Wednesday, November 17, 2010

APP Meeting Tonight at Ingraham

Thank you to Steve for this info:

Meeting for Families with Students in the Accelerated Progress Program, Grades 8 and 9, at Ingraham High School, 6:30-8:00 PM, November 17, 2010

Families with students in the Accelerated Progress Program (APP) in 8th and 9th grade are invited to meet with representatives from the Advanced Learning Office and from Ingraham High School to discuss a possible new program to be offered at Ingraham High School in Fall 2011. Others are welcome, but the focus of the meeting will be on a possible program option for students in these particular grades.

(I'd love as many people as possible at the Board meeting tonight but this is important, too.)


joanna said...
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joanna said...
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Steve said...

joanna, the November 22 meeting at Ingraham (6:30-8:00pm) is one of the regional meetings for the New Student Assignment Plan. The meeting tonight at Ingraham is focused on the proposed (is it proposed?) high school APP option (is it an option?).

Lori said...

There is also another tentative meeting coming up on this issue. Note that tonight's meeting is focused on current 8th and 9th graders. According to an APP-AC email dated 11/15:

Because the meeting on Wednesday is targeted to 8th and 9th grade APP students, we want to hold another APP AC meeting as a follow-up for all APP. Tentative date is Monday, November 29, location and time to be determined. Watch for an email soon.

lendlees said...

While tonight's meeting is aimed at 8th and 9th graders as they are the ones affected in the short term, it doesn't mean that the rest of the APP population shouldn't go and weigh in.

There are long-term decisions being made that needs a larger voice. (IMO)

Meg said...
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Meg said...

This affects more than just 8th and 9th grade APP families, and more than just APP. I'm going.

I hope I'm not being rude and going off-thread too much, but I have a question/thought. I just posted it on the APP discussion blog, but I think it's worth kicking around here, too.

It looks to me as if with either a forced split or an optional additional HS choice, the decision is not a program placement decision, but a NSAP decision.

-HS APP isn't a program, per se, but the default assignment of APP 8th graders. The district says this repeatedly; APP families seem to say as much, too. Presumably that's why people can't test in for 9th grade, because APP isn't a defined program after 8th (which seems kind of unfair to me, but I get the technical issue).

-under the NSAP (and the old SAP), students with default assignments can stay at their assigned school.

-under the NSAP, students who request an assignment that is not their default assignment must re-apply every year.

-if there is a defined program at Ingraham, it would mean that any district student should be able to try to test into it and if their scores hit the marks, join in 9th grade.

-APP students at Garfield have Garfield as their default assignment. And since HS APP is not a defined program, a forced move of it is not a program placement decision. If there's forced removal, something needs to change in the NSAP, and therefore requires a board vote.

What do you all think?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Meg, it makes sense to me but the district seems to try to have it both ways - "not a program" but "keep the cohort together at Garfield". So is it or isn't it a program?

I agree with Meg's thinking but if staff wants something, then they twist it to their logic to the Board.

I did hear Betty Patu say to Kay Smith-Blum at the Operations Committee meeting yesterday something about the Work Session in December on the NSAP and Betty referenced "splitting up Garfield" and Kay said something quietly to her and the discussion stopped. I don't know if Betty was speaking off the cuff (as she does regularly) or if this is the thinking that is being put out there by staff to the Board.

Lori said...

Meg and Lendlees, thanks for adding that of course others can go tonight. I didn't mean to imply otherwise. I just wanted folks who were concerned about having to choose between the Board meeting and the Ingraham meeting to know that there is supposed to be another, bigger APP community event about the potential IB program.

I look forward to reports about what is said at Ingraham tonight, and I do hope that there really is a 2nd meeting on a Monday night so that more voices can be heard.

Eric B said...

So here's my (admittedly biased) opinion, based on a few basic assumptions:

1. APP is growing. Tracy Libros said that if there is no change, there might be 100 more APP 9th graders at Garfield next year than this year. I need to go look at numbers, but at some point do we have Garfield only for APP? In addition, most APP growth is north of the Ship Canal.

2. We need to fill schools that are empty, and it's better to do that by making people want to move.

3. We shouldn't force people to relocate from the school that they are already enrolled in.

4. There needs to be a critical mass of students to maintain a real APP program, since you need many high achievers to fill given classes.

So here's my proposal. Next year, open an APP program at Ingraham for entering 9th graders and any APP students who are currently at Garfield and want to move. I expect the latter number to be near zero.

I think you would have to require that all APP students from at least three high schools north of the Ship Canal to go to the Ingraham APP if they do not attend their own assignment area school. Entering 9th grade enrollment in both Garfield and Ingraham APP would need to be at least 60-75/year to keep a critical mass of 250-300 APP students per school in a 9-12 program.

The bonus of this approach is that the Ingraham APP can be developed over time. If you open APP North with a 9-12 cohort, you have to stand up a lot of advanced classes. Starting at 9th grade, you can open a few classes a year so there's less stress on the system.

