Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Wednesday Open Thread

First Day of School!  Let us know how it goes.  SPS wants you to share your photos on Instagram/Twitter with the hashtag: #SPSFirstDay @seapublicschools

Rules of the road when there are school buses from the Inside Out blog from WSP.

I'm not going to do a Seattle Schools This Week except to say:
- tonight is another Board meeting with a light agenda
- Operations Committee Meeting on Thursday from 4:30-6:30 pm. Agenda
Of note: "Disposition of Lander Street property parcel," hmmm. No attached documents so I don't know what this is.  
- No Director community meetings this Saturday as the Board has one of its retreats planned.  Agenda not yet available.

Wondering about being a sub or temp teacher?  Here's some news about that from the Seattle Times. 

In March it was reported that teachers in the Tukwila School District had voted "no-confidence" in former SPS staffer, now superintendent, Nancy Coogan.  KING-5 reported that she resigned September 1, just days before schools there started.   Coogan says she resigned to "attend to family matters."  Their deputy superintendent will act as temporary superintendent until their school board finds another person to fill that position.

It's being reported that this smoky air should clear up by this evening and we'll even have some rain showers tomorrow that should help but the National Weather Service says this has been one crazy year in our region.

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

Congrats to SPD. This morning after drop off I saw three motorcycle officers busy pulling drivers over on 15 Ave W. near the Interbay Golf Course.

It was made 30 mph several years age after some horrific crashes. Thank you SPD officers for enforcing the law.


Anonymous said...

Class sizes? My child's largest class this year is 38 (core high school class).

not good

Anonymous said...

My 2nd grader's class has 28 kids!


Anonymous said...

JAMS had great first day.

Kids are respected and treated kindly. Staff is well-organized, information is readily available to all, and there is an air of customer service and support in they way faculty and front desk folks handle students and family.

The teachers really do function as a cohesive unit, they are happy to be there, and it shows. One of my kids English teachers sent along an introductory letter, explaining her background and her excitement to be at Jane Addams.

The only weak spot? The curriculum in LA, but that isn't a JAMS issue, that's a District issue! The teachers and principal can only do so much. We feel very lucky to be at the school, Helmed by a very professional principal who has thought fully built out an excellent team despite having a constrained budget and a very diverse group of student learners ( everything from remedial elementary school math to senior high school math!).


Lynn said...

As a result of the district imposed schedule change and the addition of an advisory period, even those Garfield students with complete schedules are receiving 150 less minutes of instruction every week for a total loss over the year of 90 hours of instruction.

The advisory period is 40 minutes three times a week plus 55 minutes once a week. Students are randomly assigned to advisories and advisories contain a mix of grade levels. A less frequent advisory period can be beneficial when students are grouped by grade level and teachers receive training to provide some of the guidance our overburdened counselors cannot. (Course selection, monitoring progress toward graduation and preparing college applications for example.) Raisbeck Aviation High School uses this model with a 45 minute advisory that meets once or twice a week. Most weeks that second advisory period is used for club meetings.

Students will now spend 245 minutes per week in each class and 175 minutes in advisory. A better solution would have been to switch to a seven period day with 235 minutes in each class. Students who need to make up a failed class would have an opportunity to do so. Students who prefer a study period, late start or early release (athletes) could use the extra period for that.

Anonymous said...

One of my kids had a period with no class. It was an elective spot so she was put in as a TA. Doesn't seem like we have any other options, but hopefully revisit next week when counselors office slows down. She is sad as she would have loved to take one of her school's many great electives and had put so many classes as alternates on her registration. Also, she was really excited about taking an advanced creative writing class. Yesterday, her class learned their assigned teacher just left/changed schools. So their solution was to redo the entire class's schedule and stick them into a different LA classes. My daughter was put in a social justice writing class which sounds interesting, but she is a very creative/artsy person who was really looking forward to creative writing. Feeling sad for her start of her junior year.

NE Mom of 3

Anonymous said...

For the start of NEXT school year, it will not be difficult to reject Garfield for our freshmen.

First Garfield took away World History AP for freshmen, then the extraordinary orchestra teacher left, then Garfield took away English Honors, and finally, they have pushed the waste-of-time advisory monstrosity. With Lincoln opening, and northern HCC shifting there, Garfield will shift deeply into higher F&RL and the funds raised by the PTSA will suffer accordingly. Perhaps the protestors holding their beloved 'apartheid' signs will understand too late that being hostile to their fellow bulldogs is not good for any bulldog.

As parents, we want our kids to get a good education: that's what all parents want. That means attending a school whose culture is focused on academic excellence. Garfield is showing that meeting our children's needs is not their driving priority. And, if getting our kids to be the best they can be is not what Garfield is aiming for, you have to wonder what is it that they are prioritizing? College recruiters smell this in the wind too.

For our decision, when we think about our kids sitting in an English class, would we rather they be at Ballard or Roosevelt with 11% F&RL, or, Garfield, currently at 30% but with the exodus of HCC students, may become 35 or 40% (below the line for Title 1 funds)? Bulldogs we encountered at music camps this summer were very blunt in their assessment about why they don't think they would have their younger brothers go there next year. They spoke of how core courses are now a waste of time. Upper level science and the current selection of AP courses is good for now, but, with a thinned HCC crowd, the master schedule is going to have to change. And, that will mean changes to the teachers too.

We will watch closely this year, but, we can't picture sending our kid there next year for 9th grade because we doubt that Garfield will reimplement English Honors in order to be competitive with the alternatives and to make sure kids advance their skills.

Too much hostility towards our kids, and what is worse, is there is no stability once Lincoln opens. Pulling off disproportional demographics will leave Garfield in even worse shape. Better to start at Roosevelt/Ballard and skip the commute and the attitudes projected against our kids. It means that even with Lincoln opening, Roosevelt and Ballard are going to be MORE crowded next year.


