining and mudslinging, and start proposing ideas to strengthen neighborhood schools. Your HCC obsession will then take care of itself.

Fix AL

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see a board member step up and state that HCC is NOT racist - just inept. This idea that HCC is racist has become a meme and those in "power" feel that they look good by repeating it. I am disappointed every time I hear a board member or administrator repeat that just to make themselves look progressive. I think - based on her websites - that Geary is more interested in improving state funding for education than fixing AL. That is fine if that is her focus but she shouldn't repeat HCC memes like a glassy eyed Barbie doll. She should stick to what she knows and cares about and not lob ill-informed stink bombs on Advanced Learning.

-MyOpinion

Charlie Mas said...

t asked what it means when then district staff says that providing AL/HC services at attendance area schools through MTSS is an "opportunity".

It means that it is something that are not doing that they know they should be doing.

Anonymous said...

Students received their course selection sheets at IHS and there is essentially no senior year planned for IBX students. There's a generic placeholder senior English course with no curriculum. Maybe they'll do some poetry, they're told. There's no history/social studies option. It's one thing to alert 8th graders that IBX may no longer be an option, but it's another thing to just leave current students high and dry in their junior year. Could they of at least waited to break the news until the day AFTER the SAT rather than the day before??

floored

Anonymous said...

Floored-- Ingraham is still giving the option of IBX to entering 8th graders next year. However, they state it may not be an option beyond that year. Ingraham staff recommend a 4 year (IB) high school track. Parents with kids in IBX also recommended IB over IBX, one I spoke to worked for UW admissions. Several I spoke with are having their second child do IB. They have a pathway of honors classes for HCC for 9th and 10th. My understanding is that they have never had much if anything in place for senior year.
-future Ingraham

Anonymous said...

Floored- My (limited) understanding is that they never had a planned senior year. However students have taken additional IB courses in senior year, done running start,study abroad programs etc. If they did have something in place and now are leaving "students high and dry" they should grandfather those students by offering appropriate classes.
-future Ingraham

Anonymous said...

I think they DID make some senior year promises to IBX students... They might not be doing much of that now, but early cohorts seem to have misled into thinking they'd have more opportunities available for 12th.

As it stands, IBX only seems to make sense for a very small group of HCC students--those who, for whatever reason, really want to graduate a year early, be done with SPS, and move on to the next phase of life. IBX does not, however, seem to make sense as a way to get more challenge out of a 4-year high school experience...unless the "challenge" you're looking for is the challenge of orchestrating your own meaningful and academically impressive senior year. IBX also does not seem to make sense purely as a way to avoid getting pulled to Lincoln as an 11th grader when it opens.

DisAPPOinted

Anonymous said...

Geary Contreary- "I mean, when I bought my house I wanted to buy one in one of the neighborhoods Geary or Peters represents because I'd heard the schools were better there, but I couldn't afford a house there."

Excellent point you made about Jill Geary. Same here and I agree. Jill Geary and others need to understand the reality that their line of thinking (with no suggestions for replacement of self contained) would hurt the education of gifted kids from families who are lower middle and middle class not affluent. As well as students with single parents who cannot afford private even with aid. I know many of the above with kids in HCC. Stop the disdain, assumptions about who is in HCC. Like others have stated they have only very limited data that SPS collects. Like others have stated, start proposing ideas to bring private school families back to public, and ideas to strengthen neighborhood schools.
-BH

-

Anonymous said...

Maybe Director Geary is trying to advocate for those HCC families she hears from who would like to stay at their neighborhood school, but her words don't come out right. I'd like to give her the benefit of the doubt, and she clearly feels she is representing her constituents. It seems like her words are directed at families selecting HCC, but maybe her frustration is really with the District and system in place that creates the inequities we are grappling with. If a plan were in place to serve advanced learners in neighborhood schools, then maybe 2% would choose HCC for elementary because their child is WAY ahead or has very special needs. My child is comfortable at 2 years ahead, but Irene above mentioned her child is 4 years ahead.

I don't know the answer, but we would have loved to stay at our neighborhood school if we thought the teachers would support Advanced Learning. They don't, so we left.

If Jill would direct her fury to the schools and MTSS, the folks at the district might step up eventually with meaningful guidance, resources and a plan for closing the opportunity gap without limiting learning for kids wanting to stretch beyond grade level standards.