Short term solutions (split shifts, borrowing space from Mann or community center, etc.) would be used to manage Garfield's enrollment bump until APP North drew off enough students.

Long term, I would like to see another APP program open at Rainier Beach for SE/SW students, leaving Garfield APP largely for Central Seattle. That will take some time to get the population needed to sustain a critical mass. In the "I might be dead before it happens" term, I'd like to see an APP pathway at every comprehensive high school. Serve students in neighborhood schools, and all that.

Transportation is an issue. I don't know how to solve it readily without yellow buses. Other than that, it seems so simple I must be missing something. Can you tell me what that is?

ParentofThree said...

From the APP-AC email:

After writing to and speaking with the Superintendent's office, we have been informed that the Superintendent and School Board are supporting for ALL students to be grandfathered to their current schools in the Transition Plan, and this includes all the current Garfield High School APP students grades 9-11 who will be allowed to remain at Garfield if they choose.

There will be a letter at tonight's meeting from the Superintendent with this statement.

"Option 2" is officially off the table.
Advocacy can work. Thanks to everyone who wrote letters.

More information will follow soon from the APP AC. We are continuing to meet with School Board members, listening to all of you, and collecting information.

Jan said...

Eric: here is my (admittedly biased also) response, based on nothing but my own observations.

1. Transportation is the least of our worries, as I think there is state/federal money provided to support transportation (doesn't make Ingraham convenient, but at least makes it doable).

2. I think the District really needs to PULL kids to schools -- not PUSH them by removing them from programs. I know, lots of pushing and not much pulling to date -- but still, that ought to be the goal.

3. If they want a north APP, they should make it an option, and then make it attractive enough that kids will choose it.

4. The cohort matters. Not for all kids, but for some. Here is what I think. APP kids are not all the same. Some are not much different from the "average bright" kid. They will do ok in any school that offers material a couple of years ahead, and classes with challenge and rigor in the coursework, class discussions, etc. Most Spectrum kids work fine in the same programs.

BUT -- at the other end of the APP scale are kids who are, or shoulc be, working 3 to 6 years ahead, and whose intellect is qualitatively different. They are not just 2 years ahead on the same road. They are on an altogether different highway. These are the kids who need the "cohort" (and for them, it may not be the whole APP cohort -- it may be the 20 to 40 kids at their end of it -- who challenge them and keep them engaged. Some of these kids bale from APP and go directly to the U in the Young Scholars program -- but not all want to abandon their same age peers. We owe these kids an education just as much as we owe an education to their "regular highway" peers. I question whether they do well in even a 2 school split. I REALLY doubt they will survive a 3 school or "every comprehensive high school" split. Maybe I have only read selectively, but EVERYTHING I have read about highly gifted (top 1 to 2 percent) kids is -- they fail or underachieve in unacceptably large numbers if they don't get education that is pitched to their needs.
Perhaps I am wrong, but I just don't think that providing AP and honors classes in every high school is going to successfully meet the needs of many of the kids in this group. And they don't seem to think so either. Kids can ALREADY opt out of the Garfield placement and go to their neighborhood school -- a few do, and yet so many don't.

Maureen said...

Jan, So maybe, starting with this group of 8th graders, the kids should be retested before HS and the absolute top (I don't know? 0.2) percent should be sent to GHS and the others could have a guaranteed seat at accelerated IB or go to their attendance school. Would that help meet the needs of the kids who really need an (age and intellectual) peer group?

Meg said...

Lori-I didn't think you were trying to bar the door. I thought you were just passing on the information. I wasn't trying to shoot the messenger, so pardon me.

Eric B - APP is growing, but no, there won't be 100 more APP 9th graders next year than there are this year.

Typically, APP loses kids between 8th and 9th grade - I don't know if that's kids deciding to go to the local HS, or leaving SPS entirely, or some combination. This is the reverse of the usual SPS enrollment pattern, which typically sees an uptick from 8th grade to 9th grade.

Last year, there were 143 8th grade APP students - and there are 125 APP students at Garfield. This year there are 177 8th graders in APP, the biggest group of any APP grade level right now - but I would expect that between 10-20% of those 8th graders won't be at Garfield next fall, which is in the range of typical program loss. In addition, APP loses kids in each year of HS at Garfield, at least 5-10 per year. Since 2005, only one APP 12th grade class had more than 100 students (in 2006, there were 101).

The district's APP enrollment estimates for Garfield assume no loss, which is absurd, since that's never happened. Every single APP 8th grade has lost kids on the way to 9th grade, often close to 20%. With a recession, that percent may drop, but it won't go away entirely.

APP is growing. An alternative probably needs to be found, but I think there's time to find a viable one that the APP community will buy into, instead of forcing a split which will very likely simply move Garfield's over-crowding to Roosevelt and Ballard - because there are a lot of APP families coming from those areas, and they're likely to stick with their local HS rather than go through the program being chopped up for the second time in two years.

