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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

KUOW Discussing Boundaries 10 AM

SAP boundaries will be the subject of the 10am hour of KUOW (94.9 FM) Weekday program.

214 comments:

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Dorothy Neville said...

Tracy confirmed what Melissa and I were surprised to hear at a PTSA meeting last month: that the high school lottery will have sibling tiebreaker.

This is just terrible and contradicts what Tracy had just said a few minutes before about philosophy (of not maintaining the same feeder patterns for middle to high school. By high school, kids are differentiating in their needs and desires. There is no philosophical reason at all to hamper the open choice high school lottery seats with sibling priority. It reduces equity, reduces equal probability of getting into a high school that one thinks will better suit one's educational needs.

At the same time they are ruining the high school lottery with sibling tiebreaker, they are not willing to discuss better solutions for elementary school sibling transitions. Just doesn't make sense.

(And Susan Enfield didn't have much to say except that they are discussing things and still working on closing the achievement gap and continuing with initiatives... yawn.)

Oh, and I sure wish Marcie had asked some more pointed follow-ups, like specifically about RHS and LA Options, which seemed to be what she was hinting at.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, it does seem quite odd that the desire to keep sibling together is at the high school level. I know people whose kids went to two different high schools because of differences in interests.

And I think Dr. Enfield's comments were interesting given that no assurances or even a plan was given to parents at the Aki Kurose boundaries meeting last night.

Charlie Mas said...

On the radio, in response to a question about a program placement for a Spectrum program in the Hamilton service area, Dr. Libros said something about how we used to move the students to where the District put the program but that with this plan and going forward they were going to move the program to where the students are. Something like that.

If that's the case, then why are so many of the program placements so messed up?

SP said...

I absolutely agree with Dorothy & Melissa-
There should be no sibling priority at the high school level.

There are so many differences between high schools that will always be there...the IB programs for example. The concept of setting aside approx. 10% "choice seats" is barely what I would call choice. Do the math- Sealth has now 1000 kids (approx), so 10% is only 100 seats for all 4 grades,which brings it down to only 25 seats for an incoming 9th grader who does not happen to live in that attendance area, to win a lottery seat.

If siblings had preference, most likely there would be no seats available, a "choice" lottery system on paper only.

Elementary parents- please think of this when you ask for siblings to have priority- as kids get older it's a fact that parents are less involved with the schools (ask any high school PTSA) so that argument doesn't hold as much. Besides, in a 4 year high school, you will holding those sibling seats for many years when the older sib has already graduated out. Sib priority for elementary & middle schools with feeder patterns makes sense, but not for high schools.

You might as well buy a lottery ticket at 7-11 and hope to win $ for private school!

dj said...

So does a sibling tiebreaker at the high school level mean that the 10% of choice seats will have a sibling tiebreaker, or that there will be 10% pure choice seats + sibs get whatever is leftover if the other 90% is underenrolled? I'm assuming the former (or that all leftoever seats will be defined as choice seats with the same result), but I'm learning not to assume.

I guess what that means at Garfield is that people who don't have APP sibs can kiss those choice seats goodbye, as I imagine that there are plenty of parents with APP HS kids + another kid assigned to a less desirable HS, and those seats will fill with them. Which may not make it much different than it is now, for all I know.

SolvayGirl said...

Personally, I think that as long as the SPS high schools are as different as they are, there should be NO geographical assignment and be enrolled completely by lottery (if there are more takers than seats) and using the old algorithm. Special programs (Jazz bands, biotech, IB, etc.) should have criteria for admittance.

Dorothy Neville said...

Dj, please listen as well, to make sure I heard correctly, but the way I understood Tracy on the radio (actually later, off the website) is that the 10% choice seats go FIRST to siblings and then to open lottery. That jibes with what Brian Vance thought last month, although at the time, I was hoping he had misinterpreted. It completely violates the premise of the lottery and open choice seats.

another mom said...

Did I hear the same question about placement of Spectrum elementary program? I thought that the concern raised was one of where are they-Spectrum elementary pgms- going to be placed? Dr. Libros answered in a round about way that indicated that they will count the students and look at the where the students are first and then do something. Did I hear this incorrectly or were two questions and I missed one?

Dorothy Neville said...

The other thing I got from this discussion was that they fully expect the boundary maps to change based on this public input period. So they are definitely delaying any policy on transitional grandfathering of sibs or other such issues until AFTER the maps are settled. Until then, they won't know how much grandfathering will be desired and how much will be feasible.

Unknown said...

I think families should have the option to keep their siblings together at all grade levels at least during the transition period. Our family have made choices along the way based on the existing plan. We have three children and where we live in SE Seattle there is very limited metro service. High schools have the same start time now. It will be very hard to make sure two high school students make it to two different schools on time and see that my elementary students catches his bus. My involvement at the schools will be very limited if they are at three different schools. I think Parent involment is still important in highschool.
Keep in mind that the siblings living within the attendance area already won't be applying for open choice spots.

Sue said...

No one should be surprised at the high school sibling information - it has been in clear language, in black and white, on the plan since it was adopted in June.

It clearly states:

The school will be filled with attendance area students first. The with the 10% open choice seats, if oversubscribed, the first tiebreaker is sibling, the second is lottery. It is not that hard to understand.

And the tiebreaker for ALL schools, for open seats is sibling first, then lottery. Elementary students are not being given the shaft here. we all are!

I also find it bothersome that people think sibling preference has no value in high school. Excuse me, it does.

We high school parents count just as much as kindergarden parents do, for wanting to keep our kids together, when we are already in the system.

Actually , I think they need to delay the plan for the high schools, period, due to their unequal offerings and rigor.

Enough ranting.

CCM said...

Regarding Spectrum program placement - If they are "moving the program to where the students are" - does that mean no more waitlist for Spectrum at the middle schools? If your child qualifies for Spectrum - you will absolutely be served in your service area now?

SolvayGirl said...

I didn't make it clear that I would have no problem with a sibling tie-breaker at the high school level if there were no distance/geographic determiners. I do recognize the value of having multiple children in the same school. If a family believes that a particular school would serve both children well, they should have that option. They should also have the option of sending children to different high schools if they would be better served that way. Our high schools are just too different to expect any of them to be a perfect fit got every child in a specific geographic area.

Dorothy Neville said...

"I do recognize the value of having multiple children in the same school. If a family believes that a particular school would serve both children well, they should have that option."

Yes, they should have that option, the option to have each child attempt to get a seat in a fair and impartial lottery. But saying that siblings usurp the lottery negates the whole idea of a fair and equitable opportunity to enroll in a HS outside your attendance area.

Sue said...

I do agree with you SolvayGirl. I think neither of us will get what we want though.

I thought others were not clear that sibling is the tiebreaker for open seats at schools for everyone now.

This whole plan with the high schools just is so frustrating. They are in a catch 22 - how do they make all the high schools equally good without the bodies to fill them? How can they attract the bodies to the high schools without forced assignment? It goes round and round.

meulemama said...

Keeping siblings together helps build stronger families and helps to build communities. This is not just a kindergarten issue. THE ISSUE IS THAT SCHOOLS IN SEATTLE HAVE INEQUITY! This is because they are underfunded and the money that has been given has been misused and mismanaged.
If you cannot trust Seattle Public Schools to keep your Siblings/ family together if that is what you choose how do you trust them to adequately educate them while they are at school.

Dorothy Neville said...

If siblings being together is the most important thing to you, then you have your wish with the new SAP, because now your kids are guaranteed the opportunity to go to school together --- at your attendance area school.

meulemama said...

As I understand it Dorothy this is not what is happening during the implementation of this new plan. Siblings will be separated and families and communities will be strained. Only families with their first child entering SPS in 2010 will be unaffected.

mkd said...
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sixwrens said...

If siblings being together is the most important thing to you, then you have your wish with the new SAP,

not really. Your entering student is guaranteed at the attendance area school. Their older sib is NOT. Your younger sib is not guaranteed at the older sibs school. Last I heard, you would be able to tell SPS that 'sibs together' is the most important thing for your family, and they'd find a school for you (he,he,he,...)

This is actually a big deal for our family. We live within 2 blocks of THREE elementary school boundaries. We are within 2 blocks of a middle school boundary, and about 10 blocks from a high school boundary (which is bound to move south, nearer to us). I am betting that we won't know where our kids will go to school at each transition, nor whether the sibs will be together (not too predictable for us).

But hey, maybe that lottery ticket I bought will pay off and we can up and move close to the school we really want to be at... then again, maybe we'll rent... or maybe private will be our ticket.

Grandfathering sibs is an important issue not just for this transition - it needs to be permanent because boundaries will change.

sorry- a little cranky right now.

adhoc said...

I agree with Carolyn 100%. Siblings should have the option of staying together, and the SAP, as it stands now makes no provisions for that. Sure, after 6 years, all sibs will have a guaranteed seat together in their assignment school, but right now that is not the case. If you have an older sib in a school other than their neighborhood school, their is no guarantee that that a younger sib will get in to that school. If you put the younger sib in the neighborhood school, the older sib is not guaranteed a seat in an upper grade in that school. It's a no win situation for families of sibs right now, and that has got to change.

mkd said...
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Dorothy Neville said...

Keep in mind we are talking about two different things, the plan and the transition period. I make no comments about the transition period, only mention that Tracy, on the air this morning, said that they couldn't create a transition plan until after the maps are finalized and approved. I do not know if that is wise or appropriate.

The lottery seats and the sibling issue of the plan is a different thing. This is the long term issue, not the transition issue.

mkd said...
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meulemama said...

Is the district not putting the cart before the horse so to speak? Putting children into schools that do not currently exist (okay there is buildings but the district is just adding to a huge maintenance backlog by opening those), forcing children into schools that are failing according to test scores and not first addressing the already existing problems. Forcing kids into schools which do not offer programs they need to have in order to successfully move onto college? Yes I do realize all kids do not go to college but is this not a goal the district should be trying to attain.

If the district wants parents to support the plan it must show that it can offer much more than failing buildings, failing test scores and separated families.

We are all in a debate about a SAP that is dependent on money SPS does not have.

mkd said...
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Stu said...

Limiting APP programs to kids (i.e., mine) who are eligible for APP but are going to Rainier Beach because there was "no room at the inn."

Sorry, didn't understand all your post but, in this sentence, are you saying that your kid was in APP, i.e., went to Washington Middle School, but didn't get to go to Garfield because of space? That seems strange since it's a guaranteed spot . . . unless something's really screwed up.

stu

mkd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stu said...

Ahh . . . I understand now.

stu

Maureen said...

There is no APP program at Garfield. Only the cohort. All kids (including new applicants) should have to retest in 8th grade to gain access to the Garfield set aside seats. It is ridiculous that kids who tested in when they were five are taking seats from kids who are truly gifted but were not identified when they were 12 or younger.

And it is ridiculous that APP sibs will have preference for the 10% set aside seats over and above other kids who would benefit from a Garfield education.

Alternatively, kids who tested into APP before they were 12 should just be dispersed to their neighborhood High Schools.

If the cohort is valuable to the WMS APP kids, it would be valuable to the newly identified. You can't have it both ways.

Sue said...

Amen, Maureen.

h2o girl said...

Yes. AMEN, Maureen.

Jet City mom said...

There is no APP program at Garfield. Only the cohort. All kids (including new applicants) should have to retest in 8th grade to gain access to the Garfield set aside seats. It is ridiculous that kids who tested in when they were five are taking seats from kids who are truly gifted but were not identified when they were 12 or younger

This is true- however as there is not an APP program at Garfield- it isn't that one set of gifted is taking seats from another set- but that students within the assignment area, should have priority just as they do at other high schools.

If AP classes make it an option high school, then all the high schools that have AP should have the option designation.

Schools that have the IB program seem to me to more fit the " gifted" program label, but I think that that program is even more expensive than AP to run.

I also agree with the knowledge of child development that recognizes a child who is gifted at five or six is not necessarily the child who is recognized at 13 or 16.

I have two bright children, but one was a very early reader, something that intelligence testing loves to track.
( however, although her tested IQ was 160 at the time, she didn't place into the district program using their group administered test), my other child didn't learn to read till much later- but she did persevere and took 4 or 5 AP classes in high school, whereas her sister didn't take any.

ParentofThree said...

Maureen, could not agree more.

APP is fine for K-8, but for high school, send everybody to neighborhood schools.

adhoc said...
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adhoc said...

Honestly, since all HS kids get a Metro Pass, why can't every HS seat be straight lottery, with no geographic tie breaker.

Use the Gale-Shapely algorithm.

High schools are so unique, and I like that! I love that the 4 north end high schools have such different focuses. Ingraham has IB, Hale has the radio station and is somewhat alternative, Roosevelt has tons of AP and honors classes and award winning band and drama programs, and Ballard has the popular biotech academy. And that's just my little corner of the world! How can we limit kids to only one of these schools, when they are all offer such different, and unique, programs and specialties?