Why don't they just copy the programs from successful districts? How can this be so difficult?

Cascadia mom

Anonymous said...

Maybe Director Geary is trying to advocate for those HCC families she hears from who would like to stay at their neighborhood school, but her words don't come out right.

Now why would she want to do that, since she apparently believes HCC kids don't integrate well with "regular" kids?

DisAPPointed

not mc troll said...



but jill used to respond to this blog. now crickets. why? she probably isn't running again.

no caps

Anonymous said...

DisAPPointed-- Also, as Jill Geary states HCC is racist, HCC kids don't integrate well etc why does Jill Geary have a child in IBX at Ingraham if her reference school is Roosevelt?
-K

Anonymous said...

I want to just hope that her words are not chosen well and what she means is that she believes those who prefer to stay in their neighborhood school and have exposure to a variety of gen ed and advanced learning students, should have services provided so they can have a quality educational experience that challenges them intellectually while giving them the social emotional comfort of staying with their friends and/or siblings. I can't explain why her words come out the way they do, but I try to read between the lines and give her the benefit of the doubt of being a good person who cares about all of our students. She could use some coaching, for sure....

Cascadia mom

Anonymous said...

My kid is in her second year of IBX and is doing very well as are her friends. I really hope Ingraham keeps IBX as an option because the thought of having to apply for colleges while in your second year of IB seems daunting. I am very much hoping my younger child also has the option of IBX.

Jane

Anonymous said...

Jane-- I do think they are moving to eliminate IBX. But on the upside, the majority of high schools offer IB and kids do manage to apply to colleges their senior year. In addition, Ingraham has been offering IB for years. I am sure graduates managed to apply to colleges fine.
-VH

Anonymous said...

IBX was used as a draw - advancement that went beyond simply choosing IB. It was sold as a 4 year plan of advanced coursework, not just an accelerated IB pathway. They had originally planned for college level LA/SS classes for seniors. I think the current message is choosing IBX means choosing a 3 year plan, not a 4 year plan as was originally penciled out. IBX students will have little choice but to graduate early or take Running Start if they need more advancement. That, or have a senior year of questionable value. Over the next few years, I'd expect a significant spike of families choosing Ballard/Roosevelt/Hale over IHS or GHS. Had info been more forthcoming, maybe even a bigger spike this year. Unfortunately, fewer students for IHS means a more limited school budget, which further limits course offerings.

not good

Geary Contreary said...

Geary sends a confusing message about HCC. She represents the largest number of HCC families of any board member but wants to do away with self-contained without replacing it with anything. As if she didn't understand that the schools have already failed all the kids in HCC. Unless you move to the district from somewhere else with your child already qualifying for highcap services (which is happening more and more given the types of jobs families are moving to Seattle for these days), I can really only see two potential reasons for sending a child to HCC:
1. Your geozone school is not working for your child.
2. You think your child can handle HCC level work and they're not getting that at your geozone school

And that's why Geary's stance is so puzzling. Maybe she is coming from a good place. But she is advocating sending highcap children back to geozone schools that are not working for them (and in some cases, REALLY not working for them). And I have yet to hear her advocate for making the geozone schools work for highcap children.

PART ONE

Geary Contreary said...

PART TWO
So, here's the thing: "On the one hand, schools are charged with providing all students with a common framework of cognitive and social skills essential for full participation in the civic and economic activities of adult society. On the other hand, schools are structured to sort and select students for different trajectories aligned with their varied orientations and capacities. This ongoing tension between commonality and differentiation is at the heart of the tracking debate: Is the purpose of schooling to provide all students with a common socialization? Or is it to differentiate students for varied futures? The former aim is consistent with mixed-ability teaching, whereas the latter is consistent with tracking, and the debate has no simple resolution because school systems embody both goals." (Gamoran, 2009)

Geary clearly believes in the first mission of schools: to provide a common framework and socialize children together. That's why she wants to get rid of the cohort model. It's detracking. And what I think is the noble (but naive and incomplete) belief that the 68% of Seattle children who attend public school can all be incubated and fledged together and launched with all the skills they need to fully participate in adult society.