Eric B said...

V/R, you say a lot of things, but I want to focus on one in particular. What makes you think that HCC is moving to Lincoln? I know people are saying that, but are you hearing it from anyone at District HQ? I haven't heard anything like this from anyone with authority over assignments. If anything, when I've heard them talk, those people are talking about completely disbanding HCC at the high school level and sending everyone to neighborhood schools. I don't necessarily agree with the idea, since there are a lot of devils in the details.

Anonymous said...

School Board/District: Please take note of the mentality of Viking/Raider regarding neighborhood schools, and not just high schools. The post is an honest portrayal of the types of inequities and inequalities that result/perpetuate in this attendance plan.

1. High concentrations of FRL students in some schools, even as Seattle becomes more and more affluent. High FRL schools have proven to have worse outcomes over and over again compared to those same demographic-type students in less impacted schools.

2. Parents actively shopping when then have a choice (which non-HCC parents don't have) to find the school with lesser FRL students when their "school within a school" in a highly impacted school is no longer as clearly defined.

3. Lack of options create even more inequalities. Look at Melissa's thread today which includes Spokane SD allowing students to attend the high school of their choice based on school focus. While not possible to do an exact replica of that in much larger SPS, Spokane is definitely modeling what equity looks like.

4. The "I'll take my money elsewhere" mentality begs for some PTA donation reform.

5. Then EricB just jumps on it: "What? Have you heard some dish about HCC that the rest of us haven't?" The assumption that HCC students would, by neighborhood, be going to mostly Lincoln and not Beach or Sealth, etc. demands for HCC reform NOW that includes a "representation of students from the area" the district serves (straight language from OSPI).

Over Yourself

Anonymous said...

Garfield is not a good option for HCC-identified kids. The school and the principal are actively hostile toward them. Mainly thanks to agitators like "Over Yourself" who are eager to narrow the educational options for all kids in the district and establish an unrealistically low bar for student achievement. We found the teachers so palpably hostile during a Garfield tour a number of years ago that we went elsewhere. Glad we did. Not every district employee or school despises the HCC kids like Ted Howard does. Even more disturbing during our tour of Garfield - the non HCC classes appeared to be doing elementary school level work, at least in science. The faculty seemed to have completely abdicated all responsibility toward rigor in the gen ed classes. It seems like THAT was the problem that needed to be solved. But it is easier to throw rocks at the HCC kids I guess.


Anonymous said...

Could think of nothing worse than putting North End HCC at Lincoln. It's time to redraw high school boundary lines incorporating full services of HCC and SPED at all comprehensive high schools. The time to do it is before Lincoln opens. Enough with the segregation of both programs. Leave IB as an option in north, south, west, as it is now. Make it open to all by lottery. No more IBX at Ingraham. That's another have/have not program.

Ninth mom

Anonymous said...

What do they do in Bellevue and Kirkland? They have excellent option schools (best in the nation) and I think gifted kids go to one or two schools...Eastlake or something like that? The idea of returning HCC high school students to neighborhood schools is good for my house value! I'm guessing the person who posted that lives in QA, Wallingford or Freelard.

Yes, making a decision about HCC above the radar would be nice. I wouldn't put my money on that bet.

Broken Promises

Anonymous said...

Where's the evidence for this baseless accusation?

"Over Yourself" who are eager to narrow the educational options for all kids in the district and establish an unrealistically low bar for student achievement.

--In fact, I'm repeatedly on record for INCREASING identification of highly capable students, and have spent a career using a value-added model in my classroom. Share the advantages in PUBLIC school with others and get...

Over Yourself

Anonymous said...

I have a sophomore who attends GHS and is in the HCC, and contrary to the experience of posters above has had a supportive set of teachers and administrators. Perfect experience? Not, but certainly a challenging and positive one.


Eric B said...

Erm. Isn't this blog supposed to be about sharing information? So shouldn't it be OK to try to resolve conflicting information?

Overall, I think I would prefer to have more advanced learning options at more high schools. I think that would mostly benefit Gen Ed/SPED students who excel in some subjects but not others. But there's a lot of questions to answer before implementing that system. How do you make sure that every school has advanced options in math, science, language, history, etc.? Would you need to specialize in foreign languages with some schools having advanced French and Spanish but not Japanese while other schools have Japanese but not French? How would you manage choice in the system? Would a student who took Japanese in middle school get priority at schools that have advanced Japanese? Would you reserve choice seats so that you could get a variety of students at every school? Would you bring back the 10% choice setaside? How would you keep that when capacity issues come up again? If you don't have choice setasides, aren't you just re-segregating schools by neighborhood? Would the whole thing collapse without principal support like Spectrum did?

And let's not forget about boundaries. Right now, HCC draws kids out of overcrowded schools. Unfortunately, it also dumps them into another grossly overcrowded school. If HS advanced learning is all at the neighborhood schools, the Ballard and Roosevelt zones need to get a lot smaller, and Ingraham and Garfield need to get somewhat bigger. Yes, Lincoln is right between Ballard and Roosevelt, but that alone may not be enough.

That's the issues I thought of in about 10 minutes. I'm sure there are lots more. So yeah, it might be a great idea. It might increase equity across the district. But it would have to be implemented extremely well. I'm not convinced that planning could be done before Lincoln re-opens.

Anonymous said...

The writing on the wall seems to be the elimination of HC pathways in high school, including IBX. They have effectively ended IBX, though not officially, by not having much advanced coursework for IBX seniors and by discouraging a significant number of students from taking that pathway. Going forward, choosing IBX will most likely mean leaving after 11th to do Running Start. It's one thing to plan a new pathway for HC students, it's another thing to actively dismantle programs for students already on the pathway.

downward spiral

N by NW said...