I think it is unreasonable to expect that every high school will be able to offer everything. They won't. They can't. With the new SAP they will have to homogenize and standardize. Sure, every high school may have to have a band, but they won't all have a nationally award winning jazz band - will that help an aspiring and talented musician that needed access to a high level competitive band? And sure all schools may have to offer a certain amount of AP courses, but will that help the kids who went to JSIS, then Hamilton and now want to continue on to the IB (international) program at Ingraham? With the new SAP kids that don't live near Ingraham won't get into Ingraham. With a pure lottery any kid could list Ingraham as their first choice, and Sealth as their second choice, and another school that offers many AP foreign language classes as their 3rd and 4th etc

If we had lottery for all schools then each school could remain unique, and families all across the district would have equal access to them all!

With a non geographically based assignment system, we would truly see which HSs were the most popular and which ones were the least popular. The HSs that were unable to attract students could and should then be taken over by the district/closed/reinvented.

Would something like this work? It wouldn't cost the district anymore $$$ since all HS students now use METRO?

What do you think?

SolvayGirl said...

I agree adhoc—see my post above.

There is no way the District is going to make all parents happy about the high school their child will attend under the current system...and I DON'T want the District to dismantle or dilute the jewels: Roosevelt, Garfield, Ballard AND NOVA and The Center School.

All schools can't excel at everything, so students should have a GOOD chance to access the school that serves them best. I think adhoc's example of the Hamilton language student is spot on.

I know there will be parents who are guaranteed one of the top three right now who will cry foul, and state that it is their parent involvement that makes the school great—and that may be true to some degree.

But, where SPS stands right now, with tremendous disparity across the city, there is no other way that is fair to all of the city's high school students.

If the District has the guts to then close unpopular schools and reopen them with a new program and/or administrative staff, it will eventually create a more equitable offering of schools citywide. I do not believe the current plan will do this, and will instead cause more families to choose other options including independent schools, homeschooling, out-of-district seats (I have friends with children at Mercer Island and Bellevue schools), and Running Start.

We can pour tons of money into RBHS, but if the culture does not support students who want to learn, it will be money down the drain. The example given by mkd is heart-breaking; no child or teacher should have to endure a situation like that.

Roy Smith said...

Do ALL high school students get a metro pass? Or is it just high school students who are transportation eligible? Does SPS pay for a metro pass for students who live in the walk zone of the high school they attend? If so, why?

Michael Rice said...

Hello

Can some please send me a link to this Gale-Shipley model? I have seen it mentioned many time in the discussion on the new SAP, but I have no idea what it is and I have been unable to Google it to get a good description.

Thank you

dj said...

For the record, I do not like the SAP and do not support it. But don't we already have the information, pretty clearly, about which high school programs are desirable and popular and which ones aren't? I wouldn't see pure high school choice as a way to get new information. We know which high schools people flock to, and which ones struggle to attract students. All that neighborhood schools v. pure choice means is that people who don't live near the attractive schools will have the same chance to get into them as the people who do. Not that I see geographic proximity to a high school as an entitlement to access it (again, I'm not a proponent of the SAP), but I think we already basically know which schools people are going to choose, and which ones they won't.

Melissa Westbrook said...

No, all students do not get a Metro pass. They would need to if we had open choice high schools and they didn't attend their attendance area one.

I'll have more to say about the high schools in my Ballard SAP meeting post but it was quite interesting.

Funny, how many people seem to feign ignorance over the yearly cries of "predictability" that have gone on now for over a decade now that it's here. And high school was one of the biggest areas people were crying out for predictability.

I would agree with Dorothy about the siblings issue. It is less likely at high school level that sibs want to go to school together. Why are we hell-bent on keeping sibs together at high school and not elementary school? It's a little backward.

According to the audio from the Garfield candidate forum, RBHS doesn't have enough textbooks because students don't return them and the school doesn't want to give them out anymore. It does feel like current students are being punished for past students but that's the situation (according to Betty Patu who should know). I would think that refusing to enroll a student until the book is paid off or brought back might work but who knows?

Lastly, folks if you have 2 students who aren't twins, you WILL someday have kids in two schools. It's not the end of the world, okay? And yes, you do have to make decisions about how to split your parent time, PTAs, etc.

It is amusing to me as someone who has spent a long time working on various PTA boards. The number of parents who participate in PTA plumments in middle/high school. Now PTA is not the sole way of parent participation but no school can call itself strong without a strong PTA. All these parents who are moaning about splitting their time - well, I'd like to see them in middle and high school and see how much time they really give to a school. My experience is that parents give their all in elementary and burn out and then have little left over for middle and high school.

SolvayGirl said...

Excuse me...but I never cried for predictability. I always had predictability: Graham Hill, AKi Kurose, RBHS. I have been crying for equity or access to a decent school (like I had at the elementary level). Perhaps people living close to—but not enough—Garfield, Ballard and Roosevelt wanted predictability, but I assume the "predictability" they wanted was to somehow magically be given Garfield, Ballard or Roosevelt.

And, I happen to be one of those parents who has continued to be involved through middle (costumed all the plays, designed auction invitations, worked open houses, attended all events, provided food for teacher appreciation week, etc.) and high school (already on a committee and attending all events). Sure, it's not the same as serving on the PTA as a general and board member, but I still put in a ton of time.

So, yes, I could see where some parents would want their children at the same high school—especially if that school would serve both children well. I could also see where parents might want one child at Roosevelt, but another at Hale (different kids—different learning styles).

The new SAP will force children into schools that may not serve them well at all. And I don't have a lot of faith in the 10% "choice" plan especially with the proposed algorithm. No one will put Roosevelt, Ballard or Garfield if it means a low lottery number would doom them to their undesirable attendance school. They will opt for whatever school that's acceptable that they think they have a chance of accessing.

And that brings me to a big question:

Will the 10% "choice" seats be the ONLY slots open to kids outside the attendance area? In other words, if the school is under enrolled on top of that 10%, would the "option" kids be able to fill those slots too? Or, will they be held open for possible future attendance kids? The answer to this question will definitely have an impact on how parents will exercise choice.

adhoc said...

dj said "don't we already have the information, pretty clearly, about which high school programs are desirable and popular and which ones aren't?"

Well yes, and no. Yes, because for some schools their popularity is crystal clear. For example Roosevelt is over enrolled and has a 200 kid waitlist. It is popular. RBHS only had a handful of students list it as their first choice, and is grossly under enrolled. It is unpopular.

But there are many school that are in between. Let's take Hale for example. Hale is full, and it gets a small >10 kid waitlist some years. It would appear to be a popular school, right? But if you look at the link below you will see that out of the 290 kids assigned to Hale for 9th grade this year, only 164 of them chose it as their first choice. That means that 126 students listed Hale as their 2nd, 3rd, or lower choice, or got mandatory assignment. With that information (that you have to dig for) does Hale still appear as popular?

Currently geography plays a huge role in the assignment process. Many many NE families choose Roosevelt first, and Hale second. They don't get into Roosevelt because they live more than a mile and a half away from the school, and they get assigned to Hale.

The true choice was Roosevelt. Hale was the default. Does that make Hale popular? Popular enough maybe....but no where near as popular as Roosevelt.

http://blog.seattlepi.com/schoolzone/library/2008assignments.pdf

And, yes, Roy Smith, you are right...not all high school students get metro passes, only those that live outside of the walk zone get them. I wonder with a lottery system how many people would choose the school closest to their home, within their walk zone? With a lottery system would the district issue the same amount of bus passes? Or would they need to issue more, driving transp costs up?

adhoc said...

Charlie has said this before, and it couldn't be more true.

"People do not want predictability, they want a predictable assignment to an acceptable school."

What good did Sovaygirl predictability do for her?

If your predictability is Bryant, Eckstein, Roosevelt you are probably ecstatic right now, but if your predictability is Graham Hill, Aki, RBHS, you are probably panicking right now.

dj said...

Adhoc, that doesn't contradict my point at all. The district is sitting on great information about what parents will select -- the true preference list provided by parents under the choice system we have had until now. We know how many people put which schools as their first, second, etc. choices. There are some families who have for various reasons not participated in the process -- they aren't aware of it, they can't navigate it, they have elected to go private, etc. -- but I doubt we will ever have better information about what families in Seattle want for their kids, education-wise, than we have right now.

Benjamin Leis said...

I empathize with your problems in the southeast but predictability is just as real of an issue for other parts of the district. Here in the northeast as it currently stands there is no real way to know which school your child will enter due to overcrowding. Recently our neighbors tended to be assigned to John Rodgers. Its a good school but that meant an hour bus ride in each direction for kindergarteners and the school age population continues to rise. In the absence of predicatability, private schools gamed the system by requiring acceptance before SPS told parents which schools their children could enter. It also weakens the neighborhood. Potential families care alot about schools and over time such factors can force people into the suburbs etc.

As others have said what most people really want is a quality school. Choice is only a proxy for that in a system where most of the schools are good and there is sufficient capacity.

mkd said...
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Central Mom said...

The more I think about it, the more I think 10 percent free choice access after siblings is equal to no choice at all. But this is just a gut feeling.

Anyone out there have the time, knowledge of district-published data, math skills and Excel to quantify this using current (not projected)enrollment for a hypothetical freshman class?

Any in-boundary siblings wouldn't use the tiebreaker, but the first out-of-area kid to get into a school would possibly be bringing a 2nd (or 3rd, etc.) sib into those open spots. So then how many spots would be open to other families?

My time and math skills fail me here.

SolvayGirl said...

Just to clarify...we loved Graham Hill; it WAS our first choice and we had a terrific experience there. The SE has a lot of very good elementary schools. The ball gets dropped at the middle and high school levels, and I believe it has, at least somewhat, to do with how much kids change in middle/high schools. Kids who may have been decent, respectful students in elementary can turn into the kids described by mkd.

mkd said...
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Roy Smith said...

My feeling is that an all lottery system for high school will almost certainly necessitate issuing more metro passes, therefore driving transportation costs up. Also, I think it would probably influence some families to think about relocating to suburban school districts where they would know ahead of time what they are getting for high school.

In my opinion, the costs probably outweigh the benefits for the district as a whole.

Unknown said...

mkd I find it very puzzling that someone living in the central district, applying during the open enrollment period did not get into Garfield, let alone be 300th on the waitlist. I know a family living by RBHS whose child was 200+ on the waitlist. GHS was her first choice.
Was GHS not their first choice? Did their application get lost? Did the district make a misstake?
I believe it was harder to get into GHS than last year. You had to live within 2 miles, which it sounds like the family does.

meulemama said...

Maybe I am naive but I believe it is choice that has eroded to quality of SPS. This extends to the high school level- while I realize that all high schools cannot offer all programs what I do believe is that every high school should offer an excellent academic program with access to public services to support their population. A lack of city planning was allowed to fester because people could live somewhere and send their children our of their community to school. How can children be expected to safely walk to school without sidewalks? Street Lights? If city planners and SPS were accountable for basic access to schools and public services at each level elementary, middle and high then there should be no failing schools. Yes there would still be struggling schools. But even struggling schools would provide resources for those children committed to the academic process. Choice in an overpopulated area does not exist and lottery provides an inequity all its own by relying on chance. A solid neighborhood school (one that reflects the best of a communities values and expectations) at each level that is accessible safely and that provides all children a chance to be successful should be a reality, not a pipe dream. I for one do not want my child on a school bus or metro for hours in high school just to get to a school which gets them what they need. They will have many years of their lives where they will have to fight to live, school should be a haven where all children feel safe and a chance to succeed.
This is really not a north/south issue we all want a chance for our children to be at their best and do their best.
Choice has not worked.
Yes I am naive, sorry for the diatribe.

Roy Smith said...

Adding to meulemama's point:

Choice has not worked, because it has allowed families to avoid their local school if it was inadequate, rather than seriously fighting to make changes. Also, it has allowed SPS to resist changes by telling families "you don't like your local school? pick another one - you have choice".

This new system will hopefully:
1) Add a powerful incentive (that wasn't there before) for parents to fight to improve the quality of their local school, if that is needed.
2) Remove one excuse SPS has for not responding to the concerns of families about specific schools.

mkd said...
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TechyMom said...

mkd, have you looked at Sealth? The IB program there would be a good fit for your gifted kids, and the #11 bus, which runs on Madison, turns into the #20 downtown, and goes to West Seattle, not far from Sealth.

gavroche said...

Maureen said...

There is no APP program at Garfield. Only the cohort. All kids (including new applicants) should have to retest in 8th grade to gain access to the Garfield set aside seats. It is ridiculous that kids who tested in when they were five are taking seats from kids who are truly gifted but were not identified when they were 12 or younger.

And it is ridiculous that APP sibs will have preference for the 10% set aside seats over and above other kids who would benefit from a Garfield education.

Alternatively, kids who tested into APP before they were 12 should just be dispersed to their neighborhood High Schools.

If the cohort is valuable to the WMS APP kids, it would be valuable to the newly identified. You can't have it both ways.

10/14/09 10:24 PM
Blogger Keepin'On said...

Amen, Maureen.

10/14/09 10:52 PM
Blogger h2o girl said...

Yes. AMEN, Maureen.

10/14/09 11:17 PM


Whoah. It's really disappointing to read comments like these. Let’s not throw each other’s schools, programs and kids under the bus, ok?

Do any of you have APP kids in the program? Cause if you aren't familiar with it, how is it fair for you to make all these judgments about what these kids need and where they should go to school?

The fact that the district chose to cohouse APP at Garfield and not give it its own building does not make it any less of a program or any less necessary for the kids who have been in it since first grade -- or later.