But that only works if the mixed-ability teaching students receive covers the ability level of the students. In most geozone schools in Seattle, that is not happening for highcap kids at geozone schools. Plenty of the families whose children are now in HCC have experience this first hand.

And then there's the second mission of schools: to sort and select students for different trajectories aligned with their varied orientations and capacities. Kids come in all flavors and when they grow up SPS's 52,000 students will go off to do all kinds of different things. Did you read this Seattle Times article about students having trouble getting into UW's engineering program?

Some of the 52,000 students SPS is responsible for educating want to go to college. Some want to be engineers. Some want to get into competitive schools and programs and career fields. The student at the beginning of the article "sailed through Seattle’s Roosevelt High with top grades" but couldn't get into UW's engineering program. To get into engineering, that Roosevelt alum had to switch to Oregon State University.

Geary ignores this crucial aspect of the mission of public education. The trajectory of some of SPS's 52,000 students leads to places like UW engineering and other competitive programs and fields. And it should be possible for Seattle children to attain this if they want it and have the capacity for it and work hard—even if they are low or middle income. Those programs shouldn’t only be available to rich Seattle kids or kids not from Seattle. Roosevelt is in Geary's school board district. She represents the fact that the student featured in that article sailed through Roosevelt with top grades but couldn't get into engineering at UW. And that is not OK. If some of SPS's 52,000 kids want to aim for a very difficult, competitive trajectory, it is not OK for our public schools to say that you can't aim for that if you go to public school. It is not OK to say that the engineering program is only for students from Bellevue and Mercer Island and private school and international students.

That is not OK. The public schools have to fulfill BOTH of the missions Gamoran points out above.

Anonymous said...

Just because "they" want to eliminate IBX doesn't mean we should let it happen. Trump and the Republicans wanted to eliminate Medicare right after the election but backed way off that once the public responded with fury.

You can make SPS do what you want it to do. You just have to organize to demand it. Don't let them push you around and don't just roll over when they make bad decisions.

And Jill Geary does owe her constituents an explanation. I'm willing to bet her neighbors and parents in her district's schools have no idea she wants to take away their advanced learning program.

Walrus

Anonymous said...

Walrus- It sounds like staff overwhelmingly feel IB is a better pathway. They have learned from offering IBX. Any good program administrator will make changes to a program to make it better. I have heard from IBX parents who advise IB is a better option at Ingraham. They have planned a solid 9TH and 10th grade year for HCC students. I have an Ingraham bound HCC student and think four solid years is a better path.
-ND

Anonymous said...

I think part of the concern is course options are now becoming more limited for current students who didn't have a non-IBX option at the time they chose their pathway. They expected a solid 4 years as well. Shifting to a more traditional IB timeline, if that's what they think is best, and have informed students/parents is the plan - before enrollment - is kind of out of the hands of parents. But what about students already on the IBX pathway, who were given the impression that advanced classes would be available for core subjects in their senior year?

duped

Melissa Westbrook said...

As I said, Geary is having a coffee meeting at Zoka near U Village from 7:30-9:00 am if you want to talk to her about this issue.

NESeattleMom said...

From my experience at GHS with my HCC daughter who was in the program for 12 years, the HCC kids had friends in and out of the cohort, took part in a variety of extracurricular activities, sports, the musical, clubs and other programs, including student government and leading the school tours, as well as the well-known music programs. Even students who may have had transitional social awkwardness in middle school seemed to find their groove in high school. So the school board member who said they were not doing well socially does not mesh with my experience the past four years at GHS.

Anonymous said...

I don't know many parents with elementary students who could make a 7:30 am weekday meeting, and these are the parents with the kids in or potentially in a self contained cohort.

Life

Anonymous said...

The reason that faculty at Ingraham recommend IB over the fast-tracked IBX is that many of the skills needed for completing an IB diploma are not merely cognitive (which HCC students excel at), but developmental (which HCC students have to develop just like anyone else).

Successfully completing the IB diploma requires an extraordinary amount of organization and time management. On top of that, many of the classes require a high level of analytical and critical thinking, which every student is better at in their junior year than their sophomore year. In some places that teach IB in Europe, they're even moving to have the IB program in the post-high school years so the students are more ready for it. Almost no other IB program allows students to start in their sophomore year.

Momof2

Tear One said...