Ballard is SO overcrowded that an Asst. Principal was encouraging us to get our student into Running Start ASAP. 4 portables have been added this year and that hasn't brought much relief to student's schedules. Lots of students not getting core classes, tons of students not getting electives. I know of of students who had yet to be assigned their SOPHOMORE World History Class and are now taking it as SENIORS.

N by NW

Anonymous said...

@downward spiral: you left something off the end of your last sentence: "in secret, without notice, over the summer."

Fix AL

Anonymous said...

"Would the whole thing collapse without principal support like Spectrum did?"

Spectrum collapsed because it is illegal to cluster ELL students and students with IEPs into some classrooms, while other general ed. classrooms (Spectrum) are virtually without these students. It violates the legal right to LRE.

SPS has had not the backbone to announce that fact, but has taken the easy route to let it dissolve.

Over Yourself

Anonymous said...

@Over Yourself

I guess our experiences differ. At our previously designated 'Spectrum' school there were more kids with IEPs in the Spectrum classes than the Gen Ed classrooms. It was even referenced at school about how the Spectrum classes had more emotional challenges. As in more students with ADHD, dyslexia, or other challenges to learning. I have read that people with dyslexia normally have a higher than normal IQ. Just life is harder for them as they see everything in reverse and have to learn to overcome that. Now all the kids are blended together in the classroom with walk to math and other supports to meet each student where they are at. What is illegal about that? It does seem that your knowledge of SPS is outdated. I suspect I should not look at your posts as logical, but more as coming from a place of hurt? If that is the case I am sad for the hurt that has been inflicted upon you. That is nothing that any human should do to another.

Blue Bird

Anonymous said...

Systemic Math Fraud in Washington Public Schools.

It is way past time to get ridiculous harmful graduation requirements revised.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

"Feeling hurt?" Thanks for your concern!

Any angle necessary to try and discount verifiable facts...

Your personal experience with IEPs in Spectrum does not translate into the generalized statistics of the program. Spectrum=General Education. Period. Illegal clustering of high needs students in general education with Spectrum? Fact.

The Spectrum ship has sailed. I'm on the justice train, Blue Bird.

Over Yourself

kellie said...

@ Over Yourself,

Thanks for the great chuckle.

The "collapse" of Spectrum had nothing to do with LRE. Nationwide and over decades, Spectrum and similar programs that focus on the 87th to 97th percentiles have followed a very distinct pattern.

When school district have either low total enrollment or have significantly disproportionate enrollment due to the abandonment of the middle class, districts will try to attract families with programs that focus on some style of advanced learning that is one year ahead.

These program follow a very predicable pattern and the "magnet" program is placed in under performing schools. Every Spectrum school in Seattle was at one time an under-enrolled school. This plan works!! Over time, those schools fill and then over-fill and the program is neglected and general ed becomes the "in-thing" once again.

These programs are quite legal, despite your "opinion" on LRE.

To get an idea of the scope of this. Spectrum style programs were very popular during the depression and the 1930 as many districts had more facilities and there was a population dip. Then these programs nearly vanished with the baby boomers in the 50s, as school district everywhere struggled to provide basic services. The cycle repeated as they returned in force as the baby boomers moved out of system and then the baby boom echo caused another school aged population increase. This cycle repeated for the second baby boom echo.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the history lesson, Kellie.

The big change that has occurred in the past ten years or so (that didn't happen before) is that districts now have HC mandates that are legally defined and include protections for students. The "magnet" approach to advanced learning has been supplanted by an entirely new legally mandated approach to gifted ed and HC.

Thus, the "cycle" has been redefined and legally reprogrammed to include the gifted amongst all demographics, rather than being used as an attempt to use privileged children to desegregate schools. The former approach, not coincidentally, became very popular after people left for private schools (and the suburbs) in droves in response to busing.

The implementation of HC law led directly to the demise of Spectrum, when it could no longer be explained away as simply another magnet program (along with APP)of the type in which you alluded. Spectrum, in contrast to HCC, suddenly became just another group of general education students by definition. Clustering SPED and ELL students in two classroom of gen ed, while the other one down the hall had few to none of these students, could no longer be justified legally.

If you question legal issues surrounding LRE, your historic memory should be tapped to remember that SPS got into some big trouble by the feds just a few years ago for busing ELL students to impacted location rather than servicing them at the neighborhood schools. That was a LRE violation, too.

Over Yourself

kellie said...

@ Over Yourself,

Your narrative and dogma fit nicely. However, that makes coincidence not causality.

The demise of Spectrum started before the NASP and Spectrum's eventual death was ensured by the NSAP. The NSAP did not provide any protected capacity for Spectrum programs, unlike HCC. HCC was provided protected capacity and guaranteed assignment for HCC and this was long before the change in State law.

Please note that a Spectrum school was NEVER considered for closure during nearly a decade of closure conversations. This is because Spectrum was a solution to closing schools and the opposite is true as well. Spectrum was added to many schools in 2003 that were candidates for closure.

Spectrum was always a capacity solution. The entire premise was based on a self contained experience within a general education experience. This "self-contained" aspect makes it easy to fit into LRE narratives. But the far simpler answer is that without extra capacity that is then taken off-line for general education, the program can't work.

Elementary school spectrum was based on available space. It was never guaranteed and demand for Spectrum was always significantly greater than supply. Year two of the NSAP, Spectrum at middle school was no longer capacity controlled and was changed to a "service."