Just because the district finds it fit to move these kids around every so many years leaving them with a cohort definition to cling to, doesn’t make their school/program less significant or make it dispensable.

If APP had a building of its own like any other alternative or "nontraditional" school, would you stop dismissing it ‘as just a cohort’? Let’s not blame parents for the decisions of the district.

And the fact that the district calls the Garfield program AP instead of APP doesn't change the fact that when a child tests in they are told they will have an appropriate curriculum to follow from elementary through high school and the ONLY option for HS is currently Garfield.

Keep in mind that when APP was first placed at Garfield 30 years ago, it was not the school it is now.

(continued)

gavroche said...

(continue)

A bit of history: the district placed APP at Garfield in 1979. This was long before the building was renovated into the mega-campus it is now. The history I’ve read on this indicates that the district placed these kids in this school to help shore up enrollment (http://www.seattleschools.org/area/historybook/garfield.pdf).

It is ridiculous that kids who tested in when they were five are taking seats from kids who are truly gifted but were not identified when they were 12 or younger.

Kids who enter Garfield’s AP Program have potentially been taught two grade levels ahead for eight years. Yes, they may have started when they were five, but they have continued on an accelerated path ever since then. They are not “taking seats from” anyone. And who are you to say who is or isn’t “truly gifted”? Are you implying that giftedness wears off?

I do agree that kids should be allowed to be tested at any age and all kids who need the accelerated program should get it, wherever it is located.

And Maureen, your suggestion to suddenly kick kids out of the program in 9th grade and put them in other high schools is strangely dismissive for one thing, and doesn't answer how you teach an incoming 9th-grader who is ready for an 11th grade curriculum.

If you want to talk about splitting APP at the high school level and sending half up north to, say Lincoln, and opening up more space at Garfield for neighborhood kids, that’s a potentially constructive conversation I’m willing to have.

And if the SAP is indicating there will be sibling preference at Garfield for non-APP siblings of APP kids, then I agree that’s problematic and not fair to neighborhood kids, so I don’t necessarily support that.

But the idea of dispersing APP throughout the district in small pieces will effectively undo the program. There won’t be enough resources or critical mass at each of these locations to make the program academically or economically feasible.

Already there’s evidence that the elementary and middle school APP splits the district imposed this year are creating inequitable schools and conflicts.

Diluting APP may well be the superintendent’s goal – along with weakening all our alternative and “nontraditional schools,” limiting school choice, dispersing Special Ed kids whether it’s good for them or not, and standardizing all our kids’ curriculums into a one-size-fits-all box.

I’d like to think that that is not a bandwagon any of us wants to join.

Karrie said...

"And Maureen, your suggestion to suddenly kick kids out of the program in 9th grade and put them in other high schools is strangely dismissive for one thing, and doesn't answer how you teach an incoming 9th-grader who is ready for an 11th grade curriculum."

Gavroche, AMEN!!

SolvayGirl said...

So...if the APP kids at Garfield are getting an 11th grade curriculum at the 9th grade level (is this true?), then what are they getting at the 11th grade level? I though high school AP classes—even at Garfield—were available to everyone and were at grade level—just more difficult. Isn't 9th grade AP, 9th grade level? I'm just curious and don't understand how this all works.


Are the AP classes at Garfield somehow different (more accelerated) than the AP classes at, say, Roosevelt? I know there's a national test, so I would think they would need to be at least somewhat similar. If the Garfield classes are truly 2 grade levels ahead, then how can the District expect non-APP kids who are working at/above grade level to take them? Shouldn't the classes then NOT be open to anyone other than the official APP kids? And, if they weren't, wouldn't this make Garfield less attractive to non-APP families, even those within the attendance area?

Again, I am confused about the whole APP vs. AP at Garfield. Are the APP kids getting something different? Are they still working at 2 grades above? And what do they end up doing in 11th & 12th grade? College level work? Do they get college credit? Do they HAVE to take all the AP classes? Do they have to take ANY AP classes? Do they need to maintain a specific GPA (since they don't retest)? Is all this spelled out anywhere?

mkd said...
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Maureen said...

gavroche says: I do agree that kids should be allowed to be tested at any age and all kids who need the accelerated program should get it, wherever it is located

If you reread my post you will see that this is really all I'm asking for. When I talk to Bob Vaughan about this he says that there is no way they could open more seats at GHS for newly identified APP kids. (the school already pushes back at the number of APP seats). That is really the major reason I would propose retesting all of the kids at 8th grade.

Though actually, yes I do think 'giftedness' as measured by SPS (or private testers) does, in some cases 'wear out.' I'm reading Po Bronson's Nurtureshock right now. One of the chapters looks at the research on testing for giftedness. It's pretty clear that some kids test in when they are young who would not test in later, but even more could test in in or after puberty rewires their brains.

The SPS system retains kids who tested in when they were five, but struggle with the advanced course work and it does not permit kids who could be identified after they are 12 to join the cohort and benefit from the high level coursework they need to reach their potential.

I have two APP identified kids. The older one goes to Roosevelt. He'll be fine, but it frustrates me that at GHS a path will soon exist for APP kids to go straight into AP Bio and then be able to take AP Physics and AP Chemistry without even doubling up on Science in their senior year. My kids could do that work, but a path like that will never exist at RHS because most of the kids who could handle that work are all at GHS in a huge redundant critical mass.

The only way my younger kid could get access to that cohort is if I pull her out of her fantastic, academically stellar, ethnically and socioeconomically diverse K-8 school and send her to Hamilton. mkd couldn't even do that since she moved here when her kids were 'too old.' That stinks

ArchStanton said...

Gavroche, AMEN!!

Yes, AMEN, Karrie

zb said...

I'm glad to see this APP guarantee to slots in high school discussed openly. It is a problem, for APP kids who may not be identified until they are further along in their education, for APP kids who were in other school systems before moving here for high school, including private.

Given that high schools do not have feeder patterns (no cohort moves together to high school). I see this APP program access to Garfield to be flawed. It should be discussed as a part of special program access to any high school (people have brought it up for drama and music and potentially, language). We could discuss it as access to a "special needs" type program. But, then, I presume that identification is not "grandfathered" but is done at point of entry into the school. In that case, Garfield's APP sub-population should be identified on entry to Garfield (not by membership in a program).

mkd said...
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Patrick said...

SolvayGirl, some of the APP kids go to the University of Washington's Early Entrance Program rather than high school. They meet at UW and get the non-academic classes they would normally get in high school: driver's ed, health, some civics. Then they take UW classes in the academic subjects. (My info is secondhand, and I don't know what fraction of the APP students do this.)

mkd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SolvayGirl said...

So, again...can anyone answer the question of whether or not the AP classes at Garfield are like AP classes in the other schools? Or, are they literally 2 years ahead? I'm just trying to understand how the program works at the high school level.

ParentofThree said...

APP kids at Garfield get two things: Priority seating into the school over students living nearby. And if they live far enough away, they get a yellow bus to school, but not home.

That is it.

hschinske said...

"Are the APP kids getting something different?"

No, though there is talk of an honors science option that would allow them to take regular biology in 8th and AP bio in 9th.

"Are they still working at 2 grades above?"

No, except that most are that much ahead in math. There isn't an obvious "two years ahead" point in most high school subjects anyway.

"And what do they end up doing in 11th & 12th grade?"

Whatever they sign up for.

"Do they HAVE to take all the AP classes?"

No.

"Do they have to take ANY AP classes?"

No.

"Do they need to maintain a specific GPA (since they don't retest)?"

No, apart from getting kicked out of honors-level classes if their grades are too low (as any other student might be).

Helen Schinske

hschinske said...

Re the yellow bus in the morning thing: that applies only to those who are far enough away for transportation BUT close enough that they can ride the Washington bus. Since the APP middle school split, there aren't any buses to Washington from the north end.

Jet City mom said...

So, again...can anyone answer the question of whether or not the AP classes at Garfield are like AP classes in the other schools? Or, are they literally 2 years ahead? I'm just trying to understand how the program works at the high school level.

I would assume, since Garfield often has as many or more National Merit Scholars as any other school in the area, that the course content of their AP classes are comparable .

What I appreciated about Garfield was that students who were up for the challenge of AP courses were allowed to accept that challenge. They did not have to be above grade level in all areas, as they may be in other high schools.

While I can understand the reasoning that insists that the extra work required for AP, instead be put into where the student is behind, learning is not simply pouring more material in faster.

A student can be ready for a challenge in one area, but still be struggling in another.

mkd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SolvayGirl said...

Thanks Helen. I appreciate the line by line answers. So then the only thing the APP kids are guaranteed is that they will be in Garfield, a school that offers them a full complement of AP classes and their cohort.

I'm not sure why the northend kids don't go to Roosevelt then. Doesn't it offer similar AP selections? I would imagine that this might change—voluntarily—once the Hamilton APP current 6th grade kids start entering high school. I mean, their cohort will all be northend kids and they may prefer to stay closer to home. Roosevelt is a very good school.

Jet City mom said...

No, though there is talk of an honors science option that would allow them to take regular biology in 8th and AP bio in 9th.

"Are they still working at 2 grades above?"



Currently Garfield doesn't have AP biology- they offer Marine science in 10th grade along with genetics and integrated science.

Their science dept is excellent and I do not believe there is a need to introduce more AP courses in it.

mkd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
hschinske said...

"I'm not sure why the northend kids don't go to Roosevelt then."

Oh, lots do. I know APP-ers at Roosevelt, Ballard, Nova, homeschooled, Transition Program ... not all APP high schoolers are at Garfield by any matter of means. And lots of the NE APP kids peel off from APP earlier and go to Eckstein.

The number of merit finalists at Garfield really can't have much to do with the AP curriculum, given that the test is in the fall of junior year and the kids have only just started their first AP courses. Anyway, last year I heard of several students hitting ceiling levels on the PSAT in *9th grade*, indicating that whatever curriculum they took after that would hardly matter (that is, in terms of affecting that particular score: of course it matters in general).

mkd, the two years above level thing is not really what the program is about: it's a convenient shorthand expression that's been used over the years to express very, *very* roughly how much the program is "accelerated." For various political reasons that language has been alternately rejected and embraced by the powers that be. There is no specific commitment, except to some extent in math, to have materials precisely two years ahead, or anything like that. (Of course individual teachers may choose to use, say, sixth-grade vocab exercises in fourth grade, that kind of thing.)

Helen Schinske

SolvayGirl said...

So then...are all the APP kids at Garfield grouped together in regular class in the 9th and 10th grades? So that, ostensibly, their teachers are accelerating their work?

TechyMom said...

mkd,
APP is a test-in gifted program that starts in first grade, and runs through 8th grade. It is for highly gifted students. I think it's 98th percentile on CogAt (but might be 95th?) and 2 grades ahead on reading and math placement tests. In 1-5 the program is at Lowell and Thurgood Marshall. In 6-8 it's at Hamilton and Washington. All students who were in APP in 8th grade are given a seat at Garfield. A student has to be enrolled in APP at Hamilton or Washington to get the guarentee at Garfield. A kid who qualfies for APP, but doesn't enroll in by 8th grade, doesn't get the Garfield seat. Maureen's kids go to TOPS, so they don't get the seat. Yours went to middle school out of state, so they don't get it either.

Garfield offers a wide range of Advanced Placement (AP) classes, which are supposed to be college level. As I understand it, some APP students are ready to take AP classes when they are in 9th grade. Not many students who haven't been accelerated before 9th grade are ready for that. Many other students are ready for these classes when they are in 10th-12th grade. Quite a few kids take AP classes in 12th grade. Roosevelt has lots of AP classes too, but it sounds like not as many of the more advanced ones.

The names are similar, which is really confusing.

h2o girl said...

Gavroche, I humbly apologize. I agree that we do not need to turn on each other and that's what i was doing. My main concern is that kids are now SOL re: APP after they're 12 years old, and I have the same questions about the APP at Garfield as SolvayGirl. I am aware of the history of Garfield. I was extremely cranky after the Ballard SAP meeting and should've just kept my fingers still.

SolvayGirl said...

I guess my big concern is are the AP classes at Garfield suitable for non APP students? Otherwise, wouldn't non-APP kids (area residents) who are looking for AP classes be better off somewhere else? I would assume only a few would be able to compete at this extra-accelerated AP level if the classes are truly more advanced than the ones at Roosevelt (for example).

It's my understanding that colleges want to see students take AP classes in high school if they are offered. If the AP classes at Garfield are beyond the reach of the average AP student, then wouldn't those kids be at a disadvantage because a college would only look and see a bunch of AP classes offered, but that the non APP student didn't take them (the college not knowing that these were somehow even more advanced than the traditional AP classes offered at Roosevelt—as TechyMom understands it).

I am still VERY confused.

hschinske said...

By the way, mkd, I'm not sure where you live, but you might consider Mercer Island schools. They frequently have room for off-island kids, from what I hear. I've heard varying things about how well they accommodate for the really off-the-charts kids, but the academics are certainly better than average.

Helen Schinske

mkd said...
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TechyMom said...

So, an AP English class at Garfield would have a mix of 9th-12th graders, where the 9th graders were in APP in elementary and middle school, and the 12th graders weren't. An AP Physics class at Garfiled would be all 12th graders, most of whom were in APP in elementary and middle school. Is that a fair assessement?