Director Geary at least accepts that giftedness is a thing and that it has implications in education.

Director Pinkham's belief that "all children are gifted" is actually far more detrimental to getting the academic needs of gifted students met. That's basically saying "all children matter."


Anonymous said...

Duped- " But what about students already on the IBX pathway, who were given the impression that advanced classes would be available for core subjects in their senior year? "

I agree with you. If eliminating IBX as an option for future students, they should grandfather IBX students already in the program. They should support them best they can and not limit course options for senior year.

Momof2- That's what I heard as well. The IB program is the same program in content as IBX. It is a rigorous program. There is no preference given to IBX over IB students in the college admission process.
-ND

Anonymous said...

IBX was loosely modeled after Bellevue's Interlake program, which also provides the option to accelerate the IB program a year. Bellevue might actually fund their IB programs, unlike SPS. Go to their website. They have three coordinators for the program: IB Diploma Program Coordinator, Gifted High School Program Coordinator, and Creativity, Action, and Service (CAS) Coordinator. Ingraham has one coordinator.

Since Bellevue prepares students to take both the AP and IB exams in many courses, "For many of the classes, Advanced Placement (AP) tests may be taken in addition to the IB assessments.

http://www.bsd405.org/interlake/about/ib/
https://www.bsd405.org/interlake/2016/01/gifted-high-school-program-information/

See info from the recent 8th grade open house, which describes the program, provides statistics for IB and accelerated IB options, and details the senior year. Bellevue statistics indicate that many gifted program students are able to handle the accelerated IB program. Perhaps they've had better preparation through the middle school years.

just fyi

Anonymous said...

@just fyi--likely they did have better preparation in middle school since that is a point where there is big dip in quality for SPS HCC delivery. From what I've heard, they encourage achievement and advancement for all of their students, have more diversity in their HCC program, and follow it all up with continuous pathways, curriculum and supports throughout the k-12 experience. What a concept! And they have money in their reserves to avoid serious layoffs knowing the levy cliff was coming. Could it be they have leadership and vision to truly support equitable learning for ALL students regardless of their socioeconomic status or race? And their families donate to PTA's and direct funding to a Foundation that helps correct for some of the inequities created by housing patterns and PTA donations. Perhaps their approach is too cooperative and proactive for Seattle.

Wishing Well

Anonymous said...

Just Fyi-- In the absence of analagous (like Interlake) supports from SPS for IBX at Ingraham, it likely makes more sense to offer IB. Most schools in the US and Europe offer IB and not an accelerated program. Regarding students, it is not an issue of lack of academic preparation, but staff state organization and maturity. Older IB students handle it better. I spoke with an IBX parent whose kid is doing fine academically, but said it was too much stress too soon. She is having her second child do IB instead. This is combined with Ingraham's lack of being able to develop a senior year plan. The school administration is likely making changes based upon these factors.
-ND

Anonymous said...

Regarding students, it is not an issue of lack of academic preparation, but staff state organization and maturity.

Lots to discuss there. What staff states is true, but maybe not the full story. Yes, IB requires a great deal of organization, on part of both students and staff. Teachers need support from the district, from an IB coordinator to keep on top of IB requirements, to funding for appropriate texts. Without this support, more pressure is placed on students to fill in the gaps. Yes, it takes a great deal of maturity and organization to handle the extra effort required on the part of students. And lack of academic preparation does add to the challenge.

Anonymous said...

@ Wishing Well, Bellevue's demographics are different. When you suggest their HCC program is more diverse, do you really just mean it has a smaller proportion of whites? If so, that's because the district overall does. Bellevue has a much higher Asian population, and a much smaller Black population that SPS. They also have a much lower FRL rate than SPS. If HCC analyses were done by race AND income, things might not look that different than SPS. The presumed better diversity in Bellevue's program may simply reflect the growing population of well-educated and well-paid Asian families. Do you have data that suggest otherwise?

unclear

Anonymous said...

The minutes for the work group session on Highly Capable Services (link added to original post) included this gem:
Wyeth Jessee wants to make sure everything is clearly communicated and “enlightened”.

I suggest he start the "enlightened communications" issue with his own staff. The comment by Kari Hanson that "disproportionality clearly is a threat to...safety... for students" seems unfounded and inflammatory.

just me?