Shortly after Spectrum was required to be "delivered" at middle school, the entire program needed to change because the middle school master schedule system could not longer support the inherent inefficiencies in self contained Spectrum classes. Simply put, it is too expensive both in terms of space and staff. In other words, it was irrelevant that Spectrum classes were full. There was simply not enough slack in the system to provide two types of graduation requirements, when you only have space and funding for one type.

This is nothing at all like the ELL situation. SPS had an ELL model that was based on capacity, not the services as defined by the law. In this situation SPS was in gross violation of services for a protected class. And yes, this "problem" about ELL services was mentioned in many many meetings that I attended over the years and was casually brushed aside, under the notion that SPS simply did not have the capacity to do it the other way. Only when it became a "clearly-defined" legal issue was this addressed.

Anonymous said...

@N by NW - Very similar story at Roosevelt High School.

NE Mom of 3

Melissa Westbrook said...

"Spectrum collapsed because it is illegal to cluster ELL students and students with IEPs into some classrooms, while other general ed. classrooms (Spectrum) are virtually without these students. It violates the legal right to LRE."

That may be part of it but most principals were very much against it and never mentioned that issue. You may see it as justice but that may not be the case. I never heard this mentioned - not once - at any Board work session or committee meeting. It would have if your theory was correct.

Thanks for the fleshed out insights, Kellie.

kellie said...

Regarding Running Start,

Last year there were about 500 high school students enrolled at Garfield, Roosevelt, Ballard, Hale and Ingraham on the first day of school that were no longer enrolled by the end of September.

My suspicion is that the majority of these students were pushed into Running Start. Because magically by October 1, these 5 schools had enrollment numbers that almost perfectly matched their budgeted numbers. Because high school is a based on class credits and every 6 students adds a slot to the master schedule, it is nearly impossible for high schools to provide services for any students over and above their allocation for the master schedule, once that schedule is set.

High schools have to provide graduation requirements. However, they do not have to provide college ready requirements. These are the last classes added to the master schedule and are truly space available not based on students but based on budget allocation.

As such, many students that want to be "college ready" have no choice but to switch to Running Start. The district is NOT paying attention to this dynamic as nothing about this process is a required part of the enrollment reporting.

kellie said...

Thanks Mel

I concur. I have never heard LRE mentioned in conjunction with Spectrum at any district meeting. This is a narrative that fits nicely with the current notions of equity, but that doesn't make it true.

Most school principals hated Spectrum because of the beuracratic nightmare this program was to run in a best case scenario and in a capacity constrained scenario, it was practically impossible to run. As such, at the first possible opportunity, most principals made "site based decisions" to make it more manageable. If LRE would have been a plausible argument, no one would have hesitated to throw this legal sounding argument into the mix.

Anonymous said...

Talk about a false narrative.

The district didn't eliminate Spectrum self-contained classrooms because of principals, it was teachers and parents who found it unfair to have over-representation of struggling students in the classrooms that remained after grouping Spectrum and HC kids, because when they could get the grouping locally, the HC kids tended to stay put.

Teachers saw the concentration of below grade level students in non-Spectrum classrooms and parents saw one group getting a classroom free of struggling students and were outraged.

Middle school Spectrum created half empty classrooms of privileged kids at schools like Mcclure, while non-Spectrum classrooms were full.

So what if LRE and gifted weren't spoken about at Board meetings, does that mean the administration and the AL office have never visited the subject? I think transparency is not an attribute of SPS.

Spectrum not only concentrated hard to teach kids in non-Spectrum classrooms, it also routinely excluded Spectrum and HC qualified students due to waitlists at schools with full self-contained classrooms.

It was a huge mess; resented by teachers,parents and some principals.

The district is so passive aggressive they would never come out and criticize their own program as unfair, they just let it get so popular and let the disparities become so glaring that eliminating the program as self-contained became inevitable.

HCC is heading the same way. As the % of students rises, approaching 30 at some schools, the district will let the complaints about the blatant unfairness reach a crescendo and then, poof!,it'll be gone too, and it will be service at local schools only.

Crow Magnon

Lynn said...

parents saw one group getting a classroom free of struggling students and were outraged

I think this was true at some schools (McClure is an example). It's disingenuous for these parents to complain that self contained Spectrum classrooms violated the rights of students with disabilities to the Least Restrictive Environment when their real objection is that their non-disabled students had too many disabled peers in their classes.

The LRE is meant to provide students with disabilities access to the general education curriculum and classroom whenever this provides them with a benefit.

My child's belended HCC/Spectrum class has a full time special education assistant in the classroom this year - this makes three out of the last four years.

Anonymous said...

Our experience....meaning we were there and involved....was our Spectrum classes were larger than the Gen Ed classes. They were not self contained in that students who relished the extra work but had not been Spectrum-identified were welcome. This worked well until the DISTRICT eliminated the program and moved it to another school. The teachers and principals and parents maintained the structure as long as possible.

Tracking students into advanced and general classrooms has been done for over 50 years. I, myself, was tracked to a gen ed classroom, while my peers when to an advanced math class. This was in 1970. It did me a lot of good and enabled me to focus. I was transferred to advanced classes later...when I was ready. Parents who can't handle this very effective model for teaching are motivated by misinformation and more than a little misplaced jealousy.


Anonymous said...

LRE is kind of a technical term. Kellie is right that most principals don't know about it, and absolutely right that the capacity management committees she was on, which had exactly 0 special ed families represented and tons of APP representatives on it, didn't know about it. What is it anyway? But what staff in schools do talk about is the "good" class and the "bad" class. I know. I work there. She doesn't. And the bad class has, you know, the bad kids in it. So the real disingenuouity is parents who just want the good class... so their kids don't wind up in the bad class. It's pretty shocking that the oh so liberal elites, continue to think the existence of a "bad class", a perpetual under class, is something we should support with our tax dollars and public schools, just because they are the beneficiaries. Overwhelmingly staff reject this division. Kellie is right about the scheduling nightmares, which always, always, always works out in favor of the "good" class.


monkeypuzzled said...