Maureen said...

SPSMom said: APP is fine for K-8, but for high school, send everybody to neighborhood schools.

I actually don't agree with this. I think it depends on the kid. I was at an APP Advisory Committee meeting once advocating for allowing kids to test in at the HS level and some of the parents seemed genuinely puzzled about why you would want to enroll a kid for HS if you never did in K-8. For them, it seemed to be mostly about preventing bullying of quirky brilliant kids. And to some extent keeping the kids stimulated and interested in learning. (that's what was expressed to me at that meeting at least.)

For whatever reason, that hasn't been an issue with my kids. For me, it would be about surrounding them with a cohort of motivated learners and having access to high level course content and intellectually stimulating peers--to me that becomes more important in HS, not less.

That's why I think gifted kids should have access to an appropriate program no matter how old they are.

hschinske said...

SolvayGirl, the AP classes at Garfield are just AP classes. (One of the goals of AP is to have a standard curriculum and be comparable from school to school.) Due to being at Garfield, they may reasonably be expected, though there's no guarantee, to have more students in them who've tested in the 99th percentile than would occur elsewhere in Seattle. That is it. There is no other, added, super-acceleration of any sort.

Helen Schinske

hschinske said...

"So, an AP English class at Garfield would have a mix of 9th-12th graders"

No. AP courses are generally not available to 9th graders. See the Garfield course catalog at http://ghs.seattleschools.org/documents/regguide0910.pdf. I think there probably have been some taking AP calc and what not, but you don't get to start straight in on AP English (it was a struggle getting them to offer a 9th-grade honors English course at all, and as it is "honors" English simply means non-remedial). AP American Literature is 11th grade, AP Western Lit is 12th.

I misspoke in a post above about the first AP option being available in 11th -- they do have AP Euro in tenth.

Helen Schinske

ParentofThree said...

But Maureen, they don't let you test in as an 8th grader for high school. So unless they change that then I think APP should end at the point were the option to test in ends, making it a K-8 program. Then onto your neighborhood highschool.

Open up testing to 8th grade, then it is a different story. Right now, it is unfair.

another mom said...

Solvay, Advanced Placement courses were developed by the College Board and are supposed to be college level in content and pace. An AP course culminates in an exam administered in May. The College Board controls most aspects of the exams including the dates and times of administration.

Teachers submit their curriculum to the College Board and the CB decides if -based on what has been submitted-the course can be called AP. It is a brand that colleges and universities understand. Private schools and their students, Lakeside comes to mind here, do not offer AP per se because colleges and universities know those students come well prepared.

AP has become a generic term to describe many things including gifted programs, but the College Board owns the name AP or Advanced Placement.

So AP at Garfield should be not be significantly different in terms of pace and content than what is offered at Hale or any other SPS high school.

Roy Smith said...

Helen Schinske wrote:
"Are the APP kids getting something different?"

No, though there is talk of an honors science option that would allow them to take regular biology in 8th and AP bio in 9th.

"Are they still working at 2 grades above?"

No, except that most are that much ahead in math. There isn't an obvious "two years ahead" point in most high school subjects anyway.

"And what do they end up doing in 11th & 12th grade?"

Whatever they sign up for.

"Do they HAVE to take all the AP classes?"

No.

"Do they have to take ANY AP classes?"

No.

"Do they need to maintain a specific GPA (since they don't retest)?"

No, apart from getting kicked out of honors-level classes if their grades are too low (as any other student might be).


and later

The AP classes at Garfield are just AP classes. . . That is it. There is no other, added, super-acceleration of any sort.

Which really gets us to the question, why have anything that is even called high school APP? I really fail to see the point.

Speaking from my own perspective, as one of those "quirky, brilliant kids" who probably would have tested into APP if something like that had been available in my school district when I was growing up: What I most needed to learn as an academically brilliant student in high school is that not everybody else has those capabilities, and how to relate to others in spite of that fact.

My academics did not suffer from the fact that I was not surrounded by people who were academically like myself, but my socialization, which was difficult enough for me as a high schooler, would have been a disaster if I had mostly been surrounded by those like myself. Frankly, the notion of creating a an exclusive community of the academically gifted (which seems to be what some involved with APP want it to be) scares me, because of my own history.

And FWIW, I know somebody who worked at Lowell several years ago, who was rather emphatic that bullying does go on there and is actually a big problem. It is curiously inverted (instead of calling the person being bullied a nerd, their intelligence is insulted), and it can be even harder to detect and stop, because the kids are smarter.

I am all for letting smart kids work ahead (I had that opportunity), but I think that isolating them socially is an awful idea.

another mom said...

AP English Language and Comp is usually taken by 11th graders and AP Literature and Comp. is taken by 12th graders.

http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/ap/sub_englang.html?englang

Robert said...

Thanks gavroche!

And another successful APP hijacking... Got APP-blog anyone?

Roy Smith said...

LOL at Robert's comment!

Robert, thanks for the reminder that I should stick with my policy of not commenting whenever people start arguing about APP on this blog.

Unknown said...

Roy: APP is NOT an "isolated program." Garfield is a VERY diverse school, and the school has worked very hard to get non-APP kids to be capable and willing to try APP courses. (In fact, there is a specially designated and named program within the school to try to identify and work with disadvantaged neighborhood kids who might, with extra help, be able to take and succeed in those classes). In addition, the school has always had a number of non-APP kids who were either APP eligible (but not there because at TOPS or elsewhere) or who were in Spectrum, etc., who also take some of the AP courses.
As for the courses -- it is my opinion that at least some of the courses may be more rigorous than average AP courses -- specifically, AP Calculus and AP Chemistry. I don't know if the syllabus or printed curriculum is any different, but I know for a fact (we learned the hard way) that if you want to take AP Calculus at Garfield, you had better have a mind that runs at the speed of the APP hares -- because the teacher wasn't slowing down for explanations to those who couldn't keep up. In some of the other classes (AP English, etc.), I suspect that the difference, if there is one, is in having 2/3 or 3/4 of the class at an APP level, as opposed to only 2 or 3 students out of 20 or 25. Maybe it changes the discussions, etc. to something more like you would find in a college class.
Also, for what it is worth, I heard at currculum night this year that the sophomore AP class is no longer European History, but World History -- the AP American History teacher I spoke with wasn't thrilled, as so much of AP Euro informs AP American History, but so it goes.

Maureen said...

I take responsibility for the APP hijacking, sorry! I thought about trying to move it to the SAP-APP thread but it seemed like this thread topic was short lived so it wouldn't matter.

Roy, thank you for your perspective--I had a similar feeling about my kids--I haven't moved them for K-8 because I thought in those grades the social aspects outweighed the academics--I want them to be comfortable with and appreciative of the whole range of learners.

I guess I feel like that has been ingrained in them and it would be 'safe' to send them to a place like Garfield where they would have access to more academically minded peers but also to the broader diverse community.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, this was a rather broad topic so I'm okay with "off-topic".

A couple of things before my head explodes.

I have begged the district - for over a decade - to CHANGE THE FREAKIN'NAME of APP!!! There is this CONSTANT confusion of AP and APP. They are COMPLETELY different things. They overlap in a manner of speaking but no, they are not the same thing.

Coherts do matter. The fact that the overwhelming majority of APP kids go to Garfield (after APP ends in 8th grade, which it does), means something. But yes, just like there are APP-tested kids in elementaries and middle schools, there are at our high schools. Some go for IB and some go to whereever else they feel they can get what they need. Garfield just happens to have the most AP and they will have the most friends there.

I was just told today at Roosevelt that some Garfield kids think it isn't so great and wouldn't be caught dead there. So there.

Again, it is all perception but please don't let your perception be clouded by misinformation. The rigor is out there - an AP course is an AP course (naturally some teachers may be better but that is true for ALL courses). Same materials, same text, same test in May.

ParentofThree said...

Bear in mind that APP students have more choice then any other student. Example: If you live in the RHS boundry you have the choice between RHS or GHS. Ballard APP students can choose between BHS and GHS.

How can any person say, that is equitable to somebody who only has access to RBHS?

Elizabeth W said...

Michael Rice asked for the Gale-Shapley algorithm, so here it is: Wikipedia entry on the Stable marriage problem

You can also see it refered to in SPS documentation as "Barnhardt-Waldman", the names of two school board members who championed its use.

I highly recommend reading the original paper, "College admissions and the stability of marriage",D. Gale and L.S. Shapley
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 69, No. 1 (January, 1962), pp. 9-15. This paper is one of the best written mathematical papers ever published and requires no special mathematical training to understand.

Roy Smith said...

APP is NOT an "isolated program." Garfield is a VERY diverse school, and the school has worked very hard to get non-APP kids to be capable and willing to try APP courses.

As it is currently implemented, it is not, but I occasionally hear the sentiment that it ought to be (see, for instance, Gavroche's comment earlier in this thread: "The fact that the district chose to cohouse APP at Garfield and not give it its own building", which would seem to imply that it ought to be separate, or at least would be ok if it was). Those fighting against splitting APP at Lowell certainly didn't seem to see much value of exposing their kids to academically ordinary kids, either.

So, if the APP students at Garfield are not in a separate program from the rest of the Garfield students, and in fact the school has in fact made an effort to get non-APP students to participate in the AP classes, why exactly is it considered a separate program again?

And if it is a separate program, why not allow 8th-12th graders to test into it?

And more importantly, what is it that makes it necessary to reserve seats at an already popular high school, even though nothing extra or different is actually required of the beneficiaries?

The cohort argument only really makes sense to me if those in the cohort are going to be somehow isolated or separated, or at least have higher expectations set for the cohort.

As far as I can tell, APP at the high school level is nothing more than a golden ticket to a popular high school. I can't see any actual reason to have it, but then again, I can hardly blame the beneficiaries from wanting to keep things as they are, particularly if they live on the south end.

And there I go violating my no-comment rule on APP issues again. Oh well...

Robert said...

Roy, as gavroche said HS APP at GHS is to allow students to continue on their track of being two grade levels ahead. Also, any new gifted child that comes to SPS in HS could also continue their accelerating in AP classes if their transcript reflects the course work was completed. ( I know no guaranteed seats sucks... No doubt SPS needs to increase the amount of AP classes offered) There are no self contained classes in HS and the GHS-APP students I have spoken to feel more like GHS students that went to Lowell/WMS. Finally, Many APP students don't finish at GHS opting to go to UW gifted program/neighborhood HS/private instead.

And now specifically on two of your other points.

"I am all for letting smart kids work ahead (I had that opportunity), but I think that isolating them socially is an awful idea.I am all for letting smart kids work ahead (I had that opportunity), but I think that isolating them socially is an awful idea.

"And FWIW, I know somebody who worked at Lowell several years ago, who was rather emphatic that bullying does go on there and is actually a big problem."

My daughter is in her third year at Lowell and loves everything about it (except the split that sent several of her best friends to another school). No bullying, racially mixed classes, spec ed/AOL buddies and no social isolation... We have no regrets!

Roy Smith said...

I was just told today at Roosevelt that some Garfield kids think it isn't so great and wouldn't be caught dead there.

I have heard there is a rather intense rivalry between Garfield and Roosevelt (from a recent Garfield graduate), so I suspect this comment may not actually be based in any evidence about academic quality. We used to say similar things in my high school about our cross-town rival school; nevermind the fact that to most outsiders, the schools were basically indistinguishable in their offerings and quality.

SolvayGirl said...

But wait...Helen said that Garfield APP kids are NOT continuing to work two grade levels ahead. Which one is it? Are they indeed still working two grade levels ahead, all together in separate classrooms? Or, are they in the regular and honors 9th grade classes with other kids? I keep hearing conflicting messages here. Are the honors classes 2 grades ahead?

And I think this is pertinent because if they are truly being kept together in classrooms as a cohort and all taking classes two years ahead, then yes, it makes sense for them to auto advance to the program at Garfield.

But, if there is no program, no select cohort in the classroom, then I can't see where it does make sense. Instead the might just be guaranteed spots in Garfield, Roosevelt, Ballard, and, perhaps the IB schools (whichever is closer), to assure that they would have the ability to take higher-end classes.

So, which one is it? There seems to be a lot of confusion amongst the posters here. Is this available somewhere on the SPS website—an explanation about how the official APP works at Garfield?

Roy Smith said...

Robert:

Raising gifted kids has some unique challenges, and part of the reason I generally don't comment on these APP debates is that parents of such kids need to figure out what works for them. So if Lowell is working for you, great!

As far as bullying goes, just because your daughter is happy and doesn't tell you about it doesn't mean it doesn't happen. In lots of instances, the only people aware of it are the perpetrators and the victims, and many students may not fall in either category. That comment applies to all schools, not just APP, by the way.

as gavroche said HS APP at GHS is to allow students to continue on their track of being two grade levels ahead.

I have no direct knowledge of APP at Garfield, but several commenters here have rather directly contradicted this remark.

So, it seems that Garfield just a regular high school with lots of AP classes where APP students get a reserved seat.

Is APP in any substantive way a separate program at Garfield?

If the answer to that question is yes, then why don't we allow 8th-12th graders the opportunity to test in? And if it is no, then why are we reserving seats for them at Garfield? Why not spread the AP classes out a little more evenly throughout SPS?