Anonymous said...

I completely agree. HCC policy appears to be evolving like a game of "Telephone".

-GossipPolicyWonks

Anonymous said...

Description of IBX from current Student Assignment Plan, as approved by the Board, January 2017:

HCC/IBX Program at Ingraham High School
"A second advanced learning option for HC-eligible high school students is offered at Ingraham. Highly Capable/IBX students will generally take core classes together and then enroll in International Baccalaureate classes beginning in 10th grade – a year earlier than usual. An accelerated curriculum leads to an early IB diploma, allowing seniors to complete internships, college classes, and further electives."

just fyi

Anonymous said...

And from an old IBX powerpoint and handout:

Senior Year
* Two college courses (English & a social science) taught at Ingraham by local college professors.
* Continued study of IB subjects not yet taken.
* Special subject seminars taught by IB faculty.
* Plays, musicals, sports.
* Internships.

just fyi

not mc-t said...

it was an effective ruse to get many kids out of ghs. that was all it was and that is all it has ever been. hc parents worked and got internships. i know this was against the district as they lent no hand. promises made and promises not kept.

no caps

Anonymous said...

They should grandfather IBX students and offer the senior level courses promised. It is not cool to pull out the rug from under students who were counting on these courses. However, Ingraham will continue to be a great school if offering IB only which is a great program. I personally think the senior year with various "options" always sounded loose. It makes it harder to piece together a strong senior year that colleges prefer. I personally welcome a more solid pathway that offers my HCC student honors classes for 9th and 10th and IB for 11th and 12th.
-another parent

Anonymous said...

A couple of years ago Ingraham did arrange for college courses to be taught at Ingraham by college professors, however the state law changed and it is no longer legal to do that, except in the case where the professor is also a certified high school teacher and school district employee. At least one of the courses went ahead after a teacher in the school got permission to teach a North Seattle College course after becoming a qualified North Seattle College instructor.

While it is true that parents coordinated the internships, as Ingraham did not do so, it is not true that the district lent no hand. The folks at the Seattle CTE office (Career and Technical Education) were enthusiastic and effective at providing the parents with support, guidance, and assistance every step of the way. They know all the details of the extensive state regulations around internships and helped get all of the t's crossed and i's dotted, and were flexible about reallocating their own resources to provide support to IBX students who wanted to do internships for high school credit.

It is not often that we get to say that people downtown are doing an exemplary job of fulfilling both the letter and spirit of their mission. I would like to say that I think that our tax dollars that go to the CTE office are money well spent.

My daughter wanted to do IB and was placed in IBX which worked fine for her, but she would also have been fine with IB during grades 11 and 12. At it turned out, she had a very good senior year with the aforementioned college course and several other IB courses that she had not already taken.

xIBxMom

Anonymous said...

@ another parent, IBX only makes it harder to piece together a strong senior year if the school and district don't provide the support they said they'd provide. If they offer what they said they'll offer, students can take a nice, challenging senior year--college social studies and English courses, special seminar classes taught by IB faculty, additional IB courses (e.g., another year of foreign language, additional science, next level of math, etc.), and electives--arts, business (including AP computer classes), etc. There's no reason their senior year would have to be less impressive, or "less solid", than for any other student. It's only problematic if the school and district don't fulfill their end of the bargain.

DisAPPointed

Anonymous said...

"A couple of years ago Ingraham did arrange for college courses to be taught at Ingraham by college professors, however the state law changed and it is no longer legal to do that, except in the case where the professor is also a certified high school teacher and school district employee. "

"My daughter wanted to do IB and was placed in IBX which worked fine for her, but she would also have been fine with IB during grades 11 and 12."

Thanks xIbxMom. I have been a program administrator. Programs are often tweaked and change over time due to feedback, as well as external changes beyond an administrator's control such as the one you described. I also think my own HCC kid would do fine with IBX or IB (if no IBX) during grades 11 and 12.
-another parent

Anonymous said...

