Applications for Advanced Learning due October 3

Eligibility testing begins in October for accelerated learning programs

Seattle Public Schools provides opportunities for academically advanced students in grades K-8 to qualify for accelerated learning programs. Additional information and application forms for eligibility testing can be found here. Applications are also be available in school offices and in the lobby of the John Stanford Center, 2445 3rd Ave. S.

Eligibility testing for the 2014-2015 school year begins in October. Applications are due by Thursday, Oct. 3.


Anonymous said…
We got a letter in the mail as our child scored well in reading (98% I think), but in math she got 78% on the Map. I thought the requirement was 87% in both areas? Anyhow, appreciate the letter as I didn't think she would qualify for testing this year.
North End Parent.
apparent said…
No mention of this advanced learning October 3 deadline in the 2013-14 SPS Calendar and Family Guide, either in bold in the right margin under DATES TO NOTE or on the Thursday calendar date. In sharp contrast to "SAT REGISTRATION Deadline -- Oct 3, Test date -- Nov 2 (Contact high school counselors)." Disgraceful SPS public information omission, from advanced learning enrollment equity or diversity perspective.

Also, remember that regardless of any MAP scores and SPS invitations, your child is already qualified for cognitive and achievement testing privately if you feel they may meet the eligibility criteria. But you do have to carefully meet the various "appeals" deadlines, which can be hard to understand so be sure to study them.
Anonymous said…

North End Parent, Any parent can request testing. You don't need to qualify to be tested.

Anonymous said…
I do not believe you can appeal unless you participate in SPS testing first. Meaning you can't submit private scores in lieu of district testing. You can appeal if the SPS scores don't meet a certain threshold to qualify for advanced learning but the only ones who can qualify without SPS cognitive testing first are those coming from private schools or outside the district. That is my understanding, at least.

Anonymous said…
We're in the advanced learning "program", and can't in good conscience recommend that anyone sign their kid up for testing. Testing for what? There's no plan, there's no leadership, there's no assurance that the existing programs (APP, what's left of Spectrum) will be implemented. We're in the program, and it's a constant state of chaos at the District level, with no curriculum and the constant threat of moving your kids to other buildings every couple of years. What happens in the classroom is pretty good, despite the District. But I can't (and won't) recommend that anyone else go through what we've been through. Not until the District gets their act together.

- Yeah, I'm Angry
Anonymous said…
We came from private school and went through district testing...not sure if that was required but that's how we did it. Given the cost of private testing, going through the district first made sense to me.

Anonymous said…
ST just posted a story about proposed boundary changes. Wow, almost 60,000 students by 2020!

Anonymous said…
@Yeah, I'm angry wrote:
What happens in the classroom is pretty good, despite the District

Take the good parts, to wit: "what happens in the classroom is pretty good" and run with it. A good percentage of folks in SPS can't come close to saying that, so despite the chaos, I wouldn't deter people from anything that is good for their kids.

Many share your frustration, and it will go on for years yet, but its ultimately what's in the classroom that counts. Hang in there.

Anonymous said…
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Anonymous said…
- Yeah, I'm Angry - ITA! the hoops for testing, etc make it seem like this highly-coveted program. i don't have APP experience, but self-contained spectrum has been a big disappointment and frankly i don't care if it goes away. ALL it is is all kids in +1 grade reading/math. a good gen ed teacher can do that regardless in a differentiated classroom. i've seen no differentiation in a spectrum classroom.