I think it's highly unlikely that principals don't know what LRE means, and if they don't, that's kind of appalling.

Melissa Westbrook said...

My son was in a class of 28 from 1-3 and 33 in grades 4-5 for Spectrum. Why? Because the classrooms ran full and, as was pointed out, some kids couldn't even get into a Spectrum classroom because there was not guaranteed access to a classroom.

There may have been a few underenrolled Spectrum classrooms but that is not the norm.

kellie said...

People hated Spectrum for all the reasons that "crow magnon" and "staff" articulate. That is both true and completely in line with my comments about why Principals disliked this program. Just managing complaints about Spectrum could easily be a full time job.

The part that is interesting to me is that for decades the district's response to these complaints was to EXPAND the program, not dismantle or diminish the program. The complaints have been the same the entire time. Only when the district started to run at over 100% capacity were these programs dismantled. It is also interesting that these were the same complaints regarding Horizon, the predecessor to Spectrum. The response to those complaints was the huge expansion of Horizon, renamed as Spectrum to all corners of the district.

I am certain that all principals do know about LRE. That is why I am confident that LRE had nothing to do with Spectrum's demise. This would have been part of the official explanation as most people would have been able to get behind that notion. Instead, I have attended several community meetings where the demise of spectrum was explained and those meetings were pretty straightforward in their dislike of the program and how "all kids should benefit from this change" mantra.

Anonymous said...


I am not saying that there were not complaints prior. I'm also not saying there was a straight cause/effect that also didn't involve capacity issues.

My point to posters and Melissa, whenever they rue about Spectrum, is that the deal got sealed with the passage of HC law, which fully defined Spectrum as a general education program that no longer had any gray area to play with the pretence that they were exempt from LRE laws.

Your history lesson showed why they could use the "magnet" status before to justify it as a "special" program, and not just another group of general education public school students. That used to give them some "cover" when the other one or two classrooms down the hall were impacted with most of the high needs kids.

Once HC law was passed, Spectrum was once and for all defined as General Education only, subject to state and federal laws regarding LRE and civil rights laws. HCC can group students and services without adhering to LRE; Spectrum cannot.

The passage of HC law marked the demise of Spectrum as a self-contained classroom model, even if even some/many in the district didn't even realize it yet (and even if it wasn't their original reason for changing the program in some schools).

The HC law guaranteed that SPS would have to stop having self-contained classrooms of Spectrum students--because Spectrum and AL are legally meaningless labels. The self-contained model of Spectrum is illegal for this reason: It is against the law to cluster Sped students into classrooms that prevent them from participating in their legal right to a "general" education (as much as possible, IEP permitting). General Education is defined as the normal distribution of general ed students in their access area.

Lynn, you are way too knowledgeable to use a personal anecdote as evidence of actual data (which doesn't support the notion that HCC and Spectrum are, by an any measure, representative of the percentages of overall Sped numbers in the district).

Over Yourself

Lynn said...

However, the IDEA does not limit the number, or percentage, of students with disabilities that may be placed into a specific regular classroom in order to provide a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment, consistent with the requirements above.

This quote is from a letter published by the US DoE.

Anonymous said...

Over Yourself/FWIW,

You keep repeating that Spectrum/HCC have few to no SPED students. This is a damaging lie. This is not the first time I've asked you to stop this false narrative.

The truth is that it's more difficult for HCC children with learning disabilities to qualify for Sped, because the disability is more likely to be evident by the discrepancy between cognitive ability and performance rather than below grade achievement.


Anonymous said...

Nope it's just the opposite.

Sped Parent

Anonymous said...


HCC and Spectrum are not "by an any measure, representative of the percentages of overall Sped numbers in the district" (my quote). Where is your data to dispute this?


Your link addresses the placement of students into clustering situations in order to benefit the student(s) with an IEP. It is not about placing IEP students for the benefit of ability grouping for a group of advanced general ed. students (Spectrum).

LRE Law: "In the U.S. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), least restrictive environment (LRE) means that a student who has a disability should have the opportunity to be educated with non-disabled peers, to the GREATEST EXTENT appropriate." "Appropriate" for the disabled student...

I recommend reading Wrightslaw to help you understand.

Over Yourself

Anonymous said...

Over Yourself,

Where is your data to support it?


Anonymous said...

SPED Parent,

Elaborate please. I'm interested in your experience.


kellie said...

@ Over Yourself,

There is a big gap between including a service as part of basic ed and EXCLUDING something as part of basic ed.

You are certainly entitled to your "opinion" that the HC law somehow implies the preclusion of honors programs and spectrum like programs. However, this was never stated in the law.

It is my opinion, based on my experience, that the current hostility towards all things advanced learning has NOTHING to do with the law. However, many people seem more than happy to use this new law as a way to disparage advanced learning. It is a cycle that has repeated in public education multiple times over centuries with a clear and predictable and measurable outcomes.

What happens is that middle class families with the ability to make other choices, make those choices. They switch districts, they homeschool, they go to private school. Advanced learning is clearly fighting words in this district at the moment. As more and more families get clarity that their students will not be challenged at school, they will make other choices.

Anonymous said...

Cascadia...for example.

Over Yourself

Anonymous said...


I stated "self-contained" Spectrum for a reason since this is where LRE applies. I was not including flexible ability grouping or honors classes, since they are allowable under LRE (within conditions).

Threatening to "go private" does not supercede federal civil rights laws. If parents want more challenge for their children in public schools, then work within the system in a legal and fair way.

