Highly Capable News

Just kidding.

There are no recs in the handout at the C&I meeting.  Apparently they will be in the Friday memo sent out by the Superintendent.  So unless someone who is on the Committee wants to let us know about them, I have no idea what they are.

There was a funny moment when it was pointed out how old the Board's policy is (from 1993).

They will be working with secondary counselors on what 9-12 students ,per the new WAC will receive as they had been getting "nothing in particular."

First Stephen Martin said the vote on the recs was unanimous and later on, said it was the majority (he and Shauna Heath, head of C&I, exchanged glances on that one).  No idea what the real story is.

They are hiring a couple of curriculum specialists (a good thing).

Marty McLaren praised staff for this "sweet moment" to get this done.  I'm glad she's happy but I see no clarity here yet.

Again, I see the end of Spectrum because they so clearly don't want to talk about it.


Carol Simmons said…
I was at the meeting. Good grief. I was totally dumfounded when the Recommendations were not presented by Stephan Martin or Shauna Heath I could not understand the Board members not insisting for them, nor could I understand why Mr. Martin was praised for his good work and had not presented them. I was frustrated and on my departure, I spoke with him in the Lobby.
I think that we all need to inquire why they were not presented. Even if they do appear in some form on Friday ..these recommendations were printed and ready to be distributed and for a certain reason were not distributed but rather "folded into the handout", which was 28 pages in length.....I was able to glean a few of the Recommendations but not easy to do. Professional development for Counselors and hopefully some inclusive identification recommendations for highly capable students.
we shall see. I can just imagine how frustrated the Committee and others who thought this report would be presented must be, because so were we.
Yes, I was trying to find these "recommendations" in the handout and gave up.

There's probably a VERY good reason they didn't just want to hand them out.

mirmac1 said…
Part of it could be because 3/4 th of the meeting time was spent discussing three out of 16 agenda items!

Better time management PLEASE!
Charlie Mas said…
So, once again, no real progress.

Another month has gone by and the Curriculum and Instruction policy committee still hasn't taken the first step on an Advanced Learning Policy, hasn't made any progress on Creative Approach Schools, hasn't made any progress on the C-CAP, hasn't made any progress on Equitable Access, hasn't addressed Title IX issues, hasn't made any progress on MTSS, hasn't made any progress on Common Core, hasn't made any progress on assessments, hasn't made any progress on program evaluation, hasn't really done anything but tread water.

The committee meets only once a month, so failing to address any of these issues creates a one month delay for each of them.
Anonymous said…
RE: the vote on the recommendations...

The look between Shauna and Stephen that Melissa mentioned in regards to the "unanimous" vote, I think is just because of semantics.

The vote at Friday's meeting was unanimous from the (I think) 18 members present. I'm not sure what the total number of members between the two TF's actually are because there is both overlap (some people on both) and I don't think that a formal roster was ever published for the first Task force. The second task force was restricted to 23 members.

So it is both a unanimous vote (of the members present) and not every last member was present. But the majority were there, I believe, and so I don't think that the vote on final recommendations should be called into question.

From my observation having attended almost all of the meetings since February, I was really impressed with the in depth discussions that went on and the willingness to discuss and research and learn, and the facilitator was great at making sure everyone was heard.

I do personally feel that the final recommendations are representative of the Task Force, and that they were reached in a collaborative and democratic manner.

I think that kudos goes to the folks involved in setting up the second TF. They wrote up a charter that had very clear purpose and selection process, and the application was even translated into other languages.

Nothing is ever perfect, but kudos should go to these folks who've spent hours and hours of their volunteer time advocating for K-12 services (as required by state law) for these kids.

Anonymous said…
The APP AC sent out an email this morning with the recommendations attached. I am on my phone and don't know how to link it here. Perhaps someone else who received the email can post a link?

tech challenged
Anonymous said…
Tech Challenged- forward the email to Melissa

Anonymous said…
I just saw them on my phone as well. They seem pretty status quo to me, although there's a pretty big focus (3 of the 7 recs) on the role of the AL office.

And while I suspect APP will be renamed, I have a hard time imagining saying that my kid is in the "highly capable cohort," as the final rec suggests for the new name. Do others find that as obnoxious sounding as I do?

Anonymous said…
I'd like to see what the recommendations are. My kids are both in APP--what are they using as a list for sendout?
Anonymous said…
In recommendation 6:

Middle school:
The District should investigate strategies for allowing students demonstrating advanced performance in a single subject area to be placed in advanced classes. Further, the Advanced Learning office will guide implementation of the aligned HC Humanities curriculum in HC middle schools.