Jan said...

Maureen: I don't know what the cut off would be -- I am thinking it is probably more like top 1%. I assume that there are people who work in the area who would have a better idea of what that distribution looks like. I think what you describe is probably what some other districts have -- a much smaller cohort, farther at the end of the scale.

And I think you could probably use the old scores, because my understanding is that (short of things like cancer, exposure to environmental toxins like lead, drug use, etc.,) cognitive scores are pretty stable over time. A kid who is a genius at 6 is still a genius at 16. But I think they should test at any age -- so if you have a child coming into the system in 8 or 9th grade who qualifies for the program, they should be in it.

As for the "others," I would leave them in the program, as they are still working 2 years (or more) ahead of curriculum, and I don't think that is easily accommodated in every single school. But I think their options for thriving in a number of different settings are much greater.

another mom said...

"In addition, APP loses kids in each year of HS at Garfield, at least 5-10 per year. Since 2005, only one APP 12th grade class had more than 100 students."

This has been the case since well before 2005. To my knowledge no one has ever asked what happens to the APP HS "drop-outs"Five years of data is probably enough though to say it is pattern. Even without the current overcrowding at GHS, it is time for another H.S. option for APP. My big concern is that it will be slapped together and ta da, there's the program. Maybe the district will take care and build something desireable,I have my doubts. But it should be an option not mandatory

Maureen said...

Just out of curiousity, Has anyone ever tracked how many APP kids left to go to UW or another university? I would think most of the Robinson Center kids would have come through APP if they were in public school at all.

Anonymous said...

I attended the Ingraham meeting tonight, and I was impressed. If I didn't live at the other end of town, I'd strongly consider the Ingraham Accelerated IB program Bob Vaughan is proposing.

It would be an Accelerated IB program at a high school that already has a well-established IB program. The principal & teachers seem to be good, supportive, and available. It was a very upbeat meeting, and I think Bob V deserves a fair amount of credit for this idea. It's not his own. He readily admits he's copying the Interlake model in Bellevue, but that program went from nothing to very good in only a few years, so why not.

It's another viable choice for anyone who wants the accelerated path and a single cohort that keeps the kids all together through school. In this age of standardization, it will provide shelter from the storm.

Based on what was presented, I'd choose an accelerated IB program over typical AP classes at a neighborhood school in a heartbeat. It would be the perfect fit for anyone on the fence between APP or IB. I have to believe it will appeal to a lot of people. I know a lot of South End folks who will be clamoring for such a program at Sealth or RBHS if it goes through at Ingraham.

It's a good idea that is definitely worth North End families checking out.


wseadawg said...
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Dorothy Neville said...

"Just out of curiousity, Has anyone ever tracked how many APP kids left to go to UW or another university? I would think most of the Robinson Center kids would have come through APP if they were in public school at all."

Not really. There was one kid from my son's app cohort that went to Transition School (16 kids per year) and of the 35 kids in his Academy of Young Scholars cohort, there were five from Roosevelt a couple from Ingraham, one from Hale? Certainly the majority of them could have qualified for APP? But other than my son, I don't think they had attended and I know at least some of them had never tested or had moved to Seattle in high school. And lots from public schools outside Seattle. 2 from Lakeside? I think there were 4 (+/-1) from Garfield.

Spruiter said...

Why don't we ever see stats about APP eligible kids who aren't matriculated into APP?

How many APP eligible families don't have access to an advanced high school program because they didn't join APP in time? Adding more advanced learning programs at schools where anyone has access (at least for now) should make advanced learning more accessible to all who want it.

Some of these families might find Ingraham a more convenient, and better option than Garfield.

On paper, the accelerated IB program looks great to me (Ingraham is our assignment HS), and Ingraham has an existing program, so it wouldn't be starting from scratch.

But we've got the luxury of lots of time before our kids are in high school for the program and school culture to develop.

I hope some families decide to be the trailblazers, but I appreciate the risk, especially for high school.

Jan said...

Spruiter: the District never seems to care about kids that it loses (whether to private schools, homeschooling or, in the case of APP, kids who qualify or don't enroll). They also don't care whether kids get appropriately identified. Because it is a monopoly, and no one in the District is evaluated or compensated based on these things -- they just roll out whatever programs they want to offer, and then let the chips fall where they may.
I am not saying that all APP or Spectrum eligible kids SHOULD select APP or Spectrum. There may be lots of great reasons why kids select other options, go private, choose homeschooling, elect not to be tested. But wouldn't it be great if the District cared enough to ask -- so that if the problems were things in the District's control -- access, rigor, etc., they could actually do something about them? The ONLY reason they suddenly care now about creating what sounds like might be a really interesting APP/IB option (as opposed to the APP/AP/cohort model that GHS has) is because they created this huge mess at GHS, so they HAVE to address it. But -- lemons to lemonade, I say. Now that they suddenly "care," I hope that they come up with a home run!