Otherwise, just go private. The state and federal civil rights laws will not be changing for you any time soon. Get

Over Yourself

Anonymous said...

"You are certainly entitled to your "opinion" that the HC law somehow implies the preclusion of honors programs and spectrum like programs. However, this was never stated in the law."

Spectrum and Honors are NOT part of HC. This is not my "opinion".

HC is a specific state mandated law that covers identified HC students for services as part of a right to basic education. HCC is the SPS version of HC law.

Spectrum is NOT included in this definition. Honors can be a service provided to HC, AL/Spectrum identified students and other general ed students like themselves, but is not HC.

SPS is currently using the HCC cohort model ONLY in elementary (against state law, which is that the services are basic ed and should follow the student), and the pathway approach after that.

SPS can have a Spectrum and AL (non-HC) services. However, they must follow LRE and state and federal civil rights laws because these identified students are General Education students and without special status. These services can legally include walk-to-math and Honors, for example, but not a self-contained gen.ed. classroom.

Since the former Spectrum was violating these laws, specifically LRE, that model is now toast.

Over Yourself

kellie said...

@ "Get" Over yourself,

"Threatening to "go private"" Ummmm .... what are you trying to describe. What is the nature of this threat? What is the scope of this threat? To whom would I direct this threat?

I think it is very clear that I am discussing the macro level of public education dynamics. Public Education is reliant on a critical mass of buy in. I have lived in cities where that buy in did not exist and everyone suffers in public education as a result. Seattle has experienced this in the past and I suspect will experience it again.

Your notion of "If parents want more challenge for their children in public schools, then work within the system in a legal and fair way." is exactly what has caused the current conversation regarding vouchers and charter schools. These are relatively new ways that families vote with their feet.

I am not a supporter of either charters or vouchers. I do not believe these solutions work. I do not believe that anyone wins when one group of students is told your needs don't matter.

The historical number seems to be about 10% of families go private no matter what, so that is the baseline. When the number goes over 20%, you being to see statistically significant distortions between the general population and the public school population. That gets greatly exaggerated at 30% and by 40% the public education is no longer representative of the local area.

And again, you are entitled to your opinion but unless you are a judge your opinion does not define the law and I do not concur with your opinion on this law and the implications. Spectrum's demise was already ensured before this law was passed. Coincidence of timing is not causation.

That's the great thing about a democracy, the ability to disagree with civility.

Anonymous said...

Over Yourself / FWIW,

Cascadia...that's it? You use one school's data to make overarching negative judgments about all Advanced Learning students % of SPED.

You do realize that a school's SPED % doesn't necessarily represent the actual disability rate in the school?

If this was just mere disagreement on a blog, I wouldn't worry. However, I know you are actively working with Wyeth Jessee and Kari Hanson at the district to implement your ideas and impact AL policy. That makes your ignorance and false narrative about SPED dangerous.


Anonymous said...

@APP-interesting that Kari Hanson has NEVER engaged the Cascadia community in dialogue about changes to AL policy.

Scewed Perspective

Anonymous said...

Kari Hanson should meet with someone from 2-3 schools in each quadrant of the district who has left for HCC and someone who has stayed. Exclusively sitting with someone with a lot of extra time who is bitter that their student has friends making choices to go to other schools (private, option, HCC) is not a way to design good policy.

Scewed Perspective

Anonymous said...

Screwed - that is a fantastic idea! It would not be that hard to do it either, especially if Hanson has a legitimate interest in AL opportunities for all students.

My family has experienced both the good and bad in GenEd/Spectrum/HCC and we've made choices to stay and choices to go. And had experience HCC at 3 schools (had to switch to a different public HCC school at one point due to lack of rigor). Having experienced these programs quite a bit I have found FWIW's narratives disingenuous.


Anonymous said...

Seriously APP????? The nonstop APP whining about how "we receive the least money so we're really helping everyone else out by getting a superior and deserved better education ". No. You receive the least funding because you have essentially no disability. That's a fact. Sure. You're response is that being average is a disability for a genius like your kid. Admission to HCC is supposed to mean superior academic performance. Exactly the opposite of qualifying for special ed. Garfield also has the lowest SPED rate of any high school. It's beyond obvious that APP precludes disability, and that the HCC notion of a disability is really a racist ideology. No doubt bolstered by private testing. "My kid's a genius, but performs averagely." If your kid performs averagely, they should be in regular ed. Everyone would be a genius if they count all their challenges as disability.

Everyone wants challenge for their kid. Nobody needs challenge more than kids stuck in disability programs. Yes, working for better, more inclusive programs for everyone is essential. Not special private schools for privileged, wondering how they can have exclusive access cradle to grave.


Lynn said...

In support of kellie's theory on the reason for the loss of self-contained Spectrum classes:

Since the 2016-17 school year, the regional Spectrum elementary and K-8 sites have no longer offered full time self-contained classrooms for identified students. At some sites there were too few identified students to populate full classes, while at other sites there were too many eligible students, resulting in waiting lists.

This is from the preliminary report on the district's review of advanced learning services.

Anonymous said...

Screwed Perspective,

I strongly encourage communities such as Cascadia to take the initiative in approaching Kari and Wyeth. Speak to your PTAs about the need for active involvement and advocacy. Do we really want Over Yourself/FWIW to be the loudest voice in the room?


Anonymous said...

Kellie's theory about all the precursor issues is correct.

My point continues to be that the actual DEMISE of Spectrum was sealed when the HC law was passed.

Btw, Lynn can you please provide APP the further evidence that is being requested.
I have no doubt you know where to refer this reader.

Over Yourself

Anonymous said...

Melissa, I don't even know Wyeth Jesse and Kari Hanson.