No matter what the answers are, there are things about the way SPS does high school APP that don't make sense.

Robert said...

And LOL Roy... As that is one of my rules as well... Which I always seem to break. ;-)

ParentofThree said...

...there is no program, no select cohort in the classroom!"

That is the correct answer.

Stu said...

B Bear in mind that APP students have more choice then any other student. Example: If you live in the RHS boundry you have the choice between RHS or GHS. Ballard APP students can choose between BHS and GHS.

How can any person say, that is equitable to somebody who only has access to RBHS?


I wasn't going to bother to comment on this hijacked thread 'cause I get so tired of the attacks on APP and the "oh it's so unfair" whining. But SPSMom's comment above, unless I'm misreading something, is so utterly off base it's disturbing.

APP students who are enrolled in 8th grade at WMS or Hamilton can continue on to a guaranteed spot with their cohort at Garfield. That's it . . . that's the only "perk." EVERY child is going to be guaranteed a spot at their assignment school. The idea that APP families are "getting away with something" is insulting at best.

APP kids test into a program and are guaranteed a spot in the APP cohort. If a family chooses not to send their child to the cohort, that's their choice but has no bearing on "fairness" later. The reason, as far as I can see, that the APP students are guaranteed a spot at Garfield is that Garfield has the complete AP program and the advanced music program, which has been a natural continuation of the Washington Middle School program. Because other high schools don't necessarily offer the advanced learning opportunities that GHS has, it was important for the district to offer at least one place where the accelerated learning of the APP student could continue.

I'm so tired of people who feel they need to tear down APP in order to prove a point. Don't dismiss or ridicule successful programs in this district, build up the unsuccessful programs instead.

stu

hschinske said...

"Why not spread the AP classes out a little more evenly throughout SPS?"

It's a question of critical mass. Most schools can't support all the AP options available at Garfield. The concentration of APP students there is what makes it possible to offer these classes.

Helen Schinske

Roy Smith said...

Stu,

Would it be acceptable to move the APP cohort, the advanced music program to RBHS and to start offering the complete AP program at RBHS?

All the stated needs of the APP cohort are met, RBHS gets the course offerings that would make it more attractive to local families, space is created at highly popular Garfield, and the underenrollment at RBHS is reduced.

Everybody wins!

hschinske said...

If y'all keep this up, I'm going to start posting recipes, the way we used to do on misc.kids when the trolls got started.

Helen Schinske

Robert said...

Hum seems straight forward to me... You complete most of MS math in elementary school and then most of HS math in MS so when you get to HS you need a spot for AP Math. Same story across all subjects. Otherwise the students would have a two year gap. Now it does get goofy in that HS students can choose how they want to proceed and many don't continue to accelerate in all subjects. Yet imagine the train wreck if there was no GHS APP for those kids who wanted to continue.

ParentofThree said...

APP students are "not getting away" with anything.

They simply have more options for high school than any other student. My point is: Is that fair to students who ONLY have access to RBHS? And you did not answer that question cause you went with the "disturbing" approach instead.

It's not tearing down APP, it's just honestly asking: Is it fair and equitable as stands? Or should changes be considered? Like going back to "old way" of putting all APP kids together in HS classes, then you could honestly say you have an APP program. Or allow 8th graders to test into the program. OR retest kids moving into HS to ensure they are all qualified to retain their APP status?

Or yes, even consider moving the program to RBHS, where there is plently of capacity?

Robert said...

Roy, I would be surprised if they didn't...

Maureen said...

I don't read most of these comments as a call to tear down APP. In fact, my original point was that it should be accessible to more students--those who are identified when they are older than 12.

In my experience, APP parents have a tendency to say--'well it's really not a program--there is nothing special about it'--when others want in (for HS) and then say -- 'you can't change it--the kids need it'--when you say 'so why does it exist?'

I've never heard a cogent academic argument as to why kids have to be excluded. (and remember, we probably aren't talking about a huge number of kids)

And Helen, I would love recipes!

mkd said...
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TechyMom said...

Even I think RBHS is too far a commute for the north end APP kids.

Unknown said...

Maureen: I have never said that "it is not really a program." It is a little different at the HS level than middle school, but I definitely think it is a program. The fact that SDS gives parents of 8th graders and up NO WAY to get into it (unless they serendipitously end up at Garfield) is a problem. I suspect it exists for the same reason one of my Spectrum qualified kids couldn't get into WMS (we live very close) -- no room, and no desire to take on the political battle of displacing the neighborhood kids for the "special program" kids. There is no other reason I can think of -- unless someone else knows of one. And it would be fine with me if they fixed that by allowing kids to test in at 8th, 9th, etc. grade.

As for RBHS -- I think there is value in giving APP kids the chance to continue with their cohort in one school, and RBHS is too far south (frankly, it would be too far south even if the two were split). Plus -- the map indicates that there are MORE than enough kids living around RBHS to fill the school. The problem is not that APP is at Garfield. The problem is that the assigned school plan is going into effect BEFORE anything concrete has been done to make RBHS into a school that its attendance area families want to support. It seems to me that we should be focused on that problem , not dismantling APP because non-APP families don't understand the value of the cohort or the current program as it exists.

mkd said...
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Robert said...

"OR retest kids moving into HS to ensure they are all qualified to retain their APP status?"

SPSMom, every psych evaluator I spoke with has confirmed what the internets tells us... IQ results are fairly static. As for the the other half of the qualification, I am certain that they are still the 95 percentile in their grade level as they are now completing work 2 grades above that level. If that's not happening then I am sure those families do have some decisions to make.

" In fact, my original point was that it should be accessible to more students--those who are identified when they are older than 12. "

Maureen, there is no reason to add a new student to APP regardless of how bright they are in HS. The just need to get the course work that reflects what they are capable of... And just because it finally dawns on a family that their child is bright at age 14 doesn't mean they can be thrown into AP Calculus. Right? If the kid is a transfer and has transcripts that reflect he was in a similar program I am certain they would try to get him into the appropriate AP class... And it should be guaranteed like with the APP students but I am sure Bob V works very hard to place those new kids in the appropriate class.

This isn't elitism its just the practical application of a program that accelerates kids two grades ahead... Which they need to to keep their interest and not be disturbing a gen ed class room.

And Helen, yeah I did just post this for the recipes!

TechyMom said...

Garfield actually is a magnet school. It was made a science magent in the 70's when it was not a popular school. Some time after that, APP was placed there.

Under the old choice system, all our schools were magnet schools.

Beware, charters will get you flamed on this blog ;-)

mkd said...
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Robert said...

Another thought is the ALO students are similarly accelerated... I would hope that they have place at a school that has the AP classes that reflect their ability as well.

mkd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SolvayGirl said...

I'm not calling to tear down APP either. I'm just confused and still am because people keep contradicting each other. Does anyone know if this is explained ANYWHERE on the SPS website?

And yes MKD...RBHS needs texts, more honors classes, and a means to deal with disruptive kids in the classroom (and worse). We'll see if the SAP manages to do all that. I hope so for the sake of my friends and neighbors.

WV: ingored...what the southend has been by the District.

mkd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robert said...

Yes M. on the advanced learning section of the SPS' website.

dj said...

Jan, I cosign.

Jet City mom said...

The concentration of APP students there is what makes it possible to offer these classes.
I am not so sure- in the Bellevue district the superintendent flat out required every student to take an advanced class ( either AP or IB).
For some kids- they need the advanced class to rise to that level.
Thats why my daughter went to Reed.
;)

reader said...

ISn't funny how the same people who think all the AP classes should be in 1 school, so that some really deserving kids get access to a full range of them.... are the same people who bash schools like RBHS (and the district) for not having any. Duh! The district put them in 1 place and concentrated the access to them... is the exact reason there aren't any in other schools.

Unknown said...

I think this is really the area where SolvayGirl and/or mkd would know better than I do -- but what DO we ask the board/district to do for RBHS starting NOW -- so it is in place for next year. Everything mkd says about RBHS is true. Nothing in my 30+ years in Seattle leads me to believe that the District, on its own, will come up with the right answer for RBHS. But other failing schools (Ingraham, Sealth, etc.) have gotten programs that have helped to turn them around. Why not RBHS?

Would it be asking to much to demand that district overhead be trimmed by several million dollars (see Meg Diaz's report) and that those saved dollars be put into RBHS (Cleveland is now a magnet, to whom no one will be assigned -- which is not to say it won't require a lot of money to make popular, but frankly, RBHS seems to me a MUCH bigger fire to put out first, because it is an assignment school -- and maybe Aki as well?). What if they doubled the teacher/student ratio(adjusted for the new students), AND added whatever is necessary to take care of the security and/or discipline issues so students who are asked to leave class really do "have to" go? And supplied enough textbooks! There must be more. What would it take to make RBHS attractive? They already have good sports teams in some areas (at least by Metro standards). Theater? Music? Other sports?

Charlie? Melissa? Can the Board require the District to commit specific dollars/resources, and/or build specific programs? Would this board ever do so? If the district will NEVER ask the RBHS families what they want (as seems to be the case), is there any way to ever find out what (other than good academics and a safe environment, which seem obvious) would make the school attractive to its neighborhood?

I have never wrestled with wv before, but he says that "spines" are what parents, district taxpayers, and the board will need to ever get this accomplished.

seattle citizen said...

wowzers!
Y'all are proflific writers on the subject higher-level course offerings!
Just skimmed about 40 posts (up from about, what, 80? this morning)

Lots of good talk about offering higher-level courses, and it seems this talk could be directed at making this sort of coursework available everywhere?

Focus on bringing AP, etc to ALL schools.

Having said that, I'll put in my two cents that APP students are often, if not always, very,very bright, have issues that arise because of this, and hence benefit from the cohort model (a sort of special ed).

But at HS, there should be advanced coursework available everywhere.

Everywhere...except charter schools! Charter schools are evil! Boo! Boo!
(that's to prove TechyMom right!)

SP said...
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Dorothy Neville said...

If APP has such a sound curriculum and is teaching two years above grade level, then why did the audit say it needed improvement? Why did Bob V promise a curriculum and why are people sad and disappointed that it didn't happen?

As far as I can tell, all of the folks in the discussion who keep repeating the two years ahead bit have kids in early grades only? Do you have really good reasons to believe that APP really does teach two years above grade level?

The only reason not to test and provide a seat at GHS for kids not already in APP is practicality. There isn't room. There is no pedagogical or psychological or educational or any other rationale.

If Hamilton succeeds, APP there will grow and the HS situation will change. Things are looking promising in that regard.

"but I am sure Bob V works very hard to place those new kids in the appropriate class. " Really? You are certain? Please share how you know this.

SP said...
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SolvayGirl said...

For me, it would take a change in the administration and culture at the school Right now, it's all about keeping the kids at risk in school, passing the WASL, etc. And that''s great, and they're doing a decent job of that...but the middle and upper income families who live in the economic checkerboard that is known as the Rainier Valley need more than that. Remember people there are million dollar homes along the lake (I don't live in one, but I can see them from my house).

I want some assurance that my child won't be sitting in a classroom like the one described on this thread. I want some assurance that the teachers won't "ignore" my child because they are so busy dealing with children who are much more needy. I want some assurance that my child will be pushed to achieve her full potential, and not get straight "A"s because she shows up prepared to learn, is respectful and does her homework.

I want a drama program, not just a "show." I want a real music program with a qualified band director. I want some cash to provide quality instruments for the kids who might have talent but not resources like the northend kids might have.

I want an environmental science program. I've said this before. The school is on Lake Washington, for heaven's sake, and within walking distance of Pritchard Beach Wetlands, and close to the Audubon Center at Seward Park. It's a no brainer.

I want to know that my child will be safe and not subject to rapes in the bathrooms or drive-by shootings. If it takes a few cops full-time, then so be it.

I want a full complement of AP and honors classes and teachers capable of teaching them. I want a cohort of students who are eager to learn, preparing for college and committed to creating a great school.

SP said...

A word of caution about the assumption that all APP classes are basically the same (and how this applies to equity in the new SAP)---

First, not all AP classes in Seattle have enough textbooks. In my kid's class the textbooks stayed in the classroom because they were shared with other classes, and any required reading (the whole textbook on US History) happened only in class.

Needless to say, by late Feb. when other schools (Garfield) students were already in the 1950's, our students were still pre-civil war! One month before the test, they had not even started WW2.

An unfortunate situation? I could give more examples- AP English classes where teachers do not grade or critique the papers...no vocabulary practice, etc.

Equity? No, our high schools have miles to go before you could say that kids are on a level academic playing field in all schools.

ParentofThree said...

It seems to me that the biggest issue facing our schools is that the superindentent is not here for the long haul. This is why there are so many rushed decisions. It's all about resume building for the next gig.

If she were here for the long haul then one thing would have happened after she finished her "bus tour" during her "entrance plan."

MGJ would have gone back to the main office and said,

"Slash headcount and make sure there are enough text books in every school for every class."

That ain't sexy resume stuff.

But after reading this thread and learning about the situation at RBHS as well as the textbook shortage in AP classes I now realize we are in a much bigger mess than I ever imagined.