My IBx student in senior year had an excellent British Literature class offered by an Ingraham teacher through NSCC. Many students also finally had the opportunity to take electives including IB classes that did not fit into the very prescriptive IB schedule, but also things like drama or computer science. But they would give up very little by taking those classes sophomore year instead of senior year. My kid took 3 IB classes & AP stats senior year, that could just as easily have been taken sophomore year. Only the running start class couldn't have been shifted, but could have been taught as an Ingraham class sophomore year. And my kid chose to do internships in the summer, one of which continued year round without association with the school. I didn't really understand why it is important to get credit for an internship or give up academic course work for an internship.

Having been through IBx, I would have been happy for my kid to do IB instead. There would have been some trade offs, but not negative on balance. And it could have made a big difference for classmates who dropped the program because developmental issues, a group that surprised me with its membership.

I also think that Ingraham staff has learned things from doing IBx & is incorporating those lessons into program changes.

-IBx Parent

Anonymous said...

Sophomore and senior years are not exactly interchangeable. Are they offering anything beyond honors classes for sophomores? According to the info meeting, HCC students have 2 choices for sophomore year: 1) honors classes (with AP math options), or 2) beginning the IB program. If they begin the IB program as sophomores, they can access Running Start as seniors, with math, science, and electives more advanced than what IHS offers. Maybe the traditional IB pathway works for a significant number of students, but it limits advancement for those who were led to believe IBX was a pathway to further acceleration. Without the option for IBX, would students be more inclined to go right into Running Start their junior year and skip IB altogether? And then why not start at your neighborhood school?

The reality is that not all teachers have the training to teach IB classes, and I suspect the changes are in part dealing with this limitation. Offering IB classes to post IBX students requires more sections of IB classes. Offering College in the High School takes a teacher away from IB classes. Right now, they are relying on a limited number of teachers to keep the IB program going.

decisions decisions

Anonymous said...

Decisions Decisions-- My understanding is that SPS parents support the budget for the IB program at Ingraham. I feel fortunate that during this time of McCleary, levy cliff crisis etc. Ingraham kids have access to a college prep program. Thank their families for raising the funds. They are fortunate. If the school is making changes due to feedback, external issues etc. at least the program is still viable. But agree with others they should do all they can to grandfather those kids who set on a path of IBX, with certain assumptions about senior year coursework. As a future Ingraham parent, I am keeping program changes from IBX to IB
-in perspective

Anonymous said...

We were in one of the first classes that was lured to IHS IBX, away from GHS. I attended all the info sessions and repeatedly asked what would be offered the senior year. We were told that Interlake was the model, and that internships would be set up. We had a handout showing the internships that Interlake coordinated, from Microsoft to the King County Prosecutors' Office to Benaroya Hall, Safeco Field, some biotech firms. I wish I still had it. I was skeptical of promises, as I was still waiting for the promised APP curriculum when our kids split out of Lowell. In the end, I was not trusting and we left the district and I'm glad. Seems like the IBX kids are all making the best of it, and piecing together schedules, but of course, the promised organized internships never materialized (though individual families are welcome to go out on their own and find one). The really happy kids I've heard about really were done at end of junior year and graduated early or were essentially gone senior year (as they were competitive athletes or performers on national level). It doesn't seem that IBX is a great choice for most, and there are no advantages and a HUGE senior year disadvantage to doing it in 10th and 11th. Note: I have found the parents who have kids in IBX now really defend it, and don't want to say bad things about program, especially as the program coordinators are so great and teachers so nice. No one wants to (or should!) disparage them. But an honest look at what was promised and what is there says the senior year is really a fail. Here's an article about the Interlake senior program - one we were showed. This is not what is offered at IHS - and note, it really emphasizes this is a truly gifted program, not an offering appropriate for the majority of HCC kids:

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/interlakes-gifted-program-helps-phenoms-be-kids-too/

-Old Timer

Anonymous said...

Old Timer-- For balance, most of the parents with kids in IBX I spoke to did not defend it. One preferred the option as they said completing college apps senior year in IB seems "daunting". But I spoke to two others who told me their younger kid will do IB instead. They had various reasons ranging from no benefit completing early to too demanding too soon as far as organizational skills. A fourth person without a younger kid and with a kid who completed IBX, advised us to choose IB as well.
-in perspective

Anonymous said...

"This is not what is offered at IHS - and note, it really emphasizes this is a truly gifted program, not an offering appropriate for the majority of HCC kids"

only 32 students graduated last year

I wish we had such an offering here in SPS

junior