Reading Recs
Anonymous said…
The Advanced Learning Task Forces met for more than 50 hours during the 2013-2014 school year to study identification and service delivery models for Highly Capable students. They found that many aspects of our Highly Capable/Accelerated Progress Program work well and do not require changes. The task forces believe the current delivery model should remain in place with the recommendations below providing additional opportunities and direction to enhance equity of access to Highly Capable services.

This task force was not asked to address Advanced Learning programs beyond those for Highly Capable students. The task force recognizes, however, that Spectrum and ALOs are a valued aspect of Advanced Learning, and the District should continue to address the opportunities for advanced learners beyond students identified as Highly Capable. Enhancing those opportunities will ultimately benefit all students.
Anonymous said…
RECOMMENDATION 1: Maintain existing delivery model.

The District should maintain the fundamental elements of the delivery model, which were affirmed by the task forces, including self-contained classrooms for Grades 1-5; self-contained LA/SS and science classrooms in Grades 6-8; guaranteed pathways to regional sites with a concentration of students to form minimum cohort sizes; guaranteed seats at designated high schools for those who are identified as Highly Capable by eighth grade; and significantly advanced and accelerated learning opportunities. Additionally, the District should maintain the APP/Highly Capable Advisory Council.

RECOMMENDATION 2: Define the Advanced Learning Office’s role in services, programs and curricula.

The Advanced Learning office should provide guidance and oversight on: (1) consistent alignment of scope and sequence, curriculum and instructional materials for Highly Capable sites ; (2) specific mechanisms for evaluating AL programs and services, with metrics and checkpoints; and (3) programs and services that emphasize rigorous and fast-paced instruction that is deep and appropriately accelerated, providing differentiation without a ceiling. The District should provide adequate staffing and funding to allow AL to fulfill this recommendation.

RECOMMENDATION 3: Enhance the Advanced Learning Office’s role in professional development.

The Advanced Learning office should ensure that teachers and principals receive (1) professional development on the academic and social/emotional needs of Highly Capable learners, including twice-exceptional children, with appropriate recognition and validation for the training that staff receives; (2) regularly scheduled time for teacher collaboration across Highly Capable sites; and (3) professional development for secondary counselors on the academic and social/emotional needs of HC students.
Anonymous said…
RECOMMENDATION 4: Improve communication from the Advanced Learning office.

The Advanced Learning Office should review its communication strategies with SPS families, teachers and administrators. This could include: streamlining and clarifying existing communications; finding additional ways to reach out to the families of all students who demonstrate potential (especially those from under-represented groups) about Advanced Learning; and giving increased emphasis to communicating the application, testing and appeals processes to ensure that all families understand all Advanced Learning opportunities.

RECOMMENDATION 5: Enhance equity in access to Highly Capable and Advanced Learning services and programs.

The District should provide additional pathways for identification of students who need Highly Capable services at all grade levels. In addition to teacher nomination and parent nomination, the District should investigate testing all kindergarten and/or second-grade students with an unbiased, non-verbal, cognitive screener (such as the CogAT screening form). In addition, the District should design and implement plans to support students who demonstrate potential for high achievement, especially those from under-represented groups (including special education and high-poverty students), through talent development initiatives. Details of administration and implementation would be developed jointly by the Advanced Learning office and the Equity and Race Relations department.
Anonymous said…
RECOMMENDATION 6: Expand Advanced Learning opportunities.


The District should ensure that all elementary schools have a Highly Capable plan, offering clear and consistent options and supporting teachers (through professional development and appropriate curriculum) in their implementation of these plans districtwide. Those services will be provided to those Highly Capable-identified students who elect to stay in their neighborhood schools. The District should ensure all HC-identified kindergartners receive services beginning mid-year in their neighborhood schools.

Middle school:

The District should investigate strategies for allowing students demonstrating advanced performance in a single subject area to be placed in advanced classes. Further, the Advanced Learning office will guide implementation of the aligned HC Humanities curriculum in HC middle schools.

High school:

The District should consider, in addition to the current high school programs: 1) developing and/or expanding college-level options, such as Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), Running Start, independent study, and early graduation at more neighborhood high schools. 2.) reviewing the IBX program at Ingraham with the potential to expand it to other IB schools; 3) examining additional internship or mentorship opportunities.
Anonymous said…
RECOMMENDATION 7: Rename the Accelerated Progress Program.