Seriously, textbook shortages? There simply is no excuse.

mkd said...
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Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, I do have a thought about RBHS but, as usual, it'll take some research. Solvay Girl, if a call goes out to the community to support at least some of what you want, do you think people will support it? I think there is a way to get the performing arts off the ground but if the community has to buy in and be willing to help.

Jet City mom said...

The number of merit finalists at Garfield really can't have much to do with the AP curriculum, given that the test is in the fall of junior year and the kids have only just started their first AP courses.

My daughter had her first AP course in 10th grade- however she wasn't in APP in middle school- she did have an IEP though. :)
I think several of her friends who had been in APP, did have AP courses in 9th and several in 10th

PSAT scores is not enough to qualify for NMS. That is merely the first hurdle.
Semifinalists must fulfill additional requirements and advance to the Finalist level of the competition to be considered for a scholarship. Approximately 15,000 of the 16,000 Semifinalists advance to Finalist standing by submitting SAT scores that confirm the earlier PSAT/NMSQT performance, having an outstanding academic record, and being endorsed and recommended by a high school official. They must also submit an application that includes high school courses and grades, extracurricular and volunteer activities, and a self-descriptive essay. The information that is collected about each Semifinalist is used later in the process to choose scholarship winners. All Finalists receive a Certificate of Merit in recognition of their outstanding performance in the competition.

Central Mom said...

I will personally buy a textbook or two or three for RBHS. I bet that there are a whole bunch of people on this blog, and in extended school circles who would agree.

Do I think the District should handle this? Yes. Do I think they will in a timely manner. Not really.

What I am imagining here is the (positive) power of the people. Imagine folks throughout the city saying...look, we did something tangible and practical that the state in funding and the district in distribution of resources should long ago have done. I bet we could raise enough money in 2 weeks to make a substantial difference. Probably there are some administrative hoops to work through in terms of dedicated giving to a school and a specific cause. Who can take that on?

I imagining some really really good "power to the parents" press and WOM out of this at the local and state level. And perhaps to this blog too. I bet it goes farther to speak to the inequities in the district than any petition ever could.

A forewarning. Of course the needs are great in every corner of the city. Can we just agree for a moment that RBHS is in many ways a poster child for a school that needs and deserves more resources and go from there?

hschinske said...

"PSAT scores is not enough to qualify for NMS. That is merely the first hurdle."

Sure, but over 90% go on to finalist, so it's gotta be mainly the numbers and sending in the paperwork. And anyway the newspaper reports the semifinalist numbers, and that's what people go by when they're talking about Garfield coming out top.

Helen Schinske

Robert said...

uPut us down for three books which is coming out of what we were going to give to our suported D7 candidate and a lot less than what could be saved if fat was cut DT.

hschinske said...

"we all agree that the RBHS kids need texts available, class sizes smaller than 40 or 45, a program where "at risk" kids are funneled off to and resources designed to improve graduation rates. The students deserve this much at the very least."

Absolutely. No argument there.

Helen Schinske

ds said...

I support APP in elementary and middle school, but I’m still struggling with understanding why APP kids should have a golden ticket to a golden high school, especially at the expense of neighborhood kids who are forced into schools that are not thriving and at the expense of creating the critical mass to allow more AP classes across the district.

Yes, AP classes at Garfield may have more verifiably (by testing) brilliant minds engaged in discussion, but the flip side is that these classes will also be filled primarily by kids who have lived relatively sheltered lives (if not at home, then in their cohort at school). There is equal (or greater) value to discussions that include a diversity of perspectives (e.g., from kids who have fought against life circumstances to become hard-working, motivated students) Don’t get me wrong, I think there will certainly be some of these kids in the Garfield AP classes. But if Jan is correct in saying that 2/3 to 3/4 of Garfield AP class kids are at an APP level (does this mean, “from the APP cohort”?), but only 2 or 3 such kids in other schools’ AP classes, then there seems to be a much greater chance to have a diverse group in AP classes at other schools.

By my quick count based on online course catalogs, Garfield has 25 semesters of AP classes, Roosevelt 24, and Ballard 26 (my numbers may be off slightly, but this gives a rough idea). Hale has 16, West Seattle 11, and RB 9 or11 (website info was a little unclear). Ingraham and Sealth, of course, offer IB (with Ingraham having some AP classes, too). I couldn’t find any info on Franklin (RB and Franklin were the only ones that didn’t post course catalogs...this says something in itself).

If APP kids went to their local high schools, many would end up at Ballard, Roosevelt, or even Garfield; there shouldn’t be any complaint there (other than that the cohort was split). When kids end up at a school other than the top three, there will be more of a chance at achieving critical mass and increasing AP offerings at those schools. Even if AP options don’t end up increasing at Hale, WS, RB, & Franklin with APP kids in attendance, kids who really want or need college-level courses can take advantage of Running Start (yes, it’s less convenient, but it’s the same hurdle that all other kids in the district have to face to access challenge).

Of course, there is A LOT of work to be done at schools like RB to make these schools acceptable for both APP and non-APP families. Dedicated and enthusiastic teachers like Michael Rice (and others) need more support. This needs to be a top priority of the district, and there needs to be a lot of genuine community engagement around this issue. The public needs to know what things have been tried...what’s worked and what hasn’t worked.

BTW, Melissa, I wonder if it makes sense to start a new thread for readers of the blog to post articles related to improving the culture of at-risk urban high schools...not a place for discussion (the related discussion could be on another thread)...just a place to post links, such as this one: http://www.acsa.org/FunctionalMenuCategories/AboutACSA/CommitteesGroups/UrbanEducation/OutofControlandFalling.aspx ).

Maureen said...

Central Mom I like the way you think!

RBHS PTSA has a link to How can I help .

The contact info is:
Heidi Henderson-Lewis
School, Family & Community Partnerships
hmhenderson@seattleschools.org
206.252.6463

Does anyone know if this is current? (mkd? Michael Rice?)

SolvayGirl said...

When my daughter was at Graham Hill, her 4/5th grade Montessori class didn't have enough books in her classroom to send one home for homework (even though the work sheets specifically referred to pages in the book). I got the ISBN for the book and found numerous used copies (but in good shape) through Amazon. I think 8 or 9 parents ended up buying books. They were originally $75+ and most of us got the books for less than $10 including shipping.

That would definitely be cheaper than going through official District channels—especially since Math books are due to be replaced.

hschinske said...

The presence of APP at Garfield doesn't keep neighborhood students out. I don't know the most current figures, but as recently as spring 2008 Charlie Mas posted on this blog "The Garfield distance tie-breaker circle last year was over four miles in radius." Compare that to Roosevelt, where you've generally had to live less than two miles away to get in.

Helen Schinske

SE Mom said...

The radius around Garfield for this school year was about 2 miles. Students from Capitol Hill who have gotten into Garfield in the past did not.

Melissa Westbrook said...

1) Hale has 16 AP classes? If so, they aren't contained AP classes. And, because they aren't, they don't count as AP (not even on the report card). If we go to a weighted GPA, schools that don't have honors or AP, well, their students will have less opportunities to up their GPA. (Most colleges do not accept an honors designation; it has to be a classified honors or AP class.)

2)"these classes will also be filled primarily by kids who have lived relatively sheltered lives (if not at home, then in their cohort at school)"

And you know this how? Tell me, you know every single APP family and their backgrounds and family lives as well as every single APP class and the kids contained within them? Really, you don't? Hmm. What an odd thing to have said then.

3) I'm happy to buy books for RBHS but I know what Betty Patu said at a candidate forum on this subject. It might be better to ask the principal what the situation is (or Michael Rice).

4) Garfield was not the school it is now when APP was put in a long time ago. And the district made that decision all by themselves. It could have been any high school; they just picked a central location. Did the presence of APP kids make it better? I don't know. What I do know is that it was a weaker school and it is now a strong school. I suspect Dr. G-J will end the APP cohort at Garfield. I also suspect that Garfield will then not have as many AP classes. And, they will lose some parents who did work hard for the school. But then those parents will, I guess, go to other schools and work equally hard. Will everyone be happy then? Great, so onward.

ds said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ds said...

Melissa,

The numbers I quoted refer to semesters of classes (not number of classes). I had compiled some information a few days, and semesters are what I had at hand to post. From its 09-10 catalogue, Hale lists yearlong AP classes for LA11, LA12, Calc, Stats, Environmental Science, Japanese, and Spanish plus “an AP option” in US History...so 7 formal classes (14 semesters), or 8 classes (16 sem) if US History is included.

You’re right that I don’t know all APP families (of course I don’t), and I do know that there are APP kids who have faced struggles (I was one of maybe two or three kids in my own highly capable cohort whose family struggled to put food on the table). But I based this statement on having heard that there were so few FRL kids in the APP cohort. I couldn’t remember the exact source that I had seen this in, but in trying to find this info again, I did find the following information about Garfield’s APP students (2004 data):
http://www.seattleschools.org/area/spsplan/schools/Garfield.pdf ...see the map at the bottom of the document.

According to these data, only 2.3% of the Garfield APP kids had free lunch status in 2004. I’m sorry if I have offended anyone about the APP kids being more likely to have come from relatively sheltered backgrounds, but the data do suggest that this particular group is relatively advantaged compared to others groups within SPS. Maybe the problem lies in my leap from economically advantaged to “sheltered,” and, again, I'm sorry if I offended anyone here.

gavroche said...

Maureen said... I have two APP identified kids. The older one goes to Roosevelt. He'll be fine, but it frustrates me that at GHS a path will soon exist for APP kids to go straight into AP Bio and then be able to take AP Physics and AP Chemistry without even doubling up on Science in their senior year. My kids could do that work, but a path like that will never exist at RHS because most of the kids who could handle that work are all at GHS in a huge redundant critical mass.

The only way my younger kid could get access to that cohort is if I pull her out of her fantastic, academically stellar, ethnically and socioeconomically diverse K-8 school and send her to Hamilton. mkd couldn't even do that since she moved here when her kids were 'too old.' That stinks

10/15/09 1:03 PM


I'm not sure what you are complaining about then, Maureen. You seem fortunate enough to have a number of options before you.

You have the option to get your kids into Garfield if you choose.
You just have to commit to the APP program before high school level. That may mean taking your child out of TOPS earlier than you might like, but that would be the necessary trade-off if you really think what Garfield offers would be good for your kid.

Imperfect as they may be, the current district rules require that kids be identified for APP and that parents commit to the program at least by middle school age if not sooner in order to go to Garfield.

Those who have committed to the program this way, sent their kids across town to Lowell, Washington, and now Hamilton for as many as eight years can then follow the program to its only high school location.

If you prefer TOPS for your kids, that's great, but it sounds like you want to have your cake, etc.

As I said earlier, I agree that kids should be allowed to be tested at any age for APP. I wonder if Mkd could file an appeal to SPS's Advanced Learning Office to make this allowance for her kids, especially if they were already in the gifted program in California.

I also feel the district should do a better job of making all the high schools strong options.

It's a little ironic that some people complain about APP having "a golden ticket" to Garfield when the district put the program there because it was not the most desirable school at the time. And now some people seem to want APP out of there.

I also wonder why you don't consider Hamilton. Judging by the amount of resources the district is putting into the new building, that may well be a favored middle school in a few years -- and the APP kids will undoubtedly be dissed again for having this "golden ticket" etc. etc.

Sigh.

Jeanne said...

DS said:

I’m still struggling with understanding why APP kids should have a golden ticket to a golden high school, especially at the expense of neighborhood kids who are forced into schools that are not thriving and at the expense of creating the critical mass to allow more AP classes across the district.

Here is yet another example of the inequity across the District. If you end the pattern of sending APP students from Washington & Hamilton to Garfield, and send them back to their neighborhood schools, then yes, some will go to Roosevelt or Ballard, but some will be assigned to Hale or Ingraham or West Seattle or Sealth or Franklin or Rainier Beach. (And yes, there would one of the option schools or the chance to compete for the 10% open seats like everyone else).

So again the inequity surfaces. Those APP students who live in highly desirable attendance areas with plenty of APP offers are set. Others will be sent to IB schools--a good thing for some, but perhaps not a good fit for everyone--and others will be sent to schools that have to "catch up" with more AP classes.

APP students don't deserve any better treatment than any other students; however, they do, as a group and generally speaking, have clearly defined needs in that they have been through an accelerated track and probably would not thrive in a high school environment that didn't provide ample opportunity for challenging work.

Meanwhile, will Garfield be able to maintain the level & number of AP classes currently offered if APP students are sent elsewhere? Yes, there should be more AP offerings at EVERY high school in Seattle, but how long will that take? Once again, someone is suggesting that APP students and parents (particularly in South Seattle) to prop up neighborhood schools by breaking up the APP cohort.

Create the choices, build up AP classes at ALL high schools, and then let's talk at dispersing APP.

mkd said...
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ParentofThree said...

Can we start a thread on "Text Books for RBHS. It seems like a lot of people would like to help. It would be great to get all the needed contact info in one place.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Jan, yes, the Board could direct the superintendent to fund something but then they would probably have to figure out where to get the money and get pushback from staff.

I will start a thread on the textbooks after I call the school and get an official reason. As I said previously, I have heard several times that teachers do not want to give out books to take home because they don't get returned. Betty Patu acknowledged this and she should know. It's great to want to do something good but we need to start from a place of knowing what we are doing and why.