-WSDWG - i've found the opposite at our school (NE cluster). we have several self-contained spectrum teachers that are AWFUL and one foot out the door into retirement. people have actually pulled their kids from spectrum and/or kept on testing to move to APP to stay away from these teachers. spectrum apparently is a sr. teaching position at our school, with the more-tenured teachers in those positions. meanwhile we have some great new blood in teachers with 5-10 years experience in the gen ed that are able to meet and challenge all kids of all abilities

apparent said…

you are correct that you must participate in district testing (i.e. sign the October 3 deadline application for your kid). But then in recent years I believe there have been two separate "appeals" deadlines (that's just the SPS word for looking at privately administered nationally normed tests from the approved list). The first is for cognitive testing (the district was only administering the CogAt to students with MAP scores over 87%, but you could submit the WPPSI or other approved tests instead by the announced deadline). The second deadline was for achievement testing (Math and Reading), which the district administers after cognitive testing. For private school students, I believe the testing order is reversed (first achievement, then cognitive). In other words, if both your qualifying cognitive and achievement scores were private, you would have to "appeal" twice under separate deadlines to have these scores read. It is certainly very confusing, so again the warning to read and understand the posted instructions carefully, and allow plenty of time to meet these recurrent deadlines. Also, rememember separate rules for private school students, students who move to Seattle during the summer, and free or reduced lunch students. Just a friendly reminder to read the advanced learning eligibility criteria and "appeals" (i.e. private testing) info very carefully!
Anonymous said…
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Anonymous said…
Under the FAQs on the growth boundaries presentation, one question in the Advanced Learning section refers to differentiation in the classroom as "mythical". Um, take that, ALOs :(

Anonymous said…
My child's teacher recommended I have my child tested so I was just looking into it for the first time, and I'm confused. His kindergarten spring MAP scores are given as a range- which do they use as the cut-off to qualify for taking the Cognat? The lowest, highest, middle? His math score is through the roof, but his reading score was right on the line (with the high range being 87th). We didn't get a letter from the district, so I assume this means he scored too low? I don't want to bother with the paperwork if his reading MAP score is going to disqualify him at the starting gate, what's the point?
Anonymous said…
Request to have your child tested. The K-2 MAP scores are more variable than the grade 3+ MAP scores. It's a different test. The scores can be all over the place for K. If your child's teacher is recommending the test as well, then go for it. A lot of growth can happen in a year and you wouldn't want to potentially be in the position of waiting another year to test and get services.

been there
Anonymous said…
My 2nd grade child qualified for Spectrum last spring. We decided to keep her at our neighborhood school, as it is ALO, because we were under the impression she would be placed in the Spectrum level math class at her school. We just found out she was placed in the regular math track and were told the teachers did not consider APP or Spectrum status when making math placement decision. The decision was based on a math assessment the teachers created and gave at the end of the year. For whatever reason, she did not meet the threshold. Does the school have to honor our request to have her placed in the Spectrum track? Thanks for any input.
-why go through testing if schools ignore the results?
Anonymous said…
Placement should not be made based on one test score alone. Argue for better placement based on other evidence - Spectrum qualification should sure count for something. If you are unable to get resolution at the school level, appeal to higher ups.

...and this is why many families with AL qualified children choose Spectrum or APP.

-good luck
Anonymous said…
Why go through testing,

In our experience at our NE ALO school, this is the advertised hallmark of ALOs -- they are based on ongoing assessments by the teacher in the classroom and don't rely significantly on the "label" to form instructional groups. In many ways I agree with this. Especially in K-2, it does seem misguided to have the advanced learning designation trump a student's demonstrated classroom performance.

On the other hand, it IS a dangerous policy for advanced learners who remain at their ALO school, because it is often used to justify a total lack of any sound program for AL kids. At our school, it is popular for a teacher to expound on how some of the smartest kids they've ever taught didn't EVEN HAVE a label (and this is a badge of honor) or that some kids with the LABEL don't show ANY evidence of being advanced. This argument is used to discount the whole concept of advanced learning in the school.

With the district making fun of "mythical differentiation" on their own website, it is clear that the ALO programs need an overhaul and a structure.

Anonymous said…
-Good luck,
Is there a particular higher up that you would recommend I contact? Is there a new head of advanced learning?
The principal is ignoring my emails and requests to meet with him to talk about how the math placement decisions are made, as he tends to do whenever there is any type of conflict.
-Why go through testing
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