"I know you are actively working with Wyeth Jessee and Kari Hanson at the district to implement your ideas"... part of the pattern to discredit some HCC parent that many of these reader/posters keep referring to. It happens whenever there is an long comment section on HCC.

This pattern needs to stop. These types of posts need to be deleted because they are "outing" which is expressly forbidden in your own blog rules.

Making exceptions to this rule when the posters are part of the popular blog in-crowd does not make for good policy or help you establish press credentials.

Over Yourself

kellie said...

@ Over Yourself,

Again, the demise of Spectrum and this law have nothing to do with each other. The demise happened BEFORE the law.

It would be "reasonable" or perhaps "plausible" to say that the new law would PRECLUDE the return of Spectrum. However, that point is beyond irrelevant and incredibly distracting from the underlying dynamics.

School districts ONLY introdruce Spectrum like programs where there is significant and substantial excess physical capacity. Typically programs like this are created in lieu of closing and/or selling physical buildings. They are also created when total enrollment is low enough that it is hard to justify or amortize central admin costs and there is a need to increase total enrollment.

The bottom line is that ANY self contained program has substantial INDIRECT costs. These costs ONLY make sense in very specific financial realities.

Following this typical pattern, it would be at least another 20 years before SPS even considered a program to attract and retain students in this demographic. This law fits into a narrative that is popular at the moment. But these long cycles of population demographics is the actual driver of this type of programming.

Porgy said...

@CountMeIn-- I totally agree. Once you've seen a bunch of different SPS worlds from the inside, it's hard to take "Over Yourself" seriously at all.

@Access4All-- You are completely wrong. It is completely possible to have "superior academic performance" AND have a condition covered by IDEA (1. Autism, 2. Deaf-blindness, 3. Deafness, 4. Developmental delay, 5. Emotional and behavioral disorders, 6. Hearing impairment, 7. Intellectual disability, 8. Multiple disabilities, 9. Orthopedic impairment, 10. Other health impairment, 11. Specific learning disability, 12. Speech or language impairment, 13. Traumatic brain injury, 14. Visual impairment, including blindness).

Do you seriously believe that a deaf person can't have superior academic performance? Deaf people are a linguistic minority group. And they are covered by the IDEA act EVEN IF THEY SCORE VERY, VERY, VERY HIGH ON ACHIEVEMENT/COGNITIVE ABILITY TESTS. Even if they get perfect grades. Even if they are not behind. Being deaf can negatively affect a student's ability to receive a free and appropriate public education in some school settings, but it absolutely does not mean they're going to perform below average or a year behind their age peers.

Do you seriously believe that an orthopedic impairment precludes giftedness??? Having no legs from the knees down or being born without hands absolutely does NOT mean a person cannot be gifted.

Do you seriously believe that gifted children can't have ADHD or dyslexia???

Because you're completely wrong. They can. They do. And SPS's failure to recognize that some children are both (2E) negatively impacts those children's ability to receive a free and appropriate public education. Very negatively.

Anonymous said...

Again, Kellie, the elephant in your narrative is that there are historically unprecedented newly enacted gifted education laws.

All of the historical cycling to which you are referring involved a certain class of privileged students being used as demographic pawns in the system.

With the advent of HC state laws, the recognition/mandate now exists that students from ALL demographics have gifted/highly capable students. That is the big change from the pattern.

Your narrative continues to keep avoiding this. Whenever this blog is rueful about Spectrum and wants to return it to its former self-contained glory ASAP, my point will continue to be: That ship has sailed! HC law redefined magnet programs for advanced/gifted and who populates these programs. And people who grieve this loss and want to bring back self-contained Spectrum will continually be reminded: Self-contained Spectrum is illegal based on LRE, which became clear with the advent of the HCC law.

Porgy: The issue in SPS is that a learning disability (the most commonly diagnosed disability) is causing 2E students to systematically be denied HC services by SPS, which is totally in violation of state HC law. Students with a learning disability will not score highly on achievement in their area of disability. The disability category quailifiers that you listed are in the great minority (with the exception of ADHD) of Sped, especially in SPS. The discussion was about the low numbers of Sped students in HCC.

The discrepancy model has been used for learning disability diagnosis, which is why the discussion was involving performance. Certainly, students without learning disabilities in the categories you listed will not be suffering from low academic performance (or cognitive test performance) based on their disability.

APP was arguing (and Lynn was implying) that HCC is chock full of students with IEPs. That is not true at all.

The 2E issue in HCC is ripe for a civil rights lawsuit.

Over Yourself

Anonymous said...

Facts. HCC program and schools have the lowest disability rates of any schools in the district. APP doubted this well known fact. Look at any OSPI report card. That disparity drives disproportionality. HCC parents complain right and left that their kids are underfunded. They get less precisely because disability programs drive money into schools, and HCC precludes most disabilities. In point of fact there are 0 disability programs beyond resource room available to HCC students.. Why? You have to be academically ahead to be in HCC. Nearly all students with disabilities are behind. Significantly behind. Yes. Possible that some kids with disabilities are also academically ahead. Very, very few. Physical impairment is a very tiny percentage of the disability community. ADHD? Mostly academically behind. Sure you can be 2E and HCC qualified. You can also be 2e and NOT eligible for HCC because you aren't academically ahead, even if you are extremely intelligent - part of the qualification is also achievement. Also, many private testers aren't really intellectually highly capable, their parents just want more for their kids, like all parents. It's like saying I would be an Olympic athlete if I didn't have the physical impairment of unathleticism. That doesn't get me on the olympic team. I'm ok to play rec league.


Anonymous said...

@Over Yourself

If you do not know Wyeth or Kari there is no "outing" Actually, it is the complete opposite as it would cast suspicion on a completely different person.

You do continue to be entertaining.