MKD, we can talk about charters and magnets and have in the past. We don't have charters in this state and clearly, the voters don't want them. However, fed money is now tied to them so our state may be considering them. As for magnets, for some reason our district seems loath to call any school a "magnet" school. However, they are setting up Cleveland High with STEM and that surely is a magnet program. (As well, I would call the IB schools and Ballard with its biotech program magnet schools along with the foreign language immersion schools.) I'm not even sure I know what magnet means - is the whole school focus or just one part of it a la Ballard?

zb said...

I'd like to see a thread on what to do about RBHS.

Frankly, I'm astonished that mkd's kids don't get textbooks. And, it doesn't really matter if there's some convoluted explanation that the student population at RBHS makes it difficult to make textbooks available to all the kids. If we have to spend extra money so that the kids who are going to use the books get them well we should. That's what the SE initiative and dealing with the more difficult to educate RBHS population is about, at the very least. We'd like to make sure we make opportunities available to all the kids, but at the very least, they should be made available to the kids who are there to take advantage. They shouldn't be punished for the behavior of their peers. If a textbook effectively costs 2X as much to supply it to RBHS, well that's a cost we should bear so that

I'm a Northender who likes the new SAP. I honestly believe that it's the only solution, and that systems that let people sort kids is not -- because I don't think there will be enough room in the "good" schools for all the children who deserve an opportunity. I would welcome an opportunity to put my effort where my mouth is and prove that I really do care about the equity and opportunity in SE.

I care about other issues, but it breaks my heart to hear about the concrete iniquities. That's Jonathan Kozol stuff, buttressed by the fact that we'd never hear about it, if people like MKD & TTS (where are your kids taking AP classes?) weren't talking about it.

mkd said...

Someone noted that the number of AP classes available here was a little fuzzy. Though the school would like to offer eleven (or more) AP classes, there is no money in the school budget now to purchase the books each AP class would need. Other classes share texts.

As for the staff at RBHS, they are terrific. Across the board, the dedication there is inspiring, almost frightening. Teachers stay late and come in early. Moreover, teachers and counselors make time on their lunches, before or after school to meet with or conduct extended study groups. In addition, office staff and teachers alike often come in on days off and holidays. Much of the staff is new, but include former students as well as seasoned veterans from Garfield, Cleveland and Roosevelt.

If you are serious about helping, here is my contact information:
Mary DeSalvo
650-534-7117 (cell)
206-328-5289 (home)

You can also call the school direct. If its books, Mikela Steward is in charge of ordering. Anything else, ask to talk to the head administrator or Dan Jurdy, counselor.
Rainier Beach High School
206-252-6350

hschinske said...

It seemed to me I had been hearing about a textbook shortage at RBHS for years, and sure enough, the Seattle Times reported on the lack of textbooks as early as 2002 -- see http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=20020531&slug=textbooks31m.

http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=20020531&slug=skuled31

Is the current situation the same textbook shortage as ever, or a new one?

Helen Schinske

SPS parent said...

"I have heard several times that teachers do not want to give out books to take home because they don't get returned."

At Hale a kid can't graduate and get their diploma if he/she has not returned all books, paid for lost books, or has any outstanding fees or fines that need to be paid. Nor can they play a sport, hold a school office, or participate in other extra curricular activities.

It's a good incentive!

mkd said...

In the long run, books are cheap. For many, delaying graduation could be the incentive. For lower grades, prohibition of sports or after school activities could also work. The sense of responsibility and trust can go a long way where students have been labeled irresponsible at the start. For those texts not returned though, it's the cost of doing business.

mkd said...

We’re new here, but I am horrified to find Helen, that you are entirely correct, an op-ed piece published in 2002 in the Seattle Times states in part:

”The conditions at Rainier Beach High School are best explained by Calista Phair, a savvy sophomore who has managed a 3.3 grade-point average at one of the city's most troubled schools.

Rainier Beach has such a shortage of textbooks that students take photocopied study packets home. It has outdated computers.

Scarier still, are the teachers who allow students to talk over them and cuss at them, and the teachers who simply abandon the class and students within. Salt in the wound is the state-of-the art performance hall located in a school that can't afford a drama program. How, Phair asks, can any student get a good education at a school with these challenges?
Yet, she and other students try their best. It is our duty to help them in every way we can.”

A seven-year problem that some parents are only finding out about today, RBHS needs strong advocates to see that students there have the same opportunities as higher achieving district schools.

According to Melissa Westbrook, “. . . the Board could direct the superintendent to fund something but then they would probably have to figure out where to get the money and get pushback from staff . . . It's great to want to do something good but we need to start from a place of knowing what we are doing and why.”

A good place to start is going over, touring and talking with all of the teachers and counselors. I know that they would be ecstatic to lay out, document and probably even create a step-by-step action plan ready to implement, complete with actionable items and measurable goals, with proper resources, of course, policies and procedures designed to attack the greatest needs first whether it be safey, schooling, class size or academics – or maybe a little bit of all of the above.

My personal favorite and one place to start: size should not matter when we examine basic benchmarks that apply to all students, not those only at one school. Hard and measurable data indicates a great disparity between schools. A comparison of some fairly disturbing trends: Rainier Beach dropout rates @ 13%, Garfield dropout rates @ 3%; Rainier Beach graduation rates @ 48%,Garfield graduation rates @ 86%; of Rainier Beach 10th grade students who met the state standard, math @ 9% and science @ 17%, Garfield math @ 67% and science @ 60%. At a recent debate, when I questioned diversity – my query was about the disproportionate economic split in the district – I was accused of racism.


After reading an op ed from seven years prior, I am outraged that the board and superintendent would not have taken drastic steps to correct problems that, at least the Seattle Times reports, have been allowed to fester for at least seven years.

As for charters and magnets, I’m new here and have already apologized for broaching the subject. Apparently, these terms have a very different connotation than they do in CA. If federal money is available, perhaps it is time to research and redefine. Once again, I’m sorry.

If you are serious about helping, here is my contact information:
Mary DeSalvo
650-534-7117 (cell)
206-328-5289 (home)

You can also call the school direct. If its books, Mikela Steward is in charge of ordering. Anything else, ask to talk to the head administrator or Dan Jurdy, counselor.
Rainier Beach High School
206-252-6350

Maureen said...

gavroche says: I'm not sure what you are complaining about then, Maureen. You seem fortunate enough to have a number of options before you.

I do have options, but not all families have those options and not all of them have the resources that I have.

I'm complaining for them.

I'm using this forum to see if there is any academic justification to exclude late identified kids from APP. I plan to write to Bob Vaughan and advocate for continuing entry into APP. I welcome help from anyone who wants to add their voice to mine.

mkd said...

Some of the test used for APP could also be applied to detect learning and behavior issues early. Cognition tests, especially the Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Battery, often can pinpoint learning issues and disabilities early on. Dyslexia, for instance, is much easier to treat in the very young. I have MS and my body says take a break. If you'd like to contact me, my information is somewhere in the midst of all these posts.

Robert said...

Maureen, as I have posted a few times in this thread... It's not necessarily about being gifted, it's all about the APP acceleration. HS (especially AP) course work provides a challenge for most gifted students. Since APP students have been accelerated they have completed most of the course work of HS so the next logical step for them is to offer college level course work in HS. Without AP slots those kids would have to retake classes they already completed. Newly identified bright kids would still need to complete the course work that the APP kids completed in MS. Gifted transfers that have completed the prerequisites should contact Bob V. as I believe they would get them on a similar APP HS track.

TechyMom said...

I'm just curious, what do people think about Running Start?I would have loved that program when I was a teen, but I've read mostly negative comments here, and people preferring AP classes. It seems like a real college class, for free, at a real college would always be better, would always transfer. What am I missing?

Dorothy Neville said...

"Since APP students have been accelerated they have completed most of the course work of HS"

Robert, how old are your kids? The above statement is not true.

The only real area that APP kids might have specific course needs would be math, but we find kids at other schools accelerated in Math as well. Maureen's child, for instance. I believe he started 9th grade in Int3, which is where the majority of 9th grade APP kids are as well. Actually, there were two whole classes of Int2 at Eckstein two years ago. That's about 50 kids right there who started at Int3 at other high schools as well. And many of the Seattle school kids who are accelerated in math did so through UW Summer Stretch. Many APP and non-APP kids utilize that. As for gifted kids moving to the district, they are SOL. Ask Bob V if there are accommodations for them to get into Garfield, or even Washington if they weren't savvy enough to apply the October before they moved. Can you even apply before proof that you really will move next Summer?

There are a lot of legitimate reasons why identified gifted kids would not be well served at Washington, are well served in other middle schools, alternative, spectrum or private are all perhaps better choices for some gifted middle school students. Yet at the high school level, they would be best served at Garfield. The only reason for denying them the opportunity is that there is no room.

Robert said...

Dorthy, my kids are elementary age. Now what do you think I have wrong that APP kids aren't accelerated roughly two grades when they enter HS or that Bob V. wouldn't find accomadations for a transfering student? Maureen can you let us know what he says on the latter and I am afraid that I will stick by my understanding of the former.

SolvayGirl said...

And Robert makes it sound like ONLY kids who came up through the APP ranks can take AP classes at Garfield. I did not think this was true. Is it? That would make it a loss less attractive to people in the neighborhood with kids looking for AP classes.

SolvayGirl said...

Can someone with a student who has completed the AP Program and gone on to high school at Garfield explain all this? Charlie? (Though I know your daughter is at NOVA) Have they, as Robert states, "completed most of their HS course work"? Do they come in as 9th graders taking a higher level of classes than the other 9th graders?

Robert, I could not find anything on the AP part of the website that explains this in any sort of detail—especially how it all works once they get to Garfield.

The reason I believe this is important is because it definitely makes a difference to: 1) determining how important it is to keep the APP kids at Garfield (obviously, if the APP 9th graders are working at the 11th grade level, they would need to be accommodated at one school) and 2) how good a school Garfield is for non-APP kids. If they don't have access to the AP classes (though I believe they do), then it would not be very desirable to me.

I'm still seeing contradictory statements (esp. between Robert and Helen & Dororty). I looked on the SPS website as RObert suggested, but could not find specifics to AP at Garfield. Does anyone have the definitive answer on this?

Robert said...

Sorry if I gave that impression... Everyone can get into an AP class at GHS (and they are mixed classes) they just have to had the preparation for it.

SolvayGirl said...

OK, whew...I thought that was the case.

Now, do 9th grade APP kids take 11th grade English/Social Studies/Humanities, etc? I know that math is all over the place and kids test in. What about the other core subjects?

Robert said...

Have they, as Robert states, "completed most of their HS course work"? Do they come in as 9th graders taking a higher level of classes than the other 9th graders?

Well most is a poor choice of words as it is really probably less than half. ;-) But they have done HS course work so they need to continue on something in HS ... So in comes the AP classes.

Dorothy Neville said...

"Now, do 9th grade APP kids take 11th grade English/Social Studies/Humanities, etc? "

No.

SolvayGirl said...

OK...so I checked out the Garfield website and looked at their Plan II recommended curriculum for highly competitive college placement—which is where I assume most of the APP kids would be.

According to that form, there are NO AP classes available at the 9th grade level, and only one in 10th grade. So I still don't see where they are working at two grade levels ahead (taking AP courses as Freshman as Robert believes) as it appears they will be taking the same courses as any student who is following the "highly competitive college track."

Am I right on this? Anybody with experience with an APP high schooler at Garfield?

Robert said...

Yeah sorry wrong again... Pretty vague website. They do a pretty good job defining the application process but not the subject material.

"Service delivery is through a self-contained program during grades 1-8. A cohort-based model is available at the high school level during which students enroll in honors courses, grades 9-12, and Advanced Placement courses in grades 10, 11 and 12."

Also, they clearly say it's only math and reading. I believe that needs to be updated as they are accelerating science as well as soc studies.

SolvayGirl said...

It still looks like they get a great program at Garfield though :-)

Robert said...

I just got it from a family with older kids that APP accelerates Math, science, LA/history "reading."

Robert said...

So I guess I would say they would be accelerated in those areas Dorothy...

CCM said...

Dorothy said: As for gifted kids moving to the district, they are SOL.

That's not true - we moved into the district in April and were placed straight into the APP program the following Fall strictly based on our kid's transcripts and gifted designation from our previous district.

I think it depends on what type of testing was done - and our former district testing matched up with the testing done in SPS. Every gifted program in just about every district in every state is different - so again - it depends on how the kids were originally tested.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Look, I would really suggest going to the College Board site and reading up. AP is a program that has various college-level (that answers your question about acceleration) courses. Some colleges and universities give college credit depending on your score on the end-of-course test (between 1-5, credit usually given for anything above 3, but sometimes a 3). So beyond rigor, you can save a little time and money at college if you take AP courses and do well on the test.

In Seattle Public Schools ANYONE can take an AP course (your "prep" is whatever you have taken before). Naturally, no one who hasn't taken foreign language is going to walk into any foreign language AP. If you or your child have concerns about the pace (which is fast) and the amount of work (a lot of reading and writing) of an AP class, ask a teacher or counselor. Try an honors class first if you are worried. There are generally no AP 9th grade classes. It's not a bad mark; it's just generally the way things are.

There is a link to the College Board at the Advanced Learning homepage.