The District should change the name of the Accelerated Progress Program (APP) to Highly Capable Cohort (HCC), within Highly Capable Services. Students identified as eligible for HCC should be designated as "Highly Capable" rather than the current "Academically Highly Gifted.” This change would align with state language and eliminate the acronym confusion between APP and AP. The name change would also align with Superintendent Procedure #2200, which defines Service as “a supplementary support to basic education that is required by federal, state, or local law and/or regulations.” It specifies, “Required services are Special Education, English Language Learners, and Highly Capable students, as defined by the state.” Procedure #2200 specifically defines Program as an educational opportunity that is not mandated.

NOTE: Consider HCC to designate the self-contained Highly Capable Cohort. And HCC/APP for use in transitional documents (web site, forms, etc.)

* Report submitted by Stephen Martin, Supervisor of Highly Capable Services, on behalf of the second Advanced Learning Task Force after the 16 attendees of the August 8, 2014, meeting reviewed and unanimously approved the document.
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Charlie Mas said…
I'm not going to delete the anonymous posts above even though they are un-signed because they are a transcription of a district document.
Anonymous said…
I think the disambiguation of the monikers AP and APP is important. I spent most of fall semester teaching gen-ed 8th at HIMS while the students were in the process of looking at high schools, and trying to provide some mentorship as a teacher and as a mom with recent experience. Until I explained how it works, many of them didn't realize that high school AP courses were open to them without a test. This is a problem caused partly by the similarities in the names, and partly because of a lack of outreach. I encouraged them to take as many AP and honors classes as possible, no matter which high school they were choosing.

Anonymous said…

You can sign up for the APP list serve here:


If that doesn't work you can send an email to:


Anonymous said…


Call it spaghetti and meatballs just get it right at all sites.

Lori said…
In medical lingo, HCC stands for hepatocellular carcinoma. It would take some getting used to for me to re-associate it as the new name for APP!

Locally, it's also the initialism used by Highline Community College.

There are many good reasons to change the name, and not that my opinion matters, but I'm not a huge fan of HCC either.
Anonymous said…
The next question is what will the District do with the recommendations? An well planned and aligned curriculum (with AL oversight, not the school-by-school-do-whatever-you-want model we currently have) is long overdue.

Do I dare get my hopes up?

Anonymous said…
Many districts call it HiCap.

Anonymous said…

Don't you dare

Anonymous said…
Hope and waiting,

There is always room for...

-hope too
Anonymous said…
I think it's going to take more than just hope. If you think these changes are important, get out there and let the Board know. More staff at the AL office doesn't do much good if the AL office doesn't have any power to ensure schools are implementing good programming, with fidelity to whatever "curriculum" or guidelines they come up with.

And remember, school starts in a few weeks, but the curriculum specialists will come later. These changes in the middle school APP humanities classes will proceed however teachers and principals like, so my guess is that while there may be alignment of topics, there will likely be huge variations in the level of rigor across classes and schools. When teachers are making it up on the fly, what else could be expected?

Oh, and one last note re: the name change. It makes sense to move away from APP, as the district has already (unfortunately) scaled back on the "acceleration" portion of the program. (Those completing APP middle school, for example, are only ONE year ahead and in only ONE subject. That's it.) Hopefully there will be an increase in rigor instead to help make up for the lack of advancement, but without a formal curriculum that's likely to be hit or miss.

Lynn said…

An 8th grade APP student is actually two years ahead in science. At Franklin, Nathan Hale, Rainier Beach, Roosevelt and West Seattle the 9th grade students take physical science. They don't see biology until they are sophomores.

I agree with you though that the lack of aceleration is a problem when students transition into high school. A self-contained APP middle school LA or SS class could teach grade-level topics appropriately - but because the high schools don't make rigorous classes available for these students as freshman, they need to be accelerated instead.
Anonymous said…
That's right, Lynn. Thanks for the correction re: science. I always forget that that 7th grade APP physical science class is theoretically high school level... Maybe my mental block on that one is because the class didn't actually cover everything in the WA State K-12 Science Standards for physical science!

reprinting for Anonymous:

"The note at the end is interesting as there are more than 16 members on the task force."

Yes, I thought it interesting when the announcement was that the vote for these recommendations was "unanimous" and then they said, "by those in attendance." It could well be that all the members would have voted yes but we will never know.

I find these recommendations a little tepid but I know it's hard to push back on a taskforce.

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