Porgy said...

"APP was arguing (and Lynn was implying) that HCC is chock full of students with IEPs." No, I don't think that's what they were saying at all. I think they were saying that HCC is full of kids who clearly have disabilities (ask the teachers, ask the parents, ask the professionals) but who do NOT have IEPs. Because getting a kid who has both giftedness AND a disability an IEP in SPS is like trying to thread a camel through the eye of a needle.

What I think APP and Lynn were trying to say is that there are a lot of students in HCC with disabilities, but most of the disabilities are not officially recognized or addressed by SPS. There are obviously kids in HCC with ASD and anxiety and ADHD and dysgraphia and depression. A few of them do receive official help and have IEPs. But obviously (just look at the OSPI numbers) way less than in many gen ed locations. But there is a serious problem with how SPS identifies disabilities in students who are gifted.

Over Yourself writes, "Students with a learning disability will not score highly on achievement in their area of disability." This is TOTALLY UNTRUE. It's true in some cases, but by no means all. One of the main ways people recognize giftedness is that the kids test freakishly well. There are kids, right now, who have tested into HCC with achievement scores in the top 5% nationally in both ELA and math who have disabilities that affect their academic performance in ELA and math. If you have an IQ of 160, it can be completely possible to have dyslexia AND get a 4 on the SBAC. But that does not mean you don't have dyslexia. Dyslexia is a cognitive disorder that has nothing to do with intelligence.

Anonymous said...


You gotta feel sorry for that HCC parent. I know I do--whoever it is.

Wouldn't want to be in the trenches with this crowd. They turn on their
own as soon as their self-interests are remotely challenged.

The problem, Popcorn, was that a few HCC threads back--when Melissa allowed this same rhetoric to fester--it culminated into a post where an HCC parent outed the location of where their fellow (targeted) HCC parent went to high school (this same person they keep bringing up because the individual is a clear threat to their status quo and privilege).

What a scandal!

Just trying to be a rule follower here and advance the peace.


Over Yourself

Anonymous said...

Oh, really, Porgy! That is priceless!

Do you really think the incidence of under-diagnosis for HCC is under the rate of under-diagnosis of the student population at large?

The reason it hard for a 2E student in SEATTLE to qualify for HC is overwhelmingly because HCC has a performance component for qualification that includes both Literacy and Math performance tests. There are also issues involved for other disabilities which are largely about the testing environment, especially for those on the autism spectrum or those with ADHD.

THE DISCREPANCY model is based upon a significant difference between cognition and performance in the diagnosis of learning disability.

What APP was saying was very clear and what Lynn was implying was very clear. At first both indicated that there were LOTS of students with IEPs in HCC. When that was quickly invalidated by evidence and data, APP turned it into an argument (and you are now taking this ball and trying to run with it) that, well, you know, they are there but undiagnosed. know, ahem...

Having a kid with a learning disability and qualifying for HCC is virtually impossible in SPS, unless the student is atypical and performs highly in their disability area despite the disability (as you are now touting). It happens, but is far from being the typical profile, especially for young dyslexic students who have not been taught the strategies/been given the intervention to keep the impacts of the disability from controlling their academic fates.

You are preaching to the choir here in terms of Learning Disabilities and intelligence. That is why I keep restating that SPS is breaking the law by not including the 2E students (and single subject gifted) into HC. It is literally a crime.

Over Yourself

kellie said...

@ Over Yourself,

I am not ignoring the new definition of basic education. I simply don't share your "opinion" that this new definition is an elephant.

IMHO, the new definition is just one more item on a long laundry list of unfunded mandates regarding education and it is not the magic wand or game changer that you are describing.

I attended the public meetings when the new definition of basic education was being formed. Ironically, this was also during the recession when there were annual and deep budget cuts to education. The folks crafting the definition were very direct in the "aspiration nature" of the definition, in the "hope" that when there was money, this would be a guiding definition on how to spend that mythical-someday-money.

The meeting facilitators were also very direct in their conversation about the inclusion of HC in the definition. They spoke about two things.

1) urban districts already had AL services so this was not a big change there. However, smaller districts and rural districts often had ZERO AL of any sort and this was primary directed there.

2) This was another component of the "school to prison pipeline" being addressed. Now, I was shocked that this was a thing at all but they clarified that the research shows that BOTH ends of the bell curve has tremendous anomalies and that the top 2% for IQ was over represented in the prison population and that again many districts were not good at identifying this group.

I find your notion that somehow this law was intended to be the end of Spectrum style programs to be an extreme interpretation of the law and I do not find any supporting evidence for this interpretation.

That said, I actually agree with you on two interpretations. This law was intended to address the under-identificaiton of both minorities and twice exceptional and that SPS's current HC model does little to identify these outliers of high IQ, because of SPS's focus on high performance.

The IRONY here is that the old-style Spectrum program did MORE to capture these outliers than the cohort model. But as we all know, the Spectrum model also identified a large number of students on the high end of the SES spectrum.

Melissa Westbrook said...

The nonstop APP whining about how "we receive the least money so we're really helping everyone else out by getting a superior and deserved better education ".

Who said this and where, Access for all? Because it wasn't here but if you can show me that quote, I'll believe you.

This nonsense about a private school education in HCC is just silly but keep saying it.

"Melissa, I don't even know Wyeth Jesse and Kari Hanson."

"I know you are actively working with Wyeth Jessee and Kari Hanson at the district to implement your ideas"...

And guess who didn't say that, Over Yourself? ME

You might want to stop hyperventilating and answering so fast that you don't even get it right. I don't consider this outing; someone is saying that you are working with those staffers but that could be anyone.

I think in the future for these discussions I'll be reading comments before they get posted.

We'll end this here.