Dorothy Neville said...

I am still not seeing objective measures of "acceleration" though except in math.

Yes, many APP kids are advanced two years in math, but so are many other kids throughout the district. Those other areas, (except for the brand new science path which hasn't gotten to high school yet), there really isn't any special advanced standing in high school that they start with. So how do you know they are accelerated and how do you know that other kids aren't?

Your logic for keeping the Garfield golden ticket to kids who are already in the program doesn't really hold up. Why doesn't that also mean that kids can only attend middle school APP if they attended elementary school APP? Or only APP first graders ought to be able to enroll in APP second grade? Actually, the assessment to get into APP includes both cognitive AND achievement testing. So why not continue to test high school placement? If they objectively show the appropriate cognitive AND achievement levels, then they ought to get in. Just like a third grader or a sixth grader. Why allow entry to incoming 8th graders but not incoming 9th graders?

Oh, and I have to say one of my pet peeves is the overuse and misuse of the word acceleration when it comes to APP. There is very little acceleration. If you simply teach two years above grade level, you are still teaching a years' worth of curriculum over a year. That's not acceleration.

Dorothy Neville said...

"That's not true - we moved into the district in April and were placed straight into the APP program the following Fall strictly based on our kid's transcripts and gifted designation from our previous district."

Glad to hear it. I know instances where that did not happen. I am curious, though, High School? That's the assertion here, that new to the district kids can get into Garfield based on participation in gifted programming elsewhere.

CCM said...

Dorothy - you're right - it was in Elementary - I didn't pick up the "high-school" only comment. I agree that a new-to-the district kid should be able to join the cohort in high-school if their testing data shows the applicable scores.

I also think that in-district students that show those scores should be able to start in high-school - and am not sure that the assertion that "there is no room" is true.

I was told by Bob Vaughan that there are far more out-of-area students at Garfield that are not APP than those that are APP - something like almost double the number.

That is his reasoning that supports his continued assertion that they won't need to split high-school APP with the new attendance boundary.

I personally don't believe that to be true - but time will tell.

Robert said...

"So why not continue to test high school placement?" Because the student isn't going to just jump two grade levels ahead in subjects because they just scored a 140 IQ. They need the courses close to succession. What I have noticed is that they do a bit of catch up at the start of the year in 1-5 so the new kids have a chance. Not sure how they do it in MS but that might even be too late for some. That is why we choose first grade to switch. Also, I think HS classes are better for individual study.

Acceleration might be more correct than you think ... As the students actually go further into the individual subjects than gen ed students as well as them being two grade levels ahead.

Maureen said...

Robert, I think you just don't understand what APP IS at GHS.

I can't speak for other MSs or K-8s but about 20 kids go from TOPS to GHS every year (because they live in the area). Many of them (some may be APP identified) take exactly the same classes as the APP kids. They perform just as well as the APP kids in most classes and do better in science. If the WMS APP kids ARE accelerated in their course work, it generally doesn't show to the kids I talk to.

(Disclaimer-this is based on anecdotal evidence--as far as I know there is no data on how well APP kids do relative to non APP kids who take the same classes)

mkd said...

There is one more source for AP classes. Because AP and Honors classes are still rather limited at RBHS, my boys have decided to take AP classes (history and English) offered through Washington Virtual Academy. My younger son took math and history classes through the Internet Academy last semester as a supplement to coursework but they do not have an AP program as of yet. I can't say he enjoyed the extra work but his eighth grade state report turned into a 38-page powerpoint presentation.

From the website:
K¹² Core courses are similar to the standard courses offered by many other programs. They meet all academic requirements for each course area both for graduation as well as for potential admission into a wide range of colleges.
K¹² Comprehensive courses are designed for students entering with a strong foundational knowledge and aptitude in the subject area being covered, as well as solid study skills.
K¹² Honors courses hold students to a greater degree of accountability, and demand even greater independence and self-discipline than their Comprehensive counterparts.
K¹² Advanced Placement (AP®) courses are college-level courses that follow curriculum specified by the College Board. Like K¹² Honors courses, AP® courses require a greater degree of self-discipline for in-depth study of the subject.

WAVA link http://www.k12.com/wava/our_curriculum/high_school/

mkd said...

Running Start information from the Homeschool Resource Center:
The Running Start Program is available to qualified students who are enrolled in the public school and are in their Junior or Senior year of high school. The program is intended for students who are capable of doing college level academic work, who are independent learners and who can function at an adult level both socially and emotionally.

The student earns credit at the college level, while at the same time earning credit to complete their high school diploma. The student is responsible for their own transportation and the cost of textbooks. Formerly homeschooled and private school students are participating in the Running Start program.

All students must take a community college placement test to determine their eligibility. If they are not already enrolled in a public school they must enroll prior to entry into this program.

Anonymous said...

Maureen said:

I can't speak for other MSs or K-8s but about 20 kids go from TOPS to GHS every year (because they live in the area). Many of them (some may be APP identified) take exactly the same classes as the APP kids. They perform just as well as the APP kids in most classes and do better in science. If the WMS APP kids ARE accelerated in their course work, it generally doesn't show to the kids I talk to.

(Disclaimer-this is based on anecdotal evidence--as far as I know there is no data on how well APP kids do relative to non APP kids who take the same classes)

I don't mean this in a snarky way at all, I'm just starting to get confused: If APP kids are arriving at high school at more or less the same level as other advanced/ motivated kids, and not really the two years ahead Robert has mentioned, what's the point of APP?

Tosca said...

I wasn't there, but I just finished reading the minutes from the APP Advisory Committee Meeting on 10/6/09 where they were discussing curriculum at middle and high school.

From the minutes:

Science

"Science Sequencing (with courses that may be added in the future in boldface):
2009 - 10: Physical Science: offered in 7th grade at Hamilton (Hamilton pilot in 2009-10, Washington to follow)
Biology offered in 8th grade (both middle school sites)

2010 - 11: Chemistry offered in 9th grade

2011 - 12: AP Biology possibly offered in 10th grade (with Marine Science or Genetics still an option), AP Chemistry offered in 11th/12th grades, AP Physics, AP Environmental Science possibly offered
Science Mentorships possibly offered in 12th grade"

History

"Starting this year, Dr. Vaughan began the process of bringing Pre AP World History to middle school students. Eighth graders are taking the first semester of the year long course Pre AP World History, followed by the second semester of the course in 9th grade. The plan is to eventually shift the history curriculum down so that students can complete Pre AP WH in middle school, positioning them to take AP World History in 9th grade (currently taken in 10th grade). This shift leaves a gap in 12th grade, and the District may add AP Economics. Dr. Vaughan reported that he has hired a history consultant who is supporting Garfield’s work with the World History curriculum."

Math
"Changes were made to the APP Math curriculum this year, due to the District’s adoption of a new Math curriculum. The majority of APP students are taking CMP2 in 6th grade (typically studied in 8th grade), Algebra 1 in 7th grade, Geometry in 8th grade, and Algebra 2 in 9th grade (math accelerated two years ahead of the general education sequence)."

I don't know how this various from the past but according to the present and future curriculum, it would appear to me that APP 9th graders are indeed taking (or will be taking) AP classes. Of course, the AP classes are open to everyone to take, but the idea is that the kids coming up from APP in middle school are prepared to take the classes at an earlier grade level than other high schoolers.

ArchStanton said...

Oh, and I have to say one of my pet peeves is the overuse and misuse of the word acceleration when it comes to APP. There is very little acceleration. If you simply teach two years above grade level, you are still teaching a years' worth of curriculum over a year. That's not acceleration.

Yeah, that one irks me as well. For some (most?) of the APP kids accelerating two years worth of curriculum from the their entry point (e.g. getting them up tho 3rd grade in 1st and holding them there) might be enough, but it's disheartening to see kids get that spurt and then stall out. For all it does provide, even APP doesn't (in my experience) provide all that much differentiation or acceleration beyond getting them up two grades. Maybe they cover some topics in more depth or integrate across subjects, but that's not the same as acceleration.

mkd said...

At 51, I'm three classes away from a BA from University of NC (online). My GPA is 3.98 and my SAT scores were phenomenal. At 14, my 16-year-old son scored in the midrange playing around with CA high school exit exam. Sadly, my Intelligence Quotient fluctuates from low to high depending on the battery of tests and who gives it. Thank goodness I aced the MMPI.

IQ testing is a standard measure of "in the moment" academic abilities and changes over time (i.e., age, grade, puberty, etc.). In addition, everything from time of day, outside stress, environment, economics, ethnicity and culture can lower overall scores quite a bit. According to one of my professors, ". . . the best-known IQ battery, "Stanford-Binet 5," measures Fluid Reasoning, Knowledge, Quantitative Reasoning, Visual-Spatial Processing, and Working Memory. Collectively, these skills are known as "symbolic logic."

Let's not bog our children down with a bunch of numbers at such an early age. APP serves a need but I think it may be time to throw out the labels. Gifted infers that others are not. All children are gifted in one way or another.

mkd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dorothy Neville said...

Archie, I hear you. If he had stayed with the program, my son would be a 10th grader at Garfield right now. Instead he is a freshman at UW Honors program and quite enjoying it. Only been a few weeks, but so far it seems like a good fit, finally a challenging program.

As for the meeting notes from the APP meeting about middle school curriculum. Yes, all of that science is brand new this year. That has not happened before.

This was first announced a couple years ago, well before the split. I asked Bob V at the time if this would be made available to all students at Washington (obviously, now that means WMS and HIMS) and he said yes, eventually. But just at first they would start with the APP kids. See further in the meeting notes "[Vaughan] also believes that by expanding advanced learning opportunities for APP students, opportunities are increased for all students." Which seems to support his answer he gave me before, that these curricular changes that will be available to other students at Washington and Hamilton, just as advanced math is offered to other students at those middle schools.

Alas, note that the meeting notes point out that neither Washington nor Hamilton will offer Algebra2, ie. third year of high school math. Last Spring when I talked to the Eckstein math teacher, he was still planning to accommodate the handful he gets that need Algebra 2 in 8th grade. I don't know if he was able to make that work though.

ArchStanton said...

Archie, I hear you. If he had stayed with the program, my son would be a 10th grader at Garfield right now. Instead he is a freshman at UW Honors program and quite enjoying it. Only been a few weeks, but so far it seems like a good fit, finally a challenging program.

Glad that worked out for you and him. We had a babysitter for a while that was in that program and really enjoyed it. It was great having a sitter that "got" our daughter. Only time will tell if that's the right path for her, but at times I can't help but feel like we're still marking time in some respects.

hschinske said...

Catherine, see my comments on the "two years ahead" verbiage earlier in the thread. Except in the case of math, which has a clearly defined progression, there is no way of defining exactly what constitutes "two years ahead" at the high school level. In general, above-level testing is regarded as one of the best ways to figure out which students stand out as much more capable of advanced work than others. The Johns Hopkins Talent Search starts administering the SAT as early as 7th grade. The typical 7th-grade student at the APP level tends to score (very roughly) around the average for college-bound seniors.

My daughter sat in on a college class in mythology in the summer that she turned thirteen. She found she was better prepared for that class by her sixth- and seventh-grade APP social studies with Ms. Shadow than many of the adult students were. (Some asked her whether she was an undergraduate or a graduate student.)

Is Ms. Shadow teaching six or more years ahead? No. She teaches at a developmentally appropriate level for sixth- and seventh-graders, without punitive grading practices or high-stakes testing, but covers CONCEPTS that are much more advanced than the typical middle-school classroom would touch. The class discussions are at a much higher level, and many of the students, like my daughter, read so widely for pleasure that they can bring to bear a much greater wealth of contextual information than most kids can.

As I've posted before, I don't think AP courses are always the most appropriate accommodation for advanced students. We keep forgetting that the chief characteristic of gifted students is *asynchrony*, and that they are still likely to be near age/grade level in executive function skills. In some cases, advanced skills in reading and analysis make one able to work faster than other people, and render the need for careful planning and tracking of work less necessary, but it isn't always so, by a long shot.

Some gifted students are also blessed with immense energy, maturity, and/or terrific organizational skills. Such students *are* well suited for AP classes, and there should be the flexibility to let them have early access. But many others, no less intelligent and knowledgeable, require much more age-appropriate scaffolding in their instruction, and for them AP classes are less practicable, except perhaps in areas of intense interest. Plain old physical stamina is part of the equation; the stereotypical gifted child who needs less sleep is real, but many don't fit that profile.

Helen Schinske

SPS parent said...

"without punitive grading practices"

Helen what you mean by this? What is "punitive grading"?

Thanks.

TechyMom said...

Does anyone have a child who has done both AP and Running Start classes? What were the pros and cons of each?

Anonymous said...

Helen, Thanks for your explanation. It was very helpful!

hschinske said...

Now that I think about it, I actually had several different things in mind with that comment about punitive grading. The most relevant one to this discussion is that 6th and 7th grade marks don't go on your college record, so you can stretch yourself in a low-stress, supportive environment. Whereas taking an AP course in 9th grade would mean not only that you're looking for the first time at grades that are on your college record, but it's important that you be trying to get college credit as well. It's as if you're playing double-or-nothing with your coursework. The subject matter difficulty is really the least of it there. The pressure seems to me to be inappropriate.

Helen Schinske

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